Friday, July 31, 2009

Cool Rawkin' Aussie Stuff

Wanna make your raw life better? Here are few fantastic raw enterprises recently rolled out by a couple of amazing Aussie lasses which I think are worth checking out, supporting, and generally showing some love to. They'll love you right back!

#1 - Monkey Mike's Raw Food Cookbook: an Un-cookbook Book for Kids. By Melbourne's own Joanne Newell! Those of you who follow the blog at will be familiar with Joanne's work, and let me tell you, she's one passionate, lovely lady. Her book looks really well laid out and easy to follow for kids from about 7-years-old and up. Also a nice reminder that raw food prep needn't be overly complicated to be delicious, and that's it accessible for everybody. Get it for kids in your life that you care about (including your inner child).

#2 - Passionate Gourmet Uncooking School. Just launched in Perth! How I wish I were in Perth right now so I could attend one of these classes offered by the talented, passionate and endlessly inspiring Kate Quinn (also the creator, editor and publisher of Living Raw). She also does catering, coaching and about a million other things. Catch her if you can!

There are so many other amazing things happening on the Australia raw scene now as well. I welcome anyone to post other great Aussie raw stuff in the comments section so we can all benefit from the snowballing creative energy going on here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Goji and Blueberry Cheesecake

When life hands me blueberries, goji berries, and "really raw" cashews, what do I do? Why, make goji and blueberry cheesecake, of course. Silly question.

The colors and textural interplay in this cake are amazing. Bright orange cream filling, violet blueberry sauce, and dark chocolatey crust create a striking image - and we eat with our eyes first. I love using blueberries in the filling because combined with the "really raw" cashews (not steamed to remove the shells), they create an airy cream filling. The combination of brazil nuts, vanilla, cacao and coconut in the crust reminds me of a darker, richer version of oreo cookies. I add some more textural interest by sprinkling a crust layer in the middle of the cake, and drizzling a blueberry syrup over the finished cake. This leads to a cheesecake that is flavorful and light - so you can eat it and feel totally satisfied, not sick.

I got nearly all of the ingredients for this cake from the Melbourne Living Foods Co-op this month. We are so lucky to have this group, because it allows us to buy loads of fantastic organic, raw products each month at a low price, and to support local farmers and enterprises in the bargain. I highly recommend joining a co-op like this if you have one in your area.

Goji and Blueberry Cheesecake


3/4 cup brazil nuts
3/4 cup dried coconut
pinch Himalayan salt
1 heaped Tbsp cacao powder
1-2 Tbsp honey or agave
1 Tbsp cacao nibs or 7 cacao beans
1 tsp vanilla extract


1/2 cup goji berries
1 cup cashews
1 1/2 fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup melted cacao butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup honey or agave
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
pinch Himalayan salt


1 cup blueberries
3 dates
water as needed
a handful of gogi berries


To make the crust, combine brazil nuts, dried coconut, Himalayan salt and cacao powder in a food processor. Whir until ground well. Add honey or agave, cacao nibs or beans, and vanilla extract. Pulse until large crumbs form. If not sticky enough, add a bit more honey or agave.

Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Refrigerate to set.

For the filling, grind goji berries to a sticky powder in a spice/coffee grinder. In a food processor or high speed blender, combine goji powder, cashews, blueberries, melted cacao butter or coconut oil, honey or agave, lemon juice and salt. Blend/whir until totally smooth. *If you are using frozen blueberries and they are not totally thawed, blend the other ingredients first until really smooth and somewhat warm. Add the berries one at a time to keep the temperature constant so that the melted cacao butter or coconut oil doesn't seize up.

Spread 1/2 of the fillling over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture on top and refrigerate for 10 minutes to set. The spread the rest of the filling over the top and refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat - at least an hour.

To make the topping, combine one cup of blueberries with the dates in a food processor or high speed blender. Blend/whir, adding water as needed to achieve a thick syrup. When serving, drizzle the sauce over the cake and top with a few goji berries.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Emerald and Ruby Grawnola

This is the best grawnola ever! Its base is crunchy and nutritionally-dense buckwheat, which makes for a really satisfying raw breakfast cereal. Then its studded with gorgeous little jewel-like cranberries, apricots, pistachios and pumpkin seeds. The contrast of the deep ruby cranberries and dark amber apricots with the glistening green pistachios and pumpkin seeds is visually stunning - and don't forget, we eat with our eyes before we even taste a morsel.

What really makes this grawnola shine - both in appearance and taste - is a coating of olive oil and a dark/light sweetener combination. The oil and sweetener act as a glue to hold the mixture together, and they really amplify the flavors of the ingredients. I've used two sweeteners to give more depth to the flavor and to create a more broad mineral profile. I used a beautiful local raw honey with a sweet, mild flavor and dark agave in my mixture, but feel free to experiment with the fruitier flavor of yacon syrup or the complex sweetness of maple syrup.

You could use another oil if you prefer, but I like the savory flavor of olive oil (along with a bit of Himalayan salt, my favorite) in contrast with all the sweetness in this recipe. I'm a big fan of combining sweet and savory - I love the big punch of a broad flavor profile on my tongue. I guess I'm a bit of a flavor junky! Try it for yourself and see if you don't become an addict, too.

Emerald and Ruby Grawnola

3 cups buckwheat, soaked overnight
1 1/2 cups pistachios, soaked overnight
1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into quarters
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup strong sweetener (dark agave, B or C grade maple syrup, yacon syrup, strong honey)
1/2 cup light sweetener (light agave, A grade maple syrup, mild honey)
1 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Drain and rinse buckwheat, pistachios and pumpkin seeds. Combine in a large bowl. Add olive oil, both sweeteners, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Toss to coat thoroughly. Mix in cranberries and apricots. Spread over teflex dehydrator sheets and dehydrate for 36-48 hours, until buckwheat is crunchy and mixture is mostly dry (will still feel a bit sticky). Place in a cool spot for a couple of hours, and the granola should harden so that is is completely crunchy and no longer sticky.

Stored in airtight containers, it will keep for a few weeks. Serve with nutmilk and fresh fruit, or just eat it on its own as a snack. Yum.
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