no bake lemon cashew squares …

I have been wanting to make a raw lemon dessert for a while. These lemon squares are vegan, dairy free, gluten free and have no refined sugars. There’s no baking involved so they’re pretty easy to make. These treats are healthy, light and refreshing.

The recipe is from Healthful Pursuit.

Ingredients
Base
½ cup raw cashews
½ cup raw almonds
20 (290 grams) pitted medjool dates

Lemon topping
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed
Juice from 2 lemons
Zest from 3 lemons
¼ cup coconut nectar *
2 tablespoon water
2 teaspoon coconut oil, room temperature
flesh from 1 vanilla bean *
500mL coconut cream, chilled
¼ cup dehydrated, unsweetened coconut chips, for garnish
extra lemon zest, for garnish

* Instead of using coconut nectar, I used maple syrup. I had no vanilla beans so I used vanilla essence instead.

For the base, you can use any type of nuts. For the topping, any liquid sweetener can be used. If you don’t have coconut cream, chill full fat coconut milk overnight and skim the thick topping out of the can.

Method
1) To make the base, in a food processor, chop cashews and almonds until chunky.

2) Add dates to the food processor and pulse until they’re broken down.

3) Press date mixture into an 8×8 pan and place in the freezer.

4) To make the lemon topping, combine cashews, juice, zest, coconut nectar, water, coconut oil, and vanilla flesh in the bowl of your food processor.

5) Process mixture until smooth, about 2 minutes.

6) Add coconut cream. Process until combined and smooth.

7) Pour topping over prepared base. Cover and place in the fridge to set overnight.

8) The next day, cut into 16 squares and serve. Keep leftovers in original pan, covered and in the fridge. You can keep them in the freezer. Will last up to a week.

Note: They must be served cold. If left at room temperature for too long, they’ll melt.

These lemon squares are not overly sweet. The base is chewy and the topping is creamy and tangy. You’ll be wanting more than one.

“I love nuts. I’m for nuts. I am nuts.” ~ Penn Jillette

 

rigoni’s bistro …

In traffic-free Leigh Street you’ll will find Rigoni’s Bistro – one of Adelaide’s iconic Italian restaurants. Rigoni’s opened its doors in 1979 and has been the go to place for lunch and dinner – be it business or otherwise.

Tempting Palates headed to Rigoni’s for dinner. I was really looking forward to this dining experience – I had heard so many wonderful things about this place. [Being Italian I don’t often go to Italian restaurants – why would I when I can get good authentic Italian food at home! :)]

Inside Rigoni’s you’ll find a bar in the centre of the restaurant and white linen draped tables – it exudes an air of sophistication.

For entrees, the group decided to go with the pane (bread).

Bruschetta di zucca – roasted pumpkin, feta, pine nuts & rocket pesto:

Bruschetta di pera – caramelised pear, gorgonzola aioli, trevisio & toasted walnuts:

Four of the group shared a Bruschetta trio – bruschetta di zuca, bruschetta di pera and bruschetta di pomodoro (fresh roma tomato, red onion, basil & extra virgin olive oil):

The group enjoyed the bruschettas – all very tasty and both the pumpkin and pear bruschettas were nice alternatives to the traditional tomato bruschetta.

I had the oven baked ciabatta with green olive gremolata & Lloyd Brothers olive oil:

The gremolata was fresh, light and tasty.

It was a nice starter to the meal.

The mains:

Petto di pollo arrosto – pot roasted Barossa Valley chicken breast with sweetcorn relish, gruyere, pickled red cabbage. soft polenta & jus:

Tagliatelle di barbabietole – beetroot tagliatelle with braised goat, roasted beetroot, Woodside goats cheese, smoked almonds & marjoram:

Pancetta di maiale – crisp skinned pork belly with mixed beans, crab filled zucchini flowers & vanilla butter:

Gnocchi di zafferano – potato & saffron gnocchi, spanner crab, baby capers, chilli, snow peas, watercress & squid ink:

I chose the Rotolo di salmone – salmon rolled with Spencer Gulf prawns & spanner crab on farro tabouleh with cauliflower puree & basil oil:

This dish was just exquisite. The rolled salmon was cooked well. The tasty flavours were complimented by the textures of the tabouleh and puree.

From the start the service was exceptional. The staff were friendly, attentive and professional. It was a good night out. Casual and comfortable. Relaxed atmosphere. Good food and great service. Bravo!

Rigoni's Bistro on Urbanspoon

 

 

coffee cream bars …

Coffee + chocolate = deliciousness. If you love coffee, then these bars are just for you. If you like Kahlua or Baileys, even better! If you’re not a huge fan of coffee, these bars might just sway you to like coffee – just a little bit.

This recipe is courtesy of Eat Good 4 Life.

coffee_cream_bars_

Ingredients
Crust
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup dates
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules *
2 tablespoons water, optional (only if the crust doesn’t come together)

Filling
1 14oz canned coconut cream
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules *
3 – 4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons Kahlua or Baileys, optional. Note: Baileys is not vegan

Topping
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons cacao powder
3 tablespoons maple syrup

* I used organic decaf coffee granules.

Method
1) Place the crust ingredients in your food processor and pulse until combined or until the mixture is coming together. (You can substitute the cashews with almonds.)

2) With a spatula press evenly into the bottom of a 8×8 inch square baking pan lined with unbleached parchment paper.

3) Blend the filling ingredients in the food processor until smooth and spread evenly over the crust. Freeze while you prepare the topping. I didn’t use any alcohol in these bars.


4) If solid, melt the coconut in the microwave. In a small bowl mix the topping ingredients and pour over the middle layer making sure to spread it evenly.

Note: You have to be quick when pouring the chocolate over the cream layer – the chocolate sets pretty quickly!

5) Freeze bars until firm. To serve, let the bars thaw at room temperature for 10-15 minutes and cut as desired.

These are like ice cream bars and you won’t be able to stop at one! These bars are amazing! Super easy and quick to make! Perfect summer treat! The 3 different textured layers will get your taste buds going.

“Chocolate, coffee and ice cream were far more reliable when it came to providing a good time, and at least they would never disappoint me.” ~ Keri Arthur

 

raw vegan vanilla raspberry cheesecake …

This is another recipe that I stumbled across on Pinterest. A simple no bake recipe. It looked delicious and I had to try it.

The recipe is courtesy of Eat Good 4 Life.

_cheesecakes_

Ingredients
Bottom layer
1 cup Cascadian Farm cinnamon crunch *
1 cup pitted dates
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1-2 tablespoons almond milk

Cheesecake layer
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons almond milk, if mixture is too dry

Top Layer
10 oz organic Cascadian Farm raspberries, defrosted *
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup

* Instead of the cinnamon crunch, I used raw almonds. Fresh raspberries put in the freezer work well too.

Method
1) Soak the cashews in water for 1 hour. Discard the water and line a loaf baking pan with unbleached parchment paper and set aside.

2) In a medium mixing bowl, mix the topping ingredients and let it sit for 1 hour until it thickens.

3) Place the crust ingredients in your food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together; this should take about 1 minute.

4) Press this mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared loaf baking pan and place it in the freezer while you prepare the cheesecake topping.

5) Place the cheesecake ingredients in your food processor and pulse until smooth.

6) Pour the cheesecake mixture over the crust in the baking pan and spread it evenly. Freeze the dessert for at least 1 hour.

7) Spread topping ingredients evenly over the cheesecake layer. Freeze for another hour.

I left the tin in the freezer overnight. To cut and serve I took it out of the freezer and let it defrost for about 20 minutes.

8) Cut the cheesecake into squares before serving.

9) Keep leftovers covered in the freezer for up to 3 months.

The cheesecake squares were delicious. The family liked it :) The 3 layers have 3 different textures. If you don’t have raspberries, try other fruits. With the cheesecake layer, why not add some cacao powder. The combinations that you could try are endless.

This is a fantastic recipe. Very easy, not too sweet and healthy. It’s a great recipe for summer which you can make ahead of time. Perfect!

 

“Real food means big unflavoured, unpretentious cooking. Good ingredients made into something worth eating. Just nice, uncomplicated food.” ~ Nigel Slater

 

triple layer chocolate and peanut butter slice …

I’ve said it a million times before and I’ll say it again – the chocolate and peanut butter combination is the best food combination. Ever. So imagine my delight when I discovered this recipe via Instagram. It was like all my Christmases had come at once :)

This recipe is courtesy of Hippie Lane.

Base
1 cup (120g) walnuts
1 cup (80g) desiccated coconut
¼ cup (60ml) rice malt syrup (I used maple syrup)
8 Californian dates ( or Medjool dates)
½ tablespoon cacao powder
Pinch salt

Filling
2 cups (500g) peanut butter
4 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla powder (or equivalent vanilla extract)
3 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoon cacao powder
1 tablespoon extra coconut oil

Chocolate Drizzle: (optional)
½ cup (90g) dark sugar free chocolate

Method
Base
1) Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
2) Place walnuts in the food processor and process until nuts have broken down into small pieces.

3) Add coconut, dates, syrup, cacao powder and salt and process. The mixture should begin to stick together.

4) Press base mixture into prepared loaf tin and spread evenly.

Notice how straight my baking paper is lined? I usually scrunch the paper in. I found a very helpful video which explained how to line a loaf tin.

5) Place in the freezer.

Filling
6) Blitz banana, peanut butter, vanilla and 3 tbsp coconut oil in the processor until mixture is completely smooth.

7) Remove tin from freezer. Divide the filling in half, and pour one half over the base. Place the tin back in the freezer.

8) Add cacao powder and extra 1 tbsp coconut oil to the remaining filling and process.

9) Remove the tin from the freezer and spread remaining filling evenly to complete the three layer slice. Set in freezer for at least 8 hours.

10) Remove cake from tin, and cut into slices. Place pieces on their side on a sheet of baking paper.

Chocolate drizzle (optional)
1) Place chocolate in a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Once the chocolate begins to melt, reduce the heat to simmer and stir chocolate until it has fully melted. Remove from heat.

Note: I made my own chocolate using:
2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup.
In a small bowl, combine all three ingredients and mix until well combined. taste the mixture, and adjust sweetness, to taste.

2) With a spoon, drizzle each slice with melted chocolate in a zig-zag motion.

Best eaten within 30-40 minutes of removing from freezer.

OMG! Amazing! These slices were to die for. Natural and healthy. Free from all the sugar, flour and butter of the usual desserts. And no baking! The recipe is simple to follow. The slices were easy to make. And you can store them in the fridge or freezer. It’s a guilt free treat :)

“Raw food desserts are the getaway drug to healthy eating” ~ Kevin Gianni

 

gluten free and dairy free chocolate cupcakes …

These cupcakes are the best cupcakes. Ever.

My mum was searching for a gluten free, dairy free and soy free cupcake recipe to make cupcakes for her grandson Jake’s 4th birthday.  A few family members have food intolerances. Mum found a recipe that looked okay and we made them – with fingers crossed. They turned out perfectly.

The birthday boy, Jake, is the one wearing the Batman top and cake :)

To say that these cupcakes were a hit would be an understatement. The kids (and the adults) loved them. Easily the best cupcakes they’ve had. A couple of people asked for the recipe.

This recipe is courtesy of Sarah Bakes which was adapted from The Food Network. Sarah proclaims this recipe as the best. She says “So delicate.  So divine.  The recipe is so simple.  The results are perfection every time.” She’s not wrong!

I made another batch on the weekend for Mum’s quilting class.

Ingredients
2 cups Sarah’s gluten free flour blend (I used gluten free self raising flour)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup oil (I used vegetable oil)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh brewed coffee or hot water

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
2) Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

3) In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
Note: Because the mixture will eventually become runny, it’s best to use a pouring jug to combine the ingredients – it will make it easier to fill the the cupcake liners.

4) Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.  Mix until just combined.

5) Drizzle in coffee (or hot water) slowly, scraping the bowl while beating on low.  Batter will be thin.

6) Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

7) Cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

This recipe makes 24 cupcakes.

Sarah topped her cupcakes with a heavenly chocolate buttercream. I needed a dairy free and soy free alternative. Found one. And it was adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s birthday cake book – page 2. Practically every Australian household in the 80’s had this book! It was published in 1980 and re-released in 2011. I’ve got the original – mum passed the book onto me. Lucky me! Thanks mum!

Vienna cream frosting

Ingredients
125g (40z) butter (I used dairy free butter)
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk (I used water instead)

Method
1) Have the butter and milk at room temperature.
2) Place butter in small bowl of electric mixer, beat until butter is as white as possible.
3) Gradually add about half the sifted icing sugar, beating constantly.
4) Add milk (or water) gradually, then gradually beat in the remaining icing sugar.
5) The mixture should be smooth and easy to spread with a spatula. If the mixture is too runny keep adding icing sugar until the mixture becomes thick.
Note: for these cupcakes I added a teaspoon of instant coffee to the frosting. For Jake’s birthday party, red and yellow food colouring was added.

These cupcakes are so light, moist and not too sweet. And delicious. Amazing recipe!

 “Nothing heals the soul like cupcakes … it’s God’s apology for muffins.”

 

raw bounty bar …

This simple recipe comes from the August 2014 edition of Woman’s Day. I was flicking through the magazine, at the doctor’s, and saw the recipe. It looked interesting so, instead of ripping the page out (like you used to do in the past – not that I ever did that!), I took a photo of the recipe.

raw_bounty_bar

These slices are a raw version of the bounty bars – a chocolate bar manufactured by Mars, Incorporated.

Ingredients – sugar, desiccated coconut, glucose syrup (sources include wheat), milk solids, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, invert sugar, vegetable fat, emulsifiers (471, soy lecithin), humectant (glycerol), salt, natural flavour (vanilla extract) and peanuts. Mmm …. healthy – not!

Ingredients
Crust
1 and 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup fresh pitted dates *
1 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons light agave syrup or rice malt syrup
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
2 tablespoons chia seeds

Filling
1 cup soaked cashews **
3 cups shredded coconut
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup light agave syrup

Topping
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup light agave syrup

* Soak the pitted dates in warm water for 10 minutes then drain before adding to the food processor.

** Cover cashews with water, soak 2 hours and drain well before use. This creates a soft creamy texture for the filling.

Method
Crust
1) Lightly grease and line a 20cm square pan with baking paper.
2) In a food processor, combine coconut, almond meal, dates, syrup, cacao and chia together. I used maple syrup instead of the agave syrup.

Note: Because I was reading the recipe off my phone, I left out the cacao! Oops!

3) Process until mixtures forms a sticky crumbly dough.

4) Press mixture evenly and firmly over base of pan.

5) Chill until required.

Filling
1) In a food processor, combine all ingredients, pulsing until well chopped and mixture binds together.

2) Spread evenly over base, pressing down with a fork.

Topping
1) In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Whisk together until smooth.

2) Pour over slice. Spread evenly over surface.

3) Chill 30 minutes until set.

Just like a bounty bar only healthier! Guilt free too! Enjoy :)

“You can’t eat coconut without breaking its shell; you can’t succeed without breaking the cycle of failure.” ~ Vinita Kinra