Strawberry Chocolate Torte – a Summer Treat!

It’s summer! – at least for us on the Southern half of this planet 🙂

That means an abundance of local, fresh, ripe fruit, especially berries! What better to do than to whip up a yummy chocolate torte with it?! Make sure you use organic or spray-free berries though, as the ‘conventionally’ grown ones can hold a lot of pesticides.

Raw Chocolate Strawberry Torte

Should you happen to not dwell on the strawberry side of the globe this torte is easily made with orange slices, bananas or even pears. For a more decadent crust feel free to replace the shredded coconut with macadamia nuts and make sure to sprinkle some bits over the top! B.T.W. the torte below was made in a spring form.

Orange Chocolate Torte

This recipe was introduced to me by my dear friend Matt Samuelson in 2004 and has been a staple in my dessert repertoire ever since.

And here we go!

Strawberry Chocolate Torte
Serves 8

For the crust:

  • 1.5c shredded coconut
  • 1.5c cashews
  • 4-6 Medjool dates, pitted
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

For the filling:

  • 3 avocados, peeled, pit removed
  • 1T vanilla extract
  • 5T organic cocoa powder, raw if you prefer
  • 1/2c Rapadura, raw cane sugar
  • a few drops lemon or lime juice
  • 1 punnet (500g) fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
  • To make the crust, in a food processor grind the shredded coconut into a fine powder. Add the cashews and cayenne pepper. Continue processing to a coarse meal.
  • Add the pitted dates and homogenize until the texture resembles a graham cracker crust. Mixture should be loose and crumbly, yet hold together when pressed tightly.
  • Press the crust into a 9 inch ungreased pie plate. Press firmly to get the crust to hold together. Place it in the freezer or refrigerator to set up while making the filling.
  • To make the filling: place the avocados, vanilla, cocoa and Rapadura in a food processor with the “S” blade and homogenize until completely smooth. Make sure to add a little splash of lemon or lime juice! It will nicely balance the flavours in your chocolate. (Just don’t tell anyone! ;-))
  • To assemble: Divide the filling into 3 equal parts. Spread a thin layer of filling on top of the crust. Next, place a layer of strawberries on the filling. Spread another layer of chocolate filling on top of the strawberries, and then layer more strawberries, another layer of filling and the remainder of the berries.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour prior to serving.

Be sure to use a very sharp knife, yes VERY sharp!, when cutting this torte. The strawberries have a tendency to slide all over the place when cut with a dull knife.

Strawberry Chocolate Torte

Enjoy!

René
🙂

Raw Chocolate Bar Recipe – Finally!

After filling my Facebook page and ‘Timeline’ with tempting pictures of raw chocolate bars I received so many orders that I will have to move to a more empowering strategy. How about you make these beauties yourself and send me a sample?! 😉

Yumberry Chocolate Bear

“Give a man a chocolate bear and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach him…”

Although the recipe listed below has been working well for me over the months you might encounter problems when adding nut flours or fruit powders to your liquid chocolate mix. Sometimes the cacao butter separates when cooling down (especially when adding liquids). To avoid this from happening you can melt just 50% of it and shave the rest with a grater. That will keep the temperature of the whole mix down. That also means your chocolate will solidify quicker. I tried it today. Worked like a Charm! Also the surface of the finished bars seems to be much smoother.

Freeze dried Passionfruit chocolate bars

Be aware that when making raw chocolate you will leave the field of approximates and enter the Sacred Realm of Alchemy. So tread carefully and record your recipe trials and precise amounts!

And here we go with:

Raw Chocolate Bars

Makes enough chocolate to brighten a hairy day
(36 ice cube tray bars and 1-2 teddy bears)

  • 1 lb (454g) raw organic  cacao butter
  • 2 c cacao powder
  • 1.5 c cane sugar/xylitol, ground into a powder
  • 1 t + vanilla powder
  • 1-2 drops lime juice (Not more!)
  • 1-2 drops tamari sauce
  • ¼ c raw cacao nibs, optional
  • 1 t freeze dried fruit powder, optional
  1. Melt the cacao butter carefully in a bowl over hot water. Be careful not to overheat it. Stir continuously! That will yield about 2.25c of liquid.
  2. Transfer to a blender jar and add the remaining ingredients. Mix at high speed till everything is emulsified into a homogenous mixture.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into chocolate molds or small plastic wrapped tartlet shells. You can drizzle some fruit powder into the mold before pouring the liquid chocolate. Silicone ice cube trays are best.
    Silicone ice cube trays
  4. Drop the cacao nibs into the liquid chocolate. They will float. You can stir them in if you wish.
    Chocolate Buttons
  5. Chill. The quicker the chocolate solidifies the better.
  6. Serve on cold dishes or paper as the chocolate melts easily.

Tip: Variations can be made with different essential oils and essences. Use your imagination! Citrus oils work well, Geranium goes, and even Basil rocks!

Great New Zealand made freeze dried fruit powders and whole fruit here: Fresh As!

Yumberry and Cacao nib bars

Enjoy and Happy Birthday!
René
🙂

PS: While we are on it… To further your raw chocolatier education please do yourself a favour and visit my dear friend Amy Levin’s website www.ooosha.co.uk! She is the ‘Master of Raw Chocolate’ and has a bunch of her best recipes listed on that website. Make sure you try the Textured Mocha Truffles!

Chocolate Müsli Slice – a glutenfree and vegan Power Snack

A lovely chocolate treat!

Be warned, this one will be a staple in your power snack repertoire. A thoroughly nourishing and satisfying chocolate treat. The basic recipe below is not fully raw as presented here, due to the use of 72% dark chocolate. I like to use the vegan Whittaker’s’Dark Ghana’. ‘Green & Blacks’ works as well. By all means, go ahead and make your own raw chocolate topping!
Oh, have I not posted that recipe yet?! Hang in there, it will pop up shortly 😉

When I am making this Chocolate Müsli slice I always make more of the dry crust mix than I will need for one standard baking tray. I store it in a sealed container till the next batch is due. That way I only have to add date paste, mix it thoroughly, press it into a paper lined tray and pour the chocolate.

And yes, the recipe below is not suggesting for the nuts and seeds to be soaked and dehydrated. For better digestion and utilization of all nutrients feel free to soak and dehydrate the sunflower- and pumpkin seeds as well as the almonds.
It is ESSENTIAL to dehydrate the nuts and seeds completely dry after soaking them over night. The base of the Müsli slice is held together by the moisture being evenly distributed throughout the crust.

And here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Chocolate Müsli Slice

Makes approx. three standard baking trays with 64 pieces each

  • 7c sunflower seeds, ground into coarse meal
  • 5c pumpkin seeds, ground into coarse meal
  • 10c dried finely shredded coconut
  • 4c almonds, ground into coarse meal
  • 2c cashew pieces, ground into a coarse meal
  • 4c chia seed flour
  • 3c cranberries
  • 2c sultanas
  • 3-6c smooth date paste, depending on moisture level
  • 9 x 250g bars of Whittaker’s 72% Dark Ghana chocolate (750g per tray)
  1. In a large tub hand-mix all dry ingredients well.
  2. Put a pot with 1-2cups of water to the boil, place a stainless steel bowl on the rim of the pot so it completely covers it. Break 3 bars (750g) of the dark chocolate into the bowl. Turn the heat down to a minimum once the water boils. Stir the chocolate occasionally until it is completely melted.
  3. While the chocolate is melting take 12c of the dry müsli mixture and hand-mix 1-2 cups of date paste in until everything sticks well together and is evenly moist and covered with date paste.
  4. Line a standard baking tray (approx. 2cm deep) with one sheet of baking paper. Now press the moist müsli mixture evenly into the tray.
  5. When the chocolate is completely melted pour it over the compacted müsli in the baking tray. Make sure you dry off the bowl underneath beforehand to avoid water dripping into your molten chocolate! Tap the tray lightly on the work bench to distribute the chocolate evenly and to make the surface level. Use a cranked spatula to help spread the chocolate, if necessary.

    Freshly poured chocolate

    Can you smell the freshly poured chocolate?!

  6. Place the tray in the fridge (walk-in coolers are handy here! ;-)) to let the chocolate solidify. Check frequently for the chocolate surface to turn matt. Do not wait till the chocolate is thoroughly chilled through. It will be too brittle to cut. A very sharp and thin (Asian) chef’s knife helps!
    Solid chocolate on top
  7. Once the chocolate surface has turned evenly matt and is sufficiently solid to cut, carefully, while holding on to the paper, slide the chocolate-covered müsli block onto a large cutting board. Cut into 64 equal pieces and stack them into a tight-sealing container with baking paper between the layers.
    Scored chocolate top
    Return to chiller overnight. The chocolate will solidify and the moisture in the müsli mix will spread evenly through all ingredients, making them hold together better.
    The cut chocolate muesli slice

Caution!

  • Do not touch the chocolate surface after it is poured!!! Your fingerprints will remain visible.
  • From the time of cutting into individual pieces till serving the individual müsli slices should stay refrigerated. Alterations in temperature will cause moisture in the air to condense on the chocolate coating. This ultimately leads to bright brown spots on it and makes it look unsightly and old.

The final result!

Enjoy!

René
🙂

PS: Yes, this might be one of the recipes featured at one of my next demo classes!

Raw Chocolate Super Fudge recipe

Here is the much requested recipe for the Raw Chocolate Super Fudge I demo-ed last Saturday at the Green Living Show in Auckland.

Rene demo at Green Expo

Should you have been among the poor fellows who came on Sunday believing the sign that I would do it again, only to be shown how to make a Super Charged Green Smoothie (takes a new breath)… then here is the recipe:

Super Fudge

Makes one standard baking tray with 64 pieces

  • 3.5c / 900g date paste
  • 2c / 180g raw cacao powder
  • 1c / 200g Chia seeds
  • 1c / 160g Sesame seeds
  • 1c / 200g Sultanas or Cranberries
  • 2c / 260g Sunflower seeds
  • 1c / 150g Goji berries
  • 2T / 24g Maca powder
  • 4T / 40g Sacha Inchi powder
  • 2t / 6g Camu-Camu powder
  • 1t / 2g Vanilla powder
  1. In a large bowl hand mix everything thoroughly together.
  2. Line a standard baking tray with baking paper. Press the mass evenly into the tray and level the surface with a cranked metal spatula.
  3. Set aside for minimum of one hour to set. Cut into 64 or 128 smaller pieces.
  4. Serve as is or place in dehydrator for a few hours at 115°F until dry to the touch.

You can always come to the Wise Cicada Café to sample the recipe. We sell them there 🙂

Raw Chocolate Super Fudge

Superfoods 201 – the next chapter

Join us for our next journey into the mysterious realm of Superfoods. We are talking – in my humble opinion – about foods with high nutrient content and density that may positively affect our wellbeing, health and performance. Walking through any well stocked health food store, you will recognise them by their unusual names (at least in our Western understanding) and also their intriguingly high price tags – compared to the standard fare, we have become so used to.

Yum Berries

Many of these foods are sourced from pristine environments like the Himalayan mountains (Goji berries) and the Amazon rainforest – hence their ‘unusual’ names. These plants and their fruits and roots are oftentimes not farmed but wild-harvested which explains their high content in nutrients (non-depleted soils) and also the higher price compared to other foods.

Maqui berries

Foods in this category are Goji berries, Acai, Maca, Noni, Maqui, Suma, Sacha Inchi, Camu Camu, Chia seeds and many more. Many of these are supplied and distributed by companies like Matakana Superfoods. On their website you will also find much detailed information about the different Superfood products.

Superberries Maqui, Yum, Acai, Goji

Among the more ‘common’ superfoods are blueberries, young coconuts, apple cider vinegar, cacao, turmeric, green tea, wheatgrass, sprouts etc.

And yes, we are offering you another class around these preciously packed nutrient-rich foods. Exploring the ones we have not touched on in our last class on the subject, Superfoods 101. To name a few: Maqui, Yum, Mangosteen as well as some old friends like Maca and Cacao.

Superfood pralines

Coming up this
Tuesday, May 1st, 2012, 7-9.30pm
at the Wise Cicada Cafe in Newmarket, Auckland, New Zealand

Your investment: NZD60
including all samples and the complete recipe booklet of the class.

This class will be centered around a systematic approach to using Superfoods in you daily diet. What (powder, berries) can you incorporate where (your green smoothie, almond milk) and how – for maximum benefit to your wellbeing, health and performance. With a bit of good luck we will have Kevin from Matakana Superfoods with us to introduce a few of his products and to answer your questions about the different power foods.

Seats are limited to 20 students. Book your space today!

Ring René to book on: 027 555 1622 or contact us here.

Alternatively go right ahead and confirm your booking by paying the course fee through our PayPal portal by clicking on the button below.

PayPal Buy Now

Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday!
Warm regards,

René

🙂

PS: We still have room at New Zealand’s first hands-on Raw Chef Training, Level 1. I have extended the Early Bird rate till Monday, April 30, 2012. Book your space Now!

Rene teaching

Raw Food Survival Class – The Art of Raw Chocolate

…with samples, of course!

Raw Chocolate Buttons

Believe it! We are announcing a raw chocolate class.

This will be the ultimate in making delectable desserts, snacks, cakes and presents using raw cacao in all its various guises – right on time for Easter.

Mark this date in your calendar:

Wednesday, March 28th, 7 – 9.30pm,
Wise Cicada Cafe, 23 Crowhurst Street, Newmarket
Auckland, New Zealand

You will learn:

  • How to make a variety of simple, yet stunning chocolate cakes, cookies, drinks and desserts.
  • How to make delicious shakes, using raw cacao and other superfoods.
  • How to entertain friends and family with your own sweet chocolate treats, pralines and chocolate bars.
  • Which flavours enhance or combine well with chocolate.
  • What ratios are required for a rounded flavour and also consistency.
  • What secret ingredients will make any of your creations a hit with your audience.

As always, a complete recipe booklet and samples are included.

Chocolate Raspberry Tartlets

Your investment: $60.-/person

Space is limited to 20 people. Book yours today by ringing René on 0275551622 or contacting us here.

Oh, upon frequent request at our previous classes we will actually have some of the presented sweets for sale after the class. Bring your piggy bank!

See you there!

René

🙂

Chocolate Cheesecake

Super Hero Bliss Balls – Superfoods kicking butt

These ones were the hit at the Prana New Year Festival 2012 ‘Chocolate Bar’ at the Barn. Having arrived here you might have been looking around on the web for a decent Bliss Ball recipe that didn’t just sport some nuts and dates rolled into a ball. I’ve been in your position and couldn’t find any either that deserved the ‘Bliss’ with the Balls.

So here is a proven recipe that has some serious ‘Bliss Potential’. They are a great treat, last a while in the fridge and can be altered to have a different dusting (try Mesquite or Lucuma), the goji berries replaced with Acai, etc. Just make a few batches of this recipe and then start playing. I would love to hear from you. And while you are on it, please take a few pictures, as I haven’t any good ones of these yet 🙂

Super Hero Bliss Balls with Müsli Slice

Super Heroes as supporting act to Müsli slices

Super Hero Bliss Balls

A lunchbox treat for Super Heroes!

Makes a few

  • 2c dried shredded coconut
  • 2c Cashews, dry, ground into flour
  • 2T Chia seeds
  • 1/2c Goji berries, soaked
  • 1/3 c date paste (dates blended into a paste with just enough water)
  • 1T Maca powder
  • 3T raw cacao powder
  • ½ t Vanilla extract
  • 2T raw cacao nibs
  •  1-2 T raw cacao powder for dusting
  1. Combine the coconut, cashew flour, chia seeds, maca powder, 3 T of raw cacao powder and the cacao nibs in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a food processor pulse the goji berries then add to the date paste. Now add the moist ingredients, incl. Vanilla extract, to the dry mix in the bowl. With your hands mix everything well.
  3. With a 1 T measuring spoon scoop even amounts of bliss ball mix into your hand and roll into evenly round balls.
  4. Dust each ball individually by loosely rolling it in raw cacao powder in a separate bowl. Let it gently roll around in your hand to apply the cacao powder firmly to it and to shake off any excess powder.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour then place on a platter and serve – or hide in the Super Hero’s lunch box.

Enjoy, and try keeping up with the demand!

Rene

🙂

Superfoods 101 – an introductory class to exotic ingredients

Here comes a brilliant opportunity for you to figure out what all these weird named packages are: Superfoods!

A live food demonstration at the Wise Cicada, February 22, 2012, 6.30pm.

Wildharvested in the Pacific North West

  • What’s in them?
  • What are they good for?
  • How do they taste?
  • How can I use them to my best benefit and greatest taste?

Have you ever wondered how to use: Camu, Yacon, Macqui, Acai, Maca, Sancha Inchi, Chia (apart from Babak’s Chia Drink), Goji berries, Cat Claw, Stevia, Lucuma, Turmeric, Nopal, Noni, Cacao, Mangosteen, Mesquite, Beepollen, Yum, Spirulina, Hemp, Coconut oil, Barberries, Chlorella, Golden Berries, Mulberries, CMD, Pomegranate, and a few more…

I’ll have Ross J Sims from Living Foods Lifestyle assisting me with this class.

Let me introduce

Ross and his wife Michele La Chante are running a Superfoods focused business and are also the New Zealand representatives of Navitas – THE Superfoods company. Many of the Superfoods on the Wise Cicada‘s shelves are imported by Michele and Ross. Ross will be there to talk about the superfoods we present to you in this class and will also answer your questions about them.

I myself will be introducing some delicious ways of using the featured products in your daily nutritional routine and meals. Without giving too much away I can already promise you some ice cream, a few great tasting smoothie ideas, raw chocolate and a few others.

Super SmoothieYou will take a recipe booklet home and get to sample the superfoods we feature that night as well as everything I demo in front of the class.
All of this for an investment of NZD60.- only.

Due to the nature of this class and the amount of samples we will be giving out the space is limited to 20 students only.

Please book early by contacting us here or by ringing René directly on 0275551622. Alternatively you can book your place at the Wise Cicada.

We’ll see you on February 22, 2012 from 6.30pm – 9pm at the Wise Cicada Café in Newmarket – on a natural HIGH!

René

🙂

PS: As you can see above, the list of so-called superfoods is long, so expect more superfoods classes to follow this ‘101’ edition!

Chocolate body paintings available upon request only 😉

Raw Chococlate Body Painting

Raw Cheese Cakes de-mystified – a Master Class

Catering the raw desserts for the One World Café at the Prana New Year 2012 festival has given us plenty of practice and opportunity to fine tune our recipes. We are now announcing our first Raw Cheese Cake Master Class.

Dark BeautyWhere: Wise Cicada Café, 23 Crowhurst Street, Newmarket, Auckland

When: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012, 6.30-8.30pm

How much: $55.-/person

This class will be run as an interactive food demonstration. René will be preparing several raw cheese cakes right in front of you. You will have the chance to taste the finished products and ask all your questions. We will provide you with copies of the recipes to all  demonstrated cakes and will, as always, offer you many many ideas – so bring a pen!

René will basically demonstrate two kinds of raw vegan “cheese” cakes – the cashew-based kind, as served at the Wise Cicada Café and Prana and the young coconut meat version as served at Lydia’s and René’s wedding 🙂

Strawberry Coconut Cream Cake, cutThe latter to provide you with ideas on how to use the delicious young coconut meat from the drinking coconuts available now.

ALSO: René will put special focus on the art of making ‘perfect’ raw crusts and their use for different occasions like cakes, pies as well as small tartlets, perfect for catering.

Divine dessertsAll our recipes are vegan, gluten-free and raw. You will graduate from this class with the confidence to prepare stunning raw cheese cakes on your own. We will also be there for you to help you pick the right ingredients and equipment. Any questions later on – just contact us here, by phone, e-mail or at the Café in Newmarket.

The spaces for this class are limited to 20 students so please reserve your place early. We have already taken several bookings.

Send us an e-mail from our contact page or ring René on 0275551622.

Alternatively register at the Wise Cicada shop counter.

We are looking forward to seeing you shortly.

🙂

Swirly CCCC

Chocolate Haystacks – a quick and easy crowd pleaser for the holidays

This recipe was inspired by our dear friend Elaina Love of Pure Joy Planet.

It’s one of those things you make once and then just keep doing until they become so familiar that you don’t even require the recipe. After a while you replace the thread coconut with soaked, dehydrated and coarsely ground pecans, add some cocoa nibs and cinnamon to the mixture… you know how it goes 😉

At the Wise Cicada Café we produce them in big batches on over-sized baking trays, pressed firmly, chilled…

Chocolate haystacks/-sticks before cutting…and then cut into 128 individual pieces. Our guests just love them with their coffee or tea. What you see here is only half a tray (cutting board too small :-))

the final result: chocolate "biscotti"And here we go:

Chocolate Haystacks

Makes about 30 piece

  • 3 c or 250g thread coconut (or soaked, dehydrated and then coarsely ground pecan nuts)
  • ¾ c organic virgin coconut oil, liquefied
  • ½ c organic cocoa powder (Equagold is offering great stuff too – non-organic though)
  • ¾ c Rapadura® dehydrated cane juice or organic raw sugar
    or ½ c agave nectar/maple syrup (the latter goes well with pecans!)
  • Zest from 1 organic orange or a few drops of high-quality organic essential citrus oil
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • ¼ t lemon juice
  • 2 T Cocoa nibs, optional
  • 1/2 t organic cinnamon, ground, optional
Method
  1. If you are using organic raw sugar or Rapadura, blend it in a dry blender jar into a powder.
  2. In a bowl whisk all the ingredients except the thread coconut together until the batter emulsifies.
  3. Now, with a spatula or your hand, mix the batter in with the shredded coconut.
  4. With a teaspoon and the fingers of your other hand shape into small haystacks and place on a tray.
  5. Place the tray in the refrigerator or freezer to cool down and solidify the haystacks. They will become soft at temperatures over 26°C so serve them cold!

a true crowd pleaserVoila! Enjoy and happy holidays!

Lydia and I will be in the Cocomandel – ah Coromandel 🙂 catering the raw dessert side of the Prana Festival. We might see you there!

René

🙂