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
🙂

Fresh Turmeric Pickle Recipe – Immune boosting Superfood!

Here is a true Superfood in a delicious recipe.

Ramesh at the Takapuna Market, every Sunday morning just laughs when I buy his whole stock of fresh turmeric for the day. My Sunday afternoon is then usually spent making this yummy condiment, packed with anti-oxidants and immune boosting properties.

Ramesh always has one or two fresh turmeric roots in his pocket as a snack on the go. It has helped him conquer cancer once so far! 😉

I found this recipe a while ago online, posted by a lovely Indian lady as one of her specific culture’s traditional dishes. Her recipe was with ‘hing’. I took the freedom to exchange it for garlic. Enjoy!

Here is to your health:

Fresh Turmeric Pickle

Multiply this recipe for a larger number of jars!!!

  • 1 c chopped fresh turmeric
  • 1 c chopped fresh ginger
  • ½ c lime juice
  • 1-2 fresh green or red chilies, sliced (adjust amount to taste)
  • ½ t natural sea salt, adjust to taste
  • 1 T fenugreek seeds
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 t mustard seeds
  • 1 T coconut sugar
  • ½ orange, juice only
  • 2 t apple cider vinegar, to taste
  • ¼ c toasted sesame oil, to seal jars
  1. Roast Fenugreek and mustard seeds in a skillet until they develop an aromatic smell. (I know, this is leaving the realm of raw foods – for a most fragrant reward :-)) Cool and powder in spice grinder or blender.
  2. In a large bowl mix everything together by hand.
  3. Fill into sterilized jars and cover with oil.
  4. Let sit for a week to blend flavours well.
  5. Will keep refrigerated for several months.

Note: An alternative process is to blend everything into a paste (left jar in picture). However, the chunky pickle is more refreshing as a side dish (right jar in picture).

Fresh Turmeric Pickle

BTW. if you can’t be bothered making the recipe above, flick me a line here. I am making it regularly and am also selling it. 🙂

Oh, and here is a last advise: The only way to get the yellow colour from the fresh turmeric to disappear from your hands is to make something with fresh beetroot right after 😉

Have Fun!
René
🙂

Super Charged Green Smoothie Recipe

Yes, for all of you who now got curious about the Sunday Smoothie Demo at the Green Living Show. Here it comes. It is based on the basic Green Smoothie Recipe I posted here earlier – just loaded with potent Superfoods. To find out more about any of the ones suggested in this recipe, you can visit either Navitas Naturals‘ website or the genuine New Zealand based Matakana Superfoods one.
Fresh Fijian turmeric can be obtained from Ramesh and Jayshree on Sunday mornings at the South East corner of the Takapuna Market.

Fresh Turmeric

Scary stuff, this fresh turmeric! *LOL*

And here is your recipe:

Super Charged Green Smoothie
Makes two 750ml smoothies

  • 1 frozen banana, cut in chunks
  • 2 oranges or 4 mandarines, peeled
  • 1 pear or apple, cut in chunks
  • ½ avocado, peeled
  • 1 T (heaping) Sacha Inchi powder or Hemp protein powder
  • 1 T Chia seeds
  • 1 T Maca powder
  • 1 t Maqui powder
  • 1 t Mangosteeen powder
  • ½ t Camu powder
  • ¼ t vanilla powder
  • 2 cm fresh turmeric, sliced
  • 1 big bunch of dandelion leaves, parsley or kale, finely chopped
  • 2 T Goji berries, optional
  • 2 T currants, for extra sweetness
  • 2 t Sacha Inchi oil, optional
  • 2 c drinking water, or more if required
  1. Start with the juicy fruit in the bottom of the blender and finish with the chopped dandelion leaves on the top.
  2. Then pour water in so it reaches about 2/3 up in the blender jar. Blend on high until everything is smoothly blended.
  3. Split in two and share with your loved One!

Super Smoothie

Enjoy!
René
🙂

Raw Cheese Cake- the secrets revealed

Here is the recipe!

Acai Goji Cheesecake

‘Finally!’ I hear you say 😉

First of all let me express my gratitude to Matthew Kenney and his book ‘Everyday Raw’ for inspiring me to venture into the realm of vegan raw cheese cake ‘imitations’ (far yummier than most of the baked dairy-based ones – apart from yours, mum ;-))

This recipe is not for the faint-hearted chef – as the ones who have attended my Raw Cheesecake Master Classes can confirm. You will have to run your high power blender with an open lid and fold over the filling with a rubber spatula while blending.

Cheese cake making

In my element at the Wise Cicada – making raw cheese cakes.

But don’t worry. I can happily supply you with custom made cakes of this kind upon request. Just drop me a line on our ‘Contact‘ page. As long as you are in Auckland, NZ… 🙂

White Chai and Chocolate Raw Cheesecake

And you are still looking for the recipe, right?!
OK, I will give you the non-chocolate version as a basis for your experiments. For a cacao alternative just add 1 cup of cacao powder in the very end. Be aware, that you are adding a whole cup of dry powder to a mixture that is already quite thick. More spatula work!!! …and watch the temperature of your filling mix! Once it starts steaming, you’ve left the realm of raw foods 😉 – and so have the life enzymes.
Only remedy in that case: Lots of extra Love.

Swirly Chai Chocolate Raw Cheesecake

Basic Raw Lemon Cheesecake

Inspired by Matthew Kenney, yet adjusted to fill a big pie shell
Yields a large round tart pan with 16-20 pieces

Crust
4c shredded coconut

1.5 c cashew flour

1 T coconut oil

4 T date paste

Filling
4c cashews

3/4c lemon juice

1c coconut sugar

1c coconut oil, melted

1/2c filtered water, if required

1 t vanilla powder

¼ c lemon zest

Crust

  1. Mix all ingredients together well in a food processor, starting with the dry ingredients, then adding the ‘wet’ ones.
  2. Press into plastic-lined fluted French tart pan to desired thickness. Make sure the rim of your crust has an even height and thickness all around!
  3. Chill crust in freezer for at least 15min or until ready to fill.

Filling

  1. Blend all ingredients in a powerful high-speed blender until very smooth. Start with cashews, coconut sugar and the water-based liquids. When the cashews resemble a smooth thick cream add coconut oil. The flavours can be adjusted last. Adjust liquids as required for the blender to still turn the mixture over. You will have to use the plunger or a spatula to help mixing the filling. Give your blender motor a break from time to time and monitor the temperature of your filling closely. Too much water will make your final cake runny and too little liquids will make your filling too thick for your blender to turn it over without burning a fuse.
  2. To fill the crust properly the blender should contain about 1.2-1.5l of mixture.
  3. Fill the crust and chill in freezer overnight.
  4. Remove from tart pan and wrap with plastic film. Label with flavour and production date.
  5. Store in freezer.
  6. Remove 15-20min prior to cutting and serving

Other flavours can be achieved with red grape juice, acai berry powder, goji berries, chai extract, chai- or cherry concentrate, goji/apricot, cranberry, 2c of melted frozen blueberry/strawberry etc. Make sure to reduce the amount of water accordingly!!!

Good luck!

René

🙂

PS: Next trick: make two different fillings in one pie shell!

Goji Chocolate Cheesecake halves

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

Orgasmic Blueberry Pie – a raw revelation

And here is another all-time favourite of mine. A raw pie that works with all kind of fruit. Any frozen berry will do, although I prefer organic strawberries or blueberries because of their small seeds. Ripe pears with ginger work well, persimmons are great, so is kiwifruit. Just make sure you add enough lime or lemon juice to counter balance the fruit sugar and the sweetness of the crust.

The proper ratio for the psyllium husk powder is 1 Tbsp per 2 cups of mixture. Add last and blend well. Then quickly pour the filling. It will solidify in less than 5min. After about 30min the pie will hold up nicely when you lift it out of the pie form. If you can’t get psyllium husk powder just buy normal psyllium husks and grind them into a fine powder in your blender. It will jelly into a more homogenous texture than the whole psyllium husks.

Once you get the hang of this pie 15 min preparation time + 30 min resting time in the refrigerator should be the norm. The best thing about raw pies and cakes: they never burn! 🙂

Orgasmic Blueberry PieOrgasmic Blueberry Pie

Serves 8

Crust¨

  • 200g shredded coconut
  • 200g raw cashews
  • 2 Tbsp light honey or raw agave nectar
  • ¼ tsp lemon juice

Filling

  • 750g frozen organic blueberries, defrosted
  • 6 organic Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp Psyllium husk powder (1Tbsp per 2 cups of liquid)
  • ½ mango or pineapple, finely diced for garnish
  1. To make the crust, in a food processor grind the coconut into a fine powder. Add the cashews and continue processing till they are broken down finely. Add the honey/agave nectar and lemon juice and process till the mixture sticks together.
  2. Press into a pie form with removable bottom.
  3. To make filling blend the defrosted blueberries with the dates, vanilla extract and lime juice to a smooth liquid consistency. Add the Psyllium husk powder and blend shortly to distribute evenly throughout the mixture.
  4. Pour filling onto crust. Tap pie form a few times to let air bubbles escape and to distribute filling evenly. Smooth surface with a little spatula.
  5. Refrigerate before serving and garnish with mango or pineapple.

Enjoy!

René

🙂

Surprising alternative to cole slaw – Cabbage Cranberry Salad

Here is a delicious winter recipe with a surprisingly easy preparation and brilliant flavour combination. The cranberries add a lovely sweet and bitter contrast to the salad.

You might have seen me demonstrating and sampling this salad at New World in Remuera, Auckland. Stay tuned, there is more good stuff to come!

Cabbage SaladCabbage Cranberry Salad
Serves 6

¨        1 head of green cabbage, finely chopped, center removed

¨        ½ tsp natural sea salt (to taste)

¨        2 Tbsp grape seed oil

¨        1 avocado, seeded and peeled – optional for a creamier dressing

¨        ½ lemon, juiced or 1Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar

¨        ½ cup dried cranberries

  1. Combine all ingredients in a big mixing bowl and massage well by using your hands in order to soften the cabbage.
  2. Pause and let the salad rest for 5 min before massaging it to final softness. The cabbage should start to release liquid. Together with the finely distributed avocado this will make your dressing and also soften the dried cranberries.

Variations: Play with other vegetables from the cabbage family! Broccoli and kale work well. You can also add carrots and beetroot.

Substitute the cranberries with sultanas or dried and minced apricot. To soften cabbage and other hardy vegetables by massaging you will need natural salt. Acid and oil will help to soften the vegetables too and to distribute the flavours.

Happy massaging!

René

🙂

Raw Sauerkraut – my German heritage at its very best!

This recipe has become a staple in our kitchen and pantry. Once made the sauerkraut will last for months. That’s what it originally was made for – to preserve the cabbage harvest over the winter months. With a little bit of help from the Lactobacillus acidophilus that lives naturally on cabbage. It turns the fermenting cabbage into a pro-biotic feast. Your intestines will love you for the support of friendly bacteria. In fact sauerkraut and other fermented cabbage products (more posts to come) have been a major part of our own rejuvenative diet. Ask your naturopath or colon therapist for their opinion on friendly bacteria from sauerkraut!

Raw SauerkrautHere we go with the culinary fun:

Sauerkraut

makes about 3cups to 1liter

¨        1 head cabbage, shredded finely

¨        2 t natural sea salt

¨        ¼ cup minced fresh dill or 1 T dried

¨        1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

  1. Massage the cabbage with the salt until the liquid starts to release.
  2. Let the cabbage rest for 10 minutes and massage it again. Repeat as often as necessary until the cabbage is very juicy. Add the remaining ingredients.
  3. Pack the mixture firmly into a large glass jar, crock, or bowl. Press the cabbage down until the liquid rises above it approximately 0.5cm.
  4. If you are using a large jar for your kraut, place a weight on top of the cabbage, such as a jar filled with water or a plastic bag filled with filtered water (see picture). Make sure to cover the jar with another plastic bag to keep any critters out. Place the jar in a bowl to catch any overflow of sauerkraut juice. collect the juice in a jar in your fridge and back to the finished kraut.Sauerkraut covered with bag
  5. Allow the kraut to ferment in your kitchen for at least 3 days (see note). We line the jars up in the window (no direct sun though).
  6. Once the kraut is ready, store it in airtight glass jars in the refrigerator. It will keep for several months.

Note: Kraut may be fermented for up to14 days, depending upon the desired degree of sourness.

Have fun experimenting with Sauerkraut! You can make variations with red cabbage, kale, add grated carrots, parsnips, broccoli etc.. It still is a great way to preserve a temporary over supply of vegetables.

Sauerkraut jarIf you plan on adding any spicy foods like garlic or chilies to your sauerkraut wait till it is properly fermented. Garlic, chilies, ginger etc. are nature’s anti-biotics and will actually delay the fermentation process by inhibiting the lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria – for a while at least.

Other flavour options apart from dill are juniper berries and caraway (a spice I still hold some traumatic childhood memories of :-)).

Use your clean hands to massage the kraut! Go full out! Deep tissue, not Bowen 😉 The natural bacteria on your hands will be good for the fermentation process too. Just avoid those nasty alcohol-based desinfectants. ‘Dr. Bronners’ soaps will do – for a mild peppermint flavour in your Sauerkraut – just kidding.

The jar you see in the picture is a former olive or capers jar from our local deli. They hold 2 liters of anything (obviously :-)) and make great storage vessels for your pantry. We keep all of our nuts, seeds, spices, flour, crackers etc. in them.

Happy fermenting!

RenéSauerkraut fermenting on our window sill

Raw Snack Recipe – Chocolate Walnuts

With our “Dry it, you will like it!” class coming up here a little teaser and one of my favourite raw snack recipes. Should you prefer pecans over walnuts use them! For a different twist try sunflower seeds. They have a lighter yet nutty base flavour and dry in handy clusters. See the yummy picture below!

Raw snack - chocolate walnutsChocolate Walnuts

Makes 1+ dehydrator tray

  • 3 c soaked walnut halves
  • 4 T date paste
  • 2 T agave nectar
  • 6 T organic whole fat cocoa powder, raw if you choose
  • ½ t cinnamon
  • 1 t vanilla essence
  • 3 drops butterscotch flavour or maple essence
  • pinch natural sea salt
  • ¼ t lime juice (I always add a few drops of citrus juice to chocolate – as it balances the flavours nicely)
Method
  1. Mix everything thoroughly in a big bowl.
  2. Spread on Teflex sheet.
  3. Dehydrate at 105F for 12 hours. Turn over and remove Teflex sheet. Dehydrate for another 12 hours or until crisp. Turn trays by 90° periodically.
  4. Store in sealed glass jars (what’s leftover from snacking during dehydrating :-))

Enjoy!

Raw Chocolate Sunnies

René