Guilt-free Gelato – Raw, Vegan, 1-button, 5-ingredient Deliciousness

Yes, I have been MIA of late.

The lack of posts are attributed to moi doing more eating than ‘raw food-ing’ of late.  Winter does that to the best of us.  (At least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it 😛 )

Let me make it up to you!  An easy peasy dessert awaits.

Late in the night, hubby and I had a hankering for something sweet.  However that something sweet couldn’t be the calorific equivalent to slaving away for 2 hours on a treadmill.

Enter some staple vegan ingredients.

coconut | carob | cacao | blueberries

coconut | carob | cacao | blueberries

I was all out of frozen bananas (my go-to substitute for icecream), but was determined to make this work.

Throwing everything together in my trusty kick-ass blender, I pressed a button and waited for the magic to happen

Guilt-free Gelato – Raw Vegan Choc-Blueberry 

handful frozen blueberries
2 tbs agave
1/4 cup coconut cream
4-5 tbs raw cacao powder + optional raw carob nibs
1 tsp vanilla essence
ice blocks (approx 3-5)

Blitz the heck out of it till creamy.  Scoff.

Ohh, so good.  The creaminess of the coconut combined with the obliterated ice blocks gave it a soft-serve luxurious texture.  I decorated with a sprinkling of shredded coconut on top.

Hubby gave it the thumbs up too.

The flavour combinations are endless!

Does anyone have any rare flavoured gelato recipes?  I’d be keen to try something out of the ordinary, like fig and macadamia perhaps?

instant gelato, blender required.

instant gelato, blender required.

Advertisements

Vegan in the Valley: A Visit to Swan Valley Vegetarian Cafe

Perhaps it was a case of ‘third time lucky’.  This was visit #3 to the Swan Valley Vegetarian Café.  My past two visits were for brunch and a PM coffee’n’cake session in the second half of last year.  For those that don’t know, the Swan Valley Vegetarian Café is in ‘the valley’ about 30 mins drive from Perth CBD.  Some of its neighbours are wineries, chocolate factories and farms.  Run by Julie (a naturopath) and Charlotte (a Bowen therapist) the café exudes a quaint country charm. 

Greeted with a smile at the front counter when walking in, we’re given menus and a general direction of our table. Hubby and I made our way through the tea shop towards our seats.  It was a lovely sunny day, however appearances proved deceiving as it was quite chilly outside.  Pity, as the café has a beautiful garden area and live music to enjoy too.

Taking our seats indoors, we were served immediately by our friendly waitress, who brought us water without needing to be asked.  We ordered our mains and requested a fresh detox juice (moi) and Flower Blossom tea for drinks.  Curious name, I thought.

The tea in pre-bloom

The tea in pre-bloom

A blooming tea is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.  It delivered an explosion of spectacular shades of green made from high-quality fresh green tea buds from the high mountains of Yunnan province in China.   Consisting of a bundle of dried tea leaves encasing a dried flower, the bundle expands and unfurls in a process that emulates a blooming flower when steeped.  The flowers inside emerge as the centrepiece.

Wow.  And here is the blooming tea at its full glorious height.

full bloom

full bloom

I slurped my detox juice up in a matter of seconds.  Delish.  No pic sorry!  It was a deep red hue due to the beetroot.

Our mains arrived simultaneously.  Being a chilly winter’s day, hubby opted for the Moussaka.  Not just any moussaka though.  Typically, traditional Greek moussaka is a coronary waiting to happen – lamb mince, cheese, béchamel sauce, potato, eggs and butter.  This was the vegan version.  It looked and smelled awesome….

Swan Valley Vegetarian Cafe vegan moussaka

Swan Valley Vegetarian Cafe vegan moussaka

Hubby gulped down a mouthful.  It tasted as good as it looked.  Big thumbs up.  Actually, an even bigger thumbs up as this is coming from a non-vegan!  Meanwhile, I looked down at my chosen main, Raw Marinated Mushrooms with a Sunflower Seed Pate.  I’d been addicted to sunflower seed pate since devouring the sun-dried tomato version at home.  Again, the presentation was impeccable.

Raw Marinated Mushrooms with Sunflower Seed Pate

Raw Marinated Mushrooms with Sunflower Seed Pate

We both wished we had several stomachs so we could try everything on the menu.  Alas, another day another time.  With our plates scraped clean, we turned our attention to dessert.  There was quite a variety of both raw, cooked, vegan and gluten-free sweet nothings to cap off a, so far, faultless dining experience.

Staying true to my raw roots, I chose the cinnamon maca slice and hubby went for a choc beetroot vegan cake.  I also ordered a mocha with oat milk.  I was curious about the desserts and coffee, as on previous occasions they were less than stellar.

best buds: beetroot + cacao

best buds: beetroot + cacao

raw cinnamon + maca slice

raw cinnamon + maca slice

Ohhh, so glad I saved room for dessert… and the mocha was excellent too.  Hot, thick and frothy.. just the way I like it.

From a year ago, this humble establishment has made leaps and bounds forward.  The presentation, quality and service has drastically improved.  Combined with their seamless amalgamation of nutrition, healing, overall health and well-being – this is one place to definitely mark on the map.  It’s proven to be a haven for the like-minded.  There are various events on the calendar such as pilates, tarot reading and educational seminars.  Another big tick – the café makes donations to the Greener Pastures Sanctuary in Waroona, Lighthouse Foundation and other animal-friendly charities too.

Satiated and happy, we said good-bye and are looking forward to our next visit.  I’m glad there’s an establishment like this in the Valley area.  Often, I hesitate on making the 30 min drive out as inevitably after winery-hopping and general roaming around hunger will beckon.  There is rarely anything on offer that suits my chosen lifestyle.  Until now!

Further notes on Swan Valley Vegetarian Café:

They’re actually licensed and offer a selection of vegan, organic & bio-dynamic wines (some from ‘The Valley’), as well as a range of gluten-free beers.  Whether its breakfast, lunch, brunch, high tea, special functions or catering, it’s pretty likely you’ll be well taken care of.

The tea store stocks their own range of herbal teas ‘Valley Tea’, with herbal blends specially formulated to benefit the body’s systems (brews include Slumber, Winter Blues, Adrenal Detox, Stressless, Purify, Inflammation Tea, Dieter’s Tea, as well as old favourites such as Irish Breakfast et al and much much more), Rooibos varieties and organic Green teas with hints of organic orange peel, lemon grass, lavender etc.  There’s Chinese white tea, Jasmine tea and of course the blooming teas – which I thoroughly enjoyed during this visit!  Check out Valley Tea for more info.

Besides tea, other drool-worthy items in store are Yummy Crunchy Granola, Organic Quinoa, Organic Coconut Sugar, Agave, Cacao, Organic Hulled Hemp Seeds, and Loving Earth Drinking Chocolate.  You’ll have to see the range for yourself.

Let me know what you guys think of this place!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Karen B: Raw healing – A Nutritionist, Naturopath, Chef and Author heals herself

Karen Bartz, 56, is a fully Qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath who resides in Perth.  She seems to live in Heaven.  No, not the one with the big pearly gates, instead this Heaven is the raw vegan cafe at FERN, short for the Fremantle Environmental Resource Network.  I’m an avid frequenter of the cafe, gorging on the delicious raw vegan fare whether it’s mexican burritos, chocolate macaroons or cold pressed chai lattes.

Four years raw

Four years raw

FERN runs on donations businesses and volunteers.  Monday night is soupi night, a vegan feast by donation. For those yet to drop by, make it a must do on your list!  There are chickens roaming around the grounds, bicycles to ‘adopt’, a free library to browse through and lessons to learn in sustainability, gardening and overall health and well-being.  The cafe is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10am-4pm.  Often there are special events such as Drum Circles, Reiki Sessions and Fire Walking.  The FERN website is currently under reconstruction so for those seeking upcoming event information, the Soupi and Fremantle Environmental Resource Network Facebook pages are the place to go.

Karen is the author of best-selling book ‘Raw Food Awakening’ and has been on a raw vegan diet for the past 4 years.  She also runs regular raw food classes.

Below is her story…

Your journey to vegetarianism / veganism:

I became unwell while studying naturopathy and nothing seemed to work.  I was fed up with medical tests and supplements.  One day I doused my food to see what was best for me to eat – so much was making me feel worse!  I switched to 80% raw at that point but still ate minimal amounts of fish.  I totally eliminated dairy and eggs.  Miraculously, I felt better and six months later had an all-raw lecturer at college.

“I then went the other 20% and after two weeks felt better than I had in 30 years.”

I believe by experiencing the 6-month gentle introduction on 80% raw was just what I needed, considering I was coming from the dark depths of unwellness to begin with. Incidentally, prior to raw food I tried the blood type diet.  I am blood type O, according to the diet I was supposed to do better on the Paleo diet.  It was not successful for me.

raw goodies by Karen

raw goodies by Karen

What’s the most remarkable benefit or change (could be physical, mental or emotional) you’ve noticed since becoming vegan?

I feel extremely well and energised!  I could not run the cafe for 6 days a week at the age of 56 that’s for sure.  I cannot eat dairy in any case, as I get a hormonal reaction from it.  With meat I am affected by the adrenalin present in the animals’ system so I get stressed and fearful.

At college they thought I was a little strange but now three of my lecturers from that time work in the raw food industry.

Also, I was not expecting the enlightening experience of spiritual awakening on raw!

A typical day’s meals for you?

Breakfast: Large bowl of chia porridge with homemade nut milk with just vanilla powder and cinnamon to sweeten, topped with chopped fruit.  Today I had pear, strawberry and mango.

Lunch: Large salad with dehydrated onion bread and a nutcheese for lunch.

Snacks: Usually a dehydrated cookie and a large green juice in there somewhere.  Occasionally beetroot juice.

Dinner: Usually more onion bread or dehydrated pizza crackers with avocado and more fresh fruit.

I do drink herbal tea.  Current favourites are lemon and ginger and chai with heated nut milk.

Biggest challenges / obstacles of being vegan:

None.  The pay off is huge plus I get adverse reactions if I stray from my raw vegan lifestyle.  I also surround myself with what is required to stay on track as it’s that important to me, hence I choose to run a raw vegan cafe.  Problem solved!

Advice to newbie vegans:

Follow your heart, consider raw food over processed vegan junk food

Biggest misconception about vegans:

That they are less physically strong.  Studies prove otherwise.
That they are intolerant/aggressive.  Perhaps some are.
But the most successful at influencing others, I have noticed, are the ones who aren’t.

tiramisu

tiramisu

Life motto / personal philosophy:

Follow your heart

Favourite vegan products:

Barefooters, Italian rubber shoes with cork liners, Chia seeds.

Inspirations:

Valerie Boutenko, Fred Bisci PhD

Karen’s Chia Porridge

1 young coconut
3-4 tbs chia seeds

Blend water and meat of 1 young coconut and then stir in 3-4 tbs chia seeds and stir till thick (about 5 minutes).

Alternatively blend a handful of raw almonds with 1 1/2 cups filtered water and then add chia seeds to that.

You can stir in the blender on slowest setting or food processor. Serve with chopped fresh fruit.

384202_333503380000073_2123772656_n

Cal C, Bio C… how ’bout homemade Vit C?

After the chilly weather we’ve been having lately, it seems like an appropriate time to write about vitamin C.

Vitamin C plays a part inn maintaining healthy tissues and a robust immune system, helping iron be absorbed more effectively into the body.  It’s included in many over the counter supplements, and has long been an ingredient in beauty products, heralded for its ability to protect the skin from environmental pollutants and free radicals.

Historically, vitamin C was instrumental in the fight against scurvy.  Sailors who embarked on voyages for months on end with no adequate supplies of fresh fruit and veg were especially susceptible to the illness.  Nowadays it’s the usual remedy for the common cold.

There is some thought that vitamin C may help the heart and blood vessels due to its traces of rutin and hesperidin. It is used for hardening of the arteries, clot prevention in veins and arteries, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  The bioflavanoids have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, and the monoterpenes expedite wound healing.

Did you know orange peels contain higher levels of vitamin C than its juice?  Per 100g, orange peel has 136 mg of vitamin C while its flesh contains about 71 mg/100 g.  Fruit peel is rich in vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, calcium, selenium, manganese, zinc to name a few – containing many times more of the “good stuff” than its pulp.  You can read detailed nutritional info on the orange here.

Day 1 in the sun

Food sources rich in this vitamin include guava, citrus fruits, red capsicum, kiwi, grapefruit, strawberries, brussel sprouts and rockmelon.

Browsing the shelves at a local chemist, I found some processed vitamin C supplements selling for over $32!  Crikey!  One must wonder the efficacy of these products, given the exposure to heat during the manufacturing process and the widespread use of (cheap) genetically-modified food sources such as corn.  Go figure.

Dr Ben Kim, a Canadian chiropractor and acupuncturist, gives a low-down on vitamins quite eloquently:

  • “The majority of commercial vitamin supplements are made up of synthetic vitamins
  • Synthetic vitamins do not perform the same functions in your body as vitamins found naturally in whole food
  • Many synthetic vitamins deplete your body of other nutrients and tax your kidneys before being excreted through your urine

Vitamins do not exist as single components that act on their own. Vitamins are made up of several different components – enzymes, co-enzymes, and co-factors– that must work together to produce their intended biologic effects.”

In the ingredient list of vitamin C supplements, the majority contain only ascorbic acid or a compound called ascorbate, which is a less acidic form of acorbic acid.  Ascorbic acid is NOT vitamin C. It represents the outer ring that serves as a protective shell for the entire vitamin C complex, much like an orange peel that serves as a protective shell for an orange. “

He states naturally present vitamins from food sources are complete in terms of their necessary components.  Synthetic vitamins (majority of supplements on the market) are merely isolated portions of vitamins that occur naturally in food.

Authentic vitamin C found in fruits and vegetables contains the full suite of the elements below:

  • Rutin
  • Bioflavonoids (vitamin P)
  • Factor K
  • Factor J
  • Factor P
  • Tyrosinase
  • Ascorbinogen
  • Ascorbic Acid

For next to nothing anyone can make their own vitamin C powder out of orange peels, complete with live enzymes to ensure 100% bioavailability of the vitamin in your body.

Homemade Vitamin C Powder

Orange peels
Sunlight
Powerful blender / spice grinder / coffee grinder

We’d just chowed down on about half a dozen oranges so had plenty o’ peel to spare!  Make sure you wash your peels first.

Place the peels in the sun to ensure they fully shrivel and dry out.  I left mine out for 2-3 days.

Put dried peels in your blender / grinder and pulverise until the consistency of a fine powder.

Store your homemade vit C powder in an airtight container.  I keep mine in the fridge.

OMG.  The aroma when I opened the lid of my blender can only be described as intense citrus utopia!

IMAG0480

Day 3 in the sun

Just 1 teaspoon provides more than the daily dose of vitamin C your body needs, regardless of age or size.

Another idea could be to put some dried peels in with your favourite teas (orange ginger, anyone?), however the high temperature is likely to destroy the enzymes.

I’ll be adding my vit C powder to my usual breakfast smoothie and even sprinkling it on top of salads!

C no evil, hear no evil

C no evil, hear no evil

Cabbage: The Chinese fountain of youth

raw cabbage saladLast week I met food coach Marion Egger.  A food ‘coach’, you say?  What is that?  Well, similar to how a sports coach motivates, advises and trains athletes to improve their performance, a food coach does the same except with food.  They assist clients in maximising their output by changing their input (ie. food intake).

Anyway, I really liked her cabbage salad, and so decided to play around with it.

The phyto-nutrient rich cabbage belongs to the “Brassica” family of vegetables.  Other brassica veges are brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, Chinese cabbage and broccoli.

I know cabbage is good for you.  I mean, really good for you.  It’s probably one of the most under-rated veges out there. The health benefits are impressive:

  • Nutritious yet low in fat and calories. 100 g of leaves provide just 25 calories.
  • Powerhouse of antioxidants (thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane, isothiocyanates) which protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL levels in the blood.  LDL is the “bad cholesterol” peeps, in case you’re wondering.
  • Rich in Vitamin C (61% of RDA per 100g).  Regular consumption of vitamin C-rich foods helps the body develop resistance against infection and free radicals.  Cabbage also contains essential vitamins B-5 (pantothenic acid), B-6 (pyridoxine) and B-1 (thiamin).
  • It also contains minerals potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.
  • Provides about 63% of RDA levels of Vitamin-K, which gives you strong healthy bones. In addition, vitamin-K is a known cure for Alzheimer’s as it limits neuronal damage in the brain.

cabbage in the raw

Cabbage and Mushroom Salad

¼-½ head of white or red cabbage (shred finely with a knife)
½ Spanish onion
½ parsnip, thinly sliced
2 handfuls of roughly chopped broccoli
¼ carrot, thinly sliced
½ cup of sesame seeds
Sliced mushrooms

Dressing:
fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
tamari
1 clove of garlic chopped
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder
EVOO

Mix all ingredients together and marinate for at least 30 mins.

The original recipe called for radish (instead of parsnip) and sunflower seeds (in lieu of sesame seeds).

Hope you like it as much as I do! 🙂