Chef Pete Evans’ Chocabeet Cake

This recipe popped up on my Facebook news feed just this week and I’m sure some of you have stumbled across it there too. I just had to try it out and share it here as I was a little proud of how it turned out considering it was my first official go at making a “proper” raw desert!

Check out Australian celebrity chef Pete Evans’ Facebook page  and if you scroll down far enough you will come across this recipe for Chocabeet Cake (which I have blatantly copied and pasted here for your convenience x)

CHOCABEET CAKE! 
OK, so for all you sweet tooth, chocolate cake loving folks here’s a doozy to share. We stumbled across this raw cake at a vegan cafe in San Fran, it’s cane sugar, wheat, gluten, and dairy free, but please don’t over do it! There’s an abundance of sugar free recipes circulating and they’re all claiming to be healthy, but don’t be fooled by these ‘health’ claims because it’s not the case! Yes they may be a better option than sugar, gluten, and wheat ladened treats, but they’re something that you should really only enjoy every once in a while, so don’t hoover your sugar free options like there’s no tomorrow because things like dried fruits, honey, maple syrup etc are all still very, very high in sugar or rather fructose, so please practice balance and your body and mind will respond with vibrance!

Ingredients

1 cup of brazil nuts
1 cup of macadamia nuts
3 medium beets (peeled and finely grated – wear gloves)
6 medjool dates (pitted and chopped)
3 tablesppons of extra virgin coconut oil (in liquid form)
1/2 cup of dried currents or blueberries
1/4 cup of maple syryp or yacon syrup (we use Spiral Organic Maple or Cecile’s Nature Earth Foods Yacon Syrup)
2 cups of desiccated coconut
1/4 cup of cacao powder
1/4 cup of carob powder
1 tablespoon of maca powder (optional)
1 teaspoon of vanilla powder (we use Lovingearth)
2 tablespoons of golden flaxmeal (we use Melrose)

Icing

150g cacao butter (melted)
1 1/2 cups of raw cashews (soaked 2-3 hours and rinsed)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of cacao powder
1/4 cup of carob powder
1/2 cup of maple syrup or yacon syrup
1 teaspoon of lemon or lime juice

Method 

Whizz your brazil nuts in a food processor then add to a large mixing bowl and set aside. Whizz dates, currents/blueberries, coconut oil and syrup in the food processor to form a smooth paste. Add the paste along with grated beets to the brazil nuts and combine. Now add the coconut, carob, cacao, vanilla, and flaxmeal and combine. Transfer the mixture back into the food processor and whizz until you reach a very fine texture. Finally line a cake tin with baking paper and spread the mixture over the bottom until it’s even. Place in the fridge for about an hour and a half, or until it’s nice and firm.

Icing
Slowly melt the cacao butter in a saucepan and allow it to cool. Add your cashews, cacao, carob, vanilla, syrup and lemon juice into a food processor and whizz until the nuts are well and truly ground. Keep the food processor whizzing while you gradually add the cacao butter and blend until the mixture is smooth. Lather the icing evenly on the cake and allow to set in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Tips – you can use prunes instead of dates which are lower in sugar. And you can use less syrup as well to lower the amount of sugar in the recipe. We made this for my daughters birthday earlier in the year (with only carob instead of the fifty, fifty cacao mix) and the kids absolutely loved it!

Cook with beets, love and laughter
Pete

It was a fun recipe to make and it was fairly easy to create with no technical bits harder than scraping down my Vitamix (which I had to use instead, as my food processor has gone bung). The other thing I did differently was, I mixed the desiccated coconut in by hand as I felt my machine would not cope too well with all the dry ingredients. I used a spring-form pan to make it easier to get out and because I was impatient, I put it in the freezer to firm up faster. That’s where I’m storing it too as it tastes great straight out of the freezer on a warm day.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has!

Here are my humble pics of how my Chocabeet Cake turned out. Not bad ‘eh? xx

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What I love to have for lunch….

I love salad! Particularly on a nice warm, sunny day a like today, a fresh, tasty salad really goes down well.

They are so simple to prepare and can be made with what ever you have on hand. When making a salad, I really like to make sure I have colour, super fresh ingredients and  it just tastes awesome if it can have some sweet, salty zing to it!

Here’s what  I had today:

  • 1 large handful of baby spinach
  • 1 roma tomato sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, in chuncks
  • sprinkle of pine nuts
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • grind or two of Himalyan salt
  • grind or two of fresh cracked black pepper
  • drizzle of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

Rahnis photos 2012-2013 644

Combine all ingredients in to your favourite bowl and enjoy. It’s that simple, that easy and THAT delicious!

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Chase the Rainbow

I have a confession to make……I have back-slidden rather badly over the past month. My weaknesses? Ice-cream, toasted cheese sandwiches and buttered toast. Oh and anything in pastry or on a cheese plate. This vegan thing is HARD and yes I am pretty much doing it on my own (well apart from my kids, who I indoctrinate mercilessly) And raw? Well I somehow manage a smoothie or a fresh juice each day, but still so far from where I want to be. Sigh….

My point? Well, none really. I just wanted to share that I too am human and that blogs are just a tiny window into a person’s life and not the whole picture. So, when peeping through that blog window and everything looks “hunky-dory”, keep in mind that it isn’t always. I push the mess aside on the kitchen bench to take “that” photo too! 😉

Here is what I made to cheer myself up and put that elusive rainbow back in the sky and in my kids (and my) tummies….

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Tasting that elusive rainbow 😉

Our juicy rainbow comprised of what I had on hand…

  • 1/4 beetroot
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cm length of fresh ginger
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 cucmber
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2 kale leaves

It made up approximately 1 liter and tasted pretty good!

Dinner is vegan and almost raw, I promise! 🙂

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Where I Go Every Sunday Morning…..

So where do I go? To my local farmers market of course! Fresh produce makes up the bulk of our diet and if we can buy local and organic, well the benefits are well worth the early Sunday morning trip, even in the rain!

I love to buy local. There is something really special about meeting the people who have grown the food you are about to buy. I know my veggies are grown roughly 10kms away by a dedicated family who are continuing the legacy of their late father and grandfather. Who by the way never sprayed anything he grew, preferring to spend hours hand picking off the grubs and caterpillars! My apples, citrus and berries come from a place down south where they don’t have to spray because it gets too cold for the fruit fly to strike. I also know that this same farmer’s co-op source the other fruit varieties they sell from other ethical and/or organic growers.

It also means I can buy in season produce which is fresher and still jam-packed full of nutrients because it was literally picked “yesterday”! I feel sad for the produce in the giant supermarket chain stores that have spent weeks or months in cold storage slowly leaching all their valuable vitamins and minerals. Supporting small business, means supporting real people and not some faceless corporation whose biggest aim is their own bottom dollar and not the freshness or quality of the food they sell.

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Not everything I buy is organic, but I do buy organic as much as possible. Keeping my family’s toxic burden low is a huge priority for me. I know that a lot of people (including myself in the beginning) avoid organic products because of the initial cost. Yes it is usually more expensive, but I have dropped so many other “un-necessary” items off our grocery list in order to clean up our fridge and pantry, I now find myself spending the same on groceries now as I did before we bought organic items. It has really become a new way of thinking. I now buy more staple items such as flour, nuts and bulk fruit, so I can bake our own bread, make my own almond milk, nut pastes and juice our own fruit. It also means we consume less of “treat type” foods, such as baked goods and eat more fresh foods instead.

Frenches Forest Markets is my local organic farmers’ market. It’s held every Sunday between 7 and 11am rain, hail or shine. Love to see you there some time 🙂

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My haul from Frenches Forest Markets!

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Getting Raw into Kids

It just occurred to me, that my kids have been into raw foods since they were babies. My son loved to suck on apples, water melon and pears as some of his first foods. He hated the standard “baby slop” (rice cereal and mushed up cooked veggies or fruit) I used to mix up for him. The girls have enjoyed similar raw foods to their brother when first learning about solid food too. It has not been uncommon for my kids to eat raw green beans, peas, corn and they have even asked to try eating raw sweet potatoes. And who has stood there in the past and declared: “you cant eat that it’s not cooked”? Me! Oh dear…..Sometimes it is us adults that need to unlearn rather than “learn” our kids isn’t it.

So, in the name of unlearning and trying new things, here are some ways I have found have helped me to change my mindset surrounding food and encouraged my lot to try a few new things 🙂

Eating together, literally! Any parent knows that there is nothing more enticing to a child than the food that ISN’T on their plate! When I stopped eating cereals for breakfast, I tried Mimi Kirk’s “Hearty Breakfast”. One morning, I piled it in to a bowl and went outside to eat. Alone. Well it never takes kids long to find mum when she’s trying to have a quiet moment to eat something she doesn’t want to share! They tasted it and to my surprise liked it! It now makes it into our brekky menu on a regular basis. Check out my version here!

eating together

Reverse Physiology: When I first started green juicing, I offered it to my children to try. “Nooo! Yuck!” Came the reply. “Fine then.” I thought. “I’ll enjoy my lufferly green juice and you can have your plain ol’ OJ then” 😛 And I did. And they did. After some months of this reverse psychology……a little voice said, “Mum, can I have a taste of yours? Pleease!” Bingo!! 😀

smoothie slurpings

Grow It: Kids like to dig holes and plant things. Yes, the Little Ones might keep digging up the poor old seed everyday to see if it is has grown yet, but if gets them interested in their food from a different angle, it’s worth it. I am not a great gardener, but I do my best and I imagine my beautiful veggie garden loaded with produce surrounded by fruit trees……but it’s not. It reality, it needs weeding and the possums keep helping themselves. However, it has introduced my son to lettuce, my fussiest daughter to zucchini and the other two to tomatoes and how potatoes grow. They all enjoy picking herbs to add to dishes and love to pull up and wash carrots so they can eat them straight away. At the present all we have growing is a pot of broccoli, planted by Miss 5. It isn’t grand, but if it gets them eating it, my job is done 🙂

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Baby Steps: I have to admit it, I don’t like raw zucchini pasta that much and neither do the kids, but we’re working on it and here’s how. The kids and I love pesto (check out my Hey Pesto recipe). So, when I make our pesto pasta, I make “spaghetti” out of the zucchini. For the kids, I mix half cooked organic spaghetti and half raw zucchini “spaghetti” with the pesto and they gobble it down. I will gradually adjust the ratio to tip in favour of the raw and eventually this should be a 100% raw dish for our family. For myself? I’m being tough and going cold turkey on this one. Lead by example I say! 😉

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Smooth-me! My kids love a smoothie and I love that they drink them! A good smoothie, with heaps of yummy raw foods is a true meal and packs a awesome nutritional punch. It also takes the stress out of those meals when the kids aren’t so keen on eating what’s on their plates. I know if they have had their smoothie, they’re covered.

pine apple soomthie

If it’s not in the house, they cant eat it: Dah!! It’s is so obvious, but so easy to forget when being bedazzled at the supermarket by all the colourful packaging (with a hungry tummy), not to mention the pestering little people at your feet. There are isles at the supermarket I don’t even go down. The chip & soft drink isle and the one with all the lollies, sweets and chocolates. If I don’t buy it, it’s not in the cupboard and therefore can’t be asked for, nagged about or eaten in secret by any member of the house. Our fridge constantly has fresh fruit and veggies in it. It is pleasantly surprising how many apples, carrots and bananas (just to name a few) the kids will eat when that’s all there is.

Yes, take them shopping! I know that taking kids shopping can be a huge pain. They touch everything, talk loudly and want to run up and down the isles. You have to park your shopping trolley at special angles or the mini person sitting in it will grab every thing within reach. They scream and need to go to the toilet when you’re only halfway through. People frown at you and offer unsolicited advice. And then suddenly some one will give you a knowing smile and tell you how cute they all are and suddenly it was worth it….well, kinda.

I actually like to take mine shopping. I don’t love it, but we get through and they are learning something (I hope!) Kids get bombarded with advertising as much as we do and I believe kids need to learn how shop smart, so they can avoid becoming complete victims of marketing campaigns when they are older. Showing them how to read labels and explaining why we do or don’t buy certain items is really a life skill. I love to take them to the fruit and veggie section and let them choose something new to try. Pomegranates, persimmons and star fruit have been some of the “new” things we have brought home recently. And they do get used to being told “no” and have even started telling me which items are junk food and why we shouldn’t eat them!

Dips and tricks: Most kids love a dip. Cutting up carrot sticks, celery, cucumber, broccoli, green beans, snow peas, plonking them on a plate with a Raw Cashew Cheese, hummus or a simple guacamole and setting in the middle of the table…..gone in minutes around here!

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Deserts, Deserts, Deserts: One can never go wrong with a raw desert. So far my repertoire is very modest, with only 3 items on the menu – Chewy Chocolate Bars, Chocolate Iced Desert, Raw Chocolate Mousse. (That’s a lot of chocolate lol!) I promise to expand my deserts in the very near future!

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So don’t, argue, force or cajole. You can take a child to the table, but you can’t make her/him eat. Gentle encouragement, leading by example, a healthy fridge and pantry and lots of raw deserts will get them there in the end….. hopefully 😉

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Raw on the Run (raw snacking when out and about)

I mentioned earlier that going raw is a lifestyle change and one of the things that has made a vegetarian lifestyle so convenient for us, is the availability of snacks (healthy and otherwise) that are abundant everywhere – supermarkets, petrol stations, corner shops, at local attractions – you will always at least find a muffin, ice-cream or hot chips that you can eat.

Now that I am beginning to look at the world through “raw glasses”, taking the kids out and about is proving to bring up new challenges. Being a family of 6 means we need to watch our pennies a bit, so in the past, I have often found myself throwing together peanut butter sandwiches or popping apples and bananas in a bag as we rush out the door. Lately, I have been trying to have something a little bit special and a bit “more raw” and definitely vegan, to snack on when we are out.

Here are some ideas I have discovered so far that go a little way to keeping it vegan and as raw as possible:

Medjool dates: Full of fiber, vitamin A, antioxidants, iron, potassium and calcium, (just to name a few) are a yummy, fresh, sweet treat and are easy to find in most supermarkets as well as local fruit and veg shops. We eat them as they or we feel like a bit more of a confectionery hit, the kids pop them in the fridge or freezer. They go nice an chewy in the cold, very much like caramel. Or for something a bit different, take out the pip and stuff with a walnut or two, yum!

madjool dates

“Frogs on a Log”: an idea my son saw on Play School. My kids really like making and eating them. Cut celery ribs to about 3 cm in length, fill the center with peanut butter (you can make your own raw nut butters easily enough, recipes to come! 😉 ) and top with sultanas. Pop in an air-tight container and take them along with you.

frogs on a log

Dried Bananas (and other fruit): my kids love these! Dried bananas are the ugliest looking things, but are so yummy, it totally makes up for it. When choosing dried fruit, I do my best to make sure I get the stuff that is “unsulphured”. If you’re lucky enough to own a dehydrator you can  make your own, but I have found that most health food shops carry unsulphured, sundried and organic dried fruits. Don’t over-dose on dried fruits though, they are dehydrating to our bodies. Check out The Wellness Worrior Jess Ainscough’s blog for a really good explanation as to why we need to go easy on dried fruits, as well as some good tips when using dried fruits.dried bananas

Kitz Living Foods: I was really excited to find these the other day when I was in Bondi. They make a variety of yummy snacks – activated nuts, crackers, granola, convenience bars plus heaps more healthy stuff, “free from artificial colours, preservatives, flavours, wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs and 100% vegan. All products are dehydrated at a low temperature to preserve the enzymes and nutrients of the ingredients”.  You can find them in selected health food stores all over Australia or you can order on-line. So keep some in your cupboard and a packet in your bag! Check out Kitz Living Foods website!

Grab an Apple! A pear, bunch of grapes, punnet of organic strawberries….. The list is endless and (I reckon), the most obvious thing to do. Fresh fruit is the ultimate fast food, no prep, pre-packaged and very little to throw away! Grab something quickly from home to take along with you or otherwise there is always a great variety of fresh fruit available and any supermarket when you’re out and even a lot of cafes have whole pieces of fruit for sale if you haven’t packed your own. grab an apple

Freshly Squeezed: Fresh juice & smoothiebars are everywhere, food courts, shopping centers and cafes. They can be slightly more expensive, but are very filling. I am careful if choosing a smoothie, even though most places offer non-dairy milks or no milk options, some use syrup instead of actual fruit. Also, if ordering a smoothie with non-dairy milk, be aware that they may still add the ice-cream or yogurt, (something I came across recently). So ask before ordering.

OJuice

Sushi: is the another food I like to buy my kids when we’re out. I know it’s not completely raw, but there are plenty of vegan options. My kids love it and the big bonus is they actually eat it! A good sushi bar will make the sushi with brown rice to order, which is the better alternative.

sushi

If all else fails? I order a salad, either fruit or vegetable. Even the local “chipper” (Australian for fish and chip shop 😉 ) has salad on the menu! My other go to is a salad wrap.

So my rule is, if I can’t always bring food from home, go for the most raw, vegan, natural alternative and I am learning not beat myself up about it. We can always have a green smoothie when we get home! 

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