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    Shakespeare's Fruit Salad


    Meet Shakespeare.

    Shakespeare is a tortoise, but genuinely believes he is a dog. He sniffs everything, digs holes in the garden and bites everything at least once.


    He also possesses that puppy dog trick, when staring into your eyes for long enough, he can make you give in to anything. If you hold him on your palm looking into his eyes and rotate it side to side, his neck will do all the work and he’d always win the staring completion- just ask Elliot, it’s their favourite game.


    He spends his days in what is an absolute disgrace of a human garden, but an absolute paradise of an Amazon for him, so I can't bring myself to weed out his snacks.


    He spends his nights (and cold winter days) in a purpose built Tortoise Mansion with an upstairs dining room, a corner jacuzzi, a master bedroom and a whole collection of 'pebble' cushions.

    Shakes is possibly the funniest, cutest, most adorable little man I've ever met, my wee little seratonine generator. But he can be naughty too, just watch him perform a brave stunt...



    Here's another video of him dealing with obsticles, that also happen to be my toes...



    The best thing about the little guy is that he is a Raw Vegan too!!!! Infact his diet is so healthy, he is my ongoing inspiration. He loves his wild edibles, watercress, rocket, collards and romaine, and especially all kinds of juicy creamy fruits. He can get very picky though, but this fruit salad is his all time favourite...

    SHAKESPEARE'S FRUIT SALAD

    Made out of only Bananas, Apples, Pears and Melon, this is the easiest thing to make.It may not be the most presentable salad though, so I decided to change that and carved a melon to create two bowls:

    -Cut into 2 halves-Deseed
    -Scoop out with a spoon or carve out the melon meat with a knife to use for the salad
    -Carve the spiky teeth
    -Pile in your chopped fruit

    What I have in the jar, Shakespeare would probably not approve of, but it is totally divine..

    Cashew Cream with Passionfruit

    1 Cup Cashews
    1 Cup Water

    -You can half the amount if your blender is small and the ingredients cover the blade
    -Blend to a creamy consistency
    -Pour over salad with the passionfruit




    TANYA'S BERRY SHARING SALAD

    This is not exactly Shakespeare's first choice, but it is mine, so I decided to add this salad in too...

    You can also do this will any other kind of fruit, but berries are by far my favourite, so what I used are Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries and 1 apple for the base

    -Chop the apple in half to make a steady base
    -Threat the berries onto wooden skewers
    -Spike skewers into the apple
    The dipping sauce can be any of your own choice, but what I put in mine was

    1 soft Avocado
    3 Tbsp Agave Nectar
    2 Tbsp Cacao Powder
    2 Tbsp water

    -Blend








    ALISSA'S WELCOME HOME SALAD

    This is the fruit salad my sister made for mum and dad when they got back to Canada after visiting me here in London

    Pineapple
    Blackberries
    Mango
    Pomegranite
    Chopsticks and a vase

    -Carve the pineapple into flowers
    -Dice mangoes into strips for the leaves
    -Peel the pomegranite and transfer all the seeds into glass vase
    -Thread everything onto chopsticks, leaving berries until last

    Stuffed Collards with Raw Mayo and Salsa

    I can’t remember if I always have been or if it is something I’ve learned to enjoy, but either way I am very much a morning person and just love getting up early(ish) and being really productive(ish).

    This Saturday was no different, accept maybe for the fact that I pretty much flew out of bed even before the alarm. My very first Royal Ascot Racecourse experience and I wasn’t about to jeopardise the luxury of time to enjoy the most fabulous dress up procedure.



    I had to stop myself from skipping on the way to the station, as I walked there linking arms with the most handsome man. Even those not attending seemed to know the races were on, wishing us to have a lovely day. I felt like a million dollars.

    That price tag feeling managed to decrease by a few thousand when we arrived in Ascot and saw some truly spectacular outfits, hats and fascinators and I instantaneously began to plan for next year’s event!

    But for now we enjoyed an amazing day with a beautiful picnic to which one of my contributions was “Stuffed Collards and Raw Mayo”. The below picture is actually from previous night’s dinner, which I made for Elliot. Since there was so much left over, the collards seemed like a perfect picnic idea and they went, well, like hot cakes...


    STUFFED COLLARDS WITH RAW MAYO AND SALSA
    A really delicious and simple recipe for any occasion. All you will need is a food processer and a blender..


    For the Stuffing
    1 head chopped cauliflower
    1 Cup Sunflower seeds
    1/2 Cup Quinoa (sprouted 12-24 hours)
    1/2 cup pine nuts
    1/4 Cup Raisins (soaked 1 hour)
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp cinnamon

    -To sprout Quinoa, simply wash it and soak in water for 12-24 hours. Then drain water
    -Process all ingredients in a food processor fitted with an S blade, till it’s finely diced and resembles rice

    For the Wraps
    8 Collard leaves (aka british greens in the supermarket)


    -To assemble the wraps, cut each collard leaf in half and remove the thickest part of the stem. Place 2-3 tbsp rice mixture about one inch from the bottom of the leaf
    -Roll the wrap up (similar to sushi or burritos) and place it on a serving platter with the seam side down (I just had these rolled up in a tupperware container, ready to grab and dip into the Mayo, but for dinner I sliced each roll on an angle, as pictured above)

    For Raw Mayonnaise
    1/2 cup cashew nuts (soaked in water for 1 hour)
    1/2 cup water
    3 Tbsp Olive oil
    3 Tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp Dijon mustard
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp paprika

    -Put all the ingredients except the oil in a blender. Blend on the lowest speed. This may take a few minutes, as the nuts break down and become creamy
    -Gradually - one drop at a time - add the oil until the mixture starts to thicken. Continue blending until thickened and smooth

    For the Salsa
    (I didn't include this with the picnic, as salsa can get a little messy, but it is a beautiful dinner addition)
    1 Cup Cheery Tomatoes
    1 Avocado
    1/4 red onion
    1/2 Red pepper, deseeded and minced
    1/2 Cup chopped fresh coriander
    1 lime, juiced
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/8 tsp ground pepper
    1/8 tsp cayenne

    -Chop all veges into small pieces
    -Mix all ingredients in a bowl

    Omega of a Cracker


    Ahhh, Long Weekends... There is just nothing quite like getting that extra day, which we all too often wish for. And bless UK for all your banks and the bank holidays that come as part of the package deal, because your gift of that leave-free day is really rather good for the soul.


    There is however just one thing better than a Long Weekend and that is getting away for it! Or maybe there is one more thing.. having your getaway organised for you (thanks Felicity!). On Friday afternoon a group of us arrived at Euston Station to embark the Rugby bound train. A couple of hours later we were scanning inside 2 narrow house boats for the finest mattress that was to provide our sleep for the next 3 nights.


    And No! Canal boating is not just for families with dogs and retired old couples! All the cool kids are doing it and since there were 18 of us spread over 2 boats, it is safe to say Canal Boating is very cool indeed. Especially when you dress up as pirates and gypsies on Saturday night to vary your look in void of staring at 17 other ugly faces in a small confined space- what is not cool about that?


    In all seriousness though, it was an amazing weekend and a unique way to slow down, travel through the waterways and its multiple locks (first time!!) and see the beautiful English countryside from a different perspective. And according to Tim’s “map my run”, we covered 23miles- not bad for a couple of days worth and since you can literally walk beside the boat by foot and still beat it.


    What brings me to this post though are the splashing around Omega-3’s out there and the question of where a Raw Vegan would get their dose of these essential fatty acids if not from the fish...

    Why are Omega 3 Fatty acids essential for your diet?

    • These polyunsaturated fatty acids are called ‘essential’ because the body can’t produce them and needs to get them from food
    • We need omega-3 fatty acids for numerous normal body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain
    • Omega 3 lowers bad cholesterol, protects against heart disease and lowers chances of a stroke
    • In is even used to treat depression
    • New studies are identifying potential benefits for a wide range of conditions including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (Harvard School of Public Health)

    So where to get your Omega 3?

    • The common answer would be fish, but this is simply a lack of information plus fish comes with its own parasites and diseases
    • Most of these essential fats are actually in flaxseed oils, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseeds, hempseeds, walnuts, beans and winter squash
    • Flaxseeds are at the top of the list, where a 1/4Cup serving contains 7g, in comparison to Salmon, where a 4oz serving has 2.1g of omega 3 fatty acids. Even a walnut 1/4Cup serving contains 2.3g

    And not only are flaxseeds rich in Omega-3, they have plenty of fibre and antioxidant lignan, known to fight disease and prevent cancer, so here are my 2 favourite flaxseed cracker recipes...

    ESSENTIALS
    -Food Processer
    -Dehydrator

    THE SAVOURY ITALIAN FLAXSEED CRACKER


    ½ Cup x whole flaxseeds (or linseeds, same thing)
    1 Cup x Water
    2 x Tomatoes
    ½ Cup x Sun Dried tomatoes (soaked for 1 hour)
    ½ Cup x Fresh Basil
    ¼ Cup x Organic Olives (pitted)
    2 Tbsp x Lemon juice
    1 Tbsp x Italian herbs (your choice of dries spices)



    THE SWEET ANTIOXIDANT FLAXSEED CRACKER


    ½ Cup x whole flaxseeds (or linseeds, same thing)
    1 Cup x Water
    1 Cup x Strawberries
    ½ Cup x Blueberries
    ½ Cup x Cherry (pitted)
    2 x Medjool Dates
    1 x Tbsp Purple Corn Flour


     The number one rule of making crackers with whole flax seeds is to soak the flax overnight. In the right side picture you can see how gooyiethe mixture is in the morning. I used brown flax (left) for the sweet recipe and white (right) for the savoury. Which ever one you choose is upto you, it does not alter the taste.


    For the savoury cracker: process the tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, olives and basil in the food processer with an S blade.

    Transfer into a bowl with the soaked flaxseeds and add the herbs and lemon juice. Mix
    Spread the mixture over 2 dehydrater trays with teflex sheets
     
    Dehydrate at 105 degrees F for 6 hours, peel off the sheet and transfer to a mesh tray and dehydrate for another 10 hours
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Note: I spread the mixture quite thinly, because I like my crackers really thin and crispy, almost like chips. If you like a cracker more dense, don't spread so thin and dehydrate for double amount of time on both sides.
     
     
    For the sweet cracker: process the strawberries, cherries, blueberries and dates in a food processer with an S blade
     
    Transfer into a bowl with the soaked flaxseeds and add the Purple Corn Flour. Mix well
       
    Spread the mixture over 2 dehydrater trays with teflex sheets

    Dehydrate at 105 degrees F for 6 hours, peel off the sheet and transfer to a mesh tray and dehydrate for another 15 hours



     
     
     
    Note: This sweet recipe is a mix of crunchy and chewie, almost like a fruit leather, but more ridgit. If you like more of a crunch, add double amount of flax (plus water to soak) and also dehydrate for an additional 5 hours.
     
    Oh and if you are not planning on eating either of these straight away, cut or break them up and transfer to an airtight container so they stay crunchy. Yum!

    Raw 'Popcorn' for the movies

    It has been one week today and I am still buzzing!! All those years my friends and I have spent mimicking Carrie and the girls, fighting over who gets to be who, drinking cosmos even when we didn’t like them so much, buying expensive shoes, even when we couldn’t afford them, searching every corner in desperate hope to spot one of them whilst visiting New York and just stalking them, really. I actually truly believed I will grow out of the hype, but as soon as Stacey found out they are in London for the Sex and the City 2 Premier, we were both in Leicester Square hunting for that ideal standing spot with our cameras strapped to our wrists and throats cleared for shameless screaming. Then they started arriving and I felt like a little teenage girl, who had all her dreams come true at once..

    Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) arrived first at exactly 5.45PM as promised and amazingly finished signing autographs last- what a champion
    Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) arrived next. She looked amazing with long hair and definitely aged best of all four
    Then came Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and disappeared just as fast after only a few autographs
    Then it was.. BIG (who cares what his real name is)!!! This is around the time all the walls of the Leicester Square buildings experienced a violent shaking vibration
    Last of the main cast was Samantha (Kim Cattrall)! This is around the time Stacey, standing next to me, experienced a violent shaking vibration
    And this is me (Tanya Alekseeva)!..after I signed all the autographs
    And just one more time. Because Big is Beautiful. And because I like to believe he looked straight at me for this photo!
    And of cause this wouldn’t be a Raw Food blog without some Popcorn for the movies, so here is a super simple recipe: RAW 'POPCORN' 1 x large head cauliflower 3 x Tbsp nutritional yeast 1 x tsp salt
    -Cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces -In a big container, combine the cauliflower, nutritional yeast and salt until the pieces are entirely coated - put the lid on tight, and then shake shake shake -Lay the coated cauliflower pieces on your dehydrator mesh trays and dehydrate at 105F degrees for 24 hours; they will be nice and crunchy Note: this is obviously not made from corn, so don’t expect it to taste like corn, but it looks pretty much like popcorn when done and tastes pretty awesome too!

    Flight of the Conchords for Pina Colada

    Dear Bret and Jemaine,

    I love you.
    You make me so happy.
    Thank you for last night.
    It was magical.

    Love,
    Your biggest fan
    xxxTanya

    No, but seriously- how good are Flight of the Conchords live? I can't even believe I said good! They were hiiilarious. Fully awesome; choice; mint; primo; mean; sweet as bro. That's pretty much all the kiwi slang I can come up with, although I am sure there has to be another word that stands for 'best ever'! Surely. Kiwis?

    [yep we sat right at the back]

    'The band' performed at Wembley Arena yesterday and made me miss New Zealand so much. Omaha Beach, Coromandel, Piha, Pauanui, Whitianga, Maraetai, Long Bay Beach, even Eastern Beach! I think I may have just named all the beaches. I think I am having beach withdrawal symptoms. I think I need to get to a beach really soon. Really soon!


    Not only beaches either, for some peculiar reason I could not stop thinking of fejoas. My Lord, did I salivate at the thought. I could almost smell a fejoa, thinking about this fruit so much. And I decided as soon as we step foot on NZ soil for a visit in January, that is the first thing I will be eating.

    For now though, there is the next best thing.. and I did not fluff around getting to the local vege markets for a one handsome ripe pineapple and one heavenly young Thai coconut, because together they make one outstanding Pina Colada!

    PINA COLADA
    1/2 Pineapple
    1 young Thai coconut (jelly meat and water)


    To slice pineapple:
    1. Twist off the crown
    2. Chop pineapple in half (deal with half at a time)
    3. Skin with a sharp knife
    4. Chop into quarters lengthwise
    5. Cut the core out
    6. Slice into whatever sizes your blender will take

    To open a young coconut:
    1. If it doesn't already look like mine in the picture, then you better get your nice local vege market man to carve it, or you may strugle with just a kitchen knife.
    2. Shave skin of the top of coconut to reveal the shell
    3. Tap around the diameter of the top of coconut with the cleaver edge of large knife, until you find a soft spot
    4. Force the sharp end of the knife under the ‘cap’ you’ve created, turn upright so the water doesn’t pour out and pop the cap off. Coconuts have circular grain
    5. pour water into blender
    6. scoop all the jelly meat out and add to blender with pineapple

    Blend. And then forget about everything