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    Chocolate Chocolate

    Chocolate....there is nothing else like it. Chocolate is sensuous, passionate , adoring , comforting , luxurious, heartening, inspirational, enticing, sexual and exciting to all senses. This may as well be a description of a secret love affair. And no wonder we often end up feeling guilty for eating it.

    But doesn’t chocolate grow on trees? Is it not a plant based product?

    Indeed it is and as the matter of fact chocolate is the Number One source of anything in the entire world of Antioxidants. It contains Tryptophan- an important amino acid that produces serotonin, is an antidepressant and stress reducer, it is high is Magnesium- relaxing, calming and regulates hormonal cycle, has Flavonoids, Phenols and Catechins- that all contribute to preventing cardiovascular disease, has Chromium- good for sugar regulation and various B vitamins, proteins and iron.

    But don’t go running to the nearest supermarket, because what you will find is nothing but a beaten up, abused, ruined and neglected by product of a beautiful Cacao bean. The chocolate industry roast it, toast it, heat it, microwave and kill all the goodness and noble elements, not to mention add loads of sugar, dairy and calories to it. The good news is there is a very easy way to get all the goodness out of this holy bean just by eating it raw (cacao nibs) with a dash of Agave nectar, the way Chocolate has been eaten for over 5000 years. For my most delicious simple chocolate recipe, scroll down.

    I run regular Raw Handmade Chocolate making workshops in various parts of London. Sylvia, one of the lovely ladies that attended my recent class at Camden's Alchemy Centre, kindly provided some photos she took. I decided to share them here, since the this information is a small fraction of points I reveal during the workshop.

    Interesting fact #1: Cacao bean is rich in oxalic acid, which inhibits calcium absorbtion- something commercial chocolate and dairy industries wouldn't want you to know and another reason to have raw chocolate.

    Interesting Fact #2: The saturated fat in RAW chocolate does not elevate cholesterol, unlike commercial chocolate, meat or dairy foods, since cacao butter contains plant sterols such as sitosterol, which inhibit cholesterol absorption.

    Interesting fact #3: The cacao beans are native to Mexico and since the time of the Aztecs were used as currency. Who was it that told me "money doesn't grow on trees"?

    And now for my DELICIOUS DARK CHOCOLATE, here is the recipe:

    ½ cup Cacao Butter
    ½ cup Cacao Powder
    ¼ Cup Agave Nectar (or less to taste)
    Pinch Sea Salt

    1. Grate Cacao Butter on a grater for easy melting
    2. Gently melt cacao butter in a double boiler. Do not let water boil.
    3. Add powder, stirring well to eliminate clumps
    4. Add sea salt and agave, stirring through
    5. Pour mixture in moulds or on a tray. Refrigerate or freeze and enjoy

    It is just so much BETTER RAW

    Two Raw Pizzas (or salads for those without dehydrators)

    Wednesday 28th April 2010- A date to remember! My born and bred heavy meat eating boyfriend had his first ever - not just vegetarian, not even vegan, but a Raw Vegan Day of his life!

    He made it quite clear early on in the relationship that he is not prepared to live a day without meat, so as disappointing as the statement was to me (being totally happy to live off my favourite tomato + cucumber + avocado salad), I found myself cooking meat especially for him every night of the week.

    Ofcause there hasn’t been a time he didn’t look forward to trying all the new raw recipes I’ve been coming up with and he already religiously drinks his green smoothies each day and has his salads with dinner, but I am sure he is not the only one out there that struggles to overcome the mentality of dead animal consumption.

    So for some time now, I’ve been thinking up a pitch, considering every aspect of an upcoming debate and a strong negotiation point to propose a ‘one day a week’ Raw Regime for Elliot. Going in for the win, I even got stage fright speaking and I can’t even remember at what point he agreed, but I’m sure I still carried on talking, unable to believe my own ears that it took no convincing, no debating and no persuading what so ever. I guess there was a bit of influencing, but that has been 2,5 years in the making.

    With the toughest challenge now over, the next challenge was not necessary to make something tasty (I knew I was capable), but something of a ‘Real Man’ type that does not scream out ‘Happy Hippy’ on his plate. And so the answer was simple:

    Having a great recipe for the pizza base and sauce already (see previous post), the 2 pizzas I decided to create were:
    1. Mushroom and Basil Pesto
    2. Broccoli and Tangy Tahini

    I found its best for the toppings of both of these pizzas to be left marinating overnight, so prepare the night before you are planning on eating them, or early in the morning so the marination is complete by the time you get home from work:

    1.Prep the night before
    2.Food processor for basil pesto
    3.Blender for Cashew Cream- optional
    4.Dehydrator- if not available, then the below recipes are just as amazing as salads


    1 broccoli head chopped small without stems
    3 x Tbsp Lemon juice
    3 x Tbsp Olive Oil
    2 x Tbsp Tamari soy sauce

    1. Mix all ingredients in large bowl and massage with your hands until the broccoli becomes softer, then cover and leave to stand out of the fridge overnight.

    2. The juices may have settled on the bottom of bowl by the morning, so mix all ingredients again and leave to marinate until lunch/dinner out of the fridge.

    3. Arrange the broccoli onto the pizza base (from previous post) and dehydrate for 2 hours at 41 degrees C. You may find it useful to pour the Tangy Tahini sauce and cut into pizza slices half way through the dehydration process, so that you can serve straight out of the dehydrator while pizza is still warm.

    Tangy Tahini sauce:
    1/4 x Cup Tahini
    3 x Tbsp lemon juice
    1 x Tbsp Agave Nectar
    3 x Tbsp Raw Apple Cider vinegar
    2 x Tbsp tamari
    1 x garlic clove or ½ tsp garlic powder
    1/2 x tsp mild chilli powder
    1/2 x tsp ginger root powder

    1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl
    2. Pour over dehydrated broccoli pizza. I used an icing syringe for even spread and ease.


    7 x medium portabella mushrooms
    ½ x Red pepper
    7 x fresh basil leaves chopped
    2 x garlic cloves
    3 x Tbsp Olive Oil
    ½ x lemon juiced
    3 x Tbsp Raw Apple cider vinegar
    Pinch salt

    -Follow the same preparation process as Broccoli pizza

    [Mushrooms freshly chopped, ready for marination process]

    1 x Cup pine nuts
    2 x Cups fresh basil
    2 x garlic cloves
    1 x lemon juiced
    3 x Tbsp Olive Oil
    1 x tsp salt

    -Chop up basil in the food processor, then add nuts and then the rest of ingredients. The consistency will not be runny, so spoon small amounts over the pizza in blobs.

    CASHEW CREAM (Optional)
    ½ x Cup cashews
    ½ x Cup water

    1. Blend until smooth in a blender. If the ingredients do not cover the blades and you struggle to blend well, just double the ingredients and use left over Cashew Cream in another recipe later (will last in fridge for 7 days)
    2. Splatter over pizza

    It was so so good.

    The Ideal Raw Pizza Base and Sauce

    My parents were recently on the news in Canada talking about how Raw Food can be fun!! I was so busy nodding my head in approval and filling with pride, that it was my friend Anna who pointed out they've misspelt our surname :)

    Watching this video inspired me to create the best ever raw pizza! With many trials and errors however, I decided (and succeeded) to get my hands on the original pizza base and tomato sauce recipe by Raw Chef Pedja used in the actual video. And since it had my parents' seal of approval, I went ahead to create this in confidence.

    Essentials you'll need:
    1. Dehydrator
    2. Food prossesor
    3. Blender
    4. Spice/Coffee grinder (unless your flax seeds are ready milled)

    PIZZA GARDINIERA (makes 2 pizzas)
    By Raw Chef Pedja

    5 x medium carrots
    2 x Cups whole oats
    1.5 x Cups flax seeds
    2/3 x Cups water

    2 x Medium Tomatoes
    1 x Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes (soaked for 1 hr in warm water and keep that water incase you need to add for a runnier sauce)
    1/8 x Red Onion
    1 x Garlic Clove
    1 x Sprig of Fresh Oregano
    1/8 x Cup Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
    2 x Medjool Dates

    6 - 8 collard leaves (in London I found these in my local supermarket under the name of 'British Spring Greens', very original)
    Selection of seasonal local veggies and sprouts (In my next post I will create 2 variaties of pizzas- Mushroom and Pesto plus Broccoli and Tangy Tahini)

    "It is a good idea to prepare the 'dough' the night before so it dehydrates over night or set the dehydrator in the morning to be ready in time after work"

    1. Begin by making oat flour, running your oats through a food processor.

    2. Mince carrots finely in a food processor or grate by hand.

    3. In a spice/coffee grinder, pulverize your flax seeds (I bought mine ready milled) and combine all the ingredients together until your pizza dough is formed.

    4. Let it sit for at least 30mins-1hr before forming into pizza crusts.

    5. Once the dough has rested, proceed by shaping it onto teflex sheets of you dehydrator, into the classic round pizza crust look. This batch will give you approximately two 10" crusts, but feel free to divide the dough into as many crusts as you prefer.

    [Note how my crust goes pretty much to the edges of the dehydrator trays- this is exactly half of the dough and I wanted the base quite thin. If you prefer it chunkier, keep in mind the dehydrating process will be longer]

    6. Dehydrate at 41C for 1-2 hrs, peel off the teflex sheets and continue dehydrating for another 8-10 hours (overnight).

    To make the tomato sauce, simply combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth!

    [You can see how the pizza base shrunk after dehydration. The vital part was to turn it over after 2 hours as per instructions, otherwise it could stick to the teflex sheet and crack during the process]

    Pizza assembly is simple and encourages customization! De-stem your collards and cover the entire base of your pizza crusts. Top the collards off with your tomato sauce and your personalized selection of local, seasonal veggies and sprouts. Cut into slices and enjoy!

    It really was good! But especially with the amazing toppings I made- coming up in the next post..

    Colourful Cake from Canada

    Exactly One week ago, my little sister turned 22! Birthdays have always been a big deal in my family and the cake was no exception. Luckily for my sister and I (and dad), mum always made the most amazing deserts and since going Raw, that did not change.

    What did change is the fact that now, these deserts became even more amazing, even more colourful, more exciting and more delicious! And the best part is they are also sugar free, gluten free, wheat free, soy free and dairy free! The worst part- my family are currently living in Canada and I did not get a single bite :(

    What I did get though are the photos and the ingredients and lucky for you, you get them too:

    1 x C Cashews
    2 x Tbs Agave Nectar
    2 x Lemon Juice
    1/4 x C Coconut Butter (or oil- same thing, just depends on the country you are in)
    2 x Tbsp Vanilla Extract
    1/4 x tsp Salt

    1.5 x C Cashews
    1 x C Macadamias
    1 x Coconut Cream
    1/4 x C Honey
    1/2 x C Coconut Butter
    2 x Tbsp Lemon Juice
    1/4 x tsp Salt

    2 x C Strawberries
    1 x C Raspberries
    1 x Banana
    1.5 x C Cashews
    1/2 C + 2 Tbsp x Coconut Butter
    1/4 x C Honey
    2 x Vanilla Extract
    4 x Dates
    5 x Tbsp Agave Nectar

    Figs, strawberries, raspberries or any kind you like

    Process cashews to a flour consistency, add remaining ingredients and process some more. Press into the bottom of a 9 inch pan, preferably a tart pan/ flan tin with a loose bottom to allow for easy removal of contents. Place in the fridge while preparing the filling.

    Process firstly the nuts in a food processor, then add the remaining ingredients and keep processing to a very smooth consistency. Pour a thin layer over the crust, then layer with sliced figs or fruit of your choice, pour the mixture remainder and return to the fridge for 1-2 hours, or a freezer for 30 minutes - 1 hour.

    When the Bottom Layer is firm, follow the same procedure to process the Top Layer filling and then pour it over the cake. Return to the fridge and leave to set for a few hours, preferably overnight.

    Go crazy decorating with your favourite fruits. To slice the cake nicely, dip the knife after each slice.

    Raw Potluck and Thai Nori Bites

    The Raw Potluck I attended on Sunday was a Delicious Success. I have now been to a few of these gatherings since I arrived in London and the Barnett Meetup was by far the best organised of the lot.

    It is not always an easy thing to do turning up somewhere as a complete stranger, so I make sure to Always have a back up plan that Always happens to be more important and I Always have to be at exactly 2 hours after the start of the gathering. But after meeting some of the nicest people and trying some of the most incredible dishes, I was suddenly ashamed of considering a get away before I even arrived, however I must've also forgotten about any such ideas pretty early on because I ended up staying the entire Five hours!

    The photos unfortunately don't do the dishes any justice, especially since most of the best ones are still in their containers, but here is an idea of what a group of 35 people brought to the table:




    My personal favourite, brought by Dina and her little angel Lydia is a recipe from Russell James's Raw Thai recipes ebook. It may have been a matter of only an hour after seeing Dina's email with this recipe pop up in my mail box, that I was at the shops for a couple of spices I was missing to make these myself. Here is what mine turned out like and the recipe too:


    4 x raw nori sheets
    2 x C sunflower seeds,soaked for 4 hours
    1/2 x C fresh coriander(cilantro)
    1 x Tbsp fresh basil
    2 x Tbsp lime juice
    1 x Tbsp agave nectar
    2 x Tbsp tamari soy sauce
    1/2 x tsp cayenne
    1/2 x tsp chilli powder (I used mild)
    3 x tsp cumin
    3 x tsp onion powder (I used flakes)
    2 x tsp garlic powder
    2g x Kaffir lime leaves(I used 1g or 10 leaves)
    1 x tsp ground ginger
    1 x tsp turmeric
    1 x tsp oregano
    1/2 x tsp salt

    1. Grind all ingredients except nori to a paste in a food processor

    2. Spread paste approximately 3mm thick evenly to each edge of a nori sheet

    3. Place another nori sheet on top of the paste to make a ''sandwich''

    4. Cut into 2cm squares with a sharp knife

    5. Dehydrate squares for 4 hours.

    Note: The original R. James version had 1/2 cup water added to the paste and dehydrating was 8 hrs. Dina didn't use water and neither did I.

    You can also make these without the nori sheets, which I worked out when I had some paste left over. I did however dehydrate the 'crackers' for an extra 4 hours to make them crispy:

    Jill Swyers from the Hippocrates Health Institute was also there providing a talk with lots of interesting and valuable tips. I was particularly excited discovering that she personally knows Victoria Boutenko. Victoria, afterall 3 years ago was the introduction and the inspiration for my entire family to this wonderful world of Raw Living Foods.