Spiced Elderberry Wine

I was scrolling through recipes the other night looking for inspiration. I didn’t have a dish in mind, I was just hoping something would catch my attention. As it is winter here, the few recipes for warm spiced drinks certainly did. I could see myself siting in front of the fire, allowing the dance of the flames to lull me into a relaxed state and slowly sip on my beverage. Inspiration had visited!

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Looking through the pantry, it was then what could go with what to create a warming beverage. My bottle of elderberries seemed to vie for my attention so out they came. I decided to start with them by adding a table spoon and 2 cups of water to a small pan and sitting that on the stove top to gentle heat. As the water began to warm the sweet, spicy scent of the elderberries wafted around the kitchen. With this scent tickling my nostrils I began searching for the remaining ingredients.

Star Anise was the first spice to join the Elderberries. I love the aniseed smell, fresh and inviting. Cinnamon and Clove and two spices I love adding to my spiced creations. It would have to be the powered form of each as I did not have a cinnamon quill or the clove flowers.

My favourite spice essential oil at the moment is doTERRA’s Cassia. Cassia is a cousin of Cinnamon, but is so much softer. When I inhale Cassia it is like a warm blanket being wrapped around me, and I know that I am being held by something bigger than I am. For me, Cassia is warming, nurturing and soft, while Cinnamon is it’s louder cousin. There is nothing understated about Cinnamon. Because Cassia gives me this sense of being nurtured, I added two drops to the simmering mixture.

A drop of doTERRA Ginger Essential Oil was also added to lift the mixture and to give it a bit of zing. The fragrance of this oil is also very warming. Then to add a hint of sweetness 2 teaspoons of coconut syrup was stirred into the deep red liquid. Any liquid sweetener would work if you do not have coconut syrup.

After everything had simmered for a few minutes I turned the heat off and let the spices and essential oils to infuse. I could almost imagine each ingredient dancing with each other and creating the final performance which I would enjoy soon,

Once strained, I sat with the elderberry wine (ok there is no alcohol in it but the colour of the beverage reminded me of spiced wines), inhaled and slowly sipped while watching the flames. I hope you enjoy this beverage.

I was given the flower garland at Sydney’s Vivid festival this year. When I wear it, a lightness of spirit and joy comes over me. This is the energy I like to have when creating so why not wear the flower garland in the kitchen. It will definitely be joining me in the kitchen more now that I have it. :)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs Elderberries
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 2 tsp coconut syrup, or your favourite sweetener
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp clove powder
  • 2 drops doTERRA Cassia Essential Oil
  • 1 drop doTERRA Ginger Essential Oil

Prior Preparation:

  1. Nil

Directions:

  1. Place elderberries and water in a small saucepan and gentle bring to simmer.
  2. Once simmering add remaining ingredients.
  3. Simmer for a minute then turn off the heat and allow the ingredients to infuse with each other. I left mine for about 20 mins.
  4. Strain and then pour back into the saucepan to gentle warm.
  5. Pour into your favourite vessel to enjoy.

You can leave the mixture to infuse for longer.

In vibrant health, Vicki

Marbled Raw Chocolate and Orange Cheesecake

I love the patterning that occurs when a cake is marbled. It means that no two pieces look the same and if the ingredients are different for each colour then each piece of cake will taste unique. 

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To add colour to cheesecakes, I have used turmeric for yellow, beetroot for a red and baby spinach for green. When people find out what the ‘secret’ ingredient is there is often surprise. So I decided to see if I could use sweet potato. As it is orange in colour I thought orange juice would go lovely with it. What goes with orange? Chocolate of course, so this was the beginning of the idea.

I’ve used doTERRA Wild Orange in this recipe to intensify the orange flavour. I use doTERRA essential oils because they are exceptionally high quality and they also food grade, that is the ones that can be ingested. If you do not have doTERRA essential oils you can either purchase them here, or add 2 Tbs of orange zest.

Coconut butter can either be purchased or made. Considering how easy it is to make and what to cost is of the purchased variety, I prefer to make my own. 4 cups of desiccated coconut into my Vitamix (high powdered blender). Start on the low setting and then turn up to the high setting. Using the tamper I push the coconut down. The coconut will start to form a liquid. Keep using the tamper until the coconut has turned into a smooth liquid. You now have coconut butter. It is that easy! There are only one tip and that is to ensure the blender jug is completely dry. Any moisture will stop the coconut butter from forming. If you do not have a high speed blender the coconut butter can be made in a food processor. It may not be a smooth though. Pour coconut butter into a storage container. I store mine in the cupboard. It does go solid (like coconut oil in cooler weather). I put container into a saucepan and then pour boiling water into the sauce pan to melt the coconut butter. Remember the storage container needs to be able to withstand the heat of the boiling water. If not it will crack. Yup I learnt that the hard way. :(

So lets begin.

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Ingredients:

Base

  • 1 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • pinch celtic sea salt
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 Tbs filtered water


Cheesecake

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet potato
  • 4 drops of doTERRA Wild Orange Essential Oil
  • 4 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter, liquid
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder

Prior Preparation:

  1. Soak cashews in 2 cups of filtered water over night with a pinch of celtic sea salt.
  2. Line 5 x 15 x 4 cake tin with baking paper.

Directions:

Base

  1. Place pecans, ginger powder and celtic sea salt into a food processor and process until breadcrumb consistency
  2. Add chopped dates and water and pulse until mixture sticks together. 
  3. Press mixture into tin to form the base.
  4. Place in freezer to set while making the filling.

Filling

  1. Drain and rinse cashews.
  2. Place cashews, orange juice, sweet potato, maple syrup and vanilla extract into a high speed blender and process until smooth.
  3. Add doTERRA Wild Orange Essential Oil and coconut butter and blend again.
  4. Pour half of the mixture into a bowl.
  5. Add cacao powder to blender and blend until mixed through.
  6. Remove base from freezer.
  7. Alternate spoon orange filling and chocolate filling onto the base to form a checkerboard pattern.
  8. To smooth the top, gently bang the base of the tin into the kitchen bench.
  9. Place in the fridge or freezer to set.
  10. Slice the cheesecake into pieces and then store in the freezer for a sweet treat later on.

So what do you think of this marbled cheesecake?

In vibrant health, Vicki

 

Spiced Apple Biscuits

IMG_6415The last few weeks I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen making a huge range of desserts. Why? I enrolled in Deb Durrant’s ‘Sweet‘ online course to learn more about raw plant-based desserts, the art and science. I have learnt so much and I’m looking forward to creating more of my own recipes with my new knowledge.

My first treat that I am going to share is my Spiced Apple Biscuits. I have never made raw biscuits before, in part because I didn’t know how and I had also never found a recipe. Until now. These biscuits are SO moorish and are lovely with a cup of chia tea, in front of the fire.
Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs almond flour
  • 2 1/4 cups cashew flour
  • 1 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup dried apple, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tbs coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 cup date paste
  • 1 drop doTerra Cassia Essential Oil

Prior Preparation:

  1. Soak dried apple in 3/4 cup of filtered water. Add 1 drop of doTerra Cassia Essential Oil to the soaking apples. Leave to soak for 1 hour.

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix the almond flour, cashew flour, oat flour, ginger powder, coconut sugar, cardamom and celtic sea salt.
  2. Drain the apple pieces, reserving the soaking water. Add the drained apple pieces to the bowl and mix through.
  3. Add the date paste and 2 Tbs of the reserved apple soaking water to the mixture and and gentle mix it through the dry ingredients to form the biscuit dough.
  4. If the dough is dry add more apple soaking water, 1 Tbs at a time.
  5. Spiced Apple BiscuitsPlace the dough between two Teflex dehydrator sheets and roll the dough out to about 0.5cm thick.
  6. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits.
  7. Place the biscuits on the dehydrator mesh sheets and dehydrate for 12 hours at 46C.
  8. Turn the biscuits over and continue to dehydrate for another 8 – 12 hours. This will depend on how chewy or crunchy you like your biscuits.
  9. Allow to cool before storing in an air tight container in the fridge.

While I was typing up this recipe I decided to make them again as I remember how much I loved the biscuits. My Mum, who was a high school cooking teacher, (yes she even taught me but that is another story) is always interested in what I do in the kitchen and how I create dishes without cooking. Most of them she will try and she always gives me feed back. I know she loved these biscuits, because every time I went to the container for one, she would call out “I’ll have one too thanks.”

I would love to know if these become a favourite in your house.

In vibrant health, Vicki

Date Paste

Date paste is a great sweetener for so many dishes. It can also be used as a substitute for honey or maple syrup. Having some date paste in the freezer allows you to create dishes when you feel called to.
IMG_6207Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1 1/2 cups of filtered water

Prior Preparation:

  1. If dates have stones remove them.
  2. Soak dates in 1 1/2 cups of filtered water for 1 hour until soft.

Directions:

  1. Drain dates reserving the soaking water.
  2. Blend dates with 1/4 cup of soaking water, in a blender until smooth. If required add more soaking water 1 Tbs at a time.

IMG_6210The date paste should be very smooth. This can then be stored in the fridge for about 4 days. I store my date paste in the freezer. I use an ice cube tray and spoon 1 Tbs of date paste into each section. I then freeze this. Once frozen I remove the individual date paste serves and store in a zip lock bag in the freezer. When I need some date paste I remove the amount I need and let it defrost. A note on date paste, it will not freeze solid like water does.

In vibrant health, Vicki

 

Carrot Crackers

almond carrot crackersI love making almond milk or any nut milk really. At the moment, I am enjoying a decaf coffee with warmed hazelnut milk, sweetened with cinnamon and maple syrup while I type this post and listen to the rain outside. Anyway I have digressed.  Making all these nut milks means I have lots of leftover nut pulp to work with so I’m experimenting with different recipes, to use up the nut pulp. Usually when I make the nut milks I will add a date or two to slightly sweeten the milk which means I don’t use any sweeteners when I use the nut milk for breakfast and smoothies. The only draw back with that is that the nut pulp is sweet so I can only use the pulp for a sweet dish.

A few weeks ago I decided to start making my nut milks plain – no dates or spices so that the leftover nut pulp could be used for a savoury dish as well as a sweet dish. As the weather is now cooling down I am wanting more heavier food so what better thing to make than crackers. Crackers can go with salads, dips, soups or spread with mashed avocado and sprinkled with celtic sea salt for a snack. Yum.  Below is what I put together and I have to say they were so nice. To have a slight spicy flavour through the cracker from the garam marsala was great and while the crackers where dehydrating the spiciness permeated the kitchen. With the smell through the kitchen I was so looking forward to when I would be able to try one. I was not disappointed.

I hope you enjoy these crackers as much as I did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4cups of almond pulp – from making almond milk
  • 1 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp garam marsala
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 2 Tbs olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place almond pulp, flaxseed meal and garam marsala in a bowl
  2. In a high speed blender process the carrot, zucchini, onion and water till smooth
  3. Pour carrot mixture into the bowl with the almond pulp mixture
  4. Mix together to form a wet dough
  5. Add olive oil to the bowl and mix thoroughly
  6. Divide evenly between two dehydrator trays and smooth, flatten to the size of the dehydrator tray
  7. Place in the dehydrator and dehydrate for 6 hours
  8. After 6 hours turn the crackers over onto a mesh sheet. Score so that once completely dehydrated you can snap the crackers apart. Dehydrate again for another 8 hours.
  9. Store crackers in the fridge or freezer.

In good health, Vicki