Sunday, 15 March 2015

Healthy whole nut chocolate bar, sugar gluten dairy free and suitable for raw vegans

Ok so before I begin I want to expel the myth that all chocolate is bad for you.

So chocolate starts life as a humble cacao bean.  Chocolate companies then buy up the expensive beans but in order for them to make a profit on what they have bought they process the hell out of the beans to increase the mass, otherwise we would be paying a tenner for a mars bar.  Fats, sugar, oils and flavourings are added to the beans during processing to turn one bean into, for example, one hundred times the volume.  Flavourings are then added to make the processed mass taste like it originally did - raw cacao.

Cacao in its original form is a really powerful superfood (super high in nutrtients) Rich in vitimins and minerals, it has more than 300 nutritional compounds and is one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the word. Raw cacao also aids in weightloss and promotes healthy skin and brain function. SO this is truly a treat you don't have to feel guilty about.  You can pick up raw cacao online or Holland and Barrett on the high street for around £5 per bag, 3 times the price of cocoa powder but remember what I said about the processing/bulking out and adding crap.... Making this bar will cost you about a fiver, again highlighting the need for chocolate companies to bulk out the raw beans, but just remember the health benefits and always always remember refined sugar is rapidly stored as FAT on the body! Its your choice.

200g toasted hazelnuts, they really need to be toasted as the flavour is a million times better. If you have bought untoasted simply add them to a medium heat frying pan and fry for around 5 minutes until golden all over, shake/rub off the skins if they have them on after toasting.
200g raw cacao butter (again online or Holland and barrett)
100g coconut sugar or maple syrup
sea salt (develops the flavour of chocolate so much, I prefer pink salt but sea salt flakes are fine)
1tsp vanilla
60g raw cacao powder

Melt the cacao butter in a double boiler nice and slowly, don't let it get too hot so keep an eye on it.
Stir in everything else
Pour into a clingfilm lined tray, or a foil disposable, make sure the hazelnuts are equally dispersed.
Chill until set.


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Healthy chia seed jam

use this as you would jam without the sugar and additives. Chia seeds can hold upto 20 times their weight in liquid so they thicken anything, here ive used it to thicken fruit puree so it turns into a jam consistency. Chia seeds are also a powerhouse of antioxidants and nutrients and almost all the carbs in them are fibre so you're allowed chia pudding and jam on low carb days.

makes a few tbsp.

a large handful of your favourite berries
1tbsp chia seeds
1tbsp maple
a pinch of vanilla

Blend the berries into a puree and stir in the chia, vanilla and maple.
cover and leave in the fridge for the chia to swell and thicken. This should take 4 hours but you can leave it overnight.
keeps in the fridge for days.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Ultra low carb cauliflower crust pizza

This is a great alternative to a bread base, perfect if like me you cycle your carbs. Use veggie cheeses to make this suitable for vegetarians.

Ingredients, makes 1x 9-10 inch thin pizza

200g cauliflower (about half the head of a medium cauli)
1 egg
2tbsp parmesan
salt and pepper
a touch of oregano (optional)

Grate or food process the cauliflower until it looks like cous cous.
Place in a microwavable bowl and microwave, covered in clingfilm for 4 minutes.
Remove from the microwave and squeeze out all the excess moisture and water, I did this by tipping the cauliflower into a teatowel and ringing it out really hard.
Place the dry cauli in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mash together with hands.
Lay a large circle of greaseproof paper (slightly oiled) on a baking sheet
Using an 8 inch cake ring  as a guide (i took the base out of a loose bottom tin and used that) tip the mix into the tin and press down evenly.
Lift the tin and then press/flatten out the cauli mix so its around 9-10 inches (8 will be too thick and wont crisp up)
Bake in a pre heated oven gas mark 7 (220) for 15 minutes until golden. don't worry if its not fully cooked as it will bake further once the toppings are on.
Once golden top with whatever you like and return to the oven on full heat for 5-10 minutes or until toppings are cooked.
Slide off the greaseproof paper straight onto your plate and enjoy.
Im having mine with chipotle pulled chicken, mozzarella, olives, pine nuts and a base of my kale and ricotta pesto.