Easter chocolate caramels

Made a little Easter treat for the hubby today to enjoy in the sunshine here in Amsterdam. Getting the benefit of the dates (good for iron levels and digestion) and raw cacao (antioxidants, magnesium, and b vitamins) makes them taste even sweeter! 

INGREDIENTS:

Makes a tray of about 12 small chocolates

Chocolate

  • 50g cacao butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • 40g raw cacao powder
  • small pinch of sea salt

Caramel

  • 1/4 cup of soaked dates
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt

HOW TO:

  • Melt the chocolate ingredients in a bowl over simmering water
  • Fill the bottom of your chocolate moulds leaving space for the caramel
  • Rub some of the chocolate on the sides too
  • Place in the freezer for 10 mins to set
  • Blend caramel ingredients in a blender
  • Take chocolate back out of freezer and with a small spoon put some of the caramel into the centre of the moulds then cover with rest of liquid chocolate
  • Place in the freezer for at least an hour to set

 

 

Prawn & pineapple skewers on the beach

Spending all day on the beach can leave me feeling quite peckish, so I made these for a lunch treat to have at my beach basket. Besides prawn, I've added pineapple, which contains anti-inflammatory bromelain and vit C, and some of my favourite fresh herb coriander (potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium). I normally eat a mainly plant-based diet, but decided to try some seafood whilst here at the sea. Always be mindful when eating seafood to buy sustainably sourced and avoid farmed.

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INGREDIENTS: 

  • Prawns
  • Red pepper
  • Yellow pepper
  • Pineapple
  • Lime
  • Fresh coriander
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic

HOW TO: 

  • Grill the prawns, peppers and pineapple and place on skewers. Season lightly.
  • Mix some freshly chopped coriander and lightly cooked chopped garlic in some olive oil as the dressing. 
  • Sprinkle coriander on top to garnish and squeeze some lime.

 

Homemade Nutella

The two main ingredients of store-bought Nutella are white sugar and palm oil (disguised as vegetable oil). Palm oil is not only bad for your health, but palm oil plantations are currently the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia. Plus: the benefits of making your own are more cacao (full of antioxidants) and hazelnuts (rich in vit E, magnesium, potassium and calcium).

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 & 1/2  cups of hazelnuts (toasted and peeled) 
  • 1/3 raw cacao powder (or organic cocoa powder)
  • 2/3 cup of maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp of coconut or hazelnut oil (the oil is used to make it a bit more spreadable, if you don't have coconut or hazelnut you could use another good quality cold pressed oil like grapeseed)
  • pinch of salt

HOW TO:  

  • Toast the hazelnuts for around 10-15mins in an oven at 175c, the skin should be flaking off them.
  • Once cooled a little you have to remove the skins, you can achieve this by rubbing them together in your hands and the skin should just fall off.  
  • Place the hazelnuts in a food processor and blend, then add the oil, maple syrup, salt and cacao.  
  • Blend together until a smooth texture. You can add more oil if it's a little dry. It should be spreadable.   

 

Coriander pesto recipe

This pesto is packed with coriander which is full of antioxidants that help prevent ageing, it has also been shown to lower the levels of the bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise the good one (HDL) from the various acids it contains.

Coriander Pesto 

  • 2 large handfuls of chopped coriander
  • 1 handful of hard cheese ( i used goats)
  • sprinkle of sunflower seeds
  • 1 garlic clove
  • pinch of salt
  • some olive oil (hemp oil also if you have it)
  • Whizz together

 

Cacao & coconut balls

These are a big hit in my home and with friends. Then again I have a huge soft spot for dates and love to eat them as a sweet treat alternative. I love the toffee taste you get from them. More importantly I love that they contain more then 15 minerals including selenium which is linked to cancer prevention. Also they contain a good source of fibre that helps lower the bad (LDL) cholesterol.

Chocolate, date and coconut power balls

  • 10 pitted dates
  • 50g cacao powder
  • 25g whole almonds (or pecans, walnuts etc)
  • 4 small cups of coconut flakes or desicated coconut
  • 30g maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp of water 
  • Blend in the mixer then roll into balls and bake for 10mins at 180 degrees
  • *Adjust the ingredients to your taste 

Cacao & Almond smoothie

To give this smoothie some extra benefits I've added  carob powder (high in fibre and calcium), maca powder (dense in minerals and good for energy) and lacuma powder (source of iron and fibre). They all bring their own unique lovely flavours too. 

INGREDIENTS :

  • 1 teaspoon carob powder
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1 teaspoon lacuma powder
  • large heaped dessert spoon of cacao powder
  • good squirt of maple syrup
  • 1 banana
  • Almond milk

 

Easy way to make fresh Almond milk

I don't drink cow's milk so this was a simple and easy to make alternative with some great health benefits. Almonds contain vit E which is protective for your skin and works as an antioxidant in the body and prevents damage from free radicals. It's also a good source of the cancer-preventing mineral selenium.  

HOW TO :

  • - Take two handfuls of Almonds
  • - Soak in 1 litre of water for 8 hours
  • - Pour everything into a mixer and blend
  • - Pour through a sieve to remove the smal hard pieces left
  • - Et voila… Almond milk made