Category Archives: Raw Food Recipes

Charlie’s Rainbow Sorbet Cake

 

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Each year, I ask the kids what birthday cake they’d like, they look up cake’s in the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake recipe books, or we google ‘best cakes ever’, or they just think of ideas and let me know.    Charlie’s birthday is in the middle of January – Summer! – and she wanted  ‘rainbow sorbet cake’!  We had a look around google images but she could not find what she wanted.  So she drew it, coloured it in, thought of the fruits that we could have in each layer, and gave it to me…. and we managed to pull it off last weekend for her birthday celebrations.  The best part about this bright, colourful ‘cake’, was that it was all natural fruits giving it the flavour and colour!!!

Recipe for ‘Charlie’s Rainbow Sorbet Cake’

You need to think about the ‘cake’ a week in advance (unless you have an endless supply of cake tins!.. and loads of ice in the freezer).  It’s also handy to have a Thermomix 😉 or a really good food processor that can handle crushing a lot of ice.

Basic Sorbet Recipe

Pour 50g raw sugar into your Thermomix/food processor.

Mill the sugar on Speed 9 for 10 seconds.

Add 350g fresh or frozen fruit (peeled kiwi fruit, peeled oranges, blueberries, strawberries, banana, raspberries etc) and 1 egg white to the sugar. I added a banana to the fresh fruit for most of the sorbet layers as it makes a creamier, softer, ‘icecream’ type texture.

Mix on Speed 5 for 15 seconds.

Add 800g – 1kg of ice (4 to 6 trays of ice) to the bowl.

Mix for 1 min 30 seconds.   If the ice cubes start to get pushed to the top of the Thermomix bowl, then take the measuring cup out, and push the ice down with the spatula.  You can leave the spatula in the lid for the rest of the mixing time if you want.

Make a ‘batch’ of sorbet, and after feeding the kids a serve each, pour/plonk/scrape it out into a lined cake tin.   Flatten the sorbet into the tin using a spatula.    I used a ‘ring baking tin’ so that the layers would be thicker, so it would defrost evenly, and so that it was easier to slice up and serve everyone.  I lined the tin with baking paper on the bottom of the pan only.

Cover the baking tin with GLADwrap and put in the freezer for 3 hours, or until you make the next layer the following day.

Take frozen sorbet out of the freezer, dip a knife in hot water and run the knife around the edge of the tin to help ease the sorbet from the tin.  Turn the tin upside down and the ‘sorbet layer’ will pop out like a cake, onto your plate.  Leave the baking paper on the sorbet layer, as this prevents the layers mixing when defrosting, and it makes it easier to slice and serve.  Cover this layer with GLADwrap, and return it to the freezer.   Remember to refill your ice trays for the next layer of sorbet.

The following day, make another ‘batch’ of sorbet, and repeat the above process.

You can store each layer separately in the freezer, and put together on the day…. or you can clear out some freezer space and put the layers together prior to the day.

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Above: making a batch of sorbet… this one is blackberry sorbet….

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 Above: the ring baking tin I used for each sorbet layer.

Below: the blueberry sorbet layer resting on top of the kiwi fruit layer.

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By the time we brought the cake out to the table (on a hot Summer’s day!), popped some candles on top, took some photos and sang ‘Happy Birthday’, it was beautifully defrosted enough to slice and serve.  If it wasn’t such a hot day, you would take it out of the freezer at least 15mins before eating, so that it is soft enough to serve.

Here are some photos of Charlie’s birthday party ….

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Hills Homestead - Birthday Cakes

signed - hayley @ hills homestead

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Cacao Beans – Health Benefits & satisfy that chocolate craving – Cacao bean recipe!!!!

I have now found many uses for my cacao(chocolate!)  beans!!  AND many reasons why it’s great to eat them!

What are cacao beans?

Milling Cocao Beans

I found the following picture on Facebook that shows the Cacao Bean and the various forms it comes in – it helped me work out what I need when I experiment with making chocolate!!!

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Picture above:  My Cacao Beans in my Thermomix – ready to be milled for a recipe.

  • Cacao beans are small, quite bitter (if you eat them ‘raw’), and brown in colour.
  • It is a seed of the fruit of a tree in the Amazon jungles!
  • The natives used cacao as a medicine – it was used to build strength, help digestion, decrease fatigue, anaemia, and fevers.
  • Nearly all of the world’s cacao trees are grown on small family farms because cacao farming is labour-intensive and time-consuming (Source: Harcourt-Cooze, Willie 2010 “Willie’s Chocolate Bible” Hodder & Stoughtom Great Britain)
  • The word ‘cacao’ actually means ‘cocoa’.   Apparently the Brittish found it difficult to pronounce the word ‘cacao’ – or ‘ka-cow’ – so it’s been ‘cocoa’ to us all ever since!
  • So cacao is chocolate!   ” All the antioxidant value, mineral benefits, neurotransmitter rejuvenating properties, and overall health-giving qualities of chocolate are found in Cacao Beans! ” (Source: here)
  • Theobroma cacao, which literally means “Cacao, the food of the gods.”
  • Cacao is actually one of the great weight loss foods because it contains the minerals and molecules that shut off the appetite.
  • It is one of nature’s most fantastic superfoods due to its mineral content and other varied properties.
  • Recent research shows that dark chocolate stimulates feel-good endorphins, contains flavonoids (a powerful antioxidant), serotonin (which acts as an anti-depressant), and may be beneficial to blood circulation and helpful in lowering blood pressure. (Source: Harcourt-Cooze, Willie 2010 “Willie’s Chocolate Bible” Hodder & Stoughtom Great Britain)
  • I originally bought the cacao beans because I’d been reading about their health benefits.

Health Benefits of Cacao Beans?

Cacao beans are JAM PACKED with nutrients, and I’m keen to include them somehow in my daily diet.

  • They are powerful ANTI-OXIDENTS: more antioxidants than any other food! (Sources here and here)

“Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals can damage cells, and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Source: Medline:Plus    Do you know what other diseases are caused by free-radicals?

Some of the degenerative conditions caused by free radicals include:

  • Deterioration of the eye lens, which contributes to blindness.
  • Inflammation of the joints (arthritis).
  • Damage to nerve cells in the brain, which contributes to conditions such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Acceleration of the ageing process.
  • Increased risk of coronary heart disease, since free radicals encourage low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to adhere to artery walls.
  • Certain cancers, triggered by damaged cell DNA.                        (Source: here)

The list is not to scare you! but to make us realise that we need lots of anti-oxidents in our diet.     Getting food sources of anti-oxidents is so important.  Some studies suggest that antioxidants are less effective when isolated from food and presented in tablet form.    Another source states that “research indicates that simply taking antioxidant supplements is not the best way to go about getting what your body needs. In fact, it’s possible that some of these supplements could be harmful. Fortunately, research is also increasingly showing that you can reap the potential health benefits of antioxidant intake by eating a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods”.

Great sources of anti-oxidents are blueberries, blackberries, green tea, coffee, red wine, spinach, pistachios, almonds, And for dessert — Don’t forget that a piece of dark chocolate ranks as high or higher than most fruits and vegetables in terms of antioxidant content (Source here).  Notice they are mostly dark foods!

Now back to cacao beans (a nice dark food!), apparently they contain more anti-oxidents than ANY OTHER FOOD (Sources here and  here).

“Now blueberries are quite dark too, and they’re often thought of as being fantastic for our skin [and a great source of anti-oxidents] . But while blueberries contain 32 antioxidants, and wild blueberries contain 61 antioxidants, cacao beans contain an unbelievable 621 anti-oxidants!!! That is an insanely high amount”. (Sources here and here)   This is because the antioxidants are so concentrated –  antioxidants known as polpyphenols make up more than 10 percent of the weight of dry raw cocoa beans.

  • They contain an amazing amount of CHROMIUM, more than ANY other food! (Source here)

The top five chromium health benefits are:     1. Monitors the blood sugar      2. Aids metabolism    3. Reduces food cravings     4. Regulates fat and cholesterol    5. Prevents hypertension  (Source: here)

and chromium aids in weightloss (because it helps metabolism and reduces food cravings) (source: here).

  • They are a great source of MAGNESIUM, and again, the beans contain more magnesium than ANY OTHER FOOD!! (Sources here and  here)

“Magnesium: Cacao seems to be the 1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium is one of the great alkaline minerals. It helps to support the heart, brain, and digestive system (it fights constipation). Magnesium is also important for building strong bones. This is likely the primary reason women crave chocolate during the monthly cycle. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and is associated with more happiness. Magnesium is the most deficient major mineral on the Standard American Diet (SAD); over 80% of Americans are chronically deficient in Magnesium! Cacao has enough magnesium to help reverse these deficiencies.” (Source)

Magnesium deficiency — here are just a few:  anxiety, asthma, bowel problems, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, food cravings (chocolate is high in Mg!), headaches (including migraines), heart disease, hyperactivity, infertility, menstrual cramps, mitral valve prolapse, muscle cramps and/or tics, osteoporosis, tremors, wheezing and the list goes on and on… (Source)  I’ve also read about how magnesium deficiency is linked to experiencing morning sickness whilst pregnant (Source).

The is a lot more detailed information in the book “The Magnesium Miracle” and see here for more information on weaning off of anti-depressants and the importance of magnesium.

  • They contain high levels of Vitamin C.

I’d rather get some raw cacao beans into my diet rather than a little pill containing all of the above!

NOTE: The chocolate we eat usually contains no more than 5 to 10% cacao, the rest is fat and sugar and other additives.   Today’s chocolate, according to Willie, has been “diluted and polluted”, has almost nil health benefits.  So my recipes will be containing cacao beans in their raw state as well as other healthy whole ingredients.

I found a recipe that uses cacao beans and some other amazingly healthy ingredients AND tastes yummy.

I have cut it into bite sized pieces (like chocolate) and the kids LOVE them, I love them, and we can have one a day like a tablet – because it’s so full of goodness.

I have modified a recipe that I found in a book Rawlicious – Raw Food recipes for everyday! by Thermomix (you can find the book here).

I’ve called them…

Sweet Cacao Bean Bites

Cacao Bean Bites

 What you need / INGREDIENTS

55g Cacao Beans  (peeled or unpeeled – I used unpeeled)

75g Chia Seeds  (these are called ‘nature’s complete superfood’ – they contain more Omega 3 and Dietary Fibre than any other food from nature)

75g  mixture of whatever nuts/seeds you have in your pantry (I used sunflower kernels and almonds)

50g Pistachio Kernels

60g Raw Honey

Pinch of Sea Salt

(I then added a few drops of Peppermint Oil – I LOVED it – but the kids weren’t so keen, so I made it ‘plain’ next time)

METHOD

1. Mill the Cacao Beans –

(Thermomix: Mill for 20 seconds on Speed 10)

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2.  Add the rest of the ingredients.

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3.  Blend until well combined

(Thermomix: 40 seconds on Speed 7)

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4.  Press into a container on some baking paper (or a baking sheet) and refrigerate until you want to eat it!

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5. Peel off baking paper and cut into small ‘chocolate piece’ sizes.

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6.  Store in the fridge.

Method Summary… in pictures…

Milling Cocao Beans

Method for choc cacao bean recipe

 

   Enjoy!

 

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PS I bought my Cacao Beans from Loving Earth – $12.50 for 250g – at the moment, Loving Earth have FREE shipping on orders over $50!

 

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Homemade Vanilla Extract – Why didn’t I do this YEARS ago???

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Do you use vanilla?  In baking?  In smoothies?  I use it all the time.  We add it to our smoothies in the morning.  I add it to cakes/biscuts/slices.  I add it to homemade bliss balls or honey granola!

I previously used vanilla essence – it was cheaper.

ie Queen flavouring – natural vanilla essence = $3.98 / 50 mL

Queen imitation flavouring – vanilla essence = $1.50 / 100mL (or $0.75 / 50mL !!!)  Yes, cheap.

Ancor food flavouring – vanilla essence = $2.00 / 250mL (or $0.40 / 50 mL  !!!)  Even cheaper!

Then I had a look at the ingredients – Water, cane sugar, vanilla flavours, caramel colour (150(d)).   I was starting to try and avoid additives in food so that my children can really taste the true flavours and see the true colours of real food, and also see what actually went into their food.   So I began to purchase Vanilla Extract.

Now this has been expensive the last few years.  I’ve been buying 50mL Vanilla Extract for $12!  The cheapest I’ve found online is $9 for 100mL which is A LOT cheaper, but has water added, and it’s not organic.   Vanilla is something with such a strong flavour and such a long shelf life, and something I use daily so I choose organic.

So I looked at the ingredients list on the vanilla extract I was buying:

1. Water

2. Alcohol

3. Vanilla pod and extracts of vanilla pods.

And then made ….

Homemade Vanilla Extract

 

 1. Gather the ingredients – 5 Vanilla Beans + a bottle of Vodka.

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I used ‘local’ organic vanilla beans from Beach Organics in Middleton, South Australia.

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See address below – you can order any of their products online – they also have coconut palm sugar, cacao butter, herbs & spices, sea salt, local honey…

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I used a bottle of vodka that I just added to my home delivered grocery order.  It cost my $38 for a 700mL bottle.

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2. Get out 5 vanilla beans, and with a sharp knife, slit each of them open lengthwise

See picture below.

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3. Pop the split vanilla beans into the bottle of vodka.

And you’re done!  It’s that easy!

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Put the bottle of homemade vanilla extract in your dark pantry next to something you see everyday (like your butter, or spices, or salt and pepper) so that you remember to give it a gently shake every day (for about a week), then just give it a gentle shake whenever you see it or remember too, to disburse the vanilla extract through the vodka.  Leave it for a couple of months ( or 6 or 7 months!! depending on how concentrated you want the extract to be) before putting into smaller bottles.

I pour the homemade vanilla extract into my bought vanilla extract 50mL bottles (I kept them all… for some reason!), and I pop an extra vanilla bean into it, for “continuing maturity” (that’s what it says on the back of my bottle of purchased Equagold Pure Vanilla Extract).  This vanilla bean can stay in the little bottle indefinitely, you just keep topping the bottle up with your homemade vanilla extract.

I stick a “Hayley’s Homemade – Vanilla Extract” sticker on the bottles and give them away for presents and keep a couple topped up in my pantry for every day use.

Now this recipe cost me …

1.   I bought Skyy Vodka, a 700mL bottle for $38 from Foodland (I don’t know whether that’s expensive or cheap.. I don’t buy Vodka all that often.. actually at all!!!)  = $2.70 / 50mL

2. Beach Organics – organic vanilla beans, a bag of 10 for $20. = $2 per organic vanilla bean

(… at local supermarkets they are usually around $4 / 5g  = usually only 1 vanilla bean … you can find them cheaper at large fruit and vege stores and markets …)

So for each 50mL bottle of vanilla extract, I’m paying less than $4.70 (compared to $12)  … it’s less than this because there is definitely not a whole $2 vanilla bean / 50mL of extract, AND I’ve been topping up with a bit of water to make it go further.

I hope that you are able to try this in your own kitchen.  Imagine never having to buy vanilla extract or flavouring again because you make your own.  TOO easy.  SO much cheaper the buying Vanilla Extract.  Also, it’s a much healthier option vs Vanilla Essence or Flavouring.

ADDIT !!!  A reader just sent a comment in (see below) about another supplier of organic vanilla beans – Sunshine Vanilla – who sell organic vanilla beans in bulk – you can get them for under a $1 each (if you buy 60 of them for $50) … you can make it NOW for EVERYONE for Christmas this year!!!!  Thanks Tanya!

signed - hayley @ hills homestead

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