Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Yep, there was a time when I disliked avocado immensely. Weird, mushy, avocado. Can you believe it? Thankfully the times have changed – I can’t get enough of it these days and could happily have it at least once a day on toast. Ahhh nature’s butter. While my favourite is probably on toast with chilli, it is also the perfect side to pretty much every dish ever.

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This recipe is a tweaked version of one I posted about three years ago, back when I was living/travelling in a van and my photography was embarrassing. So today I bring to you an updated recipe with a little more stylish photos. Avo is still the main player in this dish, though it is hidden by cacao to bring you a rich and creamy dessert. It is quite thick, and I have seen some people do a similar thing but blend a banana into it or extra coconut cream which I suppose would create a lighter texture, I’m yet to try it though.

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Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse
(serves 2-3)

2 avocados
1/2 cup cacao
1/4 cup coconut cream
4 Tbsp maple syrup or other sweetener
1 Tbsp coconut oil, liquified
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Taste for sweetness and add more sweetener if desired, though keep in mind that the taste does settle overnight – I find the avocado flavour mellows completely with some time. Pour into serving glasses and chill in the fridge over night. Top with desired toppings e.g. berries, coconut, cacao nibs, choc chips, banana.

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Something Raw, Mandurah W.A.

I was in Perth a couple of months ago, staying with family. Unfortunately it wasn’t a leisure trip – my wonderful Grandad who had been unwell passed away. This was a pretty devastating experience for our family, and for this reason it is not something that I want to talk about at length with the internet, except to say that we love him and miss him more than words can express.

While there, we were able to catch up with the rest of our family which happens far too irregularly since moving to Victoria. This included spending a few nights with my Granny down in Mandurah, which of course involved a few meals out. Since I was last there, a newer cafe called Something Raw has opened up, and with a menu full of vegan options it was definitely worth a look.

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My brother and Granny both went for the Jackfruit nachos, and although I was pretty jealous when they came out, they graciously shared some with me. As the name suggests, these were loaded up with pulled jackfruit along with fresh salsa, sour lime creme, cashew cheese, guac and a side of jalapenos. Boss nachos, I really enjoyed them. At $22, they may seem pretty pricey, but to be honest W.A prices are on the whole a lot higher than we over east are used to.

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My mum went for the toasted green wrap – $16. This was packed with spinach, avo, chickpeas and olives, along with what I think was Bio cheese. Mum gave it the thumbs up, and from the mouthful I tried I could only agree.

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I had the raw taco bowl for $19. This was loaded with lettuce, corn, salsa, guac, spring onions, sour lime creme and walnut mince, alongside some dehydrated crackers. It was a pretty decent serve, and tasty but I would have liked to see a bit more walnut mince – there wasn’t quite enough to spread through the bowl so I was left with a fair bit of lettuce at the end. I would also be keen for a side of jalapenos, but I was lucky enough to score some leftovers from the others’ nachos.

There are also have a bunch of desserts and drinks on offer, though we didn’t indulge as we were pretty full. I also find it a little hard to handover $12 for a smoothie, but as I said, I think this is pretty in line with W.A prices in general and I just need to suck it up when I’m there.

Something Raw Cafe is a welcome addition to Mandurah, and I hope to see them stick around as there was a serious lack of good veg options in town last time I was there. The only bummer is that it’s not on the foreshore – cos who doesn’t like having a meal overlooking the water? Small complaint though. Check this place out!

Something Raw Cafe
6/26 George St, Mandurah
Tues – Sat – 8.30am – 4pm

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Almost Raw Lamington Balls

So much for “I’m back!” It’s only taken me another two and a half months to back it up with another post. Ahhh well. Rather than give you a big spiel, I’m going to give you a recipe. Hallelujah!

The Bear and I have never much celebrated Valentines day – perhaps we would have a picnic if it fell on a weekend but there was no going out of our way to make the day particularly special. That was until a few years ago, when we dubbed the day ‘Lamingtons Day’. On this day – February 14th – we make lamingtons in one form or another. Over the years we’ve had lamington cupcakes, a whole lamington cake, lamington ice-cream and of course your stock standard lamingtons. The Bear has one rule – it’s not a real lamington unless it has jam.

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This year Lamingtons day kinda snuck up on us, and I had little inspiration for building epic lamington glory. When I say glory, I’m referring to the likes of the Bear’s two (or was it three?) tiered cake that instead of icing, he covered  with three blocks of melted dark chocolate. After it had set, the shell was so thick we had to hack away at it with our biggest kitchen knife to get a piece.

On the auspicious day itself I was also in the process of preparing some food for the working week. I often make variations of bliss balls to take with as a morning/afternoon snack, so with that in mind, I threw together these dudes and I have to say, was pretty pleased with how they turned out.

Before I give you the recipe, I just want to give a shout out to fellow Australian vegan blogger Kyra at Vie de la Vegan. I was doing a quick image search before the photo shoot to get an idea of how I might present the balls (how hard is it to make balls look good?! Eeeep!) In the process, I came across her very own recipe for Raw Lamington Balls as well. Slightly different, but I’m sure equally as delicious. Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out!

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Almost Raw Lamington Balls
(can’t remember how many this makes, eep, will edit after making them again….amateur!)

1 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
3 Tbsp rice bran syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla paste
2 Tbsp non-dairy milk
80g raw chocolate (I used Loving Earth choc-raspberry block)
3/4 cup dessicated coconut

Jam:
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 Tbsp rice bran syrup
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Firstly make the jam – place raspberries and rice bran syrup in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow the berries to cook down slowly, gently stirring and squashing them with the back of a spoon every now and then. Cook until berries have broken down, about 5-10 minutes. Take off heat and stir in chia seeds. Set aside.

Place cashews and shredded coconut in a food processor and process until it resembles crumbs. Add rice bran syrup, vanilla and milk and process until mixture comes together and gets a bit sticky. Transfer to a bowl and add chia jam, stir until it is swirled through. Take heaped teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls.

Prepare a tray by lining it with baking paper. Using a double boiler, heat raw chocolate until melted. Pour dessicated coconut out onto a plate. One by one, cover each ball in chocolate before rolling in coconut and setting on the tray to dry. Store in the fridge.

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Raw Zucchini Pesto Pasta

What’s your favourite late summer food?

It’s been a little easier to remember what summer food is like after the last weekend of weather. A taste of warm sun rays have brought about the craving for fresh food and cold beers. There were a few things that I thought of sharing today, including barbecued veggie kebabs and rice paper rolls, but I decided to do another revamp of an old one, one that was a staple during our van year. And yes, we had a spiraliser in the van. What of it.

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When I first started eating zucchini noodles, I was surprised at how much more filling they seemed when created in this shape. I’m sure I wouldn’t feel quite as satisfied from eating a whole zucchini. We have eaten many variations on this dish, usually with whatever’s on hand and sometimes going as far as to lightly saute them to heat them up (with satay sauce, mmm). Pretty versatile. This is a particularly easy one – perfect for those late summer nights when you just don’t want to deal with putting any extra heat in the kitchen.If you already have some pesto prepared, it comes together in a matter of minutes.

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Raw Zucchini Pesto Pasta
(serves 2)

2 smallish/medium zucchinis
3 Tbsp pesto, like this, this or this!

1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp pepitas
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop the ends off your zucchinis, and using a spiraliser, create noodles with them and place in a bowl.

Combine pesto and lemon juice, and mix through noodles. Taste for seasoning.

Separate noodles into two bowls, then top with cherry tomatoes and pepitas. Voila!

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Raw Blueberry Cheesecakes

Something blue.

I’m probably taking the easy path here, but I was struggling to come up with an idea for something blue that wasn’t drowned in food dye. I get that blueberries are not particularly blue when used to cook with, but blue makes up part of the word so I’m going to go with it. Also it’s pretty late and I don’t have time to come up with anything else. And these are pretty.

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This may look more complex than it is because of the subsections of ingredients, but raw desserts are often very straight forward and easy. It’s just a matter of blending ingredients and pouring them in. The most time consuming part is the soaking and waiting for them to set.

I’ve got a bunch of these stored in my freezer now which I’m bringing out sporadically when I want a quick treat. As you can probably imagine, I’m sure these would be great with raspberries, strawberries or a combination of all of them.

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Raw Blueberry Cheesecakes
(makes about 20 mini cakes)

Base:
¾ cup dates, soaked
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup almonds
pinch of salt

White layer:
1½ cups cashews, soaked
¼ cup agave nectar
¼ cup coconut oil, liquified
2 tsp vanilla
1Tbsp lime juice

Blue layer:
1½ cups cashews, soaked
1½ cups blueberries (I used frozen)
¼ cup coconut oil, liquified
¼ cup agave nectar

Chia jam::
2 cups blueberries (I used frozen)
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp chia seeds

Start by preparing the base – combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until they form a thick mixture. If it’s too dry, you can add a tablespoon of water at a time until it comes together – it should be tacky, but not so sticky that you can’t work with it. Break of small pieces of mixture and press into bases of mini muffin tray, making the base a couple of millimetres thick – I used a silicone tray as they were easier to pop out at the end.

Blend white layer ingredients until smooth. Pour evenly on top of the prepared bases, filling each case to about half way. Put tray in the freezer to set.

Now do the same with the blue layer – blend until smooth and fill up each case until it is level with the top – smooth over to make even. Return to the freezer to set.

To prepare the jam, place blueberries, agave and lime juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the berries start to come apart. Using the back of a fork or spoon, mash some of the blueberries. Add chia seeds and stir to combine. Remove from heat and allow to sit – the chia seeds will absorb a lot of moisture and thicken the jam. Allow to cool.

Once the cheesecakes have set, pop them out of their moulds and top with a spoonful of jam and some extra blueberries. I find it best to keep these dudes in the freezer, taking them out 15 minutes before you want to eat them to allow them to soften a little.

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New bloginnings and Pana Cafe

You may have noticed something different around the little vegan bear neck of the woods (ha, bear…woods….yep), we’ve had a bit of a makeover! I am now a dot com! After much time feeling overwhelmed and technologically incapable, and then a little time with my brother and his girlfriend doing the majority of the legwork (thanks guys) I am here. Thank goodness for the technical knowledge of others.

These parts will remain pretty basic for the time being while I work out how to do a little more, which will most likely be a bit further down the track as I am aware that MoFo is fast approaching – if I’m going to participate this year I need to spend a bit of time planning. While I recall the stress of last MoFo like it were yesterday (has it really been a year?!) it was also a whole heap of fun and with the new structure I am hoping it will take some of the pressure off (no matter how self-imposed said pressure may have been). Nevertheless, a bit of forethought can’t hurt.

I’m doing my best to update all links, and I’m hoping that the transfer of subscribers went down successfully. Please let me know if you have any issues viewing, commenting, or anything else while on the blog and I’ll try to amend it.

Oh, and while I remember – I am officially getting ‘social’. I’m now on instagram as littleveganbear_ and you can link up with me through the button on the right side bar. Oooh look at me go!

Just for kicks, here are some snaps from a recent trip to Pana Cafe in Richmond with some girlfriends. For those who aren’t aware, Pana are a Melbourne business who deal in the trade of delicious raw chocolate. You may have seen their bars stocked in shops around the place – they are recognisable by the cute little alien looking dudes on the front of the box. Pana use all vegan, organic ingredients and are refined sugar free.

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Apart from their classic bars sold through various stockists, Pana also have a cafe on Church street in Richmond where they serve up an array of slices, cakes and other raw treats which look almost too good to eat. Seriously, I reckon we spent more time ooh-ing and aah-ing over everything than we did actually eating, they are so gosh darn beautiful.

We couldn’t help but be pulled by the allure of the larger ‘surprise cake’, which we were pretty sure we had pegged as choc-mint. We also got a slice of what I think was spicy apple slice, if my memory serves me correct.

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Well we sure were surprised, because there was not a hint of mint in this baby. Instead we found berries and a delicious lime tasting cream on top. Rich, silky smooth and delicious the whole way through. I was keen for something less chocolate-y with the slice, and it didn’t disappoint. I felt our eyes were a little too big for our tummies though, as I was feeling pretty stuffed by the end.

Shout out to my pal Steph for the photos which I have borrowed. Also shout out to the lovely lady who did an excellent job at slicing the goodies into thirds for us. It is worth noting that while it is called the Pana Cafe, there really are only a couple of stools (3 or 4) and a bench at the front of the shop, so if you aren’t lucky enough to nab them you might have to take away.

Speaking of take aways, I took a few choccies home to share with the bear. I can’t remember what they all were – oh deary me, how many times do I swear I’ll start taking notes for occasions like this? One was sesame, I feel like one might have been lemonade, maybe lavender and rose? Whatever the case – they were all incredible. I would even go so far as to say that I enjoyed them more than the cakes – perhaps being bite sized there was less chance of being overcome by the richness.


Apologies for the shitty late night camera phone job, but these darlings couldn’t wait any longer!

Pana Cafe
491 Church St, Richmond
Mon – Fri – 10am – 5pm
Sat – 10am – 4pm
Sun – 11am – 3pm

Fruity Leathers

Since my parents invested in a dehydrator, whenever I’m going on a camping trip I like to pop around and make up some goodies (only to have to return a day later to retrieve them). I usually do a couple of variations of crackers, a few variations of fruit leathers and some fruit or veggie crisps – it’s a great way to pack nutritious snacks that are easy to transport and keep well, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to making up different flavour combinations.

fleather1These are my latest three fruit leather blends. Instructions are very straight forward and apply to whatever combination you go with. I’m still working out some things with different fruits producing different textures – when I’ve used apples the mix tends to separate a bit and crack, others produce a stickier mix – regardless, all I’ve done have been tasty.

Cherry Vanilla Fruit Leather
(makes 1 sheet)

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp chia seeds

fleather2Apple, Pear and Cinnamon Fruit Leather
(makes 1 sheet)

2 pears, chopped and cores removed
1 apple, chopped and core removed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp lemon juice

fleather3Banana Berry Mint Fruit Leather
(makes 1 sheet)

2 x bananas
250g strawberrys, hulled
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp fresh mint

fleather4Instructions:

Chuck all your ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth and of spreadable consistency. If it is too runny, try adding some chia seeds, and likewise if too thick add some liquid – either citrus juice or a spash of water. Pour mixture onto a teflex sheet on a dehydrator tray and spread evenly, to about half a centimetre or just a little more in thickness. Dehydrate at 60C for 1 hour, then reduce to 40C and continue to dehydrate for about 8 – 12 hours. The time will vary depending on the fruit, thickness, etc, so just check in every now and then to see if it’s ready.

I have seen some people instruct to peel and flip the leather part way through – I have not tried this method yet, but can verify that it seems to work just fine leaving on the one side.

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Music for your Mouth: Vanilla Fudge

Vanilla Fudge are awesome. They do heaps of sweet psychedelic covers of famous songs. Need I say more?

They are also named after a delicious food, which I have quite literally tried to recreate here. I haven’t used cacao butter too much in the past – in fact I’ve only ever used it to make raw chocolate – so I was unsure of how this might turn out. I had hoped that it would help the fudge to be a bit more solid and hold form, which it did. Funnily enough, it turned out tasting very white chocolatey, maybe more so than fudgey. Regardless, I reckon it tastes pretty damn good. I cut it into bit sized squares with the intention that one as a little afternoon treat would be adequate. Obviously I ate it all within a few sittings. Ahem.

vanillafudgeRaw Vanilla Fudge

Vanilla layer:
3/4 cup cashews, soaked
1/2 cup cacao butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp maca (optional)
1/3 cup coconut cream
2 vanilla beans
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Chocolate topping:
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 1/2 Tbsp cacao
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Prepare a slice tin by lining with baking paper.

Blend cashews until they resemble coarse crumbs.

Melt coconut oil and cacao butter over double boiler, then add to blender along with agave, maca, vanillas and salt. Blend until combined. Add coconut cream and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into prepared tin and place in the freezer until set.

For the topping, melt coconut oil over a double boiler. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients. Pour over fudge base and return to the freezer until set.

Store in the fridge to avoid meltiness.

vanillafudge2I totally dig this cover of the Zombies song, She’s Not There. Ch-ch-check it out! The last chorus just kills it! Yeeeeow!

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Music for your Mouth: Peanut Butter Wolf

I was just thinking to myself the other day how peanut butter and chocolate is one of the best flavour combinations – you can’t beat salty and sweet. Then, yesterday, out of nowhere, my housemate was talking about how much she loved peanut butter, but hated it with sweet things like chocolate. Whaaaa? Different strokes for different folks I suppose!

Peanut Butter Wolf is a DJ who spins some funky tunes, which are great to listen to in the kitchen. I tell ya, it’s the best for getting into a smooth rhythm of measuring and pouring and sauntering from the cupboard to the bench. And if I were a peanut butter wolf, I would definitely be hunting down peanut butter cups, that’s for sure.

I’ve made pb cups using melted choc and roasted pb before, but when I decided to make these ones I didn’t have any chocolate on hand. As a result I came up with these little raw fellas, and I think they make a pretty sweet replacement.

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Raw Peanut Butter Cups
(makes about 12 cups)

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup agave
Pinch pink Himalayan salt
3/4 cup raw natural peanut butter

Set out twelve small muffin papers or chocolate cases, ready to go.

Melt coconut oil in double boiler, remove bowl and add cacao, agave and salt. Stir well to combine.

Pour about a teaspoon of the mix into cases and spread around the edges.

pb1Place cases in the freezer and allow to set.

Remove from freezer and fill each cup with about a teaspoon of peanut butter.

pb2Fill to the top of each case with chocolate and return to the freezer until set. Enjoy!

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Music for your Mouth: The Lemonheads

The Lemonheads remind me a lot of being in high school. A time when I was absorbing a LOT of music, much of it from before my time. The song at the bottom of this post was the first I ever heard from the band, and it got me interested enough to find some more tunes, which led me to some of their earlier, heavier stuff, such as the recommended blending song below. I’m pretty excited to spotlight this band, because they’re coming to Australia at the end of the year, and I’m going to see them! Yeehahhhh!

I guess this is kind of a strange dessert to match the Lemonheads – I don’t think they are really a raw dessert kind of band. Nevertheless, these tarts are a tasty treat. To be honest, I just thought it would be an easy lemon thing to make. I’m copping out already – on day two! Ahhhh…who cares, it is a delicious cop out at worst – I can live with that.

lemonheadsApart from setting time (and even then, they only really need about 45 mins), these are such a quick and simple dessert to whip up that is sure to impress any guests. The filling is super zesty and not too sweet, which is how I like my lemony desserts. The tarts have had the tick of approval from the Bear and the family, so they are definitely being added to the repertoire.

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A song for you to drown out the whizzing of the blender:

 

Raw Lemon Tarts
(makes 3 tarts, maybe 4 if you use smaller tins)

Base:
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup medjool dates, pits removed
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of pink himalayan salt

Filling:
1 cup cashews, soaked
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp agave nectar
Pinch of pink himalayan salt

Dash of turmeric for colour

Lemon zest and strawberry to garnish (optional)

Place pecans and walnuts in a blender or food processor and blend until they resemble coarse crumbs. Add dates, vanilla and salt and blend until the mixture holds together. Press into tart tins and put in the freezer to set.

Blend filling ingredients until smooth and creamy. The mixture should be pourable – add a little more coconut milk if necessary. Spread evenly amongst tart bases, then return to freezer to set.

Garnish with some extra lemon zest and strawberry.

lemonheads3As I said, this is the first Lemonheads song I ever heard, and it has always had a knack of sticking in my head for ages – I’m too much with myself, I wanna be someone else, I’m too much with myself, I wanna be someone else.

I love the little vocal harmony from Juliana Hatfield. The folky tune and smooth warm voice meant I could listen to it over and over and over. Sit back, relax and enjoy the delicious tunes.

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