Yong Green Food

At the start of June, my Granny came over from Perth to visit. On one of the first days she was here, she and my mum came to meet me in Fitzroy and we went to Yong Green for lunch.

I was happy to find they were open when we arrived, as I have been having some poor luck with them this year – every time I make an effort to try and go, they end up being closed for holidays! Thankfully, not this time.

Yong Green Food have a wonderful menu which is based around healthy, sustainable and seasonal food and conscious eating. Pretty much the entire menu is vegan, or vegan on request, and they also cater for other dietary requirements such as organic, gluten-free and garlic/onion-free.

If the food’s not enough to draw you in, their sustainability initiatives are also admirable – Yong Green have taken steps to reduce their greenhouse emissions by purchasing their own GreenPower and acquiring carbon credits through abatement projects. They also donate 10% of their profits to support farmer-managed natural regeneration in East Africa.

yonggreen2We had a lot of trouble choosing what to eat – we couldn’t decide between entrees or desserts. Ultimately, we went with mains to ensure we had room for coffee and cake afterwards.

I went with the famous dragon bowl – brown rice, topped with various veggies (I think there was carrot, cucumber, sprouts and more) and sliced soy beef. There is also the option to have it with tofu.

yonggreen1Excuse the crappy photos and shadows plz.

The dragon bowl comes with a miso soup and chili sauce – the warm miso an especially nice touch for a winter’s day. The meal was delicious, filling and nourishing.

I didn’t actually take photos of my mum or granny’s meals – mum went with the macro dragon bowl, so it was very similar to mine. Granny went with a Japanese curry, which was absolutely scrumptious.

Then the cake!

yonggreen3We got a piece of raw cake each, and split them three ways so we could each have a taste. This was the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Not too dense and with a generous amount of raspberries and sauce, this was lovely.

yonggreen4I’d never had a raw pecan pie before, and our first meeting was successful. I would definitely eat you again pie!

yonggreen5The tiramisu was my favourite, and unfortunately the smallest (and most expensive) of the three. This was also my first raw tiramisu, and the addition of spiced rum was most welcome.

The cakes were very nice, though I’ve probably had better elsewhere, and given the price ($9 – $10.50/slice) I would probably prefer to spend the money on entrees next time as the savoury food on offer is more interesting.

Yong Green Food
421-423 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Mon – CLOSED
Tues – L – 12pm – 4pm, D – 5pm – 10pm
Wed – 5pm – 10pm
Thurs – Sat – L – 12pm – 4pm, D – 5pm – 10pm
Sun – L – 12pm – 4pm, D – 5pm – 9pm

Eating right at Vegie Bar

This post goes back to a meal I had a couple of months ago now – where did the time go? Looking at the pictures I can remember exactly when these were from – the sun was shining and it was a couple of days before I started my new job (so we’re going back to mid-March here). The bear and I were wandering around Fitzroy picking up a few last things, and putting an order in for some reward-for-new-job boots at Vegan Wares.

At the time, I was in the middle of a detox and all the walking around was getting my tummy rumbling. I can start feeling hungry and hold onto that feeling for a while, but once I cross over my hunger threshold, I turn to grumpy VERY quickly. Luckily for us, we were just down from Vegie Bar and I knew I would be able to find something detox-suitable, while the bear could choose from a range of more substantial options.

ImageI ordered the colourful raw Living Stack, which consisted of layers of zucchini, carrot and tomato on top of a marinated mushroom, with a tomato beetroot puree. It had a fancy dehydrated slice of tomato on top, as well as some pretty micro-greens. I’m sure there were other things involved in the stack, but I can’t remember this far on. It was served with a great big green salad on the side, which was topped with some long cheesy kale chips. This was just what I needed – lots of vibrant and fresh ingredients. I loved the bold flavour of the puree in the stack, but I have to admit the marinated mushroom was a bit too much for me – I had to pass some of it on to the bear. I’m still working on pushing the boundaries of my mushroom eating. I have another threshold – the raw mushroom threshold, which I definitely crossed on this day. It’s one of those things that I need to keep working on.

ImageThe bear enjoyed a satay tofu wrap, which despite its anemic appearance in comparison to my colourful meal, packed a lot of flavour and he seemed satisfied. I even took a sneaky bite, just to make sure everything was in order. Confirmation acquired.

Image

Bear also ordered a purifier juice – apple, carrot, celery and ginger, a combination that you can never really go wrong with. Despite declaring that I did not want a drink when we ordered, I thoroughly enjoyed drinking most of this one. Oops.

Another enjoyable meal at Vegie Bar, consistent with the last two visits I’ve made since being back in Melbourne. You can find the details of those trips here and here.


Vegie Bar

380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Mon-Thurs – 11am – 10pm
Fri – 11am – 10.30pm
Sat – 9am – 10.30pm
Sun – 9am – 10pm

Cheesy Cayenne Kale Chips (Raw)

This recipe is magic.

I swear – you make it, and it just disappears before your very eyes. It’s really quite unbelievable.

I was trying to emulate the Loving Earth kale chips here – I love the thick chunky cashew-y bits. Once the base is downpat, it’s easy to play around with the herbs and spices to get different flavour combinations. These are my favourite so far though – a bit of cheese and a bit of a cayenne kick – the perfect combo.

It’s also worth mentioning that these can be done the oven, however I find they turn out much better in the dehydrator. Probably because the only times I’ve done kale chips in the oven I’ve left them too long and burnt the butts off them. Oops.

Image
Cheesy Cayenne Kale Chips

1 bunch kale, washed, dried and thick stems removed
1 cup cashews
1 carrot, grated
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like to feel the buuurrrrnnn)
Dash of turmeric (for colour)
Salt (to taste)

Place all ingredients apart from the kale in a high speed blender and blend to combine. I find it easiest to use the tamper to keep pushing it down. If required, add a little bit of water at a time until it reaches a smooth – but still thick – consistency. It should be ‘spreadable’.

Cut or tear the kale into pieces and place into a bowl. Give it a bit of a squeeze/massage to break down some of the tougher fibres, then pour the cheesy mix on top.

I like to get my hands dirty here, I’m sure you could stir it through with a spoon if you prefer. Mix the cashew cheese amongst the kale, ensuring each piece gets coated. Apart from being a bit of fun, using your hands means you can fill the curls up with mixture, which I love.

Spread kale out on teflex lined dehydrator trays, and dehydrate for 6-12 hours, until crispy.

And voila! Watch them disappear!

kalechips2

Raw Lime Coconut Cookies

Last night I had a bit of fun with the dehydrator, and as a result have a few new recipes to share with you – the first one being the title of this post – Raw Lime Coconut Cookies.

So far, apart from drying fruits basically as they are or turning them into fruit leather, most of my dehydrating has resulted in savoury goods – variations of crackers and cauliflower popcorn. As a result, I decided it was about time I came up with something sweet. Enter these babies.

These are SO simple to make, with only a handful of ingredients and minimal prep. The result is a delicious, zesty and healthy cookie. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Image
Raw Lime Coconut Cookies
(makes about 15 cookies)

1 cup cashews (soaked for a couple of hours)
1 cup shredded coconut
2 Tbsp agave nectar (or other sweetener of choice)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp lime zest
Pinch of salt
Paste from 1/2 vanilla bean (or vanilla extract)

Place cashews in a food processor, and process until they resemble course crumbs.

Add coconut and pulse until combined.

Add remaining ingredients and process until combined to form a soft ‘dough’. If they are too wet, add some more coconut. If you find the mix is too dry, try adding a little water or more lime juice.

Roll teaspoons of the mix into balls and place on a dehydrator tray with a teflex sheet on it. Press each ball down to form a flat disc.

Dehydrate at 46C (115F) for 12-24 hours, depending on the texture you’d like. I did mine for about 15 hours, and they were nice and chewy.

Enjoy!

Image

Raw Cheese and Onion Cauliflower Popcorn

Listen up! I’ve got a new favourite raw snack thanks to Veganopolous, who gave me this great idea in her post last week.

I was already planning to get the dehydrator going on the weekend to make some more crackers, but I needed some ideas on what to fill the other trays with. Her post was very timely! As soon as I saw her picture, I knew I had to try this stuff. CAULIFLOWER POPCORN.

I decided to flavour it cheese and onion style, because it’s been forever since I’ve had that flavouring. I swear, this took me back to eating cheese and onion crinkle cut chips. They feel really junk foody, but minus the junk! Best thing is, they are so simple to prepare.

I’ll share the quantities I used below, but obviously these are very adjustable according to your taste.

Image


Raw Cheese and Onion Cauliflower Popcorn

1 head of cauliflower
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp onion powder
1/2 – 1tsp salt
A healthy dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Cut cauliflower into bite size pieces and place in a bowl.

Add oil and toss to coat.

Now add the rest of your seasonings – yeast, onion powder, salt and cayenne. Cover the bowl with a lid or plate and give it a good shake to coat all the pieces. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired.

Pop the pieces onto a dehydrator rack with a teflex sheet on it and dehydrate at 45C for 8-12 hours, or until crispy.

This could also be adapted and cooked at a low temperature in your oven.

And voila! Delicious, crispy and ADDICTIVE popcorn bites. The main issue I noticed is that when storing them, they tend to lose a bit of their crispiness. However, this doesn’t have to be an issue – they are seriously so moreish you will have to fight not to eat them all straight out of the dehydrator.

caulipop2

Fitzroy eats: Overdosa and Vegie Bar

Oh my lordy….this is my second last ‘catch-up’ post, and then I will be completely UP TO DATE, for the first time in MONTHS. The excitement is killing me.

So a couple of weeks ago, Billy and I popped over to Fitzroy to visit Overdosa. While we were still traveling I had heard about this magical pop-up dosa place and I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would still be open for us when we returned. As luck would have it, it was – but not for long…this was its last day of business out of the Rose St location.

Unfortunately we weren’t as hungry as I’d hoped we would be for this adventure, but we still managed to sample some of the delights on offer.

ImageThere were three dosas to choose from – potato masala, smokey eggplant with peas and a spicy tamarind pumpkin. I was already set on the smokey eggplant, which we got with a side of coconut chutney and some carrot salad. After the first bite, I knew I’d made the right decision. The dosa was lovely and crispy, and the filling was perfect…just the right amount of smokiness.

ImageBilly ordered a serve of the lentil poppers, with some curd and dill chutney (not vegan). We also got a serve of the chilli chutney, because it was the only one we hadn’t chosen and I felt bad. And also, I love chilli.

These were crispy, fluffy, and super addictive, and perfect with a dunking of chilli.

We really enjoyed both of our choices,and we’re now pretty sold on Overdosa. As I said, unfortunately they are no longer at the Rose St location, but are frequently popping up around town at festivals and bars – keep an eye out on their facebook page to see where they’ll be next. Do yourself a favour and track them down!

Next up: Vegie Bar.

I met a couple of aunties for lunch here one day, as one of them conveniently works right on Brunswick st. We popped over to Vegie Bar to fill our tummies. It was very busy (as usual), but we managed to get a table tucked up the back in a dark little corner.

It’s been a while between visits for me, and the menu has many new and exciting offerings, while still retaining some of the old favourites like roti wraps and pizzas. We were pretty hungry, and everything was looking pretty good, so we decided to get a bunch of plates and share them all.

ImageWe started with some dim sims to snack on. These were super crispy little parcels that did a good job of warding off hunger as we waited for our mains.

ImageNext up, some black bean nachos with pine nut cream, guacamole and jalapenos. Admittedly, these don’t look amazing – but looks can be deceiving. These babies were delicious (plus, who can go past black beans in a Mexican dish…NOT ME).

ImageThis was the raw quiche, which had a really interesting crust that was surprisingly sweet – it had shredded coconut in it and was no doubt something similar to what you would use for a raw dessert. This was not at all what I was expecting, but it worked surprisingly well and it was enjoyed by all.

ImageLastly, the vegan risotto. This was made with a combination of wild and brown rice, and was packed with veggies like corn, sweet potato and red capsicum, and had a beautiful flavour from the ginger, coconut, lemongrass and kaffir lime. Delicious and very filling – I was glad to be sharing this one.

A good majority of Vegie Bar’s current menu is already vegan, with more of it able to be vegan on request. I’m loving the variety of dishes on offer now, with something for everyone. I’ll definitely be back to have a go at some more of the menu (and maybe a dessert!) soon, if I can get a seat.

Overdosa
Various locations around Melbourne – see website

Vegie Bar
380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Mon-Thurs – 11am – 10pm
Fri – 11am – 10.30pm
Sat – 9am – 10.30pm
Sun – 9am – 10pm

Bunbury eats: Natural Temptation and The Plant Organic Cafe & Market

Another blast from the past post, jumping in the time machine and rewinding a few months back to when we passed through Bunbury.

After our drive back up from Albany with our brand spanking new (second hand) engine, I was keen to stop in at a new place I’d heard about called The Plant Organic Cafe and Market. As the name suggests, The Plant is a cafe that also offers a range of organic fresh produce and grocery items. It’s a neat and inviting little set up on the corner of an arcade, and there are a couple of funky little tables outside along the arcade.

When we arrived, we found out that it had only been open a week or two, and they didn’t have any lunch items on the menu yet. Never fear though, there was a selection of raw cakes and smoothies on offer that looked and sounded incredible, so we decided to go and grab lunch elsewhere and come back for the cake.

As I had spent quite a bit of time in Bunbury one year prior to this visit (while completing my uni placement), I was fairly familiar with the town and remembered that there was a place just up the road called Natural Temptation that had several vegan options on offer.

I’m going to be honest – I was more eating lunch out of maturity than anything else, because by now I just wanted to eat cake. Nevertheless, we found some raw wraps that sounded pretty good and Billy and I got one each.

Image
These were listed on the menu as being filled with lime slaw, beet and greens, and dressed with capsicum avocado guacamole. It sounded pretty good. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really determine the flavour of the lime slaw or the capsicum avocado guacamole – if they were in fact in there at all.

I enjoy raw food, but Billy usually has to be convinced by something particularly impressive, and this just didn’t make the cut. And I would have to agree that this was quite bland. Kind of the equivalent of a salad roll from the bakery. It’s salad, in a roll….not much more can be said. This was a bit of a shame, as the year before when we had visited I’m sure we had eaten something tasty.

It was also kind of disappointing to see it come out wrapped in plastic cling wrap. It kind of negates the biodegradable napkin underneath, and I don’t really think it’s a great way to serve something to customers who are dining in.

Edit 30/01/15: I was recently contacted by someone at Natural Temptation to advise that they have ditched the plastic wrapping and revised the dressings in the wrap. How good is that? I love when businesses take on board feedback from their customers, especially when it benefits the environment too. Way to go Natural Temptation 🙂

Aaanyway, after lunch we headed straight back to The Plant to get us some of that cake. There were three cakes on offer, so we immediately had to eliminate one from the mix.

Image
Billy immediate went for the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, and can you blame him? Look at that beauty! And after much deliberation, I chose the nut free banana mousse cake.

Image
Now I have eaten many a raw cake in my time, but let me tell you this – these cakes have got to be some of the best. Seriously.

I was completely in love with the banana mousse…it was so light and silky for a raw dessert, and packed with banana-y goodness and flavour. Luckily for me, Billy liked his own cheesecake better and for once we didn’t end up having food envy of one another and swapping plates halfway through. That’s not to say I didn’t like the cheesecake – it was absolutely divine. But having cake so soon after lunch, the lighter banana mousse cake was just what I needed.

Billy also got a smoothie – I think of the banana description. It’s been so long I can barely remember. I remember it being good though.

Image
The service at the Plant was fantastic, the guys there are super friendly and willing to have a chat, and make you feel very welcome in the space. As we got up to leave, the one we had initially spoken to on the way in was packing us up a piece of the final cake (choc-coconut) for the road. He claimed it was because it was the end of the day and the cakes would get thrown out, but I suspect he is just a super nice person.

Image

I doubt I need to tell you how great this was, so I won’t go on….but I will tell you for your own good – if you are ever in the Bunbury area, go visit The Plant and taste their incredible cakes. You won’t be sorry!

I can’t wait to get back there and see what else they’re doing. Keep up the good work guys!

Natural Temptation
47 Stephen St, Bunbury W.A
Mon – Fri – 7.30am – 5.30pm (until 6.30pm on Thursdays)
Sat – 8am – 4pm

The Plant Organic Cafe & Market
Shop 1, 20 Stephen St, Bunbury W.A
Tues – Sat – 9am – 5pm (until 6pm on Thursdays)

Random eats around Melbourne

Treats that I have enjoyed since returning to Melbourne (a short summary)

1. Mister Nice Guy’s Bakery, Prahran

ImageI finally got to visit this place!

When I left Melbourne, I think Mister Nice Guy’s were operating only as cupcake stockists for other places like Las Vegan Bakery and the Radical Grocery. I was so excited when I found out they had extended into two of their own locations AND started doing savoury stuff too. I grabbed this BLT bagel to take home and toast, and it didn’t disappoint. I’m not even sure if I’ve had a bagel before, this may well have been my first one. I’ll definitely be back for another.

ImageObviously I couldn’t leave without taking a few cupcakes with me. I grabbed one of every mini one they had left that afternoon, and from memory I think these were along the lines of vanilla/lavendar, red velvet, white chocolate macadamia, orange and gingerbread. My surprise favourite would probably have to be the vanilla/lavendar…the icing was just divine, with such delicate flavour.

Image

A few days later when my Mum and were doing some Christmas organising, we stopped in at the Prahran markets and I couldn’t walk past without grabbing these minis, as they weren’t present on my first visit. Peanut butter choc and peppermint choc. Yum!


2. Botanical Cuisine 

ImageI had seen the Botanical Cuisine range start popping up left right and centre but was yet to try any, particularly as while living in the van we didn’t have the most reliable source of refrigeration. Finally the time came! The Tiramisu-ish was okay, but I think I was put off as the first jar I bought had gone off. I took it back and got it replaced, but I couldn’t get the initial fizzy flavour out of my brain or taste buds. The walnut cheese, on the other hand, was amazing and featured prominently in a couple of Christmas lunch dishes, as well as snacks.


3. Loving Earth

ImageAnother thing I had been hanging out to try – the new white chocolate caramel block! I’m not entirely sure why, as I never had a huge thing for white chocolate, but this just seemed exciting so I jumped on board. It was nice, but I definitely prefer the dark chocolate flavours – this one was just a bit too sweet. Doesn’t mean I won’t eat it again though…


4. Berrissimo

ImagePopped in here while wandering Brunswick st one day and got this banana split/chocolate mousse combo with strawberries. I was impressed by the five or so vegan flavours available here. First taste, I enjoyed it, however after a while I realised that I had bitten off more than I could chew, even with a small. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing – the size and price are quite generous, but I wish Billy and I shared one instead of getting one each as I couldn’t finish this and Billy only did so begrudgingly. Granted, we’d had lunch and beers not long before, so perhaps on an empty stomach we could put up a better fight.


5. Bokchoy Tang stall

ImageMy Mum and I stumbled upon a mini food festival in Fed square one weekend when we went into the city. Bokchoy Tang had a little stall, and were doing these veggie buns, of which we got a plate of four to share. What I loved about these was the fact that you could distinguish one part from the other in the filling – it wasn’t all unrecognisable mush. These were nice and fresh and packed with greens, and I loved the generous amount of sesame seeds in them.

We also shared some steamed edamame with chili salt from Chocolate Buddah, but I forgot to capture them.


6. Madecasse chocolate

ImageChocolate + spice. Need I say more?


7. Wedding

ImageImageImageI went to a beautiful friend’s lovely wedding, and was catered for so amazingly. I always feel like a bit of a burden at events like this, but this meal made me feel special, hehe.


8. ABC butter

ImageCh-ch-ch-ch-ch- h-check it out! My first nut butter in my new blender. This is almond, brazil nut and cashew and it is deeeeelicious!


9. Smoothie

ImageImageAnd of course, smoothies in the blender! This one is apple, pineapple, cucumber, kale, lime juice and cayenne pepper. It’s a wake up kick!


10. Grace Cafe

ImageImagePopped into a friend’s cafe for a coffee with my Aunty and my friend Liz from I Spy Plum Pie, and being late in the afternoon we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. It was charming and cosy sitting outside in the opened out shipping container, and they even had a vegan chocolate zucchini cake on offer. How could I not?!


11. Raw Caramel Slice

ImageAnd lastly, I whipped another batch of my raw caramel slice because, well, it’s DELICIOUS. My whole family loves it, not to mention everybody I’ve given some to sample, so I think this one will definitely be on the repeat list. Mmmm caramel….

Mister Nice Guy’s Bakeshop PRAHRAN SHOP CLOSED
Stall 98B, Prahran Market
163 Commerical Road, South Yarra
Tues, Thurs, Fri & Sat – 9am-5pm
Sun – 10am-3pm
(Closed Mon, Wed and public holidays)

BerrissimoCLOSED
2/360 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Mon-Thurs – 1pm-9.30pm
Fri – 1pm-10.30pm
Sat – 12pm-10.30pm
Sun – 12pm-9.30pm

Grace Cafe
76 Rose St, Fitzroy
Mon-Fri – 7am-4pm
Sat-Sun – 8am-5pm

Playing catch-ups: Ravens Coffee and around Denmark, W.A

I have a bunch of food slash places that I want to share with you that we ate at back in Western Australia. I know, that was sooooo last year. But I’m going to start working my way through the backlog so that I can start being in the present again.

After our van troubles and our decision to NOT drive across the Nullabor, I was a bit sad at not getting to explore the bottom part of W.A, something I was so looking forward to. Luckily for me, when we sourced a new engine for the van, it happened to be located in Albany, which I reckon is close to being one of the most southern parts of W.A.

This meant a trip down there, a short stay, and a meandering journey back. It was really cool, because we got to drive through the town my mum was born in (Mt. Barker) and also spend a little bit of time in one of the towns my dad lived in as a child (Denmark). South Western Australia is so freaking beautiful, and while I’m bummed at the lack of time we got to spend there, I know I’ll be back.

We arrived in Denmark first thing in the morning, and I’d heard rumours of a great cafe called Ravens Coffee, who specialise in raw food as well as, well, coffee. I was so excited to eat some delicious food, and let me tell you, I was not let down.

ImageRavens Coffee has a really great vibe, with plenty of indoor and limited outdoor seating. It was a beeeaauutiful morning, so we jumped at the chance to sit out in the sunshine.

First up, coffees. There are a variety of non-dairy milks on offer here, so we decided to try something a little different from the regular soy and settled on hazelnut milk. I love the combination of hazelnut and coffee…what an aroma.

ImageWhile not exclusively vegan or even vegetarian, the majority of the menu is vegan (hoorah!) and we had a hard time choosing as there were so many tempting things on offer. In the end settled on two dishes to share.

First up, the buckies – an organic superfood cereal mix of activated buckwheat, pepitas and almonds, maca, mesquite,cinnamon, cacao, white mulberries, and dried fruit, with fruit compote on top and doused in hazelnut milk.

ImageI loved the presentation of this dish, it looked so beautiful with the swirl of compote and the sprig of mint that I almost didn’t want to spoil it by eating it. Almost.

The different textures in this were amazing, the chewiness of the fruits and the crunch of the nuts and seeds were a perfect combination. Textures, flavour, aesthetics…it was all there! The mint garnish tasted so good with it all that we ripped it into tiny pieces and spread it throughout.

ImageNext up the ‘fruit and sprinkles’ – a combination of seasonal fruits topped with organic spirulina crunchies, raw organic chocolate sauce and cacao crunchies.

Oh. My. God. That chocolate sauce….you have no idea.

Billy and I were raving about it the whole time we were eating it. It was quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever tasted.

I loved the idea of the spirulina crunchies – I’m not sure what the deal was there – potentially dehydrated? Whatever the case, they were great, and I’m such a fan of eating with my hands that I loved grabbing and dipping the fruit chunks.

I honestly could have stayed here all day, as there was a cabinet full of delicious treats like raw pizza, wraps, desserts, etc., but alas, we had to move on. We wandered around the gorgeous little town for a while before heading up the road to Greens Pool which is a must see when visiting Denmark.

ImageThe water was crystal clear and stunning. Again, we could have spent the day here, although this time it was the weather that sent us on our way. Hard to believe from these pictures, but not long after a windy stormlet (I say stormlet as it wasn’t quite big enough to be a full blown STORM) cruised in and sent everyone on the beach running.

ImageWe wanted to do the Valley of the Giants Treetop walk, but it was too wet by the time we got there so again, we resigned to doing it some other time. We still had a look around the area while we were there.

ImageAfter heading through Walpole, we went north towards Manjimup. While we didn’t get a chance to visit THE big tree in Pemberton, we found many others along the way.

ImageImageImageImage

Ooh it’s getting late so I think I’ll leave it there for today, but I’ve got some more yumminess to share with you hopefully tomorrow. Until then! X

Ravens Coffee
1/7 South Coast Highway, Denmark W.A
Open 7 days – 8am – 6pm

Raw Caramel Slice

While I have been known to enjoy raw desserts, I have been yet to foray into the world of cooking them (cooking? preparing?) aside from variations of the old bliss ball. That was, until now (duh duh duhhhhh!)

I’ve been using mesquite powder a fair bit lately, in smoothies, bliss balls, chia pudding and the like. Mesquite powder is produced from the seeds of the mesquite tree, and I love the naturally sweet, nutty, caramel flavor it adds. It’s also low GI and helps stabilise blood sugars. Oh, and it’s also packed with various vitamins, minerals and amino acids, including calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, lysine, iron and fibre. Yowzers!

But while sipping on my mesquitey smoothies, I had a dream. A dream where the nutty carameliness of the mesquite could really be the star of the show. And what better way than caramel slice? And now I’ve finally done it. It was highly experimental, as is most of the stuff that I do in life, but I think it turned out pretty well. The slice is super rich so it’s not something you can wolf down, but it certainly hits that sweet spot.

Enjoy!

Image

Raw Caramel Slice

Base
1 cup medjool dates (soaked)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup almonds
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cacao powder

Caramel
1 1/2 cups medjool dates (soaked)
1 1/2 Tbsp tahini (less if you’re not the biggest tahini fan – the flavour is quite noticeable. Omit entirely if desired) **edited to say that the tahini flavour settles right down after a day – the next day I couldn’t taste it at all!
3 Tbsp mesquite powder
1 cup cashews, (soaked)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla
Generous pinch of salt

Chocolate
1/2 cup cacao
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
1/2 cup coconut oil

– Line the bottom of a slice tray with greaseproof paper. I used a square casserole dish that was about 20x20cm
– Combine base ingredients in a blender/food processor until they are the consistency of a thick paste. You may need to add a little water if it is too dry
– Press evenly into slice tin and place in the freezer to set

– Next, combine all the caramel ingredients in the blender. I like to do the nuts first, then add the rest.
– Blend until smooth. Again, you can always add a little water if you need to thin the mix out.
– Spread over base, then return to freezer

– Whisk chocolate ingredients together in a bowl
– Spread over the rest of the slice and return into the freezer one last time to ensure it sets

Slice up and devour! Store any leftovers in the fridge to keep them firm.