Homemade Raw Bars

After giving up refined sugar I got hooked on these things.  They are an absolutely delicious, feel-good treat (Pulsin is on the ethical chocolate list) which is almost guilt-free.  Almost.  Unfortunately they’re wrapped in plastic.  So, to avoid that, I decided to make my own – and they are equally yummy, if I do say so myself 😀

I ordered my supplies from the Zero Waste Club – a wonderful new company from whom you can order all sorts of healthy staples without plastic wrapping.  The following is my first attempt and it made a lot of bars.  In future I’ll halve these measurements 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Almost 3 mugs full (500g) of organic pitted dates
  • About 2 mugs full (about 350g) of organic cashews
  • About 1 mug full of organic raisins
  • About half a mug full of organic cocoa powder (to be truly raw, substitute raw cacao)
  • About a mug full of organic cacao nibs
  • Some organic oats (to be truly raw, omit these)

First soak the dates and the cashews in water (separately) in the fridge for a couple of hours to soften.  Afterwards, drain and rinse the cashews in a colander.

I don’t have a food processor (I used to have one but it broke and I refuse to buy another one which will also break at some point and add more plastic to landfill) so I used my beloved manual juicer to process these ingredients.  This is a simple, hand-crank machine made of stainless steel which I believe will last me a life time.  I highly recommend it 😀 (BL-30 Manual Stainless Steel Wheat Grass and Vegetable Juicer)

  1.  Process the softened dates into mush and put them in a large mixing bowl.2.  Process the softened cashews into mush and add them to the bowl with the dates.3.  Mix the stiff mixture of dates and cashews until thoroughly combined.4.  Process the raisins into mush and mix them into the mixture.5.  Add the cocoa and the cacao nibs and mix until everything is fully combined into a lovely chocolatey mixture.6.  If you don’t want to add the oats, you’re finished so you can spread the mixture into a tin or onto a plate or container.  It is delicious now but you won’t be able to pick it up with your fingers to eat it, like a shop-bought bar.  You’ll need a plate and a fork coz it’s mushy.  So, I added a few oats to stiffen it up.  Just add a few at a time and mix them in until you’ve got the consistency you want.7.  When the mixture is the right consistency, spread it onto a lined cookie sheet (I lined it with eco-friendly grease proof paper from If You Care)  Flatten it with  the back of  a wet spoon.8.  Then cut it into bars and chill in the fridge.  Easy 😀 Yum 😀

 

Easy Gluten-Free Flatbread

This is so easy and absolutely delicious 😀

No fat, no yeast, no gluten and no frying.  Just oats and water.  Baked.

You’ll need:

8 oz rolled oats

400 ml of water

parchment paper to line your baking trays so that you don’t need to oil them.

** For garlic bread version see bottom of post 🙂

First pre-heat your oven to 220°C (less if it’s a fan oven).

Then weigh out about 8 oz of rolled oats and mill it into a flour in your food processor (with the S blade).

Add 200ml of water, whiz to combine with the flour and then add another 200ml and whiz again so that you’ve got a runny, pour-able mixture.

Line two baking trays with parchment paper, and pour half the mixture onto each of them.

Then spread it thinly and evenly with the back of a spoon, and put the trays in the oven.

After about 20 minutes remove trays from the oven and turn the bread over.  Turn the trays around so that they get evenly baked and return to the oven for another 6 or 7 minutes.

Remove and put on plates 😀

If you want them crispier, bake them for a little longer but keep a close eye on them because there is a very fine line between crisp and burnt.

Now do what you like with them.  Add your favourite spreads, cover them with beans, use them as pizza bases, make sandwiches with them …. whatever you like.

** To make amazing garlic bread just add a few cloves of fresh garlic to the oats when you mill it into flour (I use 4 fat ones to this amount of oats but if you like your garlic stronger, add as much as you like).  The garlic will be finely minced and combined with the oat flour.  Then, instead of using parchment paper on the trays, generously grease them with vegetable oil and preheat the greased trays before adding the runny mixture.  This will produce delicious crispy garlic bread ready to eat with no need for margarine.

Presents!!!

But before they sat down to tea, Kauri gave Grandpa his present.

“Happy Birthday Grandpa, I made this for you,” he said.

vegan children's story

“Oh thank you Kauri,” said Grandpa when he’d unwrapped it, “I just love it!”

vegan children's story

And Myrtle gave her present to Grandpa.

“Happy Birthday Grandpa,” she said, “I made this for you.”

vegan children's story

“Oh thank you Myrtle,” said Grandpa when he’d unwrapped it, “I absolutely love it!”

vegan children's story

And he was thrilled with the delicious birthday tea the children had made for him.  But Cedro was too excited to wait for everyone to finish the savouries before they got to his present …

vegan children's story

… so he cut a slice for Grandpa straight away and said

“Happy Birthday Grandpa, I made this for you.”

vegan children's story

And with a great big smile Grandpa took it and said,

“Oh thank you Cedro, I really really love it.”

vegan children's story

And he really REALLY did.

vegan children's story

vegan children's story

The End 😀

You can read the whole story here and it is available in paperback here 🙂

vegan story book

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Time for tea!

By then it was time to get ready for Grandpa Wollemi’s Birthday tea.

Everyone was very excited.

vegan children's story

There were crisps and cookies and mini pizzas;

vegan children's story

there were crackers and pasta salad and pineapple on sticks;

vegan children's story

and the big birthday cake, made entirely by Cedro, was the centrepiece.

vegan children's story

*************

continues tomorrow 😀

but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole story here now 🙂

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vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, vegan cake, vegan party, vegan party tea, vegan birthday party

The Cake!

… when the buzzer went off he put on his oven gloves and carefully removed the cake from the hot oven.  He took it out of the tin and put it on a wire rack to cool.

vegan children's story

When it was cool, Cedro sliced it in half and spread jam in the middle to make a big jam sandwich cake.

vegan children's story

Next, Cedro weighed out 4 ounces of icing sugar and sieved it into a bowl.  To that he added about 3 teaspoons of water and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and stirred until the icing was thick and smooth.

vegan children's story

He spread the icing on the cake.

vegan children's story

Then he decorated it beautifully with deliciously sweet organic raisins.

vegan children's story

***************

continues tomorrow 🙂

but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole story now 😀

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vegan story, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, vegan picture book

Buckwheat Brown and White Cookies

Buckwheat flour

I’ve recently discovered buckwheat which is naturally gluten free as it is not actually a grain – it’s a fruit seed.  Buckwheat is related to rhubarb and the flour has a subtle sweet fruity taste to it which means you don’t need so much sugar.  This organic Doves Farm pack is not certified gluten free because it wasn’t bagged in a totally gluten-free environment, but I have been told they do do a certified gluten-free version for those who are highly sensitive.  My recipe is very simple:

8 ounces  organic buckwheat flour

3 ounces organic fair trade sugar

100 ml organic sunflower oil

4 tablespoons of water

organic fair trade cocoa

***

First pre-heat the oven to 180°c.  Weigh out half of your dry ingredients (ie 4 oz flour and 1.5 oz sugar) and place in a mixing bowl with a dessert spoon or two of sieved cocoa.  Mix well and then add half the wet ingredients (50 ml oil and 2 tablespoons of water).  You might need a dribble or two more of water to compensate for the cocoa and make a soft, moist cookie mixture.

buckwheat cookies

  (Bear in mind that I had doubled the recipe the day I photographed it so you won’t have this much mixture unless you do the same).  Put the chocolatey mixture to one side and mix up the other half of ingredients (minus the cocoa) in another bowl.

buckwheat cookies

Then spoon teaspoons full of ‘white’ mixture onto ungreased baking trays.  Flatten with the back of a spoon.  (These look quite big because I had doubled the recipe that day)

buckwheat cookies

Then add another teaspoon of chocolate brown mixture to each cookie and press it on like so:

buckwheat cookies

buckwheat cookies

Bake for 20 minutes and then remove to a cooling tray.  There is no need to double the mixture, the 8 oz mixture makes 20 to 24 cute little cookies, but if you want big fat ones like these you know what to do!  Oh, and if you do double it they’ll need cooking a bit longer – say 30 mins at 170° in a fan oven.

These are so yummy that I forgot to take any pictures of them after they came out of the oven.  When they’ve cooled they’re kind of hard, like a ginger nut, but a little bit chewy on the inside.

buckwheat cookies

O is for omelette

Oo

Omelette    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  beaten eggs fried and often folded over filling.

Our definition:  Omelettes are made from eggs laid by birds (usually chickens) kept in unnatural, confined conditions, more often than not in over-crowded barns with no access to the outside and no natural light or fresh air.  Their miserable lives are short, ending when they begin to lay less eggs at about 12 to 18 months of age (naturally, healthy chickens could live into their teens if not taken by a predator, though those rescued from chicken farms don’t usually live longer than 4 years due to their harrowing start in life).  Contrary to popular opinion, buying free range is not the cruelty free option since these birds’ lives will also end in brutal slaughter by the tender age of 18 months.  NB farms can label their eggs free range if there is access to an outdoor area from the chickens’ barn even though most of the birds in the overcrowded barn are never able to reach the door.  Male chicks are horribly killed en masse shortly after hatching.

Buying tofu, on the other hand, is the cruelty free option and if you love eggs, you’ll really love tofu 😀

Spinach Tofu Scramble. Photo by Evelyn Oliver

Spinach Tofu Scramble. Photo by Evelyn Oliver

For the rest of the dictionary, click here