Chocolate, Blueberry and Banana Ice Cream Cake (raw and vegan!)

Raw, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free, Gluten Free
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I’ve been eating ice cream cake and listening to this song on repeat all morning. Faded pajama pants, woolly socks, green tea and Thelma and Louise – one of those kind of mornings. It’s a beautiful day outside too. I can see the sunlight literally pouring through my window, catching the dust. I know I should go outside and do something productive, but it’s just one of those days.

One of those ice cream cake and woolly sock days.
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I’m one of those people that likes to be active literally all the time. I like to fill my days with work and nights with fun and fall into bed exhausted at the end of the week, drifting to sleep instantly.

I like to ignore the parts of life that are not so pleasant by distracting myself; by filling my life with “things.”

A few weeks ago something ended with a special someone, and instead of crying with Adele playing and eating ice cream by myself for a week, I just shoved my heart deep down inside and got on with life – more than that, poured myself in to each day so that was barely time to pause and think.
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As a tactic it actually did work quite well, for a while. Until I had one of those woolly sock days. And now I guess I feel a little…lost. Not sad, no. No regrets or anger. Just a little disconnected, drifting. So I’m eating ice cream cake. And listening to Bon Iver. And watching Thelma and Louise, which I personally think is possibly the best movie ever.

I think we all forget that sometimes, you need to eat ice cream and watch movies. It’s good for spiritual health, and for discovering which of your socks are the warmest and which are sneakily not very warm. This ice cream cake is so good, I keep squirrelling away slices to eat at every hour of the day and night. I couldn’t get a complete photo of it because I ate a slice in the middle of the night before it was even frozen!

The bottom is a rich and creamy avocado chocolate cinnamon ice cream, followed by a blueberry and coconut cream layer, followed by vanilla flecked banana. Soooo good! And you can sub in cashew cream for the coconut to make it completely raw and vegan! You can have your cake and eat the whole thing too 🙂

One Year Ago: Black Bean Avocado Fudge Brownies

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Chocolate, Blueberry and Banana Ice Cream Cake:
2 perfectly ripe avocados
4 tbsp raw cacao
4 tbsp maple syrup or soaked dates
2 tbsp almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup either coconut yogurt, cream or cashew cream
2 tbsp maple syrup

2 frozen bananas
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp almond milk

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Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper, to make it easier to remove later. Blend together well the avocado, syrup or dates and almond milk. Blend in the cinnamon and spoon in to the ice cream tin. Smooth the surface and freeze for at least 20 minutes before pouring on the next layer.

Blend together the blueberries, coconut or cashew cream and maple syrup. Pour over the avocado chocolate layer and freeze for at least two hours.

Blend together the frozen bananas, milk and vanilla until creamy. Pour over the blueberry layer and freeze the whole cake for at least 4 hours before cutting and serving. Serves 8-10.
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Chocolate and Blueberry Mousse Tart

Vegan, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, optional Raw

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 Guess what day is right around the corner! It’s……VALENTINES DAY! To celebrate I made a chocolate mousse tart topped with fresh blueberries. It’s the perfect valentines day dessert because it’s rich, creamy and chocolatey, and will win you love from whoever you decide to give it to. It’s also super easy to make and very comforting. It can be eaten with a spoon, by yourself, in your pyjamas. I won’t judge you. 

Valentines Day is always such a weird day. Last year for the first time in my life I actually had a real valentines, so me and my boyfriend went out for dinner. He ordered four dishes all for himself while I got just one…and then could barely move after eating them all. And then the waiter dropped his dessert on his lap and looked like she (he? we never really found out) was going to cry so we had to comfort her (or him) while we waited for a new one. It was sooo romantic.

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 This year I think I’m just going to make him some kind of warm chocolate brownie pudding and homemade ice cream. Because that’s his favourite and eating warm brownies and ice cream is the best way to celebrate any occasion. If someone wanted to make me a chocolate dessert for the special day (hint hint…) it would be this chocolate tart. I’ve been wanting to experiment more with silken tofu ever since I made mango pudding with it. I saw some amazing looking chocolate tarts that used it as a base and got so excited to make a chocolate mousse tart! With fresh blueberries because you should always add fresh blueberries when they’re cheap and in season. Am I RIGHT???

I didn’t want to use all melted chocolate as the sweet component, but I didn’t want to just use cocoa powder and sweetener. So I ended up using a balance of 100g melted dark chocolate with some vanilla, agave and raw cacao powder. I was so so happy with how it came out! The flavour was intensely chocolatey and rich, but the texture was just perfect! Super creamy and light. You’d never guess how light and healthy this tart is.

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 I decided to make a raw walnut and sultana base because I wanted people to have the option of making it completely raw. If you want to, just replace the 600g of silken tofu with two perfectly ripe avocados. You may want to increase the agave as well. It won’t last as long in the fridge, but it will have a deliciously smooth texture and lots of healthy omega fats. Put your hands up for healthy fats! 

The blueberries tasted so good with this tart as they sunk into the chocolatey custard layer, but you could top it with anything you want. Orange slices, strawberries, coconut cream, banana slices, nuts, praline! The list goes on forever. If you’re allergic to nuts, you can also replace the walnuts with a combination of flax and sunflower seeds. I don’t have a powerful blender and I still managed to make this tart in about half an hour, not including freezing time.Just bash up your nuts in a mortar and pestle first and soak your dried fruit so it blends faster. Happy Valentines Day! 

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 Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Berry Mousse Tart: Inspired by Baking = Love

For the Base:

2 cups walnuts or sunflower and flax seeds, bashed into crumbs in a mortar and pestle

1 cup sultanas, soaked briefly in warm water (about 20 minutes)

3-4 tbsp cocoa powder

For the Filling:

600g (21 ounces) silken tofu, drained

100g (3.5 ounces) dark semi-sweet chocolate, or more or less depending how rich you like

3 tbsp raw cacao powder

1 tbsp agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla extract

500g (1 pound) blueberries

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Start recipe a day before. Line a 20cm tart or cake tin with plastic wrap of foil (not baking paper as this will disintegrate when you freeze it). Blend together the walnuts and sultanas, adding the cocoa powder as you go to reach a thick, cookie dough like consistency. You may need to add a teaspoon of water or milk if it’s too crumbly. Press with your fingers into the tart tin, pushing the dough out to make an even layer on the bottom and sides of the tin. Keep in the freezer for at least 4 hours, until ready to fill. 

To make the filling, blend the drained tofu with the melted chocolate until smooth. Sift the cocoa powder well, and blend in, tasting as you go to reach the desired chocolatey flavour. Blend in the agave syrup and vanilla to sweeten, adding more if it’s too bitter. Pour into the tart tin and keep in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Top with the berries when ready to serve. Lasts well in the fridge for a day or two. 

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Layered Chia Coconut & Fruit Puddings

Vegan, Refined Sugar and Gluten Free

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 The first time I made chia pudding I had a horrific experience. I ate too many chia seeds, my stomach swelled up, I didn’t put any yummy maple syrup in it, it was just miserable. I did kind of like the pudding itself though, even though I was still in my early chia pudding days. The chocolate chia pudding I made next was out of this world good. Creamy from avocados, chocolatey, sweet and peanut buttery. But it wasn’t really breakfast material. It was more dessert territory. I wanted to master the perfect fruit chia pudding. And I finally did it. 

I thought I must be some kind of colour goddess when I thought up this beautiful layered effect. But then I went to the bathroom and realised I had made an exact replica of my bar of soap…it’s exactly the same! I must have been subconsciously inspired whilst I was washing my hands! The bottom layer is mango and coconut milk, the middle layer is strawberry coconut and the topping is blueberry and almond milk. This is complete sacrilege because mango is always my favourite, but this time the blueberry was actually the star of the show. It was so sweet and jammy. It tasted like blueberry cheesecake ice cream, which was my favourite flavour when I was nine. Fun fact I know.

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The key to making good chia pudding is to put in lots of yummy ingredients as the backbone of the recipe. Chia has no flavour. None at all. It’s packed full of iron, antioxidants, vitamins and is a complete protein, but it tastes like nothing at all (That makes me not trust it…what is chia hiding from us?). The coconut milk makes the pudding deliciously creamy and rich, and the high ratio of fruit makes the pudding really sweet and hearty. Add some maple syrup if your fruit isn’t very sweet, and only use perfectly ripe and flavoursome fruit. Don’t use mushy or bitter berries, because they will taste even worse mixed up in a pudding.

Feel free to mix up the flavours and layers as well! Use whatever fruit and milk you prefer. You can use rice, almond, or soy. Just remember the flavour- it will come through! And guess what. You can totally eat these for breakfast. Just layer them in a jar, stick in some chopped fruit, and away you go. 

This post is similar to an old chia pudding recipe I made (even the photos!) but the subtle changes really make it so much yummier! That’s why I’m putting it up again. PS whoever can spot where I edited my reflection off the back of a spoon gets a shout out.

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 Layered Chia Pudding Recipe:

For 4 jars of chia pudding:

8 tablespoons chia seeds 

2 cups of coconut milk, almond milk, soy, rice or dairy

1/2 a medium mango, sliced

1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) defrosted if frozen

1/2 cup strawberries, cut up in chunks

1-2 tbsp maple syrup, optional Image

Separate the chia into three even sized bowls. Put the mango in a blender with 1/3 of the coconut milk and blend well. Pour into one of the bowls with chia and stir until well combined. Wash out the blender and repeat with the other two fruits, until you have three bowls of pudding beginning to set. Pour in your first layer carefully so it doesn’t splash on the sides. Wait to set (about ten minutes, not much longer) and repeat with your next layer. Add the final layer and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight, so they’re fully set. 

It’s easiest to fill the jars with the pudding when it’s still slightly runny, otherwise it’s hard to scoop in. You don’t need to use jars- cups look good, or bowls as well. Jars are just handy because you can put a lid on them and take them to work in the morning. Add the maple syrup to any fruits that weren’t very sweet, or as a nice top layer add a little dollop that you can swirl through. And remember, chia is really filling! You don’t need much to feel full at all xx

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Fluffy Banana and Blueberry Pancakes

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This morning, there was pancake. Glorious, crispy, banana and berry filled pancakes smothered in maple syrup. But first there was failure. I woke up with a brilliant idea of making coconut and banana pancakes filled with desiccated coconut and drizzled with honey. As I was stirring in the coconut the doubt began to descend. ‘Why so lumpy’? I pondered to myself. ‘Hmmm’ I muttered. ‘There seems to be water in this batter’. I should have stopped there, but I persevered and got out the frying pan. ‘Strange… every pancake was sticking to the pan’? That’s how the episode began. It ended with me pointing to a ruined frying pan in the sink filled with burnt pancake and shouting ‘YOU F***ING BETRAYED ME’. Needless to say the first pancakes did not turn out well. 

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Instead of giving in, I thought no. This is not the day that the pancake wins. So I pulled out trusty Nigella Lawson’s pancake recipe from How to Eat and adjusted her recipe, knowing it would lead me safely down the pancake path. I lowered the amount of milk and added a mashed banana but otherwise the recipe is the same. These aren’t anything fancy pancy. There isn’t any coconut (don’t try it! I think that’s what made them stick!) or buttermilk or Turkish yogurt or whole wheat. But they are still delicious. They are fluffy, and very fast to make. If you please you can chill them for an hour before making them but I never do, and they work out fine.

What to watch is the heat of the stove, it should be medium. The melted butter, there should be minimum froth in the pan if you don’t want uneven edges. And the berries- don’t add them until you’ve already poured the batter in. I use the same ladle filled to the brim for every scoop so that all the pancakes are even, but you don’t have to be as particular as all that. 

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Making these pancakes today and having a kitchen failure made me realise how long it had been since I’d completely stuffed up a recipe. Haunting memories of the chocolate cake that had no oil, and could be folded in half like a rubber tire, floated to mind. Or chocolate roulade that ended up a pile of melted chocolate cream and broken shards of crispy pancake sponge. In the end though it was always good to make those failures because I’d still tried something new, and learnt from my failures.

These pancakes today were born out of pancake failure. And they’re great. So you should make them too. 

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Fluffy Banana and Blueberry Pancakes: Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Pancake Recipe

1 banana, mashed, plus more for topping

1 egg

200ml (1 cup) milk

30g (2 tbsp) butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

125g (1 cup) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

100g (1/2 cup) fresh or frozen whole blueberries

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 Sift your flour and baking powder into a large bowl. In a separate bowl mash your banana well. Crack egg into the flour and mix until just combined. Stir in the mashed banana. Slowly mix in the milk until the pancakes are pourable but still thick. Pour in the melted butter and stir in. 

Heat your frying pan on medium and melt a small pat of butter. Take a level scoop of batter and pour into the pan. Place 6-7 blueberries on the top of the pancake whilst it cooks. Once tiny bubbles form across the top, use a spatula to flip the pancake over. After another 30 seconds or so flip it on to a plate and repeat with the next process. If you are a slow pancake maker, or are making a lot, preheat the oven to 100C and place a plate of the pancakes in the oven to keep them warm. Serve with maple syrup and more sliced banana immediately. 

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Strawberry, Blueberry and Honey Frozen Yogurt

Sugar Free, Low Fat, Gluten Free

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THIS IS THE BEST FROYO I’VE EVER HAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!!!! JEEPERS CREEPERS

These were the words I roared when I ate a bowl of this frozen yogurt for the first time last night. I was literally overwhelmed by its deliciousness. For four days now the weather has been sunny and strawberries have been everywhere. You could almost pretend it’s Spring! It’s the middle of holidays and in typical holiday style I’ve been waking up at eleven, and doing practically nothing until about 6 when I finally get dressed and motivated to face the night and go out. Making frozen yoghurt seemed like a good productive idea yesterday morning when I finally managed to get out of bed. 

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 I forgot when I started that you have to wait for the whole thing to chill though! And then for the ice cream machine to finish churning! Talk about life’s challenges. After dinner when it was finally churned and fresh from the machine I took a bite of this frozen yogurt and the angels sang. It tasted so strongly of berries and fresh honey like no froyo that had ever come before. I think it might be because of the sheer multitude of berries used, or maybe the lack of sugar to distract from the flavours? A good quality yogurt is an important factor as well. IMG_5169

This is a really simple idea. It’s basically just a berry syrup mixed with yoghurt that is frozen in an ice cream machine. There are a few factors that make or break frozen yogurt. It can be very disappointing when expecting to find a smooth, ice cream-like scoop and instead finding a solid block of fruit flavoured ice. First important thing to remember is the water content. The more water in the mix, the harder it will freeze. So with berries and other juicy fruits, don’t cook them in much water. Fruit creates its own moisture so it only needs a splash to stop it sticking from the pot. Cooking it until some of the water is evaporated will create smoother froyo. Second, the yogurt. The lower the fat content, the more water they add. So full fat will be creamier and softer, whilst no fat will be very hard and icy. 2% is a happy medium but now that you’re warned, you can make your own choices. Third, any home made frozen dessert will freeze harder because of the lack of chemicals and softening agents, which is a good thing. Remember to take it out of the fridge 10-30 minutes before you want it. Ice cream in ice cream shops is kept under the glass at a much higher temperature than your average freezer, that’s why it scoops perfectly every time!

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 Berry and Honey Frozen Yogurt:

700g (1.5 pounds, 24.5 ounces) cut up strawberries and blueberries (or raspberries, blackberries, mulberries etc)

2 big tablespoons of runny honey

squeeze of lime juice

900g (2 pounds, 32 ounces) 2% natural or Greek unsweetened yogurt

 Put your berries, lemon or lime juice and honey in a blender and pulse until smooth. Cook over a low heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Use a sieve to strain out the fruit pulp into a bowl and continue to cook the fruit syrup until thick. Skim off any white foam that forms on the top. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes, then stir into the yogurt. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to instructions. Alternatively, put in a tub and freeze for 1 hour. Take out, smash up with a fork and blend until smooth. Freeze for 1 hour and repeat process until the frozen yogurt freezes smoothly. Tastes best half an hour frozen after being churned, with a few extra berries on top. 

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