Rhubarb and Coconut Cobbler

Vegan, Refined Sugar Free
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Oh my goodness why have I been so bad at posting lately! I’m so sorry, I actually have no excuses other than me being born a lazy bum. After this week though exams will be over, it will be summer holidays and I very much doubt I will be able to find a job by then (seeing as I’ve been looking for the last six months already with very little luck, mostly due to the fact that every time a place gets back to me I tell them I’m too busy.)

I’m sad. I didn’t even make a Halloween post for you guys. To be real though, there were so many awesome ideas already that I felt my contribution would probably be poorly received. This Halloween me and my sister had a li’l party (sorry Mum and Dad), and I dressed up as a swimmer being eaten by a giant octopus. Which I made out of pink stockings stuffed with all my socks!! I thought it was such a cool costume, until everyone thought I was getting strangled by a giant worm…

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I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with a bunch of rhubarb we got last week, which is strange because I’m obsessed with rhubarb. Probably the nicest cake I’ve ever made was this rhubarb slice, which people are still raving about. But I can’t make that again!!! And I didn’t want to do what I always do, which is just cook it with vanilla and sugar and eat it on yogurt, because I’ve stopped really eating any dairy now. And stewed rhubarb on its own is kind of weird to me…

Thank God for Donna Hay right. I’ve been steadily cooking and eating my way through her cookbook since someone gave it to us for Christmas. The photos of her rhubarb and pomegranate cobbler were so pretty I literally died looking at them! Seriously how are her photographers so talented! I’m almost embarrassed to even show these photos today because they’re so average, but the cobbler was so tasty I really wanted to share it.

It’s completely vegan too! I haven’t experimented with gluten free yet, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to adapt. I added apple too because I didn’t want to use so much sugar. So tasty! I promise to be more on top of posting this week friends 🙂 See you soon!

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Rhubarb and Apple Cobblers: Inspired by Donna Hay

2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
2oog melted coconut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raw sugar

750g rhubarb, chopped into 4cm (2inch) pieces
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
4 tbsp raw sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
juice of 1 orange

3 tbsp desiccated coconut
3 tbsp sliced almonds
icing sugar optional, to dust

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Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, coconut butter, vanilla, salt and raw sugar and stir until just doughy. Add more flour if the mix is too wet, or a splash of almond milk if it’s too dry. It should be the consistency of biscuit or scone batter.

Mix the rhubarb, apple, orange juice, cinnamon and sugar together and spoon into an oven-proof baking dish or skillet. Using your hands, grab clumps of the cobbler and press over the fruit roughly to form a lid, with some holes for steam to escape. Top with the coconut and almonds, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden on top and the fruit is cooked through. Sprinkle with sugar and serve with coconut ice cream or cream.

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Vegan Caramel Coconut Ice Cream

Vegan, Gluten Free
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I don’t know if anybody noticed this, but I’m extremely obsessed with ice cream. In the last 28 days, I have eaten ice cream at least once a day. Sometimes twice, and one time three and a half times. (I’m not proud.) When I was little my Mum once called me an Ice Cream Monster and said if I didn’t watch out I’d become obese. That was because I tried to eat an entire ice cream cake in two days, but still…so harsh!

Most of the time, I’ll admit it, I do buy ice cream by the giant tub. Sometimes gourmet tubs of Maggie Beer, most often whatever brand of mango sorbet is available and Blue Ribbon vanilla. I also buy gelato ridiculously often as well, sometimes by myself which I’m sure is some kind of social taboo.

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I do love making ice cream though! As you can see from the countless recipes on this blog. Highlights include banana bread flavoured frozen yogurt, Mango Frozen Yogurt, and the most epic of all vegan birthday ice cream cakes. All delicious and frozen by me, therefore slightly less guilt-inducing. What can I say, some people spend $4.00 on a coffee every day, I spend that on ice cream. And while we’re being 100% honest, I also spend that on coffee. Plus an extra 50c for soy milk 🙂

Recently I’ve been committing to an almost completely vegan diet, save the occasional egg when eating out. Because of this I have been having some MAJOR creamy ice cream withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms include irritation, yelling at passers-by and eating tub upon tub of mango sorbet. It was definitely time to make a coconut ice cream.

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I have major beef with ice cream recipes that don’t make ice cream, but instead make ice cream flavoured blocks. The whole point of an ice cream recipe is that it makes ice cream…which must be scoop-able immediately, not half an hour later after sitting it on the bench. When I want ice cream I don’t want it in half an hour, it’s usually a give-it-to-me now kind of deal. Otherwise call it a popsicle! Ok?!?!?!

But I do get it, it can be really hard to make a somewhat healthier ice cream recipe that doesn’t freeze too much. I usually add alcohol to sorbets (sorry children) to keep them soft. I didn’t want to add alcohol to coconut ice cream though, and my sister accidentally bought “coconut drink” instead of milk, which had way less fat and was in general way less awesome. But waste not want not right?! So I decided to experiment with the controversial ingredient of glucose syrup.

Controversial because it’s 90% glucose, made from refined starch, basically just terrible for you. But it does completely stop ice cream from freezing solid! It’s crazy. This recipe had almost no fat in it at all, just 2 tbsp of syrup. And days later it still scoops fine! The drawbacks are that the syrup is super super sweet, and I didn’t adjust the sugar enough to compensate. For me, who doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth (hah I know) it was almost too sweet to eat. So I’ve given instructions in the recipe for both with and without, you decide. Use the syrup if you want to make low-fat ice cream with light coconut milk, or just use honey if using full-fat and tell me how you go with that scooping. Or just eat it straight after you make it! Never a bad idea 😉 Have a great week guys!

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Caramel Coconut Ice Cream: Inspired by My Darling Lemon Thyme

1 litre full-fat coconut milk (2.2 cans)
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
EITHER:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
OR:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp glucose syrup

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Mix a few tbsp of the coconut milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry. Put all of the other ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently, whisking in the cornstarch mixture. Let the mixture come to the bowl, whisking constantly as it heats. (It’s important to reach this temperature or the floury flavour won’t cook off and it won’t thicken enough). Turn the heat off and pour through a sieve in to a bowl. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then cover the surface in plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming. Chill overnight, then freeze in an ice cream maker following the manual’s instructions. If using glucose syrup, you may get away with not churning it although I haven’t tested this!

Optional: stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips, berries, caramel drops, chopped dates etc

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Apple and Date Cupcakes with Coconut Yogurt Icing

Gluten Free, Vegan, Sugar Free

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Yesterday my beautiful friend Maddie had her twentieth birthday party. Last year I made her this lemon sponge birthday cake and covered it in sugar flowers and told you all how much I love Maddie, if you want to read that. This year I wanted to make the MOST EPIC CAKE OF ALL TIME.

Maddie loves banoffee pie so I decided to make a four-layer caramel mud cake with banana and cream filling and chocolate ganache covering the entire thing. So I got up early, went and bought all the ingredients, whipped up my cake feeling like a casual Masterchef, and as I was cleaning up I found the pound of sugar sitting on the counter. Not in the cake, like it was supposed to be, just relaxing on my counter.

Uuugh. Life’s struggles. I tried to fix it by covering every single layer in a thick layer of more caramel as well as the chocolate and bananas and cream, and it ended up pretty awesome. But I think it would probably have tasted better with you know, sugar in it.

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Lots of people tell me they’re too scared to bake or try my recipes because they might stuff up or they’re not “good enough.” To them I say, I stuff up all the time. Like literally every time I make something there’s a stage that goes wrong somewhere in there. But it doesn’t matter! Try it anyway, and if you have to go out and buy a jar of Dulce de Leche to smother on your sugar-free cake, that’s ok too.

You can never get any better if you don’t try in the first place. Which brings me to these cupcakes. Ever since I made these apple and cinnamon cream cheese cupcakes, I’ve been wanting to make a gluten free AND vegan version that’s just as good as the original.

I was waay too scared for ages because my memory of them was so perfect, I didn’t want a mediocre cupcake to replace it. But finally thought, geez Lil. Just go make the cupcakes already. With the help of My Darling Lemon Thyme‘s gluten free muffin recipe I finally cracked the apple cinnamon cupcake challenge.

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I’m going to go as far to say that these are better than the original muffins. And they happen to be way better for you too! There’s no eggs, dairy, gluten or refined sugar in them at all and they also happen to be super easy to make.

I’m always worried when I make gluten free cupcakes that the texture will be either super powdery, or gluggy, or dense. These weren’t any of these. My sister ate one not knowing they were gluten free and said they were crumbly but moist (mooooooist), like the perfect cupcake. So there you go, the Cake Kahuna has spoken. You can replace the apple with carrot or pear if you want! You could add chopped almonds or walnuts, sultanas instead of the dates, and you can even leave out the icing.

By the way, I am calling these cupcakes but they are technically muffins…But in my mind once it has icing it is a cupcake, so…yeah. They’re cupcake muffins. Have a great week guys!

One Year Ago: Lemon Berry Butter Cake

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Apple and Date Cupcakes with Coconut Icing
Recipe inspired from this book
1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 cup fine brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato flour
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 heaped tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 eggs, lightly beaten OR 2 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 4 tbsp water for vegan
3 apples, washed and grated
1/2 cup dates, chopped into chunks

1.5 cups (370g) coconut yogurt (or normal yogurt)
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp brown sugar (optional but awesome)
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Preheat the oven to 180C (356F) and line 10 muffin moulds with muffin cups. Whisk together in a bowl the dry ingredients well. In a separate bowl mix together the wet ingredients. Gently fold the wet into the dry and fill the muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 17-22 minutes, until golden on top and cooked through. Leave to cool.

Drain the coconut or normal yogurt in a sieve lined with a teatowel for a few hours, to make Labneh. Mix with the maple syrup and brown sugar and pipe over the cupcakes. Once iced, keep the cupcakes in the fridge.
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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 Bliss Balls two ways (vegan and raw)

Vegan, Raw, Gluten Free, Sugar Free

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 It’s been one of those post-exam weeks where I have literally achieved nothing with my time. I spent the first day sitting in front of the heater eating sultanas and staring at the floor. I spent the second day sleeping and playing with my dogs ears. The rest of the week has gone much the same way. It has been awesome. 

I had grand plans to share a new zucchini noodle recipe with roast tomato sauce, but alas I ate all the zucchinis. I also ate all the tomatoes, and the avocado as well. I’m sorry! I have a good feeling that next week will be zucchini noodle week. So instead this week turned into bliss ball week because you can never have enough recipes for these protein balls, and also cafe’s these days are selling them for like, $3 a ball. That’s not cool guys. You could make twelve balls for that amount of money! (And it would taste better. Sshh). 

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 Something exciting did actually happen this week. I got a tattoo! It’s a little sun on my left shoulder drawn by my friend Lilli, who designed the title here and is an amazing artist as well. I’d wanted to get a little sun tattoo for a year at least and when my friend said she would get one too, I thought yolo! It’s tattoo time! 

It didn’t really hit me that I’d got it until a few days later, but I’m very happy with it. The sun as a symbol means a lot to me and now every time I look over my shoulder, there it is sitting there. A little ray of sunshine. There’s a picture of it on instagram if you want to see, although I have to warn you I am a little bit nakey in that photo. (Please don’t report me!)

Ok, bliss ball time. Also, I promise I will quit with the dark lighting after this post! I’m going through backgrounds in colour phases to learn about my camera settings, which is why things are looking strange and repetitive lately ❤ Have a great week! 

One Year Ago: Apple, Quince and Walnut Crumble Pie

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 Basic Bliss Ball Recipe:

1 cup dried fruit: either dates, apricots, sultanas or a mix

1.5 cups nuts: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews or a mix 

Coconut and Vanilla:

Soak 1 cup sultanas in water for half an hour. Bash up 1.5 cups walnuts in a mortar and pestle. Add 3 tbsp desiccated coconut, and the seeds from half a vanilla bean. Blend everything together. Roll the balls in more coconut and store in the fridge. 

Chocolate and Cinnamon:

Soak 1 cup apricots in mandarin or orange juice for half an hour, and chop finely. Bash up your nuts in a mortar and pestle. Blend with the drained fruit, 1 tsp cinnamon and 4 tbsp raw cacao powder. 

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Passionfruit and Coconut Pound Cake with Yogurt Icing

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 On Thursday something momentous happened. The official biggest cake failure of the year. It was epic, it was bigger than any year before it. Even worse than the time I didn’t let a chocolate cake cool and all the icing melted off. Even worse than when I used seven tins of tomatoes to make a tomato sauce and burnt the whole pot. Even worse, and this is saying something, than the time I got up super early to make crepes for my sister and ended up waking her up with my screaming and yelling and throwing burnt pancake at my dog. 

It was AWESOME. Maybe awesome isn’t the right word, but it was one of those failures that’s so terrible and so complete and utterly unfixable that it becomes kind of funny. I started out with a positive outlook, ready to make an almond and poppyseed lime cake that was gluten free and vegan too. Everything was going fine until I tried to mix in the chia seed gel. The batter was so stiff and hard they just lay on top of it like fish eggs on a bowl of clay. It was so gross…I kept pouring in more almond milk and lime juice and other random things until it became this huge speckled monster dough.

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 I baked it and ominously poured syrup over it in an attempt to make it edible, but alas. The cake was not to be. The entire thing ended up going in the bin which broke my heart because I HATE throwing out cake. And facing the prospect of making the whole cake again when the light was already failing…it just wasn’t going to happen. 

Today when I woke up and realised I was going to make a post today, I almost decided just to stay in bed all day and live in my doona for a while. It was the law cruise last night for my uni and while it was super fun, this morning was super terrible. Too. Much. Free. Champagne. In the end I just wanted something sweet and easy with a very low fail rate. This passionfruit pound cake was perfect. 

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The combination of passionfruit and coconut is so awesome. And I used vanilla sugar as well which made it taste even better, but if you don’t have any I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy some. I love making pound cakes because they’re so simple and old fashioned. They make me think I’m some olden-days hubbard stirring eggs and butter with a wooden spoon. I love how all the ingredients are so simple but you can add almost any flavour and it will still turn out amazing. 

Today was a butter-sugar-eggs cake day. Tomorrow will probably be a raw chocolate slice and banana smoothie day, but sometimes you just want a massive piece of real homemade cake. So that’s what I made 🙂 The icing is probably my favourite part. If you want a dairy-free option coconut yogurt would be the perfect substitute. 

One Year Ago: Oat and Apricot Granola Bars

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Passionfruit and Coconut Pound Cake:

1 1/2 cups white sugar

110g (1 stick) butter (room temp)

3 large eggs (room temp)

1 + 1/4 cups plain white flour

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

1/2 cup coconut milk

juice from about 8-10 passionfruit (100ml)

2 tbsp caster sugar

For the icing:

500g thick full fat plain yogurt, drained in a cheesecloth for at least an hour

3 tbsp icing sugar or honey 

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Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line a 20cm or 8inch round cake tin with baking paper. 

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Slowly beat in each egg, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next. Gently fold in half the flour, then half the coconut milk, then the rest of each. Spoon into the tin and bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden and a skewer comes out clean. 

Strain the passionfruit juice and stir in the caster sugar. When the cake is still hot and in its tin, pour over the syrup slowly, allowing it to soak the cake. Allow to cool completely. 

Mix together the yogurt and icing sugar, then spoon over the cake and spread evenly. You can top it with the leftover passionfruit seeds if you want. Best eaten the same day but lasts well in the fridge. 

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Raw Lime and Coconut Tarts (vegan and gluten free)

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 I had the scariest nightmare the other day. It was so weird! I woke up in this parallel universe where everything was almost exactly the same as real life, but something was….different. I couldn’t put my finger on why everyone was slightly stranger than normal and why my house looked so different. And then it hit me. Everyone was RAW VEGAN! The whole human population! There were no ovens or stovetops, just built-in blenders and chopping boards.

Don’t get me wrong I think foregoing animal products is a great lifestyle, I basically am vegan myself. But raw vegans scare me. I didn’t even realise quite how scary I found them until my nightmare. I literally woke up feeling really weird and almost went down just to check we still had an oven. 

I know it’s a really healthy lifestyle. I mean have you seen raw vegans? They practically glow. They look like superhuman aliens that have come to earth to live forever and take over the future. But eating only raw products for the rest of my life…makes me want to cry. Very slightly steamed broccoli with some lime juice is the best thing ever. However completely raw broccoli is disgusting. Roasted pumpkin in cumin and olive oil is like heaven to me. But raw pumpkin is disgusting. I guess I just don’t see why it all has to be raw. Why the broccoli?! Why??

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 Well, I think these tarts could possibly change my mind. The other day I made the girl I babysit lime slice for her birthday, and as I was making it I couldn’t help fantasise about a completely natural version using avocado as the filling. It was one of those things where I thought the first time I made it would end in me throwing the entire thing in the bin, but something magic happened in my blender. 

They came out so nice! I took a little taste of the filling and actually went ‘huh!’ in surprise. It’s super creamy and sweet from the banana and agave syrup, and somehow the tiniest pinch of salt just makes it really moreish. I promise, it’s nothing like guacamole. It was hard to ignore the fact that the recipe was very similar…but just turn a blind eye to that green colour. And who would put banana in guacamole? No one that’s who. 

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 The base is the typical walnut/sultana/coconut base I made for my mango and banana coconut tarts and chocolate tarts, which I just pressed into tart moulds and froze for half an hour while I made the filling. I’m just going to put it out there, I could eat the filling with a spoon. You could definitely just make an avocado lime mousse and forget the tart base altogether for a simpler dessert, but it really does taste pretty good assembled as the full thing. 

You can top it with berries too. I piled on heaps of frozen blueberries to two of them and ate it in about 10 seconds flat as soon as I finished photographing them. You may or may not want to try that for yourself…

If you have any raw vegan friends coming over for dinner, this would be the ultimate thing you could make them. Or if you are a raw vegan, first of all I’m sorry for saying I was scared of you, and second please accept this tart recipe as a peace gift. Have a great weekend everyone 🙂 

One Year Ago: Chocolate and Raspberry Layer Cake

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Raw Avocado and Lime Tarts:

1 cup walnuts, crushed

1 cup sultanas, briefly soaked in water

2 tbsp desiccated coconut

1 large fully ripe avocado

juice of 2-3 limes (taste as you go)

3 tbsp agave nectar (the light kind)

1/2 a ripe frozen banana

pinch of salt

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Method:

Blend the walnuts and sultanas together until crumbly. Add in the coconut and blend until a dough forms. Press into 5-6 small tart tins that have been lined with plastic or foil, to make them easier to remove. Keep in the freezer until ready to fill and serve. 

Blend the avocado, lime juice, agave, banana and salt until smooth and creamy. Spoon into the tart tins and keep refrigerated or even in the freezer until ready to serve. These tarts will last a while, but they look/taste best within the first three hours. You can keep them in the freezer and eat them the next day though, they will just lose their bright green colour.

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