Chocolate and Coconut Tarts (using Coyo!)

Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free

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I hope you’re all ready for part two of the coconut appreciation week! The Coyo train continues. If you aren’t up to date, this week I am experimenting with coconut yogurt in a few of my favourite desserts. Coconut yogurt is thick and tangy like milk yogurt, with a pleasantly sweet flavour of coconut. It works perfectly in desserts because it’s naturally so rich and versatile. (Plus it’s super healthy- check out the benefits here). 

I have a habit of making something that tastes perfect as it is, and then adding a butt-load of chocolate to it. In my mind there’s not a dessert that can’t be made better with chocolate. I’m thinking…I’m thinking….nope. Well, possibly carrot cake would taste weird with chocolate. But then again now that I’ve said that…chocolate chunk carrot muffins? Anybody?!

With these tarts I was so happy with the first tarts I made, my mind naturally came to the conclusion that a chocolate version would be even more amazing. And I was right! These are possibly even easier to make than their fruity friends. The base is a raw walnut, chia and apricot crust with cacao and the filling is plain coyo flavoured with cacao, maple and a pinch of cinnamon. Possibly the best coconut dessert known to humans. (I don’t brag.) 

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I put them in the freezer to make them easier to photograph, and discovered how good they taste almost frozen! The base becomes so chewy and the middle is like a chocolate mousse ice cream, if that’s a thing. PS sorry if the above photo is kind of strange, I had major cabin fever when I was taking these photos and I started to imagine the tarts were my little friends. I had to stop myself talking to this one telling him he was the king tart sitting on his tart castle. 

I made these tarts mini sized, but I think it would work even better as a larger single sized tart. I didn’t want to make a big one because I promised my friend I would give her some, and making a whole tart would imply that I would be giving her that whole tart…without leaving any for me. But a bigger size would be easier to get the ratios right I think. Also I was planning on topping each tart with a cascade of beautiful red raspberries, but have you seen the prices of berries in Sydney lately?! $8.99 a punnet would break the bank! If you are blessed and live in a land of plentiful berries I think raspberries would be really nice as a topping. 

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With Easter right around the corner these would be a pretty epic Easter dessert. I can picture them with cute little dark chocolate easter eggs on top, or oh my gosh marzipan carrots! How cute would little marzipan carrots be! I saw a photo on pinterest the other day of a baby bunny pushing a mini shopping cart of baby carrots. It was so cute I almost cried. I almost cried! Anyway back to the tarts at hand…

Coyo is a completely natural product with no preservatives, so I would suggest not filling the tart until the day you want to eat it. It will last up to 2 or 3 days, especially if you keep them in the freezer. But it will definitely be best on the first day. Start the crust the night before if you want them to be super easy to handle from being in the fridge. Have a great week everybody 🙂 

One Year Ago: Ottolenghi Orange Syrup Cake

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 Vegan Chocolate Coconut Tarts: 

For the base:

1 cup dried organic apricots (use dates if you don’t have organic apricots) soaked in water

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 cup walnuts

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1/3 cup raw cacao

Crush the walnuts and chia seeds together briefly in a mortar and pestle. Drain and chop the apricots. Put everything in a blender and blend until a smooth dough forms. Line one tart tin, or 6-8 mini tart tins, with paper or plastic. Use your fingers to press the base along the bottom and up the sides, making sure the bottom is thick enough to be sturdy. Place in the freezer until you’re ready to freeze it (this will make it much easier to remove). 

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 For the Filling:

1 tub plain COYO or 750ml coconut yogurt

3-4 tbsp raw cacao, depending how chocolatey you want it

4 tbsp maple syrup (or honey) 

1 tsp cinnamon

Optional: raspberries or other fresh berries, to top

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Taste and adjust the cocoa or sweetener until you have the flavour you’re after. Fill the tart with the coconut mix and leave in the fridge to set before slicing. Top with the berries just before serving, to prevent them going soggy. 

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Caramelised Banana and Mango Coconut Tarts (using Coyo!)

Vegan, Sugar Free, Gluten Free 

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When I was little I had what you could call a “dairy addiction”. I ate a lot of dairy. A LOT of dairy. I had a daily addiction to ice cream, I used to buy cartons of plain milk at school and chug them, I just loved all forms of dairy. I remember once eating a litre of dark chocolate ice cream whilst watching Gilmore Girls with my friend. (It was glorious). 

But last year I discovered to my horror that I’m lactose intolerant! Weep with me 😥 It started with a month or two of going without any dairy to see if that was causing my stomach pains, and lets just say when I tried introducing milk again…it was messy. I’ve pretty much found a substitute for everything now except yogurt. Yogurt is my life, I can’t really live without it for any stretch of time. That’s why the discovery of coconut yogurt for me was a BIG DEAL. And this coconut yogurt is really good!

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 I don’t know if you’ve heard of Coyo, but it’s a delicious all natural product made out of pure coconut milk. They have fruit flavours, plain yogurt, and even ice cream which I can affirm is very creamy and lovely. Coconut is packed full of health benefits. It can aid in weight loss, indigestion, blood pressure, it boosts your metabolism and is wonderful for your skin. It’s high in fat, but this ‘saturated fat’ is not the terrible idea of saturated fat you have from pictures of beef lard and butter. The fat from coconuts is low in palmitic acid, which is the bad stuff in animal sources of saturated fat. While it does raise your bad cholesterol levels by a degree, it also raises your good cholesterol levels. 

Basically if you’re trying to decide between ice cream and coconut, coconut is the healthy option. It doesn’t deserve it’s reputation as a dangerous fat source. (Coconut oil on the other hand is a whole other kettle of fish and I personally don’t cook with high amounts of it). Anyway my point is, Coyo is a very healthy and creamy product. It has no added nasty’s so doesn’t last long in the fridge, but it tastes pure and sweetly of coconut and is a very nice alternative to yogurt. 

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 I’ve decided that this week should be coconut appreciation week. In honour of that I’m making coconut recipes all using Coyo to show you my favourite ways of eating it. (I will admit a lot of it was eaten from a spoon standing in front of the fridge). The caramelised banana and mango combination was inspired by this weeks beautiful clear weather. Goodbye Summer! There is a coconutty walnut base, creamy sweet banana slices and a topping of delicious mango flavoured Coyo sweetened with a little maple syrup. 

This was just the way I wanted to take these tarts this morning. You can be as creative as you like! Fill the bases with whatever flavour you choose and I bet fresh berries on top wouldn’t go astray. Make sure you keep these little babies in the fridge so that the bases keep strong. And always use a clean spoon when eating your Coyo! Because there are no added preservatives you have to be a teeny bit more careful. Hope you enjoy!

One Year Ago: Brownie and Fresh Berry Cheesecake

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 Coconut, Banana and Mango Tarts:

Base:

1 cup walnuts

1 cup sultanas or dates, soaked briefly in water

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

Drain the sultanas or dates well and blend everything together until it forms a loose dough. If you don’t have a strong blender, make sure you crush up the nuts and cut the fruit first. Line 8-10 small tart moulds with plastic wrap or paper and press in the dough on the bottom and up the sides (make sure the bottom is quite thick). Keep in the freezer until ready to fill, to make them easier to use. 

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For the filling:

1 banana, sliced into dimes

1 tablespoon coconut butter 

2 tsp raw sugar

1 tub mango coconut COYO

2-3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave syrup, depending how sweet you want it

Combine the coconut butter and sugar in a small pan. Once melted, add in the banana slices and fry until just caramelised on each side. Place 2-3 pieces in each tart. Blend the coconut yogurt and agave together well. Spoon over the banana pieces. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat. Enjoy! 

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Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries

Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, naturally Sugar FreeImage

 I was so unprepared to go back to uni this year. For starters I didn’t realise we went back a week early until the Saturday before, so I turned up to my first class with a highlighter and a notebook from last year with half the pages ripped out. I sat down in the wrong room, finally arrived to my class 20 minutes late and had to sit by myself in the front row. I’m a smooth operator what can I say. 

For another class I have a presentation that I haven’t started due next week, where I’m pretty sure I have to do a standup poetry and video performance in front of the class…lord help. 

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As a result of my study stresses I’ve been making this chocolate mousse on a weekly basis. The only thing standing between me and chocolate mousse every day for breakfast is the price of avocados! I mean come on green grocers. 2 avocados for $10 is not a laughing matter. 

The other day as I was preparing to watch an entire season of Supernatural instead of reading my TORTS cases, I struck upon chocolate mousse gold. It was so amazing I had to instagram it before I’d even eaten it! Noooo way. 

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 I had decided to take it down the Mexican chocolate road and added a pinch of cinnamon, a teeny tiny bit of ginger and the TINIEST little wisp of chilli. It was a flavour explosion in my mouth, all I’m going to say. With a sprinkling of fresh raspberries on top you can’t really get any closer to chocolate heaven. 

I promised myself this week I would try and make something without chocolate for the blog. But then I realised it’s been two whole weeks since I posted a chocolate recipe! That’s not right and it sure isn’t normal, so chocolate mousse get in my belly. Also how cute is my new rose teacup! The family I babysit for gave it to me as a present and I got way overexcited…I might have scared the children a bit. You can play with the flavourings of the mousse to suit your preferences. Even leaving out the spices all together tastes great. My favourite at the moment is just with cinnamon and almond milk, but I can imagine a little vanilla wouldn’t go astray. 

One Year Ago: Fluffy Cinnamon Apple Pancakes

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Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries:

2 medium avocadoes, perfectly ripe

2 medium bananas, perfectly (not overly) ripe and frozen

1/4 cup coconut or almond milk

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger, or chilli, or both

3 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp agave nectar or runny honey

Fresh berries, to top. 

Blend everything together and pour into cups. Top with fresh raspberries or other mixed berries. Chill for at least an hour before eating. 

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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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Summery Green Smoothies

Raw, Vegan, Refined Sugar and Gluten Free

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 I finally did it! I’ve jumped on to the green smoothie bandwagon. I know, I know. Green smoothies are so 2013. But if it helps, I actually made this smoothie way back when in November last year! I’ve been away so long I haven’t posted it until now. How’s that for a time warp! Helloooo from the paaaast. There’s only so many stunning photographs of fresh, healthy looking green smoothies a person can take before you absolutely have to try making one. Even if it does look like Shrek’s pond juice.

I decided to play it safe for my first foray into green smoothies and look at some recipes. They all seem to follow a similar guideline, but one helpful person (which I’ve completely forgotten where I read it…I’m sorry!) warned against diving into green smoothies head first. So I decided to leave out the cucumber and celery and avocado for the first time. Instead this green smoothie is packed full of baby spinach, kale and a big handful of mint. Yum!!
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This green smoothie was so so good. It was rich and creamy from the coconut juice and flesh, plus the whole banana. Lots of recipes said to use frozen banana, but I would instead suggest just a very cold banana and an ice cube or two. When you freeze and then defrost bananas they lose their creaminess and become kind of…weird. Watery and super runny. Great in a banana bread, gross in a drink.

You could get a bit creative with this. It’s a very simple recipe! I used mango and banana as sweeteners but you could use apple if your blender was powerful enough, or add in some berries (they might make it go brown though). Try throwing in a couple of dates or agave nectar for a sweeter breakfast experience. Add chia, chopped nuts, pineapple, whatever your heart desires. And tell me how you go with that celery…
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Try and use organic greens in these smoothies, not just because they’re good for the environment! They’re also better for you. I’m conflicted about buying organic because it’s unsustainable on a large scale, but chemicals are so yucky and just bad for our bodies. When you’re drinking something as healthy and antioxidant packed as a green smoothie, I feel like you just have to go organic. It’s just one of those things.

And if you can’t get your hands on a whole coconut, using just coconut water is fine. (Not coconut milk. Ew). If you can, cut off the top and put some of that coconut meat in the smoothie! By the way does anybody know of an adjective describing the inside of a coconut that isn’t “meat” or “flesh”? It’s just creeping me out… so meaty. Enjoy your green smoothies! Perfect for a new year.
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Green Breakfast Smoothie:
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup de-ribbed kale
handful of mint (don’t leave out the mint!)
1 banana from the fridge
half a mango
1 whole coconut, juice and flesh, or one cup coconut water
a few ice cubes

Blend everything together in a powerful blender. (If you don’t have one, borrow your friends. You can’t really make the greens break down in a piddly blender) Drink while it is still cool, or store in the fridge for an hour or two.
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Orange and Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles

Raw, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan

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There’s something about chocolates in the shape of a ball that is seriously addictive. It’s like eating grapes. Who ever saw a bunch of grapes and thought, oh…I’ll just have one. I’ll just have one grape please. Who does that? No one. It’s obligatory that you have at least five. I feel the same way about chocolate balls. Maltesers, M&Ms, Smarties, Jaffa Balls, all the balls. It’s impossible to show any kind of self control and just have a single malteser! Plus, people would think you were weird. Who only eats one ball! Ok,  time to move on from the subject of balls… these chocolate orange truffles are pretty much where it’s at with addictive chocolate. 

I go all kinds of crazy in Christmas season (who doesn’t, please.) and bake/ice/eat at a velocity of 1000x more intense then the rest of the year. Last year I made three kinds of ice cream, a Christmas fruit cake, gingerbread men, custard and sugar cookies all for Christmas Day. And I was not assigned to dessert. Christmas lunch at my family’s house is always an intense eating marathon that we all look forward to for the entire lead-up. 

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Lunch is always AMAZING! Heaps of seafood and ham and prawn cocktails. But I never fill up on these trivial things. I just sip my water and eat my tasty salad patiently, waiting for the big guns. Dessert. Oh my gosh. I dream about it. My grandma always makes a multi-layered trifle covered in cream and passionfruit that makes me weep with joy. We always have a prune pudding (do not judge! It is the food of the Gods!) and ice cream and fruit skewers and more cream and custard and wow. It’s really a beautiful moment. 

And at the end of the day there’s always a box of chocolates on the table, usually one of the many Christmas gifts received over the previous weeks. These chocolate truffles are for that moment. They’re the perfect Christmas gift because they’re full of Christmassy flavours like cinnamon and orange, and they look nice and ‘rustic’ and homemade. You can feel the love right? 

ImageChristmas is a little bit sad this year because I’m not with my family to celebrate. I’m going to miss seeing all my beautiful cousins and aunts and uncles! And my hilarious grandpa wearing his cute little Christmas paper crown. But then again, hopefully by that point in my travels, I’ll be celebrating Christmas with my boyfriend in an apartment in Paris! So I doubt I’ll be that sad.

These chocolate truffles are super healthy and easy to make for all your family and friends this year. They’re similar to the chocolate coconut balls I made, but with a seasonal twist. Made out of dried organic apricots and walnuts, they are packed with protein and potassium and vitamin C from the orange juice! Way healthier than the usual standard truffle, keep these in the fridge or freezer for a yummy snack or wrap them up in cellophane and send around the Christmas cheer 🙂 IMG_7634

Orange and Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dried organic apricots
juice of 2 oranges
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
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Soak the apricots for half an hour in the orange juice. Drain them, reserving some juice, and cut into strips. Pound up the walnuts and throw in the blender with the cinnamon, cocoa powder, and apricots. Blend until smooth, adding a teaspoon or two of orange juice as you go if the paste is too thick. Scoop into a bowl and use two teaspoons to roll out even balls. Pour a little cocoa powder in a small bowl and drop the balls in the bowl. Use your fingertips to roll the balls around until evenly coated. Once dusted, place in a container and keep in the fridge until they firm up. Happy holidays!
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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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