7 feb. 2018

Raw Blueberry Cheesecakes

I'm an expert at finding good excuses to eat cake even when I've been testing a chocolate cupcake recipe the day before and ate several spoonfuls of raw batter (psst, they were vegan so no worries!). Well, turns out january flew by and Valentine's Day is right around the corner so that means I must create a special recipe, though I don't celebrate that day because: one, I'm single, and two, I'm so un-romantic!!! Hmmm...maybe that's the cause for reason one. Oops, sorry guys!
So last year I didn't have time to prepare a V-Day recipe but last weekend I miraculously managed to find some spare time and prepared these utterly delicious raw blueberry mini-cheesecakes. Wether you celebrate that day or not you must give this recipe a try! These are so good, they have the perfect balance between sweet and tangy plus that mousse-like texture is to die for, and what about that beautitul purple color? No need for artificial colorings here, the little but mighty blueberries do all the magic.
Since they are individual cheesecakes you won't need to wait a lot for them to freeze so they can be made and served in one day as long as your cashews have been soaked long enough to puff up and get softer.
I got the inspiration for this recipe from my very own raw orange chocolate cake, which is always a success whenever I bring it at family gatherings or parties. ;-)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Raw Blueberry Cheesecakes
(yield: 12 mini-cheesecakes)

- Crust:
1 1/2 cups raw blanched almonds.
1/2 cup pitted dates.
2 tablespoons raw agave syrup.
1 tablespoon lucuma powder.
Pinch of salt.

- Blueberry filling:
1 cup raw macadamia nuts.
1 cup raw cashews.
1 1/3 cups frozen blueberries, plus a small bunch.
1/3 cup raw coconut oil, solid.
1/2 cup pure maple syrup.
1 tablespoon lemon juice.
2 drops organic lemon essential oil.
1/2 teaspoon açaí powder (optional).

- Toppings:
Fresh or frozen blueberries.
Raw cacao nibs.
Shredded coconut.

- I used a silicone mold with heart-shaped cavities, depending on the size of your cupcake pan you will get a few more or less mini-cheesecakes. I'm not a big fan of silicone pans but they make the unmolding so much easier.
- I recommend to use a powerful food processor to make this recipe, or a high-speed blender.
- It may sound obvious but all the nuts used in this recipe must be unsalted and (of course) raw.

Soak cashews and macadamia nuts overnight with a pinch of salt or if you don't have enough time soak them in warm water for at least 1 hour or until they become tender and puffed up. Don't forget to drain the nuts very well before getting started with the recipe.
- For the crust:
Reserve a small bunch of the almonds and set aside. Place all the ingredients of the crust inside your food processor and process until a sticky dough forms then add in the reserved almonds and pulse briefly to slightly break them down.
Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoon of dough for each cheesecake and press it down firmly into the cavities using your fingers or the back of a small spoon to even out. Set in the freezer.
- For the blueberry filling:
Place all the ingredients inside the bowl of your food processor or high-speed blender and process until the mixture looks creamy, taste and check if it has a smooth texture. You might need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula a few times; make sure you push down all the remaining small bits of nuts. If the mixture has a gritty texture you should process a bit more until it reaches an almost mousse-like consistency.
Keep blending until it's completely smooth (remember, we don't want a grainy texture).
Fill each cupcake cavity with half the mixture, add in two or three whole blueberries per cavity and fill with more mixture until all the cavities are full. Transfer back to the freezer and let the cheesecakes set for a couple hours approximately.
Once the cakes have haredened gently unmold and decorate with blueberries, cacao nibs and grated coconut.
Store the mini-cheesecakes in the fridge or in the freezer if you don't plan to serve them all at once.
To fully enjoy the creamy texture of these cakes let them thaw at room temperature 30 minutes approximately before serving.

19 ene. 2018

Paleo Bread

What to do when your dad brings you a big butternut squash and you are tired of making pumpkin soup? I know I said butternut squash and pumpkin in the same sentence and there's a difference between pumpkin and butternut squash but we all call them pumpkins in Spain...I mean, they kind of taste exactly the same (some pumpkin experts out there, am I wrong?). Well, no offense to all the pumpkin soup lovers, it's really comforting and so perfect for those cold winter days but when I have A LOT of pumpkin can't help but try some kitchen experiments...and this is how this Paleo Bread came to life!
I thought it was a good opportunity to make a rather savory recipe for the blog and keep my sweet tooth under control. Truth is I never made paleo bread before but after doing a little research with the help of my sister (which is the best assistant ever!) to know what kind of ingredients are allowed in the Paleo diet I can finally share with you my first ever paleo bread, inspired by the one served at Flax & Kale; one of my favorite flexitarian restaurants in the city (and one that is very popular on Instagram).
This bread is really tasty, so perfect to prepare an avo toast topped with chili flakes, sprouted greens and hemp seeds, or to enjoy with any of your favorite spreads; it goes well with coconut butter, tahini, etc. But my favorite spread to go with this bread is my homemade sun-dried tomato paté, so yummy!
I ate the last lice this morning simply toasted cuase it's super tasty au naturel, hihgly recommend you to toast it because the almond flour used in this bread releases all its delicious nutty aroma.
I'm planning on doing a vegan version of this recipe in the near future, so stay tuned!

Paleo Bread
(makes 1 loaf)

350 g/12.3 oz almond flour.
200 g/7 oz grated pumpkin.
250 g/8.8 oz grated zucchini.
80 ml/1/3 cup coconut oil.
4 free-range eggs.
2 sun-dried tomato, finely chopped.
1 tablespoon chia seeds.
1 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt.
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves.
Optional add-ins:
1 teaspoon garlic powder.
1/2 teaspoon turmeric.
Pumpkin seeds, to sprinkle on top.

Preheat oven to 170 º C (338 ºF), lightly grease an 11 cm wide x 25 cm long loaf tin (4.3-in x 9.8-in) with coconut oil (or nonstick cooking spray) and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
I recommend to remove the excess moisture of the grated pumpkin and zucchini using a fine mesh strainer, it doesn't have to be extra drained but simply press down the grated fresh a little bit.
Combine the pumpkin, zucchini, coconut oil, eggs and apple cider vinegar in a medium mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl stir together the almond flour, chia seeds, baking soda, salt, and basil, using a wire whisk. Also add the optional add-ins.
Add the wet mixture into the dry mixture and finally fold in the chopped sundried tomatoes.
Let the batter rest for 10-15 minutes and then pour into the prepared loaf tin.
Sprinkle the top with the pumpkin seeds and bake for 90 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 30-45 minutes approximately. 
Cool completely on a wire rack and serve au natural or with smashes avocado, chili flakes, hemp seeds and sprouted greens. Goes really well with any nut butter or vegetable spread (like sun-dried tomato paté). 
Store in an airtight container at room temperature or refrigerated. Remember it tastes wonderfully good when toasted!

4 ene. 2018

Gluten Free Oat Pancakes

Happy New Year everybody! I'm a few days late but it's still the first week of the year. So many days, weeks and months to plan big things for the blog, to find inspiration and never stop growing. I decided not to make New Year's resolutions long ago because we tend to set the bar too high, and when we can't accomplish certain goals we end up frustrated. So no big resolutions for me, I try to take it day by day no matter if the calendar marks the ending of a year.
Of course we all want to become a better version of ourselves, to travel more, do more exercise, stop worrying too much, eat healthier, switch off the phone and spend more time with our family and friends, etc. But will all of this happen this year? I really don't know, but I know for sure that I should remind myself (all of us, actually) to never stop dreaming and work hard every single day...yeah, shit will happen more than often and things won't go as planned many times but that shouldn't stop me.
Wanna know some silly little resolutions I made this year? Here we go!
1- Read, for once and for all, Anna Karenina (and read more classic literature).
2- Finally (finally!!!) wear all the new lipsticks I own befofe buying new ones...and I do have an indecent amount of never-used lippies (it's an addiction, I know!).
3- Make éclairs for my sister since she's been begging me for a long time. lol

Damn, I'm writting too much and I don't want you to fall asleep or bore you with my rambling. Let's talk about these fluffy gluten-free pancakes which were my first breakfast of the year!
So it's kind of a tradition at home to have pancakes for breakfast on january 1st, of course I love to eat pancakes the rest of the year but since I'm always on a rush I usually have overnight oats, an avo toast or a PB&J toast with a cappuccino...and I leave the pancakes for the weekends or festive days (as long as I don't have to cook a new recipe for the blog early in the morning to get good natural lighting, duh).
Like I said these pancakes are completely gluten-free and vegan, wholesome, satisfying and really fluffy which is something I always miss when I taste gf or hearty pancakes...they tend to be quite dense or chewy, not my kinda pancake!
Hope you all had a great Christmas time and a good start into the new year. I wish you nothing but awesome things awaiting you in 2018. :-)

Gluten Free Oat Pancakes
(yield: 8 pancakes approx.)

1 cup oat flakes.
1 cup buckwheat flour.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt.
1 flax "egg": 1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp water.
1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup.
300 ml (1 cup plus 2 teaspoons) of your favorite plant-based milk (I used oat milk).
- Toppings:
Baby bananas.
Tahini (sesame paste).
Cacao nibs.
Shredded coconut.
Mixed red berries.
Maple syrup.

In a small bowl stir together the flaxmeal and water with a fork and let it rest for 10 minutes to thicken.
Prepare the baby bananas and all the toppings (if you need to wash your berries, for example) at this point so they are ready right after cooking your pancakes, therefore you won't have to reheat them. Slice the bananas in half lengthwise and spread a generous amount of tahini paste, set aside.
While the flax egg is resting mix the oat flakes, buckwheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl using a wire whisk.
In a medium separate bowl whisk together the milk and agave (or maple) syrup and stir in the flax egg.
Add the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated and no lumps are visible. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes.
Lightly grease a frying pan with coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil and once the pan is hot pour around 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.
Cook 2 minutes approximately on each side, until small bubbles appear on the surface and the pancakes get a golden brown color.
Serve the pancakes while they are still warm with the bananas, the rest of the toppings and a generous drizzle of pure maple syrup.