Pumpkin Pie Halloween Recipe

So Halloween season is upon us! That spooky and magically festive time of year, where we get the chance to dress up, share in lots of merriment and of course enjoy delicious food! So I though I would offer a suitable festive Halloween recipe – pumpkin pie!

This dessert is brought to life with wonderful spices such as ginger and cloves, perfect warming spices at this cold time of the year. I would recommend using sugar pumpkin, rather than one of the larger varieties, which tend to have less flavour. There is a bit of preparation involved in making this recipe, but it is definitely worth the effort!

Raw Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin is very high in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, both of which are excellent for helping to support healthy eye function. Beta carotene may also play a role in cancer prevention. They are also high in fibre, potassium and Vitamin C.

Ingredients:

Base:

1 cup walnuts, soaked for 8 hours then dehydrated
1 cup pecans, soaked for 8 hours then dehydrated
8 dates
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch Himalayan or sea salt

Filling:
1 sugar pumpkin, around 4 cups worth
2 cups water used to soak pumpkin
6 tbsp maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut sugar
½ cup coconut oil, melted
4 tbsp coconut flour
1 cup cashew nuts, soaked for 2 hours.
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp cinammon
½ tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp lemon juice, divided
1 tbsp psyllium husks
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch Himalayan or sea salt

Method:
¬ To make the base, place all ingredients into food processor and grind until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Press base into 8-inch tart pan.
¬ To prepare pumpkin, peel and scoop out seeds. Chop in half and then cut into thin strips on a mandoline or using a sharp knife. Chop each strip of pumpkin so that you have roughly 2-inch squares. Salt the pumpkin and add 2 tbsp lemon juice. Cover and leave to marinate for 3-4 hours. Once marinated, rinse pumpkin thoroughly to remove all salt. Then place strips in a dehydrator at 115F for 3 hours. Take the strips out of the dehydrator and place in the 2 cups of water. Cover and let sit for around 4 hours. Remove pumpkin and reserve water.
¬ To make filling, place all filling ingredients with 1 cup of reserve pumpkin water into a food processor and process ingredients until mixture resembles a mash. Transfer the mixture to a blender (you made need to do this in 2 batches) and blend until smooth, adding remaining reserve water as necessary to achieve desired consistency.
¬ Pour filling into tart pan and use a spatula to spread and even out the filling over the base.
¬ Place pie in freezer for 2 hours to set before serving.
¬ Top with ground coconut and pecans.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Halloween!

A dairy free alternative – Nut milk!

For people that can’t drink dairy products anymore, or would rather avoid dairy products on a regular basis there is a delicious alternative – nut milk! Highly nutritious, satisfying, tasty and easy to make, it can be used it as a direct replacement for cow’s milk. It also makes an excellent base for smoothies and soups. Here is the recipe for almond milk, my personal favourite, but feel free to make with other nuts, such as walnuts, brazil nuts or hazelnuts.

Almond milk

Almonds have extremely high levels of manganese, magnesium and Vitamin-E, which can help reduce risks of heart disease. They are also high in monounsaturates, which can help lower LDL-cholesterol. Studies have also shown that almonds can help lower the glycaemic index of a meal when eaten alongside it (Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Journal of Nutrition), providing extra protection against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Ingredients
1 cup almonds, soaked for 8 hours and then dried
3 cups water
1 tbsp lemon juice
Pinch Himalayan salt
½ tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp sunflower lecithin (optional)
1 tbsp coconut sugar or preferred sweetener (optional)

• Blend 1st 2 ingredients in a high-speed blender until completely smooth.
• Pour mixture through a nut milk bag, fine-mesh strainer or chinois (you can see a chinois in the following photo) Reserve pulp.


• Add remaining ingredients to milk and blend again.
• Store in a airtight container or mason jar and keep in the fridge.
• Nut milk will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge. The salt and lemon juice both acts as preservatives, giving the nut milk a longer shelf life.
• The sunflower lecithin acts as an emulsifier, otherwise the fat from the nuts will separate from the water over time. Don’t worry if you don’t have lecithin, just give the almond milk a good shake before serving.
• Use the almond pulp in whatever recipes you need it for. It can also be dehydrated and then ground into flour.


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Setting up a raw food kitchen (part 2)

In this post, I will focus on 3 pieces of equipment that I find invaluable in my raw-food kitchen and really open up the options available to you when it comes to producing a large and exciting variety of raw food dishes: the dehydrator, mandoline and spiraliser.

Dehydrator

Dehydrators are amazing pieces of kit. They are fantastic for raw meals in general and also for raw cakes and pies. They remove moisture from the food and heat it without taking it above the temperature that would kill any of the enzymes. Dehydrators are excellent for producing dishes, which take on that slow cooked profile, such as marinated Portobello mushroom steaks. Savoury foods that can be made in a dehydrator also include pizza bases, crackers, raw bread, vegetable wraps, semi-dried vegetables, kale and vegetable crisps to name a few. They are are also useful for desserts and goodies such as cookies, dried fruits and dried fruit strips and making crusts that bit more pastry-like. They can also dehydrate seed, nut and coconut pulp, which can then be blended to make flour.

 

I would recommend the Excalibur dehydrator, which is one of the best on the market. It has either five or nine trays and the heat is evenly distributed, meaning you can dehydrate large amounts of food at the same time. There are many out there though, so do some research and find out which one meets your needs.

Other dehydrators:

  • L’Equip dehydrator – cheaper than the Excalibur but smaller in storage room
  • Nesco range – cheaper option, but still highly reviewed

One point I would make about dehydrators, is that although technically the food is still raw, some would argue that the food loses some of its life force and freshness when moisture is removed. If I have dehydrated elements such as dry crackers, I would always serve them with fresh vegetables, salads, dips and sauces so that there is a healthy balance and diversity of ingredients on offer.

Mandoline

A mandoline is a very clever piece of equipment. It allows you to cut vegetables to your desired thickness from thick chunks to paper-thin. This allows you to then effortlessly marinate all your vegetables to create those perfect flavours and textures for your dish. Most mandolines also have an attachment for creating crinkle cuts and also julienne cuts, which can save a huge amount of time. Please ensure that you always use the hand guard when using the mandolin to slice, as those blades are very sharp!

Mandolines are fairly inexpensive pieces of equipment and you can purchase a decent one for between £30-50. Some of the models I recommend include:

  • Good Grips– has an excellent safety guard and has lots of useful settings
  • John Lewis range – for a slightly less expensive option

Spiraliser

A spiraliser is a really fun piece of kit and can be used to sex up your salads and create pasta strips out of many vegetables. It is especially useful for making spiral courgette strips, which can then easily be served with a sauce to create delicious courgette pasta.

 

Spiralisers cost in the region of £30 upwards. I would recommend the Lurch Spirali or if you want to spend a little more money, a Japanese turning slicer.

Look out for another post coming soon, which will feature other equipment I use to make raw food and a low-down on juicers! 

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Creating a raw food kitchen (part one)

It is important when transitioning into a raw food lifestyle to ensure that you have the correct resources and equipment in place to ensure that you can make the food that you desire quickly, easily and with minimum hassle. In this post, I talk about 2 pieces of equipment very popular with raw foodies, the blender and the food processor and their benefits and uses. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contribute and share your thoughts!

Blender:

A good quality blender is a really essential piece of equipment when it comes to raw food making and raw desserts. It is perfect for making smoothies, sauces, soups and dips and if it is powerful enough can be great for making raw desserts too. I would recommend, if you are willing to make the investment, purchasing a Vitamix blender – one of the great pieces of modern day technology! It is so powerful and will pulverize pretty much anything, from cacao beans to frozen fruit chunks in a matter of seconds! It is fantastic, as it will break down the foods so that they are much easier to assimilate and digest.

With the Vitamix, you can achieve most of the functions of a food processor as well as a blender, being able to achieve both chunky and ultra smooth textures. It also comes with a 7-year warranty. Just so you know, I don’t sell them! I also find the Vitamix great for desserts. It is fantastic for making smooth and creamy fillings and toppings is a particularly good one to do it here, because as good as a high quality food processor is, it can often leave a grainy consistency.

It is fine if you are not willing to invest in a Vitamix and there are many other blenders that are perfectly good for create raw food.

Other good blenders if you don’t want to spend as much include:

• The Kitchenaid blender range
• Cuisinart blenders

Food processor:

Food processors are obviously very useful kitchen appliances when it comes to chopping just about any food. I find a food processor extremely useful in raw food and dessert making as well. You don’t always want your food cut too small, and the food processor is perfect for making batters, cracker and raw bread mixtures, chunky dips and sauces such as salsa and pesto and also for making cake crusts and energy bars. When you add the crust ingredients, usually nuts, dates, sweeteners, coconut oil etc. you will achieve that crumbly biscuit consistency which is perfect for the crust.

 

My recommendation on a food processor would be a Magimix, again a bit of an investment, but extremely high quality, very robust and guaranteed for 5 years. You could spend less and there are an abundance of food processors out there, but if you are using one often, it may not last that long if the quality is not great. If you feel that you will be using the machine a lot, it is probably worth going for a higher quality machine.

When shopping for a food processor, consider power, portability and functionality. They vary in size from a miniature two-cup chopper to a 20-cup professional model for bulk cooking and preparation. Buy a food processor which matches your particular needs. Most home cooks could use a medium-size food processor (approximately 8-10 cup capacity) for family recipes.

Other good food processors include:

• The Kenwood Range
• Kitchen Aid Processors

When choosing either a blender or a food processor, it is important to do your research and read reviews so as to gauge what is suitable for your needs. It may be the case that you feel it unnecessary to buy both a blender and a food processor, deciding that one of the two is enough for you needs.

In an upcoming post, I will continue to discuss what equipment is necessary to start a raw food kitchen including a dehydrator, juicer and other essentials. Don’t forget you can sign up to my newsletter where i’ll be sharing more raw food education, tips and recipes. Sign up here. Become a fan on Facebook and receive a FREE raw food recipe ebook. Click here.

Fennel, blood orange and Jerusalem artichoke salad

 

Salads don’t have to be boring. Simple techniques such as marinating and thinly slicing your vegetables can really add new dimensions to taste and texture that will tickle the palate and satisfy the senses.

This salad is fresh and vibrant, bursting with flavour and perfect anytime of the year. Fennel eaten raw is often something that divides opinion due to its aniseed bite, which I would point out that I am not keep on either. But miraculously, when marinated, it loses this and you are left with a delicate, beautifully crisp and fragrant vegetable. The blood orange adds a wonderful colour to the dish and the perfect sweetness to balance the other flavours. Jerusalem artichoke is also a personal favourite and lends a strong earthy flavour to the dish, perfectly complementing the other elements.

Ingredients:
1 bulb fennel, sliced thinly on a mandolin
2 Jerusalem artichokes, washed and scrubbed, sliced thinly on mandoline
2 blood oranges, supremed, juice reserved
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra Virgin olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Large bunch rocket
2 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tbsp cashew nuts
½ tsp Pink Himalayan salt
Pinch black pepper
Pine nuts for garnish

Instructions:
Marinade artichokes in ¼ tsp salt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp olive oil, black pepper and 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar.
Marinade rocket with pinch of salt and drizzle of olive oil.
Grind cashew nuts in a pestle and mortar or coffee grinder and mix with nutritional yeast and pinch of salt.

Assembly:
To assemble, make a bed of rocket, then layer the fennel on top.
Make a cut in Jerusalem artichokes almost to the top and then fold 3 out over the fennel.
Add supremed blood oranges to the salad. Garnish with fresh parsley, pine nuts and sprinkling of cashew/nutritional yeast mixture. If you don’t eat nutritional yeast, you can leave this out and just sprinkle with the ground cashews.

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