Best of 2013 on Coconut and Berries!

Best of 2013 Collage

I couldn’t let New Year’s Eve pass by without recapping this past year!

Best of 2013 Collage

I started Coconut and Berries this summer so these recipes are not only your favourites of 2013 but your favourites of all my recipes so far. I’ve already said multiple times how happy I am to have created this little space on the web. I get so much out of cooking, photographing and writing for the blog and even more from connecting with all my readers. Thank you so much for all your support and I hope you continue to enjoy reading in 2014. I’ve got a few exciting things planned so please stay tuned!

Now for your favourite recipes:

DSC_0346

1. Raw Berry Cream Brownies- I’m so pleased that this was no.1- not only because I loved it too but because it combines coconut and berries so is perfect for my signature blog recipe Smile

DSC_0420

2. Apple & Raisin Oaty Breakfast Cookies- This one proved popular too and a lot of you have come back and told me you’ve made and enjoyed it. Do please let me know if you ever make my recipes. Your feedback is always welcome.

DSC_0286

3. Healthy, No-bake Cranberry Jam Tarts- Another recent recipe. I really enjoyed putting this one together and discovered a new favourite cranberry sauce in the process. Perfect with anything and everything!

DSC_0162

4. Nectarine Salad with Blackberry Dressing, Basil & Hazelnuts- My favourite summer salad! It’s a long way to go before stone-fruit season’s here again but when it is I look forward to revisiting this recipe.

DSC_0050.1

5. Chili-Bean Soup with Avocado Lime Cream- I loved this soup! A really easy one and definitely quick enough for a weeknight.

DSC_0289

6. Beetroot & Sweet Potato Salad with Baked Cashew Cheese- A lot of you hadn’t tried baking nut cheese to get a firmer texture, perfect for crumbling over salads. Nice to be able to teach you something new.

Baked Beetroot Falafel

7.Baked Beetroot Falafel- I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t made these since posting the recipe! It’s fun to do this roundup to remind myself of old recipes I enjoyed. I was lucky enough to get a Magimix food processor for Christmas so maybe these falafel should be the first thing I make with it!

DSC_0340

8. Sweet Potato, Red Lentil & Sesame Patties with Red Cabbage Slaw- The happy result of an experiment, you loved these cute little sweet potato cakes. Slaws are my favourite thing to make with cabbage. Check out my Cabbage, Apple & Pomegranate Salad with Ginger-Almond Dressing too.

DSC_0024

9. Raw Mango Coconut Tartlets- Another one from the summer. I actually made these again recently and they were just as tasty as I remembered. I got a chance to retake the pictures too as my photography has improved over the months of practice!

2013 was an exciting year for me, not only blog-wise but on a more personal level too. A few highlights:

- I visited Berlin for my 23rd birthday back in April

- I took my finals and graduated. 4 years of university (3 years at Oxford and 1 year living in Paris and Barcelona) were not without their challenges but I’m proud of how far I’ve come and am grateful for both the ups and downs.

- This summer I visited Wales and Scotland for the first time! I’ve hardly seen any of the UK for someone who’s lived here all my life!

- I moved to Bath to start my Masters.

I’m excited for 2014 and whatever it brings. This year will see me (hopefully!) finish my studies and embark on a career! Wherever I am this time next year I hope Coconut and Berries is still bringing me as much happiness as it is now!

Happy New Year!

If you’re new to Coconut and Berries, Please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram (@coconutandberries), Google + and Twitter!

Lemon-Coconut Fudge Bites

DSC_0428.jpg

Hello again everyone! I’ve missed posting here this last week but wanted to take break and disconnect completely over Christmas. Hope you all had a lovely holiday wherever you are in the world. Things are gradually getting back to normal here, although I’ve still got a week before I head back to my little flat in Bath for the next semester.

Lemon-Coconut Fudge Bites

I may be one of the few who wasn’t eating cookies and desserts aplenty over Christmas, but I promise I’m definitely not feeling smug about it! I would have loved to be eating chocolate and Christmas pudding like everyone else. But I haven’t been feeling my best for a little while now and so I’ve been trying out an anti-candida diet to hopefully bring me back to balance. The diet doesn’t allow any sugars (the only sweeteners I can use are yacon syrup and stevia), including those from fruit,  as well as gluten, dairy, yeast, fungi and a bunch of other things.

For a major sweet tooth like me it has to be said it was a bit of a challenge figuring out what to eat, especially when it came to finding a replacement for my daily post-lunch dark chocolate fix.

Lemon-Coconut Fudge Bites

These zingy little fudge bites are doing the trick of satisfying any sweet cravings nicely, and one is more than enough as they’re pretty rich from the coconut and almond butters.

After chocolate Lemon desserts are always my favourites anyway…

Lemon-Coconut Fudge Bites:

1/2C White Almond Butter OR Cashew Butter
3T Melted Coconut Butter
Zest of one Lemon
3T Lemon Juice
1 1/2T Liquid Sweetener (Agave nectar, Brown Rice Syrup etc.) I used 1T Yacon Syrup + 5 drops stevia
Shredded Coconut for sprinkling

Add all ingredients to a glass bowl, except the shredded coconut, and stir well to combine. Divide between 10 mini silicone moulds OR pour into a dish lined with parchment paper and slice into cubes once set. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and freeze until firm.

These are the perfect consistency straight from the freezer, in the fridge they’re a little too soft for my tastes.

I’m submitting this recipe to the weekly link-up, Wellness Weekends

Lemon-Coconut Fudge Bites

Today I’ve actually discovered there might be another cause of my health problems so I’m praying that’s the case and I can go back to eating normally soon!

In the meantime, what are your favourite  SAVOURY snacks?

If you’re new to Coconut and Berries, Please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram (@coconutandberries), Google + and Twitter!

My (Imaginary) Christmas Dinner

My (imaginary) Christmas Dinner

I’ve already mentioned that I’m not doing any cooking on Christmas day as we’ll be at my brother’s house and he and my sister-in-law will be doing all the work! It’s not an exclusively vegan Christmas but they’re insisting on making me a special vegan dish, and most of the side dishes will be vegan too.

I’m sure it will be lovely, but some day I hope to host my own vegan Christmas meal and here’s what I’d serve if it was up to me (and if I had an expandable stomach!).

We don’t usually do starters as we try to save stomach space for later, so after champagne and maybe some nuts and crudités we’ll get right into the main course.

These Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls by Angela of Oh She Glows look like a wonderful “meaty” main dish. They’re full of all delicious wintry herbs and other good things.

Sometimes it’s nice to stick to tradition and I do love a good lentil/nut roast. This No-fu Love Loaf from Dreena Burton is another of my top picks and would be a beautiful centrepiece.

DSC_0687

Finally, another main dish, very easy to put together, healthy, hearty but lightened up with a zingy orange dressing. My Butternut, Barley & Lentil Pilaf would be wonderful served up family style. Sub dried cranberries for the raisins for a little festive flair.

I’d happily forego the main dish in favour of a plateful of sides which are what make the Christmas meal for me. At my Christmas feast I’d serve:

Maple-Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Brussel Sprouts and Chestnuts

Peas, Roast Potatoes, my own Cranberry Sauce, Apricot & Hazelnut Stuffing Balls (veganized), and Red Onion Gravy.

Phew. I think we might need a breather after all that…

For dessert, I’ve grown to really enjoy the Traditional Christmas pudding. My Mum has been making a vegan one for the last few years and I *think* she adapts it from this recipe. Serve it with warm spiced cream:

1C Non-dairy Cream (soya, oat, etc. )

1/4t each Ground Ginger & Cinnamon

Pinch of Ground Nutmeg

1T Brown/Coconut Sugar

1-2T Brandy

Add the cream to a small pan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Stir in spices and sugar and reduce to a simmer for 4-5 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in brandy and serve immediately.

DSC_0126

For those who don’t like Christmas Pudding, chocolate is the only way to go. I’d probably make a large version of these Raw Mint Chocolate Tartlets with some crushed peppermint candy canes on top!

If you can manage anything else at this stage, one of Tanya’s Raw Mince Pies would be fantastic, or just a couple of clementines while lingering at the table.

Pictures

Later on, after your Christmas day walk, once you’re settled down with the family to watch a Christmas film, pass around a plate of homemade chocolate treats. All these ideas come from Sylvia of Superfoodista.

I think that will be quite enough food for one day!

Do you have a traditional menu planned or are you trying something new this year? I’d love to hear what’ you’re making. Do feel free to share recipe links in the comments.

If you’re new to Coconut and Berries, Please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram (@coconutandberries), Google + and Twitter!

Vanilla Almond Butter Fudge

DSC_0025.jpg

Healthy fudge?! Yes indeed! This recipe for Vanilla Bean Almond Butter Fudge comes from Dreena Burton of the Plant Powered Kitchen.

Vanilla Almond Butter Fudge (Dreena Burton)

I was thrilled to take the blog photos for this delicious dessert. You might remember that wonderful pumpkin pie I photographed for Dreena a little while ago…

This one’s a snap to put together so it’s ideal for a last minute Christmas gift or family treat!

Find the recipe here.

If you’re new to Coconut and Berries, Please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram (@coconutandberries), Google + and Twitter!

Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Cashew Cream

DSC_03931.jpg

Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Cashew Cream (GF)

I just did a quick search on my blog and it seems ginger is one of my favourite ingredients, included in all these recipes and more…

Sweet Potato, Spinach & Coconut Dahl

Kabocha, Spinach, Brown Rice & Miso Broth

Ethiopian-Style Yellow Split Pea & Butternut Stew

Tofu, Miso, Udon Noodle Soup

Cauliflower “Fried Rice” with Grilled Asian Tofu

Ginger Cashew Tempeh with Sugar Snap Peas

Double Ginger Choc Chunk Muffins

Does anyone notice something amiss about that list though…?

Only one of them is a sweet recipe!
Gingerbread cookies are probably my favourites and seeing those gingerbread men popping up all over the blogosphere woke up my desire for something gingerbread-y. I would love to make a gingerbread house one day but I think I need to cultivate a little more patience before I attempt to do so. Gingerbread cake sounded like a safe bet instead.

Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Cashew Cream (GF)

This cake is somewhat reminiscent of the “parkin” my Granny used to make- a moist, well-spiced afternoon tea cake. Being me, I couldn’t stop at just the cake and had to top it with something yummy to make it extra special. I’ve always liked lemon and ginger together- I remember making this gorgeous tart a few years ago and adoring it- so a lemon cashew cream it was. This is pretty tangy which suits me, but add more sweetener to your taste. You could also use your favourite cream cheese frosting instead.

Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Cashew Cream (GF):

Gingerbread Cake:

3/4C Apple Purée (unsweetened applesauce
1/2C Coconut Sugar
2T Molasses
3T Neutral Oil (I used organic sunflower oil)
1t Vanilla Extract
1C Brown Rice Flour
2t Cinnamon
1t Ground Ginger
1/4t Ground Nutmeg
1/8t Salt
2T Cocoa Powder
1t Baking Powder

Lemon Cashew Cream:

1C Cashews, soaked and rinsed
1/3C Lemon Juice
1/2C Water (+)
3 Medjool Dates OR 2T Agave Syrup
1/2T Coconut Oil
1t Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Lightly oil a 9” square cake tin.

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients (apple purée through to vanilla)  in a medium bowl. Sift together remaining dry ingredients in another bowl. Add wet to dry and stir to fully combine.

Pour batter into the cake tin. It will be thin but you’re going to stack 2 halves so it needs to be!

Bake for 10-15 minutes until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow to cool fully before frosting.

For the lemon cashew cream, blend all the ingredients in a high-powered blender. You will likely need to scrape down the sides several times. Add more water if your blender is not so strong.

To assemble: Slice the cake vertically in half, spread one half with a generous amount of the cream then stack the other half on top. Cut into squares and top each piece with an extra dollop of cream and a little lemon zest.

Makes 8-10 pieces

I’m submitting this recipe to the weekly link-up, Wellness Weekends.

Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Cashew Cream (GF)

I’m hoping to drop by again before Christmas day but until then  I hope everyone’s Christmas preparations are going well and, if you’re already finished with work or studies for the holidays, that you’re enjoying some rest and relaxation!

If you’re new to Coconut and Berries, Please sign up for email updates and join me elsewhere: I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram (@coconutandberries), Google + and Twitter!