Raw Foods for Winter

(Raw) Spiced Hot Chocolate

Now, if you’re anything like me, you might well be thinking that raw food isn’t particularly suitable for winter and cold weather. We’re naturally drawn to warming, comforting foods at this time of year, and my associations of crisp, fresh, raw salads just didn’t fit into this picture. Nevertheless, at this time of year we’re all extra susceptible to getting ill and it’s now when we need to be taking extra good care of ourselves and eating the most nutritious foods possible. Raw food is just that!

So, how to make raw meals that are just as warming and comforting as our cooked favourites?

That’s where Tanya comes in.

"Nourished-Raw Foods for Winter": e-book Review

Tanya Alekseeva is one of the UK’s leading raw food chefs and educators and blogs over at better raw. If you haven’t met her yet, definitely read her amazing story of transformation.

Tanya’s e-book “Nourished - Comforting Raw Food Recipes for Winter” addresses the issue of eating raw in winter, with lots of useful info and recipes.

- It’s a full-colour book with pictures of all the recipes, along with step-by-step instructions.  It’s always nice to know what you’re aiming for!

- The book’s got you covered for drinks, breakfasts, sauces, sides, snacks, meals and desserts. There are some real show-stoppers in here which I think would be especially fantastic to serve to guests, along with dishes ideal for everyday eating.

- It includes some great tips for eating raw when it’s chilly out, many I hadn’t thought of, but which make such a big difference.

- There’s also a guide to local and seasonal produce and recommended equipment for a raw kitchen.

Note, most of the recipes don’t require specialist equipment and if you’ve got a good knife, a blender and/or food processor you’ll be able to make most. About a quarter do call for a dehydrator though, something I don’t own (yet…), so I couldn’t make these, slightly torturous as they all looked really good. If you do have a dehydrator you’ll definitely want this book!

- Particularly handy if you’re new to raw food, there’s also a glossary of ingredients you might be unfamiliar with.

You can find a full list of the recipes included and more pictures here, but this is what I made:

"Nourished-Raw Foods for Winter": e-book Review

First up, I tried the Apple & Cinnamon Chia Pudding. This was a really tasty, light breakfast. It’s creamy, mildly-spiced and sweet, even with only fruit to sweeten it. I would probably add less almond milk next time though as I like my chia pudding a little thicker.

"Nourished-Raw Foods for Winter": e-book Review

I really wanted to try one of the main-dishes from the book but struggled to make a decision with so many options. Lots of the recipes might sound like conventional dishes: “burgers”, “ noodles” “mash”” “pie” and “curry”, but they’re probably not what you’re expecting! Tanya’s given these traditional dishes a  raw make-over, but their healthiness definitely doesn’t compromise their flavour.

"Nourished-Raw Foods for Winter": e-book Review

I decided to put together a few of the recipes for a meal with some serious wow-factor. Here we have the “Winter Sun Burgers”, “Tangy Cabbage Salad” and “Ranch Dressing”. The burgers were rich and flavourful. They’re very easy to make too, just a few ingredients and a food processor is all you need. I’m already planning on using the same mixture and blending it up a little more and using it as a dip Smile

The cabbage gets jazzed up with a yummy raspberry vinaigrette (Tanya suggests using frozen berries if they’re not in season where you live).

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the ranch dressing was absolutely incredible! I could have eaten this stuff with a spoon! I’m definitely going to be making it regularly. Note: there wasn’t any water listed in the ingredients and I found I needed to add some to get a smooth, pourable consistency. I also subbed tamari for the liquid aminos listed as I didn’t have any.

A perfectly satisfying meal, and I didn’t miss hot food at all.

"Nourished-Raw Foods for Winter": e-book Review

The last of the recipes I tried was the “Spiced Hot Chocolate”. This was creamy and indulgent-tasting, and it would have been hard to believe it was healthy if I hadn’t made it myself. You can still have warm food eating raw, just as long as you don’t heat foods above a certain temperature which is thought to damage their nutrients. Blending all the ingredients on high with some hot water made this plenty warm enough, and the kick of cayenne added extra heat.

(Pictured above with store-bought raw oatmeal-raisin cookies)

Tanya has kindly allowed me to re-print the recipe here for you all to enjoy.

Spiced Hot Chocolate:

1C Almonds, soaked overnight
4C Pure water (2C cold, 2C hot)
½C Pitted dates
¼ avocado
2T Raw cacao powder
1T Agave nectar
¾t Cayenne pepper

Rinse the nuts, drain and blend with 2 cups cold water.

Strain the liquid through a nut milk bag/cheese cloth/stocking to remove the pulp. Pour the strained milk back into blender and add the rest of ingredients including the hot water, blend on high. Enjoy immediately.

Serves 3

The next recipes I want to try are the Pecan Pie Shake, “Never Miss Meat” Stroganov, Root Veggie Satay Noodles…and the Traditional Apple Crumble with Vanilla Sauce! You can get your hands on the book instantly by downloading it from Tanya’s website, better raw, here.

I know it’s only October, but December will be here before we know it! Tanya’s book of raw Christmas recipes- “Festive”, is one I’m definitely considering. There are always so many parties and social events at this time of year, not usually involving the healthiest of foods, but with these recipes you’ll be well-equipped to wow friends and family with healthy and delicious raw alternatives.

You might want to check out Tanya’s other e-books:

“Purified - Your Complete 7 Day Detox Program” and “Seduced - Raw Chocolate Recipes to Get Very Excited For”

If you’re in the UK you might also be interested in the workshops Tanya runs in London- coming up very soon, with just a few spots left are the Comforting Raw Foods for Winter Workshop (THIS Saturday 25th October) and the Raw Food Christmas Festivities Workshop (7th December).

Do you try and incorporate raw food into your diet? I’d love to hear your thoughts about raw food in general.

Note: I was provided with a copy of the book for review purposes, but all opinions expressed are my own.

Review: LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

It feels like forever since I’ve posted. I have been doing plenty of cooking though so have a lot I want to share, it’s just been a little busy my end so I haven’t been able to get it together to post.

You’ll have to wait a teeny bit longer for more recipes though as today I’ve got a product review for you- LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars!

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

If you’re a long-time reader of Coconut and Berries you’ll know I’m a big fan of energy bars to stash in my bag for when I’m out and about. It’s still not always easy to find healthy, vegan food away from home. I do have to say that I have been fairly impressed with the food on offer on my university campus. You can get super cheap herbal tea (!), and I’ve just discovered that there’s even a café with a fully vegetarian menu and daily vegan options!

Still, for the 5 minute breaks between classes, snack bars are ideal, and LoveRaw Bars are my new favourites Smile.

I imagine most of my readers know about the benefits of raw food already, but if not, you may be interested to learn that heating certain foods means that you lose a lot of their nutrients and all the natural enzymes which are so good for us. With this in mind, LoveRaw slow-dry their bars to preserve the vitamins and minerals of the quality, organic ingredients used.

I’ve been on a big raw kick recently ( more on that to come too…) so these came at the perfect time.

I love the story behind the company too. You can read more about Rimi, the founder, and how LoveRaw came to be here. Rimi is clearly passionate about healthy food and committed to creating the products as healthy as possible. The bars are all hand-crafted and packed in Cheshire, UK. I like the idea that there are real people behind what I’m eating rather than just machinery!

I had the opportunity to try 3 of their flavours:

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

  Coconut & Chia

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

  Rosehip & Lemon

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

Cacao & Maca

A bar made with wholefoods ingredients- nuts, dried fruits and superfoods with no added sweeteners or fillers is already a plus for me, but, just as importantly, they taste delicious too.

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

The coconut bar was perfect for this coconut-loving girl. It’s nice and chewy from the shredded coconut with a pleasant crunch from the super-nutritious chia seeds. I talked a little about chia seeds earlier here.

LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bars

This might  have been my favourite of the 3, though it was so hard to choose! The chocolate taste is nice and prominent, and there are definite nutty, malty undertones from the maca, though I wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint the flavour exactly without knowing what was in it. Oh, and this one’s got cacao nibs in too which add a little bit of crunch. I’ve recently learnt about the nutritional benefits of maca, traditionally used in Peru. It’s most known for its positive effect in balancing hormones so is especially good for women to be consuming.

Lastly, I tried the rosehip and lemon bar. No picture of this one as it was eaten on the go, but I still made sure to savour it. This one’s very different from any other snack bar I’ve had but was really lovely. Lemony and fruity/floral-tasting, as to be expected really from its name! Rosehip is another one that’s been getting recognition recently for its health properties. It’s a concentrated source of Vitamin C, as well as having high levels of antioxidants and other vitamins.

There’s a 4th flavour, Apricot & Camu Camu, which I haven’t yet tried. It looks as though it’s currently sold out (19/10/13) on the LoveRaw website but hopefully it will be back in stock soon. I see it’s got lucuma in, which I love!

Where to buy? LoveRaw Bars are currently available across London, in Wholefoods stores, Planet Organic and the Natural Kitchen, Marylebone. But, if you’re not in London there’s no need to fear! Love Raw also sell online direct from their website and you can buy boxes of 12 bars of each flavour. I’d love to see LoveRaw introduce a mixed box as I wouldn’t be able to pick just one flavour!

Have you tried LoveRaw Superfood Bars yet? What do you look for in a snack bar?

Note: These products were sent to me for review purposes, but the opinions expressed are my own.

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Raw Berry Cream Brownies


We interrupt today’s scheduled post for chocolate! I had something else planned for today but then I made these Raw Berry Cream Brownies and decided I had to post them straight away. Not that you shouldn’t be excited about my next post of course, but chocolate is always prioritized!

Raw Berry Cream Brownies

I’ve been baking up a storm in my kitchen recently (more on that to come soon…) and as much as I love doing so, admittedly I don’t feel my best after eating a ton of flour, even if it is wholegrain.

Avoiding flour and still enjoying a sweet treat is no problem at all though when raw desserts are so darn delicious!

I’ve made many a raw brownie in my time but almost always date and nut based ones. I thought I’d go down a different route this time and try and replicate a cooked brownie texture. It was certainly a fun experiment and a resounding success if I do say so myself! They turned out fudgy but with a slightly fluffy “crumb”. They are still very rich so to cut that I added a layer of berry cream using some mixed berries I had in my freezer from the summer. It  took these over the top!

Raw Berry Cream Brownies

The secret to the texture is coconut flour! I know, I just said I didn’t want to use flour, but coconut flour is rather different. Being made from coconut it’s of course gluten and grain-free. It’s also very high in fibre and low in carbohydrates.

Please do not try and sub homemade coconut flour in this recipe- it will not work! Store-bought coconut flour is defatted, unlike shredded coconut, and acts like a sponge soaking up liquid and giving these brownies their moist cakey texture. It’s widely available in health food stores, large supermarkets and online.

Raw Berry Cream Brownies

Yield: 6 Brownies


  • 1 Tbsp Water
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C Maple syrup OR Agave nectar
  • 1/3 C Unsweetened apple purée
  • 1/3 C Raw cacao powder
  • 1/3 C Coconut flour
  • 1/3 C Almond flour/blanched ground almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Berry Cream:
  • 1/2 C Mixed frozen berries, defrosted (You can use fresh if in season)
  • 1/4 C Cashews, soaked, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbsp Maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut oil, melted


  1. Line a small baking tin or container with parchment paper to help you remove the brownies later on (I used a 5 1/2” by 3” container)
  2. In a food processor combine water through to apple purée. In a separate bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor and process again until fully incorporated. You will have a very thick mixture.
  3. Spread the mixture into the prepared container and smooth out the top. Refrigerate.
  4. For the berry cream, blend the first five ingredients. When smooth add the melted coconut oil and blend again.
  5. Pour the berry cream on top of the brownie and refrigerate or freeze for a few hours. Use the parchment paper to remove from the container and cut into pieces.
  6. Store in the fridge or freezer as the topping will melt if left at room temperature.


*Adapted from Practically Raw Desserts


  Please try these and let me know what you think!

Raw Berry Cream Brownies

I’d like to try a raw vanilla cake with coconut flour too…

Have you used coconut flour before? Any must-try recipes to send my way?

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Quick Raw Vegan Chunky Monkey Ice Cream


W is for…Walnuts!

Amazingly I’ve managed to featured 3 seeds this month- chia, hemp and sunflower, but no nuts, despite the fact that I eat them everyday in some form or another.  I’m changing that today and talking about walnuts!


I tend to use them mostly in in cakes and muffins- they’re vital in carrot cake in my opinion and I love both banana bread and oaty-raisin cookies including walnuts in the mix. They’re rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and their oily nature means they’re excellent in raw desserts too. My favourite raw brownies have a walnut and date base.

On the savoury front, walnuts are beautiful in crunchy, tangy salads, and the pear, walnut combination is well-known. As well as pairing them with sweet and tangy foods, they go well with similarly earthy flavours like lentils and mushrooms. This Lentil-Walnut Salad is delicious, as is this Walnut-Mushroom-Tempeh Pasta Sauce.

10-Minute Raw Vegan "Chunky Monkey" Ice Cream |coconutandberries.com

I’m clearly making up for the dearth of sweetness last week since I’ve got another dessert recipe for you! I doubt anyone’s complaining though…This sumptuous bowl is filled with my 10-minute Raw Vegan Chunky Monkey Ice Cream.

I imagine all my readers are familiar with Ben & Jerry’s “Chunky Monkey” flavour ice-cream, but in case you’re not, according to the creators themselves it’s “Banana Ice Cream with Fudge Chunks and Walnuts”

Sounds pretty simple, right? Simple it may be but it’s the perfect flavour to me, and was my favourite B&J flavour growing up. (Followed closely by Strawberry Cheesecake…) Not that I actually got to enjoy it too often as, although we almost always had B&J in the freezer (my Dad, in particular, was an ice cream fanatic) Chunky Monkey was hard to come across sadly and so it was extra special when I did have it.

My version is vegan, of course, much healthier, and comes together in just a few minutes. Definitely quicker to make than going out to buy some Smile

10-Minute Raw Vegan "Chunky Monkey" Ice Cream |coconutandberries.com

I hope you’ve all come across the frozen banana ice-cream trick, if not, that needs to change NOW! All you need is frozen bananas and a food-processor or blender and you’ve got the most amazing sweet, creamy and healthy ice cream. I added a generous handful of buttery, toasted walnuts (store-bought ice cream is always skimpy on the add-ins) and homemade raw fudge chunks.  It was far better than I remembered B&J being.

Raw Fudge Chunks, Walnuts

Quick Raw Vegan “Chunky Monkey” Ice-Cream

Yield: 1-2 Servings


  • 2 Medium-size bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 1/4 C Walnuts
  • Chocolate Fudge Chunks:
  • 1 Tbsp Almond butter
  • 1 tsp Coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp Raw cacao powder OR Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Make the fudge first of all as it will need a few minutes to set up.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, pour into a tiny container or spread thickly onto a piece of parchment paper. Place in freezer for 10 minutes, or longer, to set. Remove from freezer and cut into small chunks. Store in the freezer whilst prepping other ingredients as it will melt if at room temperature for long.
  3. If desired, toast walnuts in a pan over medium-heat for approx 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until they begin to darken slightly and smell nutty.
  4. In a food processor blend the sliced banana until smooth, don’t over-process though or it will melt. Fold through walnuts and fudge chunks, reserving a few for topping. Scoop into bowl (s) and serve.


* Note: For officially raw ice cream, use raw almond butter, raw cacao, agave or coconut nectar in place of the maple syrup, and leave walnuts raw.


10-Minute Raw Vegan "Chunky Monkey" Ice Cream

What was/is your favourite Ben & Jerry’s flavour?


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Baby Leaf, Apple & Sunflower Seed Salad with Miso-Lemon Dressing

Babyleaf, Apple & Sunflower Seed Salad with Miso-Lemon Dressing| coconutandberries.com

Sunflower Seeds!

I chose sunflower seeds for “S” more to push myself than for any other reason. We all fall back on our staple ingredients, and sunflower seeds are not one of mine. Cashews, almonds and more recently,  hemp seeds, are my most used nuts/seeds, tending to overshadow the humble sunflower seed. After this month I hope to take heed of my advice and make the most of the variety in my pantry.

Babyleaf, Apple & Sunflower Seed Salad w/Miso-Lemon Dressing

As well as being just as versatile and nutritious as other nuts and seeds out there, sunflower seeds are one of the cheapest. A particular bonus for someone like me, who likes to think of themselves as rather frugal…!

Over here sunflower seeds are normally seen hulled but I know that in other countries they’re especially popular roasted in their shells, salted, and eaten as a snack.

The way I normally eat them is as a salad-topper for a little crunch and a nutrition boost and came up with a simple side or starter salad for today’s post.

Babyleaf, Apple & Sunflower Seed Salad w/Miso-Lemon Dressing

I knew I wanted to include apple in my salad since we were given these gorgeous ones from a neighbour. The same kind neighbour who gave us the plums!

Aren’t they pretty? I love how pink they are, even the flesh has a pinkish hue as if the colour from the skin has somehow seeped into it.

This is really quick to put together so ideal for when you want a salad to go with your main meal but more than just some unadorned greens. I used a mix of baby leaves for the base,  added some very thinly sliced red onion, slivers of apple and a generous handful of sprouted sunflower seeds. I like to sprout seeds and legumes as I like their fresh, crisp taste and it also makes their nutrients more bio-available (see here for more info and a handy guide to sprouting) but toasted, or even just raw seeds would still be tasty.

I dressed the salad with a miso-lemon dressing which was a nice slightly salty, tangy contrast to the sweet apple.

Babyleaf, Apple & Sunflower Seed Salad w/Miso-Lemon Dressing

Babyleaf, Apple + Sunflower Seed Salad with Miso-Lemon Dressing:

2 Generous handfuls of Baby leaves (or mild greens like spinach or pea-shoots)
1 Medium dessert apple, thinly sliced
3T Sunflower seeds (sprouted, toasted or raw)
1/4 Red onion, very thinly sliced

Miso-Lemon Dressing:

1T Lemon juice
1/2T White miso
1/2T Olive oil
1/2t Tamari

Whisk together the lemon juice and miso until completely smooth then add the other ingredients and whisk to emulsify.

In a large bowl toss the salad leaves with as much dressing as it needs (add it slowly as you don’t want it to be soggy and you probably won’t want all of it)

Plate the salad: Place a layer of leaves on the plate(s), then scatter over the red onion and seeds. Finally, arrange the apple slices on top.

Serves 1-2


Babyleaf, Apple & Sunflower Seed Salad w/Miso-Lemon Dressing

As usual, I’m sharing some of the sunflower seed recipes I’ve come across which appeal to me or that I’ve made an enjoyed:

Firstly something sweet from The Kitchn: Sunflower-Date Raw Cookies

This Broccoli Raisin Sunflower Seed Salad is a favourite

Sunflower seeds are soft, so, after a soak, blend up well. They are a nice, cheaper alternative to cashews in vegan, creamy sauces like this Creamy Herb Sunflower Dressing/Dip. This recipe also uses them, along with cashews, to make a sour cream of sorts, then swirled into black bean soup. I’ve made this one and can vouch for its yumminess!

2 more dips/spreads I want to try are: this Super-Simple Gingery Sunflower Seed Paté and this Raw Carrot, Almond and Sunflower Seed Paté

I am loving Vegan MoFo but it’s leaving me no kitchen time at all for trying all the  wonderful creations from other bloggers and my cookbooks. The creativity around the blogosphere this month has been so phenomenal that I’m amassing a rather overwhelming number of recipes too!

Have you picked up any great recipes, tips or info this month?