Review: Raw Foods Festivities Workshop, London


Sorry I haven’t posted for a little while. End of term busy-ness crept up on me and I had a lot of work to get done. Thankfully I’ve handed in all my assignments now, and with just a few classes to go I’m ready for the Christmas break and lots of kitchen time!

I should really have been working on Saturday but naughty me snuck off to London last minute to take part in a Raw Foods Workshop run by Tanya Alekseeva of Better Raw. I’ve talked about Tanya before and reviewed one of here other e-books, “Nourished: Raw Foods for winter”, but this class was focused especially on Christmas recipes!

Tanya demonstrated a whole raw foods Christmas menu, right from drinks through to desserts, and showed that you definitely don’t have to miss out if you want to eat raw or even partially raw this Christmas. We’ll be at my brother’s for Christmas Day this year where the menu won’t be raw or even vegan but my sister-in-law is very kindly insisting on cooking a special vegan dish for me and everyone else to share. All the same,  I’m hoping to make some of the raw recipes we tried at the workshop for my family to enjoy over the Christmas period too.

All the recipes came from another of Tanya’s e-books “Festive: The Best Raw Food Christmas Recipes” which has 30 recipes in total.

Tanya Alekseeva, Better Raw

Tanya in action with the nut loaf before its time in the dehydrator

I thought I knew a lot about raw food already but found I learnt so much in the two and a half hour class. It was so lovely to be in the company of like-minded people too- passionate foodies who care about their food being both healthy and tasty. I’ve been in touch with Tanya for some time too but hadn’t met in person before Saturday.  She really has such a wonderful energy and enthusiasm for what she does and her passion for raw foods is certainly infectious. I came out of the workshop simply buzzing and excited to eat more raw meals!

Raw Christmas Feast

Each dish was prepared in front of us in the lovely kitchen while we sat on comfortable sofas and sipped spiced Christmas tea Smile

So what did we eat?

Sorry for the poor quality pictures. The lighting wasn’t the best in the workshop space and I was keen to get my plate of food!

For the main meal there was:

Nut Loaf
Mushroom Jus
Caramelized Onions
Cranberry Chutney              and
All the Trimmings Salad

Wow! I loved how all the components had been carefully considered to reflect the flavours of a traditional Christmas dinner but in a raw and much healthier form. Unlike the heavy, sleep-inducing food you might be more used to eating on Christmas Day, this meal will leave you with energy for a long afternoon walk (or even a run!).

Raw Mince Pies

A celebration always calls for dessert! There are several options in the e-book: traditional Christmas Pudding, Cinnamon Cookies, White Chocolate Orange Cream Berry Cake, Ginger Crunch Cookies, Very Berry Raw Food Trifle….but we got to try the Christmas Mince Pies. These were unbelievably delicious and far superior to the baked kind in my opinion. We were fighting over the last ones! Tanya’s kindly shared this recipe on her website, along with some other raw Christmas recipes gathered from other chefs. None of these require a dehydrator.

Raw Nut Nog

Since I’ve been back home I couldn’t resist making the final recipe we tasted on the day- the Nut Nog. This rich, sweet and perfectly spiced drink is a real treat and the perfect way to celebrate finishing my work Smile. It’s made using homemade hazelnut milk so it’s extra creamy. Can you spot my little robin in the background? I think he wants to dive in!

As a special Christmas treat, Tanya’s offering a 25% discount on all her e-books (before December 31st) and has also collaborated with a whole load of companies to bring us discounts on their products. Some of my favourite companies are featured, including Detox Your World, The Raw Chocolate Company and Teapigs tea.

There are also massive savings to be had on kitchen equipment- Vitamix blenders, dehydrators, the Tribest personal blender (this is the one I have and love!), and much more.

There are no upcoming workshops listed at the moment, but keep your eye on the teaching page as I’m sure more will pop up soon. Tanya is, however, holding a very special event in the new year- a seven-course raw supper club! It sounds like a must if you’re interested in raw food and can get to London for the 29th of January.

 Have you attended a cooking (or “un-cooking” class before? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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Blog Awards, 100 Posts and Thank you!


A short break from recipe posts…

Today I wanted to acknowledge the lovely bloggers who’ve nominated Coconut and Berries for blog awards these last couple of weeks. I feel terrible that I haven’t done so earlier but still wanted to let you know how much I appreciate them, even if it is late.

I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Sylvia of Superfoodista. I was actually nominated for this award before and shared 7 random facts about me which you can read here.


Sophia of Silk and Spice picked me for Blog of the Year!Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg

Poppy of Bunny Kitchen nominated me for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award

Dragon Loyalty Award

…and Bea of Body, Energy, Action, “Mochi” of MatchaMochi, Idara of Garden of Good Eatin’ and Rowena of Natural Fuel  shared the Sunshine Blogger Award with me.


I’m not going to nominate individual blogs for these awards as there are too many I’d like to pick! If I’ve ever left a comment on your blog please count yourself nominated! Thank you again to those who picked me Smile

It’s especially nice to receive these awards as I published my 100th post a short while ago. It may not sound like a lot to seasoned bloggers who’ve been writing for years, but it was a milestone for me. I started Coconut and Berries in the summer as a way for me to channel my passion for cooking and to keep me busy after my finals when I no longer had to spend every waking moment revising. I had no idea it would become such a big part of my life and be something I enjoy so much.

I love planning, creating, photographing and writing for the blog but most of all love connecting with all my readers, so THANK YOU for all your support! Do let me know if you make anything from the blog and send me a picture (!), or send me a message if you have any questions or requests- I’ll always do my best to respond.

I thought I’d do a little recap of Coconut and Berries’ “best bits” so far!

Chocolate-Coated Peanut Butter Pops

Way back in the summer when I was at home enjoying my garden my most popular recipes were my Chocolate-Coated Peanut Butter Banana Pops and my Nectarine Salad with Blackberries, Basil & Toasted Hazelnuts


I travelled to Edinburgh and Bath and got to eat at some great restaurants.

September was a highlight for me as I took part in The Vegan Month of Food. I posted every weekday (plus a few extra days) for the month, working through my pantry from A to Z and posting a new recipe for each ingredient. You can see everything I came up with here.

My personal favourite that month was my Mediterranean Israeli Couscous Pilaf, Nutty Crusted Tofu and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


I eventually moved to Bath to start my Masters and have been cooking in my little kitchen here ever since!


I had the pleasure of photographing a gorgeous Pumpkin Pie to appear on Dreena Burton’s blog, Plant Powered Kitchen.


My most viewed post to date is still my Raw Berry Cream Brownies. This recipe has actually been picked to feature in a raw foods cookbook next year!

I almost forgot…In November I took part in the Virtual Vegan Potluck and shared another dessert! Vegan Crepes with Date & Orange Compote & Cinnamon Ice Cream.

Along the way I’ve written some product, cookbook and restaurant reviews, held a few giveaways (there’s still time to enter for your chance to win a copy of the cookbook “Super, Healthy Snacks and Treats”) and generally kept pretty busy!

December’s a busy month for everyone but I plan on sharing lots more that I hope you’ll enjoy!

I’ll be back with a recipe tomorrow Smile

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Vegan Pumpkin Pie & Guest Feature on Plant-Powered Kitchen

Pumpkin Pie (& Guest Feature on Plant Powered Kitchen)

I know I don’t usually post consecutive days but this one will be brief.

I’m sure any plant-based foodies or those into healthy eating will be more than familiar with Dreena Burton, blogger and cookbook-writer extraordinaire!

"The Great Pumpkin Pie" (Dreena Burton)

Today she’s sharing a gorgeous Vegan Pumpkin Pie recipe with a little feature on Coconut and Berries since I had the pleasure of photographing the pie Smile

Even if you’ve already got a tried and tested pumpkin pie recipe I urge you to give this one a try-Its soft and creamy filling and wholesome oat crust are simply irresistible. Serve it with non-dairy vanilla ice-cream to seal the deal!

Now go get that pie!

Review & Giveaway: “tibits at home”


If you saw my last post you’ll know that I had a lovely meal at tibits vegetarian restaurant last week. I don’t know when I’ll next be able to make an escape to London to visit again, but, luckily for me, tibits have their own cookbook so I can recreate the restaurant’s dishes at home!

tibits at home, vegetarian cookbook

(All images are my own)

The book “tibits at home: stylish vegetarian cuisine” was released last year and features 50 recipes in total, many for dishes you’ll see on tibit’s “food boat” as well as some new ones too. The book is divided into four seasonal sections, reflecting the importance tibits pays to seasonal ingredients in their restaurant. Although the book is not exclusively vegan, the recipes using dairy and eggs are are mostly easy to veganize with a few simple substitutions.

The book pretty accurately reflects the way I like to eat- whole foods and interesting flavours, with influence from cuisines around the world. The book definitely wouldn’t look out of place on an elegant coffee table as the pictures, at least one for each recipe, are simply stunning.

I like to try out a few recipes before reviewing books so headed to the autumn and winter sections and chose 3 dishes.

Linguine with Pumpkin & Chard- "tibits at home" vegetarian cookbook- Review & Giveaway

Since I’m back into pasta I honed in on the “Linguine with pumpkin and chard”. This recipe as written isn’t actually vegan but I swapped out the double cream for canned coconut milk and found it still plenty rich for me. The sauce is lovely and lemony and lightens up this winter-warmer.

Linguine with Pumpkin & Chard- "tibits at home" vegetarian cookbook- Review & Giveaway

You might remember I mentioned a “dried green bean salad” we sampled from the “food boat” at the restaurant. As this is one of their signature dishes it’s featured in the cookbook and they actually sell the beans themselves- I, of course, had to pick up a bag.

Dried Green Bean Salad with Walnuts- "tibits at home" vegetarian cookbook- Review & Giveaway

After a soak and a simmer for half an hour they rehydrate but keep a satisfying, chewy texture. A balsamic marinade, a generous helping of walnuts and some sautéed onion is all that’s needed to turn them into something special.

Dried Green Bean Salad with Walnuts- "tibits at home" vegetarian cookbook- Review & Giveaway

I thought I’d make a sort of pick ‘n’ mix lunch with a few different dishes, like our meal at the restaurant, so opted for a second salad to have with the dried bean dish. I’d just recently picked up some Camargue rice to try so the “Red Rice Salad”  was an obvious choice.

Red Rice Salad- "tibits at home" vegetarian cookbook- Review & Giveaway

If you haven’t tried this variety of rice I’d recommend you do. Brown rice is a staple in my diet but this is quite different. It has a stronger flavour and a bit more bite to it. The dish was well-spiced but not overly so, making it ideal to serve alongside a couple of other salads.

Red Rice Salad- "tibits at home" vegetarian cookbook- Review & Giveaway

Tibits have kindly agreed to let me share this recipe with you:

Red Rice Salad:

160g(1C) Camargue Rice
1 Red & 1 Yellow Pepper
1 Courgette
1 Bunch of Parsley
2T Rapeseed Oil
3T White Balsamic Vinegar (You can find this in most well-stocked supermarkets)
1t Chilli Oil (I used a pinch of chili flakes instead)
1t Fine Sea Salt
1T Tomato Paste
1/2t Hot Curry Powder
1/2t Mild Paprika
1/2t Ground Coriander
1/2t Ground Cumin


1 Bring the salted water to the boil, add the rice and cook for 30 minutes. Drain in a sieve and chill under running cold water. Rinse well.

2 Chop peppers and courgettes into 1 cm dice.

3 Wash the parsley, shake well and chop finely.

4 Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl and mix well, add the rice.

5 Add vegetables and parsley, mix well and refrigerate.

Tip: rice grown in the French Camargue region, gets its red colour from the high clay content of the soil. Camargue rice is untreated and unmilled ’brown’ rice. It has a mild nutty flavour and stays grainy when cooked. Alternatively, you can use Riso Venere (Italian black rice) for this recipe.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Red Rice Salad- "tibits at home" vegetarian cookbook- Review & Giveaway

It’s GIVEAWAY time! Tibits are offering a copy of the cookbook to one UK reader. To enter, do any one or all of the following things and leave a comment for each letting me know that you have done so. The more you do the more chances to win you have!

1. Leave a comment on this post

2. “Like” Coconut and Berries on Facebook

3. “Follow” me on Twitter

4. Tweet about the giveaway and post the url in the comments.

Giveaway ends Thursday 21st November 12am GMT. Winner will be picked randomly and contacted by email within 48 hours of the closing time.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes, but, as always, all opinions are my own.

Hope to see you all back here on Saturday for the Virtual Vegan Potluck. I’m in the “dessert” category! Can’t wait to share my recipe.

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Review: Vegan days at tibits


I visited tibits restaurant in London for the first time a while ago and have been keen to go back ever since, all the more so since they’ve recently started holding “Vegan Days” every 11th day. I finally managed to get to London for a few days at the end of last week and took the opportunity to have a meal at tibits and a catch-up with my Mum at the same time.

tibits vegetarian restaurant, London

Tibits is an all-vegetarian restaurant in the heart of London, just off busy Regent’s Street. It’s a big space, clearly needed, since it’s very popular and was packed the evening we went. I think the interior design is pretty stylish and rather funky with its night-time lighting.

tibits vegetarian restaurant, London

It works a little differently to most restaurants in that you don’t order off a menu but help yourself from the “food boat”. You fill your plate with all the goodies you like (hot dishes, salads, soups, breads and desserts) and pay by weight. About 80% of the dishes are vegan on normal days but on Vegan Days almost everything is vegan, including all the hot dishes. The selection is regularly topped up so everything is fresh.

I was pleased to see an emphasis on seasonal ingredients too and for those with allergies or other specific dietary requirements everything is clearly marked with a symbol or letter (containing gluten, nuts, soy, onions, garlic etc.)

tibits vegetarian restaurant, London

It was the ideal system for someone like me who can never decide what to have when faced with a menu. This way we could try lots of things. I love eating out with my Mum as we always share so we can maximise the number of dishes we get to taste!

On to the food! As it was dark in the restaurant and I was just using my iPhone to take pictures they’re pretty poor-quality. For some better pictures of the dishes on offer you can take a look at the tibits site.

tibits vegetarian restaurant, London

I started with a freshly-squeezed juice while my Mum had wine. This was the “Juice of the Month”- Blueberry, Orange, Apple & Grape.

tibits starter plate

We thought we should pace ourselves as neither of us were especially starving. I think we still managed to do pretty well though! We got a starter plate to share with a selection of cold salads- carrot and beetroot, greens, falafel, a curried quinoa & cranberry dish, a lentil salad and, what I’ve been told is one of tibit’s signature dishes, their dried bean and walnut salad. We also got two little gluten-free linseed and soya rolls, cutely named “glutinis”. Everything was delicious and I was particularly taken with the dried bean salad.

tibits main plate 1

We then got two plates of hot dishes and shared again. As you’re paying by weight rather than per plate you can go up as many times as you like. Pictured above is a chickpea tagine and couscous, we both agreed this was a bit too spicy, though perhaps we’re wimps! The lemony braised fennel was divine, and just like the mangetout it was perfectly cooked. It might sound strange to rave about such simply prepared vegetables but I don’t think I’ve ever had such tender, crisp mangetout before! The autumn roasted vegetables with figs and pears also went down very well with both of us.

tibits main plate 2

As tibits has a Swiss chef (as well as several restaurants in Switzerland), there’s a decidedly Swiss feel to some of the dishes. These hearty pasta dishes reminded me of something I might have had in the mountains skiing when I was younger. There was spaetzle with oyster mushrooms and tomatoes and a pumpkin and chard lasagne with a hazelnut sauce (my favourite).

tibits dessert 1

For dessert there wasn’t a huge selection of vegan options, but enough for us both to get something different. I chose the berry cream and topped it with a little toasted coconut. My Mum opted for the sticky toffee pudding. We were apprehensive about this one but wrongly so as it was very good- sweet, moist and perfectly spiced. I only had a little bite but it was a memorable one.

tibits dessert 2

We finished up with fresh mint teas.

The staff were lovely, very friendly but not intrusive,  and efficient clearing plates and keeping the “food boat” topped up.

If you’re paying a visit to London I would definitely say tibits is a must-visit. They’ve got the dates for the next Vegan Days up on their website so you can plan accordingly. There’s a wide selection of vegan dishes even on non-designated “Vegan Days” so I’d be perfectly happy to visit any time.

Have you eaten at tibits yet? If you’re vegan or vegetarian, do you prefer to eat at exclusively vegan/vegetarian restaurants?

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Disclaimer: The meal was complimentary, but, as always, all opinions are my own.