Raw cherry ripe {gluten-free, vegan}

Today we headed down to Killalea State Park. A monthly market is held there with heaps of food stalls. In fact, there were so many gluten-free and vegan-friendly options that it was difficult to choose just one, a rare occurrence! We sat on the top of the hill, which overlooks The Farm’s Beach and enjoyed our lunch – me, with my vietnamese salad and my boyfriend Jess, with his spinach and cheese gozleme. Then we walked along the beach and headed home.

Now that the weather has been warmer, it feels as good a time as ever to share with you my recipe for raw cherry ripe. I had been thinking about making it for a while and when I saw some beautiful cherries on special at my local green grocer, I knew it was a sign. It’s not as naughty as a real cherry ripe, but it has all the elements. Perhaps we can call this a cherry ripe for when you are trying to be good but you’re naughty at heart.

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Raw cherry ripe
Makes 9 slices

For the base:
1 1/2 cup almonds
4 tbsp raisin paste or 4 dates
1 tbsp coconut oil

For the filling:
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
2 cups desiccated coconut
1/4 cup maple syrup or other sweetener of choice
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp beetroot powder
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp vanilla powder

For the topping:
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup maple syrup

Blitz the base ingredients in a food processor until the almonds are roughly chopped. Spoon into the base of a square container or baking pan. Smooth out evenly and set aside.

Blitz the filling ingredients until combined well then spoon on top of the base. Place in the freezer for 1 hour.

Add coconut oil, cacao powder and maple syrup to a bowl and whisk until combined. Remove cherry ripe from freezer and spread the chocolate on top. Return to the freezer for another hour before enjoying.

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Raw chocolate mousse tarts | Gluten-free raw vegan dessert

I always considered myself a chocoholic but chocolate mousse was the one chocolate dish that never really did it for me. It reminded me of soft serve ice cream, something I could never stomach (pun intended given I later found out I was lactose intolerant).

I discovered chocolate avocado mousse years later and it still underwhelmed me, this time, for different reasons. Then one day, I got it right.

Full disclosure, this recipe started as a jaffa tart. Halfway along the way, I realised I had created the perfect vegan chocolate mousse, not too rich, not too bitter, not too sweet and – best of all – not too avocado-tasting. Realising I had well and truly outdone myself, I dumped my jaffa tart and pursued my new love: chocolate avocado mousse.

Speaking of love, it’s Valentine’s Day (well, almost) and since I’m not good at expressing how much I love a person in words, I put it all in a tart.

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Raw chocolate mousse tarts | Gluten-free raw vegan dessert
Makes 4 individual tarts (each one serves two), or 1 large tart

3/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup raw buckwheat groats
5 medjool dates, soaked to soften
4 large avocados, skin and stone removed
2 1/2 cup water (or replace with coconut water and omit coconut water powder below)
1 tbsp coconut water powder
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

Blitz cashews, buckwheat and dates in a food processor for 10-15 seconds, until broken down and starting to stick together. Line the base of your tart tins (or tart tin, if making 1 large tart) and pop the bases in the freezer to chill while you make the mousse.

Next, add avocado, water + coconut water powder, cacao powder, maple syrup, orange juice, vanilla and salt to a high-powered blender and blend until combined. Add a small amount of additional water if mix is too thick and becomes troublesome to blend.

Remove your bases from the freezer and pour the avocado on top, filling it just under the top of the tin rounds. Place in the freezer for around 2-3 hours (slightly longer if making 1 large tart).

Remove from freezer and plate. I serve mine with a sprinkle of beetroot powder over the top.

Raw lemon and raspberry cheesecake

Changing your diet to be one that is gluten-free, vegan and mostly refined sugar free when you have one helluva sweet tooth is one crazy thing to do. I didn’t know how to reward myself for what felt like the longest time (OK, turns out it wasn’t that long).

But one day, I discovered raw desserts and boy, am I glad I did.

Yes, it’s a raw cheesecake as in uncooked, but stay with me ’cause this is not like the cheesecake you know, it’s SO much better (as well as being SO much better for you than regular cheesecake). I usually turn up to family gatherings with this bad boy in tow and let me tell you, this gluten-free vegan raw raspberry cheesecake is a crowd pleaser.

If you’re familiar with raw desserts and cringe at the thought of the long list of ingredients that usually accompanies them, don’t fret, I have you covered. This one won’t have you traipsing all over town to find a long list of unfamiliar ingredients. In fact, you’ll be able to get everything from your local supermarket. I’m good like that.

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Raw lemon and raspberry cheesecake
Serves 12

1 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
5 medjool dates, soaked for 5 mins
2 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 4-8 hours
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup coconut water or 1/2 cup filtered water with 1 tbsp coconut water powder
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup frozen raspberries
Grated dark chocolate (optional)
Grated lemon zest (optional)
Shredded fresh mint (optional)

To start, blend walnuts and hazelnuts with the dates in a food processor until nuts are small pieces and binded together by the dates.

Press the mixture into the base of a cake tin or mould that you would like the cake to set in. Try to make it as even as possible, then pop it in the freezer while you make the filling.

Add cashews, water, coconut water, maple syrup, lemon juice, coconut oil and vanilla to a high-powered blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour into a bowl and gently fold in the raspberries.

Remove base from freezer and pour cashew filling on top, spreading it out evenly.

Pop the cheesecake in the freezer for 4-6 hours. Refrigerate for one hour before garnishing with chocolate, lemon zest and mint, then serve.