Saturday, 23 August 2014

Rhubarb Chilli Chutney

I don't mind admitting that since the weather turned unseasonably chilly last week, my whole "raw 'til four" thing has changed slightly to incorporate hot drinks and a few extra cooked grains, as I've been feeling colder. Another good way to inject a little heat into your diet is to add chilli, ginger or any other warming food. This doesn't even have to be cooked (although this chutney is) to have a heating effect on the body. According to Ayurveda, it's important to ensure you have some warming, digestion-enhancing foods at times of sudden cold like this to keep you in balance. Exactly what and how much depends on your individual constitution. A blob of something spicy like this chutney on the side of your salad might just do the trick, though.

This chutney is an ideal condiment for Indian dishes, sandwich filling or as part of a salad, spreads and crackers-style lunch, as shown here.
Makes a small jam jar full:
250g chopped rhubarb
1 apple, cored and chopped but not peeled
1 1/2 large chillis, chopped (exactly how many chillis will depends on their size, heat and your personal taste, though. My chillis were ordinary supermarket ones, not scotch bonnets or other super-hot types.)
2 tabs olive oil
2 tabs agave
1 1/2 tsps mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tab water
1 tsp seasalt/ Himalayan pink salt

  • Chop the fruits and chillis, and set aside.
  • Toast the seeds lightly in the oil, turn down the heat a little and add the chopped fruit and chillis, stir-frying for a minute or two until thoroughly mixed.
  • Add the water, salt and agave and simmer over a low heat until the rhubarb and apple has broken down somewhat. 
  • Bottle in a sterilised jam jar and when cool, store in the fridge with the lid on. The flavours are even better after a few hours!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Blackcurrant Cheesecake Icecream- vegan, low sugar (can be sugar free)

Continuing our quest for ever more delicious vegan ice cream flavours... when I saw strawberry cheesecake icecream, I knew I had to veganise it. With tofu. Coconut milk. Plain chocolate digestive biscuits. Fresh strawberries  blackcurrants from the garden. Oh yeah.
The result was delicious, if a little tart in the curranty bits (maybe some more agave needed next time?) I only wish we had made more. If you don't want the wheat and sugar in the biscuits, then make a small amount of your favourite cheesecake base (raw or cooked- here's a suggestion) and add that instead. Despite copious whisking with a hand blender, this icecream did set really quite hard overnight, so perhaps if you haven't got an icecream maker it would be best to devour it straight away. Here's the recipe:
1 can coconut milk
2 tabs agave
110g tofu, mashed and mixed with 1 tab agave and a1 1/2 tabs lemon juice
2 cups blackcurrants, coarsely mashed (you could mix in some agave too if you think they need it)
2 vegan digestive (graham) biscuits, crumbled into small pieces; but not crumbed.

  • Blend the tofu mixture thoroughly- I used a hand blender.
  • Add to the coconut milk and agave.
  • Whisk the mixture as much as possible, to get plenty of air in.
  • Freeze in the bowl you whisked it in, removing and whisking again from time to time.
  • Lastly, stir in the blackcurrants and biscuit pieces, swirling them through so that some white coloured icecream is left (see pictures).
  • Freeze until frozen through but still quite soft.