Thursday, 12 November 2015

Cacao and Peanut Butter Tarts.

I woke up a few days ago and I had the overwhelming, in actual fact all consuming, need to make tarts. Don't ask me why or how, I just got up one morning and it felt that it was imperative that I make tarts that day. But I found myself with a bit of a conflict because I couldn't decide if I wanted vanilla and orange tarts or chocolate and peanut butter ones. So, I asked some friends, who very surprisingly unanimously said I should make orange and vanilla ones. But I'm that person who asks for advice and inevitably does the precise opposite, which in this case turned out perfectly because these delicious morsels came into existence.

I am a long-term fan of the entire Mayver's range. I've always loved peanut butter, but the Mayver's peanut butter is by far my all time favourite and one of my kitchen staples. I can't actually recall the last day in my life in which I did not eat some, which should give some kind of indication of how addicted I am to the PB. I've taken it upon myself to experiment with the Mayver's range lately and try some of their products that I haven't used before. This is by no means a sponsored post, Mayver's actually have no idea I'm even doing this, I purchased all the products and ingredients myself and my opinion is 100% my own unbiased appraisal of the product. Let me say this; YOU GOTTA GO AND GET YOURSELF SOME MAYVER'S PEOPLE. THIS STUFF IS THE ACTUAL GOODS. If you're in Australia, it's available at Woolworths and Coles supermarkets and if you're not in Australia, get on and book yourself some flights to get here NOW.

As if peanut butter wasn't delicious enough on its own, Mayver's went and put some cacao into it which has taken this spread to the next level. I used the spread as my inspiration, and added a whole heap of healthy foods and these are what I ended up with. In actual fact, not only is the spread the actual next level, but these tarts are just the next level in general. They've got PB and chocolate, they've got some more chocolate, they've got a whole heap of nuts and dates and then they've got some more chocolate on top. They're refined sugar free, oil free, dairy free and delicious. You need these in your life basically.


The Base
1 cup raw almonds
6 medjool dates
2 tbsp Mayver's Cacao and Peanut Butter (if you are not in Aus, use 2 tbsp pure-state peanut butter and 1 tbsp raw cacao powder)
2 tbsp rice malt syrup

1. Put all the ingredients above into a quality blender and whizz away until you get a sticky mixture without any big chunks of nuts. Some chunks are okay though - they add a good texture to the base.
2. Take some tart moulds (cupcake/muffin tin also works in the absence of tart tins) and line with some baking paper/parchment. Take a spoon and put some of the mixture in each tin. Use your fingers and/or a spoon to press it down really well into the tin and up the sides so you end up with little cups. Place the tin in the freezer to set while you make the filling.

The Filling
1 1/2 cups raw cashew nuts (soaked in cold water overnight)
4 tbsp raw cacao powder
3/4 cup coyo (recipe here)
4 tbsp organic maple syrup

60gm dairy and oil free dark chocolate (I used Loving Earth)

1. Drain the cashew nuts. In a clean blender, combine the cashews, cacao, coyo and maple syrup on big speed until the mixture is not at all gritty. The cashews will take a while to blend properly but be persistent and keep blending and scraping down the sides until you have a super smooth and delicious chocolate mixture.
2. Remove the tart tins with the base from the freezer and pour/scoop the filling into each mould. Depending on how thick your coyo was, the mixture may be quite runny or somewhat hold its shape - both are fine because the tarts will be frozen, just be careful not to overfill (it ends up a lil messy!).
3. Place the filled tarts in the freezer overnight in an airtight container to set.
4. When you wish to serve the tarts, remove them from the freezer and set on the bench while you prepare the chocolate.
5. Take a small bowl and melt the chocolate. I did so in the microwave which I think is the quickest/easiest/least messy way to do so, being careful to keep an eye that you don't overheat and burn it!
6. Take a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the tarts. Because they're frozen, the chocolate will set almost immediately. Serve or enjoy yourself and best of luck in not eating them all at once even though that would be kinda naughty...!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Acai Bowl.

The first time I saw 'acai' on a menu at a trendy cafe I made the foolish mistake of opening my mouth when the waitress was nearby and saying the word 'acai' out loud phonetically using a hard 'c/k' sound. To put it simply, it was not the first time I had made a fool of myself in public...

If you live under some kind of quint and cozy rock and have not yet heard of this acai stuff, basically it is a berry, not too dissimilar from a blueberry or grape, that is primarily found the the Amazon regions of South America and that grows on a palm tree-like plant. It's developed a kind of cult following in the last decade or so, and pretty much if you go to a cafe these days and they don't serve some kind of acai bowl, acai smoothie or acai-containing product, then sadly you are likely in a not-so-trendy cafe. Probably the most hilarious thing about the whole acai trend is the pronunciation of the word 'acai' itself. See, if you are like me at the beginning of this little story and have not previously heard of the stuff, you're highly likely to fall into the trap of assuming that the word does contain a hard 'c' sound after the 'a'. If so, then you are wrong. I learnt this the hard, and embarrassing way. I actually get a really embarrassing amount of pleasure being in a cafe or what not these days and hearing unaware people try their hand at ordering an acai bowl. The correct pronunciation is something along the lines of 'ahhhh-sigh-eeee'.

I'm not a massive fan of the whole #superfoods trend myself, and I do not go out of my way to buy or use superfood labelled things in what I eat and cook. I would like to state that as of 2015, there has been no indication by way of scientific testing that consuming acai in any way provides some kind of crazy health benefit and it's consequently questionable whether the berry is rightfully deserving of the 'superfood' title it is so commonly given. However, that said, acai is a really lovely addition to a smoothie bowl, and as a massive fan of all berries, I do have a slight love for the stuff based on its delicious taste. Also, as it is a fruit, whilst it may not give you super abilities, result in you being able to run a marathon tomorrow morning or give you any kind of crazy power, acai is a fruit, and fruit is good stuff anyway. If you are going to purchase some acai, I'd strongly suggest attempting to get some frozen pulp packets as opposed to a freeze-dried powder. The frozen pulp tastes infinitely better, and if you live near a Costco, Sambazon Acai, which is a 100% organic, fair-trade company, is likely to be next to the frozen berries in the freezer section and I personally love their product and would recommend it to all my friends and other people perusing the world-wide web!

2 bananas, peeled and frozen overnight
1 packet acai (if you are using powder, this would be about 1 tbsp)
1 cup frozen blueberries (any berry works, but I personally prefer blueberries)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Pulp from 1 passionfruit

+ fresh fruit (banana, passionfruit, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, etc.) for toppings
+ an optional add in if you have it is some maqui berry powder - acai and maqui taste delish together!!
+ some crunchy granola

1. Roughly chop the frozen banana and put in a blender along with the acai, blueberries, passionfruit pulp and coconut milk. Blend until really well combined (no chunks!) which can take a minute or two. If your blender is being stubborn, be persistent and stir with a spoon because it'll blend it all up eventually!!
2. Pour/scoop into a bowl and have a fun with your toppings! The more fruit you use, the more visually appealing bowl you will have and the more delicious flavours there will be! Also, crunchy granola on top is literally the definition of #foodgasm. Enjoy!!