New Mulu Raw Chocolate Bars Review

One of the things I love about my job is all the free samples I get sent to try out. A couple of weeks ago I got sent samples of a new range of raw chocolate bars by Mulu. I remember a long time ago I used to really like Mulu bars, but I stopped eating and selling them because they contained agave which I found was not healthy. So when I was told these new bars are sweetened with SugaVida I was very excited to try them.

And wow, I wasn’t disappointed. They are my new favourite raw chocolate bars! There are five bars in the range, four of which are “milk” chocolate style, using coconut cream as a vegan replacement for milk, and the other is a dark chocolate bar.

All the “milk” chocolate bars are amazing, the best raw “milk” chocolate I have ever tried. I’ll go through each flavour, in approximate order of which was my favourite, although the first three pretty much tie for first place.

Mulu chai raw chocolate barChai – Amazing. “Milk” chocolate with Indian chai spices, absolutely perfect. Containing cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves, plus vanilla.

Hazelnut – Also amazing! Containing both hazelnut pieces and hazelnut butter, which gives a delicious hazelnut flavour and crunchy texture, along with the creamy “milk” chocolate.

Coconut – Basically a plain “milk” chocolate bar, so creamy with all that coconut cream.

Banana – This is a unique idea, creamy “milk” chocolate flavoured with dried banana powder.

85% – This is the dark chocolate bar. For me this wasn’t quiet as exciting as the rest of the range, the coconut cream really is the standout point of these new bars, and this one doesn’t contain any. But still a good chocolate bar.

SugaVida (palmyra Jaggery) is the sweetener from a plam tree, claimed to be even better than coconut sugar, containing more minerals and having a glycemic index of 40. They even claim it has vitamin B12, I’ve not checked into this but personally I wouldn’t rely on it!

We’ve now got these bars for sale at Funky Raw with a special introductory discount of 10%. Plus we have a selection pack with one bar of each flavour with an even larger saving.

New Mulu chocolate bars

Where to buy the Best Quality Fruit and Veg

While supermarkets sell fresh fruit and vegetables labelled as organic, this is really not the best quality food you can buy. The main problem is that it is picked a long time before it is ripe, and some of it can be very old, for example apples can be over a year old (they are stored in special storage rooms with no oxygen and different gasses to keep them looking fresh, although nutritionally they are inferior.) Most of this food will come from large scale industrial farms, often imported from far away.


Chegworth Valley Farm ShopThe place to get the best quality organic food is direct from a local farmer. In many parts of the UK you can find farmers markets where you can buy locally produced, freshly picked, ripe fruit and veg, some of which is also organic. There are also farm shops, some of which are excellent, although be aware as some sell produce not produced by the local farm, so check what you are buying. And if you want to be even more picky about the food you are eating, you could try one of the “Pick Your Own” farms! There is an excellent website with an interactive map of farmers markets, farm shops and pick your own covering the whole of the UK here: FARMA (National Farmers Retail & Markets Association).

London also has a couple of specific websites, the main London Farmers Markets website also with an interactive map of lots of markets across London, plus also City & Country Farmers Markets which runs a few more markets including the excellent Alexandra Palace market on Sundays.

Turkish olive stall at Borough MarketWhile talking about farmers markets in London, I must also mention Borough Market. This is a large market at London Bridge which has a combination of direct from the farm stalls with fruit and veg, raw milk, cream and cheese, local meat (including wild meat) plus also other speciality food with non local food including cheese from France and excellent olives from Turkey. I love this market and always go when I’m in London. It can be expensive for some things, this is quiet a tourist attraction so not somewhere for regular shopping, although great for special extras.

Of course if you are looking for the best quality organic dried foods, remember to check out the Funky Raw online shop.

What’s your favourite farmers market or farm shop?

 

Raw Vegan Ice Cream Recipe

Raw Vegan Ice CreamAfter living without a fridge or freezer for almost 6 years (first travelling, and now without a finished kitchen), some friends gave us one last month. Which was perfect because this summer in Portugal has been particularly hot! I’ve experimented with a few different ice cream recipes including one with egg yolks which worked well (although at the moment I’m not sure where I wrote the recipe down). But now I want to share this very simple recipe, that makes a really nice ice-cream:

Very simply blend and freeze! It’s good to stir it a bit during the freezing process, this makes it a bit more creamy, although it doesn’t seem to be necessary with this recipe. If you have an ice cream making machine, you could try using that.

I’m sure you can add other ingredients to make different flavour ice creams, let me know in the comments below if you come up with anything good.

What’s your favourite raw ice cream recipe?

Ethical Organic Cotton T-Shirts

About 7 years ago, Jolita and myself had the idea to produce organic, fair trade t-shirts. Because for me, buying clothing is very difficult, I cannot bear to buy cloths made with slave labour, which unfortunately is most of them.

Abstract snail and flowers t-shirt

The first t-shirt design by Jolita

At  that time, our plan didn’t happen for various reasons, although we did produce a fair trade organic cotton shopping bag.

So, fast forward 7 years, and we finally have organic ethical t-shirts and other clothing for sale. We even started with one of Jolita’s designs from 7 years ago, I still think it looks great! The blank t-shirts are made in India in wind powered factories where the workers are paid a fair wage. They are then shipped to the UK ready for your order. Once an order is placed, the t-shirt is printed with your chosen design with eco inks in another wind powered factory.

Here’s a design I came up with for raw fooders:

Broccoli power ethical organic t-shirt

Delivery is usually next working day, and is free to the UK Mainland if you spend over £50 (on clothing, this is completely separate to the main Funky Raw shop).

We also have eithical organic cotton hoodies and jumpers:

Broccoli power hoodie Womens ethical organic jumper



Summer Joy men's organic hoodieSummer Joy women's organic jumper

 

Click to view the whole range.

Wild Food: Pellitory Of The Wall and Salad Burnet

This article was first published in Funky Raw magazine issue 36.

Pellitory Of The Wall, Parietaria officinalis

Pellitory of the wallA couple of weeks ago I went on a wild food walk and discovered some new plants. Pellitory Of The Wall is in the Urticaceae family, that’s the same family as nettles. It has a hairy texture, actually one of it’s common names is sticky weed as it will sometimes stick to clothing, although it is nowhere near as sticky as cleavers which also has sticky weed as a common name. To be honest if I just put a leaf of this in my mouth I don’t like the rough texture, but mixed into salads with other wild greens it is not noticeable.
The pollen is known to cause allergies in some people, so careful if you are sensitive to pollen.

Pellitory of the wallAs you might have guessed from the name, you will often find this plant growing on walls – it grows on the side of our house!

The leaves are smallish so I pick the whole tops, the part which looks tender, the stem is also tender at the top.

This plant has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal plant for its diuretic action, to sooth chronic coughs (probably as a tea) and as a balm for wounds and burns.

One reference even says it is good for cleaning windows, I’ve not tried that yet!

Salad Burnet, Sanguisorba minor

Salad burnetI don’t quite know how I never knew this plant before, I’ve heard the name mentioned regularly but somehow I never met the plant until now. Maybe because it is a very small plant; I tend to go for larger leaves to make a good salad. Or maybe because the Portuguese name for this plant “pimpinela” caught my attention more than the English name!

Excuse the lines on my photo, it seemed like the best way to take a photo was put it on my notebook to get a clear view.

When I tried it, it had a nice flavour, a bit different to other wild greens and no bitter flavour, although according to Ken Fern of Plants for a Future “In the acid soil of our Cornish trial grounds, the leaves have a distinctly bitter flavour, though when the same plants were grown on a chalky soil they had a much milder flavour” and according to Wikipedia “Typically, the youngest leaves are used, as they tend to become bitter as they age.”

Salad burnet

Monthly Raw Food Snack Box

I want to introduce my new service to you – a monthly raw treat box. Each month subscribers will receive a selection of raw snacks: chocolate bars, snack bars, crackers, that kind of thing, plus product samples when available. Subscribers will also get free access to all PDF copies of the Funky Raw magazine (back issues and new issues) plus 5% off all orders from the Funky Raw shop. All this for only £15 per month… click here to read more and subscribe. The first box will be going out in the first week of June.

Raw Treat Box

Sunroot Raw Crisps Review

Sunroot crispsThis is quite a unique product so I was intrigued to sample it. It’s got one single ingredient, organic Jerusalem artichoke, which is grated and dried to produce a snack. It is very crispy, but does soften quickly once in your mouth. And strangely, the flavour does remind me of crisps (regular cooked potato crisps), there is even a slight fatty flavour like crisps! The flavour is very subtle, and slightly balnd, I found I preferred to eat them with a pinch of Himalayan salt. I’m sure you could add other flavours, maybe a dash of curry powder would work if you like it spicy.

Sunroot CrispsJerusalem artichoke is a pre-biotic which means it feeds the beneficial bacteria in your stomach, helping your digestive system.

This product is made with Jerusalem artichoke grown organically in Slovakia. You can order them direct from the producers at the Erbology website. They cost £1.99 for a 30g bag or £3.99 for a 100g bag.

Raw Chocolate “Rice Krispie” cakes recipe

I had the idea that maybe buckwheaties would make a good substitute for rice krispies to make a healthy raw treat. Buckwheaties are sprouted buckwheat groats which have been dehydrated making them crispy. You can either make them yourself or buy them ready made (eg here at Funky Raw).

Buckwheatie cakesIngredients

25g cacao paste
15g cacao butter
10g coconut butter

2 tablespoons lucuma powder
2 tsp carob powder
2 tsp mesquite powder
1 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp honey

70g buckwheaties

First make the chocolate. The ingredients listed make approximately 100g of chocolate, so you can make the same amount of chocolate using your preferred chocolate recipe, or even melt some ready made raw chocolate bars (a couple of Vanoffe Dark bars might work well).

Melt the cacao paste, cacao butter and coconut butter. Stir in all the powdered ingredients and honey (or other sweetener of your choice, or leave it out completely if you prefer).

Mix in the buckwheaties and form into balls. This is the messy part – hopefully the chocolate is starting to set a little by now which should make it easier! Maybe you could try spooning the mixture into paper cake cases if you don’t want to get messy chocolate coated fingers, although surely licking your fingers at the end is part of the fun!

With these quantities I made 7 balls, although they were a little bit too big so you could make them a little smaller and make 8 to 10.

This should also work well with activated pumpkin seeds, something I will try soon! Or even a mixture of pumpkin seeds and buckwheaties… Let me know in the comments if you come up with a good variation.

Fermented Grape Drink Recipe

This recipe was first published in Funky Raw Magazine issue 25 (2012) – I’ve been making it again recently as grapes are in season.

I’ve recently discovered this drink and I love it. Jolita first made it, adapted from recipes in the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, and then I worked out the exact recipe.

According to Nourishing Traditions, drinks like this were consumed by traditional people. Modern drinks like soft drinks, stronger alcohol and “sports drinks” have replaced traditional drinks. But of course the traditional drinks were much better! They contain lactobacilli probiotic bacteria which help with digestion, they quench the thirst much better than plain water and contain electrolytes and minerals so also great to drink when exercising, better than the so called “sports drinks”.

The fermentation will make this drink mildly alcoholic, our guess is less than 1%, similar to kombucha.

Ingredients

  • 250g grapes (I like it with black ones best, but green or a mixture works just as well)
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • optional: teaspoon of whey (I haven’t been using this)

Method

Remove the stalks from the grapes and place in a bowl.

Crush the grapes – I used the wooden ‘pusher’ from our juicer, maybe a rolling pin would work. (And I’ve recently discovered I can do it with my hands!) Try and make sure all the grapes have been crushed.

Crushed-grapes

Place the crushed grapes into a 1 litre jar – I use a kilner jar.

Mix the lemon juice, honey and some water and add to the jar. Then add more water so that the jar is nearly full, but not completely as you need to leave room for expansion during the fermentation.

finished-grape-drinkFermentation time depends on temperature and other factors – try it after 24 hours but I have found that 36 to 48 hours is about perfect. To drink strain off the grape skins.
It doesn’t keep too long after getting to ‘perfect’, although it will probably keep better in the fridge at this point (we don’t have a fridge at the moment.) Also, the addition of whey is supposed to slow the fermentation down, which means it should keep a bit longer if you use it.

This recipe works with various fruits instead of grapes, we’ve tried with orange juice, lemon juice, pears and melons – lots to experiment with…

Simple Raw Chocolate Brownie Recipe

Raw Chocolate Brownie

A few days ago I saw a post for a raw chocolate brownie with only two ingredients. I was intrigued so I followed the link. The two ingredients were dates and cacao powder. Now, while that might make a tasty snack, without any fat it doesn’t really make a satisfying brownie. So here is my simple brownie recipe, four necessary ingredients and one optional:

I used deglet nour dates, if you use medjool dates then you might need to adjust the recipe slightly as medjool are sweeter.

Remove the date stones and chop the dates and coconut meat. Process well in a food processor.

Add the cacao and carob powder and the vanilla if you are using it and process again, it should start to thicken up, although it is still very sticky! You could add more of either powder if you need to make the mixture a bit thicker.

Enjoy! What’s your favourite simple recipe?