My Favourite Raw Chocolate Recipe

This is my basic raw chocolate recipe. It can be made just as it is, or various flavours can be added such as essential oils (eg orange, lemon, pepermint), orange or lemon zest, buckwheaties (for chrunchy chocolate), cacao nibs, raisins, chopped dried figs, chopped nuts, etc.

Ingredients

40g cacao paste
25g cacao butter
15g coconut butter

3 tablespoons lucuma powder
1 tablespoons carob powder
1 tablespoons mesquite powder (also known as algarroba)
1 tsp vanilla powder
1 tsp mushroom powders (mix of various powders including reishi, cordyceps, lions mane, etc – optional)
1 teaspoon honey (optional)

Makes approximately 150g of chocolate, you can easily double all measurements if you want more.

Method

Melt the cacao paste, cacao butter and coconut butter using gentle heat, using a baine marie or dehydrator, or just a bowl in a pan of hot water. Once this is completely liquid, you can add the rest of the ingredients. Add a bit at a time and stir it in well. I shake the powders through a sieve to stop lumps forming.

Pour into chocolate moulds. If you don’t have proper moulds you can use various things, including silicone ice cube trays or plastic tupperware containers.

It will set slowly at room temperature, but you can put it in the fridge to set quicker, or freezer even quicker (although it will get too hard if you leave it too long, bring back to room temperature ready to eat).

(At Funky Raw we sell a raw chocolate kit with ingredients to make your own chocolate and an “Extra” kit with extra ingredients, both at a discount compared to buying the items separately.)

Cooked Food Experiments

(I wrote about this in the editorial of the Funky Raw magazine issue 37, and I’ve already had a good response from readers so I’m posting an expanded version here.)

I’ve been following a raw food diet for about 14 years now, mostly fairly strictly, apart from an occasional cooked cake here and there and a cooked meal in a restaurant maybe a few times a year. But last year was a bit different. As you may know, I eat a small amount of meat, usually a small portion twice a week. I had been eating this raw for several years, but for some reason I started to cook it, along with cooked onions. Then over the summer I added a few cooked tomatoes to the mix. With pretty much 100% of the rest of my diet raw this has been fine for me, it hasn’t caused any issues, no digestive problems, and I’ve generally felt good. (Although I’ve actually gone back to eating the meat raw now.)

this is where I got a major realisation - it's so much easier to eat a healthy portion size when eating raw food!This led on to more experiments. Last year was quite different to previous years for me, I went travelling more than usual, to festivals and communities, and sometimes it was difficult to take my own food, and in some cases I wanted to join in with group meals so I ate a little bit more cooked food. In November I stayed at a community for a few days and decided to try eating what everyone else was eating, although making sure I didn’t eat wheat/gluten and not eating rice and potatoes unless they were mixed in with the rest of the meal. The food was “healthy” vegetarian and there was usually some salad along with the cooked food. And this is where I got a major realisation – it’s so much easier to eat a healthy portion size when eating raw food! When I eat raw, I stop eating when I am full – my body is physically full and I can’t really eat anything else. But when eating cooked food I couldn’t stop myself. I found I still wanted to eat more until I felt I had eaten way too much.

There are a couple of reasons why this may happen. I think the main one is the sheer bulk of raw food, it physically fills up the digestive system. But also maybe the raw food has more nutrition which actually satisfies what my body wants more than the cooked food. If you have any thoughts on this, please add your comment below.

After 4 days of eating cooked food (although still at least 50% raw) I was looking forward to getting back home to my own kitchen and raw food! In general I was feeling ok, although my digestion wasn’t as good as when I eat only raw, particularly after eating cooked beans. I’ve noticed this previously, that my body can’t easily digest cooked beans.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a friend’s place for lunch and I decided to not make any special requests with regards to diet. When I found out that it was pizza I was initially worried about the amount of wheat, but there was also some salad… I ate the pizza, and survived! I’m sure if I made a habit of eating that much wheat it would start to have a bad effect on me, but I’m happy that I can finally stop worrying about what I will eat for occasional situations like this.

New Funky Raw Magazine out now!

Funky Raw Magazine Issue 37, Spring 2017It’s been a while since the last one, so I’m really happy that I have finally got another magazine published!

I’m really pleased with this issue, including the beautiful cover art by Michelle Denise. There are some great articles, I particularly liked “The Illusion of Rest and Finding Real Restoration” which is an interview with Mara Glatzel by Grace Quantock – I learnt a lot from that article myself!

Some other key articles include sauerkraut and how to make it, all about teeth and a natural toothpaste recipe, dealing with diabetes, and much more. You can also win a copy of Stephanie Jeffs’s new recipe book “Spiralize!”.

If you are interested in getting involved in future issues, please contact me – you can write an article, poetry, stories, cartoons, artwork, etc.

You can purchase the magazine either as a printed magazine or as a PDF.

Raw Chocolate Truffles Review

Truffles in boxWhen I picked up this package of “Naked & Raw Cacao Truffles”, the first thing I noticed was the delicious smell, before I’d even opened the jiffy bag they came in. Then the beautiful rustic box they were packed in.

This range of raw chocolate truffles are all made from the same basic recipe of cacao paste, medjool dates and coconut oil, and then each type is dusted with its flavour.

They were all delicious, but I think the ginger ones were my favourite. Perfect soft texture, intense chocolate flavour combined with spicy ginger, delicious.

Ginger cacao trufflesThe strawberry truffles were also amazing, they had what I assume was pieces of freeze dried strawberry embedded in to the truffle, so tasty!

Coffee was also delicious, although maybe too much stimulation for me!

After this range of amazing flavours, the truffles dusted in cacao powder were a bit plain for me, although still delicious.

The only truffles I didn’t like were the chilli ones, the chilli was just too intense for me, these are reserved for people who really like their mouth to be on fire with cacao and chilli…

There are also maca and cinnamon truffles available, I didn’t get to try those but I’m sure they are both also delicious.

Because they are so good they are now available on the Funky Raw website. When you place your order, they are made to order for you so you get them as fresh as possible.

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! [Edit: Ben from Mulu contacted me and said that they have had this tested in the lab and that it does have B12 in it, although I still personally wouldn’t rely on this as my only source of B12.]

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