12 abr. 2017

Carob Bliss Balls

Spring is in full bloom over here, yay! My cherry tomato plants are already flowering, some tiny strawberries are showing up too, the sky is clear blue and not a single grey cloud in sight, I finally got to switch up my bedding (goodbye winter covers!) and since days are significantly longer I have more time to take pictures of my recipes. I only shoot with natural light because I think it makes food look beautiful, more natural and 'real'...you know what I mean?
My tortoise Tomi is so active and happy now, he loves walking all around my rooftop patio soaking up the sun, eating freshly picked lettuce leaves and taking long naps in the afternoon.
I've seen quite a lot of tempting, decadent and also luscious Easter desserts and treats these days but this year I'm going to behave cause I ate 'bunyols' last week: they are small balls, with a donut-like texture typically available at pastry shops and eaten during Lent season and Easter in Catalonia. Some are filled with pastry cream and other are very similar to donut holes but with a lovely anise aroma. Also next monday is also a festive day here and we traditionally end the Easter holidays with a chocolate dessert, that's why I need to eat as clean as possible during the whole week! But you my fellow food bloggers really made me want to fall into temptation with your drool-worthy recipes!
In order to keep my sweet tooth under control I made these carob bliss balls the other day and they are now in my top 5 favorite raw bites. Ever since I dusted the tops of my pumpkin energy squares with carob powder I fell in love with its flavor and they make these balls taste almost like a brownie or a fancy chocolate truffle but they are healthy, my kinda snack to show those 3pm sugar cravings who's boss. ;-)

Carob Bliss Balls
(yield: 22 balls)

1 cup medjool dates, pitted.
1 cup raw almonds.
1/4 cup carob powder.
2 tablespoons natural almond butter.
2 tablespoons coconut syrup or agave syrup.
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut.
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla powder.
Carob powder, for rolling.

Place the almonds in your food processor and pulse until they are almost ground.
Add the rest of the ingredients and process until well mixed and a sticky dough forms. 
Scoop one measuring tablespoon of mixture for each ball and roll into balls using your hands. You should get around 22 balls.
Roll the balls in carob powder and place in the fridge so they set a little bit, for around 30 minutes. Cover again with extra carob powder and enjoy!
Store these bliss balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

5 abr. 2017

Millet Porridge with Caramelized Buckwheat

Here's an alternative to the classic oatmeal: tender millet porridge topped with cacao nibs, fresh fruit (I love it with chopped mango for a tropical touch) and my homemade caramelized buckwheat groats. The addition of buckwheat adds a nice crunchy and toasty note plus it couldn't be more easy and simple to make. No need to buy expensive little bags of caramelized seeds, nuts or grains, you'll save some money if you buy the buckwheat in bulk and roast it or caramelize it at home.
This gluten-free porridge definitely reminds me a lot of the classic spanish rice pudding, which I love, because of the cinnamon aroma and the texture of millet, but it can easily be adapted to your taste and add different spices or even a chocolate version by adding some cocoa powder or raw cacao.
Don't forget to add a generous tablespoon of almond butter to your breakfast porridges, it takes everything to the next level and tastes so damn good!
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, one day you can go for something sweet that reminds you of dessert like a chocolate chia pudding and other days you want something more savory like an avocado and egg toast. Sometimes I make a double batch of my breakfasts so I can enjoy an energizing afternoon snack before a workout or also as post-exercise treat...and those late afternoon cravings can be so hard to overcome that's why I always try to have some healthy chia pudding or raw energy balls in the fridge. ;-)

Millet Porridge with Caramelized Buckwheat
(1 serving approx.)

1/4 cup millet.
1 1/4 cups almond milk or oat milk.
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or agave syrup.
One cinnamon stick.
- Toppings:
Diced mango.
1 tablespoon natural almond butter.
Cacao nibs.
Caramelized buckwheat groats.
- For the caramelized buckwehat:
1/3 cup raw buckwheat groats.
2 tablespoons coconut sugar.
Coconut oil, for greasing the pan.

In a medium saucepan over low heat combine milk, cinnamon stick and maple syrup. Once the milk starts to boil add in the millet and cook (keeping the temperature low) until tender and swollen, around 15 minutes. It is important to kee an eye on the temperature so the milk doesn't burn and the millet is not overcooked.
Serve when it is still warm topped with the diced mango, a tablespoon of almond butter, cacao nibs and buckwheat. For a less dense porridge you can add a bit more milk if desired.
- To make caramelized buckwheat groats:
Soak the buckwheat overnight in a small bowl, rinse and drain well the next day. Grease a frying pan with coconut oil and once it's hot toast the buckwheat stirring frequently so it doesn't brown too quickly. Once the buckwheat groats begin to get a golden color add in the coconut sugar, stirring constantly until crispy and caramelized.
Transfer to a lined baking sheet and distribute on a single layer to prevent large clumps.
Store in a clean jar with a lid at room temperature.

31 mar. 2017

Blackberry Açaí Nice Cream

Spring has just started and I'm already thinking about summer and all the things I love about it like watermelon gazpacho, endless afternoons and ice creams! We actually can't complain about the weather being terrible in Barcelona but it's that time of the year when you simply need to feel some sunshine on your face. So in order to bring summery cozy vibes I decided to make this colorful nice cream which happened to be a total hit at home. It's a creamy nice cream loaded with super antioxidant blackberries, açaí powder and a hint of almond butter.
This nice cream came out better than I expected since I was playing with proportions and wasn't sure at all if the amount of coconut cream was enough to make it creamy and scoopable. It turned out that I was right (*insert happy dance here*) plus the addition of another healthy fat like almond butter helped too. Also very important, the level of ripeness of my bananas was excellent, and that's essential if you want to get delicious banana-based ice creams.
So I'm going to leave you with the recipe and off I go to the kitchen cause someone's in charge of dinner tonight. Hope you like my nice cream and you try it at home, let me know how you customize it and what kind of flavor combos would you like me to publish in the near future.

Happy weekend!

¡Receta en español aquí!

Blackberry Açaí Nice Cream
(4 to 6 servings approximately)

1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight.
4 frozen bananas (very ripe).
1 1/3 cups frozen blackberries.
2 tablespoons natural almond butter.
1 to 2 teaspoons açaí powder.
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla powder.
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or more, to taste).
- To serve:
Fresh fruit like blackberries, strawberries, melon, etc.
Hemp seeds.

- An important tip about coconut milk: when making ice creams I recommend to use full-fat coconut milk (the ones that are canned). But most importantly, the percentage of coconut milk versus water and the possible addition of thickeners is what you should really pay attention to when you are buying coconut milk. If the recipe calls for refrigerated coconut milk or coconut cream you'll need to use the most natural coconut milk you can find, avoid (trust me, avoid!) any milk that contains guar gum or xanthan gum, these thickeners prevent any separation so even if you let the can refrigerated for days you won't get that much needed thick white cream (coconut cream), it will still be liquid. 
You will have to try different brands until you find 'the one', one that doesn't have additives and has the highest percentage of coconut. Certain brands don't indicate the quantity of coconut milk and water.

- Before transfering the nice cream base to the container taste and adjust the sweetness, if necessary. It will depen on how ripe the bananas are and most importantly the level of tartness of the blackberries.

Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight or, even better, a day before. Open the can and scoop the thick white cream and add it to a high speed blender or food processor. Add the bananas, blackberries, almond butter, açaí powder, vanilla and maple syrup.
Blend until smooth and adjust sweetness if desired.
Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe container (with a lid) and freeze for about 2 hours or until scoopable. 
You might need to let the nice cream thaw at room temperature for 10 minutes approximately before serving. Homemade nice creams tend to be rock solid after sitting in the freezer but if you add the right quantitity of fats it's just a matter of patience and a few minutes until it reaches the creamy consistency again.
Scoop the ice cream and serve topped with fresh fruit, nuts and hemp seeds. Also you can serve it with your favorite chocolate or caramel sauce, it's up to you!