Raw passion — plant based

Two Raw Sisters: Changing perception of plant based food, by Rosa and Margo Flanagan, published by Bateman Books, RRP$39.99.
Two Raw Sisters: Changing perception of plant based food, by Rosa and Margo Flanagan, published by Bateman Books, RRP$39.99.
The ‘‘Two Raw Sisters’’, Rosa and Margo Flanagan, discovered plant-based eating while living in Los Angeles.

Now back living in Christchurch, the pair have turned their passion into a thriving business, holding workshops around the country to teach people about whole and unprocessed foods.

While they started out practising a fine-dining raw-food style of plant-based cuisine they soon realised it was too expensive and time-consuming for most people.

‘‘It just wasn’t a sustainable approach to eating.’’

So they decided to change people’s perception of plant-based eating by showing it can be done in a more cost-effective and time-efficient way.

‘‘We reduce the use of nuts, seeds and superfoods in our recipes and we use seasonal produce to make eating plant-based cost-effective, time-efficient, easy way of living that is achievable by everyone.’’

The pair do not rule out eating meat, fish or poultry, believing everyone’s body needs different things.

They admit it is hard to get excited about plants or cooking when all you know is stir-frying, boiling and steaming.

So they aim to provide inspiration through a range of recipes from breakfast through to snacks, mains and desserts.


Pomegranate eggplant with cauliflower tahini puree + pine nut mint salsa

You have to make this dish! Eggplant would have to be our favourite vegetable. Slow-roasting eggplant in smoked paprika and pomegranate molasses makes the flesh deliciously soft and bursting with Middle Eastern flavours.

Cauliflower and tahini add a creamy richness, which is so delicious with the punchy vibrant salsa. If you are serving this as a side dish, we recommend pairing it with slow-cooked lamb.

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

Roast cauliflower + puree
1 head cauliflower
olive oil
sea salt
2 Tbsp tahini
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp sea salt

Eggplant
2 eggplants
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp ground smoked paprika
2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
sea salt and pepper

Salsa
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp hemp oil or extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of lemon
handful mint leaves, finely chopped
sea salt

To serve
rocket, tahini, smoked paprika

Method

To make the roast cauliflower
Heat the oven to 200degC.

Finely cut up the cauliflower and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and salt, and mix well.

Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until soft and golden. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

For the puree
Place three-quarters of the roasted cauliflower in a blender, along with the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and sea salt. Blend until it is a smooth puree. Set aside.

If you like an extra-crispy cauliflower garnish, return the remaining roasted cauliflower to the oven and grill for 4-5 minutes to make it extra crispy. Alternatively, leave as is.

For the eggplant
Cut each eggplant in half lengthways, then criss-cross the white flesh with a knife. Place on a baking tray, skin side down.

In a cup, mix together the olive oil, smoked paprika, pomegranate molasses and salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the eggplants, and generously rub into the eggplants with your hands. Sprinkle with some extra salt before placing in the oven. Bake at 200degC for about 40 minutes.

For the salsa
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Set aside and allow the flavours to develop.

To serve
Spoon the cauliflower puree on to each plate. Place some rocket on the bottom then add the baked eggplant on top. Add a generous spoonful of salsa and a drizzle of tahini. Lastly, sprinkle over smoked paprika.

 

Twix bars

Everyone loves a good old Twix bar — you’re going to love this refined-sugar-free version even more! A shortbread base topped with buttery date caramel and coated in a shell of salty dark chocolate.

If you’ve never made a raw dessert before, we suggest you start with these. If dipping sounds too difficult or you’re running short of time, simply pour a layer of chocolate over the caramel while setting.

Makes 8

Ingredients

Base
1 cup oats
½ cup coconut flour
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
¼ cup maple syrup
pinch salt
water, if needed

Caramel
1 cup cashews, soaked in boiling water for 5-10 minutes
200g dates, soaked in boiling water for 5-10 minutes
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
½-¾ cup water
¼-½ tsp salt (depending on how salty you want it)

Chocolate shell
½ cup cacao powder
½ cup coconut oil, melted
pinch sea salt

Method

To make the base
Blend the oats into a fine flour.

Place the remaining ingredients, except the water, in a blender and blend until well combined.

If the mixture is too dry, add water as needed.

Press the base into a tin lined with cling film, and place in the freezer while you make the caramel.

To make the caramel
Place all of the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour the caramel over the base, and evenly spread it out.

Place back into the freezer to set for 2-3 hours.

To make the chocolate shell
Whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth and glossy.

Once the caramel is set, cut it into bars about 2cm-3cm thick. Dip the bars in the chocolate shell mixture, and place on a lined baking tray.

Place in the freezer for at least 1 hour, to set the shell. Store the bars in the freezer.

To make it gluten-free
Replace the oats with buckwheat, cashews or almonds.


Blueberry milk chia bowl with ginger bananas

This is a revamp of a classic chia pudding. The blueberry milk has an insanely delicate, creamy flavour and an intense colour that turn this standard bowl into so much more.

If you don’t have time to roast the bananas, simply slice them fresh, drizzle with honey and add some walnuts and freshly grated ginger on top. However, we highly recommend the roasted bananas!

Serves 1

Ingredients

Blueberry chia pudding
½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
¾ cup nut milk
2 Tbsp chia seeds
¼ cup oats
½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch salt

Ginger bananas
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 banana, peeled and sliced either lengthways or in chunks
5 walnuts, roughly chopped

To serve
coconut yoghurt
nut butter or tahini
blueberries
coconut flakes

Method
In a blender, blend the blueberries and nut milk to make blueberry milk. In a bowl add the chia seeds, oats, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the blueberry milk and mix until combined.

Alternatively, if you are running short of time, add everything to a bowl at the same time and lightly crush the blueberries with a fork.

Let the chia pudding rest for at least 20 minutes, or overnight in the fridge.

Meanwhile, prepare the bananas. Heat the coconut oil, honey and ginger in a pan. Stir in the banana slices and walnuts. Cook until banana is caramelised, about 5-8 minutes.

To serve
Place the chia pudding in a bowl. Add coconut yoghurt and arrange the bananas in the middle. Lastly add nut butter or tahini, extra blueberries and coconut flakes.

To make it gluten-free
Replace the oats with cooked quinoa, coconut flakes, mixed nuts and seeds, or buckwheat (soaked overnight and rinsed).

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