superfoods

Paleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib Marmalade

Paleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib MarmaladePaleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib Marmalade

Yeah this stuff is pretty darn special! As you can clearly see!

I have always had a thing for jams and marmalade. I used to absolutely love making jams but what I always had hated was the sheer amount of sugar that you had to put into the damn stuff! Not this marmalade, no siree – this marmalade uses only 1/3 of a cup of sugar to 6 oranges. Not too shabby.

The texture of this marmalade isn’t a solid jelly type that you would get it is a lot softer and more spreadable but it still tastes like marmalade and not any ordinary marmalade. Yes it is bittersweet but the flavour is just so much more than that – it is a fresh orange taste coupled with a complex chocolate flavour. It truly is beautiful. In a nutshell it smells and tastes like the best and freshest chocolate orange you could ever imagine.

This is perfect generously spread over some of my Paleo Granary Bread, Superfood Pancakes or even spooned over some coconut yogurt!

So, what an earth made me chuck some cocoa nibs into my marmalade mix? Quite simply I love anything chocolate orange but the wonderful folk over at Naturya supplied me with some of their exquisite products to get creative with and I have had these gorgeous nibs sat around getting nibbled on and sprinkled over everything and anything. All I will say is that there will be a lot more of the cocoa nib coming your way in the near future, but in a savoury form!

I have made the method for this recipe as simple as possible as real marmalade making is all faff, muslin cloths, you name it – it is just not for me, at least not when I am running a house full of children and animals. All you will require for this recipe is a stove top, a pan, a wooden spoon and something to store your marmalade in. Simples.

This recipe will require you to add in some orange rind, however if you aren’t a fan of the rind in marmalade simply zest 1 of the oranges before juicing.

Yields: Roughly 350g 

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20- 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Juice & pulp of 6 blood oranges (reserve the rind of 1/2 blood orange)
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup Naturya cocoa nibs
1 tsp tapioca flour dissolved into 1.5 tsp water

Method:

  1. Juice all of the oranges and save the pulp too – I find that this gives the marmalade that bit more of a fruity bite to it. Ensure that you save the rind of 1/2 of an orange.
  2. Cut the rind in half and slice thin strips lengthways, I definitely wouldn’t cut a strip any thicker than 5mm.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients (except for the tapioca flour) into a pan and place onto a medium heat. Bring the mix to the boil being sure to stir frequently to prevent burning.
  4. Once boiling reduce the heat and leave the mixture to simmer. Simmer until the majority of the liquid has reduced and it coats the back of your spoon well.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in your tapioca flour thickener stirring vigorously. Return the pan to the heat and heat for 1 minute until thick.
  6. Pour the marmalade into a clean airtight jar and cover with a wax disc or cellophane lid before closing. Store in a cool dark place and use within one month.

Paleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib MarmaladePaleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib MarmaladePaleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib MarmaladePaleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib Marmalade

If you’d like to follow Naturya online then check out the links below:

Twitter: @Naturya_UK

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Naturya/481189888602446

Instagram: @naturya

The Paleo Isotonic Super Booster

Paleo Isotonic Super Booster

Well with such a boring picture I had to give this an interesting name! This is the ultimate Paleo sports performance drink!

When I first got back into running after having my first two kids I started to drink those awful sugary isotonic drinks, and well I started to learn that they were actually no good for performance and I would often burn out fairly fast. I deecided to switch back to regular water and up my salt intake. This did work well but not well enough. Fast forward 5 years and going strong on the Paleo diet I started to become more familiar with chia seeds and their benefits within sports performance. I also started to become more aware of the roles of carbohydrates, citrus and sea salts aiding in hydration and electrolyte/isotonic balance. That’s when I came up with this little number.

It is super quick to make and will help you blast out a good endurance run or hour and a half of intensive exercise.  This is best consumed about 30 minutes before you do exercise but you can also drink this first thing in the morning as it will hydrate you and help get those adrenals going!

This drink is also ideal for kids – my kids love this because it is nice and fizzy from the bicarbonate of soda! But this drink isn’t just for athletes and kiddies it is great for the elderly and anyone who is suffering from the flu or a stomach bug with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.

So what is so great about all of the ingredients in this drink and what do they do?!

  • Carbohydrates from the raw honey will help to replenish your muscle glycogen whilst increasing the intestinal water absorption rate. It also contains fructose, glucose and maltose which all absorb into the bloodstream at different rates thus making it the ultimate energy source for sports performance.
  • The Himalayan pink salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements including the electrolytes sodium, magnesium, potassium & sulfate.
  • The bicarbonate of soda contains sodium chloride which again aids in topping up your electrolytes.
  • The lemon and lime juice is a great substitution for potassium citrate as it contains high levels of both potassium and citric acid. It also chelates calcium which basically means that it stays firmly attached for better absorption.
  • On to my favourite little power houses – chia seeds. Chia seeds are hydrophillic meaning that they love water, so much so in fact that they can hold up to 12 times their weight in water! This again extends your timeframe for hydration. Chia seeds are also hight in omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants. These beauties were used by the ancient aztecs and I have never turned back. They fuel you for a good hour or so of exercise.
  • Water… well yes I think we all know what water is good for!

But anyway now onto the actual recipe! Just to let you know these make excellent freeze pops too for the summer!

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

400ml filtered cold water
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tbsp raw honey (or maple syrup for Vegan substitution)
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp milled or whole chia seeds

Method:

  1. Start by pouring your water, lemon juice & lime juice into a large glass container and stir.
  2. Add in your raw honey and Himalayan pink salt and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in your bicarbonate of soda and chia seeds and leave to sit for another 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to absorb the water thoroughly.
  4. Alternatively you can place all of the ingredients except for the bicarbonate of soda into a blender and blend for a couple of minutes before leave to sit the 10 minutes. You can then stir in your bicarbonate of soda at the end before drinking otherwise the gases will build up and you will be likely to have a little explosion on your hands!!!

Paleo Isotonic Super BoosterPaleo Isotonic Super Booster

Paleo Salted Chocolate Orange Super Fudge

Paleo Salted Chocolate Orange Super FudgePaleo Salted Chocolate Orange Super Fudge

Alright I will own up to this now – I am a super Himalayan pink salt fan. In fact I don’t think people eat enough salt, well at least the good stuff! Himalayan pink salt contains over 80 minerals and trace elements that all aid in getting your electrolyte balance regulated, lowers your blood pressure, improves your skin and even aids against muscle cramps.  I drink a glass of water with 1/2 teaspoon dissolved into it first thing in the morning (according to Dave Asprey this is great for adrenal fatigue). This concoction is also known as ‘sole’.

I love salted sweet things; salmiakki, salted caramel, you name it and I will probably eat it! So I guess this is what got me onto making this beautiful tasting fudge. I also love chocolate orange fudge too I thought why not give a go at salting it?! If this sounds a little too weird for your tastebuds then by all means feel free not to salt it but I think you will be missing out on a bit of a treat, and of course some of the great health benefits Himalayan pink salt totes – yes this is what I said to myself in my head whilst munching through half of the block, naturally.

The best thing about this is that it is super fast to make and the setting time is fairly minimal too. You don’t have to muck about making any condensed milk and all of your sugar comes from the medjool dates that you will use. If you are vegan I have placed in some substitutions for the raw grass-fed butter, but of course you will lose that traditional buttery fudge taste and end up with a slightly more coconutty one but I don’t think this is a bad thing and all, and you will probably find that it feels like an even cleaner treat doing so.

I used raw cacao solids instead of powder as I always prefer the texture – don’t forget that raw chocolate has a whole host of health benefits; from improving digestion to enhancing the libido (wit woo – insert your best winky emoji here people). It also aids cardiovascular function, neutralises free radicals due it its high antioxidant content, and contains a variety of vitamins and minerals.  So that is why I have called it a ‘Super Fudge’, not just because it is too darn tasty (although it really is).

So by eating this yes you may be indulging in a sugary treat but it contains a healthy dosage of good fats, antioxidants and vitamins and minerals! What could be better?!

Yields: 16 large blocks

Preparation Time: 10 minutes (plus 1 hour setting)

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

180g cacao solids
100g raw grass-fed butter (or sub for 25g coconut oil & 75g coconut manna)
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp lucuma (optional)
1 tbsp orange extract
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
13 medjool dates (pitted)

Method:

  1. Start by breaking down your cacao solids, you ca do this using a grating attachment with your food processor or just simply place in a ziplock back, push all of the air out, cover with a tea towel and go to town on it with a rolling pin – I mean really give it a solid beating, don’t be shy!
  2. Once your cacao is prepped, place into a medium sized heat proof bowl, with the butter, & coconut milk. Place over a bain marie on a low heat until full melted. Be sure to give this a stir every now and then too. You could melt this all in a saucepan but I feel that you are more likely to damage the beneficial properties of your raw cacao, so the choice is yours!
  3. Once melted remove from the heat and leave to cool until it is easy to handle. Pour into your food processor with the rest of your ingredients and pulse a few times before leaving to process for a good 5 minutes. Be sure to remove the lid and scrape down the sides every now and then.
  4. Grease and line a suitable sized dish with greaseproof paper (I used a 19cm x 14cm 0.8L capacity Pyrex dish) be sure to leave enough excess so that you can lift the fudge out. Pour in your fudge mix and smooth out using a spatula or palette knife. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
  5. Place into your refrigerator for 45 minutes until fully set. Remove the fudge by carefully lifting the sides of the greaseproof paper, you may want to even gently pry and the sides of the dish using a palette knife.
  6. Once removed cut into large blocks, I cut them 6 cubes by 3 but just cut them to your preferred size!
  7. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 1 week of making!

Paleo Salted Chocolate Orange Super FudgePaleo Salted Chocolate Orange Super FudgePaleo Salted Chocolate Orange Super FudgePaleo Salted Chocolate Orange Super Fudge

NUA Naturals Review

Nua Naturals

Nua Naturals Coconut Flour, Goji Berries & Coconut Palm Sugar

Some of my readers may remember that a few weeks back the wonderful people at NUA Naturals sent me out some of their coconut flour, coconut sugar and some goji berries to review and get creative with.

If you haven’t heard about NUA Naturals before then shame on you!!! Not really I’m just messing with you… Let me tell you a little bit about them…

They are an Irish health food business who are at the cutting edge of the global trends of ‘Raw Food’, ‘Gluten Free’, and ‘Vegan’. They’re lovers, suppliers and artisan producers of organic health foods. 95% of their range is Organic (excluding their goji berries, MSM & bee pollen) and the only product of theirs that is not Vegan is, well, the bee pollen.

They are such a lovely and fab company that could definitely do with a bit more exposure in England I think! So hopefully this review will help – if even just a little!

NUA Naturals Coconut Flour

NUA Naturals Coconut Flour

This coconut flour is made from organic coconut meat.  It is dried at low temperatures to preserve it’s nutrient content and then ground into a fine flour. In fact this flour is very fine and I’d say it’s one of the finest coconut flours that I have used. It has the texture of a slightly heavier regular plain wheat flour.  It isn’t as dense as almond flour and so is great for cakes, pancakes and muffins etc.

Coconut flour may well be a little pricey but a little goes a long way. For instance you could use only 1/4 cup and require 1-2 eggs and a substantial amount of liquid to accompany it – this can be milk, raw honey, maple or date syrup etc. In fact I’d say 1/4 cup of extra liquid on top of the eggs! The wet to dry ratio pretty much doubles in comparison to regular cooking, i.e. cooking with wheat flour. What I am trying to say is that coconut flour is super absorbent. I see a lot of recipes requiring a billion eggs but this isn’t necessary, while the eggs will help to bind your ingredients together it’s more the liquid content you require so that you don’t end up with some sort of stodgy brick of a cake or whatever it is that you are making.

I personally don’t tend to cook with large quantities of coconut flour, or any flour for that matter. I am more of a flour blend type of lady. For instance when I use coconut flour in my pancake mix I’ll typically use just 1 tbsp.  I always feel that you need some ‘stretch’ when using coconut flour and so I usually blend it with something starchy like tapioca flour when using large amounts.

Coconut flour is also an excellent thickening agent, and as it can be eaten raw you can chuck it into anything from protein balls, to shakes to even yogurt or – sprinkle it onto your roasties with some tumeric to help crisp them up!

Coconut flour is gluten free, low in carbohydrates, high in protein and high in fibre – in fact it contains more dietary fibre than regular wheat flour or wheat alternatives… Let’s look at the nutritional breakdown shall we?

Ingredients

100% Organic Coconut Flour (yup that’s all)

Nutritional Information per 100g

Energy: 233 Kcal
Protein: 19.2g
Carbohydrates: 20.8g (of which 18.7g are sugars)
Fat 8.1g (of which 7.54g are saturates)
Fibre: 41.6g
Sodium: 0.08g

It is also Vegan and Organic Certified!

So as you can see pretty much 1/5 of coconut flour is protein and the majority of the nutritional make up consists of dietary fibre – it really doesn’t get much better than this!

My best use of the NUA Naturals coconut flour was this Paleo Semolina recipe!

A bowl of paleo semolina topped with goji berriesA close up of a bowl of Paleo Semolina topped with goji berries

You can buy Nua Naturals coconut flour from here!

NUA Naturals Goji Berries

Goji berries were originally used in Chinese medicine but these little fellas have found their way over to the UK due to the huge number of celebrities that are in utter awe of them. They are packed full of antioxidants and the beta-carotene that they contain gives your skin a lovely, radiant glow. (I feel like I should be smothering these on my face – not eating them, or maybe I should do both?!)

These bright red, juicy miniature superfood warriors are immense! Goji Berries (also known as ‘Wolf Berries’) are high in fibre, and vitamins E, C, B1 & B2.

Ingredients

100% umm Goji Berries!

Nutritional Information per 100g

Energy: 309 Kcal
Protein: 11.1g
Carbohydrates: 53.4g (of which 53.2g are sugars)
Fat 2.6g (of which 0.8g are saturates)
Fibre: 14.0g
Sodium: 7.62g
Vitamin E: 184mg (1553% RDA)
Vitamin C: 43.4mg (54% RDA)
Thiamin (B1): 1.52mg (138% RDA)
Riboflavin (B2): 11.3mg (807% RDA)

What do all of these figures mean?

  • Vitamin E for a start will really help your skin as well as boost your immune system, so even with a small portion of goji berries you’ll get your fix.
  • Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) aids in wound healing, cell and organ function
  • Thiamin helps to create energy to essentially keep your organs running smoothly, improves cardiovascular functions (your heart!), prevents cataracts and improves eye health, improves brain function i.e. concentration and memory and aids nerve function by improving myelination (the production of myelin sheath). The myelin sheaths cover your nerves like a little bit of electrical insulation and without them your nervous system wouldn’t function. Top stuff!!!
  • Riboflavin helps increase red blood cell production, boosts mineral absorption, aids in energy production, maintains healthy skin & eyes, and strengthens your immune and digestive system.

So as you can see you’re likely to get close to your RDA for all of these vitamins in just a small handful. Goji Berries really are a top superfood!

For those of you that haven’t tasted goji berries before they taste sweet with a slight tang and bitterness to them, much like the bitterness of a cranberry and the sweetness of a cherry. They’re about the size of raisins and the NUA Naturals ones have such a lovely chew and juiciness to them – I love them!!!

What I also loved about NUA Naturals goji berries is that they are sold in a tub not a bag which keeps them nice and fresh as well as looking vibrant and stylish in your kitchen cupboard or on your countertop!

I made some lovely grain-free granola and cookies with goji berries so check them out!

Try out my recipes for yourself! Grain-Free Goji Granola or my Melt In Your Mouth Goji Cookies

A close up shot of a spoonful of Paleo granola with the bowl in the background.A stack of paleo goji berry and orange cookies

You can buy Nua Naturals goji berries from here!

NUA Naturals Coconut Palm Sugar

Coconut sugar is not produced from the fruit but from the sap of the coconut flour itself. The sap is boiled and then dehydrated to create a granulated brown sugar looking substitute. It’s just as sweet as sugar but it is rich in nutrients – it’s high in potassium and chloride, and vitamin B1 which is an added bonus. But sugar is still sugar so remember not to get too carried away with the nutritional content. As it is low on the glycemic index it will not cause your blood sugar to spike and it is 45% fructose it won’t be adding too much stress to your lovely livers.  It is a perfect vegan alternative to raw honey or just as an alternative to other Paleo friendly sweeteners.

Coconut sugar is also one of the most sustainable sugars in the world so you can indulge in this guilt free!

Ingredients

100% Organic Coconut Palm Sugar

Nutritional Information per 100g

Energy: 376 Kcal
Protein: 1.2g
Carbohydrates: 91.9g (of which 86.6g are sugars)
Fat 0.1g (of which 0.1g are saturates)
Fibre: 13.0g
Sodium: 0.2g
Vitamin C: 23.8mg (30% RDA)
Thiamin (B1): 0.45mg (41% RDA)
Potassium: 934.7mg (47% RDA)
Chloride: 466.49mg (58% RDA)
Iron: 2.79mg (20% RDA)

The NUA Naturals coconut sugar will add a lovely caramel flavour to your sweet and savoury dishes or even to your coffee. I like to make a ‘coffee creamer’ using coconut sugar and find it great in the base of a raw cheesecake to help to give that ‘sandy’ biscuity texture.  I also find that it has quite a similar taste to ‘jaggery’ used in Indian cuisine.

You can use this pretty much at the same ratio as normal brown sugar in your recipes.

The Verdict

Well… what can I say?? I am sold!

I was completely bowled over by the funky packaging, the company ethos, the amazingly wide range of products (acai, lucuma, maca, cacao etc) that there just isn’t anything negative to say whatsoever. I kind of just wish that this company was based in the UK!

So get on the interweb and buy yourself some NUA Naturals goodies. You can do this by purchasing from Ireland’s Raw Kitchen or Perfectly Paleo.

 

If you’d like to follow NUA Naturals online then check out the links below:

Facebook: @nuanaturals

Twitter: @nuanaturals

Instagram: @nuanaturals

Pinterest: @NUANaturals

Paleo Goji Berry Semolina

A close up of a bowl of Paleo Semolina topped with goji berries

Gone are the days of lifeless and boring semolina! Yummy!

As some of you may already know, the wonderful people at Nua Naturals sent me out some of their coconut flour, coconut sugar and some goji berries to review and get creative with. This is what I came up with.

If you haven’t heard about NUA Naturals before then I shall let you know a little about them! They are an Irish health food business at the cutting edge of the global trends of ‘Raw Food’, ‘Gluten Free’, and ‘Vegan’. They’re lovers, suppliers and artisan producers of organic health foods. 95% of their range is Organic (excluding their goji berries, MSM & bee pollen) and the only product of theirs that is not Vegan is the bee pollen. Such a fab company that could do with a bit more exposure in England I think!

Anyways, when you think of Semolina you probably think of having it for a pudding at school, right? And I bet it was lifeless and tasted horrendous? It did didn’t it?! Not this one though!

My kids love this grain-free and gluten-free semolina. It’s delicious, nutritious and looks kinda pretty too with those vibrant goji berries! It has the texture of a well cooked semolina and the flavour is as near as it’s gonna get so get rustling this up in the morning and beat this miserable, cold British weather! Oh and did I forget to mention that it was Vegan? Because it is! How awesome!!!

Serves: 3- 4 people

Preparation Time: 1 minute

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup goji berries
1/4 cup milled chia seeds
3/4 cup almond flour
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 1/4 cups water
1 tin coconut milk (400ml)
1 tbsp coconut oil

Method:

  1. Place all of your dry ingredients (except the goji berries) into a medium, heavy bottomed pan. Mix until evenly distributed.
  2. Add your water gradually, whisking until smooth.
  3. Now add your coconut milk and whisk until it is smooth.
  4.  Hold aside a small handful for of your goji berries for decoration. Add your remaining goji berries and mix in.
  5. Place on a low heat until it begins to simmer. Be sure to whisk frequently to ensure that you don’t end up with any lumps.
  6. Turn off the heat and add in your coconut oil, mixing until it is fully melted into the semolina.
  7. Serve up and sprinkle with your remaining goji berries.
 A bowl of paleo semolina topped with goji berries
Got a favourite breakfast you want paleofying up? Drop me a comment and i’ll see what I can do!

The Raw Chocolate Co. Review

The Raw Chocolate Co. Bars

As you can see below I was lucky enough to receive the full range of raw chocolate 44g bars from The Raw Chocolate Co.  (big shout out to the lovely Kris!)

And, all in the nick of time for Chocolate Week too!

Although I have to say that I was ever so slightly worried that with all of this raw chocolate that I have been consuming that I would pack on the pounds but Kris reassured me saying “Have no fear, as our products are raw and natural it is very difficult to put on weight while eating them”.  Well isn’t that just smashing!

The Raw Chocolate Co. Care Package

I am sure you can imagine the weird squeal of delight that eminated from within when the postie brought me this beauty of a package. But enough of that… on to the good stuff!

I know! what is this obsession that I have with raw chocolate? Do you know what? I really don’t know?! Maybe it’s the little energy buzz that I get after eating it – not in the horrible I-just-had-a-coffee-way but in a clean way, one with clarity of mind. Maybe it’s even the fact that it doesn’t stick to my teeth and the roof of my mouth, it just tastes clean.

But I guess what I do know, is that the first moment I had tried raw chocolate was the moment I never turned back. In fact the first raw chocolate that I ate was from The Raw Chocolate Co.

The Raw Chocolate Co. was founded by raw foodie enthusiast Linus Gorpe. Linus became very intrigued with raw cacao and he began to experiment with raw chocolate making. After a lot of ‘lab’ experiments, trial and error and some very happy taste testers, Linus, had become an expert. The company was launched in early 2006.

The one thing that has always attracted me to The Raw Chocolate Co. is it’s values and ethics. Out of all of the raw chocolate companies I have come across this one by far is the most ethical. All of their outer packaging is made from recycled paper and printed with vegetable inks, their factory is wind and solar powered (meaning no CO2 emissions) and all of their produce is Fairtrade.

So what makes their chocolate so special? I hear you ask.

Their ingredients are either raw or cold pressed, organic (well at least all of the ingredients that can be) and they don’t treat any of their cacao produce with chemicals.

All of their bars are suitable for Vegans, and Paleos too – even the sugar-free bars are sweetened with xylitol.

Yes xylitol!

Now I know what you are thinking but you are wrong my friends! The xylitol that they use is made from the fermented plant pulp of Birch Trees in Finland  and no, not corn stalks. But do remember that xylitol is high in carbohydrates, in fact almost as much as regular sugar (It is also super toxic to doggies so don’t leave it within their sneaky reach!).

I heard that raw chocolate totes some awesome health benefits, is this true?

Yes. Raw chocolate does indeed boast a whole host of health benefits; it improves digestion, enhances the libido (wit woo – insert winky face here), improves cardiovascular function, is packed full of antioxidants that neutralise free radicals, and contains a variety of vitamins and minerals.  So, on that note…

Let the taste testing commence!

Vanoffe

This is The Raw Chocolate Co.’s ‘white chocolate’, a vanilla-toffee like tasting chocolate. It is made from virgin cacao butter, raw lucuma, coconut palm sugar and vanilla.

This one reminded me of an incredibly sophisticated version of a ‘Caramac’. Being a dark chocolate fan I feel like I have been converted as this was just heavenly! The sweetness of the lucuma comes through strongly (almost reminiscent of medjool dates & biscuits) but with the coconut sugar it blends into a caramel taste sensation. But suddenly you are hit with the most beautiful creaminess of the cacao butter. It just melts in your mouth, it’s not powdery like a lot of raw chocolates are. This is as smooth as it gets.

photo 3(31)photo 4(23)photo 3(32)

Vanoffe Dark

With a minimum of 55% cacao solids this one to me is more a milk than a dark, but it is bordering on the dark side of milk. (I’m not even sure if that sentence made any sense but it did to me!)

Vanoffe Dark is made from virgin cacao butter, coconut palm sugar, raw cacao mass, raw lucuma & vanilla.

Wow. Just wow.

There is a distinct fruity lucuma burst at the start but it’s intensity increases and then the creaminess hits you again out of nowhere. gets more intense (lucuma).

Vanoffe Dark is Vanoffe’s darker, naughtier sister. She is milk masquerading as dark but she is neither cloying nor overbearing – she hangs on to her Vanoffe innocence. She is almost refreshing.

Did I saw wow? Oh yes I did!

Wow!

photo 2(37)photo 2(38)photo 1(38)

Goji Berry & Orange

Oh we all know how much I love the chocolate, orange and goji combo! Yes siree!

Goji Berry & Orange is 69% cacao solids, and is studded with brightly coloured goji berries, almost like jewels! The ingredients are raw cacao mass, coconut palm sugar, virgin cacao butter, raw goji berries & orange oil.

It is slightly bitter (but not as bitter as Pitch Dark) with the mild and smooth fruitiness of orange oil. When you hit a goji berry that’s when the experience really becomes heavenly! The chewiness is beautiful! My only criticism is that I would like to have had more goji berries to sink my teeth into.

This bar won 2 gold stars at the Great Taste Awards 2013.

photo 5(14)photo 5(17)photo 4(24)photo 2(36)

Pitch Dark

Pitch Dark has a minimum of 72% cacao solids. It’s not really pitch dark in my books but it’s close enough.

With just three simple ingredients; raw cacao mass, coconut palm sugar & virgin cacao butter, Pitch Dark doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. But it certainly isn’t what you would expect.

There is a floral bitterness to this bar with slight hint of fruity undertones. The darkness lingers with you for quite a while. This was fab with a cup of coffee! Again the texture on this was lovely and smooth and it ‘snapped’ just how well tempered chocolate should.

This bar won 1 gold star at the Great Taste Awards 2014.

photo 1(37)photo 5(15)photo 4(22)

Orange Raw Chocolate sweetened with Xylitol

This lovely little sugar free bar boasts a 70% cacao mass content. The ingredients are raw cacao mass, xylitol, virgin cacao butter & orange oil.

Xylitol is some really clever stuff. In a nut shell bacteria in your mouth likes to feed on sugar, and when it feeds on sugar it reproduces. And when it reproduces, well, that’s when tooth decay kicks in. Xylitol cannot be digested by the bacteria in your mouth.  This means that the bacteria reduces it’s nasty acid production and plaque literally falls from the surface of your teeth. Xylitol also helps to strengthen the enamel in your teeth! What a bonus!

So if you’ve never had anything with xylitol in it before this will be a bit of a shock for you. It is literally like brushing your teeth with chocolate. Great hey? Yup. It is a bit weird but kind of in a good way. The chocolate crumbles into tiny fragments and almost dissolves instantly. It does not linger in your mouth like normal chocolate does so don’t expect the same sort of ‘creaminess’ as in regular chocolate.

This bar still has well tempered snap and a rich flavour however I almost feel that the xylitol downplays the bitterness of the dark chocolate and the orange isn’t as noticeable as in the Orange & Goji Berry bar.

photo 3(30)photo 1(39)photo 5(16)

Mint Raw Chocolate sweetened with Xylitol

This bar again sugar free and has a 70% cacao mass content.  The ingredients are raw cacao mass, xylitol, virgin cacao butter & mint oil.

Wow. This one is so refreshing and so classic. It has that Christmas party feeling from when the After Eight’s get cracked out. But this is so much better. I am defintely stocking up on this one for Christmas.

It dissolves incredibly quickly and your teeth feel lovely and smooth after. I love the slight tingling sensation that the mint oil leaves behind. I definitely prefer this one from the Orange sugar free bar. In fact my son (who has a chocolate and mint obsession) stole most of this bar. And if he’s going to steal something sweet then I am happy enough for him to steal this.

This bar won 1 gold star at the Great Taste Awards 2014.

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So, overall what did I think? Would I purchase one of these bars?

Yes. Without a doubt, yes I would.

My favourite bars were actually Vanoffe and Vanoffe Dark.  I absolutely loved how the caramel flavour of the coconut sugar complimented the lucuma! I will definitely be purchasing this again.

All of the bars were well tempered, they weren’t even the tiniest bit powdery due to using cacao solids, and each bar had it’s own individual personality.

The packaging as you can see, is bright, modern, cute and friendly. You almost know that the brand is ethical by looking at the packaging and I really do not know why this is?! But either way I like it.  Like I said before I love what The Raw Chocolate Co. stands for and their chocolate is just amazing too!

They don’t just sell chocolate bars though, they sell superfoods, chocolate mulberry snacks and raw chocolate making ingredients. What is not to love?!

So where can you buy myself some of these lovely little treats?

Good question.

Well the first place you can go is directly to The Raw Chocolate Co. themselves. In fact if you live within the UK you can enter in your postcode into the map on their website and it will tell you your nearest stockist. Clever huh? Yup.

Other than that they are widely available in a lot of online and high street retailers.

The 44g bars cost £1.99 but there is a smaller 22g bar for £0.99. Both sizes are brilliant for travelling with and would easily fit in your pocket!

You can follow The Raw Chocolate Co. in these places:

Twitter: @TheRawChocCo

Facebook: @therawchocolatecompany

Instagram: @therawchocolatecompany

Pinterest: @therawchocco

Have you had any experience with The Raw Chocolate Co. products before? Please do comment below and share your experience!

Paleo Vegan Pancakes… (yup you heard me right!)

Side view of a stack of vegan paleo pancakes covered in a cacao & orange sauce, topped with a slice of orange.

These super chewy & nutritious pancakes are just gorgeous topped with my cacao & orange sauce!

So it often happens in my household that we run out of certain food staples – we’re on a pretty tight budget and struggle to keep it all in stock by the end of the week.

This recipe uses milled chia seeds as an egg replacement.  Chia seeds tend to last for a while and are super nutritious, so when you initially fork out you may feel like it’s expensive but it really isn’t.  And what’s best is that they are super nutritious!

The texture of these is somewhere between mochi and a crepe, which to be honest I quite enjoyed the chewiness, and my children went quite mad over these as well! What’s even more of a relief is that these taste like a pancake, no doubt about it.  Once I have some almond flour I’d quite like to try out combining some in the recipe to boost the nutrition up a little!

If you’re Vegan I’d really appreciate your feedback on this recipe, and if you’re Vegan and Paleo then even more so!

Makes: 6 medium pancakes

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients:

For the pancakes:

Egg replacement (2 tbsp milled chia seeds, 6 tbsp water)
1 mashed banana
3tbsp water
3tbsp coconut/nut milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt (optional)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (with the mother)

For the cacao & orange sauce:

Tin (400ml) of coconut milk
Juice, pulp and zest 1 orange
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp coconut sugar (optional)
1 tsp orange essence
1.5 tbsp cacao powder
Thickener (2 tsp tapioca flour in 4 tsp water)

Method:

  1. For the sauce, combine all of your ingredients (except your thickener) together in a small pan on a low heat and whisk together until it begins to boil.
  2. Add in your thickener mix and whisk rapidly until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and set aside. (Is best chilled in the fridge/freezer).
  3. For the pancakes, start by combining your egg replacement mix and set aside for about 3-4 minutes or until it ‘gels’
  4. In a medium sized mixing bowl mash your banana and combine with the egg replacement.
  5. Add in your water, coconut/nut milk, and maple syrup and mix thoroughly.
  6. Add in your coconut flour and tapioca flour and stir until a smooth batter.
  7. Lastly add your Himalayan pink salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar. Mix evenly into the batter.
  8. Heat a heavy bottomed non stick pan and dry fry your pancakes.  This means do not use any oil at all! Add 2 tbsp of the mix and use the back of your spoon to form into rounds.
  9. Cook the pancakes 1 minute on both sides until golden brown and hot to the touch.
  10. Serve with your sauce or even just eat on their own!

Overhead view of Vegan/Paleo Pancakes covered in a cacao & orange sauce topped with half a slice of orangeVegan/Paleo Pancake stack smothered in a cacao & orange sauce and topped with a half slice of orange