real deal chocolate ice cream with chocolate-covered espresso beans (vegan, paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free)

I screamed when I finally cracked this recipe. What can I say? I scream for ice scream.

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I especially like to give a long, piercing cry of happiness for rich, smooth, ridiculously chocolatey ‘real deal’ chocolate ice cream sprinkled with crunchy chocolate-covered espresso beans which pack an intense coffee punch. With a side of chocolate-covered frozen banana slices topped with chopped salted peanuts. With a side of chocolate, naturally.

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When it comes to vegan, Paleo ice cream, I’ve tried it all. Avocado, coconut milk, cashews – they were good, and they were definitely eaten, but they just weren’t right. A grainy texture, a funny aftertaste, or just simply odd, they didn’t live up to my chocolate ice cream expectations.

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So, naturally, I tried about twenty different variations of chocolate ice cream. All in the name of research, of course. Call me fastidious, but this is some seriously good ice cream. And the chocolate-covered espresso beans? Don’t even get me started.

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Rich, creamy, full of chocolate and deliciously healthy ice cream studded with bursts of full-bodied roasted Cambodian espresso beans. Silky smooth melt-in-your-mouth ice cream with crunchy nuggets of flavour – it really does call for the obligatory closed-eyed ‘mmm’ face. It only takes three ingredients, doesn’t require an ice cream maker, and is 87 calories with 2g of fat per serving. Read: you can eat the entire two-serving recipe without feeling the tiniest bit guilty.

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What are you still doing reading this?!

 

real deal chocolate ice cream with chocolate-covered espresso beans

by Alessandra Peters

Prep Time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients (serves 2)

    For the Ice Cream

    • 225ml unsweetened almond milk
    • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
    • 2 tablespoons agave nectar

    For the Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

    • 20 espresso beans, roasted
    • 50g dark chocolate, melted

    Instructions

    For the Ice Cream

    1. Whisk all ingredients together in a large microwave-proof bowl.

    2. Microwave for a minute, then whisk again until completely combined.

    3. Pour in to ice cube trays and freeze until solid, about 2-3 hours.

    4. Blend ‘ice cubes’ of chocolate mixture in a high-power blender until you get rich and creamy ice cream, scraping down as needed! It will turn in to a sort of chocolate shaved ice at first, but keep blending and it will come together.

    5. Freeze in an air-tight container until ready to use.

    For the Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans

    1. Dip the espresso beans individually in to the melted chocolate, then set on a baking tray covered with parchment paper.

    2. When all of them are dipped, place the tray in the fridge for ten minutes or so until the chocolate sets.

    3. Transfer to an air-tight container and store in the fridge until ready to use!

    To Assemble

    1. Scoop large scoops of ice cream into bowls.

    2. Sprinkle with chocolate-covered espresso beans.

    3. Serve and enjoy!

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    spinach falafel with vegan tzatziki (vegan, paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free)

    I’m so sad that long, lazy summer days have passed, yet I’m inexplicably happy to be back to normal life.

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    I miss days of kitchen experiments and hours of recipe developing, photographing, and testing (I think we can all infer what the latter entails..), but I’m enjoying learning new things, meeting new people, and experiencing new experiences. Granted, I’m not thrilled about the mounds of homework nor the sentence ‘welcome to high school, this is where your grades start counting!’, but hearing colloquialisms being thrown around in the hallways and the world being back to ‘normal’ is definitely something I take for granted far too much.

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    This past week was my first week back at school for over 18 months. For the first time, I felt well enough to go to school, to enjoy it, and I cannot express how happy that makes me. I used to take the simple act of being able to go to school for granted; I know that there are so many of the 7 billion people in the world who don’t have the privilege of education, and it hit me this week that I am so lucky to be one of the ones who do. I am so lucky to attend a top international school, to have lived all over the world, to have food on my plate at every meal. I am so lucky.

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    Satisfyingly course, this falafel recipe was the result of many a crumbly, gummy, and simply horrible falafel failures.  A crispy, crunchy outside encases a vibrantly spiced filling of earthy chickpeas, fresh baby spinach, and a streak of the Middle East. Eaten hot with a drizzle of tzatziki lying on a bed of hummus, it’s probably one of the best falafels I have ever eaten. Creamy, cooling and garlicky, the tzatziki brings me back to making it alongside a short Qatari man, laughter lines engraved in the nooks and crannies of his face, telling me to ‘squish! squish!’ the cucumber. These are my favourite types of recipes – ones that aren’t just great, but better than the originals.

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    Don’t forget to serve with a healthy dose of ‘call the doctor, I falafel!’

    I had to.

    spinach falafel with vegan tzatziki

    by Alessandra Peters

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook Time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients (serves 4)

      For the Falafel

      • 4 cups baby spinach, washed
      • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
      • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
      • 2 tbsp tahini
      • 2 tbsp lemon juice
      • 1 tsp cumin
      • 1/2 tsp sea salt
      • 2 tbsp potato starch
      • 5 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking

      For the Tzatziki

      • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled for at least 24 hours
      • 3 tbs lemon juice
      • half an English cucumber, diced
      • a handful each of dill and parsley

      Instructions

      For the Falafel

      1. In a food processor, combine spinach, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, and salt & pepper until well combined.

      2. Add in the potato starch, then blitz again until well combined.

      3. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of the mixture on to a baking tray and put in the fridge for ten minutes.

      4. Pour the olive oil in to a large frying pan and set the heat to medium. Let it heat up, and when the ten minutes have passed, gently flatten the falafel balls with your hand before sliding them in to the hot oil. Watch out!

      5. Cook, four at a time, until golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook for another minute or so or until golden.

      6. Serve hot with tzatziki and hummus if desired! Enjoy!

      For the Tzatziki

      1. Take the can out of the fridge, open it using a can opener, and scoop out the solid white cream from the top. Set aside the clear coconut water to use later (I love mine in smoothies!).

      2. In a bowl, combine the coconut cream, lemon juice, and a good pinch each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

      3. In a separate bowl, squash the cucumber with your hands. Keep squashing it until it has released liquid, about 20 seconds, and is quite mushy.

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      healthy snickers ice cream bars (vegan, paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free)

      I’m not going to lie to you.

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      Most days, I would take my favourite green smoothie, full of green goodness and vitamins, over anything remotely processed without hesitation. But some days? Well, sometimes you just need a little creamy vanilla ice cream topped with smooth peanut butter and a sprinkle of crunchy chopped peanuts, all covered in chocolate, in your life. These bars are seriously good.

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      It’s a week until school starts again today, and I feel enervated just thinking about it. It’s been such a beautiful summer spent with those closest to me doing what I love most, and just the thought of getting up at too early an hour to even speak of makes me want to prolong summer for a few more years. I mean, what am I going to do when there’s no immediate access to healthy snickers ice cream bars if I’m feeling peckish?

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      Exactly. I know the title of this post is quite the oxymoron, but I’m almost positive that this is the healthiest frosty, rich vanilla-speckled ice cream slathered in soft, rich peanut butter and a myriad of peanut pieces dipped in deep, dark chocolate will ever be. The timid sweetness of the coconut milk vanilla ice cream and the powerful, daring punch of peanuts work so well huddled together under the shell of pleasantly cold and crunchy chocolate. Agave nectar gives the ice cream a touch of caramel-ish sweetness which ties everything together beautifully. Tantalising flavours swirl together to recreate that very familiar taste – you won’t even know it’s healthy. Promise.

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      I mean, who could resist that?! Sorry I’m not sorry.

      healthy snickers ice cream bars (SCD, GAPS, candida diet, anti-candida diet, 21DSD)

      by Alessandra Peters

      Prep Time: 30 minutes (+ 3 hours chilling

       

      Ingredients (makes 8 bars)

        For the Ice Cream

        • 1 can full fat coconut milk
        • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
        • 3 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or 2 whole vanilla beans, seeds only

        For the Peanut Layer

        • 5 tablespoons natural peanut butter, warmed until soft and gooey
        • a handful of unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped

        For the Chocolate Layer

        • 12 ounces dark chocolate, melted
        • 1 teaspoons coconut oil, melted

        Instructions

        1. To make the ice cream, place all ingredients in to a bowl and whisk until well combined. If you have an ice cream maker, set it to ‘soft serve’ and make the ice cream. If you don’t, simply pour the mixture in to an 8×8 inch dish lined with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 3 hours. If using the ice cream maker, scoop the ice cream into an 8×8 inch dish lined with plastic wrap when it is done and freeze for at least an hour.

        2. Take the ice cream out of the freezer. Spread your melted peanut butter over the ice cream in an even layer then sprinkle with the chopped peanuts. Put back in to the freezer for another 10-15 minutes. Take it out again and lift the mixture out of the dish. Unwrap the block of ice cream, then carefully cut it in half horizontally. Cut into four vertically to make eight equally sized bars.

        3. Refreeze these bars while you prepare your chocolate! I like to melt mine over a double boiler, watching carefully to ensure it doesn’t burn. Add the coconut oil once the chocolate has melted completely. Make sure that you have a prepared baking tray lined with baking paper to place the dipped bars on, then take the bars out of the freezer.

        4. Dip the bars in to the chocolate quickly, turning the bar round so that it gets an even layer of chocolate. Place on to the prepared tray, then repeat until all the bars are dipped. Once the chocolate has hardened, you can either place all of the bars in to an airtight container or wrap them in waxed paper individually to store. Re-freeze until ready to serve

        5. To serve, take the bars out of the fridge and let them defrost in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. This way, the ice cream softens slightly so that they’re easier to eat! Enjoy!

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        banana passion fruit sorbet (vegan, Paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free)

        Nothing says summer like sorbet. Sticky, messy, deliciously cold, and healthy banana passion fruit sorbet.

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        People say that fire is humanity’s greatest invention. But when it’s blisteringly hot outside, I dissent;  it’s got to be the freezer. I mean, it has to take one pretty wonderful invention to turn a few spotty bananas and some wrinkly tropical fruit in to this creamy, frigid, slightly sweet ice cream dotted with intensely tangy seeds encased by an orange gel which burst under the pressure of teeth crunching down on them.

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        I first came across passion fruit sorbet about a year ago in Indonesia. The wrinkly, purple outsides of the South American tropical fruit had never intrigued me before then, but when I tentatively licked the sorbet which was served as dessert that night, it was love at first taste. Tart yet sweet, sharp yet complex; I was hooked. I may or may not have eaten about thirty of the fragrant fruits in the first week I was at home, sprinkled with a light touch of raw cane sugar or the gelatinous small orange and black seeds scooped into my morning yoghurt. This sorbet captures its taste perfectly, and the sweet, creamy banana balances it out wonderfully to create a blend of flavours so intense yet so simple.

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        I could live with this sorbet being my 5-a-day for a while; after all, it is healthy…

         

        banana passion fruit sorbet

        by Alessandra Peters

        Prep Time: 20 minutes (4 hours chilling time)

        Ingredients (serves 4)

        • 3 ripe passion fruit
        • 2 overripe spotty black bananas

        Instructions

        1. Peel the bananas, then cut them in to 1-inch pieces. Freeze for about 4 hours or until almost solid.

        2. Using a food processor, whizz the frozen banana chunks until they start to become grainy. Scrape down the sides, then process again, until the mixture starts to form a lump. Scrape down the sides again, then keep blending and scraping until it suddenly becomes a creamy, soft-serve like texture.

        3. Transfer the banana sorbet to a bowl. Cut the three passionfruit in half and scoop the seeds of two of them into the bowl along with the banana sorbet. Reserve the pulp of the third passionfruit and place aside for garnish. Remember to keep the halves if you want to serve the sorbet in them!

        4. Mix in the passion fruit, then pop in the freezer for another 10-15 minutes before serving. To serve, scoop large balls of the sorbet in to the empty passion fruit shells (or, if you prefer, a glass or bowl). Divide the leftover passion fruit pulp over the sorbet servings, then serve!

        5. Enjoy!

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        lemon sesame kale chips with coconut milk sour cream (vegan, paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free)

        Hi, I’m Alessandra and I’m addicted to lemon sesame kale chips.

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        Particularly these golden crispy, nutty, satisfyingly crunchy nuggets of pure and utter flavour with the zesty whiff of sparky, spunky citrus dipped in a creamy, thick, rich, tart dip. Seriously, these are good. When I was growing up, lemons were always the only constant in our bustling fridge; in the humid, warm climate of the Middle East, lemons were abundant and their bright, cheery hues could be seen on every street corner.

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        I remember chomping on handfuls of ‘bird seeds’ at a time, convinced that the pale, nutty seeds would send me flying in to the air squealing with joy at any moment. It may be a decade later, a few countries further, and I certainly don’t refer to sesame seeds as ‘bird seeds’ any more, but that’s not to say I didn’t find myself concealing a joyful squeal when I tasted them with the deep, earthy flavour of kale.

        Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 19.03.44And, dear reader, the coconut milk sour cream – oh my. Sweet and creamy from the gloriously thick coconut cream hidden in the depths of a chilled coconut can, and tantalisingly tangy from the fragrant, acidic lemon juice. It fits so perfectly with the lemon & sesame kale chips, but I can only imagine what else this would be perfect addition to. Sour cream is one of those intriguing magical ingredients which can completely change a meal but which tastes quite, well, abhorrent on its own. Vanilla extract, anyone? The tangy taste seems to intensify every other flavour in a dish without stealing the limelight; certainly an underrated fridge necessity. Drizzled, dipped, or eaten by the spoon, you need it in your life.

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        It is an axiom of making kale chips that you are allowed to eat at least half the batch in the process, right? Right. Enjoy!

        lemon sesame kale chips with coconut milk sour cream (SCD, GAPS, candida diet, Palaeolithic, Primal)

        by Alessandra Peters

        Prep Time: 15 minutes

        Cook Time: 25 minutes

        Ingredients (serves 4)

          For the Kale Chips

          • 200g curly kale, washed, dried, and cut into bite-sized pieces
          • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
          • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
          • zest of 1 lemon
          • juice of 1/2 lemon
          • sea salt, to taste

          For the Coconut Milk Sour Cream

          • 1 can coconut milk, refrigerated for at least 12 hours
          • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
          • sea salt, to taste

          Instructions

          For the Kale Chips

          1. Preheat the oven to 120C/240F.

          2. Place the kale into a large bowl and toss it thoroughly with the olive oil, sesame seeds, lemon juice, and a good pinch of sea salt.

          3. Spread the kale on a large baking sheet. It shrinks as it cooks, so it’s okay to not have it in a single layer.

          4. Zest the lemon over the tray of kale.

          5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through, until crispy.

          For the Coconut Milk Sour Cream

          1. Turn your cold can of coconut milk over and, using a can opener, open the tin from the bottom. Set aside the coconut water to use another time (it’s great in smoothies!), then scoop out the white coconut cream at the bottom of the can.

          2. Add the lemon juice to the coconut cream and stir to combine. Add salt to taste, then leave in the fridge for 15-20 minutes in order for the flavours to meld.

          To serve: Put the kale chips on a large plate and serve with fresh lemon wedges and coconut milk sour cream. Enjoy!

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          chocolate mousse (vegan, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free)

          Chocolate mousse. Delicious, healthy, lusciously smooth, rich, velvety chocolate mousse. Seriously. 

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          Sometimes, all you want is a thick, sleek spoonful of indulgence. The deep, dark notes of chocolate enriched with the light, sweet, airy tones of creamy whipped coconut, unique, fragrant vanilla bean seeds which speckle everything with tiny black flecks and the crunch of bitter cacao nibs dance with the tongue in a slow, romantic waltz as this creamy chocolate mousse rolls around your mouth. Ribbons of indulgent sweetness mixed with thick, lusciously rich chocolate create a real magic moment in these busy, bustling summer days.
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          The abyssopelagic flavours meld together in a way as beautiful as a child’s imagination. I couldn’t believe it when I first tasted it; starting off as a simple coconut whipped cream to top the remnants of the raspberries I picked a few days ago, my affinity to chocolate led me to throw in a handful of cacao, and from that moment onwards, things just got better and better in that kitchen.
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          I’m absolutely not ashamed to admit that I’ve taken a liking to inhaling the entire recipe within a few minutes; it’s quite incredible.

          chocolate mousse (GAPS, SCD, coconut milk chocolate mousse, vegan, Paleo, health, organic)

          by Alessandra Peters

          Prep Time: 10 minutes

          Ingredients (serves 2)

          • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
          • 1/2 cup cacao powder
          • 4 tbsp agave nectar
          • 1 vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped out with the back of a knife
          • cacao nibs, to serve (optional)

          Instructions

          1. Take the two cans of coconut milk out of the fridge. Turn them upside down, then open both with a can opener. Pour the coconut water into a container for later usage – I love using it for smoothies in the mornings – then scoop out the thick white coconut cream at the bottom of the can and place into a large bowl.

          2. Using a hand whisk, whisk for 1-2 minutes until you achieve a fluffy mixture which holds stiff peaks. Alternatively, use a stand mixer and mix for about 20 seconds.

          3. Take out around three tablespoons of coconut whipped cream and put it in a separate bowl to use as a garnish. In the larger bowl, add the cacao powder, agave nectar, and vanilla bean seeds, then whip again until fully incorporated.

          4. Divide the mixture between two large ramekins or glasses. Take the coconut whipped cream which was set apart earlier, fill a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle with the mixture, and pipe a swirl on top of each serving of chocolate mousse. Set the mousses in the fridge to set for an hour or so before serving. If using, sprinkle with cacao nibs at the last minute.

          5. Enjoy!

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          chocolate macaroons (grain-free, paleo, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free)

          I can live without most foods – I think being intolerant to over 72 foods proves that – but chocolate? I opine that chocolate is cathartic to the soul. I have been making my own chocolate for a year or so now and I can absolutely, positively declare that I will never, ever revert to the greasy, pathetic ‘chocolate’ sold in the shops. Seriously, try it; it’s incredible. Also, I’ve never had a macaroon.

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          What?! I’ve never had a macaroon?! No, I haven’t. I know. How did the mixture of gloriously crunchy desiccated coconut, fluffy mounds of whipped egg whites and sweet, familiar sugar escape my grasp in the fourteen years I’ve been on this planet? And guess what? I don’t think I’ll ever taste a ‘traditional’ macaroon. Why would I want to revert to refined, over-processed sugar and whites of a chicken’s unfertilised eggs? I really don’t. How about a wholesome, healthy, and deliciously tasty chocolatey macaroon which is incredibly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside? ‘Hark!’ the kitchen angels sing!

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          Throw together some crunchy desiccated coconut, silky, smooth coconut oil, rich and creamy coconut milk, sweet and mild agave nectar, dark, deep cacao powder, and heavenly vanilla extract, mix it up, scoop it together, and bake. Done. The perfect little bites for when you’re craving a dose of chocolate.

          The usual caveats here: these are so utterly yummy that if you’re watching what you eat (or if you’re sensible enough to think that you really shouldn’t be eating 12 macaroons in a day – well done to you), you’ll want to freeze some for later. Trust me, they’re just too tempting!

          Loosely adapted from the wonderful Jenni at The Urban Poser!

          chocolate macaroons

          by Alessandra Peters

          Prep Time: 5 minutes

          Cook Time: 10 minutes

          Keywords: dairy-free egg-free gluten-free grain-free paleo soy-free sugar-free vegan

          Description: Delicious, dark, and chocolatey macaroons full of goodness! Made with three types of coconut, a splash of agave, and some cacao powder, these are as pure as you’ll get when it comes to macaroons!

          Ingredients (12 macaroons)

          • 2 cups fine desiccated coconut
          • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
          • 1/3 cup coconut oil
          • 1/4 cup cacao powder
          • 1/3 cup agave nectar
          • 1 tsp vanilla extract

          Instructions

          1. Preheat your oven to 320/160 degrees.

          2. Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl until everything is well incorporated.

          3. Using a small ice cream scoop, melon baller, or teaspoon, scoop out macaroon mixture, making sure to press the mixture right down into the scooper before releasing onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper which has been greased with a bit of coconut oil.

          4. Bake for 9-10 minutes, but keep your eye on them! They burn quickly.

          5. Let rest for 10 minutes before you handle them so that they can firm up.

          6. Enjoy!

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