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    How NOT to make a raw food cheesecake

    How NOT to make a raw food cheesecake

    betterraw rawfood cheesecake 3

    Looks pretty divine, right? And it tastes it too. But I had to make a few mistakes before the end result of this Triple Berry Cheesecake.



    We had friends coming over on Saturday morning to watch an 8AM rugby game and help us move home (see below for pics of my new kitchen!), so I wanted to make sure juices and cake were ready for our helpers. The only thing was that I spent all of Friday packing and 1AM appeared out of the blue. Well a blender is loud enough during the day, but a Vitamix is louder. And when it’s the middle of the night and the Vitamix has no other sound to compete with, except maybe a petal falling off a rose or my own breathing, it’s the kind of noise that’ll make you wonder whether you are still breathing after all.


    Let’s be honest- you eat your raw desserts to get your sugar fix, just the healthiest way possible. So to get full satisfaction- simply tasting cashews or cacao butter is not going to hit the spot. Well, it was only after I got the cake ingredients ready for blitzing that I realised I’ve packed away all of my sweeteners- agave, xylitol, date syrup, coconut nectar, raw honey, lucuma and yacon syrup. All but… stevia. Sad face. I was only unimpressed, because although I sweeten with this wonder leaf extract, it is an acquired taste and I was afraid that it may be the first and last raw dessert that our helpers would like to try if I feed them stevia only sweetened cheesecake. But then, having added enough lime juice and a special touch of citrus extract- this became the biggest revelation to offsetting any unfamiliar new tastes and especially any aftertaste, which stevia usually leaves.


    It’s possible to make a cake with dry cashews of course, but refer back to #1 and imagine the noise being two times worse. Then imagine a grainy cheesecake. Then imagine a potentially broken blender. Finally imagine a bloated tummy, because you didn’t release the enzyme inhibitors via a soaking process. [Side note: I soaked the cashews, but only later in the evening, hence the reason I had to make the cake so late.]


    And this my friends was the worst mistake of them all. I knew it was a bad idea, but I only realised in the very last minute that none of the berries were thawed. For smoothies and ice-creams, that would’ve been ideal, however making this specific recipe requires using melted cacao butter, which as you probably know is chocolate-hard at room temperature, so just imagine what happens when it meets frozen berries inside a blender. Disaster! Even with my Vitamix on, the entire mixture hardened all around the blade and inside the jug, like cement, even making it hard for me to pull the tamper out of the blender. There’s no problem without a solution, so I quickly filled my kitchen basin with hot water and stuck the whole jug in there for the mixture to thaw and liquify. Result! So now that I successfully managed to sell my cheesecake making abilities to you, here is a pretty epic recipe (and steps on how to make a cheesecake, properly):


    betterraw rawfood cheesecake 2

    For the essentials:
    Small 7 inch cake tin with adjustable bottom
    Food processor
    High powered blender

    For the base:
    3/4 cup walnuts
    1/2 cup pitted dates
    1/4 cup desiccated coconut
    1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

    For the filling:
    1.5 cups cashews, soaked
    3/4 cup melted cacao butter
    juice of 4 limes
    1 cup blueberries and blackberries, fresh or thawed
    10 drops of red mandarin extract (or any citrus extract)
    2 tbsp liquid stevia

    For the topping:
    1/2 cup frozen raspberries
    1 tbsp dried rose petals
    a few mint leaves

    1. Process all the base ingredients in a food processor, until finely milled. Transfer to a cake tin and press it using your hands to evenly cover the whole bottom.
    2. Gently melt the cacao butter in a double boiler and measure out 3/4 cups of it in liquified form. Transfer all filling ingredients into a high speed blender and use a tamper, while you blend to a smooth creamy texture.
    3. Pour the filling into your cake tin, scraping all the cream out of the blender. Tap the cake tin a few times on your bench, so the cake surface evens out.
    4. Break up frozen raspberries and sprinkle them all over your cake, add mint leaves and dried rose petals, then transfer to the fridge to set for a minimum of 4 hours. Keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days or up to 3 weeks in the freezer.

    betterraw rawfood cheesecake 4Check out my gorgeous new kitchen, where all the magic will be created from now on (until the opening of Tanya's raw food cafe of course)... DSC03574 DSC03575 Speaking of Tanya's- we are still looking for two amazing chefs and an assistant manager for the restaurant. Check out this page for more>> If you are interested in bar tending, front of house or kitchen hand positions- we are now accepting expression of interest from exceptional team members via hello@betterraw.com. Please remember to email with this subject line: 'Tanya's - Job application for [enter position]'

    The Smoothies that received 1000 'Likes'

    The Smoothies that received 1000 'Likes'

    I do enjoy my daily vitamins in liquid form.

    There’s just something about picking out your fresh ingredients and witnessing exactly what goes into your juice or smoothie, watching them blend into the most vibrant colours of life, taking in the sunny holiday scent as you open the lid and then slowly pouring this smooth creamy delight into your favourite glass jar.

    That is one eventful moment right there! And all before you even get to taste your creation.

    But tasting it is the real reward. I want so badly to sit down and share at least one drink with you, but until I open a cafe of my own, the best I can do is pick two of the most liked and shared smoothie pictures from Better Raw’s Facebook page of all time and give you the recipe…


    BetterRaw smoothie juice in one

    For the juice:
    100g spinach
    20g mint
    10 inch turmeric root
    2 inch ginger
    1 large cucumber
    2 Granny Smith apples
    seeds of 1/2 pomegranate

    For the smoothie:
    3 cups juice (above)
    1/2 pineapple, peeled and chopped
    1/2 avocado flesh
    1 banana, peeled and frozen

    -Slice all the juicing ingredients into strips, thin enough to fit your juicer.
    -Feed the ingredients through the chute of your juicer.
    -Transfer the juice into your blender and add the smoothie ingredients.
    -Blend and enjoy.


    BetterRaw mango orange smoothie

    1 + 1/2 cups orange juice (juice of about 4 oranges)
    1/2 cup pure water
    2 kiwifruits, peeled
    1 ripe mango, peeled and de-stoned
    1 banana, peeled and frozen
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    toppings: 2 passion fruit, 1 tsp cranberry powder

    -Juice the oranges using a citrus press.
    -Transfer all smoothie ingredients (apart from toppings) into your blender.
    -Blend and pour into glasses.
    -To serve, top with the inside pulp of passion fruit and sprinkling of cranberry powder.

    4 Smoothie recipes, which even I was surprised to repeat

    When it comes to my breakfast, I'm pretty unadventurous and tend to stick to smoothies.

    But when it comes to smooooothies... I rarely make the same one twice! Even the good old fashioned green monster can be a thousands different shades, textures and flavours. And it usually is.

    So not only is it out of norm for me to repeat the same drink recipe again, it's kinda a big deal, as nothing else will be bigger proof to you that you've stumbled across a real keeper.

    Here are four of my recipes, which I've proudly repeated and shamelessly indulged in...

    (Serves 2)

    2,5 cups walnut milk
    1/2 cup rolled jumbo oat flakes
    1,5 cups fresh blueberries
    1 frozen banana
    2 tbsp yacon syrup
    1 tsp vanilla powder

    When freezing the banana, peel it first and break into chunks. Make walnut milk the same way as almond milk, found here. Transfer all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

    (Serves 2)

    2,5 cups poppy seed milk
    4 oranges, peeled and frozen
    zest from 3 oranges
    2 tbsp baobab powder
    6 liquid stevia drops

    First zest the oranges and then peel and chop, them ready to freeze. You can freeze the zest too if it makes it easier to have everything in one place. Make the poppy seed milk the same way as almond milk here, but instead of 1 cup of nuts to 3 cups of water, use 1 cup of seeds to 4 cups of water. Blend everything into a cream.

    (Serves 2)

    1 small ripe pineapple
    1 large handfull of parsley
    water as needed, or simply juice everything without it

    Peel the pineapple and chop it up for the blender. Depending on blender quality, you make like to discard of the middle core also. Blend everything, adding a little water if required or simply juice the ingredients instead.

    (Serves 2)

    2 cups almond milk
    1/4 cup beetroot juice (about 1/2 large beet, juiced)
    2 cups frozen strawberries
    4 medjool dates, pitted
    1 tsp vanilla powder

    Juice the beetroot and if you make extra, it will always keep in the fridge for various other recipes (such as this one) for up to 10 days. Make the almond milk as I've done here. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

    Have you got a smoothie recipe of your own, which you'd like to share? Upload it for your chance to win the ultimate blender- Vitamix Total Nutrition Centre, before 18th October 2012. Learn more>>

    Ready for an upgrade on a blender? You can save on the shipping charge with this voucher code when you purchase a Vitamix Total Nutrition Centre. Here's the code>>

    Just after more smoothie recipes? Check out the incredible contest submissions from my community and if you vote for your favourite while you are there, you'll even go in the draw to win 1 of my 3 eBooks. Take a look>>


    I love birthdays. Love it when people are proud to announce their age, love to see others wholeheartedly celebrate the day they were born, love it that I was brought up in a family where birthdays are a big deal, love the anticipation of birthdays and the celebrations that continue for an entire month starting on September 4th for me!
    I'm so incredibly grateful for this life, so why be modest and hold back on announcing the day you got the opportunity to come into it, right? 100% right! High five to that! I'm clapping now. You try high-fiving yourself :))
    This year is also a little extra special for me. You see, I have a bit of a fascination with the number 28 and that is how old I've just turned. I've always had the strongest feeling, that this year whenever it comes will somehow be even more amazing than the previous 28 and I trust my intuition big time.
    All I can say is it hasn't even been a week and already amazing things are happening for me... for instance I've employed my first ever project management assistant!!! It is only part time for now, but it's a big leap and Michelle is an absolute gem. Very blessed to work with her and will be updating you on our progress later.
    For now, it's all about the cake. THEE CAKE. Of all the cakes I've ever made, this one takes the biscuit. And it so happened that this one was my very own birthday cake, made by yours truly.
    (serves 16)
    For the essentials
    9 inch cake tin
    food processor
    For the base
    2 cups brazil nuts
    2 cups dates, pitted
    1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
    For the cream layer
    4 cups cashews, soaked 4-8 hours and rinsed
    juice of 2 lemons
    1 cup cacao butter, gently melted
    3 tbsp coconut oil, gently melted
    1/2 cup agave nectar
    1 banana, peeled
    2 vanilla pods, seed scrapings only
    2 tsp vanilla bean extract
    1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
    For the blueberry layer
    4 cups blueberries
    1,5 cup dates, pitted
    4 tbsp coconut oil, gently melted
    zest of 2 oranges
    2 tbsp chia seeds
    1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt
    optional: 2 tbsp strawberry powder
    -Prepare the base of the cake by first processing the nuts using an S-blade in your food processor. Add dates and salt, then process again until everything is broken down evenly. Transfer the mixture to a cake tin and press it down using your first, until you create an even base.
    -Prepare the cream layer by blending all the ingredients using a tamper or pulse function. Blend until smooth. Using the measuring on the side of your blender as reference, note how much cream is in there now and divide by 2 to calculate how much half of it would be. Pour cream into the cake tin until the amount remaining in blender is down to half. Transfer the cake to set in a freezer while making the next layer. If you only have one blender jug, transfer the remaining cream into a bowl and keep at room temperature to avoid premature setting.
    -Prepare the blueberry layer by blending together all ingredients, except the chia seeds (make sure to leave them aside until last minute, otherwise the mixture will set too early). Transfer half the blueberry mix into a bowl, quickly mix in half of chia seeds (1 tablespoon) and pour the mixture over the set cream layer. Transfer to the freezer for 5 minutes.
    -Pour the remaining half of vanilla cream into the cake, briskly sliding the tin from side to side on your kitchen top to make sure the cream spreads in a nice even layer. Transfer to the freezer for 10-15 minutes or until semi set, so that it is strong enough to hold up the final layer. Make sure to keep stirring the remaining blueberry mixture every five minutes, so it doesn't set in it's bowl. Add the the last tablespoon of chia seeds, stir well and spread it over the cake with a spatula. Transfer to the fridge and store in the fridge too, where it should last for unto 7 days.
    One of my 'month long celebration' activities this year has been attending a Secret Cinema event with the girls. Here are a few images from the most hilarious and fun night, which was themed 'Back To School Carnival- Grease the movie'...
    And just one more snap of the cake. She's just too purdy not to...


    Strawberries have got to be the best thing about summer. God must've been in the best mood the day he invented a berry so indulgent, sweet, blissful, aromatic and naughty tasting, while the health benefits of it are plentiful. But I'm pretty sure he must've just about followed that same protocol with other fruits too, except not everyone knows about them... yet.

    One of these fruits is called lucuma (or lukuma). It grows abundantly in Peru, Ecuador and Chile, but we get it in a powdered form, although even there they prefer to dry it and grind into powder before adding to their recipes. When fresh, the smell makes me think of maple syrup mixed with pumpkin. In Peru lucuma ice cream is even more popular, than chocolate flavoured. I can imagine why- when I make white raw chocolate with lucuma powder, it's gone at a dangerous speed.

    So can you even begin to imagine what happened when I mixed strawberries with lucuma? I will never tell, that I didn't share and no one will ever know, because I didn't share. Oopse. Well what I did do is somehow manage to record the recipe...


    For the cream
    1 cup almonds, soaked overnight
    2 cups water

    For the custard 

    1 cup almond cream
    0.5 cup dates
    1 small mango/ 1 banana, peeled, chopped and frozen
    0.5 tsp vanilla extract

    And strawberries, many many strawberries

    Make the cream the same way you would make a nut milk
    Put all the custard ingredients in to a blender and blend until creamy.
    Note: If you prefer your custard warm, which you might like over cakes and crumbles, do not freeze the mango/banana.
    Chop/slice/dice the strawberries and pour custard cream all over to serve.