Australian Chef Anthea Cheng on Raw Cheesecake Secrets the Best Sweetener, and Leaving Packaged Foods at the Store

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Anthea Cheng: Creator, Rainbow Nourishments, Professional Bespoke Raw Vegan Cakes Creator. Helping Others to Nourish Themselves through Wholesome Food and Self-Compassion.

Q: What is something new that you recommend us trying in the kitchen that many of us might not think of?
A: I think many people underestimate the wonderful things that can be made from leftovers. So much food goes to waste in our home kitchens, in shops, and during production, so I think it’s important to do what we can to minimize this waste. In our own kitchens, we can chuck all of our leftovers into a salad, a stir fry, or a soup. There are no rules and the possibilities are endless!

Q: What ingredients do you think are underused at home when we cook?
A: Dates. They are a natural sweetener and are packed with fiber, which means the sugar content is slowly released through your body. This beats any sweetener any day! antheaUnlike many sweeteners, dates also have potassium and iron! I think that people have forgotten about whole foods or foods that don’t come in a plastic package. When I make raw desserts or salad dressings from whole foods, other people often label them as “health foods” or “too healthy.” Western society is so far removed from where our food comes from, to the point that packaged food has become the norm. I understand that not everyone has the time and energy to make food from scratch. Sometimes, even I want to eat something quick from a package. However, I think people need to be more aware of what’s in our food and how it’s traveled to our plate.

Q: Any food secret you swear by?
A:
When I make my raw cheesecakes, I always put my coconut cream in the fridge the night before I make the recipe. This allows the thicker and creamier part of the coconut cream to float to the top of the can. I always use the thicker part of the cream for my raw cheesecakes. Another random thing that I do is always ensure I have ripe bananas in my freezer! Banana ice cream, pancakes, or whatever are my favorite thing to snack on.

RAINBOW FRUIT AND BLACK RICE PARFAIT

INGREDIENTS

⅓ cup coconut milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp matcha powderanthea-cheng-black-rice-parfait
⅓ cup cooked black sticky rice
1 nectarine, chopped
¼ pomegranate, arils only
Handful of other fruits, to garnish (I used raspberries and cherries)

Instructions
At least 2 hours beforehand, combine chia seeds, coconut milk and matcha powder in a bowl and mix together. Set aside in fridge.
Prepare the fruits.
Spoon half of the black sticky rice in a glass or jar. Pour some coconut milk over the rice, if desired.
Continue to layer your glass or jar with pomegranate arils, nectarine pieces, remaining black rice and matcha chia pudding.
Garnish with additional fruit as desired.

RAW VEGAN LAMINGTONS with CASHEW CREAM and RASPBERRY JAM

INGREDIENTS
Spongeraw lamington 2
3 cups cashews
1½ cups desiccated coconut
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup rice malt syrup
Raspberry chia jam
1½ cups raspberries
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp rice malt syrup (optional)

Cashew cream
1½ cups cashews, soaked in water overnight
½ cup coconut cream
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp coconut butter
1 tbsp rice malt syrup (optional)

Coating
¼ cup coconut cream
½ cup coconut butter
¹/8 cup coconut nectar
¹/8 cup cacao powder
1½ cups desiccated coconut

INSTRUCTIONS
Line 2 containers of the same size with baking paper.
For the sponge: Add the cashews to a food processor and blend until it forms fine crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and pulse until just combined. Take care not to over-process the mixture,
otherwise you’ll end up with a very solid sponge.

Halve the sponge mixture and press each half into your lined containers.
Set aside in fridge.

For the jam: Mash raspberries with a fork and mix with chia seeds and rice malt syrup. Set aside to thicken

For the cashew cream: Drain and rinse the cashews. Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until it forms a very smooth cream.
Remove and set aside in fridge.

For the coating: Gently melt all ingredients, except the desiccated coconut, over a double boiler. Mix until combined. Take the sponge out from the containers. Place one sponge on top of the other and cut into pieces.

Using a fork, dip a sponge into the chocolate (dip all sides except one), then quickly dip into the coconut and set aside. Repeat for the remaining sponge cakes.

Separate the iced sponge cakes into 2 groups. Spread raspberry chia jam on the plain side of one group of sponge cakes and cashew cream on the plain side of the other half of sponge cakes. Sandwich a sponge with jam and a sponge with cream together.

Keep in fridge until ready to eat!

ACAI BOWL CHEESECAKES

INGREDIENTSacai-bowl-cheesecakes-1
Base
½ cup dried figs, stems cut off, soaked in water for at least 2 hours
½ cup mixture of oats and/or whatever muesli or granola that you
have in your pantry
Pinch of salt

Cheesecake filling
1¼ cup cashews, soaked in water overnight
2 tbsp coconut butter or oil, softened
2 tbsp sweetener (optional)
1 packet frozen acai
½ cup berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, or whatever you desire
¼ cup banana, chopped

Toppings
Whatever you desire! Think fresh or dried fruits, granola, buckwheat, puffed grains, coconut, nut butter, cacao nibs, superfoods, chocolate…You can use anything that you would put on a smoothie bowl!

INSTRUCTIONS
The night before: In separate bowls, soak the figs (for the base) and the cashews (for the filling) in enough water to cover.

Use a silicon cupcake mold or line your cupcake tin with cupcake papers or baking paper.

For the base: Drain the figs and add to a food processor with the rest of the base ingredients. Blend until well combined. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of the cupcake molds. Set aside in freezer.

For the filling: Drain the cashews and add to a food processor with the coconut butter/oil and optional sweetener. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add the fruit to the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more sweetener if desired.

Remove the cupcake mold from the freezer. Spoon the cheesecake filling into the molds and return it to the freezer.

Prepare fruits for the toppings as desired.

Remove the cheesecakes from the freezer before they are completely set and arrange toppings as desired.

Return cheesecakes to freezer for at least 5 hours.

To serve: Defrost for 5-15 mins, depending on how frozen you’d like your cheesecake, and enjoy!

Rainbownourishments.com | Photos: Anthea Cheng