Creamy Crunchy Cashew and Blackberry Dessert
1 handful pecan nuts
1 handful coconut chips
1 tbsp, or more, maple syrup
1 tsp, or more, cinnamon
A little coconut oil
Creamy cashew layer
1 cup cashew nuts, soaked
½ cup coconut cream or plant milk
2 tbsp brown rice syrup
2 tsp vanilla powder
2 tbsp lemon juice, optional
150 g blackberries, divided into two (one part
for sauce and one part halved and/or whole)
2 tbsp brown rice syrup
1 tsp grated ginger
Soak cashew nuts overnight or during your working day (roughly 8 hours). If you don’t have time for this, simply soak the cashews in boiling water for at least 20 min. However, this will make your base warm, so you will need to chill it before serving.
Place a little oil in a frying pan over low-medium heat and add pecan halves, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Once they are starting to brown a little and are fragrant, add coconut chips and let fry for another minute. Take off heat and set aside.
Mix all creamy cashew ingredients in a highpowered blender until smooth. Set aside. Mash half of the blackberries with the ginger and brown rice syrup and add quartered berries and mix. Reserve 3-4 whole berries for garnish. Layer creamy cashew mixture with your blackberry mixture. Make some swirls using the handle of a teaspoon/table knife. Top with your crunchy maple topping and garnish with whole blackberries.
Q: What is something new that you recommend us trying in the kitchen that many of us might not think of?
A: Miso paste! It’s a Japanese fermented soy bean product with a unique flavor and tummy-loving bacteria. Since I discovered this paste, it has changed the flavor of many of my dishes; I seem to add it to everything nowadays.
Q: What ingredients do you think are underused at home whenwe cook?
A: The first things that spring to mind are various types of sea vegetables like arame, hijiki, and dulse. I think most people have tried sushi at some point and therefore know nori, but there are so many varieties of sea vegetables and ways to cook them that I think are overlooked in the West. I’m only just starting to explore them myself, but am looking to include them more in the future as they are a great source of minerals. They also add that flavor of the sea that isn’t really found in any other vegan foods. In addition, I think it’s easy to overlook the variety of foods that exist and get stuck on simply one item in a group, like only eating rice when there’s a whole array of great whole grains to choose from or simply eating kale when there are so many types of greens out there, like chard, collards, various cabbages, spring greens, and the list goes on. I guess in my mind it’s not so much that there’s one single thing that’s underused, but the variety in itself seems to get lost sometimes, and to me that’s the beauty of vegan eating—to explore all those options that I would have never thought of before choosing this lifestyle.
Q: Any food secret you swear by?
A: Soaking grains and beans. I never used to do this but am finding this really helps my digestion. The bean gas threat diminishes, in my opinion, when cooking them yourself from dried, and I learned from a friend to add kombu/kelp (sea vegetable) in the bean-cooking process to add minerals to the beans as well as reduce tummy problems. A tip with love.