Friday, 31 August 2012

Hello kitty raw cheesecake maddness!

Time has flown away from me this month - I cannot believe August is ion its final day and I have only posted once this month! What a month it has been. Busy, jam packed with fun, but with a few tricky situations to navigate through too.

Our cat Jaguarundi has not been well at all and was just diagnosed with heart disease. I have been spending a lot of time researching alternative things to help him rather than just relying on medication. We have a wonderful vet who is also on board and looking into it with us which is really awesome and I am sure we can do something more to help him, he is such a beautiful and soppy cat and is a member of our family so I take this duty pretty seriously! So instead of creating delightful dishes I have been reading research into omegas and homoeopathy for kitties.

We've also just been enjoying the summer (it is summer right? The weather is telling me otherwise!) hanging out with the girls and seeing friends. Then suddenly the week of Dorrie's 4th birthday was rushing upon us. She very politely requested a raw strawberry cheesecake that looks like 'Hello Kitty' for her birthday.
Never one to shy from a cooking challenge I took this request on board and got my thinking cap on. I very nearly came close to making a plain raw cheesecake and sticking a figurine on the top, but seriously, I knew that was not the best I could do and she had such a vision for her cake, it deserved my full attention. My days quickly became full of hello kitty and raw cheesecake recipes, taking priority over everything else....

At the start, I debated making a face using fruit for the eyes, nose and whiskers, but was worried it would end up just looking like some random cat, and Dorrie would know the difference, believe me. Also was the question how would I make the cheesecake cat shaped - it is not so easy to carve a raw cheesecake as it is a real cake!

So I looked through the Internet for inspiration and stumbled across the 'Hello Kitty' restaurant in Beijing. Seriously, you guys need to check them out, they even have burger buns that looked like hello kitty! What struck me though was how creative they were with their designs. Never as simple as a 'cut out' kitty shape for a dish, they instead make use of little groupings of hello kitties, use stencils for garnishing (even the plates) and create elegant but fun dishes - definitely no fruit faces and figurines here....!

So I decided to do a basic double layer strawberry and lemon cheesecake and decorate it with artsy toppings inspired by this restaurant. I went for an acai berry powder stencilled hello kitty face, a mini cheesecake 'basket' with a raw white baobab chocolate kitty face peeking out the top, some acai raw chocolate and goji circular decorations, and neat piles of fruit, with more raw white baobab chocolate kitties around the edge of the cake. Now it sounds like hello kitty chaos I know, but it worked - the result was pretty, arty and undeniably; 'Hello Kitty'.

The only slight disappointment for me was that when I decided (last minute) on adding some acai juice to the bottom layer (for extra nutritional punch and flavour), I didn't compensate enough with the coconut oil so that layer was a little soft- it resulted in a not too neat looking icing effect rather than my desired layered stripe effect - but it tasted pretty great and nobody complained! And a lesson was learnt - do not experiment at the last minute on important birthday cakes......

To serve I made a thick jam like strawberry sauce that was not only raw, but super packed with nutrition thanks to the addition of the amazing powerhouse that are chia seeds. To Make it, simply blitz the following in a food processor:

200g frozen strawberries
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1 1/2 tbsp raw acacia honey (perfect for its mild flavour - you can use agave for a vegan option)

So here to finish is the picture of the raw cheesecake of all cheesecakes, complete with all natural non-toxic pure beeswax candles.

Now fast approaching is Fia's 6th birthday- so excuse me if I go AWOL again, I'll be trying to design a raw chocolate cake with a flower fairy garden on the top.......  ;)

Monday, 20 August 2012

The most luxurious homemade deodorant ever!

I have just found a way to take natural deodorant from 'alternative' to luxurious, it's all in the way you view it people, deodorant can be special!

We have been using natural deodorants for about 3 years now, to avoid the chemicals and the aluminium found in the standard ones. And while some have been pretty decent, none so far have been completely up to the job which is pretty frustrating.

Why it never occurred to me to make it myself earlier I'm not sure, but I started about 3 months ago when I realised we nearly always had the ingredients to make a good deodorant right here in our kitchen cupboards!

This version I created is pretty similar to the many doing the rounds on the net right now (clearly we are not as crazy as many of our friends think!) and these are the quantities that worked out pretty good for me. So far I can happily say that it works better than any of the natural deodorants I have tried so far (yipee) and has the benefit from smelling and feeling absolutely rich and silky smooth and delicious on your skin.

I am a huge fan of the glamour and style of the 1920's and 30's, so wanted to capture this essence with my deodorant. Storing it in a super pretty glass jar embossed with cockle shells, reminiscent of the gorgeous 1920's glass beauty jars, has meant putting on deodorant now feels more like a decadent treat rather than part of a boring or necessary routine. Seriously, it is such a pleasure to use. You can scent this with whatever essential oils you like. For my hubby we went orange, tee tree and lavender, but for those glamorous natural spirits out there, I say choose amber, hyacinth, orange blossom and vanilla for a real 1920's scent. Every morning I am now whisked back to a time of silent movies, screen sirens and flapper dresses, and all this from putting on deodorant! That's gotta beat a quick blast form a spray can surely...?

Just one caution though - if it gets hot, and your deodorant melts, make sure you stir it before each use as the bicarb will fall to the bottom. We learnt this the hard way! After a really hot week of using the deodorant without stirring before use, the bicarb settled, and when we finally reached the bottom part of the jar, it was way too harsh (way too much bicarb to coconut ratio)- think sandpaper under your arms! The result was sore underarms. The easiest solution if you live somewhere warm is to keep it in the fridge!

Next batch I make I'm going to try adding some bentonite clay and reduce the bicarb so will post a follow up :)

5 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp cacao butter
1/4 cup arrowroot
1/4 cup bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp pure vitamin E (or contents of 2 capsules)-this is optional
15 drops of essential oil*

*To make the 1920's scent use 3 drops of amber, 3 of sweet orange, 3 of hyacinth or rose and 5 of vanilla.
For the lavender scent use 5 drops each of lavender, sweet orange and tea tree.