16 March 2013

{Just Photos} Raw at Cook The Books & a Fruit Salad with Nut Crumble

raw adjective, raw·er, raw·est, noun
  1. uncooked, as articles of food: a raw carrot
  2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture: raw cotton.

The other week I went to a raw cooking class, or should that be preparation?, at Cook the Books.  It’s not really something I have dabbled in but my curiosity was piqued.  Raw food appeals from a good for you perspective, it’s bright, fresh & nourishing.  I think incorporating a little of it every now & then is great, but I would most certainly miss the un-raw.  Imagine in the depths of winter & not being able to tuck in to a comforting casserole or not firing the BBQ up over Summer & that is before we get to ice cream & baking! Life without ice cream would be way too sad, & I mean the really deal with full fat cream & eggs.  So it is not something I would have any desire to practice long term but a little dabbling now & then is all good & a great way to add a dose of healthy & nutritious in to your diet.

At the class Felicity & Grant rustled up a tempeh & peanut spread with sprouts, 2 soups, a fresh salad, paella & dessert.  Yes you never, ever leave Cook the Books feeling hungry & after this class you just overflowing with nutritious goodness.

First up tempeh & peanut spread with sprouts. Tempeh is fermented soybeans & is traditionally from Indonesia.  It is made by a natural culturing & controlled fermentation to bind the soybeans in to a sort of firm cake like form. As it uses the whole bean it delivers protein, fibre & vitamins.

Next a couple of soups. Firstly the Triple Tomato.  Perfect for this time of year as you want perfectly ripe tomatoes to make the most of this soup. Rocket adds a peppery note & fresh thyme a little earthiness to this wonderfully bright & fresh soup.

Second the 5 Cs Soup.  That would be cucumber, coconut milk, coriander /cilantro, cashews & curry.  It is chilled & refreshing with a little spice & certainly perfect for the never ending Summer we are having here in Auckland.  

After soup we moved on to salad & paella. A Grate Grate Grate salad to be precise.  Simple but beautiful, mounds of grated beetroot, celery, carrots, broccoli & parsnips all with their own dressing.  Cider & umeboshi* vinegar for the beetroot, lemon & yoghurt for the celery, garlic for the broccoli & orange for the carrots.  The parsnips would have had a lemon & turmeric dressing but we are in the wrong season here in NZ & with it being a raw salad the freshest, sweetest vegetables are essential.

*Umeboshi is a Japanese plum vinegar which you should be able to get in health food stores or Asian grocers.

And along side the salad a Rawegan Paella, a spectacular looking dish.  Cauliflower, parsnip & jicama can all become “rice” & tempeh the protein.  Add to that red peppers, fresh herbs & a little seaweed for a taste of the sea & you have “paella”.

And to finish a little Carob & Cocoa Fudge, a little sweet treat.

It was an interesting class & we also came away with Raw Food Kitchen by Dunja Gulin, which will provide a little raw inspiration when I feel the desire to dabble.  It is full of bright & colourful dishes that are easy to make at home. The other draw back of the whole raw diet I find is some of the preparation.  Lots of sprouting, fermenting & soaking are often required & can make it all quite involved, but in this book there are many dishes that can easily be whipped up in a home kitchen.  Raw also quite nicely fits in with my healthier living programme as being unprocessed you get the full benefit of all you are eating.

One dessert that jumped out was the fruit salad with nut crumble.  A simple, pretty fruit salad doused in a date, orange & *mirin syrup & topped with a nut & honey crumble. This dessert would even by dinner party worth, the perfect light, but sweet treat to finish off a meal.

*Mirin is a Japanese rice wine that you can get at Asian grocers.

Fruit Salad with Honey Nut Crumble, adapted from Dujja Gulin’s Raw Food Kitchen

Serves 6

For the nut crumble
100g hazelnuts
100g brazil nuts
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

For the fruit salad
125g Kiwi berries halved or 2 kiwi, peeled & diced
125g blueberries
125g raspberries

For the syrup
Juice of 6 oranges (About 1 1/2 cups juice)
8 dates, pitted
Juice of half a lemon
4 tbsp mirin


For the nut crumble; roughly chop the nuts & place in a small bowl.  Add the honey, vanilla, cinnamon & salt & mix well to combine.  Place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

For the fruit salad, place all the fruit in a bowl & mix gently together & set aside.  To make the syrup place all the ingredients in a food processor & blitz until you  have a smooth syrup. Pour the syrup over the fruit & chill in the fridge until ready to serve, at least 30 minutes.

To serve place the fruit salad in individual bowls & top with the nut crumble.

This would be the perfect sweet, yet light treat at the end of the meal.  The syrup is sweet but not too sweet.  The dates provide a richness & the orange a little zesty fruitiness.  The real treat though is the nut crumble, this would be on the terribly moreish end of the scale.  Crunchy, nutty & sweet from the honey & vanilla, all off set with just that little pinch of salt that makes all the difference.  Think what salt does to caramel & you are in the vicinity!

If you like this you might like this Roasted Pear with Almonds & Vanilla Ice Cream
One year ago Black Bread
Two years ago Chard & Kale Falafal with Lemon Tahini & Sumac Sauce

This is also my entry for Sweet New Zealand being hosted by Lesley over at Eat Etc...



  1. I'm with you, Mairi - life without proper ice cream would be unthinkable. But you're right a little bit of raw food now and again never did anyone any harm and this fruit with nut crumble looks fabulous. I could very happily eat that anytime - would I be allowed a little ice cream on the side?

    1. I reckon ice cream or a dollop of cream would make it just about perfect. The crumble is heavenly!

  2. Great experience and recipes, I love raw food, and great entry for Sweet New Zealand :-)


  3. Hi Mairi, what a lovely looking crumble. I love raw desserts. Packed with nutrition and oh so delicious!

    1. I know even a little good for you! Win win!

  4. They're accountable and take responsibility go to this site for their actions.


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