Delicious, Fun & Healthy Food

Blood orange

Blood Orange and Chocolate Layered Raw Cheesecake

Dessert, Raw, Raw Dessert, CheesecakeLina Liwag2 Comments

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!  Although I've been missing in action for 2 months, there's a big reason why...let me tell you.  One of my wishes for a long time was granted.  I was able to go for four weeks to beautiful and sunny Santa Monica, California to train at the prestigious Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy.  It was a blast!  Take a look at this photo taken on my first week at the Academy with Matthew Kenney.  I will be posting some of my other iPhone photos and of course my experiences in the coming posts when I get a chance to get everything all sorted out.  

Everyone has been asking me "what now?"  As some of you may know, I am 54 years old and I work as a Team Leader in Residential Mortgage Underwriting.  I've been in this industry for almost 20 years.  My love for health and wellness came about when I was turning 50 as a result of my own health journey.  It has now become my new passion.  So I've been on a path of learning: graduating as a health coach from IIN in September 2013 and raw chef training has always been in my heart for a while.  I am so blessed to be able to have the chance to do just that.  For now, I will remain in my day job while doing my new passion in between.  As I love to say, "things will happen organically."  They always do.  So now let me share with you our Easter 2014 Dessert!

Making this dessert reminds me of the Santa Monica Farmer's Market.  Every Wednesday, it is bursting with energy, excitement, colours and abundance from the earth.  Citrus was in season when I was there.  Our class made a few trips there for our projects as it was only across the street from MK Academy.  It also reminds me of our Final Presentation. I would have made this as my dessert course...I don't know why I didn't??  Anyway, I love blood orange! They are so colourful and nutritious. Anthocyanin is an antioxidant that provides the blood orange its distinct colour.  

Blood Orange and Chocolate Raw Cheesecake

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1 Tbsp. lemon

In a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are coarsely chopped.  Add the dates and lemon and continue to process until they stick together when you pinch it.  If your dates are too dry, add a bit of water, 1 teaspoon at a time making sure it won't be too watery.  Press the mixture into an 8-inch spring form pan.

First Layer (Blood Orange)
1 cup raw cashews, soaked until soft (4-6 hours), drained
3/4 cup blood orange juice
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c.  coconut nectar or maple syrup
3 tbsp. orange zest
1/4 c. coconut butter, melted
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender.  Blend until smooth. Adjust the taste (the crust is sweet so it blends well with the not so sweet 2 layers). Pour over crust.  Place the  pan in the freezer to set for 10 minutes while you get to work on the top layer.

Top Layer (Chocolate and Orange)
1 cup raw cashews, soaked until soft (4-6 hours), drained
1/2 c. orange juice (I used regular orange)
1/4 c. cacao butter, grated or chopped then melted
1/3 c. coconut nectar or maple syrup
1/4 tsp. vanilla powder
a pinch of salt
1/4 c. raw cacao powder

Combine everything except the cacao powder in a high speed blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add the cacao powder in 3 stages at the last part of blending.  Adjust the taste.  Pour over the blood orange layer.  Freeze for 6-7 hours.  Remove from freezer 30 minutes before serving.

Optional Add-On's

Candied Oranges
Slice 1 -2 oranges in rounds.  Coat the slices in 2-3 Tbsp. of maple syrup and dehydrate until they become dry, about 36 hours. Cut out the peels with a pair of kitchen scissors or sharp knife. 

Chocolate Bark
1/4 c. cacao butter, grated or chopped
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 Tbsp.  raw cacao powder
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. chopped pistachios

Combine everything in a bowl  except for the nuts and place it on a double boiler to melt or  over a pot of simmering water. Spread  thinly on a pan lined with parchment paper.  Scatter the pistachios then place is freezer to set for 15 minutes.  When done, break them in different sizes.

1/2 c. blood orange
1 small Fuji apple
1 Tbsp. chopped mint leaves
pinch of cardamom
Combine everything in a high speed blender.  Blend until smooth. Adjust the taste and check for consistency.  Add more apples for thicker sauce.

Assemble:  Serve a slice with candied blood orange rounds, chocolate bark and coulis.  Some chopped pistachios are great too.  Decorate the plate as you would want to. Enjoy!


I hope you had an awesome Easter celebration with your family.  I will be sharing some of my own MK-inspired creations in the coming weeks so stay tuned!



Blood Orange and "Spring Slaw" with Lemongrass Dressing

Salad, Lunch, DinnerLina LiwagComment

This weekend has been sunny and quite warmer than most of the weather that we have been seeing for the last month or two.  I went for a walk on Saturday  morning and noticed that the some of of the trees are starting to come back to life again with their leaves beginning to sprout.  I am so excited for Spring!  I can't wait to pack my winter coat and boots.  I am also excited for a new set of seasonal foods coming our way...soups and stews will be replaced shortly with salads, juices and smoothies.  


And talking about salad, here is one that I just made yesterday using blood orange which is currently in season.  These oranges look so beautiful with their crimson flesh.   They are thought to have higher levels of anthocyanin and Vitamin C than the conventional varieties. They are also smaller in size and the rind has a bright red blush.   Distinctly sweet with hints of perfect for salads or even for snacks.  This salad just has that refreshing flavour especially with the lemongrass dressing and this makes me want to just rush for Spring to come!


Blood Orange and "Spring Slaw" with Lemongrass Dressing
Ingredients: (Preferably Organic)
3 blood oranges, peeled  and cut into pinwheels or in half moons
4 c. purple cabbage, thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
3 c. jicama, julienned
1/3 c. coriander leaves, finely chopped
1/4 c.  sliced almonds, lightly roasted

2 Tbsp. cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. roasted sesame seed oil
juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. Bragg liquid aminos
2 stalks lemongrass, inner portion only, finely diced
pinch of black pepper

Remove the outer and hard portions of the lemongrass.  You can slightly pound it before dicing in order for its flavour to be released.  Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar and with the lid tightly closed, shake a few times until well combined. 
2. Wash and prep all the vegetables and set aside.  Dry roast the almonds. 
3.  Cut both ends of the oranges then stand the fruit on one of its cut ends.  Cut away a section of the peel and the pith from top to the bottom and continue around the fruit until it's completely peeled.   Slice the oranges thinly in pinwheels or in sections depending on your choice.  Mind you I wasn't too perfect in removing all the pith and in slicing them thinly.  Not too worry, they will still look pretty.  Set them aside until you are ready to assemble the salad.
4.  Mix all the veggies with half of the coriander and half of the almonds.  Add the dressing.  Before serving, arrange the blood orange slices on top of the veggies then garnish with the rest of the coriander and top with the rest of the almonds.  Enjoy that burst of wonderful spring colours! 



How awesome looking is this! 


It's March break for our kids this week.  I sincerely hope that we can all have a wonderful time with them!  And by the way, bring home some flowers too and enjoy their fragrance!