raw

with love from bali

Raw Salted Chocolate Fudge Tarts

If I can jump ahead to the last day of the retreat in Ubud, I think I said the word brilliant at least 12 times in quick succession as I met eyes with each of the 16 amazing women I was sitting in circle with for the last time. What a big, big space we’d laughed and cried and danced our way through together over the week. No fixing or pretending things were fine, just sitting with whatever came up and gently adding love into the rough edges of any given moment that needed it. Holding space for each other and breathing in the rawness of every story each of us shared. It’s the most extraordinary thing, the moment the harshness of confrontation slips into the liberation of surrender. What a thing to bear witness to, whether in yourself or in others; it dissolves all the nonsense so gently, but so absolutely.

There’s so much more. There always is, right? Thank goodness my beautiful friend Beata is planning another retreat next year. She’s a marvel at this work and I couldn’t love her more for the effort she went to to accommodate all of us in her heart for a whole week. The incredible souls she introduced us to. The amazing experiences she created. Big space. Filled with grace. I wish everyone was on their way for tea right about now so I could put these on the table and keep the circle going.

 

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Raw Salted Chocolate Fudge Tarts

makes 6 x 10cm tarts

 

1 1/2 cup raw organic cashews

1 tbsp raw organic cacao powder

1 tbsp organic mesquite powder

2 tbsp organic raw cacao butter

water

 

1 cup organic medjool dates, soaked for 2 hours

1/4 cup organic tahini

2 tbsp organic cacao powder

1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

1 organic vanilla bean, scraped

 

fresh violets

 

To make the bases, put the cashews, cacao powder and mesquite into a blender and blitz until you have a flour mix. Add the melted cacao butter and blitz again. Add a little water until you have a crumbly mix that just pulls together. Using your fingers, push the chocolate pastry evenly into non-stick, removable base tart tins, making sure to use enough pressure to pack it into the very edges of the base and up the sides. Put into a dehydrator for 4-6 hours, or simply refrigerate for an hour if you don’t have a dehydrator. Remove the bases from the tart tins.

To make the fudge, drain the dates, but keep the soak water aside to use if necessary. Blitz the dates in a food processor with the remaining ingredients, adding the date water to reach a fudgy consistency.

Fill the bases with the fudge and top with fresh violets if you can find some. Dust with coconut flour for extra prettiness.

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with love from cambodia

Raw Everything & Nettle Smoothie

Our Cambodian trip was a little while ago now but it’s taken me some time to let any notion of narrative fall into place about what it meant to be there. I still have none. The story will only be a story for you to read, and really, what would be the most amazing thing, and maybe the only real way to talk about this, is for you to go too. Take a totally brilliant friend with you. I did. And while you’re there please, please go to Hariharalaya. It’s where you can dissolve and be held at the same time. My God. And the really, really brilliant part is what you find in your heart when you get home. I’m still unpacking.

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Angkor Wat made me sit down a lot. Mostly because I was trying to stop my brain from figuring out the details. The overwhelming beauty stops all inner chat pretty quickly though.

 

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The view over the balcony from my room at Hariharalaya.

 

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We rode our bikes down dirt tracks lined either side with temples, to the soundtrack of chanting and local kids practicing their English on us, as they rode up to join us like we were old buddies that did this every afternoon.

 

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 Handmade, locally pottered tea cups. No one rides past that kind of magic shop.

 

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We had really great smoothies every morning as part of the Hariharalaya breakfast and it’s a ritual the bounty of stinging nettles has encouraged me to continue since being home. Here’s what we’ve been sipping on after yoga over the last week. It’s helping with my detachment until I can get back to Cambodia.

Raw Everything & Nettle Smoothie

makes at least 4 breakfast sized smoothies

 

3 cups freshly made organic almond milk (or milk or choice)

1 heaped tablespoon organic hemp seeds

1 heaped tablespoon organic raw cacao

1 heaped tablespoon organic mesquite powder

1 heaped tablespoon organic chia seeds

1 heaped tablespoon organic coconut oil

1 frozen organic banana

2 packed cups raw organic stinging nettles 

 

Blend everything together in a high speed blender until completely smooth. Don’t worry about the sting on the nettles, they’ll be dissolved during the pureeing process. Promise. You may want to add a little honey or agave if it’s not quite sweet enough for you.

time for the good stuff

Green House Salad

Life’s been a tad nuts out here on the hill over the last month. Well actually not much of it has been on the hill if I think about it because we haven’t been here much. All good stuff but just lots of it. At once. And then we decided to adopt a piglet. You know it goes. So it was really great to get back into the garden and literally ground things a bit after so much running around.

We had a whole afternoon following the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, just to spend any way we wished. Given the preciousness of such a notion it was an easy choice to pull on my old jeans and walk into the greenhouse without any plan but to hang out and see what needed attention first. I love days like that. Sidetracked from one thing to another in a circle of planting red kale seeds, drinking tea, making gravel paths, shovelling cow pats, patting cows, playing with pigs and picking roses for our bedroom.

Lunch was part of things too. Of course. And the greenhouse has become more like a private supermarket now, so sitting at my little potting up table became a chance to put a salad together in my head from what I could see. It might not be the world’s most incredible creation as just a salad, but somehow adding that elusive quality of just picked and hand tended made this salad seem way fancier than it might have seemed to anyone just passing by our kitchen table. Good stuff.

 

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Green House Salad

serves 4

 

1 large handful organic purple beans

1 large handful organic snowpeas

1 small handful organic pea tendrils

1 organic lebanese cucumber

8-10 fresh organic borage flowers

1 organic white witlof

1 cup organic raw walnuts

2 tbsp organic honey

1 tsp Himalayan salt

2 tbsp organic Dijon mustard

4 tbsp lemon juice

1/3 cup lemon extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp honey

salt and pepper to taste

 

For the honey salted walnuts, massage the honey into the walnuts and sprinkle with salt. Spread onto a baking paper lined tray and toast under the grill until caramelised, about 4-5 minutes. Cool.

Blanch the snowpeas in boiling water for no more than 1 minute and then plunge them into an ice bath to immediately cool them. Top and tail the purple beans but leave these raw to preserve their beautiful purple colour.

Cut rounds of cucumber and separate the leaves of the witlof.

Toss together with the pea tendrils.

To make the vinaigrette, mix the mustard, lemon juice, olive oil and honey together and season to taste.

Put all the salad ingredients into a pretty bowl and gently mix through the vinaigrette. Top with the borage flowers and cooled walnuts and serve.

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what does one do with tomatillos?

Tomatillo & Cucumber Soup with Garlic Chives

More generosity from friend’s gardens this week. You can’t believe plants can grow at all in this heat, but nature has it sorted it seems. Little capes are the answer. Little tomatillo capes. The perfect cover all. I know it should be about the nutritional value of the tomatillo, or recipe ideas, but have you seen those little capes? They are so beautiful. Dainty and ethereal. Like a little Japanese wrapped package, perfect but not too much so. Wabi-sabi at its finest.

So, love at first sight when I was handed a brown paper package filled with these little green lanterns, but I’ve never used tomatillos before, so nothing really followed that initial thought of  ‘pretty, pretty, pretty’. I checked them out online and discovered lots of Mexican style salsa recipes, enchiladas and slow cooked chutneys etc, but it was so, so hot here on the weekend there was no chance of the oven going on, let alone lighting a gas flame on the stovetop.

I decided I’d just think about these little strangers in the same way I think about any other tomato. Only green. I have a favourite gazpacho recipe I love doing in Summer with fresh tomatoes – I’m sure we all do – so I went down the cold soup path and ended up with an icy fresh and bright green version of what normally turns out red any other time I’ve made gazpacho. The haul of gorgeous herbs from Thatch Organics prettied things up nicely, I’ve raved about the beauty of their produce before. I love the tang of the tomatillos too, it’s a little lemony with the cucumber, so it kind of felt like we had deconstructed a cucumber sandwich when we dipped slices of sourdough into this. It’s really green, but that’s always a good thing out here on the hill. I think it would make a really pretty amuse bouche if you were able to turn your oven on and cook other things to follow it for dinner. We just had two cups each and called it done.

I’ll have to come up with some other tomatillo ideas though because I have every intention of getting some of these going in the greenhouse next year. Too gorgeous not to.

 

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Tomatillo & Cucumber Soup with Garlic Chives

serves 4-6 as a small starter

 

3 organic Lebanese cucumbers, cold from the fridge

1 cup organic tomatillos, peeled and washed

1/2 loosely packed cup organic garlic chives, with flowers if possible

1/2 loosely packed cup organic tarragon leaves

1/2 organic avocado, cubed

juice of 2 organic lemons

‘agrumato’ lemon olive oil

Himalayan salt, to taste

Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

 

Juice the cucumbers and then transfer the liquid into a blender along with all other ingredients except the avocado, olive oil and seasoning. Blitz until super smooth. Season to taste.

Divide the cubed avocado between little bowls or cups and pour the soup over the top. Add the chive flowers and a sprig or two of fresh tarragon and finally drizzle with lemon olive oil. Serve immediately while the soup is lovely and cold. A few ice cubes would be good too, we did that in our second bowlful.

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raw gratitude

Raw Plum & Raisin Choc Tops

The most amazing generosity happens at this time of year in the Valley. Orchards and veggie patches kindly offer their wares in brown paper bags, handed over with the care and reverence homegrown produce deserves, accompanied by a simple ‘thought you’d like these’ or ‘our peach tree’s having a good year’. Sometimes it’s just a smile as the package gets put down and conversation continues on easily because both parties are fully aware of the exchange – equal parts kindness and gratitude. I can’t tell you how much I love this unspoken, old school, country practise.

In the last fortnight we have had gifts of homegrown cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and asian greens (thanks Pete and Beck), just picked figs (thanks Ilona), peaches and plums from gnarly old trees that know exactly what flavour is (thanks Janelle and Paul) and the most beautiful little bean flowers (thanks Jenny). Any gardener knows the preciousness of bearing witness to food being created in amongst leaves and tendrils, which is probably the reason that any gardener also completely understands the joy in sharing it. It’s far from just a bag of peaches that gets placed in your hands.

So, this is the state of mind I was in when I received a handpicked bounty of lovely dark plums the other day and the shrine of plum appreciation began its construction. That’s my romantic take on ‘these-raw-plum-and-raisin-choctops-take-a-while-to-make’. Not as long as the tree took to create them though. The deal’s still well in our favour here.

 

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Raw Plum & Raisin Choc Tops

makes 4 – 6 

 

1 cup organic raw cashews, soaked for 3 hours

1 fresh organic drinking coconut

1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

1 tablespoon organic raw maca powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons organic coconut nectar

1 vanilla bean, stripped

8-10 organic dark red plums

1/2 cup organic raisins

batch of raw chocolate, for dipping

paddlepops sticks or similar for ‘handles’

bee pollen ‘sprinkles’

 

Start this ice cream the day before by dehydrating the plums until semi dried to really intensify the flavour. You can soak the cashews the day before too if that helps the flow of things. 

To make the ice cream, crack open the young coconut and scoop out the flesh being carefully not to bring any husky bits with you. Put into a food processor or Vitamix, along with the coconut oil, maca, 1 tbsp coconut nectar and vanilla seeds. Blitz until really smooth. Drink the coconut water while you wait.

Once the mixture is thick and creamy, stir in the raisins and put aside in a jug ready to pour into the moulds or cups that you have chosen to set the ice creams in.

To make the raw plum ripple, simply blitz the semi dry plums, cinnamon, cloves and remaining coconut nectar in the processor until smooth.

Have your sticks and ice cream moulds ready. I used vine cuttings because I didn’t have paddlepop sticks and I think I’ll do this every time now because they looked pretty cute. Just make sure if you head into nature for your sticks that they haven’t been sprayed.

To assemble the ice creams, fill about 1/6 of the mould with the raisin/coconut ice cream mix, then add a dollop of plum jam, and continue layering like this until the mould is full. Push your ice cream stick into the mix and stir it around no more than twice before positioning it in the middle of the mould. Repeat with all moulds until full and place into the freezer to set.

When the ice cream is really solid, you’re ready to dip into the raw chocolate. Remove the ice creams from the moulds by setting the moulds into hot water for a few seconds and then slide the ice creams out by gently pulling on the sticks. Set the ice creams on a piece of baking paper back into the freezer to harden again while you make the raw chocolate.

While the chocolate is still runny, dip each ice cream into it to coat and sprinkle bee pollen over the chocolate as you turn the ice cream round in your fingers. Place back into the freezer to harden once the chocolate has lost its shine and you know it has set.

You will probably need to take these out of the freezer for 5 minutes before you want to eat them as they are solid ice cream. But so creamy. And good for you. Done and done.

farmer’s market coleslaw

Purple Carrot & Basil Coleslaw

I love how a quick trip around the Farmer’s Market can pretty much put a dish together just by the order of how things go into your basket. It started with purple carrots, then beetroot, some gnarly organic apples and the most beautiful purple basil you ever did see. I’d put my name on a bunch of basil after seeing it the night before on Thatch’s facebook page. These guys grow seriously good herbs, and they happened to be a trestle away from us this week, so when the basil was hand delivered, wrapped in a little origami newspaper pocket, it felt more like a florist had visited the stall when I wasn’t looking. Beautiful.

A group of us went to see ‘Shakespeare in the Vines’ that night, so a quick picnic was assembled to share, and what’s a picnic without coleslaw? Especially on Australia Day. Along with the array of goodies everyone else brought to share after a morning at the market and a run through home veggie patches, it was the most amazing spread of good health on a blanket I think I’ve ever experienced. And not a lamb in sight. Although as my friend said, she’d hugged her lambs that day, so we figured that fulfilled the ‘traditional’ quota of Australia Day. I guess the bottles of kombucha could’ve passed for beer too. Done and done.

 

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Purple Carrot & Basil Coleslaw

 

I’m sure everyone has their own way of making coleslaw so this is a rough guide more than an exact recipe…

 

1 organic beetroot

3 organic purple carrots,

2 organic apples

wedge organic cabbage

handful fresh organic purple basil

lemon extra virgin olive oil

organic coconut yoghurt or cream

organic apple cider vinegar

juice of 2 organic oranges

himalayan salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp each organic sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

 

With the grater attachment on, run all the veggies and apples through your food processor. Mix together in a large bowl. 

Toast the seeds in a dry pan until they start to pop.

Mix equal parts olive oil, vinegar and coconut yoghurt with the orange juice and season to taste.

Pour over coleslaw and mix through. Add the basil leaves just before serving and sprinkle the toasted seeds on top.

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fruit appreciation

Apricot and Orange Earl Hempseed Ice Cream

We picked the last of the apricots from our old tree this week. I really love this tree. It sits right outside the back door in a place strategic to spotting, both from the kitchen window, and from the shower, so we have the chance to watch it pass through its cycle of small miracles throughout the year; ballet pink blossom, lush green foliage with orange polka dots, golden leaves like Post-It notes and gnarly bare branches. So beautiful. It’s a level of appreciation that has led to quite a few conversations between me and our apricot tree.

The last of the fruit had a tad too much sun to hold very long past picking, but the flavour was stunning, a concentrated version of itself after all the hot weather we’ve had. It had to be ice cream. Good and creamy hempseed ice cream with apricots and Orange Earl tea.

I ended up adding a drizzle of orange infused yacon syrup, just to ramp up the citrus a smidge more. That’s completely optional, but I figured if I was doing an ice cream that was going to give us a a perfect and natural blend of easily digested proteins, essential fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6), Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), antioxidants, amino acids, fiber, iron, zinc, carotene, phospholipids, phytosterols, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin E, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and enzymes, it seemed only fair that there should be a bundle of prebiotic goodness in the ‘sauce’.

Only a quantum leap from the ice cream of my childhood. The apricots tasted just like my 8 year old mind remembered though. Good news on both fronts.

If you’d like more info on hemp I have some links with my Hempseed Bircher Muesli recipe. It’s seriously good stuff.

 

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Apricot and Orange Earl Hempseed Ice Cream

 

1 cup organic raw hulled hempseeds

1 cup filtered rainwater 

1 cup strong Orange Earl tea

8-10 ripe organic apricots, seeds removed

1 heaped tablespoon organic raw coconut oil

1 vanilla bean, scraped

3-4 tablespoons organic maple syrup or agave

 

Organic yacon syrup infused with orange zest, optional

 

To make the ice cream, blitz the hempseeds and water in a food processor or Vitamix. When you have a very smooth paste, add the remaining ingredients and blitz again until everything has been incorporated into a silky puree.

Pour into an ice cream machine if you have one and follow your normal routine, or if you’d like to cut into ‘blocks’ then set in a low flat dish or pan.

Cover with baking paper to avoid oxidisation and put into the freezer until ready to serve.

 Drizzle the orange infused yacon syrup over the ice cream to serve. We had ours with a pot of Orange Earl too. Kind of a given.

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coconut yoghurt you say?

Coconut Yoghurt

It may have taken me a while but I’ve well and truly fallen in love with this whole coconut yoghurt thing. So good. And far more creamier than I imagined. There’s lots of great recipes online for coconut yoghurt but my interest was piqued again when we went to Mexico, and not because there are ‘cocos frios’ everywhere, but because of the pre-flight food pack I put together before we left.

I came across dehydrated coconut water, in its raw powdered form, and thought it would be a perfect flight buddy to add to water along the way for a decent electrolyte fix over the nearly 30 hours of flying we had ahead of us. It worked a treat. Once we were airborne, I started thinking of all the other things I could add it to (that daydream helped to fill in at least, oh, 30 minutes out of the 30 hours) and along with smoothies, dips, soups etc, coconut yoghurt popped into the part of my brain where I do my taste testing.

Not that the idea is to make the yoghurt from the dehydrated coconut water, but I found out that if you add it to your fresh coconut yoghurt it makes it thicker without losing that lovely creaminess. Bingo. I’m sure you could go ahead and flavour the yoghurt too but the coconut flavour it pretty big on its own, so I’ve just been enjoying adding it to things rather than adding things to it. So far, coconut yoghurt had been dolloped onto raw granola, mixed with chia seeds and fresh apricots for a take in the jar kind of breakfast, dipped into with chapati to have with dahl, swirled through gazpacho and spooned through grated cucumber with toasted cumin seeds. It’s good stuff.

 

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Coconut Yoghurt

makes 2 cups

 

3 fresh whole organic drinking coconuts

2 capsules dairy free acidophilus probiotic powder

1 heaped tablespoon organic dehydrated coconut water (optional)

 

The trickiest part about this recipe is getting into the coconuts! I have a cleaver that I bought especially for this in Thailand, but if you don’t have a heavy cleaver, use the heaviest knife you have in your collection. I have been known to use a screwdriver and hammer before too!

Start by chopping into one side of the top of the coconut using repeated strikes until you feel the knife break through the shell. Then move onto the other three sides of the square you’ll eventually be able to pull open to access the coconut water and flesh.

Once you have a 3 coconuts open, drain the water into a jug and sip away on that because you’ll only need about 1/4 cup or so in your yoghurt. Using a rounded soup spoon, scrape the flesh from the inside of the coconut and put into your blender. Don’t forget to get the flesh right at the top too. Pull off any bits of shell that come with the flesh, your blender won’t like these.

Once you have all the coconut flesh in your food processor, break the capsules apart and sprinkle in the acidophilus powder, add the dehydrated coconut water and blend to a smooth puree. If you are happy with the consistency as is, then there’s no need to add any fresh coconut water. I probably added a little less than 1/4 cup.

Put the coconut puree into a clean glass jar with a lid and leave the yoghurt in a warm place for 24hours to allow the culture to activate. Then pop it in the fridge. It will keep for about a week. You’ll have scraped the bottom of the jar well before then though I’d imagine!

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with love from mexico

Raw Marzipan in Cacao

If you’ve ever found yourself standing in front of any of the Mayan pyramids with the warmth of the sun on your back and a level of gratitude that threatens to break your heart in half, you don’t need me to ramble on about how unbelievable that experience is. Unbelievable on every level. How was this done, what happened here and what happened to us in the process? Enormous questions that end up so big, you forget about wanting to have them answered, in favour of just sitting on the earth and letting wonder take over. Sacred sites indeed.

We really couldn’t have imagined how extraordinary this trip would be. We have been humbled by the magic of open hearted people again and again. There is so so much more. But all I have right now is the phrase I seem to have repeated over and over these last 2 weeks in the Yucatan – “I have no words.”

Thank goodness there’s raw chocolate coated marzipan. With everything the Yucatan is famous for.

Every joy to every one for this beautiful time of year, for this beautiful time in time.

With a heart full of love from Mexico.

 

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Raw Marzipan In Cacao

 

This is more a nudge in the direction of raw marzipan than a recipe, so feel free to mix things around, add dried fruit, spices etc.

 

1 cup raw organic almonds

organic cold pressed almond oil

1 vanilla bean

4 tbsp raw agave or maple syrup

pinch salt

1 teaspoon real almond essence

raw chocolate

 

To make the marzipan, you can either blanch the almonds to remove their skins for a super smooth, white paste, or leave them on like I did for a little speckle and some texture.

Blitz the almonds in a food processor until you have a fine flour. Add the vanilla bean, salt and almond essence. Blitz again. Add the agave and as much almond oil as you need for the flour to pull together in a ball.

Roll the marzipan out with a rolling pin to about 1 1/2cm thick.

Cut into squares and put in the freezer to harden.

Make the raw chocolate and when the marzipan is nice and cold, dip each piece into the chocolate and sprinkle with a little extra almond flour.

Perfect with a pot of tea. At a sacred site. Come on.

scullery tea bags

Gingersnap Teabag Biscuits

There’s a tiny voice in my head doing that tiny voice thing. And there’s the ducklings that just hatched this week. That tiny voice is saying, “You’re going to Mexico tomorrow and it would seem your bag is yet to be packed.” At the same time I’ve magically found the last half hour to sip tea on a hay bale and grin inanely at said ducklings. And now I’m blogging. Jimminy.

I wanted to share these little teabag biscuits though because they’ve become a bit of a theme over the last 2 weeks. I’ve been making them to take everywhere I’ve been for Christmas drinks, which luckily have been of the steeped persuasion, rather than the bubbly kind. These would probably work with champagne too if I think about the amount of ginger in them though.

Suitcase, suitcase.

Ok. Recipe.

Oooh, hang on. Ducklings first.

 

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Gingersnap Tea Bag Biscuits

makes about 40 biscuits

 

You could either do these raw in the dehydrator or bake them in the oven. I’ve done both and they’re yummy either way. Just make sure your GF flours are raw if you want to do the dehydrator thing.

 

1 cup organic almond flour 

1 cup organic GF flour 

1/2 cup organic panela sugar

1/4 cup organic maple syrup

2 Tbsp organic black strap molasses

1 Tbsp organic raw coconut oil

1-2 Tbsp freshly grated organic ginger

1 tsp ground organic cinnamon

1 tsp ground organic cloves

1 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

 

Cotton thread

Sticker labels

Stamp

 

 

In a food processor, process all dry ingredients. Slowly add in wet ingredients and pulse until ingredients start to stick together. 

Preheat oven to 170C.

Roll out dough and cut into tea bag sized rectangles. Then trim the top two corners on an angle to create the classic teabag shape. 

Place biscuits onto a floured baking paper lined tray and make a hole in the top with a skewer or chopstick. This will be where you’ll thread your tag.

Bake for 10-12 minutes (or dehydrate for about 12 hours) and let cool on a cake rack.

 

To make the tags, take some labelling stickers and cut into strips that can be folded over with sticky sides securing the cotton thread.

 

Thread the cotton through the hole and peel the label strip to reveal the sticky side. Put both ends of the cotton onto one of the short ends of the label and then fold the label over itself to stick the cotton in between. 

 

Stamp the tag or write something lovely to be your ‘brand’ of teabag.

 

These are great to dunk into tea without risk of burning your pinkies. Dainty.

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