Category Archives: Raw

Rice Workshop, Raw Trader

Rice Workshop
238 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9650 6663
Rice Workshop on Urbanspoon

rice workshop

Sometimes all I’m after is a quick no-frills tasty meal that is easy on the wallet and super satisfying. Rice Workshop is one such place where the food ticks all those boxes for me.

The concept is simple: choose your staple of rice or noodles, add on the seasoned meat and toppings (ontama egg for me), and if that’s not enough, pick from a selection of deep fried goodies to complete the experience.

beefbowl
Regular kimchi beef $8.50, add ontama egg

My comfort meal at Rick Workshop is the kimchi beef bowl with an added soft-boiled egg. The thin slices of fatty beef are marinated in a sweet soy with slight hints of maple. Paired with slightly spicy vinegary kimchi, it’s a sucker of a combination that gets to me each time. An ooey-gooey egg is cracked over the ricebowl and coats everything with a gelatinous slurpy egg blanket, yum!

Complimentary sides of pickled ginger or radish are available and I always pile my bowl high with the radish. The piquant crunch is irresistible!

A simple soft serve of matcha or black sesame is available for those needing to round up the meal with something sweet.

Raw Trader
10 Sutherland Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 4 7869 2008
Raw Trader on Urbanspoon

raw trader

For myself, I was hankering for a healthier sweet treat after gobbling up my meal. I crossed a couple blocks to Raw Trader, a healthy café situated near Short Stop Donuts that offers raw, unprocessed, vegan dishes. I indulged in a chai “cheesecake” and enjoyed the fragrant hints of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. The texture of the cake was creamily smooth and made for a wonderful guilt-free way to finish up my day in the city.

chai cheesecake
Chai cheesecake $10

Tummy satisfaction doesn’t always need to be in the form of a fancy degustation. I find that simple pleasures of delicious fuss-free food warms the soul. What’s your go-to meal for a quick soothing?

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Filed under Asian, CBD, Chai, Japanese, Korean, Raw, Sweets

Kitchen Workout: Paleo Semi-raw Carrot Cheesecake

carrot cake

I’ve been slack in posting recipes. My recent clean-eating challenge had me craving for desserts and I initially turned to Steph’s (The Natural Nutritionist) blog. I made her carrot cake with cashew cream icing (which was yummy) and loved the icing so much I was then inspired to use it as a filling for my own dairy-, gluten-, sugar- and gluten-free cheesecake.

This recipe is semi-raw. The only cooking involved is roasting the carrots. The rest is just blitzing up dates, nuts and coconut. I use Mayver’s Hazelnut and Cocoa spread for the base but this can be replaced with melted coconut oil and cocoa powder.

ingredients

Base

Ingredients:

50g walnuts
50g cashews
200g dates
2 heaped tablespoons of Mayver’s Hazelnut and Cocoa spread

Method:

Place the nuts and dates into a processor and process until crumbly.

Stir in the hazelnut cocoa and press into a lined 26cm cake tin.

Place in the fridge and allow to chill.

base

Filling

Ingredients:

1kg carrots
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil
125g cashews
140ml coconut cream

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees. Peel the carrots and line them up on a baking tray. Pour over the melted coconut oil and roast the carrots for 30 minutes. Drizzle the carrots with the honey and continue roasting for another 20 minutes. Set aside and cool.

While the carrots are roasting, place cashews and coconut cream into a processor and blend until well-combined and slightly smooth. Place the mixture into a mixing bowl.

Once the carrots have cooled, place carrots and liquid from the roasting tray (this will contain the coconut oil and honey) into the processor and blend until the carrots form a smooth puree.

Tip the carrot puree into the cashew coconut mixture and stir until well-combined.

Pour into the cake tin and chill overnight.

Best enjoyed after a Halloween-themed WOD!

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Filed under CrossFit, Food Challenge, Kitchen Workout, Paleo, Raw, Recipes, Sweets, Vegan

Pana Chocolate

Pana Chocolate
491 Church Street
Richmond
Vic 3121
+61 3 9017 0935
Pana Chocolate on Urbanspoon

pana

In the midst of my clean-eating challenge, one of the withdrawals I experienced was from the lack of sugar. Before the challenge, I would indulge in something sweet almost every day. There were regular snacks of cake for afternoon tea, ice cream after dinner or cookies for supper. The challenge required me to give this up, but I had to find sweet sources to tie me over for the 4 weeks. Thankfully, there’s Pana chocolate.
posters
Pana offers raw natural chocolate made from all the good things like cocoa, cold pressed oils and agave. A variety of flavours are available, including orange, coconut, mint and my absolute favourite, rose. The chocolates can be purchased from most health food stores and even independent supermarkets like Foodworks, where The Angmoh ducked in one evening to get me a couple of bars to satisfy my sweet craving.
pana
Pana opened up shop in Richmond a while ago and for some reason I procrastinated a visit. This challenge was more than enough reason to check it out. It’s small, cute and inspirational, and displays a fridge of little cakes and truffles. These can be enjoyed on site or taken away to be gobbled up at home. I grabbed two to go: a matcha strawberry cake and a chocolate ganache. OH. MY. GOD. These were the best raw cakes I had ever come across. The filling was incredibly smooth and creamy, a texture that is almost impossible to achieve due to the use of nuts. Each element had an amazingly pure taste to it as well; I particularly liked the strawberry layer, it was like tangy strawberry jam without any nasties. The matcha was mild in my opinion, but I do like my matcha to be intense. The chocolate ganache is simply divine. The ganache is so rich that it’s hard to believe there’s no cream in it.
Pana chocolate is the dreams of any dessert-loving paleo, vegan or clean-eating freak. The price is quite steep for each serve, so do savour each delicate morsel lovingly.

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Filed under Chocolate, Paleo, Raw, Richmond, Sweets, Vegan

A Hangry 4 week Clean-eating Challenge

climb

I live to eat. And when I deny myself food, it’s because I don’t want to eat it and not because I can’t eat it. I’m not one to fall for fad diets and I have participated in a couple of food challenges. There was once where I subjected myself to no sweets for one week. This ended up with me almost biting The Angmoh’s head off by Day 7. I’ve also joined Fakebooo for “Live Below The Line”, which you can read about our experience here. Recently, I embarked on a 4 week clean eating challenge organised by my crossfit gym and it put me in an extremely uncomfortable place. The rules were simple: eat real food, period. It was not 100% paleo (as many crossfitters are) and there’s some flexibility as to how strict you want to restrict yourself to certain foods. The big no-nos were refined carbohydrates (such as flour), refined sugar, processed foods and alcohol. Small amounts of dairy and complex starches (such as rice and legumes) were allowed.

sashimi salad
Sashimi salad

And that’s not the end of it. There’s Fran. What’s Fran, I hear you ask. Well Fran is not the sexy sultry pouty nasal-sounding lady we all adore. In the crossfit world, she’s one bitch of a workout. It consists of 21 thrusters and 21 pull-ups, followed by 15 thrusters and 15 pull-ups, ending with 9 thrusters and 9 pull-ups. It generates a crap-load of horsepower and leaves you collapsed in a messy wheezing heap of sore thighs, arms and an audibly pounding heart, ready to burst out of your chest. And Fran is the benchmark for the challenge. Do it on Day 1, train hard and eat well over the next 4 weeks and do it again on Day 29. And it’ll be awesome if you can up your weight, rely less on assisted bands for pull-ups and do it in a faster time.

banana pancakes
Gluten-free banana pancakes, maple, peanut butter

I wasn’t aware of any of this when I was casually asked if I’d like to partake in this madness. “Challenge accepted” I stupidly readily agreed and found out all of this on the very first day of the challenge, having missed the briefing due to work. Not one to tuck tails, I hopped on the bandwagon, completed Fran and on wobbly legs, headed home to plan my meals for the days to come. My eating rules were: no refined carbs, no refined sugar, no alcohol, no processed foods and no cheese. I allowed myself small amounts of rice or potato and small quantities of milk and yoghurt. As I wiped away a tear, I bade farewell to Beatrix and Jocks.

chia party
Combi – chia parfait

There was no weaning period for me. I quit sugar cold turkey. Day 2 into the challenge, the headaches hit. Desperate for a lick of something sweet, I fell back on fruit and bananas became my best friend. My meals consisted of protein and vegetables and once a week, I indulged in a bowl of rice.

baked fish
Oven-roasted fish on wilted vegetables, topped with a pine nut crust

I thought it was going well until Monday of week 2. My day involved a simple lunch of roasted cauliflower soup, only to end with a workout of more thrusters. Bad food mistake, I simply had no energy to lift and was left physically and emotionally exhausted. It also made me panic because that meant I was going to suck big time at the impending Fran. Wiser eating choices had to be made.

LBSS sweet potato
LBSS – kumara, kimchi, poached eggs, cashew cream

As I progressed into week 3, my mood swings were more volatile having PMS and I took my frustration out on The Angmoh. My coach even remarked that I was more tired than usual. But I did not let it get to me. I turned up at every possible work out and trained at least 5 times a week. I made better eating choices and started including more rice into my meals. I noticed I was no longer craving processed desserts when colleagues at work brought in an insanely rich chocolate cake and I had no inclination even for a taste of it.

pana
Pana rose chocolate, Strawberry matcha cake, Chocolate ganache

Not to say I didn’t have any sweets over the past 4 weeks. I’d go insane and The Angmoh would have dumped me lickety split. My sweets consisted of the raw variety. There was raw cheesecake from Patch and raw chocolate from Pana. These desserts contain natural and raw ingredients, such as cashews, coconut and agave. Eating out was tricky so I used the challenge as an opportunity to check out Little Big Sugar Salt, Combi and Raw Trader.

roast pork belly
Roast pork belly with roasted fennel and apple puree

My meals varied from the simple vegetable soups to the fancier roast pork belly with apple puree and fennel. There were the usual paleo players of zucchini noodles and cauliflower rice. The Angmoh made me oven roasted fish with a nut crust, on a bed of wilted vegetables. On one of the weekends, instead of brunching out, I threw together a simple summery salad of sashimi, leaves and tomatoes, dressed in a lemon and wasabi dressing. Some mornings, I indulged in a homemade gluten-free breakfast of banana pancakes, drizzled with maple and topped with natural peanut butter. Throughout the 4 weeks, I continued practising Meatless Mondays and relied heavily of spuds or rice for energy. My snacks at work were Corn Thins smeared with hommus from “The Pure Produce Company” or peanut butter by Mayvers.

The downside of the challenge is that I miss my comfort eating like slurping up pasta coated in bolognaise or biting into crisp chewy sourdough. Social occasions can be lonesome when you are at a pub drinking water while the boyfriend nurses a chilled beer. The initial rocky start of being hungry and tired all the time evened out over the weeks as my body adapted and I made smarter food choices.

chai cheesecake
Raw Trader – Chai cheesecake

The upside of the challenge is that I was never alone. My crossfit buddies shared their experiences regularly and this provided great comfort. The Angmoh endured throughout my challenge and not only cooked food to suit the challenge, but ensured I had enough to eat all the time. (He did pig out on a pizza on the very last weekend while I munched on a salad but I forgive him.) I also discovered new and fun places to eat at and fell in love with raw desserts. I started reading food labels more carefully and now think twice before putting an item into my shopping basket.

carrot cheesecake
Semi-raw carrot cheesecake

On the last day of the challenge, I put together a semi-raw carrot cheesecake (gluten, dairy, egg and sugar-free, oh and recipe soon to come), had a delicious kimchi bibimbap for dinner and tucked myself early into bed. Fran 2 has been done and dusted. Not only did I manage to up my weights, I smashed my time by more than a minute.

I’ll be honest. If ever approached to do another restricted diet challenge, it is highly likely I’ll think twice before saying yes. But I’m glad I did complete this one as it has made me more aware of what I put into myself and I am keen to continue practising a lifestyle of minimal sugar and processed foods.

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Filed under Brunch, CrossFit, Food Challenge, Paleo, Raw, Sweets, Vegan

Combi

Combi
140 Ormond Road
Elwood
Vic 3184
+61 3 9531 0084
Combi on Urbanspoon

combi inside

So, I’ve embarked on a clean eating challenge with my gym. For 4 weeks, I will dedicate myself to a healthy diet, eliminating refined carbs, refined sugar and all sorts of processed foods from my life. I’m slightly over midway with the challenge and eating out is a challenge in itself as most places use sugar or MSG to punch up the flavours and tastes of food. Thankfully, Combi is my saviour.

combi outsideraw not war

Combi is located in the leafy suburb of Elwood and goes by the slogan “Raw, not war”. It is the epitome of clean eating and even takes the extra step of using water that has been through reverse osmosis, eliminating at least 98% of nasties, including heavy metals and impurities. For those who need a little bit of heat action, fear not, there are cooked options, including soup and ham sandwiches.

Knowing Fakebooo’s penchant for heated meaty appetites, I was surprised he was happy to tag along when I suggested Combi. He was extremely intrigued and was even at a loss when he read the menu. After a good few minutes of deliberation, he placed the order while I checked out the digs.

sexy carrot

Combi has a very hippy make-love-not-war feel about it. Staff work behind a counter decorated to look like a love shack. Ironically given I was in such a reputable establishment, I was kinda hoping for a daisy-wreathed dreadlocked fisherman-pants-wearing flower child to saunder out in a haze of marijuana smoke.

drinkgs
(Left) Beetroot kombucha $5
(Right) Organic cold pressed juice: Green fields – kale, cos lettuce, celery, cucumber, green apple, mint, lemon $8.50

Fakebooobooo ordered a green cold pressed juice of kale, cos, celery and cucumber. A sip of it instantly made me feel detoxed with almost the ability to photosynthesize. Yup, my notes were “tastes of chlorophyll”. Fakebooo’s beetroot kombucha reminded me of a tangy fizzy beetroot juice, odd but not unpleasant.

zoodles
Raw organic zucchini spaghetti – zucchini spaghetti with a creamy cashew sauce, mushrooms, soy beans, tomatoes, fresh herbs, topped with activated nuts $14.50

All of us went raw food-wise. Fakebooobooo’s zucchini spaghetti was a beautiful creation of slender zucchini ribbons, tossed with nuts, seeds, beans and mushrooms, dressed in a delicate coating of creamy cashew. It was divine, and made me envious as my “zoodles” are never that perfect.

acai superbowl
Super bowl: organic acai bowl – antioxidant-loaded acai blended with banana, blueberries, house made nut mylk then layered with crispy coconut flakes, activated caramelised buckinis, banana, maca and cranberries $15.50

Fakebooo and myself opted for superbowls, aptly named as they contained superfoods like chia seeds and acai. Fakebooo’s brunch dish had a topping of acai sorbet which was cold, uplifting and berry-licious. As for mine, the chia pudding was a little bit sticky and a little bit crunchy with just the right amount of sweetness from the bananas.

chia party
Super bowl: organic chia party – parfait of chia seeds, soaked in house nut mylk infused with orange rind, layered with banana, cherries crunchy activated chocolate buckinis, zesty incan berries and macadamias. Topped with house made coconut cashew yoghurt and strawberry coulis $14.50

Another reason why Combi is my lifesaver is because they have cake that is challenge-friendly. SCORE! I had my eye on the chocolate fudge, lemon cheesecake and snickers. Alas, the snickers had sold out so I had to make do with my other 2 options. Made with natural and raw ingredients such as activated nuts, dates and maple, I could literally have my cake and eat it. My favourite was the lemon cheesecake. The texture of the filling was velvety smooth and the fragrance of the lemon shone through beautifully.

cake
(Left) Raw chocolate fudge cake – activated almonds, coconut, dates, activated cashews, maple syrup, cinnamon, raw cacao, cacao nibs, coconut oil $8.50
(Right) Raw lemon cheesecake – activated almonds, coconut, dates, activated cashews, maple syrup, fresh lemon juice lemon rind, lucuma, coconut oil $8.50

Combi has been a wonderful dining experience and I will definitely find myself back there even after my challenge is over. Drinks and food are wholesome and leave you walking out with a top-to-toe feel-good completion.

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Filed under Bayside, Brunch, Elwood, Raw, Sweets, Vegan, Vegetarian