Does the idea of 'raw food' conjure images of cows chewing the cud, or rabbits nibbling on lettuce? I have to admit, I too was guilty of harbouring misconceptions about raw food until a couple of years ago. I thought it meant just smoothies (which I do love, but not all the time) and boring salads. I didn't realise the world of raw food could be so creative and flavourful until I experienced raw tacos at a restaurant in Portland, Oregon, a couple of years ago.
Now, I'm certainly no raw foodie (as you can tell from the recipes on my blog, I LOVE cooking), but whenever I give a raw recipe a try these days, I am always pleasantly surprised. And even more so when it is very simple to create. I don't have equipment like a dehydrator (so anything involving one puts me off), not even a spiralizer, which is exactly why Rebecca Kane's Shine Inside and Out book is brilliant. There's nothing complicated in it at all, so how fab Rebecca has offered to give a copy away to one of my readers?!
Shine Inside and Out is a very refreshing raw read. Most of the recipes take less than 20 minutes to put together and they are soooo good. I made the Raw Alfredo recipe the other night when I had a friend over for dinner. She is not vegan, never mind aquainted with raw food, and was rather suspicious at first. But really loved the meal, as I did.
And another extremely quick and easy recipe - which is surprisingly good - is the parsnip rice. Who'd ever have thought raw parsnip, whizzed in the food processor with some coconut, nuts and seasonings, could have tasted so good?
Plus there are fabulous raw soups, smoothies, salads (not boring ones) and delicious desserts. However, the amazing raw blueberry pie as pictured above is not in the book. Instead, this is a recipe Rebecca has created especially for Chocolate and Beyond, and I will be sharing it on Wednesday. You will need to go to the bottom of this post to see how to win a copy of the book.
You can also take advantage of some free recipes and raw food menu plans from Rebecca as she is offering a free five days of her Raw Food Deliciousness program. Starting 12th July this Friday, Rebecca is providing everyone who has signed up for this at Shine on Raw with five days of raw food menus, recipes and tips.
I did a quick interview with Rebecca about the program and about raw food:
Me: What's the five day Raw Food Deliciousness program about? Who is it for?
Rebecca: The 5 Day Raw Food Deliciousness program is the chance for anyone to try quick and easy raw food recipes in a supportive community.
Many people have heard about raw food and it's benefits - weight loss, clear skin, more energy, improved digestion etc, but often people think it's going to be difficult, time consuming or use ingredients they've never heard of or that they will need expensive equipment to make the recipes.
I designed this program to remove these mis-conceptions.
The program lays everything out for you. There is a five day menu plan which included breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus snacks.
All the recipes include pictures and can be made in under 20 minutes. You use ingredients you will find in your regular supermarket and to make the recipes all you need is equipment you probably all ready have in your own home.
Me: I heard eating a raw food diet can be expensive. Is that true, or can it work for people on a low budget too? Will the programme suit everyone?
Rebecca: Eating raw food can be expensive, especially if you want to make a lot of desserts which rely heavily on nuts. But not eating raw can also be expensive.
The recipes in this program focus on fruit and vegetables (you will be amazed at what you can do with a courgette!). These everyday ingredients can be found cheaply. If you buy your fruit and vegetables from a green grocer, rather than a supermarket, it can work out even cheaper.
Once you start adding more raw food to your diet, you will actually find because they are so nutrient dense, you actually need to eat a lot less and find yourself snacking less - saving you money again!
Me: Shine Inside and Out has a lot of the recipes that are really simple, and don't use any complicated equipment like dehydrators. I like this! But I love my cooking and baking also. What sort of balance should I aim for, do you think?
Rebecca: I can make amazing desserts such as cheesecakes, blueberry pie, banoffee pie and chocolate brownies without the use of a dehydrator.
Once you are familiar with raw food recipes, you can think about purchasing a dehydrator as you can make brilliant quiches, crackers and chips with it - even pancakes!
However as with any way of eating, the focus should always be on fresh fruit and vegetables with cakes and crisps making up a small amount of your food.
Most importantly have fun with your food and start experimenting with textures, flavours and even new foods. For example I had never tried, or even heard of a custard apple, until I started shopping outside my local supermarket. How I had been missing out! - these apples really do taste just like custard!
Would you like to be in with a chance to win a copy of Rebecca's book, Shine Inside and Out?
As well as being full of incredibly easy raw recipes, suitable for the 'everyday person' who doesn't have any special equipment (other than a blender, food processor, and vegetable peeler!), the book is self-standing, spiral bound and has wipe clean pages, so is perfect for recipe-following in a kitchen.
If you'd like to have a chance to win the book, you just need to do two extremely simple things:
1. Share this BLOG POST (ie. this actual link here: http://www.chocolateandbeyond.co.uk/2013/07/rebecca-kane.html) on your preferred social networking media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Digg, Google+, etc etc - whichever you use the most!)
2. Leave a comment below to say where you shared, and what your favourite raw VEGAN food is.
Ensure to subscribe to be updated to comments, as the winner will be announced in the comments section of this post.
And that's all! All people who have shared and left a comment by 5pm 22nd July, in two weeks from now, will be in with a chance of winning the book.
I should have specified originally, but bearing in mind this is a vegan blog, and the giveaway book is vegan, when leaving a comment we'd like to know your favourite raw VEGAN food. Any entries after this update (14.00 on 23rd July) that stipulate a non-vegan food will not be counted.
Terms & Conditions (the small print!)
1. You MUST share this post, AND comment on the post, to enter.
2. The final date of entry is 17.00 hours GMT on 22nd July 2013.
3. Only one entry per person is allowed. Anyone who enters with multiple emails/comments will be disqualified.
4. The judge’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into. The prize cannot be exchanged or transferred and no cash alternative will be offered.
5. The prize is subject to availability by the sponsor. No responsibility can be taken by Chocolate and Beyond on when or if the prize/s reach you. Once the competition closes the prize responsibility is entirely in the hands of the sponsor.
6. The prize draw winner will be randomly selected.
7. No automated entries allowed. These will be disqualified.