chocolate-hazelnut truffles & pecan-cardamom date balls (vegan)

17th December 2016


These make a wonderfully healthy addition to bring along to a festive celebration or wrap them up in some recycled paper, a ribbon with a little bit of nature tucked in somewhere for a well-wisher or loved one.  They are always appreciated.  Some other ideas are this homemade raw halvah or zesty mango bliss balls or these chocolate covered caramels  Or an assortment of all three!


chocolate – toasted hazelnut truffles

You could experiment with the different variations of these chocolate balls by adding orange or lemon zest, fresh mint, peppermint essence or even delicately salted.  For a smoother consistency, grind the nuts first, and then add the rest of the ingredients.

I like how toasting brings out the rich flavour in the nuts. If wanting to keep the truffles raw skip the toasting process.

Inspired by Donna’s Date Chocolate Balls & Green Kitchen Stories

Makes about 18 – 20 balls


15 large Medjool dates, pitted

50g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

100g toasted hazelnuts/almonds

1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 – 4 Tbsp cacao/carob powder

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp cinnamon powder


1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

2.  Place the hazelnuts on a tray and toast for 12 minutes, roll in a clean tea towel to remove some of the skin.  The toasting brings out the warm rich hazelnut flavour.

3.  Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse for about 1 minute or until the mixture comes together.

4.  Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into small round balls.  If you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll the balls in cocoa/carob powder, finely chopped toasted almond flakes or shredded coconut.

5.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving, or package them into a jar tied with ribbon or raffia for a holiday gift offering.



pecan – cardamom spiced date balls

I love these bite-size balls for their exotic taste!  If possible, grind your own cardamom as the taste is so much more fragrant, fresher and more intense.  

A recipe inspired by Anna.

Makes 18 – 20


12 large medjool dates, pitted

50g dried cranberries/goji berries (if using goji berries roughly chop)

50g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

100g raw pecans

1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 Tbsp freshly ground cardamom

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp ginger powder/1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger


1.  Place all the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse for 1 minute or until the mixture comes together.

2.  Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into small round balls; half the size of a golf ball.  If you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes. Roll the balls in finely chopped toasted pecans or shredded coconut.

3.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.  Or package them into a jar tied with ribbon or raffia for a holiday gift offering.

4V7A9372_1980x1297Goodness shared by Stacey

carrot palya

11th June 2015


golden rays of Spring colours peeking through….

4V7A4323_1980x1297 4V7A4321_1980x1297 4V7A4335_1980x1297 4V7A4346_1980x1297

and enjoying this unusual stillness…


a simple carrot palya

for Anna

Serves 4  (I use 1 small-medium carrot per person).

This is such a quick & easy dish to make to serve with dosa.  Especially good with a bowl of guacamole and a spicy Indian Sambar.  The secret to getting this simple palya just right is to saute the grated carrot very minimally so that it is just slightly soft, but still retains its freshness and isn’t overcooked.  I found that using the smaller grater attachment on the food processor or box grater makes a difference to the finished dish.  The jaggery and coconut make it slightly sweet, so it is a favourite with the younger and more fussier eaters in the family. I keep it very simple as I love how the carrots get to shine, but you could easily spruce it up by adding finely chopped fresh coriander, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of lemon zest.


3 medium carrots

1 Tbsp spoon ghee/oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 generous tsp jaggery/brown sugar

2 heaped Tbsp unsweetened dried coconut

¼ tsp fine rock salt


1.  Top, tail and peel the carrots.  Either using a smaller hand grater or your food processor (using the smaller grater attachment), grate the carrots.  Pick out the bigger bits and finely chop them, adding back in with the rest of the grated carrots.  Set aside.

2.  In a skillet, add the ghee and mustard seeds; when they turn grey, then add the turmeric and grated carrots, use two spoons and toss the carrots around as you would toss a salad, keeping the carrots moving – saute just for a minute or two.  

3.  Add the jaggery and dried coconut and a sprinkling of salt.  

Serve immediately, or if you are making ahead, transfer to another dish so it doesn’t continue to cook, then serve at room temperature.


Goodness shared by Stacey

broccoli palya

8th February 2015


After not being able to make it to the garden for a while, I was overjoyed to find a blanket of these smaller stems of sprouting broccoli, which are actually masses of tight flower buds.  Buds that, left unharvested, will open into nectar-heavy, yellow flowers which the bees and butterflies love.

If you catch them before the buds burst into an explosion of yellow, the shoots are at their most sweet and tender.

Broccoli is a tough plant in the garden and will survive the hardest frost.  This is what we have had here in Sintra this last week, waking up to a carpet of icicles covering the lawn.  My garden is situated a little hidden and deeper down, it manages to be protected from most of nature’s elements.  Snails however devoured every leaf of last years crop but the broccoli survived and here they are now, gifting our family with their delicate presence.

I also use the smaller leaves just below the bud as I would kale or spinach.

broccoli palya

Enough for 4, as a side dish.

This is a very quick, bright-tasting dish. Be careful when stir-frying the broccoli as the tight flower buds tend to burn before the stems are tender.  Splash water over the top and saute them on low heat.  This is a side dish to any dal or kitcheree.  I try to keep the broccoli true to itself and add very minimal seasonings.  An Asian dish also would work well, like this one of Donna’s.


4 cups garden-picked thin broccoli buds with stems and leaves, no need to chop (or 2 medium store-bought broccoli – thicker stems removed and roughly chopped)

1 Tbsp peanut oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

½ tsp jaggery/ brown sugar

1 Tbsp dried coconut

salt to taste


1.  In a skillet, heat the oil, when hot, add the mustard seeds; when they start to splatter and pop, turn down the heat and add the broccoli.

2.  Sprinkle over some water and move them around a bit.  Place the lid on for 1 minute, remove, then stir, replace lid, then steam for another minute.

3.  Add the jaggery, salt and coconut.

4.  Remove from heat so the stems are al dente and still have some crunch.  Serve and eat immediately with dal of choice or kichadi.


      Goodness shared from Stacey

tropical fruit nut balls (vegan)

25th January 2015


We visited this piece of paradise in December last year as my partner’s friend had decided to celebrate his 50th there. What a wonderful place to mark a milestone.

A perfect place to slow the pace down, relax, rejuvenate…… do whatever one desires. Ahhh, to be back there……and it looks like this will happen just after my 50th milestone.

Until then, these Tropical Fruit and Nut Balls (inspired by many variations of the Bliss Ball/Energy Ball floating around) can provide a bit of the tropics into my day.  Coconut, apricots, goji berries, pistachios, almonds are the basis for this version. Any combination of preferred dried fruit and nuts can be substituted. I have experimented with a variety of ingredient ratios, and I think this recipe provides a perfect balance of nuts, fruit and base.

IMG_7290a tropical island getaway


IMG_7246blue skies, golden sands, fluffy white clouds, mirrored waters……..


Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia

tropical fruit nut balls

Makes about 20 balls


1 cup dried apricots

2 cups shredded coconut

¾ cup almonds (can use almond meal if prefer)

¼ cup pistachios

¼ cup goji berries

1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)

1 Tbsp maple syrup/honey

3 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil

desiccated coconut, for rolling balls


1.  Add all ingredients (minus the desiccated coconut) to a food processor.  Pulse till mixed and a fine, crumb forms. You may need to stop and scrape down the mixture a few times, depending on the quality of the machine. Taste and test texture.

2.  Add more maple syrup/honey if prefer mixture to be sweeter. If the mixture is too dry/crumbly, add more coconut oil.

3.  Roll into small balls, then in the desiccated coconut. Chill and store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Goodness shared by Donna

photo 2

toasted coconut almond slice

1st April 2014


I think I may have stumbled upon a treat that eases the craving for chocolate or something sweet. Almost ‘Cherry Ripe’ (for those Australians amongst you) in flavour.


Toasted almonds & coconut, dates, cranberries, cocoa, cinnamon, coconut butter, coconut oil


That’s it……….all processed together, pressed into a tray & frozen.

This was my second attempt at this recipe. Made the day before I left Stacey’s home in Portugal. Photos captured the day after by Stacey.  Thanks, Stace, they’re beautiful.

Inspired by Savoury Simple’s No-Bake Toasted Coconut Bars. In my first attempt, I followed her quantities, but used almonds instead of the cashews, and added cranberries as well as the dates. I found the coconut oil & butter overpowering, so on this second attempt, I increased the quantities of dates and cranberries, and reduced the amount of coconut butter.  And, for that chocolate flavour (of which I am a little partial), I added cocoa. Of course, you could replace with preferred nuts and dried fruit. Almonds and dried apricots are always a favourite (you may need to add only 1 cup dried apricots).

toasted almond coconut slice

ingredients :

2 cups whole almonds

cup desiccated/shredded coconut

250g dates, pitted & halved (original recipe used 1 cup)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 Tblsp good-quality cocoa

¼ tsp cinnamon powder

tsp rock salt

¼ cup coconut butter (if unable to source, you could try using all coconut oil, only adding ¼ cup first to check consistency)

1 – 2 Tblsp coconut oil (adjust for consistency)

preparation :

Place almonds and coconut on a tray in a pre-heated 180 degree Celsius oven (can use grill only if prefer).  Keep a careful watch as they will burn quickly. Toss as necessary and remove when lightly toasted.

Place all dry ingredients, including the toasted nuts and coconut into a food processor. Pulse until crumb-sized or to preferred texture.

Add coconut butter and coconut oil (1 tab first). Process until well combined.  If dry, add another tablespoon of coconut oil.

Line a brownie/biscuit tin with grease-proof or baking paper, allowing 2 sides to overhang.  Press in the mixture so evenly spread.  Use plastic wrap and the back of a spoon for an even surface.

Freeze tray for at least 20 minutes or until required.  To cut, remove the entire slice with the paper from the tin.  Cut into desired pieces and store in a sealed container in the freezer.


Goodness shared from Donna & beauty captured by Stacey

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