Açaí, Blackberry & Coconut Gelato

imageAçaí, Blackberry and Coconut Gelato
ABC Gelato because it’s easy as! (Can you guess today’s musical clue?)

The hedgerows are covered in blackberries and as I write, the sun has been poking out from behind lowering clouds after a weekend storm, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to repost an easypeasy lemonsqueezy blackberry gelato recipe.

The recipe has 5 ingredients and takes 5 minutes in a food processor. In fact it’s so quick that by the end of today’s music of choice – it can only be ABC by The Jackson Five – you will be serving up a deliciously creamy, fruity gelato and hopefully enjoying it in a sunny garden. (I was going to go for ‘Blackberry Way’ by The Move, but it’s a bit mournful as she’s just left him and it’s raining!)

Açaí Powder is a great source of antioxidants and has a chocolatey/blackberry flavour which works well with the blackberries in this gelato and the Pitch Dark raw chocolate shavings to serve.

 Açaí berries are high in nutrients, and a source of Omega 9 and 6 fatty acids which help reduce bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. They have been a staple fruit for Amazonian tribes for centuries and are reputed to be anti-inflammatory and anti-aging. The Raw Chocolate Company Açaí powder we use is organic and Fairtrade.

Coconut Palm Sugar is guilt-free (no trees are harmed in its production), it is reputed to have a low-glycaemic index (which means it doesn’t cause spikes in blood sugar) and looks and tastes similar to brown sugar. It is not overly sweet like refined sugar and maintains a good mineral content.

*NB the blackberries need to be frozen overnight first*
If you are going to serve straightaway, chill the glasses before you start.

As always, all measurements are approximate, especially in this recipe.

Makes enough for a couple of scoops each for about 4 people, depending how much you ‘sampled’ along the way!

You need to work quickly, so have everything measured out and ready before you begin, removing the blackberries from the freezer last of all.


About 30g Blackberries, washed and frozen, reserve a few for decoration
About 120 mls or 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
1 rounded Tbsp Açaí Powder*
2 rounded Tbsps Coconut Palm Sugar* depending how sweet or tart you like your blackberries/gelato (you may want to grind it a little finer first)
The Raw Company Pitch Dark Raw Chocolate* shavings to decorate


Put the Blackberries, Açaí Powder, Coconut Palm Sugar and 60mls or 1/4 of a Cup of Coconut Milk into the food processor and pulse a few times to break down the blackberries.

Scrape down and add a little more Coconut Milk and process on a low setting for a few seconds. Scrape down. Repeat.
How much more Coconut Milk you use depends on the amount of blackberries etc, but don’t overdo it as the gelato will become thinner as the blackberries defrost.

Don’t overdo the processing, work quickly.
Scoop into chilled glasses, decorate with fresh blackberries and Pitch Dark shavings.


Don sunglasses, sit in peaceful sunny garden and savour the flavour! (Ok, I can’t promise sun or a peaceful garden, but the sunglasses will hopefully make you look Cool 😎


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Nana Rhys Cream with Mango, Cacao & Peanut Butter

imageThis dessert is named after our 13 year old friend, Rhys, who has been visiting while his military dad is away ‘on manouevres’ (we all think he’s having a whale of a time in the sun, really).

Rhys is at that age when boys just sprout every other day and every time you look in the fridge, the contents have not-so-mysteriously evaporated!

So having restocked since he was here the other day, we decided on chilli, rice and salad for dinner, making extra of course (sorry, didn’t think to take a photo before it was hoovered up!) Rhys had too big platefuls, reneging on a third because I had promised home-made dairy-free nice-cream if he still had room. Foolishly, I was convinced this time we would fill him up! He looked up from his empty plate, smiling with the face of a choir boy and asked if he could still have dessert.

We played it by ear as always, guessing as to quantities amd allowing Rhys to ok the ingredients. At first, it came out a bit like a smoothie, then we added frozen mango, whizzed it up again and put it in the freezer for an hour, which thickened it up but didn’t freeze it solid. It was perfect.


(All organic except for the maple syrup)

3-4 Frozen Ripe Bananas, sliced, depending on size

1 1/2 Cups Frozen Mango Pieces

2 Cups Coconut Milk

3 Tbsps Raw Chocolate Company Cacao Powder

1 Tbsp Maple Syrup

1 Dsp Meridian Palm Oil-free, sugar-free Peanut Butter

Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt

 Blend on high until smooth, but don’t overdo it. Pour into a freezer-proof box and freeze about an hour. If it’s half and half after that time, pour into a bowl and stir a couple of times.

Serve with toppings of your choice.

We used:

Coarsely chopped Almonds, Grated Raw Chocolate Company Mint Chocolate bar, Organic Desiccated Coconut

There was too much to all fit in the freezer box, so each of the three of us had a small glass dish of the smoothie left over in the blender as a taster while we waited for the real McCoy! Rhys had 3 servings altogether.

I think it passed muster.

(Ps There are more Raw Chocolate Recipes here).


Copyright: Chris McGowan

‘What Do You Eat If You Can’t Have Anything Naughty?’ – What Vegans Eat

imageMy husband does bike repairs and refurbishes second-hand bikes* which he sells on if in good condition or gives them away if they are past their sell-by date in terms of age and design.

This means that there is a lot of foot traffic through our back garden as people bring their injured steeds for some TLC or to ask about a bike we might have for sale. Some like to chat and put the world to rights, especially those who are retired.

Yesterday was one such day. A regular customer came to collect his bike. The sun was making a rare appearance and I was -unusually for me – sitting outside under the umbrella. We had met some time ago, when I answered the door to him, but had never really had a conversation. He is retired and likes to amble around on his bike enjoying the fresh air and countryside. He does t’ai chi and chi qong, but had injured his knee recently and inevitably the conversation turned to health, nutirition, exercise and ailments.

Having worked selling potatoes for many years, he is quite knowledgeable about how food is produced and marketed, eats little meat except for organic chicken and pork occasionally, some oily fish, and takes flax seed oil supplements for his joints. He knew that my husband is vegetarian but raised an eyebrow when I mentioned I am vegan.

He had just been regaling us with advice about washing fruit and veg because it is sprayed to within an inch of its life and how he had witnessed such cruelty in modern farming methods, yet he was puzzled by my dietary choices.

It seemed to come down to puddings!

His face twisted and he asked ‘So, what do you eat if you can’t have anything naughty?!’

I grinned and said, ‘We’ve just had a 13 year old boy visiting for a week and we’ve had puddings every day!’ ‘Really?’ he replied, surprised and sceptical. ‘What do you do then?’

I explained that we still made ice-cream, for instance (see below for recipe links)he asked how and was impressed, he didn’t realise you didn’t need cow’s milk and refined sugar, chemicals, artificial flavourings and preservatives. I added that if we want something sweet we use fresh or dried fruit or occasionally maple syrup in the recipes (he had assumed we used honey).

I added, all you need is a blender and a food processor. ‘Well,’he responded, ‘We’ve got those.’

Now, he knows I have a long-term back injury and as I started to expand on my dietary habits, he interrupted, looked me up and down, sitting there in my shorts and t-shirt and pronounced that I looked well despite being vegan – ‘You must have been a child bride!’ (cringe) – I was slim so there was no need for me to ‘diet.’

My husband spluttered and I smiled indulgently and shook my head. Here we go, I thought.

Before I could reply, he proceded to describe how he was reasonably fit and healthy, wasn’t fat and did alright without medications before adding that he had some pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories for a previous condition that he was now taking for his knee: ‘But they don’t do any good!’

Eventually, I corrected him.

‘I look well, slim and healthy because I am vegan and because I juice, not despite my food regimen. I don’t take any medications and before I changed my lifestyle I suffered with unbearably painful sinusitis, twice-yearly chest infections that would last 6-8 weeks and often resulted in a cracked rib or strained muscles from coughing, I had painful IBS and asthma.

Since I began juicing and more recently became vegan, I no longer suffer the symptoms of these conditions.

He was sceptical. My husband laughed and backed me up. ‘It’s true, and you won’t win the argument, she’s heard it all before!’

He persisted: ‘No pain medications?’

No. They make me ill, bring me out in a rash and don’t work. They damaged my stomach lining and gave me gastritis. (I juice ginger and turmeric daily for inflammation and use Devil’s Claw herbal drops when it flares up in times of stress).

But to get back to our cycling friend. Once he was reassured there could still be puddings and I didn’t need medication, he was smiling again and kept saying how well I looked.

But he was very disappointed that he couldn’t bring me some trout or salmon from his fishing expeditions!

Later, our neighbour shouted over the hedge for my husband to come and help himself to some plums from his tree. We made a plum crumble last night for our visitors today, with no animal products or refined sugar. (Recipe link below).


See also Raw TreatsRaw Chocolate RecipesTiger Nut Recipes

Nana Rhys Cream with Mango, Cacao & Peanut Butter

Açaí, Blackberry & Coconut Gelato

Vegan, Gluten-Free Plum Crumble – Nice, But Not Too Naughty!


Copyright: Chris McGowan