Today I want to share a delicious, nourishing dessert with you. I also want to share a little more of myself. We began blogging here over two years ago to share our story of how rescuing four little hens turned us from omnivores to vegans in a matter on months. As time has gone on, we’ve focused more and more on the food than ourselves. I guess we’re a little bit shy. But with a new year upon us we thought it would be nice to share more of ourselves with you; our struggles and challenges, our ambitions and dreams. So here it goes…
My new year has gotten off to a pretty good start and I know it’s down to setting a positive intension for the new year; to look after, nourish and heal myself.
Often, after the fun and time-off over Christmas, my new year starts with a sense of dread. Three more months of cold, dark, bleak days. Another year has passed by and I’m still thinking where am I going, what am I achieving. But not this year. This year, I’m excited for the year ahead. For the adventures I will take, the food each season will bring, the people I will meet, the friends I will visit, the recipes I will create, the sunrises I will see. I have a sense of anticipation about all of the things to come.
I’m thinking it myself… what has sparked this sense of optimism within my cynical, pessimistic self? The answer, self-care. It started when I was diagnosed with mild depression (although it didn’t and has never felt very mild to me) which was also around two years ago. It was then I realised I couldn’t take myself for granted. It was when I took a permaculture course last summer that someone first taught me that before we can do anything we must look after ourselves. It was when I was ill in the autumn that a film told me happiness was in my own hands. It was at the beginning of this winter that a podcast prodded me to take meditation and mindfulness more seriously. And it has been small self-care rituals I have practised everyday of this new year that has revived my outlook on life.
It’s not ground breaking, it’s not a miracle, it’s just little things, everyday. Gratitude, meditation, visualisation, exercise, mindfulness. Not all at once, not all everyday but at least one everyday. And then there’s slightly bigger things, things this year I hope to do, hope to be. To be brave, to be happy, to travel, to accept myself. These are just kinda out there, floating around in my consciousness. I hope that through my little things I’ll be able to tackle those bigger things. But all of these things are grounded in my intension for the year; to look after, nourish and heal myself. And obviously nourishing myself includes eating delicious, indulgent but always mildly healthy dessert. Oh and I’ve done it, we’re back to food. Wohoo!
The new year has finally brought some cold winter weather to us (see, no sense of dread for cold days!). But not before some daffodils have bloomed and some trees have blossomed. The plants are confused and it could well mean a bad season ahead for our fruits.
For now, there are still plenty of apples knocking about at markets but we’ve shared a fair few apple recipes since autumn so I won’t share another one today. I eyed up some Spanish blood oranges at Borough Market this week and knew exactly what to make with them the moment I saw them… chocolate mousse!
Veronica made this heavenly mocha and black bean mousse cake from Green Kitchen Stories over Christmas. So I was inspired to ditch my tried and tested vegan mousse bases (cashews or avocados) and try out black beans. And it was a totally awesome decision! This mousse is mega rich and super delicious. No trace of a bean-y taste left, just a smooth and creamy texture and a filing, protein packed treat. It does have a fair amount of syrup in it to make it totally indulgent but you could easily leave a few tablespoons out and still have yourself a yummy treat!
Black Bean Chocolate Orange Mousse
1 tin black beans, drained and rinsed
50g pitted dates (soaked if using dried dates)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
8 tbsp brown rice or maple syrup
5 tbsp raw cacao powder
4 tbsp plant milk
zest of 1 organic orange
1 tsp raw cacao nibs (optional)
- Put the black beans and dates in a food processor and blend on high for a minute.
- Add the coconut oil, brown rice syrup, cacao powder and milk, and blend again for another minute.
- Finally stir in the orange zest.
- Spoon the mixture into 5-6 espresso cups, sprinkle with cacao nibs and a little extra orange zest.
- Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
So here’s to a truly, happy, new year.