Raw Panna Cotta with Mulled Strawberries

The whole dinner-and-a-movie thing on Valentine's Day is predictable, outdated, and frankly, a little boring. And yes, indulging is certainly part of a healthy lifestyle, but waking up feeling like crap after an evening spent drinking vino and eating your body weight in chocolate certainly isn't my idea of what a day celebrating love should be about! 

If you've seen my interviews with Megan May (here and here) and my frequent mentions of @theunbakery on Instagram, I'm sure you've picked up by now on the fact that Little Bird Organics is high on my list of best healthy food places and that I am a little (or a lot) obsessed with their raw food genius. The clever birds in their kitchen have lovingly designed a super special alternative to the aforementioned predictable V-Day outing in the form of a raw, organic picnic box to truly woo your sweetheart. This includes: 

  • 2 x Little Bird Meals
  • 2 x Limited Edition Strawberry Rose Nut Milks
  • 2 x Raspberry Lava Cakes
  • 2 x Strawberry & White Cacao Macaroons

Picnic boxes are $79 and are available for pre-order in-store or at littlebirdorganics.co.nz.

Or if you're more of a stay-at-home type (hands up over here), Little Bird has kindly shared with me the perfect recipe for a sweet moment with your Valentine that you can prepare hassle-free and well ahead of time for a stress free evening. To enhance feelings of love and romance, try adding a few drops of rosewater to the mixture and cut the strawberries into heart shapes. Ooh la la. And if you feel like going all out, why not precede this beautiful dessert with a bowl of Pesto Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes?

This dessert is: 

  • Dairy free & vegan
  • Raw
  • Sweet & creamy
  • Easy to pull together
  • Packed with lovey-dovey vibes

Make time: 30 mins
Setting time: 4-5 hours
Serves: 4-6
Equipment required: blender

For the Panna Cotta

1 cup fresh almond milk
1 & 1/4 cups young coconut flesh
1/2 tsp agar agar powder
1/3 cup liquid sweetener (coconut nectar, maple syrup or light agave nectar)
1/3 cup cold-pressed coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch Himalayan or sea salt

For the Mulled Strawberries

2 & 1/2 cups fresh strawberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp liquid sweetener (coconut nectar, maple syrup, light agave nectar or raw honey)
A few peels of lemon zest
Juice of 1 orange
Optional - 3 tablespoons organic white wine or other alcohol like brandy or sake

The How To 

To make the panna cotta, place all ingredients, excluding the coconut oil, in a blender and blend until very smooth (when using agar agar powder, you need to blend until there is a small amount of heat in the mixture to allow the agar to activate - you don't want it to overheat and cook, though). Slowly add coconut oil with the blender still running and continue blending until it emulsifies into the mixture. Divide panna cotta mixture between 4-6 glasses or ramekins and leave in the fridge to set for 4-5 hours.

To serve, remove lemon zest from the strawberries. Take one quarter of the strawberry mixture and blend until smooth, then fold back through the rest of the mulled strawberries. Divide between the set panna cottas and serve.

RECIPE NOTES

The great thing about this recipe is that you don't need a high speed blender to get a great result, as there are no cashews involved that, sans high speed blender, can cause a grainy finished product. Win!

NUTRITION

Strawberries are abundant in vitamin C with 55-80mg per 100g compared to oranges, which contain 70mg per 100g. Additionally, due to the flavonoid and pectin content, strawberries have a cholesterol-lowering effect.

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Gemma McLeodComment