At the beginning of 2015, I decided that I really wanted to get a little bit more creative in the kitchen. My husband and I both have quite hectic working weeks, but to be honest, it could be a lot worse (don’t want to slip into any of these traps!) However, we do fall into the trap of always cooking the same things because it’s easy, so I wanted to call on a few lovely food bloggers to give me some inspiration. I really hope you enjoying reading about their ideas as well.
I’m so excited to start this series with someone whose Instagram feed I drool over on regular basis (seriously, just have a look!). Kelly lives and breathes every aspect of her raw, vegan lifestyle, and the care and attention she puts into her recipes is just beautiful.
I’m delighted to introduce Kelly from Bella and Bhakti …
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself, your website and the vision behind it.
My name is Kelly and my blog/business is Bella and Bhakti. I’ve always been interested in health and wellness, I am an avid writer and also love traveling and being out in the world. Bella and Bhakti encompasses all of those things really! Although it is primarily a place where I share recipes and health-related writings, my vision with the site is to encourage people to follow their dreams, to do what they are passionate about and to appreciate life every single day. As a raw food chef and animal rights activist, Bella and Bhakti is also a place where I can share recipes with people and encourage people to live and eat mindfully. Sharing healthy food with others is important to me for many reasons- I wish for people to experience how amazing they can feel with a plant based diet, I wish to inspire people to think about their food choices when it comes to animals and the environment and finally, I love to demonstrate to people that healthy eating is not only fun, but delicious too.
2) What does being creative in the kitchen mean to you?
One of the things I love the most about working with raw living food is it is constantly creative! I always tell people that you cant go wrong with raw food. It isn’t like cooking or baking that is sensitive to a recipe, temperature and timing. Raw food is creative in its very nature. This also means there is no wastage- I’ve turned left over soups into wraps by spreading the soup onto dehydrator trays, and I’ve made smoothies into cakes by pouring them onto a base and freezing them! I even use my left over pulp from making juice and turn that into crackers!
The other reason it is very creative is because you are always working with seasonal ingredients and organic ingredients- this calls for constant experimentation and encourages you to use things that you may not usually use. Again, raw cuisine in its very nature is creative because so many of the dishes are based on their cooked counterparts- so you are discovering a way to make a raw lasagna or a raw pad thai or a raw tiramisu! It’s a lot of fun!
3) What are your go-to foods or drinks when you’re not feeling your best? How does food give you energy?
I love nourishing my body with vibrant nutrition and I love the way that eating a healthy diet keeps me fueled and energized. I always start my day with a smoothie so I can get superfoods and greens into my body before even leaving the house! If I ever feel a little run down I’ll go for slow pressed juices or raw soups with lots of ginger, turmeric and greens. I’m very sensitive to stimulants of any kind so if I need a kick I’ll pop a few raw cacao beans into my smoothie and that will keep me flying through the day and into the evening!
4) If you could make something for one person, living or no longer with us, who would it be and what would you make?
I would make dinner for my Mum. Mum lives in Melbourne and before I moved out of home we would always be in the kitchen together. My brother and sister were quite fussy eaters, but Mum and I loved making different dishes together- we loved experimenting with Thai food or Indian curries or vegetable risottos. A real treat for us both was to visit the Queen Victoria market in the city on a weekend and then come home and cook together. I always think of Mum in the kitchen and I wish we could cook together everyday. The next time I do cook for her though I would like to make her my raw Beetroot Ravioli with Cashew Dill Cream Cheese. And maybe a Raw Lemon and Passionfruit Cheesecake for dessert.
5) Are you a sweet or savoury person?
I would generally say I’m more of a savoury person. However I’m a sweet breakfast person- I love my smoothies or homemade muesli or fruit with coconut yogurt in the mornings. But other than that I would live on fresh salads, quinoa, homemade hummus, avocados, kale, tahini, almonds. If I have sweet its generally fruity in flavor, I’ve never been much of a dessert person and I don’t actually like chocolate that much!
6) Juices or smoothies?
I’ve always been more of a smoothie girl. I love that I can add everything I need into a smoothie at the start of the day and feel fueled and energized. I also like my smoothies really thick and creamy, often Ill eat them with a spoon! Juices are great if I’m out and grabbing something on the run or if I’m feeling low on energy and want a quick pick me up. But I love green smoothies, and I usually only add a tiny bit of fruit. I stick to things like zucchini, cucumber, lemon, greens, chia seeds, mint and coconut water.
7) If I could tell everybody one thing, it’d be…
To go vegan. Or to at least, be mindful about where you are getting your animal products from. I wish everyone could spend a day at a dairy factory and a slaughterhouse, because I feel that is the only way people will stop contributing to industries that cause nothing more than death, pain, horror, violence and injustice. I strongly believe that every living being on this planet has the right to live out a natural life. Taking a life is taking a life in my eyes- there should be no hierarchy.
8) One of my favourite recipes from my website is…
Now that Summer has arrived I’m in mango heaven! This is a really simple recipe that allows the flavor of the mango to shine! It’s a great recipe to share, quick to make and tastes divine…
Raw Mango Cheesecake
- ¼ cup coconut
- ¼ cup soaked dates
- ¼ cup of pecans
Process all ingredients in your food processor until they are broken down and everything comes together. The mixture should be sticky and hold its form but still have texture.
- 1 cup of soaked cashews
- ½ a ripe mango
- 3 dried apricots soaked in water
- 3 tablespoons of coconut nectar
- 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon of lime juice
- ½ cup of almond milk
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy.
Pour the filling over the base and place in the freezer for 3-4 hours to set. Remove from the freezer to soften slightly before serving.
This recipe fits a small 9cm cake tin that will serve 2- 4 people, for a larger full size cake simply double or triple the recipe.
Kelly is a passionate writer and raw/vegan chef who combines her love of writing with her forays into health and wellness. Kelly has traveled and worked extensively across the world in health resorts, detox centers, raw food restaurants and wellness retreats, sharing ways to live simply, mindfully and sustainably.
Her work is regularly published on several online journals as well as her own website ‘Bella and Bhakti’ which offers information about plant-based living, vibrant nourishing recipes as well as inspiration to encourage others to share their own passions and dreams. A gypsy heart and lover of nature, Kelly finds inspiration in the world around her and translates her visions into whimsical stories and edible creations.