London, Whole Foods, Saf & Raw Chocolate Pecan Bark

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend!

I was lucky enough to start my weekend a day early, with a trip to London on Friday to spend the day with my gorgeous friends Helen and Naomi, and Naomi’s beautiful 9-month old daughter.  It was really good to see them, and I had such a great time! 🙂

I met them in Kensington and we headed to Whole Foods which is located in the historic Barkers Building on Kensington High Street.

I’ve heard so much in blogging world about Whole Foods and I never thought that I would actually get to go there myself.  It was health food heaven!!!  It was so beautifully laid out.  Just visiting the store was an incredible experience in itself!

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But just as I thought the day couldn’t get any better, we hopped in the glass elevator and went upstairs to the Saf Restaurant.  ‘Saf’ stands for ‘Simply Authentic Food’ and also means ‘Pure’ in Turkish. You can find out more about their mission and philosophy on their website.

I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the menu.  It was 100% plant-based!  That means I could eat anything on the menu!  That is seriously a first for me!

Everything sounded so delicious that I wish I could have tried it all.  To be fair, I did manage to get through quite a lot of the menu 😉  Between the three of us, we ordered a range of dishes to sample, which included the following…

Curried Kale Crisps – Raw marinated and dehydrated Kale crisps flavored with curried coconut flakes

Saf Cheese Trio – A selection of their signature, olive, herb and smoked paprika ‘cheeses’, served with flax crackers, raw quince jam and drizzled with herb oil

Spinach and Date Gyoza – Organic madjol date, spinach, caramelized onion and chive dumplings, served with black vinaigrette

Saf Banh Mi – Kentish flute baguette with their trademark vegan mayonnaise, kimchee, roasted aubergine, maple glazed tofu and torn fresh mint and coriander

Vietnamese Wrap – Rice paper wrap with pickled daikon radish, maple glazed tofu, mixed salad leaves and their own miso-sambal sauce

Saf Burger – Seasonal vegetable patty, grilled onion, gherkin, tomato, gem lettuce with homemade tomato fig jam and special tarragon aioli served on a wholegrain bun

… plus 3 different salads!

I was totally blown away by the food!  I don’t think I’ve tasted anything like it before.  So, so tasty!

After a breather to let our meal go down, I couldn’t leave the restaurant without trying one of their desserts.  Well, two actually 😉

Chocolate & Orange Torte – Raw cocoa & cashew cream ganache with cocoa nib & cashew crust served with orange bubbles

Butternut Cheesecake – Butternut & cashew cheese with a coconut & lemon zest base served with champagne sabayon

I nearly didn’t try the latter because the name put me off.  Butternut cheesecake?  Mmm, didn’t sound very appetising but I was intrigued.  It turned out that the cheesecake was absolutely stunning.  Probably the best cheesecake I’ve tasted in my life!  I would so love to try and re-create it at home.

Saf has an Iphone app which provides the recipes for a selection of their dishes.  Unfortunately, I haven’t got an Iphone myself but hopefully I’ll be able to borrow a friend’s or ask a friend to download the recipes for me.

In summary, Saf is a fantastic plant-based dining experience in a beautiful environment.  If you’re ever in London, you must check it out!

After a wonderful day in London with my friends, I returned to Bath fired up with enthusiasm for plant-based cooking and experimenting with new recipes.  Not least because I was armed with a brand new cook book that Naomi had bought me for my birthday called ‘Veggiestan’. Thank you Naomi!

The author writes a blog under the same name, which is really worth checking out.

My family loves middle-eastern food, so I can’t wait to start trying out Sally’s recipes.  The book is beautifully designed and makes a great read.  I actually started reading it in bed on Saturday morning with a cup of coffee.  Is that sad or what?  Please tell me I’m not the only one that sits in bed reading cook books!!

So, all fired up, I spent this morning in the kichen creating a variety of baked goods for this week’s lunchboxes and some raw chocolate goodies.  As well as making some goji hearts to send to Becca (the winner of my giveaway 🙂 ), I also made some raw chocolate pecan bark. Using raw ingredients allows the chocolate to retain all its wonderful antioxidants and other nutritional qualities.  I also opted to use Sweet Freedom Fruit Sweetener instead of sugar.  The result? A home-made chocolate bark that’s packed with nutrients, low GI and suitable for diabetics.  Happy days! 🙂

It also tastes scrumptious!

And it’s super quick and easy to make!

Fancy having a go?

Here’s the recipe:

So where can you buy raw chocolate making ingredients?  Some local health food shops stock them.  In Bath, you can buy them from Harvest, on Walcot Street.  I also buy my ingredients from Elements for Life, which has on online shop.  For those interested in trying out raw chocolate making, the Elements for Life Raw Chocolate Making Starter Kits are great.  They include raw cacao butter, raw cacao powder, Sweet Freedom fruit sweetener and a heart silicone mould, all for just £14.99.  These also make great gifts for dark chocolate lovers.

Lil’ L absolutely loves raw chocolate and, given its fantastic nutritional profile, I’m happy for him to eat it on a regular basis.  In fact, I would even encourage it.  As well as the raw chocs, I also add raw cacao powder to his smoothies and use it in desserts.

Since visiting Saf, I’m fired up to try making more raw desserts and treats.  I’ve already got a few ideas for new recipes, so I’ll test them soon and let you know how I get on.  Are you a fan of raw desserts?  If so, what’s your favourite?  Please send me links to your favourite recipes so I can check them out.

Have a great week everyone!  The Olympic Torch arrives in Bath tomorrow, so you can imagine how buzzing the city is at the moment!

 

 

8 thoughts on “London, Whole Foods, Saf & Raw Chocolate Pecan Bark

  1. SAF is one of my favourite restaurants in London but some people are really put off by it and claim that its too expensive and never get full. I adore their Raw Pat Thai with almond dressing, its by far my favourite dish on the menu! I am not a fan of the curried kale chips though, definitely prefer the ones from inspiral lounge. I will be in london in june and will make a trip to wholefoods and saf. cant wait to go! u SHOULD join me for another meal there 🙂

    1. I’d love to meet you at Saf some time! 🙂 It could be a while before I head to London again though as the train fare is extortionate! (last trip cost me £74 and it’s only 1.5 hours on the train!)
      However, I didn’t find Saf expensive. The three of us ordered starters, mains, desserts and drinks, and the bill came to just over £20 each, which is really good (especially for London).
      I agree with you about the kale chips. I’d never had dehydrated ones before and they tasted way different to my home baked ones. I did love the curry flakes though!
      Thanks for the tip about Inspiral Lounge. I’ve just Googled it and it looks amazing! I will definitely have to go there next time I’m in Camden!
      Hope you’re having a great weekend Alexia! xx

  2. Oh what a fantastic trip to London. I have a love for Whole Foods myself, mainly because the food in it contains real ingredients (it isn’t all healthy, but it is all real).
    What a fantastic restaurant SAF is. It would be quite lovely to have one of those over here…maybe a franchise opportunity.
    What a wonderful feeling it must have been for you to have the freedom to order anything off of the menu 🙂
    I hope you will take some pictures of the torch coming through Bath. I am so very excited for the Olympics this year (the summer games are always my favorite).
    I indeed hope you have a wonderful Wednesday my friend!

    1. It’s very exciting here in Britain this weekend. Bunting and union jack paraphernalia everywhere! We’ve got a street party this afternoon, and the main road through our village is being closed to cars for the first time ever! Just a shame that it’s tipping it down with rain! We mustn’t let it spoil the festivities though.
      I hope you’re having a great weekend too! xx

  3. Hi Sharon, I arrived here through stumbling upon you on Twitter. Thanks for sharing this recipe … ideas are running ’round my head!

    I made my first visit to Saf last year and their desserts, as well as a fellow blogger, inspired me to recreate a raw cashew cream cake at home. You won’t be disappointed and there are so many possibilities for flavours using different fruit, nuts, cacao, with/out crust.

    My favourite raw dessert (as well as my husband’s) is definitely a berry cashew cream cake AND we also like the raw brownie! Looking forward to your raw creations.

    My 1st attempt at the cake: http://www.alifeunhurried.com/glog/life-is-too-precious-have-a-slice-of-raw-cake.html

    The raw brownie: http://www.alifeunhurried.com/glog/a-royal-raw-brownie.html

    1. Hi Grace. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and for sharing the links to your amazing raw creations. Such beautiful photography too!
      I made my first raw cashew ‘cheese’ cake last weekend. I chose to make a blackcurrent one as was my favourite childhood cheesecake flavour. The blackcurrant cashew cream turned out much better than I expected. It was lush! I didn’t get a chance to photograph it as we wanted to tuck in as soon as it was ready. I’m sure I’ll be making it again soon though.
      p.s. Love the name of your blog!

    1. Hi Shayne! The cacao butter comes in a hard block, so I’m not quite sure how to convert it into cups. I guess I could grate it and measure it that way. Next time I make some chocolates I’ll see how easily it fits into cup sizes and let you know.
      Have a great weekend! xx

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