Looking for a raw food cooking school? So was I.
Raw food is a bit like vegan food in that if you tell someone you eat raw they look at you like you’ve got two heads. But everyone eats raw and everyone eats vegan at some point. Have you ever had an apple? A banana? A raw carrot? Some grapes? Then you’ve eaten raw and you’ve eaten vegan.
The difference with ‘eating raw’ is how often your complete meals are raw and how much you supplement those raw foods with cooked foods and processed foods.
Last weekend I spent 3 days at Coorabell in northern New South Wales at a raw food cooking school, exploring raw food and creating raw vegan meals that were appetising, filling and containing all the macro and micro nutrients that our bodies need to survive. It was part of The Vegetarian Cooking School Chef and Lifestyle Course that I am doing.
Coorabell is a beautiful, lush area with views over Byron Bay, filled with green rolling hills. On my third day driving there, I was confronted with a cow on the road, chewing on the greenery by the roadside. When it heard my car, it simply stopped, stared and continued chewing. Of course the first thing I did was get my camera. And as I drove past it turned and trotted down the road.
So, this module was all about raw foods. I’ve done a couple of raw food workshops before – each only a few hours long. And I’ve been making raw cheesecakes and desserts for years as seen here and here and even have raw food recipes in my ebooks. But this module was intense – 3 days with 7 others creating nothing other than raw food – breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, desserts, drinks – every meal time you could think of was catered for.
We started Day 1 at Mullumbimby markets to buy fresh, organic produce for the 3 days. I’ve been to these markets before. They’re relaxed, easy-going and filled to the brim with delicious fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts as well as home-cooked foods and treats. I was looking forward to buying something to start the day off. After walking back and forth between food stalls I settled for a curry pie – not raw, but hey, I was going to be eating raw food for the next three days, so a last cooked treat had to happen. And that pastry! Oh yum, I’m already planning another trip to the Friday Mullum markets to get another one.
At the markets I got to catch up with Sammi from The Core Health as well as Ems and Tenzin who were part of Module 1 as well as meet the other foodies, including Ebony, that I was going to spend the next 3 days with.
Seems like a silly question. Obviously raw food is uncooked food. There are certain guidelines that need to be met to call a food raw. The main one is that the food can not be heated above 42 degrees Celsius (about 107 degrees Fahrenheit), so the food can be warm.
There are many simple foods that can be eaten raw such as smoothies, salads, fruit, many vegetables, fruit juices, dressings and raw desserts. And then there are many foods that you can get creative with to make them raw such as soups, spiralised veggies to create noodles, dehydrated foods to create pizza bases and flat breads.
Raw food is a very alkalising way of eating. Alkalising foods provide many benefits to help the body function as well as possible. Cooking food destroys some vitamins and minerals and can create stress in the body as it tries to digest the cooked food.
There are a number of techniques that, whilst not unique to raw food, are used extensively to create raw food. These are juicing, blending, dehydrating, spiralising, marinating, fermenting, activating and sprouting.
So Module 2 is all about raw food.
I’m going to just list some of the dishes we made with photos and some of them I will post my adaptations of the recipes over time. If there is a specific recipe that you would like leave a comment below and I can make that a priority to recreate the dish and share the recipe with you.
Drinks are fairly easy to make – any smoothies that you are currently making are probably already raw – so green juices and smoothies probably don’t need any extra introduction. We also made almond milk and cashew milk.
Breakfast dishes included dehydrated granola, chia puddings, flax crackers with marinated mushrooms, marinated kale salad and cherry tomato salsa topped with a Brazil nut hummus.
Lunch and dinner dishes comprised of soups – coconut and carrot, cucumber and avocado and gazpacho, Tom Kha; salads – cauliflower salsa, sprouted legume, beetroot and orange salad, Thai green papaya, Balinese acar; and raw lasagne.
For snacks we made beetroot crackers, bagels, raw nori and flat breads; We created amazing sauces and dressings including alfredo, pepita sauce, cashew cheese, tomato sauce and a vegan fish sauce.
And of course, my favourite – cakes! Rose water and pepita cheesecake, chocolate cake, mango and pineapple cake and banana cake, just to name a few.
The possibilities are (almost) endless.
At this point I don’t think I could eat a fully raw diet, but I definitely see the benefits of including more raw foods in my diet. After eating our meals, even big ones, there were no feelings of being in a food coma, no bloating or tiredness.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that I love sweet more than green. I would eat sweet over savoury any time, but I am going to post a few more savoury recipes over the coming months, particularly raw ones as I work on developing some raw recipes, so stay tuned.
Module 1 of The Vegetarian Cooking School is the Foundation Module. You can read about it here.
Module 3 of The Vegetarian Cooking School was all about Ayurveda. You can read about it here as well as get the recipe for a delicious lemon rice.
Module 5 of The Vegetarian Cooking School was the reason I signed up to complete the whole course. It was 2 days of Fermentation. Have a read here.