I don’t even know where to begin to tell you about my journey here in Thailand. Since I last posted, I’ve arrived in Koh Samui, a gorgeous island in the Gulf of Thailand. I’m staying in a cute little bungalow, half the size of my New York city bedroom and for less than half the price. I wake up to the sound of ocean waves lapping outside of my bungalow, and I have a little hammock on which to relax and observe the incredible view. It’s the slow season, so the beach isn’t crowded. Friendly dogs, some stray and some belonging to the resorts and bungalows that line the beach, roam the sand and waves. Coconut trees are everywhere; and it’s calm nights like this one that make me feel like I’m truly in paradise.
Before I arrived in Thailand I did a Google search for raw and vegan restaurants and establishments; among the first of the search results was Thai Organic Life, a store in Koh Samui that sells organic, raw and detox products. The shop is filled with everything from clothing to Coconut Probiotic drinks to energy balls, and now a few of my raw snacks.
When I arrived on the island I was delighted to find that my bungalow is only a 5 minute walk from Thai Organic Life. I made my way to the shop, and introduced myself to Ta, the co-owner. I had emailed the store before arriving and “LIKED” their Facebook page, but she didn’t remember me; which is alright because we immediately became friends. Ta invited me to return to the shop the following day, she wanted to teach me how to make raw chocolates using the very best cocoa beans from Big Tree Farms in Bali! She also invited me to an Afro-Caribbean dance class being held at a luxurious resort in the hills with her friends. I learned to make the chocolate, I attended the Afro-Caribbean dance class, and now I’ve got loads of new friends to show for it!
|Me, Winda and Ta drinking Green Smoothies|
|Making the raw chocolates|
|raw chocolate with cashews in a pandan leaf|
Ta has really taken me in under her wing. Since the first day when she taught me how to make raw chocolates she’s shown me how to make her signature green smoothie, coconut cream, a rich coconut papaya smoothie, “Jungle Salad”, and has introduced me to a world of Thai vegetables and fruits. She’s also very interested in my own creativity, and has invited me to play in her shop and create raw sweets! I feel like a little girl, when my Nana would give me full reign of the kitchen and cupboards to play, only now I’m making things that are actually edible : )
For a long time I have wanted to make raw brownies. Ta had a lot of walnuts, and didn’t know what to do with them. She’s also got loads of raw cacao and coconut oil made right here in Koh Samui, so yesterday morning we made these chocolaty treats.
I urge you to give them a try, they’re decadent, but completely healthy. Another name for them could be Superfood Brownies. Walnuts are chock full of Omega-3 fatty acids, raw cacao boasts antioxidants and magnesium (great for blood pressure health, etc…), and coconut oil is a lovely source of Medium Chain Triglycerides, which is saturated fat that our body can digest and use immediately, so you don’t have to fear the flab when chowing down on these brownies!
2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
In a food processor grind 1 1/2 cups of the walnuts until fine, then add the dates and pulse until blended. Add the raw cacao, banana, coconut oil and salt. Once smooth stir in the 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts.
Spoon brownie batter onto a square cake pan lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap, or form the batter into small squares and set onto a large plate. Decorate the top of the brownies with Goji berries, cocoa powder or shredded coconut and place into the refrigerator for an hour to chill and harden a bit.
Brownies will keep in refrigerator for a few days, I doubt if they’ll stick around that long though : )