A Whole Truckload of Raw Food Inspiration

I’ve been quiet for a while…sorry…but all in a good cause. Life has been super-busy. Almost two weeks ago I tripped off to Auckland for three intense days of Raw Chef Training with Rene Archner, and it was amazing.

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Amazing because the food was outstanding. Every meal was sensational. Every nibble, every bite (oh besides one thing which I made, and I’ll keep that to myself as it’s purely a matter of personal preference!).


Also amazing because it was fantastic to be surrounded by other people who shared the same interest in eating wonderful plant-based food that tastes delicious and also happens to be raw.


And particularly amazing for me, as I was away from home and got to immerse myself in it.  We were staying in the middle of nowhere on Auckland’s North Shore, and every morning I got up with the birds (literally – the dawn chorus was quite something!) and went for a beautiful bush walk. And even the donkeys appreciated the whole raw cuisine thing.


For two of those days, all I ate was raw food and I felt fantastic. (I didn’t manage to make it through three days of eating 100% raw – on one of them I was corrupted by my friend Jo, who made me party with her at Britomart – although I have to admit I was a pretty willing participant.)

The only downside was that leaving, and returning to reality, was a bit of a shock. Where were the other 17 people to prep my meals? Where were those magical helpers who whisked away all the dishes and cleaned up the spectacular mess that we made? And most importantly, where were the 15+ course meals???

So that leaves me with even more enthusiasm for how incredibly delicious raw and plant-based food can be! Filled to the brim with new ideas, some of which we’ve tried out at home with great success, and others which will be put into action at this Sunday’s Super Snacks workshop (read about it in the post from 25 September if you want to know more!)

Thank you Rene for all of the inspiration – you are very generous in terms of sharing your knowledge and experience! I know it takes a massive amount of time and effort to put something like this together, and I appreciate all of your work – along with that of all of your willing helpers, and the other lovely trainee raw chefs!

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P.S. The instagram photos were taken by me and these ones at the end were taken by the very clever and talented Tereza Poljanic from Teresamisu. Thanks for sharing your work, Tereza!

For Dunedin people…More info about workshops


I’ve had requests for more info to be available online about the raw/plant-based food workshops and demos that I’m running. Very very soon…apparently…the http://www.nibl.co.nz website will go live, and everything you need to know should be there. But in the meantime, here goes:


Upcoming events:

Intro to Extrawdinary Food Demonstration

When: Wednesday 2nd October 7.00 – 8.30pm or Wednesday 30th October 7.00 – 8.30pm

Where: Taste Nature, 131 High St, Dunedin – Dunedin’s wonderful organic store and eatery

Cost: $35 per person


The introductory demonstration runs for 1.5 hours and costs $35 per person. You will see me make at least five delicious things, all vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, gluten-free, processed sugar-free and utterly fabulous. You get five recipes to take away and you get to taste everything.  The response to previous workshops has been overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a sample of the feedback:
“I loved the food!”

“I liked your principle of finding innovative ways of incorporating more raw food into meals.”

“A great night and one that has inspired my weekly menu.”

“Thanks for sharing your recipes, your knowledge and what you have learnt since getting into the art of un-cooking.”

“Fantastic! Can’t wait to try the recipes at home. Definitely keen to come to other sessions.”

“Great presentation and very informative. Loved the passion and enthusiasm from Nicola and partner.”

“All the food was absolutely delicious! It was a most informative, interesting, but still relaxed workshop. I really enjoyed it! Thank you for all of your work!”

We also run longer workshops – where you get to see more, taste more and take away more recipes. You also get to have a bit of a play with the techniques and equipment, if you want to! Upcoming workshops are:

Super Snacks

Learn how to make crackers out of seeds (this one isn’t raw – we’ll have to branch out and switch the oven on for this one!), a gorgeous plant-based dip/spread, a divine breakfast smoothie, energy bars and more! Lots of great family-friendly ideas for energy to go!

When:  Sunday 13th October 12.00 – 2.30pm

Where: Taste Nature, 131 High St, Dunedin

Cost: $55 per person


Rawcous Desserts

A wide range of amazing desserts can be made entirely out of plants! Impress your friends and colleagues at the next potluck dinner, or simply treat yourself and your family. In this workshop, you will learn to make instant ice cream, cashew cream, a delicious seasonal fruit tart, and a fabulous treat for afternoon tea!

When: Sunday November 10th 12.00pm – 2.30pm

Where: Taste Nature, 131 High St, Dunedin

Cost: $55 per person


Frequently Asked Questions

Who might be interested in these demos/workshops?

  • anyone who would like to add more variety to their own and their family’s weekly menu with some fast, easy, delicious recipes
  • people who are interested in optimising their use of wonderful plant ingredients
  • anyone who needs to learn some new food preparation techniques and ideas due to dietary restrictions, allergies or health issues

Please note that these demos and workshops are not suitable for people with nut allergies, as a number of these recipes incorporate nuts. If you have nut allergies but would like to come to a session, please contact us directly and we’ll sort something out for you!

Is this all about making salads?

Absolutely not! There are so many amazing snacks and meals that can be created entirely out of plants – gluten, dairy and processed sugar-free – but to make them, it helps to learn how to use ingredients in ways that you may not have thought of before. Most of your favorite dishes can be re-created entirely with plants…once you know how. These demos/workshops show how versatile plant-based ingredients, and un-cooking techniques, can be. You will be amazed at how quickly many of these dishes can be created!

Do you only eat raw food?

No, and these sessions are not about cutting foods out; they are all about adding more fabulous plant-based food in!

Information about good nutrition can be quite confusing, but consistent messages that we hear time and time again are that we can all benefit from eating more variety in terms of fruit and vegetables, more locally-produced food, more unprocessed food, and more seasonal food. That’s the philosophy I have embraced and in these sessions I aim to provide inspiration for incorporating these principles, while producing truly delicious food.

Why come to a workshop when I can get the recipes from your blog?

So much more can be taught, and learnt, in person. I have learnt lots of little tricks along the way, and I share a lot more information in workshops – about how to get the absolute most from your ingredients and equipment, where to source the ingredients locally, and how to eat really well on a budget.

Also, most of the workshop recipes will not be showing up on the blog. Sorry if that’s a bit unfair to those of you who don’t live nearby (although Dunedin is a wonderful place to visit!). One day there will be a recipe book – but I wouldn’t start holding your breath for that just yet.

How do I book a place in a workshop/demo?

You can email me at:      nicola@nibl.co.nz

or leave a message on:  www.facebook.com/niblonthis

Get in quickly if you are interested in booking – spaces are limited and some sessions are filling quickly.

Please also let me know if you have any other questions – I’m about to take off for three days of raw food chef training in Auckland – woohoo! – so I won’t necessarily be able to answer messages immediately, but I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

A Bespoke Workshop, and Some Odds and Ends

It’s such a fancy word, bespoke. I didn’t know what it meant until recently. I thought it was something related to cycling. But no – it means custom-made and, while it usually refers to clothing (I think?), I’m going to use it in relation to what I’m doing tomorrow.

Tomorrow is very exciting for Nibl – we are running our first bespoke workshop. Custom-designed for a particular group. So excited to be doing this! For once the prep is totally under control (I may eat my words tomorrow, though) and I hope all the attendees are as excited about it as we are!


There is other news too. Did you know that Niblonthis is on facebook? Here we are:


Come join us over there too, if you are FB kind of person. There’s a whole lot more good stuff on there. I know it’s a small number, but I am going to be beside myself with delight when we get to 100 FB likes. Not long now.

We have more – non-bespoke – workshops coming up at Taste Nature:

Intro to Extrawdinary Food Demo – Wednesday 2nd October or Wednesday 30th October, 7.00 – 8.30pm, $35 per person

Super Snacks Workshop – Sunday 13th October, 12.00 – 2.30pm, $55pp

Rawcous Desserts Workshop – Sunday 10th November, 12.00 – 2.30pm, $55pp

If you want to know any more, you can contact me at nicola.brown2525@gmail.com. Sing out with any questions!

And – wait, there’s more! Continuing the “not long now” theme, very very soon Nibl will have it’s own website – incorporating this blog, but with much more (including printable recipes). It’s coming….so close….but we’re not there yet folks. It’s like waiting for a certain yacht racing event to be over. Nearly there – no – yes – no – YES! – oh, wait, no – any day now!

(And when we get there, I’ll explain all about where the name Nibl came from, and why this blog was called “Nibl on This” rather than “Nibl”, and why it’s so important to pronounce Nibl correctly. Stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen.)

Spiced Peanut Thumbprint Cookies


This recipe is adapted from one posted on a wonderful blog, Rawified. That blog’s author has been quiet in recent months, but I’ve learnt a lot from her blog – she has a particular knack for adapting recipes for sweet things and making healthier versions of them (she is a woman after my own heart!) She has also taught me a whole lot about food photography – for which I am super-grateful. Wherever you are Maggie, if you ever happen to stumble across this, thank you so much for the inspiration! You are a very talented woman.

Anyhow, here’s my adaptation. These are a real treat – they are pretty rich!  I don’t think it would be a great idea to eat a whole lot in one day. They are particularly loved by weary children. Or adults, for that matter. A highly scientific, randomised controlled double-blind trial undertaken at our house has indicated that everyone bounces about a metre higher on the trampoline after eating a couple of these.

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Spiced Peanut Thumbprint Cookies

1/2 cup almonds (soaked 8 hours and drained well)

1/2 cup good quality peanut butter (I use Pic’s unsalted crunchy PB)

1 cup dried fruit (soaked half an hour or so and drained well – I used currants this time) OR 1 cup fresh medjool dates (see notes)

1/2 cup coconut

2 – 3 tablespoons LSC (linseed, sunflower and chia seed) OR LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond) powder OR ground flaxseed/linseed (see note)

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon mixed spice


Place all ingredients in food processor and blitz to a cookie-dough consistency. Using damp hands, roll into balls, place on a tray lined with baking paper and make a thumbprint indentation in each one.  Place in fridge or freezer to set. Fill each indentation with a small amount of magical chocolate sauce (recipe below).

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Magical Chocolate Sauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cacao powder

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 – 3 tablespoons maple syrup (according to taste)

Place all ingredients in a jug and process with a stick blender, or use a regular blender, or a food processor. Actually even a spoon would do the trick.

Optional extras: dash of vanilla, splash of nut milk, a sprinkle of grated orange rind


You can you whatever form of nut butter you like; we happen to particularly love the peanutty-chocolatey combination.

If you use fresh dates, you may not need to add the LSA/LSC/ground linseed – this serves the purpose of firming up the “dough” if it still has water in it from soaking the fruit.

These cookies are meant to be soft; it’s more like eating cookie/biscuit dough (which, in my opinion, is always the best part of baking anyway!)

We make many adaptations of these – they are a whole lot of fun for little hands to make! Just like playdough, only better as they can be eaten afterwards. Legitimately.


The in-a-jiffy icecream which saved my bacon


One day recently, I was walking home from school with two little boys (aged five and six). There was the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth (largely from my son, not the impeccably well-mannered neighbour’s child) about the prospect of walking up the two hundred and something steps to get home. Understandably.

Eventually they cheered themselves up by turning to toilet humour. My own mood started to go downhill. In an attempt to raise the tone of the conversation, I started talking about what we could make for afternoon tea.

“How about instant ice cream?” I said

“What is instant ice cream? Does it come in a pottle?” they said.

“No” I said, “we can make it, in the blender. With mango, and banana and coconut.”

“That will take too long!”

“No it won’t, it will be ready in a jiffy” I said.

So we got home, and they set about doing whatever it is that makes boys of that age giggle so much. I got the blender organised, found the frozen bananas, and immediately spotted problem #1.

There was no coconut milk, Or coconut cream. Or coconut water. Or anything vaguely in the coconut family.

That’s fine, I thought to myself; we have almond milk.

Then I found the mango. Problem # 2.

The mango was Definitely. Not. Ripe.

Just then my son called out “is the ice cream ready?”

“Not yet”, I said.

“But you said it would be ready in a jiffy”, they said. “What is a jiffy? This is taking a really long time.”

I am up a stinky creek with no discernable way of steering this vessel, I thought to myself. Not having two out of the three ingredients in a recipe is…well….less than ideal.

But no – as anyone who knows me is aware, I hardly ever follow the same recipe twice. I can Make Do. And this is what I came up with.

In-A-Jiffy Blueberry Icecream


2 large or 3 small frozen bananas (see notes)

1 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 – 1 cup milk of choice (I used almond)


Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blitz. Eat immediately.


To freeflow freeze bananas, do not simply throw whole bananas in the freezer, no sirree.  Find bananas which are desperate to be frozen, the riper the better. Peel and slice. Place banana slices in a resealable bag in a single layer, close and freeze flat. Believe me, your food processor/blender will thank you for your efforts. (Mango and pineapple cubes can be frozen in the same way).

Vary the amount of milk according to whether you want firmer ice cream (less milk) or a slushy (more milk).


As an aside, when my neighbour came to pick up her son, I told her what we had eaten for a snack.

Oh that’s funny, she said. He doesn’t really eat blueberries.

Well he did that day!

Vita the vitamix gets an outing

Vita the vitamix has a busy schedule in the next few weeks – she’s hitting the road with my trusty right-hand woman Ros and I, for more workshops.


Here are a couple of upcoming dates – both at Taste Nature in Dunedin:

Thursday 5th September, 7.00 – 8.30pm – Intro to Extrawdinary Food

This one is a taste-test demo – five delicious recipes to sample – all raw, entirely plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free. And fabulous! $35pp

Sunday 13th October, midday – 2.30pm – Super Snacks

This will be a more hands-on workshop, with a chance to try out some of the techniques and equipment. If you’re lucky, you might even get acquainted with Vita! At least eight recipes, possibly more – menu still to be finalised because there are so many scrumptious options to choose from. In this one I’ll be branching out and switching the oven on, to make my four seed crackers – which people request the recipe for, time and time again! Again, everything will be entirely plant-based; cost is $55pp.

Let me know if you are interested in knowing more or signing up – either by leaving a comment or by contacting me through my facebook page. Soon there will be a website which lets you book yourself into workshops directly, but we’re not quite there yet! Spaces are filling quickly for next week’s workshop – could it be that the word is out that for the first time ever, Ros and I will be wearing our brand-spanking-new Nibl aprons for the first time?!

It is ridiculous how happy this makes me.


Postscript – added September 1 – this Thursday’s Demo is now booked out! Dunedin people are blowing me away with their enthusiasm about trying something new! I am compiling a waiting list for the next Taste Test Demo (date to be confirmed) so please let me know if you would like your name to be added to that list.