No-bake, no-wait cheesecake

This recipe is special. The title is also a bit of a lie, but if you’ve ever tried to make vegan cheesecake, you’ll know that it’s a lengthy process that means you actually have to wait for your food. I am very, very bad at this, so I set out to make a healthy gluten, dairy and refined sugar free cheesecake. Simple.

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This cake has three layers – the carby ‘biscuit’ base, the creamy cashew centre and the light and sweet goji topping.

The cashews need to soak to become the ‘cream-cheese’ in the centre, but unlike most recipes, here they only need to soak for 30 minutes, rather than overnight, which cuts down the waiting time significantly, which can only be a good thing 🙂 During this time you could read a little, stalk people on instagram or even make some nut-butter. So really it’s not time wasted.

This recipe can be altered to change the flavour. My favourite alternative is blackberry (see bottom photo) – it’s a gorgeous purple colour and has a rich summery taste. To do this, omit the banana and goji berries, and use 150g blackberries (or a fruit of your choice) instead.

Ingredients:

  • 3 nakd bars (I use cashew cookie) OR 50g almonds, 50g oats
  • 150g dates
  • 200g cashews (quick soaked in boiling water)
  • Almond/coconut/oat milk
  • 50g goji berries (soaked)
  • 1 banana
  • Vanilla flavouring (I use Walden farms near zero coffee creamer, but vanilla essence or even vanilla protein powder works well. I would recommend Strippd vanilla pea/hemp protein powder)

Method:

  • Remember to soak the cashew nuts and goji berries (separately) in boiling water. Set timer to 30 minutes. Then you can start on the base.
  • Start by lining a round shallow cake tin with baking parchment
  • Base – Blend together the 3 nakd bars/almonds and oats with 50g dates until the mixture is crumbly. It should resemble crumble mixture.
  • Pour this into the cake tin and pack down (the base of a glass works well – separate base and glass with clingfilm if it sticks).
  • Put in freezer.

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    Biscuit base

 

  • 1st layer – once the 30 minutes are up, drain the cashews.
  • Place 120g soaked cashews, 75g dates and the vanilla flavouring/protein powder into the blender. Blend.
  • Add milk as necessary – at the end of the blending process the consistency should be of hummus (yum).
  • Spoon this out over the biscuit base. If it isn’t runny enough it’ll ruin the base, so make sure to add enough milk to the mixture!
  • Stick this back in the freezer as you make the last layer
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Creamy cashew 1st layer

  • 2nd layer – blend together the remaining cashews (80g), dates (25g), the banana and soaked and drained goji berries until smooth.
  • Spoon this last layer over the other 2 layers.
  • Sprinkle on extra goji berries as optional decoration.
  • Stick back in the freezer for at least 1h
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Goji berry topping

This keeps best in the freezer, and becomes a little runny when left out for too long, as it heats up. Whilst it tastes good frozen, for a smoother, creamier texture, take it out of the freezer for at least 30 minutes before eating from frozen.

All done! You can do this the night before you want to eat it, or the morning of a dinner party. It tastes fantastic with fresh fruit and/or sorbet and is a great dessert to impress! Or just eat by yourself. Whatever works for you. 😉

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The blackberry version of the cheesecake

 

HIIT the deck – GymBox Westfield

This HIIT class at GymBox is a quick 30 minute sweat fest. The exercises themselves incorporate all parts of the body, but it’s especially leg heavy, which is how it gets your heart rate so high!

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Photo from a HIIT class (not my photo)

Example moves include weighted squats, bunny jumps with a step and a lot of plyometrics. The class itself is perfect as a start or end to a workout, or if you really haven’t got the time to stay in the gym for longer. I prefer longer workouts myself – the 30 minutes only really included 20 minutes max of ‘real’ working out – the rest was warming up and cooling down (still very important!). Despite being only 30 minutes long, I still burned a whopping 450 calories – not bad for that amount of time! The tabata style exercises (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off) give you enough rest to go really hard for those 20 seconds (a technique I use in my own workout regime), which really torches calories. The instructor taking the class I was in was also great – for some reason I love being shouted at whilst working out, and he was really good at the whole motivation thing. I think it’s safe to say that it worked out muscles I wasn’t really aware I had – 2 days afterwards I was still hurting everywhere!

Good for:
  • Those without much time to gym
  • Those wanting a little extra motivation at the beginning/end of a workout
  • Cardio bunnies
  • Anyone who fancies a quick workout at the end of a hard day’s shopping 😉
Less good:
  • For me, it was too short
  • I like to incorporate more and heavier weights into my training to increase difficulty and muscle engagement, but this had few weights!

Why not give it a go? There’s nothing to lose! Except your breath maybe a few pounds

 

LOMAX cycle blast

I was thoroughly impressed by the décor as I walked in through the entrance of the Lomax gym on Fulham road. I’ve seen many instagram stars and personal trainers alike talk about this place as if it’s their home – and as well it could be. Walking in, the ground floor is a thoroughly instagram-friendly café/restaurant, with foods to suit all tastes and needs – from delicious sandwiches to vegan superfood-filled green smoothies. Upstairs is the gym, and although it’s small, it’s bigger than some, especially in central London.
Mine and Beth’s (IG: @bethheddle_runs) class was the ‘cycle blast’, with Jane, a friendly and super energetic French cyclist. The class is held downstairs, in a sort of club/basement/gym room, filled with spinning bikes, each with their own water bottle and (much needed) towel. We sat down and wait for what was probably my 10th or 11th spinning class, not entirely sure what to expect when the lights went off and the music started.
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@bethheddle_runs and me straight after the class – both hot, sweaty messes! 

Spinning in the dark is an interesting experience, but spinning with lights off, loud club music and flashing coloured lights is actually fantastic, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who struggles to get in the mood of exercising. Jane alternated between joining in on the spinning and bouncing around the room like a dancing bunny rabbit… but in a good way. Her energy and knowledgeable advice throughout the class helped me, and seemed to help everyone else, with everyone’s posture fantastic by the end (sometimes it’s hard to get the right posture in spinning as our bodies are intrinsically lazy).
The class promises to burn ‘at least 400 calories’, which I, being my pedantic self, thought was spectacularly brave to say, as anyone who just sits on the bike with the resistance low is probably not going to burn much in 45 minutes. But by minute 50 I was drenched (this is no exaggeration), and although I didn’t feel as dead as I have done in some other spinning classes, I had burned a whopping 800 calories, which is more than I had expected of the class.
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Pretending to cycle, even though @bethheddle_runsand I both know that I can barely walk after the class

I would recommend the class to anyone who can spare £20 for a PAYG class. It’s a little pricey, but doesn’t tie you in to any month or yearlong commitment, so has its perks. Plus, the promise of one of their homemade smoothies or snacks afterwards is enough to entice you in there regardless of the workout!
Price: First trial class free (whoop!), £20 pay as you go, or cheaper per class if you book 8+ at a time.

DRINKmaple water

I heard about maple water whilst wandering around Wholefoods (one of my guilty pleasures), when confronted by a lady trying to sell me yet another type of water that’s better than water. I’d already tried birch water and of course coconut water and loved them both, but how could water that had been sucked up by a tree and spat out be better than the normal stuff you get from a tap?

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One of the three types of bottle DRINKmaple is sold in

Being a Biologist, I’m sceptical of new diet fads and gimmicks, but also aware that maple, birch and coconut waters do have added benefits that our standard bottled or tap waters don’t have. Added electrolytes (salts that your body needs for a variety of different reasons) are one of these benefits – people who exercise a lot sweat out a lot of salt, which needs to be replenished through the diet. All these health waters naturally contain electrolytes from the tree/coconut, which can be a way to replenish these. After exercise, drinking coconut/birch/maple water does actually seem to be especially refreshing (but it’s difficult to tell if this is placebo or not)! Also, maple water is so new to the health foods market that the research (by people other than the companies marketing it) is very limited
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The benefits of maple water over coconut water is that it’s got fewer calories and sugar, and it certainly doesn’t taste as sweet. However, DRINKmaple has a nice earthy taste, which I actually really enjoyed. It’s definitely very different to coconut water, but different in a good way. I don’t know if I’d buy it regularly, but after gymming, a bottle of DRINKmaple was really nice and refreshing.
Cost: Approximately £2.15 for 355ml.
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