Today at The Green Kitchen our guest is an author of the project “Sweet Life without remorse” Elena Trusova. Elena resides in Tallinn, Estonia, but frequently visits Moscow and Kazan in Russia, where she shows how to prepare healthy sweets, with a possibility to taste afterward all these masterpieces of confectionery art.
In the section “Business Interview” Elena explains about how the “sweet project” was born and what is important for its development.
Elena, you have been developing your project “Sweet Life” for several years, and this year you have filed all the special documents as a manufacturer of food products at home. Products made exclusively from plant based ingredients and mostly without using heat over 107.6 F, which leaves intact all the healthy ingredients and vitamins. What inspired you to make such decision?
Reason for my “live” sweets to be made from raw plant based ingredients was my own change to mostly raw food diet in June of 2011. When couple years ago I got possibility of making my living by preparing food products, it was natural decision to make all the products “living” ( raw). I was only ready to prepare what I could taste/eat myself!
When people change to healthier eating, sometimes most difficult is to stop eating sweets. Plus traditions: cake for holiday, pies, chocolate for co-workers/ or a box of candies….
Why not produce healthy sweets?! Natural! Without artificial ingredients, additives, chemical coloring, preservatives, without refined sugar…. This is how my “living” sweets were created.
How did you come up with recipes? What is the secret of creating a product loved and enjoyed by customers? So much so, that your customers travel long distances, myself as example, to organize delivery from Tallinn, Estonia to Vienna, Austria?
In the very beginning I did look at the RAW cakes on the Internet, tried, experimented, adapted to myself. What I noticed – many RAW “commercial cakes” are created by people, who do not follow raw food diet, they don’t understand many subtleties of the taste, possibilities of mixing raw ingredients…
For a person who has adapted traditional diet such cake might seem “raw” and “healthy”, but for a raw foodist, especially experienced one like myself, such cake will feel heavy and not enjoyable….
This is why I started to come up with mixes that I personally enjoy!
Each group of products has its own requirements. For example my raw halvah was created as a compact, healthy and filling snack for a road trip which is easy to keep for long time.
Prototype was regular halvah.
Sometimes recipes are created for one particular ingredient and sometimes by chance!
Friends will try, aquatances or customers who bought something else from me and who trust my taste. Based on their reviews I decide how interesting it turned out and if it is worth to continue.
How do you chose ingredients for your products? What plays the key role?
Most important, of course, is that all the ingredients are plant based and not cooked over 107.6 F, which means RAW stamp on the label is very important. Sometimes I can taste that product was “lightly roasted”. In such cases I try to find different supplier. Price is also important: many super foods are used for preparation which makes the cost quiet high. To make price affordable I have to constantly look for possibilities to lower the cost of purchase prices for ingredients but not to compromise the quality!
Looking back, which moment, achievement, business decision could you call the most important. For which we could salute with champagne ( vegan of course) or a glass of an apple juice? And why?
Looking back…. I see that life constantly pushed me to decide to get into my own business. Events, meetings, decisions – all like beads on a Mala, coming together, creating decorations for my new life. Undoubtedly, one of the most important moments was meeting with Svetlana Zelentseva, author of project VegGuru.
First she invited me to speak at one of her master workshop about the raw food subject. Then offered partnership and for about 2 years we led master workshops together,
about raw yummies “Sweet life without the remorse”. It was her, who came up with this amazing and to to the point name. She permitted me to use it when I started to lead master classes on my own. And most importantly, it was her who taught me about master classes as a form of communication and possibilities of making an income.
I learned from her how to lead the class, how to overcome my fears…..
I feel that our аcquaintance is that special event, for which I am ready to raise a glass … of apple juice!
Personal question – we are at the Green Kitchen, speaking about “green” plant ingredients. What is your favorite fruit and why?
I am thankful to the wisdom of my body, who I trust to decide, which fruit it likes in the current moment. Last summer I could not stop eating cherries. But this year watermelon is my favorite. For the second month it’s being a base product for my nutrition. From time to time I get cherries and strawberries although. Love peaches, apricots, but unfortunately they are very rarely sold ripe here. Still recall my trip to France in summer, where I was enjoying peaches: they could be drunk instead of eaten! This is how ripe, juice and aromatic they were! And strawberries that I bought on farmers market somewhere in Loire was the most delightful in my entire life!
Even that in childhood we had plot of land outside of city (dacha) where my mom grew strawberries which I could eat as much as I wanted to. So I know the taste of real berries, not spoiled by the chemical fertilizers and etc.
I have not even tasted many exotic fruits yet! This is why I don’t really know, perhaps next year another fruit or berry will become my favorite.
To make our life just as sweet and beautiful Elena presented recipe of the apple peach pie. Raw btw.
Apple – Peach Pie Recipe
Ingredients makes 2 pounds 6 - 8 portions
- Peeled apples – 7 Oz
- Apricots ( no pits) – 1.8 – 2.5 Oz
- Raisins – 1.8 Oz
- Powdered cinnamon & cardamom – 1/2 tsp each or to taste
- Agave – little to taste
- Lemon juice – 1 Tb spoon or to taste
- Oat flakes – 3.5 Oz
- Coconut shreds – 1.8 Oz
- Dates – 8 medium size
- Coconut butter – 0.5 Oz
- Powdered cinnamon & cardamom – pinch each
- Pitted apricots – 5.3 Oz
- Agave – 2.5 Oz
- Powdered Psillium – 0.2 Oz
- Coconut butter – 1.4 Oz
- Cardamom and cinnamon – pinch or to taste
- Oat flakes
- Coconut shreds
- Powdered cardamom
- Wash fruits, raisins and greens, dry. Peel and core apples. Take off seeds from dates and apricot.
- Filling: cut apples into small cubes ( about 0.3 inch size) and place into a bowl, drizzle with lemons juice to keep them from darkening. Add raisins, apricots – cut them into similar small cubes, sprinkle with spices , pour agave and mix.
- Crust: use food processor with S knife, place oat flakes, coconut shreds, pitted dates, pinch of slices, pour coconut butter over everything and blend almost to homogeneous consistency but to maintain tiny pieces.Then add cubed apricots. Blend again to make them smaller, but not into a smoothy.
- Pour mixture into any dish that isn’t deep, so it covers the bottom and the sided and lightly press on it.
- Apricot cream: cut apricots into the blender’s glass (Elena uses immersion blender). Add agave, psyllium, spices and blend into homogenous mixture. Add coconut butter and blend again.
- Assembling the pie: place little bit of cream into prepared crust, spread lightly, sprinkle lightly with oatmeal flakes and coconut shreds (per one’s preference) and add a layer of marinated apples, apricots and raisins ( without marinating liquid). Then again repeat layers of cream, sprinkle of coconut/ oatmeal, layers of fruit. Make several such layers finishing with a layer of fruit.
- Decorate pie with oat flakes, coconut shreds, cardamom, mint, stevia or melissa.
- Refrigerate for several hours before serving. Pie will assume a stabile shape, will be soaked with aromas of spices and juices of apricots and apples. It can be served in the same dish it was prepared. Cut into pieces and serve.
- Can be refrigerated for couple days.
- On day 2 pie becomes even more tastier and richer.
- Bon Appetite!