by Buffy Ellen
This one’s for all my kiwi friends out there. To start, for those of you who may not know what a kiwi is, it’s a small nocturnal and flightless bird that's native to New Zealand. It’s also the colloquial and cutely affectionate way we New Zealander’s refer to one another. As kiwis. And this recipe today has a distinctly delicious kiwiana feel to it.
Yes, if you haven’t heard of, seen, or tried a Louise Slice before, here’s your chance to get acquainted – in the most delicious way. The origins of Louise Slice aren’t 100% clear, but it’s thought that it was created for the wedding of Queen’s Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise, in 1871. The recipe must have then made its way to New Zealand via our early British settlers (of which my grandfather’s grandfather was one of), in the minds of (or battered hand-written note books of) their wives and daughters. Either way, our Louise Slice was, and still is, a three-tiered beauty comprising of a buttery biscuit base, a layer of rich raspberry jam, all topped with a coconutty meringue. Let’s just say, if you go to a small-town kiwi café and they don’t serve Louise Slice, you never really went...
The traditional Louise Slice though, delicious as it is, is still a bit of a fat + sugar + flour bomb, so here’s my healthified version for you. To make in your very own home-based café. Yes, this Next-Level Louise Slice is…
I took this beauty to a family dinner last Sunday and it got devoured, so I hope you love it too!
Ruby Red Raspberries
The real star of this slice and why I love it so much? Raspberries - sneakily tucked in as a fresh fruity layer between all that cakey goodness. As you know, I’m all about getting you to include more plant-based whole foods in your week. But even more than that, I get a particular(ly weird) kick out of sneaking in a good dose of fresh fruit and vege into your food, especially when you least expect it. Today’s masked crusader = the raspberry.
I’ve spoken about the benefits of raspberries before in this Chocolate Raspberry Tart here (which, by the way, is definitely worth making – it’s a high rotation regular). Briefly, they’re one of the highest antioxidant berries available, with 5,065 ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) units per 100g, ahead of bluebs at 4,669 and strawbs at 4,302. Raspberries are also a relatively unknown, but absolutely fantastic, source of vitamin C, with 26mg per 100g of berries (less than a small punnet), compared to 53mg in an equivalent amount of orange.
One of the key things to consider with berries, is that they have a very thin skin making them more susceptible to absorbing pesticides than other fruit. Indeed, according to the Environmental Working Group’s latest pesticide residue analysis of 48 popular fresh produce items, strawberries ranked in as #1 (most pesticides), with cherries at #7, blueberries at #17, and raspberries at #24. This compares to thicker skinned fruit such as bananas at #31, kiwifruit at #40, and pineapples at #48. Whilst this analysis is done on US based produce, the general principle holds true – thin skin = greater penetration = more pesticides getting into our bodies.
This is why it’s particularly important to buy organic when you’re choosing thin skinned fruits such as berries. Organic berries aren’t available all year round as fresh, though, when they are, pounce on them! But there are now a number of companies who freeze them, making it super handy year-round. I’m all about using seasonal produce wherever possible, but if there are some things you just can’t resist (for me, it's berries all the way), then buying frozen certified organic is the next best way to go. Plus, if you eat this slice after a very autumnal meal such as this Leek & Broccoli Fettucine here, that’s pretty seasonally balanced right?
The other good thing to know about frozen berries, is that research (on raspberries in particular actually) shows that freezing has virtually no effect on antioxidant and phytochemical levels. In fact – you’re sometimes better off consuming foods that have been frozen fresh, rather than consuming ‘fresh’ produce that’s been sitting around for weeks on end on supermarket shelves (the take-away being – buy from the markets, or buy frozen organic).
In this Next Level Louise Slice, I’ve used frozen raspberries from oob organic (Omaha Organic Berries). Oob organic is a lovely locally owned outfit based an hour or so north of Auckland, with their own berry orchard. In fact, I distinctly remember when I first spotted oob berries on the shelves, and since then their business has grown 10-fold (don’t quote me on that, just know that there is a lot more OOBness around now than previously).
As a result of the increased demand, they now source some of their berries from organic farms offshore in places such as Chile, due to the lack of organic berry farms in NZ (now there’s a business idea for someone – organic berry farm?). Which I actually think is fabulous, as it’s encouraging organic farming and reduced pesticide usage worldwide, particularly in developing countries, showing them that there is a distinct financial advantage in not spraying the crops they grow. NZ – and pending election campaigners, please take note - increased global demand for organics = clear business rationale to encourage more organic farming and less conventional pesticide usage in NZ => world leader in organic produce business opportunity here? Just sayin.
Back to our recipe. I’m sure that you’re going to love this one - light, luscious, and in perfect berry harmony. And, if you’re got any leftover berries, try them in my aforementioned Chocolate Raspberry Tart, these Jelly Tip Ice Creams here, this Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake here, Jam Drop Cookies here, or this simple Berry Chia Jam here (can you tell I like raspberries…?).
Would love to see if you make this Next Level Louise Slice. Share your creation with me over on Instagram here, with the tags @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics, or leave me a note on Facebook here. Otherwise you can always drop me a line below this post too. I love hearing from you and sharing in your kitchen escapades!
First day of Spring (can you believe it’s the1st of September already?), so enjoy the sunshine - it’s definitely on its way here in Auckland. As always, I look forward to chatting again next week. Same place, same (ish) time, but always the same goodness.
Have a fabulous weekend, and til next week, stay happy and well.
PS If you like this recipe, pin it on Pinterest (hover over any of the pics and click PIN), share it on Facebook or Twitter, or post your recreation on Instagram. As you know, I publish all my recipes here for your free reading pleasure, so would absolutely love you to share them with your friends and fam. Also, if you're not already subscribed to my weekly recipe emails, be sure to do that here, and don't miss my next video by subscribing to my YouTube channel here.
Please note - if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements above, please read my notes below the recipe.
Makes 20 squares
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Base1/2 c rolled oats1/2 c almonds1/2 c desiccated coconut1 tsp vanilla extract1/4 tsp sea salt1 c medjoul dates (about 7, loosely packed)
Raspberry layer2 c raspberries, defrosted4 tbsp chia seeds1 tbsp liquid sweetener (brown rice syrup & coconut nectar work great here)1/2 tsp vanilla extractJuice of 1/2 a lemon4 tbsp freeze dried raspberries - optional
Coconut topping1/2 c cashews, soaked1/4c water2 tbsp liquid sweetener 1/2 tsp vanilla extract1/4c coconut oil, melted1c shredded coconut
To topCoconut flakes
c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon
PS - the plates, linen and tableware I’ve used are from Citta Design.
Buffy is the founder of Be Good Organics, and loves creating delicious yet simple plant-based whole foods recipes.
Buffy also oversees our Be Good Organics online store, full of plant based goodies that she personally uses and loves. Sign up for our newsletter below to be the first to receive her weekly recipes.
by Buffy Ellen
This salad is EVERYTHING you love about summer – sweet pomegranate, fresh asparagus, creamy avo, crunchy hazelnuts, fluffy quinoa, all doused in the world’s best tangy balsamic vinaigrette. THE perfect summer salad!
Vegan pavlovas? Yes, the stories are TRUE! Made with a secret ingredient, and they ACTUALLY work. You would never know these are egg and dairy free. Bring on Xmas, you will be the star of the show!
I'm Buffy, a food obsessed nutrition nerd, former financial research analyst and investment banker, and now - full time blogger, nutritionist and soon to be naturopath. I live in Auckland, New Zealand with my partner Tony, our two cats Zeus and Luna, and our cute-as-pie little girl Mila. Can't wait to share some healthy recipes with you! READ MORE HERE...
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