Not only is Abigail O’Neill an in-demand model and busy mum of three, she’s a passionate raw, vegan and vegetarian cook and the author of Model Chocolate.
The delicious cookbook, which features over 80 mouth-watering chocolate recipes, is a must-have for any superfood lover.
Thanks to healthy chemicals and antioxidants in the cacao bean, like flavonoids and theobromine, there are many benefits to enjoying raw chocolate – such as reduces cardiovascular disease, (dark chocolate) reduces cravings for sweet, salty foods, reduces stress hormone levels, a great source of magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, potassium, and zinc, AND we all know chocolate mends broken hearts. 🙂
Coogeecat spoke to Abigail about her love of the dark stuff and why we should all enjoy a little chocolate in our day. She also generously shares her delicious recipe for Mint Fudgies!
How is Model Chocolate different from regular chocolate? Model Chocolate is a way of creating your own chocolate, without sugar, dairy, gluten, and in a some recipes, nuts. Making your own chocolate isn’t hard, I’ve made the recipes super-easy, no tempering, no fuss and you can use organic, fairtrade ingredients which help to make the world a more wonderful place. The best thing about making your own raw chocolate is that you can make a slab of it to last a week for the price you’d pay for one serving over the counter. And then there’s all those extra health benefits!
When did you first discover you had a knack for chocolate? About 7 years ago, I was playing around with raw cacao instead of carob. For years health nuts like myself only used carob, as there wasn’t the widespread info on cacao. Needless to say I fell in love instantly.
How did you perfect it? I spent a lot of time alone, in my kitchen, with only ingredients and my mind for inspiration. I didn’t look at any pictures or recipes online, anyone else’s stuff, you know. I’d think up a flavour, and try to create it in as healthy and simple a way possible.
Do you get input from friends? Yes!.. my Raw Tiramisu. I was driving with a friend on the way home from a day of modelling work and throwing out the question I’d ask everyone to her ‘What’s your favourite flavour’? It’s one of the ways I’d get ideas on what people may like to find in a recipe. She said she was obsessed with Tiramisu, one problem, I’d never tried Tiramisu. I know! Just too much sugar, and whatever else in that one. So I asked her to describe it in detail. I had tasted coffee, and sponge, and biscuit, and liquor. So I set out to make a raw version which would taste every bit as decedent as the real thing. We served it at the launch party for Model Chocolate, it’s exquisite. I’d serve it to anyone.
What is your favourite flavour? I do obsess over my Love Me Bittersweet Chocolate Pie. The Goji Ginger Healer, and the Choc Mint Mousse. Realistically though, I love too many. There are 84 recipes in the hard copy, and too many are my favourites, for different moments of the day/year.
Is this guilt-free chocolate? Yes, certainly 100% guilt free chocolate. It’s what I like to refer to as ‘real food’. It’s not just a treat, it’s nourishment. It’s also super-satisfying so you won’t be craving other guilty foodstuffs which in turn keeps making you feel wonderful.
What are you working on next? More raw food recipes? I want to share so much. But for me just now, lots more with Model Chocolate, still connecting the dots.
Have you considered leaving modelling behind to concentrate on food and wellbeing? I can’t see that stopping for a while. I’m always working part time. I love it, and (no doubt due to my high cacao consumption) I’m not looking any older, one day I might even enjoy some travelling in Europe with my hubby.
Can you share a recipe? Love to! I’ll share with you my Mint Fudgies. They’re super easy, minty goodness that doesn’t require melting, is rich in calcium, and is sweetened only with raw honey.
Chocolate and carob create a wonderful synergy when combined. You won’t taste the carob but it will enhance the benefits of the raw cacao. These rich raw fudgies are super easy, super tasty and so nutritious!
⅓ cup solid raw organic coconut oil
½ cup raw honey
6–8 drops peppermint or spearmint essential oil
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder, optional
2 tablespoons tahini
¼ cup organic carob powder
⅔ cup raw cacao powder
2 tablespoons extra raw cacao powder, for flouring
Cream together coconut oil and honey, beating well with a small whisk until it becomes smooth. Add everything else, combining well, until mixture becomes chocolate dough. Scrape out onto a cacao-powder floured chopping board, coating mixture with cacao to prevent sticking, and cut into pieces. Put the board with fudge nuggets into the freezer to chill until they become firm before transferring to a sealable glass container to store in the fridge.
Note: this is one recipe that works better with solidified coconut oil. If oil is liquefied and mixture seems runny, set mixture as fudge in a baking-paper lined dish.
Makes 20 or so Fudgies in less than 10 minutes.
Loving delights from Abigail’s book, Model Chocolate