Blackberry and whipped coconut yogurt popsicles w/ chai granola and lemon zest

"Only one more week until I'll be on the beach in Marbella." I've repeated this sentence more than once in the last couple of days. Perhaps I shouldn't, considering the many good things that have come to me lately, including lots of travel opportunities. However, I just need a real break from daily life, no matter how good daily life in general is to me. I've told you about Marbella a couple of times before. It's my home away from home. We've been coming to this Spanish town for more than seven years now, ever since Rob's brother moved there. Because we know it so well, I can allow myself to really relax and enjoy some time off.

Before we go to the south of Spain, I will fly to Corfu for a short work trip to shoot photos for an olive oil cookbook. And in between it is my birthday! No, I really shouldn't complain, I know. Before I continue with this post, I want to thank you all for the support you have given me for a while now. Since the beginning of this week, the nominations for this year's Saveur Blog Awards are open. This is the opportunity for readers and followers to support their favorite blogs by nominating them on the Saveur website. There are two voting rounds, one to nominate folks, and a second one to vote for the finalists who will be announced in August. 

So these are exciting times. Even tough I believe none of us are in this for the win, it is nice to see that so many of you appreciate what I am doing here. I don't necessarily think of myself as a traditional food blogger, you might know that. I see myself as a writer, a photographer, a storyteller, and a culinary creative. I try to showcase all of these passions and skills here on Let's talk evergreen. Almost a year ago I redesigned this place entirely. A new name, a new philosophy, focusing more on the bigger picture, i.e. sharing visual stories about (my) daily life which happen to revolve mostly around food.

Since a few months freelance projects have started rolling in and I am so grateful that there are businesses and magazines that like what I do and believe in its value. But what matters to me most is you (looks in the camera Frank Underwood-style). You've seen me grow and develop. And that means so much to me. Your patience and enthusiasm inspires me and keeps me going more than anything. And because you stick around I get to do what I love most for a living! There is one special person who I need to thank most for his support by the way. Rob. His patience is (almost) endless and even though he does not always feels like it, he will take a photo of me whenever I ask him to. So thank you sweetheart! 

Why all of this centers around food and not let’s say, fashion, is because I think food brings us together.

Sharing bits and pieces of my personal life, my love for local and seasonal food, interviews with inspiring makers, and posting about my culinary travel adventures has been so enriching. The photography and the writing is truly a creative pursuit. Why all of this centers around food and not let's say, fashion, is because I think food brings us together. It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from. Julia Child once said: "People who love to eat are always the best people". I couldn't agree more. And there are so many stories to tell in this food community. I get to experience that through the publications I share on Dirt, such as the interview with Sarah Britton who turned her blog into a successful career or Chef Bas Wiegel who is so passionate about cooking with organic and locally grown food. These people put a face on this community (in some cases through the lens of my camera), just as you do. Together we are like a big family. I really believe that. So to come back to the Saveur awards... If you think my blog deserves a nomination, perhaps in the category Best Photography or Eat the World, please head to their website and enter my blog's url. I have no clue if I stand a chance, but you supporting me would mean so much. I hate asking for it, but hey, it's almost my birthday, so why not. Forgive me. ;)

Now I have to figure out a good segue in order to move on to today's recipe. That's easier said than done, since we're definitely not having popsicle-kind-of-weather over here. It has actually been raining cats and dogs (I've been wanting to use this phrase for so long haha). However, us Dutchies, we don't need sunny weather as an excuse to eat ice cream. So I think it's totally justified to make these blackberry and coconut yogurt popsicles any day of the year. 

Note on the recipe:

- I used Dona Chai in this granola. If you can't find a chai extract, use this old granola recipe from my blog (please don't look at the photos ;))

Blackberry and whipped coconut yogurt popsicles w/ chai granola and lemon zest

Blackberry and coconut yoghurt popsicles with chai granola and lemon zest

(serves 3)

You need:

For the granola
3 1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/3 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup almond flakes
1/2 cup seeds (I used pepita & sunflower)
2 1/2 tbsp chai extract
3 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup rice syrup or honey

For the yoghurt filling
1 2/3 cup coconut yogurt
1/2 cup creme fraiche (or more coconut yogurt when making vegan version)
1 lemon, zest
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
3-4 tbsp maple syrup (to taste)
6 blackberries

For the blackberry sauce
8 blackberries
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp chia seeds 

How to make it:

1. Begin with the granola. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Melt the coconut oil in a small sauce pan. Add the honey and stir. Set aside.

2. Add all the other ingredients to a bowl and stir. Add the honey and coconut oil and stir again. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the granola for 35 minutes in the oven. Stir every 5 minutes. Leave to cool.

3. Make the yogurt filling. Add all the ingredients, except the blackberries to a bowl and mix with a hand mixer for about 3 minutes. 

4. Place 2 blackberries in each glass/mold and muddle them a bit. Pour the coconut yogurt mixture over the berries. Make swirls by using a popsicle stick and sprinkle some granola on top. Add a stick in each of the glasses and place in the freezer for at least 3-4 hours.

5. Prepare the blackberry sauce. Add all the ingredients, except the chia seeds, in a small saucepan. Stir until the berries fall apart. Perhaps you need a fork to crush them. When the sauce is ready, after about 10 minutes, add the chia seeds and stir one more time. Set aside

6. Remove from the molds. If that's difficult, hold under lukewarm water for a second and try again. Sprinkle some grated lemon zest on top and pour some blackberry sauce over the popsicle.

PS. Thank you Dille & Kamille Hilversum for letting me borrow your beautiful glasses. Like what you see? Ceramics - The Freaky Table | Wooden muddler - Pure Bred Wood