dessert

Barcelona on toast(ados)

Saffron Poached Pear & Dark Chocolate Frangipane Tart

I’m not sure what part of my brain thought that a ‘quick trip’ to Barcelona, while I was in Bangkok for this year’s San Pellegrino Awards, would be a clever plan. Once we arrived though, it was clear my stomach had orchestrated the trip all along. The food. Oh my Lordy, the food. And the beautiful shops, catwalk-ready locals, and effortlessly cool design. I would have happily spent a month there, but 4 days were all we had, and considering how many times per day we ate across that time, I’m kind of glad we didn’t have any chance to linger (or rent the apartment I had my eye on by mid afternoon on the first day).  A quick list of what we got up to if you’re keen to jam-pack a Barcelona trip with food, shoes, restaurants, food, architecture, food, amazing bars, sleeping in bakeries and eating really good food. Don’t eat too much on the plane is all I’m saying!

We stayed at Praktik Bakery which as the name suggests, is a bakery. Really cute design, great location and the aroma of freshly baked bread ducted through your room. I’m not kidding.

On the first morning, I downloaded an app called Shopikon Barcelona, ridiculously helpful for fast tracking your way through each area of Barcelona along with food shops, bars, clothing, museums, espadrille makers and markets. And because each place is a link on maps, it means you just click on where you want to go and let your phone talk to you on route, so you don’t look (as much) like a tourist but just someone who checks their phone a lot. Which is everyone really.

From Shopikon I found the most amazing old-school handmade espadrilles shop, La Manual Alpargatera, seriously beautiful clothing store, Coquette and a whole shop dedicated to the olive called Olive Delicatessen.

Every day we ate at Flax & Kale. Everyday. And because we couldn’t get enough of the plant-based goodness, we also ate at the big sister outlet and namesake restaurant, Teresa Carles. So good.

Drinks amongst the glamour of corner gin bars and the ever gorgeous Boca Chica, where I went to the bathroom twice in a half hour, and not due to a weak bladder. That bathroom is too beautiful to take in in one visit!

But my favourite, favourite meal in all of Barcelona (the 4 day version) was at Mano Rota, where chef Bernat, whipped up an 8 course (plant-based) degustation for me and I couldn’t stop saying, ‘Oh my God’ and ‘this is amazing’ on high rotation. My exclamations would have been so much cooler in Catalan, but no less heartfelt. Seriously delicious food.

And if anyone ever says that the Sagrada Familla is ‘too touristy’, or ‘not worth the line ups’, please, please ignore them. I was completely gobsmacked by the incredible collision of symbology and Gaudi’s wild imagination made manifest in architecture. And that was before going inside! It is too, too mind-blowing to even consider wrapping words around something of this scale, it has to be felt to be believed. Buying tickets online beforehand is an excellent tip, but even if you don’t, the time spent lining up is all forgotten when you walk into that profoundly beautiful space.

I came home with a veritable Spanish delicatessen of my own; saffron of course, grassy green olive oil, more chocolate than is reasonable for any one person to consume, saffron salt, smoked olive oil and some amazing little toffee coated almonds set between sheets of rice paper, can’t remember what they were called – whatever ‘crazy good’ translates to in Catalan!

 

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Anyway, once home again, and never ready to let go of being somewhere I’ve fallen in love with, I wanted to make something that reminded me of how Barcelona tasted. Chocolate and saffron had to be part of things. Add that to the fact I’ve been dying to figure out how to do a vegan version of a frangipane tart, and here’s where things ended up after dinner on the weekend…

 

Saffron Poached Pear & Dark Chocolate Frangipane Tart 

Chocolate Pastry for 1 x 28cm tart

1 cup spelt flour

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

3 teaspoons rapadura sugar

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/3 cup cold coconut oil

60 ml iced water

Saffron Poached Pears

3 pears, peeled, halved and cored

good pinch of saffron threads

2 cups water

1 cup natural sugar (not rapadura as it will make the colour too dark)

Dark Chocolate Frangipane

2 1/4 cups almonds

3 tablespoons raw cacao powder

100g dark chocolate, shaved

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

200g rapadura sugar

150g coconut oil, at room temperature

3 tablespoons egg replacer* in 6 tablespoons of water

2 teaspoons vanilla powder

To poach the pears, simply bring the saffron and sugar to a boil in the water and then add the pear halves. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes until the pears are soft but not falling apart. Remove the pears onto a plate to cool and reduce the poaching liquid to about 1 cup. This will be the saffron syrup to brush over the tart when serving.

To make pastry, prepare a fluted tart tin with removable base, by greasing it with coconut oil and a dusting of flour. I always line the base with a cut out round of baking paper too.

  Add flour, sugar, salt, raw cacao and dark chocolate to a food processor. Blitz. Add coconut oil and blitz again, until you have a crumbly mixture, then with the processor still going, add in the iced water from the top until the dough pulls together.

You won’t need to chill the pastry at this stage. Roll the dough into a circle about 33-35cm and about 3-4mm thick. I always use a sheet of baking paper to roll pastry out and then it’s an easy transfer to flip it into the tart tin and peel away the paper once it’s in place. Press the edges into the sides of the tin and neaten any extra bits with a sharp knife. Prick the base with a fork and place the tart tin into the freezer while the oven preheats to 175C. 

Bake the pastry case (no need for weights) for about 20 minutes, until it is set but not cooked through completely. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack while you prepare the filling.

Increase the oven to 180C.

To make the frangipane, into a food processor, add the almonds and blitz until you have almond meal. Then add the cacao, salt, sugar and shaved chocolate. Blend until you have a crumbly ‘meal’ and add the coconut oil, egg replacer mix and vanilla.

Pour the frangipane mixture into the cooled pastry case and smooth with a spatula to even it out. Place the pear halves, cut side down, in a circle across the top of the tart and gently push each half into the mixture a little bit.

Bake the tart at 180C for 45-55 minutes, until the frangipane is nicely puffed around the pears.

Brush the saffron syrup reduction across the top of the tart before serving.

*I make this egg replacer when I want something lighter than flaxseed, but feel free to use 3 flax eggs if you don’t have the ingredients to make a batch of this powdered form of egg replacer.  This will make a batch that you can store to use beyond this recipe. To make it, mix together 1 1/4 cup arrowroot powder, 1/4 cup baking powder and 1/2 tablespoon xanthan gum. Store it in a glass jar for up to 6 months.

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let us eat cake!

Lemon Spelt Teacake with Coconut & Borage Flowers

It’s been celebration central around our kitchen table over the last week or so. A great deal of my favourite people have birthdays in June. And where there’s birthdays, there’s cake. At least, that’s been the theme this year; none of this politely letting the day slip by without a mention, not when there could be a tea party instead.  There’s been a general consensus of throwing things to the wind this year and I’m all for it, so working on Thursday went out with a gust and in came teacake, raw rainbow pizza, cashew cheese and vegan caviar and at least 4 pots of tea.

Making cakes is the best gift I can think of giving, but there’s always that little extra pressure on anything that calls itself a birthday cake. One of my girlfriends who I baked for earlier in the week had the suggestion that I do something I’ve done before, something simple. Stellar advise, except I can’t ever make the same cake twice, and not for any egoic reason akin to not wearing the same outfit twice, I just really can’t ever reproduce cakes to be what their predecessors have been – just ask anyone who comes to our stall at the Farmer’s Market! So, no tried and true cake recipe but I did have a rough idea of a teacake from an old Country Women’s Cookbook  I have and all it took was swapping the butter, eggs, sugar, flour and milk, and icing it with whipped coconut oil, honey and lemon instead of icing sugar and butter, dusting it with coconut flour and throwing some borage flowers over the top. You know how that game of swaps can go. Dressed in sparklers and song, it was just the kind of cake that the birthday girl ordered. I hope her birthday wish was for next Thursday to be the same all over again. Of course, the cake would be different.

Happy, happy birthday Janelle!

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Lemon Spelt Teacake with Coconut & Borage Flowers

2/3 cup organic olive oil (I used ‘agrumato’ for the extra lemon)

1 2/3 cups organic panela sugar

2 cups organic soy or almond milk

1/4 cup organic lemon juice

zest from 2 organic lemons

1 tsp organic vanilla bean paste or essence

2 cups organic plain spelt flour

1 cup organic plain unbleached flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp Himalayan salt

1 1/2 cups organic desiccated coconut

organic coconut flour for dusting

1/4 cup organic coconut oil

1 tbsp organic raw honey

juice of 1/2 organic lemon

Pre heat the oven to 180C and prepare a 20cm bunt tin with coconut oil and a dusting of flour.

Mix the first 6 ingredients together with a whisk, then sift in the flours, salt, baking powder and soda, continuing to stir until thoroughly combined. Stir through the desiccated coconut at the final stage. 

Pour the mixture into the prepared bundt tin and bake for 35 – 40 minutes.

Be sure to let the cake cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack.

To make the icing, simply combine the coconut oil, honey and lemon juice and whip together in a food processor or by hand with a whisk. Let the cake completely cool before icing (which I didn’t do – it makes for a landslide of icing and a very quick rendition of ‘Happy Birthday”!)

Sprinkle fresh flowers over the top of the icing if you have any, otherwise some extra desiccated coconut would be pretty too.

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cake & candles

orange blossom water pancake-cake with saffron pashmak & fresh figs

I decided after 9 years of living here at the farm that it might be a nice idea to have a birthday party this year. I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t ever done that. My birthday does pop itself into a pretty busy time of year so maybe I’ve gone with the gift of ease in the past? Anyway, a party was the call and a party was had. It was one of the best birthdays I can remember, with the same keen anticipation I’d always had before my birthday parties as a kid, that yummy mix of can’t wait, can’t wait, and wanting time to stand still from the moment the first party guest knocks on the door.

The other thing that probably stopped me having too many parties in the past is the organising that needs to take place to make it happen. No doubt, the best parties can be absolutely exhausting. But, when all your buddies happen to be on the same food page and effortlessly know how to make all the kinds of things you wished you could find on a single menu somewhere, it’s a natural next step to ask ladies to bring a plate. The table looked more like a health retreat than anything to do with ‘party food’ but that was the biggest celebration of all. The kombucha was flowing, caviar sat atop peppered cheese, there were handmade rice noodles in a tom kha broth, tomato & olive tart, vietnamese spring rolls, plates of just picked homegrown figs, chips and dips, snickers, scones with jam & cream and chocolate crackles – all dressed in their vegan best and some even in the raw.  It was the best gift to share such stunning, heartfelt food with so many people I adore.

 

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The cake was a funny little invention I’d imagined when I was meant to be working one afternoon; a stack of orange blossom water pancakes, sandwiched with lemon curd, and topped with saffron fairy floss and fresh figs. It actually came together at the last minute, in all its vegan, gluten-free glory, and I had another reason to be grateful on the day! The thing is even if it was a complete failure, I know everyone would have grabbed a fork and tucked into a mess of lemon curd pancakes anyway. That says everything to me about why it was the kind of day that presses in warm against your chest and leaves you wondering why there’s no formal word for crying and laughing at the same time. There was plenty of that.

 

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Orange Blossom Water Pancake-Cake with Saffron Pashmak  & Fresh Figs

2 1/2 cups organic GF Flour, or Spelt Flour

4 tspn GF baking powder

1 tsp Himalayan salt

4 tbsp organic olive oil

2 1/2 cups organic almond milk

2/3 cups orange blossom water

2 tsp organic vanilla bean paste

2 tbsp organic maple syrup

1 packet saffron pashmak (Iranian fairy floss)

lemon curd, or almond butter, for spreading between layers

4 – 6 fresh organic figs

fresh orange zest

To make the pancakes, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. 

Add the milk, oil, orange blossom water, vanilla and maple syrup. Mix until everything just comes together, don’t over mix, a few lumps are ok.

Heat a flat sandwich grill or crepe pan.

Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop into the batter and pour each pancake, one at a time, onto the flat grill plate. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the bottom is browned and then flip over for an extra minute until the pancake firms up.

This should make between 16-20 pancakes that you can then stack on top each other to make the cake.

Once the pancakes are cool, sandwich each layer with lemon curd, or almond butter, or a spread of your choice. Homemade Nutella would be pretty good too.

When you get to the height you’d like your cake to be, add a final layer of the lemon curd to give the pashmak something to hang on to and then pile some of the wonderful fluffy fairy floss on top. You can tease this like a 50’s hairdo so don’t be afraid to make it as big as you fancy. It was suggested my efforts resembled a wild mountain goat.

Place the halved figs in amongst the nest of pashmak and top with fresh orange zest. 

I thought afterwards, it would have been clever to put a skewer through the middle to help the cutting process because things did get a little slippery slidey towards the last few pieces of cake.

Brew the tea and make yourself a little party.

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with love from bali

Raw Salted Chocolate Fudge Tarts

If I can jump ahead to the last day of the retreat in Ubud, I think I said the word brilliant at least 12 times in quick succession as I met eyes with each of the 16 amazing women I was sitting in circle with for the last time. What a big, big space we’d laughed and cried and danced our way through together over the week. No fixing or pretending things were fine, just sitting with whatever came up and gently adding love into the rough edges of any given moment that needed it. Holding space for each other and breathing in the rawness of every story each of us shared. It’s the most extraordinary thing, the moment the harshness of confrontation slips into the liberation of surrender. What a thing to bear witness to, whether in yourself or in others; it dissolves all the nonsense so gently, but so absolutely.

There’s so much more. There always is, right? Thank goodness my beautiful friend Beata is planning another retreat next year. She’s a marvel at this work and I couldn’t love her more for the effort she went to to accommodate all of us in her heart for a whole week. The incredible souls she introduced us to. The amazing experiences she created. Big space. Filled with grace. I wish everyone was on their way for tea right about now so I could put these on the table and keep the circle going.

 

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Raw Salted Chocolate Fudge Tarts

makes 6 x 10cm tarts

 

1 1/2 cup raw organic cashews

1 tbsp raw organic cacao powder

1 tbsp organic mesquite powder

2 tbsp organic raw cacao butter

water

 

1 cup organic medjool dates, soaked for 2 hours

1/4 cup organic tahini

2 tbsp organic cacao powder

1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

1 organic vanilla bean, scraped

 

fresh violets

 

To make the bases, put the cashews, cacao powder and mesquite into a blender and blitz until you have a flour mix. Add the melted cacao butter and blitz again. Add a little water until you have a crumbly mix that just pulls together. Using your fingers, push the chocolate pastry evenly into non-stick, removable base tart tins, making sure to use enough pressure to pack it into the very edges of the base and up the sides. Put into a dehydrator for 4-6 hours, or simply refrigerate for an hour if you don’t have a dehydrator. Remove the bases from the tart tins.

To make the fudge, drain the dates, but keep the soak water aside to use if necessary. Blitz the dates in a food processor with the remaining ingredients, adding the date water to reach a fudgy consistency.

Fill the bases with the fudge and top with fresh violets if you can find some. Dust with coconut flour for extra prettiness.

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a big birthday

Spiced Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream & Hempseeds

Damien turned 40 yesterday. No biggie really, we said. I can only see good things ahead when my question of what kind of a birthday cake he’d like was met with, “Some gnarly, full of spice, vegan concoction.” What a guy.

At one point across the day, it struck me that I’d love to pop back and chat to our 14 year old selves about what might fill in the time for the next 26 years. I think the bucket list might be more of a surprise in itself, than the shock of a visit from our future selves. It’s been a heck of a ride. And so much of it unplanned and unexpected but always met with hearts wide open. Mostly because at 14, we had no idea there was any alternative. I’m sure we could have saved ourselves some anguish if we had. Momentarily at least. But if I turn around to look back at the pages and pages of our story together, it’s more like a flicker book. It’s so full, and the feeling of all those memories we’ve made is almost overwhelming. Not for a minute has it all been daisy chains and cloudless skies, but it’s been beautifully raw, and unencumbered of the kinds of expectations our 20 or 30 year old selves might have had if we’d met much later along the line. We’ve held such a big love in our hands all these years, and sitting around a fire last night, celebrating with some of our dearest friends, dropped me perfectly into the space to remember that. And be so grateful for it. Happy Birthday DT. Big love.

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Spiced Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream & Hempseeds

 

2 cups organic spelt flour (I used freshly milled from Nature’s 9, so good)

1 cup organic panela sugar

1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt 

2 tsp baking powder 

1/2 tsp baking soda 

2 tsp ground organic cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground organic cloves

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 

3 cups organic carrots, grated 

3/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil 

2/3 cup freshly squeezed organic orange juice

1/2 cup organic raisins

1 cup organic walnuts / brazil nuts / almonds, chopped

 

1 cup organic raw cashews

1/2 cup organic raw coconut oil

1 cup water

juice of 2 organic lemons

pinch Celtic sea salt

3 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup

4 tbsp organic pepitas, dry roasted for 3-5 minutes until coloured

1 tbsp organic hempseeds

 

Pre heat oven to 180C.

Prepare a 26cm diameter bundt tin with coconut oil.

 In a large mixing bowl, add spelt flour, panela sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices and stir with a wooden spoon.

In a separate bowl, mix carrots, oil and orange juice.

Ad the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together. Don’t worry that it will seem too dry, keep mixing and the cake will come together.

Finally add the raisins and nuts and give one last mix through before spooning into the cake tin.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave in the cake tin to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

 

To make the icing, blend the cashews, coconut oil and water until really smooth. Add the salt, lemon juice and honey and blend again. At this stage you can put the icing into the fridge if you’d like more of a set icing that you can spread with a butter knife, or if you’d like to let it run down the contours of the cake like I have then leave it out at room temperature.

Once the cake has completely cooled, ice it with the cashew cream cheese and sprinkle toasted pepitas and hempseeds across the top. Hempseeds make sprinkles just blokey enough.

Candles are optional.

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little lemon tree

Chamomile Citron Tart

Our little lemon tree has more than 4 lemons this year. The crowd goes wild! These are the achievements that mark my days. Never mind the other stuff – lemons are currency in my mind. Homegrown, fuelled by worm tea and within reach of our back door. Currency I tell you.

We add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to just about every glass of water we drink throughout the day, brilliant way to alkalise and add a whack of Vitamin C at the same time. They go into our smoothies and juices too. And are pretty much held aloft of every pasta, risotto, salad and soup that hits the table. We tend not to have ‘leftovers’ is what I’m getting at, so the idea of making a lemon tart is not something that tends to pop up too often. Until there’s more than 4 representatives on our little lemon tree.

Right, a lemon tart without eggs or dairy, this will be interesting. I won’t fib, there was some trial. And some error. But this tart will hopefully rekindle a healthy relationship with lemon and its baked nature. Pun completely intended on the healthy relationship part.

Thanks to The Breakfast Rave gang who made testing on lunchtime friends an easy option.

 

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Chamomile Citron Tart

serves 6-8

 

For the pastry

1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour (or use my GF Whole Flour mix if you have any)

1/2 cup organic coconut oil, melted

3 1/2 tbsp water

 

For the lemon filling 

1 1/3 cups hot Chamomile Citron tea (or hot water)

1 tsp agar powder

1 1/4 cups organic raw sugar (you can use panela but it will make it very dark)

1/8 tsp organic tumeric powder

2/3 cup fresh organic lemon juice

2 tbsp organic arrowroot powder

Zest from 2 organic lemons

1/2 cup organic soy milk

 

 

Prepare a 22cm loose base tart tin with coconut oil and dust with flour.

 

Preheat your oven to 180C.

To make the pastry, put the flour into a mixing bowl and add water and oil, stir to bring together. Put dough into the prepared tart tin and with your fingers press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. This is Caroline Dupont’s recipe from Enlightened Eating and it’s genius! No kneading, rolling or baking with weights needed. I use it for everything.

When the pastry is evenly pressed across the tart tin, cut the edges by running a knife across the top of the tart tin. Prick the base of the pastry with a fork and put into the oven for about 12-15 minutes. 

Remove to cool before adding the filling. 

To make the lemon filling, add the hot tea to the agar powder and stir. Put into a medium sized saucepan and continue stirring over high heat until the liquid is boiling. Leave to boil for about 4-5 minutes, stirring all the while. 

Add the sugar and turmeric and continue boiling until the sugar has dissolved. Stirring, stirring!

Turn down the heat to a simmer. Mix the lemon juice and arrowroot powder and stir into the agar mixture in an even stream. More stirring. For about 2 minutes. You don’t want to rapidly boil the mixture at this point, just gently simmer.

Add the lemon zest and soy milk and continue stirring until the mixture just starts to thicken.

Remove from heat and pour into the cooled tart base and leave to set at room temperature until set but still a bit wobbly. Or put into the fridge for a firmer set than can easily be transported if needs be.

Dust with coconut flour and throw a few chamomile flowers across the top of the tart should whimsy take hold.

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mums love cake

Spelt, Persimmon & Walnut Tea Cake

Mother’s Day and cake are inseparable in most households I’d imagine. No different out here on the hill. I love making cakes. Thing is, what sits on a plate when I say cake, and what comes out of the oven when my Mum says cake, are two really quite different creatures. If I tell you that the cake I made for Mum on Sunday happily shared the table with a teapot yet had no dairy, eggs, refined sugar, refined flour or icing, you can probably take a guess at what you’d have at my Mum’s place. Not much spelt to be found in my Mum’s pantry.

Here’s where my Mum totally wins points though. She has never, ever refused to try any of the offerings I’ve baked for her over the years, and I have to say, my teenage baking churned out some pretty gnarly takes on cake. Unconditional love.

This cake was far from the most ‘wholegrain’ I’ve made but it still arrived at the table a spelt based, nut filled, vegan get together, with persimmon puree. “Oooh you made cake!” my Mum said, ‘and I love the icing sugar, it always looks so pretty.”

“Oh that’s coconut flour,” I replied, trying not to sound like a particularly precocious version of myself.

“That’s an interesting idea. Yes, I s’pose you don’t use icing sugar either do you?”

My poor Mum. Thank God she loved the cake. She really, truly deserves good cake after living with a “Don’t you know how bad X is for you?” daughter all those years.

Cake and tea never fail to build that bridge though right? Before the tea cups had been filled we were talking about how kind it is to have donations of homegrown persimmon (thanks Katherine) and walnuts (thanks Ben) to inspire cake baking. When you sit down for afternoon tea with your Mum, kindness comes with cake, no matter what.  If you can refrain from talking about the dairy industry. Which we did. Phew.

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Spelt, Persimmon & Walnut Tea Cake

makes 1 25cm x 10cm loaf

 

370g organic spelt flour

180g organic panela sugar

pinch Himalayan salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 cups organic, just cracked walnuts

1/4 tsp organic ground cloves

1 tsp organic ground cinnamon

 

6 organic non-astringent persimmon

300g organic almond milk (or milk of your choice)

100g organic coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp ground flax seed, mixed with 6 tbsp water

 

Organic coconut flour, for dusting, optional

 

Pre heat the oven to 180C and prepare the loaf tin.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together, keeping 1 cup of walnuts back to put on the top of the cake batter.

In a separate bowl, let the water and flaxseed soak until you have a thickish paste, about 3 – 5 minutes will do it. Measure all of the liquid ingredients in grams and add to the bowl.

To make the persimmon puree, simply remove the calyx from each fruit and then push them through a wire sieve with the back of a spoon. You should end up with about 3/4 cup of puree.

Add 1/2 cup of puree to the wet ingredients and stir through.

Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and stir with a spoon until completely mixed through.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and sprinkle the remaining walnuts on top. Add an extra dusting of cloves and cinnamon too if you like.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until cooked through when tested with a cake skewer.

Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Dust with coconut flour (optional) and drizzle with the extra 1/4 cup of persimmon puree. To the table with tea!

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rave synchronicity

Fig & Wild Almond Clafoutis

We had a meeting for The Breakfast Rave this week. Well, there’s something a little askew about calling what we do a ‘meeting’. A meeting would suggest minute taking and schedules. There’s none of that. There’s eating amazing food together and coming up with as many ideas to make the next Rave just that little bit cooler than the last.

We all bring a plate to each meeting. I’m not sure if that was ever a written rule or something unspoken that just came along as part of the Rave when it found us, but it’s a really good thing. None of us ever know what each other will turn up with and yet it always seems to have a theme. If we had to name it, it’d be synchronicity. For sure.

In keeping with that, I’d decided on a whim to go and wildcraft some almonds from the trees on the side of the road near us. They’re really old and gnarly. Some years there’s almonds, other years not so many. I was happy to pull up to trees laden with nuts. It’s a cute spot overlooking an old church, completely out in the middle of nowhere amongst vineyards and wheat paddocks. I love it.

A decent haul of almonds and some figs from a friend’s tree and clafoutis just about made itself. The coolest thing was, although I had everything ready to go to make an almond milk custard to go with it, I ran out of time before everyone arrived. Actually that wasn’t very cool at all, but, when everyone walked in, in walked a bowl of raw caramel too and the perfect team up to fig clafoutis happened. Just like that. Rave synchronicity. Again.

 

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Fig & Wild Almond Clafoutis

 

2/3 cup organic GF flour mix

1/4 cup organic wild almond meal (make your own if you can)

3 tbsp flaxseed meal in 9 tbsp water

1/2 cup fresh organic almond milk

1/2 cup organic coconut cream

1/2 cup organic panela

1/4 tsp cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

10-12 organic figs

2 tbsp raw organic coconut oil

lemon zest from 1 organic lemon

 

Pre heat oven to 180C.

Butter a glass or pyrex flan dish with coconut oil.

Mix together the flour, almond meal, panela and spices in one bowl. In another bowl mix the coconut milk, almond milk, melted coconut oil, soaked flaxseed and lemon zest.

Cut the figs in halves and put them in the flan dish. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet and pour the batter over the figs.

Cook for 35-40 minutes until caramelised around the edges and all puffed up.

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raw gratitude

Raw Plum & Raisin Choc Tops

The most amazing generosity happens at this time of year in the Valley. Orchards and veggie patches kindly offer their wares in brown paper bags, handed over with the care and reverence homegrown produce deserves, accompanied by a simple ‘thought you’d like these’ or ‘our peach tree’s having a good year’. Sometimes it’s just a smile as the package gets put down and conversation continues on easily because both parties are fully aware of the exchange – equal parts kindness and gratitude. I can’t tell you how much I love this unspoken, old school, country practise.

In the last fortnight we have had gifts of homegrown cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and asian greens (thanks Pete and Beck), just picked figs (thanks Ilona), peaches and plums from gnarly old trees that know exactly what flavour is (thanks Janelle and Paul) and the most beautiful little bean flowers (thanks Jenny). Any gardener knows the preciousness of bearing witness to food being created in amongst leaves and tendrils, which is probably the reason that any gardener also completely understands the joy in sharing it. It’s far from just a bag of peaches that gets placed in your hands.

So, this is the state of mind I was in when I received a handpicked bounty of lovely dark plums the other day and the shrine of plum appreciation began its construction. That’s my romantic take on ‘these-raw-plum-and-raisin-choctops-take-a-while-to-make’. Not as long as the tree took to create them though. The deal’s still well in our favour here.

 

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Raw Plum & Raisin Choc Tops

makes 4 – 6 

 

1 cup organic raw cashews, soaked for 3 hours

1 fresh organic drinking coconut

1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

1 tablespoon organic raw maca powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons organic coconut nectar

1 vanilla bean, stripped

8-10 organic dark red plums

1/2 cup organic raisins

batch of raw chocolate, for dipping

paddlepops sticks or similar for ‘handles’

bee pollen ‘sprinkles’

 

Start this ice cream the day before by dehydrating the plums until semi dried to really intensify the flavour. You can soak the cashews the day before too if that helps the flow of things. 

To make the ice cream, crack open the young coconut and scoop out the flesh being carefully not to bring any husky bits with you. Put into a food processor or Vitamix, along with the coconut oil, maca, 1 tbsp coconut nectar and vanilla seeds. Blitz until really smooth. Drink the coconut water while you wait.

Once the mixture is thick and creamy, stir in the raisins and put aside in a jug ready to pour into the moulds or cups that you have chosen to set the ice creams in.

To make the raw plum ripple, simply blitz the semi dry plums, cinnamon, cloves and remaining coconut nectar in the processor until smooth.

Have your sticks and ice cream moulds ready. I used vine cuttings because I didn’t have paddlepop sticks and I think I’ll do this every time now because they looked pretty cute. Just make sure if you head into nature for your sticks that they haven’t been sprayed.

To assemble the ice creams, fill about 1/6 of the mould with the raisin/coconut ice cream mix, then add a dollop of plum jam, and continue layering like this until the mould is full. Push your ice cream stick into the mix and stir it around no more than twice before positioning it in the middle of the mould. Repeat with all moulds until full and place into the freezer to set.

When the ice cream is really solid, you’re ready to dip into the raw chocolate. Remove the ice creams from the moulds by setting the moulds into hot water for a few seconds and then slide the ice creams out by gently pulling on the sticks. Set the ice creams on a piece of baking paper back into the freezer to harden again while you make the raw chocolate.

While the chocolate is still runny, dip each ice cream into it to coat and sprinkle bee pollen over the chocolate as you turn the ice cream round in your fingers. Place back into the freezer to harden once the chocolate has lost its shine and you know it has set.

You will probably need to take these out of the freezer for 5 minutes before you want to eat them as they are solid ice cream. But so creamy. And good for you. Done and done.

fruit appreciation

Apricot and Orange Earl Hempseed Ice Cream

We picked the last of the apricots from our old tree this week. I really love this tree. It sits right outside the back door in a place strategic to spotting, both from the kitchen window, and from the shower, so we have the chance to watch it pass through its cycle of small miracles throughout the year; ballet pink blossom, lush green foliage with orange polka dots, golden leaves like Post-It notes and gnarly bare branches. So beautiful. It’s a level of appreciation that has led to quite a few conversations between me and our apricot tree.

The last of the fruit had a tad too much sun to hold very long past picking, but the flavour was stunning, a concentrated version of itself after all the hot weather we’ve had. It had to be ice cream. Good and creamy hempseed ice cream with apricots and Orange Earl tea.

I ended up adding a drizzle of orange infused yacon syrup, just to ramp up the citrus a smidge more. That’s completely optional, but I figured if I was doing an ice cream that was going to give us a a perfect and natural blend of easily digested proteins, essential fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6), Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), antioxidants, amino acids, fiber, iron, zinc, carotene, phospholipids, phytosterols, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin E, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and enzymes, it seemed only fair that there should be a bundle of prebiotic goodness in the ‘sauce’.

Only a quantum leap from the ice cream of my childhood. The apricots tasted just like my 8 year old mind remembered though. Good news on both fronts.

If you’d like more info on hemp I have some links with my Hempseed Bircher Muesli recipe. It’s seriously good stuff.

 

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Apricot and Orange Earl Hempseed Ice Cream

 

1 cup organic raw hulled hempseeds

1 cup filtered rainwater 

1 cup strong Orange Earl tea

8-10 ripe organic apricots, seeds removed

1 heaped tablespoon organic raw coconut oil

1 vanilla bean, scraped

3-4 tablespoons organic maple syrup or agave

 

Organic yacon syrup infused with orange zest, optional

 

To make the ice cream, blitz the hempseeds and water in a food processor or Vitamix. When you have a very smooth paste, add the remaining ingredients and blitz again until everything has been incorporated into a silky puree.

Pour into an ice cream machine if you have one and follow your normal routine, or if you’d like to cut into ‘blocks’ then set in a low flat dish or pan.

Cover with baking paper to avoid oxidisation and put into the freezer until ready to serve.

 Drizzle the orange infused yacon syrup over the ice cream to serve. We had ours with a pot of Orange Earl too. Kind of a given.

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