spring

garden decides

Cashew & Spelt Gnocchi

We had a massive clean out in the garden this weekend, kind of an everything-must-go clearance of spent broccoli, earwig-eaten kale and woody fennel. And just in time to grab the last of the nettles too. The season turned really quickly this year – it seemed to take forever to get here, but the transition was complete in 2 days, according to the wilted and browned state of the veggies. So we did what we do every year, and pulled everything out ready for the next season’s efforts. I’ll admit to getting a bit sentimental over this process at times, I always feel bad pulling anything out that may still have a skerrick of green about it, but all it takes to quash that and buck up, is to think about the many pioneering hands that have worked the very same soil on our hill in the 100 or more years there’s been a veggie garden here. Our little patch is a good place for big thoughts.

Had to laugh at myself though, when I interrupted my subconscious mulling over the idea of changing my Instagram name. All romantic notions of connecting with my pioneering forebears ran off right about then. Thing is, the idea of an Instagram name wouldn’t have even been on my radar 5 years ago. Maybe 6. Does it ever make your brain hurt at where things might be at for all of us in another, oh, 5 years? Anyway, I did change it. My Instagram name, that is. Figured I write it in the wet cement of our renovations so it would be there in another 100 years. It’s bound to have historical significance. Having sorted that pivotal point out, I also made plans for dinner. To be honest, the garden decided that one without me. Here’s what the days gardening efforts became…

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Cashew & Spelt Gnocchi 

Serves 2

I make good use of the cashew cheese I make each week for the Scullery’s Saturday pop-up, so this recipe is exactly what I’ve been promising our cashew cheese customers, for maybe 6 months now. Eeep. Or you can always follow the recipe for cashew cheese here if you’re not able to call in to the Scullery this Saturday!

I make my own egg replacer for things like gnocchi too, but you can just as easily use 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons of water.

If you’d like to make the egg replacer, it’s great for when you want a lighter finish, with things like biscuits and cakes. 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.

For the gnocchi:

1 cup cashew cheese

1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour

1 tsp Himalayan salt

3 tsp egg replacer mixed in 6 tbsp water

Mix cheese and egg replacer liquid mixture in a medium sized bowl and add flour and salt, stirring together until you have a dough consistency. You should be able to handle it without it sticking to your hands. If it’s still sticky, add a little more flour, bit by bit.

Roll into sausages about 1 cm thick on a floured board and cut into 1-2 cm pieces with a sharp knife. On a floured board, make sure to keep them from touching, while you’re preparing the remaining gnocchi, you don’t want them to stick.

When you’re ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a large pan of water to the boil and gently drop the gnocchi in. Wait until they float to the top and then scoop them out with a slotted spoon. Serve with pesto immediately.

For the nettle pesto:

A generous handful of each of the following herbs –

organic nettles

organic fennel fronds

organic mint

organic sage

organic oregano

1 clove garlic

extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp capers in salt (don’t rinse)

Blitz together in a food processor until you have the consistency you prefer, adding the olive oil as you go.

To serve the gnocchi, drizzle generous spoonfuls of pesto across the hot gnocchi, top with extra rocket flowers, fresh herbs or whatever takes your fancy. These little guys are filling, so don’t be put off by what seems like a small amount!

 

wake up tea

Alu Paratha with Lemon Achar

Every morning that we were trekking in the Himalaya, we were woken up with hot tea brought to our tent; if that one action doesn’t set the scene for how much we loved being in India, I don’t know what could. Beyond stating over and over again how extraordinary the magnitude of the Himalayas is, and how I tried to find new spaces in my head and heart to cram it all in, I really can’t find a way to wrap words around the experience. It was as though every spiritual teaching I have ever happened upon, all the beautiful passages of poetry, every minute of yoga practice, and all the meditation I have ever sat in, all met in a point of singularity, and what really, really blew my mind was how they all just fell away, in an instant. And there I was breathing and walking. Breathing and walking became the most incredible things. Stuff I’d be doing, let’s face it,  for quite sometime now, these everyday things, all of a sudden became truly sacred. And that’s pretty much how it played out, from one moment to the next, so overwhelmed with the beauty of breathing and walking in surroundings that asked nothing more or less of me. Insane levels of peace right there. Wake up tea indeed. And that’s before we found ourselves sitting in the kitchen of an 1100 year old Buddhist monastery. Crazy beautiful.

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And of course there’s so much more, there always is. And it’s still coming, even now that we’re home. I love that. And Alu Paratha, I love Alu Paratha. If there was a quintessential meal for me while we were in India, it was Alu Paratha, with Achar (pickle) and chai. So good. It’s our new Sunday brunch now that we’re back, and if the Gayatri Mantra is loud enough in the background, it just about tastes like the real thing – only with Spelt Flour, Vegan Butter and Almond Milk. Here’s our rendition of the originals if you’d like to create your own Little (Vegan) India.

Lemon Achar (Pickle)

The lemon achar will need to be made a few weeks before hand to allow the skins of the lemon quarters to soften, this is when you’ll know it’s ready.

1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds

1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns

1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3-4 strands of saffron

1 small dried chilli

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt 

4 organic lemons

300 ml mustard seed oil

Lightly dry roast the spices in a pan until fragrant and popping, then add the salt and saffron and roughly crush in a mortar and pestle.

Cut the lemons in quarters and remove the pips. Put in a bowl and stir the spices through to coat the lemon quarters. Put the quarters into sterilised jars, stacking the fruit as you would for preserved lemons.

Gently heat the mustard oil in a pan until it is hot, but not smoking. Add the small chilli into the jar and pour the hot oil over the lemons. Make the jar airtight and leave for at least a week until the lemon skins have softened, again in the same way preserved lemons do.

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 Alu Paratha

For the paratha:

1 cup organic spelt flour

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

2 tablespoons organic coconut oil

For the alu:

2 organic potatoes

1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Boil the potatoes, drain and cool. Mash together with the spices, salt and lemon juice.

Mix the spelt flour with the salt and rub in the coconut oil. Slowly add the water until you have a workable dough.

 Split the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece out to about 1/2 cm thick. Place a tablespoon of the potato mix in the centre of each and fold the edges of the dough over the potato like you were wrapping a present.  Turn the dough over and gently roll out as thinly as possible to spread the potato mix throughout the bread, but trying not to break the dough and let the potato bust through. This can take a little practice!

Heat a flat grill plate and cook each paratha until golden, flipping halfway through the cooking time to cook both sides evenly.

Serve with lemon achar and chai.

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full moon dinner guest

Not-Sausage Rolls

With our next Full Moon Farm Gate happening this Saturday night, I thought we could put two frogs on a rock by letting you know what morsels might be on offer, as well as you give you a chance to bake these delectable little guys at home after you fall in love with them, nibbling away, perched on a straw bale in the moonlight. I’d love to say that’s the only way you should ever eat these, but that would just be silly. They’re way too good for a once a month kind of dish. Over to my gorgeous buddy and fellow blogger, The Natural Foodie, aka Kirsty…

Growing up, I very quickly came to the realisation that sausage rolls go hand in hand with a party. I was never much of a fan of traditional party food, so I don’t really feel as though I’m missing anything by sticking to a whole food plant based diet. The sausage rolls however, were my one party food weakness, and my seven year old self’s guiltless pleasure.

Since I like to imagine the Full Moon Farm Gate as one big celebration, it seems only logical that my contribution would be not-sausage rolls. This is the kind of party food I wish I’d had access to at parties as a kid. In fact, the Full Moon Farm Gate is the kind of party I wish I went to as a kid, too.

Despite their much healthier outfit, I still think of these not-sausage rolls as a treat (it is pastry after-all). They just so happen to be much better for everyone involved, or not involved, if you happen to be a pig or cow.

If the lack of sausage in this recipe isn’t enough for you, we’re going one step further and making these gluten free as well. So if you happen to be that way inclined and are wondering what you can snack on come Saturday afternoon, please pop by our trestle. We’ll be the ones behind the pie warmer, keeping ourselves, and the not-sausage rolls, warm. There’ll be homemade tomato sauce and paper bags at the ready, too.

If you don’t have the time, store bought puff pastry is okay and usually doesn’t contain dairy or eggs (check the ingredients to be sure though). Health food stores usually have organic and gluten free options as well. However, if you’ve got the time and patience, it is possible to make your own gluten free rough puff pastry. There are several recipes floating around the net, like this one. Just be prepared to spend the better part of your day rolling, resting and rolling again, if you head down this road.

 

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Not-Sausage Rolls

 To make the cashew cheese:

1 cup organic cashews (soaked overnight, drained)

juice of one organic lemon

1 tbsp savoury yeast flakes

1/4 cup rain water

1/2 tsp murray river salt flakes

cracked black pepper

 

1 cup brown rice flakes 

1 cup warm water

1 tbsp flax meal 

3 tbsp rainwater

1 organic brown onion

1 cup organic almonds

2 organic garlic cloves, peeled

handful of chopped organic parsley

5 organic oregano leaves

1 tbsp organic tamari

1/4 cup psyllium husks

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp savoury yeast flakes

murray river salt flakes

black pepper

organic sesame seeds

extra oil for brushing

 

Add the cashew cheese ingredients to a high speed blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Scrape the cashew cheese mix out and set aside. 

 

In a separate bowl soak the rice flakes in the warm water. In another small bowl, stir together the flax meal and water. Set both aside.

 

Add the almonds, onion and garlic to the food processor and blitz into rough chunks. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, including the cashew cheese and flax meal mixture. Drain the rice flakes of excess water and add to the food processor. Blitz the mixture until smooth and sticky.

 

Roll the mixture into “sausages” and wrap with pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry with oil and press the edges together. Cut the rolls into desired length, prick them with a fork and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

 

Bake in a 220 degree celsius oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown and flaky.

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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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plane picnic

Beetroot Burgers

At the risk of sounding like a retreat junkie, I’m on a plane heading to Bali to do another dose of yoga and meditation. If only this could be an ongoing monthly occurrence in my life! More about that when I get back.

Because it’s all I’ve been thinking about over the last couple of days, I wanted to talk about what to pack when you’re flying if you don’t eat really overcooked non-descript meat and cold white bread rolls. I’m flying with a couple of buddies today and between us we could just about open a wholefoods cafe on board. We’d be the ‘alternative’ flight attendants. Dressed in organic hemp uniforms, no doubt.

The thing with taking food on planes is that you want to eat anything that will help hydrate you, but you don’t want anything that will leak over your only pair of socks. Beetroot burgers. Plus fresh fruit; apples are great because you don’t have any skin to peel and they can handle a bit of a pre flight bumble about in your bag. Raw nuts are really good too. I’ve packed a ziplock bag of rocket that I picked from the garden this morning, no dressing, but that’s forgiven, it’s still a load of chlorophyll going in along with the burgers. I usually pack dehydrated coconut water powder to mix into whatever water I drink on board too, really good stuff to up your electrolytes. And maybe a little orange and chia seed muffin or two. And tea! I always pack loose leaf tea with a single cup infuser so you just need to ask for hot water.

The easiest thing is to make these burgers for dinner the night before you fly out so you can quickly pop a few of them into a container once they’re cold the next morning. They taste pretty good cold too, another factor to tick off when your packing your plane picnic. When we had these last night, we added nettle pesto but that’s not exactly plane friendly when you think about opening a jar of raw garlic under the nose of the person next to you. It’s really good with these though, for the non-flying times.

 

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Beetroot Burgers

makes 12

 

3 medium sized organic beetroot, grated

1 organic leek, finely chopped

300g organic borlotti beans, cooked and cooled

2 cups organic brown rice, cooked and cooled

1 cup fresh organic chervil

1 cup fresh organic parsley

1/2 cup organic pepitas

1/2 cup organic sunflower seeds

1 heaped tablespoon organic tahini

2 teaspoons organic coriander seeds, dry toasted and ground

1 teaspoon organic cumin seeds, dry toasted and ground

1 teaspoon organic fennel seeds, dry toasted and ground

organic GF whole flour or spelt flour, to coat burgers

Celtic salt & pepper to taste

 

Blitz the cooked beans, herbs, tahini, spices and half of the seeds in a food processor until you have something resembling hommus.

In a large bowl, combine the pureed bean mixture with the chopped leek and grated beetroot. Add the remaining seeds and cooked brown rice. Season to taste.

To shape the burgers, have a plate of spelt flour at the ready and as you mould each burger with your hands, coat both sides in the flour, this will stop them sticking when you cook them.

Heat a flat grill and cook the burgers for 8-10 minutes, flipping half way through the cooking time to ensure both sides are evenly cooked.

Serve with fresh greens, whether at your table or in seat 16F.

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with love from cambodia

Raw Everything & Nettle Smoothie

Our Cambodian trip was a little while ago now but it’s taken me some time to let any notion of narrative fall into place about what it meant to be there. I still have none. The story will only be a story for you to read, and really, what would be the most amazing thing, and maybe the only real way to talk about this, is for you to go too. Take a totally brilliant friend with you. I did. And while you’re there please, please go to Hariharalaya. It’s where you can dissolve and be held at the same time. My God. And the really, really brilliant part is what you find in your heart when you get home. I’m still unpacking.

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Angkor Wat made me sit down a lot. Mostly because I was trying to stop my brain from figuring out the details. The overwhelming beauty stops all inner chat pretty quickly though.

 

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The view over the balcony from my room at Hariharalaya.

 

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We rode our bikes down dirt tracks lined either side with temples, to the soundtrack of chanting and local kids practicing their English on us, as they rode up to join us like we were old buddies that did this every afternoon.

 

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 Handmade, locally pottered tea cups. No one rides past that kind of magic shop.

 

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We had really great smoothies every morning as part of the Hariharalaya breakfast and it’s a ritual the bounty of stinging nettles has encouraged me to continue since being home. Here’s what we’ve been sipping on after yoga over the last week. It’s helping with my detachment until I can get back to Cambodia.

Raw Everything & Nettle Smoothie

makes at least 4 breakfast sized smoothies

 

3 cups freshly made organic almond milk (or milk or choice)

1 heaped tablespoon organic hemp seeds

1 heaped tablespoon organic raw cacao

1 heaped tablespoon organic mesquite powder

1 heaped tablespoon organic chia seeds

1 heaped tablespoon organic coconut oil

1 frozen organic banana

2 packed cups raw organic stinging nettles 

 

Blend everything together in a high speed blender until completely smooth. Don’t worry about the sting on the nettles, they’ll be dissolved during the pureeing process. Promise. You may want to add a little honey or agave if it’s not quite sweet enough for you.

moonlighting

Whole Spice Cola

With the very first Full Moon Farm Gate happening this Saturday night under not just a full moon, but a super full moon, I figured it would be especially good timing for my buddy Ben to share one of the most amazing recipes that will sit trestle-top on the night. Superfood cola. I can’t be entirely sure my earliest taste of this wasn’t the driving force to create the Full Moon Farm Gate in the first place. Thanks so, so much for sharing Ben, and even more for making this, it’ll be the coolest thing to be sipping on this Saturday night. After reading the epic ingredients list for this, all those heading to Langmeil on the 25th may well want to genuflect at the Moonlight Cola stall prior to purchase.

 

Beautiful pics, witty narration and epic recipe by Ben…

Cola Ingredients bottle and glass

 

 

So, this is a recipe for making cola syrup at home. I can’t remember exactly what started this little project – I suspect there may have been rum involved – but it’s developed into a series of still-running, sticky experiments which take over our kitchen for days at a time. Thankfully, it makes the house smell amazing throughout the process, otherwise I think I’d be making it in the garden shed by now.

A funny thing about cola is that it’s a wholly modern invention – well, late 1800’s anyway – and was made from the start with a lot of chemistry, using essential oils for flavour. Unlike a lot of recipes that are now mass-produced, there’s no ‘original homemade version’ we can go back to if we want the real thing (pun absolutely not intended). The name ‘cola’ comes from the Kola nut used in the original recipes, but Kola nut doesn’t really taste of much on its own – vaguely woody, and a bit bitter – it’s just there to provide caffeine. The real flavours that make something taste cola-ish are vanilla and sour citrus to offset the sweetness.

Anyway, the idea behind my tinkering is to make something that’s definitely cola, but by using real ingredients: whole spices, fresh zest and unprocessed sugars for sweetness. Really, it’s just a big, involved pot of some sort of mutant chai tea, with sugar added to turn it into a concentrated syrup. It keeps forever in the fridge – just add sparkling water whenever you fancy something sweet (yes, you can add rum if you’re a grown-up and/or a pirate).

 

Pestling

 

Whole Spice Cola

 1l water

Round one

3 whole vanilla beans

10 star anise nibs (1-and-a-bit whole stars)

10 green cardamom pods

10g coffee beans

10g cacao nibs or whole beans

5g cinnamon stick

2g long pepper

2g black peppercorns

4 cloves

10g dried açaí berry

 

Round two

24g tamarind pulp

20g fresh ginger

5g fresh turmeric

5g fresh galangal

pinch of saffron

2g lavender flowers

 

Round three

10g whole, fresh citrus leaves (lime, lemon, orange, cumquat are all good)

15g lemon zest

15g lime zest

15g orange zest

 

Round four

75g rapadura sugar

50g raw caster sugar

25g dark muscavado sugar

A pinch of sea salt

2tsp of citric or tartaric acid (taste!)

 

Take all the whole, woody spices (that’s all of round one, except the cinnamon, vanilla and açaí) and gently crack them in a mortar and pestle – we’re just trying to open the pods and seeds, without making any fine dusty bits. Dust is our nemesis, as you’re about to find out! Split the vanilla pods with a sharp knife – don’t worry about doing the famous ‘seed scrape’, for once we don’t need the floaty little specks. 

Starting cold, add the water and all the round one ingredients to a pot, and bring it to just under simmering. We’re really just making our giant pot of tea at this point, so we don’t need to see any bubbles. Keep it at this temperature for 30 minutes, stirring whenever you feel like it.

Lime and cinnamon

Add all the round two ingredients to the pot and give it a good stir. Keep it at the tea-brewing temperature for another 10 minutes, then go fishing for the tamarind pulp with your wooden spoon – it’ll be sitting in soft-ish lumps at the bottom of the pot. Either with the back of the spoon, or with your fingers if you’re feeling heatproof, break up the lumps so they dissolve nicely. Once that’s done, give everything a big stir, and let it keep brewing for another 30 minutes. 

Turn off the heat, then add the round three ingredients. Stir the pot well, cover it tightly, and let it cool completely. Adding the citrus ingredients last, and letting them infuse in the cooling liquid keeps the raw, zesty flavours better intact.

Infusing

Alright – what we’re dealing with now is the base flavour for our cola. Taste it: you should get sourness from the zest and tamarind, big earthy dark flavours from all the woody spices, and some sweetness and a big dose of vanilla perfume. It will taste bitter, too – just like you’d expect an hours-long-brewed tea to. That’s fine, even desirable. The real challenge now is our nemesis – the floatie. I’m going to digress on a little bit of science here (if I don’t bring science to a guest-post on the Scullery blog, I’ve failed) – but if you want to skip this part, be warned. There is filtering in your future. Lots of it.

So, the science. It’s about bubbles. Bubbles belong in cola like, well, like they belong in champagne. The problem with our lovely home-infused concoction is that it’s full of all the little floaty particles that separated from our delicious whole ingredients. Bubbles and floaty-particles are really, really good friends – as soon as sparkling water touches a floaty-particle, a big new bubble springs into being (bonus nerd points – every particle is a potential nucleation site). If there are thousands of floaty-particles in your syrup, then you get thousands of bubbles all at once – which gives your glass a head like badly homebrewed beer, and you a flat drink about 30 seconds later. Incidentally, I imagine this is why the original and ‘clone’ recipes you see floating around for the famous, mass-produced colas all call for essential oils of orange, lemon, neroli – you get some of the flavour without any floaties).

Anyway, presuming you’re going to mix your cola syrup with some lightly sparkling water we need to get our syrup as clear and free of floaty bits as we practically can. Let’s get started:

First, slowly pour off the liquid, through a colander and into a bowl. If you’ve got a fancy conical one, use that. That removes the bits bigger than 5mm or so. Save the vanilla beans, and throw the rest in the compost. Clean your pot, then pour the liquid back into it, this time through a fine mesh sieve. Pour slowly (you don’t want to push bits through the mesh with the force of the liquid), and tap gently on the side of the sieve to encourage things if you like. Definitely don’t rub spoons or anything around inside the sieve – let gravity do its thing. We’re down to soft pieces smaller than about 1mm now, which are still plenty big enough for bad nucleation to happen – we’ve got to keep going!

Set yourself up a clear glass bottle, funnel, and the clean mesh sieve. Pour the liquid gently through the sieve again to fill the bottle. Cap the bottle, and put it in the fridge overnight.

Decanting

The next day, you should find a layer of sediment has settled to the bottom of the bottle. Gently, gently take the bottle and pour off the clear liquid on top, back into the pot. Stop before you hit the goo in the bottom. If you want to save every last drop, pour the goo layer back through the sieve, and into a paper coffee filter. You might also see some yellowish solidified oils around the neck of the bottle – don’t worry, they’re there as evidence we’ve used real, proper ingredients, and they’ll reincorporate once you add the sugar.

Now, if you want super-crystal-clear syrup, you can paper-coffee-filter the liquid at this point. Be warned though – filtering through paper takes hours (or days, as I found out while experimenting). If you’re going to do it, set up lots of funnels and lots of filter papers, to spread the load out as much as you can. If you can’t be bothered with this step, just be gentle when you pour the finished syrup – the last little bits tend to settle out in the fridge over time.

When you’re happy with the amount and clarity of the liquid, gently warm it in the pot, just enough to take the chill off. Pour all the sugar into a clean bottle, add the liquid, and shake and stir until everything’s dissolved (you can be rough with it, it’s cool!). Now’s the time to have a taste test as you add the final two ingredients: the sea salt and the acid. The salt is a funny thing – you definitely won’t taste anything salty, but it really brings out the flavours of everything else. The acid is perhaps a debatable point: with everything else being completely whole and natural, it seems a shame to add it, but it gives the finished drink a sourness and ‘rightness’ that I just haven’t been able to get with any other ingredient. Tartaric acid is my pick – it has the handy benefit of preventing the syrup crystalizing in the fridge, and seems to help the mixed drink hold onto its bubbles better. In any case, both acids are naturally found in fruit: citric in citruses, tartaric in grapes (amongst other things), and if you use baking powder in a cake, you’re using tartaric acid anyway. You can easily, easily overdo the acid, though, so add a little bit, mix up a mouthful with water, then adjust until you have it as sour as you like. My syrup usually has about 3 teaspoons per litre, but you’ll need to adjust depending on all your other ingredients. 

For the final drink, I usually use 6:1 sparkling water to syrup – roughly 1 shot in a tumbler of sparkling water – but this syrup isn’t very sweet, as far as these things go. You can personalise the flavour a lot with the blend of sugars you use: More muscovado will give you caramelly-molasses flavour, and the dark-brown colour people expect from cola. Panela or rapadura brings mellow honey flavours, and lighter sugars (raw or even white) are sweet but very neutral, which let more of the herbs and zests come through. 

All that’s left is to bottle it however you like. Depending on how assiduous your filtering is, you’ll get about 800ml of syrup, and it’ll keep for months in the fridge. Cheers!

Finished

coconut yoghurt you say?

Coconut Yoghurt

It may have taken me a while but I’ve well and truly fallen in love with this whole coconut yoghurt thing. So good. And far more creamier than I imagined. There’s lots of great recipes online for coconut yoghurt but my interest was piqued again when we went to Mexico, and not because there are ‘cocos frios’ everywhere, but because of the pre-flight food pack I put together before we left.

I came across dehydrated coconut water, in its raw powdered form, and thought it would be a perfect flight buddy to add to water along the way for a decent electrolyte fix over the nearly 30 hours of flying we had ahead of us. It worked a treat. Once we were airborne, I started thinking of all the other things I could add it to (that daydream helped to fill in at least, oh, 30 minutes out of the 30 hours) and along with smoothies, dips, soups etc, coconut yoghurt popped into the part of my brain where I do my taste testing.

Not that the idea is to make the yoghurt from the dehydrated coconut water, but I found out that if you add it to your fresh coconut yoghurt it makes it thicker without losing that lovely creaminess. Bingo. I’m sure you could go ahead and flavour the yoghurt too but the coconut flavour it pretty big on its own, so I’ve just been enjoying adding it to things rather than adding things to it. So far, coconut yoghurt had been dolloped onto raw granola, mixed with chia seeds and fresh apricots for a take in the jar kind of breakfast, dipped into with chapati to have with dahl, swirled through gazpacho and spooned through grated cucumber with toasted cumin seeds. It’s good stuff.

 

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Coconut Yoghurt

makes 2 cups

 

3 fresh whole organic drinking coconuts

2 capsules dairy free acidophilus probiotic powder

1 heaped tablespoon organic dehydrated coconut water (optional)

 

The trickiest part about this recipe is getting into the coconuts! I have a cleaver that I bought especially for this in Thailand, but if you don’t have a heavy cleaver, use the heaviest knife you have in your collection. I have been known to use a screwdriver and hammer before too!

Start by chopping into one side of the top of the coconut using repeated strikes until you feel the knife break through the shell. Then move onto the other three sides of the square you’ll eventually be able to pull open to access the coconut water and flesh.

Once you have a 3 coconuts open, drain the water into a jug and sip away on that because you’ll only need about 1/4 cup or so in your yoghurt. Using a rounded soup spoon, scrape the flesh from the inside of the coconut and put into your blender. Don’t forget to get the flesh right at the top too. Pull off any bits of shell that come with the flesh, your blender won’t like these.

Once you have all the coconut flesh in your food processor, break the capsules apart and sprinkle in the acidophilus powder, add the dehydrated coconut water and blend to a smooth puree. If you are happy with the consistency as is, then there’s no need to add any fresh coconut water. I probably added a little less than 1/4 cup.

Put the coconut puree into a clean glass jar with a lid and leave the yoghurt in a warm place for 24hours to allow the culture to activate. Then pop it in the fridge. It will keep for about a week. You’ll have scraped the bottom of the jar well before then though I’d imagine!

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scullery tea bags

Gingersnap Teabag Biscuits

There’s a tiny voice in my head doing that tiny voice thing. And there’s the ducklings that just hatched this week. That tiny voice is saying, “You’re going to Mexico tomorrow and it would seem your bag is yet to be packed.” At the same time I’ve magically found the last half hour to sip tea on a hay bale and grin inanely at said ducklings. And now I’m blogging. Jimminy.

I wanted to share these little teabag biscuits though because they’ve become a bit of a theme over the last 2 weeks. I’ve been making them to take everywhere I’ve been for Christmas drinks, which luckily have been of the steeped persuasion, rather than the bubbly kind. These would probably work with champagne too if I think about the amount of ginger in them though.

Suitcase, suitcase.

Ok. Recipe.

Oooh, hang on. Ducklings first.

 

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Gingersnap Tea Bag Biscuits

makes about 40 biscuits

 

You could either do these raw in the dehydrator or bake them in the oven. I’ve done both and they’re yummy either way. Just make sure your GF flours are raw if you want to do the dehydrator thing.

 

1 cup organic almond flour 

1 cup organic GF flour 

1/2 cup organic panela sugar

1/4 cup organic maple syrup

2 Tbsp organic black strap molasses

1 Tbsp organic raw coconut oil

1-2 Tbsp freshly grated organic ginger

1 tsp ground organic cinnamon

1 tsp ground organic cloves

1 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

 

Cotton thread

Sticker labels

Stamp

 

 

In a food processor, process all dry ingredients. Slowly add in wet ingredients and pulse until ingredients start to stick together. 

Preheat oven to 170C.

Roll out dough and cut into tea bag sized rectangles. Then trim the top two corners on an angle to create the classic teabag shape. 

Place biscuits onto a floured baking paper lined tray and make a hole in the top with a skewer or chopstick. This will be where you’ll thread your tag.

Bake for 10-12 minutes (or dehydrate for about 12 hours) and let cool on a cake rack.

 

To make the tags, take some labelling stickers and cut into strips that can be folded over with sticky sides securing the cotton thread.

 

Thread the cotton through the hole and peel the label strip to reveal the sticky side. Put both ends of the cotton onto one of the short ends of the label and then fold the label over itself to stick the cotton in between. 

 

Stamp the tag or write something lovely to be your ‘brand’ of teabag.

 

These are great to dunk into tea without risk of burning your pinkies. Dainty.

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real lemonade

Real Lemonade

I’m not sure I can quite pull the old ‘we’re still recovering from a huge Breakfast Rave’ line now that we’re a fortnight on from the actual event, but hoping you can humour me. It is true. Mostly. It was such an amazing day a couple of Sunday’s ago, the weather was perfect, the location at Chateau Tanunda just gorgeous, great food, music, coffee, tea, green smoothies, and an all round good vibe for everyone’s start to the day. I thought I’d made enough lemonade but Spring came along dressed for Summer and we sold out, so here’s the recipe for everyone I promised it to. Over 2 weeks ago now. Ooops.

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Real Lemonade

 

3/4 cup organic panela sugar (or other unrefined sugar of choice)

1 cup water 

1 cup organic, freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5 lemons worth)

1 vanilla bean, stripped

 

3 to 4 cups still or sparkling water (to dilute)

 

Make a simple syrup by heating the panela sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely. Add the lemon juice and vanilla seeds and stir through.

 

Remove from heat and leave to cool before diluting to taste with either still or sparkling water.

 

The panela sugar will make this lemonade a darker colour but the flavour is wonderful.

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