baking

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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by your self with pig pie

Pig Pie

This whole ‘self-care’ thing has been popping up like a cartoon thought bubble lately. And, I’m not sure why, but just the term seems irritating to me, maybe its overuse has spread it too rough and thin somehow? There’s bound to be a year’s worth of psychological analysis right there. Anyway, usually cause to have a better look at something when I notice it gets under my skin like that.

First reaction, I don’t have time for self-care. Second reaction, Oh.

Irony is a little minx isn’t she? Time and the perceived lack of it is such a big one. I have a friend who figured she’d just rename things to strike up a more harmonious relationship with time, and so, ‘blessed is the new busy’ she said. Sounded like a brilliant plan. The next time I saw her after a ridiculously full week, ‘yeah’, she told me, ‘busy’s bullshit’. We got a decent laugh out of it. Maybe that was the point all along.

The idea of finding a new way to approach self-care without feeling selfish made me want to take my friend’s lead and just call it something entirely different though. Mostly because when I think about, or more to the point, feel self-care, it’s not the ‘let’s go shopping and buy lots of things’ kind, or a ‘stay home and eat Pringles all day’ scenario, it’s more about that aspect of self that just wants to know you’re on side, wants to be acknowledged as the stripped bare essence of who you are. No ‘should be / really better’ list, just the part of your self that seeks out the kind of analogue warmth that comes with small gestures; sitting in the Winter sunshine to drink your tea, closing your eyes for a moment when a favourite song shuffles itself to the top of your iTunes list, pulling on a pair of really, really warm homemade socks that you know will change your approach to the whole day, making a pot of soup from veggies in the garden by picking whatever comes across your path, pushing your face into the golden-hay smell of your horse’s neck, you get the idea. The things that sustain us rather than divert us. The things that may mean little to anyone else, but everything to you. No one else knows that stuff, which is why ‘being by your self’ is the best way I can explain self-care. Not in any solitary sense, not at all, but in the way you would stand by a buddy when they needed you most – it’s that.

 

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So, last week when all three of us registered the ‘to do list’ had eaten the ‘to be list’ once again, we put all the small things that collectively spell self-care into the one day and took a road trip. Road trips are right up there on the self care list. As are green juice travellers in the car. Stopping at whatever little second hand stores took our fancy on route. Buying quinces and apples from road-side honesty boxes. Drinking chai from a thermos. Picking gigantic field mushrooms that no one could ever eat but we knew would make beautiful spore prints on paper. And setting up for lunch along a little dirt-track using the upcycled bits and bobs we’d bought along the way as cafe furniture in the grass. Doubled over, tears down cheeks laughter and it wouldn’t have mattered what name we assigned to self-care, it was that feeling of having stolen the day for no other reason than to be ‘by our selves’ that was the alchemy we wrapped each other up in. The kind of nourishment that sinks into your bones. I guess that descriptor is too long for a DL Flyer, but maybe it could be the tagline for Self-Care. Or maybe it’s even simpler still – reconnect to wonder. That works.

And we ate Pig Pie. So called because my vintage bird cookie cutter had taken flight and all I could lay my hands on was the piggie. You’ve probably guessed already there’s no pig in this pie besides the pastry cut out…

 

 

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Pig Pie (also known as Roasted Beetroot and Brown Rice Pie with Rye Pastry)

For the pastry:

3 cups organic wholemeal rye flour

4 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

1 tsp Himalayan salt

room temperature rainwater

For the pie filling:

2 cups cooked organic brown rice

1 1/2 cups cooked organic black lentils

2 medium organic roasted beetroot, diced

2 cloves roasted garlic

2 tbsp organic black tahini

fresh tarragon, chopped

fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Using a 22cm diameter x 5cm high tart tin with removable base, prepare it by rubbing the inside base and sides with coconut oil, using your fingers to warm the oil as you work your way around the tin. Dust with flour and set aside.

To make the pastry, put the rye flour, salt and coconut oil into a food processor and blitz until the coconut oil has been ‘rubbed in’. Starting with a tablespoon at a time, add the rainwater while the food processor is going so you can see the dough come together in a ball. You will end up using about 5-6 tablespoons depending on the rye flour you have. It shouldn’t be sticky, but it should just stick together!

I always roll my pastry between two sheets of baking paper, just easier that way. Split off 2/3 of the dough and roll out for the base, leaving the other 1/3 for the top. Roll to a rough circle about 5mm thick. Pick up by rolling around your rolling pin and gently place into the tart tin, pushing the pastry into the corners and sides. Trim any excess pastry from the top, prick the base with a fork a few times and bake for 8-10 minutes until just set but not cooked through.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool while you prepare the filling.

I had left over rice and roasted beetroot already in the fridge which is the main reason I went with this combination, but you could really add any roasted veggies to any pulses and mix it with rice. Blitz about half of the cooked black lentils with tahini and the roasted garlic to give yourself a smooth puree to work through the rice and remaining lentils to hold them together. Add the fresh herbs. Season to taste.

Put half of the rice/lentil mixture into the pie base and then add the roasted  chunks of beetroot, followed by the remaining half of the rice mixture. This should be quite a snug fit to the top of the tin. 

Roll out your pastry lid, using the baking paper sheets to avoid sticking. Place the lid on the pie and seal by pinching it together along the top edge of the pastry base. With any leftover pastry you can make a piggie, or any similar well-loved animal  for the top.

Brush with a little soy milk and bake for 20-30 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and starting to brown around the edges.

If you’re taking this on a picnic, leave it in the tin for easy transport, otherwise remove from the tin after about 10 minutes and serve with garden greens and a few blooms; nasturtium, calendula petals, fennel fronds etc.

 

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antique roadshow

roasted pumpkin & hempseed spelt pasties

After another rather deep conversation about the goings on of the planet and our place on it, a beautiful friend of mine proposed a beautiful thing; can we have a play date and remember that carefree joy that sits in us somewhere under the seriousness of how we’re planning to save the world? Instantly on board with the idea, my mind went to setting up jumps for the ponies (our legs) that would be racing around the hill next time we caught up. That little gem of a game featured heavily in my childhood so it was a given it would be the first thing to come to me, but thinking about it a little more, I kind of felt a bit sad that we might have to organise play for ourselves, that it did seem like quite a while since that easy, go-with-the-flow creative process had us captured in that wonderful place of no time and no expectation. A heavy sigh out let in a gorgeous visual vignette of antique shops, a packed lunch, thermos of tea and laughing in the car – a road trip – of course! Grown up play of the very best kind.

Just thinking about what we’d have on our roadside picnic had the creative process started, food always does it. Actually, that’s not true, sometimes cooking can be a drag, but when you take the expectation away the whole concept flips itself into the same territory as finger painting or potato stamping. Good stuff. So, with the current roast-ahead-to-make-easy-meals-later theme at play in our kitchen, I had some roasted pumpkin ready to go, the hemp seeds came out of the fridge and some lemon thyme and sage joined in to make pasties. Because that’s what the miners used to eat, and we were heading into old mining towns, and somehow this all made sense at the time. You know how it goes.

It was the very shiniest of days as we set ourselves up on a blanket in the overgrown grounds of an unused church, drinking kombucha, eating pasties and rocket salad with sauerkraut and pesto, and chatting about everything and nothing. The raw chocolate and tea was saved for our next stop further up the road and every little antique shop in every little town we drove through filled in the blanks along the way. As we stopped to watch the sunset on the way home, in the middle of absolutely nowhere, where the sky was so big we had to turn the music way up in the car to do the scene soundtrack justice, we vowed to make this a seasonal event at the very least. Given, eating vegan food and antique shopping in quiet country towns isn’t the wildest thing we could all imagine doing, it’s our new favourite game. And don’t worry, we giggled at that too.

 

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Roasted Pumpkin & Hempseed Spelt Pasties

makes 4 pasties

for the spelt pastry:

1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour

2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

enough water to pull dough together

Himalayan salt, to taste

for the filling:

1/2 organic pumpkin (about 4 cups), cut into 2cm cubes, skin on and roasted

extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp organic lemon thyme, chopped

2 tbsp organic fresh sage, chopped

4 tbsp organic hempseeds

Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 180C.

To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt and coconut oil in a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds. Then slowly add a little water until the dough pulls together to form a ball. 

To make the pumpkin filling, simply combine all the ingredients without mashing the pumpkin up too much in the process. If you’d rather not have the skin as part of the plan, remove it prior to mixing, but I love the texture it adds so I’ve left it on in this recipe.

Remove the dough and cut into 4 even pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 20cm in diameter and place a quarter of the pumpkin mixture along the centre line in a small mound, tapering off at each end.

Using your fingers to wet the edges of the pastry, pull the two sides of the pasty over the top of the filling and press together using your finger and thumb to concertina the join. Work all the way down to each end of the pasty and finally fold the very last piece of dough at each end over itself to completely seal the pasty.

Repeat with the remaining dough and mixture to end up with 4 pasties.

Brush a little almond or soy milk across the tops of the pasties and put into the preheated oven to cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry just starts to colour and is cooked through on the bottom. This is not the kind of pastry that puffs up, so don’t wait for that as the sign it’s ready!

When the pasties are cooked, remove from the oven and slide onto a cooling rack to ensure they don’t end up with soggy bottoms. Nothing worse.

We ate our’s with sauerkraut which I’d highly recommend as the perfect accompaniment but I’d never say no to a good homemade tomato sauce either.

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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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sheep in wolfe’s clothing

Spanikopita

A bunch of us went to see David Wolfe last night and because the drive was a little over an hour, and because we’re all food obsessed, and because it’s hard not to be into the ‘ladies-bring-a-plate’ notion when you live in the country – we had a car picnic. One hell of a car picnic!

It’s such a cool thing when telepathy takes care of who’s bringing what and you end up with a 3 course meal that covers the full spectrum of colours and flavours. We had a wildcrafted saffron and split pea soup (in a thermos of course), carrot and quinoa salad and beetroot and orange salad, a version of Spanikopita filled with most of our garden and ‘tofu turned feta’, with tamarillo and chilli chutney, and for dessert, raw cacao tart with raspberry puree, perfectly presented in a jar for easy eating at the red lights on the way home. It was a carload of pretty happy campers I can tell you, and that’s apart from the epic proportion of jocundity a couple of hours hanging out in David Wolfe’s buzz leaves you with. Ridiculous levels of knowledge with an imp-like demeanour. Intoxicating combination in a man.

The theme gets a bit wonky when it comes to the Spanikopita though because it wasn’t raw. It was half a garden’s worth of chlorophyll though, so points there. And the feta wasn’t really. It was tofu. A sheep in wolf’s clothing so to speak. It’s been on high rotation at our table this week. It’s not tricky to do, more of a time thing, but worth the forethought for sure.

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Spanikopita

serves 4-6

 

1 packet organic firm tofu

3 tsp Himalayan salt

2 cups water

3 -4 tbsp organic herbs (rosemary, oregano, marjoram, thyme, bay)

juice of 1/2 organic lemon

 

organic raw coconut oil, for sauteing

1 giant bunch organic greens (spinach, silverbeet, cavalo nero)

2 organic leeks

2 tbsp fresh organic marjoram

1 1/2 tsp organic smoky paprika

8 – 10 phyllo pastry sheets 

extra virgin olive oil

freshly ground pepper

Himalayan salt

 

To make the tofu-turned-feta, cut the tofu into 1cm cubes and place into a saucepan with the water, salt, herbs and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer, liquid and all, to marinate in the fridge overnight.

The next day, thaw the phyllo sheets and pre heat the oven to 180C.

In a large saucepan, melt a little coconut oil and fry the sliced leeks and roughly chopped greens until soft, but not mushy. Add the marjoram, remove from heat and season to taste, stirring through with the paprika. 

Brush a pie dish or enamel pan with olive oil and place 2 sheets of phyllo across the base and up the sides. Oil those sheets and place another 2 on top at a right angle. Oil those and place the final 2 on top, again at a right angle.

Fill the pastry with the cooled greens and leek mixture and add the drained tofu. 

Wrap the pastry over the mixture, like an envelope, sealing with a little more oil. The last 2 sheets of phyllo, I scrunched up to make the top of the spanikopita a little fancier, but that’s absolutely optional. Brush the top of the pastry with more oil and grind some pepper over the top with a sprinkle of salt before placing into the oven for 20-25 minutes.

When nicely browned, remove from the oven and serve while the pastry is still lovely and crisp.

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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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grape giving

Schiacciata

Shopping in supermarkets made me forget how precious food is for a while there. Growing our own food again was the best reminder. Planting something, caring for it, saving it from earwigs and rogue free range chickens, and finally harvesting it, put me firmly back into the loop of appreciating just what plants do for us. It seems a deal that’s pretty much skewed in our favour too; a little water, some horse poo and a place in the sun is exchanged for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Which brings me to the fact we’ve been eating grapes for three meals a day of late. This is the first year our vines have said ok, fair’s fair, you’ve loved us from our infancy across the last 5 years, and now here’s enough food to see you through Summer. It’s a beautiful thing. I feel like I’m in an advert for local tourism when I walk away from the row of vines with handfuls of grapes wrapped in the makeshift bucket of my t-shirt. The dialogue of thanks between me and the vine while I’m picking, is not something I can imagine getting away with in the fruit and veg section of a supermarket.

So, fresh grape juice and grapes in smoothies and bowls of fresh grapes make for easy breakfast options, then lunchtime salads of grapes and cashew cheese, walnuts and greens are a winner, but dinner can get a bit trickier. Enter schiacciata. Never has ‘squashed’ bread been so good.

We used a sneak of sourdough from our mix of baking for the Farmer’s Market for the base, but you can easily use any favourite pizza dough recipe, or even make things a bit gnarlier with some wholegrain additions. The thickness of the base can be anywhere from a focaccia size to a flat bread but because I cooked this in our sandwich grill and couldn’t get anything too thick in there, I went with more of a traditional pizza base thickness.

As a quick side note, a couple of very clever friends put the hemp food cover you can see over the dough, in my hands this week and I have to share the joy of no more plastic cling film. Hemp, beeswax, tree resin and organic cotton. Washable and reusable. How cool is that? Check out Abeego if you want more info. Ok, community service announcement over!

 

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Schiacciata

 

1 generous bunch organic red seedless grapes

fresh organic rosemary

Himalayan salt

Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Organic pizza dough

Extra flour for rolling

 

 

After you have made your base and let it go through its rising time, roll it out into 2 pizza bases on a floured board.

Place onto the grill, or onto a pizza stone if you are planning on cooking it in the oven, and press the grapes into the dough, along with the fresh rosemary sprigs.

Cook to your liking and serve seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil.

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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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trust me

fresh pea and sprouted chickpea samosas

My brother has been responsible for some of my favourite food memories. He has an uncanny knack of leading me into unexpected situations that require another folder be added to the archive of all things delicious. But before the romance of this notion has us sounding like the Brady Bunch, I should say that our latest sibling food moment was in a food court. Yeah. My brother has taken me to some seriously dodgy places under the pretence of ‘trust me’. Thing is, regardless of how uninspiring the surrounds may be, he comes up with the flavour goods time and again.

So the food court is smack bang in the middle of Bangkok; 9 floors up into the clouds of smog, atop a department store full of more stuff than any one person could possibly need in a lifetime. You know the deal.

The scene initially played out like so many others, with my brother telling me to trust him and me whinging about why we couldn’t eat mango on the street under the tree near our restaurant. In this case the whinging continued on the train, through the rotating doors of the department store, through the perfume section and all the way up the escalators to the cashier who issued us with a card to be scanned each time we ordered something. My brother smiled and disappeared into the abyss of shoppers all looking for their favourite thing for lunch. I sighed like a spoilt brat at my ‘scan card’ and started to bumble my way into the crowd. And there they were, 2 super smiley faces behind a wall of samosas and a veritable cauldron of chai. It was probably only 3 minutes of chatting to these guys as they made fresh samosas and poured me a huge pot of chai, and I walked back to my brother with lunch and a completely different attitude.

Samosas and chai – so good. A sip of tea and a nibble of spicy samosa, and so it went for the next few minutes. My brother didn’t say a word other than, ‘You cool now? Shall we go?’ I think I talked about how the heat of the tea perfectly amplified the spice in the samosas, and how incredible the pastry was, and how I would never again eat samosas without drinking chai at the same time, all the way home. Another favourite food memory firmly logged in the archive. I just need to figure out how to remember the ‘trust me‘ part when my brother says he knows a good place for lunch.

These samosas are just one of perhaps a million versions, but they worked to make the most of fresh Spring peas and sprouted chickpeas, and the last of the coriander in our garden. I used a ‘Spring masala’ from Maya Tiwari’s book too. And there’s no deep frying with these. While the samosas are cooking, make your favourite recipe for chai – a big pot of it so you don’t risk running out before the samosas are eaten. We ate and drank ours on the front verandah overlooking the lavender and watching the runner ducks hunting snails – and it took me right back to that food court! So romantic.

 

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Fresh Pea & Sprouted Chickpea Samosas

makes 10 samosas

 

For the pastry:

 

1 cup organic wholemeal spelt flour

2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

A little water

 

For the filling:

 

1 organic potato, boiled and mashed 

1/2 cup organic peas, shelled

1/2 cup sprouted organic chickpeas (or use cooked chickpeas if you’d rather)

2 organic spring onions

1 cm slice of fresh organic ginger

3 tsp Spring Masala mix (below)

2 tsp tamarind puree

handful of fresh organic coriander leaves

1 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

Himalayan salt to taste

 

For the Spring Masala:

 

1 tsp organic cumin seeds

2 tbsp organic coriander seeds

1 tbsp organic yellow mustard seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp organic cardamom

 

 

To make the masala, dry roast the spices until they are fragrant and then grind to a fine powder with a mortar and pestle.

 

To make the pastry, put all the ingredients into a food processor and add enough water to pull the dough together into a ball.

 

For the filling, put everything except the potato, peas and chickpeas into a food processor and blend until smooth. Then combine the paste with the remaining ingredients and eat some along the way as you prepare the samosas. I did this, so imagined you would too, and have allowed for extra filling so no one is caught out!

 

Pre heat the oven to 180C.

 

To assemble the samosas, divide the pastry into 5 equal balls and roll out to a thin disc. Cut each disc in half to create 10 crescent shapes. Place a couple of tablespoons, or so, of filling in the centre of each crescent of dough and then wrap up by pulling the sides over the filling and sealing them at the base of the samosa. You can just press the dough together with your fingers, no need for water.

 

Place the samosas onto a baking paper lined, or flour dusted, tray and cook for 15 minutes on one side, then turn each samosa over and cook for a further 15 minutes to brown the other sides.

 

Serve with copious amounts of chai. Nibble and sip.

 

You’ll have more Spring Masala than you need so use it in other curries or sprinkled over roasted veggies. So good. And if you’d like to sprout chickpeas, just soak them for a day first and then pop into a sprouting bag. We’ve been using a hemp fabric bag which means you can just dunk the whole bag in water and then leave to drain by tying the bag to a tap over the sink. Dunk it each day for 3-4 days and you’ll have lovely little tails on your chickpeas.

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