vegan

stop to smell the rosehips

Wild Rosehip Shrub

I’ll be the first to admit to reaching for my rose coloured glasses whenever the notion of foraging is mentioned, but there really is a lot to be said for gathering what you might otherwise whiz past roadside. Food for the taking. Olives polka-dotting trees, gnarly old quinces hanging like lanterns, and rosehips that announce their whereabouts via your nasal passages well before you spot their perfectly muted red tones in the landscape. How good do rosehips smell?! Such a distinctive mix of sweet and sour. Which is exactly how it tastes. But beyond drying them for tea (which we do), there’s not a lot that I have come across to make the most of a glut of ripe rosehips – until I discovered shrubs. The non-bushy kind.

Shrubs are a perfectly old-fashioned way of drawing out, and preserving the flavours of fruit, into an apple cider vinegar based syrup. Then all that stands between you and your inner mixologist is a bottle of bubbly water and a particularly pretty glass. Here’s how I’ve been making our little ode to Autumn foraging…

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Wild Rosehip Shrub

2 cups rosehips, stripped clean of leaves and branches
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 cups natural sugar

To make the shrub, simply bring the vinegar to the boil, add the sugar and continue to boil until dissolved. Then remove from heat and put the rosehips into the hot vinegar/sugar liquid.

Pour into a jar and cover, leaving in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks.

Taste, and if the rosehips have steeped for long enough to draw their flavour out to your liking, then strain them out of the syrup and pour into a sterilised bottle. Store in the fridge and add to soda, kombucha or whatever might take your fancy, in the same way you would a cordial.

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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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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!

 

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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digging the dirt(y)

Dirty(y) Food Saag Aloo

Way back when the idea of the Full Moon Farm Gate started percolating, dirt(y) Simon Bryant was one of the first foodie types I thought of calling to see if he’d be keen to be on board. He was. His diary wasn’t. It’s taken since 2013 until now to find a happy collision of his free time and our popping up, but that junction is here and it’s happening! This is a very cool thing for lots of reasons, but the most of them are about Simon’s food and his approach to how and why things end up on a compostable plate. If you didn’t get any ‘celebrity’ vibe in that, it’s because there isn’t any of that with Simon. Really. And he’s more than entitled, believe me. Instead, there’s the ‘sure, we can cook to order in a stone stable in unpredictable weather, not knowing how many people are coming, and we’ll talk to all the local producers to make sure we get as many things grown down the road as we can.’ That’s Simon. Clearly a Full Moon Farm Gate kind of guy.

You’d think, knowing all the above, that I wouldn’t possibly ask him for anything else, but when he told me what he had planned for Saturday night’s menu, “hey, would you guest blog one of the recipes for me?” was out of my typing fingers before I could add, “please say yes!” And he did. So here’s one of the ‘wokked to order’ dishes he’ll be serving come Saturday night at Langmeil. It’s from his new book. The one that hasn’t actually been released yet. If that doesn’t make us all feel loved…

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 Dirt(y) Food Saag Aloo by Simon Bryant

500 g starchy potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

(Syd Lewis’ Pontiacs)

60 ml dirt(y) raw pressed red skin peanut oil *

2 onions, diced

(from Alnda Farms)

4 cloves garlic, crushed

(from Krondorf Farm)

1 tsp freshly grated turmeric

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tbsp poppy seeds

1 big bunch English spinach, leaves roughly chopped

(from Alnda Farms)

salt flakes

100 ml raw coconut oil

½ large green chilli, sliced

coconut yoghurt and steamed basmati rice, to serve

 

Start by boiling the spuds till they are tender and set aside and keep warm. 

Heat a large heavy-based pan (with a lid), add the peanut oil and once hot sautee the onion and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes or until soft. Turn the heat up a little and add the spices to fry for about 30 seconds or till aromatic – but don’t burn that fenugreek or it will turn bitter! 

Add the spinach along with ½ cup water and toss gently so the spinach is covered with the spice mixture. Place the lid on and cook covered for around 3 mins or until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt flakes. Grab a stick blender and puree the mixture, adding the raw coconut oil while the mixture is hot. 

Add the potatoes and gently fold through the pureed mixture.

Garnish with the green chilli and serve with coconut yoghurt and steamed basmati.

 

A note from Simon…

* dirt(y) is my brand of Australian grown, gm free, wholefoods. So I guess this is my shameless plug for our peanut oil…

dirt(y) raw pressed red skin peanut oil is made with red skin peanuts grown in sunny Kingaroy, Queensland – Peanut Capital of Australia. The peanuts are raw pressed, an authentic, artisan-style process that captures all the intensity of the peanut’s flavour and aroma.

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Bring on Saturday night, we’re so ready for this meeting of worlds!

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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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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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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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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beet ’em, join ’em

Roasted Olive & Beetroot Salad with Nasturtiums

As soon as the weather makes its shift into cooler territory, I find it a bit tricky to eat the amount of raw salady stuff that I know I should. Enter the roasted salad. Such a great fall back plan, on a few different levels actually; there’s the fact that you can still manage to have a decent sized serve of leaves and veggies while your appetite is screaming out for something warming, and the other part I really like about roasted salad is the roasted bit. I’ve been doing an almost weekly ritual of roasting whatever is still in the fridge on a Saturday afternoon when we do the changeover from one Farmer’s Market haul to the next. Things can get a little sad if they’re still sitting on the shelf by the time the next load comes in to replace them, but roasting somehow gives slightly limp veggies a second chance to shine. I throw in overlooked potatoes, beetroot, carrots, onion, any left over bits of cauliflower or broccoli and then add in some fresh stuff from our veggie garden; herbs and greens, maybe the odd tomato – it all goes into a couple of baking pans with lots of olive oil and salt and pepper and comes out ready to supply a week’s worth of soups, salads, risotto, pasta, toasted sandwiches and pies. Just having a choice of roasted veggies ready to go from the fridge cuts the time in half to make something decent for lunch rather than eating sourdough toast 7 days a week! My resolve is only as strong as my prep time I’ve discovered.

So, in doing the roasting thing for a while, I started throwing in whatever I thought might make things a bit different from the week before and olives ended up as part of the deal. Have you had roasted olives before? I never had – they’re good. Here’s what happened when they meet the roasted beetroot and some broad beans I had tucked away in the freezer…

 

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Roasted Olive & Beetroot Salad with Nasturtiums

2-3 organic beets

1 cup organic wild, or kalamata olives

extra virgin olive oil

Himalayan salt flakes

freshly ground pepper

6-8 fresh organic beet leaves

1 cup organic broadbeans

generous handful of fresh organic herbs – chervil, dill, parsley

fresh organic nasturtiums

1/2 organic orange

Pre heat the oven to 190C.

Roast the washed and cut beetroot, along with the olives, a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper until the beet is tender.

Blanche the broad beans in boiling water and drain.

Add the roasted beets, olives, broad beans, beet leaves, herbs and nasturtiums to a large bowl and gently toss through with the roasting juices and oil from the beetroot.

 Squeeze the juice from 1/2 an orange over the salad, add salt and pepper to season, and tumble the salad out onto a serving plate. 

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