This little baby has been in my head for sometime as a distant image – I kinda knew what I wanted, but didn’t have time to work it out and thus it missed going into the new book. So you are getting it for Christmas dear reader. As I began to slow down last week, I finally could see (in my mind) how to go about this recipe. As it happened I had a play date set with my gorgeous friend Emma Galloway (My Darling Lemon Thyme) as a chance for us to really catch up before she heads back home to New Zealand. What a truly beautiful soul is Emma – and talented. Given photography is not my strength, and it most certainly is Emma’s, I asked her if she would mind bringing her camera and take some shots. These gorgeous shots you see here are hers, and the making of it was a joint effort :) Needless to say, we did not stop talking from the second she arrived to the second she left. Thank you for the beautiful photos Emm!
It’s very easy, gluten and dairy free. Now I say that not because I think gluten and dairy free means something is wholesome and healthy, but because I like my sweetness a little less rich and lighter when the weather is 40c (as it is want to be on a Perth Christmas Day). For those of you that follow my work, you will see it’s pedigree in the Vanilla Bean Almond Cream and Creamy Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Frosting from Wholefood Baking. Just a couple of things:
- You will need to soak the almonds for the milk overnight to make the almond and coconut milk (and please don’t be tempted to use tetrapak almond milk, it will be watery and not nice. You can however make the almond and coconut milk the day before, so you are ready to go the next day.
- You will really only need about 3/4 of the chocolate biscuit base, but I’m too tired to work that out. I would make it up, and perhaps make little tartlets with the left over !
- This really is best eaten the day it is made -it will also look it’s best. I know that’s not optimal for Christmas, but you could have the milk made, and the strawberry juice made and it really doesn’t take that long to put together.
- Use a good vanilla – I like Heilala
- Dont use a generic agar powder, go to a Natural or Wholefoods store and buy it there. Two good brands are Honest to Goodness or Lotus
- If you are wondering about kudzu, you can find it here (in Australia) here in the U.S
I’d like to ask you something here though… enjoy this recipe and I would love you to share it but please respect the copyright of both myself and Emma. There’s a lot of craziness going on in the blogging and instagram world. I (and others I know) will now often see a recipe that is mine (or theirs) directly posted with no acknowledgement, or a few small changes with no nod to it’s source. I would ask that you please respect this.
It’s been a big year for me, with lots of blessings and challenges. I didn’t run the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program this year as I was exhausted, and with a book to finish. That new book is just about put to bed, my family are well, I am loved and supported by that wonderful family and true friends, I have wonderful neighbours, I’m finally able to own my home and am building, I’ve been doing public classes again and I have the absolute blessing of doing work I love – and I hope, making a positive difference. I got the flu badly (twice), I didn’t balance work and rest too well and I’ve learnt a lot of about false friendships and those that are true – lessons are blessings in their own way as they free you for the new growth, deeper friendships and all that really matters. I go into the new year grateful, loving with arms open wide to embrace the new year with joy.
I wish you and your loved ones a joyful, peaceful and safe Christmas, may you be richly blessed with everything that really matters.
Hello !!! Are you as busy as I am right now, finishing off jobs before Christmas (for me that is putting the new book to bed – going through last pages, checking it twice – and getting my new online tax system finished, making sure my builders are going to get the roof on my new house before Christmas to avoid delays in the new year, thank you notes)….. ? I’ve tidied up the blog a bit (but really it needs a lot more tidying up – as does my garden) and have rounded up some recipes that are 1) Christmas and 2) are great for this time of the year. Please bear in mind, some of these recipes are old (but not bad) and have not imported into the new website beautifully – and, I’m a bit better photographer than before (not a lot, but a bit!) They are still favourites.. especially the puff pastry. I’ll have a new post up next week for a easy, dairy + gluten free + vegan dessert – one of my favourites.
Till then… x jude
There are an awful lot of hyped up conversations about sugar going on and sugar free is in, big time – another book, another movie, another fractionalised approach to food. I’ve stayed out of this debate, preferring to run a conversation in my books and classes about a wholefoods and wholistic life, but after reading this great article by Jess Cox, I felt it was timely to put forward what I consider a sensible conversation about sugar. This also coincided with the passing of my dear friends Denise and Julies’ mum – Shirley – but more about that later.
When I started out on my wholefood path some 25 years ago, I too saw things from quite a black or white perspective – I had not yet learnt that things are always far deeper and more complex than at first glance and that it is generally not what the food IS that makes it good, or wholesome and healthy, ethical or sustainable, but how we grow it, process and prepare it that is. And, the context in which we source it, eat it and the life we live. And my, but is sugar a great example of this, and of a wholefood philosophy and a wholistic lifestyle in general.
From a wholefood perspective, we could say that cane sugar juice in its natural state is a rich source of vitamins, minerals enzymes, fibers and phytonutrients, which the body requires to digest the sucrose and provide a slow release of fuel. Indeed the minerals calcium, phosphorous, chromium, magnesium, cobalt, copper, iron, zinc and manganese are absolutely essential for this process. To store over long periods and stop it from fermenting, cane juice is boiled to evaporate water and this end product is known by many names – for example Rapadura or Panela (they do the same thing, for the same reason to maple syrup and coconut palm nectar). In its traditional homes (Central and South Americas) it is consumed within the context of a whole and balanced diet and is considered a healthful and nourishing food – this is what we should be referring to when we use the words cane sugar. But, I do understand that in most cases, when we say the word sugar, we are referring to what we know as refined sugar – the cane juice instead is boiled under vacuum to achieve high enough temperatures for crystallisation, with all nutrients removed or at the very least with a few left in, during the refining process. It is a very different thing because of the way it has been processed and now, without the wealth of nutrients and polyphenols to aid the digestion of sucrose and slow down its release, it will hit the blood stream too quickly. I also understand very well that our bodies have not evolved to handle this, however will do it’s best – pulling nutrients from elsewhere in the body leading to depletion.
Which brings me to Shirley. One of the things that came through so clearly and strongly at the funeral of this very beautiful woman (both inside and out) when people spoke about their memories of her, was that the cake and biscuit tin was always full – made with refined white flour and sugar – and in the profound words of the CWA (Country Womens Association), ‘it’s not just about the scones and tea’. Shirley was always there, her door was always open, with a cup of tea and comfort. Somehow (according to the current fractionalised views on sugar) with this refined sugar in their diet Shirley and Ralph raised exceptional, healthy, wonderful children that contribute so much to our community. Somehow Shirley and Ralph lived full, happy and rich lives. Now I could also be talking of my mum (and indeed much of this generation now in their late 80’s and 90’s), who still makes biscuits and muffins for when people drop in, or to give to others. She uses white flour and refined white sugar. From a wholistic perspective (the one that fascinates me the most) is that I honestly don’t think that this bit of white sugar in a whole and balanced diet is evil, or cause disease, or indeed is going to kill you. But eating a lot of refined white sugar and flour, low fat, processed vegetable oil, nutrient deficient, additive laden food in a stressful life possibly will. From this wholistic perspective, I think we are looking in all the wrong places for salvation (hello green smoothie).I think it is far more important that we focus our attention on the fundamentals which you can find here, and when these are strong and in place (as they most certainly have been and in many cases still are in our very older generations) the issue of refined white sugar diminishes. And of course the elephant in the room always is that whilst people might be ditching refined white sugar, but they are most certainly not ditching sweetness – sweetness is always about balance and context.
Personally, my choice is for less refined sweeteners, I like the flavours and nuanced sweetness they give, but when I eat my mum’s muffins I am partaking in powerful love medicine. I love rapadura sugar, but when I do want a cane sugar with less impact I will choose the semi refined (but still crystallised) sugars such as the Billingtons range, where less goodness is taken out in the beginning. I also love maple syrup, maple sugar, coconut palm sugar and brown rice syrup (but take note all brands of BRS are not equal and in Australia I choose Spiral), and of course fruit. I dislike and do not advocate products such as Agave or Xylitol – both highly refined products.
Shirley was known for and for her love of a good sponge cake and for the time she took to sit down with others. Afternoon tea is a great way to slow down on the weekend and stop, and for some to lay their burdens down. I thought you might like to make one for a weekend in the warmer spring weather. A sponge is certainly my favourite cake too – I love it with passionfruit and banana. If a sponge is not your thing, there’s plenty more delicious options in my book Wholefood Baking (and don’t forget to check out the yummy Choc Peanut Truffles on Jess’ post. Vale Shirley.
This is the kind of ‘a little something’ that I needed on a cold and wintery Sydney day recently.. pure comfort food. And I did indeed need a bit of comfort. I was exhausted after doing the shoot for my new book (out next year), and staying with my good friend (and fellow Whole and Natural Foods Chef) Holly Davis, who helped me, the word we used was ‘shattered’. We were completely shattered, and requiring said comfort food (plus, it was cold). It also seems that rice pudding is back in (mind you it has never really gone away in our house) – I noticed it has made an appearance in this months Delicious magazine, so it seems, we are on trend :) I actually don’t use a recipe, just throw it all in and judge from look, but the all important thing in making a rice pudding is getting the consistency right (not too runny, not too thick) so I’m giving you a recipe. It’s originally from this book (I’ve tweaked it a little) … a truly brilliant book that mum has had for years, it’s well worn and stained, and truly, has all the Australian classics – it’s well worth tracking down.
But whilst carrying on about how exhausted we were, it was a wonderful time. I call it the ‘seeing the view from the mountain’ time. That time, when you’ve worked so hard (over years and years), taken the enormous risks that you take, putting it all out there – and you finally get the chance to see the beauty of it all. To see this book, that in the beginning (and for quite some time over the past year) I couldn’t see at all where it was leading me, but I kept on following a jungle path – finally I got to see that it was beautiful, and that the whole was so much more than the sum of it’s parts. That takes one talented photographer (Cath Muscat) and stylist (Michelle Noriento), and of course a publishing team who are there for you (Murdoch Books). BUT, it also takes a friend. I’ve had a lot of lessons about what makes a true friendship this year – easy for some to talk the talk, but not walk the walk. Thank goodness, that I count Holly as a true friend. Thank goodness she knows how to make a cup of tea because we really needed it. The photo below is a screen shot of the teapot from Cath’s instagram account. It also took another hand in the kitchen, and we were loved sharing more time with Trudie Fenwick – a graduate from the 2013 Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program. We also had the opportunity to catch up with another graduate (2010) Belinda Pooley (Wholefood Canteen), another true friend and we got to meet her gorgeous new bub.
A shoot goes like this: you organise what you are going to shoot (we had 40 shots of food + chapter openers + incidentals+ pictures of me) – in 5 days. You organise the shopping list (that was Holly’s job, and no mean feat). You watch in awe as box after box of props are unloaded. You cook your ass off, because that’s a lot of shots you are doing each day. I also keep an eye on the shot so it represents me. No blue plates I say, no twine around everything I say – and in the end, there was blue, and a bit of twine, but I loved it. Loved it to bits. I love who I see this book becoming, I love that whilst I couldn’t see always what it wanted to be, my spirit did and kept me on the path. I think you will like it too. That’s Michelle s hands down there, getting the shot into shape, and below it, is the gorgeous Smeg fridge we used for a shot. Look at the colour – Panna Cotta – it says it all. I literally can’t wait for my new home and cooking studio to be built (that’s another story), but already I have my Smeg oven sorted. I’ll tell you more about that at a later date.
Before I leave and get to the recipe, I will be putting together a class program next week for August, September, October and November for Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. It will post on the website, FB and newsletter. I’d so love to meet you and I hope you can come along. In the meantime, try this out this winter weekend… serve it with any baked or stewed fruit as desired. Eat it for morning tea, snack or afternoon tea or dessert… it doesn’t matter :)
I know, we have Christmas in summer here in Australia, this year they promise a cool 30c rather than the general 40+. I don’t know if it’s because I am a child of tradition, or my age but I love to think of snow. Perhaps it’s because I love cold weather – the food, the clothes, the snuggling, the games, the reading etcetera. Whatever the reason and because of both I wanted to do a gingerbread home this year – just for whimsy. Whimsy is an important thing -you better not pout (with reason or logic) it’s your heart calling, and when your heart calls you better listen. When Nessie was growing up, her beautiful older cousins Kim and Lisa took charge of the GBH. They provided all the lollydom that she missed out on at home, and I’m incredibly grateful. Not for the lollies in all their chemical and fake glory, but the experience, the daringness of it all and the connection (even now her cousin Fran sends her a text the other day with a picture of the kids making a GBH with the caption ” look Ness, real lollies”). I’m pretty much of the belief that it’s actually not about the lollies, but the experience and if you provide your makers with enough fun, they will be very very happy indeed. Can I say a word about ‘wholesome’? I don’t belive that means no sugar – I believe it means close to it’s natural state as possible, moderation, connection, fun and deliciousness.
So let’s get to it.
I’ve chosen to use whole ingredients with a minimum of whole and semi refined sweeteners (namely rapadura, golden icing sugar and brown rice syrup). The home is built on a wholemeal spelt base with rapadura sugar – if I was in the U.S I would have chosen maple sugar as it would give an amazing flavour. I’ve made the royal icing glue using the Billingtons Golden Icing Sugar – a semi refined sugar which I love (in Australia it’s available in many supermarkets, even Woolworths). Because it’s semi refined, it will come up brownish when made and you can see that beige tone in the glue along the side of the walls. Because of this, I’ve not used this icing for ‘snow’ on the roof, or indeed even sprinkled it to resemble snow – as soon as it absorbs a touch of moisture it will be brown. SO, I thought I’d try marshmallow and very happy with the final result. I chose to press crystallised ginger (I bought some without sugar around the edges) onto the roof panels, and love the end result – and the more ginger for me the better. Children might not like to eat that, what about some roughly chopped pecan or walnut? Something just gives it a wonderful textural, roofy effect. I sprinkled cornstarch over the entire house for snow, and found some shiny cake sprinkly things in my pantry and gave it a touch of that also. You can see I was lazy and didn’t make windows – that’s easy to do if you would like, but with children involved, I would recommend you keep it simple.
Before we get started, I want to say to you how much I’ve enjoyed meeting you this year as I travelled with my new book Wholefood Baking, and through facebook and instagram. I spoke to a woman called Lisa from Sydney the other day who had rung, to ask which book she thought I should buy her friend for her birthday. In talking she said that her very, very fussy mothers at playgroup don’t blink when she brings and says ” this is a Jude cake / dish”. Please know I understand that trust given, and thank you for having me in your kitchen and home, and know I consider it a deeply meaningful honour and privilege. Blessings to you and your loved ones for a beautiful Christmas season and blessed 2014.
PUTTING THE HOUSE TOGETHER:
It is best to make the royal icing and glue the house together first, THEN start on making the marshmallow. The Gingerbread pieces must be absolutely cool before using. Decide also what you are going to put it on – I have simply used a chopping board.
You can find the Gingerbread recipe below, the Royal Icing /Glue recipe below, the Marshmallow recipe here with a few extra notes about it below, and you will also need 1 tablespoon cornstarch for the snow.
Place 2/3 royal icing into a large piping bag fitted with a 5 – 7mm nozzle.
Start by piping a good amount of cement along the sides of the front and along the sides of the side panel. Join together on the board – you will find you only have to hold them for a few seconds or so, and leave to ‘set’ for a couple of minutes before continuing on with the back and other side panel. Make sure it is nice and sturdy/set before doing the roof. Be generous with your cement, and nothing says you can’t go along with the piping back and add more to the gaps if needed. For the roof panel, you will need to pipe cement along the top of the house sides, front and back tops and along the top of the roof panel. Place them on one at a time, and then pipe more as needed. Using a finer piping tip, use the remaining icing to decorate as needed (window’s, etc).
NEXT STEP IS TO MAKE THE MARSHMALLOW. I made the recipe in a vanilla version without the strawberries, and did a couple of different things. Firstly, replace the strawberries with water. When adding the gelatine to the water make sure you sprinkle it in and mix it until smooth – no lumps. Secondly, reduce the amount of sugar – there is no acidity from the strawberries to buffer the sweetness, reduce it to 280 – 300 – no less, or you won’t have what you need. Thirdly, I used 3 kinds of vanilla – all my favourite Heilala brand – I scraped out vanilla seed from 1 pod and added the seeds to the sugar, water, brown rice syrup mixture + the paste and extract as per the recipe. The trick with using the marshmallow to decorate was beating it for ages – easily about 15 – 20 minutes which helped it to cool and set up a bit. You can see how I used mine, but even at this stage it would still run – I couldn’t make snow banks against the house, as it just ran down so I would say practice before you commit yourself. You will have left over marshmallow (terrible I know). I’ve set mine up to use in a rocky road – you can read how to set it in the recipe.
When you’ve snowed it with marshmallow, add twigs, trees etc as desired and stick them with the glue.
PRETTY IN PINK
I have 2 ice cream machines here – Mums, which is an early model electric, but you need to pack around the canister with ice and salt, and the Cuisinart which you just plug in and it refrigerates as it churns. Okay the Cuisinart is easier, but it doesn’t churn well. Don’t buy one. We bought one a couple of years back for the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program and I thought it should at least get use other times during the year. Mum’s churn is so much sturdier – no plastic dodgy paddles that don’t actually move that well. But enough about that. I’ve been having a bit of ice cream binge – started no doubt by the attraction factor of making and putting in the freezer as far ahead of demand as you like – an ice cream cake for my niece on Boxing Day (30th birthday – make it ahead and freeze – ta da !). In my search for a recipe for strawberry ice cream, I went to Mum’s original book that came with the machine and it’s got something about it that I think you will find interesting and useful.
A key point in making ice creams is that the more fat the more creamy and less “icy” your end result will be. As a mixture with little fat (so perhaps lots of watery fruit) sits in the freezer, the frozen water molecules begin to link up and form large ice crystals. Fat molecules prevent these water molecules from linking up and thus it remains creamy. People do all sorts of things to try and get around making a lower fat ice cream – especially with very watery berries. Mum’s recipe uses gelatine powder dissolved in a little water which is then added to blended and strained strawberries, sugar and cream. Hey presto – add it to the machine and truly, it is the most delicious thing. Mum replaced the cream in her day with Evaporated milk (for a less rich end result), and I’ve replaced the cream with coconut milk for a dairy free end result. It’s delicious, but slightly more grainy. Right now I’ve got a mango and coconut milk one in the freezer. You will also find another version below (vegan, which uses Amasake). Be careful of the gelatine you use – you can read about the ones I like here on the jelly blog. But if you are looking for a way to include more gelatine in your diet (great for the bones and gut), then this is a mighty nice way to go. If you are culturing your cream with Kefir (instructions in Wholefood for Children), this is the most perfect place to use it – a delicious way to get those good bugs.
You’ll be wondering no doubt where the photo of the end result is – I forgot to do the photo bit and by the time I remembered, we had eaten it. You can see it up above, ready to go into the freezer – see how creamy it looks ? (this is made to the recipe below). So quick before strawberries and summer are gone – it’s a delicious and nourishing treat for this time of the year.
MUM’S STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM
The recipe for this originally comes from the book Old Fashioned Homemade Icecream, by Ann Creber. Decalon Books, 1979. This is my slightly tweaked version. In regard to how much sugar to make, I recommend tasting the mix (once made) and adjust to your taste. Remember – the mix should be slightly sweeter than you like as it will loose some of it’s sweetness once frozen. Should you wish to use coconut milk, consider coconut cream also – it will give it a smoother consistency. I’m partial to the Ayam brand of coconut milk and coconut cream. I’m not sure how much this makes, but it’s a fair bit and it keeps.
With regard to the gelatine – see the jelly blog for the low down on gelatine. If you are using mango, the measurement is in the actual edible fruit (so weigh it once the skin has been removed and flesh cut from the seed). A bit of lime zest is also delicious with the mango.
About 600 gm (no more) strawberries (or other berry / mango) – washed and green removed
1 1/2 teaspoons gelatine
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 – 3/4 cup golden castor sugar I like the Billingtons brand
1 1/2 cups cream (or, coconut milk, or coconut cream)
Dissolve the gelatine in hot water and set aside to cool.
Blend the strawberries and then press through a sieve into a bowl – discard the seeds that remain in the sieve.
Add the cooled gelatine mix, 1/2 cup sugar and cream to the strawberries and mix well. Taste and add more sugar as needed. Pour into the ice cream machine canister and churn as directed.
STRAWBERRY AMASAKE ICE CREAM
Amasake (Amazake) is a creamy, sweet fermented rice with a consistency similar to rice pudding. It’s traditionally made by inoculating cooked rice with Koji. It’s the amasake here that interferes with the ability of the water molecules to link up, but it’s still going to be a little more grainy than the one above. It’s great stuff and a must in a dairy free household. In Australia I prefer the Spiral brand. Go easy on the sweetening, as you are adding more with the cordial.
1 cup (which will be 1 packet Amasake
500 gm strawberries – washed and greens removed
2 – 4 tablespoons golden castor sugar or maple syrup
2 tablespoons of a lovely raspberry cordial (I would go the Belvoir)
Place the amasake into a shallow dish to freeze (it won’t set solid, just chill it up nicely).
Blend the strawberries and strain through a sieve into a bowl – discard the seeds that remain in the sieve.
Add the amasake, sweetener and cordial to taste – again, remember, it will need to be slightly sweeter than you want it as it will loose that once frozen. Whisk together well and pour into the ice cream machine canister and churn as directed.
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- Seasonal Cooking
- Soaked Grains
- Sustainable Fish
- Wedding Cake
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