My daughter Nessie has been growing carrots – glorious, sweet and so good (as is she) – so carrots have been on the menu quite a bit here. I posted a simple roast carrots on instagram, and was asked for a carrot cake recipe. Hmmm….. I thought, okay, but wanted to re-work the recipe that appears in my first book Wholefood – heal, nourish, delight. Don’t get me wrong I love that recipe – dense, chock full of raisins, nuts, coconut and yes, pineapple. But I had been thinking to shift it to a slightly more wintery version (which really makes sense as that is when carrots are in season), to match those carrots more so with other foods that belong in the same season ( I also wanted a lighter textured crumb). This reflects very much where I am today in my wholefood journey – matching seasonality and locality, using ingredients from a simple pantry. But changing (or converting) a recipe is a process – often scientific, but also because we are working with real ingredients (with different energy fields) we have to work with intuition and heart too.
The original recipe calls for 1 cup white spelt, 1 cup wholemeal, 1 cup dark muscovado sugar, 4 cups grated carrot, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 cup each nuts and sultanas, 3 eggs and 1/2 cup oil (oh and that pineapple, 1/4 cup of the juice and the coconut). Looking at the core ingredients and knowing the cake, I reworked the trial recipe to:
1 cup white spelt (130 g), 1 cup wholemeal spelt (145g) 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 cup dark muscovado (170g) 2 cups grated carrot (250g) spices, vanilla, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup olive oil (185ml), 1/2 cup each nuts and raisins. So what I had in effect done, was to remove fat and moisture from so many nuts, coconut, pineapple (including it’s juice) and sultanas. To compensate for this, I increased the oil by 60ml, and reduced the amount of carrot. Yes, reducing the carrot will mean that some moisture is lost, but it also means that the batter is less bound by the carrot, and the leavening can move more freely through the batter. I chose to not do a simple wet to dry mix, but rather allow myself the opportunity to include more air into the batter (and thus lighten it) by beating the eggs and sugar to the ribbon before hand. The result: some of the spices were too strong in flavour (I had upped them considerably and included cardamom), and as you can see, it hasn’t risen all that well. It was slightly dry (only very slightly) but none the less it wasn’t bad – nothing that a bit of cream cheese icing (or a spread of butter) couldn’t kiss and make better. But, it was still a bit dense for me.
To me, there were two obvious issues. 1) it was too dense and 2) a little dry. Good conversions are best done by thinking (often over a cup of tea) and thus was on my mind as I went to bed that night. Somewhere around 1am, it occurred to me that even though the obvious next step was to increase the moisture, with 60ml orange juice (much more seasonally appropriate and I had hundreds from mum’s tree) I somehow felt that wasn’t going to be enough. Why ? Because it felt (and here is the heart and intuition bit) that the ingredients were somehow isolated from each other, it wasn’t tasting or feeling like a comfortable whole. But perhaps lessening the heft of the wholemeal flour by a bit might bring those primary ingredients closer together and allow them to form that relationship, and make the whole? Lessening the flour would also help with the dry factor. Lessening the flour and increasing the liquid moisture (the 60ml) orange juice would also make the batter a bit more liquid and allow the air produced by the leavening to actually move freely through the batter. I also changed the leavening slightly reducing the baking powder to 2 teaspoons, and using 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (an alkali which would react with that 60ml acidic orange juice) as it is a sturdier lifter than baking powder alone. Result ? Totally brilliant – was fabulous. At some point I will also try replacing the 3/4 cup of wholemeal spelt with 1 cup (110g) barley flour. Because of it’s super low gluten content, I feel confident that adding 1/4 cup extra of flour won’t make any difference…
It was super successful, loved, eaten and left overs lasted really well. If you’ve got carrots coming out of your ears right now, give this a go this weekend… (oh and these Carrot Fritters on an older post are so good too….)
Beautiful photography by and ©Harriet Harcourt
I know, it’s been ages since I’ve been here – it’s been a busy time teaching, getting my back pergola in and working on the on-line classes that will be launching around mid June. I am so excited about both things – the pergola because this means I can now sort out the paving, which means I can then get the garden started. I have so missed having a back garden, where I can grown even a handful of vegetables, so getting the garden in is the plan for over winter. I can see this is a bit of a metaphor for my own self too – a new garden to be planted with seeds and a new path to travel. On -line classes represent this new path for me and I can see that this will free me up to be able to far better respond to your needs. You already invite me into your homes, honour me by making me a part of your lives as you cook and eat from my books. But there is only so much you can say and show in a book (so much is edited out), and oh my I do have a lot to say to you and show you ! All to help you understand the WHY something is good, the WHAT and then the HOW to use it, so you get to nourish yourself and those you love in the easiest possible (and most delicious) ways.
Where I have been though, is letting my newsletter subscribers in on what I’m buying and eating each month – seasonality of ingredients is a huge issue, and so often the best place to start when we are working out what to eat. I’ve noticed though that so many people no longer know what actually is in season, and thought this might be a bit of a guide. Lots of other good things go on in my newsletters (recipes, first in line for events, classes, discounts, treats) and if you would like to stay connected with what’s happening more often, I’d love to welcome you to our community. All you need to do is go HERE. And, I’m more than happy if you’d like to shoot me an email and tell me how I can help you, what is it that you are struggling with ? I’m easy to reach firstname.lastname@example.org
But I’m here today with a recipe I hope you will love. That’s just my photo there – I’ve missed having the lovely Harriet Harcourt here taking her gorgeous photo’s but I think it shows the muesli bar off quite well.
This bar was the result of our CONVERSION CLASS – taking a recipe and converting it to the individual restrictions. The brief for this was ‘please make me a yummy gluten free, dairy free, egg free, muesli bar’. All good conversions start generally with a cup of tea and a good think. These are the points I thought about:
- First up – flavour. Gluten free quinoa and amaranth flakes are very strongly flavoured, so how do we tone that down? I have been an admirer of the Tahini,Orange and Coconut gluten free muesli by my good friend Emma Galloway – seriously, she had me at the word tahini. So what if we really went tahini, orange, date, cardamon – this would go a long way to balancing out those strong quinoa / amaranth flavours.
- Secondly – texture. I felt the bar needed a bit of chew, to be somewhere along the line of a muesli bar and that classic Womens Weekly Oat and Sultana Slice. A bit of chew would allow the eater to also fully experience the dates and dried fruit. Brown Rice Syrup is a perfect candidate for this, giving a lovely crisp exterior but chewy interior. ( I have a huge preference for the Spiral brand – this is a wholesome product, far superior to the many highly refined ones on the market). The honey adds a bit more depth of flavour and sweetness, with a lovely chew also. You will also note the 1/4 cup true arrowroot – this was to help break up the quinoa and amaranth flakes with a bit of chew – it would also help to bind the bar together.
I hope you enjoy it….. I’m sorry it’s not standardised into gm/ or straight cups, but I feel pretty confident it will work !
And Easter ? This glorious time of descending and cooling energy in the Southern Hemisphere and the welcoming of the light and sun in the Northern Hemisphere ? Here are a couple of old blog posts (so not great photo’s but trust me, great food)…..
Wishing you a blessed, peaceful Easter….
I’m thinking jam. Tis the season with the berries and stone fruits harvesting.
We have become very accustomed to fruits available all the year round, but you will find they have nowhere near the same level of flavour. Fruits are fleeting, lasting only a few weeks, but there is a way to capture that moment — jam. But not jam as you might know it, but a spoonful of deliciousness that tastes like the fruit it is, with just enough sweetness to bring out it’s full flavour. A snapshot of the season in a jar. Now I am often asked can you make jam with something other than sugar, or less sugar and the answer is complex, and included below. So here it all is – as Wholefood Baking is currently out of print, I’ve put the recipe here for you. I promise you that once you know the hows, it’s very easy. But there are rules….
The only fruit to use is that which is ripe, preferably organic and in season. Fruits such as this are bursting with natural sweetness, colour with enormous complexity and luscious flavour. The jam (it’s a universal recipe) here relies less on sugar, and more so on technique to capture the true complexity and glory of fruit flavour — it is a snapshot of the fruit at its best and the season. Jams are very easy to make, and will store in the pantry for up to one year. On a cold winter’s day, when you take that batch of scones out of the oven, you will thank yourself for your stash of homemade jams and the colour and taste of summer will lift your spirits.
Technically, the object of preserving is to slow down the process of decay. Food spoils from the continued activity of natural enzymes in all fruits and vegetables and the continued work of microorganisms in the form of moulds, yeasts and bacteria present in the food and air.
SUGAR, PECTIN AND ACID
Jam relies on sugar to saturate the natural moisture of the fruit and thus preserve it. I am often asked if something other than sugar can be used to make jam — the answer is complex. Many of the sugar-free jams you see are made with white grape juice concentrate, use pectin and have been processed in a boiling-water bath. Because there is not enough sucrose to saturate the fruit and preserve it (and this is true of many other non-sucrose based sweeteners, such as stevia, agave and brown rice syrup), the boiling-water bath is the preserving method. I prefer to use one of the semi-refined organic raw sugars (not rapadura, which is too low in sucrose and too strong in flavour)( I like to use the Billingtons Golden Castor Sugar) in the smallest possible amount, this allows the glorious flavour of the fruit to shine through. Most jam recipes call for equal quantities of sugar to fruit by weight. You need about 60–70 per cent sugar for good gelling to occur naturally (sugar, pectin, acidity). I find this way too much sugar and prefer a ratio of 20–40 per cent sugar to fruit, but this will vary with the fruit — tart fruit will require more, and sweet fruit will require less. Because the holy trinity of sugar, pectin and acid is disrupted, this will result in a softer ‘set’, which I happen to prefer.
Pectin is a carbohydrate that helps to ‘set’ jam. It is particularly concentrated in the skins and cores of fruit. The conversion of the pre-curser substances to pectin occurs naturally during ripening but can also be forced by long cooking, as in the traditional methods of making jam without added pectin. Fruits vary in how much pectin, or pectin pre-cursers, they contain. Pectin produces structure and a kind of stiffness in jam by forming a water-holding network within the crushed fruit. Before gelling starts, individual molecules of pectin are surrounded and isolated from each other by water molecules. If the surrounding solution is acidic enough, the pectin loses some of its attraction for these isolating water molecules. Sour fruit will normally provide enough acid to take care of this step. If the acid content of the fruit is low, lemon juice can be added to make the fruit mixture more acidic. Once the pectin has loosened its hold on the water molecules, something more attractive must pull the water away from the pectin — this is the role of sugar. With its water stripped away, pectin opens out into a structure that links readily with other pectin molecules to form a three- dimensional network — a gel.
Fruits with high natural pectin and acid content include: blackberries + crab apples + cranberries + plums+ quinces+ sour apples
Fruits with low natural pectin and acid content include: apricots+ blueberries + figs+ grapes+ guava+ peaches+ pears+ prunes+ raspberries + rhubarb+ strawberries
Low-pectin fruits benefit from the addition of lemon, to boost the acidity and thus setting. Unripe fruit (sour) will also increase acidity. Jam is best made with a good percentage of fruit that is not overripe because as the fruit ripens, the pectin breaks down and you will not get a good set.
PICK THE RIGHT POT
The right pot is critical to making low-sugar jam, I cannot stress this enough. Mine is a traditional French copper preserving pan that is shallow and wide. It’s about 12 cm (41⁄2 inches) high, 36 cm (141⁄4 inches) across the base and 39 cm (151⁄2 inches) across the top, with a 10 litre (350 fl oz) capacity. The wide surface area encourages evaporation and reduction, thus cooking the jam quickly. It is extremely difficult to make jam in a deep pot with a small surface area — tall pans are a major cause of runny jam.
However, you can make smaller amounts in your average large domestic saucepan. You can use a simple stainless steel pan — just make sure it is not too deep. A wider and more shallow pan with less capacity (for example, a sauté pan with a 5 litre/ 175 fl oz capacity and a depth of 8 cm/31⁄4 inches) is better than a pot with a 10 litre/350 fl oz capacity, but a depth of 16–18 cm (61⁄4–7 inches), or even a frypan with a large shallow surface area. It will mean you can only make small amounts at a time — about 2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) of fruit, but your jam will be more successful. You can also use a 20–24 cm (8–91⁄2 inch) typical domestic saucepan, but keep the amount of fruit to 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz).
Never make jam in large quantities — another cause of runny jam — and never crowd your pan. How much fruit you use (the weight) will depend on the size of your pan — for mine, I use 4 kg (9 lb). A good guide is to only fill your pan two-thirds full of fruit.
JARS AND LIDS
Always use tempered jars that can withstand the temperatures involved in sterilising, jam-making and storage. Some jars manufactured for products such as coffee, peanut butter and mayonnaise are not tempered and do not have strong seals on the lids. Jars must not be cracked, chipped or damaged in any way, and lids must not be scratched or dented. Jars can be re-used, but lids are good for one use only.
STERILISING YOUR EQUIPMENT
Your jars, lids, ladles and funnels must all be sterilised. This is easy to do in an oven at 120°C (235°F/Gas 1⁄2) for 20 minutes. Jars and lids must be sterilised, dry and warm. Once sterilised, turn the oven off and leave in the warm oven until the jam is ready. Equipment can also be boiled for 12 minutes in a large saucepan of water, then dried in the oven at a low temperature.
PUTTING THE JAM INTO JARS
Bottling technique is the other very important part of making low-sugar jams — the jam must be spooned with a sterilised ladle through a sterilised funnel into warm jars (as hot jam into cool or cold jars will cause the jars to break) as soon as it is ready. Make sure the sterilised jars are warm (from sterilising and then being kept warm in the oven) and sit them on a wooden surface or on towels (so they don’t crack when the hot jam is added). This process will ensure the jars seal properly and that the jam does not spoil.
After ladling the jam into the jars, make sure there is no spillage as this will hinder a seal being formed. Gently wipe any spillage, taking care not to touch the sterilised lip of the jar. Place the lids on, taking care to touch only the outside of the lids. Holding the jars with a damp cloth (for a good grip), turn the lids until firm.
Let the jars sit until fully cool — do not move them for 12 hours or you can disrupt the vacuum process. A concave dip in the middle of the lid indicates a vacuum seal. If there is no concave dip, store the jam in the fridge and use straight away.
Once opened and the seal is broken, the jam begins to deteriorate and must be kept in the fridge.
The beautiful photo at the top of this post is ©Cath Muscat and all copy is ©Jude Blereau and Murdoch Books, and taken from Wholefood Baking. Published by Murdoch Books, 2013.
How is 2017 looking for you ? As I dive back into 2017, I’d love to share how mine has started with you.
Brené Brown recently posted about the 4 questions that she asks herself at the close of the year, and I have found them to be exceptionally valuable – I’d love to share them with you, as I suspect that you might find them valuable too (if you haven’t come across Brené as yet, I heartily recommend that you take a look). What do I want more of in my life?
- What do I let go of that is no longer serving me?
- What will make me feel more alive?
- At the end of every day and every year, I need to know I contributed more than I criticised. How have I contributed, and what will my life look like moving forward?
This is especially important to me as this year I begin a new cycle. It is said that the universe works on a 9 year cycle – 2016 was a 9 year, and I was also in a personal 9 year. It is a time for endings and new beginnings – it would fair to say that everywhere you looked, this was very evident and especially true in my life. My first book was published in 2006 and in the following 9 years I wrote 4 books, run 5 Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Programs, and after years of following the path less travelled, was finally in a position to buy my own simple home. I build a house and moved in May 2016, with a new book launching also. I absolutely know deep in my bones and soul that this is a cycle ended and I finished the year/s exhausted, not knowing what the path ahead looked like, or even where it lay. I did what I know works for me – rest, meditate and do the spiritual work – this time I answered Brene’s questions for myself.
What I want is more time, less struggle, more ease, less ‘I have to get through this list’, more laughter (what do you call a parrot with a raincoat on ? see below), more being present in the moment.
What is no longer serving me are some of the ways that I teach, which have huge and heavy logistical loads and my push through that wall attitude (which I grant has been a positive many a time – I wouldn’t be where I am with that push). I have been too judgmental and critical – I need to remember what I was like 20 years ago when I was early on the path. Exhaustion and fear are not serving me.
What makes me feel alive is not being exhausted, being rested, doing the spiritual work, knowing I’m on purpose and that I am living a true and honest life, being a person of high integrity and walking a true path. Being with my beautiful daughter Nessie, and sharing her moments and path is what fills my heart with such love and meaning, along with my mum and family.
I’m pretty comfortable in that I have contributed – that I have achieved what I set out to do some 25 years ago – to effect change in how we grow, produce, prepare and eat food, and that hasn’t always been easy. Other than being a mother – which is the most important thing of all to me, this is the thing I am most proud of. That I didn’t tow a line, or post a photo, or go along with a train of thought when I felt it to be untrue, but rather said clearly – the emperor is wearing no clothes – and all with great integrity.
So that has set me thinking in where I go to from here, and how I see the path ahead.
My primary driving force, as I wrote in my first book, is that we as a society understand that food is not something that simply stops us from feeling hungry. It is exactly the same as love – an elemental human need. Together they sustain and nourish us, providing fuel for our body and soul to grow and our lives to fulfil their potential. Yes we all know now it needs to be real (I’m a bit over that whole JERF thing) but what I’ve found over the years of teaching is that the so many WHY’S, WHAT’S, HOW’S AND (REALLY)? make it so hard to actually DO.
Whilst I love the path I’ve travelled, these basic foundations are what I want to get back to – the WHY and the HOW. No matter what the problems going on or intolerances that may be, the food we eat is where we always begin. It will require learning about and building strong, grounded foundations (which I write about in my new book Wholefood From the Ground Up and I also talk about them here) but the translation of the why will always require the knowing how to prepare and cook food. When you know how to cook, how thermal mass works, how equipment can influence the experience and the end result, when you know how an ingredient behaves, when you know all the basic things that I took for granted when I was growing up and was passed. on. I know you are time poor, I know the pressures, but I promise you it makes the hugest difference to know these things, and it has nothing to do with being perfect or creating the most perfect food, or taking a perfect photo of it. I’ve taught hundreds (probably thousands) over the years and I know the difference knowing these things make, I know that cooking from scratch matters and makes a huge difference, and is probably one of the most important things you can do. I also know that these days, sadly you have to know a lot more than I did say, some 40 years ago when i was just a young 20 year old, because back then there was so much less bullshit going on, and food was still real and not the total illusion that it is today. You will also have to get wise – you have to learn some good basic information so you can make informed decisions – because today there is so much of that bullshit abounding about what makes food healthy, wholesome, ethical and sustainable. I want to empower you to make these informed decisions and have many small and big victories in the kitchen. To this end I am going online (and working on implementing everything you wanted in the survey I did last year – goodness me, that was months ago!). Right now, I am working on a class program for Perth (which will include a Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program 4 week intensive in May), and am at my desk working on the online programs. I haven’t forgotten about Canberra and Melbourne, and will update you on those a bit later. The best way for you to stay up to date with me (and I with you) is to SUBSCRIBE to the newsletter. As a subscriber, you also unique access to information, events, recipes and treats.
I have been far too busy for food coaching over the last years, but love this one to one contact. You might simply want to get sorted out and see a clearer path for the year ahead – (a bit like me having someone to consult on the garden design, giving me steps for the way forward) or you might be totally stuck with understanding gluten free baking or conversion. There is so much we can do in one hour – I am opening up 6 places, and I’d love to help you with those small victories, or make things easier to understand for you. Cost is $200 and to grab a spot, just email me email@example.com
It’s at this time of the year that I try and post my favourite reads from the year – and most of these are blogs that I actually follow, so I have given you the blog address. I have to tell you though, there are very few nutrition texts or such here – I think I’m just over it all !
Violet Bakery (my most favourite baking book outside of mine :) I make the Cinnamon Scrolls from these all the time. If you haven’t got this, and love baking – get it (in Australia I think the US version, with a forward by Alice Waters is the way to go. Just remember a US cup is 240ml and US tablespoon is 15ml).
The Vanilla Bean Baking Book – I got this for Christmas, and I love it. Can’t wait to try her scone technique. Same goes for measurements above, as this is a US book.
Neighbourhood – love Hetty’s approach to vegetables, so inspiring.
The Salad Book – Belinda Jeffrey has been a friend in the kitchen over many, many years before we met and became friends in real life. I have a couple of these ear marked for the hot weather.
A Year in My Real Food Kitchen – my dear friend Emma Galloway’s new book. If you are looking for good, everyday, delicious gluten free, vegetarian food – honestly, Emma does gluten free better than anyone I know.
Our Delicious Adventure – Jane Grover is another good friend, and I loved reading about their journey around Australia (with great food thrown in).
The Kings Grave – I finally got to read about the search for King Richard 111 body – I love archaeology.
The photo at the top of this post, is the bunch of roses I picked from garden the other day – only now 5 months old, I am just so thrilled with how they are going.The 3 pink ones on the left are St Cecelia, soft yellow Windemere, the strong pink is Sister Emmanuelle, the apricot is Abraham Darby, and the red – the glorious Falstaff. I ummed and ahhhed over Falstaff (a climber), was told not to get it, but oh I just love it – if you are thinking about it, don’t let anyone talk you out of it.
The photo’s below are just a snippet of what’s been going on around here and my top 9 from intagram – love that my gorgeous Smeg Victoria stove made it in twice – you love this oven as much as I do it seems. And now I’ve time, I will do a proper post on my new kitchen shortly. There’s Constance having her bad hair day and looking slightly electrocuted (this photo always makes me laugh, she looked so shocked !) roses from my new garden and good old fashioned baking – proper muffins (not obese, fake, sugar laden muffins), the strawberry celebration cake from the new book, beautiful young Rosie with her Sweet + Sour Chocolate cake, and these glorious ‘from the Womens Weekly’ baked goodies at a country fete.
Constance showing her yoga moves, and encouraging me to get started with it again…
I ask you – how GORGEOUS is this caravan… saw it on Instagram and just love, love it. What about that stove ?
I think I should leave it there !! We need to go a little more slowly this year, a bit more step by step… I will be back shortly with a dairy free chocolate ice – cream (agar and kudzu base)… oh and the answer to the joke – Poly Unsaturated !!!
Wishing you a wonderful, grounded, peaceful new year with many joyous moments. I so look forward to seeing in and working with you this year…
Why cake ? Because joy and deliciousness are nutrients in their own right, as our love and beauty. With the cooler weather, the cakes I bake become a little richer and with Mothers Day coming up, I threw in a couple of frostings as well. We’re getting dressed up and special.
Now, this cake is an old recipe – it was hands down the best selling cake back in my Earth Market days (the wholefood cafe and store I co – founded back in the late 90’s), and one of the most popular recipes from my first book Wholefood – heal, nourish, delight. This post is going to be all about the cake, I’ve got to get it finished, and then finish of packing up my house as I move in 2 weeks (equal measures of arrrrgggghhhhh and excitement). All of these beautiful photos ©Harriet Harcourt
The cake itself:
- If you choose to use the rapadura sugar it will be less sweet, more whole and possibly a little drier (a bit similar to my Coffee and Walnut Cake from Wholefood Baking) – this is because sugar makes up part of the liquid percentage in baking. But, I reduced the amount of sugar from the original also, and I give you the option of increasing it in the recipe (this will help to moisten it up). You can also get around this by baking it as one 20cm cake, then cutting it into 3 – I chose to divide the batter as 3 individual cakes, but think it suffered for that – mind you, there were very few complaints from the WACA (West Australian Cricket Association) testing crew – some did find it a little dry.
- This cake is largely dairy free – see cake itself recipe. The chocolate fudge frosting is dairy free but I chose to use the raspberry better buttercream for the in-between layers. If you would like to use all chocolate, there will be enough frosting to layer the cakes, and top and side it. The raspberry BB will only be enough for the 2 layers – you will need to double it if you want some for the top and side.
- The cocoa powder. Please, do not use raw cocoa powder – you won’t find any in my pantry. This recipe is designed for, and uses a dutched cocoa – this is a less acidic cocoa. It’s tricky to know which good (organic) brands are, but certainly Organic Times is, and generally freely available.
How to put the cake together:
1: I didn’t stress about making a perfect cake, hence I put it basically together on the workbench. But you can put it together on a cardboard round (making it easier to move onto the cake stand), and also do it on a cake turntable stand. I’m using my 15cm palette knife, here and for pretty much the entire cake.
2: Start by placing a very generous amount of chocolate frosting on top of the cake, then push it towards the edge, taking it down the side of the cake. continue this until the entire cake is covered. When it is entirely covered, pick it up using a larger palette knife and place on the cake stand.
3. I use my stainless steel squared off dough scraper, and gently turn the cake around while I even out the frosting on the side, then on to my trusty 15cm palette to tidy and clean it all up.
4: Onto decorating and eating !
Being a mum of my beautiful daughter Nessie, is without doubt the blessing of my life – here we are (when I still had dark hair) circa 1986, and how grateful I am to my mum, without whom I would have not been able to do a fraction of what I’ve been able to do in my life. Blessed indeed, and I wish the same for you… x jude
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.
- Afternoon Tea
- Chef Training
- Core Recipes
- Dairy Free
- Gluten Free
- Grass Fed Meat
- Late Summer
- Making a Book
- Meals from my Garden
- Quick Dinner
- Ramble and Roam
- Seasonal Cooking
- Soaked Grains
- Sustainable Fish
- Wedding Cake
- Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training
- Wholefood Kitchen