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Archive for the ‘Organic’ Category

WWOOF CSA Basket: From farm to table. Change your life from blah to waaaaaaah!

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ImageRecently (more than a month ago – this post is looooong overdue) I was kindly given a taster basket of organic fruit, vegetables and breads from the lovely folks from WWOOF CSA Korea. Aside from being bowled over by the generous initiative, I was enamoured by the freshness of the produce, bursting with colour and flavour that has unfortunately become out of the ordinary. Whilst I always support local produce, I must admit that what I usually buy for my personal use is sometimes not always organic. Whilst the dirty dozen is always organic, I usually frequent my local ajumma market as her produce quality is amazing. However, with the convenience, quality, seasonal variety and the knowledge that I am supporting local farmers who believe in the same ethos as I do, this will all change for the better as I am now signing up to receive my weekly basket of produce.

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So, to start from the beginning. What exactly is WWOOF? It’s an acronym for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms which is an international movement with non profit organisations in over 100 countries. They have programs between WWOOFer’s and hosts where you work on their farms, planting or harvesting produce etc in exchange for food and accommodation.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, which is a mutually supportive relationship between producers and consumers. The benefits are the farmers are able to have a reliable market for a variety of products and the consumer is able to attain fresh and organic produce from responsible, local farmers. It’s a win-win situation for everybody.

Whilst WWOOF CSA is a part of WWOOF Korea, it is technically a seperate entity with specific farms for the CSA products. WWOOF Korea has farms across the entire peninsula from Jeju-Do to Ulleung-Do, however the majority of the CSA produce comes from Paldang, in the Namyangju region ofGyeonggi-do. Paldang is the base of WWOOF CSA operations where the baskets are packed and delivered from, whilst the Namyangju region is the biggest organic farming district in South Korea.

Another reason to support this movement is that for such a dense population and a country which has made itself proud and renowned for their ability to develop and grow in the face of adversity, is that surprisingly and unfortunately, South Korea has one of the lowest food self sufficiency rates out of all the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. Standing at around 50% self sufficiency, this percentage drops to 26% when looking at rice, grains, wheat and barley. Drastically low numbers considering South Korea is an extremely patriotic nation that not only eats ALOT of rice, but prides itself on its cuisine and supporting the fellow man.

So, the basket. In a country where we quite often feel foreign, no matter how long we have lived here for, it is a lifesaver to be able to receive quality produce we can trust within a delivery mode we are familiar with. The baskets are delivered weekly, to any locations in South Korea, with two sizes available, whether you are cooking for one or cooking for four. They also have a Taster Basket which allows you to try out a single basket before committing, or perhaps giving the gift of sharing to introduce friends or family to the concept. The baskets contain a variety of seasonal produce, eggs, breads and condiments, and can be altered to suit vegan or gluten-free (no bread) lifestyles. I could waffle on however will spare you the pain and instead click on the link to find out more.

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“In a world where  handful of conglomerates own our food supply, down to actual patents on seeds and the rampant use of chemical pesticides, herbicide, fungicides, fertilisers and GMO’s is a status quo, we are in dire need of a correction.

So what did I think of the basket? As mentioned before, the quality, freshness and variety of the produce was top shelf baby. The cabbage so green and cabbagey. The strength of the flavour made it seem like I had been previously eating dishwater texture like food. The carrots were so bright I needed sunglasses and so sweet that I munched one straight up. The apples where so crisp and sweet that they were devoured straight up, no recipe could do these babies justice. When I have produce this fresh, I find it difficult to not enjoy them in their natural glory, no added salt, sauces or anything necessary. However for the sake of the blog and to also inspire those who like a bit more spice in their life, I also made a chili and an easy peasy vegetable hash with eggs.


ImageBean and vegetable chili (onions, cabbage, carrots and potato from WWOOF CSA)

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Vegetable hash with eggs (cabbage, carrots, potato, onions and eggs from WWOOF CSA)

Vegetable Hash with eggs
A super easy recipe that allows the natural wondrous flavour of the vegetables to be enhanced!

Ingredients
(For best results, use WWOOF CSA produce!)

1/4 cabbage
1 potato
1 carrot
1/2 onion
1tbsp garlic (yes tbsp – I love me garlic)
2 red chillies
1 tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper

2 eggs

Method
1. Chop all vegetables like this 🙂

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2. Warm coconut oil in pan. Throw in all veges and lightly saute for 2 minutes over medium heat. Season as desired with salt and pepper.

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3. After 2 minutes, make 2 holes for the eggs. Crack eggs in the hole. A trick I do to seal the eggs is add a tsp of cold water to the pan, cover with a lid or foil, and let the steam seal the top of the eggs.

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4. Cook until eggs are done to your liking.

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5. Serve immediately and sprinkle with cracked pepper. Eat immediately and enjoy the rest of the day.

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Also included in the basket were breads, tofu cake and egg omelette. Although I avoid gluten, these were gobbled quickly by my bread-loving boyfriend who asked “When are you gonna get more of this?”

Soon, my dear, my next basket is on its way from WWOOF CSA, make sure you get yours too!

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http://wwoofcsa.com/join/
https://www.facebook.com/KOREAWWOOF?fref=ts

Written by ayearinpatissiere

January 30, 2014 at 13:49

Water Kefir: Stage 1

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Lately I’ve become interested in fermented food products, probably a result of being surrounded by hundreds of kinds of kimchi and also learning how my friend, Hiromi, makes her own miso.

The earliest record of fermentation dates back as far as 6000 B.C. in the Fertile Crescent—and nearly every civilization since has included at least one fermented food in its culinary heritage. From Korean kimchi and Indian chutneys to sauerkraut, yogurt and cheese, around the globe cultures have crafted unique flavors and traditions around fermentation to avoid spoilage in times of abundance, so it could be savoured in times of famine.

Traditional lacto-fermentation utilizes the microflora present on vegetables and a lactic acid bacteria starter culture. However, in large-scale food manufacturing practices, vegetables are washed in diluted chlorine solutions to destroy or inactivate existing microflora, and acetic acid (which, along with water, is a main component of vinegar) is used instead of lactic acid. Of the few commercially available pickles that are lacto-fermented, most are heat processed or pasteurized to create a sterile product. Others are “desalted” or rinsed, likely removing any beneficial bacteria that may have been present.

More incentive to make your own kimchi or fermented products.

The health benefits of fermented products are quite impressive; restoring balance to the levels of proper bacteria in the digestive tract, cleaning the body of antibiotics and reducing acidic levels, the good bacterias help fight off pathogenic microorganisms (ie: viruses), improves the immune system and metabolism as well as boosting overall energy levels.

However, most importantly, fermented foods = full on intense flavour! Think of the strong flavours of sauerkraut, kimchi and umeboshi plums.

A rundown of common fermented foods:

Kimchi is a traditional Korean lactofermented condiment made of cabbage and other vegetables and seasoned with
salt, garlic, ginger and chili peppers. Most Asian diets include a daily portion of some kind of pickled vegetable. Lacto-fermentation occurs when sugars and starches are converted to lactic acid by the lactobacilli that are prevalent in vegetables and fruits.  The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels.

Kombucha is a culture of symbiotic beneficial bacteria and yeasts which originated in China nearly 2,000 years ago. This culture is brewed with tea and sugar and fermented into a sweet and sour, slightly effervescent drink. Kombucha contains many amino acids and B vitamins in addition to its bountiful population of beneficial microorganisms, and is believed to be an excellent stimulant to digestion and the immune system.

Miso is made by adding an enzymatic culture to a base of soybeans and, often, a grain (usually wheat, barley, or rice). Salt and water are the only other ingredients of natural miso. Through aging, the enzymes reduce the proteins, starches, and fats into amino acids, simple sugars and fatty acids. It also contains lactobacillus bacteria which aid in digestion. Miso is used as a soup base but is also good in sauces, gravies, dips, spreads, dressings and marinades. Always use unpasteurized miso, and don’t boil it; high temperatures will kill the beneficial microorganisms. Miso is a superb source of easily-assimilated complete protein.

Sauerkraut is a cabbage that has been salted and lacto-fermented over a period of weeks. Latin American cultures make a version of sauerkraut called cortido.  The beneficial bacteria so abundant in sauerkraut produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. The main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora through out the intestine.

Umeboshi are salty sour lacto-fermented pickled plums (ume) from Japan. Umeboshi are highly alkaline and used to neutralize fatigue, stimulate the digestive system and promote the elimination of toxins. They are valued for their natural antibiotic properties and ability to regulate intestinal health.

Sourdough is a bread product made by a long fermentation of dough using naturally occurring yeasts and lactobacilli.

Tempeh is an ancient Indonesian staple made from cooked, split, fermented soybeans bound together with a mold that makes soy easier to digest and provides many valuable vitamins. Tempeh is an excellent protein source for calcium and iron, and the mold produces an antibiotic to increase the body’s resistance to infections.

Pickles
A wide range of vegetables (and sometimes fruits, nuts, seeds, animal products and other ingredients) can be lactofermented using salt, temperature and a controlled environment for a period of time to make pickles. Most modern pickles, however, are made using vinegars and/or heat processing, which limits or eliminates the beneficial bacteria and enzymes that result from lacto-fermentation; check the label to ensure pickles are fermented.

Yogurt & Kefir
Yogurt and kefir consist of milk that has been inoculated with live bacterial cultures. These cultures convert the milk’s lactose sugar into lactic acid. For people who have difficulty digesting the lactose in milk, cultured dairy products may be easier to digest because the live, active cultures produce lactase, which pre-digests the lactose.

So, the above is yogurt kefir. Kee-fur. Like Kiefer Sutherland. Y’know, that dude from 24, Melancholia?? He was the bully in Stand By Me…

Anyway. Being partial to all things dairy, and the ridiculous amount of sugar in those tiny bottles of probitotics that this one ajumma near my busstop always tries to push on me (I’m a pusher Cady), some late night researching led me to water kefir.

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Water kefir, scientifically known as tibicos, is similar to yogurt kefir, except instead of feeding off the milk lactose, it feeds off sugar lactose. Now, I know this sounds like it seemingly contradicts what I said above about trying to avoid sugary probiotic drinks, however, the kefir crystals eat up most of the sugar, which is only 2 tablespoons to 3 cups of water. The resulting brew is definitly not sweet.

So what exactly is it?

Basically, it’s a bacterial yeast culture (mmm…sounds delicious) that looks like bath crystals. When added to mineral water mixed with sugar, the kefir grains eat the sugar producing strains of probiotic bacteria which carbonates the brew. If brewed correctly and in a stable environment, the grains will also multiply – allowing you to share the kefir love around.
I got my grains online from savvy teas, and if all goes well, I’m more than happy to share 😀
Once you’ve got the grains it’s so easy to make:

Water Kefir

Ingredients:
Water Kefir grains (2tsp dried grains or 1/3 cup wet grains)
3 cups mineral water (if using tap water, boil or set out overnight to remove/evaporate chlorine)
2 tbsp organic brown sugar
1/2 lemon – sliced
handful of raisins, banana, berries (encourages fermentation)

Method:
1.
Place the grains, sugar, water and fruit in a sterilised glass jar with either a screw top or flip top lid.
2. Place in an area out of direct sunlight. Some suggest wrapping in towels or ‘burping’ the jar every now and then as the carbonation can build up and lead to some horror glass smashing stories. Also, avoid the use of metal spoons (pure stainless steel is ok) as this will affect the sensitive little grains.

IMG_20121210_221201Bubbles of carbonation one hour in!

Stay tuned for the next update: the second brew – experimenting with flavours!!

Hiromiso

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My friend Hiromi, is pretty amazing.

Not only is she tri-lingual; English, Korean and Japanese, but she is an amazing cook at 카페 수카라 cafe suッkara- recognising the subtleties and depths of flavours. She also extends these skills to drinks, creating strong, yet delicately spiced beverages such as apple cider and a mulled wine I cannot resist everytime I visit 카페 수카라 cafe suッkara. Hiromi even extends her knowledge to makeoli fermentation, although she tells me she can never wait long enough for it to develop a more deeper flavour before drinking it. A girl who speaks my language!

And as if all this wasn’t enough she even makes her own Miso, and it is without a doubt the best I have ever tasted and challenges all my previous experiences of Miso. These days, nobody is making their own Miso anymore and it is worrying to think that whole generations are becoming accustomed to a heavily processed Miso taste laden with artificial flavours, colourings, MSG and excessive salt. On a recent trip back to her native Japan, Hiromi even made Miso with her mum, teaching her the process for the first time! A similar movement is happening here in Korea, very few people make kimchi these days, however hopefully with the growing resurgence for slow food, this will revert back.

The texture is rugged and chunky and the colour a rich golden brown. The flavour is fresh yet still has enough fermented pungency to create many levels of flavours. It is not too salty to mask the true flavour of the fermented soybeans and it goes without saying, not a hint or even a possibility of any MSG.

So far I’ve used it as (obviously) Miso Soup with wakame and enoki mushrooms, mixed it into a salad dressing, used it in a creamy raw mushroom sesame soup and mixed with brown rice to make nori rolls. It’s so good I think you could even use it as a miso butter/spread, or in place of hummus with vegetable crudites.

Miso Sesame Dressing for a simple salad
Serves: 2

(The dressing is rich and flavourful, so ideal for a green salad)

Ingredients:
(Really approximate as I just added a bit of this and that to my liking, do the same depending on whether you like it more sweet, salty or umami)

2 tbsp Hiromiso
4 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp apple vinegar (mine is double strength – I use for cleaning!)

Method:

Shake, stir, blend it all together.

As it was such a small amount I just mixed it around, bigger quantities a blender would achieve a better consistency.

Miso Sesame Dressing

Raw Mushroom Soup

Yum!

Thank-you Hiromi for giving me this wonderful gift and for supporting and helping me so much since I’ve met you 😀

Written by ayearinpatissiere

November 19, 2012 at 16:12

Cafe Able: Serosugil, Sinsa-Dong, Gangnam-Gu 서올시 강남구 신사동

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Meandering around Garosugil this week, see post here, I discovered a newish cafe that has become my favourite southside hangout.

Not to sound all wanky and cliched and stuff, (these disclaimers always mean something wanky and cliched will follow) but the universe has a funny ‘ole habit of pulling you in the direction you need to be. Or meeting people who share common interests. Or realising that living life by the magic 8 ball app is probably quite foolish.

Though life may throw some curve balls and some straight out air swings, I’ve found that everything in life, positive or seemingly negative, leads you to where you have to be. I’m always where I need to be.

And on this bright, crisp Autumn arvo, I was led here.

Cafe Able, Sinsa-Dong, Gangnam-Gu.
Down the right hand side streets of Garosugil

They are part of the emerging ‘slow food’ movement in Seoul.
Apparently they have their own rooftop farm, however I couldn’t go up to see on this day, or I needed a Korean friend to help me with the language barrier.

They also had a workshop area for cooking classes, craft workshops

They also sell delicious treats, pickled products

Beautiful, eco inspired cafe with good spatial design with different areas.
Communal spaces for bigger groups, workshops, intimate areas for private occassions or a vibrant, social area for a quick bite or long lunch.

Jumping on the oh-so-trendy-but pretty mason jar trend, the menu was a selection of fresh, energising juices and coffee’s; light meals such as beautifully executed salads, sandwiches and soups served on individual wooden bread boards.

Refreshingly tart and delicious.
Green Vitamin; kiwi, orange & celery.

How to get there: Get yourself to Garosugil, Sinsa-Dong. Line 3 (orange) Sinsa – Exit 8.

From exit 8 end, walk all the way down the end, Forever 21 end.

As you see Starbucks on the left, take the the right hand street, before Starbucks. Follow to next intersection and turn left. Cafe Able is on the left hand side, near the corner.

Address: 2F, 547-6 Sinsa-Dong 서올시 강남구 신사동 547-6 2F *Don’t rely on google maps – It will send you to the wrong place.

Phone: 010-6219-7264

Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 5, 2012 at 06:46

Roasted carrot and ginger soup

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Autumn is upon us.

The air is crisper.

The days are shorter.

The nights are darker.

And our bodies are craving warm, nourishing food to get us ready for the long, harsh, Korean winter.

Soup’s a no-brainer.

Take simple ingredients. Play around with different flavour combinations. Roast vegetables to bring out the richness and full body of the flavours. Add in spices for a punchy flavour. Thicken with beans and nuts. Thin out with different stocks and nut milks.

Don’t overthink it.

Just blend it.

Carrots are often overlooked as a simple vegetable. They are common and familiar and we often associate them with bad childhood memories of being overcooked, as squidgey squares in a frozen vegetable mix or a crimped circle as part of Edgell’s tinned peas and carrots mix.

A root vegetable, carrots are extremely high in Vitamin A, which is digested in the body via beta-carotene. However, raw is not always the best, as only 3% of beta-carotene in carrots are absorbed by the body. When cooked, and combined with cooking oil, this is raised to nearly 40% beta-carotene consumption. Vitamin A, also known as retinol, helps your eyes retain their ability to adjust to changes in light and maintains necessary moisture levels of your eyes. Hence why my mum always told me to eat my carrots so I could see in the dark!

Carrots are also high in Vitamin K which aids in clotting of the blood and contributes to bone strength and proper functioning of the kidneys. There are also good levels of Vitamin C which helps build up immune strength and aids in iron absorption.

Whilst I enjoy the crunch of raw carrots in a salad or in a Vietnamese rice paper roll, the sweetness and rich flavour created by roasting carrots is far superior. When combined with a liberal dash of coconut oil, salt and garlic, this humble vegetable becomes tres chic.

Carrots are easy to grow. They are apparently good garden friends with tomatoes, boosting their production. If left to flower, like any Umbelliferae (celery, coriander, dill, parsley etc) they will also attract predatory wasps which kill many garden pests.

Ginger, ginger, ginger. Not to be confused with gingervitis.

Ginger really deserves a post to itself. Part of the Zingiberaceae family which also includes turmeric, cardamom, and galangal, the ginger plant produces beautiful white and pink flowers.

The edible root is popular in many countries around the world for its medicinal and nutritional properties. In South Korea it is used in teas; 생강차 Saenggangcha, finely minced ginger is added to kimchi right before fermentation and fresh slices of ginger are the ubiquitous accompaniment to fresh, grilled eel 장어 Jang-Oh.

Grilled eel 장어 Jang-Oh with sliced ginger

Ginger is well known for its uses to alleviate symptoms of nausea and assist immunity with cold and flu. However it also contains moderate levels of protein, calcium, magnesium, Omega 3’s and 6’s iron and 18 other amino acids. Although most of these levels are nothing to write home about, what makes ginger unique is that all these nutrients are found within each little slice of ginger.

So, anyway, off the ginger soapbox. Here’s the recipe.

Roasted carrot and ginger soup.

Ingredients:
(Serves 4 – entrée)

2 large carrots
2 small / 1 large bulb ginger
1/4 cup roasted garlic
(I always have a steady supply of roasted garlic in my fridge, if you don’t roast with carrots and ginger)

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp each salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups blackbeans (or 1 tin, rinsed and drained)
The blackbeans add a richness and thickness to the soup, but do not interfere with the strong carrot and ginger flavours.

additional 1 tbsp pepper, 1 tsp salt
pinch cayenne powder
1 tbsp maca powder (optional – I try and add this superfood in anywhere)

1 cup water – give or take a bit depending on consistency you like

Method:

1. Wash and peel carrots. Cut into small pieces. Wash and peel ginger. Slice thinly. Add garlic if roasting.
Place on greaseproof paper and sprinkle on ginger powder, salt and pepper. Pour on coconut oil and shake about, toss about to cover.

2. Put in oven at 170°C for around 30-40 minutes or until very soft and colour changes to a deep orange.

3. Cool for 15 minutes.
Add to food processor/blender carrot, ginger, garlic and 1/2 cup water.
Pulse until pureed.
Remove from blender, set aside.

4. Add blackbeans and 1/2 cup water to blender.
Blend, blend, blend until beans are very smooth.

5. In large, heatproof container, add carrot mix, additional salt and pepper, cayenne powder, maca powder and blackbean mix.
Using moulinex/stick blender, throughly blend to combine.

Enjoy!

Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 2, 2012 at 17:59

카페 수카라 Cafe Suッkara & 파절이 Pajeori

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Tonight I had the pleasure of meeting up with my good friend, S, at Suッkara in Hongdae.

S is an inspiring and amazing lady. Introduced by a mutual friend we share a love of Australia and design, and recently found out that we also share a passion for a holistic way of life centred around organic farming and good, slow food.

She is also involved with 파절이 (Pajeori) which is a non-profit organisation focused on organic farming. Currently Pajeori have a large farm, 3000m2 if I remember correctly, on Yeouido Island, Seoul and are harvesting over 30 different kinds of vegetables and herbs.

It is a small group that is very passionate and proactive in clean, organic produce. Currently they are working with several cafes/restaurants around Seoul, and Suッkara in Hongdae is one of them.

파절이 Pajeori on Yeouido. ‘Up’cycling: reusing old plastic bottles as plant pots.

Suッkara is a beautiful, restaurant with beautiful food and drinks. The dim lighting creates a subdued atmosphere, whilst the open kitchen evokes a homely ambience. We were there at around 6:30pm, and the restaurant was calmly abuzz with people seated all around the low bar encompassing the kitchen and at the well spaced, kitsch tables and chairs.

Suッkara was established around 4-5 years ago, and with a focus on high quality, homemade, organic food, it’s no wonder why. The drinks list is extensive with teas, sodas, wines and cocktails to a variety of appetisers, meals and desserts.

Caught up in conversation, I must admit that although I read the menu (in English too) thoroughly, details are escaping me now. Vegetarian and vegan friendly, there were options for each meal to omit or substitute dairy or meat. Options ranged from curries, salads and were well priced, with our meals at ₩10,000 – ₩12,000 each. Sizes were very generous and accompanied with interesting pickled side dishes and soups.

I had a delicious japanese plum and ombashi soda, which was lightly carbonated and very refreshing. It was clean and tart and only mildly sweet.

I ordered the special menu item, which was absolutely amazing. A whole baby eggplant had been steamed and then roasted and topped with a marinara sauce and a sprinkling of feta cheese. I can’t for the life of me figure out what was in the marinara, it almost had a meat-like texture and the flavour was rich and deep. It was coupled with a bean and gingery rice, which complemented the sweeter and softer texture of the eggplant. It also came with a refreshing, cold pumpkin soup, which wasn’t sweet like some can be. It became the perfect extinguisher when I stupidly decided to eat half of the small, fire roasted green chili.

Special menu order: Eggplant and ginger rice

S ordered the vegan platter which was as amazingly delicious as it was beautifully presented. On the wooden platter was a selection of thinly sliced cranberry and nut sourdough bread, cashew cream cheese, chickpeas, salad and a velvet-like shiitake mushroom and vegetable soup. I could taste a strong, earthy tofu flavour which matched the rustic bread perfectly.

Vegan Platter

S’s boyfriend ordered the cheese omelette which came with purple rice and salad. Never, ever in my life have I been floored by an omelette. Australia is boss for brunch so I’ve had my fair share of omelette’s. But this was out. of. this. world. So smooth, so light, so fluffy. The omelette glistened with a shininess that had me worried it would be too oily, but any oily-ness dissipated into deliciousness. Totally delectable, I can see why it is one of S’s menu favourites.

Cheese omelette

Whether alone, with friends or for a place to impress a date, Suッkara is the destination! I will be back for sure. The only problem will be deciding what to eat next!

Suッkara also runs workshops. The next one will be Monday 8th October at 7ish where you can learn how to make their beautiful pickled vegetables.

How to get there: Hongik University Subway Stop: Line 2. Go out exit 8. Immediately take first street right and walk two blocks until the road ends. Turn left at the intersection and take first right down the long main road. Walk the length of the road (around 6 blocks) and turn left. Suッkara is on the left. If you come to another road on your left, you have gone too far.

Address: 서울시 마포구 서교동 327-9, 산울림소극장 1층

Phone: 02-334-5919.

Opening hours: 11:00~24:00(Last order 23:00)

Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 2, 2012 at 15:44

Birthday brownie with a tangy, coconut, cheesecake buttercream

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Ambitious heading, right. But well, look at them.

So, it’s someone special’s birthday tomorrow and I made the obligatory Korean seaweed soup, (miyeok guk 미역국) which is traditionally eaten throughout pregnancy and after giving birth; first as a ritual to give thanks to the goddesses for delivery of the baby and in the hopes the baby would have a long life. The tradition is maintained on birthdays because of its association with birth and longevity.

Of course, in ridiculous sleeping patterns as per usual, and after finishing chatting with some friends and reading a book at 2am, I had an epiphany, a birthday cake was needed! However, this person is not too fond of sweet, western desserts, which is perfect, as I’m also trying to slowly ween my friends and family onto more healthy, wholesome food and sweets, one cake at a time!

After mentally scanning the contents of my cupboard and fridge. I did what any normal person would do on a Sunday at 2am, I decided to freestyle a gluten, flour, egg, dairy and (nearly) sugar-free birthday cake.

Happy birthday??? You non-vegan, celiac person….I know you don’t even like western style cakes, but please be my guinea-pig sampler and try this whole*istic brownie anyway….

Yep. Totes normal.

Anyway it’s good. Really good. It cracked and went crisp, and had a crust on the outside and fudgey on the inside. It’s not dry and cakey. It’s rich and it’s filling.

But, I’m not gonna lie.

At first bite, it was “What. the. shiz. is. this. shiz……it tastes…..shizzy”

But then it tasted amazing.

Outta this world amazing.

The chocolate kicked in. The texture was soft and…what’s another word for moist, I can’t stand that word, but for lack of a better word….ooey-gooey and….succulent?

It doesn’t have that sickly, sugary sweetness, nor the taste of butter, which I imagine most people will miss. (Butter ya’ waistline or your artery’s won’t) But I guess I am one of those strange freaks who actually prefers the taste of something more clean and healthy and feels happier knowing that what I am eating is actually good for me.

It’s still addictive (help! I  just woke up and had some for breakfast. FML.  Meeting up with a friend soon and taking it all for her!), decadent and delicious, it just may take a bite or two for your tastebuds and synapses to synchronise and realise that yes this a brownie, but not the brownie you’re used to.

I didnt add any refined sugar, but I only had Ghiradelli semi sweet choc chips which have sugar in them. Also, I would add 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper to these myself, but pretty sure that that would be the straw that broke the camel’s back for this person.

So without further ado:

Fudgey Brownies with coconut butter cream

Ingredients – Brownies

1 1/2 cups black beans (yup beans!)
1/3 cup maple syrup / honey
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup pureed dates
1/2 cup chocolate – melted
2 tbsp almond /walnut / coconut butter

1/3 cup oats – processed into oat flour
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup walnuts (or whatever you want to mix in; coconut, goji berries, cherries etc)

Method:

1. Ahhhhh…..put everything except walnuts in a food processor. In whatever order, because you just want to blend the absolute crazy outta it until it’s as smooth as a baby’s bum.

2. Scoop out. Should be quite thick and a pain in the ass to spread out.

3. Place in 175°C oven for 15-18 minutes.
(I did mine for 18 mins, but it’s a little toaster oven (built in ovens are a rarity on K-Town) and it has this glitch where when I close the door the dial likes to switch itself up about 40°C, so depending on whether I remember this, cooking times are varied, as are burnt patches. This time I remembered – so crisis averted!)

4. Let it chill out for 10 minutes to firm up before trying!

Ingredients – Coconut butter cream

1/2 cup coconut

1 cup cashews

1 lemon – juiced

1/4 cup coconut cream

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp almond/soy milk

1 vanilla bean – centre scooped out

Method:

1. Pulse coconut in food processor until it is a wet, grainy, sand like consistency.

2. Add cashews and pulse until it is same wet, grainy, sand like consistency.

3. Add in lemon, coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla bean. Pulse. Mixture should blend together, then start to separate and go a bit oily.

4. Add in milk to emulsify. Blend on high until it slightly thickens and smoothens out. A Vita-mix will get it smooth smooth, in my mini food processor there were still fine coconutty micro-particles which provides a nice contrast to the smooth fudgey brownie.

5. Spread out thick on to cool brownie.

6. Top with walnuts or whatever you desire.

7. Slice and dice and wish someone a very happy birthday!
Or eat it. All of it. But just remember all the beans in there, and beans, beans are good for your heart, but beans, beans make you…….

Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 1, 2012 at 05:18