Trying to live a holistic life in an unholistic world

Archive for the ‘Organic’ Category

Faffing about: Time Travel prelude….

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Libertine – Paddington

Having grown up in Australia, we have the privilege of being exposed to a myriad of food cultures. The standard and authenticity of these select foods is outta this world, due to our multicultural population. What is crazy though is not being able to get a decent meal after 9pm. “Kitchen closed” What the shiz?

I first realised the high quality of  ethnic food in Australia when I moved to Sweden and sampled various “Thai” and “Japanese” restaurants which were run by people of said ethnicity, however I can only guess that due to a more conservative taste palette of the Swedes (not very spicy) or to cut costs with expensive, albeit obviously necessary ingredients, some things, like taste and flavour, were thrown outta the imported plane window.

I spent most of my food-appreciating, wining and dining years in Brisbane and food culture there is immense, focusing on everything from raw, vegan and wholesome, to hearty and artery clogging and everything in between. Traditonally, certain suburbs became well renowned for different types of food, depending on who immigrated there, however with the gentrification of all the inner-city suburbs this has changed and good food of any nationality can be found pretty much anywhere.

Still though, some remain pertinent. Want Greek? Head to West End, Lefka’s has the best cinnamony Mousakka, lemon potatoes, fried haloumi – OMG! and lamb shanks as big as your head. Ouzeri is casual, alfresco sidewalk eating that is the place to go for group parties; their platters are of sizeable quantity, without substituting quality, I can still taste their fava beans. yum. West End is also home to many Vietnamese restaurants with Kim Thanh being my personal favourite for Hue spicy soup, prawn and pork rice paper rolls and a very much missed 3 colour drink. Huangs also has the best Massaman curry I’ve had outside of Thailand.

Take-away section of Lefka’s. So. freaking. good.

Sunnybank, traditionally home to a predominantly Chinese community, however in recent years has grown further to include Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, basically all Asian cultures, specialises in the cheapest and largest pan-asian cuisine. Singaporean Hainanese Chicken, Taiwanese drunken chicken, Korean Chimaek 치맥 beer and chicken plus all other vegetable and animal combinations can be found here. Just be careful, sometimes the area can be quite literally on fire.

My favourite Korean BBQ joint in Brisbane – Obaltan

However, being a 2-zone city girl myself this was always too far out for me and instead I milled about the city fringe for good Asian fare. Hubbed around Elizabeth Street in the city is a growing selection of Korean bbq, traditional restaurants and noraebangs thanks to the growing Korean student population. Good Japanese sushi trains, hand roll boogaloo’s, ramen joints, gyoza and izakaya places, as well as fine dining can also be found around here. King of Kings Yum Cha in the Valley was also a staple for the craziness and awesomeness that has to be experienced to be believed.

Good Italian restaurants are also found around Teneriffe/New Farm with Vespa Pizza having an amazing cinnamon roast butternut pumpkin with dried chilli, sage and fetta although the 3 little piggies was always the favourite for my best friend Veracakes. We also shared some serious d+m’s over their smashed kipflers and a good, or cheap – depending where we were in our pay cycle –  red from our selected favourite bottleshopboy of the moment.

Vespa Pizza

Paddington, my old hood, home to many cafes that serve up a mean eggs benedict with a babycino for the bambino and provide a water bowl for your little white yap-yap, is also home to some of the best pub steaks when you wanna get your bogan on at the Paddo or the Cacko. “Rib fillet, medium rare with mushroom sauce” is the catcall, the wolf whistle, on Tight-ass 2-for-1 Tuesdays.
Fine Italian can also be found at 1879 which does amazing Pizza and Vio’s, an elaborate setting for an elaborate menu.
Old locals for me, The Lark which does inventive mod-aus fine dining with an impressive whisky collection and amazing cocktails (and will let you stay on after closing time and persist for weeks on end with my silly requests of a long lost cocktail – he did nail it in the end) and Cartel – the bar where everyone knows your name and you can kick back on one of the couches, play some videogames, watch some Star Wars, listen to some local music or just enjoy good craft beer or Monteith’s on tap – brilliant.
Other staples were the dark and atmospheric Spanish tapas bar Peasant or the vibrant French/Vietnamese fusion fare at Libertine, which has a magical vibe at dusk on a balmy Summer’s eve. And whilst most people crave a greasy fry-up when hungover, I always could be found at the sushi train Sunday afternoon sipping my hangover away over miso soup and a giant Kirin.
However, let’s be brutally honest here, Harry’s diner has also saved many a drunken night with a deep fried dim sim, spring roll or chicken chips to soak up the inebriation. Also worth a mention is the Paddo Bottle-O – open until midnight – the latest in the city fringe and a 5 minute walk, 2 minute run away from my old beloved terrace house.
On the other sober hand, Fundies, a local institution, has organic vegetarian, vegan and raw salads, bakes, burgers and cakes, as well as having a store next door to pick up all your essential grains, groceries and gourmet snacks.


Fundies nosh. yum.

Oh, I miss home now.

Peasant – many a night spent at that bar.

I haven’t even mentioned Indian, Mexican, Nepalese, the cafe brunch scene and amazing Modern Australian which is basically a fusion of everything available. Check out the menu at Esquire here for an idea of good Australian food, kimchi and beef ‘bbq’ chips?  Scraped raw Wagyu beef with soy, ginger and fried rice? And in the year that I’ve left there seems to be whole new wonder of restaurants, cafes and bars to tickle the fetish of anyone, regardless of what you’re culinarily in to.

Indian Kitchen – by no means the best Indian in Brisbane, but authentic, cheap and an institution.

But this wasn’t meant to be a post on the Brisbane food scene. Or food scenes in general. Clearly got sidetracked, but realise I’ve written too much now to simply delete and start again. The nostalgia of home has been warming.

But rather, this is the intro into a series of travel snaps. Travel times. Time travel.

Whilst obviously the Korean food here is very authentic, it is hard to find other food that hasn’t been korean-i-fied. Pickles with your bulgolgi pizza? Pickles in a Vietnamese rice paper roll? Kimchi tacos and burritos? This has made me reflect back to not only food available in Brisbane, but the traditional food I’ve eaten whilst travelling.


Pizza and ah, pickles?

I am interested in how the food traditionally eaten by different cultures affects their lifestyle. Different cultures have certain rituals with food, unique ingredients, cooking techniques, eating styles, which affects their lives in so many ways; their relationships with family and friends, weight, complexion and facial features.

Food is the focal point of celebrations, tragedies and everything in between the world over. Travel, real travel off the beaten tour package path allows us the privilege to witness first hand these different cultures, norms and cooking practices whilst gaining wisdom and insight into the interaction and relationships of people from different backgrounds.

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins


Written by ayearinpatissiere

September 26, 2012 at 18:09

Orga Whole Foods

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On a nightly stroll through my hood Seocho-Gu, I stumbled across Orga Whole Foods.

It is a small shop selling a variety of fresh foods; fruits, vegetables, meats and seafoods, dairy, soy, nuts and dried fruits, as well as other grocery items, household products, bakery items and beauty and cosmetic products.

With its close proximity to several big marts, Shinsegae, Kim’s Club and HomeMart, it was nice to see around 10 other customers milling about supporting the little guys, whilst I was faffing about. I realise Orga is still a chain, however without having a greater understanding yet of the hierarchy (it’s probably a subsidiary of Lotte or Hyundai for all I know) of marts within Korea, it still has a small-shop vibe focused on fresh, ethical, organic fare.

They stocked a good selection of seasonal produce which was fresh and reasonably priced.

They sell their own range of products under the Orga label, however also stock Pulmone, which is an organic Korean company specialising in a variety of fresh and cupboard groceries and convenience foods. Other imported products are also available such as flaxseed oils, sunflower seed butter, pastas and sauces, biscuits and frozen foods.

Their premise is based on the W.H.O.L.E acronym

W: Wellness
H: Health
O: Organic
L: Liability
E: Ecology

Honestly speaking, whilst it was nice to be able to freely shop around with the knowledge that any product bought would be certified organic, the shop lacked the’wow’ factor for me. It was essentially a slightly larger, single standing version of the range that can be found within any mart.

The ‘bakery’ section looked rather sad and stale. Whilst it may have been certified organic, it was certified unappetising in my opinion with the breads and cakes all very white, refined and spongey. Definitely could benefit from some delicious wholesome breads from Publique and whole*istic crackers and sweet treats I think!

Unfortunately I didn’t notice at this branch any hard-to-find-in-South Korea-items such as coconut oil, oats, chia seeds, maca powder, raw cacao powder, goji berries etc. Still need to source those products from iherb.com.

I did quite like the cute message printed on the docket though. “Always Fresh !! Always Smile!!”

Orga, Seocho-Dong, Socho-Gu is located between Express Bus Terminal and Gyodae (Seoul Nat’l Uni of Education) subway stations. The website seems to be quite comprehensive with recipes, info and what I think is home delivery also. However, it is all in Korean so unfortunately I cannot provide more information. But, I’m working on my Korean too……slowly.

Orga 080-596-0086 / Seocho branch 02-595-7618 (Did you know you can enter telephone numbers into google maps? Excellent when I can’t seem to get the Korean spelling correct….)



Written by ayearinpatissiere

September 26, 2012 at 15:14

Posted in Lifestyle, Organic

To market, to market……

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So, I finally took the leap of faith and quite impulsively decided to get things cracking and make some stuff. Call me crackers……hahaha

I’ve always had grandiose ideas of one day opening my own cafe, having a range of my own nutritious, daringly different and holistic products, but I always made up some other excuse as to why I couldn’t / shouldn’t do it.

There is an abundance, a complete market saturation of ‘health food’ products in Australia. So much so, just like violence or sex in movies, (why is it though that when you’re visiting your family for Christmas and watching a movie and everything will be PG rated until your mum/dad/grandma walks by or sits down and suddenly there is a full-on porno sex scene or a colourfully explicit rant – I’m thinking Billy Bob in ‘Bad Santa’.) that we have become desensitised to all things organic, holistic, vegan, gluten-free, nutritious what have you…..

However, here in Korea, health foods are quite different. There is an obsession with well-being food, and a focus on the medicinal properties of food. I have learnt to appreciate food differently since living here and also focus on seasonal foods, a practice more strictly adhered to here (for instance, samgyetang 삼계탕 is a temperature hot chicken soup that is traditionally eaten in the hottest part of the stifling hot and humid Korean summer – fight fire with fire mentality I guess, fighting! 화이팅!) as it is brutally expensive for out of season, imported produce.

Whilst I absolutely love the high protein korean drinking snacks, dried anchovies, squid, cuttlefish 오징어, which are a welcome change from the high fat, high salt chips, cheese, cured meats and crackers Australian drinking snacks (although a double edged sword – it’s what I’m craving as well, oh Prosciutto, Parmigiano, Emmental, lavosh crackers – although my almond and black sesame crackers are a dead ringer for said crackers – how I miss thee….) I noticed a distinct lack of actual healthy/energy type bars or convenience foods.

cuttlefish 오징어

Due to my working hours, I usually have a smoothie for breakfast around 11am and then won’t eat my next meal until I finish work at 9:30pm. I have some fruit during the day, not wanting a full-on meal like a sandwich or Korean set to fill me up and make me too tired to teach. However some days, I want something more.

Something like a muesli bar or a biscuit that won’t make me feel like shit or guilty, because even though I like to think I don’t succumb to unrealistic ideals or notions of beauty, essentially I’m a woman living in a highly developed, highly materialistic city that places an obscene focus on the superficial, equating beauty with how good/decent a person you are (an ‘ugly’ person is generally less respected/trusted than a supposed ‘beautiful’ and thin person here in K-town) Unfortunately, women, and some men, feel guilty for any food we eat thanks to the mass media and ideals of beauty so deeply ingrained into our psyches from a very young age.

Also, I live in Gangnam. Gangnam style. Gangnam face.

I’ve tried a multitude of bars here, post to come soon. I’ve painstakingly translated every ingredient only to become horrified at the amount of sugar, corn syrups or artificial ingredients to walk away disgruntled, empty handed and hungry.

So I noticed a massive niche for the types of simple, nutritious ‘fast’ slow food that I was used to preparing/buying back home in Australia.

Artificial flavours, preservative, chemical, refined sugar free products.

Food that not only energises and nourishes you, but tastes bloody good aswell!

I’ve launched a small range of products. I must admit that these weren’t the right markets to try and sell this type of western style holistic, health food to. Disheartingly, the first thing I sold out of were the ‘locked and loaded’ cookies (a mix of almond and hazelnut flour, coconut, coconut oil, goji berries, gluten-free oats, choc chips and cacao butter) as the crowd was really just looking for traditional bakery items like cookies, cupcakes and brownies. Although, did get to chat to the mayor of Seoul and also get interviewed on KTV!

The flavours and ideas (crackers and dip is a new concept to Koreans, let alone flavours like korma hummus, cookie dough, blackbean and hazelnut and chili choc dips. Most were not wanting to dip the sample cracker, however were more than happy milling about munching on the ‘free’ samples) would be more appreciated at a food market targeted to people interested in more organic, alternative varieties of food, like the Seoul Marche festival coming up in mid-October which, if all goes well, I will be having a stall there too!

There are also some other possible collaborations with cafes around the place in the works, however until then, if you want to get your hands on anything, email me at wholeistic@mail.com and I’d be more than happy to send anything out.

Seriously considering getting an online shop up and running, but a few creases to iron out first, and still at 29, I do not own an iron. I still use my GHD to not only straighten my hair, but straighten my clothes too….sometimes whilst I’m actually wearing them…..old habits die hard yeah.

The market stall

L-R: Crackers: Almond, fig + rosemary (my favourite!), whole*istic crackers (quinoa, brown rice, polenta, mixed seeds and spices), brown rice, quinoa + olive. Other flavours were almond + black sesame seed and almond, maple + cinnamon.

L-R: whole*istic balls: Peanut cookie, date, cashew + goji, Apricot, almond + coconut, carrot cake, hazelnut chocolate.

a new sensation: dip and crackers

Cookie Dough dip.

Korma Hummus

Blackbean + hazelnut dip.

Almost raw (roasted almonds and hazelnuts) vegan and gluten free tangy blueberry cheesecake.
Dang it’s good!

Vegan, gluten, flour, egg, dairy free ‘locked and loaded’ cookies.

Chili Chocolate, goji and walnut cookies.

Sweet sesame bars.

Written by ayearinpatissiere

September 24, 2012 at 18:47

Nice to meet ‘chia

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So, have ya chia’d chia seeds?

I’ve been aware of all these superfoods for quite awhile now, chia seeds, maca root, bee pollen, flaxseeds, goji berries yada yada yada and of the supposed health benefits of these foods, but for never really jumped on that bandwagon probably due to my preference at the time for a bottle of booze to a bottle over an ancient incan/mayan/super powered magical plant root.

But since discovering iherb which stocks all the products unavailable here in South Korea and its astoundingly cheap shipping costs to South Korea (free on orders exceeding $80) and wanting to get into a somewhat regular sleep pattern after removing coffee from my diet, my interest in a holistic lifestyle resurfaced once more.

I am one of those unfortunate people that has a high sensitivity to caffeine, which surprises even myself as my tolerance to other forms of stimulants is rather, unfortunately, expensively high. So, due to the nocturnal timetable of my work which allows me the luxury of being able to stay up to 5am and still get 7 hours of sleep (being able to set an alarm for 12pm is definitely the perk to my job) I found myself getting into some rather unsociable and unproductive sleeping patterns.

I love staying up late. I love being a night owl. However, I feel my body clock is not meant to function on these nocturnal hours and my circadian rhythms and all that were getting out of whack, as even though I was theoretically getting enough hours sleep, my metabolism, thought processes and general feelings of wellness were feeling fuzzy and out of sync. My dependence on caffeine to jolt me awake, even though well rested, was becoming problematic, leaving me in that unrelelnting pattern of ingesting litres of caffeine to keep you awake only to find yourself unable to sleep when the time comes.

So, coffee, my tall (long black), dark and handsome friend, it was time to bid you adieu.

But, like anything in life, it was able to be replaced.

Enter, the superfoods.

Hello friends.
L-R Navitas Nautrals Organic Maca Powder, Navitas Natural Organic raw cacao powder, Nutiva organic White Chia Seeds, Kims Club Fermented probiotic, Frontier organic whole flax seed

After a particularly harrowing experience with Spirulina, (nobody told me that it was best taken with pineapple juice – instead I tried to ingest the powder straight with water) which was quite an effective energy booster yet induced horrendous gagging, I was kind of skeptical to try anything else.

However, what can I say, I’m not sure if it’s one particular supplement, or a combination of them all, but since incorporating this breakfast power smoothie into my diet, I’ve been bouncing out the door, doing some mad lip synching and popping and locking to some old school hip hop playlists as I stalk through the Seoul streets all wired and alive. I find myself powering on through the afternoon/evening shifts with no lunch required, just a mid evening snack at around 5 or 6 of one of my raw balls, some fruit or nuts. (Mind you, I still wake up at the luxurious time of around 10am, having the smoothie around 10:30-11am)

So what exactly are their superpowers? In a nutshell:

Chia Seeds:
High in fibre:
30 grams contains roughly 12grams of fibre, nearly half of your RDI (recommedned daily intake) of fibre.
High in Omega 3’s and 6’s. Gram per gram chia seeds contain more omega 3’s than salmon.
High in calcium. 30 grams of chia seeds contains 20% of your RDI of calcium, 3x more than skim milk.

Maca Powder:
Energy Booster: Believed to reduce effects of anxiety and a general energy booster.
PMS / Male Reproduction: Is also very effective in reducing symptoms of PMS in women and heightening reproductive functions within males.

Raw Cacao Powder:
High in many vitamins and minerals such as:
Magnesium, and other essential minerals including calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
Polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties
Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fat and can help reduce cholestrol
Also gives the body a boost of energy; the “bliss” chemicals found in cacao help to increase circulation and availability of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in brain, improving mood and combating depression.

Good source of fibre
Omega 3’s: Flaxseeds contain concentrated amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat.
Help lower cholestrol
Good source of magnesium
High level of lignans which may protect against estrogen dependent cancers, like breast cancer.

Breakfast power smoothie

1 small, very ripe, frozen organic banana
1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries (or berries of choice)
1 small probiotic fermented drink (find one low in sugar and cals)
1/2 cup homemade almond milk (or milk of choice) recipe to follow soon
10 dry roasted almonds (home roasted)

2 tbsp organic chia seeds
1 tbsp organic raw cacao powder
2 tsp organic maca powder
1 tbsp organic flax seeds

Place all ingredients in any order into blender, food processor or moulinex.

frozen banana’s and blueberries…..

…..plus all the superfoods

Whiz/pulse on highest speed.

I find by the time I have put all the ingredients back in their cupboard/fridge/freezer home the smoothie is done. Which, however is not saying much, as I could stand in the same position of my small kitchen and perform some serious Stretch Armstrong manouveres and get everything back in its place.

For the sake of this blog and some pretty pictures I placed it in a cup and garnished. I usually eat it straight from the blender with a spoon (yes it’s that thick and luxurious thanks to the frozen banana’s)  as I am the dishwasher and hate washing up anything more than I have to.

Written by ayearinpatissiere

September 19, 2012 at 16:51

mo money, mo problems

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Notorious B.I.G. was onto something.
“I don’t know what, they want from me
It’s like the more money we come across
The more problems we see”

fast cars.
fast money.
fast food.
fast death.

I’ve mentioned before, it’s a crazy world we live in. “The irony of the food production system is that millions of wealthy consumers in developed countries are dying from diseases of affluence….” It really is a case of mo money, mo problems.

Anyone can make delicious food with sugar, fats and flours. It’s a foolproof combination.

Let’s take it back to basics. Cut the crap. Simple flavours. Real ingredients. Satisfying and delicious.

Too many health foods claim to be nutritious by replacing fats, sugars and flours with artificial flavours and sweeteners, chemical additives like xantham gum and guar powder or just other starchy flours.

Support the slow food movement. Its easier than you think. Start with buying organic. If it’s too expensive, buy less. You’re more than likely eating more than what you should anyway. Focus on quality, not quantity. Make one flavour the stellar, stand-out star of your meal.

I recently attended the Slow Food Festival in Paldang, South Korea (post to follow) and became aware of the slow food.com website and Terra Madre network. Yet to fully research it and its authenticity however it seems legit so far and an organisation I think I want to be a part of and support. It is an international, member supported non-profit organisation with a very low membership fee (90AUD/50EUR/35EUR in Asia – these prices are halved if under 30 years old) that supports small-scale, sustainable, local economies worldwide. They show their support by promoting taste education and backing educational projects in schools, hospitals and prisons and defending biodiversity with a sustainable model of agriculture, cultural identity and animal welfare and supporting any local community’s right to decide what it produces and eats. To date, there are 85,000 members in 132 countries from Mexican campesinos, French bakers, Mongol herdsmen, Vietnamese fisherfolk, Italian wine producers and South Korean organic farmers. Make up your own mind at www. slowfood.com.

Grow your own anything. Basil, coriander, chives, spring onion, tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, weed if you can get away with it. Just sayin’! Here in Korea I would get deported for even the suspicion that I may have smoked it. Not worth it, and half the reason I’m staying here – self imposed rehab.

Eat less meat. I’m not suggesting here you have to become vegetarian or vegan. I have dabbled in the past, but I personally cannot give meat up completely. I only eat it about once a week, and eat fish/seafood 3 times a week, but I believe it constitutes a healthy diet in smaller quantities. Most Korean dishes actually serve meat as a side dish, for example Jangjorim.

Also, make sure you know where your meat is coming from. I cannot understand how some people will make the effort to source the most fresh and organic produce, yet due to the high price of grass fed, organic and farm raised free wheelin’ and dealin’ animals, supposedly ‘save’ money on meat. This was once a living, breathing, blood pumping animal. We eat its flesh, yet you really think it’s ok to eat an animal that has been subjected to conditions we do not even force our most terrible humans to endure in jail, like being pumped full of hormones and growth steroids to mature 4 times more quickly than normal, to grow a body so large our legs collapse under the sheer pressure, to be forced to live in perpetual darkness or subject to artifical lighting systems and living knee deep in our own shit, or fed GMO grain that is actually a by product of previous animals.

Either buy the good stuff or go without. Seriously, you don’t have to be a hippy-dippy or burn your bra and chain yourself to a tree. It’s just about educating yourself, having heart and understanding that this inhumane treatment of animals is unethical, it is doing damage to your body and that the government and regulating food bodies are more interested in making a profit, than your health and the flavour of the food. There’s many documentaries to educate you, but Earthlings, (A difficult watch) Food Matters  or Forks over Knives is a pretty good starting point.

But this isn’t meant to be a rant on animal liberation. Just to make you more conscious of what you put in your pie hole. Maybe more pie. Maybe less pie. Either way make that pie delicious and enjoy and appreciate every last bite.

whole food.
whole taste.

Written by ayearinpatissiere

September 18, 2012 at 03:31

Alripe then, what to do with an unripe avocado ey?

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Mmmmmmm, I love me a nice pair.

An avocado that is.

In Australia, they are a-plenty, as common as fluro at a festival, on-road SUV’s and overpaid tradie bogans pairing overpriced designer threads with a cheap-ass attitude and designer mullet. After 10 years of house sharing, with no less than 15 different sets of housemates, a regular wasted staple in the fridge, was the browning, slowly rotting, half carcass of a plastic wrapped avocado. They are literally an epidemic in any Australian share house fridge, tossed aside, bought in a bulk 3-for-$2 type scenario only to suffer an undeserved, ill-fated composted ending, if they’re lucky.

Avocado goes with everything, and makes any dish distinctly Australian. Crikey, cut it in half and it’s even a dish of its own. Have spoon, have salt, ta-da!! Breakfast! True Aussie avo grub would be to spread it on a slice of toast, add tomato if feeling particularly healthy and sprinkle with salt and pepper, add slices between the beetroot and fried egg on a works hamburger or wedge it under the smoked salmon on your eggs benedict when indulging in Australia’s favourite weekend pastime, Brunch.

Similar in colour to a bright green chameleon, Australia being the magical multicultural country it is, we’ve also made the avocado as interchangeable as the incognito reptile:

El Mexicano: Smash it and mash it, add some lemon and lime, chilli and salt, now it’s holy-moly-guacamole!
Turning-Japanese-a: Slice it and fan it over basically a small piece of good ole’ chicken schnitzel and give it a fancy name like “Chicken Katsu” and you’ve got a truly ‘Jonglish’ bit of aussie nigiri there.
Italiano: Spread it, slice it or dice it under fresh mozzarella with some ripe roma tomatoes and basil on some crusty ciabatta, with a balsamic/olive oil reduction and hey presto, gourmet bruschetta.  Save the avo, laughing cow wedge and tomato sauce for the “I’ve-come-home-alone-drunk-at-4am-in-the-morning-noone-loves-me-and-I-am-destined-to-be-alone-forever-but-damn-I-don’t-care-I’m-a-culinary-genius-right-now-om-nom-nom” (Anyone who says om-nom-nom deserves to be single)
Moroccan: Whiz it up in a blender with some milk and oranges, maybe a few obligatory chickpeas and there you have a favourite hawker food Moroccan avo shake.

But here in the land of South Korea, the avocado is quite an exotic being. Found only in fusion Korean food, the rich, buttery texture doesn’t seem to pair well with the spiciness and characteristics of Korean cuisine. It pops up at the better run mexican restaurants or typically in a california roll at a sushi joint, and also makes cameos on burgers menu-wide as Seoul is still in the (diminishing) throes of a burger show-down. All, at a price of course.

But, as I do like quite simple food, and tasting the individual flavours of ingredients, I longed for a fresh, perfect ripened avocado. I gazed longingly at them in the supermarkets, caressed them, only to then curse at myself for even contemplating paying ₩5,000 – ₩6,000 for one single avocado, and placing them back on the shelf. Only of course to get home, and feel unfulfilled with everything I had bought.

It’s not that I’m a tight ass, quite the contrary actually (figuratively, not literally, I do my squats and lunges), but it’s more the logistics of where that avocado has travelled from and how long it has been sitting there. As I mentioned before, they’re not really popular here, and therefore I doubt they have a high supermarket turnover.

They are also as hard as a rock. Which I am used to, you seen these rocks?!(mmm, an altercation that occurred in Seoul some time ago, but kinda went viral) but these ones are sitting in the chilled section, and well, they shouldn’t be. Once an avocado has been chilled, it is harder to get them to ripen, if at all.

But, anyway, my desire for an avocado became so overwhelming that I threw caution, and hard-earned ₩ to the wind and caved against all my better judgements. I proceeded towards the downward descent to avocado disappointment.

I put it in a paper bag. I put it in a dark corner of a cupboard. I impatiently waited, checking on the dear thing daily, waiting for telltale signs of redemption to ripeness, yet, *sigh* to no avail. After waiting a week, I decided this little baby wasn’t going anywhere so it was now or never.

As soon as I cut it, and the knife struggled, making a slight crunching sound, I knew it was doomed to fail. It was like slicing through butter. When I eventually pried it in half,  I did the whole “attack-the-seed-with-knife-and-one-miss-could-sever-my-hand-trick” only to have the knife brutally stay in the seed, laughing at me, all sinister like and shit.

So, after retreating the knife and entering submission, I cried and wailed at my loss. What could I do with this unripe avocado?

Well, the only thing I could do was turn it into some sort of mashed up spread/dip/guacamole concoction, but I could hardly scoop the bloody thing out, let alone mash the friggin thing.

So, I had a brain wave, that perhaps the micro waves could help soften the blow. And voila, it worked, however it did make the whole thing turn an unappealing baby poo green/brown colour, but it tasted amazing and most importantly, was not a waste.

Unripe Avocado Dip

1 unripe avocado (of course this will work with a ripe one, but then just eat it in all its simple glory)
1 red chilli
1 tsp hot sweet chilli sauce
sprinkle rock salt
squeeze lemon juice

With avocado still in skin and seed in place (I couldn’t for the life if me remove it, it was that unripe) microwave on high in 30 second increments until it becomes pliable. Mine took 3x 30 second increments.
*It will brown slightly on the exposed edges. Mine was for my eating purposes only, so I didn’t care too much.

Attack seed with knife and remove.

Add all ingredients into blender and pulse the crap outta it.

Spread on toast, crackers, falafel topped with plain yogurt and sweet chilli or roll up in cabbage leaves with homemade hummus and vegetables. Recipes for these to follow soon.

Written by ayearinpatissiere

September 13, 2012 at 16:54

Food for thought

with one comment

I have followed vegetarian and vegan lifestyles in the past in an attempt to be more proactive in my sustainable endeavours, however, what can I say…..I love meat, seafood, eggs and chocolate too much for it to be a life long commitment. Consider the theory surrounding great white sharks, once they get a taste for human flesh, they continue to seek it out. Perhaps this extends to humans as well, I think it is easier to live a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle if one has not eaten meat, or whose parents are also vegetarians.

Contrary to the outside perception of the Korean diet, it is not all meat bbq. Sure it is enjoyed regularly, perhaps once a week, but even then, the quantities are far less than what it looks like (it’s all the tiny bowls of vegetable side dishes collectively called ‘banchan’ that make it look like super sized), a typical serving of meat is around 100 – 150g, and a minimum of two servings must be bought by a minimum of two people (due to again, all the preparation involved in preparing banchan).

Hence, why one-person-me usually only eats bbq meat once a week if I can coerce my friends into it…and why most Koreans are desperate to be in a couple. They just wanna eat some friggen bbq meat yo!

But, I find myself eating a shit tonne less meat here than in Australia, mainly due to the unavailability of lamb, my go-to-number-one meat. I find I prepare and eat really simple things if I am eating at home, salads, eggs, soups, vegetables. Eating out here is much cheaper than Australia, and generally, more nutritious, but this is a whole other post.

So, I’m not advocating one lifestyle choice over the other, however, I do not condone the inhumane treatment of animals and always make a conscious decision to purchase organic meat that has come from animals treated ethically and wild, locally caught seafood.

Organic groceries are becoming more affordable and readily available in Korea, see my previous post here as are organic vegetarian restaurants. Finding a restaurant that serves organic, humane meat is more of a challenge unless you are willing to drop a serious amount of coin – akin to that of your first born’s university fund.

Seoul Restaurants:
Byeokjae Galbi (벽재갈비) – High quality, high cost Korean beef BBQ. The restaurant owns and maintains the hanwoo (korean cow) farm in Gyeonggi. Ph. +82 2 2058 3535
Goraebul (고래불) – Seafood restaurant. Receives their seafood fresh everyday from fishermen on the east coast of Korea. Ph. +82 2 556 3677
Gae Hwa Oak (개화옥) – Traditional korean restaurant with black Jeju pork and barley fed beef from a local farm in Jeollanamdo. Ph. +82 2 549 1459
Slobbie (까페 슬로비) – Slow Food, casual dining, great prices, great atmosphere. Traditional Korean food, ingredients sourced from local farmers. Ph. +82 2 3143 5525
Cafe des VertsOrganic tea and coffee, sandwiches, yogurts. Casual atmosphere.

*I’d really like to hear of some more, this is a lazy, half assed collection.


It takes 50,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of beef.
It takes 1,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of grain.

Most of the grains grown in the world is given to cattle.
These grains could be going to third world countries to help prevent starvation.

“The irony of the food production system is that millions of wealthy consumers in developed countries are dying from diseases of affluence – heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer, brought on by gorging on fatty grain-fed beef and other meats while the poor in the third world are dying of diseases of poverty by being denied access to land to grow food grain for their families”
/jeremy rifkin

Written by ayearinpatissiere

September 9, 2012 at 14:41