Trying to live a holistic life in an unholistic world

Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

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

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

Meet Ricotta, I’m sure you’ve never met….

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Like anything in life; gin, men, beef, to name a few, there’s the usual, the standard, the ordinary and then there’s top shelf.

I’ve never been a Ricotta connoisseur. Back home in Australia we are blessed with a myriad of cheeses; both imported and locally grown soft, oozy Brie, Camembert and stinky Livarot to hard Parmigiano Reggiano and aged, bitey Cheddar. And who can resist fried Haloumi wedged between lamb or simply dressed with a splash of lemon or the nutty, velvety texture of a sweet Emmental. Then we have a range of Feta cheese ranging from hard, crumbly and salty Greek Feta to creamy Danish Feta.

But Ricotta. It was always a hard, dried out cake-shaped catastrophe in the deli section of the supermarket or a watery mess in the pre-packaged section. Never was it a thick, rich, creamy luxury that demanded to be spread on a crispbread or the highlight of a salad.

I understand this is slightly different, Ricotta Salata, but with this is the general understanding of Ricotta Cheese in Australia.

And then I moved to South Korea, where dairy products run second to soy-based products, I’m guessing due to the high incidence of lactose intolerance. However, locally produced Korean cheese is predominantly produced as ‘Pizza Cheese’ which can be described as a fluorescent yellow, greasy, plasticy atrocity. Consequently, a decent, quality imported cheese ranges anywhere from ₩10,000 to ₩34,000. I’m not sure why, but imported food products have ludicrous taxes and markups here. Don’t even get me started on fruit. That’s a whole other post.

But, I digress.

Due to an intense craving for Feta cheese, albeit refusing to pay ₩10,000 for a mid-range quality cheese, I scoured the internet and stumbled across easy recipes for soft, white cheeses. Mainly Ricotta.

And, then, I found the Aston Martin of Ricotta. This Ricotta changed my life.

So, one Friday night, on the eve of a friend’s Saturday shindig, I decided to play cheese-god and forgo all social credibility to stay home and make cheese. And it is probably one of the best Friday night decisions I have made..

Never again will I even consider buying Ricotta, when it is so amazingly simple and quick to produce a batch with only 4 ingredients. Recipe adapted from here at Smitten Kitchen, via Salvatore Brooklyn. Be sure to check out this beautiful video as well from Salvatore Brooklyn to appreciate the entire process.

Photo’s of my cheese production will follow, both times I never considered I would end up blogging about my fucking cheese endeavours, hence no actual cheese making photos.

Stay-at-home-Friday-Night Ricotta

Ingredients (for 2 cups of Ricotta)
12 cups milk (I used skim 1.5%)
500ml cream
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup lemon juice (I used 3 lemons)

(You can halve or even quarter quantities, however once you’ve tasted it, you’ll also be trying to make as much of it as you can)

1. Place milk, cream and salt in a large saucepan. Can fill very close to top as it will not boil and expand.
2. With a thermometer, heat milk to 88°C. This breaks down the proteins and whey in the milk.
3. Immediately take off heat and pour in lemon juice. Stir very gently twice.
4. Let stand for 10minutes and resist all urges to stir or poke around and see what’s happening! A thick layer of white curds should have formed on the top.
5. Gently pour curds and whey into a large, deep bowl lined with cheesecloth (alternatively I use a white t-shirt but stockings are ok too, just make sure they are light or neutral coloured, I used teal tights once with yogurt which produced an interesting coloured whey – yogurt was fine) I use a very large glass jar with the t-shirt secured over the opening with some rubber bands.
6. Let strain for 3-4 hours until you have a thick ball of beautiful Ricotta!

I realise photos are essential for the first-time cheese maker and will upload when I make some next, scheduled for the next 3 weeks.

I don’t eat bread, however spread this on my homemade gluten-free crackers (recipe to follow), vegetables, drop spoonfuls onto salad, eat as dessert with a handful of blueberries and almonds or use in hazelnut chocolate spread. I may or may not have indulged in it by the (tea)spoonful aswell. Hey, I live alone alright.

Written by ayearinpatissiere

August 3, 2012 at 14:42

I can’t believe it’s not Nutella…..well, that’s ambitious, but it’s amazing nonetheless.

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I do not deprive myself of any particular foods, rather practice theoretically try restraint and moderation combined with certain self imposed exiles, like limiting sugar, refined carbs (I once ate 60 mainly egg whites in a week) or not wasting calories on substandard food. All of which gets thrown out the window once intoxicated.

I do not however, purchase a majority of processed food. I agree wholeheartedly with Michael Pollen (author of the life changing book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”) that if it comes in a box, can or jar, it should probably stay there.

My processed food exceptions are the highest of high quality dark chocolate, yogurt (for reasons I will soon explain, it became too difficult to continue making my own) and a bitey, sharp wedge of parmesan.

But that does not quiet the noise in my head from wanting, craving, desiring shitty excuses for food. It does, however, inspire me to experiment and create my own healthy options.

Holy shit.

The smooth, creamy, rich taste of hazelnuts and chocolate. It’s like the inside of a Ferrero Rocher ball, (because they’re owned by the same company) but best of all the label states it’s nutritious. Look at all that milk and cocoa!

After a recent trip to the supermarket, I decided I needed some of this nutty chocolate crack, however a quick scan of the nutritional info left me disgusted. I knew it wasn’t a super food choice, but the levels of sugar and fat (palm oil) was just appalling. Even moreso, as those Ferrero fuckers market it as a nutrionally sound, healthy spread for children. And apparently I’m not the only one pissed off, see here.

imageLook at all that sugar! 21 grams per two tablespoons. That’s apparently the weight of your soul, which you’ll need to sell if you ever ingest this sugar/oil loaded bomb again.

Anyway, make way for healthy “Nutella.” A decadent, rich, velvety spread that has the real taste of roasted hazelnuts combined with the bitterness of dark chocolate. The sweetness comes from my own homemade Ricotta.

The best thing about this nutella, is that you can make it as bitter, sweet (use a less intense chocolate, 75-85%) chunky, smooth, creamy and nutty as you desire.


Super easy, 4 ingredients, not saying it tastes just like Nutella, but it sure as hell satisfied my craving. But I’m also a bit of a freak like that and prefer things that aren’t so sweet and taste ‘real’


1 cup organic roasted hazelnuts (either bought organic, or if not, soaked and roasted yourself)
1 cup ricotta (recipe here. I cannot comment on how generic store bought ricotta would fare)
30 – 50grams 99% dark chocolate


What to do
1. In a blender, pulse hazelnuts until you have a wet, hazelnut butter. You could stop right here and enjoy this on a multitude of things, apples, crackers, a spoon, your finger.


2. Melt chocolate, as it’s such a small amount I couldn’t be assed double saucepanning it and instead used the microwave. As I’m living in a country where I can’t find sugar free chocolate that doesn’t involve taking out a bank loan, I used 99% cacao. (*I’ve since discovered iherb.com and have Ghiradelli, organic cacao butter/raw powder and sugar-free chocolate on its way!) I love dark chocolate, the more cocoa the better, but even for me this is so dense and bitter I can only eat one square at a time. This is a good thing actually.


3. Add hazelnut butter, ricotta and chocolate to blender. Pulse until mixture is combined. for a chunky, thick and drier butter, stop here.



4. For a smoother butter, keep on pulsing the crap outta it. It will more than likely begin to separate, so add a tablespoon or two of milk to emulsify. Any milk. Skim, full fat, no fat, soy, almond, whatever it is that gets you to sleep at night. Pulse pulse pulse until it is all blended and smooth.

5. Give half to a friend. Even though its healthy, it’s still calorie dense, and if you’re anything like me, I could devour this baby in one sitting.


Written by ayearinpatissiere

August 3, 2012 at 04:47