whole*istic

Trying to live a holistic life in an unholistic world

Porchetta: A brilliant sandwich spot for a vegan!

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I’m serious. I’ve had THE best vegan sandwich of my life here. And I’ve sampled them around the world, Australia, England, Sweden, Laos, Spain to name a few.

I’d been craving a sandwich for a few weeks, yet for reasons of time and a slightly OCD’ish manner of not settling for sub-par food, the craving had remained unfulfilled. However, to be perfectly honest, after finishing up a particularly stressful Sunday of work, when a co-worker suggested ‘Porchetta’ for dinner, I was less than impressed. Mmmmm, sure I thought, I’ll just have the porchetta sandwich, minus the porchetta.

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Oh…..how I was wrong….flip the menu, order number 10, hold the cheese, choose the sambal dipping sauce and wash it all down with a Hitachinonest Espresso Stout (whilst I love this beer – odd choice, they should’ve had at least an ubiquitous Peroni?)

Who would’ve ever thought that the most fulfilling, perfectly grilled fresh vegetables tossed in a light olive oil and herb dressing sandwich would come from Korea, and more specifically, a sandwicherie that specialises in Italian Porchetta – which my fellow dining partners told me was also the best porchetta they’ve had.

This new generation of Korean entrepre-restrauneurs (yeah I’m making words up here – but you get it yeah, in fact – you love it, oh yeah!) are well travelled and don’t do things by halves. If they want to open a boulangerie, they’ve been to Paris, learnt from the artisans themselves, and bought the french flour back to prove it (Alaska in Garosugil uses only French flour). If they want to open a pizzeria, they go to Naples, learn the craft to form a pizza straight out of Italy that isn’t comletely covered in yellow cheese and contains fresh red sauce and real basil (Blacksmith Pizza, Jongno – not the chain that is everywhere, but the small, kitscho restaurant aptly named because he is an actual blacksmith)

And if they want to open a Porchetta Sandwicherie – I’m guessing they’ve travelled to Italy, or at least have an understanding of what makes up a great sandwich.

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Essentials to a great sandwich

1. The bread. It’s a deal breaker.
Should be soft, yet chewy. Hold the crusty baguettes for balsamic and olive oil dipping parties.
Filling to bread should not be in even ratios – think apple pie.
Filling to bread; 2:1.

I would’ve preferred wholemeal, but as this was a pillow of goodness, I’m not complaining.

2. Fillings. It’s a ball breaker.
You can’t polish a turd. No matter how good the bread is, it won’t camouflage poor quality fillings or weird combinations (although I do love crisps and vegemite – but I’m not selling it)
They need to be fresh, abundant and proportionate. You don’t want to be tasting all onion wondering where your damn semi dried tomato went too, considering that’s what jacked the price up to ₩8,500.

Several times I stopped to just examine the fillings of the sandwich, I was amazed at the variety and freshness of the fillings, roasted eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin, potato, mushroom, fresh tomato – wow.

3. The spread.
Needs to be tasteful and moist.
With a plethora of condiments, fancy butters, jams, relishes, mustards and mayo’s out there, we’ve come a long way from humble margarine beginnings.
The spread needs to be tasted, but not overpowering. Complementary yet not competing with the fillings.

A light basil pesto was used which led to a discussion of “How good is this basil pesto!”

4. The drip.
Like any good burger, a hot sandwich needs to have some guts and it should be messy, juices running down your hand as you eat it.
I don’t know why exactly, a testament to its freshness perhaps?

5. And now apparently, a dipping sauce.
I was just going to write, I’m not one to dip….but thinking back to my childhood I’ve fond memories of Le Snak, Dunkaroos, Yim Yam’s (who doesn’t remember the disappointment when you found out the dipping chocolate wasn’t the length of the sticks?) but dipping a whole sandwich?
What the?
And somehow, with all the different flavours of the vegetables and the basil pesto, the sambal dipping sauce, more sweet than hot – kind of like red capsicum than red chilli, went amazingly well.

The lowdown:
Jumbo Grilled Vegetable sandwich ₩8,500
Ask them to hold the cheese to make it vegan
I highly suggest the sambal dipping sauce.

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Where:
Noksapyeong.
Take Subway Line 6 to Noksapyeong Station, exit 2. Walk straight for 500 metres take the underpass to the other side of the street. Take the street right from Noxa and it’s on the left hand side about three doors down (hmmm, maybe 5 but I just wanted to remind you all about that mediocre 90’s soft rock band)

https://www.facebook.com/Porchettapage

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Written by ayearinpatissiere

December 11, 2012 at 12:00

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!!

(Non)Magic Mushrooms

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So, again I find myself unable to find something here in Korea that I can easily acquire back home.

Nama Shoyu.

Nama whaty-what? you might ask?

Nama Shoyu is a Japanese soy sauce made of soybeans and whole wheat. Basically shoyu in Japanese means sauce. Nama = raw. Nama shoyu is the raw version of soy sauce. It has the same dark brown colour and rich, intense flavour, however because it is fermented and aged in wooden cedar barrels for a minimum of 4 years, it requires less salt to boost flavour, resulting in a layered, deeper, more full-bodied, smoother, (obviously) less salty taste.

Nama Shoyu - Raw Organic - 10 oz.

Nama=raw. Shoyu=sauce.

However, technically raw in this case is raw=unpasteurised. There’s no way you can create the brewing and fermentation required without boiling these soybeans and wheat grains well above the allowed raw food qualifying temperature of 40.2 degrees celsius.  With normal soy sauce, the mashed soybean and wheat grain mixture continues to cook in big vats to pasteurise; which quickens the process of enhancing flavours that usually takes many years in traditional wooden barrels. Hence the higher price of Nama Shoyu and Maserati like status.

It is still considered a raw food because similar to other fermented products like kefir and kombucha, it contains living enzymes. In normal recipes the amount of nama shoyu or other non-raw items like toasted sesame oil (toasting releases the aroma and warm, nutty taste from the sesame seeds) is so minimal in comparison to other ingredients used, yet the flavour brings such a depth and satisfaction to recipes, the rule is usually relaxed here.

Nama Shoyu (and also lemon juice) can be used to marinade raw vegetables to soften them. Simply add 1 tablespoon to a cup of vegetables, toss and stir occasionally, leave sit for 30 minutes and wa-laaa, relaxed, chilled out vege.

However, since in Korea I have started using Tamari, (I find normal soy sauce too salty and bitey/vinegary) which is also gluten and wheat-free, made purely by extracting the liquid from soybean miso. The flavour is more mellow and less salty. I find it gives the perfect umami flavouring to everything from soups to crackers.

Although, for an upcoming raw workshop I have become conscious of every single product I use. Trying to be as raw as possible I went to my faithful companion iherb.com to buy Nama Shoyu, only to find it unavailable for the past two weeks! Seeking another raw alternative I trawled the internet trying to find something magical.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot with this little number:

Take 3 simple ingredients:
Water, portobello mushroom and salt.

Blend.

Ta-daaaa!!!???

Now, I don’t know whether it’s because we don’t have portobello’s here, (which I’ve been informed by foraging man Dustin are basically “week old white buttons {a mutant of the crimini but exactly the same}, aka portabellos are fully grown white buttons without the white mutation at the store we get baby ones… the difference is about 2/3 days) or whether it’s just something I don’t like, but it didn’t have a rich, deep flavour.

Or even a rich, deep colour. Mine was reddish/pinkish and tasted exactly like what it was; blended white button mushrooms with some salt.

There was no transformation into savoury, umami, salty sauce goodness.

No magic in these mushrooms dammit.

So, onwards, I’m sticking to my Tamari for now. I’m partial to salt. If you’re not, stick to good ole’ local soy sauce. Your wallet will thank you.

We can get too bogged down in minor details, sure Tamari’s not raw, or I might use sesame oil, and I also enjoy many vegetables cooked vs raw, but I don’t subscribe or even pretend to be a raw food purist.

I understand the science and belief behind it, and will try to include these principles as much as I can in my daily life, but I’m not gonna be dogmatic about it, or lose sleep at night because I used Tamari and not some 100% salty mushroom water smoothie….

Faux nama shoyu, I challenge you again when I am in Australia next where “big old non white mutated agaricus bisporus” roam wild and free, and I expect to see some magic, psilocybin or sauce like, I don’t mind, it’s all raw, right?!

Written by ayearinpatissiere

November 20, 2012 at 14:36

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

All apologies

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Many, many apologies.

It has been far too long between posts.

Life became crazy busy, things kicked off for whole*istic faster and bigger than ever expected. Collaborations with Cafe Suッkara and High Street Market, stalls at the Marche Festival , quitting old jobs, starting new jobs……phew.

What a crazy couple of months it has been.

But I’m not complaining, it has all been an unbelievable ride. A sleepless ride. A test of strength, determination, integrity and self-belief. And it’s only the beginning….

A slideshow of what’s been happening, more in depth accounts soon…….so much to write about, so little time.

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Written by ayearinpatissiere

November 19, 2012 at 15:39

Vanilla bean infused coconut oil

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Don’t throw away the used pods of the vanilla bean!

There’s still many precious vanilla seeds trapped in the pod that the spoon can’t reach.

Simply place the used pods in a jar, add a few tablespoons of coconut oil, shake, shake, shake and let sit for at least 3 days until ready to use.

Use the oil in any recipe that calls for coconut oil and vanilla, like cheesecakes, biscuits, cakes, or even for savoury dishes like quiches, breads…..ooooh la la, the options are endless.

Keep adding used pods in the jar and topping up with coconut oil so you always have some on hand.

An easy-peasy trick for achieving an extra depth of flavour and a touch of decadence

Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 21, 2012 at 01:21

High Street Market Collaboration

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Sooooo, a bit of a shameless plug.

High Street Market, located on the cusp of Itaewon and Hannam-Dong, is the boutiquey gourmet deli that I like to frequent when I’m missing Australia and in dire need of a slice of home.

The interior is warm and cosy and laid out like a typical delicatessen that would fit right in amongst the trendy Emporium or James Street shops back in Brisbane. Since moving to Korea one year ago, I’ve seen the store grow and morph, offering not only long lost items like dried beans, rolled oats, a massive selection of cheese, cured meats, lamb, peas and a good range of baking supplies to incorporating a cafe and dining area and also offering a growing range of hand crafted snacks and ready to go meals such as good breads, hummus, ricotta cheese, lasagne, thai rice dishes and…….whole*istic!!!

That’s right! This Saturday, 20th October, 2012, whole*istic snacks and desserts will be available in store.

crackers and dip

whole*istic menu
all items :

VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE

NO REFINED SUGAR (Fruit, Maple syrup, date sugar) OR SUGAR SUBSTITUTES

NO WHEAT FLOURS. NO XANTHAM GUM.
ALL ALMOND FLOUR

Crackers
₩2,900 p/10
brown rice, quinoa & tamari
rosemary & fig
black sesame, onion & chia

Dips
₩5,900 – 200g
roast beetroot & walnut
semi-dried tomato, basil & sunflower seed
roast carrot, ginger & coconut

Desserts
₩6,000
raw blueberry cheesecake
raw apple crumble pie
raw persimmon & hazelnut cream pie
chocolate caramel tart
pumpkin pie

Energy Balls (all raw)
₩1,800
apricot & almond
peanut & oat
raw cacao & hazelnut

Rosemary & fig crackers, roast beetroot & walnut dip

Black sesame, onion & chia crackers and roasted carrot, ginger & coconut dip

Brown rice, quinoa & tamari crackers and semi-dried tomato, basil & sunflower seed dip

Mix and match

Energy Balls. Can someone please help me think of a better name?? Orbs?
Yup, I spelt hazelnut incorrectly.


raw persimmon & hazelnut cream pie

chocolate caramel tart

pumpkin pie

raw apple crumble pie

raw blueberry cheesecake

Get to high street market this weekend, or email me direct for any orders:
mail@wholeistic.com

Open: 10:00am – 21:00
Phone
 : 02-790-5450
Address : 2F, 737-24, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea

Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 19, 2012 at 06:20