Trying to live a holistic life in an unholistic world

Posts Tagged ‘autumn

Summer’s over but semi-dried tomatoes are here forever

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The taste of the Mediterranean – homemade here in Korea, for 1/4 of the shop price

Although the leaves are yellowing, the air is more crisp and the time spent frolicking in the sun (who has the time to frolic? But the idea, or word is lovely) is becoming shorter, I’ve found a way to savour the taste forever!

Like everything exotic and non-korean in Korea, avocados, watermelon, baby spinach to name a few, the price is excruciating, unbelievable, ridiculous. Semi-dried/sun-dried tomatoes are no exception. ₩9,000 on special? ₩13,000 – ₩20,000 for a small jar?

Sure, I’ve nothing better to spend my money on than eating.

Back home I’m used to picking up a couple of hundred grams for $3 – $5, of varying dried-ness, immersed in different oils or vinegar’s, with different herbs and accompaniments, full fat, fat-free. Pro-choice tomatoes, oh yeah!

So, figuring it’s just tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, spices, sun and time, I thought, I could make my own. Except, ah, the long hot summer days are over here – thank my sweat-free brow – so what to do, what to do….

Oven-dried tomatoes! Looooooong, sloooooooow dehydrated tomatoes result in the sweetest tomatoes with a soft inside, encased by a not-too-hard, ever so slightly chewy and dried out shell. Dehydrating them with a dash of olive oil that has been infused with Himalayan rock salt, pepper, garlic and herbs, enhances each flavour, bringing out the sweetness of the tomatoes.

I used cherry tomatoes here, because that’s what the ajumma was selling near my flat that day

Although I don’t label myself with a food label anymore such as vegetarian, carnivore, vegan, raw foodist; I eat 80% vegan and raw as much as possible (although since preparing samples and market prep for whole*istic snacks and desserts, my diet has changed to 80% DESSERTS! HELP!!)  and meat/fish if my body truly is craving it or someone has been so nice as to cook for me.

I found that it has been easier to make more conscious decisions this way, without placing limitations and expectations on myself and removing the ‘banned food’ list – which actually makes me want them even more.

Bu,t I digress.

A dehydrator is just as vital to a raw foodist as the holier-than-thou blender, the VitaMix – which you cannot get in Korea! Here I was ready to part with my ₩600,00 on a blender, but it’s not even possible. (Post to follow on what I did actually get)*be warned – it will be a rant, as after having acquired the most powerful, expensive blender in Korea, it DIED on me within 24 hours, 2 batches of energy noshies, 1 pie crust and halfway through a ‘cheese’cake…breathe in, breathe out….I am floating on al lily pad down a….one day, it lasted one day!!!! …..down a clear, tranquil blue stream….. But as I’d just received a new large, 4 rack oven, I had been reading that food prepared at 48°C or less, can technically be considered ‘raw’.

Which isn’t very hot at all. I’m sure the Bikram yoga room has been hotter than that before.

So anyway, if you’ve got an oven that can function at 48°C, lots of fresh tomatoes (it’s too time consuming to just do a punnet), and lots and lots of time for these babies to dehydrate – read on my friend, read on……

All you need is love! And time, and a big ass oven.

Oven-semi-dried tomatoes


1 kg tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt (this is more ‘salty’ than salt, so use less at first – then to taste)
1 tsp black pepper – 5 grinds?
1 tsp mixed herbs (I used a mix of basil and Italian parsley)

*Add all spices/seasonings to taste. I LOVE garlic so my recipes are heavy on the garlic, taste as you go, to your liking. Add anything you like. Just remember, the dehydrating will bring out the flavours more.


1. Combine all ingredients, except tomatoes, in a screw top glass jar.
Shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture.

2. Wash tomatoes. Cut in half. If using cherry/grape tomatoes place on greaseproof paper lined baking tray, cut side up.
If using larger tomatoes, scoop seeds out (can add to a smoothie, dip, pesto, sauce, eat, whatever – just don’t waste it)

3. Drizzle some of the oil over the tomatoes.
I used about one tablespoon per line of tomatoes.
There should be about 1/4 cup of oil, more or less, remaining for you to sit the tomatoes in after dehydrating, or to use as a dressing. Beautiful!

4. Place in oven at 45°C.
For 2 large trays of cherry tomatoes, they took 5 hours and were fully dried.
4 hours would create a more juicy, semi semi dried tomato.

Will keep in a sealed jar, covered in the remaining oil for a month? 2 months? Although, I don’t think they’ll last that long….

Cherry tomatoes: 2 hours in

Ta-da!! The finished product – 5 hours on

Drizzle garlic olive oil. Whiz into a pesto or dip. Top a salad.
Eat. Straight up.

I blended mine into a basil, sunflower seed pesto and served atop fresh squash, black sesame tofu (I’ve never liked tofu until moving to Korea – its baffling me -)

Looks like a raw, vegan nachos???

For 2 large trays of Roma tomatoes, well, they’ve been in for 3 hours last night, sat overnight, and we’re up to hour number 2 as we speak.

They’re getting close, but still very juicy


Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 17, 2012 at 02:35

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.

(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


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.


Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 2, 2012 at 17:59