whole*istic

Trying to live a holistic life in an unholistic world

Posts Tagged ‘Seoul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They also sell delicious treats, pickled products

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phone: 010-6219-7264

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Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 5, 2012 at 06:46

Garosugil 가로수길 is so 2010. Serosugil 세로수길 is the new black.

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Today, being the last day of my holiday, I decided to take a stroll around my favourite southside area, Garosugil in Sinsa-Dong, Gangnam-Gu. (Dong = micro suburb, Gu = suburb. Southside = anywhere south of the massive Han river.

Garosugil directly translates to “tree-lined street” (Garosu = tree-lined, Gil = street) and is aptly titled, with the whole street decorated with deciduous trees which are in the first stages of shedding their summer skin in exchange for the warmer orangey-brown hues of Autumn. The area is renowned for having a European vibe from the huge varieties of food available to imported brands.

New fashion / cafe collaboration: ‘Around the corner’ fashion and ‘Publique’.
Original bakery in Hongdae.

Publique: Hongdae.
Sadly closed when I visited.
Amazing breads (none of that sweet white shite) and other sweet treats.
The founder was once an architect, with a passion for bread, and an obvious talent!

Garosugil.
Last Winter.
The big brands have taken over.

However, as with the gentrification of all suburbs, what was once a little hidden pocket for authentic pop-up shops, emerging designers and small businesses, has become a mecca for the big players, taking advantage of the beautiful location, accessibility and apparent ‘new money’ wealth of the area.

세로수길, or Serosugil, translates to ‘side streets’ and these noticeably quieter, quirky side streets of Sinsa, off the main drag of Garosugil, have been sprouting new small boutiques, cafes and restaurants reminiscent of the area formerly known as.

I was on a mission today to do the unthinkable in Seoul.
Trying to find some place I’d read about somewhere, but couldn’t find the post online again, or any information at all regarding the place. My phone wasn’t loading the Korea Herald website here, which has directions in layman’s terms.

So, Le Pure Pressed Juice, it’s you and me baby another day.

It wasn’t all a futile waste though. There’s always something new to be found in this city. That’s what I love.

Walking around in the glorious Autumn afternoon,weaving in and out of streets, I saw many interesting places, old faithfuls like Le Alaska Boulangerie (Why Alaska?) who imports their wheat flour direct from France and has a beautiful open kitchen where you can watch the bakers at work, dine in and enjoy coffee and croissant or take it to go. I’ve tried the spinach twist (and still dream of it, however now try to refrain from wheat) and can vouch that it is as delicious as it looks.

Help! Get me outta here.

Open prep & baking area

Because the French do it better

Another favourite, the Swedish cafe ‘Fika’ which has recently moved to a bigger location and extended beyond just a cafe to include a 2nd floor ‘smart working library cafe’ where the premise is to ‘work, share, read, write and drink.’  The basement floor is a Scandinavian design lifestyle shop where they sell different kitchen utensils, homewares and soft furnishings. The cafe now also stocks a range of gourmet biscuits, crackers and muesli’s. Not all Swedish, some German, but there was the ‘vellicht Svensk’ (very Swedish) Lingonberry and Gooseberry jam. This can be either spread on bread or crispbread or mixed with water to form a drink.

Having lived in Sweden, I find Fika to be quite authentic with the selection of cakes, buns and savoury items. Generally, Swedes love processed cheese/fish pastes in a tube and it was scarily heart-warming to see these nutritional nightmares there!

‘Fika’ in Swedish means coffee break. And Swedes love to take fika 2 or more times a day. I lived in a small town outside of Gothenburg on the west coast, and it was a tiny, quaint, fairy tale beautiful town with only around 25,000 people, a main street in the city centre that went for 2 blocks, but with a crazy 30+ cafes. At any time of the day, these cafes would be filled with people, man or woman, young or old, all enjoying fika.

The sweet taste of Sweden, Lingonberry.
Enjoyed with everything from pancakes to meatballs.

Bottom Left: Cheese/Fish paste in a tube
Top Right: Semla – a sweet bun usually filled with marzipan. Traditionally only eaten around Easter.

Other places of interest:

Spellbound Fixie Shop
Lots of people riding around, hanging about.
Will go back another day and buy me a bike.

One Chu – Churros Cafe

Cafe No Bear

Fork Fork Diner
Kitsch little cafe serving burgers, salads, pasta

Hello! Diner and Cafe
Menu looked suspiciously asian for a ‘diner’
Noodles, rice dishes……ho hum ho hum

Jane’s Picky Pizza
Good design, both architecturally and graphically
Food looks pretty banging too

It’s not all about food
Serosugil has nice, independent boutiques like this as well as more street fashion orientated stores stocking European brands like Nudie, Cheap Monday, WESC.

Ok, around the corner, back on Garosugil.
Collab between ‘Around the corner’ and ‘Publique’

Delicious bread from Publique.
Vegan chive and ‘cheese’ dip – recipe to follow

How to get there: Sinsa Station exit 8, line 3 (orange) Walk directly out of subway for 2 blocks. Turn left at the Missha into Garosugil.
Walk around, get lost, discover a new favourite, like I have here (post to follow)

Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 3, 2012 at 14:32

Roasted carrot and ginger soup

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Autumn is upon us.

The air is crisper.

The days are shorter.

The nights are darker.

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

Soup’s a no-brainer.

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

Don’t overthink it.

Just blend it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grilled eel 장어 Jang-Oh with sliced ginger

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

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

Roasted carrot and ginger soup.

Ingredients:
(Serves 4 – entrée)

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

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

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

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

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

Method:

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 2, 2012 at 17:59

카페 수카라 Cafe Suッkara & 파절이 Pajeori

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special menu order: Eggplant and ginger rice

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

Vegan Platter

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

Cheese omelette

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

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

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

Address: 서울시 마포구 서교동 327-9, 산울림소극장 1층

Phone: 02-334-5919.

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

Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 2, 2012 at 15:44

Birthday brownie with a tangy, coconut, cheesecake buttercream

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

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

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

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

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

Yep. Totes normal.

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

But, I’m not gonna lie.

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

But then it tasted amazing.

Outta this world amazing.

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

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

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

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

So without further ado:

Fudgey Brownies with coconut butter cream

Ingredients – Brownies

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

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

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

Method:

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

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

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

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

Ingredients – Coconut butter cream

1/2 cup coconut

1 cup cashews

1 lemon – juiced

1/4 cup coconut cream

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp almond/soy milk

1 vanilla bean – centre scooped out

Method:

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

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

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

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

5. Spread out thick on to cool brownie.

6. Top with walnuts or whatever you desire.

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

Written by ayearinpatissiere

October 1, 2012 at 05:18

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.

Cartel

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.

https://i1.wp.com/beckymartin.com/okpo/images/photos/pizza2804.jpg

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

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