As you may have noticed, the Yum-oh blog doesn't include any recipes that use wheat or dairy, as those things just don't agree with me. Most of the time that isn't an issue at all - there are so many yummy cuisines to eat in the world that don't use wheat or dairy, or that soy is a fine substitute. But the one stumbling block was always CHEESECAKE... How do you get that creamy mouth-feel and unique flavour from anything else? So you can imagine how I was bowled over recently by the introduction to this amazing cake: no wheat, no dairy, but Oh My! how creamy-dreamy-yummy-cheezy it seemed! The discovery of this desert felt like nothing short of a miracle. This truly is an ‘I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-dairy’ epiphany of a ‘cheese’-cake. The recipe is blessedly shared with us by Regina and David Power from calmbirth® and PermaculturePower. Regina created the recipe after researching several sources and drew on some of the ideas from Julie Mitosis who runs a raw food company and cooking course in Sydney.
Regina and David's two-year-old daughter Maia has taken to calling it ‘Qi-cake’ – which besides being incredibly cute is also very apt, because you feel full of good Qi-energy after eating this delightful raw-food desert. (Regina says technically I can't call it an entirely raw-food recipe, because I created the addition of the agar-agar jelly topping, which does require boiling for a short time to set the jell in the seaweed - and the more hard-core raw-foodies wouldn't be seen within a hundred feet of a stove... But me? I'm into this cake for the flavour, the texture and the feeling of utter indulgence!)
So let’s cut to the chase – here’s the recipe - you’ll need a very strong blender for this one! I bought a whizz-bang, you-beaut, ice-crushing Ikon 600 from the Breville factory shop in Wattle St Ultimo for $160 that handles the job extremely well.
Pineapple Lemon Qi Cake Recipe: (recipe kindly shared by Regina Power)
1 really nice, ripe, fresh pineapple (3 cups)
1-2 lemons juiced (taste the batter and see how tart you want it to be)
1½ half cups of fresh Thai coconut meat (approx 4 Thai Coconuts as sometimes you get more water than flesh.)
2 cups of dry cashew nuts (they get really soft when you soak for a few hours.)
3 tablespoon Agave Nectar
1 tablespoon Yacon Syrup (if you don't have yacon syrup, just use an additional tablespoon of Agave or Honey or to taste.)
2 Tablespoons lecithin*
1 Tablespoon of honey
¾ cup organic extra virgin coconut oil
*Soy Lecithin consists of three types of phospholipids, which are basically phosphorus rich lipids. The purpose of using soy lecithin in raw desserts is to emulsify and homogenize the fats and the aqueous liquids so that they do not separate, and it also helps make the dessert creamier. This desert will work without it - I didn't have any and it worked fine!Nut Crust:2 cups of dry almonds
Rind of one lemon
Some lemon juice to your liking
3/4 cup of pitted dates
Pineapple Agar-Agar Jelly Topping:
500ml fresh, unsweetened pineapple juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons agave syrup
5g agar-agar powder
extra water, if needed
Pre-soak the cashew nuts for the batter in fresh cold water for a few hours to soften.
Place the crust ingredients in a food-processor and process until mixture forms a ball. Take out small chunks and press them into the bottom of a spring form pan, pressing to form a solid base. Be sure the cover up the seams of the spring form pan as the cake batter may leak through the sides since it tends to be a bit runny until it hardens.
Open the Thai coconuts by shaving the pith off the top of the nut with a large kitchen knife, revealing a bald ‘friar tuck’ nut. Keeping your hands away from the coconut, whack the nut on the ‘hairline’ with the sharp corner of the butt of the knife (not the tip) and wedge the base of the blade into the crack, working it backwards and forwards until the round ‘lid’ of the coconut lifts off. See a video demo here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THEdI_gSNQ4
Serve the coconut water as a refreshing drink. Enjoy... it is delicious!
Scoop out the flesh of the coconuts and place the flesh in a heavy-duty blender with the remaining cake-batter ingredients, except the coconut oil, and blend on high speed until smooth and creamy. Taste the batter and adjust the lemon juice and sweeteners to your liking. Then when the batter is very smooth, and whist the blender is still running, add the coconut oil and blend until well incorporated and mixture is smooth and uniform. This is the stage where you get to see if your blender can handle the job, as it can really start to work hard at this point.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared spring-form tin, covering the nut-base. Refrigerate for approximately 3-4 hours until the mixture hardens. Any left-over batter can be poured into dessert dishes and keep in the fridge. Put a plate underneath the spring-form tin in case it decides to leak a bit. Allow to set before adding the pineapple agar-jelly topping.
To make the pineapple agar jelly topping, bring the pineapple juice and water to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Measure the amount of liquid remaining and add extra water to make up to 60ml. Add the agar-agar powder and bring liquid to boil again, stirring until dissolved. Add agave syrup, sweetening to taste. Allow the agar jelly to cool slightly, but don’t allow it to set too much. Pour the jelly syrup over the cake and return it to the fridge for the final setting – it won’t take long, 15-20 mins should be enough.
And Voi-La... there you have it: Pineapple Lemon Qi Cake...
Lately I've been longing for some of the food we ate on a trip through central and northern Malaysia a few years ago... Still haven't found anything in Sydney *sigh* like the Nasi Lemak Bungkus that we had at the night Markets up in Kota Bharu on the border of Malaysia and Thailand... The other thing I've been longing for is the delicious curry breakfasts we had in cafes sprinkled throughout the country towns we visited. The first picture shows a typical breakfast meal: rice, curries, a fried egg and condiments. The second picture is my breakfast this morning, a red lentil curry on red rice with salty mango pickle, at home in Sydney Australia, dreaming of Malaysia.
Curried Red-lentil Dahl with Red Rice, Egg and Mango Pickle 1 onion 2 cloves garlic oil 1 tablespoon mild curry powder 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate 1 teaspoon palm sugar 1.5 cups red lentils water
red rice, cooked fried egg mango pickle
Slice and fry the onion in a little oil until golden. Add chopped garlic and fry lightly. Add curry powder and fry until fragrant. Add lentils, water, palm sugar and tamarind paste and simmer until lentils are tender, approx 15-20 mins.
serve with boiled red rice, a fried egg and a spoonful of mango pickle.
I was recently introduced to TED - a remarkable site that publishes video of talks by some of the world's most remarkable thinkers and do-ers. Below is a sample of a talk by the Real Food journalist Michael Pollan, who I wrote about in an earlier post... You can watch the talk full-screen by clicking the slightly obscured link in the top right hand corner of the embedded video (the width of my blog column cuts off a teensy bit of the edge of the video) or click here to access the video on the TED site.
It's worth having a browse of the rest of the TED site for inspiration!
Simple pics today: - a stack of five tamari-seaweed brown-rice crackers and a set of three glasses. These were taken about six months ago and were among my first attempts at learning studio lighting techniques using an 'infinity screen' - which in this case was a curved piece of white PVC sheeting taped to a metal laundry-basket frame, so that the background behind the objects is smooth and white without the intrusion of any angles, edges or corners.
Here's some of the sites that were helpful when I was learning about studio lighting:
Where's all the recipes??? Weeeell, I have still been eating great food, just not necessarily photographing it...! Making a really good food-photograph literally takes HOURS, by the time you fiddle with all the props and ingredients and lighting... which is a perfect pass-time for a winter's afternoon. But the serendipitous summer days more recently have drawn me out of the kitchen and onto more spontaneous subjects. I'm sure the kitchen will once again become a food-photography studio when the weather cools down and there will be more great recipes coming your way - but for now, let me share some of my other photographic adventures on my new blog: Photo-Ventura. http://photo-ventura.blogspot.com
According to Spanish-English dictionaries, Venturameans:
1. Happiness, Contentment (felicidad).
2. Luck (suerte)'por ventura' = luckily 'Buena ventura' = good fortune told by gypsies and vagrants. 'Probar ventura' = to try one’s fortune, to venture at, on, or upon.
3. Contingency, casualness, happenstance, adventure. 'a la (buena) ventura' = at random; without a fixed plan.
4. Future; that which is to come.
... which is a pretty good description of my approach to photography...!
This new blog will showcase selected photos from my travels in Australia and O/S; of dance; plants; people; Life. If you are interested in receiving these images as emails, simply log onto the site and subscribe to this blog, in the same way that you are currently subscribed to Yum-oh.
Happy New Year, may the year of the Ox bring stability and peace.