I know I said no more blatant photo posts, but let’s face it, I’m the worst and am more than willing to shamelessly hurl my claws into the universal oh, I just moved house, I’m busy, life is hard excuse. In fact, I’ll shout it from the rooftops; I HAVE UNPACKED BOXES AND NEED TO PURCHASE 3M HOOKS, MY KITCHEN IS UNFAMILIAR AND MY COUCH WOULDN’T FIT UP THE STAIRS (true story). So, to celebrate my unceremonious return to Sydney’s inner-west (and the connection of my internet today), here are some photos of the newly founded and permanent residence of Sadhana Kitchen in Enmore.
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I am not an advocate for healthy eating. You are looking at someone who falls before the feet of candy when the slightest hint of anxiety creeps up. I rely on 5-minute-microwave-mug-cake for emotional stability. My desk represents a glorious pedestal of jars of Nutella during stressful months. I gaze into McFlurry cups and see a happier me. Sugar is my solace and I have self-loathing-comfort-eating down to such a spectacular art; I am a fine masterpiece.
What I am an advocate of however is riding my bike to local farmer’s markets and “foraging” (lol) for some local/seasonal veggies on a Saturday morning and if one of those veggies just happens to end up as a healthy snack or meal I’m happy to give myself an ill-deserved pat on the back.
Kale chip recipes are on every blog I’m sure so feel free to call me out on being late to the party. Remember when kale chips where a thing when veganism exploded on the hipster scene? I’m not talking true vegans (respect) but fad vegans. The kind who conveniently perch themselves upon a green high-horse until the void of steak and cheese kicks in after a few weeks.
This is an excellent snack for all lovers of chips like myself (except for Pringles, never Pringles) and considering I’ve made a habit of snacking on nori lately this was an easy and inviting transition into kale life. And, of course, I decided to drown it in ethnic sensibilities. And speaking of za’atar; I mostly make everything from scratch but good za’atar is just too easy to find. You have two options; be a white guy and buy a jar from Harris Farm or whatever, or, find a Lebanese grocery store and buy it for peanuts by the kilo. Needless to say the latter receives my hectic approval and I actually have a massive bag leftover from a party when I was asked by a friend to “bring ethnic food” (bless). If you don’t have any it’s cool, just use salt or throw whatever spices or herbs you have in your pantry, I doubt anyone could get this wrong.
Also I realise I’ve not posted here for a while bar the occasional internet rant. I’ve been finishing up final university assessments (scary/exciting), enduring the trials and tribulations of printing my book (I will need at least 50 blog posts to detail this saga, stay tuned), and, in more exciting news (for me at least) I’ll be heading to Singapore and Bangkok on Wednesday for just over a week for a much needed holiday. So I thought it necessary to find some time to post something before I left.
Anyway. Here’s my recipe for a common fad thing shrouded in my ethnicity I love to flaunt oh-so-much. YOU’LL LOVE IT. I’m already filing this under “stuff white people like”.
Za’atar Kale Chips
(an original recipe)
1 bunch fresh kale
1-2 tbs za’atar
1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Wash kale, remove the centre stalks from each leaf and divide into a few pieces (they’ll shrink in the oven so don’t make them too small).
2. Toss in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and za’atar. Add salt to taste as your za’atar mix may be salty enough.
3. Place kale pieces on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes.
4. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes.
I’ll be back in a couple of weeks after inhaling all the chilli crab and coconut so prepare for an epic photo post upon my return. BYE!
I’m terrible with anecdotes so to spare everyone a long-winded and poorly written story here’s a super condensed version; I was hanging with my friend Mel last week at one of our favourite establishments when I received a text message from home explaining a bag of fresh papaya was just delivered. I’m one of those annoying people who read text messages aloud and Mel must’ve seen the question marks pouring out of my ears so she began to explain all the wonderful benefits of papaya, saying she’d read somewhere its seeds are apparently peppery and delicious. Cool, right?
Thanks to my clever friend and a little dehydration action I’ve come up with this Papaya Pepper Sorbet. It’s times like these I wished I owned a little café or restaurant (my ~FOOD DREAM~) because this is one killer palette cleanser. And shout outs to my vegan pals ‘cos this is one for you! So long as you have some waiting time on your hands this is one of the easiest desserts to create; all you need is some papaya purée, coconut milk, sugar syrup and a spritz of lime. Throw in some ground papaya pepper too for a little something-something, too. It’s pretty great. And can also be made with pawpaw, or a mix of both fruits!
This makes around 8 palette-cleansing serves of papaya sorbet. If you’d prefer to serve this as a full blown dessert dish then I humbly suggest you double the recipe.
Papaya Pepper Sorbet
(an original recipe)
500g papaya, including seeds
65g (1/3 cup) sugar
80ml (1/3 cup) water
60ml (1/4 cup) coconut milk
30ml (1 shot) Malibu, or coconut rum
For the papaya pepper
1. Preheat oven to 80°C. Halve the papaya and scoop out seeds. Spread evenly on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and dehydrate for an hour, or until the seeds are dried. Once cooled blitz them in a spice grinder.
For the papaya pepper sorbet
1. Purée papaya flesh in a food processor. Remove and place into a bowl and combine with coconut milk and coconut rum.
2. Prepare sugar syrup by combining sugar, water and juice of half a lime over medium heat until dissolved. Simmer for a few minutes until thickened slightly. Add to papaya mixture along with a squeeze of the remaining lime half. Place in the fridge for a few hours to cool completely, but ideally leave overnight.
3. Add 2 heaped teaspoons of ground papaya pepper into the sorbet mixture and prepare in ice cream maker, as per instructions. Serve immediately, garnishing with a few whole peppercorns.
Thanks to Impact Communications and Australian Papaya for the papaya and pawpaw! You guys are rad!
PS. I’ve been typing this up over the last few incredibly rainy days; the sun has finally decided to show itself today which makes me feel a little less weird about posting a sorbet. AND SPEAKING OF RAIN (clever segue), has anybody managed to get along to Vivid Sydney? Every single evening I’ve been free it has absolutely poured, last night included, but since yesterday was the finale of the festival I threw on many, many layers and braved the cold to enjoy the lights. Lovely stuff (and I’ll take any excuse to throw up a gif).
Unfortunately I left my darling camera at home over the weekend so you’ll just have to take my word that splendid picnic times were had yesterday. As usual we all prepared some things to share and, to comply with the eating habits of my wonderfully diverse group, I decided it was time to venture into vegan baking.
The ‘V’ word is often a little daunting. Unfortunately many make assumptions of bland, tasteless and generally odd looking food. While this is sometimes the case true vegan cooking/baking can produce the most amazingly ingenious dishes so long as your core ingredients are substituted accurately (I have one of my favourite pals, vegan chef extraordinaire Ro, to thank for this revelation over the past couple of years).
Despite the challenges one must overcome in the absence of milk, butter and eggs this is a very simple cake to prepare as there is no beating required. A simple bowl and spoon is all you need to make these vegan chocolate cupcakes!
Decorating cakes that sit below the rim of the baking cup is a rarity for me so when I realised these cakes weren’t going to rise too much it became a fun learning exercise in decorating with glaze. Ideally I’d have used fresh cherries as a garnish, but you know, cherry season is yet to grace us.
I’ll spare you my horrendous recipe sketch covered in water and cocoa, here’s a nice, neat typed version for you to try at home. Makes 12 vegan treats.
Vegan cherry + choc + coconut cupcakes
(an original recipe)
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup good quality, dutch-process cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup preserved morello cherries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
Vegan chocolate glaze
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp vegan margarine (eg, Nuttelex)
2 tbsp good quality, dutch-process cocoa
2 tbsp coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 fresh, glacé or any other candied cherries to serve
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and prepare a muffin tin with 12 baking cups.
2. Combine your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt) into a bowl. Then add the coconut milk, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract and stir until well combined.
3. Remove morello cherries from jar and chop roughly, placing on paper towels to remove some of the moisture. Add them to your mixture as well as your desiccated coconut and once again stir to combine ensuring the cherries are evenly distributed.
4. Place mixture in baking cups around two thirds full and bake for around 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
5. Meanwhile, combine sugar, margarine, cocoa, coconut milk and vanilla into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for five minutes then remove from heat. Stir constantly for five minutes; the glaze will begin to thicken.
6. Carefully spoon the glaze onto each cupcake make sure to bring it to edge of the baking cup. Adorn each with a glacé cherry and allow to set for 1-2 hours.
Gives these a try and I promise these will be a part of your permanent baking repertoire. Wait, actually, one of my friend’s just called me then so say that these were really great. AWW! Based on this, and my adorable animated gif, you should definitely make these right away.