Star light, star bright
On the 364th night
Lovechef, at last, posts a blog,
Emerging from a mighty fog.
No grand tale of where he’s been,
No year in view, no glossy sheen,
But just a simple ode to what
We’ve known so well from our year dot,
A pie of mince, fruit sweet and true,
And with a pie, we’re born anew.

That was Charlotte’s appeal; ‘write an ode to the mince pies’ she added. Not quite the same as Shakti luring Shiva back after 10,000 years of meditation, but, I needed a prod. A cattle prod. So..

Ode to a mince pie

Oh my lord i scarce believe
Th’extent of modern poetry.
Our resurrection’s credit lies
In bake’d goods, not Jesus Christ.
But doesn’t that perfectly fit
our contemporary predicament?

When east is west and truth is lies,
When war is peace and foes ally,
It shouldn’t come as much surprise
To find salvation in mince pies.

Call me an absurdist, but aren’t we in the era of the absurd; when we have to laugh but we should be crying. If we didn’t need the anaesthetic then by rights we should have cancelled Christmas this year, because our grandchildren won’t believe their forebears just sat back and watched the box while all this was going on.

I won’t go into it. I can’t go into it. There’s too much. That’s why I fell off the radar for a year, because I didn’t know where to start. I’ve been suffering from ‘modern syndrome’; overwhelming pessimism resulting from over-exposure to current affairs. It felt ridiculous to be presenting longevity-gastronomy alongside pithy commentary on… slave camp earth! Criminal government, wanton ecocide, thermo-nuclear TV-advertised corporate buggery, with all-new coconut palm sugar – buy some today!

Then suddenly, out of the darkness of the solstice night, the mince pie of salvation! Of course; don’t let the absurdity get you down, let the absurdity be your guide! Nought will be done pondering the depths of the abyss. I was almost going to say – keep calm and carry on – but I’d have to suffocate myself in a Cath Kidston shopping bag.

So Gung Ho! Raw pigs, macro pigs, paleo pigs and light eaters, breathers and intergalactic stellar-breeze-feelers. The only way out, is in. And we’re all in it together.

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A very windy walk

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up a very lumpy hill

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with a thingy on top.

Instant spelt mince pies with sugarless Mead mincemeat.

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We’re almost off gluten these days. Scary, gluey gluten. But where’s there’s rules, there’s going to be trouble! So a little bit of what kills you isn’t going to kill you, or something like that.

Spelt not wheat; the centuries of hybridisation and selective breeding – although we cannot yet explain why – has made all the difference. Use wholegrain, or a mix with half white spelt, to include the vital mineral constellation that makes things digestible.

Organic, local butter from pasture fed cows. Milk is made from the condensed goodness of wild grasses and weeds. Milk made of the condensed ‘goodness’ of GM grain produces self-harming human cells and helps promote global soil decimation. Organic standards of animal rearing also ensure far better lives for livestock: vote animal! Buy organic.

Sugar-free mincemeat is a sinch. We used Mead instead of brandy as we have a fantastic brewer just down the lane right now. The sweet of the Mead and the dried fruit was easily enough to carry the recipe. What makes these pies so epicly good is the savory pastry. The contrast brings out the sweet and keeps the pies on the right side of sickly.

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Pastry
300g spelt flour (white / wholegrain mix)
150g butter
2-3 tablespoons cold water
1 egg yolk

Mincemeat
300g mixed currants sultanas raisins
125g finely chopped apple
50ml honey mead
2 tablespoons softened butter
zest and juice of half an orange1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch allspice

Instructions
First mix up all the mincemeat ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Rub the butter into the flour, pinching it with your fingers to make breadcrumb texture. Mix in the water, egg yolk and mead then knead into a ball. Roll it out on a floured surface ’til it’s 1/2 cm thick.

Turn on the oven to 190 degrees. Then with a cutter or an upside down glass cut out the baserounds and press them gently into the mini-pie-tin thingy. Cut star shapes for the tops, either with a cutter or by hand if you’re a glutton for painstaking tasks and you like things a bit wonky. Spoon mincemeat into the pastry cases and put a star on top. Brush the tops with the egg white then bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly tanned.

See you next year, wriggly friends..

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So many years prognosticating
The what ifs of this year.
Look, no comet, no alien landing.
Time ticks slowly on.
But are we off the hook, or on it?
No saviour, no reaper.
The drip, drip
Of a leaky tap;
Small things left undone,
making up life,
creating us,
lest we create
ourselves. 

Make a wish,
Blow a kiss,
Your penny in the hat,
Your hat in the ring,
Your seeds, your art, your love -
Make it:
For the beauty
For the horror
For all our relations.


26,000 year anniversary cake

shazza cake arial

Fresh Persimons in Cardamon Creme on a
Walnut, Cranberry & Sour Cherry Crunch

Sharon fruit in Israel, Kaki fruit in Japan (柿), Putchamin in the Algonquian tongue of the eastern USA (from which the word Persimmon derives). The Greeks called it wheat of Zeus and a Godly fruit it is: like an orangy juicy cosmic date..

There are two main kinds available: astringent and non astringent. The astringent variety has to be really ripe before you can eat it, almost gushing inside it’s skin. The others you can eat when still a bit firm. The only way is to try one when you get it home. You’ll know if you’ve got it too early; the result in a dry mouth experience to rival snogging a slug.

3 Persimmon fruits
1 cup walnuts, soaked and dehydrated, (or just a bit toasted). sharonfruits
1/3 cup dried cranberries &/or dried sour cherries, soaked
Generous pinch of salt

1 cup cashew nuts, soaked
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juiceshazza gat base 2
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/3 cup water

shazzy gat base picFirst make the base. Soak the dried fruits in just enough water to cover them. If you’ve left it too late, use hot water, give them half an hour. Pulse them (with their soak water) with the walnuts and the salt in a food processor ’til they’re bitty but still a bit chunky.  Press the mix into the bottom of a 9inch(ish) dish.shazza cake close up

Now make the cream. Drain the cashew nuts and blend them with the rest of the ingredients, adding half the water at first, more if required to get it to a thick but pourable cream. Pour into the base leaving a bit of room for the level to rise when you push in the fruit slices.

Cut the Perimons into thin wedges, then cut each wedge in half making little pointy turrets. Starting from the centre arrange the points in circles or a spiral until you’ve filled the whole top. Put in the fridge for at least 5 hours to set, or the cream will be very oozey..

For an extra crunchy Mayan finish, sprinkle with cacao nibs before serving.

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Adios amigos. So long 2012. See you next ‘year’. Every blessing of the rising sun to one and all.

This is Ferdinand Cheval or Le Facteur Cheval, postman of the rural French village of Hauterives from 1867-1896. He tripped over an interesting looking stone one day during his 32km route (on foot) which lead, in a classicly surrealist leap of imagination, to him spending the following 33 years modelling, night after night, a ‘monument of obstinacy’, known as Le Palais Ideal.

hard working geezer

The French made it a national monument in 1969 (most likely wouldn’t have got planning permission in the UK). It has no interior rooms, just corridors and winding staircases with poetry and epigrams tatooing its parts not already beblobbed by concrete animals and darleks. Anyone who’s anyone in the surrealist world names old posty as an inspriation (Barrack Ohbummer’s autobiography will surely reveal..).

the work of one man

God . Country . Work

It struck a chord with us somehow; his ‘temple to nature’ so lauded in the world of ‘Art Brut’, or ugly art. Stranger than the thing itself was the contrast it drew between our times. The surrealists’ aim 90 years ago was to ‘reveal the unconscious and reconcile it with rational life’. Today the collective spews its unconscious into the cybersphere in an ever shortening now, exponentially proliferating eyes/I’s somehow compressing the present moment, regurgitating memes faster than any mind could keep up with.

What qualifies as a genuinely surreal moment these days? Aren’t the cartoon-like proportions of modern ‘reality’ with its macabre, excruciating extremes, more baffling to rational life than any art? Hasn’t art itself broken its boundaries, become more and more practical; our device to make sense of reality since real life has swallowed the surreal?
Gadzooks.. mental curlywurly!
Time to consider my next monument…

tally ho..

France, September: wide horizons through a windscreen, rushing lanes of plane trees just beginning their autumn costume change, a hint of a chill nibbles the shaded air. Markets sprawl through ancient city streets disgorging the local product, the astonishing bounty of the soil.

Muscat grapes at 2.90E on the kilo, organic figs 4.90 a kilo or wild off the trees (to a Brit, that’s known as gauling).

I have to confess that my culinary muse got entirely swept away in a wanton french affair. I couldn’t bring myself to whizz or sprout anything in favour of lunches of fresh figs with raw goats cheese, heirloom tomato and sourdough bruschettas, the occasional mono-meal of a straight kilo of grapes. Important new work went towards my ongoing croissant-of-a-lifetime project.. The closest I got to restraint was kidding myself that crème fraiche is a probiotic.

Je ne regret rien.

fig urchins

still life

peaches and cream pancakes with fresh basil, baby and red umbrella

The summer of the slug is now behind us. Mushrooms are popping in the fields. The clocks tick calmly towards the solstice. Fingers crossed, if the fates are with us we’ll have our own kitchen again within weeks.. finally, we’ve found a home. I almost don’t dare to say it..

Happy apple-picking, leaf kicking, smoky bonfire afternoons.

Out-of-season rain
Dashes crowns of princely trees.
Perplexed travelers ask for reasons
Huddling under worn eaves.

So says the Tao. ‘Even the wise ones are surprised when things happen out of turn’ it goes on.. Don’t know about you but 2012 has been a year of surprises, which should be no surprise at all really.

Our Wales chapter is over. Farewell dear Wales; edge of the west, the darker green, the older tongue, it’s shrill fiddle and circle dances, the boon of heartfelt company between long solitudes. When I look at that picture now (the view from our woodland at Trefacwn) a crisper breath fills my lungs and wilderness rolls out around me like a wave.

We spent the winter there making this little building, tucked behind the walled garden at our friend’s place. We’ve always dreamed of building our own home, so we took some time out from fooding (and blogging – sorry dear readers) and put ourselves into a crash course in eco-building.

this is not a piece of cake

We cut the timber for the structure from wind-fall trees at our friend’s woodland and used old railway sleepers for the main structure. The footings were waste-concrete blocks and the walls Welsh wheat straw. The glass was taken from the scrap piles of local glaziers and all the other bits were wombled or recycled or purloined from dusty corners of the out-buildings of our friend’s estate; stand-up geezer that he is. Not so many folk will sponsor such a wacky, unplanned piece of derring-do as this. I mean there’s a tree inside the building for piggies sake..

notice the new branch, growing inside..

Everyone comments on how it ‘feels’. There’s something beyond the spectrum of the senses that you can’t help but notice. It may be stillness. The morning sun floods through the windows as the birds’ dawn chorus faintly pierces the walls, and the trees’ inaudible hum holds the structure as if it’s one of their own. It’s a place to really explore peace. It’s the place our daughter chose to come into the world. I’ll never forget those short days after she was born, when the air shimmered and there was no time, when the birdsong was her music, and even the flowers bowed to her newborn scent.

The rules say you can make a building like that, but you can’t actually live in it. We knew.. and we thought no one would notice if we stayed on up there for a couple of… er, years, after finishing it. But in a wiggly twist of fate, someone told the planners and we got our marching orders. Crowns dashed, just like that.

It’s our biggest artwork to date. A bit like making a big.. a really big cake; not long after you’ve finished it – it’s gone!

Don’t cry because it’s over – smile because it happened.
Pigs on the road again!

Woke at dawn
After the storm
Dew like a veil, hanging still,
Devon’s oaks, silenced
As if the earth
Held her breath.

Reasons are paper dolls
We make for ourselves,
Pantomimes pinned
On the great Dao,
Having its way with us
Again..

Peaches and Cream

Peach season! oh happiness. Peaches every day these days. I had peach and dairy cream the other day and realised what a killer combination it is (no pun intended). I wanted to do something similar that I’d feel really good about eating.

Rose tinted Peaches with fresh basil in white chocolate cream.

5 fresh peaches
1 cup hazlenuts, soaked
30g cacao butter
20g coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon mesquite powder
1/2 tablespoon lucuma powder
2 large pinches good quality salt
Rose water
20 or so fresh basil leaves
A large handful of dry hazlenuts

To make the rose water either; soak a large fistful of rose petals in a cup of water overnight, then drain; or cheat and use a good organic rose water (Pukka do a good organic one in a spray – it’s what i used!).

Drain the soaked nuts and blend thoroughly in 3 1/2 cups of water (include the cup of rosewater). Strain with nutmilk bag or muslin cloth to make nutmilk. Put the milk back in the blender jug.

Melt the butters in a bain marie then add them to the blender with the powders and salt and one of the peaches. Blend thoroughly.

Smash up the dry hazlenuts and put them in a hot pan to toast them. They need about 5 minutes pushing around regularly to stop them burning. Turn them out into a seive and shake off any burned skins.

Chop up the rest of the peaches into chunks and put them into two soup size bowls. Cut the basil leaves finely and add them to the peach bowls. Pour over the cream and if you’re using the Pukka spray, now give 6 or 7 good squirts into each bowl and mix it all together.

If possible (!) put the bowls in the fridge for an hour. The cream will thicken up a little bit as the butters cool.

Sprinkle the toasted hazlenuts over the top and garnish with some more basil.

This made two big bowls, it could serve 4 as a pud (I just always want there to be more cream (!) so it was wonderful in a guiltless yet selfish kind of way to quaff this huge bowl of creamy peachy heaven).

First, an apology. How very British.

This post was first published with all my unedited notes on display, after i pushed the ‘publish’ button by accident. Rather like the door swinging open while you’re sitting on the loo at a festival.. Sorry to our subscribers who got flashed! The finished post is now below.

The British Aisles

I found this on the beach last week. My jubilee find. Like the tattered entrails of some passed seafaring ambition, or the skeleton of a land whose soil was washed away.

Funny, no, that this Tuesday marks the anniversary of the reign of Britain’s worldy queen, and Venus our Queen of the heavens as she makes her rare transit across the sun?

The queen is patron of the Rothamstead Insitute, an historic British research institution now overrun by Monsanto goons, lobbying their patented GM wheat straight into the soil. What about that my lady; have we sold our staff, our future, to a juvenile half-brained science, for a handful of dud beans?

Why are they all so keen – government, enterprise, media and royalty? Why is the evidence of danger to our health and the ecology consistently buried or hidden, good scientists scandalised and defamed? Rothamstead have another 120 patents up their sleeve. Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the seeds…

We reveled in cake and tea with a fine gathering of folks on Sunday, at the jubilee celebrations in St Davids. So much charm, finesse and dignity in this culture, but we’re being blindfolded with bunting. The anthems are playing, the china clinking, while the wheat grows taller in the field, behind rows of armed coppers. Once it goes to seed, there’s no turning back. Hello mutant ladybirds. Hello new disease. Hello two-headed celebrity offspring in Hello magazine.

This Venus transit “strongly supports the reintegration and emergence of the Divine Feminine principle in our world”*. Sounds like just in time..

The campaign against GMOs is the campaign to protect our food sovereignty. In lieu of our sovereign’s Venusian revolution, you might like to visit the below:

http://taketheflourback.org/
http://www.gmfreeze.org/
http://www.gmwatch.org/

the Venus cycle

I’m turning my head to Venus today, raising the game to the heavens. You can trust her; big beautiful blue jewel of the sky. Her power’s undimmed by our experiment, her course unchanged by lobbying.

Breathe in, open your heart and take in the nectar of the Divine Queen infusing us, emblazoned in the full force of the sun; tonight, one night only.

Now, what else but…


Cucumber sandwiches

I was planning a jubilee cake, but Charlotte’s on a very low sugar diet on account of our little babe having Colic (a syndrome where babies unconsciously torture their parents with uncontrollable bouts of continuous screaming. There are thousands of things you can try to comfort baby, from singing, walking, dancing, bouncing, jiggling, changing your diet, slamming your head against a hard surface. The method is to try all of them until something works, while maintaining an open heart.. Parenting – golly, who knew!?)

Whizz all the below ingredients in a food processor until it’s a smoothish pate.

1/2 cup soaked hazlenuts
1/2 cup soaked sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 pinches salt
1 teaspoon Umeboshi Plum seasoning (or a bit more salt if not)
a small sprig of Rosemary (about 20 little leaves)

Then cut cucumber rounds and put a good thick slice of strawberry on top. Squish on about a teaspoon’s worth of the pate then garnish with alfalfa/radish sprouts and a blueberry, for a bit of the old red white and blue darling.

* http://www.lunarplanner.com/HCpages/Venus.html
Excellent Venus information.

the prostration zone

Words, food, it all suddenly seems meaningless, ridiculous, after the arrival of a new human being, right in our bedroom, just a few weeks ago. But we’ve got to emerge sometime..

She is The One explosive present moment spectacular road-show happening all day every day (and night). Her whimpers would melt the hardest heart, her screams could break a monk’s order. She has the highest cheek to body-weight ratio of any mammal I’ve ever seen, and she demands (loudly) at least 6 miles of vigorous walking every day. Doesn’t matter if it’s along the headland or around the room, but she can sense the moment i sit down and pretend to be walking.. life is already, never the same again.

she also loves dancing

I could wax on for pages, about her range of wacky expressions, her little mudras, but this is officially a food blog, so better get down to it.

Saturday morning; I was standing in a chaotic kitchen, a spiraliser in my hand, aching for inspiration, looking at breakfast’s leftovers and some random veg. Then something sublime happened..

Cucumber and Pear Udon noodles
with shredded Mint and Dandelion leaves
in Almond and Mead cream ‘soup’

fresh as a surprise kiss on a june afternoon

I used some special ingredients because they happened to be lying around, but i’ve put substitutes below. It’ll still work.

Ingredients

1/2 large cucumber
2 pears
about 20 mint leaves – shredded
about 12 dandelion leaves – shredded (use rocket if you don’t have hedgerow access).

1 cup of Almond milk (or the milk of your choice)
1 tablespoon Moscatel vinegar (or the juice of one lime and a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup)
1 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup of soaked buckwheat (or soaked sunflower seeds)
1 tablespoon of Honey Mead (or sweet wine or sherry would work – or add a bit more of the lime and honey mix with a dash of cyder vinegar)
The bits of pear and cucumber that don’t make it through the spiraliser (or if your machine does the whole thing, then keep back a little for the dressing).

Instructions
Spiralise the cucumber and pear on the fattest setting (if you don’t have a spiraliser you can grate them) and toss them in half of the Moscatel vinegar (or sweet lime mix) with the shredded dandelions and mint.

In your blender whizz the rest of the ingredients to make the ‘soup’.

Pour over the noodles and serve chilled. (if you’re not chilled when you serve it, you will be when you’ve eaten it..)

It works best alone or as a starter. It only took about 7 minutes.

Here next week, our contrastingly unsentimental Jubilee special..

For now, so long wrigglers.
Deep peace of the snoring babe to you.

What wonder,
oh grandfather sky,
in these wisen’d branches
bearing up my questions
to the low noon sun,
signaling victory
beyond reach -

until the stars,
when the chill of night
is like the fast freedom of a dream
and all cold is just a wind
across my fierce warm cheek
smiling,

and all my wondering is as absurd
as that red mushroom in the grass -
big man, you must be joking?

Do not eat these mushrooms. 
Tis for wild pigs to snuffle, but wise pigs to discern; they may be red and pretty, but these are not the mushrooms you were looking for. 
More’s the pity..

Solstice approaches; the sweet sound of the half-time whistle to ragged runners in a race to the spring. Well, not ragged yet maybe but starting to get a little wet perhaps, ready for a nice sit down and a cup of hot tea. Here we’re rosy-cheeked from glorious days of autumn spent outside, kicking the fallen leaves, building a nest for winter in our little woodland.

What, you might ask, is the secret of said rosy cheeks? What magic stokes their digestive fire in these days? Not the latest Peruvian mega-root, not even the godly cacao bean but..

Sauerkraut.

Don’t flinch, or curl your lips – please! Erase all memories of shop-bought jars of saggy wigs of old cabbage. Since we started making our own Kraut, I can hardly pass a meal without it and my intestinal flora is undergoing a quiet revolution.

Once you’ve got all your veggies together it takes less than half an hour to make enough Kraut to get you through the winter with a warm, smug, probiotic glow. Don’t hesitate, invest in your intestinal bacteria today!

le croque Mabon

Directions:
You will need a big pile of veg and a crock, which means a large wide-mouthed earthenware pot. If you don’t have one you can use any big-mouthed vessel (insert your own joke here). You can use large glass jars (bit fiddly) or even a plastic bucket but it should be food grade plastic. You can’t use metal as it interferes with the fermentation process. Whatever you use the inside should be very clean before you start.

I’ve got a big crock (jokes just rolling in now) and so we used 3kg of veg to fill it about 3/4 full. Adapt the amounts of veg below to suit your container:

2 large cabbages
beetroot
turnip
carrots
2 tablespoons juniper berries
3 tablespoons of salt

You can use any combination of the abundant seasonal vegetables we have available now. For our last batch we used dill seeds and caraway seeds instead of Juniper berries and it was super-yum. If you want to delve deeper into the subject, we hightily recommend the book ‘Wild Fermentation’ by Sandor Ellix Katz, the undisputed Don of fermentation. Miso, beer, bread, mead and more are all in there and he writes with the infectious zeal of a self-confessed fermentation fetishist. Add it to your Christmas list or give it to you your more cultured friends (are you groaning yet?). You’ll love it.

Shred all the veg in a food processor or with a grater and mix together in a big bowl. Then dump the mixture in large handfulls into the crock sprinkling the salt and whatever seasoning you’re using in between the layers.

The salt will start to break down the veg as soon as it makes contact, creating a briney liquid. When you’ve put all the veg inside, pummel down on the mixture with your fist and the brine should start to squelch around the sides.

Next find a plate just small enough to fit through the mouth of your container and place it upside down on the top of the mixture. Press it down firmly and the briney liquid should rise to cover the shredded veg (if it doesn’t right away, leave it for a little while and try again to give the salt a chance to do it’s thing).

Now weight the plate down with a vase of water or a rock (cleaned!) and cover with a tea towel. You’re Kraut is now living and breathing its way into incarnation. Check it a couple of times over the next few days to see that the juice protrudes above the grated veg. You may need to give your weight a little manual pressure.

After 2 weeks, remove the plate and scrape off any mold around the edges. Have a little taste. It may have soured enough to dish out your first jar or you may want to wait for it to mature further. It’ll keep fermenting in the crock so you can leave it be and take more out when you’re present jar is running low. Alternatively, if after 3 weeks you’re happy with it as it is, jar up the lot and keep it in the fridge.

Serve with.. everything!

Rest in peace

Finally, a short commercial break:

The Lovechefs’
CHRISTMAS RAW CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
Handmade, raw, organic, infused with the spirit of the songs of Noël.

Caramel Crunch – medjool dates, Peruvian carob (mesquite) and cinnamon crunch dipped in bitter dark chocolate
Chocolate olive fudge – outrageous salty sweet chocolate fudge bites – otherwise known as the infamous ‘weird brownie’ – a must try
Strawberry cream – rounds of fresh strawberry, lucuma cream dipped in dark chocolate
Santa’s naughty loveballs – a spiced fudge topped with a lovechefs special brandy butter dipped in dark chocolate
Limited number only!
*note – we use organic sustainably farmed Canadian maple syrup as our sweetener.

For a beautifully wrapped giftbox of 8 the price is £12 including postage and packaging.

If you’d like to get in on the Christmas Lovebox action, please have your orders in to us by WEDNESDAY 7TH DECEMBER and we’ll send them out to you on 15th December to arrive in time for Christmas day.

'I do'.

Layers of vanilla cream, chocolate mousse, dark chocolate hazelnut crumble and fresh cherries marinated in a compote of Schnapps and summer berries, wrapped in a basket of pure raw chocolate.

I’m not showing off, that’s just what it was made of… no dairy, no sugar, just fruit, nuts and faery dust, and a splash of maple syrup.
Twice that evening people came up to me, breathless, wild-eyed, stammering “that was the best cake I’ve ever eaten…”. One woman actually grabbed my arm as she confessed it… I allowed a warm pride to come over me, all the while a little unsure; is it safe, is it responsible, to make cakes like this?

To sing of love
With these hands.
To serve up joy
on a wedding plate.
The prize of work
and art meeting.

We didn’t get to eat any that night. By the time we saw that blade break open the chocolate castellations I was rushing so hard on cacao and fruit sugars soaked up through my skin, that I was trembling like a field mouse on a teensy trapeze, gibbering broken sentences faster than my tongue could make them.

layer: lovesong: layer: lovesong: layer..

We don’t have any pictures from after it was cut to show you the glorious love-banner of its colours, but we got one during the making. It took two days; pour a layer, set in fridge; sing a lovesong; pour another; set… this is what it looked like before we enclosed it in the chocolate basket, and then covered it with the rest of the fruit.

It would be crude to give you the whole recipe here and strip off all her lovely secrets – and anyway, imagine: cake preparation time: 2 days..

Find below however, the recipe for the chocolate mousse layer which stands alone magnificently. Preparation time; about 10 minutes.

40g coconut butter
30g cacao butter
15g mesquite powder
30g cacao powder
1½ cups brazil nut milk
¾ tsp vanilla
1/3 tsp salt
½ cup date paste or 1/4 cup maple syrup

Melt the coconut and cacao butters in a bain marie, then whizz all the ingredients together in a blender.

Pour into individual small glasses or a nice bowl and leave it to set in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight (a couple of hours in the freezer works ok, but not quite as moussey..).

Garnish with red currants or crumbled brazil nuts with a pinch of salt and a touch of lime zest.

So farewell, long summer of ’11. Love rituals, baby blessings, the harvesting of springtime dreamings. This week here on the west coast of Wales it’s shining one last blast of summer, while a winter wind knocks harder, ever harder at the gate..

(Oh go on then, one more time… take a bow madame…)

p.s. we’ve written an article about raw foods in the wintry months for the lovely Inspired Times magazine available at selected newsies and online at: www.inspiredtimesmagazine.com.

“So Odin and his brothers set a ring around the planet out of which grew the magic tree Yggdrasil, which, by spreading it’s branches over the world held it safe for the coming man. Thus the Sybil’s vision says:

I know a tree called Yggdrasil,
tall tree and sacred,
sprinkled with white clay,
thence come the dews,
that fall in the dales;
it stands ever green,
over Destiny’s spring.” *


Tis the height of summer, flowers everywhere droop their sexy coloured parts and the air is thick with seed. The faery King and Queen have passed beneath the Elder tree (as they do each mid-summer’s eve).

Among the ever varied fruits in Odin’s branches, the Elder tree is most highly prized by herbalists – so it’s been for aeons. All of its parts have medicinal properties and there is folklore galore about its lucky, protective boons.

In this thorny paradox, our current ‘elders’ are making new Euro-lores to curb this kind of unlicensed quackery.

It’s a myth, they say.
But isn’t it still ‘true’…
Who to trust: the Elders or the elders…?

It’s all very confusing. Lets make a cake.

How about a sweet, moist, low glycemic index cake infused with the scent of Elderflowers.. Make merry now, they’ll soon be gone.

Base

2 cups almonds, soaked 8 hours
1 cup of soft dates or 1 cup dry dates, soaked 6 hours (save the soak water for a smoothie)
1 tbs mesquite powder

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse lightly so that you have a chunky nut date mix. Roughly spread out the mix onto the bottom of your cake dish – a flat bottomed bowl will work best.

Carrotty middle mix

2 cups of shredded carrot (about 3 big carrots)
Juice of 2 oranges (about 3/4 cup)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbs melted coconut oil
1 tbs maple syrup (optional)

Marinate the carrot in the orange juice and spices for half an hour then blend the mix in a food processor and add in the coconut oil. This is quiet a wet mix. if you want a more traditional doughy cake try adding 1/2 – 1 cup of ground oat groats. You may need a pinch of salt and another tbs of maple syrup if you do this.

Spread the carrot mix over the base mix. The idea is that the layers will combine rather than be completely distinct from one another.

The icing

1 cup cashews, soaked
5 tbs melted coconut oil
1 cup elderflower water (see below)
3 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest

First make elderflower water. I used 6 heads of fresh flowers in 2 cups of fresh water and let them infuse for about 8 hours (best in the sun).

Blend it all up in the blender til it’s a silky smooth, liquid cream. Pour it on the cake and leave it to set in the fridge (3 – 4 hours).

We’ve also got a recipe for Elderflower Gooseberry fool in the summer edition of Inspired Times magazine. See http://www.inspiredtimesmagazine.com for stockists.

* Text from the extraordinarilybrilliant ‘Forest Farming’ by J.Sholto Douglas & Robert A de J Hart, poem from the ancient Norse Sagas.

This is Rachel, in the grass at the top of the hill next to her house, a.k.a. Quiet Earth.

Winner of Grand Designs Award 2010

At the border where the hills meet St Dogmaels, above the Abbey on Cardigan bay, Rachael (and friends) built this house out of straw-bales, wood and some old cans and glass bottles. It’s solar and wind powered, eco-painted, wood-burner warmed.. there are even cyrstals hidden inside the walls. Not a bad place for living foods workshops eh..?

A big ‘cheers’ to all the people we got to play with over the last month at our St Dog’s workshops and at the healing arts and crafts day! Wonderful wisdom shared with good company.

We marinated, we milked, we chopped and spiralized.
We tasted, tested and ruminated, shared stories and experiences, and we feasted.
Then we had cake.
And then we had chocolate.
Guiltless, laughing.

Another big ‘cheers’ to the planners and the community of St Dogmael’s for opening themselves to this sublime piece of architectural witchcraft. You don’t get away with this kind of caper in Ingerland.

Curried Eye of Newt and Bat wing Pate:

Have you been doing your homework? Here is a raw way to utilise the Sambar spice mix we shared a month or so ago in the Dosa recipe. It’s a semi-rich, chunky pate suffused in South Indian spices, with a warm South Indian coconut backing track.

You can try your own combination of soaked seeds and nuts, with your own choice of vegetable if you like. Keep the rest of the ingredients the same, and if you didn’t make the Sambar mix, try adding lightly toasted cumin and corriander seed (or curry powder, for a kind of reincoronation chicken flavour).

1/3 cup sprouted buckwheat groats
1/3 cup soaked sunflower seeds
1/4 cup soaked walnuts
1/2 small beetroot
1 small carrot
1/2 small red onion
2 tsp Sambar spice mix (from blog-post no.1)
1 tsp coconut butter
Juice half an orange (about 2 tbs)
1 tsp umeboshi plum seasoning
2 soaked sundried tomato halves, optional (this was for a little sweetness. If you don’t have any try 1/2 tsp honey or a date)

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend.

Enjoy!

Did you know that organic spinach has 2x the calcium, 4x the magnesium, 3x the potassium, 69x the organic sodium and 117x the manganese as commercially grown non-organic spinach?

Boink!

xxx

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