Nov 29, 2011

Free Ebook for Summer

So the Raw Xmas Cake orders keep coming on through so thank you. I'll sure have a busy kitchen in a few weeks time! You should see the size of the mixing bowl I bought yesterday especially for it! WOW!

Anyways, tomorrow I'm very much looking forward to a day of juicing, but this time I've decided to do it through an organic juicing company to see what they're like. So I'll have the days worth delivered to my door at work tomorrow morning and shall take it from there! My body is itching for it! And yes only a day this week. Brock and I will be doing a longer stint next week (or the week after) so stay tuned and I'll be sure to keep you all in the loop.

But for now I wanted to give you guys the opportunity to download a free ebook from Botanical Cuisine. It's the Summer 2011 tour and if you remember reading and seeing pics from it here and here, I know you've been hanging out for these recipes!

So download, and enjoy! A few icy cold desserts in there will be winners as Sydney's temperatures continue to climb and Summer is only 2 days away!!! My personal fav; the Chocolate Mousse (which I recently did with mammee sapote in place of mango and oh my god - enough said). Nomnomnomnomnom  :)

Nov 22, 2011

Raw Xmas Fruit Cake

Fancy yourself a RAW VEGAN XMAS CAKE this year?

Made with love and 100% raw organic ingredients

Individual 200g cakes - $12.50 each   
Family 700g cakes - $40.00 each

Ingredients: organic almonds, organic cashews, organic coconut, organic medjool dates, organic sultanas, organic dried cranberries, organic turkish apricots, organic walnuts, organic pecans, fresh organic orange juice, fresh organic lemon juice, organic orange rind, organic lemon rind, organic ginger, organic dark agave, organic cinnamon, sea salt

If you live in Sydney and would like to get your hands on one of these delicious cakes, this is what you have to do: 

1. Email me at 
2. Be sure to include the size and quantity you would like 
3. I will email you payment details, and once that has come through, I will confirm your order with you
4. Your cake/s will be ready for pick up from Crows Nest anytime from Monday December 19th

Orders need to be placed by Friday December 9th, and cake pick ups from Crows Nest will be ready from Monday December 19th.

100% organic
100% raw
100% vegan
100% good for your soul

Nov 15, 2011

Nettle Pop Up Restaurant

Ok a busy week doing assessments for college but I promised you guys a sneak peak into the world of Botanical Cuisine. 

Those regular readers will know that I've posted on Botanical Cuisine and an amazing 8-course raw vegan degustation menu before here and here, but those unfamiliar I'll do a quick explanation.

Botanical Cuisine is an simplified approach to life and food that is focused on all things artistic and heirloom, where organic, seasonal produce is enough to please the eyes and the palate. Botanical Cuisine draws its inspiration and ingredients from the wealth of flavours, textures and nutrition found in the plant kingdom to create dishes that are raw, lactose-free, egg-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and adaptable enough to accommodate any allergy.

Botanical Cuisine is the business and creative genius of Omid Jaffari - a great friend of mine he is also brilliant in the kitchen (his Shiitake blog is full or incredible recipes you've gotta try). And what he brings to the table is something very different to what I've seen out there in the raw food world. Typically you've either got beginner basics with smoothies and juices, or the heavy nut-based 'gourmet' raw foods. Now if you're like me, past the smoothie basics and don't tend to eat alot of the gourmet stuff, you're in the kitchen on your own (making a delicious mess, getting creative, having fun nevertheless...)

So, Omid's food is probably somewhere half way between the two but with a huge emphasis on presentation and trying new things (which to be fair can seem a little tricky at first, but once you've tried it once, and nailed it, you can leave confident in showing off your skills at home to impress those closest to you. And let me tell you, they'll definitley be impressed!!)).

So a few weeks back we had Sydney's pop-up restaurant Nettle. I had weeks of organising to do for it but the few days of food prep before - I was happily holidaying here in Queensland. Lucky me! But Friday came and it was all hands on deck. We started early (after my run of course), and packed the car and drove over to Manly to begin setting up; the beautiful Georgia from Stirring Change who I was so eager to meet and instantly clicked with, Omid and I all began finishing food prep, dismantling the furniture then re-designing the furniture the way we wanted it (try hauling antique tables and chairs, carpets, stools, and more all into one room we could shut up and lock!!), organising flowers, table cloths, place settings, glasses, cutlery, candles, menus, cleaning, the order of the evening... then Amelie Kale (yes best last name ever I know) arrived just in time for juice down at Pure Wholefoods when Omid and I decided we needed a break, Georgia's sister also came over to help out and whilst having a shitload of laughs, a few o-oh moments, and last minute showers, we managed to get everything done and looking fabulous just in the nick of time.

And then the guests began arriving. We had about 30 guests in total, and offered nettle tea was a welcome drink whilst overlooking Manly Wharf before we led the guests into the dining room.


Entree - Semi dried tomato with dehydrated black olive tapenade
Main - Mushroom Bouillon with truffles
Palate Cleanser - Mango and Lime Granita
Dessert - Strawberry Crumble with White Licorice Ice Cream
Melbourne Nights - Layered Hazelnut Fudge, Rosewater Vanilla Butter, & Coffee Caramel dipped in Bitter Orange and Chilli Chocolate

This was the entree - a mouthful of tomato that gently burst when bitten into allowing the sweet juices to pour on to your palate, with touches of chilli, pepper and citrus served warm on a bed of dehydrated black olives and capers...

And then main course - Mushroom Bouillon. Shitake, swiss brown and shimjei mushrooms marinated for hours in a delicious bouillon, served with cauliflower rice and truffle oil...

Plating up the Strawberry Crumbles... cashew and mesquite base, with a warm strawberry citrus jam, lavender flowers -

Served with white licorice ice cream and a dusting of lavender salt. This dish is incredible... and the recipe can be found here

But to top it off (as with Omid's events you'll come to realise that as each dish comes out, it seems to be the new favourite. Better than the last. Better than that one. So hold off until the end)... Melbourne Nights. Can you wait a little for this one? Allow me to indulge in the best foodie vocabulary I can further down when I talk about Melbourne; where this little guy stole the show!

So... Melbourne! We did the same gig, same menu on a Friday night a week later, and yep the manic prep days leading up to was exactly the same, and this time we had 43 guests!! The venue was an amazing artist space in Richmond that we dressed up with tables, chairs, table cloths, an amazing florist's work, mismatched antique cutlery... very Melbourne.

 Ooh and yep - that's me!!

 So, of course there was the food prep. Tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes...

... to be turned into these beauties again.

Main course was the Mushroom Bouillon, and always a taste-bud favourite.

Melting our specially made bitter orange chilli chocolate whilst restraining ourselves from eating it all straight from the bag...which wasn't completely successful (of course)

And then covering the Melbourne Nights in it...

(done ahead of guest arriving... and taste-tested for good measure).
Then the strawberry crumble's were crumbled from their perfect circles ahead of service...

to be turned into the sweet delicious dessert that they were..

 And then of course, the Melbourne Nights.

So to really appreciate this creamy, rich, sweet chocolatey morsel; you first carefully take a small breaking through the crisp bitter orange chilli chocolate coating. There's an amazing coffee taste, and sweet caramel, the chocolate so rich with flavour, then a hint of rosewater... 

 Layered Hazelnut Fudge, Rosewater Vanilla Butter, & Coffee Caramel dipped in Bitter Orange and Chilli Chocolate

A mild black chai the perfect accompaniment to such a rich dessert that keeps on giving and giving and giving... (note to self only have ONE next time)

So as I mentioned earlier, “Nettle” is the newly anticipated pop up venture, conceived by the Botanical Cuisine Crew. I'm the event organiser for both Sydney and Melbourne so was extremeley happy with how everything turned out, and more importantly how all the guests loved every teeny tiny bit of food they put in their mouths. You know you've done your job well when they walk away deliciously full with taste buds wanting more!!

Anita, Natalia, Omid, Myself and Andrea - the Melbourne team

So the next Nettle is down in Melbourne and looks to be another winner! If you're interested in flying down for it or you're already a Melbourn-ian, have a look here for more details.

Nov 9, 2011

Struggling with Raw?

Do you guys remember when I wrote about eating solely cooked foods for a month?
Well I recently wrote about it in length for here if you're interested in reading more.

But if you're a regular reader you'd know I've been back to my usual - raw foods baby - ever since and feeling FAB! This was my brekkie this morn - 3 bananas, frozen pear, coconut flesh, filtered water, barley grass, spirulina and yacon syrup... then coconut, bee pollen, gojis, cacao nibs and acai buckwheat muesli sprinkled ontop for crunchy deliciousness!

Stay tuned for all the manic preparations, running around, food demos, setting tables, florists, staff issues and of course amazing food had at Omid Jaffaris' Botanical Cuisine Tour I organised here in Sydney and down in Melbourne!

Nov 1, 2011

I finally got to the Kind Living Cafe

The day I arrived in Maroochydore I told Brock we were heading out to Maleny. For food. But not just any food.
I have been a fan of the Kind Living Cafe ever since I heard about it, having yet to actually visit it! Brock hadn't heard of it so of course I was showing him mouth watering food piccies online during our drive out... a little temptation never went astray.

This is my picture though - just so you know :)

By the time we got there, yep we were starved, and had to wait for a table which I had kinda expected, but the staff there were lovely and happy to chat to us amongst their busy lunch shifts while we waited. Once we sat down we knew exactly what we wanted to order - well pretty much - having sussed out the menu while waiting. Still, a tough job to say the least.

Not being huge fans of traditional gourmet raw food fair we tried to stay away from the nuttier 'gourmet' options - although the kelp noodles in cashew cheese sauce did sound so tempting. More the kelp, less the cashews.

Anyways here is our spread...

First up (although we ordered everything at once) we tried the raw Nori Rolls. We figured it was kinda like an entree. Brock and I both LOVED LOVED these! I've tried gourmet raw nori rolls where nut pates and the like take up most of the filling, and I'm not a fan. It's too rich for me. But these babies were completely stuffed with alfalfa, cabbage, carrot, capsicum, cucumber, beet, avocado, spinach, enoki, sprouts and more!! So refreshing I could have easily eaten another plate of them. And whatever is in the dressing that comes with it - it needs to be bottled and sold!

Then we had the Tortilla. I wasn't sure about this one initially... but when we saw one go out to another table; BAM! Easiest decision ever made! It was a chia seed/flax seed/other stuff wrap stuffed with a melange of spinach, avocado, mushrooms and paw paw all mixed together in some sort of a yummy salsa, then topped off with 3 different sauces which were AMAZING, and side salad of course. And it wasn't your usual shitty scrap of ice berg lettuce here. Proper side salad! The dressing on that was damn good too! Happy days :) But a great dish to share. Brock and I both said we couldn't have eaten the whole one mainly due to the richer sauces, not the size.

Then Zucchini Linguini. Such a roll off the tongue isn't it? Brock wanted this one the most. It sounded a little lighter than the cheesy kelp noodles - zucchini with a miso asian styled sauce. Avocado based I think but we tolerate that alot better than nuts. And anything with miso - I'm there! So you can imagine the tang of this was delicious. Mushies and shallots throughout too, but like the tortilla, the richness was too much for either one of us to have had the whole dish. This is exactly why eating at raw restaurants or cafes needs to be done with friends. Because (1) the meals are often rich and 'gourmet' (when you find a raw place to begin with) so can be tough to tackle through them. And (2) so that you can try most of - if not all of - the menu they offer!

So they were our main dishes to satisfy our grumbling bellies. And we could have easily finished up there, but how often do you come across cafes in Australia that make, serve and sell you raw cakes? I mean really? Um... maybe one in New South Wales... a couple scattered across southern Queensland... more in Melbourne, few in Perth... few and far between really. So when in Rome (or Maleny in our case), you get the cake and eat it too.

Opting against the chocolate mousse torte, presuming the key lime pie wouldn't be so sweet and rich, we both dipped our forks in. Light and refreshing it was delicious. The base wasn't anything special, and the cashew cream on the side was ok, but the cake itself was divine. Brock said I've got 'em on desserts but they trump me on mains! Fair call.

We savoured every little mouthful with a raw hot choccie with cacao, nut milk, vanilla and honey - the only strange thing was that the milk came pretty damn hot. Raw ingredients, but not so raw. I thought that was odd. Maybe they hadn't thought about that though. Who knows. It still tasted really good.

And one last choccie bite tempted my tastebuds, but I wasn't all that impressed. To me it tasted like the coconut oil in it had gone a little bad. Great little concept though - brownie type base with more of a ganache top with goji's and macadamias (I think?) throughout.

All up though, I LOVED IT! And would definitely go back!  Brock and I spent a little time chatting to the owner Lucy about organics, ethical eating, sustainability and loads more before we left which was really interesting. Kind Living Cafe use organic and local produce first and foremost which we were very impressed to be told. It's just not something they advertise. Why? Well because if their produce is local and spray free, chemical free, grown with love, tastes amazing and is everything you could ever ask for in a plant... but it's not certified organic, then they can't say it's organic - even if it is. 

And for all those of you out there loving the raw journey you're on, or if you're just raw-curious... this cafe caters for both raw and cooked vegans so you can take your mates that might not eat the way you do, and still get them a decent feed. On the main road of Maleny, up in the hills from the coast, a beautiful little town and there is also a wicked little co-op selling organic produce, amongst everything else you'd expect to find in such a store, and a few unexpected goodies like these babies -

BLACK SAPOTES!!   nomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnom