Aug 24, 2012

Australian Cacao Fruit

The other week when my mum was up here visiting, my sister and I took a drive with mum up to Port Douglas for the day. The drive alone is stunning - golden road bends overlooking vast ocean seas, palm trees and pebbles on each opening we passed, and blue skies stretching as far as the eye could see.

The markets were on when we were there, and I was over the moon when I found a lady selling raw chocolate bars, blocks and pieces, along with cacao pods and nibs - from AUSTRALIAN CACAO FRUITS!

I'm not suite sure why I never stopped to think whether cacao could or was being grown in this beautiful country of ours; assuming it was all overseas. So you could imagine my excitement! I have since found out that there are 4 or 5 plantations of cacao up here, all making their own chocolate. HELLO WILLY WONKA!! We'll definitley be planning a little adventure trip to suss them all out soon enough that's for sure!

But when I saw that this woman was selling cacao beans that she had herself taken straight out of the cacao fruit, and dehydrated to dry... I was sold. The fleshy fruit was still hanging on the outside of each bean. And this makes for a totally incredibly different taste sensation on eating...

It's fruity and tropical with hints of sweetness and tang. But once that disappears you're left with the bitterness of the cacao bean. It's Mother Nature's perfect combination...

And afternoon tea's perfect snack.

The following week my partner went on his own adventure up to the Daintree and brought me back that big cacao fruit above. Indeed. Yep. A whole fresh intact cacao fruit. In it's entirety. In Australia! I was speechless! Well no not really, that's a lie. I was jumping up and down in excitement (once again - could I really be that predictable around food?).

This is what it looks like inside - incredibly soft flesh and not much of it. Enough to keep the beans soft and moist. When you bite into a bean when it's like this, it is not hard as you may have had before. It's almost a little chewy. But a little powdery too. I know how odd that sounds and no doubt hard to imagine, but trust me, its' delicious.

The beans are purple inside, not chocolate brown, and you would be hard presed to just sit there and eat many more than just a few. We had fun adding them to smoothies too, believing we were getting an even better, fresher, bigger, richer hit of antioxidants from these babies! Hehe.

So I will be sure to keep you updated on our cacao hunting trips up here! In the meantime, I'm keeping myself very busy with work at the health food store which is great, college work piling up on me as I was in bed for about a week with what I think was a nasty case of influenza running around up here, and trying to rest and get myself back to my usual bubbly self :)

Peace, Love and mung beans xxx

Aug 11, 2012

Birthday Brunch and Cairns Catchup

So I know I said I would write a more detailed explanation as to why I'm eating eggs again, but to be frank, I can't be bothered. I had begun a long post about it; my thought, initial objections, feelings, my first egg brekkie again, and then of course all the nutritional benefits I am now getting from them (how could I not indulge myself on that one?)... but un-ironically so, in true adrenal fatigue fashion, it no longer interests me to explain it all to you.

I'm eating eggs again 'coz I want too. I'm enjoying them. I feel good eating them. And that's that!

As for the adrenal thing; I've actually had one morning this week where I woke up and DIDN'T feel like death! YAY!! I actually felt GOOD! I did have one evening where I was totally wired tho which wasn't so fun in my attempts to fall asleep (typical tired and wired adrenal types). I've been reading loads more in a new book I just got which is proving to be very valuable indeed.

Asides from that, I've got a new job at Go Vita which is a health food store and I'm LOVING it!! I write down everything I wanted from a new job and I got it! Working with cool people, great pay rates, flexible working hours, laid back uniform policy... haha Loving it! My college studies have begun also and that was great too. I've only had one class so far, and spoken to a few people, but in a small class of about 15 of us, I'm sure I'll get to know them all pretty quickly.

Rusty's Markets, Cairns

I get over-excited to get down to Rusty's Markets every Friday morning, even tho it's open all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The organic kale lady sells out on a Friday so I make a bee-line straight to her. The other week I got all this organic (or chemical free) produce for only $27.50... This much would cost me at least double if not triple that in Sydney. And whilst chatting to locals, sampling seasonal produce, grabbing a coffee if I'm feeling like one, perusing second-hand books, jewellery, home made soaps, candles and more... who wouldn't get excited?

My partner arrived last week which was very exciting, and my mother also flew up to see my sister and I. She timed it perfectly for my birthday :) And I had found the perfect place I wanted to go too...

My mum, my sister, my man and I all went up the mountain together to a little hippy town I love called Kuranda, where there is an amazing cafe I wanted to visit. It is nestled in and amongst the Rainforest Market which winds up and down, around, through and within the rainforest, other shops, hidden gems, stairwells and trees. It's absolutely beautiful, very peaceful, really chilled and easy-going. Loads of tourists flock there daily but it's stilled brimming with colourful locals.

We sat down in the sun, deciding what to order whilst eye-ing off all the goodies in their display cabinet. Their list of smoothies and juices was what instantly had my attention - from Green Goddess, to Cacao Maca Buzz... Scent of Summer, Kiwi Zing and Golden Glow... it was hard choosing only one.

So B and I ordered 2 to share; Kiwi Zing green juice, and a Green Goddess (banana, pineapple, ginger, something else, with green superfoods) smoothie. Once we had drinks underway, our food choice was easy - the Raw Power Plate.

This was delicious! It's piled with whatever salads are available on the day, with almond falafels and a sweet tangy tahini dressing. We had green salad, an incredible Coconut Raita which was coconut flesh shredded ever so finely, and tossed through with red onion and herbs, giving it a light and refreshingly fluffy texture that was amazing. I've never had anything like it! Our taste buds also sang tunes to the marinated beetroot and the quinoa tabouli.

Delicious living colourful lunch

Queensland coconuts are hard to pass by, and once all the juice was slurped out, we had it smashed in half to some fleshy eating! Mmmm :)

My sister and my man
And a few others photos of life up here...

Organic salad one day - with homemade saurekraut

Cruising the Cairns inlet in the dingy

Driving through Redlynch - a stunning part of Cairns