Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunken Sour Cherry Nut Cake

Get
70g organic almonds
300g organic hazelnuts
8 tbsp agave nectar
3 eggs separated
125g unsalted butter
about 80g light spelt flour
1 packet Weinstein baking powder (15 - 20 g)
250g fresh dark red sour cherries
Do
Wash and pit the sour cherries. Place in a bowl to save some juice.
Grate the almonds and hazelnuts coarsely.
Preheat the oven to 190°.
Beat the soft butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it is smooth. Beat in alternately the egg yolks and 5 tbsp agave nectar. Beat well into a soft mixture.
Add the flour mixed with the baking powder a tablespoon at a time while beating. Beat well.

Whip the egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining agave nectar and continue beating until very stiff.
Mix some of the egg white under the mixture to keep it soft and moist.
Fold in the nut meal into the mixture gradually.
Fold in the remaining egg whites.

Butter a 28 cm baking form and dust it with a little flour.
Add the mixture to the form and spread it evenly.

Decorate with the cherries. Dribble a little of the juice on the fruit
Bake on the 2nd shelf from the bottom for 25 minutes. Cover it with paper. Turn the oven down and bake for a further 20 minutes at 150°c. It should be golden-brown on top. Test with a thin knife that it is cooked. The knife should come out clean. If it is not clean, return covered to the oven for another 10 minutes and then test again. Turn off the oven. Allow the cake to cool in the oven with the door partly open.
Remove from form onto a cake plate when cool.
Store in a linen cloth.
This sour cherry cake is a good alternative to Black Forest cake. When served with whipped cream it has a similar character, without chocolate but more nutty than the Black Forest cherry cake.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Gooseberry hazelnut cake

Get
70g organic almonds
300g organic hazelnuts
8 tbsp agave nectar
3 eggs separated
125g unsalted butter
about 100g light spelt flour
1 packet Weinstein baking powder (5 level tsp)
250g fresh ripe red gooseberries (or Cape gooseberries)

Do
Grate the almonds and hazelnuts coarsely.
Preheat the oven to 190°.
Beat the soft butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it is smooth. Beat in alternately the egg yolks and 5 tbsp agave nectar. Beat well into a soft mixture.
Add the flour mixed with the baking powder a tablespoon at a time while beating. Beat well.

Whip the egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining agave nectar and continue beating until very stiff.
Mix some of the egg white under the mixture to keep it soft and moist.

Click images to enlarge
Fold in some of the nut meal into the mixture gradually.
Fold in the remaining egg whites. Fold in the remaining nut meal.

Butter a 28 cm baking form and dust it with a little flour.
Add the mixture to the form and spread it evenly.

Decorate with the gooseberries. Dribble a little agave nectar on the fruit
Bake on the 2nd shelf from the bottom for 25 minutes. Cover it with paper. Turn the oven down and bake for a further 30 minutes at 120°c. It should be golden-brown on top. Test with a thin knife that it is cooked. The knife should come out clean. If it is not clean, return covered to the oven for another 10 minutes and then test again. Turn off the oven. Allow the cake to cool in the oven.
Remove from form onto a cake plate when cool.
Store in a linen cloth.

Cape gooseberries dreaming
Tip
The tangy sour gooseberries compliment the sweet nut cake. Cape gooseberries (Physalis peruvian) could be used in the southern hemisphere.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cherry cheese cake


GET
200g wholemeal spelt flour
1 tbsp agave syrup
1 egg yolk
125g organic butter

1kg organic quark (curd cheese)
5 tbsp organic agave syrup
75g wholemeal spelt flour
3 organic free-range eggs, separated
1 egg white
 ½ untreated lemon
200g dark red cherries, pitted

DO
Grate lemon peel and press out the juice.
Put spelt flour into a large stainless steel bowl.
Mix in agave syrup and egg yolk.
Add butter in flakes and knead to a pastry. Add more flour if it is sticky.
Cool
Preheat oven to 175°c.
Roll out pastry into a 28cm buttered round baking form with sides about 3 cm high. Pierce the bottom with a fork in several places. Cover with baking paper and place light weights on it (e.g. tea spoons)
Bake pastry shell for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from oven.

Beat quark, 3 egg yolks, 3 tbsp agave syrup, flour.
Add lemon and mix.

Beat 4 egg whites and add 2 tbsp agave syrup. Continue beating until stiff.
Fold in the egg white mixture.

Add a little filling to pastry shell to cover the bottom. Arrange cherries evenly on it. Add the remaining filling to pastry shell covering the cherries.
Bake at 175°c for 30 minutes. Then turn oven down to 140° and bake for a further 35 minutes.
Turn off oven and leave the cake in it for another 20 minutes.
Remove from form.
Best eaten when cool especially on the second day and thereafter.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Jostaberry Dessert Sauce


Jostaberries (Ribes nidigrolaria) are a cross between black currants and gooseberries. The name Jostaberry combines the German words for blackcurrant (Johannisbeere) and gooseberry (Stachelbeere). They are much larger than black currants and have a tangy-sweet flavor.


GET
400 g of Jostaberries
1 cup of water
Agave nectar


DO
Boil water, add cleaned and washed berries. The fruit should be almost covered in water. Turn down the heat very low and add the lid for 3 min. Add the agave nectar. Take the pot off the stove and let it stand for another 3 min. Press content through a sieve. Refrigerate and serve with a white dessert like yogurt, ice cream, semolina or milk rice pudding.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Hazelnut and cherry cake

Get
100g organic almonds
200g organic hazelnuts
8 tbsp agave nectar
4 eggs separated
150g unsalted butter
about 100g light spelt flour
1 packet Weinstein baking powder (5 level tsp)
20 large dark cherries, pitted

Do
Grate the almonds and hazelnuts coarsely.
Preheat the oven to 190°.
Beat the soft butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it is smooth. Beat in alternately the egg yolks and 5 tbsp agave nectar. Beat well into a soft mixture.
Add the flour mixed with the baking powder a tablespoon at a time while beating. Beat well.

Whip the egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining agave nectar and continue beating until very stiff.
Mix some of the egg white under the mixture to keep it soft and moist.
Fold in some of the nut meal into the mixture gradually.
Fold in the remaining egg whites. Fold in the remaining nut meal.

Butter a baking form and dust it with a little flour.
Add the mixture to the form and spread it evenly.
Decorate with the cherries and press them lightly into the mixture.
Bake on the 2nd shelf from the bottom for 25 minutes. Cover it with paper. Turn the oven down and bake for a further 10 minutes at 120°c. It should be golden. Test with a thin knife that it is cooked. The knife should come out clean. If it is not clean, return covered to the oven for another 10 minutes and test again. Turn off the oven.

Cool in form in the open oven.
Remove from form when cool.
Store in a linen cloth.

Note
This cake can also be made with other fruit such as black currents or plums.
Coarsely grated nuts give it a good texture but finely grated is also good.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cold Sour Cherry Fruit Soup

Fruit soups are customary in the northern hemisphere in summer. They can be made with any edible fruit, but sour cherries are the best seasonal option. There is no other cherry that has such a distinct flavour like this variety. Tart cherries or dwarf cherries also have many health benefits.


GET
600 g sour cherries (Prunus cerasus)
1 lemon
1 vanilla pod
1 cinnamon stick
Some agave syrup
600 ml of water or orange/cherry juice
(beware of sugar in fruit juices)
all organic


DO
Wash, pluck and pit the cherries. Remove vanilla from pod. Wash lemon and peel the rind very thinly. Squeeze out juice and remove pits. Boil water/juice and add, the vanilla /pod, cinnamon and lemon rind. Boil and immediately reduce the heat. Simmer for 5-7 min. Remove the lemon rind, the cinnamon stick and the vanilla pod. Add the agave, stir and let it cool. Refrigerate and serve cooled with yoghurt or ice cream.


The Australian 'sour cherry' (Syzygium corynanthum) might be an 'equivalent' from the southern hemisphere. I would add a lot of Davidson plum as well for tartness.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Green Herb Sauce with Asparagus and Eggs

This sauce is served cold with hot green asparagus and steamed potatoes. Frankfurter Grüne Soße is a seasonal dish served in Frankfurt (Bankfurt). The season all vegetarians are looking foreword to in a meat-centric culture. The traditional Hesse sauce consists of seven fresh herbs: borage, sorrel, garden cress, chervil, chives, parsley, and salad burnet and a variation of hard-boiled eggs, oil, vinegar, mustard and sour cream/yogurt/buttermilk. The bundles of herbs are available from all market stalls in May.

GET
a generous amounts of fresh herbs:
(250g herbs) chopped finely
Garden Cress - Lepidium sativum
Chives - Allium schoenoprasum
Parsley - Petroselinum crispum
Salad Burnet - Sanguisorba minor
Chervil - Anthriscus cerefolium
Sorrel - Rumex acetosa
Borage - Borago officinalis
Possible substitutes: shallots, lovage, lemon balm, and even spinach

Small potatoes
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 bunch of green/white asparagus

Sauce:
Olive oil,
150g sour cream
150g yogurt
1Tsp. mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
- all organic


DO
The green sauce should stay in the fridge for at least one hour. So coordinate the steaming of the potatoes and asparagus accordingly.

Chop herbs coarsely by hand. Mix the sauce ingredients and add the herbs. Traditionally the egg whites are chopped small and the yolk is mashed before adding it to the sauce. In a hot climate, we serve the eggs separately.
Serve with the asparagus and the steamed potatoes and boiled eggs cut in halves and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Red Coleslaw with Blueberries

GET
1 very small red cabbage
Chives or a tiny sliver of red onion
1 cup of blueberries
Some yellow tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
Some edible flowers

Olive oil
Lemon juice/ vinegar
A dash of agave syrup
- all organic


DO
Remove core and outer leaves from the cabbage. Shred everything very finely. Press garlic, cut chives/onion small.
Make a vinaigrette from the oil, lemon, syrup and garlic. Mix under the cabbage. Cover and let it settle for 15 min. Before serving, mix the blueberries and small tomatoes under and sprinkle with flowers.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Broad Beans and Green Asparagus with Buckweat Noodles

Get
2 cups of shelled broad beans (Vicia faba)
1 cup of shelled peas
1 cup of snow peas
2 bunches of green asparagus
2 carrots
1 onion
1 cup of flat parsley
5 cloves of minced garlic
some lemon thyme/rosemary
1 bay leaf/ some pepper
olive oil
1 cup of hot stock/water
200 g Buckwheat noodles (Soba)
all organic...


Do
Shell beans. Chop onion finely and fry in olive oil. Cube carrots very small and add. Fry for a while and add 1 cup of hot stock. Add the beans, bay, 2 garlic cloves and some pepper. Cover and simmer for 15 min. Add the asparagus in 2 cm pieces keeping the heads aside. Add most of the peas, parsley and herbs.
Cook the buckwheat pasta.
Simmer vegetables for another 5 min. Test a broad bean to see if it is sufficiently cooked. Before serving, add the asparagus heads, the snow peas, remaining peas, garlic and parsley. Leave covered for a few minutes.

Serve immediately with a vase of nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) and citrus blossom for olfactory stimulation.

A hybrid merger of beans used in the Neolithic period in the Mediterranean region and Japanese Soba.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Blueberry Banana Cake Pacific Style

The mid-north coast of NSW is converting from banana production to blueberries, so this recipe takes advantage of the presence of both fruit in one place. You can use as many blueberries as you wish.

Get
150g organic almonds
1 bowl blueberries
8 fat ripe cavendish bananas (more if small)
some lemon juice
8 tbsp agave nectar
4 eggs separated
200g unsalted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
about 150g flour
5 level tsp baking powder (no aluminium or phosphate, quantity depends on the type of baking powder, do not use too much)


Do
Roughly mash 8 bananas with some lemon juice.
Grate the almonds finely.
Preheat the oven to 190°.
Beat the soft butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it is smooth. Beat in alternately the egg yolks and 5 tbsp agave nectar. Beat well into a soft mixture.
Add the cinnamon.
Beat the bananas into the mixture one at a time.
Beat the almond meal into the mixture gradually.
Add the flour a tablespoon at a time while beating. Alternately add the baking powder so it mixes in evenly. Only use enough flour so that the mixture is thick but still falls slowly - “heavily” - from the spoon. Beat well.
Mix in the blueberries keeping some aside for decoration.
Whip the egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining agave nectar and continue beating until stiff.
Lift the egg whites under the mixture.
Butter a baking form and dust it with a little flour.
Add the mixture to the form and spread it evenly.
Decorate with the remaining blueberries and press them lightly into the mixture.

Vaccinium myrtillus
Bake on the 2nd shelf from the bottom for 25 minutes. Cover it with paper. Turn the oven down and bake for a further 25 minutes at 120°c. It should be golden. Test with a thin knife that it is cooked. The knife should come out clean. If it is not clean, return covered to the oven for another 10 minutes and test again. Turn off the oven.
Cool in form in the open oven.
Remove from form when cool.
Store in a linen cloth.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Green salad with Native Raspberries and Violets

This is a salad of mixed garden greens with the edible flowers of the European field pansy and the Australian Showy Violet (Viola betonicifolia) Or use V. banksii formerly Viola hederacea.

The tropical native raspberry is used in the dressing and for decoration. One could use any edible petal or berry of course.
When making a flower salad, be mindful that the flowers and all other ingredients are from a trustworthy source as pesticides/ weed killers are ubiquitous in Australia. Always make sure you know the plant/ flower you are eating.

GET
A bowl of mixed salad greens from the garden
A handful of snow peas
25 Tropical raspberries
5 Flowers of edible violets

3 Tsp. Macadamia oil
2 Tsp. Balsamic vinegar or mirin
2 Tsp. Vegetable stock 
20 Native Raspberries
 

DO
Place 20 raspberries in stock and mash. Sieve and keep liquid.
Wash all vegetables, fruit and flowers and dry. Rip large green leaves into bits. Cut large peas in halves.
Mix oil, vinegar and sieved berry juice in to a dressing.
Place greens into a bowl and mix half the dressing under. Sprinkle with the remaining berries and toss the flowers and the rest of the dressing over it. Serve immediately.


Images:
1. Rubus probus, Viola tricolor, garden greens
2. Snap peas, Viola betonicifolia flowers and leaf, flower of Rubus rosifolius
3. Mixed berries: Rubus probus, strawberries and blueberries

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sugar banana almond cake

Get
 
200g organic almonds
12 fat ripe sugar bananas (more if small)
some lemon juice
8 tbsp agave nectar
4 eggs separated
140g unsalted butter
some grated lemon rind
about 150g flour
5 tsp baking powder (no aluminium or phosphate, quantity depends on the type of baking powder, do not use too much)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

Do 

Peel 4 bananas, slice them and sprinkle with lemon juice. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 190°.
Beat the butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it is soft. Beat in alternately the egg yolks and 5 tbsp agave nectar. Beat well into a soft mixture.
Mash the remaining 8 bananas with some lemon juice. Beat them into the mixture one at a time.
Grate a little lemon rind into it. Mix in the cinnamon.
Grate the almonds finely. Beat them into the mixture gradually.
Add the flour a tablespoon at a time while beating. Alternately add the baking powder so it mixes in evenly. Only use enough flour so that the mixture is thick but still falls slowly - “heavily” - from the spoon. Beat well.
Mix in the banana slices.
Whip the egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining agave nectar and continue beating until stiff.
Lift the egg whites under the mixture.
Butter a baking form and dust it with a little flour.
Add the mixture to the form and spread it evenly.


Bake on the 2nd shelf from the bottom for 25 minutes. Cover it with paper. Turn the oven down and bake for a further 25 minutes at 140°c. It should be golden. Test with a thin knife that it is cooked. The knife should come out clean. If it is not clean, return covered to the oven for another 10 minutes and test again. Turn off the oven.
Cool in form in the open oven.
Remove from form when cool.
Store in a linen cloth.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Baked silverbeet with goat cheese

get

1 large bunch of silverbeet / chard
1 red onion
olive oil
300g goat cheese
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
150g yoghurt
2 tbsp spelt flour
grated nutmeg

do

Preheat the oven to 180°c.
Wash silverbeet. Separate stems from leaves. Drain well.
Chop onion. Fry in a large pot in olive oil mixing occasionally for 5 minutes.
Cut up silverbeet stems and add to the onions. Fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cut up silverbeet leaves and add to the pot. Put the lid on. Steam for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Grate nutmeg onto a baking dish.
Crumble goat cheese in a bowl and mix in the garlic and some olive oil.
Mix the yoghurt with the flour.
Put the silverbeet into the baking dish. Spread the yoghurt evenly on top. Spread the goat cheese on top of the yoghurt.
Bake for 40 minutes until the cheese starts to colour.

Serve with steamed potatoes and a green salad.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Olive Oil, Ancient Olive Groves and Pathogen Ecology

Nothing goes without organic virgin olive oil on edible culture. Mostly grown in Italy or Spain and proudly packed in Australia.

For some time the ancient gnarled old olive groves (of Apulia/ southern Italy) have been under attack. It is claimed that they have a bug (Xylella fastidiosa) that causes the centuries-old trees to dry out. The olive quick decline syndrome  or ‘olive ebola’ in Puglia comes at a time when the world consumption of the oil has dramatically increased. Demand and drought increase prices.

The scenic groves are protected as cultural heritage (source). The trees are cultivated in the Mediterranean and elsewhere as an inter-generational project.

Fearing the bacterium might spread to other areas and horticultural crops, the authorities declared war on the infected plants, clear felling the trees. Bulldozing, slash and burn and pesticides are seen as the solution, a “precision intervention ” of “surgical” uprooting, soil ploughing and use of select insecticides when needed...to uproot the infected plants and use pesticides on affected crops and across wide buffer zones." (source)

It is feared that they "are going to transform the whole region into a cemetery." (source)


A convenient single cause explanation (the bug) makes for a good enemy in combat. Other voices "suspect indiscriminate use of herbicides and anti-heartworm sprays in the area are damaging the trees, not to mention harming the health of locals (such as the glifosate-based Roundup Crop Prevention made by Monsanto, which is a suspected carcinogen). Moreover...the plan against Xylella involves the use of chemical substances that have been declared toxic by EFSA itself." (source)

Monoculture as an agricultural practice leads to pests and diseases. An increase in the biodiversity of the agricultural ecosystem would keep pathogens and pests at bay. Banning the sale of imported exotic plants through regulation could minimize risks. It is also said that the bacterium was introduced via human-mediated dispersal of oleander and coffee plants from Costa Rica and Honduras.

Further speculation has it that the land is eyed by 'the highest bidder', real estate,  tourism and large scale industrial agriculture might want to grab this cultured landscape.

And the cicadas will become silent.

Minimizing the Spread of Disease in Italy’s Famous Olive Trees, 09.02.2015
What Will Save Salento’s Olive Trees?, 31.03.2015
The famous olive trees of Puglia are ravaged by disease – here’s how we can save them, 11.04.2015

Updates:

What is Xylella fastidiosa?
http://nature.berkeley.edu/xylella/
Nature: Italian scientists vilified in wake of olive-tree deaths 

And in Australia:
Police called in as couple aged in 70s fights to keep banana plants in Darwin, cops $765 fine


Images:
Vincent van Gogh, Olive Grove 1889,
Vincent van Gogh, Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background, 1889