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)

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.
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:
http://nature.berkeley.edu/xylella/
Nature: Italian scientists vilified in wake of olive-tree deaths 


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

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Meat - The Diet of Domination

A study examined "whether reported food habits (vegan, vegetarian, or carnivore diet) are associated with right-wing authoritarianism, prejudices against minorities and acceptance of social dominance."

Meat eaters have a greater tendency to pre-judice than people who mainly eat plant and fungi matter. Additionally, is it more likely that they prefer authoritarian structures and hierarchies in their social environments.

It appears, that people who made a conscious choice to refrain from eating dead animals have reflected on traditions and mainstream pressures and are acquiring and culturing their own ethical food practices. Vegans and vegetarians also prefer equal relationships.

Real men really don’t eat quiche...

Men and the elderly had the strongest inclinations to cling to and enforce the convenient traditions of the mainstream.


"The results show that individuals with vegetarian or vegan diets less frequently report having prejudices against minorities, supporting social dominance and accepting authoritarian structures than individuals with a mixed diet." (source)


Petra Veser , Kathy Taylor , Susanne Singer , (2015) "Diet, authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, and predisposition to prejudice : Results of a German survey ", British Food Journal, Vol. 117 Iss: 7, pp.1949 - 1960
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-12-2014-0409

The Meat Paradox: How Carnivores Think About Dinner, Wray Herbert, 12.02.2014 

Theodor. W. Adorno, The Authoritarian Personality, 1950, PDF


Images:
Corinth, Lovis: Viktualienmarkt at Hiller in Berlin, 1923
Corinth, Lovis: Butchered Pig, 1906

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Macadamia Lemon Sponge


It is fortunate that macadamias drop and lemons ripen at the same time. Freshly cracked white nuts and freshly picked lemons make a delicious combination in this nutty lemon sponge.

get

8 bantam eggs (or 5 large eggs)
200g macadamias, medium grated
50g spelt flour
4 tbsp agave nectar
3 Meyer lemons

50g macadamias
1 tbsp honey

1 orange


do

For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Grate the lemon rind into the grated macadamias. Add flour and mix.
Separate the eggs.
Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff. Add 2 tbsp agave nectar. Continue beating until very stiff.
Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl until creamy. This takes a few minutes with a hand beater. Add 2 tbsp agave nectar. Continue beating until very creamy.
Gently lift the egg yolk mix under the egg white mix resulting in a light creamy foamy mixture. Lift the nut mixture gently under the egg mixture a little at a time.
Butter a 28cm baking form. Cover the bottom lightly with a sprinkle of flour.
Pour the mixture into the form and smooth the top.
Bake for about 25 minutes until golden on the second shelf from the bottom. Test using a knife or skewer which should come out clean. Turn the oven down to 150°C if necessary.


For the filling
Medium grate the macadamias. Add the juice of 1 lemon. Add 1 tbsp honey. Mix well.
Remove the cool cake from its form. Cut into 2 flat disks using a string. Place the bottom disc on a cake plate. Juice the orange and pour the juice evenly over this. Distribute the filling evenly on top. Then place the top disc on the filling.
Serve in thin slices. Store wrapped in a linen cloth in a cold place.


Fancy extras
If you want to make this cake more fancy, make macadamia honey marzipan and roll it out thinly, larger than the cake. Place this on the cake and form it around the sides. Decorate with icing sugar mixed with lemon juice.
However the cake will then be much sweeter and it tastes perfect without this topping.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Macadamia Lemon Slices


get
300 g light wholemeal flour
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 egg
140 g butter

300 g macadamias
5 tbsp agave nectar
4 Meyer lemons

do
Add agave nectar then the egg in the middle of the flour in a large bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon into a paste and then into the flour. Add butter in flakes. Knead to a pastry. If it is sticky add more flour. If it is too dry, add more agave nectar. Cool for 15 minutes covered with a linen cloth (tea towel).


Medium grate the macadamia nuts with a hand grater.
Coarsely grate the lemon peel into the macadamia meal. Add the agave nectar. Add the juice of 3 lemons or as much as necessary to make a wet, sticky paste and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 190°c. Butter a baking tray. Roll out half of the pastry on a linen tea towel. Turn it over from time to time and use the tea towel to fold over and straighten the the edges. Roll out a thin pastry the size of your baking tray and place it on the tray using the tea towel. Adjust the edges. Spread the macadamia paste on the pastry, right to the edges. Roll out the other piece of pastry to the size of the baking tray. Use the tea towel to lift it onto the top so it fits exactly. Use the flat edge of a knife to press the macadamia paste inside the pastry, straightening and closing the edges as much as possible.

Bake for about 25 minutes on the second shelf from the bottom until light brown.
Cool in the turned-off oven with the door open.
When cool, or before serving, cut off edges for private use. Cut into slices about 2 x 6 cm for public presentation. Alternatively leave it as one piece and cut off slices as required when required.
This is a variation on an earlier lemon slices recipe using almonds, honey and icing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Taro and Red Cabbage

1 Small to medium red cabbage
3 Red onions
1 Sour apple
Olive oil
2 Juniper berries
1 Bay leaf
Pepper
300 ml hot water/ stock
Thyme

1 Large taro corm (Pacific)
Samoan pink variety if available. NB oxalic acid!
or in EU
1 Fresh white celeriac

You might want to use rubber gloves to prepare the cabbage and the taro.
Remove outer leaves from cabbage, quarter and remove core.
Cut onion into wedges and fry in olive oil.
Cut cabbage very finely. Add cabbage when onions are translucent. Boil water or stock and add some so that the cabbage is half covered. Add the spices
Peel the apple and cut into 8 pieces, add, cover and simmer for 30 min.


Wash and peel the taro/celeriac. Cut into big chunks and steam for approx. 25 min.
One could also fry the precooked taro/celeriac in olive oil as chips if one so desired.

Sprinkle cabbage with fresh thyme and serve with the taro/celeriac and a crisp green salad.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rodenticides With Your Bacon?


On Saturday morning cafes ooze the odour of fried crisp bacon.

Under proposed food law changes in Australia, pork products containing traces of rat poison could be sold legally.

"The discovery of rat bait residues in pig livers at some farms has prompted the nation’s food authority to admit chemicals used to control vermin may “inadvertently” spread to the food chain. Tests at piggeries in January found unharmful traces of coumatetrayl or warfarin at three farms. Federal Department of Agriculture coordinated tests at 23 sites in January uncovered “very low” levels of coumatetralyl in slaughtered pig livers at a Victorian and NSW piggery. Warfarin traces were detected at a South Australian piggery. The chemicals kill rodents through internal bleeding. Pigs potentially ingest them by eating feed contaminated by treated rats." (source)

Update:
Maybe it is good that nearly three quarters of bacon sold in Australia is made from imported pork meat? 

Go vegetarian!

Image:
Gauguin, Paul, The ham, 1889
Graffiti, EU, Banksy?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Siverbeet with feta and pine nuts

get
1 large bunch of silverbeet (chard, perpetual spinach)
1 large red onion
4 tbsp olive oil
goats milk feta
1 cup of pine nuts
All organic

do
Heat olive oil in a large lidded pan.
Peel and chop the onion. Fry in the oil for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile clean the silver beet and dry it. Separate main stems from green leaves.(The stems can be white, red or yellow). Chop the stems and mix into the onion. Fry for a further 5 minutes. Shred the leaves and add to the pot. Simmer with the lid on for another 10 to 15 minutes. The silverbeet should be soft and wilted and change to a dark green colour. Any liquid should have disappeared.

Roast pine nuts in a dry pan.

Serve with feta cubes and sprinkle with pine nuts.
When purchasing vegetables tied with rubber bands, take care of them as the plastic debris is often mistaken for earthworms by storks (pdf), ibises, spoonbills and other birds.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Baked Rice Pudding with Pear Compote

GET
1 l milk
250 g rice, round/brown
1 cup of currants or raisins
Some lemon juice
1 vanilla bean
50 g agave syrup
1 pinch of salt
2 Tsp butter
A pinch of cinnamon

6 ripe pears
agave syrup as required
½ cup filtered water
all organic

DO
Rinse the raisins with hot water, then soak in lemon juice and some water.
Wash the rice, heat the milk and add the rice. When it boils, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 min. Take pot from stove and let it stand covered for 15 min.
Add the remaining butter, salt, scraped-out vanilla and the soaked and drained raisins and stir.
Coat the baking dish with some butter and preheat the oven to 200°
Place mixture in the baking dish, sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and a some of butter. Cook until the crust is golden. Serve hot or cold with pear compote or apple compote.


No Spotted Dick Please, We're British
In England the Spotted Dick is a pudding containing suet and currants or raisins. But rice pudding is enjoyed by many other cultures around the world, even without the kidney fat.

Pear compote

Peel and core pears. Slice into a cooking pot. Add boiling water. Cover. Bring to boil and simmer for a few minutes. Mix in agave syrup while still warm.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kale, Red Onions, Pine Nuts and Feta Entrée


GET
1 head/bunch of kale
4 red onions
or Höri-Bülle
2 cloves of garlic
150 g goat cheese/ feta
1 cup roasted pine nuts
Olive oil
all organic


DO
Wash the kale leaves well. Discard outer leaves and dry well. Cut the leaves from the stem by sliding a knife along them and keep both parts separate. Peel the onions and the garlic. Heat oil in a large pot as the initial amount can be rather bulky. Cut the onion into wedges, keeping one aside.
Fry the onions golden. Chop the kale leaves and stems rather finely. Add the chopped kale stems and garlic. After 6 min. add the kale leaves. Fry and stir for 5 min. Add a small amount of boiling water to the pot, stir and cover. Add the remaining red onion wedges. Lift the lid after 6 min. and let the moisture evaporate.

Tuscan kale

Roast the pine nuts in a dry pan until they are golden. Place in a bowl and cover.

Place goat cheese on 4 plates.

Once the ingredients are cooked to your liking, place an equal amount on each piece of cheese and sprinkle with the pine nuts.

The tasty red onion 'Höri-Bülle' is grown in the Lake Constance region by the Alamanni tribes. The onion can only be harvested by hand (no fossil fuel machinery!) and the seeds are not on the market, but have been used by the people of this Alpine region since 840. Farmers of the Höri peninsula are the main guardians of this vegetable today. Once rejected by EU norms for its non- standard shape, it is now protected by the EU as a regional slow food with a specific geographical indication in 2014.


Curly kale and savoy cabbage
Curly kale with soba noodles and sesame

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Asparagus quiche


get

2 bunches asparagus
200g spelt flour
50g hard mild cheese
100g butter

4 Tbsp olive oil
6 eggs
4 heaped Tbsp spelt flour.
150g hard mild cheese (cheddar, Bergkäse) (grated finely)
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese (grated finely)
boiling water
1 cup spelt-almond milk

do

Break the hard bottoms off the asparagus stems. Wash them well.
Steam asparagus until soft. Cool and drain well.

Preheat the oven to 190°c.

Put 200g flour in a bowl. Mix in 50g cheese. Cut in 80g butter. Mix together with hands. Add drops of water and continue kneading until the pastry holds together. Cool.

Heat the olive oil with 20g butter in a small saucepan. When melted mix in 4 Tbsp flour and allow it to cook a little. Add boiling water bit by bit while mixing. The Flour mixture will absorb the water. Continue adding water until the mixture is a thick paste, then gradually stir in the spelt-almond milk. Add enough to make a very thick sauce. Stir occasionally while cooking for about 10 minutes. Then turn of the heat and continue stirring occasionally as it cools.


Roll out the pastry on a cloth. Form it to a pie shell in a 28cm round baking form. Sprinkle a little cheese on the bottom.

Beat the eggs well until foamy. Gradually add the warmish spelt sauce while beating, starting with a small amount. When it is all mixed in, spoon some into the pastry shell to cover the bottom.
Using scissors cut small pieces of asparagus into the pie shell. Discard any woody bottoms. Save the tips for later. Use half the asparagus. Sprinkle some cheese on top and then add more spelt sauce covering the asparagus.
Cut the remaining asparagus on top as before. Sprinkle with Parmesan and then add the remaining spelt sauce evenly on top. Arrange the asparagus tips on top and sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly on them.

Bake the quiche at 190°C on the second shelf from the bottom for 30 minutes.
When you are ready to serve the quiche, bake it for another 60 minutes at 180°C and serve it hot. Test it with a skewer. It can also be eaten cold later.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Jackfruit Dinner Music


The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) originates from Asia. It is a fruit of the subtropical rain forests.

"The jackfruit is made up of hundreds or even thousands of individual flowers that are fused together. We eat the "fleshy petals" that surround the seed, which is the actual fruit." (source).

The fruit can weigh as much as 35 kg. The flesh has a very strong odour, and oozes a thick white sap. In India various dishes such as pudding are made out of it.
"There is also another tree which is very large and has wonderfully sweet and large fruit; it is used for food by the sages of India who wear no clothes." Theophrastus 300 B.C. (source)

It seems that every part of the tree can be utilised - food, dye and wood for musical instruments. The hardwood from the trunk is used to make drums for the gamelan.

As both the fragrance and taste did not agree with us, we prefer the percussive instruments made of the tree and the music generated on it. Dinner will be accompanied by the traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali, 'reverberations the influence' (video) of Steve Reich. (video)