Friday, November 12, 2010

My summer in Europe... wild strawberries in Germany, granadilla in Spain, and a visit to raw restaurant Saf in London!

wild strawberries in Schwarzwald, Germany

This year I was fortunate enough to skip part of the Australian winter and soak up the sun in Europe…. and boy was it warm! 

One of the highlights was walking in the gorgeous forests of Schwarzwald in Germany, munching on the most sweetly perfumed wild strawberries!

Here are some more photos from the trip!

la Bouqueria market, la Rambla, Barcelona

Above is a stall at the market 'la Bouqueria' in La Rambla, Barcelona. The range is IMPRESSIVE! Imagine, so many varieties of locally grown wild mushrooms, cherries, berries, figs, heirloom tomatoes and imported tropical fruits such as dragonfruit and avocado. They even had one of my all time favourite fruits: granadilla!! Granadilla is a type of passionfruit native to the Andes. It is golden on the outside and can be cracked with your fingers to reveal the sweet sweet goodness inside! This is very much unlike the passionfruit available in Australia, which is often quite acidic. I haven't eaten granadilla since 2006 when I travelled to Peru and have dreamed of eating granadilla again so it was a special treat for me! I must say though, they taste so much better fresh from the markets in Cusco, Peru :) 

Here is the granadilla passionfruit, with a backdrop of the Pyrenees in Andorra:

granadilla passionfruit

And... alpine walking in Andorra... gorgeous views, fresh alpine air, a plethora of wild alpine flowers, bees and butterflies!

alpine walking in Andorra

Alpine walking in Chamonix, France. Simply stunning!

alpine walking in Chamonix

And then a yummy lunch in Globus department store in Geneva: (marinated mixed wild mushrooms, a caprese salad, delectable olives stuffed with truffle paste, and roast eggplant and capsicum on sourdough)

lunch in Globus department store in Geneva

The richest and best tasting double cream with raspberries in Gruyère, Switzerland!

double cream with raspberries in Gruyère

Yummy local cheeses in Gruyère, Switzerland:

local cheeses in Gruyère

Raspberries, cherries, strawberries and peaches in Germany:

raspberries in Germany

strawberries in Germany

peaches in Germany


Stunning scenery and a viking boat in Naeroyfjord, Norway:

Naeroyfjord, Norway

... and the famous Scandinavian Daim cake!

Daim cake

In London I visited the World Food Cafe in Neal's Yard, Covent Garden. I have had the World Food Cafe cookbooks for years - some of my favourite vegetarian recipes are from these books - so it was amazing to eat from there and see the place firsthand! If you've never heard of the books, I recommend from 'World Food Cafe 2': the East African wilderness sweet potato patties with piri piri sauce, briq a l'eouf (Moroccan style egg and potato pie), the cashew nut stuffed capsicum in a coconut and curry leaf sauce, and the Guatemalan breakfast... these are family favourites around here! :)

Mexican plate at World Food Cafe, LondonWest African meal at World Food Cafe, LondonFalafels and hommus at World Food Cafe, London

And to end on a wonderful note, on my last day I had lunch at Saf botanical restaurant! Amazing food and excellent mocktails and cocktails! I highly recommend it!! Please forgive the bad quality photos, they are from my phone! I feel funny taking out my big camera in a restaurant! ;)-

We had raw zucchini ravioli filled with cashew cheese and served with basil tomato sauce, shiitake and woodear mushroom gyoza, the Saf salad bowl (parsnip rice, kimchee, radish, avocado, zucchini noodles, oyster mushrooms), Caesar salad with raw pine nut parmesan, and cashew cheese with sage pesto, crushed pink peppercorns, dried tomato with a balsamic reduction, and flaxseed crackers.

For dessert we had the chocolate ganache torte, the berry cashew cheesecake with coconut crust, and a fantastic cocktail of cinnamon infused cognac, amaretto, agave syrup, and espresso! What a superb meal!

lunch at Saf restuarant, Londonlunch at Saf restuarant, London

lunch at Saf restuarant, Londonlunch at Saf restuarant, London

lunch at Saf restuarant, Londonlunch at Saf restuarant, London

lunch at Saf restuarant, Londonlunch at Saf restuarant, London

Thank you for reading! :)

P.S. If you are interested in colourful gemstones, check out my etsy jewellery store: Ara et Orchidée! :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Four tropical flavours of raw vegan Moon Pie!!

Despite being in Australia and so probably not being an official entrant, I couldn't resist participating in Heathy's Moonie Pie Challenge!! The moonie pies on Heathy's gorgeous blog looked so delicious and I just had to try them! So I downloaded the recipe and started un-cooking! The challenge is to make two changes to her moonie pie recipe and blog about it. The winner does a moonie pie swap with Heathy and the winning moonie pies are featured on her blog.

So what is a moonie pie, you ask?! A moonie pie is a raw version of the American 'moon pie' - a marshmallow sandwiched between two biscuits, covered in chocolate. For all the Aussie readers, think of something between a wagon wheel or mallowpuff biscuit. The raw version of the moon pie is basically a creamy coconut-cashew-vanilla filling sandwiched between two layers of raw cacao-date-walnut cake then dipped in raw dark chocolate! SOOOO YUMMY!

As usual I couldn't pick one flavour to experiment with, so I decided to try 4 different varieties of moonie pie: custard apple (a.k.a cherimoya), guava and raspberry, rose and pistachio, and tiramisu!

The guava and raspberry moonie pie is divine - the acidity of the raspberries perfectly offsets the sweetness of the chocolate and the guava adds a delicate perfume to the pie…

The custard apple adds a tang that is just to-die-for and is really well complemented by the vanilla filling!

The tiramisu flavour is perfectly suited to moonie pies - a hint of coffee and marsala wine!

And the rose and pistachio moonie pie reminds me of eating rahat lokum (Turkish delight) and pistachio baklava…. so yummy!

It is hard to pick a favourite, but I would have to say the guava and raspberry! Well, what did you expect, this blog is called guavablossom, isn't it?! ;)-

Here are the details of the changes I made to Heathy's recipe:

I couldn't find agave powder for the filling anywhere, so I had to adjust the coconut oil and lecithin quantities in the vanilla filling recipe. I increased the coconut oil to 1 cup and used 4Tbsp of lecithin instead of 2, and the filling set perfectly!

I split the recipe into 4, which turned out to be 170g of filling and about 240g chocolate cake for each variation. Here are the variations:

Custard apple (a.k.a Cherimoya) moonie pie - to 170g vanilla filling, add 80g deseeded custard apple. Mix lightly so that the bits are visible when you bite through the moonie pie.

Guava and raspberry moonie pie - blend 170g vanilla filling with 50g deseeded guava flesh and 50g raspberries. Once blended, add an additional 25g raspberries and mix very gently so that the raspberry bits are still visible.

Rose and pistachio moonie pie - blend 170g vanilla filling with 2tsp rose water. An optional addition for colour is to add a few raspberries or a hint of beetroot juice, though I just used the blender after the guava and raspberry moonies :) Instead of walnuts in the cake, use pistachios, and omit the cacao powder.

Tiramisu moonie pie - blend 170g vanilla filling with 2tsp of Marsala wine. Stir 1tsp espresso-ground coffee beans through 240g of the walnut chocolate cake.

And what to do with the left over chocolate topping? Pour into chocolate moulds!

And that's all for this post! Good luck to all the participants and to Heathy with the difficult decision of choosing a winner!