Menu – October 2019

If you know me at all, every few months (especially in the fall when the days are getting shorter and weather is getting cool enough that I want to cook again), I’ll think up a multi-course menu to feature my region’s best produce and seasonal vibes.

I’ll invite a friend or friends plural to dinner and we’ll just chatter and cheers to good food and fine wine.

This year, because I’ll be going to Tokyo in December, my head’s been inundated with some of the Japanese flavours that coloured my childhood when I lived in Taiwan and Vancouver.

Not really a whole lot to say here except that this is essentially another recipe dump. I think alot of you were very interested in the osmanthus, bonbon squash, and chestnut mizu yokan. I personally loved the diver scallop and chrysanthemum chawanmushi the best, but that’s exactly what I loved about this menu. Different people would connect with different flavours and textures within the same meal. Anyways, let’s get to it. Note that all of these recipes have been scaled to yield four servings, so do your math.

Late Fall 2019

Miso Shiru
Hakurei Turnips | Smoked Sablefish
Sunomono
Hinona Kabu | Cucumber
Chawanmushi
Pearl Shiitake | Chrysanthemum | Diver Scallop
Crudo
Yellowtail | Yuzu Kosho | Olive Oil
Misoyaki
Sockeye | Eggplant | Sweet Potato
Nabe
Napa | Dungeness | Brown Butter
Tomato
Cardamom | Lime
Mizu Yokan
Bonbon Squash | Osmanthus | Chestnut

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Miso Shiru

  • 4 hakurei turnips, halved, or equal amount in weight of daikon, diced
  • 60 g smoked sablefish
  • 4 tbsp awase miso
  • 2 tbsp wakame
  • 150 g silken tofu, diced
  1. Place the turnips and smoked sablefish in a pot and cover with 1.5L water, bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue simmering for 20 minutes, or until the turnips are completely tender.
  2. Remove the turnips from the broth and strain the dashi through a fine sieve.
  3. Return the broth and turnips, with the tofu and wakame, to the pan and bring to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the miso.
  4. Divide between four bowls and serve immediately.

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Sunomono

  • 4 ume and bay pickled hinona kabu radishes, trimmed and halved
  • 12 garlic pickled cucumber slices
  1. To make either of these pickles, bring equal parts of white vinegar and sugar to a boil until the sugar us completely dissolved. Meanwhile, fill mason jars with whatever vegetable (in this case radishes or cucumber slices) and their flavourings (ume and bay leaf, or fresh sliced wet garlic).
  2. Pour the vinegar sugar mixture over the vegetables to cover. Cover and twist the cap to finger-tightness. Cool completely before chilling in the fridge.
  3. The cucumbers will be ready in about 2 days, but the hinona kabu will need a least 2 months.
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Chawanmushi

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c water, including the mushroom water
  • 10 g hondashi, dissolved into the water
  • 2 diver scallops, cleaned and halved
  • 6 pearl shiitake mushrooms, soaked and halved
  • 4 chrysanthemum leaves
  1. Lightly whisk together the egg and prepared dashi until combined. Strain through a fine sieve into a measuring cup with a spout.
  2. Arrange the scallops, mushrooms, and chrysanthemum in heat proof containers and gently pour in the egg mixture.
  3. Steam on low heat for about 20 minutes until jiggly but set.
  4. Serve immediately, while still hot.

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Crudo

  • 200g sushi grade red tuna
  • 2 small jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 2 limes, zested
  • sansyo pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil – grass and cream profile
  • flaky salt
  1. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the lime zest and jalapeno with a pinch of salt until a dry paste forms.
  2. Thinly slice the yellowtail using a sharp knife and arrange on a plate. Dot with yuzu kosho and sprinkle with sansyo pepper, and drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil. Finish with salt.

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Misoyaki

Salmon

  • 450g organic Norwegian salmon fillet, from the thick end, rinsed and cut into 4 long pieces
  • sea salt
  • sugar
  • vegetable oil
  1. Cure the salmon fillet with salt and sugar for 30 minutes. Dab dry with paper and sear to medium (about 3 minutes on each side). Make sure the skin is crispy and allow to rest, skin side up, on a plate lined with paper towel, to drain.

Eggplant

  • 2 small Japanese eggplant, chopped and steamed until tender
  • 2 tbsp red miso
  • 4 black garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 3 tbsp black sesame paste
  • 2 tbsp mother of rice wine
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Season to taste – the puree should be intense but balanced.

Sweet Potato

  • 4 small Japanese sweet potato, chopped and steamed until tender
  • 100g ricotta
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2/3 c flour
  1. In a food processor, pulse together the ingredients. Roll the dough into a thin log and cut into 2cm pillows. Make a dimple in each piece with your finger.
  2. Cook in boiling, heavily salted water until the gnocchi float to the top.
  3. Drain and fry in a mixture of oil and butter until crispy and browned.

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Nabe

  • 1/3 c butter
  • 8 thinly slices ginger, sliced with the grain
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • ½ c rice, unrinsed
  • 2 c shredded napa cabbage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 dungeness crab, roe, liver and jus only, blended until smooth
  • 1/2 c fresh milled soy milk
  1. Melt the butter in a small heavy-bottomed pan. Add the ginger and fry until crisp on medium head. Fish out the ginger and drain on paper towel.
  2. By now the butter should be deeply brown and almost black. Add the onion and fry until translucent. Stir in the rice and toast until fragrant. Stir in the cabbage and salt. Cook, adding water in a risotto style for 20 minutes until slightly thicker than desired consistency.
  3. Stir in the kane miso and allow to return to a boil. Remove from the heat and stream in the soy milk.
  4. Serve immediately and top with fried ginger.

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Tomato

  • 4 strawberry tomatoes, blanched and peeled
  • 1/2 c fresh lime juice (yuzu would be siiiiick if you can get your hands on it by all means use it)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 6 green cardamom pods, pounded
  1. In a saucepan bring the lime juice, sugar, and cardamom pods to a boil. Switch off the heat and let cool completely.
  2. Place the tomatoes in a Ziploc bag and pour add the simple syrup. Press out the excess air from the bag and refrigerate for 3 days until the tomatoes are thoroughly infused.
  3. Drain on paper towel and serve cold.

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Mizu Yokan

  • 350 ml water
  • 5 g agar agar powder
  • 280 g steamed bonbon squash, flesh only (reserve the skin to make soup or something)
  • 120 g sugar
  • 15 peeled roasted chestnuts, if you can find them tinned in heavy syrup, that’s even better
  • Dried osmanthus flowers
  1. Bring the water and agar powder to a boil, whisking constantly until the power is fully dissolved.
  2. Blend the squash, sugar, and agar mixture in the blender until smooth.
  3. Line a large bento box with plastic wrap and pour in about a 1cm layer of the squash mixture. Chill in the fridge until set, about 15 minutes.
  4. Arrange the chestnuts evenly on top of the set layer and pour in the remaining squash mixture.
  5. Sprinkle on the dried osmanthus and chill completely in the fridge until set. Cover and slice when ready to serve.

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The Art of Doing the Same Thing Again and Again

As infants, we learn first to recognize patterns. Hungry and silent? You stay hungry. Hungry and loud? Food appears. As children, still, patterns. Draw the same squigglies on a piece of paper enough times and they one day magically grow into meaning. Words. As adults, nothing new. Patterns – bigger ones, less fun, more devastating.

There is a comfort in doing more or less the same thing over, and over again. There is something very obsession-inducing, or perhaps is itself obsession-induced, in repetition. It’s like asking if the chicken came first or if the egg came first, and in trying to answer that question we become interested in the colourful birds themselves. And though we have yet to answer the primary question, we somehow learn that not all chickens are the same, that there are subtleties that make one fatter than another, one grouchier than another, or one tastier than another.

I, am no scholar of meat birds. But these days I find myself quite immersed in the minutiae of brownies. On this blog, there is another brownie recipe, which probably claims to be all that, but I assure you, just as my fashion choices have ameliorated, so have my tastes. This, my friends, is a much better brownie.

A brownie should be dark, like my soul on mornings leading up to winter solstice, like my coffee plunging from the spout of my french press into my charcoal mug. I like when things match, it grants me repose. Therefore a brownie must be dark.

A brownie should be interesting. Darkness lacking interest is simply morbid. Everything is dying all the time. I would rather not have that be the taste I wake up to. Something, anything, a je ne sais quoi, an ah-ha, a hnnngg, an ooohh are all better than blah. I want to feel like I’m walking into a black forest littered with black currants with a small wooden house sitting squat on its fringe, billowing grey smoke from its chimney. That’s a bit romantic, but I could use a little romance in the mornings.

A brownie should make you feel things from the tip of your fork to the back of your throat. It should be a self contradiction. It should be light but fudgy. It should be tender but crisp. It should be soft but chewy. As you work your end from the edge to the center you should feel a culmination of textural progression, finishing with the moistest mouthful while remembering still the very first bite.

Olive Oil and Brown Butter Brownies

Follow the recipe to a tee. Thank me later. Also, shout out to Bravetart for the base recipe which I’ve Frankensteined.

It’s Complicated Brownies (makes 15 squares in a 13 by 9-inch pan)

  • 225 g unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 170 g high quality dark chocolate (70% minimum), finely chopped
  • 100 g extra virgin olive oil (something you would enjoy on its own)
  • 6 large eggs, cold
  • 2 c white sugar
  • 1/2 c lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder, if they’re granular, mash them to a fine powder with the back of a spoon
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 125 g dark buckwheat flour
  • 115 g dutch processed cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
  • Maldon salt, to finish
  1. Line a 13 by 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the top rack sitting at the lower third of the oven.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan melt the butter on medium high heat, swirling and stirring occasionally until deeply browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before adding the chocolate to avoid burning it. Stir until completely smooth. Once the mixture is just warm to the touch (not hot) whisk in the olive oil.
  3. Meanwhile beat the eggs, sugars, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt in a stand mixer using a whisk attachment on medium high speed for at least 10 minutes or until very pale and fluffy. Seriously, don’t you skimp on this step.
  4. Adjust the speed to low and stream in the chocolate olive oil mixture until thoroughly combined.
  5. Sift together the buckwheat flour and cocoa and add to the chocolate and egg mixture.
  6. Switching to a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until no dry streaks of flour are visible. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the batter is completely smooth.
  7. Using a spatula, fold over the mixture several times, making sure to scrape the bottom of the mixer bowl, so that the batter is even throughout.
  8. Pour into the prepared pan and bang it on your counter 6-10 times to get rid of any larger air bubbles.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the center is slightly puffed and the edges are completely set.
  10. Bang the hot brownie pan on the counter once immediately to hasten its collapse and allow it to cool completely before chilling it, uncovered, in the fridge overnight.
  11. The next day, lift it from the pan using the parchment paper as handles. Slice with a sharp knife (washing in hot water between each slice) into 5 x 3 = 15 squares. Garnish with a generous sprinkling of Maldon salt.
  12. Enjoy straight from the fridge and enjoy its change in texture as it relaxes to room temperature. Will keep in the fridge, with the pan covered with aluminum foil, for 2 weeks.

Full disclaimer, I definitely have commitment issues so don’t be offended if I come out with an even better brownie recipe in the future.

Rhubarb and Mascarpone

I’m in a Starbucks, sitting at a window seat from which my field of vision spills out like the sun onto a lightly bleached lower Spadina. It’s hard to believe the Thursday rain, the February pain. It feels, even if it’s not the case, that summer’s speaking. It just feels that way. But I still have my soft-spun sweater on, my hair still cascades my lower back. No, my closet hasn’t moulted, and my hair’s still a winter mane. I might be hesitant. I just might.

What am I waiting for? Rather, what do I hope awaits me? Or take hope from the equation and let’s be real.

What now? What then?

If I wished time would stop, it wouldn’t, not for me. Because the clouds won’t stay up forever. They all fall from their little heaven. Because seeds don’t sleep forever. They all come back alive from the dead.

Yes, there’s a foot still for the asparagus to grow. A few more hues until the rhubarb is red. A couple nights before the ramps go hide. And a blink of eye before fiddlehead becomes fern.

Yes, time’s on its way. And since it won’t stop for me, then it may as well be. Be, for me. Yes, I know it. It’s coming, a time just for me. I just don’t know when.

Like spring. Like seasons. We know it’s coming. Just not exactly when.

Caramelized Rhubarb, Whipped Mascarpone, Dried Rose
Caramelized Rhubarb, Whipped Mascarpone, Dried Rose

Homemade Mascarpone

  • 500 ml heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. In a sauce pan, heat the cream gently to a low simmer (180°F), and keep it at that state for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the lemon juice and continue simmering and stirring for another 3 minutes. Be careful not to boil the cream.
  3. Remove from the heat and pour into a mason jar for a loose mascarpone, or pour into a sieve with a double-layer of cheesecloth set over a large bowl if you want a thicker consistency.
  4. Cool completely then refrigerate overnight to set. Discard any excess whey that may have accumulated. This will keep nicely for about a week in your fridge.

Caramelized Rhubarb

  • 1 bunch, about 2lbs fresh rhubarb, cut into 2-inch batons
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss the rhubarb with oil, sugar, and salt.
  3. Arranger the rhubarb, concave side down on the baking sheet. Sprinkle any leftover sugar on top.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until caramelized and flattened.
  5. Cool completely and store in the fridge.

Dried Rose Dust

  • 1/2 c dried rosehips
  1. Place the rosehips in a clean spice grinder and blitz ti as fine as possible.
  2. Gently tap the powder through a fine sieve and discard any larger bits or leftover fuzz.
  3. Store the passed rose powder in a small clean jar and seal tightly. Use within a month.

Caramelized Rhubarb with Whipped Mascarpone, and Dried Rose

serves 6-8

  • Caramelized Rhubarb
  • Homemade Mascarpone
  • Dried Rose Dust
  • honey, preferably lavender or orange blossom
  • your favourite granola
  1. Lift the rhubarb gently from the baking dish and arrange on serving plates.
  2. Whip the mascarpone to stiff peaks (I used the loose version). Spoon dollops of this onto the rhubarb.
  3. Add a light dusting of rose by tapping it through a sieve over the mascarpone.
  4. Garnish with granola and a generous drizzle of honey.
  5. Serve immediately.

Ube Cheesecake

Quickie post today, recipe only.

Ube Cheesecake with Toasted Coconut Crust and Blackberries
Ube Cheesecake with Toasted Coconut Crust and Blackberries

Ube Cheesecake with Toasted Coconut Crust and Blackberries

Makes a moderately tall, 9-inch cake – serves 12

Toasted Coconut Crust:

  • 1 c unsweetened dessicated coconut
  • 1 sleeve Maria biscuits, roughly broken up
  • 1/3 c coconut oil, melted
  1. In a skillet, stir the coconut over medium heat until golden, crisp, and aromatic. Transfer to a plate, spreading it out evenly, and let cool completely.
  2. Add the toasted coconut and Maria biscuits to a blender or food processor and blend do a sand consistency.
  3. Transfer the crumb mixture to a bowl and stir in the coconut oil until the mixture resembles damp sand.
  4. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and press the crumb mixture firmly into the pan to form the crust.
  5. Chill the crust thoroughly in the fridge, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Bake the crust for 20 minutes, or until golden and lightly browned along the edge.
  7. Cool completely while you make the cheesecake batter.

Ube Cheesecake Filling

  • 2 small ube or purple sweet potato – scrubbed clean and steamed until tender
  • 750 g 2% cottage cheese
  • 500 g full fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, with a rack set at the lowest part of the oven and a rack at the center. Place a sheet pan on the lower rack.
  2. Break the steamed ube into pieces and blend on LOW SPEED until smooth and thick with the cottage cheese. (Vigorous blending may destroy the protein structure of the curds and prevent your cheesecake from setting properly. You’ll know you’ve taken it too far when you’ve essentially liquefied the mixture.)
  3. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, coconut extract, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.
  4. Pour the ube mixture into the cream cheese mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
  5. Once your oven is preheated, pour water into the preheated sheet pan (step 1) to quickly create steam.
  6. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust, place on another sheet pan, and bake on the top rack for 50-60 minutes, or until the edge is slightly puffed and only the center has a slight jiggle.
  7. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake to cool until warm enough to touch with the oven door slightly ajar.
  8. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before covering with foil and chilling completely in the fridge (preferably overnight).
  9. Run a thin blade between the cheesecake edge and sides of the pan before unmolding.
  10. Top with blackberries, whipped coconut cream, diced mango, or any other topping that you feel like.
  11. Slice with a sharp chef’s knife dipped in hot water, cleaning and reheating the blade between each slice.

Well, this is awkward…

(This was written a month ago, when there actually were flurries twirling about.)

I shallowly apologize for my lack of presence here, but I think real life suffices as excuse. I do plainly admit that I have struggled to consolidate my experiences on digital paper over this past year, because it has been a flurry like the one currently dancing over this city with gleeful enthusiasm (to which I fail to relate).

I completed my degree two Decembers ago. I worked where I am currently working for the four months after that. I then spent the summer taking a self-paced French course and tripping over the North American West Coast four separate times; once to make my cousin’s wedding cake (and attend his wedding), once to attend WorshipU at Bethel, once to hit up all the hidden beaches and waterfalls in Oregon with two of my best friends from university, and one last time to visit my not-so-baby cousin and family. I spent a month in Taiwan, reconnecting with the land that formed my most potent memories and formless aspirations. I witnessed the prolonged death of traditions in the rural spine of the island, and the birth of new slang on the pumping streets of the cities. I learned to distinguish between the sounds of the ocean scurrying across dimpled yellow stone, rolling over peppered pebble beaches, and seeping into black sand.

I devoured the books I have stashed and impulse-bought during my time in school. I mourned the death of Anthony Bourdain – one of the few famous people who truly didn’t give a f*ck about what other people had to say and was therefore unobstructed in his viewpoint of the cultures he encountered and what they had to offer at the table – by reading his Kitchen Confidential and Medium Raw (which, in my humble but stubborn opinion, was superior). I spent dewy mornings breathing poetry in the upstairs bedroom of my aunt’s house with the window open and the moist Fraser Valley air wrinkling up the pages over which I pored. My mother and I took hour-long evening walks to the gelato shop that defined my second childhood and where once again the late summer heat dissipated with each lick of limetta and pink grapefruit. I hiked the mountains I thought I had known but had never really entered. I picked unsightly apples from the Frankentree, made applesauce for days, and ate the potstuck leftovers with scoops of nameless vanilla ice cream dumped in. I ran in the very lanes where I had trained as a track athlete in highschool, and wondered where the spring in my legs had wandered. I hungered to relive the iconic sentiments which shaped each groove and curve of what I thought to be me, in preparation of their burial, or liberation, whichever. This is where words are inept. In that strange place of grieving there was ceremony in the mundane.

Where the mind wallows, physical removal prods. I boarded the last flight of what felt like an endless series I had taken within a span of six months and as I got off the freeway onto Bridgeport in Waterloo, I felt the dulling of that self-inflicted heaviness. Yet the productivity I had at the start of May was not somewhere, but lost to me, thus more accurately nowhere. The internet became a friend, one of those with whom you catch yourself wondering “why do I even bother” mid-conversation, but carry on nonetheless. Before I knew it, I was working full-time and all the grand ideas I had of things to accomplish were shoved to the untouchable room in the bottom-rear-right-ish corner of my mind were daylight is exotic.

Call it a dry-spell, an empty season, it doesn’t need a name. Nor does it need do be excused and explained away. I had no desire to cook, and as such was grateful for my unique gift (which I inherited from my father) of being able to eat the exact same thing day in day out for extended periods of time. (In highschool I had a baked yam and mixed salted nuts for lunch every day, and enjoyed it as much the day of my graduation as the first day in grade eight.) I hadn’t the time, and perhaps due to being partially under the influence of Marie Kondo, I found more joy purging the freezer of lamb roasts, miscellaneous late-season squash, leftover buttercream, and raw nuts than adding to it. I had more satisfaction clearing my pantry of salted duck eggs, old brittle pasta, and pouches of flours tucked nearly (but not neatly) out of sight. I may or may not have gotten high off finishing the last senile pomegranate my mother left me in the crisper and the last spoonful of zhug in the mason jar on the top shelf. Just like how a vacation feels more rewarding when it’s begotten for cheap, so a meal tastes better when it’s done with thrift. I think.

So if you thought I was eating like a queen by going to the farmer’s market to get the freshest and bestest? I laugh to inform you that did not happen. The -30 degree weather is not kind to my vocal cords, nor my skin, nor my personal enjoyment. If I had a spirit animal it would be an octopus who thinks it’s a hermit crab. So that gives you a bit of context into my ‘process’ – the most pretentious word I can use to describe the most unpretentious mess that is my creativity and condition.

Kabocha Olive Oil Cake with Turmeric, Bitter Chocolate, and Lavender
Kabocha Olive Oil Cake with Turmeric, Bitter Chocolate, and Lavender

This breakfasty tea cake was inspired by the Gjelina cookbook, but with a completely different flavour profile that’s much more floral and earthy than savoury. Be sure to use culinary lavender, and feel free to switch up the squash – I found red kuri rather lovely. And use good, seriously dark chocolate – 86% works nicely.

Kabocha Olive Oil Cake with Turmeric, Bitter Chocolate, and Lavender – makes 2 loaves

Ingredients for the cake

  • 1 1/2 c kabocha squash puree*
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c softened butter
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c chopped dark chocolate
  • 3 tbsp roasted pepitas

Ingredients for the glaze and garnish

  • 1 1/4 c icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Roasted pepitas
  • Dried lavender
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with the top rack placed at the lower third of the oven. Line 8-inch loaf pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, oil, turmeric, and salt. Once the mixture is light and pale, beat in the eggs one at a time until very creamy and smooth.
  3. Beat the squash puree gently into the egg mixture until fully incorporated.
  4. Sift together the cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a dry bowl.
  5. Add all of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat on medium low until the mixture begins to clump together.
  6. Add the chocolate and pepitas and beat on high for 5 seconds to incorporate.
  7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bang on the counter a couple times to get rid of any trapped pockets of air.
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs.
  9. Cool to room temperature.
  10. Meanwhile, make the glaze by stirring the sugar and water together until smooth then slowly whisking in the olive oil in a steady stream.
  11. Remove the cooled cakes from their pans and pour the glaze over. Top with pepitas and lavender.

This cake gets better with time – let it sit overnight or preferably covered under a cake dome for a full day before slicing on day 3.

*To make the squash puree I prefer to steam cubed squash in a rice cooker or in a pan with some water until completely soft, then blitz it in a blender until smooth.

Hot Pink Cold Pizza

I’m heading to the gym, so no time to chat and lecture you on the dire state of the world. But eating a plant-based diet 80% of the time helps. Here’s a recipe that might makes it pretty fun. Did you know that the colour pink lowers aggression in those who see it? Be kind. Eat pink. Even better if it’s in pizza form.

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Beetroot Hummus:

  • 1 large garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 medium beets, roasted until tender
  • Half a lemon, juice only
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt

In a small bowl, stir together the garlic and the lemon juice. Let sit for 5 minutes. This removes much of the garlic’s harsh pungency.

Add the garlic mixture to a high speed blender with all remaining ingredients. Blend on high speed until completely smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a couple tablespoons of cold water at a time until the mixture runs smoothly.

Transfer to a sealable container and chill until needed.

Cider Pickled Raisins

  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

In a small bowl combine the raisins and vinegar. Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds. Stir and let cool.

Toasted Everything Bagel Dukkah

  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp dried granulated onion

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients. Spread out onto a clean baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 5 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Cool completely before sealing in a jar. Keeps for up to 3 months.

Beetroot Pizza with Pickled Raisins, Toasted Everything Bagel Dukkah, Dill, and Shaved Radishes

  • 1 pizza crust or large naan
  • 1 recipe beetroot hummus
  • 2 tsp toasted everything bagel dukkah
  • 1 recipe cider pickled raisins
  • 1 tbsp toasted pepitas
  • 1 breakfast radish, thinly sliced
  • Crushed coriander seeds, to taste
  • Dill fronds, to garnish
  • Good olive oil, to finish

Spread the hummus liberally onto the pizza crust. Sprinkle on the dukkah, raisins, and pumpkin seeds. Garnish with shaved radishes and dill. Finish with a generous drizzle of good olive oil and crushed coriander seeds. Slice and serve.