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Cookery Demo on RTE1 – the video

celebratory cake susan jane white

You can watch me make this badass cake on RTE playback’s archive here… just click on November 1 2015.

The demo is at the beginning of the episode (at 1:20 minutes) and the assembly of the cake’s layers is much later in the programme after Mary McAleese (at 39:50). It looks like a giant halo, and in some ways I guess it is.

Celebratory Cake (for a wedding, 40th birthday party, or your belly)

It’s hard to suppress the memory of my making this cake at a demo last year. And receiving a standing ovation. It was one of the most mortifying and confusing moments of my life. I must have missed a beat, but suddenly I was parading around the room holding it like the cup of Christ. I think they call this Jerusalem Syndrome. Anyway, no one was harmed.

For the biscuit base:

  • 3 & ½ cups walnuts
  • 10 pitted medjools dates, or pre-soaked regular dates
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined salt

For the filling:

  • 4 & ¼ cups raw unsalted cashews, soaked overnight
  • 250-300ml raw honey or light agave syrup
  • 190ml melted coconut oil
  • Flesh of 3 very ripe mangos (optional)
  • juice of 2-3 lemons
  • 4-5 tablespoons freshly juiced or minced ginger
  • 4 teaspoons dried turmeric
  • Edible flowers or rose petals, to decorate

You’ll need to oil 3 springform tins, of ascending sizes like in the photograph. These are a special type of baking tin usually used to make cheesecakes and fancy tortes. You’ll find them on Amazon. I use mine every single week.

To make the base for all 3 tins, briefly pulse the listed ingredients together using a food processor. A blender will puree the ingredients, so it’s really essential to use a processor here. You might need a tiny splash of water to bring it all together. Stop the motor when the dough starts to clump together. Spread the nutty dough over the bottom of each of your 3 springform tins.

Place in the freezer to chill.

For the filling, drain the cashew nuts and discard the soaking liquid. Cream the softened cashews with the remaining filling ingredients until smooth and glossy. This should take 2 minutes in a blender or food processor. Taste, and see whether you’d prefer more mango or ginger. It will taste much milder once set, so keep that in mind. Pour this creamy luminous filling over your 3 bases and return to the freezer until set.

Allow the cakes to thaw for 5 minutes before removing from their tins, and stacking on top of one another. Parachute some edible flowers (actually, any flowers will do because no one ever eats them). With a bit of luck, you’ll only suffer from Stendahl’s syndrome.

With thanks to Google HQ for the very groovy suite of photos during their staff demo last September. xxx

Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Green Tea Macaroons

I was never a fan of green tea despite its heroic health benefits. Black tea, its older cousin, often seduced me. White tea? Hell yeah. But never green. It whiffs of wet grass – not so attractive if you have Irish DNA.

Matcha is different. This strange green powder is home to a series of polyphenols. You’ve probably noticed that health scientists get frightfully excited about this buzzword. Polyphenols are like powerful antioxidants in the body. Like sticky flypaper. Catechins, a specific subset of this hallowed polyphenol family, are believed to be responsible for the anticancer effects of green tea.

Then there’s L-theanine, shown to highjump the blood-brain barrier and hotwire our mood. We’re told that theanine often tickles a neurotransmitter called GABA, which can calm mental and physical stress. That’s quite a potion for nine cent a cup.

What determines whether a tea is green, black, white or oolong depends on the degree of processing that the leaves of the Camellia sinensis (that’s Latin for WTF) undergo after harvesting. For matcha, the entire tealeaf is dried and ground into a powder as opposed to diluted in a teabag. This helps explain why matcha has a greater amount of antioxidants and ego than the classic green tea.

 

matcha coconut macaroons

 

Green Tea Macaroons
Makes 16

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or pure powder
1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder (wheatgrass powder also groovy)
1 ½ cups desiccated coconut (120g)
2 tablespoons coconut flour
Pinch of sea salt flakes

3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil (45ml)
3-4 tablespoons raw honey (45ml-60ml) or brown rice syrup or rice malt (if vegan / diabetic)
Quick squeeze of lemon (10ml)

 

Line a breadboard with parchment paper. Then blitz the dry ingredients in a food processor for a few seconds, before adding the wet. Whizz until it clumps together. My processor usually takes 30 seconds to do this.

Scoop out a small piece of dough and form into a mini macaroon. Place on the parchment paper, and repeat until all the dough is gone. I use my special metric tablespoon which is curved like a mini falafel scoop (see photo). The dough slides out beautifully, and results in uncharacteristically professional-looking confectionery.

Expect to get about sixteen mini macaroons from the batch. Freeze until solid, and then transfer to your refrigerator.

 

 

 

Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, Videos, x For Freezer x

Pruning …

Sun-drenched plums, anyone? Okay, not so sexy.

But you know what’s really unsexy? Constipation.

My mate Colonel Prune is packed with soluble and insoluble fibre, giving them the nifty ability to samba along our canals. These wrinkled fruits are what Californian jedi flag as a BF (best friend). Prunes works by spring-cleaning the gut with a fervour normally reserved for a visit from the president.

Here’s the latest scoop on our BF, the prune …

 

 

Grand so. Except what’s this got to do with our skin? Here’s the theory. If we’re not eliminating waste from our pipes, our skin can inevitably become an elimination route for the build up of toxins. The skin is one of our body’s largest excretory organs. Frightening, right?

If the image in the mirror startles you every morning, then maybe it’s time to give these underrated fruits a go. Aside from their seismic fibre content, prunes contain modest amounts of beautifying vitamins C and A. Vitamin C is an important anti-aging ally, with a star role in the creation of collagen.

Score.

And if spots are interfering with kissable skin, then Ian Marber tells us that Vitamin A can help reduce excess sebum on the surface of the skin. One for the teens.

Prunes also carry a consignment of anthocyanins. These are useful compounds shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which sounds good to me. Especially on a Sunday morning.

Here’s a breakfast to get your glow on.

 

nut milk demo

 

Cardamom & orange prunes with vanilla cream

Every trendy restaurant in Copenhagen is flirting with prunes on their dessert menu. These reincarnated plums are the new superfood. Your gran was spot on.

 

Makes 8 servings

250g dried prunes, pitted

about 200ml water or red wine

2 oranges

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

2 cardamom pods

 

For the vanilla ‘cream’:

800g Greek yoghurt (or here’s how you make DIY coconut yoghurt)

1 vanilla pod

 

 

Find a small saucepan for the prunes. Fill enough water to just below the level of the prunes – about 200ml. Of course you can always use red wine, like bone fide prunologists. Squeeze in the juice of two oranges.

Coax the tiny seeds out of the cardamom shells and add to the prune liquid. Discard the papery pod.

Sprinkle in your coconut or other sugar, and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce the flame to a gentle putter for 10 minutes. Normally prunes are cooked for a lot longer, but I find this unnecessary.

Leave them to cool in their cooking liquid for 1 hour. You’ll notice they plump up beautifully while they absorb the myriad of gorgeous flavours.

Refrigerate for up to 5 days, and tuck in whenever the calling comes.

To make the ‘cream’, carefully split the vanilla pod lengthways into two long strips. Using a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds inside. Mix into your Greek yoghurt. Chill until relatively ‘clotted’. Some folk like to sweeten Greek yoghurt, but I prefer the contrast of sticky sweet prunes against cold and calm cream.

Serve great clouds of this vanilla ‘cream’ or DIY coconut yoghurt beside a sticky tower of cardamom prunes. You’ll hardly need to set your alarm clock tonight when you know what’s waiting for you in the morning.

 

prunes boys snacks

 

***********

 

In other, non-dermal or duodenal news …. The Extra Virgin Kitchen is now available in paperback.

It’s half the price, but twice as good (given the fresh armory of back cover quotes from public figures and tastefully deranged friends).

My favourite is from actress Daisy Wood-Davies “Susan Jane White is Caitlin Moran, Nigella and Jesus put through a Vitamix and left to rest until chilled.” Yes. I am never going to let my husband forget that one.

And if you enjoyed either cookbook, I would be eternally grateful to receive your feedback on Amazon in exchange for a lifetime of telepathic highfives. Pray, tell! 

xxx SJ

 

Cover image EV softcopy