Gorgeous healthy cakes

Cake by Anna Worthington  (photographer Kate McCaskill www.kaleidoscopebykate.com)

It never ceases to amaze me the number of clever and creative people here in Christchurch right now,  quietly working away developing innovative projects and launching unique businesses.

Anna Worthington is a good example of this.  I stumbled upon Anna’s beautiful cakes by chance recently at a dear friend’s birthday celebration.  Champagne combined with Garden City cake scattered with delicately violet-hued pansies.  Simply glorious!

Given my life-long passion for baking and love of anything floral, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to discover Cakes By Anna. I just adore her mouth-watering website and the story behind her set up.  Fine Arts Graduate creating edible masterpieces from a tiny, unassuming location in Sydenham using seasonal local ingredients.  Ticks all the boxes.

Ordinarily I’d whip up a cake myself for Valentine’s Day but so impressed was I with Anna’s Garden City Cake that I ordered (feeling slightly guilty and indulgent)  a gluten free, refined sugar free raspberry, orange, almond and pistachio cake last week. The entire cake disappeared within minutes, enjoyed by three generations of cake lovers. And there I was imagining a piece for breakfast the next morning with my cup of tea!

As a devoted fan and follower of Nigella Lawson over the years (I think it’s safe to say I’ve baked every cake in ‘Domestic Goddess’), I find myself now in search of  healthier options to give my family.  Yes sugar is officially evil and addictive!  So instead I am now experimenting substituting dates (soaked overnight)  for sugar in cakes, almond meal for flour (which gives a really moist, longer-lasting cake) and sweetening chocolate brownies with golden kumara.  They taste great!  Truly!

Feel free to share any healthy cake recipes you might have.  Love to add them to my repotoire.

Giulio’s Crab Tofu

Giulio gathering blog resize b&wGiulio gathering snowpeas in the Lyttelton Community Garden – photographer Sabin Holloway

Now I know what you’re thinking.  This recipe seems fiddly and rather complicated and whilst I admit it’s not a dish you’d whip up for a midweek lunch or dinner, I think part of its pleasure lies in its unhurried preparation.  Oh and planning an occasion to test it out.

A Gathering perhaps with friends in the garden at the weekend.  Once I’m back in my kitchen and not cooking over a one-burner stove camping style (earthquake repairs continue) I’m definitely going to try this out.

Giulio Sturla, the Lyttelton chef / owner of Roots has kindly given us this recipe to try.  He is a true gatherer in every sense and not only of the culinary kind.  Anyone wandering into his restaurant will see materials he has gathered or uncovered being used or displayed in innovative and resourceful ways.

Ingredients for Tofu:
170g soy beans (NZ grown)
Water for soaking
1 litre water
1.5 tsp calcium sulphate

Soak the soy beans overnight.  Strain the water the next day and put the beans in a blender with 500 ml of water.  Blend until you have an homogeneous paste.  Add 250 ml of water to a big pot.  Bring the water to the boil then add the soy bean puree. With the remaining 250 ml of water wash up the blender and mix that it all into the pot so you get every last bit.

Simmer this mixture for about 5 minutes.  Keep stirring to avoid burning the paste,  then strain the mixture through a muslin cloth.  Let the milk go through, pressing the muslin to extract most of it (be careful with your hands, it could be hot). Heat this milk again to cook for another 5 min to make the protein of the soy beans more digestible. Now you have soy milk ready to drink or to make silken tofu.

When the milk cools down, measure 700 – 750g for the tofu. Dissolve the calcium sulphate with 2 tsp of water then add the soy milk and mix thoroughly. Prepare containers to make the tofu.  You can make single portions in ramekins or in a tray  with 3 cm depth.

You will need to prepare a bain-marie container big enough to sit the ramekins in.  Place these ramekins with the milk into the simmering bain-marie water and cover with a lid  but allow for the steam to escape to avoid dripping into the containers. After 5 min the milk starts to solidify, and it is now ready. Remove the ramekins from the bain-marie and let them cool down.  Now they are ready to eat.

Crab salad

100g fresh crab meat
Honey vinaigrette (1 part honey, 1 part olive oil, 1 part apple vinegar, salt to taste)
Young broad beans
Coriander leaves and flowers
Sorrel leaves
Borage flowers

Mix all the ingredients and arrange them over the cool silken tofu, decorate with leaves and flowers. Enjoy!

Crab Tofu