Summer Canapés Workshop with Delicious Taipei

CONCEPT As more and more people worldwide are becoming health conscious, clean eating and whole foods movements are flourishing. Delicious Taipei has found that there is both a lack of information and accessibility regarding healthy eating in Taiwan. We have also discovered that there is an overwhelming interest in gourmet raw food after holding ten successful workshops in 2012. We believe that with the right venue, there is an even bigger market to tap into and even more healthy and delicious avenues to explore.

RAW FOOD Raw foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains that have not been heated above 40°C. Consuming these foods in their natural state ensures that they are not only fresh, but remain packed with enzymes, vitamins, and nutrients. Uncooked and unprocessed foods are also rich in phytonutrients and micronutrients, which are essential to maintaining an alkaline state in our body and preventing diseases. Delicious Taipei invites guests to explore the concept of a raw food lifestyle.

CANAPÉS Canapés are a type of hors d’oeuvres, or bite sized decorative morsels of food, that pack a lot of flavor and exude an air of elegance when served. These gourmet appetizers take little time to prepare and are far from fiddly when put together. Serving these posh finger foods accompanied by a glass of wine is the way to wow even the finest epicurean palate.

Join me on July 6th from 14:00 – 17:00 as we discover the world of raw food by making two exquisite canapés and one gourmet, delicious dessert.

On the menu:

1. Macadamia nut pâté served on zucchini with cranberry chutneyP1020561

This canapé is filled with the aromatic fragrance of fresh rosemary and the vibrant tones of garlic which perfectly accompany the tart fruitiness of cranberry chutney. The nut protein ensures that your guests will feel full and satisfied. So even though these are only vegetables, nuts and fruit, they produce a gourmet canapé that will surprise your guests.

2.Beetroot/ Jicama Ravioli with Spicy Cashew cream, marinated shiitake mushrooms and salted Ginger

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Loosely based on the idea of Italian ravioli, this raw version brings out the Asian flavours we all know and love – ginger, garlic and chili in a decadent cashew/avocado cream. Topped with salted ginger, this canapé is so unusual, most people would not even be able to imagine its personality. Showstopper stuff!

3. Raw Chocolate Banana Cream Cake

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No flour, no refined sugar, no eggs and no milk. If it’s raw, you can be sure, it will be better than any baked dessert you have ever tried. This cake is made with walnuts and figs as the base (fibre, fibre, fibre!), banana, vanilla, lemon, avocado and raw cacao as the topping. It sets like a firm cheese cake and will absolutely blow your socks off.

This summer, go gourmet but stay healthy with DELICIOUS TAIPEI!

Date: July 6th, 2013

Time: 14:00 – 17:00

Venue: The Watermoon Tea House (FuXing South Rd, Section 2, Alley 180 #2, 1st floor/ 台北市復興南路二段180巷2號1樓)

Cost: NT2000

Some Guidelines:

1. This will be a hands-on workshop so please be prepared to get your hands dirty:-)

2. Conversation will be limited to breaks only.

3. Cell pones should be on silent and no calls should be accepted during class time. You may however, click away on your phone camera should you wish.

4. We will start precisely at 14:00 and end precisely at 17:00. Please be on time.

5. It will greatly decrease your stress levels, if you figure out how to get to the venue before the day of the workshop:-)

6.Payment should be remitted to the following bank account: E. Sun Bank (玉山銀行: 808),

Songshan Branch (松山分行)

Account Name: 棒活動藝文有限公司 Account #0565-940-001-768

by no later than July 3rd. 

7. This workshop is limited to 14 participants only.

8. Please contact: prish(at)delicioustaipei(dot)com/ 0975-021-931 for any questions.

 

Yale Club of Taipei’s “Yale Day of Fun!”

P1020561   The Yale Club of Taipei hosted a “Yale Day of Fun” at the beautiful law office of Pamir Law on Dunhua North Rd. Pamir partner, Nicholas V. Chen, visionary and self-professed gourmand invited Delicious Taipei to provide gourmet raw canapés for 60 of their guests. I was absolutely honoured for the invitation and very excited since I love my food projects so much. Nic’s company isn’t too bad either 😉 Pamir Law has the sexiest 12-meter long steel table that was constructed inside the building because pieces were too big, heavy and fragile to transport via crane. Ever since I first laid eyes on the gorgeous table, I have fantasized about teaching a workshop there or catering a cocktail party so when the invitation came, I was happy! In order to enhance the beauty of the table, I used plain glass trays which created the effect of the food just sitting on this vast, reflective surface. I decided to make raw beetroot and jicama ravioli with marinated shiitake mushrooms, a spicy cashew/ avo sauce and salted ginger as shown below: P1020556   P1020567

The beets and jicama are marinated in liquid amino and olive oil. The spicy cashew sauce had avo, ginger, garlic, chili, etc to create a sweet, spicy thick cream and the salted ginger added the final flavourful zing to this incredibly balanced and layered canapé. The second canapé was one of my favourites – macadamia nut pâté served on rounds of zucchini with cranberry chutney as shown above but here’s another angle:

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The pate is gorgeous with fragrance of fresh rosemary and the pungent delight of fresh garlic with the tart accompaniment of cranberry. Showstopper. These canapés got lots of compliments which was great as I was a bit apprehensive about Taiwanese’s preference for cooked food over raw. The full bursting flavours in raw food always wins people over.

Finally, for something wickedly sweet but healthy, I made raw chocolate chipotle brownies.

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Inspired by Susan Powers of Rawmazing, these brownies are made with dates, figs, cacao and the smoky gorgeousness of chipotle. It is subtle but warming and as always, when guests taste raw desserts, the questions about raw food in general start pouring in!

To accompany the food, local, women-run wine company, Wine Casa provided red and white Dormaine Auzias Cuvee Monsieur, with aromas of black berries and black currants.

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Ellen O’Neal on the right, of Wine Casa

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Betty Cheng from Pamir Law on the left, enjoying the jicama ravioli.

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More guests enjoying the ravioli.

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With Nicholas Chen, the man who made it all happen! Thank you, Nic and Yale Club for a lovely opportunity to showcase gourmet raw food.

My Slowly-Increasing Derriere…

…is a cause for concern. Clothes are fitting me a bit too snugly and I find myself playing with my fat rolls around my hips when my mind wanders. Although it has proven to be a pretty soothing past time, the thought arises: I have rolls of fat that I can fondle. Wow.

I blame it on this goddamn city. So many wonderful eating options, restaurants popping up like acne on a pimply kid’s face and no dearth of willing hands serving you sloppy, cheesy gorgeous tacos, amazing stir-fried goodies, or late-night fried meat buns. Taipei has rightly won CNN’s Asia’s most sinful cities award for gluttony. All tongue in cheek, yeah…don’t want anybody getting their knickers in a knot, but it’s TRUE! Especially, if you live in the city. We get fat.

Now back to those tacos…it’s right up there with pasta, pizza, burgers, soda – all the junk I really don’t like anyway. You know? The kind of food that inspires you to think of your stomach as a separate character from you? “My stomach, my boyfriend and I are going out for dinner tonight so we can’t join you for that peaceful protest. Good luck with…nomnomnom…”.

It all started and ended with the tacos. On my first trip to the States two years ago, my boyfriend and his family were practically salivating when describing the food trucks in Austin, Texas that sold really incredible tacos. I was all meh, show me the raw food cafes and vegan options.

But then, I tasted my first soft fish taco and died. There were no adjectives, no exclamations, no dramatic finales, I tasted it and simply died. I tried an ahi tuna (seared to perfection and like a slab of it, not the piddly tendrils you get in Taipei) with a sour cream so thick you could paddle around in, the freshest cilantro and a gorgeous zesty salsa. The flavour balance was incredible, the textures, the colours and the simplicity of it all blew me away. Clearly, we are doing something wrong in South Africa not to have had this experience. For the rest of that trip, we turned into tacos whores, gobbling them down as often as we could. We were all still thin at that stage.

Fast forward to Taipei where upon our return, I walked around the city, mumbling, “taco…taco….taco” without finding any. Finally, we heard about a place called Macho Tacos. We were utterly excited to have some a taco joint but then we suffered the misfortune of actually eating one of their tacos. I will not waste any more space on Macho Tacos. Consider yourselves warned.

We slowly recovered from our cravings as many more delightful culinary adventures beckoned. But then we heard about Juanita’s. A good indication of the Western standard of a restaurant is when all the expats share information about it, post food pics and post links to the restaurant. Juanita’s was scoring top grades for good quality guacamole, thick sour cream and delicious fillings. But by now my taco obsession had reduced into a passing interest. I went to check out Juanita’s anyway and wasn’t that impressed with it. It was leaps and bounds better than Macho Tacos but then so would be, damp stale bread.

Juanita’s has a great menu but a sloppy serving line where the fillings reach your taco like random insects that splat violently to death against your window screen while driving down an endless highway at a high speed. They were stingy on the sour cream and also thinned it out, double disappointment but… the tacos were tasty.

The Mexican joint that finally turned me on in a way fast/junk food hadn’t turned me on in Taipei before was, Dos Chinos. Situated near the bustling mess of Tonghua Street, Dos Chino is easy to miss. I think the only reason we went in there is because we couldn’t get to our first choice restaurant since we were stuck in peak-hour traffic! We sat inside the restaurant which shouldn’t really be called a restaurant, more like a stand with doors, chairs and tables or a shack that’s been cleaned up, I don’t know…it is tiny. We got there ordered pulled pork and a spicy beef and were completely impressed with how delicious their tacos were. The two guys working behind the counter look exhausted and that’s because they are turning out a large amount of really excellent tacos to a growing number of adoring fans. Generous servings of guac, luscious lashings of sour cream and we were hoovering them down.

So, this brings me to the point of this post: my derriere. I can’t go on eating these tacos or soon my stomach, my derriere and I will be writing stage plays for three. Dos Chinos has set the bar high but ultimately, health should come first.

I figured I would give raw tacos a bash and satiate myself thus.

Heuvo-less Rancheros with Red Enchilada Saouce and Pico De Gallo

Ani Phyo’s Heuvo-less Rancheros with Red Enchilada sauce and Pico De Gallo

Amen. This taco has allowed the three of us (my derriere, stomach and I) to reach ceasefire: Raw corn tortilla with heuvo-less rancheros with red enchilada sauce.

Here’s the recipe:

To make the raw corn tortilla, blend 1.5 cups of corn kernels with 1/2 cup of flax meal, 3 tbls olive oil and about 3/4 cups of filtered water. I would add salt as the tortilla I made, turned out a bit sweet because the corn was sweet.

Once blended, place 1/4 cup rounds on your teflex sheets and dehydrate for 5 – 6 hours at 104 degrees farenheit. Please follow this guide. No short cuts. I took a shortcut and raised the temp so my tortilla came out too dry at the edges. Flip it over after 5 hours then dry th other side for another 5 hours.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, just take your lazy ass to a bakery and buy some already-cooked tortilla:-)

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Delicious!

Next we work on the filling.

Marinated onion

Finely chop 1/2 a white onion and marinate it in 1 tbls of olive oil and 1 tbls of liquid amino. let it sit for about 10 minutes.

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Pumpkin seeds, tumeric and paprika

The filling is a combination of a pâté called Love-The-Chicks Pâté and tomatoes, onion and bell pepper. The original recipe asked for:

2 cups almonds (I used pumpkin seeds – much cheaper)

1 cup sunflower seeds (I Ieft this out)

1/2 tsp salt

2 teaspoons tumeric powder ( for colour)

1 cup of water (I used 1/2)

Blend everything together and you should get this:

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Next, drain the marinade from the onions, add them; some finely-chopped yellow bell pepper (1/2 cup) and tomato (1 de-seeded).

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Mix well.

On to the red enchilada sauce:

2 cups seeded roma tomatoes

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

1 tbls lime juice

1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 to 1/2 serrano chili or jalapeno, seeded, diced

1 tbls fresh, chopped cilantro

2 tbls chopped onion

a few drops of liquid smoke if you have this (I don’t)

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Blend. Taste. Die.

The last step is making the pico de gallo. I must admit, that b this point I was tired and wanted out of the kitchen so I chopped tomatoes, cilantro, added salt and called it quits. But here’s the recipe anyway:

2 cups diced roma tomato

1/4 finely chopped white onion

jalapeno to taste

1 tbls fresh lime juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/ tsp salt

mix everything together.

layer your taco with the pate, then enchilada sauce and finally the pico de gallo.

For an exciting additional filling, grill some tofu in lime and cilantro.

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Layer the taco with tofu, enchilada sauce and pico de gallo.

Hmmmm….yummy good!

Earl Grey Raw Chocolate Terrine

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I love Earl Gray tea and I love chocolate. This terrine has been on my mind since I first spotted it on the Rawmazing site which I regularly follow. I never looked at the actual recipe before and just assumed it would be a pain in the ass to put together but it was SO easy, I could have smacked myself for not doing it sooner.

I am also now able to tell you what to avoid and what to consider and then hope that you will make this with your own interpretation.

Susan’s recipe calls for the following:

  • 3 tablespoons Earl Grey Tea
  • 1 1/2 cups very hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups cashews, soaked and drained
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 6 ounces raw cacao butter, melted*

Method (this is all from the Rawmazing site, word for word)

1. Add tea to hot water. Let steep for 5 minutes, drain and cool.
2.  Place tea and cashews in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
3. Add agave and cacao powder, blend until well combined.
4. Slowly pour in melted cacao butter. Blend until well combined.
5. Pour into any rectangular container that will un-mold easily. I used a silicone mold that is 8 x 3 x 2 deep.
6. Freeze until solid. Dip mold briefly in hot water, un-mold. Slice into 1/2″ pieces to serve. You can let this warm, it will hold it’s form.

My Suggestions:

1. I used soaked, then frozen cashews. It really increased the water content, rendering a very  “iced” terrine as opposed to a smooth, creamy one. Don’t use frozen ones.

2. I ran out of every kind of sweetener in my house, except for coconut sugar which worked really well, but I did not use enough. The tannins from the tea have a beautiful bitterness to them, and I also like my chocolate quite bitter but the two together is overwhelming. Even if 1/3 cup of agave sounds like a lot, follow the recipe. It’s all about the balance.

3. The cacao butter doesn’t leave a creamy, comfortable mouth-feel. It feels kind of greasy and flat. Instead, try doing this recipe with coconut oil instead. It will be softer and creamier. Thank you, Adela Stoulilova for the suggestion.

4. Try adding different ingredients like avocado, lavendar, citrus, lemon…

6. Use a good quality Earl Grey.

5. I highly recommend a silicone mould as the hot water dipping thing didn’t really work well for me. Silicone moulds will give you a cleaner finish as well.

To make the chocolate drizzle, mix, cocoa powder with coconut oil and a bit of liquid sweetener. Alternately, make a coulis with apricots, or raspberries to contrast the flavour of the tea and chocolate.

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