NAKEDFOOD says, “Hello, Kyoto!”

I recently took my brand, NAKEDFOOD to Kyoto where I consulted for a smart luxury hostel and hotel group called “Piece”. The group is made up of hostels,  Piece Hostel KyotoPiece Hostel Sanjo and premium hotel, 22 Pieces. Founder, Nobuyuki Tabata had a singular vision for the Piece Group in that it was built for “active travelers” to meet people from around the world and experience Kyoto beyond the surface at an affordable price. And that is truly the feeling when you walk through the cafe or the lobby. Interesting people stream in and out 24 hours a day with a ready smile and good vibe.

All private rooms have showers and toilets. From personal experience, the generously large beds with pure white bedding, so cleverly fit into a minimal space giving one the feeling of luxury, but on a budget. Also, if you like me are not fond of small spaces, you will appreciate the large window right above the bed and an equally large mirror opposite the bed to create an impression of even more space.

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Gorgeous café area of Piece Hostel, Kyoto

For this project, Piece wanted to launch a raw and cooked vegan bar food menu for its international and local guests. Although vegan food is available in Japan and is growing in popularity, it isn’t yet as established as it is in other countries. I was excited to be able to share what I know and spent a productive two weeks in Kyoto, training the staff on 4 popular NAKEDFOOD recipes. The recipes were:

dumplingsreduced

raw, vegan kimchi dumplings

I learned the basic dumpling recipe at the Matthew Kenney Raw Culinary Institute (back in the day before he sold it. In the original recipe, we used raw, young coconut flesh and spinach juice to make the dumpling wrappers but since it was impossible to find young coconut in Taipei, I experimented with other vegetables until I found that raw tomatoes were the perfect pairing for the piquant raw kimchi flavours inside. The other ingredients inside are cashew, sesame paste (always housemade), sesame oil and soy sauce. This dumpling recipe appeals to all kinds of palates as it is a combination of sweet, salty, sour and tart. They are perfect at wine tasting events, corporate receptions, wedding receptions, and canapé events.

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pan-grilled eggplant slider/ BBQ “pulled pork” slider

Custom-baked slider buns, warmed on a drizzle of olive oil in a hot pan, dressed with pan-grilled eggplant, slathered with a staunch cashew cheddar cheese sauce, onions caramelized in coconut sugar and paprika until they melt into a gooey, sticky yumiony mass , fresh, crisp baby cucumber and buttery butter lettuce as the final addition. Moorish, delectable goodness.

The BBQ “pulled pork” burger is originally made with monkey-head mushrooms, the application process of which takes several days, a calm demeanour and good 80’s soft rock playlist, however we couldn’t find the mushroom in Japan and customs wouldn’t let us cart body-bag-sized containers over the ocean so we opted for tempeh. Funny thing, I had only started playing with tempeh in my home kitchen not even a few weeks prior to the project and after disliking it immensely figured out how to hide that iron-y taste. It is the greatest chameleon of ingredients since it sucks up the flavour of any spice and oil it is marinated with and does a clever little show of pretending to be meat. It was fun being challenged in finding a substitute and after several calls to Indonesian businesses in central Kyoto, we found a restaurant willing to sell us a magnanimous amount of tempeh that we kept in dry storage. And honestly, my beloved Japanese friends, you need to break up with Amazon. It’s a bit of a codependent relationship you have with Amazon.

Finally, cultured tree-nut cheese. The se cheeses are fermented, seasoned, airdried then aged. The flavours available will be red wine onion jam, original and lemon and rosemary. You can enjoy the dairy-free cheeses with superb fruit jams, fresh fruit and hearty French loaves!

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Enter a captionGorgeous rooftop at Piece, Kyoto – open during the hot summer month for festive cocktails (and amaaaaaaazing raw, vegan food!)

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Sleek design

My time in Kyoto was like a dream. It is one of the most gorgeous cities I’ve ever visited, the architecture is disciplined and elegant, the people sooooo warm and kind (spontaneous gestures of help for confused-looking foreigners abound ;), and beautiful serene, temples are a hop, skip and jump away. Check out Nison In Temple in Arashiyama. Once you bat your way past the tourist buses and fried chicken stands ruining the famed bamboo forest, Nison In is tucked away past some rice paddies and up a regal forested pathway. It truly was the highlight of the trip. I felt all the tension off my body as I strolled through the temple grounds, admiring the clean plumbing and spotless walkways. Haha, no seriously, check out the water pipes. I was amazed. Not a speck of moss or mold.  Japan has completely captivated me and I am so happy that the vegan movement is growing there and that NAKEDFOOD is a part of it!

BACK AGAIN!

It’s been a long while since I’ve written anything on my blog. In the time that I left you till now, my partner and I opened Taiwan’s first contemporary raw vegan restaurant and have been consumed with growing it.

It has been LOADS of fun and LOADS of stress but mostly, loads of FUN 😀

See our place here:

http://www.nkdfood.com

https://www.facebook.com/nkdfood

https://twitter.com/NKDFOOD

https://instagram.com/nkdfood

I’ll be updating here about raw food recipes and tips. Stay tuned!

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Changes Ahead for Delicious Taipei!

 

20120108_132146Hey Guys,

Just wanted to let you know that I haven’t been active for so long because the team at Delicious Taipei is busy planning the opening of its private dining event, workshop and retail space for next month so we have been uber-busy! But this means that we will finally have a PHYSICAL place for our community to:

  • meet and enjoy some delicious conceptual raw cuisine at our exclusive private dining events
  • purchase your everyday, raw food products in our retail section (keep an eye out for our raw coconut yoghurt and raw chocolate granola!)
  • learn how to create your own raw food creations inside our beautiful workshop kitchen (you’ll meet some guest chefs, too!)
  • taste some fine wines and learn about pairings with raw canapes at tastings twice a week (because wine)

You are going to LOVE the location and the “oasis” feeling inside our beautiful event space!

Until then!

哈囉親愛的,

相信大家一定覺得我沈寂了好一段日子,其實這段時間Delicious Taipei 團隊正在為我們即將開幕的全新空間努力籌備中。這個空間將會用作舉辦私人晚餐、工作坊和產品銷售等多項活動,下個月就會和大家見面!也歡迎我們的社群朋友們,和Delicious Taipei 一起體驗這個專屬的迷人空間!

  • 參加專屬私人晚餐活動,一起享用全新概念的生機美食
  • 想要每天享用美味的生機飲食,但卻不知道去哪裡購買?我們將會販售許多不同的生機美食,先稍微透露一下,相信你一定很期待我們即將推出的生機椰子優格和生機巧克力穀物水果營養棒!
  • 參加我們的烹飪工作坊,一起學習創造生機飲食的不同可能性,而且我們還會邀請不同的客座主廚,一定會帶來驚喜!
  • 美酒和美食總是相得益彰,我們每兩週都會舉辦葡萄酒與生機開胃小點搭配的餐酒品嚐會,喜歡葡萄酒的朋友千萬不要錯過!

關於地點先賣個關子,超級方便但又鬧中取靜,你絕對會愛上這個都市綠洲的秘密基地!

敬請耐心等待,到時見!

 

Puttanesca MY way!

This recipe is not the traditional one but it’s packed with the sultry flavours of puttanesca.

No pics today. Let’s get down to business.

Recipe
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp fennel seed
3 cardamom
3 bay leaves
3 shallot
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup white wine
4 medium-sized bright red, super ripe regular tomatoes, roughly chopped
good quality anchovy (glass jar not tinned)
salsa macha
salt (not too much as the anchovy is quite salty)
500g shell pasta

Oil your pan generously. Once warm, throw your spices and bay in. Slowly stir until aromas are released. Throw the shallots and garlic in. Stir until translucent. Add salt. Throw the tomatoes in. Add wine. Let it cook. To thicken, leave the lid slightly open so water can escape.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta. Once the pasta is done, remove it from the pan and rinse it under cold water then put it in a colander and use your hands to turn it over until all the water has drained out.

The sauce should be done. Take it off, add 2 teaspoons of salsa macha and let it cool.

In a separate, small pan, add at least 8 fillets of your good quality anchovy as well as some of its own oil. Make sure the heat is at the lowest setting. As soon as it starts to sputter, turn the heat off. There will be enough heat in the pan to “melt” the anchovy. You don’t want to cook it, you just want to soften it and incorporate it into the oil.

Traditional puttanesca recipes ask you to melt the anchovy first and add all the sauce ingredients to it. The problem with this is that the gorgeous anchovy fragrance disappears into the sauce.

Once you are ready to plate, mix the sauce and however much pasta you want and top with generous scoops of the anchovy mixture.

My Time at the Matthew Kenney Raw Cuisine Academy

Dearly Beloved, We are gathered here today to mourn the absence of the strange, hippy-dippy farmers’ markets, so frequent in Santa Monica that Taipei has not.

Full of flourescent cruciferous creatures inviting hallucinatory inspection, raw honey as varied in flavours as the very flowers that exist, roses, freshly-plucked and of raucous colour, dripping dewy sweetness, dates, soft, nutty, thick, pasty, sweet, delicious and best of all; people: multi-coloured, squat, fat, thin, tall, short, petite, brusque, eye contact, eye contact, eye contact. I was quenched.

My favourite memory of the early morning market in Santa Monica was the sight of a beautiful, large Rastafarian vendor who would accuse me of being scared and shy when I did not want to enter his stall. Burning incense of strange form and colour, draped in African kaftans, his determined eyes finally begged my entry. Good thing too, since his natural creams solved a skin problem for my boyfriend.

Aside from the lovely Rastafarian and strange young foot fetishist who courted my boyfriend’s feet a few times on the beach, Santa Monica was a life-changing experience. I attended “Food and Wine”‘s best-rated plant-based cuisine academy in the world and honestly loved every moment of it.  Matthew Kenney Cuisine Academy is a student’s dream and the restaurant attached to the academy, a healthy eater’s necessity. The course was a month-long, 5 days a week, 6 hours a day. We were gifted beautiful Japanese chef’s knives on the first day, handed to us in what looked to be rifle bags which we had to sling across our backs, making us feel like chef ninjas. Ok. Maybe it was just me, but I felt fierce. I met the most down to earth, friendly, knowledgeable people whom I now consider to be new friends.

The month flew by and I learned a lot of how to set up mise en place and to communicate with people in a kitchen. The recipes were pretty basic but it was great to learn different ways of doing what I already have learned. Even though I had prior knowledge, it was still beneficial.

All the teachers were great, each giving every student individual attention and pushing us where we needed to be pushed, very encouraging, whacky and fun! I am definitely going back for the advanced course and look forwrad to sharing what I learn, too.