Recipe for therapy

Art can be therapeutic. Especially creating art. A dear friend of mine in Italy is in the course of becoming an art counselor. She is not advising on what works of art to purchase. She uses artistic expression as a form of therapy. I find that mindblowing and very natural at the same time.

My friends used to tease me with my habit of ironing. I was not a housewife. Far from it. I’d spent my time working, socializing and leisurely. There was no such thing as interior decoration in my house and cleaning or laundry were chores hard to keep up with. But ironing was different. Ironing was my meditation. My friends found it funny and a little weird. 

Ten years have past and I am not so weird anymore. As if that’s possible. But my love for ironing is a memory belonging to a past reality. It has been overruled. Without realizing it, ironing has been overruled by cooking. It goes back far into my early teenage years, me practicising cooking. Especially the cooking for beloved ones. I feel like I free myself, the time I spend making pizza dough, preparing next days lunchboxes, rolling date balls, experimenting with confit de canard, pickling mushrooms and especially, en faisant l’art de la cuisine for the man I love. 

 The dynamics in making lunch for the man I love or while rolling date balls certainly go far beyond the simple purpose of feeding tummies. Be it my own or his or any of my beloved ones. Both the activity of combining the ingredients and the creative process beforehand consisting of selecting the different ingredients, even to be brutally honest, the step it takes to purchase the raw ingredients from my favorite Turkish shop here in Collingwood, all the single steps together form a process that lead to a wholesome feeling of completeness. Therapeutic. It saves and secures my physical and mental well being. 

Over to you. Let me take you by the hand.

Kafir lime and Goji berries date balls

2 cups pumpkin seeds, ground in a coffee grinder or roughly chopped with a knife

2 cups pitted dates (medjool or other dried but succulent specimen), finely chopped with a knife

1/3 cup gojiberries

2 kafir lime leaves, very finely cut

Zest of 1 orange

Juice of 1 orange

1/2 cup quick rolled oats

4 tbsp tahini

A dash of coarse salt

Combine well quick rolled oats, orange zest & orange juice, salt and kafir lime 

Add all other ingredients

Form a dough

Prepare a bowl with lukewarm water and storage container(s)

Scoop a quantity of dough measuring something between a cherry tomato and a golf ball and form a ball by rolling it between your hand palms. Possibly, when dough sticks to hands and fingers too much, wet your hands at intervals of rolling two or three balls. Continue until all dough is finished. This is the meditative part. Focus at scooping each time the same quantity of dough and at delivering really round balls. You do not even need to eat them in order to enjoy the satisfying feeling of accomplishment when your super healthy treat is done

Date balls can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks

Series II: Fucking Complicated

Fantasizing about Blue Almond Iced Tea. I’ve got the clitoria flower! It’s a dried product mainly used in Thailand for making tea and coloring blue rice. It’s the only natural genuine blue food coloring. Blue berries being discarded as too purple and algae as too greenish blue. Clitoria flower is blue as in blue. I realize the Blue Almond Iced Tea has got to wait. I feel it’s finally time for my much anticipated Sexy Sea Water Petits Ronds, the delightful desserts I got the clitoria flower for in the first place. And yes the name clitoria comes from where you think it comes from. No wonder they not only turn my raw cakes magnificent blue but also super sexy. Isn’t sex supposed to be a delightful combination of naturally sweet as rice malt sirup and dates, slightly bitter and salty as almonds and chick pea liquid; sweaty and soft as the aqua fava mixture and most of all satisfying, as fulfilling as the complexity of the whole range of our taste palette can bring about.

The recipe reminds me of one of the most complicated dessert recipes I have ever made. I was only in my early twenties, following precisely the directions as prescribed and pictured in the recipe book Desserts from the Time Life cookery book series. God they were ahead of their time with the step by step visual instructions. I’ve been brought up with Time Life, I realize now. The recipe was for the authentic British trifle, champagne syllabub included. It took several days to make it. I never felt as proud as I did when it all came out exactly like the pictures. 

Right, I put the blue almond iced tea on hold for you guys. We start with a recipe as complicated and lengthy as the trifle I made 25 years ago, much less traditional; other side of the culinary universe actually. It involves no cooking, no diary, no animal products at all, no refined sugar, no gluten and no artificial flavoring nor coloring. I wonder how we ended up being so discriminative in the kitchen. Is it all because of our precious health and that of our planet? Or do humans in general like to be difficult? I don’t know. I do know I get excited by the thought of creamy, smashing blue, sweet and slightly salty, raw, plant based, guilt free, individual cakes that remind me of feeling blue or make me long for Hawaiian beaches. That’s why I call them Sexy.

Sexy Sea Water Petits Ronds

Day 1 morning

Step 1.

2 cups raw almonds, roughly chopped

2 cups water

Soak for 4 hours at least
Day 1 evening

Step 2.

after 4 hours, discard almond water and divide almonds evenly over oven tray lined with baking sheet

Set the oven to 45 C

Hydrate overnight, at least 12 hours

This process is called activating. Nuts are nice when roasted. But then they’re no longer raw and according to some, have lost some of their nutrious properties. Dehydrating them in a temperature under 48 C keeps them ‘raw’ (enzymes don’t die) and makes them slightly crunchy
Step 3.

Take 1 cup dried chickpeas and 3 cups water 

Soak overnight
Step 4.

cut 12 rounds of baking sheet in exactly the shape of muffin tray bottoms only

cut 12 strips of baking sheet 3 cm wide, 12 cm long

Align muffin tray with the strips, 1 per hole and rounds on top of it. Make sure either side of the strips stick out from the holes

The crust will be pressed on top of the strip and the round. This is to make sure you can take the individual cakes once they’re done out of the tray without using a knife or having to damage the shape
Day 2 morning

Step 5.

Drain chickpeas, transfer to a pot, add twice the quantity of water and bring to the boil. 

Simmer for 2 hours or until chickpeas are done
Step 6.

Drain chickpeas, saving the cooking liquid

Store cooked chickpeas to be used in another recipe

Bring cooking liquid back to boil adding a tbsp of dried clitoria flower / pea flower tea, turning it blue

Let the blue aqua fava (literally meaning, bean water) cool down completely
Step 7.

Grind 1 cup of the almonds in coffee grinder or heavy duty food processor into almond butter

It will first crumbe, hence turn into meal, keep on grinding, pauze every now and then to give appliance a break and not overheating it, keep on going until a clump is formed. Keep on going and it will turn into butter

Step 8.
Make crust by combining 1 cup regular pitted dates, roughly chopped, 1 cup medjool dates, roughly chopped, the other 1 cup of activated almonds, chopped finely. Form 12 balls the size of a ping pong ball, rolling between the palms of your hands
Step 9.

Firmly press balls into discs in bottoms of the muffin tray. Place tray in fridge until further notice
Day 2 evening

Step 10.

1 cup pea flower / clitoria flower blue aqua fava 

1 cup activated almond butter

1 cup cream of coconut

1/2 cup brown rice malt sirup.

Mix blue aqua fava with handmixer on high speed for 3-5 minutes until stiff peaks are formed resembling egg white merengue

Step 11.

Make the Salty Sea water cake mixture

Mix in a separate bowl almond butter and cream of coconut, add rice malt sirup. Slowly fold stiffened aqua fava through almond butter mixture, in three badges. Once mixed, make sure to use it right away

Step 12.

Take the muffin tray from the fridge and fill up the individual holes with the Salty Sea water cake mixture. Place in freezer. Freeze overnight.

Day 3 anytime

Step 13.

To serve the cakes, dip the whole tray with it’s bottom in water (fill a shallow oven tray with just a few centimeter of luke warm water and place the muffin tray in there for 15 seconds). Pull at the baking sheet strips to gently lift the cakes one by one. Peel off the baking sheet rounds from the bottoms of the crust, can be tricky, be patient and careful.

Step 14.

Sprinkle the cakes with grapefruit zest and serve with sweet or sweetened fruit. I’d opt for grapefruit sweetened with maple sirup or ripe mango.

Congratulations guys. You’ve made it. Recipe for blue almond milk iced tea is next. Will be part of the KiSS series: Keep It Stupid and Simple, again. Pfffft!
Mise en place

2 cups raw deskinned almonds, coarsely chopped

1 cup dried chick peas

Baking sheet


Muffin tray

1 tbsp Pea flower tea / dried clitoria flower

Coffee grinder or heavy duty food processor (1000 Watt min)

1 cup regular pitted dates, chopped

1 cup medjool dates, depitted and chopped

Handheld mixer or Kitchenaid

1 cup cream of coconut

1/2 cup brown rice malt sirup

Zest of 1 grapefruit

2 cups of grapefruit particles sweetened with maple sirup or brown rice malt sirup / ripe mango