Sunday, 10 February 2008 by kinakoJam
Above: one of the slightly less narcissistic photos of Ani Phyo.
Here's a confession: the experience at Zerwirk in the post below was not my first encounter with raw food.
There's something entertaining about eating food like 'ketchup' that comes in inverted commas, although I'm not such a fan of the crazy letters, used to label items like Mylk or Cheeze.
As far as I know there's no scientific basis for any of this stuff - studies I've seen on for instance the healthfulness of garlic referring to its use in traditional diets cite its effectiveness both cooked and raw.
Still, I'm of the opinion that any recipes that help me to consume more vegetables are probably good (especially thinking back on that Guardian article about how fruits are almost devoid of nutrition).
And desserts that are made from nuts, seeds and fruit are probably a good distraction from unhealthier stuff too. No matter how much I might try to deny it to myself, I do like to snack on sweetish things every now & then.
I don't like to buy into a hippy lifestyle though, which is why it was nice to see the weird world of rawfood presented along with designer chairs and German coolness at Zerwirk/Saf -
But in most instances you'll find this oeuvre is more likely to packaged a la the slightly insane hyper-hippie narcissistic Portland version in the cookbook 'Ani's Rawfood Kitchen' which I bought in Toronto out of curiosity and to expand my salad repertoire.
The book is filled with pictures of Ani on the beach, wearing sunglasses, drinking from Thai baby coconuts etc.
So far I've tried a few things from this cookbook: the raw Asian greens salad is excellent (bok choi is really nice & juicy, and good with the sesame seeds, avocado, basil leaves etc). The raw pumpkin pie was...interesting... and made a good & strangely salty/crunchy sweet snack for quite a few days from its safe haven in the fridge. The raw 'ketchup' made from pureed sun dried tomatoes & a fresh tomato, a few dates, garlic and lots of olive oil was very good too, again nothing like ketchup, but excellent with grilled chicken (oops...bending the rules a bit there..!)
Sometimes recently at home, if Erik is making rice, I'll make 'rice' instead: made from processed pieces of raw butternut squash, pounded walnuts, coriander & cumin powder, seasalt and dried cranberries. This obviously doesn't taste anything like rice but makes a tasty, crunchy, soapy-tasting vehicle for moist foods like a miso-vege saute or a japanese curry.
The only failure has been these coconut 'breakfast cakes' made from ground flax seeds and coconut oil, served with 'butter' made from coconut oil and white miso..... this combo - although the saltiness and richness was interesting and the 'butter' was sort of buttery at least upon every second mouthful - the rich saltinesss made my stomach curdle a bit and it was too crumbly to give an illusion of anything close to a pancake.
I was surprised to read at the link here that Ani is not a 100% raw fanatic, and will dabble in soup or tofu (shock!). But this increased my respect for her, since in the cookbook she sure does some across as a fanatic. For example Ani's poor ridgeback dog named Kanga is fed only on pureed seeds and was taught to bite down on tomatoes, though i'd bet she probably catches and eats rats and small cats when Ani is not looking.
Here is Ani demonstrating (in a Keanu-tinged accent) how to make 'American apple pie': the most 'deliciousest' pie for, like, moms and children! As you'll see, she represents a pretty different face to raw food than the more sophisticated techno-endorsed Chad at Zerwirk. Still, in the end, most of her recipes are actually tasty, and always interesting to try out.
Here is an easy recipe for 'lemon pudding' from Ani, which I make quite often as a high-fat but low-guilt dessert. I add a lot more lemon juice than she suggests.
Adapted from Ani's Raw Food Kitchen
Half cup of almonds (ideally soaked overnight to activate enzymes, then rinsed thoroughly and refridgerated until needed)
1/2 cup water
Juice of one lemon
3-4 fresh dates chopped
Optional: 1/2 tbsp psyllium powder (I've never used this thickening fibre powder but it could be a good addition)
Blend until smooth. (You may need to double the recipe or add a touch more water to blend properly without it all going up the sides of the container).
Serve on its own or with chopped fresh or dehydrated fruit. (apparently dehydrated still equates to raw...go figure)
I just had some with preserved organic sour cherries from a jar, and a sprinkling of dehydrated germinated golden spelt (dinkel) which added a nice crunch.
I know...........I'm a creep.