Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Fabricating fare for the Georgia Alice Launch.

Beautiful fabrics carefully crafted by a beautiful young lady - called for one thing: food fit for the occasion. After the success of the Vanishing Elephant ‘Katering’ gigRelish the memory were approached by Black Box Boutique to help celebrate the Georgia Alice Launch at their Grey Lynn store. A range described as structural, simple and modern; the challenge was laid to craft a menu reflecting these special garments. 

Production line rolling on...
Sticking to a colour palate of black and white I pieced together a few nibbles that would satisfy the hungry fashion fiends. First up was a savoury item – Avocado Rice Balls. A classic nibble – petite in size, sprinkled with black sesame seeds and ready to be dunked in soy. Despite keeping me rolling on til early hours of the morning they disappeared like ghosts from the serving platters and most certainly satisfied.

Balls. Rice. Avocado.

Next up were Oregano and Sesame Lavosh topped with Black Olive Tapenade. Lavosh is an elegant, home-made version of the classic cracker – which I have spoken of in a previous post here. These light, crunchy wholesome treats were a crowd favourite. Providing the perfect canvas for the deep black hue of olive spread. A typical Tapenade would usually includes anchovies, but to cater for a wider spectrum of dietary needs I opted for a vegetarian version. Blending black olives, capers, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and black pepper the perfect cracker topper was complete. 

Black (olive) and Gold (lavosh).

Now on to the sweet-stuff. The first dessert option was a modern-twist on a classic rice pudding. Inspired by a favourite breakfast dish at a nearby Grey Lynn cafĂ© –Jafa. I attempted my first pot of Black Sticky Rice. And what a delight it was. Also known as black glutinous rice, this Thai specialty is a popular breakfast and dessert option and becomes a deep purple once cooked. Holding a similar fibre content to brown rice and packed with vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants it’s a nutritional powerhouse. Cooked and served with coconut milk, it produces a sticky, sweet pudding that intrigues and delights all who consume. Leftovers were enjoyed with sliced banana, toasted coconut flakes and a drizzle of honey for breakfast and lunch the following day. I can see this healthful, flavourful dish becoming a regular on my go-to breakfast/dessert repetoire.

Sticky, black and seriously great stuff.

Wild. Rice. Coconut. Milk. Flakes. Delish.

The almighty (well petite and very cute) Baby Coconut Meringues were another hit. After adapting a recipe written by Editor of the Healthy Food Guide – Nikki Bezzant. These ‘Forgotten Cookies’ were certainly not forgotten on this occasion. The beauty of this sweet treat is that you pre-heat the oven, pop the merigues/cookies in, turn the oven off and simply forget about them…til the next morning. The addition of coconut mean’t their delicate outer shell was enhanced by a chewy interior and complimented by an essence of vanilla. They were delicate and delightful and a comment claiming “the best meringue I have ever eaten” was a fulfilling result.

Hand-beaten, baby coconut meringues in production.

To finish/start or continue throughout the event was a large bulbous jar of that classic sweet treat we all know and love. The Jellybean. If it were a black vs. white competition then white were the sure winner in the jellybean stakes. Despite being more pearl than white these coconutty, vanilla pebbles of gold were addictive and devoured by the hundreds over the evening. As we all know black jellybeans are an acquired taste and provided those keen beans with an intense hit of aniseed and licorice. 

The dark aftermath. (Better photo found here - 4th shot down)

Meringue clouds floating in the corner...while final preparations proceeded.

For Relish the memory it was a pleasure to be part of such a special evening combining food, festivity and fashion. A big thanks to all my little helpers, those who devoured my treats and to Scarlet at Black Box Boutique and Georgia Alice herself for the opportunity to share my passion and help celebrate theirs! X

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Sunday, 10 February 2013

Passionate about Pomegranates.

Ever spotted one of these reddish-gold circular balls and wondered what on earth is going on under there? Well upon venturing past it’s leathery exterior I discovered a world of beauty and delight…amongst a maize of white; sits rows of small glossy pinky-red balls also known as seeds or arils. Such precious pieces deserve a more elegant name, and pomegranate pearls are the perfect description. This summer fruit has grown hugely in popularity in the culinary world over the last few years – in its many different forms: seeds, juice and that thickened gold – molasses. 
The Pomegranate.
There is no debate that its one downfall is the de-seeding process. Following a quick you-tube search I discovered various tips about how to pop out these pearls at record pace. Some suggest de-seeding underwater, others mentioned cut in half then again down the white ridges and peeling accordingly. I used a combination of the two – but mostly just dove in and made a red, juicy splattering mess -placing one in my mouth for every five that went into the bowl.
Pearls of joy.

Pomegranates have been popping up everywhere in our household menu lately. A favourite Christmas present housed the recipe for a Pearl barley, eggplant, carrot and pomegranate salad. The Ripe Deli on Richmond Rd – our go-to weekly lunch destination has put together a book of their best recipes, and boy am I glad they did! If you do not own this publication, go to the book store and buy it NOW. You will never look back. Packed with bold flavours such as sumac, dried mint, honey and fused together with tones of pomegranate. This salad is not for the faint hearted. Utilising the seeds, juice and molasses it was punchy, sweet, texturally surprisingly and in my house a huge hit! 
Pearl Barley, eggplant, carrot and POMEGRANATE salad.

A second more simplified salad consisted of fresh green beans, diced red onion, sliced toasted almonds and a handful of those pomegranate pearls. Dressed in a combination of freshly squeezed orange, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. It was heaven and summer all on one plate. 
Beans & Pearls.

There is a reason Pomegranate Molasses has found a home in the pantry of many culinary kings. The intriguing depth of sweetness and viscosity gives a unique dimension to any dish and makes it the perfect addition to any dressing. Another winning dish from the Ripe cookbook contains this liquid gold. Being their most popular dish this ‘Raw Energy Salad’ sells out most days. A similar version can be spotted in my Beetroot = Bestroot post – but as with most things the experts know best.  This salad screams health, freshness and flavour. It’s not just good, its bloody great. Providing yet another reason why making the ‘Ripe’ cookbook purchase is a must. PS. The lovely people at Ripe are so great they have shared the recipe here.
Raw Energy Salad made beautiful by pomegranate molasses.

Whilst gracing google for this post I discovered a famous Perisian Pomegranate and Split pea soup, called Ash e-Anar. An intriguing, wintery dish that I look forward to attempting over the next few months. But while the sun is shining and the weather is bliss, I’ll stick to popping pomegranate pearls at every opportunity. x