Sunday, December 12, 2010

eat; cru raw food class

I woke up really early on Sunday 4th of December, even before my alarm had a chance to wake me! My housemates were still asleep as I left the house with a belly full of green smoothie goodness and excitement that I almost couldn't contain. I was heading out the door to Cru for their "A Few Of My Favourite Things" raw food class. Yep, I finally took the plunge and went to learn some secrets of raw food cooking!!!!

The class was filled with all sorts of people, mainly middle aged women. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of an audience for a raw food cooking class, but the demographic of middle aged women somehow threw me off. There were about 12 of us and the room was filled with such excitement, you wouldn't have guessed it was sooooo early on a Sunday morning!

The room was structured so that we sat in rows in front of a table set up with all the ingredients and equipment. Unfortunately, we were not doing the cooking, but we sat and watched, listened and learned the tricks of the raw food trade. I even learnt how to make nut milk, which is surprisingly easy! It's a good substitute for cows milk in any dish.

I took some photos but was soooo captivated by what was going on and the information being thrown at me that I forgot to keep it up during the whole lesson! So here are some photos I did take with a little commentary.

I was like a total nerd on the first day of class sitting with a front row seat so I could see everything! This is the view into their kitchen at Cru. Our menu to learn for the day was as follows; Cheesy Kale Chips, Curry Carrot Soup, Zucchini Pasta with a Red Pepper Cream Sauce and Banana Ice-Cream. My favourite was the Curry Carrot Soup (recipe to follow!)                                                          
The ingredients for the day consisted of kale, red capsicum, zucchini, carrots, frozen banana, raw soaked cashews, pine nuts and a few spices. The equipment was a blender, juicer, dehydrator and an amazing little machine called a Turning Slicer/Spirooli.
Our teacher was Kristan Andrews who is part owner of Cru with Executive Chef Rachel Carr. Kristan is a Raw Food Chef and Educator also catering for the stars here in Los Angeles. She is not a total rawist but her diet is mainly raw. She looked so vibrant and healthy it was unbelievable.

Kale is one of my least favourite things to cook, maybe because i was only introduced to this leafy superfood when I arrived here at the beginning of the year and am unfamiliar with it. I have tried to make salads with it, make chips with it even sautee it. Nope, don't like it. I am now throwing it into my smoothies every morning and that suits me fine. Even these Kale chips Kristan made in the dehydrator did absolutely nothing for me as everyone in the room were umming and ahhing. You know how some people describe some foods as like eating cardboard? Well, i'm going to be that person and say that about Kale chips. Big call, I know, but Kale chips just aint my thing!

Kristan is blending away the Curry Carrot Soup in this pic. Now this aint no cardboard tasting soup!!! LOVE!!!! So creamy, colourful and full of flavour, I'm definitely going to try this at home soon!
This above is the Turning Slicer/Spirooli which was such a crowd pleaser. Here, Kristan is making the 'spaghetti' out of the raw zucchini. Yes, as you can imagine, every bit of my Italian blood was sooooo dubious about this thing called pasta, that wasn't actual pasta like I knew it. How can anyone call strands of zucchini anything like spaghetti?!?!? So there I was, arms crossed, with all my spiritual ancestors egging on my suspicious glares, waiting to taste this 'spaghetti'.

It was fun watching the zucchini being spun around into long spaghetti...and yes...IT WAS AMAZING TO TASTE!!!!! The texture was exactly like al dente pasta and defintiely does not leave that heavy feeling pasta can sometimes. The Red Pepper Cream Sauce was divine! It was made with pine nuts and olive oil and had a beautifully light creamy constancy. Definitely going to have to add this machine to my kitchen!
Banana Ice-cream....WOW!!!!! Similar to a soft serve ice cream in consistancy and texture, this is the easiest thing ever to make and is WOWOWOWOW!!!! It's simply frozen banana that has been put through a juicer. Thats it! No cream, no stiring, no fussing and it is AMAZING! YOU MUST DO THIS!!! If you don't have a juicer, cut up the banana before putting it into the freezer and when frozen, put it straight into a food processor and wizz away until you get a creamy consistency! You can leave them peeled and whole if using a juicer. Make sure if you're using a juicer to cover the bit where the juice comes out so the banana exists where the skin normally does. YUM!!!!! Also great with mango.

So here is the recipe for the Curry Carrot Soup which blew my mind!!!!! Don't use baby carrots, the flavours in them are not developed enough.

Raw Curry Carrot Soup
What you need;
2 cups of peeled and chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups cashew milk
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup of chopped shallot or onion
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp of fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp of curry powder
salt to taste


Blend it all together in a food processor until smooth and serve!!! This makes a great summer soup but if you want to put it on the stove to warm up a little, I promise I won't tell any rawists I know!!!

Serves two.

Buon appetitio!

P.S Cashew Milk is made by soaking 3/4 cup of raw cashews for 2-4 hours. Drain them and pop them into your blender with 1 1/2 cups of water. Blend until really smooth and then drain it all through a sieve, using a spoon. Vola, cashew milk!!!!

pink; pink tons

The colour pink is normally associated with sweetness, intimacy and fragility but this intense mass of glass, even though it does look light, airy and beautifully translucent, is an incredible contrast to it's reality. I have never seen this work but I was instantly attracted to the above image of Roni Horn's Pink Tons created in 2008. Apart from being attracted to the colour, the sheer size of the work made me want to know more! The piece is solid cast glass and stands at 48 x 48 x 48 inches. 

I want to start talking about this work with you all imagining a pink cloud floating next to it. Go on, can you see the pink cloud in the background next to it? Good. A pink cloud would be an obvious thing to create with pale pink, as our associations with the colour would be represented within such a work. We can easily imagine being engulfed by it and the feelings we would feel towards such a lovely cloud of pink fluff. It is something that can be imagined within our minds and we can easily create the feelings we imagine we would feel, as it's reality is not far off what we would imagine, even if we can't physically experience it. We see pink clouds often during a wonderful sunset and have a lifetime of looking and imagining what it would feel like to experience a pink cloud. How lovely would that be?!?!?!

If we now go back and look at Pink Tons with the feelings and emotions we have just felt with our imaginary pink cloud work, we are almost stopped in our tracks, like we've just been hit by a big pink semi-trailer truck! Pink is not meant to hurt us in that way! It is meant to be gentle, calming, even soothing to be around, but Horn's work does everything but soothe us. A mass of heavy glass masquerading as something light and translucent, cannot go forth and fool us, especially with the knowledge that this work ways a hefty 5 tonnes, or can it?

It has been said that in a certain light or at a different perspective, this pink mass of solid dense glass gives the appearance of a liquid surface, like an ice cube starting to melt from being exposed to room temperature. But this work is not melting away or disappearing before our very eyes. It is here to stay! Pink Tons questions our associations with pink and how we perceive the context for the colour.  It makes us think of materials and materiality and how they can be transformed to trick us into thinking differently about their reality.

Is Pink Tons, a mass of cast glass, really that much different to a cloud? And is pink really that much different to any other colour? It seems this work highlights  our reactions to and feelings towards things is what determines how different they really are.

This work would be a feat to experience and one that I hope to some day. Until then, all I can do is try and live the experience by talking about it with you.


love; 10 things i found to love this week
1. TRAINS!!!! Oh how I do love a train ride. My first overnight train trip was from Hong Kong to Beijing in 2008 and recently I took the train from L.A to New York!!! Yes you heard me right, L.A to New York! The ride was over three days and nights. I felt like a 1920's movie star leaving L.A all dressed up in heels, off to New York by rail. LOVE!
2. PLANES!!!! Oh how I do love flying! I've done many long distance travel that only Australians can really relate to. I do have a giggle when an American says that Europe is such a long flight...TRY 26 HOURS MELBOURNE TO LONDON GUYS!!!!! The excitement of going to a new place somehow does override the pain of long distance plane flights! LOVE!!!
3. Turning yourself into a diamond when you die?!?!?! Well, you can't do it because you'll be dead, but someone else can turn you into a diamond!!!! I LOVE THIS!!!!! Check it out!

4. I love a steaming hot shower! Now when I say hot, I mean the tiniest turn of the cold water you've ever seen! I'm sooooo not one of those people who can handle a cold shower, nor do I think jumping into a cold natural bath is actually sanity!!!! Give me heat any day! LOVE!!!
5. I heart L.A!!! I love this city! It is a mix of plastic fantastic and down right dirty rundown suburbia. In one day this city of Angels can turn my mood from an incredible dark deep depression where I don't want to leave my bed to the height of ecstasy where I don't want to fall asleep in case I miss something! It truly is a great city that is better lived in than visited as a tourist. LOVE!
6. Writing and sending Christmas cards via snail mail. I have the opportunity to do this now that I am away from home and I LOVE IT!!!! Such a nice feeling when you do get something in the mail that has hand writing on the envelope and IS NOT a bill! LOVE!!!!

7. My artist friends in Melbourne. How I love them sooo much and miss them like crazy! This photo was taken the morning after a party I had at my house, affectionately known as Number 12. We had pasta with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil for brunch, served in that big wok in the middle of the table. Gotta love dear friends! LOVE!!!

8. My housemates Dolphina and Natalie. They are the most amazing and inspiring women I have met here in the states and am soooo grateful for the universe to have introduced them to me and this home we now have. They are an absolute pleasure to feed!!!! LOVE!!
9. Baci chocolates! With their cheesy love messages and wonderfully perfect combination of chocolate and nuts, they truly are a kiss from the gods! I just ate one and the message inside was "The notes of love enhance our joy'...Ahhhhhhh. LOVE!!
10. Having a Bubble Bath with Dolphina at Sip City! A Bubble Bath at Sip City is a tasting of their range of champagnes and you can have a cheese platter that is matched to each bubbly! Bring on the bubbles!!!! LOVE!!!!