Monday, January 31, 2011

eat; raw carrot cake topped with vanilla cashew icing

On day 1 of my raw week, I made this little slice of heaven to overcome any cravings for sugar I may experience during the first few days. It really is a slice of heaven! The vanilla cashew icing is sooooo divine that I couldn't believe how good it tasted. I interrupted my housemate Natalie while she was working so she could enjoy the fabulous flavours with me! This recipe is from Russell James and makes 12 servings, as the serving sizes are small. The cake is dense so make sure to cut the pieces small. Halve the recipe if you don't see yourself eating raw carrot cake for days or don't have extra mouths to feed.

The cake will keep well for up to four days, refrigerated.

What you need;
3 cups carrot, finely grated
2 cups pecans
1/4 cup raisins, roughly chopped
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground corriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup fresh dates
1/2 cup orange juice
Vanilla Cashew Icing
1 1/2 cups cashews
1/2 cup water
2 Tbs raw honey or agave
3 Tbs coconut oil or canola oil
1 Tbs vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Start by soaking the cashews and pecan nuts in separate bowls with filtered water for between two to four hours. Once the time is up, drain and rinse and place the separate nuts onto separate kitchen towels and roll to dry a little. This stage can be done the day before, just put the nuts into separate containers in the fridge.

In a food processor, add dates and orange juice and blend until a smooth paste is formed. Set aside.

Making sure your food processor is dry, add the pecans and whiz until crumbed.

Peel and grate the carrots finely as in the picture above and place in a bowl. Except for the icing ingredients, add everything, including 'date paste' and chopped pecans, in with the grated carrots.

I used my hands to mix as I found it easier than with a spoon. Whatever works for you is fine.

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and spread the mixture to about 1 1/2cm in thickness. My tray was too big so I ended the mixture with a clean edge, 1/4 of the way in from the side of the pan (see image above). Press the mixture evenly with the back of a spoon. Alternatively, you can shape them individually as balls or circular cakes but remember to make them small! Cover with cling wrap and chill for a few hours.

To make the vanilla cashew icing, simply blend all the 'icing' ingredients until really creamy and smooth. Place in a container and refrigerate for a few hours to thicken up. 

Just before serving, cut into individual squares (about 8x8cm as it is very rich!) using a really sharp knife and either spread or dollop the icing on each individual serving. You want to keep the icing and cake separate until serving.

And voila, an amazing little sweet treat that is actually good for you!!!!
Buon Appetito!

pink; true potential

Yesterday I attended the Art Los Angeles Contemporary featuring contemporary galleries within Los Angeles, the U.S.A and a few from other parts of the world. I dread these art fairs most of the time as they are usually loaded with commercial galleries showing their crappy commercial art for an audience that is  mainly interested in buying something for their wall to match the sofa. But this art fair completely thrilled me! Lots of non-profits and a great quality of commercial galleries within a small setting of an airplane hanger and only in it's second year running. I may be biased, as you all know I heart L.A, but I have been to many of these fairs around the world and have never been so excited!

So of course I scouted around to find a pink work to include in my blog and came across this artist. The Company is a gallery in Chinatown, Los Angeles that represents Alexa Gerrity, a recent MFA graduate of Cal Arts. The work below caught my eye, not only because it was printed on pink paper but because it captures the 'self-help' vibe that Southern California is famous for. Many 'self-help' gurus come to L.A or get their lucky break here. Maybe it is something in the water, or maybe the weird fact L.A is on the famous fault line and could potentially fall into the ocean at any given moment, creating a sense of 'being in the now' attitude amongst those both that come here and live here. For crying out loud, even I have entered this world reading books such as Flow by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi and Louise Hays' You Can Heal Your Life during my time here so far!

The main picture above was a site specific work at The Company last year, in the gallery's bathroom. Gerrity created a small and intimate, yet public, space for the viewer to enter into a personal conversation with oneself. I was told by a person who attended the show that the bathroom had fake candles all along it's edges, vanilla fragrance wafting through the space and a pink globe spreading the love. The affirmations on the mirror invite the viewer to participate in repetitive thought which is believed to potentially change ones old thought patterns and beliefs about themselves. Louise Hays is a huge advocate for this type of therapy. The participants are encouraged to take a poster which acts as a reminder, to put on ones wall on their return home, to keep up this affirmation process.

The question needs to asked, is Gerrity being facetious about what happens here in Southern California or is she somehow advocating this type of therapy? She is not native to L.A and my feeling is that she too, may have been caught up in the 'self-help' world that exists here when she first arrived and is now working out how it fits into her life through her work as an artist. Whatever her reason is for creating this installation, I found this work to be intriguing, very L.A with it's 'self-help'ness, covered in pink and sparkles. Gotta love L.A!!!!!

love; 10 things I love about Vegas

I just returned from my first trip to Vegas and decided to write about 10 things I loved about Sin City. 'twas interesting indeed! Unfortunately I left my camera battery charging at home, so no photos (well apart from me posing for Michael's shots!!!)
1. The famous 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas' sign. It was created in 1959 and is a great example of graphic design of the time. The sign conjures up images of what Vegas would have been like in the '50's with the likes of The Rat Pack performing, Frank Sinatra and the Mafia doing their thing, while debauchery was happening everywhere! The sign has now become a logo for Vegas and is slapped onto all sorts of souvenirs. LOVE!
2. Ladies dressed in sequins. Every second woman was dressed in some sort of something, in sequins; from scarves to dresses to shoes. I LOVED it! Even for breakfast, ladies were out with their sparklys simply because they could. LOVE!!!!

photo; Michael Dewhurst
3. The Venetian!!! Maybe it's just my desire to go and live in Venice that attracted me to this amazing hotel, or maybe it's just because it's f@#%ing FABULOUS! It has the canals running through the inside of the hotel and cheesy gondolier paddlers singing along under a blue cloudy sky painted on the ceiling! LOVE!!!! (that's me posing in seventh heaven with my mickey sequined ears!!!!!)
4. The drive through Chapels!!!! Michael and I played the game of acting like we were in search of a place to get married and went into a few chapels and were given the royal treatment. Soooooo funny!!!!!  You can even get your picture taken at one of the chapels with a full life-size glistening plastic white horse pulling along Cinderellas carriage!!!! A must if you go to Vegas with a friend of the opposite sex! LOVE!!!!!
5. Urban legends of Las Vegas. This website is really funny and dispells some myths that you may have heard along the way of stories about Vegas. Check it out. LOVE!

6. "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Yep, that's what everyone says to you as you're heading towards Sin City! The quote was created by Jeff Candido and Jason Hoff written as an advertising slogan for the Las Vegas Conventition and Visitors Authority in 2002. It is a spin off from previous interpretations relating to 'boys weekends away'. Vegas has soooo many quotes attached to it and I love that. Check this out!
7. Downtown Vegas. Yes it is a very sad area, with those that are not invited to The Strip party being shoved into a small street called Fremont St. They have tried to bring in the tourists by creating a ridiculous $70 million light canopy that has a show on the hour, every hour. It is sooooo lame! But the bit I enjoyed most about downtown Las Vegas was walking into a bar that was off the tourist track with Michael and having a beer with some locals. There was only 10 people in this bar on a Friday night and the bar staff were singing into a microphone with the piano player in the corner, while serving drinks!!!! Talk about multi-tasking!!!! LOVE!!!!
8. This four story high red stiletto in the downtown area!!! It had soooo many lights and slowly spun around! I was in awe!!!! I WANT SHOES LIKE THIS!!!! Here is a link to the Neon Museum where you can check out other historic signs. Check out this Yelp page for more photos too! LOVE!!!!

9. China Poblano restaurant. YUUUUUUMMMMMMMMM!!!! Thats all I need to say! Check out the link! LOVE!
10. The Stratosphere Hotel. Michael and I went up there just before sunset and it was amazing to see how crazy the city really is! There is nothing beyond the tall hotel buildings along The Strip, except for sprawling suburbia. The Stratosphere has three rides on top at 108 stories high! One of the rides hangs over the edge, twirling you around while another pushes you out over it!!! Check out these images. Oh and you can jump off the building if you want, too! Michael and I enjoyed two for one Chocolate Martinis on our way down. YUM!!!