Our little family recently enjoyed a long weekend away to Western Australia’s picturesque south west.
We stayed in Prevelly, one of the sites most affected by the November-December bushfires. My thoughts are with the families who lived in the 39 residences lost, and also with the fire-fighters who did such a fantastic job of safe-keeping hundreds more.
Although much of the countryside remains eerily clad in communities of blackened twigs and burnt up stakes, new shoots have begun to emerge amongst the carnage. Tourists are lining the beaches and the locals are upbeat.
This was a trip of discovery. It taught me much about myself and the nature of the family holiday. Never again will I expect to relax with two (almost three) kids in tow, and never again will I take stolen moments of quiet for granted.
It also brought new tastes: as we returned to Perth, we chanced upon precious wares from WA’s first ‘bean to bar’ chocolatier.
Gabriel Chocolate is located on Caves Road, Yallingup. As well as artisan chocolate, you will find hot chocolate, Five Senses coffee and baked chocolate treats in the cafe — and a soccer ball and totem tennis set on the lawn outside to keep the kids amused while you’re getting lost somewhere in Venezuela. Or Ghana. Or Madagascar.
While you can comment on the size of each chocolate particle and the perfection of the tempering process, I appreciated the tiny quirks of this beautiful product — and, in any case, it’s the flavour I crave. I was not disappointed with the smooth, rich texture and I also loved the fact that each block is single origin.
I could not resist purchasing a gift pack containing all of the 85g dark chocolate blocks on offer [in the name of research, of course]. I just hope that enough of each lasts until next week, when I plan to taste them side by side.
Want more? You will find a thoughtful blog post on Gabriel Chocolate at Cafe Grendel.
After Gabriel, we lunched at Samudra. I don’t think I have to restate just how much I love Samudra’s inviting energy and inspiring philosophy. It is one of my happiest places indeed. I’m feeling a little achey on the inside for missing out on yoga this time around.
Though none of the cafe floor staff from my last visit were there, the service was prompt and friendly.
We started with green smoothies and cacao nut milk, before feasting on ‘Chilli Non Carne’ [= raw zucchini pasta, mixed with a tasty sauce featuring carrot, celery and mushroom] and ‘Kombi Breakdown’ [= a superdelicious dhal]. These dishes provided ample shareage for two big people and two little people.
If you haven’t already been to Samudra, please do. You can day trip it to Dunsborough from Perth, and it’s also the perfect place to relax on that weekend away.
My gift to you
I also want to give you something to celebrate the festive season. This recipe comes sans photographs, courtesy of my hungry tummy. When I first laid eyes on A Dash of Compassion’s no-bake apple tart, I knew I could modify it for a raw palate. So I did. The apples really benefit from a prolonged soaking time, and try to source Granny Smiths if you can.
Recipe #126: Apple pie.
You will need a Thermomix (TM), food processor or a good blender to make this raw recipe, as well as a cake or tart tin lined with baking paper.
The ingredients – for the crust:
► 2 cups of walnuts, ground into a crumb
► 4 dates
► 20mL coconut oil, warmed to a liquid
► 1 pinch of salt
– for the date cream:
► 1 cup of dates, soaked in just enough water to cover them
– for the filling:
► 5 medium-sized apples, cored, peeled and finely sliced
► 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
► 4 cloves, ground
► 1 generous grating of nutmeg
► juice of 1 lemon
► 1¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
► ¼ cup of panela or rapadura
Start by lining a baking tin. Make the crust by processing all ingredients together until it forms coarse crumbs that clump when pressed together. Press the crumbs across the base and up the sides of the tin, then place into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare the filling by placing all ingredients into a large bowl and soaking for at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight. Carefully fold the ingredients together several times over the first 2 hours to ensure they are well combined and the apple slices are completely coated.
Make the date cream by blending/processing the dates together with their soaking water until a creamy texture results. Spread the date cream over the base of the premade crust. Fill the crust with neatly layered slivers of the softened apples and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Serve in generous slices straight from the fridge, drizzled with maple syrup, topped with nutmeg and candied orange zest. Eat. Enjoy.
I don’t know about you, but our Christmas has already started to ramp up. My best wishes to you and your family for the holiday season. Keep safe and happy, and I hope to see you here again very soon.