Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lime Banana Chocolate Cream Pie

After Matthew Kenney, Level 1 was finished, I hopped on the plane to route via Denver to San Francisco to visit friends and spend Thanksgiving with them. My friend Yelena is the co-owner of the Arizmendi Bakery and she organized a Thanksgiving Dinner for all the workers and friends, to which I was invited. Of course, the requirement was to make something raw, ideally a dessert, but all I had was a food processor, so I came up with a simple nice recipe for a lime banana chocolate cream pie that you can easily replicate at home with minimal equipment. Here is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as the workers and friends of the Arizmendi Bakery :-)

Lime Banana Chocolate Cream Pie
(makes two normal size 9 inch pie pans)

3 cups walnuts
1 cup cacao nibs
½ t salt
2 t vanilla powder (or extract)
4 T coconut butter
10 to 15 medjol dates

In a food processor with the s-blade, food process first the walnuts, salt, vanilla and cacao nibs, so they are still chunky. Then one by one, add the dates and little by little the coconut butter, until the dough sticks together and can be pressed into a pie pan.

Banana cream filling
5 bananas
juice from 2 limes
zest from 1 lime
1 inch piece ginger, microplaned
1 pinch salt
1 t vanilla
2-3 T coconut butter

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy

Chocolate cream filling
2 avocados
1/3 – 1/2 cup water
1 cup cacao powder
2 T coconut butter
4 dates
2-3 T honey
1 t vanilla
1 pinch salt

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy


Pour the banana filling first and then add dollups of the chocolate cream filling. Use a chop stick or back of a spoon to swirl the chocolate filling into the banana filling. Don´t swirl too much to avoid the two from blending together completely.
Sprinkle with some dried shredded coconut, if you like and let set in the freezer for about 4 hours or in the fridge overnight before serving.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Matthew Kenney Academy Level 1 Finals

For the first 3 weeks of our training, we studied and replicated some exciting recipes, learned about ingredients that are commonly used in raw food cuisine and got to know all the basic equipment and tools that are used to combine those ingredients in the recipes into flavorful dishes that we learned to plate in many beautiful and appetizing ways. When week 4 came along, it was finally time to put all this newly acquired knowledge to practice and show off with our final projects.

Each student had to come up with an exclusive 3 course menu, from which we were to choose two dishes that we would execute for our final presentation.

With all the inspiration we got during our first 3 weeks and taking more inspiration from the library of high cuisine books in the Academy, all the students were able to come up with mouthwatering menus and I would seriously consider ordering almost all of them were they available in the restaurant. We all worked hard during this week and the outcome was absolutely amazing. So before I present my menu, just a few of the highlights of the other students in class:

My favorite dessert: Gaby's take on the traditional Austrian Plum Dumplings
My second favorite dessert: Barbarella's Cremeschnitte, she is Slovenia's #1 Raw Chef
Kibbie's Thanksgiving in a bite: Stuffed dumpling on a delish cranberry jam
Wendy's fancy take on the traditional Indian Malai Kofta, check out her blog

I could write and report so much more about everybody's dishes but it would exceed the space for a blog post, and I am very excited to share with you more about my ambitious menu:

The theme was fall and seasons. Inspired by this, my first two thoughts were root vegetables and Thanksgiving, which is exactly, what I turned into my final project:

Abstraction: Trio of Roots
Jerusalem Artichoke Nutmeg Flan – Red Beet Cumin Ice Cream – Carrot Coriander Foam
Main Course
Familiarity Decomposed: Autumn Comfort
Pecan Rosemary Brittle
Delicata Truffle Puree – Cranberry Mirror
Timbale of Portobello
Argan Braised Brussel Sprouts
Pomegranate Red Wine Reduction

The abstraction of root vegetables popped up as an inspiration of the colors of the fall. The colors of the fall are the most amazing of the year, the sun is lower and gives the leaves of the trees shimmers of orange, red, silver, brown and many more. This is what I wanted to put on my plate, applying some of the new techniques, we learned in class, like using the paco jet for making the most fluffy ice creams, or the immersion blender to make fancy foams.

For the main course, I was inspired by a Traditional Thanksgiving Meal, which I decomposed and rebuilt to make it a fine dining experience: Mashed potatoes turned into a delicata squash and truffle puree, cranberry relish turned into an iced cranberry mirror, Turkey and stuffing turned into a portobello stew on a pecan brittle and for the veggies I chose my favorite brussel sprouts that I gave a buttery flavor using argan oil and served them on a pomegranate red wine reduction to bring the taste of a fruity and dry wine onto the plate.

Now after telling you all this, your mouths are probably watering and you will want to do this for yourself. And here is my little Thanksgiving gift to you. You can, because I am sharing the recipes with you :)

Happy Thanksgiving to all my blog readers and here are the recipes for my final project:

Abstraction: Trio of Roots

Jerusalem Artichoke Hazelnut Flan


¼ cup Irish Moss Paste
5/8 cups hazelnut milk (make milk from ½ cup hazelnuts and 1 cup water)
¾ cups jerusalem artichokes (peeled and diced)
½ t nutmeg
½ t salt
1 t balsam vinegar
¾ t agave
6 turns fresh ground black or white peppercorn
1 t nutritional yeast
2 T porcini crusted jerusalem artichoke chips (see recipe below)

blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until completely smooth. Line the molds of a muffin tin or individual flan cups with plastic wrap; the recipe should yield 3 flans. Pour the smooth flan batter into the molds and let set in fridge for 24 hours (or in freezer to speed up the process). If the flan turns out to be too thin after it set, place it in the freezer for about 1 hour before serving, so it can be served as a semifreddo.

Porcini Crusted Jerusalem Artichokes

2 Jerusalem artichokes, thinly sliced on a mandoline (no need to peel them)
¼ t salt
2 T porcini powder (make powder from dried porcini mushrooms in coffee grinder)
splash lemon juice
1 t olive oil

put the sliced Jerusalem Artichokes in a bowl, add the other ingredients and mix well so that all the artichoke slices are well covered. Transfer them to a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 105 F (42 C) for about 48 hours or until crispy. You can make a big batch of these and have them available as a healthy and delicious snack or finger food appetizer any time.

Red Beet Cumin Ice Cream

1 cup young coconut meat
½ cup of cashews
½ cup beet juice
½ cup coconut water or regular water
3/8 t cumin
½ t salt

blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until very smooth. Transfer to an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s manual to make ice cream.

For decoration: make a fine julienne from a little piece of red beet and coat it in a bowl with a splash of lime or lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Transfer them to a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate until crispy (about 24 hours)

Also: finely mandoline a few slices of red beet and marinate them overnight in a little bit of olive oil, a pinch of salt and if you like, 1/4 teaspoon of finely minced garlic. Massaging the marinade a little bit into the red beet carpaccio helps softening it up. You can also dehydrate the carpaccio slightly before serving (for about 1 hour).
Carrot Coriander Foam

¼ cup carrot juice
1/8 cup orange juice
2 T lime juice
½ t coriander powder
3 T grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
1 pinch turmeric
1 pinch salt
1 t sunflower lecithin

combine all ingredients in a deep bowl. Use an immersion blender to create a nice stable foam, by frothing along the surface.

Jerusalem Artichoke Flan, Porcini Crusted Jerusalem Artichoke Chips
Red Beet Cumin Ice Cream on Red Beet Carpaccio
Carrot Coriander Foam


On one side of a rectangular plate, sprinkle a few crushed candied hazelnuts (or just plain dehydrated hazelnuts if you don't want to candy them), take one flan out of the mold by lifting up on the ends of the plastic wrap and carefully flip onto the bed of hazelnuts. Stick 3 jerusalem artichoke chips on top of the flan, so they create kind of a fan. On the other side of the plate, place a piece of the red beet carpaccio on the bottom of the plate. Taking two spoons, quenelle one scoop of the red beet ice cream on top of the carpaccio. Garnish with the crisp red beet julienne. 
Carefully spoon some carrot foam on the plate in between the red beet and the Jerusalem Artichoke flan. Garnish with black sesame seeds and black lava salt to taste.

Main Course
Familiarity Decomposed: Autumn Comfort

Pecan Brittle:

1/4 cup pecans, chopped in food processor to a coarse nut flour 1/4 cup almond flour (pulp leftover from making almond milk)
2 t maple sirup
1 T lemon juice

1 T ground flax
1/4 cup carrots, processed in food processor to fine minced consistency 1 T rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 clove garlic, grated on a microplane
zest of 1/2 orange (use microplane to zest)
6 turns of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 t nutritional yeast
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup water 

Portobello Stew

1 portobello mushroom, medium to large dice
1/2 celery root, small dice (discard the ends, the ratio of celery to portobello should be about 1:2 celery root : portobello mushroom)
1/4 cup pinenuts, chopped lightly
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 t salt
10 turns of fresh ground black peppercorn
1/8 of a red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine
1/4 cup of celery juice
6 juniper berries
1/3 clove garlic
1 t fresh sage, chiffonade
3-4 sun dried tomatoes, sliced thinly

In a blender, blend red wine, celery juice, garlic and juniper berries. Place all other ingredients in a bowl, cover with the red wine celery juice blend, mix well and let marinate overnight. Place into dehydrator for about 2-3 hours before serving to soften and reduce the red wine and liquid.

Delicata Truffle Puree

1 cup delicata squash (or butternut squash or other soft pumpkin/squash)
1/3 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1 T grapeseed oil
1/2 T water
1/2 t truffle oil
1/4 t salt
4 turns freshly ground black peppercorn
1/4 t ground nutmeg

Blend all ingredients in a Vitamix, using the plunger to create a smooth, creamy puree.

Cranberry Mirror

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/4 cup maple sirup

Blend in a high speed blender and then strain through a nutmilk bad or chinois. Place in a bowl in dehydrator and reduce for about 2 hours or until it is just thick enough to be poured onto a teflex sheet. Careful: don't let it thicken too much , otherwise you cannot pour it onto the teflex sheets without having it loose its "glass" / "mirror" like look. Pour abstract fragments or the cranberry sauce onto telex sheets and sprinke with black lava salt.
Dehydrate until the moisture is completely gone and the "mirrors" become brittle. This might take up to 1 week! Alternatively or additionally, you can freeze the fruit leathers and just put them onto the puree last thing when plating, so they stay crisp.

Pomegranate Red Wine Reduction

1 pomegranate
1/4 cup red wine
1 t rosemary
1/2 whole clove
1/4 t salt

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender and put through a strainer. Dehydrate in a flat metal pan in the dehydrator until it has thickened up to a sirup like consistency (around 6 hours). If dehydrated too much, you can add a few drops of water to get to the desired consistency.

Argan Braised Brussel Sprouts

5 brussel sprouts, cut into thin rounds (about 1/4 inch thick)
1 T argan oil
1 T orange juice
1/2 t balsamic vinegar
1/2 t maple sirup
1/4 t black lava salt (or sea salt)
6 turns freshly ground black pepper
1/4 clove garlic (microplaned or minced finely)

Whisk all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix well with the brussel sprouts, so they are all well coated. Let marinade overnight and warm up in dehydrator for about 2 hours before serving to soften and get the flavors well infused.

Portobello Stew on Pecan Brittle
Delicata Truffle Puree, Cranberry Mirror
Argan Braised Brussel Sprouts on Pomegranate Red Wine Reduction


On a square plate, place one pecan brittle in one corner. Use the square mold to place the warm portobello stew on top of the brittle. On the other corner of the plate, use the square mold to place a portion of the delicata truffle puree. Draw a diagonal swirl of the pomegranate reduction on the front part of the plate and along the diagonal, line up 5-7 pieces of the braised brussel sprouts. At last, place a piece of the frozen cranberry mirror onto the truffle puree so it sticks out and sprinkle some sage powder around the portobello stew. Serve immediately, before the mirror starts to disintegrate.

Proud me with my graduation dish :-)

Graduation with the Instructors: Chef Britney, Chef Shawn, me, Chef Megan

The happiest class ever

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Matthew Kenney Academy Level 1 - Week 3

Week 3 has been announced as the “heavy” week, full of pastry and sweets. And in some ways it lived up to the expectations. Monday started off right away with making chocolate chips, a pretty exciting recipe. I´ve been using raw cacao nibs for anything I needed chocolate chips so far, and frankly, I personally still prefer this due to health reasons, but from a culinary aspect, 

the chocolate chips that we piped on dehydrator sheets in order to let them dehydrate to get this chocolate chip consistency are much more refined and great for use in cookies, which we made later that week, as well as ice cream sundaes or as deco for many other desserts and cakes.

The chocolate chip cookies we made with them later that week are yummy, very gooey, chewy, soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, a little sweet for my taste, cause they have a lot of maple sirup in them, so if I made them again, I would replace some of that with water and/or alternative sweeteners such as Lucuma, Maca or Yacon syrup, but the consistency and look was great.

Other sweet treats, we made that week were chocolate truffles, basically made from raw cacao powder and butter, agave, vanilla and salt and then we got to get creative in rolling them in different coatings, so I chose pistachio black salt, cacao nib coffee bean, maca chocolate coffee powder and goji bee pollen cacao nib and chipotle coatings. All turned out really nicely and look great on the plate.

We also got to make sweet crepes, made on a base of mangoes, bananas and flax with a fruit lemon filling. At home I then tried another filling, which I actually liked much better: almond butter, bananas, cacao nibs and a little splash of lime juice.

More excitingly for me, in the same week, we got all down into using probiotics and fermentation and coconut yoghurt parfait, nut cheeses as well as Kefir was on the menu. The yoghurt parfait was a simple blend of coconut meat, a few cashews and probiotics, fermented overnight to create a thick, rich and tart yoghurt cream, which we got to taste at the end of the week with our buckwheat granola, made from sprouted buckwheat, seeds, dried fruit, cacao nibs and maple syrup. The nut cheeses were prepared blending a thick nut paste with probiotics, which was then fermented in a strainer at room temperature for 48 hours. I have already blogged about my own nut cheese production previously and you can read about this here.

Fortunately, in order to lighten up this sweet and nut intensive week, our instructors sneaked some light lunch recipes in, in order to provide us with some balancing nutrition. Monday´s lunch was a pleasantly light zucchini pesto noodle dish, Tuesday, we made a delicious zucchini avocado radish and mint salad and my winner of the week was Thursday´s heirloom tomato gazpacho with a basil lemon sorbet, light, crisp, slightly spicy, this was a real refreshing soup full of flavor despite a sparing use of spices. 

Our creative spirits were summoned when we finally got to flavor our nut cheeses. This was probably the most exciting exercise of the week. Everyone loves cheese and the lookout for soon being able to taste “real cheese” made from nuts lifted everyone’s creativity to new heights and all students dished out amazing flavor profiles. There was star anise, raisin and honey cheese, chipotle maple and nutmeg (which reminded Twilla of McDonalds... ?? :o), jalapeno lemon zest and “goat cheese log” with a lavender, lemon, pepper black lava salted crust besides many other exciting combinations. Friday was the big cheese tasting day, when we artfully arranged our handmade cheeses with an amazing garlic bread we had prepared earlier that week, as well as fruit and veggies. I also prepared a little relish from pomegranate, pistacchio, black molasses, black pepper and balsam vinegar. After our big tasting we all went home with pleasantly filled cheese bellies ;)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Matthew Kenney Academy Week 2

Week 2 of the Level 1 Course of the Matthew Kenney Academy Chef Training turned out to be no less exciting than the first week of it. In fact, my excitement level and heartbeat spiked, when I came into the class room Monday morning and saw boxes full of young coconuts. Yey, my week was saved :) Young coconuts are my favorite food. Young coconut water turns out to be the most nutritious water on the planet. Full of electrolytes, this water is a natural isotonic beverage, great for when you work out a lot. When I am in Bali, working for my retreats, this is all I am drinking the entire day! Moreover, the water is so close to the human blood that it can be used for blood transfusions, when you don´t have your blood type available and therefore it is used a lot in 3rd World countries. The meat of the young coconut is simply delicious. It contains coconut fat, which is a great fat for your body, containing enzymes to stimulate the fat burning mechanism. Now, each of us got to open a whole case of 9 coconuts of this wonder food. That week seemed to be promising :)

Of course, we got to make good use of the coconut meat right away and started our production with delicious cilantro coconut wraps, essentially it is the meat of the young coconut blended with cilantro and spinach juice and spread out thinly on dehydrator sheets to create paper thin wraps, which after dehydration can be used for delicious dumplings or as ravioli or tortellini wraps. 

I had made those in different variations before, but never with that filling, which we got to make the following day and which is absolutely delicious and one of my favorite dishes at the restaurant: Kimchee dumplings. 

For that we blended our now fermented Kimchee with some tahini, tamari, agave or coconut nectar, a bit of extra chilli for sipice, filled the dumplings and shaped them in little pyramids and topped it with some ginger sesame foam! Beautiful to look at, healthy, because full of good probiotics and really really tasty!

With the rest of our coconut meat, we got to make ice cream! YES, my favorite treat ever :) AND we got to make up our own flavors, starting from a yummy vanilla bean base, that consisted just of plain coconut meat, cashews, vanilla, agave and salt. 

Coconut Bliss is my favorite store bought ice cream here in the States and I have been dying to try one of their new flavors I saw on their website: Mocha Maca, just to find out that, because of a current shortage in coconuts, they are not producing that flavor at the moment. What a bummer. So, what else would I do then creating that flavor on my own :) I took the base, added a Tablespoon of Maca, a tablespoon or lucuma and a tablespoon of coffee extract and wow... Gabrielle made a mean chocolate coffee ice cream and when we tasted them together, we decided, we just made the ultimate ice cream flavor duo and our first ice company shall have the maca mocha choc swirl as the featured flavor :)

Now, one of the most exciting things in ice cream making was using the Paco Jet. This machine takes anything frozen whips and by whipping air under it, transforms it into a light and fluffy cream. If you have an extra 5000 $ to spare, this is the appliance to get for your ultimate ice cream experience.

During the rest of the week, we made two more very exciting dishes: Tacos and Pizza. The Tacos are my new favorite. A wrap, made from flax, corn, chipotle and a few other ingredients it filled with a slightly tart cole slaw, guacamole, pico de gallo and for spice, jalapeno peppers plated on a brush of a tart coconut and cashew sour cream garnished with black lava salt. This dish is refreshing, hearty with the right amount of good fats from avocado, coconut and flax seeds, as well as satisfying and so tasty. It is one of these dishes that are everyday comfort food and when plated the right way can be served in a fine dining environment. My winner of the week!

The pizzas were exciting as well. The crust was a given recipe from the academy recipe book, but we got to experiment with our own toppings. So, I made up a marinated spinach with orange juice, maple sirup, olive oil, pepper and salt, mixed in some pine nuts, capers and diced yellow squash and dehydrated it for a while to make it soft and give it a cooked texture. I also sliced some pear in thin ribbons and coated them in olive oil, black salt, pepper and porcini mushroom powder to get in that mushroom flavor without adding the actual mushroom. My base tomato sauce, I enhanced with some black kalamata olives, olive oil and figs. The result was a very tasty marinara pizza with wilted spinach and hints of porcini mushrooms. 

The week finally ended with mystery Friday. We didn´t really have more things in our recipe handouts to cover, but we actually made the delicious, fresh and nutritious seaweed salad we haven´t done in week 1. 

Coming back from lunch, we were given the challenge: A mystery basket, containing a selection of different veggies, 1 nut of choice, one acid of choice, 3 spices of choice and one oil of choice. Teaming up with a new partner, Gabriele and I came up with a red beet cacao and mesquite caviar served on zucchini linguini in a pistacchio pesto. A little risky of an approach, this dish did not win the competition, however, it was very fun to prepare and worth a try to end the week with some unusual combinations of flavors and textures.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Halloween Special Dinner at Matthew Kenney

After this amazing first week with so much delicious food and so many fun recipes we prepared, we got the chance to attend a special 4 course Halloween Menu, prepared exclusively by chef Shawn, one of our instructors. 

It was a beautifully designed menu with very funky names for the courses and even our waiters got creative and dressed up in style.  

It started off with a Bottomless Poison Ginger “Slime”-aid followed by a delicious and light Bone-chilling carrot & onion soup. The appetizer was the Ghostly Porcini-Pesto Mini Tombstone, basically a slice of pizza bread, topped with delicious pesto and a truffle mushroom cream, so delicious, I had 3 pieces of it.  

The main course was a very innovative seasonally inspired new take on the classical lasagne technique we just covered in class during week 1. Instead of layering zucchini pasta slices with the classical marinara, pesto and macadamia cream combination, we would find lightly marinated, crunchy green string beans covered in a deliciously rich and flavorful mashed pumpkin cream: The Sa´squash´ & Green Goblin Lasagne. This was my favorite! The perfect fall dish, because the pumpkin made it grounding and a very comforting meal, creating enough warmth and heat in the body to leave you satisfied. 

But it didn´t end here: The Treat was a Webbed Creepy Crawler Tart, basically a layered chocolate orange tart, very nice, chocolaty, sweet, with a tang from orange zest. We left with full bellies and it felt like a real treat, no tricks ;-) Thanks Chef Shawn!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Matthew Kenney Academy: Level 1, week 1

Last Saturday, Oct 22, I left buzzing New York City where I had spent the previous two and a half weeks to catch a plane to the Mid West. Now you might wonder, what motivates me to leave a city like New York to move to Oklahoma City for 2 months and there is probably only one destination that can fully justify this decision: The Matthew Kenney Academy, where I am attending a two month certified raw chef training.

I have been waiting for this for a long time and have been very excited about this opportunity to abandon my own business for a couple of months and be a student again. Matthew Kenney, the founder of the academy, has a classical training in culinary arts and has published many books. I have been following his work for a while already and been making many recipes from his great book Entertaining in the Raw. Finally getting the chance to spend two months at his academy is very exciting. One week into the training, the excitement is still holding up. After arrival, I headed straight up to the Academy and met up with 4 of my co – students to check out the space and have a nice first dinner. The five of us pretty much sampled most of the menu. As starters, we had the sushi, a beautifully presented roll, with avocado sashimi artfully rolled on the outside, I only missed the outstanding black garlic soy sauce from Pure Food and Wine´s outstanding Maki Rolls! Further, we sampled the red beet carpaccio “sous vide” which was less exciting, and the Kimchee Dumplings that are absolutely outstanding. Kimchee cashew filling wrapped in black and white coconut wraps, very light, healthy and delightful!
The main courses featured signature beet gnocchi on pesto and hazelnut cream as well as fermented cashew cream filled tortellini on a cream of spinach with red pepper reduction. Both of them are a hit and every Italian would devour them with great pleasure not missing the “real” thing! The outstanding desserts included a chai sampling (with various chai spiced mousses, a ginger layered cake and ice cream), pistachio nougatine, a rich pistacchio cookie cake covered with chocolate ganache and served with a bittersweet orange marmalade and candied orange rind, and last but not least, the signature tiramisu, served with a dollop of a white chocolate cream and a very nice and light coffee foam. We were all very pleased with our first experience at the Academy and meeting the super friendly staff.

The first five days of class weren’t any less exciting. We started out making a lasagne and Matthew Kenney personally taught us some knife skills and gave a great introduction on the first day of class. After class, my coffee cravings hit (yes, I LOVE coffee and it is ok to have coffee as a raw food chef ;) , so I ordered a mocha shake, which they don’t have on the menu. After the staff was struggling with my request to get a shake with the right texture and consistency, Matthew himself went behind the bar and made me a real decadent mocha shake from fresh pressed elemental coffee, their homemade chocolate ice cream, young coconut and almond milk. So yummy, and I was really impressed and flattered by his initiative and availability. I don´t think there are many places on this planet where a celebrity chef like Matthew would take time to cater for a special request of one of his students!

Day 2: Ravioli – thinly sliced red beets, marinated and filled with e cashew terragon cream and served on a yellow bell pepper sauce. Beautiful colors and taste combination.

Day 3: Hand Tuber Nori Rolls, filled with Ginger Almond Cream, Vegetable Julienne, sprouts and bok choi, served with mango coriander chutney, exciting, since I have never rolled nori like that before, easy, beautiful to look at, light and delicious.
Afternoon was Kimchee time and we got to make our own batches of Kimchee, which I have also never done at home before. Kimchee is a fermented Korean Cabbage dish. It is spicy and laden with healthy probiotics to help cultivate that healthy intestinal flora and therefore boosting your immune system. It´s my favorite condiment!

Day 4: SMOOTHIEEEEE, my favorite favorite food. Not only did we make a delicious berry bee pollen smoothie with our own freshly blended almond milk, but we also got in hand a building block road map for creating smoothies from the different base components. That was the most exciting part for me. Up to now, I have made smoothies just by throwing things together, and they always taste great, but I never came up with a formula of component groups, add-ons and their quantities in order to create a smoothie. More exciting even, on day 5 we got to make our own smoothie by applying this base scheme and... it worked!! I made a delicious cherry choco maca smoothie, using 1,5 cups of frozen cherries, ¾ of a frozen banana, ¾ cups of almond milk, 1 Tablespoon coconut nectar, 3 teaspoons cacao nibs, 1 teaspoon bee pollen, 1 teaspoon spirulina, 1 teaspoon hemp seeds, 1 handful of fresh spinach and 1 pinch salt. Super healthy, highly nutritious and mega gooooood!!
For lunch, we made phad thai from zucchini noodles and other veggies that we enjoyed with the tamari maple candied almonds we dehydrated the previous day. Not as yummy as my usual phad thai, I still enjoyed the dish a lot, especially after mixing in some left over mango chutney from the previous day.
In the afternoon, we finally prepared Kale Chips, a simple recipe, because you essentially coat de-stemmed kale in a cheesy cashew bell pepper sauce and then dehydrate it until crispy. I just never made it myself before, and it´s SO much better of a movie snack than popcorn or potato chips (which I never eat anyways). 

Day 5: Sushi

After our exciting smoothie experiments, which I have already talked about above, we “traveled” to Japan and got to roll our own sushi, made with jicama rice. Yippih, I got to use jicama again, which I learned to love so much on Bali. This potato like root vegetable is juicy and starchy at the same time and lends itself perfectly well for making a nice sticky sushi rice, besides many more raw food applications like those amazing “Jicama Fries”, we served with Burgers at the Yoga Retreat on Bali.
Since I have already made sushi so many times and know well how to roll it and make delicious rice and fillings, I wanted to challenge myself and try the avocado sashimi on the outside of the roll, just like they serve it in the restaurant. And voila, I was very pleased with my first try :)

The first week ended with making a nutritious Kale Salad to feed us through the weekend. I passed a beautiful first week, full of great recipes, amazing people and moments and delicious dinners as well as drinks at the bar of the Academy. Week two looks promising, stay tuned :-)