Blueberries and Bunya Nuts
We didnt go away these holidays, but instead packed our bags with herbs and cress…
You already know how much I love to go somewhere. But being home has been wonderful. It has given us time to relax…
It was around this time last year I made a post on green mango chutney. For many months now, mangoes have been dangling from the trees. We have been collecting them from our own land, as well as from trees growing wildly in our area. So there has been the creation of many new mango chutneys and relishes, along with smoothies of mango with organic Australian coconuts collected from a friend who went North especially for them.
Just down the road, on a neighboors land the Bunya nuts arrived. Bunya nuts bear special significance to the Aboriginal people of this area. As the fruits would begin to ripen (around december through march) messengers would be sent out for many hundreds of kilometers to meet at specific sites where they would gather, set aside all their differences, and feast on the kernels. In what was probably Australia’s largest indigenous event, diverse tribes – up to thousands of people – once travelled great distances to the gatherings. They stayed for months to celebrate and feast on the bunya nut. The bunya gatherings were an armistice accompanied by much trade exchange, discussions and negotiations. Due to the sacred status of the bunyas, some tribes would not camp amongst these trees. Also in some regions, the tree was never to be cut. Unfortunately today most of the bunya forests have been felled for timber and to make way for cultivation.
When we opened the segments of one giant bunya pine cone we found that some were sprouting so we’ve planted them all and will wait fifty years now until they bear their own nuts (but it’ll be worth the wait).
They taste a little like a potato, cross sweet potato, a little like a chestnut but with after-tones of sweet pine. They are exceptional and just one handful for breakfast will sustain me for hours in the garden. Which has been needed because there are some BIG things happening in our garden.
You might remember this post from last year. Joyfully I discovered locally grown blueberries being sold by the bucketload at our local farmers markets. This year, I have been buying two or three bucket loads a week, which may seem decadent, but there was almost never enough and the bucket seemed always empty!
So there have been blueberry smoothies and blueberry lemonade, blueberry jelly and blueberry muffins, blueberry muesli and blueberry raw cakes.
Quick Blueberry Muesli
- 1 1/2 cups of yogurt (use coconut yogurt for a vegan option)
- 1 cup fresh blueberries blended into a smooth juice
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 3 Tbsp goji berries
- 3 Tbsp flax seeds
- 3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
- A small handful of whole soaked nuts (almonds, pecans, hazelnuts etc)
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 sesame seeds
- The scrapings of one vanilla bean or a teaspoon of vanilla essence
Combine all ingredients together into a large mixing bowl and stir well, place in the refrigerator for around 20 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator, stir again and then serve with extra yogurt, fruit compote (I served it with davidson plum compote) extra blueberries and a sprinkling of bee pollen.
Raw Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake
Next time was our family Christmas day gathering. I was in such a hurry the night I made it, again I didn’t record any ingredients or quantities, but again it was delightful and very much enjoyed (and photographed) by everyone, again I promised myself I would record that recipe.
Here started a long journey of not-quite-right cheesecakes. Cake number three had too many blueberries (I was sure that wasn’t possible but I added so many that the naturally occurring pectin in the blueberries gave it the consistency of jam not cheesecake), number four was too thick and heavy so I compensated by creating number five with light, home made coconut milk and few cashews…but it came out frozen solid and icy and quickly melted into a sloppy mess. Number six was getting there but had a dominating maple-syrup flavour. Stefan told me he thought they were all amazing but was happy to humour me with imperfections as long as it kept the (almost daily) cheesecakes coming. It took seven cheesecakes before I feel confident to share. On my notepad this recipe has been completely scribbled over, crossed out and re-written until it is barely eligible but Im hoping after all that recipe testing I might have got it right. Give it a try if you like and tell me what you think. I’de be excited to know.
For the base…
- 6 large medjool dates
- 3/4 cup dessicated coconut
- 1/2 cup of almonds, soaked in water overnight
- a small handful of dried bananas
- a pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup whole buckwheat
Combine all of the ingredients, except the buckwheat in a food processor and pulse until well combined but still a little chunky. The mixture should bind together when pinched between the fingers. If it doesnt bind, try adding a couple of extra dates or a teaspoon each of honey and tahini. Remove the mixture from the processor, add the buckwheat and stir well with a fork. Press evenly into the base and sides of a cake tin with a removable base.
For the filling…
- 1 1/2 cups of cashews, soaked for four hours
- 1 cup of rich, firm coconut cream
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
- 3 level Tbsp coconut oil
- The scrapings of one vanilla bean
- 3 Tbsp coconut sugar or nectar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
Excluding the berries, combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Remove 3/4 cup of the white mixture and set aside. Add the blueberries and strawberries to the blender and again blend until smooth. Add the berry mixture to the pre-prepared base and follow with spoonfuls of the berry-free mixture. Swirl into your desired pattern with the end of a knife or sharp stick. Place into the freezer and freeze overnight. Remove from the freezer about 20 minutes before serving.