Blueberries and Bunya Nuts

We didnt go away these holidays, but instead packed our bags with herbs and cress…

p12You already know how much I love to go somewhere. But being home has been wonderful. It has given us time to relax…p11

Time to eat…p14And time to play…p13

p3It 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.

p1Stefan found these little guys hanging amongst the fruits. We excitedly watched them leave their nest just recently. p2

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).

p6They 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.

p5We are building huge garden beds for growing vegetables using 12 cubic meters of compost and one hundred hay bales, to Bhumi’s delight it was good reason to build a little house…

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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!

IMG_1346So there have been blueberry smoothies and blueberry lemonade, blueberry jelly and blueberry muffins, blueberry muesli and blueberry raw cakes.

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Quick Blueberry Muesli

Ingredients:

  • 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

 A surprising amount of work went into writing this recipe for you. The first time I made this cake was at the end of last year, for Bhumi’s 3rd birthday party. It was somewhat of a mess to look at but it tasted heavenly. It stood up on its own, it wasn’t gluggy, oily or too heavy. It was refreshingly sweet and had just enough berries to bring the flavour. It was cold, smooth and creamy, still a little frozen but not at all icy which was lucky because it was made purely by guesswork (and what we had left at the end of the week). In my pre-party planning frenzy I added tip of this and a pinch of that without thinking to measure or record any ingredients. The following day it was so thoroughly enjoyed though that I promised myself I would make it again and record the recipe.

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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. p8

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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.

Ingredients:

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.

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12 comments

  • Utter bliss again, Amy. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Everyone! You must read Amy's words and savour her photography! You will feel like you've had a little holiday. Mel x

  • February 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm // Reply

    I and my extended family and some friends got to taste this "cheesecake" on Christmas Day. It was delicious. Another beautiful post Amy, but I doubt I'll get to see the Bunya Trees come to maturity.

  • Amazing! I absolutely love reading your beautifully written blogs with such stunning photographs depicting a life of love, creativity, health and tranquility. Well done to you and your beautiful family xxxx

  • Looks so yum Amy! Im inspired to make this for Java’s first birthday but unfortunately I don’t think blueberries will be as plentiful at the end of March :(

    • Heya Beautiful Kristie!!! I was just chatting with Jolanda the other day about you being a mummy now! Congratulations!!!!! If we still have blueberries here I can bring you some cause wer coming to sydney at the end of march xxx

  • I’m excited to try your cheesecake recipe, Amy. I have two questions though before I do. First, is the buckwheat just groats as is or does it need to be sprouted first, etc? Second, is coconut butter the same as coconut cream? Not sure if it is a USA vs Australia difference or if there is a literal difference between the two.
    My husband and I are looking forward to trying it! :)

    • Hi Treesa,
      Thank you!!! I used the buckwheat whole and un-sprouted because it gives such a biscuity crunch, but you could definitely sprout them…which would give you more nutrients but less crunch…so its up to you :-) No I dont think coconut butter is the same as coconut cream. Coconut cream is a similar consistency to thickened cow’s milk cream and looks quite similar. Its the rich milky substance that rises to the top of the coconut milk. If you can get fresh coconuts you can make coconut cream quite easily, or buy it canned from the asian grocery store. Alternatively you can use the flesh from one young coconut, with a little water as a substitute. Hope that helps!!!!! Happy cooking!!!!! xxx

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