When I headed over to Adelaide recently for a catch up with my friend Yaz, I reflected upon how I had visited the city a number of times, even since I started blogging, and yet have very little to show for it in the way of photos and foodie memories. This trip didn't produce much more in the way of photos of Adelaide but I am happy to say that I enjoyed some great food. I had a fun time in the kitchen with Yaz cooking a taco lunch, kale cake and smoky choc chip cookies.
Firstly, it is opportunity to reflect on the airline food. I have previously written about my frustrations with plane food
. On this trip, due to a palaver with frequent flyer points, I travelled business class. Which should make plane food so much better! Right? It was lovely flying business class. Lots of space, proper glasses and the choice of water or juice before we took off.
The meal on the flight to Adelaide was quite forgettable. A very nicely done pasta with tomato sauce. It had chunks of zucchini but no protein. I did have a nice oat biscuit and a square of chocolate as well as three token cubes of melon. At least I didn't feel I had wasted time eating a tiny falafel slider and piece of cheesecake at the bookshop cafe at Tullamarine Airport (above photo). One of the downsides of business class for sticky beaks like me is that I was too far from my neighbour to compare my meal with theirs.
I met Yaz in Adelaide at a bar called Udaberri Pintxos Y Vino
. It was a very stylish place to catch up over a drink. The next morning I felt crook. I think it was the crazy month catching up with me rather than the after-effects of one glass of sherry. Unfortunately this meant that I missed the opportunity to go to Adelaide's Central Market that I have heard great things about.
Yaz went to the market alone instead. So we ate fresh bread and cheese when I felt a bit better in the afternoon. We also had a walk to a shop called Chile Mojo
. (If this name sounds familiar, you might have read about the shop in this month's SBS Feast
magazine.) I brought shame upon Yaz by asking for a salsa that was not too spicy and didn't taste of coriander (cilantro). Luckily the guy behind the counter was really friendly and helpful. And the Key West Key Lime Salsa was perfect for me.
Chile Mojo claims to have the largest range of hot sauces in Australia and I am ready to believe this. If you ever want entertainment in Adelaide, just go there and read some of the names of the sauces: See Dick Burn, Howling Monkey, Toxic Waste, Dr Assburn!!!! Seriously, if you want to order hot sauce in Australia, you should check them out.
Yaz had also organised for us to go out that evening. I was glad I felt well enough to go along. We saw Helen Feng's Nova Heart play at the OzAsia Festival
at the Adelaide Festival Centre. She is described as Beijing's Blondie but if you want an amazing description of her music, check out this interview
It was an fascinating gig because at the start Helen Feng told the audience not to clap or cheer or stand. If anyone clapped, Helen Feng shushed them and told them they did not know how to obey. It was odd to feel so passive as the audience. Yaz found it liberating. And the music was eclectic: dreamy, wild, sexy, melodic, and the musicians at times created a wall of sound with amazing drumming.
The next day I felt well enough to do the baking we had put on hold the previous day. Yaz shares my love of zany recipes and is willing to try anything. So he jumped at the idea of making kale cake
and Eats Well With Others' smoked salt choc chip cookies
. We looked for smoked almonds in the supermarket to add to the cookies but had to settle for smoked sea salt.
We used walnuts instead of roasted almonds, 250g butter, 2 cups of brown sugar (and did away with regular sugar), and 2 cups of dark choc chips (instead of milk choc chips). I really liked the extra crunch of the cocoa nibs and the extra punch of the smoked salt sprinkled on top. I will try and make these again and write more about the recipe at a later date. They were really delicious and substantial cookies. Perhaps I will try them with smoked almonds!
Much as I would like to deny it, I am less likely to make the kale cake again. I don't have many friends like Yaz who would be so excited about it and I can't see any of my family embracing it with much enthusiasm. But just look at that vibrant green colour and tell me you aren't curious to taste a slice!
Our biggest challenge was blending the kale. A comment on the recipe had made me worry we would have a vanilla cake with green specks. We used the hand held blender. I convinced Yaz to get out the little food processor which made very little extra impact. The kale was finely chopped rather than a smooth puree I thought we might need. We also had a discussion about how much water took in while cooking and if we should reduce the water to allow for it.
Yaz's kitchen is slightly minimalist given that he hasn't lived in Adelaide that long. Yet it is a foodie sort of minimalism. Which is why he doesn't have a rolling pin but he has buttermilk powder, umpteen spices and quandong syrup. Hence when it came to frosting the kale cake, we decided to flavour it with the qnandong. Could the cake get any stranger! For those who don't have quandong syrup, milk would do but I did like the sweet fruity flavour of the quandong, an Australian native fruit.
Yaz and I have been baking together ever since we shared a house many years ago. It was nice to listen to a few bands we used to enjoy in our share house - Billy Bragg, Blyth Power and Big Hard Excellent Fish (have checked with Yaz and updated name). After making cake and cookies, we put together a taco lunch.
Yaz rolled out tacos with a bottle and showed me how he flips them over with his fingers. He was horrified that I wanted guacamole with no coriander but was accommodating. I helped making refried beans and fajita vegies (seasoned with chipotle and old bay seasoning). Soon we had our taco lunch spread under the large flowering gum in the back yard. The weather was perfect for an al fresco meal.
For dessert we ate a slice of the kale cake. It was delicious. Think of a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting but this was green rather than slightly orange. The kale flavour did not dominate. There was too much sugar and spice and creaminess and crunch. I thought it was best on the day of baking. I took a piece home and found it slightly grassy that next day but still very very good. If I was to be picky I might suggest the cake could be a bit softer but I love dense cake and was very happy with it.
All too soon it was time to fly home to Melbourne. Business class. This time I was told there weren't many people on the flight so I could have a choice of meal. There was the vegie option which was a mushy looking burger and some boiled vegetables. (Honestly, what sort of food do they think vegetarians eat each day!) Or I could have sweet potato and corn soup, chicken salad or a cheese platter.
I was so full from the lunch and all our baking that the soup was tempting. But I know I will never be offered a cheese platter in economy class. So I chose it. And it was very good. The little cheese box came with a blue cheese, a vintage cheddar and another cheese, plus a prune and walnut disk. I ate them with some crackers but was too full to bother about the slab of dry gluten free bread or the odd gluten free chocolate cake.
While I have nothing against gluten free food, my experience is that it is often best fresh and I question the wisdom of including gluten free baking on plane flights! There are really good gluten free alternatives to baking (date and nut raw bars, chocolate, rice crackers) that travel far better. Generally despite enjoying my accidental cheese platter, I was pretty unimpressed with the vegetarian options in business class.
Finally I leave you with a photo I took on the plane. I love seeing this view. Perhaps it because the beach always looks so inviting. Or perhaps it is because when I flew to Darwin for work frequently, this view meant that after a few hours of flying and sitting around airports, I was finally on the last leg of the journey back to Melbourne and my own home.
I am sending the kale cake to Katie at Feeding Boys and a Firefighter
who is hosting Bookmarked Recipes this month. (This blog event is usually hosted by Jac at Tinned Tomatoes. See her previous Bookmarked Recipes round up
.) I am also sending the cake to Shaheen at Allotment to Kitchen
for her Eat Your Greens
event.Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Spinach, lettuce and pea soup, and a catch up
Two years ago: Strawberry avocado and walnut salad with a chocolate dressing
Three years ago: How to make gravy
Four years ago: Pate, Goslings and Bubbies
Five years ago: High tea walnut, quince and maple syrup biccies
Six years ago: Lentil Salad and the Dream FestivalKale Cake
Adapted from Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA Recipe Group
2 1/3 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 packed cups of kale
3/4 cup warm water (we added buttermilk powder)
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
6 tbsp flax seed meal (or whole flax seeds)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup walnuts, choppedFrosting*:
250g cream cheese
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup icing sugar
few generous slurps of quandong syrup (or milk)
Grease and line two round 8 inch / 20cm cake tins or a 9 inch / 23cm square cake tin. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C.
Mix flour, bicarb, baking powder , spices and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Blanch and shock kale (ie bring to boil in a sauce pan of water and cook briefly until bright green then plunge into icy water to retain colour). Roughly chop kale. Blend cooked kale, sugar, water, oil, flax and vanilla. We used a hand held blender and the kale was finely chopped rather than a smooth puree but this worked ok.
Pour kale mixture into the flour mixture. Add walnuts and mix until you have a beautiful green batter. Our batter was quite thick.
Scrape mixture into prepared cake tin and smooth on the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top springs back when you lightly touch it and a skewer comes out cleanly. (As we used a larger square tin rather than smaller round tins, ours took quite a lot longer.) Let sit in tin for at least 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.To make the frosting:
Mix cream cheese, butter and icing sugar. Add enough quandong syrup or milk to make he mixture spreadable. Ideally this should be done with hand held blender but it worked fine when I did it by hand.
If using a larger square tin, cut cake into two rectangles. Spread half frosting on one half of the square or a round cake, top with remaining cake and spread on the top.*The original cake was vegan. If you want to keep this cake vegan, either use vegan cream cheese or make regular buttercream frosting with vegan margarine such as Nuttalex and vegan milk such as soy milk.
On the stereo:The Guns of Castle Cary
- Blyth Power