Flirting with Flavour


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Coconut Yogurt “Icebox” Pie

It’s been a long time since I developed a recipe from scratch, but inspiration struck this weekend and I want to share the result with you all!

I was invited to dinner with Peruvian friends Saturday and asked to bring a “light dessert”. As you’ll know if you’ve read other recipes of mine, I love the challenge of creating something that’s both healthy and delicious. Because Peru is in the World Cup for the first time in 36 years and Saturday morning they played against Denmark (though sadly lost the game), I wanted to make something representing my host’s country!

The result was an icebox yogurt pie in homage to Peru’s ancient grains and blanco y rojo!

I crisped up pre-cooked quinoa, then added them to crushed quinoa cookies to make the pie crust. Whipped together plain Greek yogurt with a small amount of coconut yogurt to balance the sweet and crunchy from the cookie crust. And finally, to add the “rojo” to the “blanco”, I garnished it with strawberries. Recipe below. If you decide to make it, enjoy and please share your photos and notes!

yogurt_icebox_pie

Coconut Yogurt “Icebox” Pie w/ Quinoa Crust 

The Crust:

1 cup of cooked quinoa
5oz of quinoa cookies (I used Nurturme’s Organic Ancient Grain Cookies)
¼ cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup melted coconut oil

Method:

  1. Set the oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven on High Broil.
  2. Spread the cooked quinoa out on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 4 minutes. Then take it out, toss the quinoa, flip the sheet around to the side that was in the back is now in the front of the oven, and toast for another 3 minutes. After this, if it’s not quite done, you can keep tossing and flipping every 30-45 seconds. The quinoa may start to pop. That’s fine. It will also get quite dark. That’s fine too. It will still taste great in the crust.
  3. Carefully crush the quinoa cookies in a plastic bag. I use a rolling pin to apply equal pressure without risking breaking the bag.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl combine the crushed cookies, toasted quinoa, coconut sugar, and melted coconut oil. The mixture should have a sandy consistency that slowly begins to come together with the coconut oil. You may need to add a little bit more melted coconut oil. Use your judgment.
  5. Once the mixture has begun to come together, pour into a 9-in glass pie pan and press into shape around the pan. It will create a crust about a ¼ to ½ inch in thickness on the bottom and sides.
  6. Refrigerate the crust for 30 min. If you don’t have time to do this, you can preheat the oven to 275F and bake the crust for 8 minutes. It doesn’t set quite as well, but you’ll be refrigerating the pie gain once assembled, so don’t worry.

The Filling:

24 oz Plain Greek Yogurt (I used Greek Gods Traditional Plain)
5.3oz Coconut Yogurt (I used Siggi’s Lowfat Coconut Icelandic Yogurt)
1 x 16oz package of ripe strawberries, washed and cored

Method:

  1. Empty both yogurts into a medium sized bowl
  2. Mix yogurt well with a whisk
  3. Pour the yogurt mixture into the pie crust and use a rubber spatula to smooth the surface
  4. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 min. This is best made just before dinner, so it sets in the refrigerator during dinner. I haven’t tried leaving it overnight, but I would be concerned that it would get too soggy.
  5. Just before serving, cut and arrange the strawberries in a pretty pattern on top of the set yogurt. Serve the leftover strawberries cut up in a bowl so people can add if they’d like to.
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Photo Essay: North London Markets

So, Saturday, instead of studying for exams, I wandered through North and East London, visiting markets and gawking at street art along the way.

Notting Hill Farmers’ Market

notting hill gate farmers' market

notting hill farmers’ market

yes, i did buy some of that spectacular looking rhubarb

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walking through the market

this mushroom man has the most amazing mushrooms I have ever seen. and they taste great too!

this mushroom man has the most amazing mushrooms I have ever seen. and they taste great too!

Picking out a Chelsea Bun. S said it's the best she's had in London! (and for only £1!)

Picking out a Chelsea Bun. S said it’s the best she’s had in London! (and for only £1!)

Flourish Bakery

Flourish Bakery – doesn’t it all just look great? i wish they did more wheat-free breads

Walking from Bethnal Green Station to Broadway Market

stik. on mare st, cambridge heath.

stik. on mare st, cambridge heath.

more street (roof?) art on mare st, cambridge heath

more street (roof?) art on mare st, cambridge heath

by the Andrews Rd entrance to the Regent's Canal Towpath

by the Andrews Rd entrance to the Regent’s Canal Towpath

Regent’s Canal Towpath

the floating bookshop. regent's canal

the floating bookshop. regent’s canal

word on the water

word on the water

Broadway Market

didgeridoo

didgeridoo

Fiendish & Goode.

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fiendish & goode – their gluten free selection was outrageous. definitely going back for more.

violet cakes. i managed to snag a vegan spelt chocolate cupcake w/ violet frosting

violet cakes. i managed to snag a vegan spelt chocolate cupcake w/ violet frosting

Market in the Schoolyard (London Fields)

getting my smoothie fix at the schoolyard market

getting my smoothie fix at the schoolyard market

Netil Market

Cooking Cooks.

cooking cooks

cooking cooks

Breddo’s Taco Shack. 

street taco brunch - the rave from breddo's taco shack

street taco brunch – the rave from breddo’s taco shack


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Spring has sprung at the farmers’ market

Living in Scotland, it is not uncommon to witness four distinct seasons in one day.  The past few weeks have exemplified these schizophrenic weather patterns (I say this with much love, of course).  One minute there’s not a cloud in the beautiful blue sky, the next the wind is whipping the trees into complacency and hail is pounding the pavement.  It has become a hazardous pastime to work at my desk with the windows open, enjoying the spring breeze.  Not that there has been much of a spring breeze recently, but when it’s there, it’s important to catch it!

Today, though, St Andrews seems to have put on its dancing shoes and come out to play.  The sun is shining, blue skies for miles – until those clouds roll in – and for what seems like the first time in months the gale forced winds have diminished to a true spring breeze.  I could almost smell summer.  Or was that the pungent smell of an Arbroath Smokie from the farmers’ market?  Or perhaps not the Smokie itself, but the kedgeree prepared as part of a cooking demo by the Fine Food and Dining Society, in which it was the star ingredient.

At home the return of the farmers’ market marks the beginning of summer, here the market runs all year round on the first Saturday of every month.  During the winter, though, it is the bare bones of the vibrant potpourri that it becomes in warmer weather.  There is something irresistibly magnetic and simultaneously rejuvenating about farmers’ markets.  Locals and visitors alike descend, weaving their way from stand to stand between the crowds, foregoing the supermarket for homegrown goodness.  It’s never overly congested, and either way I would never begrudge customers to the local artisans.

They really are artisans.  Whether it be in the way they cultivate their cabbage, tend their herds of buffalo, coax garden-fresh herbs out of the cold Scottish soil, or even crafts more traditionally associated with innovation – blackberry and rosemary vinegar, microbrews of beer, and, my personal favourite, chocolate.

I think this is where a confession is due – I always start my trip to the farmers’ market with an espresso-sized portion of The Cocoa Tree’s caliente hot chocolate.  Today was no exception.  If you have yet to try it, you don’t know what you’re missing.  If it were up to me I’d put you right on the bus to Pittenweem (and go with you, of course!), but if that trek is too far, you can always catch Sophie at her stall next month.

Spring was in the air today.  My flatmate and I could barely contain ourselves with all the new vendors flown in on the warm zephyrs.  Luckily our wallets constrained themselves.  Not before we had done much sampling and buying, though.  We came home with a veritable smorgasbord, which we then laid out for the perfect brunch on the perfect day.

I’ve piqued your interest, have I?  Are you wondering what goodies we were laden with upon our departure?  Well, we picked up a whole duck for Tuesday’s dinner and four Puddledub buffalo, venison, and cranberry burgers for a hearty mid-exam boost-me-up.  As any of my flatmates would tell you, it can be a wee bit difficult to get red meat past my lips (par exemple last Jan-April I was vegan-ish – I cheated with my favourite food, sushi – and have never felt better!).  These burgers are the exception.  When the wafts of moist meat reach my nostrils my mouth invariable starts to water.

My most prized possession leaving this month’s market, though, was the herb lady’s blackberry and rosemary vinegar.  Last summer my parents and I had become accustomed to eating our salads with a simple drizzle of blackberry and ginger balsamic, but try as I might, I have found nothing comparable in the UK.  Until now.  This vinegar is the perfect balance between sweet, from the blackberries, and tart acidity from the vinegar.  The rosemary is almost imperceptible, except for the depth of finish that it lends to the whole taste.  Needless to say it will be making multiple appearances over the next few weeks, drizzled over ice cream, fruit, bread, duck (hence the purchase of another meat I rarely eat), you name it.

It was also the guest of honour amidst our farmer’s-market-outfitted brunch.  To go with the vinegar my flatmate MC and I each picked up a loaf of fresh bread (mine was whole spelt as I’m allergic to wheat).  To go with the bread, some mostardo chutney and sun blushed tomatoes.  To go with the sun blushed tomatoes, fresh rosemary.  It’s a circle, you see.  If you let your tastebuds do with buying, which I often do, it’s never ending – one flavour simply begs to be paired with another and another and another … But that’s the best adventure of all!