I recently had the pleasure of spending a beautiful afternoon with the lovely Jana at her property in Northern NSW. We chatted whilst drinking her lotus tea and tasting her delicious cakes... it was absolutely magical.
Jana runs The Secret Kitchen @Thesecret_kitchen, which is a passion art project-involving naturopathy, plant based cooking, food as medicine, nature, senses, environment, botanicals, plants as medicine, all living organisms and immersing community.
“The Secret Kitchen Book Intuitive Eating” helps you to understand how our bodies work together with the power of nature and its cycles. The book to is an inspiration to shift us from rule based eating and living according to intuitive eating and then more authentic living. This book involves many senses such as touch, smell, sight, sound. The book humbly won a gold medal in NSW Creative print. It’s made all from recycled paper to follow the path of Nature as close as possible. It is printed locally in small batches to support companies with the same vision as the book - Quality over quantity.
Kinfolk and Co has a small number of Jana's 'Intuitive Eating- Limited Edition' books available here.
Jana has generously shared her two recipes from our afternoon tea. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Photography on film by the talented @_anrielle and clothing from our lovely friends @oakmeadowclothing
Gluten-Free Carrot Cake with native Banya nuts:
- ¾ cup milk (a little more may be needed depending on your gf flour blend)
- 2 eggs or vegan egg replacement
- 1 tablespoon fermented apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups (252g) gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and cup of Banya nuts flour from local Mullum markets ; a highly nutritious, protein-rich food that is often compared to a chestnut or Brazil nut– you can use any other gluten free flours if you cant get this specific one)
- 1 cup (124g) blanched almond flour
- 2 cups (269g) coconut blossom sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup avocado oil, melted coconut oil, or other oil of choice
- 2 cups grated carrot (197g)
- ⅓ cup (25g) finely shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
- Cashew frosting, recipe below, or other frosting of choice*
Cashew "Cream Cheese" Frosting with fresh blueberries:
- 3 cups (16oz) raw cashews, pre-soaked, rinsed, and drained
- ⅓ – ½ cup maple syrup or honey, to taste
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 1–2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon cinnamon, optional
- pinch of salt
- 1–3 tablespoons almond milk (or other milk of choice), if needed. Use less milk for a firmer frosting.
- 3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
- One extra handful of fresh blueberries
1 Preheat oven to 350ºF. Generously grease three 8-inch cake pans and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper cut to size. Set aside.
2 Stir together milk, egg and vinegar in a small glass bowl. Let sour while preparing the rest of the batter.
3 In a large mixing bowl, combine flour(s), sugar, baking powder/soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in sour milk and oil, mixing just until combined. Fold in grated carrots, shredded coconut, and nuts, if adding. (For gluten-free cakes: depending on your gf flour you may need more or less milk to get the right consistency. Start with less and add more only if the batter is too thick. It should be thick, but pourable. It should not be thick like cookie dough.)
4 Divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place into the preheated oven.
5 Bake for 18–25 minutes, just until centre is set and a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean.
6 Remove from the oven and let pans cool fully before inverting cakes onto a wire rack to continue to cool.
7 Allow to cool completely before frosting. Can even make the cakes the night before.
1 Place one of the cooled layers on your serving platter and top with a generous dollop of frosting. Spread across evenly, add the fresh blueberries in the middle and top with another cake layer. Repeat for remaining layers. Add fresh walnuts on the top if you wish and eatable flowers for decoration.
2 For the naked cake. Frost top of cake and carry some frosting onto the sides. Use a minimal amount of frosting and leave open spaces for a rustic "naked" cake.
1 Place drained pre-soaked cashews into a high powered blender (like Vitamix or Blentec) or food processor, along with the lesser amount of sweetener (can add more to taste), vinegar, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Add cinnamon only if you want. Begin blending, adding milk 1 tablespoon at a time, ONLY IF NECESSARY to help it blend. The less milk used, the more thick and frosting like it will be. Add melted coconut oil and blend to smoothest – this will keep the frosting firmer after refrigerating. Taste and adjust sweetness level and flavourings, to taste. Frost cake or refrigerate until needed. Scatter with handful of blueberries and decorate with flowers to serve.
Fudgey Brownies with Black Sapote fruit & Macadamia Butter
- 4 1/2 oz (125 g) raw dark chocolate, chopped (I recommend using a chocolate with 70%+ cocoa solids)
- 2/3 stick (75 g) coconut butter or oil, cubed
- 3 eggs or vegan egg replacement
- 1 cup (200 g) coconut blossom sugar
- 3/4 cup (95 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I've used a simple store-bought blend of rice, potato and maize flour with no added xanthan gum), you can get any gluten free fours with xanthan gum in it already – read the ingredients.
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 ripe Black sapote fruit mushed.
- pinch of salt
Macadamia nut butter as a spread on the top
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 ºF (175 ºC) and line a 8x8 inch square pan with baking/greaseproof paper.
- In a heat-proof bowl above a pot of simmering water, melt together the chocolate and coconut oil/butter. Once melted, set aside and allow to cool until warm.
- In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer with the double beater attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale, fluffy and greatly increased in volume.
- Slowly add the melted chocolate + butter mixture to the eggs and coconut sugar, whisking constantly. Stop whisking once the chocolate has been evenly incorporated.
- Sift together the gluten free flour, xanthan gum and salt, and gently fold them into the brownie batter. Mix until only just incorporated and no flour clumps are present, but don't over-mix.
- Transfer the brownie batter into into lined 8x8 inch baking pan and smooth out the top. I have then used the black sapote fruit, layered it on the top and pushed it into the brownie dough with my fingers. This will create nice soft center and crunchy outside
- Bake in the pre-heated oven at 350 ºF (175 ºC) for 18 - 20 minutes until shiny and crackly on top and an inserted toothpick still comes out dirty.
- Cut the brownies while still warm.
- Once cool spread a layer of macadamia nut butter on the top and decorate with various edible flowers.
Here are the most staggering health benefits of black sapote:
- Helps treat kidney conditions: the fruit is beneficial in treating various kidney problems. Moreover, it contains potassium, which is essential for the stimulation of the kidney functions.
- Helps control the blood pressure: black sapote is beneficial in maintaining the blood pressure. Furthermore, it also helps in reducing the high blood pressure as well as hypertension.
- Helps in maintaining a healthy heart: the nutrients like potassium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin C, and vitamin K in black sapote are beneficial in maintaining the heart health.
- Helps in preventing cancer: the antioxidant properties of the fruit is beneficial in removing the free radicals in the body. Thus averting the possibility of cancer onset.
- Helps in boosting the immunity: the fruit is beneficial in boosting the immunity. Moreover, the vitamin C content of it is also beneficial in getting rid of different bacteria and infections.