Seeing all that chocolate in town made me motivated to debark on some original chocolate-making of my own. As I had a pack of non-opened hemp flour we had gotten on sale, some whole rice flour—and a bar of 90% lindts chocolate, I just needed some eggs and was ready to go. Here’s the line up of ingredients:
- 6 squares of 90% chocolate (melted)
- 1/2 cup of virgin coconut oil (melted)
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup of maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
- A teaspoon of instant coffee powder
- 1/2 cup of hemp flour
- 1/2 whole rice flour
- 1/3 cup of unsweetened cacao powder
- a pinch of salt
- Almonds for topping
Mix up the coconut oil and chocolate first, add in all the ingredients, and voila! 18-20 minutes in the oven at 175 degrees.
Result? Well, not bad for healthy brownies, but they turned out a bit dry. Still need to improve on that fudge-y texture! Happy Valentines!
“Liquide vaiselle maison”— Another one to add to the list! Gradually I’m transitioning home products to home-made ones, and loving the process.
- 25g Savon de Marseille (True Marseille soap contains at least 72% of olive oil. Recommended makers: La Corvette, Fer à Cheval, Marius Fabre. Choose either green or black colored — the white or cream colored is based on palm oil or coconut oil)
- 400 ml hot water
- Baking soda 2 teaspoons
- White vinegar 2 teaspoons
- Sodium carbonate 2 teaspoons
- Liquid savon noir (black soap) 2 teaspoons
- Essential oils (lavender, lemon, tea tree) of your choice 10 drops
In a bowl, let the grated soap melt in hot water, then add all ingredients. (A brief pshhhh when combining baking soda & vinegar!) And here you have it!
Again, looking to maybe find a way to thicken the formula, which will also help to lessen the consommation. (When it’s watery, it tends to skirt out a lot, sometimes more necessary!)
I’ve heard lots about avocado being used in chocolate recipes, but never really stepped into the game. It had been a while since I’ve spotted some good ripe organic avocados, so decided to give it a go! I still need to brush up the recipe—(chunks and taste of avocado lingers in the mouth…added a pinch too much of salt…I would add some maple syrup next time…) but overall I think we are heading in the right direction for a decadent chocolate truffle. Here’s the recipe below! Certainly wouldn’t be bad for a new take for Saint Valentin!
- Avocado (pitted, peeled and mashed)
- 1/4 cup of melted 90% chocolate
- 1 tablespoon, coconut oil
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup of cacao powder
Mix the avocado, chocolate and coconut oil together until smooth (smooth as in no chunks–learned!) and add the salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes. Create small balls with your hand and dip them into the cacao powder to coat. Voila! Into the fridge until dessert!
After having tidy-ed up the house, I love to give it a finishing touch with some natural air purifiers. I honestly believe that it makes the air serene and calm, and brings everything back to zero. I often freshen up with these even when I just feel like my mind is cloudy, energy is low or body feels sluggish. My three big magic methods:
- Aroma diffuser : Oils depending on the day & moment but combinations like lavender–citron–eucalyptus is 100%.
- Dried sage: I’ve been using this for a long time now–when I teach I sometimes like to burn sage in the room before class to create a clean feel-good ambiance. At the moment, we also are growing our own sage which will be dried out for future use.
- Palo Santo: A recent favorite. There is something so calming about the scent of pure wood, which also works as an incense. (*I would’t burn it for long–sometimes the aroma can get a bit strong)
So, we happily finished our first day of our bee-keeping introduction session–a fitting for our combinaison (yes, bought!) and a 3 hour lecture on a general outline of the art of apiculture. Not only is the practice of moving our hands important, but also the theory. Although quite scientific (which can be difficult for me at times), it’s quite interesting to learn the anatomy of bees (apis millefera millefera—to be exact) we will be handling, and much much more. The 3-hour intro was insightful, thorough but compact, as the presenter ended saying ‘we can still go on for hours’. At least, this thick bible of apiculture we have at home seems a bit more accessible now… more to come!
Book: Le traité d’apiculture (Rustica)
We popped into a magasin de bio (an organic shop) to find some nice medjool dates. These actually needed a good soak in water, but after that they were ready to use for a new recipe. I took out randomly, all ingredients in our pantry that might be interesting for this recipe, whipped them together, and I think I have a new favorite snack maison. Here’s the recipe:
- 4 Organic Medjool dates
- A handful of crushed pecan nuts
- 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of cacao powder
- 2 raw cacao feves crushed, or cacao nibs
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
- 2 pinches of salt (fleur de sel)
- 2 tablespoons of shredded coconut
Cut up the dates (soaked in water and drained), mash them up with a fork in a bowl. Add ALL the ingredients, mix them up, and spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper. Let it solidify in the freezer for 15-30 minutes, and voilà!, ready to cut into bar shapes of your preference!
Create the spice mix by blending the below ingredients:
- onion powder 3 tablespoons
- garlic powder 3 tablespoons
- dried coriander leaves 2 tablespoons
- Himalayan salt 1 tablespoon
- pepper 2 tablespoons
- cumin powder 2 tablespoons
Place the cooked chickpeas and cut carrots on parchment paper and spread the blend mix and olive oil evenly. Blend it all in with your hands and cook in the oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees. Bon apéro!
Back in Japan, I searched around for a non-heated (非加熱) raw honey and found a bee maker who makes small batches in the countryside. Let’s just say, when you taste this kind of pure honey, you can never go back to any other kind.
There on, we traveled to Greece where we found les ruches (bee hives) in the mountains all over, and were amazed by their local honey.
Getting back home, keeping our eyes open in the big city life of Paris, we found that there are lots of opportunities here as well, for finding—and cultivating local honey. The art of this is called apiculture, bee-keeping. After contacting several associations, we will start our journey of a year and a half to learn the art and hopefully, one day have our own ruche to make honey of our own.
In the meantime, a collection of our honey at home:
- Miel de bruyère from an apiculteur found at a morning local marché in Bandol
- Honey from Le Rucher de Malakoff, made in the banlieu of Paris
- Miel de Fleurs d’été from the Rucher de Balard, made on a rooftop right in Paris 15
- Homemade honey from an old man on the island of Paros, Greece
- Local market honey from a small island of 300 people in Greece, Schinoussa
- Honey from a small local supermarket (who have their own organic garden) in the island of Amorgos, Greece.
- Manuka Honey 18+ from New Zealand
- Meli, heather honey from Ios island, Greece
- Raw thyme honey from a village Kostos in Paros, Greece
- f/z heather honey from Greece
I always thought granola was something to “buy”. But boy was I wrong– it’s so simple and a homemade granola can taste like (or better!) than a store-bought. Here’s the recette:
- 1.5 cups rolled oats
- 1/4 cup of crushed pecans
- 2 pinches of salt (fleur de sel de guerande)
- 2 tablespoons of cinnamon powder
- 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Mix everything in a large bowl, lay it on parchment paper and put it in the oven at 180 degrees for 25 minutes! Turn it around and let it cool.
This is one of the easiest snacks, and upgrades your dates into a delicious dessert. The first time I soaked dates (non-medjool) in water overnight so that they were easy to mix into a paste. The second time, I used soft and ripe, melt-in-your-mouth Medjool dates, which in fact, doesn’t require the overnight soak! So I highly recommended the Medjool-kind, also of course for its mouth-watering texture.
- 4 dates
- coconut oil 2 tablespoons
- cacao powder 2 tablespoons
- crushed pecans, cashews or almonds
- shredded coconut
Start mixing the softened dates with a fork until they are in paste-form. Then add all the other ingredients. Use two spoons (so that they don’t stick to your hands) to create round balls and drop them in a plate of shredded coconut. Cover all sides with the coconut and now use your hands to clean them up into a nice round shape. Keep them in the fridge for a few hours before devouring!