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Baking with mamashanti’s very pleasing organic chai
The Plumy Birth-Day Cake

The Plumy Birth-Day Cake

I love to bake.  I bake for my family and friends.  I bake when I host my retreats and training days, and I bake for my circle of doulas. This is one of my all-time favourite recipes and certainly the most requested recipe too!  Easy to bake, gorgeous to look at and incredibly delicious; what more could we ask from a cake recipe?  

Excuse my Maggie Beer moment – it’s all about fresh, seasonal produce.  This recipe calls for plums (welcome back, my lovelies!), however any seasonal (not too wet) fruit will be just fine.  Also try mixing up the nut meals, through Autumn I adjust the recipe with 3/4 hazelnut meal and Jonathon apples, so very earthy!

The Plumy Birth-Day Cake

  • 200gr unsalted butter
  • 200gr sugar + extra. My favourite it a combination of coconut, brown, raparura sugars. The browner the sugars the richer and more toffee-like the flavour. Try your own, mix them up till they come to 200gr
  • 3 of the finest free range eggs
  • 200gr almond meal
  • 2T coconut flour
  • 1t aluminium free baking powder
  • 1t vanilla essence
  • 3 or 4 fresh plums, halved and sliced
  • Almond flakes optional

 

Preheat your oven to 160 C. Line the base and sides of a spring-form cake tin with baking paper.  Sprinkle generously with sugar and almond flakes if you’re using them, arrange fruit slices in single, pretty pattern to cover the base of the tin.

Blend almond meal, flour and baking powder set aside. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Then beat in one egg at a time. Blend in almond meal mixture and spoon this quite thick batter over the fruit. Tap tin on the bench a few times to distribute the batter and release air pockets.

Bake 30 – 40 minutes; it should be golden and a bit firm to touch.  Check at 20 minutes, if the edges are browning too fast, cover with foil and continue baking. Remove from the oven, let cool in tin 25 minutes and then turn onto a cooling rack.

Enjoy warm or cool, with as many lush sides as you can think of!  I’m thinking vanilla custard….


Breakfast in a jam jar

Breakfast in a jam jar

Like most people, our summer holidays come with lot’s of road travel.  We spent a few days camping in Northern Victoria.  It was a drive of 2.5 hours and that meant we needed road food.  Also known as chia puddings, here is a simple snack, a nourishing treat that is great for breakfast or any time of the day.  There are no particular rules, just layer up any combination of your favourite flavours; then lid it and pop in the fridge or if you’re on the go, pack into a cool bag with a spoon to enjoy when you’re good and ready.

30ml or 1.5  Tablespoons chia seeds

1/2 Cup of your favourite milk – try a combination of coconut and almond milk

1 Tablespoon sunflower or pumpkin seeds – or chopped nuts

1 Teaspoon goji berries or freeze dried pomegranite seeds – or something else to please your palate

1/2 Teaspoon of your favourite warming spices – single or a combination cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, nutmeg

1 or 2 Dollops of full fat vanilla yogurt – dairy or coconut

A couple of generous spoonfuls of stewed fruit or frozen berries

Extras:  toasted coconut flakes, cacoa or cocoa sprinkles

Combine chia, milk, dried fruit and spice into in a jam jar or spill-proof container to hold 1 cup of breakfast.  Shake or stir vigorously to combine. Let rest for 10 minutes, then stir again.  To this dollop on seeds, fruit and then yogurt and any other delicious and nourishing addition.

Tip #1:  I enjoy this most at room temperature.

Tip #2:  This recipe can be prepared the night before – splendid!

Tip 3#:  Prepare chia this way and add to your smoothies 


My Chai Journey

I was introduced to chai many years ago. I was so enchanted by the whole spicy, sweet and aromatic tea experience that I immediately dropped my plans for an extreme detox that year! Being the kind of Nina that I am, I immediately took over chai making and with that started to experiment with combinations of spices and brewing methods.

Taking great pleasure in gathering supplies from local spice sellers, I have been steadily revising and refining my chai recipe. My partner, son and lady friends have sampled countless variations and have been very, very supportive of my personal spice journey!

A couple of years ago, I settled on my high mistress recipe. We all agreed that this was the one.  And because this recipe was the one and our consumption of chai was so great and my black market distribution was increasing, I then ventured into unknown territory… placing my next order of spices with a wholesale organic supplier.

I picked up the box from the post office. Feeling quite trepidacious, surely this was a ridiculous extravagance, how could we ever get through so much spice?

I unsealed the bags, blended to my recipe, left the room for a few moments and when I returned, oh my goodness! The new certified chai ingredients gave my chai an intensity that I could not have imagined! Our kitchen was filled with the dreamy, intoxicating plume of chai. We were all overwhelmed with joy, the vitality and freshness of the chai was truly extraordinary.

Being the kind of Nina that I am, I feel so enchanted by these beautiful spices. Grown organically in exotic lands – India, Egypt, Vietnam, Italy, Nepal, Sri Lanka. Cultivated and used for centuries for culinary, therapeutic and medicinal purposes; these precious spices were the backbone of international trade for centuries. The wealth of nations have been built and crashed on the trade of this highly sought after, precious bounty. When I feel into the context of the product I’m crafting, I truly feel it’s a bit outrageous to use these spices to brew once and once only. So with my chai I’m offering a product that can be:

  • brewed up to 4 times without loosing potency;
  • brewed your way, with or without any variety of tea, sweetening or milk;
  • integrated into recipes by using as a culinary spice blend.

 

We play with the recipe to compliment company and to suit the seasons. Some of our favourites, and you’ll find more in my Chai Rituals Blog Series:

 

The method we use to brew our chai leaves us with something I like to call Chai Mother – the activated spices and leftover brewing liquor. This precious Chai Mother can be used again and again to re-brew your chai, or can be used in your cooking adventures:

  • Poaching fruit
  • Flavouring second ferment kombucha
  • Augmenting curries and stocks

 

Finally as a dry spice blend, you can use this in your baking, some of our favourite recipes:

 

Over the past few years, many of you who have attended my retreats and workshops have kindly requested that I make my chai available for sale. I am so pleased I can offer you my chai spice so you can immerse yourself in the sensory pleasure of brewing chai in your own home.

Each 100 gram jar or pack will yield well over 40 cups of chai. An exquisite blend of certified organic spices containing no caffeine, no sweetener, no fillers, this means:

  • It’s great for any one who’s cleansing; caffeine free, or wants to share with kids.
  • Small batch, minimum handling of premium certified organic ingredients, this chai spice has maximum potency and therapeutic benefits {not that we’re claiming to be a medicine or anything}.
  • As the only organic and genuinely reusable chai on the market, our unique product is not only a simple way to brew exquisite chai, but also very economical way to do so.

Thought making supremely flavoursome chai is too complicated to try at home? Visit this blog for my simple instructions.

I’m on the journey to sharing mamashanti’s very pleasing organic chai with you all.  We’re refining my online shop and connecting with like-minded retailers.  Would you like to have our chai available from your favourite yoga studio, health clinic or organic food store?   Ask your local outlet to stock our chai.  Once they become a retailer of mamashanti’s very pleasing chai and nominate you {and only you} as their recommender, I’ll send you a 50 gram bag of chai as a thank you gift for sharing the love.

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