Love, Cake and Gyoza

Far from my “home”, family and friends in a country where I cannot manage a simple errand without succumbing to a pathetic pool of tears, I was, and I am, simultaenously surrounded by an infinite source of 愛 (LOVE). Last night, that love came from an Israeli (the country I was taught to hate by my Iranian primary school), a loving Japanese and their adorable son, a global citizen, Oz-kun. How incredibly lucky am I? And what did I do to deserve all this? Thank you Lydon family and thank you, God!

Aki prepared vegetarian curry, one spinach-based, one tomato and yet ANOTHER amazing salad, this one had hemp-seeds and raisins. Oz-kun, Aki and I (but really, mostly Aki) made completely home-made naan and vegan gyoza filled with onion, spinach and quinoa. Last, I made a gluten, dairy and refined-sugar free chocolate raspberry cake adapted from the Petite Kitchen website (recipe after the pictures).


3 free-range eggs
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup runny honey
1/2 cup of thawed frozen raspberries (fresh even better)
1 1/2 cups of ground almonds
1/2 cup of raw cacao powder
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
1 tsp baking soda

1 block of good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
the creamy top from a can of full-fat coconut milk

Preheat oven to 170C

Place cake ingredients in a food processor and blitz to combine

Pour batter into a greased cake tin and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until done

Let cool completely before glazing.

To prepare the ganache, add the chopped chocolate and coconut cream in to a small saucepan over extremely low heat. Whisk continuously until melted together then immediately remove from heat

Let cool slightly (1-2 min)

Using a spatula, spread deliciousness evenly on  cake, allowing it to drizzle over the edges

Last but not least, decorate with berries and fresh flowers

dim sumbody say gyoza?

Last night, my Chinese friend Wendy served us the dumpling feast of all dumpling feasts. I had my own special dumplings filled with mushroom, celery, tofu and egg whilst the others ate COW! Just kidding, sort of. I asked Wendy and her Japanese mother-in-law the difference between Chinese and Japanese dumplings and was told that essentially, both are quite similar except that the Chinese prefer theirs boiled and dunked in chili whilst the Japanese prefer grilled and served with soy and/or vinegar. I VOTE CHINA!! I love boiled dumplings.. they taste much healthier than those fried in oil. And CHILI. How can you eat anything without chili? Side note: Japanese food seriously lacks heat. I need heat (in more ways than one). Anyways, back to dumps, Wendy says the hardest part is chopping the filling ingredients but once you’ve done that, all you have to do is place just under a tablespoon of it in the center of a pre-made circular dumpling wrapper, rub a little water around the circumference, fold it in half and press the edges together. The latter step can be done 2-3 times to make sure the dumplings are shut tightly and that no fillings are going to sneak out. Last step is placing them in a pot of boiling water. According to Wends, initially the dumpling will sink to the bottom but later, when ready, rise to the top.

“The dumpling will let you know when it’s done” – Wendy-san.

Oh and one last last step, after removing the dumpling from the hot water, either run it under cold water or dunk it in a bowl of cold water before placing it on a plate – this stops the dumplings from sticking together and merging into one big delicious one – actually, wait what?

SERVE WITH CHILI cos soy/vinegar is only fit for a CHILD.

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i’ll never let you gyoza

No where near as delicious and flavourful as Ayumi’s gyoza (yum yum gyoza) at the Christchurch farmer’s market, which I am so envious of all you Cantabrians for. But, still pretty good! Making gyoza (when using pre-made wrappers) is surprisingly easy or should I say a piece of cake – an idiom I have recently taught my students. Basically, we filled the center of each circular wrapper with a teaspoon of the filling mixture (mince pork and chives) then rubbed floury-water (edible glue, if you like) around the edges of the wrapper before folding them shut, pinching the edges and frying them. Did that make any sense? I am forgetting my English here. Seriously. Help.
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