Typhoon Man-Yi maybe a-blazing.
It’s been a while since a typhoon/cyclone/ tropical storm at this scale hit Japan. Very unaptly, the ever powerful Man-Yi decided to visit on one of Japan’s 3-day weekend in September. My hopes and dreams to hit the beach this Summer were crushed because of the very unbecoming sporadic rain on Sunday Keiro-no-hi, and the very strong wind woke me up at ungodly 5 am this morning.
Seeing on Facebook, friends were busy going about their day on Sunday, despite the rain. There were all sorts of festivals going on in celebration of Keiro-no-hi (Respect for the Aged Day).
Hmm… maybe I should follow suit and check out what Yoyogi Hachimangu has to offer for their elderly citizens.
But then I thought otherwise. What if, for a change, I stay home and ride the bad weather indoors and cook stuff out of my pantry without any trip to the stores. After all I’ve been out everyday for work much of the month, never home more than 10 hours on any given day – and that includes sleeping! My groceries are not going to start cooking themselves, and I’ll be damned if I don’t use them since they are wonderful organic products.
Two days ago, I had the good sense to soak 500 grams of Hokkaido soybeans before I went to bed. By the time I woke up on Sunday morning the batch was ready for some de-hulling. Nothing like the present to start making some tempeh. A few months ago, I stumbled across a Youtube post by Notzarella. Ali Dark there showed a method on how to de-hull soybeans using a food processor’s blunt blade. The man is a genius. A process that normally took about 2 hours before was cut down into only 30-minutes at most. How’s that for efficiency? The soybeans finally were boiled and by the time I wrote this message, 3 pm on Monday, they have been fermenting away with the tempeh starter in past 36 hours, almost ready for cutting!
Next in line is one of my favorite cakes from Harry East Wood’s cookbook – Red Velvet Beetroot Cake. Harry Eastwood is known for her restless attempt to put a healthy spin on things that ordinarily would be very heavily laden with processed products, and replace them with vegetables. It is really a brilliant way to keep things natural and organic and very sneaky to get kids eat more veggies.
My friend Hideo grows delicious beetroots, among other delicious organic things in his green house @Mukade Mansion. I completely forgot that I have 4 beetroots in my pantry from the last shipment, untouched, and on the verge of getting old. If you live in Japan you know how hard it is to find beetroots, and when you do – you have to pay dearly for it, too. So I am not about to let perfectly delicious organic beetroot go to waste. I boiled two and eat them as a salad with feta cheese for lunch and used the other two for my red velvet cake.
So… you know how they say there is always a silver lining behind a very raucous-weathered day? In typhoon Man-Yi, I found tempeh, beetroot feta cheese salad, Red Velvet Beetroot Cake and homemade Nutella wannabe.
Dear Fellow Tokyoites, how did you ride Typhoon Man-Yi?
Red Velvet Beetroot Cake with Homemade Nutella Wannabe
Recipe: Adapted from “Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache” by Harry Eastwood
For the cake base
180 gram sugar
200 gram topped, tailed, peeled and grated beetroot
1 vanilla pod, split length-way and scraped using a paring knife
180 gram white rice flour (if you have a strong blender, this can be done easily by blending exactly 180 gram rice kernels)
180 gram almond flour (same as the rice, you can buy this but you can also easily make it with a strong heavy duty blender)
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
2.5 – 3 gram powder red food colouring
1/4 tsp salt
284 ml soy milk
Tools: 2 x 20 cm diameter round cake tins
For the filling
6 Tbsp of your homemade Nutella wannabe (you can of course just simply get a jar of Nutella should you wish to do so)
For the Snow Meringue icing
170 gram powder sugar
2 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
white of 1 egg
small pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
Tools: a hand-held electric whisk and a timer
For the cake base:
- Preheat the oven to 160C and set to bake for 40 minutes. Prepare the tins by spraying with vegetable oil. Line the bases with baking parchment and spray once again.
- In a large mixing bowl (I used a KitchenAid stand mixer with the flat paddle), whisk up the eggs and sugar for 4 minutes on 6 until they are light and fluffy. You can use a hand mixer or the manual version, but just be prepared to keep on whisking.
- Next beat in the grated beetroot, as well as the vanilla seeds from the scraped-out pod.
- In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients from white rice flour down to the salt and whisk together using a fork/whisk and then add to the beetroot-egg mixture and beat again until well-combined.
- Finally add the soy milk, stir well to make sure that all the elements in the bowl are well introduced and the mixture looks very dark magenta
- Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and place them in the oven for 35 minutes. Check if done or not by inserting a toothpick. If it comes out clean then you’re done. I seem to need a bit more time and let the cake cook another 5 minutes.
- When the cakes are cooked, remove from the oven, un-mould and place on a wire rack to cool. After 10 minutes turn the cake upside down and peel the baking paper and let sit to cool down further.
- In the meantime, to start making the Snow Meringue icing: place all the ingredients except the vanilla extract in a big metal mixing bowl over a pan of boiling water. Stir with a clean metal spoon for 2 minutes exactly to dissolve the sugar. When the mixture is warm and the 2 minutes are up, remove the bowl from the heat. Add the vanilla extract in now and beat with a hand-held electric whisk for 9 minutes until cool. The mixture is ready to use when it’s standing up like snow-covered Swiss peaks.
- When the cakes are cold, spread the Nutella Wannabe on top of one cake evenly. Then add the other cake on top of it like a sandwich
- Cover the whole cake with Snow Meringue icing made in Step 8. Let sit for about 30 more minutes before slicing into it. The cake keeps for 2 days in an airtight container, after that refrigerate the leftover, consumable for 7 days after (if you still have any!)
Yields 12 slices