Happy New Year! Hope you're having an amazing holiday wherever you are. My partner and I have flown down to Queenstown, a gorgeous alpine town at the bottom of the South Island of New Zealand. We're hanging out here for a few days, then up to Arrowtown and Wanaka, two other beautiful southern towns. For those of you outside of NZ, this is where a lot of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed, and it sure is pretty darn stunning. If you follow me on Instagram, I've shared a few snaps of the landscape so far.
Meanwhile I wanted to share with you this week another stunning yet totally easy to make plant-based healthy dessert. I made this for our "Big Fat Croatian Christmas Day Lunch", which I must say is one of my favourite days of the year. The Croatian in laws sure do know how to make great food. As I'm a bit of a sweet treat fiend (which you'll probably have detected by now if you've been reading my last few posts), I put my hands up for bringing a dessert to lunch.
Given I'd made a cheesecake and cake the past two weeks, I wanted to do a classic version of a french tart. You know, the ones with a deliciously biscuity buttery base, lusciously creamy centre, topped with fresh seasonal fruit. I had planned to do a blueberry version initially as bluebs are in season at the moment in NZ (read $5 for a 200g punnet instead of their usual wallet-busting $9). However low and behold, a trip to our local organic suburban farm changed the course of history.
Kelmarna Organic Farm
We're lucky to live just up the road from a beautiful organic inner-city farm called Kelmarna Gardens. It's a rather crazy wee spot, a bustling lattice of garden beds filled with all sorts of overgrown and wild looking kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, silver-beet, lemon sorrel, fennel, herbs, multi-coloured zucchini and beetroot, edible flowers and fruit. It's an incredible place to try out new varieties of produce, and is run by a beautiful charity that helps rehabilitate people with mental illness. There are quite a few characters hanging about to help you pick your basket full of organic produce!
On this particular visit, after filling my basket with the usual spread of crazy odd bod greenery, herbs and seasonal oddities, we stumbled upon a ginormous plum tree in the corner, literally heaving with ripe fruit. I think I literally ate about 15 plums off the grassy ground that had been flicked off by a whip of wind or taste-testing bird. A handful of mosquito bites and plum juice t-shirt splats later, my partner and I had an overflowing bag full of the most delicious smelling, sweet and aromatic, juicy plums in hand. And so the blueberry tart idea quickly turned into this beautiful juicy plum tart instead.
It's a Plum Life
Plums are a good source of antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C, with 100g (around 2 plums) containing 15% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake. As well as vitamin C's immune-boosting properties, it also helps the absorption of iron from other foods, and thus can assist in preventing iron-deficient anaemia (not enough red blood cells).
As with many fruits, plums also contain a significant amount of dietary fibre, both soluble and insoluble. The soluble form blends with water in the stomach becoming more viscous (gooey), helping to promote feelings of satiety (fullness) and aiding in the absorption of other important nutrients. It also feeds and increases beneficial bacteria in the gut which enhance immune function. Soluble fibre can additionally help lower 'bad' LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Insoluble fibre meanwhile adds bulk to your stools, pulling water into the intestine resulting in easier and more comfortable elimination. Note - the consumption of 15+ plums in one sitting may cause more of a laxative-effect than desired, so test it out for yourself.
In their dried form, plums are called prunes, and in this concentrated version are an even better natural laxative should you need help in the regularity department. Prune juice (prunes soaked in hot water) can be given to young babies, and later when they're eating solids, the prunes themselves.
As with all my raw desserts, this cheesecake is best eaten straight out of the fridge. Once you've made it, pop in the fridge overnight, and top with the plums and vanilla nectar just before serving. Alternatively if you need it to hold a bit longer, put it in the freezer overnight, bring out and add toppings and you'll give yourself an extra hour or so (whilst you drive to a friends, tart teetering on the seat beside you).
While I've topped mine with these incredible plums (if only you could taste one now), you can top this tart with whatever fruit is seasonal where you live. Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, kiwifruit, peaches, nectarines, apricots, fresh figs, mango - the options are endless. The creamy citrus-hinted filling will pair wonderfully with any of these fresh fruit.
Give it a go this week, and feel free to share your creations on Instagram and tag me @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics. Meanwhile, I hope you have an incredible holiday filled with friends, family, good times and of course ridiculously delicious plant-powered food. For me that's pretty much what makes the perfect summer away!
Much love, and look forward to talking again soon.
Serves 12 (makes one 22cm tart)
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Always use certified organic, local and fairly traded ingredients wherever possible
**I use Trade Aid's organic fair trade coconut milk in all my recipes. Unlike some coconut milks/creams which separate, this one has a beautiful thick even consistency. This makes it perfect for cheesecakes and to use as a pouring cream or thin yoghurt. It's called "coconut milk" but is much more like a coconut cream. You can order it here.
c = 250ml cup, tbsp = 15ml tablespoon, tsp = 5ml teaspoon
Healing With Wholefoods (Pitchford, P.)
USDA Nutritional Database
These deliciously dark and mysterious tarts are just a little bit special, with a secret ingredient. Modestly sweet, with an earthy, nutty flavour- a lovely change from the usual fruity/chocolate affairs - give them a go, and fall in love!
These light and fruity muffins use one of my favourite fruits – feijoas! If you’re a feijoa fan you’ll love these (and if not, come to NZ to try them). Best of all, they have no added sugar – just the natural sweetness of feijoas, coconut, dates, and vanilla.