January 15, 2014

Immortality in a bowl - XianTao (Canistel) for dessert

What you can do with a Peach of Immortality
Dessert with canistel (and it is vegan too... Without a pinch of sugar)

I found an interesting fruit in the market the other day, and one of my readers helped me find out what it was - a "Peach of Immortality", XianTao (see link for the blog post).

I promised to publish a recipe of what you can do with it and here it comes - I simply call it

Immortality in a bowl

仙桃 (XianTao) - if this is immortality I like it. 
Immortality in a bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 Canistel, aka XianTao (Peach of Immortality), ripened
  • Ginger, about 2 cm
  • Two small oranges - or 1 big
  • 1/3 soft tofu, neutral
What you need
  • A carving board
  • A knife
  • A blender
  • Something to serve the dessert in

How to

  • Peel the canistel.
  • Cut it in pieces, take out the seeds and get rid of them (or save them if you want to plant a canistel tree...) 
  • Peel the ginger and cut it in fine pieces. 
  • Wash the oranges. This is VERY important! Always wash oranges before using them (they are often sprayed quite heavily so it is better to be on the safe side.)
  • Put the canistel in the blender, add the ginger. 
  • Add tofu, I used 1/3 of a soft type of tofu, the kind you can buy in the supermarket, without any added flavour etc. Just normal plain tofu.  
  • Start blending. When it is starting to turn into a mash, pause the blending for a bit.
  • Cut the oranges in half and press/squeeze the oranges so that you get as much juice as possible, and pour it into the blender. If you have big oranges you may want to start with one and add the second only if it is needed. Continue to blend into a pure. It doesn't have to be completely smooth, I like some small pieces, but it needs to be relatively smooth, the whole thing. 

Once you have a fine pure, but still thick (careful with the oranges) you simply put it into a nice serving bowl, decorate each bowl with something green just for the looks, and serve. It's that simple. But it doesn't have to be complicated to be good! Notice that this is quite filling so if you already had a big meal, go easy in the size of the servings...

This is not going to become a blog full of recipes but this was so simple that I couldn't keep from posting it, it was simply too good and too easy to make...

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Note: XianTao, 仙桃, is the same as 蛋黃果 - DanHuangGuo, there are many names for it. It may not be so easy to find in the market though; First it needs to be in season and second; Not all shops and markets have it, it is simply not so well known. It is a great fruit though, so try it if you happen to find it! Just make sure it is properly ripen because otherwise the texture is quite special and doesn't work well raw.

January 14, 2014

Peach of Immortality - Canistel, Pouteria campechiana.

Peach of Immortality, XianTao - or DanGuangGuo for those who prefer that name... 

仙桃 (XianTao), where 仙 - xian, fourth tone - means immortal according to my dictionary, and 桃 - tao, second tone - means peach. 

Peach of immortality.

This is the fruit I had found in the market the other day and asked about here on the blog (follow link to see the previous post).. Another name for it is 蛋黃果 - DanHuangGuo. 蛋 - dan - is the word for egg, and 黃 - huang - is yellow. Guo means fruit (you will see this word it with other fruits as well). Eggfruit is also another name this fruit is known under when you Google it. And the colour of the fruit meat is really yellow like yolk.

Peach of immortality - XianTao (Canistel)
Pouteria campechiana, canistel. Native of South America - follow the link to learn more (this one to Purdue University in US but there are plenty of others out there).

If it wouldn't have been for a great reader I wouldn't have known, but now I do, and now that I know I had to do some more experimenting. This time I let my XianTao ripen a bit more - and if the name - Peach of Immortality - has anything to do with what it really does, I may just have added a few years to my life. I created a dessert yesterday and got a fantastic result - recipe to follow. I will have to make this again!

January 13, 2014

Banana and Sweet potato pancakes

Banana and Sweet potato pancake (and they are vegan too)

or There is so much to do with sweet potatoes part 1

Vegan banana- and sweet potato pancakes
I came up with the recipe a day in Taiwan, after having read about friends eating various types of pancakes. Being Swedish we of course have our traditional pancakes too - but my friends kept posting on Facebook and other forums and it made me hungry… And since sweet potato, 地瓜 (Di Gua) is in season here in Taiwan I thought I would use some of it in my pancakes.  


I rarely use exact measurements, the most important skill to have if you want to be serious about cooking and baking is anyhow to learn to read the food or the dough, so many circumstances play in; The size of the fruits involved, if the flour is dry if there is more humidity in the air, draughts, oven and so forth. So take my measurements as a guideline but follow your instincts.


January 09, 2014

What on earth is THIS fruit?

A nameless fruit - the beauty with Taiwan is learning

One of my favourite things to do in Taiwan, well, in most places in the world that I visit actually, but even more in Taiwan, is going to the market. The traditional market, the market that would by many be called the Farmers Market. Interesting food, you can watch what the locals are buying and you can get inspired. And inspired I get... 

Fruits and vegetables in Taiwan are amazing, I have mentioned it in several posts before. I love to go and pick out what's in season and see what I can do with that. Today I came across a challenge though, a fruit that I don't know what it is. It was inexpensive, which indicated that it is something that grows locally in Taiwan and also that it is in season - Taiwan is all about what's in season. I never saw it before though (or didn't pay attention), so I suspect the season just started. But what is it? 


Of course I bought it and took it home to investigate. I thought I could perhaps use it in my smoothie - I am very much into smoothies as a snack at the moment - but after I had tried it I realised it wasn't really the right thing to do. At least not right now


The peel is thin, not as thin as a potato, but thin. Thinner than on a citrus fruit, and it also has a very different flavour compared to citrus fruits.

It's big like a lemon in size, or a mandarin/clementine.

The texture is almost like chestnuts. 
I was thinking persimmon when I cut it but it wasn't sweet the way I know persimmons from how they taste in Europe. Sure, it may be a different type but still be a persimmon, but I have the feeling that this is something different. Maybe related to the persimmons we see in Europe though.

This one has two beautiful brown seeds, seeds that almost have the same colour as chestnuts, before they are peeled, but it's only two. 

What I did with it in the end? I made a really good vegetarian pasta sauce with chillies and pepper and a bit of salt. I cut the fruit up in small pieces after I peeled it and let it boil with spices, a bit of ginger, a bit of olive oil and water until it had all gotten very soft. It was full of flavours. 

The one I have left I will leave for a few days, to see if it changes texture and flavour with a few more days ripening time. Also, I am curious to whether it can be eaten raw or not, because the texture today wasn't inviting. You can have a few bits raw but it felt like something was missing, the texture was too, well, almost a bit sandy, if you understand what I mean. 

But if you know what this is, the name of the fruit I would be happy to hear from you! I want to find out the name in English but preferably also in Chinese, especially the characters. If it turns out to be something good and healthy I am going to make the most of the season and experiment with new recipes. It is difficult to search for recipes for inspiration if I don't even know the name... 


January 08, 2014

A very simple snack - Sweetpotatoes - di gua - 地瓜

A very simple snack - and there is no processing involved


What you see here is one of my favourite snacks. 

And there is no processed food involved, there are no artificial ingredients. No food colouring, no artificial sweeteners, no light products.

And because of that it may be one of the most healthy snacks there is out there... 

Di gua - sweet potato. An excellent in-between meals snack.
It is the one thing that Taiwan was not named for but at least is nicknamed after. The sweet potato. The island is shaped as a sweet potato, sweet potatoes, di gua - 地瓜 - is grown across the country and is a relatively common staple. 

The sweet potato. So much you can do with it, but in Taiwan one of the more common ways it is done is roasted, or grilled. I got from a lady who had a little "oven" set up next to one of the bus stops on Taichung Port Road here in Taiwan, but you can normally find roasted sweet potato in just about any convenient store, be it Seven 11 or Family Mart or something else.

January 03, 2014

A Christmas treat - the Swedish Christmas Ham

My special Christmas treat to myself 

or A Little Piece of Sweden in Taiwan

Taiwan meets Sweden. To places close to my heart
I was born in Sweden - 瑞典 (Ruidian). Part of my family is Swedish. Some are still in Sweden. Sweden, the beautiful country in the north of Europe, so different from Taiwan, and so different depending on where in the country you are. But there is one thing we have common all over the country; We take food seriously. For almost every holiday, there is something special, foodwise. Fact is, we even have special days for special food: The Waffle Day. The Day of the Cinnamon Roll. We used to have a "Crayfish day" (or "Crawfish" for those who prefer that name), it used to be the day in August when the crayfish became legal. And so on.

Those who have known me for a long time know that while I am not much bothered about holidays in general, I care about the food. Once upon a time there was even another blog where I would put various recipes up, but as I never follow a recipe myself I gave up that; It is difficult to share knowledge about how a dough or a dish should look and smell for you to know that you had the right amount of everything in it. But food is with or without that very important. 

Christmas just came and went, and even if it for a Swede isn't quite over yet - we generally don't clean out Christmas until January 13 - "Tjugondag Knut" - St Knut's Day (follow link to read more) - the Christmas food has been eaten. 

January 02, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014

I would just like to take the opportunity to wish everybody a Happy New Year 2014. 

2013 was probably the most different I have done in a long time. 
  • I left my job, which was about time - I needed to think things over and consider what new and interesting challenges I wanted to get myself involved in. Thanks to great colleagues I stayed on but maybe longer than I had planned for... Most people know how easy it is to stick to something just because you get too comfortable. 
  • I got rid of a LOT of things and realised how liberating it is; No more dragging around old things just because they once were important to someone else but in reality aren't all that important to me. It is good to stop being a pack rat - we have enough things as it is... Save memories but only those who matter (and preferably those who take very little space). And besides charity organisations are much happier about your stuff than your basement or attic ever will be. 
  • I started studying and travelling. At times a somewhat tough task, but fun. 
  • I moved to Taiwan, a beautiful and interesting country with a lot of amazing people.
  • I started to learn Chinese. 
  • I improved my French - two surfing trips helped with that but also ending up in Taichung, Taiwan, a city with a very big french/french speaking community.

In short; You can say I did what I had set out to do: I increased my comfort zone. 

I also gave myself a lot of time to think about things, and change other things around. 

2013 was a very interesting year.

Now I am very curious to see what 2014 has to offer! 

Hope you continue to follow me on my path! 

For 2014 I promise a lot of articles as well as shorter blog posts not just about the road I am on right now but also about travels and trips I did in the past as well as things I want to do in the future. 
Come and join me - it will be an interesting route...