Photography by Tracey Creed
Assisted by Amandine Paniagua
Recipe by Megan May
Words by Tracey Creed
Published April 27 2020
To prepare the base Separately blend the cashews, almonds and dried coconut into flours using your food processor. Flours should be the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. These are processed separately because they all take different amounts of time to breakdown. Put all the flours back in the food processor together with the dates, vanilla extract, sea salt and lemon rind until combined. The mixture should stick together if it doesn’t, blend a little longer or add a few more dates.
Line a 26 cm x 20 cm baking tin with plastic wrap and firmly press the base mixture evenly into the tin until it is uniformly 1 cm thick. (Plastic wrap is used because once the slice has been refrigerated and set, it is a lot easier to get out). Alternatively you can use baking paper or reuse brown paper bags — which is what we have done here. Our edges are not as uniform but it all tastes the same.
To prepare the topping Blend the oats into a flour in your food processor or blender and set aside. In a high-speed blender, blend oats, ginger juice, ¼ cup coconut sugar, raw agave, maple, vanilla extract and sea salt until smooth.
Blend the cashews, melted coconut oil and ginger powder in the food processor until smooth.
With the food processor still running, take the blended oat and ginger mixture and place into the food processor with the cashew and coconut mixture and blend until combined. Do not over process as the oil might separate.
Fold in 4 tablespoons of coconut sugar by hand.
Pour the mixture over the base and sprinkle with the remaining coconut sugar.
Leave to set in the refrigerator for 5 to 6 hours. Once set cut into squares.
Store in the refrigerator with layers of baking paper between so they do not stick together. That is if you think you will get through it within 5 days. Alternatively store the slice in the freezer, removing slices as you feel, here it will keep for up to 3 months.
If you are yet to invest in a blender, I could not more highly recommend a Vitamix. My partner and I purchased the Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender almost four years back now. Used daily and frequently, it is our most used item in the kitchen and worth the spend. Vitamix comes standard with a five year warranty, while most brands only offer one. Warranties can be extended to ten years — for me Vitamix represents a truly sustainable product, designed to last. Extending their commitment to quality and durability, Vitamix also retail reconditioned blenders on Amazon, which start at NZD454.
If I had to pick just one recipe from Megan May’s first published book, The Unbakery: Raw Organic Goodness there would be zero hesitation — the ginger slice is everything. The book, highly successful and now out of print, was purchased back in 2014 having recently moved out of home and became my source of inspiration that I turned to again and again. Domestic skills involving cheesecloths, juicers and dehydrators, some sort of 70s LA hippie vibe were somehow made modern, still relevant.
I learned that cashews were the most versatile ingredient in the plant-based word. You could prepare aioli, the cacao and hazelnut tart, alfredo sauce, lasagne — the recipes range from the simple to the slightly more complex. The walnut and mushroom meatballs were a weekly staple and I was frequently preparing batches of Megan’s otherworldly tzatziki sauce. Also, the cacao logs. But, thanks largely to this book, Megan’s influences reached far beyond the Unbakery in Kingsland, and later Ponsonby, the suburbs.
This recipe takes advantage of high health ingredients like almonds, desiccated coconut, dates and cashews combine for a modern take on the ginger crunch that is equally memorable and delicious. I juice my own ginger, however if you do not own a juicer, ask friends and if not, you should be able to acquire ginger juice online — an ingredient you do not want to omit. And while yielding twenty or so serves, you can keep this ginger slice for as long as you need — up to three months. You will eat it within weeks most likely. This slice is ideal for when you want a showstopper to end your dinner gatherings with — this version will be shared with friends at the end of our last Tuesday night dinner.
Eating plant-based is much more aligned with the needs of my body. At fourteen I removed animal products from my diet, and then by my early twenties fast-food, anything heavily fried or processed, refined sugar. My first job out of university was working at an organic food company — I also lived a short walk from the original Unbakery in Kingsland. It was at this point I shifted from a just plant-based diet to where possible also sourcing local spray free, organic produce. This book is a reminder that a world that largely thrives on plants, that is a better world, a healthier place, and it is a world changed. It is also one that speaks openly to the point of avoiding the chemicals used in conventional farming.
Over the years I have been hugely inspired by Megan’s books, her app and visits to the Unbakery — now Little Bird Kitchen. Portobello Benedict with cashew hollandaise, if you know, you know. My boyfriend would order this, always from the all-day menu. This recipe is on the app which is now available to download free from the App Store. Other favourites include the cashew aioli, falafels, kimchi crepes, the hazelnut cacao slab. Download the app. And since I can’t get to Little Bird Kitchen as often as I’d like now, the app, the books are the next best thing.
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