Eating Alpha # 7. What Do I Do With The Rest Of My Life?
Time: 1 hour for prep. 3 hours in the fridge. 10 min for plating.
Recipe and Illustration by Gary Stevenson
Photography by Rima Dickson.
“God’s not going to ask you to leave behind stuff that’s good. He wants the very best for your life. He only asks you to leave behind the rubbish in your life, so you can take hold of all the treasure he has in store for you.” - Nicky Gumble
One of the biggest questions I had after encountering Jesus for the first time as a young adult was “Now What?” I sensed a profound change in my heart. My spiritual life was awakened. Everything seemed new, I seemed more alive than ever!
The more I grew in my relationship with God, the more unsatisfied I became with my previous ambitions and goals. My perspective and values were beginning to change. I was growing spiritually yet the overall direction of my life still seemed muddy.
As I continued to seek God and pray that He would reveal His will for my life, I realized I had the wrong approach. I needed to truly give my life, my body, my mind and my spirit over to him as a living sacrifice. I began to submit my life to His overall will and His will for my life started to become clearer, one day at a time.
I really like how Eugene Peterson (The Message) and The Voice Bible paraphrase Romans 12: 1-2 in the following quotes (parentheses added):
"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary [Carrot Cake] life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. - Romans 12:1-2, The Message
Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes. -Romans 12:2, The Passion Translation
The transformation of the muddy ingredients and flavours that make up a classic carrot cake into a transparent gele' represents the intentional journey we are on with God. As we fully give all of ourselves as living sacrifices, He removes the rubbish (As Nicky like to call it) and brings clarity and transformation to our lives. God turns our lives into something new and beautiful.
When the disciples first met Jesus after His resurrection, they did not recognize him. Only after He spoke to them or in one case, prepared breakfast for them, did they realize they were face to face with the resurrected Jesus. Jesus had been made into a new creation. It’s through His resurrection we have a glimpse and renewed hope for our future. A future of God’s promises fully revealed.
The carrots and spices that make up the classic Carrot Cake represent our familiar, everyday life before giving ourselves to Jesus. The process of plunging the egg whites into the heat of the simmering carrot juice is symbolic of giving our selves as Holy sacrifices. As the egg whites cook and transform from a liquid to a solid, they trap the solids or rubbish from the carrot juice, leaving a clarified stock that retains the essence of the flavours of carrot cake behind.
We then finish the dessert with the carrot and coconut pudding and a white chocolate cream cheese ganache. This is a simple edible and visual metaphor for how God will shape and work His purposes thought our lives to fulfill his plan creating something beautiful.
Clarified Carrot Cake Recipe
1 medium sized pot
1 small pot
2 medium sized mixing bowls
1 paper coffee filter, cheesecloth or 2 layers of paper towel.
6 elegant, clear, glasses
Clarified Carrot Cake Gele’
4 cups carrot juice - purchase this already juiced in a bottle. This should be available in most grocery stores along with the fresh juices.
1.5 cups apple juice
3 cinnamon sticks
6 - 8 whole cloves
1” knob of ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
1 envelope of Knox Gelatine
¼ cup raisins
3 egg whites, (100 grams) separated from large eggs
2 teaspoons of raisins
Coconut Carrot Pudding Base
½ box of Shirriff Coconut Cream Pie filling.
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 Tablespoon of fresh squeezed orange juice.
1 cup of carrot juice reserved from above.
50 grams cream cheese
50 grams white chocolate
50 grams cream
1 teaspoon of Chinese 5 Spice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Finely chopped crystalized ginger
Freshly peeled carrot curls
Clarified Carrot Cake Gelle’
Time: 25 min
In a medium saucepan, add 4 cups carrot juice and 1/14 cup apple juice on medium heat. Add in the cinnamon sticks, raisins, cloves and chopped ginger. Bring to a simmer, and let simmer for 15 - 20 minutes for the flavours to infuse.
Pour the simmered juice through a strainer reserving the spices and raisins. Divide the simmered and strained carrot juice into two parts, 1.5 cups of juice in one small pot and 4 cups in a medium pot.
Bring the 4 cups of carrot juice back up to a simmer.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Whisk the egg whites until white and frothy as if you were making a soft meringue. I would recommend using an electric mixer.
Whisk the egg whites into the simmering 3 cups of carrot juice in a medium pot. The egg whites will quickly coagulate (cook) and as they do they will capture the solids (rubbish) out of the carrot juice, leaving you with a clarified stock.
To help this clarification process, use a small ladle or soup spoon to make a hole in the centre of the egg whites (*See picture below). Simmer for another 5 min until the stock is clear. Remove from the heat.
Bloom the gelatine by mixing ¼ cup hot water in with the powdered gelatine. Or let your sheet gelatine soak for 10 min until dissolved and fully hydrated.
Set up a strainer lined with a coffee filter, cheese cloth, clean towel over a bowl. Using your small ladle or soup spoon, gently scoop out the clarified stock straining it through the strainer and filter into a bowl or pot.
Once you have separated and strained the clarified stock, bring it up to a simmer again over medium low heat.
Stir in the hydrated gelatine into the clarified stock. Stir well so it's fully mixed. Set aside to begin to cool to room temperature. While to is cooling make the carrot and coconut pudding.
Carrot Coconut Pudding (Base)
In a small pot, using a whisk, thoroughly mix the remaining carrot juice, orange juice and ground cardamom in with the Coconut Cream pie filling. Stir until it starts to thicken.
Remove from heat.
Plating 10 min
Set out 6 champagne flutes, or wine glasses, stemmed or stemless. Something unique and elegant, but clear as you will want to show off the distinct layers.
Using a funnel, spoon in 3 - 4 tablespoons of thickened coconut carrot pudding into the glass and put them in the fridge to set. They will set quicker in the fridge.
Once it is set, (about 15 min) Using a clean funnel, pour in the clarified carrot cake stock. Put in the fridge for a min of 3 hours until the gelatine has set.
Make the White Chocolate and Cream cheese ganache: 5 Min
50 grams white chocolate
50 grams softened cream cheese
50 Grams heavy cream
1 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice (a mix of ground cinnamon, clove, star anise and powdered ginger)
Once the clarified carrot gelè is set in the fridge (3-4 hours). Prepare the white chocolate cream cheese.
Melt the white chocolate in the microwave by putting it in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it for 30 second intervals 2-3 times. Stirring between intervals. Mix in the cream cheese, and cream cream, microwave again for another 30 seconds and stir until fully combined. You just want to warm and melt it. Be careful not to over heat it.
Using a funnel, top the set clarified carrot gelè with 2-3 tablespoons of the white chocolate cream cheese ganache. Let it set in the fridge.
Wash and peel a carrot. Peel the carrot from end to end to get the longest and thinnest strips possible. Curl the carrot peelings around your finger. Place the curled carrot peel on top of the Chocolate Cream Cheese ganache Then top with a few chopped pecans, a few chopped candied ginger, coconut and a wedge of dried pineapple.
This dish is best served cold. Enjoy!
- Gary Stevenson
*Making a hole in the centre of the egg whites helps the clarification process. It looks messy at first but works well.