Over The Moon & The Cake Eating Buddha

the cake the buddha ate

Big G bought me this gorgeous book at Christmas. The Cake the Buddha Ate is a cook book put together by the serene souls at The Buddhist Retreat Centre perched on the river in Ixopo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It’s a divine collection of vegetarian recipes that are made and served in silence at the meditation retreat. The book is dotted with beautiful photographs of the retreat and its goings-on, with each recipe telling the story of who created it and how it came to be. You only have to read the opening tale to get a sense of the style of these glorious dishes.

‘Upon waking, Daniel noticed that a slice of cake had gone missing during the night. The cake’s gauze cover had not been disturbed. Puzzled, he looked around his room. His gaze came to rest on the little shrine he had created which had a small bronze Buddha statue at its centre. The Buddha’s beautiful smile seemed a little coy in the early morning light. Looking closer, he noticed a single smudge on the side of the Buddha’s mouth. It was icing sugar.’

porcini pasta crescents with arrabiata sauce

On to the recipes. I took the pasta recipe, over the moon pasta crescents with nuts, cheese and sage filling from p79, and experimented with porcini and cream cheese as an alternative. I have cooked the nuts, cheese and sage filling and it is really delicious. The only thing I wish I’d done is added some toasted pine nuts to the filling, or scattered some over the top when serving.  I also made a red pepper arrabiata to serve with it and a green leaves and avocado salad with mustard vinaigrette.

pasta ingredients:
300g plain flour
3 eggs
15ml vegetable oil
5ml salt

pasta method:
1. place the flour and salt in a food processor
2. add the oil and 1 egg and pulse for 30 seconds
3. add another egg and pulse a few times to mix
4. add the last egg and continue pulsing until the dough is thoroughly mixed
5. turn the dough onto a floured work surface
6. divide the dough into 2 pieces and knead by pushing the dough with the heel of your hand. knead until elastic and the dough peels from the work surface in one piece
7. repeat with the second half of the dough, cover with a bowl and leave for 1 hour

porcini & cream cheese pasta fillingfilling ingredients:
125g soft cream cheese (philadelphia)
1/2 small packet dried porcini mushrooms
2 cloves garlic crushed
pinch of dried sage (or any italian herb)
handful grated parmesan
salt & pepper to taste
(all approximate measurements/I ended up with some filling left over)

filling method:
1. soak the dried porcini mushrooms in warm water for about 20 mins
2. in a mixing bowl put the cream cheese, garlic, sage, parmesan and salt & pepper
3. after the 20 mins drain the mushrooms (I kept the liquor to put in the pasta water), give them a squeeze to remove excess liquid, roughly chop and added to other ingredients in bowl
4. mix up all the ingredients with a fork and put in the fridge to chill (if it’s too warm it’ll be a bit of a mess when you divide it out to fill the pasta)

porcini filled pasta crescentspasta assembling method (allowing 1-2 hours to dry):
1. roll out the dough, not too thick, not too thin (by hand or in a pasta rolling machine)
2. cut the rolled pasta into round shapes using a biscuit cutter
3. place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of each round
4. wet the edges with water using a brush, I used my fingers and an egg wash, fold in half and pinch the edges together to seal
5. spread the crescents on a floured tea towel and sprinkle with flour
6. allow to dry for 1-2 hours before cooking

cresent moon pasta with porcini filling

arrabiata sauce ingredients:
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion chopped
1-2 romano or regular red peppers
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tin chopped tomatoes
pinch of sugar
salt & black pepper
shaved parmesan to serve

arrabiata sauce method:
1. soften the onion, garlic and red peppers in the olive oil
2. add the chilli flakes and cook for 1 min
3. add the tomatoes, sugar and season with salt & pepper
4. simmer gently and slowly until peppers soften and sauce has taken on a richness

bringing it all together:
1. when the pasta moons are dry, and the arrabiata sauce is made, cook the crescents in boiling salted water for 2-3 mins, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking
2. drain and serve immediately, spoon on the arrabiata sauce, shave fresh parmesan over the top and a drizzle of olive oil to finish

serves: 2-4 | time: set aside an indulgent afternoon for this one

recipes from: The Cake the Buddha Ate: More Quiet Food & Barefoot Boho

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