Maz Valcorza is founder and director of Sadhana Kitchen, Sydney's first organic, raw food and vegan cafe.
How did you come to start Sadhana Kitchen? I had become vegan after learning about the principle of ahimsa through yoga teacher training. It means non-violence in Sanskrit and that concept of causing as little harm as possible, both to myself and others really resonated with me. After realising that vegan food didn’t necessarily mean healthy, I found raw food recipes online. I really enjoyed experimenting with and creating recipes and that lead to me starting a blog, sharing recipes there and then opening Sadhana Kitchen.
Why the interest with raw food? The beauty and flavour of high quality, fresh, seasonal and organic produce. You can create amazing dishes that are incredibly tasty and also so good for you. Raw food is real food, grown the way nature intended and filled with all the nutrients that the human body needs – not just to survive, but to thrive. Personal wisdom … we all have it in us, and we all inherently know what's good for us.
What is the one ingredient you couldn't live without? Chia seeds! They’re so versatile and contain five times the calcium of dairy milk and three times the iron of beef while also being a complete protein.
What is your typical day? I wake up, meditate, practise yoga, head to Sadhana Kitchen for a green smoothie and then do some admin work (fun!). Sometime I have an event or a talk, otherwise I oversee operations of my restaurants.
What is the best part of your job? It’s a tie between being able to work with our team and interacting with our customers. Our staff are so passionate, capable, kind and lovely. We are all united in a common purpose and love sharing this amazing food with our customers.
What is your advice for anyone who wants to eat well? I suggest people do their research and try out what they feel drawn to so they can see what works best for them. They should check what their nutritional requirements are each day and what foods can meet them and how foods combine and digest most optimally. Also a good practice is being mindful and being curious about where your food comes from and what’s been involved in the process of it getting to your plate. As our Bondi store’s general manager Liz Miu always says, it takes five to 13 years for an avocado to get from seed to fruit, and that doesn’t even include the variables of climate and transport.
155g activated cashew nuts
100g activated walnuts
310g activated almonds
125ml coconut nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla powder
45g dried bananas, chopped
½ banana, mashed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Macadamia and banana frosting
160g activated macadamia nuts
3 tablespoons cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil
4 tablespoons coconut nectar
1 banana, mashed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Using a high-speed blender, and working in separate batches, grind cashews, walnuts, and almonds into a flour, tipping each batch into a mixing bowl. Add the ground nuts to a food processor. Add the nectar, vanilla, dried banana, mashed banana, and lemon juice, then pulse to the consistency of a moist cake. The mixture should bind itself when pressed together between your fingers.
Press the mixture into 24 mini cupcake tins lined with plastic wrap, or into 24 mini silicone cupcake moulds, then turn the cupcakes out onto a clean, flat surface.
Blend all the frosting ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth. Pop into a piping bag and pipe onto the cupcakes. Top each cupcake with a piece of banana just before serving.
The cupcakes will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days, or can be frosted and frozen for several months.
Recipe reproduced with permission from The Naked Vegan by Maz Valcorza (Murdoch Books; $35.00).