Jennifer Hart-Smith

On my recent trip to Paris I photographed Jennifer Hart-Smith in her food lab in the 20th arrondisement. I’ve been an admirer of Jennifer’s food creations for almost a decade now, so when I finally got to meet her in person, it was a pretty special moment. We chatted all things food and even did a cookbook swap. Based in Paris, Jennifer is a Franco-Australian naturopath chef and author of her many cookbooks. Coming from a design background, Jennifer plates up her ingredients in the most artistic way. Often pushing the aesthetic boundaries, her dishes are not only beautiful but also provoke curiosity. Her play of textures and colours are truly unique to her love of combining foraged plants and other ingredients. With healthy plant-based dishes that focus on sensual pleasure, Jennifer always reaches for local, organic and seasonal products that are essential to one’s health and the planet’s. When not testing for new recipes, Jennifer is often commissioned to cater for gallery openings, distinctive private functions and many more. 

“It is important to maintain the essence of our choice of meal. A small gesture like adding a pinch of smoked salt, a dash of flavoured vinegar, a green or red oil, a spicy condiment, a bitter paste – can really take us on a wonderful journey of taste.”

Last year Jennifer teamed up with Elvira Masson (a French food columnist) to release a much needed book called “Le Manuel Gourmand de la Ménopause” (The Gourmet Menopause Manual). As the title suggests, it contains wholesome nourishing recipes that provide big boost of health benefits to our body and mind. This book takes us on a journey of joy of cooking and exploring different cuisines that should remain a practice in our everyday life to help overcome the physiological changes that our body goes through during menopause.

Here Jennifer shares one of the recipes from her latest book, a pitch black velvety black sesame silken tofu steam cake which was out of this world! With sesame seeds being one of the main ingredients, it is rich in calcium which is great for our bone health and helps preserve muscle mass.

“One of the crucial nutritional issues during this period is maintaining the balanced absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Sesame seed is a central ingredient in Japan, where osteoarticular problems are less widespread than in France.” 

Check out this interview on “The Gourmet Menopause Manual” and the book is now available for purchase at online bookstores.

Black Sesame Steam Cake

Prep time: | Cook time: | Serves 4

  • 250g black sesame seeds (or black sesame puree)
  • 4 eggs
  • 80g of raw sugar (or honey)
  • 200g silken tofu
  • 60g of olive oil
  • 70g of flour (or a gluten-free flour mixture)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  1. In a food processor, blend the black sesame seeds until they become homogeneous and soft paste.
  2. Next, slowly add in the eggs, silken tofu and the brown sugar or honey. Lastly, add in the flour and baking powder, finish with olive oil. Keep blending for a couple of minutes until the mixture is smooth and even.
  3. Pour the mixture into a cake mould around 18-20 cm in diameter. Do not exceed three-quarters of the height of the mould.
  4. Cook in a steamer basket for 40-45 minutes. Use the tip of knife to check if centre of cake is cooked, if the tip comes out clean that means it’s fully cooked.
  5. Serve warm with some soft white cheese (ricotta, cottage, sheep or goat cheese) and a dash of honey.
Posted: Feb 15 2024
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