by Zaira


(4 people)


  • 280 g Amio red beans
  • 250 g sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp flax flour (grind 1 tbsp flax seeds or buy pre-ground) + 4 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 75 g dark chocolate (80% cocoa)
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rum


  • 150 g sugar
  • 20 ml water
  • 120 ml fresh cream
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt


  1. Soak the dried beans in water the night before cooking for about 10-12 hours. Rinse and pour them in a pot with 1,5 liter of cold water (about 500 ml for 100 g of beans). Bring to the boil and cook at low heat, with the lid on, for about one hour (if you use a pressure cooker, half an hour will be enough).
  2. Drain the beans and keep aside.
  3. In the meantime peel and wash potatoes, cut them in medium size cubes.
  4. Steam the potato cubes for about 20 minutes until soft. Remove from the steamer and let them chill.
  5. Preheat the oven at 180 C° and take out the butter from the fridge.
  6. If you are making your own flax flour, grind 1 tbsp of flax seeds. You’ll end up with 2 tbsp of flax flour which you’ll add to a small bowl along with 4 tbsp of water, stir well and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it forms a gel.
  7. Blend the beans using a food processor to obtain a wet flour.
  8. Add the potato pieces to the bean pulp in the food processor and blend them together.
  9. Add the flax gel and liquid coconut oil in the food processor (melt the oil in a water bath or on the stove in a saucepan on low heat).
  10. Crush the chocolate and melt it in a water bath or in the microwave, then add it to the mixture along with the 4 tbsp of cocoa powder and the tablespoon of rum. Blend until you obtain a smooth chocolate-like mousse.
  11. Grease the mold very well with melted butter or coconut oil and cover it with some parchment paper. Pour the mixture into the mold.
  12. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 180 C° and let it chill.
  13. Proceed with the caramel sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar with 20 ml cold water and stir. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar has turned into a deep amber hue.
  14. Meanwhile, warm the cream in a small saucepan without bringing to boil.
  15. When the caramel is ready, slowly whisk the warm cream and continue simmering the mixture for 2 or 3 more minutes, until it becomes smooth.
  16. Remove from the heat and add butter (at room temperature) continuously stirring with a whisk, then add the salt.
  17. Remove the cake from the mold and spread it with the salty caramel sauce.

The thin glasses of the window vibrate at every blast of wind, shaken as the treetops heavy with rain. The look lingers a bit through those branches and then gets lost far away until it reaches the sea line which is barely visible, between the fast passing clouds.

It's like a dance, the rain. It lightly and gracefully hovers and then it rages with powerful energy.
I touch the cold window glass with my fingers, it's fogged by my breathing and I enjoy - for the first time after months - a quiet moment.
The rain always comforts me, it brings a sweet sensation of slowness, the same you can feel while tasting something really delicious.

Sometimes it happens that ideas are born by pure chance or coincidence, moments, sudden inspirations, weird things, foolish things... things. I turn the look from the gusts of rain beating on the window to a feeble glint that comes from a darker corner of the kitchen. An English dessert fork in blackened silver I have left there for years - being it too pretentious amongst the others, all too common - brings random thoughts to my memory.

Black skies over London, Victorian pomp, banquets and embroidered tablecloths, glasses of sweet wine... decadent delicious cakes.

I haven't got many ingredients at my disposal, mostly poor ingredients as sweet potatoes and red beans - that I love so much to eat in winter - and my supply of dark chocolate that never lacks on my cupboard wooden shelves.

The soft light, the English fork, the pouring rain, the crackling wood stove and that bare dark table are my inspiration.
The clock's ticking even more slowly, the warm steam fills the kitchen with an intense sweet smell... a pinch of salt might be a good idea, it could work!

I get back to the window with my small plate in my hand, sinking the fork into the humid texture of the cake, muddy and dark like the wet earth - and I don't even notice that the rain has stopped.

I'm Zaira Zarotti,

Photographer and Visual Storyteller, author of the blog The Freaky Table.

To me, the ephemeral beauty of daily simple things, amongst which food certainly plays an important role, are the pretext for personal soul searching and a visual study. Food is sustenance, but it's also culture and it represents us much more than we can imagine. To me, there is no limit to imagination when pulses in the kitchen are concerned. Today, even more then in the past, legumes are the ethic proteinic response to everyone's food needs, without wastage of massive resources for the benefit of few. They hold memories of ancient wisdom and new buds of awareness. They represent a sustainable and respectful future.. and the Earth is grateful.