Sauces

Summer Rose Syrup

IMG_0501.JPGSummer roses…

This recipe captures the scent, fragrance and wild essence from your garden rose into a syrup so gorgeous and simple you’ll want to keep making it over and over.

In the UK we’re blessed with many herbs and flowers that give food such an extra special unique taste. Elderflower season has come and gone, and this year’s cordial is now frozen into ice cubes for coolers dressings and cakes to be enjoyed well into the summer.

Over the years I’ve been fascinated by cooking with wild-plants that I find in the hedgerows and gardens near wherever I’m living. For some people it is a way of life and the ultimate expression of seasonality.

In America last year I was fortunate enough to meet a herbalist who made her own herbal vinegars, flower coolers, infusions and tinctures. When I tasted for the first time in my life a vinegar made of yellow dock that was so punchy fragrant and utterly indescribably bittersweet, it added such an unique flavour to our roasted vegetable dish, and added so many health benefits I vowed I would make it some day… but right now the roses are in bloom.

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This recipe is so utterly simple and delicious it will put the magic of summer into whatever piece of toast, pancake, yoghurt or waffle you drizzle it over. It makes a lovely icing for a cake.  Full of sugar, just like jam, this doesn’t pretend to be healthy. But as a vegan sweetener or jam equivalent, rose petal syrup can be used in moderation, made in small quantities and appreciated for what it is. I feel it’s a valuable and gorgeous addition to your cupboard.

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CHINESE ROSE

Recently when we were in China, travelling in the South in Yunnan, we came across a rose delicacy that blew me away and got me very interested in learning more about cooking with roses. It was a Moon Cake, a ceremonial and local delicacy, made with a flaking light pastry filled with chunky rose jam. Served warm and fresh out of a linen-lined basket by a crinkly faced apple-cheeked local. We stood there blissfully at the stall (despite it being close to a main road for passing trade) immersed in rose-heaven…a taste so blissful I want to go all the way back to China just to taste it again, it blew my mind!

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Rose sweeties…

Ever since Lee and I volunteered on an organic lavender and rose farm in Turkey in 2014, I became fascinated with the colossal copper vats where literally tons of freshly harvested rose petals would be made into essential oil. All around Turkey, roses featured highly in every market place in the form of soaps, tea, jams, sweets, and as rose-water, traditionally used by woman and men as a hand spray to lightly scent the skin after a meal.

rose sultan

“What is the scent of the Rose? The breath of reason and intelligence, a sweet guide on the way to the eternal kingdom.” Rumi

The Damask rose is as revered in Turkish society today as it was in the Ottoman times for it’s edible petals and delicious scent. Imagine a scene at Topkapi Palace, Istanbul in the Ottoman times where sultans sip rose sherbet in their thrones, Ottoman woman laze around in rose-scented baths applying oils and creams to their skins. Roses, known as ‘The flower of Heaven’ were a symbol of divine beauty and were used extensively in spiritual ceremonies. Medicines, syrups and sweets made from roses were and still are used every day. It’s all very romantic.

If it’s good enough for a sultan it’s good enough for us too, right?

This recipe was requested by a friend of the BHK, super Simon over at the Heart Kitchen.

Here’s the recipe!

Enjoy, Jane:)

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The bits

1 cup of caster sugar

Half a cup of water

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

2 cups of freshly picked rose petals

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Do it

Shake the rose petals well outside after picking to free the tiny insects. Warm the sugar, water and lemon juice on a low heat until it’s dissolved into a thick syrup. Add the rose petals and stir them in the sugar solution for about 5 minutes or so, then take off the heat and keep stirring for another ten, until the rose petals have gone see-through and the syrup has changed colour.

Strain the syrup through muslin into a jar.

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Serve

This is one of the world’s most delicious drizzles to be enjoyed with pancakes, toast, waffles, ice creams, cocktails, in tea and even in salad dressings!

Articles referenced in this post are here and here

Photograph of Sultan was originally taken by Nurhan Atasoy.
Categories: Desserts, Foraging, Infusions, Local food, photography, Recipes, Sauces, Summer, Vegan | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Maple Roasted Parsnip, Walnut & Mushroom Roulade with Cashew Cream Sauce (Traditional Vegan Christmas Fare)

Parsnip, Walnut & Mushroom Roulade with some tasty trimmings

Parsnip, Walnut & Mushroom Roulade with some tasty trimmings

A simple, vegan feast to satisfy all this Christmas!

Here is a old school dish that I came up with last night, ideal for a Christmas day centre piece and only using two pans and a baking tray! I’ve also included quick recipes for the cooking veggie accompaniments – Chicory braised in sloe gin and pan fried Brussels Sprouts with Curly Kale and the creamy sauce is something everyone will enjoy.  You are sorted for Xmas 2015!

I’ve had quite a few requests for a Christmas recipe that is both straightforward and seasonal.  Being the BHK, we don’t plan things, we just let them leap out of the veg basket and we had to go parsnip this year.  It has been ‘the year of the parsnip’ for us in many ways!

All of these ingredients most of us have around the kitchen at this time of year.  I love the way that we can create feasts from simple plant-based ingredients, packed with bold flavours and interesting textures.  We are spending Christmas this year with Jane’s parents and I think they’ll love this dish, a taste of more traditional British fare.

A vegan Christmas is a delight!  I find that I cook lighter and more nourishing dishes than previous Christmas times.  Xmas can be so packed with heavy, rich food and I can’t help feeling lucky to be stuffing myself with food that is delicious and won’t leave me in a food coma, snoring by the fire place.  If I could tone down the red wine glugging, Christmas would be a highly healthy time of year!  Jane and I will be making a whole host of vegan dishes on the big day and all across the festive season, the perfect time of year to let plants shine and inspire.

I like this recipe because it is fun for all the family, no matter what the tastes.  The pastry is something everyone can get down with, crispy, flaky and then the filling is packed with flavour finished with a very creamy, slightly cheesy plant-based sauce that will be a surprise to some.  Cashews are superheroes for plant-based creaminess.

This recipe suits is you are catering for a vegan/s over Christmas.  It can be made in advance and warmed up in the oven on the day or you can prepare the filling ingredients and roll the roulade in the morning.  I have to say that freshly baked it is tastier and the pastry has a better texture.

A festive feast!

A festive feast!

Recipe Notes

This roulade will be lovely with any veggies, but we’ve paired it with a few of our extra special favourites; chicory, kale and Brussels Sprouts.  A few roast potatoes are never a bad idea!   We also love red cabbage however it arises.

If you don’t have any nutritional yeast flakes the sauce will not be cheesy.  Now may be a good time to invest in a pot of these wonderful, savoury flakes.  Especially if you are planning on cooking vegan food regularly.  Otherwise stir in some Dijon mustard or herbs.  It will be delicious.

Cashew butter can easily be substituted by blending up cashew nuts, seasoning with salt.  Soak two handfuls of cashews for 2 hours in plenty of water and then blend.  They will form a smooth paste, perfect for adding to sauces and stews.

If you don’t have access to fresh herbs, that’s cool, lets go for roughly 3/4 teas dried rosemary and 1 1/2 teas dried thyme.  You can always taste the leeks after cooking and add more herbs if you like.

This is the easiest method of rolling a roulade, you can go for a more traditional roulade roll if you are happy with that.  This method is failsafe.

Many brands of puff pastry are vegan, have a quick check of the ingredients.

Chicory is generally quite bitter but when cooked with a sweet liqueur or even a fruit vinegar, will have delicious sweet and sour flavour.

Christmas is not complete without delicious Brussels Sprouts.  Simply pan fried in a little oil, with sea salt is my favourite way to enjoy them.

Happy cooking and Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!

 

The Bits – Makes 12 slices (enough for 4-6) 

325g/ 2 medium-sized parsnips (chopped into 1 1/2 cm wide batons – the longer the better)

2 big handfuls walnuts (roughly chopped)

3 teas maple syrup

1 1/2 teas lemon (zest)

1 head garlic (whole)

 

300g/ 2 medium leeks (cleaned and finely sliced)

2 teas fresh rosemary (finely sliced)

3 teas thyme leaves (picked from stems)

 

250g mushrooms (finely diced)

Black pepper and sea salt

 

2/3 500g vegan puff pastry block (roughly 350g)

3 tbs soya milk

Flour (for dusting)

 

Cashew Cream Sauce

100g/ 1 small leek (cleaned and finely sliced)

400ml soya milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)

4 tbs cashew butter

2 tbs nutritional yeast flakes

Sea salt (to taste)

Lovely maple roasted parsnips and walnuts

Lovely maple roasted parsnips and walnuts

Do It

Preheat an oven to 200oc (180oc fan oven).

Place the parsnips and head of garlic on a baking tray, toss with a 2 tbs of oil and a large pinch of salt.  Roast for 15 mins then gently turn over the parsnips, scatter the walnuts around the tray and drizzle all with maple syrup.  Roast for 7 minutes, turn and check that they are not burning.  Roast for 3 minutes more until the parsnips are totally. beautifully golden.  The walnuts will also be nicely caramelised.  Little explosions of flavour for the roulade!  Scatter over the lemon zest and set aside.

While the parsnips are roasting, grab a large frying pan.  Add 1 tbs oil and fry your leeks for 5- 7 minutes.  When they are soft, stir in the herbs.  Set aside.  Rinse out the pan.

Now add another 1 tbs of oil to the pan and fry your mushrooms for 8 minutes on a medium heat until most of their moisture has been released.  Mix with your leeks, season with salt and pepper, set aside.

Cut a piece of baking parchment/ greaseproof paper out that will snugly fit in a baking tray.  Place on a cool work surface and lightly dust with flour, using a rolling pin, begin to roll out your pastry.  Dusting regularly as you roll, it will help to turn the pastry over a few times while you are rolling.  You’re looking for a rectangular shape around 14″ by 10″, nice and even.  When your happy with the size, trim the edges of with a sharp knife.

Your filling ingredients should now be cool, if not leave them for a while.  Begin to fill your roulade, leeks first.  See the photo below.   Now top with a layer of walnuts,  pressing down lightly.  Top with your parsnips.  Using the baking parchment, roll your roulade.   Lightly brush all of the edges, a 2cm border all around, with soya milk.  Pull the top edge of the paper towards you, packing any filling back in as you go.  Now spin the roulade around and pull the other side of the pastry up and over so the pastry overlaps slightly.  Press gently and using the paper again, flip the roulade over so that the fold is on the bottom.  Using your hands, shape the roulade into a neat, fat sausage shape.  Now press and tuck in your ends, making sure they are well sealed.  All of this is best explained by the photos below:

Spread out the leek layer and top with walnuts, pressing down gently.

Spread out the leek layer and top with walnuts, pressing down gently

Top with the roasted parsnips

Top with the roasted parsnips

Using the baking paper, roll one edge over.....

Using the baking paper, roll one edge over…..

Rolled up like a big, fat......sausage.

Rolled up like a big, fat……sausage

Cut slices, which help to act as a portioning guide and brush with soya milk

Cut slices, which help to act as a portioning guide and brush with soya milk

Cut slices into the top of the roulade and brush with soya milk.  Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes, turning once to get a nice even bake.

Sauce time.  Simple.  Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan and warm until a low simmer, stirring regularly.  Pop a lid on, turn the heat down and leave to slowly cook through for 10 -12 minutes.  Once the leeks are soft, stir in the yeast flakes and blend with a stick blender, adding salt as needed.  This sauce does not like to be boiled for a long time, a low simmer is ideal, keep your eye on it.

Chicory braised in sloe gin

Chicory braised in sloe gin

The Veggies

3 large heads chicory (cut lengthways into quarters)

3 tbs sloe gin, port or berry vinegar (like blackberry, blackcurrant or even raspberry)

Black pepper and sea salt

 

6 large stems curly kale (stems removed, leaves finely sliced)

400g Brussels sprouts

Sea salt

 

In your trusty frying pan, add 1 tbs oil and warm on a high heat.  Lay in your chicory pieces, season with salt and pepper, fry for a couple of minutes until well caramelised and then turn over.  Fry for another 2 minutes, drizzle over the sloe gin.  Lower the heat, pop a lid on and leave to cook for 5-7 minutes, adding a splash of water if needed.  The chicory will bes soft, set aside and keep warm.  Rinse out the pan.

Adding 1 tbs oil, warm of medium high heat and add the sprouts.  Toss gently and fry for roughly 6 minutes, until the sprouts are nicely coloured (the way you like ’em).  Now add your kale and a splash of water.  Lower the heat and leave to cook for 6 minutes.  Try one (yum!).  Season with salt.

You’re now looking good to serve your festive feast!

Brussels!  Yes, please.....

Brussels! Yes, please…..

Serve

Place the golden roulade onto a nice serving platter (big plate) or chopping board and surround with glorious veggies.  Using bowls to serve the leftover vegetables.  Pour the sauce into a warm bowl/ sauce boat and enjoy the feast!  This dish goes brilliantly with a spoonful of our Pear and Cranberry Chutney.

Yes, it does look a bit like a pastry-based rocket.

Yes, it does look a bit like a pastry-based rocket

MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! (Drawn by Jane's niece Martha)

MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! (Drawn by Jane’s niece Martha – 9 years old)

 

Categories: Dinner, Recipes, Sauces, Special Occasion, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Homemade Vegan Mayonnaise

Vegan Mayonnaise

Vegan Mayonnaise

A quick post here, but something quite special.  Have you played with aquafaba yet?  It is a sensation and amazing in so many ways. This very simple vegan mayonnaise is both rich and creamy whilst purely plant based.

AQUAFABA?

Aquafaba is basically the cooking broth of chickpeas or other beans.  It can be used in a whole host of amazing ways, from making vegan meringues, fudge, pavlova and macaroons to a brilliant egg substitute in baking.  See The Vegan Society’s 13 Amazing things to do with aquafaba.   There is also an awesome Facebook page called ‘Vegan Meringues – Hits and Misses!‘ which has thousands of people playing and talking about this bafflingly brilliant ingredient.  Exciting times!

It seems we are only just getting to grips with all of the uses for this aqua faba (Greek for ‘water’ and ‘bean’).  There is much experimenting going on in kitchens across the world.  I know most of my non-vegan friends are really excited about the prospects of converting something so innocuous and plentiful into sensationally light and dreamy cakes and whipped creams.  Even Baked Alaska is now possible, purely plant! (see the brilliant Lucy’s recipe here).

When making things like mayo, dips, hummus etc that call for quite a lot of oil, I normally opt for something a little less expensive.  Extra virgin olive oil is never (and should never be) cheap and is best drizzled unadulterated onto warm bread or salad leaves.  The flavours are so subtle and fragrant that they can be wasted on a dressing or hummus.  My advice, find a decently priced middle of the roader with good flavour but not a hefty price tag.  Rapeseed oil is a wonderful one and if you’re in the UK, its grown and made here and has the most amazing flavour and deep colour.  It’s making quite a comeback.  Many new modern style producers are making rapeseed oil in the same way that high quality olive oil is made.  It shows!  Here are two of the very best Blodyn Aur and  Bennett and Dunn.  Having said all of that, I wouldn’t use these oils here.  Something more neutral like a sunflower oil is perfect.

There are so many ways of flavouring things mayonnaise, blend with roasted red peppers or onion, try it with any combo of herbs, add chipotle chillies or smoked paprika, lime and coriander…….go wild with it!  Have fun……

Here goes our basic, everyday mayo recipe.  Nice amount of vinegar, touch of sweetness and a little kick of Dijon mustard.  After you give this simple recipe a try you’ll never go for shop bought mayo again.

Recipe Note

You may like to add 1 teas lemon juice and reduce the vinegar content.  We don’t normally do this as it is means your mayo won’t last as long in the fridge.  It does taste nice though.

Most vegan mayo lasts a good six weeks after opening, to give you some gauge of how long it will last in the fridge.  Our mayo normally doesn’t make it past a few days.

The Bits – Makes roughly 200ml Mayonnaise

1 1/2 – 2 tbs apple cider/ white wine vinegar

2 tbs chickpea/ bean broth

1 teas dijon mustard

1/2 teas sea salt

1/2 teas sweetener (we use rice syrup)

125 ml neutral oil (like sunflower)

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All you need to make glorious mayo

Do It

Add all of the ingredients bar the oil to a narrow cup/ jug (a measuring jug works well).  With a stick blender, blitz the mixture a few times and then gradually drizzle the oil into the jug whilst the blender is running.

The amazing aquafaba makes such a creamy texture

The amazing aquafaba makes such a creamy texture

The mayonnaise will thicken and become white and creamy.  Keep blending, for a minute or two, until the thickness resembles your favourite mayonnaise.

Do not add any further vinegar to the mayonnaise at this stage, it will ruin the thick texture.

You can do this in a food processor if its easier.

Serve

You know how you like it!  Although we’ve taken pictures of mayo being served like a dip, its worth remembering that this is predominately oil.  Mayo is always  good spread over some freshly toasted bread and made into a sandwich or Jane’s favourite, with chips (they are French Fries to our American contingent)

Vegan Mayo - How do you like it?

Vegan Mayo – How do you like it?

Foodie Fact

Sunflower oil is light and highly nutritious and can also be used to keep skin moist and hair shining.  It has a good balance of mono and polyunsaturated fats (the good ones) and is also high in vitamins, especially Vitamin A and E, a potent antioxidant.

Unrefined oils, like sunflower, are best in recipes that do not require cooking.  Unrefined means that the nutrients, colour and flavour are still there.  Refined oils are generally more stable at high temperatures i.e. when frying or baking.

We've been on some lovely walks recently up near Snowdon

We’ve been on some lovely walks recently up near Snowdon

The lake beside Plas-y-Brenin, looking down towards Snowdon

The lake beside Plas-y-Brenin, looking down towards Snowdon

Categories: Nutrition, Recipes, Sauces, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Chermoula – Vibrant North African BBQ Saviour

Flamegrilled Vegetables with Chermoula (Recipe from Peace and Parsnips)

Flame-grilled Vegetables with Chermoula (Recipe from Peace and Parsnips)

Its that time of year when we dust of the BBQ and get things fired up.  A major part of BBQ season is what we choose to lather on our lovely smoky, charred dishes.  Something that can enliven and surprise, compliment and cut through all those powerful flavours.  Chermoula is a zesty, vibrant thing that compliments BBQ food perfectly.  A marinade/ sauce from Northern Africa, I first encountered it in Morocco and couldn’t quite believe what was happening in my mouth!  Its so full of citrus, herby freshness; the perfect antidote to the richness of a BBQ feast.

I think chermoula goes well with anything, it can light up a veggie tagine for example, especially if its made with squash or dried fruits.  The sweetness, with the zingy chermoula is a treat.  It can be stirred into warm Moroccan style grain salad made with cous cous/ millet et al and traditionally is used as a marinade.  Cover some tofu or tempeh in chermoula and leave overnight in a fridge and let this magic green sauce do its work.  I love things that look as good as they taste and Chermoula adds a splash of life to any plate.

TO PESTLE OR TO PROCESS?

I like to use a pestle and mortar when I can.  Its such a lovely piece of kit and there is something very wholesome about grinding your own spice mixes and condiments.  Yes, its a bit more elbow action than a food processor, but I have a sneaking suspicion that good food was not meant to be easy or convenient.  Sometimes, it takes a bit of work and is always rewarding.  If you are making a lot of chermoula, do it in batches, an overfilled pestle and mortar is not a pretty site (as it splashes all over your lovely kitchen counter like a Jackson Pollock painting).  I’d recommend popping it on a folded kitchen towel or something like that, this stops the P+M scooting around the place.  Also, food processor is a name that I struggle with.  It sounds a little industrial for my liking.  I like ‘whizzer’ or ‘blitzer’.

Here is the recipe from ‘Peace and Parsnips’ where I combine Chermoula with Flame-grilled Veggies (see below, I serve this dish regularly at Trigonos) and Raw Cashew Hummus, ideally all wrapped cosily in a warm flat bread.

Down at Trigonos right now, we have a heap of coriander coming from the poly-tunnels.  Along with a whole host of other herbs.  I am using them up in dressings and sauces like chermoula, the picture below contains more ‘erb than normal.  You can really play around with it, a thick chermoula is a delight if you are lucky enough to have a heap of coriander.

Chermoula!  North Afircas answer to a tasty BBQ

Chermoula! North Afircas answer to a tasty BBQ

The Bits – 1 small bowlful

1 teas coriander seeds (1/2 teas ground coriander)

1 teas cumin seeds (1/2 teas ground cumin)

100g fresh coriander

50g fresh parsley

2 cloves garlic (crushed)

2 tbs lemon juice

2 teas lemon zest

8 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Salt (as needed)

Toasting your own spices means so much more aroma and enjoyment!

Toasting your own spices means so much more aroma and enjoyment!

Do It

Dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds in a small frying pan on a medium high heat for about a minute (they will pop).  Keep them moving and make sure they don’t burn or they will become bitter.  Tip the seeds into a pestle and mortar and grind them down into a powder.  Now add all the ingredients (except the oil) and continue pounding and stirring, then drizzle in the oil.  The chermoula should resemble a thin sauce, so add more oil if needed.  Put in a bowl and set aside.

If you don’t have a pestle and mortar and are using pre-ground spices, blending the ingredients together in a food processor/ blender is fine.  Just drizzle the oil in , as above, until you get the desired consistency.

Gorgeous peppers getting a griddling

Gorgeous peppers getting a good griddling

Serve

See above, with an array of vegetables or use liberally as a marinade for the perfect BBQ!

Foodie Fact

Coriander (or Cilantro) is a beautiful plant, filled with amazing nutritional properties.  There are  many different types of coriander and at Trigonos, Judy grows a very small leafed, but intense coriander, which looks a lot like dill.  It’s a delight to cook with and sets this particular chermoula alight!

Coriander seeds are a great source of iron.  They also have good amounts of vitamin C, copper and plenty of dietary fibre.  There are even some

Categories: Dressings, Healthy Eating, photography, Recipes, Sauces, Summer, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sepen (Spicy Tibetan Dipping Sauce) and the Nightshade Fairy

Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh

Tawang Monastery, Arunachal Pradesh

Tibet in a bowl!  I have never been to Tibet as such, but I’ve been close on a number of occasions, visiting various Tibetan regions of Northern India.  Tibetan culture is alive and well in India (unfortunately the same cannot be said of Tibetan culture in Tibet, but thats a whole different blog. post.  See here for more details regarding the present state of affairs in Tibet).  Once, on a hike in Himachal Pradesh (North West India) I thought I’d made it across the border when a Indian army fella popped out from behind a boulder with an AK-47 and politely asked me to turn around and don’t look back.  Shame, it was the absolute middle of nowhere!  Tibet looked like a majestic place, all icy peaks and vistas to take the breath away and inspire sheer awe..

Tibetan Monks, Tawang Monastery - March '14

Tibetan Monks, Tawang Monastery – March ’14

VEGGIE TIBETAN DELICACIES 

The food in Tibet is designed to fuel some of the worlds most hardy folk, many of them nomads.  Living at very high altitudes, with extreme temperatures and very little water, most Tibetans are rock solid folk and they need alot of sustenance.  Salted yak butter tea is one way of getting fat and energy into the body, but we would definitely not recommend it as a tasty beverage.  I normally opt for soemthing like Jasmin tea and Green tea is also common.

Tsampa is normal fare for breakfast, basically roast barley gruel (which grows well up there in the rare airs and windswept plains), sweetened or salty and we like to add banana to it for a luxury version.  Tsampa is lovely and reminds me of a very nutritious and fortifying ‘Ready Brek’ (a British brand of thin porridge that most kids were rasied on in the ’80’s).  ‘Balep’ is a light, spongy and chewy bread that is excellent dipped in a cup of hot tea on a crisp mountain morn.  ‘Tingmo’ is a light, dimsun like bun that is popular as a snack and can sometimes be found by the side of village and town streets, served straight from the steamer.  A welcome sight on wet and chilly day (seemingly very common in most of the Tibetan areas in India).

Noodles are an ever present and are made into something resembling what we’d call ‘Chow Mein’, sometimes with a broth, sometimes with bags of oil.  Basically different sizes and styles of quite bland noodles.  They normally call it Chow Chow, or they did in Arunachal Pradesh anyway.  ‘Thentuk’ is like a soft tagiliatelle noodle in broth which I find the most appetising way of noodling in Tibetan parts.  ‘Thukpa’ is another shape of noodle.  Seasonal vegetables are an ever present in these dishes and you normally get a good amount of greens mixed in.  The humble cabbage is well loved and creeps into most dishes.  Fermented bamboo shoots are very popular and add a wonderful flavour contrast to meals with a very, very funky smell indeed.

Our handmade noodle dish in Menchuka, Arunachal Pradesh.

Our handmade noodle dish in Menchuka, Arunachal Pradesh.

We hand made noodles whilst up in Menchuka village, Arunachal Pradesh (the north east corner of India, sandwiched between Bangladesh, Tibet, Bhutan and Myanmar).  We were staying with a lady named ‘Nana’ and she cooked us local specialities every night.  These noodles were made as a second course, eaten after momos.  The stock used was the water left after steaming the momos, she added some local vegetables (grown in the garden) and greens to the stock and let it simmer for a while and there it was, a gorgeous bowl of broth-y noodles, one of my favourite foods.  Definitely what we’d call a ‘bowlful of soul’.  I like the way Nana used the steaming water from the momo cooking, this type of cooking trick makes me very happy, it always seems that more traditional cooking techniques are far less wasteful than modern and the zero waste policy is something that we try and put into practice in the BHK.  The beloved family Mithun (a cross between a buffalo and a cow, only found in A.P.) ate the vegetable scraps and seemed very happy with them.

Wild Mithun

Mithun (when a cow merges with a buffalo)

Tibetans love cheese and make many varieties, normally using Yak milk.  Dried yak cheese looks alot like parmesan and certainly smells like it.  They also make fantastic little pastry parcels (like a British pasty) which I normally avoid as they’re stuffed with meat, like beef, or cheese. They do look delicious though.

Tibetans love a tipple and normally afterwards, a little boogie.  Chang (not the terrible Thai lager) is a barley beer drank in most households and distilled grain alcohol, called Ara, is something resembling rocket fuel that gets you there very quickly, especially when huddled around a blazing fire.  Falling over and dancing like a happy loon is quite common in Tibet (or maybe that’s just me!)

Being a vegan/ vegetarian couple, we find travelling around Tibetan regions quite easy, there are always plenty of vegetable based options to be had.  The ‘usual suspects’ on menu’s (mentioned above) can become a little repetitive, especially when compared to the fabulous diversity of food in the plains of India.

Probably the most ubiquitous of Tibetan foods is the mighty Momo (see here for our post on these bite size pockets of supreme tastiness) and Sepen, or something similar, is the sauce you will find on most Tibetan tables.  Momos are normally quite bland and need some jazzing up and this Sepen is the John Coltrane of condiments.

Menchuka high street, Arunachal Pradesh - March '14

Menchuka high street, Arunachal Pradesh – March ’14

This bowl of bright red wonderment is destined to accompany the MOMOS, but it also makes an awesome sauce to stir into noodles and can be used as a spicy little dip when canapes and nibbles are on the horizon.  You can use it like any Indian style sauce, stirring it into freshly roasted vegetables is a thing of extreme tastiness.  Its a good all rounder and one of our favourite things at the moment (even better than turmeric milk.  Yes, that good!)

This is pretty much the exact same sauce as you get in little momo shacks all the way across the Himalayas and to eat it in the Beach House Kitchen (North Wales) is quite a tastebud twister.  We have just recently been sorting our way through the local tomato bombardment, no not La Tomatina (that festival in Spain where they all lob tomatoes at each other), no, this is more like massive boxes of local tomatoes landing on our doorstep (twas the nightshade fairy we’re told!!)  We have been trying to figure out what on earth to do with the big old tom glut and sauces like this are perfect.  Ideal frozen (leave out the fresh coriander until you re-heat) we are amassing little red bags of sauces and chutneys all over our freezer.  Of course, Sepen is by far the finest, thats why we’re sharing it with you guys.

The work of the nightshade fairies (aka John and Pippa and their amazing farm in Bethel)

The work of the nightshade fairies (aka John and Pippa and their amazing farm in Bethel)

Make a big bowlful:

The Bits

1 tbsp oil
2 tsp 
crushed garlic
2 tsp
 crushed ginger
¼ tsp
 fenugreek seeds
1 
dried red chilli (finely chopped) or 1/8 teas chilli flakes – to taste
500g ripe tomatoes
½ cup
 fresh coriander (chopped)

Sepen in the pot

Sepen in the pot

Do It

Gently fry the garlic and ginger in the oil over a medium low heat, taking care not to burn. After a couple of minutes add the fenugreek seeds and the chilli and stir until the fenugreek starts to turn a darker shade of gold.  Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then blitz up in a food processer with the fresh coriander until smooth.

Serve

You can have this sauce warm or cold, both are very tasty.  Like most sauces/ stews, it does get better with age.  We’d recommend an evening of chilling in a fridge, to mingle and merge the beautiful flavours.

Couple of our mates from Arunachal

Couple of our mates from Arunachal

Foodie Fact

We love our tomatoes and we love our raw food, but the two don’t exactly mix.  Tomatoes are one of the only fruits/ vegetables that benefit nutritionally from a little warmth.  Cooking tomatoes stimulates the lycopene (a phtyo chemical found in the red pigment of tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables) content, but does reduce the vitamin C content.  For example, lycopene content in tomato paste is four times higher than that of raw tomatoes.  Its a balancing act, I imagine warm tomatoes are the way forward; not totally raw, not totally roasted.

Lycopene has been shown in tests to reduce the risk of cancer, but like most nutritional research, the evidence is debatable.   Tomatoes are good for you, eat them by the barrel-full (if you’re not allergic to nightshades that is!)  That’s the B.H.K’s advice.

Categories: Sauces, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

greenPOWsauce! (aka Salsa Verde)

greenPOWsauce (or Salsa Verde)

greenPOWsauce (or Salsa Verde)

A simple and lip smacking sauce from our hombres in Mexico.  Salsa Verde is so fresh tasting, especially when lathered on a street taco in Mexico City.  Viva la verde!  Summer is on the way, we need to get these recipes gathered and prepared.  Here comes the sun……….

With a fridge full of amazing green herbs and lemons all around, making this was a real no-brainer.  I have played around with the spices here, but I think it adds even more punch and flavour to the sauce.

I was first introduced to this incredible, tangy number in a Mexican street stall lathered all over a street taco with lashings of raw chillis (normally after a few late night tequilas). The art of a good taco is in the balance of all the ingredients, but for me the salsa verde was always the most interesting component. How do they fit so much POW (followed instantly by a TWANG) into a sauce?! Later I found out and have been making variations ever since, normally potent concoctions with herbs, citrus and chilli as the core (and of course the essential tomatillos (green tomatoes).

The Verde is a super healthy affair also, making your own sauces cuts out the middle man, who usually enjoys adding scary sounding chemicals to sauces and no doubt bags of white sugar and other baddies.

Local lemons

Local lemons

This salsa is easily prepared and you may want to chop up your garlic, lemon rind etc depending on the potency of your food processor.  We think its best to mash it all up in a pestle and mortar (and hope you have time for this).  Here in Spain, our blender/f.p. is more of a smoothie maker and woefully under powered for the umph a salsa verde needs, you should be left with a vivid green sauce, all the bits well blended and together, mingling and sharing.

Due to the tomatoes, salsa verde doesn’t hang around to long in the fridge, its best eaten fresh poured over roasted veggies or in sandwiches/ tacos/ enchiladas/ burritos etc and we also use it in cooking as a sauce.  Salsa Verde will also grace any pasta, I wonder if they’ve thought of it in Italy yet!?

Tomatillos can be a little hard to get hold of outside Mexico, other green tomatoes work almost as well.

Happy whizzingX

Makes one decent size tubful

The Bits

4 large green tomatoes/ tomatillos, 1 tbsp capers, 1 ½ big handfuls of fresh coriander, 1 of parsley, 1 of mint, 1 teas roasted fennel seeds, 1 teas roasted coriander seeds, 1 teas ground coriander, 2 fresh red chillis (jalapeno?  Gauge how hot you like it), 3 cloves of garlic, 2 lemons (juice and zest), 150ml olive  oil, hefty pinch of sea salt

In the mix - Salsa Verder

In the mix – Salsa Verder

Do It

Pop all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz away until deep green and extremely tasty.  Or if you lead a life of leisure and want to do it properly, add garlic, seeds, capers, chilli and lemon zest to you pestle and mortar, add a little oil and get mashing!  Add this potent paste to your food processor with the other ingredients and blitz for 2 minutes.

Serve

Its very easy to just ladle this straight into your mouth!  We would however recommend it mixed in with roasted veggies and will zing up any rice dish.  Use it as a sauce and revel in the goodness.  Jane and I would also have it thinned out a little, as the perfect dressing for a lively salad.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

We Love It!

There is nothing like the bite and zing of a salsa verde, citrus and herbaceous with hints of spice.  It’s really, very healthy too.  The only sauce for a spring barbecue and salad session.  Why not start early this year!

Foodie Fact

All those green leaf herbs are superbly good for you, packed with anti-oxidants.   Tomatillos were originally cultivated by the Aztecs and contain more minerals than your average red tomato.

Tunes

The only soundtrack to salsa making, Santa Esmeralda – ‘Please don’t let me be misunderstood’ (bad miming and all!)

Categories: Recipes, Sauces, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Rasta Pasta Sauce

Jane in the ‘Lemons’ kitchen

We’re down in Mazzarron, Murcia (Espana!) and having a ball, basically taking along break and getting down with the Spanish vibes (manana!).   Lack of internet means little Beach House stuff, but we are getting a little more organised, so hope to be posting a few bits in the near future.  The sun shining, the weather is sweet……yeahX

After a wander down the local fruit and veg market we headed back to the ‘Lemons’ (our little flat near the sea) along the beach full of inspiration and big bags of odd looking tomatoes. We came up with this gorgeous and simple rich-tasting pasta dish using aubergines and yellow peppers.  We called it rasta pasta, you can take it easy, whip it up in minutes and spend more time in the sun with some good tunes.

Buen Provecho, JaneX

Getting things started, Aubergine and Peppers frying up

The Bits

1tbs cooking oil, half a large aubergine (chopped into 2cm cubes), 2 medium sized yellow peppers (chopped into 2cm cubes), 2 medium sized onions (chopped into 1cm cubes), 3 cloves garlic (chopped finely), 5 tomatoes, cracked black pepper, sea salt, 1tsp of mixed herbs, 1tbs balsamic vinegar, 1tsp runny honey (local por favor), fresh parsley, brown spaghetti (we liked).

Do It

Chop the aubergine into rough cubes and fry in oil on a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped peppers and keep cooking until everything is soft and roasted and smelling good.  Put them in a bowl and cover.

In the same pan, fry the onions gently on a lower heat in a little more oil, for about 5 mins until soft. Then add the chopped garlic and cook gently so everything goes caramalised.

Chop up your tomatoes roughly, then add to the pan. We left the skins on. Pepper and salt to taste, add the mixed herbs, balsamic vinegar and honey and turn up the heat to medium. Stir everything around then cover and leave to reduce for 15 minutes until the sauce is perfectly thick and ready for the pasta.

Rasta pasta in the mix

Serve

We used brown spaghetti which was beautiful or whatever pasta you prefer.  Mix all mixed together with a little splash more olive oil making it juicy and rich. Oh and a rather decadent side salad with avocados and sprouts.

What a feast!

RASTA PASTA

We Love It!

This dish is a wonder and has virtually no fat. It proves that the need for cheese with pasta is a myth and it has all the colours of reggae! Yippeee!

Foodie Fact

Aubergines are brilliant!  Low in calories and rich in fibre, they are full of the vitamin B’s and are good for anti-oxidants.

 

Categories: Dinner, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Sauces, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Willie’s Cacao Roasted Pepper and Chilli Harrisa with Caramelised Roots

Willie’s Cacao

I loved the sound of this recipe, it really fired my inspiration.  I was excited to give it a try, the combination of bitter cacao with sweet roasted peppers sounded like a wonderful thing.  

I have just come to realise that I have the wrong cacao, I have the chocolate cacao and not the cacao cacao that is needed (that’s the 100% variety).  With no new cacao (I love that word!) on the horizon I have decided to share this with you all, without even tasting it.  I am so confident it will be amazing, I just want to pass it on and hopefully you may give it a go.

Over to Willie…………… 

“I love chillies, but I don’t like them so hot that I cannot taste anything else. So I’ve added roasted sweet red pepper to this sauce to balance the heat of the chillies. However, it is always hard to judge how hot chillies will be as they vary so much. You can reduce the heat of the chillies in this recipe by deseeding about a third of them before using or, if you want the sauce quite mild, halve the amount used. This is a great accompaniment to oily fish, lamb and pork, including sausages. You could also serve it with a Moroccan tagine.”  (Or lovely roasted roots a la Beach House.)

Makes 600ml

16 long red chillies
4 large red peppers
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
150ml extra virgin olive oil
10g Madagascan Sambirano Superior 100% cacao
1 tbsp Cacao Nib Balsamic Vinegar, or good quality balsamic vinegar
Salt

Preheat the oven to 250°C.

Roasted Peppers (theshiksa.com)

Wrap the chillies in a double layer of foil and place on a baking tray. Put the unwrapped red peppers alongside them on the same tray. Roast in the hot oven for about 25 minutes, or until the peppers are slightly blackened and soft. Allow to cool slightly, then peel and deseed the red peppers. Remove the chillies from the foil, but leave whole, just removing any stalks. Put both the chillies and peppers in a blender or food processor and whizz to make a rough purée (don’t overwork; leave a little texture). Set on one side.

Toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan until they smell fragrant. Tip them into a mortar and crush with a pestle to a coarse powder.

Place the puréed peppers and the chillies in a large saucepan, add the powdered cumin and the olive oil. Bring the mixture to the boil over a medium heat, then simmer gently until the sauce has reduced by about a half. You will find the oil separates out. Remove from the heat, add the cacao, balsamic vinegar and salt to taste and stir until well combined. Spoon the hot harissa into warm sterilized jars, allow to cool slightly, then seal. This sauce should keep for at least 3 months in a cool place.

I would serve this beautiful harissa with some oven roasted roots; sweet potato, carrots and swede would perfect.  Imagine the colours!

Original post can be found here.

We will be trying this one soon, just need to get some of that lovely cacao and we’re off into the wonderful world of savoury chocolate cooking.  

Categories: Dinner, Recipes, Sauces, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Raw Carrot Dip

Raw Carrot Dip

It was time to wish Savannah goodbye and good luck for her trip to Spain, so we made her a beach house special raw lunch.  Over the last few days I have come to realise I LOVE preparing food raw.  It is a new found passion for me! It’s so quick, easy, the washing up takes two minutes, and I am learning about some amazing ingredients that make everything SO tasty.  Plus the herb garden herbs are becoming so bushy of late they are just perfect.

This makes a jam jar full 🙂
The Bits
3 large carrots, half an onion, chopped parsley, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp tamari, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 4 tbsp tahini, 2 tbsp water
Do It
Chop the carrot and onion (we used the grater blade in our blender which grated everything perfectly), put everything into the blender and blend for a couple of minutes and then have a little taste – YUM!
We Love It!
This adds a nice bit of richness to our salads and can be used for dipping or spreading on your favourite things.
Foodie Fact
Tahini has an incredibly high nutritional content, full of most of the vitamin B’s and calcium.  In most diets, calcium is taken in via cows milk which is not great for the digestive system, potentially leading to irritation and other difficulties.  Many people believe that tahini has the highest calcium content of any food.

Fresh coco and nut yogurt

We thought we’d add this little snack on, we made it as a fatty number to be eaten 3 hours after our sugary morning fruit salad and before dinner (see our Raw Food No No’s for why?)  We chopped up fresh coconut, a handful of mixed nuts (unroasted) and a good blob of soya yogurt.
Happy dippingX
Love, JaneXXXX

Sunshine lettuce

 

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Sauces, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Superfoods, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sava’s Elephant Garlic Flower Salad

Sava’s last lunch at the BHK

Here was this lunch offering, made by Jane and Sava.   A crunchy wonder, with bucket loads of veggies, topped with the ever intriguing, elephant garlic flowers.

This was Savannah’s last meal with us and we wanted it to be special.  We rustled up a few different salads, dips and even a piquant beige guacamole.

Sava is originally from South London, but is currently masterminding world domination (Sava style) which means spreading love, happiness and vibrant energy to all corners of the world.  Sava is also an ace vegan chef and was the perfect house guest during this raw time at the Beach House.  We have spent most of our time sitting around talking about food and travel, two of our most favourite chat topics.  Its been a gas….

Sava has an brilliant travel website, all about travelling the world and living your wildest dreams.  Its called travel butterfly.  Sava has just returned from travelling around Central and Southern America and there are loads of wonderful tales, images and tips to be found there.

These garlic flowers have thick stems with a potent garlic punch (the whole house stank of garlic after chopping a few up).  The flowers seem edible, with small yellow petals.  One bunch has lasted us quite a few days as its best used sparingly.  Warning, if you are worried about garlic breath, do not approach these flowers (and stop worrying).

You may like to add some spirulina, wheat grass or barley grass powder to the topping if you are raw, or even if you aren’t, this would give you a serious boost.  These are three heavyweight contenders of the superfood world.  It is said that you can live on these green powders (the barley grass actually tastes of dried fish) but not even I will venture this far down the road of cleaning my internals up.  The barley powder we have is labelled as a ‘powerful’ food and should be eased into, you wouldn’t want to over do it (this all seems very tame compared to my tequila slammer days, but unimaginably healthier!).

These salads are always super easy to get together, we’ve made them per person so you can just have it yourself, or share with the people you really, really like.  This is a big salad and designed to be a main meal so there is a lot of ingredients in it.  We realise this goes against some of our ‘The Big Four Raw Food No No’s’ but we are trying to be good!  We topped it with the elephant garlic flowers so we could measure the amount we ate with eat spoonful, it also looked great.

Elephant garlic flowers

The Bits

Per person – Handful of baby corn, 1 carrot (chopped), handful of mangetout, 1 ripe tomato, 1/2 courgette (chopped), 1/2 apple (green and sour is best, chopped), 1 stick of celery, handful of cucumber (chopped), handful of cos lettuce (chopped), 2 teas linseeds, 1 handful of mung bean sprouts, 2 teas alfalfa sprouts.

Topping – Handful of elephant garlic flower (chopped), handful of sunflower seeds, splash of olive oil.

Elephant Garlic Flower Salad

Serve

Layered with a creamy Miso, Tamari and Tahini Dressing, topped with the chopped elephant garlic flowers.

We Love It!

Mainly because Sava made it and she is very lovely indeed.  The elephant garlic is amazing and well worth seeking out, it explodes in your mouth and adds a spot of romance to the plate.

Foodie Fact

Native Americans believe wild garlic to help against ailments such as high blood pressure, asthma and scurvy.

Our Morning Juice Routine

Is stuttering along.  We are still getting into the routine of a mid-morning juice.  I used to have  a nice jug of coffee, now its a yogurt pot full of fresh juice.  I know which one my body prefers (bit sometimes I miss that aroma).

Jane made a magic juice this morning with the trusty Magimix.  Simple and not really worth a separate post, its similar to a couple we have done before.  It was a zesty Apple, Carrot and Ginger.  The perfect balance of sweetness with a kick of ginger.  Here is Jane mid juice:

Jane making morning juice

We aim to be drinking at least one juice per day and are finding that we are not hungry in the mornings.  This would make sense, all of our nutritional requirements are being met, so the absorption cycle of the body doesn’t really kick in until 12pm.  That’s when we whip out the salads.

We plan on getting a 25 kilo bag of carrots from a farm down the road and really getting juicy next week.  Apparently, if you drink too much carrot juice, you actually turn orange.  Watch this space, will make for interesting pictures I’m sure.

Happy days aheadX

Categories: Breakfast, Friends of B.H.K, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Sauces, Side Dish, Superfoods, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wild Garlic (Ramson) and Walnut Pesto

Ruth’s hand mid forage

Another hedgerow classic via our Beach House brother, Dan. This recipe was originally taken from the great book, ‘Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me’ by the brilliant Dennis Cotter. I haven’t read it, but will hopefully be acquiring it soon.

This is a cracking little recipe, nice and quick to get together and you gain the infinite pleasure of cropping your own bunches of wild garlic (or ‘Ramson’ in some parts of the world), that are free and absolutely delicious.

The amazing thing about pesto, like most good things, it gets better with age (to a point!). An overnight stay in the fridge and POW, the flavours leap out at you.

We will be trying it tonight with almonds (we have a walnut shortage) and mixing it into some wholewheat penne. Yum!

Thanks and hugs to Dan and Ruth for their constant inspiration.

The Bits

100g wild garlic leaves, 50g shelled walnuts, 200ml olive oil, 40g Parmesan, salt, pepper

Do It

Add all ingredients to a blender and give it a good blitz.  A small food processor is best here, like the ones you would use to grind coffee.

Wild garlic and walnut pesto

Serve

We have pesto spread thinly on toasted oatbread, or mixed in with wholewheat pasta.

Foodie Fact

Interestingly China in the largest producer of garlic in the world, at 13 million tonnes of the stuff, followed closely by India (800,000 tonnes), then comes Egypt and South Korea.  France is not even in the top ten!

Dennis Cotter is an Irish veggie chef who owns the ‘Cafe Paradiso’ in Cork. His cookbooks and approach to all things veggie cooking are always fresh and very delicious.

Heres a link to a great little garlic producer in Scotland, the really garlicky company.

Categories: Dressings, Foraging, Friends of B.H.K, Local food, Recipes, Sauces, Snacks and Inbetweens, Wales, Wild food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sweet Onion Hummus

Sweet onions (with a touch of celery)

This is a staple wonder paste at the B.H.K.  I make hummus at least once a week and in my many experimentations with pulverized chickpeas, I can say that this is our fav.
It is nice and simple, lightly spiced and has the lovely sweetness of well-stewed onions.  Not your conventional hummus and I don’t like to use loads of oil, I use the chickpea cooking juices and this makes the hummus lighter and lower in fats.

After tasting this recipe, the hummus from your local supermarket will seem salty and stodgy in comparison, and expensive!

We make a big batch that lasts us a few days.

Gigglebeans in the sun

The Bits
Approx. 3500g dried chickpeas (soaked for a day, then cooked in slightly salted water on a low heat for at least an hour until tender. You can use canned, but their texture is not quite as good), 2 onions (organic if you can, finely chopped), 1 teas cumin, 1/2 teas coriander seeds, 1 teas paprika, 1 teas turmeric, 1 teas thyme, 1 teas rosemary, 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), 1 cup of olive oil, 1 big tbs dark tahini, zest and juice of 1 lemon (unwaxed of course!), s + p.
Do It
Good glug of oil in a frying pan, gently fry onions for 10 mins, season, then cover and lower heat.  Do not colour, gently cook.  Leave for 45 mins, stirring occasionally, then take off lid and add spices and herbs, cook for 15 mins more until golden and most of the juice has gone.
Take your cooked and cooled chickpeas and place them in a blender (you can do this by hand, but you need big muscles), add onions, garlic, lemon and tahini, season with s+p.  You should add around 1 to 2 cups of the chickpea cooking liquid here, use more later to make smoother.
Begin to blitz, adding a steady stream of olive oil as you go.  Stop regularly, taste, adjust seasoning, add more lemon, spice, s+p etc, get it just right for you. Remember that the flavours will come together when left in the fridge for a while, getting more intense, also the texture will stiffen so make it a little runnier.  A splash of water or chicpea stock is recommended to lighten your hummus.  You  know how you like it!  I like to be able to taste the lemon and tahini over the spices.

Oatcake anyone?

Serve
On anything!  Warm pitta of course, I normally finish it with another glug of olive oil and a dusting of paprika, maybe some sesame seeds if you’re feeling flash.

We regularly have it as a side with a main dish, it adds great richness and creaminess to anything it touches, especially when added to stews (normally just before serving).

Foodie Fact
The mighty Garbanzo (U.S.), Giggle bean (Germany) and Chick pea (other places) is a super legume. It is incredibly versatile, makes great flour and very good for us. What a natural beaut!
Chick peas are full of fibre, they actually lower our cholesterol and are full of antioxidants.  They are colon friendly having a lot of insoluble fibre. Love your colon!

Categories: gluten-free, Healthy Eating, photography, Recipes, Sauces, Side Dish, Snacks and Inbetweens, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Miso and Tahini Dressing

A punchy little number with a good health kick to it.

This makes for a nice thick dressing with a tangy flavour like no other.  The first time I read the recipe I knew it would be an interesting flavour and it’s turned out to be a real favourite at the B.H.K.

It goes perfectly with roasted root veg and potatoes, maybe with a veggie sausage thrown in.  We have it as a substitute to a classic meat-based gravy, good served hot or cold.

I use brown miso paste but experimenting with different miso would work well also.

Warning!  This can get quite salty so use sparingly and taste before serving, balancing flavours accordingly.  Use more date and lemon to balance the saltiness.

The Bits

1 tbsp Brown Miso Paste, 2 tbsp Soya Sauce, 2 tbsp Tahini, 2 tbsp olive oil, 4 dates, 1 squeeze of lemon juice, 2 tbsp filtered water, 2 tomatoes, 1/2 onion (or leek, a mellow white onion would be best here), 1 clove garlic.

Do It

Put all ingredients into a blender and whizz until a smooth sauce is formed

Serve

As a dip, over a veggie burger or sausage, or as a dressing.  We had it cold mixed into roast vegetables and also as a beetroot and carrot salad dressing.

We Love It!

This dressing has a rich almost alcoholic flavour.  A great substitute to a sherry gravy!   Healthy food that tastes amazing, you can’t beat it!

Foodie Fact

This dressing has some great raw components, packing a real health kick.

Miso is fermented soya beans, which can have grains (ie rice or barley) added for different flavours.  Fermentation is possible due to nifty micro-organisms that have been used in this way in China and Japan for thousands of years.  Food fermented using these micro-organisms are referred to as ‘Koji’.

You may have tried Miso Soup, but Miso has many other uses and is a healthy substitute to salt.

Young Miso is normally white and darkens the longer it matures, which can be years.  The longer the fermentation, the stronger the flavours.  Miso is available in many colours including green and red.

Miso is high in sodium, but does not affect our system the same way as normal salt, having less impact on blood pressure etc.  After tests is Japan, scientists still do not fully understand why this is the case.

Miso is full of antioxidants (like manganese and zinc) and like other soy based foods it contains the super phyto- nutrient antioxidants (phenolic acids).  Miso is also a good source of dietary fibre and protein and benefits the digestive tract.

Mighty Miso

Categories: Dressings, gluten-free, Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Sauces, Snacks and Inbetweens, Superfoods, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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