With this lovely weather, I am now embracing the summer of fresh and filling salads. I received some fennel in my weekly vegetable box and had some other bits and bobs left that I thought would make a great combo.
One thing that I wish I could change though is the type of rice. I only had Arborio rice (otherwise known as risotto rice), so that is what had to do the trick and it was still delicious. I’d recommend using brown rice, bulgur wheat, quinoa, couscous or any other grain rocking your boat.
What you need
For 2 people
- 2 portions of grains of your liking as mentioned above
- 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
- 1 bulb of fennel
- 1 orange
- 60g rucola salad
- 1/2 cucumber
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup mixed with 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt & pepper
- pumpkin seeds, if you fancy
Here’s how you make it
- Start boiling your rice (or any other grain of your choice) and add the crushed fennel.
- Cut the fennel into strips and steam them for 4 minutes (keep the leafy bit for the dressing and salad topping).
- Once the fennel is steamed, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan and fry the fennel on a medium heat until it starts browning.
- Add the maple syrup and water mixture to caramelise the fennel. Leave it until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
- Cut the orange in half, peel one half and cut it into small pieces and add it to a salad bowl.
- Cut the cucumber into small cubes and add it to the bowl together with the rucola salad.
- In a glass or small bowl, squeeze the juice of the other half of the orange for the dressing.
- Add a tbsp of olive oil, lemon juice, the fluffy bit from the fennel and salt and pepper to the freshly squeezed orange juice and stir everything together.
- Let the rice cool down a little before mixing it in with the ingredients in the salad bowl and then add the dressing.
- Serve it on a plate and place the caramelised fennel on top.
- If you’ve got any seeds available (I used pumpkin seeds), toast them and then sprinkle them on top.
Last important step, find a sunny spot and enjoy!
Last week I started an online course, actually 2, about food. More specifically, one is called “The Science of Gastronomy” and the other “The New Nordic Diet”. The first one is a lot more scientific, as the name suggests and explains more background as to how this whole heat transfer thing works and impacts how we prepare food, how our senses shape how we experience tastes and flavours and comes with some fascinating experiments I wish my teachers would have done back in school.
The Nordic course, talks all about the New Nordic Diet. I didn’t realise that this was actually a proper term coined by the founders of renowned Noma in Copenhagen and probably contributed to the invasion of Scandi food and design over the past 10 years. Besides the course being a bit, erm, flat and not really a course in my opinion, I was intrigued what kind of food that would be. So I googled, got inspired and had an idea. As it so happened, we got a load of carrots and I always wanted to get THE carrot soup right and I might have just done that this time around.
What you need
Serves 4 people.
For the soup
- about 600g carrots
- 2 onions
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil (or other oil)
- 100ml apple cider vinegar
- 200ml vegetable stock
- 1l water
- Salt and pepper
For the dressing
- 200ml yoghurt (dairy or non-dairy)
- Salt and pepper
This is how you do it
- Cut the onions into small pieces and, in a pot, fry in the oil for 3-4 minutes on a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic half way.
- Add the carrots (wash/peel and cut them into small pieces) and add plenty of salt and pepper.
- Stir everything and add the lid to sweat the vegetables for about 5 minutes, stirring them occasionally. Lower the heat a little, as you have the lid on.
- Add the apple cider vinegar and vegetable stock, increase to medium heat and let the liquid reduce to half.
- Add a litre of hot water (I boil mine in a kettle) and let everything boil for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots are soft.
- Blend it all in a blender (hand blender will also do).
- If you have a blender, add all the ingredients in there and blend. Depending on taste, you may want to add more of a particular herb.
- If you prefer, you can also just cut the herbs finely and mix it by hand with the yoghurt.
Simply add a spoonful of the yoghurt dressing on top of the carrot soup and serve it.
Today I fancied a pick-me-up and some chocolate, so I thought I’d make some quick and easy energy balls, as I had all the ingredients in the house. I feel that most of what I share in terms of recipes (if you can even call that) is coming from playing around, intuitively adding this and that and hoping for the best. And most of the time, it works out. I do have to get into the habit of noting down what I actually did. Rarely am I able to replicate the exact same thing, if not written down, as I get inspired as I go along. This time, though, I wrote it down. Lucky you!
What you need
I counted the amount of balls I got out of this batch; 26. I reckon, depending on the size, you’ll get anything between 25 – 30 yummy chocolate energy balls.
- 170g rolled oats
- 30g cacao nibs
- 3 tbsp cacao powder (if you don’t want it quite so intense, use 2 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 75ml water
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- a little bit more water if the dough is too dry
- a blender to do the hard work for you
How to make it
Mix the chia seeds and water together. You can start with this step first and then measure everything else out and add it to the blender. By the time you’re done, the chia seeds will have become all gooey and sticky. When you have this texture, add it to the rest of the ingredients in the blender.
Pulse it first and scrape the sides to blend all of it properly. If you feel that the dough is too dry, add water gradually to not make it too liquid.
Get some plates out and start getting your hands dirty (make sure to wash your hands before). I take a tablespoon (same that I measured ingredients with) and scoop a little on to the palm of my hand and then roll the dough into a ball with both palms.
As soon as you filled up a plate, put it in the freezer.
Give it about 30 minutes before digging in. Though I did eat a “leftover chunk” with the spoon.
Today it seems we’ve gone back in time and back to the gloomy days with too low temperatures, which made me want to whip up a nice warming soup. I’m not going to dig my knits and winter coat back out just yet but this soup made today a little cosier with its spicy kick.
So it here goes, it is super easy and if you don’t have wild garlic, just use normal garlic.
What you need
For 2 people
- 2 courgettes
- 1 medium potato
- 1 onion
- A handful of wild garlic
- Half a red chilli
- Veg stock cube
- Sunflower oil
- 1-1.5 litres of hot water
How to make it
As I said, this is super quick and super delicious, a right little heart warmer.
Heat sunflower oil in a pot, add chopped onions and chilli and fry on a low heat.
Chop the potato and courgettes into cubes and add them to the pot, adding a good pinch of salt, stir it and put on the lid to sweat the vegetables. You may need to increase the heat a little.
Sweating your veggies releases more flavour. Don’t be alarm if you char the veggies a little, but make sure you don’t burn them too much.
Chop the wild garlic roughly and stir it in, letting everything sweat for a further minute.
If you have a kettle, bring the water to the boil. Add the veg stock cube and water. Check that it isn’t too liquid as when you’ll blend it, you don’t want it to be too watery. If it is too thick, you can always add water when blending it.
Let it boil on a medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Blend with a hand mixer or in a blender and enjoy!
When I got a cauliflower head in our veg box this week, I wanted to try a plant-based version of cauliflower cheese gratin. It’s not that different from the cheesy base needed for a plant-based mac’n’cheese, so I gave it a go today. Makes for perfect comfort food in the midst of a mini hail storm on a Sunday.
I love pasta! I mean, who doesn’t really, but my ideal comfort food is anything pasta related and when I came across recipes for a plant-based mac and cheese, I thought I’d experiment and put my own twist on in.
I feel slightly less guilty stuffing my face with this on a cosy night watching a movie. I don’t feel as “ugh” afterwards and I know there was at something nutritious in it. Basically a perfect Sunday night meal to have.