Mar 2013

KALE AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH MISO

KALE AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH MISO

Does the world need another massaged kale salad recipe? Without a doubt!!! One can’t have enough kale. Even my kids have fallen under its spell. They love Brendan Brazier’s sour cream kale chips, but they also love this salad.

Couple weeks ago I invited a friend over for dinner and made this salad to accompany our mains. My friend watch with amusement as my husband, kids and I fought over the last portion. She proclaimed we were a weird family. I take it as a compliment.

We are all aware of the superior nutrition kale possesses, there are countless articles circulating on vegan websites. It is packed with minerals, vitamins, protein and fibre. When you massage, chop or chew kale you release the fantastic isothiocyanates. These are very potent cancer fighters and help your liver in its hard daily task of detoxification. Pair kale up with the other ingredients in my recipe and you have a dinner of champions.

kale

Now the practical bits. Any white or yellow miso will do great in this recipe (just don’t use brown). I have recently discovered live miso paste in my favorite health food shop chiller. When I opened the lid slight steam (or is it smoke?) seemed to have risen from the jar. The miso was extra zingy and strong, but delicious. If you are a miso virgin you may want to start with the less extravagant version.

Lemon and lime work equally well here. I use whatever is in the fridge. If I have both, I will choose the lime. To make this recipe fully raw, use 1 Tbs of raw agave instead of the 2 Tbs of mirin. I prefer mirin, it had the right amount of sweetness and is a natural partner to miso. They are from the same country after all.

One last note. If you do find you are fighting your loved ones over the last bite, just double the portion. Vegan is about love after all.


IMG_5907

KALE AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH MISO
Serves 4

ingredients
1/2lb (200-250g) kale, stalks removed, shredded
1 heaped Tbs yellow (or white) live miso
juice of 1 lime (or small lemon)
2 Tbs mirin
3 spring onions (scallions)
1 large avocado

method
  1. Place the kale in a large bowl. Add the miso, lime juice and mirin.
  2. Massage the kale and the dressing ingredients together for about 2 minutes. The kale will collapse and the dressing will coat all the kale leaves.
  3. Slice the onions thinly and add into the onions.
  4. Peel the avocado and remove the stone. Cut the avocado flesh bite sized pieces and stir through the leaves.

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ROASTED VEGETABLES, SPICED CHICKPEAS AND CASHEW CORIANDER SAUCE

ROASTED VEGETABLES, SPICED CHICKPEAS AND CASHEW CORIANDER SAUCE

Yesterday I watched BBC program about insect eating. Stefan Gates, the culinary globetrotter, explored the idea whether insect eating could save the world. We are all aware that the worldwide meat demand is becoming rather insatiable. In addition to the meat centric Western diets, new emerging economies are abandoning traditional ways of eating and consume more and more meat. We are faced with rising prices and incredible cost to the environment. Insects on the other hand are plentiful (in warmer climates), cheap, low methane producers, high in protein and apparently tasty. Insect farming would definitely be better for the environment than cattle farming.

Stefan in another BBC report tried to convince some students (yes they will try anything once!) to sample his meal worm burgers. He added nuts, vegetables and spices... he basically made a veggie burger with the addition of some ground up meal worms. Needles to say students didn’t think insect eating will become the next big thing in our restaurants.

Do we really need to find more animal protein sources? It is easy to get enough protein in our diet from plants. No need to bite on insect shells, ant eggs or grinding worms into burgers. And no, the though of tarantula bottom tasting very creamy (as the Cambodian children described it) is not appealing at all. I will stick to my veggie diet :)


roasted-veg-spiced-chickpea

ROASTED VEGETABLES, SPICED CHICKPEAS AND CASHEW CORIANDER SAUCE
There are a few steps in this recipe but it is worth it. Great dinner party dish.

Serves 4

ingredients
roasted veggies
2 red pepper
2 medium parsnips
2 sweet potatoes
2 onions
2 aubergines
1/2 tbs rapeseed oil

spiced chickpeas
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli pepper, finely chopped
1/2tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam massala
2 tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and diced
1/2 c water
2 tin of chickpeas, drained
lemon juice to taste
salt to taste

cashew coriander sauce
1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 30min and drained)
60-90ml (1/4-1/3 cup) water
1/2 tsp dried garlic powder
1 tsp dried onion powder
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbs fresh coriander, finely chopped

250ml (1 cup) couscous

method
  1. Cut up all the vegetables into bite size pieces place onto a roasting tray, mix with the 1/2 of oil and roast at a 200C oven for about 30-40 min or until all vegetables are cook through and start to caramelise
  2. While the vegetables are roasting make the spiced chickpeas. In a medium saucepan heat about couple tablespoons water, add the garlic and chilli and cooked till softened, adding more water if needed.
  3. Next add the turmeric and garam masala. Cook briefly for about 30seconds.
  4. Add the tomatoes to the spices and cook for about 5 minutes until they become soft and pulpy.
  5. Next add water and the chickpeas. Simmer for the rest of the cooking time of the vegetables, about 20min. Add lemon juice to taste just before serving.
  6. Prepare the couscous. Put the couscous in a large bowl, pour just boiled water over it, the water should cover the chickpeas by 1 cm. Cover with cling film and let it sit until the rest is finished.
  7. Finally prepare the sauce, put cashews, water, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice and process till smooth. Add in the chopped coriander.

coriander-sauce
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ROASTED AUBERGINE AND PEPPER DIP/SAUCE

ROASTED AUBERGINE AND PEPPER DIP/SAUCE

Last night we were watching the Red Nose Day on TV, amazing amount of money was raised for some very worthy causes. All of the stories of the people in need, whether in Africa or the UK, are truly heartbreaking. An African woman died from AIDS leaving behind her HIV positive daughter. The medicine she was supposed to take to keep her alive cannot be taken on empty stomach as it can be too toxic. She gave up her share of food so her daughter had enough to take her medicine thus condemning herself to a premature death.

Today walking through the town we came across a Mexican restaurant serving a 3 pound burrito. It may not be as big as those on Man V Food but still nobody needs to eat this much in one sitting (not even for a lousy T-shirt). See the disparity? Something is seriously wrong with this picture.

The sad thing is that the type and amounts of food people in the Western world eat today can result (and it sure does) in chronic diseases and an early death. Not to mention the destruction of the environment. I couldn’t believe that I read in the today’s Daily Mail article about king prawn production in Thailand. To keep up with the demand from the Western world, man groves in Thailand have been destroyed to be converted into prawn pools. Fishing for the prawn feed destroys the marine life. The workmen, trafficked from poorer countries, work in terrible inhumane conditions. This makes me very angry. I could say my conscience is clear, I don’t eat prawns, thus don’t participate in this appalling industry. However this is about all of us. I do appreciate not everyone will stop eating prawns but everyone should be aware of where their food comes from and be shown how to make better, more ethical choices. This is the only planet we have and we are collectively responsible for its future.

I have posted the article on my facebook, but if you haven’t read it here is the link. Truly shocking:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2294246/Love-eating-prawns-Youll-right-tell-THEY-fed-on.html

Ponder over the article with a bowl of this on hand :)

aubergine-pepper-dip

ROASTED AUBERGINE AND PEPPER DIP/SAUCE
This is such a versatile recipe. Great as a stir in sauce for gnocchi or pasta (pesto style), fabulous on bruschetta or rye bread, yummy as a dip, homemade baked pitta or tortilla chips... Just make sure you crush the garlic clove before putting it into the food processor, nobody likes to crunch on a piece of garlic...

ingredients
1 medium aubergine (eggplant)
1 red pepper
1 clove of garlic, crushed
5 sun dried tomatoes
1 cup of parsley
1/2 cup walnuts

Great as a stir-in sauce for gnocchi or pasta.
gnocchi-roasted-aubergine

  1. Heat grill (broiler) on high. Line a baking sheet with some aluminium foil. Pierce the aubergine and pepper with a skewer or the tip of a sharp knife.
  2. Place the aubergine and pepper on the baking sheet and put them under the grill.
  3. Grill until the pepper skin is blackened and the aubergine very soft. This will take 10-15 minutes. You may have to take the pepper out before the aubergine is done.
  4. Put the pepper into a bowl and cover the bowl with cling film, this will make it easier to take the skin off. When cooled, peel the pepper. Remove the stem and seed but reserve the juices that collect inside the pepper.
  5. Make a slit lengthways into the aubergine and scrape out the flesh.
  6. Put the pepper with juices, aubergine, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, parsley and walnuts into your blender or good processor.
  7. Process until all ingredients are well chopped and mixed together.
  8. Use this as a quick stir in sauce for pasta or gnocchi, spread for bruschetta or a dip for pitta chips.
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CABBAGE AND TOFU NOODLES

CABBAGE AND TOFU NOODLES

Processed meat leads to an early death. Bacteria are more and more resistant to antibiotics. There are three millions of patients withType 2 Diabetes in the UK. High salt intake is messing up our immune system. Our care system is struggling to cope with dementia. Unfortunately this is not a promo for a new Hollywood disaster movie, this is a brief summary of some of the latest health news.


Last week all the papers reported on the link between processed meat and increased risk of death. It seem to me that people do not want to hear these warnings. No, you mustn't touch our bacon and sausages! Today, at the leisure centre where my son plays basketball, I overheard an obese grandmother telling her grandson : "No, you are not getting any biscuits until you eat your chips and sausages." The boy didn't seem too interested in his dinner. In the end, finishing the second half of her bacon sarnie, the grandmother said: " Well if you don't want it, I will finish it."

Joanna Blythman has been defending sausages and bacon in the Daily mail this week. I think it is simply dangerous to do that. These are not health foods. And if you think eating 5-a-day alongside your burger will save you, think again. Our lecturer shocked us with the fact that 5-a-day negates one Happy Meal! Yes, you heard right, just
one measly Happy Meal. All the powerful phytonutrients are used up to clean up after this kid's favourite. Now imagine if somebody eats at McDonalds and is also a smoker. Every cigarette accounts for the loss of 25mg of Vitamin C (if you smoke 10 a day you would have to eat a kilo of raspberries, or 35 peaches just to make up for the cigarettes). Let's make it clear 5-a-day will do zilch if the rest of diet and lifestyle are rubbish. If we are to move ahead and tackle the present health crisis we must make promoting healthy lifestyle changes a priority. Promoting bacon and sausages simply won't do.

cabbagetofunoodles

CABBAGE AND TOFU NOODLES

Serves 2-3

2 nests of noodles (rice, whole wheat, buckwheat)
1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely sliced
1 large carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
1 small cabbage, shredded
200g firm tofu, cut into bite sized pieces
1-2 tsp chilli sauce
2 tbs soya sauce
1 cup water
2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tsp sesame seeds

  1. First prepare the noodles according to the package instruction (rice noodles need to be soaked, buckwheat or whole wheat need to be cooked). Set aside. If you are cooking your noodles make sure to rinse them well to prevent sticking.
  2. In a wok heat about 60ml of water. Add the ginger, garlic and shallot. Cook for about 5 min until soft. Add more water if the vegetables start to stick.
  3. Next add the carrot, cabbage, tofu, chilli sauce, soya sauce and water. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the cabbage has softened.
  4. Add in the cooked noodles and simmer until heated stirring constantly.
  5. Finally add the spring onions and sesame seeds and serve.

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