Oct 2013

SWEDE (RUTABAGA) CORONATION STYLE

SWEDE (RUTABAGA) CORONATION STYLE


As you may probably know by now I am not a big fan of swede (rutabaga) I only like it a little more than turnip (which is not much at all). Traditionally, here in the UK, it is used in a beef stew or as an integral part of the famous Cornish pasty (to confuse the matter they call it turnip in Cornwall). As a side dish swede is often served mashed together with carrots. In Finland swede is served as a creamy bake flavoured with maple syrup. I have tried making a vegan version of this but it still needs a lot more work.

Being faced with a humongous swede ( bigger than baby’s head!) I had to think. I really didn’t want this one ending up in a compost heap like the last one (sorry). Flavours of all vegetables deepen when roasted so this seemed like a good idea. To improve the rather bland swede I decided to spice it up and sweeten it and after roasting, drench it in a very similar sauce I used for my Coronation Chickpea salad.

I cut up the swede into 1/2 inch dice hoping for this to speed up the cooking time. Still it seemed to take forever... Was it all worth the effort? I have to say it was. I will admit I was secretly thinking what other vegetable would be suitable for this recipe, but I did enjoy the swede. The next day, however, I was for a major surprise, the salad was wonderful eaten straight from the fridge. Somehow the swede absorbed all the curry flavours, its texture improved it was trylly delicious. I ate all the leftovers for lunch. Will I rejoice next time a swede finds its way to my vegetable box? Probably not. But if it does I now have a way of dealing with it.


swede-salad
SWEDE (RUTABAGA) CORONATION STYLE

Serves 4

ingredients
3 cups swede, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1Tbs good curry powder ( I used Byriani mix)
1/2 tbs rapeseed oil
1 Tbs maple syrup
1/3 cup raisins
3/4 cashews
1/2 water
2 tbs mango chutney
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
salt
1/3 cup flaked almonds
1 small red onion
1/3 cup coriander
lemon juice to taste

method
  1. Preheat the oven to 210C. Place the swede, curry powder, oil and maple syrup into a roasting pan that will hold the swede in one layer. Mix all ingredients together so all the swede pieces are coated with spices evenly. Roast till the swede is soft, this may take 40-45min.
  2. While the swede is roasting soak the raisins in boiling water.
  3. Put cashews, water (you can use the raisin water), mango chutney and vinegar into a high speed blender. Process until smooth.
  4. Toast the flaked almonds in a dry pan till golden brown. Set aside
  5. Cut the red onion into fine dice.
  6. In a large bowl mix red onion, swede, cashew sauce and raisins.
  7. Garnish with almonds, coriander and add lemon juice to taste.
  8. Serve immediately or wait till the next day after, it is awesome straight from the fridge.

roasted swede
roast-swede
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ROASTED TOMATILLO AND TOMATO SOUP

ROASTED TOMATILLO AND TOMATO SOUP

Have you discovered tomatillos yet? I absolutely love them! Unfortunately they are still very hard to find here in the UK but they are worth searching for. Luckily Riverford, who deliver my organic veg boxes, have been supplying them (when in season) for 2 years running. You can even buy a salsa verde kit from their website. Occasionally tomatillos are available in our local Mexican shop Otomi. Failing that, they carry jars of tomatillo salsa verde, these are a good start for a tomatillo novice.

Why do I love tomatillos? First and foremost it’s the flavour! They are tangy, zingy and fresh tasting. On top of being delicious they are very good for you. Tomatillos contain phytonutrients withanolides that have been found to have anti-bacterial and anti-cancer properties. They are a good source of vitamin C, E and carotenoids such as betacarotene, lutein, zeaxanthin. Tomatillos also contain host of minerals such as potassium, copper, iron, phosphorus and manganese. Not bad for something that looks like an unripe tomato...

close cousins - tomatillos and tomatoes
tomatillos-details

So far I have only used these Mexican gems in a salsa, but I was ready to expand my tomatillo horizon. Soup seemed like a good start for experimentation. Paired with tomatoes (who are their close cousins) and chillies I was sure (ish) to be onto a winner. I must say I was very pleased with the results. The downside was I only managed to make one lunch portion of soup...However thought this amount would be perfect for the very fashionable dinner party amuse-bouche. Served in shot glasses with a nice coriander leaf and a slice of lime perched on the rim of the glass this would make a very impressive pre-appetizer. Flavour explosion guaranteed! So you can either eat the whole lot yourself (like I greedily did) or you can wow your guests. Whichever way you go... Enjoy!

the finished product
tomatillo-soup

ROASTED TOMATILLO AND TOMATO SOUP

Serves 1 greedy person for lunch, 6-8 as an amuse-bouche in shot glasses

ingredients
200g (7 oz) tomatillos
150g (5 oz) tomatoes
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1 cup of well flavoured vegetable stock
coriander leaves for garnish

roasted tomatoes and tomatillos
tomatilo-roasted

method
  1. Peel the papery husk of the tomatillos (this is a sticky job), wash well.
  2. Line a baking dish with aluminium foil in a way that it will catch all runaway juices. This will also prevent the tomatillos and tomatoes from sticking to the bottom of your pan.
  3. Roast the tomatillos and tomatoes in a 200C oven for 20 minuter or until they start to blister and split (see photo).
  4. In a medium sauce pan heat 60ml of water, add the onions, garlic and chilli and saute for 5 min or till softened. Add more water if needed.
  5. Next add the tomatillos and tomatoes with all their juices.
  6. Add the vegetable stock and cook covered for about 10minutes.
  7. Blend in a food processor or using a stick blender.
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves.
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KALE WITH MISO AND CHILLI

KALE WITH MISO AND CHILLI

Recently my IBS went out of control. I was so happy not to have had a flair up since April and here it was with a vengeance. As if this IBS monster stored its evil energy and unleashed it all at once. For over 2 weeks I was in pain, had no appetite and had whole host of other symptoms. A hot bath was my only relief but you can only stay there for so long...

Thanks to Dr Google I could list a number of diseases I probably had. It was as if the rational and the irrational part of my brain were fighting for the spotlight. I was sure that it was IBS but at the same time I have never felt this bad before. It doesn’t help when people tell you: "WOW you lost weight!" I was getting a bit defensive, exclaiming rather firmly: "NO I DID NOT!"

Finally I went to see my GP. The first thing he said? You lost weight! GRRRR. I hopped on the scales and the result? No, I did not loose weight. We decided to run full blood screen. I think he was doing it for the peace of my mind. We ran antibody for coeliac disease too.

I went gluten free, I just need to take control of something. In the meantime (it takes a week for the blood tests to come back) I started to feel better. Finally (and I celebrated this) I started to feel hungry, my stomach was happily growling again. I feel so much better. Not 100% but so much better.

My blood test came back today. Yes, all came back perfectly healthy. No coeliac disease. Nothing out of place. Actually pretty much 99% of everything tested is slap bang in the middle. Even this doesn’t explain this IBS malarky but I do admit I am happy. Oh yeah and for all the plant based diet doubters,
my iron levels are perfect!!! Now I am going to hit the beast with slippery elm, glutamine, probiotics, digestive enzymes....and a clean plant based food of course.

My doctor asked me whether I want to treat it or manage it. I want to manage it, no pills please. Impressed I was when he suggested enteric coated peppermint tablets (that's what my lecturer recommended too!). Adding them to the above list. They apparently work as well as the usually prescribed antispasmodics.

So after several weeks of plain unexciting foods (in minute portions) I am excited about foods again. I can add some spice and imagination to my dinners. I was craving beans, lentils and curries, little bit of spice, but knew my stomach couldn’t cope. All good now. I cooked curry on Monday, and kale with chilli and miso today. It is good to be back!

kale-in-a-wok


KALE WITH MISO AND CHILLI
Serves 4 as a side dish.

ingredients
350g (12oz) curly kale
1tsp of coconut oil or 3Tbs of water
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 Tbs yellow miso (I use live miso)
1 Tbs Braggs Liquid Aminos or Tamari

method
  1. First pull the kale leaves of the thick stalks, wash and rip into bite size pieces.
  2. In a large wok heat the coconut oil or water, add the garlic and chilli and saute for 1 min.
  3. Next add the kale leaves and saute for couple minutes.
  4. Add 2 Tbs of water, cover with a lid and cook for about 5 min (or as tender as you like it). Add more water if needed but the kale will release moisture.
  5. In a medium bowl mix the miso and braggs. Add in the kale and stir well.
  6. Serve immediately.

kale-with-miso
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SUN DRIED TOMATO KALE CHIPS

SUN DRIED TOMATO KALE CHIPS

There are not many people who are willing to cook for me. I can actually count them on the fingers of my hand. I know this is familiar to anybody who eats differently than what is seen as the norm. Whether you are gluten free, vegan or raw you will find yourself being invited to very few dinner parties. You will be seen as the awkward. Hopefully one day the awkward will be the norm and the norm will become awkward.

My friend J is my dinner party buddy (that sounds way to posh! We just like to cook for each other). We have a very similar food philosophy. Nobody else gets excited about kale coming to season the way we do. We will text each other about organic kale’s appearance on the shelf of the Better Food Company. She has even brought me a bag of kale as a present before. She knows me well.

kale-chips-sundriedtomato
kale pieces stripped off the stalks

I have been trying to convince other non believers into embracing the humble yet amazing kale. I would say my success is about 50/50. Kale chips are the ace card in my pocket. Most people who try them fall under their spell. In one day I had 2 friends on the phone asking for my kale chip recipe :) Yesterday another friend announced they were eating kale chips all last week. I couldn’t be happier.

Brendan Brazier’s “sour cream” and onion kale chips still are the most popular in our house, but these seem to be close second. I think anything tastes better with sun dried tomatoes. If you still are a kale chip virgin please have a go. Even if you don’t have a dehydrator, they taste great made in the oven too (both methods are in my recipe). They will loose their RAW tag but they will still make an incredibly healthy and tasty snack.


SUN DRIED TOMATO KALE CHIPS
1 bag of kale with stalks (350g, 12oz)
2/3 cup cashews (soaked for half an hour and drained)
1/2 cup water
4 sundried tomatoes, soaked for 30 min
1/2 tsp dried garlic
1/2 tbs brags aminos (or tamari)

kalechips-sundried-tomatoes
the sundried tomato sauce

  1. Strip the kale leaves from their stalks.
  2. Wash thoroughly. Rip any larger pieces into bite size pieces.
  3. Dry will in a salad spinner. You will need to do this in three batches. Place the kale into a large bowl (you will need the largest bowl you have)
  4. In a high speed food processor blend all the remaining ingredients into a smooth sauces.
  5. Pour the sauce over the kale leaves and massage it into the kale so that all the leaves are cover with sauce.
  6. If using a dehydrator, place the kale onto your mesh dehydrator sheets (I use 3 in my Excalibur). Dehydrate at 115F (46C) for 12-14 hrs. Crunch test after 12 hours, if the kale chips are not crunchy enough dehydrate for couple more hours.
  7. If using an oven preheat it to 300F (150C). Spread your kale evenly on 2 baking trays and bake the chips for about 25 minutes. After the first 10 minutes keep checking on our chip every 5 minutes. Every oven is different and the kale chips can burn quickly.
  8. Store in an airtight container.
  9. Enjoy!

kalechips-sundried-tomato
crunch time
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