This week’s recipe is inspiration taken from a meal I enjoyed at a friend’s house when I was in Sweden a few weeks ago.
I love when people cook for me, even though I love cooking and serving food for others too. The only downside is that many of my friends think I am a fussy eater, or strict with what I put into my mouth. To be honest, I’m neither. Though over the years my tastebuds have become a little fussier than what they used to be.
I love simple food made with really good quality ingredients. That’s pretty much it.
I also enjoy trying new foods and flavour combinations every once in a while. Actually… I probably (actually, not probably, I DO) spend a large chunk of my money on food. Like cool stuff, and rare things like romanesco, chicory lettuce and purple sweet potatoes… Or a better quality balsamic vinegar, that will make my simple salad dressings much more delicious!
The balsamic vinegar thing happened when one of my friends gave me a tasting tour of her selection, after I’d complained that I don’t really like vinegar that much. Admittedly after trying a few of the once she had to hand, I realised that what I don’t like so much is apple cider vinegar or plain normal white vinegar, but that I do like a good quality balsamic, it tastes totally different! Who knew?! So I went and bought myself one the other day. Just to set the record straight.
When I shot this recipe I used olive oil and pomegranate molasses + some lemon juice, however now armed with my new delicious balsamic purchase, I think using a good quality balsamic and equal quantities of olive oil will work perfectly here too. I found that the “proper” balsamic vinegar have a much rounder flavour and not that sharp “cut through” flavour like the cheaper stuff.
Pomegranate molasses have a tart flavour, and is not overly sweet.
With this salad I’ve gone for a combination of fruity, salty and tart. The fresh mint will give an additional freshness and you will experience a full range of textures too. From chewy to crunchy to soft.
Feel free to switch up the fruit or the grain if you can’t find any of the ingredients.
Black Rice & Stone Fruit Salad with Halloumi
½ cup black rice, rinsed
1 cup fresh water to cook rice in
1 block of halloumi, approx. 200g, thickly sliced and cut into smaller pieces
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
A handful of toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
2 fresh plums,de-stoned & cut into cubes
2-3 fresh apricots, de-stoned & cut into slivers
1 fresh nectarine or peach, de-stoned & cut into cubes
About 10 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
Start by roasting the hazelnuts at 150˚C for about 15 min, until the skin begins to crack. Once your hazelnuts are golden and fragrant, remove from oven to cool slightly before rubbing the skins off with a clean tea towel. Set aside.
Measure out your rice, rinse and place it in a sauce pan. Add water and follow the cooking instructions on the package.
Once the rice is cooked, set aside to cool.
To make the dressing mix the oil, with the lemon juice and pomegranate molasses in a small bowl, or to save on dishes do it directly in the bowl you intend to serve your salad in.
Once the rice have cooled, add it to your intended serving bowl and mix with the dressing.
Heat a frying pan with a tbsp. of butter or olive oil. Fry off the halloumi until golden on both sides.
Assemble your black rice salad, by adding the fruit and the warm halloumi to the dressed up rice. Add the chopped mint leaves and the chopped hazelnuts.
** If you are serving less than four people, feel free to halve the quantities. The salad will keep for about three days in the fridge. **
This week I will be sharing a salad recipe that kind of feels like a seasonal transition from Winter to Spring / Summer.
It is a salad recipe, and it is a raw food dish. But, it made from what I would consider Winter vegetables. Root veg and purple (red) cabbage is more the types of veg that appears in my pantry and fridge during the colder months.
Though since they are still around, I thought I would share this recipe that I also shared as my guest contribution over on The Honest Project awhile back.
And in the name of honesty, I will admit that I am also low on some freshly styled recipes. Not short of ideas though so hopefully next week I will have some time to get back playing in the kitchen!
I can’t wait, especially since I recently purchased an extension arm for my tripod so that I can start creating some recipe videos and flatlays. It may save me from standing on the counter top all the time…
The past month have been pretty intense with finishing up a new video series on Food, Mood & Mindful Eating that I am hoping to share with you all really soon + both doing some personal inner work participating in Whole Detox (Come join us for the October one!)
As well as finishing up my latest professional development training in Mindful Eating. And that one has been really enriching too taking my previous skills to a new level. I am so looking forward to integrate it all in the coming weeks and months and to share it with you all!
But now, let’s have fun with this colourful recipe 🙂
This recipe is my spin on variations that I’ve seen around over the years. I feel like this recipe reflects my cooking style (and maybe even my personality to a certain degree), as it is colourful, straightforward and rooted. Like a rainbow.
This slaw is a great Winter salad, (or for this time of year also called the “hungry gap”) when getting fresh green leaves can be challenging, simply because they are not in season.
Rainbow Slaw with Mustard Dressing
¼ head of celeriac, peeled and finely shredded ¼ head of red cabbage, finely shredded (I tend to use a mandolin for this)
2-3 medium sized carrots, peeled and finely shredded (if you can get carrots of different colours even better!)
A handful of pomegranate seeds
For the dressing:
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
5 tbsp good quality olive oil
1 tsp clear honey, local if possible
Sea salt & black pepper to season
Start by washing, peeling and shredding all your vegetables. Then set aside.
In a large bowl, this could be the serving bowl, add all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until smooth.
Taste and adjust to your preference. A little bit more sweetness? Need more lemon? Use your own tastebuds to guide you.
Add the shredded vegetable to the bowl with the dressing. Gently toss until the dressing and vegetables are intermingling nicely.
Add the pomegranate seeds before serving. The salad will keep for a few days in the fridge, covered.
Are you a lover or hater of these small green “mini cabbages”? I have to admit that it’s been a gradual process for me… But when I discovered some years ago an incredibly simple way to eat them, I became a convert. And as I am typing this, it reminds me of how many different foods and new additions I have made to my eating repertoire over the past few years. And since the message that keeps coming up again and again when it comes to food and health is variety, it is important that we check out some new (or at least new to us) foods. It’s just way too easy to get stuck in food ruts!
I often tell my clients who are resistant to trying new foods and flavours that it takes about 6-8 times before our tastebuds have adapted and changed. So when you are trying something new it’s important to: A. Start the process with an open mind and B. Think of your tastebuds like a muscle that needs a work out.
And don’t just get stuck on trying one way to have a food either. These days with the internet all you have to do is Google the food or ingredient you want to test out and you’ll have hundred of ideas and recipes to try out. To be honest that’s often how I find ways to try out a new and exciting food I’ve come across.
Since I’m more or less to confessing many (all??) my inspiration secrets, I’ll let you in on another one. Instagram! Since joining the social media platform a few years ago, it has given me endless inspiration, especially when it comes to being on the lookout for new foods as well as becoming more aware of eating seasonally. Suppose it only goes to show the power of the influence of social media, right?
This salad has been on my mind for sometime and finally I managed to bring all the ingredients together at the same time and give it a go. We’ve been blessed in my house with endless gifts of apples and this salad is one of several ways I’ve been using them up.
When I bought the Brussels sprouts I actually bought them on the stem. Every Saturday morning there’s two “young fellas” selling fresh vegetables by the roadside near where I work, and the other week when I drove past I spotted, out of the corner of my eye, these sprouts on the stem. As the food nerd I am, I actually stopped my car, turned around and went back to buy some. At €2 for the whole stem it was quiet the steal. Gotta’ love the entrepreneurial youth in the Irish countryside. Win-win.
A Festive Winter Salad
Approx. 10 Brussels Sprouts – peeled and halved
Approx. 10 chestnuts
1 medium sized apple – thinly sliced
Seeds from ¼ pomegranate
Juice of ½ lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & Black pepper to season
Pre heat the oven to 180˚C. Cut a slit or a cross on the pointy end of the chestnuts. Make sure to do all of them, just to make sure you won’t end up with any accidental explosions…
Place the chestnuts on an oven tray and bake for 35 min. Set aside to cool a little before you peel off the inner and other skin. Then chop the peeled chestnuts roughly.
**This is the easiest way I have found to remove the seeds from pomegranates, without splashing myself and the entire kitchen in the process… Cut the fruit in half and then into quarters. Gently break the quarter pieces apart and peel out the seeds. Place all the seeds in a glass jar and store in the fridge.
Peel off any outside leaves that are discoloured and halve the sprouts.
Heat a little bit of olive oil in a frying pan. The trick here (as taught by my chef friend) is to heat the pan first, then when the pan is hot add the oil and quickly add the sprouts. Give them a quick stirfry and as soon as they are have gone a little golden on the cut side and the green colour has intensified, remove from the heat.
Place the warm Brussels sprout in a large bowl, squeeze some lemon juice on top, season with sea salt and black pepper and then add the chopped chestnuts, sliced apple and pomegranate seeds.
Serve the salad warm.
** Side note, if you can’t get chestnuts you can serve it with walnuts or toasted hazelnuts instead.
I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for the longest time ever! And I’ve also wanted to share a red cabbage recipe here forever… The funny thing is when you do food blogging though is that there’s so much timing involved. At least if you are trying to keep things somewhat seasonal. This means that sometimes I don’t get to act on the ideas I get, or end up trying things, even shooting the recipe and then never getting around to publish it, because life gets in the way or perhaps I’m not organised enough. Or maybe it is a combination of both??!!
I don’t know when my love affair with red cabbage started, but somewhere along the way it did. Now, for me it is a seasonal vegetable and one I tend to mostly enjoy Autumn – Winter – early Spring time. I’ve never tried growing it myself for I think three reasons. One, I don’t have much space and each head takes up a lot of space. Two, they take ages to grow (and that’s hard if you are low on patience). And three, every year around this time we seem to get an infestation of little butterfly larveas that eat anything that belongs to the cabbage family. At the moment it’s particularly bad and they’ve eaten a lot of my precious kale. So if you happen to have some tips on how I can kindly ask them to go and snack else where, please share!
This recipe may sound like an unlikely combination but it actually covers all the different taste elements in one bowl and it’s also a visual delight! Apparently most people don’t eat enough of blue / purple foods and in this bowl you get two different types straight up.
Blueberries are tasty little nutritional power-houses. Their blue plant power comes from the phytonutrient anthocyanins which have been shown to improve both memory and eyesight. They are of course delicious on their own as a simple snack, perhaps paired with a few walnuts for extra brain power potential, or on top of the morning smoothie / porridge / granola. Or you can be a little bit more “out there” and add them in a salad like I’ve done here.
Red Cabbage is one of my favourite winter vegetables. (Ok, ok, I hear you it’s still summer!) It reminds me of Christmas in Sweden and having cooked red cabbage with the Christmas ham. One of the first natural healing remedies a learnt about in college was the healing power of cabbage juice for stomach ulcers as it is rich in the amino acid glutamine as well as the cancer protective phytonutrient indole-3-carbinole. Cabbage is also rich in vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 (important for a well functioning nervous system), calcium, magnesium and manganese.
Savoy cabbage, the beautiful green leafy head one, is very popular here in Ireland and a staple part of the national dish “Bacon & Cabbage”. I will admit that it has taken me some time to really get into the swing of cabbage love, but just as with beetroot, I’m a total convert these days. If not just for the great health benefits it brings, but for the beauty if the colour alone!
If I’m cooking green cabbage I like to steam or blanche it quickly so that the colour just pops and turn out to be a really bright green. With red cabbage my preferred way of eating it is slowly cooked with spices, red onion, apple and a little bit of red wine vinegar. But that’s a little bit too wintery for now…
You can keep this salad entirely raw if you like, but personally I prefer red cabbage cooked hence I am doing it here. However with this salad the finely shredded cabbage is cooked in the oven for just 15 min so it is more heated through than “cooked”. It does soften in and takes away that “rawness” that I’m not super fond of. But do as you please, this recipe is flexible enough to make sure this seemingly odd combination will still work for you!
Red Cabbage Salad with Blueberries & Coconut
Serves 2 generously
1/2 a head red cabbage, outer leaves removed and finely shredded
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup dried coconut flakes – if you buy untoasted ones you can choose yourself if you want to toast them or not
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme – optional
Heat the oven to 180°C. Remove any damaged outer leaves of the head of cabbage. The shred it finely. I prefer using a cheese slicer, but if you don’t have one of those you can use a mandolin. If using a mandolin you may need to cut the cabbage into wedges. The trick is to get it as shredded as finely as possible as it makes for a much nicer texture, in my opinion at least!
Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl and add the olive oil. Gently massage the oil into the cabbage with your hands with some kind squeezes.
Then place the cabbage on a baking tray. Scatter it out evenly and then add the rosemary and lemon thyme (if using). Bake in the oven for about 15 min until warmed through and soft. Make sure you toss it about a few times in between to ensure even roasting.
*Note* If you want to make this salad entirely raw, then skip the oven step.
Once cooked, place the warm cabbage in a serving dish, drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it, add the blueberries and the coconut flakes.
Serve, enjoy, and give your brain a boost at the same time!
Want to add more colour to your life and plate? Download the Rainbow Bowl Ebook and get creative!
As I write this, the rain is smattering against the window… Right now it doesn’t exactly feel like summer. But then yesterday it was hot and sunny. I suppose considering it’s already the end of June, things could be better, but they could also be a lot worse. Living in Ireland, one thing for sure is, you don’t take sunshine for granted! Luckily this life giving rain has my little garden patch overflowing with green goodness. No watering required.
A lot of people start their new healthy eating regimen in January, when it’s wet and cold and generally miserable. I don’t know about you but eating salads and cold food in general when the weather is cold and damp just doesn’t do it for me. When it’s cold I crave warm food, though as soon as it gets warmer, raw food is back on! It’s so much easier to fill your plate (or bowl) with lots of fresh colourful food this time of the year when it’s bright, warm and (hopefully) sunny. Plus fresh produce is in abundance right now.
So to help you keep this fresh food, rainbow and salad mojo going I’ve decided to share with you some cool summer salad recipes over the coming weeks. What ends up in my bowl (and subsequently here) will depend on what happens to be growing in the garden, what I can find at the market and what ever inspiration I might pick up from my many, many cookbooks. This is the first part of the Summer Salad Series.
When I first tried a hand at growing my own food, only last year, radishes were one of the first things I planted. All the well meaning advice went something like; “they are super easy to grow”, you can’t fail growing radishes” and so on. Well actually, turns out you CAN fail at growing radishes… Well at least if you do what I did and planted them in a small pot in a wild place of the garden where a bunch of rabbits hang out. Probably not one of my most brightest moments. I just had the pleasure of seeing the sprouts, then it quickly turned into a no show. So this year, wise from my learnings of last year’s experience, I built raised beds. And it has proven a worthwhile experience! These radishes shown above are some proudly home-grown ones!
Normally you eat these little pink beauties raw as they are, but after coming a cross a few roasted radish recipes, I decided to test it out myself. Roasting them in the oven for 10-15 min offers a completely different taste experience. Instead of the normally crunchy, peppery flavour you, end up with a soft sweeter flavour, which adds a nice contrast with the lemony quinoa and tart cherries. I also added some Tamari toasted seeds for a little extra saltiness and crunch.
Turns out you can eat the radish tops too, so if you have your own, definitely add them. Actually tops from carrots and beetroots are also edible, though we often tend to throw them out. If you grow your own you can definitely include the tops of those in your salads. The radish tops are a little prickly though so you can either chop them finely or wilt them slightly in a warm lightly greased frying pan. Or quickly steam them.
This salad is actually a warm salads, so perfect on those not-so-sunny days when you are looking for a little cheering up. If you have some cold leftover quinoa from the day before, making this salad is even quicker!
Roasted Radish Salad with Cherries
Serves 2 (double the amount if you are serving more people)
a bunch of fresh radishes (about 10 or so), washed, tops removed and kept aside if fresh enough to use
a large handful of fresh cherries (1o-15), washed, halved and stone removed
2/3 cup of quinoa, rinsed well
1 2/3 cold water
For the dressing:
1 tsp clear raw honey, local preferably
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp water – optional (for thinning out the dressing)
sea salt & black pepper to season
Tamari toasted seeds – Makes 5 portions
5 tbsp pumpkin seeds
5 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp Tamari sauce – wheat free soy sauce
Start by placing the rinsed and drained quinoa in a sauce pan with the water. Cover with a tight fitting lid and bring to the boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook with the lid on for 12 min. Turn off the heat and leave the pan on the hot hob with the lid on for a further 10 min. You should then have ended up with a fluffy cooked quinoa and all the water absorbed.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Place your seeds in a small bowl. Add the tamari sauce and toss until well combined. Transfer to a lined baking tray. Roast for a about 15 min until the seeds are dry and crunchy but not burned. Give them a toss every 5 min to ensure even roasting.
While you are roasting your seeds, wash and halve the radishes. Place them all on a roasting tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil over the lot and season with sea salt and black pepper. Gently toss the radishes around with your hands to ensure they are evenly coated with the oil. Once your seeds are done, remove them and set aside. Place your radishes in the oven and toast for about 15 min or until soft.
In a small bowl add all the ingredient for the dressing and then once the quinoa has cooled a bit, add the dressing and mix them together.
Assemble your salad in individual serving bowls (or one large one if you are using it as a side dish). Add the quinoa, the roasted radishes, then the de-stones cherries, some finely shredded tops and lastly a scatter of the toasted seeds.