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Lunchbox, Salads & Suppers, Sides, Vegan &/or Raw

New-dles … and a kickass harissa

spirulisercourgettes SJW

Move over kale.

Courgette is here with its own range of kitchen appliances.

That’s right. Sales of spiralisers in Dublin are tailing sales of teapots. To the tea drinkers of Ireland, this might constitute a national threat.

Spiralisers are those dinky kitchen gadgets that can twist and turn a courgette into glorious ribbons of vegetable spaghetti. Courgetti, to be precise.

Carrots work beautifully too. Tumble in some spicy olive oil to your spiralised carrot, add some fresh parsley and lemon, and you have yourself a carrot noodle dish in less than 60 seconds. Italians in LA came up with the ingenious concept of spiralisers. (Of course they did).

 

courgette spaghetti

 

Courgettes are not a sexy veg. This is why they’re called zucchinis in America.

These svelte green veggies are a type of summer squash. We’re probably more familiar with the sweeter, carbalicious winter squash, such as butternut. The zucchini is lighter and less fibrous than its wintry cousins (maybe that’s why it rhymes with bikini). But both varieties are rich in vitamin C. Our bodies need vitamin C for luminous skin. No wonder the Hemsley sisters are horsing into courgetti every day. They’ve even started manufacturing their own line of spiralisers. Smart girls.

 

harissa healthy recipe

 

Harissa (Courgetti)

Harissa is a spicy North African paste guaranteed to send your blood beating like a bodhrán. This version is designed to oil those squeaky knees and rusty wrists. It marries chilli pepper with omega-rich hemp seed oil to help reduce inflammation and pain. Food scientists have found that capsaicin, a compound found in chilli peppers, encourages the body to release its natural painkillers and stress-busting endorphins. So by all means, feel free to use more chillis than stated. Let your body levitate.

While hemp oil sounds like a member of the narcotic squad, don’t get too excited. It’s not. Unlike olive oil, hemp seed oil is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids (psst, don’t fry with it!) Omega-3 enables our bodies to manufacture lots of good prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances involved in refereeing inflammation in the body. Inflammation is not confined to Sunday morning hangovers. It also covers bronchitis, arthritis, eczema, asthma, sprains and large egos.

This harissa keeps in the fridge for at least one week provided you hide it behind the stinky cheeses away from thieving mitts. Otherwise, expect it to last sixty seconds. Seriously good barbecue fodder and all-round friend.

 

3-4 red peppers

Splash EV olive oil

6 red chillis

1 tablespoon cumin seeds, ground

1 tablespoon caraway seeds, ground

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon sea salt flakes

4 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon tomato purée

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons EV hemp seed oil or olive oil

 

Slice the peppers into chunks, discarding the inner white film, stalk and seeds. Toss on a baking tray with a splash of olive oil and roast for 30 minutes at 180 degrees.

While the peppers cook, get going on the remaining ingredients. Using disposable gloves – if you have nappies to change later you’ll burn the bejaysus out of your nipper’s bottom – cut the chillis down the side and scoop out the seeds and pith with a teaspoon. Discard. Or rub on husband’s toothbrush if he hasn’t taken out the bins.

Blitz the chillis with the herbs, salt, garlic and tomato until it forms a smooth paste. Toasting the seeds on dry heat, or even frying on a hot pan with a lick of oilve oil helps bring out their bewitching aromas. Not necessary though – it will still taste amazeballs.

Now, and no sooner, add the roasted red pepper and vinegar. Pulverise to your satisfaction. Stir through hemp seed oil and scoop into your serving dish. Avoid adding the hemp seed oil while pulverising the former ingredients or the harissa will turn pink. And no one will eat it, even if it sounds mildly illicit.

 

harissa zoodles recipe

 

 

 

Breakfast, Lunchbox, Salads & Suppers, Sides, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, Videos, x For Freezer x

New Video #WTF Kale

Kale is a member of the cruciferous clan, which always scared me as a child given this was how Jesus died. 

So why the excitement? Kale is an excellent source of folate (folic acid), often associated with great quality nookie. Looks like folate can regulate the production of histamine – a very important chemical released during orgasm. No, a cabbage smoothie will not bring you to climax but you’re welcome to try.

You probably don’t need another reason to watch your folate intake, but here’s an additional fireworks display you’ll be interested in. Folate plays a large role in our mental and emotional health. It is in fact a B vitamin – think B for Brain and Battery. Or Bergman and Bogart (okay, that’s probably E for Electricity, but you get the picture).  

Want to neck more of it? Here’s a cheeky video I prepared for you …

 

 

What else? Kale has a team of bone-building nutrients such as calcium, vitamin K and sulfur, all well-known allies against degenerative osteo conditions (stiff Macarena moves to you and me). 

Lutein and zeaxanthin are fancy carotenoids that pharmaceutical companies try to synthesise in laboratories and pack in tablet form to support eye health. No need to waste your money on these if you’re regularly scoffing kale.

 

Pistachio & Kale Pesto

Listen up. This is bonkers good.

We’ve made wild garlic and chilli fraternise with kale. Then beefed it up with toasted pumpkin seeds and pistachios.

You’re welcome.

 

100g pumpkin seeds /pepitas
100g freshly picked wild garlic leaves (I get mine in trendy delis April-May. See photo below)
Generous handful of pistachios or walnuts
30g hard goat’s cheese, grated (entirely optional)
60g kale, stems removed
1 & 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil (375ml)
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
squeeze of lemon juice
chilli flakes (optional heat)


Toast the pumpkin seeds on a very hot pan, no oil, and dry fry until they swell with exciting (some might even pop). Remove and cool on a plate.

Then you’ll need to pick the wild garlic leaves over, discarding any coarse stalks and grass. Whiz in a food processor along with remaining ingredients.

Transfer to a scrupulously clean jar and set aside. Honkingly good stuff, especially with my flaxseed focaccia (video up on my channel next week) or tumbled through spirulised carrots and courgette.

 

courgette spaghetti

 
Leftover pesto can be frozen in jars. Make sure to press the pesto down firmly with the back of a spoon to remove any pockets of air (trapped air can cause contamination and foul tempers). Top the pesto with a little more oil, making a seal, before freezing.

 

wild garlic image

 

Lunchbox, Salads & Suppers, Sides, Vegan &/or Raw

Buckwheat Noodles Wrapped in ‘shrooms & Badass Ginger

‘Shrooms

Mushrooms have been revered throughout many cultures as far back as Ancient Egypt. These furred-up fungi were believed to bring immortality and bottomless libidos. That must have been before the empire disappeared. In Chinese medicine, mushrooms were celebrated for giving super-human strength. Take that, Popeye! 

Today, mushrooms don’t enjoy nearly the same level of prestige unless they are of the hallucinogenic kind. But many of these outrageous health claims can now be traced to a range of polysaccharides specific to mushrooms. (Scientists, look away now while I brutalise your language).

Lentinans and beta glucan polysaccharides for example are believed to stimulate the immune system by activating certain proteins, macrophages and T-cells. These white blood cells declare war on terrorism (pesky bugs and the like), and begin bombing the blood with their infantry.  

In laboratory studies, the polysaccharides present in shiitake extract have slowed the growth of tumours in some cell cultures. But not in all cell cultures, highlighting the complexity surrounding their use. For now, I’m sufficiently excited to indulge in the fantasy of everlasting life while scoffing a bucket of wild mushrooms.

 

wild mushrooms before cooking

 

 
Love Noodles

It’s argued that some of us have the genetic ability to become aroused by a mere whiff of certain types of mushrooms. 

Phwoar. No wonder the forests of County Wicklow are feverishly descended upon this time of year. 

Fall is shroom season, as they say in the trade. It’s best to go with an expert like Bill O’Dea to avoid picking poisonous ones. You don’t have to dress like an idiot to go shroom hunting, but Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall seems to think it helps.

 

wild mushrooms

 

For two people:
3 handfuls of various field mushrooms
2 long spring onions
a bunch of 100% buckwheat soba noodles
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
Up to 1 tablespoon tamari soya sauce

 

For the dressing:
3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
pinch of chilli, dried or fresh (optional)
 
 

Slice the spring onions and larger mushrooms. Spring onions will look better wrapped among the noodles when they’re cut lengthways, rather than into tiny discs. Set both aside. You might find a few stray pieces of grass or dirt if the mushrooms are bone fide wild. Do discard these, unless you want to spend the evening with a toothpick.

Cook the soba noodles as directed on the packet. Normally this takes 5–8 minutes in boiling water. A quick dash of toasted sesame oil in the pot adds great flavour, but not essential.

While the noodles are cooking, heat a frying pan on a medium flame to stir-fry the mushrooms in a spot of coconut oil. Just as they deepen in colour – say, 4 minutes – chuck in a splash of tamari and enjoy the sizzle and splash. 

Remove from the heat immediately, add the sliced spring onions, mix everything together and let it sit in the pan while you get going on your dressing.

Crush the ginger and garlic to a smooth paste in a pestle and mortar. The smell of freshly smashed herbs and spices will serenade your nostrils and do all sorts of joyous things to your sensory neurons. Once you have recovered sufficiently from the pestle and mortar excitement, whisk in the sesame oil and remaining tamari with a fork. If you have it, a touch of chilli or truffle salt should get your blood beating like a voodoo drum. Just make sure you’re not serving this to somebody inappropriate, like an unsuspecting in-law.

The noodles should be nicely cooked by now. Remove from the heat, rinse under cold water to stop the noodles from sticking, drain, and wrap with the ginger dressing. Tumble into the mushrooms and spring onions. Serve with a renewed sense of devilment and a mischievous smile.

 

Paige, the seaweed hunter