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Salads & Suppers

Salads & Suppers, Sides, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

An Index to Ocean Veg (erm, seaweed)

Our dear Oprah is already a massive fan of these ocean vegetables. We Irish seem to think it’s only useful for deflecting annoying children on the beach. In fact, seaweed is full of anti-aging nutrients and disease-fighting lignans.

Check this out! Sea veggie’s cargo of calcium is great for bones, without the artery-clogging effects that dairy-rich diets can yield.

Then there’s iron – even 10g mixed sea vegetables can give you just under half the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of this blood-building mineral.

There are many types of sea vegetables to choose from, guaranteed to make Inchydoney more exciting this year. Here’s a few to get you started. All are harvested wild, free from chemicals, preservatives, and yes, sometimes taste (that’s why it’s best to stir through curries and salads).

 

kelp nutrition

 

The most common type of sea vegetable on our menus is Nori the shiny green wrapping around sushi. Nori is particularly rich in protein. You’ll get loads of nori in Asian food stores for a fraction of the high street price. Best crumbled on top of brown rice and serve with soya sauce.

Agar flakes are used in place of artificial stabilisers and gelling agents. I use them to set panna cotta and fruit jellies – a crafty way of getting important minerals into children’s party food.

We always add wakame to stews about 30 minutes before cooking is finished. It brings a good smack of umami for the taste buds, as well as a suite of fancy minerals. Like most ocean veg, a packet of wakame will last three years in the cupboard.

 

Agar and Kuzu seaweeds

 

Kombu and Kelp are the dark ones that gave me nightmares as a nipper. In fact, they are just thick, slippery strands of goodness. Who would have thought? Pop them into slow-cooking stews at the very beginning. I find they can take a long time to break down. It’s rumoured that adding kombu to beans can help reduce the incidences of trouser-trumpets. That’s Latin for flatulence.

Dulse & dillisk is particular to Ireland. This sea veggie has a chewy texture and deep purple hue. We get ours ground down to fine powdery flakes from Sea of Vitality and sprinkle on top of sticky brown rice. Intrepid cooks play with it in broths and soups. Cornucopia Café have an excellent one on their menu on Wicklow Street, Dublin 2. I’m happy to queue 20 minutes to get it. From the looks of things, so is everyone else.

 

dillisk seaweed nutrition

 

Finally, arame is the sweetest and most elegant of the sea vegetables. Jet-black angel strands of goodness. No need to cook. Simply soak for 10 minutes, and socialise them with broccoli, Brazil nuts and soya sauce for a speedy lunch, or with sautéed garlic mushrooms as a side. I like to spoon it through hummus for my boys who are none the wiser.

 

ARAME susan jane

 

 

 

 

Breakfast, Salads & Suppers

Fresh Burrata with Peaches, Basil and Black Pepper

Burrata sounds like the bastard child of a Mexican tortilla and a Korean fungus, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

This artisan cheese is, excusez-moi, a beefed-up cousin of buffalo mozzarella.

Cheese is rarely on my radar, but this burrata lark is rather special. It was born out of good Catholic frugality in Puglia at least one hundred years ago when the Italians had to figure out what to do with the delicious scraps of leftover buffalo mozzarella.

 

burrata 

 

During the process of burrata-making, the cheese is stretched into a cute pouch which is then filled with scraps of leftover buffalo mozzarella and topped off with thick, unpasteurised fresh cream before closing. It ends up looking like regular mozzarella, but the treasure inside is decidedly creamier and sweeter. London restaurants like Nopi and The Modern Pantry ­– steaming with glamour – have become places of pilgrimage for this special cheese.

Italy has always been the country where food trends understandably begin. My husband’s belly is the little town where these same trends come and retire. Me? I gravitate towards Californian cuisine and superfood crazies, like iron filings to a magnet. So, to pacify both egos, I’ve added multicoloured heirloom tomatoes to this dish. But cherry toms will do just fine.

 

 burrata peaches

 

Fresh Burrata with Peaches, Basil and Black Pepper

Serves 4

Peaches might sound like a creepy addition to a salad, but their sweetness brings the mozzarella experience up an octave. And did you know that freshly cracked black pepper has proven anti-angiogenic capabilities? (That’s Doctor Code for anti-cancer).

Angiogenesis is the name given to the natural process of blood vessels growing in the body. Researchers have examined foods that actually help slow down this process. Why would you want to do this? To starve a tumour of it’s blood supply and it’s liefeline. Er, it’s science, innit? For more on this, I recommend visiting Dr William Li’s resource www.EatToBeat.org

Toonsbridge in West Cork are making their own mozzarella from their handsome herd of water buffalo. Sample some at Sheridan’s cheese mongers in Dublin’s city centre or the covered market in Cork. Lots of farmer’s markets now stock it. Just follow the excited queue!

 

2 peaches

Handful of fresh basil leaves

1 red onion (optional)

300g various coloured heirloom tomatoes

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses or lime

A few turns of the black pepper mill

250g burrata or buffalo milk mozzarella or this tofu

 

Start by cutting each peach in half. Discard the stone, and slice each half into wedges. Tumble into a large bowl with the basil leaves.

If you like red onions, slice one whole and wafer-thin, then let it join the party.

Chop the tomatoes into slim wedges. Cherry tomatoes are easier to serve, as you will only need to slice these chaps in half before adding to the peaches. You might need to add some salt to the tomatoes if they have not fully ripened, so it’s definitely worth checking.

All that’s needed now is some serious gloss. Whisk the olive oil and pomegranate molasses or lime together in a cup with a fork. Pour over the summer salad and finish off with as much black pepper as your toes can handle. Gently coat everything, using your hands to turn the salad ingredients in the bowl once or twice. Divide evenly between four plates.

Roughly tear the burrata or mozzarella in bite sized chunks and parachute them over each salad. Tofu Rossi is a brilliant alternative to buffalo cheese.

Best to serve immediately, before the guests get too giddy.

 

 

 

Salads & Suppers, Sides

Soft Goat’s Cheese Salad with Cherries & Toasted Tamari Seeds

Have you a low tolerance to dairy?

You needn’t quarantine it from your diet entirely, or tell every waiter in Ireland about it. Give goat’s cheese a go.

The fat globules in goat’s milk appear to be smaller than cow’s milk, making it easier to digest. There’s also less lactose in goat’s milk – not that lactose is evil or problematic. Some of us simply don’t manufacture lactase, the digestive enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose in our system. This tends to be genetically determined.

 

goats cheese bee pollen 

 

Whether you suffer from dodgy digestion or not, Irish goat’s cheese is unreasonably delicious. Lidl do a good one, but we have a special squeal reserved for Bluebell Falls and Ardsallagh. It’s a stealthy vehicle for Green Leafy Veg, especially with toddlers, husbands and other contrarians.

Or sprinkle with bee pollen, to confuse them. Looks so pretty (see above).

Interestingly, goat’s milk contains more calcium than cow’s milk. Its pH level is more favourable than regular dairy too, which seems to excite ‘alkaline’ eaters such as Sienna Miller, Calgary Avensino and Robbie Williams. The Alkaline Diet is a scorching-hot trend among the gorgeous brigade in London and New York.

Interested? Check out The Honestly Healthy Cookbook penned by two savvy ladies, Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson. You’ll need to resuscitate that roll of litmus paper from biology class, a sense of adventure, and that day-glow exercise leotard!

 

 cherries

 

 

 

Soft Goat’s Cheese Salad with Cherries & Toasted Tamari Seeds

It will probably take more time to read this recipe, than to make it.

No need to toast the seeds in soya sauce unless you are a bona fide umami tart like me. Umami is that lip-smacking mushroomy hit that obsessionistas crave (you know who you are). Soya sauce has loads of it. As does coconut aminos.

Umami is often referred to as our fifth taste sense, alongside sweet, sour, salty and bitter. I’d argue we have a lot more than five taste senses – fear, pheromones, visa bills, CK One, and stink bombs. I can taste them all.

 

pumpkin seeds tamari roasted 

 

For the salad:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Good splash of tamari soya sauce or coconut aminos

Handful of greens like watercress, sunflower sprouts or Russian kale

1 cup cherries

Soft goat’s cheese for 2

 

For the maple dressing:

1 teaspoon of maple syrup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Good squeeze of lime or lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns, crushed and pummeled

 

There’s enough here for two. Start by pre-heating your oven to 180 C / 350 F. Spread the pumpkin seeds across a baking tray and roast in the oven for 6 minutes. You’ll hear them popping. Toss the seeds with tamari or coconut aminos, and return the tray to the oven for another minute. Remove from the oven and allow the seeds to cool. This can be difficult.

I find leaving the kitchen helpful, to avoid repeatedly scalding my tonsils.

To assemble the salad, carefully peel the Russian kale leaves from its tough stalk and tear into rough pieces. You could use any leaves you fancy, but red Russian kale are strong, barrel-chested chaps. Spicy too. I used sunflower sprouts and cress in the photo, because I scoffed the kale before remembering to photograph it.

Tumble the halved cherries onto the salad leaves.

To make the dressing, whisk the elements together with a fork and drizzle over the cherry leaves. Gently turn the leaves to coat everything.

Crown with a generous dollop of goat’s cheese and bless with loads of roasted seeds.