Salads & Suppers

Coriander and Pomegranate Ceviche, from my cookbook

Freshly torn from its plant, cilantro transforms a sad excuse of a salad into a party on a plate. And you’re invited.

Unless you have a hotline to Dan Barber’s brain, growing coriander can be a trifle tricky. Best tip? Don’t bother with the supermarket plants. They are merely dejected relatives of the real thing and never live longer than their first haircut.

Instead, follow these cinchy steps: (1) Sow salad seeds in a 25cm deep, well-drained pot. (2) Feed with at least 8 hours sunlight on a windowsill. (3) Keep well watered. (4) Brag to everyone in the office that you GYO and let them rub your halo.

This will feed 4, but we double the quantities for supper parties. Very little work involved.

 

 

For the floppy fennel:

 

Juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1–2 red onions, finely sliced into semi-circles

1 fennel, topped and tailed, and finely sliced

 

For the ceviche:

 

400g super-fresh fish like mackerel or wild salmon

Juice of 1 blood orange

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sea salt flakes (much less, if you have regular sea salt)

Bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves only

A few tablespoons pomegranate seeds

 

 

To make the floppy fennel, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, sesame oil and maple syrup with a fork. Depending on the size of your limes, you may need to adjust the tartness by adding a smidgeon more sesame oil. Taste. Hover. Leap. Prostrate.

Pour over the thinly sliced red onions and fennel. In a few minutes, the vegetables will turn floppy and sweet, as if inebriated by the dressing. Leave them be and get going on the ceviche.

Ask your fishmonger to skin and bone the fish. If he’s really nice, he’ll cut them into bite-sized pieces for you too. Otherwise, you’ll have to see to all three steps yourself before making the ceviche. Tumble the fish with the citrus juice, olive oil and flakes of salt. Allow to infuse for 1 hour or more in the fridge, but anything past 4 hours will turn the fish rubbery.

Stir through mountains of torn cilantro and pomegranate seeds. Serve on a very large plate and have everyone help themselves alongside the bowls of floppy fennel. Plain quinoa is a great side too with a couple tablespoons of desiccated coconut.

 

 

Some crazy-ass news?

The US edition of my cookbook, Tasty.Naughty.Healthy.Nice, reached number 1 on Amazon for New Releases. #WTAF

As a result, Amazon have dropped the price in celebration. Here’s the link, should you fancy sending an American pal some Irish sunshine through the post this week! 

Namaste my friends.

 

 

 

Breakfast, Lunchbox, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

How to Make Sesame Snaps

Cutlery numbs my taste buds. I’m convinced my fingertips start to recognise flavour before any of it reaches my mouth. Eggs and guacamole on toast? My digits get to taste it first. Imagine the same breakfast with a knife and fork? Or eating a hamburger with cutlery? Sushi perhaps? Even pizza?

Look, if I’m to be perfectly honest, I think we can taste words too. Often reading a restaurant menu is the best part of the meal. Each word is like a little comet of deliciousness.

I don’t think any of this constitutes as news, except that I rarely spot people using their fingers with the same giddy determination and shamanistic frenzy I apply to my meals. Clearly, more people bow to the sophistication of a fork –  a majesty which I think is comically misplaced. There are some intriguing results out there, led by scientists, to suggest other homo sapiens behave like me. Phew. (Although it’s possible these studies were led by historians rather than gastro physicists. Nevermind).

 

 

This week’s recipe is a playful experiment for your taste buddies. Let’s munch half the batch with our fingers. And then chew the rest of the sesame snaps using a fork. Ask your taste buds to vote.

Sesame seeds morph into extraordinary little explosions of flavour in the oven. We love them for their sweet nutty smack, but also for their plant-based calcium which makes them great for growing nippers. In Hinduism, sesame is referred to as the seed of immortality. This is probably because of its pumped portfolio of plant lignans and other crazy cool protective compounds like phytooestrogens.

These sesame snaps make me feel like I’m going to live forever. And if I don’t? I’m happy to die trying.

 

 

 

Sesame Snaps

 

5 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 tablespoon rice malt syrup or maple syrup

Pinch of sea salt

 

Preheat your oven to 220C.

In a cup, mash the ingredients together with a fork. Spread the mixture over a baking tray lined with non-stick parchment as best as you can. It’s outrageously sticky, but don’t worry. The heat will help the mixture collapse.

Bake at 200-220C for 5 mins, until bubbly. You want the water to evaporate from the mixture which will give it its crunch.

Allow to solidify once cooled. Smash.

 

 

 

Taking the hell out of healthy.

Hit “BOOM” at the top left corner with your email address my friend, to receive new monthly recipes direct to your inbox. Free of charge. Namaste!

 

 

 

Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw

Nut pulp Granola with Liquorice & Cinnamon

For security purposes, I like to keep a jar of liquorice granola in my cupboard at all times. I’m a better human being when my belly is busy.

The older I get, the more I need my food to fill an emotional crypt too. I get a better burn from lovingly crafted granola than the store-bought stuff. I get a theatrical high knowing my corner café hand-roasts their coffee beans to Shostakovich. Or that my breakfast eggs are served with a wave from the chef. It’s the love and adoration bestowed upon ingredients that really grips me, and makes me want to purr like a homeless kitten at a stranger’s leg.

Food is more than substance. It’s more than fuel. There’s no love in highly processed food – it’s just conveyor belt crap and cannot service you physically or emotionally. Not the way this granola can.

As promised to so many readers, I finally found a worthy way of re-purposing nutpulp, left over from making your very own mylk (inspired by Jodi here). Namaste.

 

 

Nut pulp Granola with Liquorice & Cinnamon

Serves 12-16

 

1/2 cup (125ml) virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup (125ml) good honey or rice malt

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (sounds a lot, but it reaches 16 portions)

2 cups (300g) nut pulp, left over from making nut milk (or use ground almonds)

3 cups (270g) jumbo oats

5 teabags sweet chai or other caffeine-free tea blend, torn open

 

 

1 Fire up your oven to 160 C. Line your largest tray, or 2 smaller ones, with parchment paper.

2 In a big saucepan, gently melt your coconut oil, the honey and decent smattering of salt. You want them to smooch each other, not violently grumble. Parachute the remaining ingredients into the pan, turn off the heat, and thoroughly coat.

3 Spoon onto your prepared tray and bake for 30 minutes. This recipe requires longer cooking time than regular granola, because the wet nut pulp needs to dry in the oven. If it’s not dry, it won’t store well. Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat – this will only burn the oats.

4 Toss the granola tray twice, while baking, to prevent browning edges.

5 Remove from the oven once cooked. Clouds of warm-scented liquorice and honey will waft through your house, reminding you (and the apartment block) of your culinary wizardry.

Can be stored for up to 3 weeks in a tightly sealed jar, sprinkled over despondent salads or languorous mornings. I added some sprouted buckwheat and cacao nibs a week later, to change it up a little (see photo).

 

 

Taking the hell out of healthy.

Hit “BOOM” at the top left corner with your email address my friend, to receive new monthly recipes direct to your inbox. Free of charge. Namaste!