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Salads & Suppers

Salads & Suppers

Vegetarian Scallops

King oyster scallops make a dazzling alternative to turkey for any vegetarians in your orbit this Yule. Takes a mere 3 minutes to whip up from start to finish. So this recipe might just save Christmas (and your adrenal glands)!

Mushrooms are humming with beta-glucans. These nifty compounds do sha-mazing things for our bodies. They help lower cholesterol by forming a viscous gel that grabs excess cholesterol and moves it through your digestive tract much like La Cucaracha. Beta-glucans also slow down digestion, which in turn stabilizes blood sugar levels and minimizes the release of insulin or fangs (as conducted by my own scientific experiment).

Quite apart from their nutritional kudos, these mushroom scallops taste crazy-good. Hope they find a plate near you.


6 king oyster mushrooms

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons ghee, butter or olive oil


Remove the mushroom stems from their caps. Keep the caps for another use (soup, stir fry, pickle, stock).

Slice each stem into 4 thick discs, resembling scallops. You can score each ‘scallop’ crisscrossing their diameter on each side if you fancy. This will help grab more flavour when they hit the pan, but is not integral to the recipe.

Massage the smoked paprika, salt and olive oil into the shroom scallops.

Heat a large sauté pan, cast iron griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Tip in the butter, ghee or olive oil. Wait until it’s hot enough to hear gentle sizzling noises when you swirl the pan.

Now pop in a few of your shroom scallops, being mindful not to overcrowd the pan and cause the poor chaps to sweat rather than sear.  Colour on both sides. Basting the hot ghee or butter over the scallops will help prevent the fat from burning, and quickly colour your scallops. When both sides are golden brown, remove and add the next batch, doting the pan with fresh butter. Repeat until all the scallops are done.

Serve hot with pureed parsnip or sweet potato. Gorgeous.

Salads & Suppers, Sides, x For Freezer x

A pot of Really Good Daal

During these biting wintry weekends, daal can be a life-enriching experience. It’s a form of spellbinding magic. My nostrils do an all-consuming samba as I inhale a whole load of happiness that only food chemists could explain. This is daal – noun, verb, adjective, it’s much more than a bowl of hot legumes.

Food is always my first medicinal port of call. I prepare daal to soothe indolent moods and sore hearts. It’s got to have lots of sizzling garlic and blood-thumping ginger. Like a hug, these are to help us feel grounded yet simultaneously lifted, something Indian cooking almost always achieves. The injection of chilli is life’s defibrillator – the bigger the burn, the quicker we wake and shake.

 

 

 

Yellow Daal

Serves 3-5

This daal’s got more kick than a bunny in heat. Yellow split peas will give the daal a chunkier consistency, boiled until softly crushed then stirred into slow cooked onions and spiked with spices.

Namaste, from my little Indian love nest.

 

250g yellow split peas, rinsed
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
3 tablespoons coconut oil, butter or ghee
1 white onion, finely diced
4 fat cloves of garlic
1 red chilli, sliced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Chunk of ginger, lightly peeled and grated
Squeeze of lime
Generous handful of plum tomatoes, halved
Natural yoghurt, to serve
Fresh coriander, to serve

 

Cook the split peas and ground turmeric in a small deep pan, covering with unsalted water. Let them putt-putter for 30-45 minutes until you can crush the peas between your thumb and forefinger. You’re looking for a soupy consistency.

While the peas gurgle away, gently colour the onions in your preferred form of fat (butter, coconut oil or ghee) over a low flame for 12 minutes. Turn up the flame, add the crushed garlic, chilli, cumin and grated ginger, stirring for a few minutes to prevent charring.

Now you can add the lime, fresh tomatoes and turn the heat right down to let the flavours socialise under a lid. After 10 minutes of cooking, stir through the cooked split peas. Serve in large bowls alongside some natural yoghurt and freshly torn coriander leaves. A plump poached egg also serves us well.

 

 

 

 

 

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.