It has been quite some time since I last posted, but now I’m back with (another) fennel salad recipe. I’ve been lucky enough to have done a bit of travelling over the past month with trips to Switzerland, Denmark and Spain. The latter trip I plan on talking more about soon, and about the exciting project I was involved with over there. But for now, let’s get back to this salad.
Blood oranges – the true elites of the citrus family. Gracing us with their presence for a month or so before disappearing for another year, they are by far my favourite citrus fruit, and not just for their pretty colours. Now that they’re in season I’m buying them whenever I can and using them in just about anything (I have a cake planned and some marmalade, too). But this salad is, with its few ingredients and minimal effort, one of the best ways to enjoy them.
The natural sweet tartness from the blood orange, and the slight bitterness from the fennel results in this salad sort of dressing itself. Add a splash of olive oil and you’ll find that all the flavours come together yet manage to still stand out on their own – it is magical.
It started out of sheer laziness, adding raw vegetables to salads instead of bothering to cook them. With a single swipe along my mandolin I had slithers of cauliflower, fennel or broccoli that would have otherwise been cooked first had this new option not been so convenient. With the right kind of dressing I found that I could make a sort of vegetable ceviche, the edge taken off that typically unappetising ‘rawness’, the flavour mellowing through marinating in my lunch box on my desk at work.
I’ve been testing various slaw recipes periodically, sometimes opting for an Asian combination of flavours, other times a luxuriously creamy American style, but this really is the recipe that I keep coming back to. The dressing here unlike in other slaw recipes is certainly not the show-stealer, but its subtle nutty flavour thanks to tahini is a welcome note on the palate. Throw this together quickly and leave for a while for the flavours to really gel. I eat this for lunch on its own, or with half an avocado for good measure. Adding a slice of rye bread into the equation is always a welcome addition, too.
If you’ve been reading my posts for a while you would have heard me discuss a new found love of plant-based eating, and although I cannot confirm that I have been exercising this new diet religiously and without steak/eggs, I can confirm that for the most part I am still enjoying creating dairy-free/meat-free dishes – on occasion. This slaw just so happens to work extremely well with either a dairy alternative to yoghurt, or the real deal. So, do with it what you will.
It has been some time, hasn’t it? But now I’m back and I can finally wish you a Happy New Year! I hope the first two weeks of 2015 have been wonderful to you.
So let’s talk new year’s resolutions, because that’s all everyone is talking about this month. I want to know what everyone’s been giving up or what changes you’re trying to make to the way you live your life this year. Or are you boycotting the whole thing altogether?
I don’t usually set myself resolutions for the new year, but last year I inadvertently gave up smoking, and I can happily say it’s been a total blast breathing much more easily over the last 379 days. This year however, I made a conscious decision to add a few life goals to my list this year:
I will take my Italian to the next level and become fluent
I will have more self-confidence, tell my inner critic to sta zitta and take on new projects outside of work
I will eat well, consistently and be as eco-friendly as possible
I will listen more and talk about myself less
I will appreciate what I have right now instead of yearning for what I could have
I will make this miso-tahini soup once a week for the rest of my life AMEN
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet because we’re all too busy with December to actually sit down and read anything of length right now. If it’s not after work drinks, some kind of Christmas themed event, dinner with friends or present buying then it’s decorating the tree, putting up Christmas lights and perfecting your mince pie recipe. If, and only if you have a spare moment, then it will certainly be to have a big glass of wine and watch shit tv. So, as I said… short n sweet.
I originally saw this wondrous recipe on Green Kitchen Stories (i.e. my happy place on the internet, after Pinterest) and immediately wanted to recreate them in my own kitchen. I tweaked the recipe a fair amount, depending on what I had in my cupboards, and subbed out the cheese altogether in favour of a dairy-free option.
The resulting quinoa patties are delicious little additions to add to any base for lunch or dinner; I enjoyed them with a simple cabbage salad one day and hummus and carrot sticks the next. Plus if you have leftover quinoa to begin with then these can be made in a snap.
I’m not one to hide my feelings about pasta, particularly when eaten on a Sunday. I’ll wake up and think, I want a massive bowl of pasta and my day will generally go from there. A classic ragú is usually what we’ll have when we’re visiting R’s mother, but in our house we go all veggie more often than not. And I know, I know that in my last post I yapped on about loving the plant-based only diet but pasta, well pasta just deserves to be slathered in butter, filled with cheese and made with eggs.
Usually if I’m making fresh pasta a simple fettuccine will be my shape of choice, but every now and then the slight extra effort involved in making a stuffed pasta like ravioli is well worth the labour. There is something so rewarding about making a meal from scratch. With these ravioli I put together the flavours I was really craving at that time, and it turns out that the combination of slightly salty, creamy ricotta teamed with smokey aubergine marries perfectly with a classic brown butter and sage sauce.
If you read aubergine and winced then fear not, this recipe is easily adaptable. Sub in blanched spinach, or perhaps some chopped walnuts, or switch the brown butter for a deeply rich and comforting tomato sauce. Whichever way you have it, this is truly a meal to be savoured and enjoyed.