Beet tartare

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Life is your canvas…paint it with your dreams!

My dreams are normally full of food. If you know me well and see me staring off into the distance, you’ll know its because I am thinking about my next meal, the meal I just had or a recipe I am working on. It is therefore natural for me to combine food and art.

Beetroots have such amazing colors, my favourite is the deep ruby red because of the colour but also the antioxidant qualities you get with it.

This recipe is my healthy vegan version of beef tartar using those beautiful red beets to create a hearty, beet tartare. The dish has a lovely crunch and salinity from the capers and a smooth heat from the mustard.

I loved playing with this dish, as when you have finished you have a pink paint and a white cream cheese base to play with. It lets your inner artist (and child out) and what could be more fun than that!

This is a Tasha. Kitchen original, feel free to copy, creativity should be shared!

Ingredients

  • 2 small beets
  • 1 tsp. capers
  • 1½ tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 3 tbsp. vegan cream cheese (see prior recipe)
  • Chives, chopped (for garnish)

Method

  • Preheat an oven to 350c
  • Bake the beetroots in salt for 40 mins or until slightly tender
  • Remove from the oven and let cool
  • Once cooled chop into roughly 1cm x 1cm pieces
  • Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, oil, and salt.
  • Transfer beets to a small bowl and mix with the dressing
  • Smear plate with the vegan cream cheese and place the beetroot on top using a cookie cutter or ramekin
  • Garnish with chopped chives

Popcorn Beets

Popcorn Beets

‘Creativity is a way to share your soul with the world’

This is my healthy vegan version of Amanda Cohen’s popcorn beets, which have been deemed better than popcorn shrimp by the food critics.

Mr. B loves popcorn shrimp, so although I haven’t tried Cohen’s dish, I was inspired to make my own version and see what he thought.

Cohen’s version is soaked in buttermilk spiked with bourbon and deep-fried. I wanted to make a healthier and dairy free version, so I soaked mine in almond milk and baked them to make them vegan and a guilt free snack. She served her dish with a green curry sauce; I used vegan cream cheese and jalapenos to replicate the creamy and spicy compliments.

Mr. B loved this dish, noting it as moreish (as shown by the disappearance of the dish in 5 seconds) and addictive. Success! Thanks Amanda Cohen for the inspiration!

This is a tasha.kitchen original recipe, feel free to copy it, creativity should be shared!

Ingredients

  • 2 red beetroots
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegan cream cheese
  • I tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced

Method

  • Preheat an oven to 350c
  • Bake the beetroot in salt for 20 mins until slightly tender
  • Take them out and let cool, once cooled chop into roughly 2cm x 2cm pieces
  • Pour almond milk into a shallow bowl/dish and cornmeal into another
  • Coat the beet pieces with the milk and then the cornmeal
  • Place pieces on the a baking tray with coconut oil and place in the oven
  • Flip over half way and back until the cornmeal is hard
  • Sprinkle sea salt on the pieces
  • Serve with vegan cream cheese and slices of jalapeño

Miso Hummus

Miso Hummus

‘Balance is not something you find, its something you create’.

Mr. B loves hummus and I love Miso, so when this recipe fell into my lap, it was like the same serendipity that brought us together.

They say opposites attract and that was certainly true for the two of us. Mr. B is a night owl and I am a morning person, he has a sweet tooth and mine is salty, I like to eat every two hours and he likes to eat once a day, I like to swim and he likes to run, I like classical music and he likes rock. I don’t think that we agree on anything, apart from loving each other, but we certainly do balance each other out.

I love this recipe for the clash and ultimate balance, the unapologetic salinity and intensity of the umami-rich miso, which is balanced by the mellow richness of the tahini and chickpea.

This blog comes a little early as I am attempting to get some balance by taking my first day off this year.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (60 g) blanched almonds
  • 2 cups (450 g) cooked chickpeas or 1 can of cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup (60g) tahini
  • 1/4 cup (60g) white miso
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon/ 2 tbsp. plus more as needed
  • About 1/2 cup (120 ml ice water)
  • Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasted sesame oil (optional)

Method

  • In a food processor blend almonds meal, chickpeas until the beans are crumbly and light
  • Add in the tahini, miso, garlic and lemon juice. Blend again for 2 minutes or so, then scrape down the sides of the machine
  • Switch on the blender start drizzling in enough water so that the hummus billows up, aerated and fluffy
  • Depending on the beans, you may not use all the water, or you might need more
  • Let the machine go for 2-3 minutes after the consistency seems right. Taste and check for seasoning
  • For a roasted accent, drip in some toasted sesame oil

Corn Chowder (Dairy free, Gluten Free, Vegan)

Corn Chowder

This recipe is a transitional dish. It is so satisfyingly wholesome and comforting, that it is a virtual hug in a bowl on a cold day. It is also so vibrant both in color and taste and so is a reminder that spring is on its way.

After a few months of darkness and cold, our brains start to extrapolate and think that this is how the rest of the year will be, we spend more time in doors trying to seek out creature comforts and this is the exact time that mother nature plays her tricks on us, the clocks go forward and the days start to get lighter again.

This reminds me of a quote I once read, ‘Never cut down a tree in wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods…wait…be patient…the storm will pass and spring will come’.

Whilst you are waiting for spring, I hope you will take comfort in this little hug in a bowl.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cups sweet corn kernels (fresh or frozen, defrosted), divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1-3 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth (optional)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar (optional)
  • Chopped basil and scallions (optional)

Method

  • Combine the potatoes, onion, 2 cups corn, garlic, salt and chicken broth in a slow cooker if you have one or large pot. If using a slow cooker cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6, or until the potatoes are very tender. If using a pot, bring to the boil and then simmer until the potatoes are soft, c.60mins
  • Carefully ladle the soup, in batches, into a blender and blend until smooth, if you have an immersion blender you can blend directly in the pot. Return the blended mixture back to the slow cooker or pot
  • Add the coconut milk, vinegar (optional), and the remaining 1 cup corn, stirring to combine. Taste and add additional salt or vinegar to taste
  • Serve with basil, scallion, and red pepper/chilli if you like
  • Makes 6-8 servings
  • This recipe is from http://www.realfoodwholelife.com

Chicken Soup (Bone Broth)

Chicken soup

Do small things with great love…

Chicken Soup has been known for centuries as having medicinal properties; it is known as Jewish penicillin and the inherent wisdom of generations can be tasted with every sip.

Chicken soup not only has the wisdom of your grandparents and the generations that came before, it also has a life lesson embedded within it. It is a delicate and complex dish and the resulting taste is a function of what you put in, as so is life. Life is an echo of what you send out, what you sow, what you give. It can be as complex or as simple as you make it, have as much depth as you choose to give it and is always a reflection of what you decide to put in.

For this recipe, it was important to me to find the best source of chicken available, and thus off I headed to the farmers market. I picked up my chicken from Chestnut Farms (http://chestnutfarm.org). The chickens live life on a school bus on the farm, where they are protected at night and have the fresh green grass and field peas to enjoy during the day. I picked up a soup starter pack for $5, which is the backbones of the chicken, but you can use a couple of legs and thighs or a whole chicken if you prefer. You just need to make sure there is bone in the chicken you put in (hence the name), as that is where a lot of the immune strengthening ingredients come from.

Traditionally a mirepoix (mix of onion, celery, carrot) is also included, as is the base of vegetable broth, but I choose to omit the onions in chicken soup. After that it is up to you what you add in terms of the spices that add the depth. I have made a classic version, but you can adapt this to taste, adding fish sauce and chilli for an Asian twist or mushrooms, chorizo and a splash of sherry for a bit of umami.

There is no wrong combination, just the integrity of your ingredients and the overlay of your palate, so to is the recipe of life, integrity and your values to guide you, the rest will work itself out.

Ingredients

  • 1lb high welfare chicken
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. whole peppercorns
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 rasher, high welfare bacon (optional)

Method

  • Put your chicken, carrots, celery and bacon if using into a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil
  • Turn down the heat and simmer slowly for an hour and a quarter
  • Skim the white residue off the top every so often
  • If you are using chicken pieces instead of just bones, after an hour and a quarter remove the chicken and take the meat off the bones to be used in other dishes or added back in to the broth when ready to eat
  • You can keep the bones simmering for hours, the longer it is on the heat, the more taste and nutrients you will get
  • After a few hours, taste and season with salt
  • Ladle the soup into bowls or jars to cool and keep in the fridge
  • The resulting broth should look like a clear consommé
  • To serve (see picture) I added rice noodles (simmer in the broth for 3 mins) and scallions

Yellow Beetroot Baked in a Dome of Coarse Salt

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This is from Alain Passard’s ‘the art of cooking with vegetables’. This is one of the simplest recipes in the book and one where the understated elegance talks for itself

For those of you who haven’t heard of Alain Passard, let me make a quick virtual introduction.

Mr. Passard was one of the worlds most acclaimed chefs famed for his rich, classic, traditional French cuisine. For this he earned himself three Michelin stars. In 2001 he made the controversial decision to take meat off the menu, he bought a farm and dedicated himself to learning about permaculture farming, a beyond-organic ecological system

Did he retain his 3 stars? Yes he did! With this quote from the New York Times summing up his food exquisitely, ‘for its lightness, brightness, beauty, and elegance, my single meal at L’Arpège was in an eye-opening class by itself

His recipes are simple and are all about elevating the beauty in the fresh ingredient he has grown

For this recipe, I prefer to use yellow to red beetroot here, as they are sweeter and less earthy than the red counterpart

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 4 uncooked yellow beetroots in their skins
  • of salt
  • 50g butter (substitute vegan butter/olive olive to make vegan)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 150c/300f
  • Spread half the salt evenly on a foil lined baking tray
  • Rinse the beetroots and sit them on top of the salt bed
  • Cover them evenly with the remaining salt so that they disappear beneath 4 pyramids
  • Transfer the baking dish to the oven, carefully so as not to disturb the salt
  • After one hour, test the beetroots with a thin skewer if it goes through easily the beetroot is ready
  • Just before serving, cut the butter into 4 pieces and sprinkle with lemon juice and zest
  • To serve the dish, take it to the table with a large knife and break the block of salt in front of your fellow diners
  • Brush the salt from each beetroot, cut it in half and serve with a portion of the prepared butter
  • To savor the dish at its best, eat the beetroot flesh and skin – it is the skin, which really heightens the flavors here!

Banana Sweet Potato Chia Mousse

chia-sweet-potato-banana-mousse

Working a 12 hour day, trying to keep fit and making all three meals from scratch every day can sometimes feel a little challenging and it is tempting to let the healthy meal part slip and get on the phone to your fastest take-away.

That is why weekend prep and meals that you can prep in advance are so vital to a healthy lifestyle. This is one of those wonderful recipes that is simple to make, takes little time and can be eaten for breakfast, on the go or as a light meal.

The chia seeds release high energy and endurance and the word ‘Chia’ in fact translates in Mayan to ‘strength’. The sweet potato provides vitamin C (one sweet potato supplies 70% of your daily vitamin C) and the banana adds to your potassium intake.

Mr. B likes to add granola and I like to add berries for a nice contrast of textures. On its own or with additions, this is a great recipe to have in your weekly repertiore.

This is adapted from my new vegan chef crush, Chef Daphne Cheng’s website. (www.daphnecheng.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potato’s,
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 can coconut milk- unsweetened
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds to taste
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • A pinch of salt (1/4 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil

Optional

  • Agave to sweeten
  • For breakfast serve with granola and fresh fruit
  • For dessert serve with caramel popcorn and fresh fruit

Method

  • Heat oven to 350f/180c. Toss sweet potato in coconut oil and place on baking sheet in oven. Roast for 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, let cool and peel.
  • In a blender, mix sweet potato, bananas, coconut milk, vanilla, salt and blend until smooth.
  • Pour into a large mixing bowl. Slowly add chia seeds while whisking, using less if you prefer smoothness, more if you prefer more substance. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Ready to eat for breakfast or desert!