‘Nature alone is an antique, and the oldest art a mushroom’ – Thomas Carlyle
I love this dish so much that whilst I am writing this, I am making another batch
It made my life so much easier this week as I started to commute and needed a nourishing, light meal that took 10 minutes to make when I got home
The first day I ate the broth on its own, the second I added some soba noodles as I heated it up, the third I added some tofu, the fourth some pea shoots and the fifth some pre-cooked barley and some coconut milk. The base itself has about 10 calories, a portion of soba noodles has 70 calories, so this is a low-calorie meal, whatever you do to it
Dried mushrooms can be much cheaper than real mushrooms but they retain the taste and nutrients including protein, enzymes, B vitamins (niacin) and vitamin D2
- ½ cup dried mushrooms
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 8 cups water
- Place all ingredients in a deep pot, bring to the boil and then down to a simmer for 30 minutes
- You are looking for a deeply concentrated flavour, so if at 30 minutes you don’t have that keep going or adjust the seasoning
- If you have an instant pop, you can do the same thing and it will take 10 minutes
- Eat as a nourishing broth
- Add soba noodles and make a ramen
- Add tofu and vegetables and make a protein dense soup
- Use it as your broth and make a risotto
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.
- 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)
- 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
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.
- 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)
- 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
Pulled pork and home made coleslaw J. Oliver style
Gluten free, diary free, wheat free and great for Sunday Lunch
-½ higher-welfare shoulder of pork, neck end with bone in (approximately 5kg)
-freshly ground black pepper
-2 heaped teaspoons smoked paprika, plus a little extra for sprinkling over
-1 handful fresh mint
-1-2 fresh red chillies
-6 tablespoons olive oil
-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
For the collard greens and apple slaw:
-½ white cabbage, finely sliced
-1 red onion, peeled and coarsely grated
-3 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
-2 big handfuls collard greens or spring cabbage, washed and spun dry
-3 crunchy apples, very finely sliced
-sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
-2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I used light mayo for this), made with free-range eggs
-extra virgin olive oil
-4-5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Preheat your oven to its highest temperature.
- Score the pork skin about 1cm deep all over with a sharp knife.
- Drizzle a little olive oil over the pork and season generously with salt, pepper and paprika. Rub the flavours all over the skin, then place the pork in a roasting tray in the middle of the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 160ºC/320ºF.
- Cook for about 4 hours, basting occasionally with the juices from the tray, then turn the oven down to 150ºC/300ºF and continue to cook for another 2 hours, or until you can pull the meat apart really easily.
- Remove the crackling and put it to one side, then remove any fat from the tray. Pull all the pork apart, discarding any bones and fat as you go, and use 2 forks to break the meat into small- and medium-sized pieces. Cover with foil until needed.
- To make the coleslaw, finely slice your veg and apples. Put them into a large bowl and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add your mayonnaise, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of cayenne and the red wine vinegar. Mix everything together until you’ve got a perfect coleslaw texture. Have a taste; it should be fresh and lovely, so season and put it to one side while you dress your meat.
- Pick the mint leaves and finely chop them on a large board. Deseed and finely chop your chilli on the same board as your mint. Drizzle the olive oil and red wine vinegar all over the chilli and mint and add a good pinch of salt. Add this to your tray of pulled pork and mix it all together. Serve the dressed pork in a pile on to a plate next to some crackling and a good portion of beautiful coleslaw. Finish the whole plate off with a little salt and a hit of paprika.