Autumn is well and truly here in Perth. Seemingly overnight we’ve had crisp mornings and lots of rain. It’s been too rainy/dark to go for my runs, so to keep warm I’ve been going to Piloxing classes a few times a week. My cravings for comfort food go through the roof when it’s cold and if I were to act on them, they could wreck all my efforts of exercise.
So whenever I feel like a bowl of pasta, I make this Zucchini Spaghetti instead. There’s a gazillion zucchini spaghetti raw recipes around with tomato based sauces, but I prefer it with a fresh basil and mint pesto. If you don’t mind heating your food, this dish tastes pretty amazing lightly warmed through, too.
RAW VEGAN ZUCCHINI PESTO SPAGHETTI
1.5 ZUCCHINIS 3 CUPS FRESH BASIL 1 CLOVE OF GARLIC 1 TABLESPOON LEMON JUICE 3/4 CUP PINENUTS 1 TEASPOON SEA SALT
1/3 CUP EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
FRESH LEMON, LIME & MINT & EXTRA PINENUTS FOR GARNISH
Spiralise the zucchini with a Spiraliser (I recommend this one and this one). If you don’t have a spiraliser, make fettucine style zucchini instead by peeling long strips with a regular vegetable peeler. Place them in a colander and after five minutes gently squeeze the excess water from them and place aside in a bowl. Don’t skip this step, or your zucchini spaghetti will be watery and that will ruin your day. In a food processor, pulse the remaining ingredients until combined (leave a little texture in there) and stir through the zucchini. Garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime, pinenuts and fresh mint leaves.
Fresh fennel is a veggie that you can eat from base to leaves, or perhaps I should say: from bulb to fronds. In this salad, I’ve used the bulb very thinly sliced with crisp green apple and celery and then the fronds combined with mint to intensify the licorice-ish flavour. Raw fennel has hardly any calories (hooray) and delivers you a large hit of potassium (more than milk or broccoli) and also calcium. This salad is best made just before you’re wanting to eat it, and the ingredients should be refrigerated first, if possible, so that it is crisp and crunchy.
APPLE, FENNEL & WALNUT SALAD
2 CUPS VERY THINLY SLICED FENNEL (USE A MANDOLIN OR A FOOD PROCESSOR) 2 STALKS CELERY, VERY THINLY SLICED (USE A MANDOLIN OR A FOOD PROCESSOR) 1 CRISP GREEN APPLE, VERY THINLY SLICED (USE A MANDOLIN OR A FOOD PROCESSOR) 1/2 CUP WALNUTS 1 TABLESPOON FRESH MINT LEAVES
1 TABLESPOON FRESH FENNEL FRONTS
1 TABLESPOON EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL 2 TEASPOONS FRESH LEMON JUICE
SMALL PINCH OF FLAKED SEA SALT
Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix gently to combine. To make the dressing, shake or stir ingredients together and pour over the salad just before serving.
I’m back after a loooong blogging break. My excuse is the one we all make: I’ve been busy.
Busy with what? Well, I’ve moved out of my design studio space. I’d been there for five years, so it was emotional moving on, even though in the grand scheme of things it was the right thing to do.
I’ve been in touch with the lovely Annette from Pure Glow Cleanse about her guest posting some recipes. Pure Glow Cleanse are Perth’s first cold-pressed juice cleanse delivery and I can’t wait to try it out when they launch. More on them soon.
I’ve also been contracting making online stuff at Naked Specs and Stonebarn, as well as continuing with some of my freelance work, so it’s been late nights and a lot of green juice in between, but I’m feeling more and more in balance as the warmer weather approaches.
And with the warmer weather comes summery fruit – my favourites! This salad features sweet strawberries paired with spicy ginger and bitter raddichio leaves to balance out the flavours.
STRAWBERRY GINGER SALAD
3 CUPS SHREDDED RADICCHIO LEAVES 10 STRAWBERRIES, HULLED AND SLICED 1/2 AVOCADO, CHOPPED HANDFUL OF FRESH MINT LEAVES
15 PECAN NUTS, CHOPPED ROUGHLY
1 TEASPOON FRESH GRATED GINGER 1 TABLESPOON OLIVE OIL 1 DESSERTSPOON FRESH LEMON JUICE 1 TEASPOON AGAVE NECTAR OR HONEY
1/2 TEASPOON SEA SALT
To make the dressing, shake all ingredients together in a jar until well combined. Set aside. Mix all salad ingredients together in a separate bowl, and stir through the dressing just before serving.
If you are into carrots as much as I am, there’s a great carrot website from the UK full of interesting carrot trivia. For example, in 1600s England, Parkinson, the celebrated botanist to King James comments that ladies wore carrot leaves in place of feathers in their hats – “the light, feathery verdure of which caused them to be no contemptible substitute for the plumage of birds.”
One thing I’ve noticed about myself is that dependent on my mood, texture and surface area makes a huge difference to how much I want to eat carrots. I do love them, (and the massive dose of Vitamin A is always a good thing), but I’m not always in the mood for the heavy crunching; sometimes it can feel a little laborious to get through a plate of carrot sticks.
This recipe uses shaved carrots to break up that heavy carrot density to make it easier to eat and is based on traditional Moroccan flavours. It uses both plumped sultanas and crunchy currants to give a great contrast of textures. A few tips: the fresher and younger the carrots, the better it tastes. And don’t skip the orange blossom water, it’s essential!
MOROCCAN CARROT SALAD
6 – 8 BABY CARROTS 1/3 CUP SULTANAS, SOAKED IN WARM TAP WATER FOR 10 MINS TO PLUMP & THEN DRAINED 1/3 CUP DRIED APRICOTS, DICED 1 TABLESPOON CURRANTS 1/3 CUP FLAKED ALMONDS
BUNCH OF FRESH CORIANDER, LEAVES PLUCKED
1/2 ORANGE, JUICED 1 TABLESPOON OLIVE OIL 1 TEASPOON FRESH, GRATED GINGER 1 TEASPOON ORANGE BLOSSOM WATER 1/2 TEASPOON CUMIN POWDER 1/4 TEASPOON CINNAMON POWDER
1/2 TEASPOON SEA SALT
Peel the carrots, then shave them into long strips using a regular vegetable peeler. Place in a bowl with the other salad ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir all the dressing ingredients together until smooth and then toss through the salad just before serving. Easy!
Three things get tricky for me every winter:
One – It gets dark quickly and I find there’s only a very small window to go for a walk or run after work while still feeling safe and warm enough;
Two – I don’t drink enough water. So far, I’ve been trying to combat this with big teapots of fresh lemon, ginger and hot water; and
Three – I’m not particularly inspired to eat salad.
On number three, I think the secret is to use ingredients that are in season and to eat them at room temperature. Salads with tomato taste horrible because, well, tomatoes taste pretty horrible right now and who wants to eat something cold, tasteless and unripe? This salad mixes bitter but beautifully purple radicchio, crunchy sweet/tart apples and earthy walnuts. I took it along to my bookclub potluck dinner this weekend on a very cold night and it felt just right.
RADICCHIO, APPLE & WALNUT SALAD
12-15 LEAVES OF RADICCHIO 2 GREEN APPLES 3 STALKS CELERY 3-4 SPRIGS LOVAGE (OPTIONAL, I LIKE THE CELERY-LIKE FLAVOUR) 3/4 CUP FLAT LEAF PARSLEY
3/4 CUP WALNUTS
1/4 CUP OLIVE OIL 1 DESSERTSPOON LEMON JUICE 1 TEASPOON HONEY (OR MAPLE OR AGAVE SYRUP) 1 TEASPOON FRENCH WHOLEGRAIN MUSTARD (YES, I KNOW THIS ISN’T RAW, BUT IT’S WORTH ADDING) 1/2 TEASPOON SEA SALT
A FEW GRINDS OF BLACK PEPPER
Roll three or four radicchio leaves up tightly into a roll at a time and finely slice. Finely slice the green apples (I used my food processor), I like to leave the skin on. Finely slice the celery and mix in a bowl with the lovage, parsley and walnuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients until the honey is mixed in smoothly. Stir through the dressing just before serving.
Is a raw soup really a soup, or is a juice with some salt and herbs sprinkled on top and put into a bowl? I don’t know, but I’m calling it a soup because that’s how I eat it.
This recipe is like locking sunshine in a bowl – the carrot juice is good for eyesight, bones and teeth, liver and nails, skin and hair as well as betacarotene and vitamin A, there’s the obvious vitamin C from the oranges and the ginger, well, it seems ginger is good for you for pretty much everything.
CARROT ORANGE & GINGER SOUP
2 CUPS FRESH CARROT JUICE 2CM FRESH GINGER ROOT, JUICED WITH THE CARROTS
2 CUPS FRESHLY SQUEEZED ORANGE JUICE
1/2 TEASPOON SALT FLAKES
FLAT LEAF PARSLEY, CORIANDER, BASIL OR CHIVES/CHIVE FLOWERS
Juice the ginger with the carrots til you have two cups worth of juice. Then juice the oranges until you have two cups of orange juice. Mix together in a jug, sprinkle in the salt and pour into two bowls. Top with fresh herbs (I used chive flowers and flat leaf parsley because my coriander was dead. I really wanted to use fresh coriander, but oh well).
For a more substantial soup, blend the soup with 1/4 of an avocado.
For a warm soup, gently heat it in a double saucepan over a low flame until it is warm.
The first time I ate this salad was around ten years ago on holiday with a then-boyfriend’s family – his Dad and step-Mum both happened to be ridiculously good cooks – in beautiful Eagle Bay. Ever since, I’ve referred to it in my mind as The Summer Holiday Salad. They had theirs with only cabbage, onion, capsicum and tuna and freshly baked bread with butter. They always put some ‘plain’ salad aside for me, but I’ve never considered it plain. It’s simple, sure, but comforting and I always feel virtuously healthy eating it.
The raw cabbage contains thiamin, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium and not many calories, and the capsicum has super high levels of vitamin C plus vitamin A, vitamin E and folate. Adding the parsley gives you more of vitamins C and A, folate and a huge dose of vitamin K. Start making this salad a few hours before you’d like to eat it as the textures and flavours get better with a little time.
1/2 CABBAGE 1/2 RED CAPSICUM 1 STALK OF CELERY 1/8 RED ONION 1/2 CUP KALAMATA OLIVES 1 CUP FLAT LEAF PARSLEY, CHOPPED
1/2 TEASPOON SALT FLAKES
1/4 CUP OLIVE OIL
2 TEASPOONS LEMON JUICE
I remember being told the secret to this salad was that it was an exercise in texture. The key to making it taste especially good is to make sure everything is sliced as thinly as possible. I use my food processor with a slicing attachment which does the trick but you could use a very sharp knife.
Thinly, thinly slice the cabbage, capsicum, celery and red onion into a bowl. Add in the chopped parsley and olives, sprinkle with sea salt and set aside. In a small bowl or cup, mix together the olive oil and lemon juice until combined and stir through the salad. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the cabbage soften, and then bring it to room temperature before serving.