Side dishes

Kimchi – Cauliflower “Fried Rice”

kimchi cauliflower rice

Last week I had a great time co-hosting a fermentation workshop with Katharine Locke. After a busy morning of chopping vegetables and filling jars, we all sat down to a lunch featuring a fermented food tasting along with my new favorite lunch dish, this kimchi-cauliflower “fried rice” adapted from a recipe in Gwyneth Paltrow’s new book, It’s All Easy.

Although it is not difficult to make kimchi at home (try this recipe if you want to give it a go), because I live near an excellent Korean supermarket I tend to buy kimchi in pouches rather than make my own. I do now know that the kimchi sold in pouches is well fermented, having lived through The Night Of The Exploding Kimchi.  But that’s a story for another time, maybe when I finish deep-cleaning my fridge.

And if you have never made cauliflower couscous (or rice), I would highly recommend that you try it. It is really tasty but low-carb and perfect for anyone on a grain-free diet.

Kimchi-Cauliflower “Fried Rice” (adapted from It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow)

1 small head of cauliflower, broken into small florets

100 g curly kale, cut or torn into small pieces and stems removed

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons coconut aminos (or tamari soy sauce)

2 spring onions, thinly sliced

200 g chopped kimchi

1 small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Serves 4 as a main course (lovely with a fried egg on top!) or 6-8 as a side.

Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until they are broken down to the size of couscous.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the kale and saute for for 2 minutes, until it is starting to wilt. Add the cauliflower and the water and continue to saute for 5 minutes. Then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add the cooled cauliflower-kale mixture and mix well. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Side dishes

Quinoa salad with broad beans, avocado and cucumber

quinoasalad

I absolutely love broad beans (favas), and get very excited when they are in season. The other day I picked up some young fresh broad beans from Natoora that were absolutely tiny and tender, and made this quinoa salad, which pairs well with grilled lamb or poached salmon.

Although I have been making quinoa for years, this time I tried Gwyneth Paltrow‘s technique for perfectly cooked quinoa – the trick is to use a paper towel to catch excess moisture – and it did come out perfectly cooked. Thanks Gwyneth!

Quinoa salad with broad beans, avocado and cucumber

175 g uncooked quinoa

400 ml water

750 g broad beans in the pod

1 ripe avocado

1/2 cucumber

a small handful of chives

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Serves 6 as a side dish.

Start by preparing the quinoa as it will need time to cool. Rinse the quinoa, then place in a pan with the water and a pinch of salt, and bring to the boil on the hob. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes – until all of the water has been absorbed by the quinoa. Take the pan off the heat, and place a paper towel between the pan and the lid. Leave this for 5 minutes to absorb any excess moisture, then fluff with a fork. Tip the cooked quinoa onto a large plate and spread out as thinly as possible, then leave it to cool to room temperature.

To prepare the broad beans, begin by opening each pod and removing the beans. Toss the beans into a pan of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes, then plunge the cooked beans into a bowl of cold water. Pop each bean out of its outer skin, and they are ready to eat.

Peel and dice the avocado and cucumber, and combine in a bowl with the broad beans and quinoa. Whisk together the oil and vinegar with a bit of salt and add to the salad. Sprinkle chopped chives on top and serve.

Snacks

Mushroom chips

mushroomchips1

I love popping into my local Japanese supermarket and coming out with a complete impulse purchase. This week it was these very elegant yet substantial-looking mushrooms, labelled “Eringi”.

mushroomswhole

When I got home and googled Eringi, I realized these were the elusive King Oyster mushrooms (pleurotus eryngii) I had been looking for to make a recipe that caught my eye on the Nom Nom Paleo blog. Result!

After just a few minutes of prep using a mandoline, these went in the oven to cook until crispy. The finished chips deliver a very intense umami flavor. My mushroom-loving daughter was delighted with the chips, and I can confirm they made an unusual but delicious aperitif snack with a glass of wine.

mushroomchips2

Mushroom chips (adapted from a Nom Nom Paleo recipe)

2 king oyster mushrooms (about 200g) – or any other large mushroom such as portobello

1 tablespoon ghee, melted – or the cooking oil/fat of your choice

salt and pepper

Serves 2-4 as a light snack

Preheat your oven to to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and dry carefully. Cut each mushroom in half lengthwise, then slice lengthwise using a mandoline on the thinnest setting.

Place the mushroom slices on the baking sheet in a single layer. Brush lightly with the melted ghee, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

The chips will need about 60 minutes in the oven, but start checking after 45 minutes. When done, the chips should be completely crispy – there were a few slightly soft chips that I had to put back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove from the baking sheet and blot on some paper towel, then serve immediately.