Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Food Swap 8 December Stoke Newington (London that is!)

What a wonderful thing to look forward to! On 8th of December i am going to parteciapate to: the The festive Good Food Swap-in Stoke Newington organized by growing Communities.

It is a idea that enables you to exchange any product that you can prepare yourself (baked, canned, picked from your allotment etc..) with other people from the community, something that I strongly believe in is exchanging skills and stuff and not just passively consuming.

You can drop off your produce either at the Farmers Market during the day on Sat 8th December 10am -2.30pm at William Patten School on Stoke Newington Church Street at St Pauls Church Hall (where the swap will be held) between12pm-4pm.

Once you have registered and labelled your produce and received your producer number all you then have to do is come back at 6pm for the start of the swap!

I was planning to prepare some gomasio with nori seaweed, some mini sourdough bread, focaccia some macrobiotic cookies.... any other idea?

If you are interested because you live locally or if you just would like to copy the idea click here

Photo:Children offer us pine nuts in Ulan Bataar (Mongolia)

wholeweat conchiglie with celeriac and seaweeds (apologies for the picture*)

Last night I came home from work at a ridiculous time, I managed to do some shopping at lunchtime (thanks to the fabulous Portobello market!) once I got home I just cooked all the vegetable at once, but it was too late to have anything more substantial then a miso soup. Eating after nine o’clock makes me feel tired the morning after, and it doesn’t really do for me.

Tonight I have a few almost-ready ingredients and I played with them and experimented pasta with celeriac.

I had:
Half a diced celeriac that I baked with 4 garlic cloves till tender
2 tbsp of hiziki seaweed soaked and boiled for 20 minutes
2 tbsp silken tofu
1 tbs nutritional yeast (but it can be skipped if you don’t like it)
200 grm wholeweat conchiglie
2 tbsp extravergin olive oil

Heat up the oil in a large pan, add the celeriac and garlic and the seaweed, cook till very tender, season with salt according to taste.
Cream half of the sauce in a food processor with the tofu (don’t add more then necessary to make the texture creamy!). Transfer back in the pan with the rest.

Cook the pasta in salty water till al dente, drain and transfer into the sauce, stir till the pasta is all covered in sauce and add sprinkle with yeast.
This sauce is filling and delicious, it has a sweat taste and I believe that my Italian friends are never going to try it… it’s too much of a twist on the holy Italian pasta!

Together with parsnip celeriac is one of those vegetables that I never tried before moving to London, I have to say that it may be looking completely unappealing but it is great to make soups, stews and roasted.
The macrobiotic approach of “local and in season” (but also just common sense) is forcing me to think about new ways to prepare all the british winter vegetables, so expect more parsnip, kale, carrots and celeriac in the next few days… and no no tomatoes or aubergines I am afraid!

Days are so dark in November that my pictures are getting worst, my apologies if they don't look tempting, but they are still very good dishes!

Saturday, 17 November 2007

My broccoli cream is really the best, FACT

November evenings were made for soups. Cycling back from work in the mad traffic on Euston road the idea of a cream of roasted vegetables, a soup of carrot and coriander or a miso one seem like a prize after an hard day.
When I was a child I dreaded sundays because of the awful meat broth that together with Minestrone was the only soup my mum seemed to know.

These days for me the winter vegetables are an endless resource and making a soup is so quick and rewarding that there is really no excuse to buy a supermarket's one.

My broccoli cream:

2 medium broccoli cut into small pieces(I use the whole of the broccoli)
1 sliced parsnip
2 small white onions
1 tbsp of extravirgin oive oil
1 tbsp of caraway seeds
1 tbsp rice flour

Sautee' the thinly sliced onion till transparent, add the vegetables and enough water to cover them, bring to the boil and lower the flame.
Cook till soft, add the flour, salt and olive oil and either transfer into food processor or use a hand one.
Serve with caraway seed and a slice of sourdough bread.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

The Bento Box

I don’t know what is all about but it seems that all the food blogs are written by people that are working in offices, that dread their canteen or cafĂ© and that bring their own food to work in their bento box.

I personally prefer the ones that are filled with rice on the bottom and some pickles and veg on the top layer, I don’t like to bring a thermos with the soup, but today my soup in a jar spilled all over my stuff so I better re-consider this…
My Lunch box is from the Japan Center yes it is my favourite place and I try to go as much as I can (if you have read any of my previous post I am sure that you know it)!

Also if you are not just a foodie and you are interested in design and fashion to buy or just to browse, the JC it is dangerously near Dover Street market… a more expensive side of Japan!

Anyway, here my Bento Box is filled with sauerkraut and blenched Chinese cabbage on top, and parsnip on the bottom layer, a slice of Sauer dough (I am baking again!) and off to work!

Baked yummy parsnip:

Slice the parsnips in thick slices
Place slices in a baking dish add ½ inch of water and 1 tablespoon of shoyu over the slices
Bake 200C° for 35 to 40 mins till soft

The parsnip cooked in this way is so yummy that you’d wish your lunchbox were bigger!
Would you like to get an ide on how to pack your food? Some people are really clever

Sunday, 4 November 2007

On a macrobiotic support and how to love a winter squash

I have joined a yahoo group that I find very useful and I can’t wait to share it with the world, it’s full of good suggestions recipes and interesting stuff about macrobiotic, as that is a field where you can never know enough, please join:
and you will receive their newsletter, it’s called modernday macrobiotic and it has been setup by Simon Brown (that wrote the gret book with the same title) it's great as nobody would insult you if you ask silly questions and there are some very intelligent and interesting people, a pleasure to read!

In one of the newsletters there was a recipe that I thought would warm me up in these chilli evening (we have managed not to turn he heating on yet!!):
Squash and sauerkrut:
Dice winter squash, 
Add a 0,5 cm of water to a heavy pot, add few drops of sesme oil. 
Add a small piece of rinsed kombu and a pinch of salt.
Cover, and bring to a boil on a high until the squash is soft, then just bifore turning off the flame add 2 tablespoon of sauerkraut (for two people) mix and serve, it is important that you don't "cook" the sauerkraut as you would kill all the ferments.
This is a simple dish but people love it because of the sweet and sour combination! I served it with rice and leeks with barley miso…

Saturday, 3 November 2007

A fresh start: my autumn

Autumn is an incredible season, I never used to like it that much, and I think it’s really the fact that I am getting older. I wake up really early in the morning and cycle along the canals to my office, sometimes it doesn’t even seems to be in London.
The sky is of such a deep blue everything seem more clean and intense, not just the colour, but the air and the smells, even cycling is like a new adventure every morning (I am happy I didn’t move into an houseboat though!)
I invited some friend over last Saturday, and I offered them a dessert that has got a bit the mood and the colours of this season, it’s a great one as it has no added sugar, but it’s deliciously spicy.

Poached pears with raspberries and Vanilla:

Cooked fruit is the nicest way to enjoy it with the weather getting chillier
All you need is to peel some medium size pears, and core them, fill them with roasted and chopped hazelnuts and fresh raspberries (my pears were a bit small)

In a large pan add 2 cups of apple juice, a tablespoon of vanilla essence, a cardamom pod and some cinnamon sticks.
Add the pears and put on high flame.
Let it simmer for 25 minutes (first 10 with a lid on and then without to evaporate the excess liquid).