Lemony Lentil Dahl

Lemony Lentil Dahl

I don’t know about you, but almost a week after the American Presidential election and even though at present it does not directly affect me on a personal level, I still feel a little flat.

It didn’t feel right sharing pictures of food on social media amidst so much tumult and as much as I normally try to limit my intake of news, it’s been almost impossible to NOT get sucked into the whole debacle… But if you are starting to worry that this post will become all political, no need. I will leave it right here, though I felt like I needed to make a note of it, as whether you live in the U.S or not, we are all human beings living on the same blue planet in this vast Universe. And perhaps it is about time that we wake up to the fact that what effects one does affect the whole. Even if it is not always felt immediately.

 

Lentil Dahl

 

This week I am planning on carry on from last’s week’s theme of Food + Love, but with a slightly different angle. The food (and friendship) angle!

This Lemony Lentil Dahl, is my take on a delicious meal that my dear friend Michele made for me this summer when I stayed with her in her home in Seattle, WA. It’s one of those simple and comforting type  of meals / dishes that I love so much. Even though I first tasted it in June it makes a great winter warmer, hence why I am sharing it with you all now.

With all that is ever ongoing in this world, my intention for this particular post is to celebrate the beauty of friendship and connection. I haven’t known Michele for much more than a year, yet if feels like we’ve already established a connection that runs much deeper than what short time we’ve known eachother.  You never know with whom you might connect, or where or when. Today we have perhaps more opportunities to connect with people than ever hadn’t it been for the Internet.  Me and Michele connected through an online mentorship programme and after many hours of Skype we eventually got to meet in person.

Straightforward Nutrition

Me & Michele on a hike in WA.

This whole experience brought it home to me again, that when it truly comes down to it, what matters most is people and the connections we establish with one another. It also highlighted the fact that even though we might come from different countries, with different backgrounds and upbringings, when we meet people who share the same values like ourselves, there’s an instant connection which goes beyond all of that, and one on which we can build a stronger bond going forward.

When I asked Michele for the recipe of this dish she told me that it was not “hers”. My understanding is that as long as, if you use someone else’s recipe word for word, (obviously!) full credit is due, but nobody has patent on ingredients or combination thereof. This lends itself to the beauty of creativity, possibility and change. Maybe even a celebration of the fact that nothing ever stays exactly the same…

So a bit like “Chinese Whispers” things can get lost in translation and we make our own interpretations. For better and for worse. This is my interpretation of Michele’s Lemony Lentil Dahl, and I’m sharing it here with you as a celebration of the possibilities that is connection and friendship (and food of course!)

*Please note that this recipe is one of those that has “fluid” measurements. So even though I have given some exact ones below, please feel free to experiment and adjust according to your own preferences both when it comes to taste and texture. More liquid will give a more soup-like consistency.*

Michele’s Lemony Lentil Dahl (With my interpretations)

Serves 2 (Double the recipe and make a large batch if you are feeding many or want to fill your freezer)

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 large or 2 small yellow onions

250g red lentils

450 ml stock

3 lemons

½ tsp brown mustard seeds

2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

½ tsp nigella seeds –optional

2 pods black cardamom – optional

4-5 large leaves of Swiss (Rainbow) Chard or Spinach

Sea salt and black pepper, to season

Place mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds and the seeds from the black cardamom pods, if using, in a pester and mortar and ground roughly.

Peel and chop the onions finely.

Heat the coconut oil on a heavy based large saucepan. Once the oil is warmed up, add all of the spices and fry off on low heat until fragrant. Add the chopped onion and fry off until translucent.

Rinse and drain the red lentils and add to the pan together with the stock. Give everything a good stir and then bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 20 min until the lentils start coming apart.

Add the juice of the two lemons. Taste and season accordingly. If you don’t think it is lemony enough, add more juice.

Wash and chop the chard / spinach roughly, stems and all and add to the Dahl. Keep stirring the Dahl until all of the chard / spinach has wilted down.

Serve warm in bowls. This recipe is one of those which tastes even better the following day, so it is well worth making some extra!

Lemony Lentil Dahl

 

Red Cabbage Salad with Coconut & Blueberries

Red Cabbage Salad with Coconut & Blueberries

I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for the longest time ever! And I’ve also wanted to share a red cabbage recipe here forever… The funny thing is when you do food blogging though is that there’s so much timing involved. At least if you are trying to keep things somewhat seasonal. This means that sometimes I don’t  get to act on the ideas I get, or end up trying things, even shooting the recipe and then never getting around to publish it, because life gets in the way or perhaps I’m not organised enough. Or maybe it is a combination of both??!!

I don’t know when my love affair with red cabbage started, but somewhere along the way it did. Now, for me it is a seasonal vegetable and one I tend to mostly enjoy Autumn – Winter – early Spring time. I’ve never tried growing it myself for I think three reasons. One, I don’t have much space and each head takes up a lot of space. Two, they take ages to grow (and that’s hard if you are low on patience). And three, every year around this time we seem to get an infestation of little butterfly larveas that eat anything that belongs to the cabbage family. At the moment it’s particularly bad and they’ve eaten a lot of my precious kale. So if you happen to have some tips on how I can kindly ask them to go and snack else where, please share!

 

straightforward nutrition

 

This recipe may sound like an unlikely combination but it actually covers all the different taste elements in one bowl and it’s also a visual delight! Apparently most people don’t eat enough of blue / purple foods and in this bowl you get two different types straight up.

Blueberries are tasty little nutritional power-houses. Their blue plant power comes from the phytonutrient anthocyanins which have been shown to improve both memory and eyesight. They are of course delicious on their own as a simple snack, perhaps paired with a few walnuts for extra brain power potential, or on top of the morning smoothie / porridge / granola. Or you can be a little bit more “out there” and add them in a salad like I’ve done here.

Red Cabbage is one of my favourite winter vegetables. (Ok, ok, I hear you it’s still summer!) It reminds me of Christmas in Sweden and having cooked red cabbage with the Christmas ham. One of the first natural healing remedies a learnt about in college was the healing power of cabbage juice for stomach ulcers as it is rich in the amino acid glutamine as well as the cancer protective phytonutrient indole-3-carbinole. Cabbage is also rich in vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6 (important for a well functioning nervous system), calcium, magnesium and manganese.

Savoy cabbage, the beautiful green leafy head one, is very popular here in Ireland and a staple part of the national dish “Bacon & Cabbage”. I will admit that it has taken me some time to really get into the swing of cabbage love, but just as with beetroot, I’m a total convert these days. If not just for the great health benefits it brings, but for the beauty if the colour alone!

If I’m cooking green cabbage I like to steam or blanche it quickly so that the colour just pops and turn out to be a really bright green. With red cabbage my preferred way of eating it is slowly cooked with spices, red onion, apple and a little bit of red wine vinegar. But that’s a little bit too wintery for now…

 

Straighforward Nutrition

 

You can keep this salad entirely raw if you like, but personally I prefer red cabbage cooked hence I am doing it here. However with this salad the finely shredded cabbage is cooked in the oven for just 15 min so it is more heated through than “cooked”. It does soften in and takes away that “rawness” that I’m not super fond of. But do as you please, this recipe is flexible enough to make sure this seemingly odd combination will still work for you!

Red Cabbage Salad with Blueberries & Coconut

Serves 2 generously

1/2 a head red cabbage, outer leaves removed and finely shredded

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 cup dried coconut flakes – if you buy untoasted ones you can choose yourself if you want to toast them or not

1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

4 tbsp olive oil

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme – optional

Heat the oven to 180°C. Remove any damaged outer leaves of the head of cabbage. The shred it finely. I prefer using a cheese slicer, but if you don’t have one of those you can use a mandolin. If using a mandolin you may need to cut the cabbage into wedges. The trick is to get it as shredded as finely as possible as it makes for a much nicer texture, in my opinion at least!

Place the shredded cabbage in a bowl and add the olive oil. Gently massage the oil into the cabbage with your hands with some kind squeezes.

Then place the cabbage on a baking tray. Scatter it out evenly and then add the rosemary and lemon thyme (if using). Bake in the oven for about 15 min until warmed through and soft. Make sure you toss it about a few times in between to ensure even roasting.

*Note* If you want to make this salad entirely raw, then skip the oven step.

Once cooked, place the warm cabbage in a serving dish, drizzle some balsamic vinegar over it, add the blueberries and the coconut flakes.

Serve, enjoy, and give your brain a boost at the same time!

 

Straightforward Nutrition

Want to add more colour to your life and plate? Download the Rainbow Bowl Ebook and get creative!

 

Rainbow Smoothie

Rainbow Smoothie

Smoothies never gets old, do they? I know I’ve already shared a good few inventions here and here’s another one! Plus there’s more recipe ideas in the pipeline. I also recently bought Green Kitchen Stories’ latest recipe book, on yes you guessed it – Smoothies!

It is a beautiful book with lots of great tips and ideas for creating the tastiest and satisfying combinations you can imagine. I picked it up because it was on special offer and one can simply never have to many cookbooks for inspiration. Plus David Frenkiel’s food photography is just so stunning. I never tire of just looking at all the beautiful images on their blog or in their books. It was actually when I bought their app about four years ago that I got really inspired to take my then website and redesign it so that I could get more into food blogging. And here we are some 3 years later, having seen that idea into fruition.

I tend to eat with my eyes a lot of the time, hence why having plenty of colour on my plate is both aesthetically important as well as pleasing to me. But colourful plant foods are also full of important phyto-nutrients, (plant compounds) that are vital for our optimal health. Some of them we do know what they do and how they work in the body, yet others are there still to be discovered.

Sometimes the discussion of which “diet” is the best one gets tiring, though when it really comes down to it nobody can argue with the fact that eating a large quantity of fruit and vegetables daily is vital for our overall health and wellbeing.

It’s not only the physiological benefits, in this recent review study where they looked at sampled food diaries over three years, from over 12 000 Australians the researches concluded that;

“Increased fruit and vegetable consumption was predictive of increased happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being. Citizens could be shown evidence that “happiness” gains from healthy eating can occur quickly and many years before enhanced physical health.”

So regardless what “dietary style” camp or community one belongs to, it is pretty clear that vegetables and plants should form the baseline of ones diet, if health and even happiness is where you want to be!

Rainbow Smoothie

 

Before we get to the recipe I would like to give you a couple of my smoothie making strategies that I’ve picked up over the years. At this point, I’ve made countless combinations and tried things that worked and things that didn’t so to short cut you on your own exploratory journey here’s some insights!

 

  • Try adding some kind of healthy fats + protein source to make sure that you have a smoothie that will keep you fueled for awhile. My personal favourites are avocado or full fat coconut milk + pea / rice / hemp protein

 

Don’t blend green and red fruit and vegetables together, unless you don’t mind eating brown looking sludge… of course. Keeping it within the same colour theme makes a much more appealing looking concoction. Though of course there’s nothing to say that your brown slurry mix will taste better than it looks, however if you plan on Instagramming it, I would certainly keep the colour on point!

 

  • Use a variety of liquids as blending options. Most “old” and traditional smoothie recipes are a blend of natural yoghurt and fruit, but for everybody who’s limiting dairy intake, or anyone else who wants to increase their variety in general, there’s actually a whole host of different liquids that you can use! My standard one is usually (shop bought) almond milk or diluted coconut milk. But I’ve also experimented with  cold herbal teas (raspberry leaf and hibiscus in particular) or coconut water and they all make a really smoothie. Since finally investing in a nutmilk bag, I’ve been making a lots of different types of “milks”. From almond, to sesame to flax seed milk. It’s so easy! I tend to make two portions with my Nutribullet at the time.

A note here; remember that since you are making a fresh blend with no preservatives it won’t keep that long in the fridge so don’t make too much. You’ll find instructions on how to make your own nut or seed milk here.

So why calling this a Rainbow Smoothie then? Well because it has all the colours of the rainbow of course!

Rainbow Smoothie

Serves 1

1/2 cantaloupe melon, cut into chunks

3 fresh mint leaves

1 small banana

1/2 small avocado

1/4 tsp spirulina powder – optional

1/2 inch of fresh ginger, peeled

a handful of fresh green leaves like kale or spinach, washed

1 tbsp plant protein of choice

200 ml coconut water

blueberries, raspberries & bee pollen for toppings

Place all the ingredients, except for the toppings in your blender and blend until smooth. Serve your smoothie in a glass or a bowl and add the blueberries, raspberries and bee pollen for sensual delights!

 

colourful foods for your health

Winter Spiced Lentil Dahl – Winter Soup Series Part 2

Winter Spiced Lentil Dahl – Winter Soup Series Part 2

Let’s finish the year off with a bang! Following on from the last post about the FLOW, and the winter theme AND the soup theme, here is one filling spicy Dahl to keep you warm. Hopefully you’ve had enough of Christmas cake, minced pies, mulled wine, ham, turkey, nut roast and / or rice pudding at this stage. My body always calls me back to fresh, wholesome food if I stray to far. Whether it is by choice or because my healthy food intake has been due to limited option, which can easily happens when we either travel, eat out or are away from home for any other reason.

It’s like when you’ve lived on mostly fresh unprocessed foods for a long time your body is so use to it and you will notice how different you feel when you don’t. These days I don’t tend to stress too much about if I have to eat something, I’d rather not because I have no other option. I either try to plan to eat well as much as I can before or after, or make the best choice I can. Stressing about the food itself can bring its own problems as the body cannot distinguish  what is registered as stress by the hypothalamus. The physiological response is the same.  So I try to be gentle with myself instead.

Thing is though, my tastebuds have become rather snobbish (!) And I no longer enjoy eating certain things, especially if any negative physical reactions may follow and I don’t even get to have a fully satisfactory eating experience to make it worth my while! Have you noticed anything similar? I remember a client of  mine who used to have a diet high in sugar, especially a lot of soft drinks, telling me that once she cut them out and reduced sugar elsewhere she started to taste food so much better. This is really interesting and may be due to a number of reasons. One for starters may because sugar is such a dominating flavour and we have many taste receptors for sugar on our tongue. So if we eat a lot of sugar on a regular basis our tastebuds kind of become “flattened”. Same goes for if you cut down or even out refined sugar for a few weeks. All of a sudden everything is so much more sweet tasting. Less becomes more.

 

Winter Spiced Lentil Dahl

 

Even when I didn’t eat a predominately wholefoods diet, red lentils was always part of it. I think it’s because I grew up with a mum who was a vegetarian so I was introduced to them at an early age. I know not everybody tolerate legumes and lentil well, but if you do, keeping red lentils as a cupboard staple in your house is seriously handy as it means you can whip something nourishing and filling in a short space of time. This favourite ingredient of mine has featured in two soups here already. Like this Swedish Lentil Soup. And this Classic Lentil Soup (which I often make when I’m seriously stuck for time and / or ingredients!)

Though not technically a soup, I’ve decided to still include this Dahl in my soup series. Sure why not? It fits with the winter and the orange theme at least 😉

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2015 was to cook more from the cookbooks I already have. And I already have a lot of them… So even though I have my eyes set on a few which are coming out next year, I still need to get back to using some of the ones already gracing my shelves. This Winter Spiced Dahl is an inspiration from the beautiful cookbook A Modern Way to Cook, by Anna Jones. It’s a great vegetarian cookbook which will also work well for those who do eat meat but are looking for tasty ways to increase their vegetable intake. What I really love about this book is not only that the recipe are varied but also that Anna has included some really great charts on how to make up your own combinations with vegetables, nuts, grain, pulses and spices. I LOVE that way of cooking and sometimes when you’re not feeling all that kind of imaginative a chart like that is just what you need. Or when you have a fairly well stocked pantry but are left with some random fresh ingredients and you don’t know how to make them match… Kind of like a wardrobe malfunction. Then it’s so handy to have someone with way more insight than you suggesting some great pairings.

 

winter spiced lentil dahl

 

I’ve pretty much stuck to Anna’s recipe except for the addition of red lentils and the substitute of butternut squash for carrots, so it’s a full on orange theme going on here. Perfect for FLOW 🙂 This Dahl also contain a plethora of warming spices, perfect for this time of the year. I particularly like the addition of cardamom, which I love in almost anything. Sweet or savory or in tea. It’s almost borderline obsession. Hmm, maybe my body is trying to tell me something? Anyway, here is the recipe.

Wishing you a Beautiful and Loving New Year. Let’s start 2016 with a beautiful winter warmer!

 

Winter Spiced Lentil Dahl

 

 Serves 4

4 large carrots, washed, peeled & finely chopped

1 red onion or one leek, peeled (wash the leek) & finely chopped

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled & finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed & finely chopped

1/4 cup dried red lentil, well rinsed

1 small or 1/2 large sweet potato, washed, peeled & chopped into cubes

2 star anise

6 cardamom pods, shell discarded & seeds ground – Or use 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp coriander seeds, finely ground

1 tsp turmeric

Sea salt & Black pepper to season

500 ml vegetable stock + more if too thick

Start with adding a bit of olive oil to a warm saucepan (heating the pan first prevents the oil from getting too hot and going rancid) Add the chopped onion / leek, garlic and ginger and saute for a few minutes and till soft and transparent. Then add in the spices (except the star anise) and continue to stir for a few minutes over low heat until fragrant.

Add in the carrots, sweet potato and lentils and coat in the spice-onion mix. Add in the vegetable stock and the star anise. Bring to a boil and thereafter reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 35-40 min until lentils are falling apart and the carrot and sweet potato is soft. Add more stock if necessary, but remember this is a Dahl so you want it to be thick. 

Once the all the vegetables and lentil are cooked through remove from the heat and when the Dahl has cooled a little give it a whizz with your hand blender. Feel free to leave it a little chunky if you wish and prefer that type texture.

Serve with cooked rice, a few fresh coriander leaves and sprinkle some seeds on top. I’ve used black sesame seeds here.

Recipe inspired by Anna Jones’ book A Modern Way to Cook.

 

straightforward nutrtition

What is your favourite way to enjoy red lentils? Please share below 🙂

Cumin Roasted Beetroot & Nectarine Salad – Summer Salad Series 3

Cumin Roasted Beetroot & Nectarine Salad – Summer Salad Series 3

Let’s continue the Summer Salad Series! I know we are already halfway through Aug but still… In a sense, as this salad contain several cooked elements it’s the perfect transition from summer to autumn. It’s still pretty fresh with an element of summer, containing juicy nectarines, yet it has that autumnal feel that root vegetables bring.

The combination of flavours may be stretching a little bit outside some people’s tastebuds comfort zone but hey, if you don’t challenge yourself every know and then how are you suppose to grow and evolve? One of the biggest challenges to many of my clients seem to be adding variety to their everyday diet. The majority of people I know, eat mostly the same thing, day in and day out. We get stuck in food ruts. It’s safe and it’s easy. Just like our daily life routines…

I was told once by a man that apparently in Japan most people eat 20-30 different types of foods, including spices every day! How’s that for variation? Now, I will admit that I haven’t verified his statement to see if it’s true or simply a myth, but whatever way, ask yourself “How many different foods and flavours are you eating every day?” By making this salad you will end up with nine (!) different components alone.

Sometimes when people are diagnosed with food intolerances it can turn out to be a blessing in disguise as it opens up the opportunity to try a whole new world of different foods and flavours simply because they have no other choice. Thing is with food intolerances that it’s important to eat as wide of variety of foods as possible (within the range of foods you can eat) to make sure you don’t develop further intolerances. Sometimes the reaction to certain foods is because the digestive system as a whole is compromised and the foods showing up are the ones the person eats the most of. This is not always the underlying reason, but it can be. So simply put; Eat a great variety of colourful foods. It will keep your body happy and your gut microbes happy too. And if you need a change in your life, starting with a few small changes to what’s on your plate can create ripple effect into the rest of your life 🙂

 

summer beetroot and nectarine salad

 

Let’s get going with the recipe! Beetroot is back in season and the peaches and nectarines are still around. I also used whole cooked oats in this salad to make it a complete meal on its own. Whole oats are delicious and very filling. Eating cooked grains like this is a great way to get your whole grains in. They are a good source of fibre keeping your bowel working as it should, plus fibre ads bulk and help us stay full for longer. Whole grains are also a great source of B-vitamins which are essential to a well functioning nervous system. It’s important to remember that B-vitamins are water soluble vitamins, which means our bodies don’t really store them. When we are stressed we have a higher requirement for B-vitamins so it is important to make sure you get plenty if you are having a hectic lifestyle (and who hasn’t).

If you can’t have oats then you can easily sub them for cooked quinoa instead. The fresh mint leaves add another interesting dimension to this cooked salad. Enjoy!

 

Cumin Roasted Beetroot Salad with Nectarines & Mint

Serves 3-4

2 cups whole oat kernels, washed and rinsed

3 large beetroot, peeled & chopped into large chunks

2 nectarines or peaches, washed & chopped into chunks

1 tsp cumin seeds, ground

3 tbsp olive oil + some extra to coat the beetroot in

juice of 1/2 lemon

sea salt & black pepper to season

Pre heat oven to 175°C. Place your peeled and chopped beetroot on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with the ground cumin a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Toss the beetroot in the oil and seasoning to make sure they are evenly coated. Place the tray in the oven and roast for about 35 min or until the beetroot is nice and soft.

In the meantime, place your washed and rinsed oats in a saucepan and cover with water. You want to have about an inch of water covering your grains. Bring to boil and then reduce to a lively simmer for about 20 min. If it looks like your pan is getting to dry add some extra water. The oat grains are cooked when they become slightly transparent in right the way through.

Once the oats are cooked through, put them into a sieve and drain any excess water. While they cool, make the dressing by mixing olive oil and lemon juice together in a bowl. Season with a pinch of sea salt if you wish. Once the oats have cooled down somewhat, mix in the dressing.

Place your dressed oats, the roasted beetroot and the chopped nectarine in a large bowl. Scatter some fresh mint leaves over the top and enjoy. 

This salad makes a nice lunch the following day as you can cook both beetroot and oats ahead of time and then just assembles with the fresh nectarine and mint before eating.

 

straightforward nutrition

Sunny Buckwheat & Orange Smoothie – by Cashew Kitchen

Sunny Buckwheat & Orange Smoothie – by Cashew Kitchen

I’m so delighted to have the opportunity to share this beautiful immune boosting and vibrant smoothie recipe. Just what is needed as we slowly transition into the next season. I’m sure we can all do with a little more colour and sunshine in our lives. And if the Sun prevails, you just have to get a little more inventive in the kitchen instead.

This week I have invited the beautifully talented lady Agnes who blogs about food and stuff over on Cashew-Kitchen. If you are not following Agnes on Instagram or reading her blog, you should. It’s worth it for the photos alone 🙂

But I’ll let you Agnes tell you all a little more about herself.

Hi Agnes! Can you tell us something about yourself and your work? Cashew-Kitchen

Sure! My name is Agnes and I live in a small apartment in central Stockholm (Sweden) which is also my hometown. I recently moved back here after spending a couple of years on the west coast studying. Since september last year I’m running the food & photography blog Cashew Kitchen, although I’ve been food blogging since the spring of 2013. I also do some photography and recipe development on a freelancing basis. But my main occupation is my studies in Human Ecology in which I’m currently writing my bachelor thesis. I started my studies in Human Ecology and my food blogging about the same time, so initially it was an interest in sustainable food and lifestyles that pushed me. I’ve been hanging out in the kitchen experimenting since I first became a vegetarian  when I was 14, so the interest in wholesome, nourshing food has always been there I guess, I just never thought about blogging about it before 🙂

I have a background in Fine Arts, so when starting blogging about food I quickly noticed that working with the aesthetic aspects came pretty natural to me. Using colorful ingredients and spending a lot of effort on the styling and photography is very important to me, so when I launched Cashew Kitchen I simply decided to call it ”a foodie photography blog”. Although the sustainable aspects are still there: I only post vegetarian recipes and I mostly use seasonal, whole and organic ingredients.

No wonder you can great the most magical of images!

I’m curious about that education of your: what is Human Ecology? And how do you wish to use that education in the future?

Well, you could say it is environmental science from a social sciences’ perspective. In Human Ecology we study the relationship between social, ecological and economic factors and how those interact with for example issues of power, resource management, poverty, urban development, climate change, population growth and social dynamics. It’s everything from city planning and food production to eco philosophy or complex adaptive systems.

In my thesis I study possibilities and limitations for citizen participation and co-management in city planning to help build social resilience in society. When I decided on the topic I think I was a bit tired of food haha. It was in the aftermath of the Swedish election and the increased social unstability we see here in Sweden (and out in the world too) worried me. In the future I want to work with sustainable food in some way. It could be inspiring people to make sustainable food choices, which I kind of already do through my blog (I hope!) hehe. It could also be working for a food or agriculture company with sustainable development issues. The possibilities are endless, really! I just know my passion is food, happy people and a healthy planet 🙂

How would you describe your food philosophy?

I want it to be simple! My aim is to inspire as many people as I can to incorporate more vegetarian or vegan food into their diets and cook more from scratch using seasonal ingredients, and thereby bringing us one step closer to living environmentally friendly lifestyles. Therefore I don’t believe in using too many obscure and expensive ingredients, or create difficult or fancy recipes. My recipes often consist of just a few, simple ingredients and are usually quick to assemble. I want to show that it can be both wholesome, fun and easy to eat seasonal and vegetarian. Also fresh produce or a lovingly cooked meal can really make my heart melt! It’s everything I need to be happy. That simplicity and appreciation of food is something I want to share with others.

Couldn’t agree with you more.

How did you come up with the name Cashew Kitchen?

Um, I was just playing around with different names that sounded ”catchy” haha. I always have cashew nuts at home and love to use them in raw desserts, granola, smoothies etc. so it felt suitable with a name steaming from one of my favorite ingredients 🙂

How does your process from idea to finished recipe and blog post look like?

Sometimes a get an idea from surfing around the food blogosphere or pinterest that I write down on my little list. It can be anything really that triggers the idea to a recipe – a combination of colors, a long forgotten ingredient, a memory. But more often I find myself standing in front of an half empty fridge trying to think of something I can make out of the little I have. Honestly that’s where the best recipes come from! If I just happened to create something utterly delicious I try to photograph it right away if I have the time, but mostly I plan to cook/prepare the night before and then style & shoot the next day. Quite often I have tried the recipe a couple of times by then. Editing photos I do on my spare time in the evenings. I never plan what I’m gonna write about on the blog, I just write what pops up in my head that particular day.

I love your creativity!!

Which 5 ingredients will one find in your pantry? 

Hehe my pantry is smacked with stuff… In the back you’ll probably find some rarely used superfood powders, but what I always need to have at home (besides cashews) are almonds, rolled oats, coconut milk, tahini and bananas. And a thousand more things. Gosh I’m so spoiled with having good food around.

Do you have an all time favorite recipe you keep coming back to? 🙂

I have different favorite recipes in different periods of my life. Right now the only thing I wanna have for breakfast is my Coconut & Vanilla Oatmeal. During weekdays I eat similar salads every day, at the moment with a millet base, random veggies and a honey & dijon mustard dressing I’ve made countless times!

Tell us something about the recipe you are sharing today! Why this particular recipe?

This recipe is a perfect example of how I roll 😉 It happened the day before pay day and contains literally everything I had left in my fridge that day. I can tell you my expectations for this smoothie wasn’t that high, but oh how surprised I was when I tasted it!

I love the creativity that comes from restrictions. You don’t really need to have a perfectly stocked pantry to make delicious food. I hate to throw away food and always save the little bits and pieces left to use for something else. Smoothies is a great way to use up that last squeeze in the yoghurt package or half a frozen banana from the freezer.

I make smoothies almost every day to drink in between meals, and I especially like to add some seeds or grains and something fat like coconut milk or yoghurt to make it more filling and long lasting.

Despite citruses typically are winter ingredients, to me this is a recipe flirting with spring 🙂 I even added birch straws, see! As if the weather gods heard my plea when photographing this recipe, the sun came out from the clouds just long enough for me to catch it.

For this recipe I used yoghurt, but you can easily make a vegan version using coconut milk + a little extra lemon juice.

orange buckwheat smoothie

Sunny Buckwheat Smoothie

Serves one

Preparations:

2 tbsp raw buckwheat groats

water to cover

***soak for minimum 1 hour***

To mix:

1 large orange or 2 small

1 small banana

1/4 lemon

1 inch piece of fresh ginger

1/2 cup natural yoghurt

2 small pitted dates or 1 medjool date

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

water until desired consistency

+ the soaked and rinsed buckwheat

Prepare by soaking the buckwheat in lukewarm water for minimum one hour. This can be done the night before or in the morning. You soak the groats to get rid of harmful enzymes and start a sprouting process for optimal digestion and nutritional content.

Rinse buckwheat thoroughly. Drain and set aside.

Peel orange and lemon with a knife. Try to get rid of as much of the white parts as possible (it’s bitter). Remove any seeds. Peel ginger and coarsely chop.

Put orange, a quarter of the lemon, banana, ginger, buckwheat, yoghurt, dates and turmeric powder in a high speed blender and mix until completely smooth. Add water if nessecary. If you have a not so strong mixer or an immersion blender you might wanna squeeze out the juice of the orange and lemon beforehand, grate the ginger and perhaps soak the dates if they’re dried.

Serve right away with seeds, berries, granola or simply with a (birch) straw!

Thank you so much Agnes for sharing this beautiful recipe with us here at Straightforward Nutrition! I sure know what I’ll have for breakfast next week 🙂

If you want to check out the Millet & Linseeds Porridge which I shared on Cashew-Kitchen click here

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*All photographs on this post is by Cashew-Kitchen.