I feel like I’m behind with writing blog posts… Again!
I had another post idea lined up but since it hasn’t been written up yet, I think it will have to wait until the New Year. Who wants to think about batch cooking and meal planning at the moment anyway, right?!
It can be a challenge to balance out all the heavy meat (if you eat meat) based dishes, together with all the lovely Christmas cakes, minced pies and chocolates we tend to feast on throughout the month of December. It may even feel like you “have to eat it all”, because these are seasonal foods meaning we won’t see them again for another year. A dreaded sense of scarcity sets in…
It is all too easy to fall into this scarcity trap.
I do that too sometimes when I find a food I really like and that I haven’t had for awhile.
There is a beauty to seasonality though and that is the fact that because some foods are in season at different times of the year, we get the opportunity to savour them at that time. However, given the current world we live in, if we truly want something very particular chances are we can get it, or make it ourselves.
Letting go of the feeling of “having to eat it all now before it is gone”, instead shifting it to a place of attunement and gratitude may help us savour these foods mindfully, instead of just wolfing them down not actually tasting them or enjoying them at all. Letting go of eating just for the sake of eating, can open up space to have a really satisfactory eating experience and usually when we have that we don’t tend to go looking for more.
Anyway… My intention for this blog post was to give you some inspiration when it comes to adding some green stuff to the Christmas menu.
I’m sharing this Fig & Walnut Salad + I have linked to a few of my other winter favourites from the past as well as from my favourite bloggers around the world.
Whether you will be the brave one introducing a new dish on the 24th / 25th or if you decide to try some new plant based dishes between Christmas and New Year, just to lighten things up a bit, I do hope you decide to give some of these a go! Vegetables are here to be celebrated… Any time of year!
Fig & Walnut Salad with Goat’s Cheese
1 small head of radicchio, finely shredded
4-5 stems of kale (I used the purple variety here but green curly kale is fine)
4-6 fresh figs, depending on size
100g goat’s cheese (get a variety you like, or leave it out)
A handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
A handful of fresh blueberries
2 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. clear runny honey
½ tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Remove the outside leaves of your radicchio and then cut into fine strips. Remove stems from the kale and chop finely.
Place the cut kale, drizzle over the olive oil and then gently massage it to soften the leaves. Add the shredded radicchio to the bowl.
Cut the pit off the fresh figs and then make two slits across the middle. Place a chunk of goats cheese in the middle of the fig then place under a hot grill for a few min until cheese is lightly golden.
Place some of the salad on each serving plate. Add a grilled fig each on top of the salad. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar and some runny honey over the fig and salad. Finish off by scatter some chopped walnuts, chopped rosemary and a few fresh blueberries over each plate.
Eat and enjoy!
** If you don’t want to include goat’s cheese, then cut the figs into smaller quarters instead**
If you are looking for some more green inspiration for the Christmas table, or any other day for that matter, here are some of my favourites!
Past winter salads from my blog:
Kale Salad with Orange-Tahini Dressing
Black Quinoa Salad with Kale, Apples & Crunchy Hazelnuts (you can leave out the quinoa if you make it as a side)
A Festive Salad (with Brussels Sprouts)
Rainbow Slaw with Mustard Dressing
Red Cabbage Salad with Blueberries & Coconut
And here are some festive recipes from some of my favourite food bloggers that I’ve been following for a long time!
Like this Blood Orange & Kamut Salad from Cashew Kitchen
THIS recipe from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks changed my view on Brussels Sprouts forever. Super simple too!
An old recipe from Green Kitchen Stories with Saffron
And finally another recipe from GKS which is a little bit more like a main course.
This week I will be sharing a salad recipe that kind of feels like a seasonal transition from Winter to Spring / Summer.
It is a salad recipe, and it is a raw food dish. But, it made from what I would consider Winter vegetables. Root veg and purple (red) cabbage is more the types of veg that appears in my pantry and fridge during the colder months.
Though since they are still around, I thought I would share this recipe that I also shared as my guest contribution over on The Honest Project awhile back.
And in the name of honesty, I will admit that I am also low on some freshly styled recipes. Not short of ideas though so hopefully next week I will have some time to get back playing in the kitchen!
I can’t wait, especially since I recently purchased an extension arm for my tripod so that I can start creating some recipe videos and flatlays. It may save me from standing on the counter top all the time…
The past month have been pretty intense with finishing up a new video series on Food, Mood & Mindful Eating that I am hoping to share with you all really soon + both doing some personal inner work participating in Whole Detox (Come join us for the October one!)
As well as finishing up my latest professional development training in Mindful Eating. And that one has been really enriching too taking my previous skills to a new level. I am so looking forward to integrate it all in the coming weeks and months and to share it with you all!
But now, let’s have fun with this colourful recipe 🙂
This recipe is my spin on variations that I’ve seen around over the years. I feel like this recipe reflects my cooking style (and maybe even my personality to a certain degree), as it is colourful, straightforward and rooted. Like a rainbow.
This slaw is a great Winter salad, (or for this time of year also called the “hungry gap”) when getting fresh green leaves can be challenging, simply because they are not in season.
Rainbow Slaw with Mustard Dressing
¼ head of celeriac, peeled and finely shredded ¼ head of red cabbage, finely shredded (I tend to use a mandolin for this)
2-3 medium sized carrots, peeled and finely shredded (if you can get carrots of different colours even better!)
A handful of pomegranate seeds
For the dressing:
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
5 tbsp good quality olive oil
1 tsp clear honey, local if possible
Sea salt & black pepper to season
Start by washing, peeling and shredding all your vegetables. Then set aside.
In a large bowl, this could be the serving bowl, add all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until smooth.
Taste and adjust to your preference. A little bit more sweetness? Need more lemon? Use your own tastebuds to guide you.
Add the shredded vegetable to the bowl with the dressing. Gently toss until the dressing and vegetables are intermingling nicely.
Add the pomegranate seeds before serving. The salad will keep for a few days in the fridge, covered.
Are you a lover or hater of these small green “mini cabbages”? I have to admit that it’s been a gradual process for me… But when I discovered some years ago an incredibly simple way to eat them, I became a convert. And as I am typing this, it reminds me of how many different foods and new additions I have made to my eating repertoire over the past few years. And since the message that keeps coming up again and again when it comes to food and health is variety, it is important that we check out some new (or at least new to us) foods. It’s just way too easy to get stuck in food ruts!
I often tell my clients who are resistant to trying new foods and flavours that it takes about 6-8 times before our tastebuds have adapted and changed. So when you are trying something new it’s important to: A. Start the process with an open mind and B. Think of your tastebuds like a muscle that needs a work out.
And don’t just get stuck on trying one way to have a food either. These days with the internet all you have to do is Google the food or ingredient you want to test out and you’ll have hundred of ideas and recipes to try out. To be honest that’s often how I find ways to try out a new and exciting food I’ve come across.
Since I’m more or less to confessing many (all??) my inspiration secrets, I’ll let you in on another one. Instagram! Since joining the social media platform a few years ago, it has given me endless inspiration, especially when it comes to being on the lookout for new foods as well as becoming more aware of eating seasonally. Suppose it only goes to show the power of the influence of social media, right?
This salad has been on my mind for sometime and finally I managed to bring all the ingredients together at the same time and give it a go. We’ve been blessed in my house with endless gifts of apples and this salad is one of several ways I’ve been using them up.
When I bought the Brussels sprouts I actually bought them on the stem. Every Saturday morning there’s two “young fellas” selling fresh vegetables by the roadside near where I work, and the other week when I drove past I spotted, out of the corner of my eye, these sprouts on the stem. As the food nerd I am, I actually stopped my car, turned around and went back to buy some. At €2 for the whole stem it was quiet the steal. Gotta’ love the entrepreneurial youth in the Irish countryside. Win-win.
A Festive Winter Salad
Approx. 10 Brussels Sprouts – peeled and halved
Approx. 10 chestnuts
1 medium sized apple – thinly sliced
Seeds from ¼ pomegranate
Juice of ½ lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & Black pepper to season
Pre heat the oven to 180˚C. Cut a slit or a cross on the pointy end of the chestnuts. Make sure to do all of them, just to make sure you won’t end up with any accidental explosions…
Place the chestnuts on an oven tray and bake for 35 min. Set aside to cool a little before you peel off the inner and other skin. Then chop the peeled chestnuts roughly.
**This is the easiest way I have found to remove the seeds from pomegranates, without splashing myself and the entire kitchen in the process… Cut the fruit in half and then into quarters. Gently break the quarter pieces apart and peel out the seeds. Place all the seeds in a glass jar and store in the fridge.
Peel off any outside leaves that are discoloured and halve the sprouts.
Heat a little bit of olive oil in a frying pan. The trick here (as taught by my chef friend) is to heat the pan first, then when the pan is hot add the oil and quickly add the sprouts. Give them a quick stirfry and as soon as they are have gone a little golden on the cut side and the green colour has intensified, remove from the heat.
Place the warm Brussels sprout in a large bowl, squeeze some lemon juice on top, season with sea salt and black pepper and then add the chopped chestnuts, sliced apple and pomegranate seeds.
Serve the salad warm.
** Side note, if you can’t get chestnuts you can serve it with walnuts or toasted hazelnuts instead.