I was going to start with how I got up before sunrise and forced my way through the woods to come back carrying a basket full of beautiful mushrooms. Sadly, my mum didn’t allow me go to the forest by myself. Instead I went to go to the local market and bought mushroom from people whose parents are a bit less protective. To answer your questions: yes, I'm turning 30 in three months. No, I don’t live with my mother anymore.
I’ll just leave you with this chanterelle soup recipe. It tastes the same regardless of whether you bought the mushroom of picked them up yourself.
Recipe: Wild Chanterelle Soup
500 g chanterelles
350 g potatoes
1 l homemade vegetable stock*
1 onion, diced
juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 thyme sprigs
1 tbsp coconut oil
a handful chopped parsley, to serve
a pinch freshly ground black pepper, to serve
*To make the stock, place washed and peeled vegetables (2 carrots, parsnip, celeriac and leek) in a large pot. Top with 2 l of cold water and bring to boil. Add a pinch of salt, 2 bay leaves, 2 allspice and juniper berries, a few peppercorns and 2-3 dried mushrooms. Reduce the heat and to low and cook, partly covered for 1 1/2 hour.
Clean and dry the mushroom. Cut the large ones in halves.
Peel and dice the potatoes very finely.
Heat the coconut in a pot.
Add onion and fry over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
Add the chanterelles, increase the heat and fry, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes.
Add potatoes and continue cooking, stirring, for another minutes.
Add vegetable stock and thyme, bring to boil.
Reduce the heat and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Season with lemon juice.
Serves with chopped parsley and freshly ground pepper.
I' a big fan of the whole dinner with a view thing (who isn't?) and the west coast of Portugal seems to be perfect for that. Just pick a random spot (that's excatly what we did, no planning ahead) and you're likely to find a restaurant with the freshest seafood and an ocean view. Best thing ever!
Tagine is one of Morocco's most famous dishes. I had it at least once a day during my trip, which could have been a bit monotonous, had it not been for the fact that there are tons of different varieties.
The name 'tagine' refers to both the dish and the earthenware pot in which it's cooked. The conical shape of the lid is designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. When the water is turned into vapour during cooking, it condenses on the inside of the lid and runs down to the edges of the bottom, and not dripping on the ingredients. Because of that, they bake and brown instead of being cooked in liquid.
If you don't have a tagine, you can still make this recipe in any ovenproof dish with a lid. The effect won't be exactly the same, but it will be delicious. Tagine is traditionally cooked over hot charcoal, but we can use a stovetop or an oven. We'll cook it over low heat - slow cooking allows the tomato sauce to caramelize and reach a full flavour.
Recipe: Lemon tagine with eggplant
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic clove
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
3-4 hot peppers
2 tso ras el hanout
2 tsp harrisa
one piece cinnamon
5-6 cardamom seeds
3-4 preserved lemons
juice of one lemon
250 ml tomato passata
Preheat the oven to 160C.
Slice onion and garlic, cut the eggplant into large chunks.
Heat one tbsp of coconut oil in your tagging (or, if you don’t have one, any other ovenproof dish).
Brown the eggplant chunks so that they’re golden on all sides, but not yet soft in the middle.
Heat another spoon of coconut oil.
Brown onion and garlic over medium heat.
Add ras el hanout, harissa and whole chilli peppers.
Fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring.
Add remaining ingredients: browned eggplant, tomato passata, preserved onions (cut into halves or quarters), lemon juice, honey, cinnamon and cardamom.
Cover and place in the oven.
Cook in the oven for 2 - 2,5 hours, gently stirring every 45 minutes.
I enjoy hearty dishes in the first cold days of winter, but comes January, I start craving something lighter. This is my perfect January soup: bit spicy, warming and fully comforting, but light and green at the same time.
When you look at the recipe, it might seem like a lot of work, but it's not. The recipe is super easy and putting everything together will take a maxiumum of half an hour and that includes making the curry paste and crispy broccoli topping. And you can always use a good store-bought green curry paste and limit the toppings to fresh coriander and sesame seeds.
Recipe: Green curry broccoli soup
3 tbsp green curry paste
one large broccoli, divided into small florets
800 ml vegetable stock
400 ml coconut milk
a handful fresh coriander
Heat a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat.
Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
Add broccoli florets and cook, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes.
Slowly add the stock and coconut milk, combine, cover and bring to boil.
Simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are tender - 5-10 minutes .
Before serving, blend or process until smooth.
Season with lime juice.
Top each serving with fresh cilantro and crispy broccoli florets.
Recipe: Crispy broccoli florets
a handful broccoli florets
one tbsp coconut oil
one tbsp soy sauce
one tsp honey
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Heat coconut oil in a small pan, add broccoli and fry for one minute.
Add soy sauce combined with honey and continue cooking, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
Add sesame seeds and combine.
Recipe: Green curry paste
5 medium green chilies, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
a bunch fresh cilantro
2 lemongrass stalks, chopped
2 limes, juice and zest
one tbsp coriander seeds
one tsp ground cumin
one tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp soy sauce
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a paste.
Perfect tacos: crispy, aromatic, colourful and vegan. Great for small or larger gatherings. All you have to do is prepare the toppings and ask your guests to compose their ideal snacks. I chose roasted sweet potatoes, black beans and corn, creamy cashew paste, pomegranate seeds, fresh chillies, aromatic coriander and lime juice. You can add your favourite fruit, vegetables and herbs.
Recipe: Vegan tacos
8 soft corn tortillas
a bunch coriander
one corn on a cob
one cup cooked black beans
rosted sweet potatoes (recipe below)
cashew paste (recipe below)
2 green chilli peppers
1 small pomegranate
Roast the corn at 180C for about 30 minutes, until tender.
Kut off the kernels and combine with cooked beans.
Deseed the pomegranate, slice the chillies and cut the lime into quarters.
Heat the tortillas in the oven or on a pan and cover to keep them warm.
Serve all the ingredients together and let everyone compose their own tacos: roasted sweet potatoes with pomegranate and fresh coriander or corn and beans with cashew paste and fresh chillies. Or everything altogether :)
Recipe: Roasted sweet potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
1 red onion
one tbsp olive oil
one tsp smoked paprika powder
one tsp sweet paprika powder
a pinch of salt
Peel and dice the potatoes.
Cut the onion into eitghts.
Mix diced potatoes with onion, olive and spices.
Transfer into a baking dish and roast at 180C for about 30 minutes.
Recipe: Cashew paste
100 g cashews, soaked overnight
2 tbsp plant-based milk (I used coconut milk)
1 lime (peel and juice)
a pinch of salt
Blend soaked chashews with milk, to make a smooth paste.
Add lime juice and peel, combine. Season with salt