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Chanterelle soup

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

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 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 parsely, to serve
  • a pinch freshly ground black pepper, to serve
Method
  • *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.

Baked hasselback apples

As easy as (apple) pie, but with far less sugar.

Recipe: Baked hasselback apples

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500 g apples
  • 3 tbsp. honey or maple syrop
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves + a few extra sprigs
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • a handful of walnuts, chopped + a few whole ones
  • 1 tbsp. butter or coconut oil, to grease the baking dish
  • 2-3 tbsp. Greek yoghurt, to serve
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Grease a baking dish with butter or coconut oil.
  • Wash and halve the apples.
  • Remove the core.
  • Using a sharp knife, make small vertical slits, 2-3mm apart, three quarters of the way down each apple, all the way along.
  • Place the apples in the baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, whisk honey/maple syrup with melted butter/coconut oil, thyme leaves, cinnamon and chopped walnuts.
  • Pour the sauce over the apples and top with remaining thyme sprigs and whole walnuts
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve warm, with dollops of Greek yoghurt.

Vegan pesto

I'm sure you all know, at the very least more or less, how to make pesto. This is just to remind you that pesto is always a good idea: for a quick pasta dinner, as an addition to a sharing platter, on what to do with herbs from your garden.

Traditional Ligurian pesto is made with basil, but I went for a blend of different herbs: basil, thyme, oregano and a bit of rosemary and mint. I skipped parmesan, but kept pine nuts from the original recipe. Feel free to experiment with herbs and nuts - try almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds or walnuts.

Recipe: Vegan pesto

Ingredients
  • one cup fresh herbs: basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint
  • 1/2 small clove of garlic
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts, roasted on a dry pan
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp soli morskiej
Method
  • Blend all the ingredients to a smooth paste using pestle and mortar or a food processor.
  • Feel free to add more olive oil, depending on what kind of consistency you like.
  • If not using immediately, place the sauce in a jar, top with a layer of oil and refrigerate until needed..

Lemon tagine with eggplant

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

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • one onion
  • 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
  • one eggplant
  • 3-4 preserved lemons
  • juice of one lemon
  • tbsp honey
  • 250 ml tomato passata
Method
  • 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. Set aside.
  • 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.
  • Serve with bread or couscous.

Green curry and broccoli soup

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

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp green curry paste
  • one large broccoli, divided into small florets
  • 800 ml vegetable stock
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 limes
  • a handful fresh coriander
Method
  • 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

Ingredients
  • a handful broccoli florets
  • one tbsp coconut oil
  • one tbsp soy sauce
  • one tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
Method
  • 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

Ingredients
  • 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
Method
  • Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a paste.
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