Lettercollum Kitchen Project, 22 Connolly Street, Clonakilty www.lettercollum.ie, firstname.lastname@example.org
January is the month for armchair gardening and travelling – cruising around seed catalogues and travel sites in search of vegetables and sunny climes. I am making lists of all the possibilities and dreaming of new adventures. This gently whiles away the long days of January and for sure before we know it we’ll be in a rush to go out planting – or catch a plane – so I am enjoying the slower pace and sitting beside a cosy stove.
It’s also the month for good intentions – how we are going to sort out our lives, eat better, drink less, exercise more – intentions which are often dropped at the first hurdle as we’ve made the goal too complicated.
A simple solution to cleaner eating can lie in your vegetable basket. A selection of vegetables and fruits, different varieties and colours – the more the merrier – will provide plenty of vitamins and antioxidants to fight off sickness and depression.
My idea of a weekly shop is to fill the basket with a few keepers such as beetroots, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions etc., some avocados and mangoes that’ll probably need to ripen and some that will need more immediate attention such as broccoli, kale or cauliflower.
Grated carrots and beetroots, blanched broccoli, just ripe avocado and some lightly pickled red onions topped with toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds is one of the many combos that I throw together There is no hard and fast recipe for this – just an assembly of fresh ingredients lightly dressed with vinaigrette and toasted seeds.
Just the sight of these brightly coloured vegetables makes me feel good. It’s like sunshine in a bowl and very fast and easy to prepare.
Here’s a suggestion for one of these mega salads
1 small broccoli
1 red onion
a handful sunflower seeds
a handful pumpkin seeds
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1tbs White wine vinegar
5-7tbs extra virgin olive oil
Peel and grate the carrots and beetroots, keeping them apart for the colour scheme.
Peel and finely slice a small red onion, massage with a little salt and sprinkle over a little vinegar. Put aside for ten minutes
To prepare the broccoli bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, cut the broccoli into small florets and finely slice any stems then pop into the boiling water. Count to twenty, take the broccoli out and refresh in cold water then drain.
Peel and dice a just ripe avocado and toss with a little lemon juice. This will prevent the avocado from discolouring.
To make the vinaigrette, whisk together a scanty teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a tablespoon of decent vinegar, about 5-7 tablespoons of olive oil and a little splash of soya sauce.
Toast the seeds in a dry pan and when they are golden toss them with a little soya sauce, just enough to lightly coat them. It has a similar effect to dry roasted peanuts, giving a savoury coating to the seeds.
Assemble the salad, as you fancy, in a large bowl, scatter with the seeds and serve with the vinaigrette.
I am giving a Thai cooking class on Saturday, January 28; zippy fresh recipes – fresh spring rolls, som tam, fish cakes, vegetables with cashews, Thai curry – lots of inspiration to brighten up January and the ingredients are all available locally. It’s the next best thing to a plane ticket if you fancy some sunshine!
For more information please pop into the shop or send me an email
Happy New Year!