Ramp pesto

Ramps are quite a rarity if you go to the supermarket. You will probably not find them, and if you do, you’ll have to pay big for them. Last week my mother went to a restaurant in Stockholm, quite a fancy one. They had ramps on the menu, but when she got the dish, it was only one ramp leaf included. Guess that quite describes it, what kind of tasks they have.

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Ramps are like a mix between leeks and garlic. Think fragile leaves with a hint of garlic to the taste. I’m lucky, 15 min from here there is a small peninsular that is covered with them, some people here know about it, most don’t. They are very similar to Lily of the Valley which are poisonous and also grow nearby. But really, you can’t mistake them, flowers liking like most in the allium family and a smell that unmistakable.

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Now it is the best time for them, they are still small and the taste has its highest concentration. We should make a pesto. This pesto is one of my favourites. Probably even better then with basil (yes we omit entirely from using basil in this recipe) since you can eat more. The basil usually overtakes and I get quite tired of pesto after a while. But not in this one. I strongly recommend using a mortar instead of a food processor for making pesto (semi, you might need help from a food processor for chopping the ramps). The texture will still be persistent, not just a running smooth paste that the  processor will create. But be careful, I broke the pestle making the first batch, and some stone got into the mixture, I’m just lucky I realised it before anyone got a broken tooth.

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Ramp pesto
 
What you need
  • 150 g ramps
  • 4 tbsp raw walnuts
  • 3 tbsp dark miso
  • A pinch of salt
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
How to do it
  1. Start by grinding the walnuts into smaller bits in the mortar.
  2. The next thing would be to add the ramps, but since the fibers are quite strong in ramps I suggest that you prepare them by chopping them into small bits in a food processor first. Only using the mortar will take very long. Once chopped you add them to the mortar. Start grinding, even though they are already chopped you want them to release the flavours.
  3. Add the salt and miso. Continue to grind into a paste.
  4. As the last step add the olive oil slowly while grinding. Here you want the flavours to be released into the oil so grinding is still essential, don't just mix.
  5. Now you have the most delicious bring pesto ever.

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Eat on a sandwich or an amazing sundries tomato / olives / pesto pizza like me.

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Grape leaf pie

My mother has grown grapes in her back garden since it was tiny, really tiny. Even before the time when you “could” grow them. Everyone just asked how it was possible for them to grow this far north? If it can grow here by means of evolution or a quick version by human selection I don’t know. But the vines are alive and they even hold grapes every other year or so. There has to be a good summer. They have grown beyond the state where they are just nice to have around, to something we have to take care of, they have occupied much of the outdoor space just next to their house. The vines spread everywhere. Just a pity I didn’t grab a photo of them last summer.

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But why do I tell all this? Because it’s strange. We have never thought about the leaves. Ever. And then you have it quite regularly in some oriental cuisines. They have always just been there, in the garden. How blind you can be to the things just next you?

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A few months back I made some dolmades and they tasted great. I also grabbed a bunch, blanched them and put them in the freezer. They have been there a few months now. Just until I read a grape leaf pie recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi. Time to use the leaves again. It’s like dolmades but in the shape of a pie, and where the leafs act as the crust. This one is inspired from his version, but made vegan. I’ll hope you enjoy it. What you serve it with is up to you, be creative!

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Grape leaf pie
 
What you need
  • 15 grape leaves
  • 1 yellow, mnced onion
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • ½ tbsp fresh tarragon
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp fresh dill
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • 4 tbsp breadcrumbs
How to do it
  1. Heat the oven to 200 C or 390 F.
  2. My grape leaves were frozen from last autumn. I thawed them by soaking in almost boiling water for 10 min. Do the same if you’re using fresh leaves. Canned ones are good to go without any pre-heating.
  3. Greece a medium pan for the oven. And then evenly spread the breadcrumbs. Layer the grape leaves as a crust. Save some for the top.
  4. To make the filling or stuffing. Fry the minced onion until golden brown. Add, nuts, herbs, lemon zest and juice, rice flour and the water. Add more water if it gets to thick, it should be like a thick porridge. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Fill the grape leaf crust with the filling. Fold the leaves over the filling and add some extra leaves on the top.
  6. Brush it with some oil and then add enough breadcrumbs to cover.
  7. Bake it for 30 min in the oven, until crisp and slightly browned. Enjoy!

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Wild mushroom tacos

Childhood memories of food can sometimes be extremely strong and sometimes equally weak. I remember how me and my sister would go crazy every time our mother made her “open” pie, a crust, a bean spread and some veggies on top, served with some kind of sauce. It tasted the same, every singe time, and it was fantastic.

On the other hand, a rather weak memory got back to me the other year, when I wanted to make something new for breakfast. I dialed my mother’s phone to ask for advice. She got excited at once and told me to grind sesame seeds with raisins and some water, to make a paste of yoghurt consistency. The idea sounded okey, just 3 ingredients, nothing astonishing. But 15 min later, when I sat down for the breakfast I was amazed. Not from the fantastic taste, it was ok, nothing special, but from all the memories it evoked. I had not though about that dish, at all, but supposedly it had effected me a lot. I can’t say exactly what memories I got, it was just a shower of emotions. The paste/purée or what ever you might call it had just escaped my memory.

The recipe below is the opposite. Tacos was a common Friday dinner at my childhood home, tortillas with stuffing and then warmed in the oven. One thing applied to them, just as above, they tasted the same every time. And I never wanted to taste anything else, they were just perfect. UNTIL I tasted those, wholegrain spelt tortillas, with wild mushroom filling, might be my new favourite Friday snack, served with your favourite salsa or veggies.

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Wild mushroom filling
 
What you need
  • 2 fresh red chiles
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, cut into strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 500 g wild mushrooms, chopped into inch sized dices
  • 4 cups sliced chard
How to do it
  1. Heat the pan to medium, place the chilis (wihout any oil) in the pan, rotate regularly, until brown and blackened. The remove the stems and seeds and chop them into small pieces.
  2. Heat the pan, add the oil then sauté the onion and garlic until lightly brown. Add the coconut milk, chilies and salt. Simmer for a few min.
  3. Add the mushrooms and chard. Continue to simmer for 7-8 min, until most for the liquid has boiled away.

Spelt tortillas
 
What you need
  • 1½ cups spelt berries, ground in a mill or 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup hot water
How to do it
  1. In a bowl, mix all ingredients well. Cover and let sit for about 20 minutes.
  2. Divide into 8 equal parts. Roll into a ball.
  3. Use a rolling pin to make it paper thin, remember to flip it several times. Sometimes it can help to make them thin on some parchement paper, makes it easier to remove when they get thin enough.
  4. Preheat a pan to medium heat.
  5. Place the tortilla in the pan, until bubbles form. Flip it and heat for another 30 sec. Place in a damp cloth. So they don't get dry.

 

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Assembly:

Place the filling on the tortilla and make a roll. If you like to, heat the oven, and warm them until the wraps get crispy. Serve with some salsa and or veggies.

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Swedish cheese cake, without cheese

Whenever one speaks of a cheese cake here in Sweden there is a micro moment appearing when your trying to assert what kind of cheese cake he or she talked about. Is it the American version with a hard crusty bottom and a cream cheese filling, or is it the Swedish one that is more like a pudding in consistency and eaten with cream and jam? Some years back the Swedish one would have been the given one, but not american ones seem to be more common. This post is all about the Swedish one. I grew up with it. I love it. But I don’t love the cheese.

At a party some years ago they had made a cheese cake called a false cheese cake, with one big difference. No cheese, it was substituted with, guess what? Zucchini. I could believe it, and had tro try it. It was damn amazing, the zucchini flavour was barley noticeable, and if it did one thing is was just to add some richness to the overall taste of it. Genius! The bad thing was that it had eggs (no worries at the time being), so this is my vegan version.

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As I said, it is normally eaten with whipped cream and jam. But please, go with whatever, milk, or berries you decide. This might be something for the new years party?

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Swedish false cheese cake
 
What you need
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped zucchini
  • 3 tbsp whole grain flour
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • ⅔ cup almonds, ground
  • 2 bitter almonds, ground
  • 3 tbsp agave or honey
  • 1 pinch of salt
How to do it
  1. Boil the zucchini in water for a few minutes until it becomes soft and mushy.
  2. Drain the water and mash the zucchini with a fork.
  3. Soak the chia in a 4 tbsp of the almond milk, allow to sit for 10 min.
  4. Simmer the rest of the milk with the oil, sweetener, and flour. It should thickening a bit.
  5. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  6. Add some baking paper to a bread pan. Pour the mixture in it.
  7. Bake for 1 hour 15 min in 200°C or 390°F.
  8. Allow to cool a bit before serving.

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Chickpea parsnip pizza

I have no idea if you can call this a pizza or not. It does not have a glutinous pizza crust, no tomato sauce and definitely no cheese. The crust isn’t very crisp, the sauce is very thick, and the veggies are pre-fried. And it definitely doesn’t have the cheese stuffed edges that some fast-food joints offer. Nothing like a pizza, but I’m going to call it that anyway. Just because its layered the same way and cause I find it much more appealing than a regular one. And sticking to a historic ways of describing something isn’t for me. As long as you get the point of what this is. Who says that pizza needs cheese? I don’t.

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The ingredients are much more local and seasonal which is a big plus. You can find everything at the local farmers market, or in the garden. Roots and beet greens. The crust is an oven baked batter from chickpeas.

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You will get full, not the heavy disgusted way of full you get from a regular pizza but full enough to ask yourself why you didn’t stop earlier. Might be something characteristic with me, or as my friend put it: you don’t stop eating until you hate yourself. That is something I have to deal with, damn eating in moderation is hard. Every time I get full, I tell myself I just need a tiny bit more, and from there its just downhill. Don’t follow me, I’m just lucky I don’t get fat from it.

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Chickpea socca pizza crust
 
Serves: 2 crusts
What you need
  • 240 g chickpeas (I milled them myself) or chickpea flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 0.5 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt
How to do it
  1. Mix the water, chickpea flour, halv of the oil, minced garlic and salt. Allow to sit for 1 hour.
  2. Make the topping and sauce, recipe below.
  3. Heat the oven to 220C or 425F. Place an oven proof pan in the oven until hot. Remove and add 1-2 tbsp oil to the pan. Add half the batter and cook in the oven for about 8 min. Once done, remove from the pan, and repeat with the other half of the batter.

Parsnip sauce with topping
 
What you need
  • Sauce
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium parsnips
  • 1 leek, the white parts
  • 1-2 sprigs of thyme, leaves chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • Big splash of apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water
  • Topping
  • A big handful of beet greens, or other greens
  • Hydrated sun dried tomatoes, amount to your liking
How to do it
  1. Add the oil to a pan. Fry the leeks, garlic and parsnips until soft and golden brown on medium
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a blender and blend smooth.
  3. Use the same pan and quickly add the beet greens, just so the get a burnt touch, a few seconds might be enough.
  4. Add the sauce to the pizza crust. Top it with the beets and sun dried tomatoes.
  5. Put in the oven for 10-15 min, allowing the flavors to blend a bit and to get a crisp outer layer.

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Braised whole shallots with parsley and tofeta

Tofeta is probably one of the ingredients I’m most intrigued by right now. Its a combination between tofu and feta cheese. In other terms, tofu flavoured with feta live culture. And it tastes like a combination of the two. The flavour from feta and consistency of tofu. Finally there is a product without any strange additives, still tasting cheezy. Recently I have been using the tofeta to garnish pretty much everything from salads to stews.

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This time we will make some braised shallots with tofeta crumbles on the top. Braising is also a technique I developed some love to recently, creating crispy sweet and mushy veggies simultaneously.

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Braised whole shallots with parsley and tofeta
 
What you need
  • 8 medium shallots, peeled and whole
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 rosemary spring
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Some chili
  • 1 cup stock (homemade if time, tastes so much better)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp tarragon, dried
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Parsley and tofeta for serving
How to do it
  1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan. Keep the burner on medium/high
  2. Add the shallots and garlic. Sauté for 5 min,
  3. Add the rosemary spring and cinnamon. Sauté for another 5 min until golden brown on the outside and slightly burned.
  4. Pour the stock over the shallots and spices and allow to simmer/steam under a lid for around 10 min.
  5. Remove the lid, and add chili, fennel and tarragon.
  6. Allow the stock to boil of then remove the cinnamon stick and rosemary spring.
  7. Use salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with parley on top, and some tofeta, enjoy!

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World vegan day

Being vegan och plant based is sometimes quite hard when you live outside of a major city. But for some reason I’v always been spared all of those harsh and stuipd comments about what I eat and why. Might it be that I’m raised vegetarian or that I went to school with other children in a vegetarian Waldof school, I don’t know. As I wrote earlier, since I moved to the countryside the negative tone suddently is here. I hear it all the time, and even if I push the immediate feeling away, it’s hard. I have even started stating my veganism more than ever, like a teenage revolt, that cruelty towards animals is wrong (I used to just ignore it, as long as I stuck to my own beliefs). Last weekend I painted a piece of canvas and fited it on the inside of my car windows. Just stating how bad milk out of many different perspectives.

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I did the statements on my car because last saturday was world vegan day and I wanted people to know that. Super exciting since there was going to be a big vegan happening in the town nearby. Finally I hoped to connect with like-minded people from around. There was going to be bands and a lecture from läkare för framtiden (doctors for the future) about nutrition and so on. And also it was going to be held in a newly renovated train depo, a beautiful space. Things turned out flat, entirely. Not only was it very few people there, the only ones that showed up was the people that arranged the whole thing and the performers. NO ONE ELSE. I meet some people from my local animal rights organisation, and everyone was shocked about the embassignly low attandance rate, ZERO. How does that even happen? I mean, the town isn’t that big, but at least some people from high-school should show up. I felt really bad for the bands that traveled there. You know the feeling when you just wanna be somewhere else, out of sympathy? That feeling was overwhelming. There might be something about the statement made a couple of years ago, that this is Sweden’s most boring town. Damn I need something positive now.

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Lets end with some good news. The big supermarket had a big re-opening. To me and my mothers delight there was a whole new selection of oranic products. Most of them are amazing. Some I believe just to be a trend and something you shouldn’t consume to much since they have traveled across half the earth to get here. But anyway, great suprise.

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Stuffed beet bread, this is no boring loaf

So they say that if you mix 5 parts flour (by weight) with 3 parts water, 2 percent of flour weight salt, and some yeast. Then you will have a bread. This is a quite generic explanation, and the loaf you end up with will be, well according to me pretty generic as well. It does taste good, but it’s just a bread, nothing more, nothing less.

I have always thought that there must be a way to make this more interesting. And now I talk about doing more then just swapping the all purpose flour to whole-grain, or some other kind like emmer or einkorn. What can you do with the bread to totally transform it? Well, lets make it pink (kind will go crazy over this, looks like artificial candy), and lets stuff it with roots that are in season. This one was an experiment that turned out great in every way. Awesome for a picnic (find a warm and sunny spot) or potluck. Vegetable juice is does the trick!

Giant beet, I didn't grow this one, and I didn't use it for this recipe either. But it's beautiful.

Giant beet, I didn’t grow this one, and I didn’t use it for this recipe either. But it’s beautiful.

Before making it into a roll

Before making it into a roll

Please note that you will need a juicer for this one, or someplace where you can get beet juice.

Parsnip stuffed beet bread
 
Cook time
Total time
 
What you need
  • For the bread:
  • 1 cup beet juice, juice yourself for greater and fresher taste
  • 425 grams (almost a pound) whole spelt flour
  • 1 Tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp oil
  • For the stuffing:
  • 3 medium parsnips
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 Tsp oil
  • 2 Tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
How to do it
  1. Start by heating you beet juice to 40° C or 104° F. Dissolve the yeast.
  2. Add the flour and salt (use fresh if you can, I always grind my own). Mix throughly for a few minutes until it becomes elastic. You can use a kitchen assistant if you have one. Otherwise you fine with just your own mixing capabilities.
  3. Cover it with a kitchen towel, and wait for it to double in size, this will take about an hour.
  4. Ok, we will prepare the stuffing meanwhile. Start by mincing the onion and garlic.
  5. Heat a pan to low/medium.Add the oil and the onions. Cook gently for about 15 min.
  6. Add the chopped (1/3 inch dices) parsnips and continue to cook for 15-20 min, until the parsnips are sweet and caramelised.
  7. Add the rosemary. Season off with salt and pepper. and let it cool.
  8. Now the fun begins. Get your dough. Fold it a few times then bring your rolling pin. Make a rectangle, about ½ inch thick.
  9. Add some oil to the center part of the rectangle, place your stuffing in the middle (take a look at the pic). Fold it and use your fingers to pinch it where the end meet so it becomes a roll.
  10. Now make it in to a ring and pinch the two ends together. Dust it with some flour, on both sides.
  11. Heat the owen to 200°C or 390°F
  12. Cover it again and allow to raise for 30 min.
  13. Bake it for around 40 min.

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The stuffed bread

The stuffed bread

Isn’t this just beautiful? And the autumny flavours too.

BKT salad from the samurai

This is probably the best salad I have ever tried. Got Terry Hope Romero’s book Salad Samurai last week. Very beautiful and filling meat and dairy free recipes. The first one that really caught my eyes were the BKT Bacon Kale Tomato salad with Bacon tempeh. You know what? It turned out to be one of the best salads I have ever tried. It’s a keeper.

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And here is my take on it, since I like usual don’t have all the ingredients at home. It’s a great recipe for this time of year, tomatoes are riper than ever, the onions begin to dry, the kale leaves are large and green. You can get most of the veggies from the garden (I excluded the avocado from the original recipe and turned it locally local). The tempeh, I guess you will buy that one, or you can do like a friend and me did last year, made our own. But beware it takes time, peeling thousands of soy beans for the spores to get some grip is a tedious job. Good to have some company. Plus that it need some incubation of a few days. The tempeh got delicious. But well, start with the one in the store, for you own well being.

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Bacon (tempeh) Kale Tomato Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
What you need
  • 1 batch Tempeh Bacon and Coconut Bacon (recipe below)
  • 1 pound curly kale
  • 1 onion
  • 15 red cocktail tomatoes
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp chia
  • 1 tsp maple or birch syrup
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
How to do it
  1. Prepare the tempeh and coconut bacon, see recipe below
  2. Cut the kale in strips. Slice ⅔ of the onions thinly. Divide the tomatoes into halves. Mix all in a big bowl.
  3. Mince the rest of the onion. Mix with vinegar, chia, syrup and mustard. Pour over the salad and mix well.
  4. Serve! with Love!

Tempeh and coconut bacon
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
What you need
  • 3 tsbp tamari
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp syrup, maple or birch
  • 1.5 tbsp liquid smoke
  • some oil
  • half a pund tempeh
  • 1 cup coconut flakes (big flakes)
How to do it
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F or 150°C.
  2. Cut the tempeh into strips or dices. about ½ inch.
  3. Mix tamers, tomatoes paste, syrup and liquid smoke.
  4. Pour ⅔ of the mixture over the tempeh and let sit of about 10 min to marinate.
  5. Pour te raining over the coconut flakes and mix well. Put in a pan and bake in oven for 10-15 min, stir from time to time. Bake until brown.
  6. Fry the tempeh on medium heat, with the oil, until you get a crispy surface.

Enjoy!

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It’s august, to early with roots? Orange turmeric loaf

I guess it’s august. It should be a lot colder outside than it actually is, it’s really the end of the summer, at least here in Sweden. I noticed yesterday that my bedroom was filled with thousand of tiny flying things. I have no idea what they really are, but they gather around the lamp at night. I’m not that bothered by them, they tend to stay there, up in the sealing. I always get them in august, and only august. Not in July, not in September. Once when I was younger (living with my parents) I brought the vacuum from downstairs and vacuumed them away. Being so annoyed that all those predators just took the liberty of occupying my room. Quite embarrassing now, THEY DO ABSOLUTELY NO HARM.

Anyway, here is a pic of yesterdays batch of currants, white and red. You noticed any differences in flavor? I don’t, but I enjoy the white ones since you normally get the red all the time. Yes I like them just cause they are more rare._HAA4800

So, I’m of for some end-of-summer vacation in a few hours. I know it’s quite strange to do another cleanse of the fridge in just a week. But thats how it is. I used all the roots left. So this recipe might be a little autumn-ish, but since it is august: what the hell, why not? The fine thing with this one is that you can use pretty much any root you have on hand, just swap them in the recipe below. I went for parsnip and sweet potato, plus some leftover turnip and carrot. The turmeric turned this into a beautiful yellow bomb. You can eat this with pretty much anything, I would suggest some chutney and a salad.

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Orange turmeric root loaf
 
Loaf, as a part of a bigger meal
What you need
  • 1 big yellow onion
  • 3 parsnips
  • 1 sweet potato
  • some turnip and carrot
  • 1 big piece of fresh turmeric
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp chia, soaked in 6 tbsp water (did you know it's part o the salvia/sage family?)
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ⅓ cup rye flour (or any other flour, including gluten free)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp red vinegar
  • 1 small chili
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp cicely
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • Salt and peppet
How to do it
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F or 180 C.
  2. Start by peeling and finely cut the onion.
  3. Grate all the roots, including turmeric (substitute with a teaspoon dried if you cant find fresh).I don't want to waste anything so I normally don't peel them, but it's up to you.
  4. Mince the herbs and chili.
  5. Put all the ingredients in a big bowl, and mix throughly. It shouldn't be to wet or to dry, you should be able to form it into small patties. Adjust flour / water amount until you get a good consistency.
  6. In a loaf pan, put a piece of parchment paper. Add the mixture evenly. Flatten it on the top and make sure there are no but pockets of air in the mixture.
  7. Bake in the oven for 1 - 1½ hour. When done, let it cool for 15 min, the carefully remove it from the pan and cut into thick slices.

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Now I’m off for my holiday! (will keep posting though)