celeriac

RADICCHIO, GRAPEFRUIT, CELERIAC AND POMEGRANATE SALAD

RADICCHIO, GRAPEFRUIT, CELERIAC AND POMEGRANATE SALAD

When the idea for this salad came to my mind I knew it would look striking. I also knew that it would not be everybody’s favourite. My husband was definitely one who would not like the bitterness of the radicchio or the grapefruit. He doesn’t like either. My son loves grapefruit but even he was put off by the bitter taste of the radicchio.

I realise I am not selling this recipe too well but I absolutely loved it. And that is why I wanted to put it on my blog. There must be other fans out there, right? Yes, the radicchio and grapefruit bring quite a bit of bitterness to the party but the celeriac mellows everything out and the pomegranate and clementine juices together with maple syrup add sweetness that counteracts the bitterness. The salad definitely brightens up the winter table and challenges the taste buds.

The dressing is simply made of the fruit juices of the fruit that I used in the recipe. There is quite a lot of it, but it makes a nice drink too. I have used all the juices but you can use half and drink the rest. Something tells me it would taste nice as cocktail with a bit of bubbly.

Celeriac - not the prettiest veg in the box :)
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RADICCHIO, GRAPEFRUIT, CELERIAC AND POMEGRANATE SALAD

2 medium pink grapefruits
Half a celeriac (celery root)
1/2 medium head of radicchio
1 medium pomegranate
1 clementine
2 tsp - 1 Tbs maple syrup
salt to taste

Pink beauty :)
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  • With a sharp knife peel the grapefruit, remove the peel and the white piths. Remove the segments from the grapefruit, place into a salad bowl.
  • Squeeze the juice out of the “remains” of the grapefruit into a smaller bowl.
  • Peel the celeriac and grate coarsely. Food processor makes the job easier. I used spiraliser which made it a bit of a chore. Add to the grapefruit.
  • Finely shred the radicchio and add to the salad.
  • To prepare the pomegranate bash it with a wooden spoon, or against a chopping board. Than cut into half and squeeze out the seeds and juice into a strainer, catching the juice into the bowl with the grapefruit juice. Squeeze the juice of the clementine into the pomegranate and grapefruit juices.
  • Add half of the mixed juice (or all of it) to the salad and add the maple syrup. Mix well and enjoy.
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REDUCE WASTE/ ROOT VEGETABLE SOUP

REDUCE WASTE/ ROOT VEGETABLE SOUP

Apparently, here in the UK, we throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink every year. For an average family with children this means £680 ending up in a compost bin. In my case this would mean some 5-6 weeks of food being wasted.

Jan Kees Vis, the global director for sustainable sourcing development at Unilever (what a mouthful!), says that food is “too cheap” resulting in too much food wasted. Food waste takes place mainly in restaurants and homes.

In Australia they have come up with the brilliant OzHarvest initiative. Shops, restaurants, hotels, delis and others donate surplus food to the needy. Check out the website :
http://www.ozharvest.org/index.asp Sound like a fantastic way to reduce waste!

Sheepishly I will admit to throwing away a whole bag of salad leaves and a rather disgusting half a pack of radishes that hid under bags of kale and other fresh veggies for a while. Yes, it did make me feel guilty! Indeed this was a case of bad planning.

Mr Vis claims it is the low cost of food that is behind food waste. I am not so sure about that. The food that is cheap, the processed food, is not what ends up is out bins. These foods have a suspiciously long shelf life. The foods that we throw away are more likely to be perishables. According to the Love Food Hate Waste website fruits and vegetables do indeed account for 26% of our food waste,followed by drinks, bakery products, meals, dairy and meat. Together these foods make 83% of our food waste. http://england.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

In my opinion careful planning is the key to reducing waste. Shop with a shopping list, don’t buy more that you need and keep an eye on your perishables to make sure you use them before they go off. I tend to go through my fruit and veg the day before my organic box delivery. I turn what's left them into soups, salads, dips or smoothies.

The fruits we waste the most are bananas, apples and oranges. Brown bananas are great for baking, making smoothies or simply freeze them and blend them (on its own or with other fruits) to make a fab super quick ice-cream. Apples can be juiced or blended in smoothies, I like to stew them to make some apple sauce (great in fat free baking) or a compote. They are also great in a cabbage or carrot salad. Not so fresh oranges are still great juiced or “smoothied”. They also make a yummy base for a salad dressing or can be added to a soup (carrot and orange, yum).

Remember my celeriac and pear salad? This is what happened to the other half of the rather large celeriac. It became a part of yummy root vegetable soup.


root-vegetable-soup

ROOT VEGETABLE SOUP
Nice and easy, just chop throw it into the pot and blend...

Serves 4

ingredients
1 onion, chopped
1 small or (as in my case) half a large celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium parsnips, cleaned and cut into chunks
2 medium carrots, cleaned and cut into chunks
1 medium to large potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
sprig of rosemary, tough stalks removed and leaves chopped
1.25l (5 cups) of vegetable stock

method
  1. Place all the ingredients into a large sauce pan.
  2. Bring to a boil. reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 45min
  3. In batches pour soup into your blender and blend till smooth.
  4. Serve on its own or topped with some of lime coriander cashew cream.

Lime, coriander cashew cream:
http://www.plantstrongliving.co.uk/blog/files/f76e5eb9a33b938f4667bb68c4c61a56-131.html


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CELERIAC AND PEAR SALAD WITH CASHEW LIME CREAM

CELERIAC AND PEAR SALAD WITH CASHEW LIME CREAM

This study weekend we more or less scratched the surface of our body’s biochemistry. Everybody’s head was spinning. Complicated it is indeed but also unbelievably fascinating. As I comfortably sit here writing this blog thousands of biochemical reactions are happening in my body. DNA is zipped and unzipped, transcribed and copied, proteins are formed, enzymes are working hard at speeding up chemical processes, energy is being produced and stored... We are quietly unaware of the amazing work happening beneath the surface.

To do all this efficiently your body needs the right type of fuel. Just like a car. Luckily the damage may not happen as quickly as when you put unleaded into your diesel car. It is never too late or too early to make improvements to our eating habits. Healthy balanced diet will make for a healthy efficient body. That’s what I keep telling my kids (and they occasionally make that pretend yawn when I do! GRRR!).

Getting kids eat a balanced diet can be a challenge at times. My son did mention one of his friends survived school camp eating plain pasta and chips (oh and one chicken leg). As I have mentioned in my previous blogs my daughter is not great with her vegetables. Therefore I jump for joy whenever she takes liking to something she previously didn’t like or refused to try. She helped me make todays recipe. During the preparation I encouraged her to try the pear (she always “hated” pears) and the celeriac (she has never even attempted to try it). To my surprise she exclaimed she loved the pears! And indeed she ate a whole one the very next day. The celeriac was not such a raving success but when dipped into the cashew cream it went down rather well. I am happy to say she ate a portion of the salad with her dinner. Another step forward:)

celeriacpearsalad

CELERIAC AND PEAR SALAD WITH CASHEW LIME CREAM

The recipe for lime coriander cashew cream will yield more than you need (it is difficult to process smaller amounts), it will keep in the fridge for couple of days, great as a topping for a soup.

Serves 4-6 as a side salad

ingredients

250ml (1 cup) cashews soaked in water for at least 30min.
125ml - 160ml (1/2-2/3 cup) water
juice of 1 and 1/2 limes
handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1 small celeriac (celery root) - or as in my case half of a very big one, peeled
2 asian pears (or any other pears that are not too soft), peeled
salt and pepper

celeriacpearsalad2

method
  1. First make your dressing. Drain the cashews from their soaking liquid. Put cashews and 125mo (1/2 of water) into the blender. Blend till smooth. If the mixture is too thick add more water.
  2. Transfer the cashew cream to a bowl and add the lime juice and coriander. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare your vegetables. You can just grate the vegetables in a food processor or using a box grater. I used my mandolin to slice the celeriac into super thin slices and julienned these with a knife. The pear I sliced with a knife and julienned. :)
  4. Mix with some of the dressing. I used about 2/3 of the quantity.
  5. Chill until ready to serve. The salad taste even better the next day.

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VEGETABLE STOCK

VEGETABLE STOCK

In the Czech Republic, you could not imagine a Sunday meal without a starter of soup. Most of our soups were based on clear broths usually made out of beef bones but using only vegetables in not uncommon. As a girl I used to spend a large portion of my summer holidays with my step great grandmother at her farm (not a working farm). Everyday we had a soup for lunch, we would go to the garden and pick some fresh vegetables, cooked them in some water and perhaps added homemade noodles and herbs fresh from the garden.

A good stock is a great thing to have lurking around. There are some great vegetable stocks on the market but I do like to make my own on occasion. That way I know it is virtually fat free and I can control the salt content. Homemade vegetable stock is a great way to use up some surplus or tired looking veggies. It is nearly magical how the pile of vegetables gets cooked down into flavoursome golden liquid.

Onions are a must in any good stock. I leave the brown skins on, just remove the very outside layer, make sure you wash the root, or just cut it off. The skins will add to the stock’s colour. My grandma used to use brown onion skins as a dye.

Root veggies add sweetness to your stock, back at home we would always use carrots and celeriac. Don’t forget to use the leaves of celeriac or celery, they are a fantastic flavourful ingredient. Another classic ingredient is parsley use mainly the stalks and keep the leaves for garnish. Thyme and bay leaves add wonderful fragrance of the stock. So does the allspice, which may not be a traditional ingredient in stock making but I love the flavour it adds.

There are so many uses for a home made stock. Soups are the obvious choice, but you can use it for cooking your grains or legumes. I love cooking my brown rice in a vegetable stock, it gives it a lovely colour and of course adds lots flavour. Since I don’t salt my stock it is fantastic for cooking legumes from raw as they should not be cooked with salt. Vegetable stock is also a great base for stews and sauces.

Don’t feel you have to religiously stick the the ingredients below, use what you have in your vegetable drawer add outer lettuce leaves, broccoli or cauliflower stalks, mushrooms, fresh or dried (for a dark savoury broth), few garlic cloves, fennel, rosemary and other herbs. The possibilities are endless.

vegstockingredients


VEGETABLE STOCK
The resulting stock will have a gorgeous light golden colour.

Yields about 2,5l (10cups) of stock

ingredients
5 celery stalks, including any leaves, trimmed and cleaned
3 leeks, half lengthways and wash thoroughly between the layers
1 large onion, washed, unpeeled and quartered
1 celeriac, peeled (cut off the nobbly skin with a knife) and roughly cut up
5 carrots, scrubbed, each cut into 3 pieces
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
15 peppercorns
3 all spice berries
2 bay leaves
parsley, mainly stalks
2 large sprigs of thyme
3 litres (12 cups) of water

method
  1. Place all the ingredients in a large stock pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for an hour.
  3. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl large enough to hold it. Let it cool down completely.
  4. Discard the cooked vegetables ( I keep the carrots to put into my dogs’ dinner)
  5. When cooled place the stock into freezer safe bags or containers. Freeze or keep for 3 days in a fridge.

vegstockfinished
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Roasted carrot burgers with celeriac remoulad


Burger King introduced a new burger, 966 calories and 58g of fat. Exactly what we need, more fat, more burger, more bacon, I do hope it is served with a side order of statins and a syringe of adrenalin just in case the diners need to kick start their heart. New staff training manual should include how to use a defibrillator and every fast food branch rather keep one on site ready to go.

Here is one of my much healthier burgers, it is made with lentils and carrots. Doesn’t sound very exciting right? But behold my son said said it was LUSH and made me promise he can have the leftover one in his lunch box tomorrow. He wants it topped with the celeriac remoulade too. Better put a reminder into my phone....

Healthy veggie burger is a fantastic vessel for hidden vegetables, and if prepared in advance, quick and easy school night meal. They freeze great, before or after cooking, so think in advance or store the leftovers. If freezing from uncooked, line a tray that will fit into your freezer with a greaseproof paper or cling film, put the burgers on top, in a single layer. When frozen solid put into a freezer proof bag. You can cook the from frozen, add 5 min on top of the recommended cooking time.

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Roasted carrot burgers with celeriac remoulade
The size of your burgers will depend on the size of your bun, so shape them accordingly. Nobody likes a small burger in a large bun, and the other way things get a bit too messy. My burger buns were on the small size, therefore I ended up with 8 burgers. If you are making 4 burgers allow extra 5 minutes in the oven.

When cooking the lentils try to cook out all the water, towards the end of cooking make sure to stir if you don’t want to end up with lentils stuck to the bottom of your pot. I chop my onion in a food processor, quicker and no tears as with the grating. Change your blades and grate your celeriac in a food processor too.

The best thing about making these burgers is, that since they do not contain any animal products, you can always taste them for seasoning without the fear of food poisoning.

ingredients:
the burgers:
450g (1lb) carrots, cleaned
1tsp olive oil
200g (1 Cup) red lentils
550ml/21/4 cups water
1 medium onion, chopped very small or grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 TBS cumin
salt and pepper to taste
50 g bread crumbs
whole wheat burger buns
lettuce leaves torn into manageable pieces

the remoulade
1 celeriac, peeled and grated
1 heaped Tbs whole grain Dijon mustard
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 heaped Tbs dairy free mayonnaise
salt + pepper to taste

method
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Cut your carrots into 1 inch chunks. Add 1 tsp of olive oil and using your hands mix well making sure all carrot pieces are covered with oil.
  2. Line a baking sheet with grease proof baking paper, put carrots on top of it and roast them in the oven for 30-40 min, until the carrots start caramelising along the edges and are quite tender when pierced with a knife. Set aside to cool.
  3. While the carrots are roasting, cook the lentils. Bring them to boil (no salt) and reduce the heat. Make sure the lentils are just simmering, otherwise the water will evaporate before they become tender. This will take about 15min. Check on the lentils, if there is still too much water, cook a bit longer stirring constantly until most water is gone. Put into a bowl and set aside. Any residual liquid will be absorbed while the lentils are cooling.
  4. When the carrots are cooled chopped them in a food processor. Aim for a very small pieces, not a carrot mash, you do want some texture.
  5. Mix the carrots, lentils, onions, cumin, seasoning and breadcrumbs together. Shape into 8 burgers. You can refrigerate them at this stage.
  6. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof baking paper, place the burgers on top and bake for 30 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.
  7. While the burgers are cooking make the remoulade. Just mix all the ingredients together, taste for more lemon juice or seasoning.
  8. To assemble burger, put a little bit or remoulade on the bottom of the bun, some lettuce leaves, burger and top with a large dollop of the remoulade. Last but not least the top half of your bun. Serve.




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MULTI ROOT SOUP WITH RED LENTILS


My weekly organic vegetable box delivery is usually marked by frantic attempt to use up what is leftover from the last one. Even if the temperatures and budding daffodils tell otherwise we are in the middle of winter and root vegetables seem to be the bulk of what gets left in my veg drawer. Now that calls for a warming root vegetable soup.

A very dirty knobby, wouldn’t win a beauty contest, celeriac was pleading to me. I must say I am not a big fan of celeriac, I like it raw, thinly shredded in salads or blended in soups, but that is it, don’t serve it to me mashed or gratineed or in a chunky stew. Celeriac is however very low in calories, good source of Vitamin K, some B vitamins, phosphorus, iron, calcium, copper and manganese. Of course, as all veggies, great source of dietary fibre. Recently few studies have shown its anti-cancer qualities due to its antioxidant content which makes me think it is time I started to love the awkward root a whole lot more.

Root

MULTI ROOT SOUP WITH RED LENTILS

This soup is made with no added oil making it very low fat, low calorie and highly nutritious. Red lentils raise the protein content. The soup is blended so there is no need to be precise with the chopping of the vegetables. The amount I made serves 6 people easily.

serves 4-6

ingredients

1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tbs mild curry powder (or your favourite curry blend)
1 celeriac, peeled and chopped
1 large parsnip, tough middle core removed, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled, chopped
125 ml /1/2 cup red lentils
1 litre or more of vegetable stock

method

  • In a large stock pot , on medium heat , saute the onion in 1/4 cup of stock (or water) till soft. If it starts to stick to the bottom of the soup pot add more water. This will take about 10 min.
  • Add curry powder and garlic and heat till fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add rest of the ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour.
  • Blend, check for seasoning and serve. You may need to add more water if the soup is too thick.

Soup 1

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