- Full Title : A Caribbean Diet Cookbook
- Autor: Winslow Nicholas
- Print Length: 58 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Publication Date: April 25, 2014
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1499263732
- ISBN-13: 978-1499263732
- Download File Format | Size: epub | 251,48 Kb
ZEN, KRÄUTERN & FRÜCHTEN
Salze, Butter, Marmeladen, Honig, Pesto, Cremes und Saucen
Tees, Milch, Limonaden, Drinks, Smoothies und Lassi
Ramen, Salate, Gemüse, Crostini, Pancakes, Brioche, Brot, Burger, Waffel und Wraps
Bowl, Eis, Granita, Popsicles und Parfaits
Pies, Shortbreads, Biscuits, Donuts, Hand Pies, Gugel, Muffins, Apfelkuchen, Macarons und Cookies
EIN BISSCHEN INSPIRATION …
Sonntagsfrühstück, Picknick, Candle-Light-Dinner
Mich findet man immer in meiner Küche oder hinter der Kamera, in meinem Arbeitszimmer mit den vielen Kochbüchern und Bergen an Vintage-Geschirr, denn meine Leidenschaft für spannende Aromenkombinationen habe ich zum Beruf gemacht. Eigentlich bin ich Diplom-Ökonomin und Hotelkauffrau; doch seit 2011 arbeite ich als Food-Fotografin, Rezeptentwicklerin und Food-Kolumnistin. Mein Weg vom trockenen Wirtschaftsstudium über eine wunderbare Zeit als Privatköchin und Supper-club-Betreiberin bis hin zur Food-Fotografin beinhaltet viele spannende Stationen und ist geprägt von schönen Abzweigungen und Umwegen.
Nach dem Abitur hatte ich den Wunsch, eine Ausbildung zur Hotelkauffrau zu machen. Ich hatte damals schnell den Traum, mich selbstständig zu machen, meine eigenen Ideen umzusetzen und kreativ zu arbeiten. Doch womit genau? Ich entschied mich zunächst für ein Studium der Wirtschaftswissenschaften, um allgemeine Fähigkeiten für eine Selbstständigkeit zu erlangen. Bald merkte ich, dass ich mir kaum etwas Schöneres vorstellen konnte, als Gastgeberin zu sein – ganz plötzlich und mit voller Wucht kam während des Studiums dieser Wunsch, andere Menschen kulinarisch zu inspirieren. Ungewöhnlich, wo ich doch im Alter von 20 Jahren noch nicht einmal wusste, wie man ein Ei kocht. Die Geschichten über angebrannte Milch, ein Spinatdesaster und meine Angst vor kochendem Wasser erzählt meine Familie noch heute gerne. Nach dem Studium kam dann der Sprung ins kalte Wasser: Ich machte mich als Privatköchin selbstständig. Ich bin immer noch ganz baff, wie gut das funktionierte. Bald darauf rief ich meinen Supperclub ins Leben und bespielte so einmal im Monat mit meiner Freundin Milena mein eigenes kleines Mini-Restaurant. Mit der Zeit entdeckte ich meine Leidenschaft fürs Fotografieren, bald darauf füllte ich meinen Blog mit Leben und meine große Liebe zur Food-Fotografie nahm ihren Lauf. Heute, nach fast fünf Jahren Selbstständigkeit arbeite ich ausschließlich als Food-Fotografin und -Kolumnistin und entwickle Rezepte.
Rückblickend ergibt der Weg, den ich gegangen bin, absolut Sinn, ich habe hier und da kleine Abzweigungen genommen, habe Chancen ergriffen und auch Geplantes über Bord geworfen. Dass ich heute meinen Traumberuf leben darf, in dem ich alle Leidenschaften miteinander vereinen und mich kreativ austoben kann, ist ein riesiges Glück für mich und die Bestätigung, dass es richtig war, an meine Träume zu glauben.
Ich brenne für alles Kulinarische – ich koche, komponiere, fotografiere und schreibe voller Leidenschaft und mit viel Hingabe und dabei ist in den Jahren meine Liebe zu Kräutern, Gewürzen und Aromen stetig gewachsen. Beinahe täglich blubbern bei mir Sirups und Saucen mit vielen Kräutern auf dem Herd. Pikante Honigvariationen und Butter aus gerösteten Nüssen gehören ebenso zu meiner Leidenschaft wie Tees aus frischen Kräutern, das Verfeinern von Süßem mit Kräutern und Gewürzen und die bunte Zusammenstellung von Aromen für herzhafte Köstlichkeiten. Ich bin ständig auf der Suche nach neuen außergewöhnlichen Geschmackskombinationen, die aber immer absolut alltagstauglich sein sollen und der Wohl-fühlküche zuzuordnen sind.
Aromen, Gewürze und Kräuter haben für mich einfach eine unschätzbare Kraft. Sie erzeugen Spannung, sorgen für Gaumenkitzel und Geschmacksexplosionen, machen ein Rezept lebendig und lösen Emotionen aus. Doch viele Menschen trauen sich nicht, Kräuter und Aromen mutigeinzusetzen. Ein verhaltenes Mitköcheln eines Rosmarinzweigs hier und da, eine zaghafte Prise Salz und Pfeffer im Pesto oder die zurückhaltende Dosierung von Minze im Dessert – häufig endet hier der Einsatz wunderbarer Aromageber. Ich möchte in diesem Buch zeigen, dass sie noch viel mehr können.
Kräuter und Zitrusfrüchte gehen beispielsweise eine harmonische Verbindung ein und sorgen für mediterrane Stimmung in einem süßen Backwerk. Und nicht nur Kräuter lassen sich wunderbar in Sirups, Marmeladen, Aufstrichen, Salzen, Eiscremes, Herzhaftem und Desserts verarbeiten. Auch Gewürze, Obst und Beeren sorgen geschmacklich und optisch für Aufsehen in selbst gemachten Köstlichkeiten. Feigenbutter mit Orange und Zimt, Salz mit getrockneten Sauerkirschen und Bacon, Masala-Chai-Milch mit Earl-Grey-Eiswürfeln, Ricotta-Pancakes mit Salbeikaramell, Schwarzen Johannisbeeren
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levision being a small price to pay for the privilege. I know now exactly what you mean when you speak of the joys of undressed noodles. I yearn for the smoke and sizzle of many parts of pampered chickens in an old-school yakitori joint, the clean smell of the fish market at four in the morning (cigarettes and seawater), chankonabe, grilled fish collars in Golden Gai, the glory of the Japanese bathroom. They may work punishingly, insanely hard in Japan. But they have relaxation down to a science. To spend a weekend at a traditional ryokan, marinating in an outdoor onsen, is a life-changing thing. There’s no going back. Not all the way back anyway.
I don’t know if you know this but I’ve found that if you sat at a table with eight or nine of the worlds best chefs—from France, Brazil, America, wherever—and you asked them where they’d choose if they had to eat in one, and only one country, for the rest of their lives, they would ALL of them pick Japan without hesitation. We both know why.
I have no doubt that you would make that case brilliantly in the book to come, but I’m going to need more details if I want to convince my cruel masters at HarperCollins. How do you see this playing out on the page?
I know what you mean when you say you’ve never been the same. I’m supposed to be on a honeymoon with my Catalan wife, but every time a piece of uni nigiri or shirako tempura is placed before me, I feel like I’m cheating on her. I try to shift the focus back to my bride, but then I look over and see her eyes glazed with that same new Japan sheen, and I know that there will forever be a line in our lives: Before Japan, After Japan.
I could see how you would want to keep this to yourself. Something so intense and intimate—it’s hard to share without feeling like you’re somehow butchering the translation. Judging by the episodes you’ve logged from Japan, though, you got over that feeling, no doubt for much the same reason that I’m getting over it: we tell stories for a living, and these stories are the best I’ve found anywhere.
I’m in Noto now, a windswept peninsula on the west coast known as the Kingdom of Fermentation. Breakfast this morning was a piece of mackerel cured in salt and chilies for 12 years (my body is still buzzing from the umami). Chikako Fukushita is the daughter of Noto’s preeminent pickle masters: her father has been honored by the governor for his fish sauce, her mother is the sole keeper of over 300 recipes that represent the family’s—and Noto’s—legacy. They never had a son, so it has fallen to Chikako to catalog every last recipe before they pass away.
The plan is to stay here as long as it takes to find stories like these—deep, experiential narratives that tell us something about this country that only the food and its creators can. On the horizon: a Guatemalan immigrant turned okonomiyaki master in Hiroshima, a rebel band of sea urchin fishermen in Hokkaido, and a ramen blogger from Fukuoka who eats 400 bowls of tonkotsu a year.
I’ve talked with my Roads & Kingdoms partners about this idea and they’re all in. Beyond the high-protein narratives, we see a series of lighter side stories, photo essays, and illustrated decoders illuminating the most interesting corners of Japanese culture. Doug Hughmanick built our website and would be perfect for designing big, beautiful spreads about the glories of the Japanese convenience store or how to navigate a love hotel. Nathan Thornburgh, whom you already know from his days at Time magazine, is an intense and uncompromising editor, ready to make whatever I write stronger.
Good thing, because despite the beauty of these stories, there is infinite potential to make an ass of myself. I’m a novice here. I speak no Japanese. I claim no special understanding of this dense culture and hold no key to unlock the country’s many closed doors. I went to a very famous sushi restaurant in Tokyo last week, a place that destroyed me the first time I ate there. I came back with a translator and a suit jacket, waited for two hours until the last guests trickled out, then asked the chef if I might arrange an interview. His jaw dropped, his face contorted. “Why would you come here?” he said. “Next time, please go through the embassy.”
I spent the next 24 hours steaming, appalled by the suggestion of involving diplomats to talk about rice and fish and somehow offended that he didn’t want to share his story. But deep down there’s something almost noble about his reaction: with only six seats and a loyal local clientele, his only objective now is to protect what he has.
There is no escaping my place as the most outside of outsiders here, so I might as well embrace it. There will be plenty of expertise proffered along the way, just not from me—from the chefs and artisans and families who have this cuisine in their DNA, and who have opened up many
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eurs, which add flavor in the same way that extracts do. These can be any brand name. The most commonly used flavors are coffee, amaretto (almond), or hazelnut.
Most of the equipment used to make these cookies are everyday kitchen utensils such as mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, electric mixers, wire whisks, rubber and metal spatulas, and saucepans.
COOKIE SHEETS: Sturdy, firm, clean sheets are definitely necessary for successful cookie baking.
ROLLING PINS: I find the heavy marble type the easiest to use. The heaviness helps to flatten your dough evenly, and the rolling mechanism rolls easily, with less pressure on your arms than the old-fashioned wooden pins.
PARCHMENT PAPER : Using parchment paper is a great way to line cookie sheets. Not only does it provide a nonstick surface, it helps to make the cleaning of cookie sheets a little easier. You can purchase parchment paper from most kitchen stores and supermarkets.
ELECTRIC MIXER : A stand-up model electric mixer is a great tool. While your dough is mixing, you can turn to another task, like preparing cookie sheets.
MIXING BOWLS: Large stainless steel bowls, with approximately a 15-inch diameter, are ideal for the “making a well” technique and hand mixing. These bowls allow you to combine dry ingredients, then wet ingredients, and still give you enough side room to mix the dough before turning it out on a floured surface for kneading.
WIRE RACKS: Wire cooling racks are the best way to let cookies cool when removed from a cookie sheet. The air circulates underneath to cool the entire cookie. After frosting cookies, place them on wire cooling racks to allow excess icing to drip. For easier cleanup, place a piece of parchment or waxed paper underneath the rack to catch the excess frosting.
CONTAINERS: Airtight containers are essential for storing baked cookies. These can be cookie tins or Tupperware-type sealable containers. If the cookies aren’t too fragile, you can also use plastic bags.
GENERAL INFORMATION AND TECHNIQUES
Making a Well
This is a technique I use often. The concept is to combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. After the ingredients are blended, make a mound of the mixture, then make a hole on top of the mound. This is your “well” to catch the wet ingredients.
In a separate bowl, the wet ingredients are blended together as directed. Pour the wet ingredients into your “well” and blend thoroughly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
Turning Dough Out onto a Lightly Floured Surface
While you are using an electric mixer on low speed, the dough will sometimes get too heavy to mix. When this happens, simply empty the contents of the mixer onto a counter or table dusted with flour. Knead together the ingredients to form your dough.
You can purchase nuts in a variety of sizes, or you can chop them to suit an individual recipe. Freshly chopping nuts helps to bring out their natural oils and flavors. Here are a few guidelines to the size references in this book.
WALNUT HALVES: These are the actual walnut halves, unchopped, usually used for decorative purposes.
COARSELY CHOPPED: The nut is cut into smaller pieces than the nut halves, but not as small as finely chopped nuts. It’s best to use a cutting board and a sharp, straight-edged knife using a chopping motion.
FINELY CHOPPED : Finely chopped nuts can be made with a nut chopper or food processor. If using a food processor, a few quick pulses will do the trick.
FINELY GROUND : Finely ground nuts are pulverized in a food processor or blender. They resemble the texture of flour.
Cooling on Parchment
For some cookies it is easier to cool them right on the parchment paper instead of trying to remove them with a metal spatula while they are hot. Certain varieties of cookies, such as Pine Nut Cookies, Coconut Macaroons, and Ladyfingers, are soft and sticky and need to be fully cooled before removing them from the parchment paper. To cool on parchment, simply slip the parchment paper off of the cookie sheet and onto a wire cooling rack.
This refers to brushing cookies with a beaten egg, which adds a professional, shiny finish. Use a pastry brush to spread a beaten egg on the tops of biscotti loaves before baking.
Dusting or Rolling with Confectioners’ Sugar
Many of these cookies are finished with a coating of confectioners’ sugar. There are a few ways to do this. To dust cookies, put a small amount of confectioners’ sugar into a small, dry strainer. Shake the strainer over the cookies that you wish to dust. Refill the strainer as needed.
To coat cookies, place a small amount of confectioners’ sugar in a medium size mixing bowl. Put about 10 to 12 cookies at a time in the bowl with the sugar. Using your fingers or two spoons, carefully toss the coo
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, and bamboo shoots. Over time, that became the template, the standard, the definition of ramen.
As ramen grew in popularity, it spread to other regions and islands and it began to evolve. Cooks who opened ramen shops put their stamp on the soups they made. Shoyu ramen—ramen with a heavy dose of soy sauce added to the broth—seems inevitable when you look back on it. Shio ramen—with salt in place of shoyu (and a totally different, cleaner, lighter taste)—followed. Certain styles became synonymous with the places from which they sprung: the Hokkaido Prefecture, for example, is the home of miso ramen.
The most important development in the story of the popularization of ramen—and probably one of the most important events in the history of food—occurred in 1958, when Momofuku Ando, a middle-aged tinkerer, invented instant ramen and unleashed it on the world. His invention introduced millions of people to the world of ramen, myself included.
By the eighties, every ramen shop in Japan had its own distinctive style: rigorous ordering rules, lines that wrapped around the block, how they sliced their pork, how much fat they added to their soup. (There is a type of ramen called abura ramen, which means “fat” ramen: hot noodles tossed in hot pork fat seasoned with things like crushed sesame seeds, soy sauce, scallions, and bonito. It can be so rich it can make you sick. I love it.) Like pizza or barbecue in America, every shop has its own fanatical following. (And, like pizza or barbecue, everyone’s favorite ramen shop tends to be the one they grew up with, regardless of its faults.) I wanted to try all of them. I spent an unhealthy amount of my free time during my stay in Japan eating at ramen shops.
I learned the vocabulary: omori portions had extra noodles. Menma was the name for bamboo shoots. The soy sauce used to season and flavor the soups in Tokyo wasn’t just soy, but taré—a combination of soy, mirin, and sake, often boiled with chicken bones, that has its roots in the yakitori tradition.
I filled up notebooks with notes on ramen and noodle places and, loser (literally) that I am, lost track of all of them over the years. Some industrious night, well before I opened Momofuku and before my notebooks disappeared, I decided I’d type all my notes into the computer. I only did it for one place, for Taishoken, the birthplace of tsukemen—the style of serving the noodles, hot or cold, on a plate and the broth in a bowl next to it for dunking.
Notes from October 20, 2003
Went early Sunday to Taishoken @ Higeshikebukuro, supposed to be the best or top 3 ramen shop in all of Tokyo. Left at 10:30, got there at 11:00 a.m., doors open at 11—waited 1 hour 45 minutes to get around the corner …. Unbelievable that by the time I get to the entrance, the line is even longer. There must be at least 300 people in line.
The place is so small: 6–7 people eat at the bar, 6 people eat at 2 tables, 2 tables outside of door seat 6. A fucking dump. 1 guy taking orders from everyone in line, about 20 people at a time. Amazing ordering system … you sit down, and your food is there.
3–4 cooks, 1 guy cooking noodles, 1 guy cooling noodles for tsukemen/morisoba, another guy prepping mise en place, another guy finishing plates, and what appears to be Mr. Yamagashi, famed owner/chef, cooking noodles and handing out the broth. Everyone has towels wrapped around their heads and is wearing rain boots.
1) soy sauce is placed in bowl, then stock
2) gigantic helping of noodles
3) toppings are placed
4) finished with a touch of stock
Size is outrageously big, biggest bowl ever?—cuts of char siu—not from belly, are ½ inch thick—butt?
Toppings: scallions, hard-boiled egg, menma—it seems that they cook their menma in their own manner, I’m not sure if it’s dried and then rehydrated—a piece of fish cake, and nori
I’m figuring that the soy sauce contains vinegar and chile pepper. The stock I see contains bones, carrots, onions, konbu, dried sardines, and mackerel.
First slurp of soup: surprisingly sharp with white pepper, spicy chile, and a kick of vinegar. After 2–3 minutes, cannot notice heat.
Noodles not made there?
One can tell that they’ve been doing this for a while, serious business back there in the kitchen. Must go back and try regular ramen, not omori size. Flavors are great, not too oily, etc.
Reason for success is flavor is so different.
At the time, I knew I wasn’t going to be holding forth on the conjugation of basic English verbs for Japanese kids for the rest of my life. I decided I wanted to work in a ramen shop. To learn ramen for real. My timid efforts to do so during the time I lived in Izumi-Tottori were fruitless. My Japanese was bad, I had no training, and I had no business working in a kitchen.
It was the via negativa way of figuring out I wanted to do with my life: I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew what I didn’t want. I co
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nine dollars, dishes would be served family-style, lunch would be served daily. Of course, that all went out the window when Tom showed up.
PREFACE: THE STORY CONTINUES
I live above the restaurant. It wasn’t always that way. Thanks to David Steele and David White, the idea of Flour + Water was well in the works before I was ever involved. While they were composing their business plan, searching for a space somewhere in the Mission, and thinking about what kind of chef they might hire, I was on the other side of the world.
I was in Bologna, to be precise. At the time, I had spent several years cooking in upscale San Francisco restaurants, mostly French. I had come to a point where it was time to detach for a bit and explore the kitchens of Europe. I scrounged up the cash for a plane ticket to Paris and convinced a handful of Michelin-starred French chefs to let me work for them as a stagiaire—basically an unpaid kitchen intern. I learned a lot and remain grateful for the opportunities, but I still yearned for something different, something simpler, more elemental. I eventually found my way to Italy, and I found that missing variable in the country’s farms, its lifestyle, and its pasta.
In particular, I fell in love with pasta during an extended stay in Bologna—we’ll explore that experience a bit later—but as my bank account (or what was left of it) began to dry up, I started to think about saying goodbye to my Italian escapism and return to America to, you know, get a job again. Huddled at the local pay-by-the-minute Internet cafe, I began scanning Craigslist for new cooking gigs in the Bay Area.
I finally found a listing for a rustic Italian restaurant opening in San Francisco that was pretty vague about the details, except that they were looking for a chef. Possibly with the fog of a few early evening Aperol spritzes in me already, I emailed a quick response without knowing exactly to whom I was emailing. I didn’t even sign the email.
It consisted of these three poetic sentences: “I’m in Bologna working in a pasta lab. Heard you’re looking for a chef. I’d like to move back to the Bay Area and start a goat farm.”
(It was more than slightly ridiculous, but it was honest: I really did want to be a goat farmer. I’ve always yearned for a farm and have always been obsessed with the origin of the amazing products used in great restaurants.)
A couple hours after sending off the email, I got this email response: “Is this Tom McNaughton? What in the hell are you talking about?”
It was signed “David White.”
David White and I had previously worked together at Quince in San Francisco. Even though he worked up front on the service side and I was in the back behind the stoves, we always got along and even went out drinking a few times. I knew he was working on a new restaurant, too. In fact, when I read in the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Inside Scoop” column a year prior that White was opening a pizzeria named Flour + Water, I vividly remember thinking that he was a crazy person, and that the name was fairly hideous.
But the more he told me about the vision of the restaurant, the more I was intrigued and inspired. White had already partnered with David Steele, an “ideas guy” who came from the finance world. Together, they were looking for a chef for Flour + Water, a pizzeria and wine bar on the outskirts of San Francisco’s Mission District. And so began the interview process over a series of nightly transatlantic phone calls.
I didn’t have a cell phone, so nightly, I’d commandeer a phone booth on the cobblestone streets of Bologna. Armed with seventy-five euros worth of phone cards and a few forty-ounce Moretti beers, I’d get comfortable and the three of us would speak for hours. Pay cards would run out, calls would drop, but it worked. We talked about restaurants, we talked about life, we mused on the philosophies we wanted to instill in a restaurant, and we analyzed their already-polished business plan. We got to know each other.
We were talking shop, so much so that I only half realized that they were interviewing me, too. About halfway through the final phone call, Steele interrupted one of my answers with an instant job offer, without even tasting my food. Not soon thereafter, I hopped on a plane and returned to America.
There’s a saying in the restaurant business that young chefs don’t know what being a chef really is until they open their own restaurant, starting from the ground floor. I don’t know who said that, but I quickly discovered that it is most certainly true.
I was only a few days removed from Italy when I first saw the blank white rectangle at the corner of Harrison and Twentieth that was the restaurant space. The building was a derelict two-story construction site that looked like it was going to keel over with the first gust of wind. I lost my breath; things just got real. Up
ir mineral scent is worth inhaling – then put them in a pan with the stock and bring to the boil. As the stock boils, turn the heat down to a low simmer. Finely chop the parsley leaves.
Peel and very finely chop the shallot and let it cook in the butter in a saucepan, without taking on any colour. Add the rice, turn the grains briefly in the butter till glossy, then pour in the wine and let it cook for a minute or two. Add a ladle of the stock. Stirring almost constantly, add another ladle of stock and continue to stir until the rice has soaked it all up. Now add the remaining stock, a ladle at a time, stirring pretty much all the time till the rice has soaked up the stock, the grains are plump and the texture creamy.
Stir in the chopped parsley, a thick slice of butter and a couple of handfuls of grated Parmesan. Season carefully.
For the Parmesan crisps, simply put heaped tablespoons of the grated Parmesan into a warm, non-stick frying pan. Press the cheese down flat with a palette knife and leave to melt. As soon as it has melted, turn once and continue cooking for a minute or so. Lift off with the palette knife and cool briefly. They will probably crisp up in seconds. Place on top of the risotto and serve.
Enough for 4
A crisp salad for a winter’s day
There are some pears and cheese left from Christmas, a couple of heads of crisp, hardy salad leaves still in fine fettle, and a plastic box of assorted sprouted seeds in the fridge. I put them together almost in desperation, yet what results is a salad that is both refreshing and uplifting, clean tasting and bright.
A salad of pears and cheese with sprouted seeds
Crisp, mild, light and fresh, this is the antidote to the big-flavoured salad. I prefer to use hard, glassy-fleshed pears straight from the fridge for this, rather than the usual ripe ones. Any sprouted seeds can be used, such as radish seeds, sunflower or mung beans. The easy-to-find bags of mixed sprouts are good here, too. The cheese is up to you. Something with a deep, fruity flavour is probably best, though I have used firm goat’s cheeses on occasion too. Rather than slicing it thickly, I remove shavings from the cheese with a vegetable peeler. A sort of contemporary ploughman’s lunch.
crisp pears: 2
bitter leaves such as frisée or trevise: 4 handfuls
firm, fruity cheese such as Berkswell: 150g
assorted sprouts (radish, alfalfa, sunflower, amaranth, etc.): a couple of handfuls
For the dressing:
natural yoghurt: 150ml
olive oil: 2 tablespoons
herbs, such as chervil, parsley, chives: a handful
Put the yoghurt into a bowl and whisk in the olive oil and a little salt and black pepper. Chop the herbs and stir them into the yoghurt.
Halve the pears, remove the cores and slice the pears thinly, then add them to the herb and yoghurt dressing.
Put the salad leaves in a serving dish. Pile the pears and their dressing on top. Using a vegetable peeler, shave off small, thin slices of the cheese and scatter them over the salad with the assorted sprouted seeds.
Enough for 2
The day that precedes Twelfth Night is often the darkest in my calendar. The sadness of taking down The Tree, packing up the mercury glass decorations in tissue and cardboard and rolling up the strings of tiny lights has long made my heart sink. Today I descend further than usual.
The rain is torrential and continuous. I clean the bedroom cupboards, make neat piles of books and untidy ones of clothes ready for the charity shop and make a list of major and minor jobs to do in the house over the next few months.
The local council collects discarded Christmas trees and recycles them for compost. I keep mine at home, cutting every branch from the main stem with secateurs and packing them into sacks. Over the next few weeks, the needles will fall and end their days around the blueberries and cloudberries in the garden. There is much that appeals about this annual cycle of the tree going back into the earth.
You would think that this day of darkness would be predictable enough for me to organise something to lift the spirits – dinner with friends or a day away from home. But the consequences of evergreens left in the house after Twelfth Night is too great a risk, even though this superstition is quite recent. So a day of dark spirits it is.
After yesterday’s darkness and self-indulgence, I open the kitchen door to find the garden refreshed after the rain. The air is suddenly sweet and clean, you can smell the soil, and the ivy and yew are shining bright. The dead leaves are blown away, the sky clear and white. There is a new energy and I want to cook again.
Today is an important day for those who grow their vegetables bio-dynamically, when the Three Kings preparation – a stir-up containing