With my studying having got a bit quieter, I've been able to get back into my kitchen again and start cooking something a little bit more interesting for me.
Like I mentioned last week, I've taken to adding lentils into my rice to give things more fibre and more flavour - brown rice and green lentils are my favourite combination at the moment. There's something that goes off in my brain when the lentils and rice go together, saying 'yeah, this is great!'. Not so long ago, I saw a recipe idea on Green Gourmet Giraffe and knew immediately it was what my belly had been crying out for: teriyaki tofu, rice and kale.
GGG's recipe looked fab, but I had to put some lentils in for good measure. Because, you know, lentils. And mushrooms, because, well, because I didn't know what else to do with them. Johanna of GGG roasted her tofu, which is a much better plan as it does wonderful things to the texture of the tofu, but I was feeling too lazy to wait for the oven to heat up, so I stove-topped the lot.
Can you see the little green bits in the rice that aren't the lentils? That's radish greens, in both their fresh and dehydrated form. I only discovered them recently, and I'm totally in love with them right now. I always used to top and tail my radishes and ditch the greens - what a waste!
I used the furikake recipe from Just Bento for the fresh radish leaves, and to make the dehydrated version, I just tossed some radish greens, soy sauce and a bit of chilli sauce together and then put them in the dehydrator for a few hours until they were sort of leathery.
Sounds disgusting, but tastes amazing. It's great on top of rice, or just generally for spicing up grains that need a bit of pep.
As the weather's been really hot recently (the mercury's been north of 30C at the weekend - yowza!) so there's been a few salads over here.
The first one was a semi-successful attempt to get to grips with chicory. I think the only way I actually like eating that stuff is when it's been braised slowly in stock and served as part of a Sunday roast, when all that bitterness gets caramelised into sweetness.
To try and turn chicory from also-ran to all-star, I thought I'd try making something a bit Thai-style, using chopped chicory, peppers, carrot and spring onion. There's a bit of coriander in there - the culinary equivalent of a fig leaf - but otherwise the salad's naked in the picture.
I did put a dressing on it honest, but I didn't take picture of the dressed version because it looked sort of wrong. It was mix of soy, lime juice, chilli, and peanut butter. It was pretty nice tasting though. I mean, you couldn't really taste the chicory, so in that sense it was both a success and a failure!
Turns out they were a perfect match - broccoli, cherry toms, marcona almonds and basil, all wrapped up in a big avocado dressing (yeah, it's guacamole, but let's pretend its something fancier).
I ate two big bowls of this, it was that good. I'm totally patenting it and selling it to Whole Foods for £5 a tub under the brand name Brocc and Guac.
My favourite way to eat broccoli I think is to roast it. There's something about the way the smokey edge it brings to the broccoli just makes everything better. I thought I'd apply the same logic to other veggies.
Have you ever tried roasting radishes? If not, give it a go. Just put on some oil, some salt and pepper and roast til the skins go a little wrinkly and then enjoy. The taste is totally different to the raw version - the sharp crisp flavor mellows - and it becomes a really nice side dish.
I thought I'd try the same trick with one of the veggies that's always been a bit of a black spot for me. I mean, I've tried to love artichokes, but I just can't. Granted, in the weird light I took this photo in, it looks like they've crawled out of a swamp, but that's not the reason for my lack of artichoke love.
I think it's the effort to taste ratio. I mean, I spent 10 or 15 minutes getting three tiny artichokes ready for the oven, peeling the leaves, chopping the tops off, putting them in lemon water so they didn't decolour, all that jazz. And then, for what? It's a decent vegetable, for sure, but for that work and knife skills, I want wonderful and superb!
Artichoke lovers, help me out here - what am I missing? Show me the path of artichoke righteousness!