Smashed Cucumbers

Photo from our farm photographer Simone last week.

Our farm grown cucumbers, fresh out of the warm, sun kissed polytunnels, are mind-blowingly delicious! Nothing like the almost tasteless supermarket ones, these are the real deal. If the kids don’t get to them first as a snack, this is one of my favourite things to do with them. Smashing the cucumber before dressing it really opens it up and makes more craggy surface areas for the dressing to cling to. We often eat this summery side dish with simply boiled rice, some baked or fried tofu and spicy kimchi. 

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 small cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 a lime – juiced (or 1 tbsp apple-cider/rice-wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 a garlic clove – crushed or finely grated
  • 1/2 thumb of fresh ginger – finely grated
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds – toasted
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes – optional
  • 2 sliced scallions – optional

Method

  1. Give the cucumber a rinse, then place it on a chopping board and cover it with a clean tea towel to prevent bits of cucumber flying around your kitchen in the next step.
  2. Bash or crush the cucumber with a something heavy or blunt. Rolling or bashing a tin of beans or a wooden rolling pin along its length with a fair bit of weight behind it will crack open the insides beautifully. Or you could press a heavy saucepan over it or whack it gently with a mallet. You don’t want to smash it into mush, rather crack and break it open and lightly crush it so that there are lots of wild, craggy shapes inside.
  3. Remove the tea towel then break and slice the cucumber into bite sized pieces. Place the pieces in a bowl and make the dressing.
  4. Stir together the toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, lime/vinegar, garlic and ginger. 
  5. Pour the dressing evenly over the smashed cucumber, give it a quick stir, then top with toasted sesame seeds, chilli flakes and sliced scallions.
  6. Serve with rice, tofu, kimchi…or as a side to a barbecue!

I used the same dressing to marinade a romanesco cauliflower before roasting it as another side to this meal and it was absolutely delicious! Highly recommend!

Watermelon Sashimi

This watermelon recipe may seem a bit ‘out there’, but trust me, it’s both easy and delicious! Sashimi is thinly sliced raw fish eaten with a soy sauce dressing, this alternative, plant based version recreates the meaty texture of fish with baked and reduced watermelon. The flavour is an irresistible sweet and salty combination and we love this simple showstopper with rice, noodles or dumplings, steamed veg and a seaweed salad.

Our mini watermelons are best for this recipe, they are smaller and more intense in flavour, and have smaller pips than the big ones. Then all you need is a sachet of umami paste (or make your own marinade by mixing miso with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and chilli) and some toasted sesame seeds. Read on to see how easy this dish can be, and let us know in the comments if you give it a try.

Liz x

Ingredients

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C and line a baking dish with baking parchment.
  2. Using a large, sharp knife, peel the watermelon. Cut both ends of first to create a flat, stable surface.
  3. Place the peeled watermelon in the baking dish and bake in the oven for at least 2 hours.
  4. Every half hour, take the watermelon out of the oven and turn it over so that it cooks evenly on all sides.
  5. Once the watermelon is reduced and blackened all over it is ready for its marinade.
  6. Liberally brush the umami paste all over the watermelon. Get as much of it on as you can. At least half of the sachet which is about 75g.
  7. Return the watermelon to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
  8. Then carefully move the hot watermelon to a board or plate to cool slightly before thinly slicing.
  9. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and eat hot or cold.

10. I served ours with a seaweed salad, pot sticker dumplings (which I will share in another blog post) and steamed aubergines with a simple dipping sauce of orange juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, grated garlic and ginger and extra toasted sesame seeds. It was delicious!

Miso Aubergine with Rice, Beans & Greens

We have a new product in our grocery section that is absolutely delicious. These sachets of umami pastes which are basically organic miso with added ingredients like ginger, garlic and chilli. They are flavour bombs and we love them as a marinade for aubergine in this simple, hearty supper. The paste can be used to marinade skewers of tofu and mushrooms for the barbecue too, or even as a stunning broth base for a light miso soup. How would you use them?

Liz x

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • rice for two (I bring 1/2 a mug of brown rice with 1 mug of water to a boil in a pan with the lid on, then turn down to the lowest setting and simmer until the rice has absorbed all water)
  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 tbsp umami paste
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves – sliced
  • 1 bunch of rainbow chard – stalks separated and sliced
  • 1 tin of black beans – drained
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C and get some brown rice on to cook – see ingredients list for my super-simple method.
  2. Cut the aubergine in half lengthways and score the cut side deeply with a small, sharp knife. Spread a tbsp of umami paste onto each half and make sure you get it into all the cuts. Place the aubergines in a small roasting dish in the oven to cook while you prepare the greens and beans.
  3. Separate the stalks from the rainbow chard and slice them. They take longer to cook than the delicate green leaves. Put them in a pan with the vegetable oil and sliced garlic. Sauté until just starting to soften.
  4. Then add the drained tin of black beans to the pan and turn the heat off until the rice and aubergine are cooked through.
  5. When the aubergine is soft (this usually takes around 20 minutes), remove it from the oven and sprinkle it with sesame seeds. Return the dish to the oven for 5 minutes to toast the seeds.
  6. Meanwhile turn the heat back on under the beans and add the greens and a splash of soy sauce (around 2 tbsp). Stir and wilt the greens. Then serve.
  7. Divide the rice between two bowls. Add the garlicky beans and greens and a half of the aubergine to each bowl. Enjoy as it is or with a side of kimchi.

Hummus Plates

More a serving suggestion than a recipe. You have to try my new favourite way to eat hummus! Simply smear it artfully on a plate and top with a mix of roasted vegetables and steamed greens. It’s great warm or cold! Scatter over some toasted seeds and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and scoop it all up as it is or with some salad leaves and toasted pitta breads. Why not add some extra toppings to your plate like olives, ferments, pulses, pesto, chilli sauce…? It’s such an easy way to get a whole load of goodness into your day.

How would your dream hummus plate go?

Liz x

Find the ingredients over on our website. Here are some suggestions to add to your next order:

Parsnip & Pear Soup

Parsnip & Pear Soup with Hazelnut Dukka

This soup is very simple, but delicately sophisticated. I would say it’s even good enough for the festive table! Parsnips and pears are a match made in heaven and I think you’ll agree that my hazelnut dukka really makes the dish sing. The spiced, toasty crunch of dukka offsets the sweetness of the parsnips and pears, and a little drizzle of peppery extra virgin oil rounds off the bowl.


Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
  • 1 knob of butter
  • the white part of a leek – rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 scrubbed and trimmed parsnip – roughly chopped
  • 2 small pears – quartered and cored
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
  • hazelnut dukka (see recipe below)

Method

In a pot, gently soften the leeks, parsnip and pear with the olive oil, butter and a pinch of salt. Once the vegetables start to soften and wilt down, just cover them with water and simmer until the parsnips are cooked through. Then blend the soup until very smooth with a handheld stick blender (or let it cool down and blend in a food processor). Taste for seasoning and add more salt and a fragrant pinch of nutmeg if you like (this just makes it extra festive). Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of hazelnut dukka.

Hazelnut Dukka

Dukka is an Egyptian nut and spice blend which is absolutely delicious. You’ll be hooked once you try it so it’s worth learning to make your own. My version is fairly simple to make.

I find an empty jar that I want to store it in and half fill it with hazelnuts. Walnuts or mixed nuts are great too. Then toast the nuts (for hazelnuts, I do this in a tray in a hot oven – just keep an eye on them and give the tray a shake every now and then so that they toast evenly – it should only take around 10 minutes).

Then tip the hazelnuts onto a clean tea towel on your work surface, place another tea towel on top and rub your hands quite firmly on the tea towel and the skins will just flake off. Then pick out the skinned and toasted hazelnuts and chop them with a large, sharp knife and put them in the jar.

The rest of the jar space should be taken up with toasted sesame, cumin and coriander seeds in fairly equal proportions. I just eyeball it and toast these one at a time in a dry frying pan, or altogether in the oven. I like to bash up the toasted coriander seeds a bit with a pestle and mortar first.

Then give the jar a shake to mix up the ingredients, let it cool completely with the lid off before popping the jar on your shelf to use on lots of different dishes. Your dukka should stay fresh for at least a month.

Did you make this soup? Let us know how it went in the comments and feel free to share the recipe with your friends and family. Share photos of our recipes on the Green Earth Organics Healthy Eating Facebook page or tag us @greenearthorganics1 over on Instagram. We love to see our recipes leave the page! Liz x