This soothing broth is what I make when we have a nasty cold going around. It’s a light, warm and comforting dinner any day of the week though. We call it ‘balance broth’ because it’s an attempt to perfectly balance the tastes sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. And because it makes an imbalanced day seem instantly more level. It’s funny how food can do so much more than fuel our bodies.
Do you have a go-to recipe which makes you feel good? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 litres of water
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tbsp dried seasweed, crumbled
1 tbsp dried mushrooms, crumbled
2 green tea bags
1 fat clove of garlic, finely grated
1 thumb of fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tbsp tomato purée
4 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
4 tbsp miso
scallions, fresh chilli, sesame seeds, fresh coriander, rice or noodles, silken tofu and stir fried vegetables to serve
Prepare what you will serve your broth with first. Our favourite is nutty brown rice, stir fried seasonal vegetables and some simply chopped silken tofu.
In a large pot, simmer all the broth ingredients except the miso and toasted sesame oil for 10 minutes.
Remove the tea bags and turn off the heat. Allow the broth to cool a little then add the sesame oil and miso and stir. The slightly-cooler-than-boiling broth will ensure the beneficial bacteria in the miso will stay alive.
Taste the broth and balance it as you need with more salty soy sauce or more sour lime juice.
Then ladle the broth over bowls of rice, vegetables and tofu, sprinkle with sesame seeds, coriander, chopped scallions and chilli. Enjoy!
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.
Preheat your oven to 190C and line a baking dish with baking parchment.
Using a large, sharp knife, peel the watermelon. Cut both ends of first to create a flat, stable surface.
Place the peeled watermelon in the baking dish and bake in the oven for at least 2 hours.
Every half hour, take the watermelon out of the oven and turn it over so that it cooks evenly on all sides.
Once the watermelon is reduced and blackened all over it is ready for its marinade.
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.
Return the watermelon to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Then carefully move the hot watermelon to a board or plate to cool slightly before thinly slicing.
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!
Weekends are for brunching and here is one of our favourites. The combination of fresh, vibrant green pesto, soft, wobbly scrambled tofu and juicy, umami mushrooms is just perfect!
You can make your own pesto very easily if you have a food processor or blender – I used my kale and pumpkin seed pesto that I’m making on repeat this time – or you can of course use a ready made one for ease. We sell a few organic jars of pesto in the grocery section of our shop. The scramble is simply a gently sautéed pack of organic silken tofu seasoned with salt, pepper and some chopped sun-dried tomatoes. And those gorgeous, meaty mushrooms are marinated with our new packs of umami paste then grilled.
What’s your favourite brunch? Are you a sweet or savoury person? Let us know in the comments.
Cut bread and pop it in the toaster ready to go. Heat up a griddle pan (or fire up the grill in your oven).
Slice the mushrooms in half and mix them with the umami paste and a drizzle of olive oil in a bowl. Then push them onto skewers and place them in a hot griddle pan (or on a tray under your grill) to cook whilst you get on with the scramble.
Heat up a knob of butter (or tbsp of olive oil) in a medium-high heated frying pan. Open your pack of silken tofu, drain off any excess liquid and then pop it in the pan. Break it up gently with a wooden spoon or a spatular.
Season the scrambling tofu with salt and pepper and then add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Keep the scramble moving and cook it for 5 minutes or so until it’s warmed through, but don’t break it up too much. It’s nice when there are still some larger pieces.
Meanwhile turn the mushrooms in the grill to cook the other side and then toast the bread.
Spread the toast with a thick layer of pesto, then divide the scramble and mushrooms between the plates.
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?
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)
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
Pre-heat the oven to 200C and get some brown rice on to cook – see ingredients list for my super-simple method.
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.
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.
Then add the drained tin of black beans to the pan and turn the heat off until the rice and aubergine are cooked through.
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.
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.
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.