Athena Lamberis

Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

How to Harvest Seaweed: Superfood Nutrition from our Ocean

In Events, Friend's Kitchens, Recipe, Stories, Travel on May 16, 2014 at 13:44
Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed Some seaweed varieties on the Cape Peninsula


Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

   Edible Sea Vegetable: SeaWeed

confess, my kitchen turns into edible science experiments almost every day. Seaweed is my new ingredient in the kitchen lab. Once you get to know the nutritional facts and the familiar taste of popcorn it has when nori (a type of seaweed) is roasted on the fire, then you’ll definitely give this superfood a chance.  When I first moved to Cape Town, I was mesmerised by the huge kelp forests that were washed onto the shorelines.  On low tides, I observed the variety of seaweeds that clung to the rocks and naturally wondered, “Can we eat that?”  You’ve probably already have if you’ve gone to a sushi joint or visit the snack aisle at an Asian supermarket.  When we see an ingredient in it’s natural state – outside of a food product/market/restaurant, we’re often surprised by how it grows, what it looks like and what it may actually taste like?  This is what I call the spark of our own natural whole food education, also known as the moment when our culinary linguistics expand.  I’m a self proclaimed phyco-nerd. Phycology: Greek φῦκος, phykos, “seaweed”; and -λογία, -logia) is the scientific study of algae and was so happy to find fellow wild food foragers on the Cape Peninsula.

Beyond Basic Nutrition: Seaweed Benefits

Contains vitamin B12 (which is rarely found in plants)

  • Rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, manganese (overall 13 vitamins, 20 amino acids, 60 trace mineral elements)
  • Highest source of plant protein and zero calories
  • It’s fiber is helpful for the digestive system, making you feel full and satiated
  • Contains iodine which aids the function of the thyroid to release iodine in our blood to help prevent disease.  Our bodies don’t make iodine so we have to get it through our food – why not seaweed?
  • Reduces water retention and contains higher levels of calcium than beef and cow’s milk
  • Natural occurring sodium that resembles human amniotic fluid
  • Alkalinizes and purifies blood as it’s chemical composition is similar to the plasma in human blood
  • Optimum nourishment for hormonal, lymphatic, urinary and nervous systems

Marine Flora: Wild and Crazy? 

  I was honestly hesitant to harvest seaweed in South Africa before doing a bit of research.   I needed a bit of local knowledge to boost my confidence and to verify that I wasn’t the only crazy who wondered about eating ocean algae.  If people in other parts of the world have seaweed-based cuisine, why aren’t we eating it here?  Has there ever been a history of it in South Africa?  Stay tuned for more about that in a future post.

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest  I took my mom, one of my favorite foragers for whole foods, to Scarborough to learn more about the beautiful seaweed varieties available for us to harvest responsibly.  In the quest of learning to harvest wild food, you also develop a respect and knowledge for conserving the ocean environment.  I’ve found that becoming more aware of what makes a healthy flourishing balanced ecosystem allows me to make more educated decisions about harvesting and foraging wild foods in nature.

 Some Foraging Facts

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Seaweed skin mask

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Wrack-the beginnings of seaweed coleslaw

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Scarborough coastline in Western Cape, South Africa

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Rinsing and preparing after the harvest

The Good Hope Nursery in Scarborough did such a great job in creatively sharing their experience in sustainably harvesting, tasting and creating with ocean seaweed.  Roushanna Gray still runs courses through her company: Veld & Sea https://veldandsea.com/

It was great to ask questions with avid foragers while enjoying the cosmetic and nutritional benefits of this sea vegetable.  We were greeted on the shoreline with seaweed scones and spoke about the red, green and brown varieties of seaweed below our feet.  Snippets of seaweed varieties such as kelp, wrack and ulva were gathered to ensure regrowth, conservation and abundance for our ecosystem (about 1/3 of what was growing on the rock near the tideline.) No random bits of floating seaweed was harvested, only healthy clean varieties that were attached to ocean rocks.

Edible Science: Seaweed Recipes

 Since that positive coastal foraging experience, I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned along the way, convincing brave and even unadventurous eaters to enjoy the tasty healthy benefits of sea vegetables.  On a recent trip to Elandsbaai, we harvested, rinsed and tossed nori in a bit of olive oil before placing it on a wood-burning fire.  The result was super flakey, crunchy, tasty green seaweed snack.  Get creative and incorporate seaweed in any of your favorite recipes for extra added health benefits. I’d love to hear more about what you discover.

Seaweed Recipes: Superfood Nutrition from the Ocean

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Good Hope Nursery’s Chocolate Agar Agar and Candied Kelp with Ice Cream. YUM! Sign up for their foraging course.

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

That’s me in total seaweed face mask bliss. Rejuvenate, revitalise. Is there nothing seaweed can’t do?

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

A young culinary linguist exploring the texture of kelp. Wait for bath time! Yes, with seaweed:)

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Seaweed couscous salad, mussels, kelp and avocado salad, wrack coleslaw . . . the feast continues.

Resources:

Easy Spicy Zesty Sweet Chickpea Salad Recipe

In Recipe on June 27, 2013 at 14:34

Easy-Pineapple-Carrot-Chickpea-Salad-The Culinary-Linguist

What happens when you juice pineapples, carrots and fresh green serrano chiles?

A spunky zesty salad with sweet and spicy flavours can be created to fuel you through the day.   Last week, we bought lots of great farm produce from the City Bowl Market.

Back at home, I put pineapple and carrots and threw in a couple fresh green serrano chiles into the juicer to see if anything would come out.  Some great juice was made, but the pulp left inside was looking equally nutritious and delicious.

Spontaneous creations is how I would describe my kitchen technique.  I love creating recipes that make ordinary whole foods into unique delicious dishes.  Like James Beard once said, “When cook, you never stop learning.  That’s the fascination of it.”  With any chance to experiment in my kitchen with fresh ingredients, I let the space between mistakes and alchemy emerge.  Adding chiles into the juicer seemed natural and somehow, necessary.

I’ve shared some fun recipes before that have worked out great like: Strawberry-Beetroot Flapjacks, and Banana-Pecan Sorbet.  When creations in the kitchen lead to easy vibrant dishes, I get excited to share them with you.  Here’s what happened when I decided to juice green chiles with pineapples and carrots:

 The Spicy Zesty Sweet Chickpea Salad

Instead of throwing the pulp from the centrifugal juice extractor away or into your compost bin, try adding it to recipes like this one:

Juice and fiber of three medium sized carrots

 Juice and fiber of half a small pineapple

 Juice and fiber of two green serrano chiles

 Juice of and fiber of large lemon and zest

500 grams of sprouted or cooked chickpeas  (garbanzo beans)

1 finely chopped fresh red pepper

1 finely chopped red onion

1 diced roma tomato

Salt, pepper and cumin to taste

Handful of fresh cilantro leaves and stems, finely chopped dhania

Handful of coarsely crushed unsalted cashews

2 Haas avocados

Easy-Pineapple-Carrot-Chickpea-Salad-The Culinary-LinguistJuice the carrots, pineapple, chillies, and lemon in a juicer (with any centrifugal, one-gear, etc).  Empty the juice into a large mixing bowl, and scrape the pulp from inside the juicer into the same bowl.  Add the diced tomato, red pepper, chickpeas, onion, salt, cumin, pepper and lemon zest into the bowl with juice and pulp.  Mix well and let it sit and marinate for 20 minutes.  Mix dhania into the salad, leaving some leaves for garnish.

Cut the avocados into half and remove the flesh from the avocado shell.  Slice the avocado into long slices.  Scoop the salad into the halves of the avocado shell as an appetizer serving bowl.  Place avocado slices and dhania leaves on top as garnish.  Enjoy!  The salad can definitely be stored in the fridge and be enjoyed the following day.

Tip:  It’s best to stir in the dhania and avocado when you plan to serve and eat it immediately.

Recipe: How to Make Spring Roll-Nori Wraps

In Recipe on May 19, 2013 at 01:19

The Culinary Linguist | How to make for Spring Roll Nori WrapsThis Nori (seaweed) wrap recipe is an alternative to spring rolls.  It’s perfect for getting a balance of essential vitamins into your diet.  It’s also delicious and beautiful to share at picnics and parties.  It pleases: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and my dad who likes to live on garlic and lamb chops will even chow these as a snack.

 Be creative with your ingredients and substitute with what you have fresh around you and what’s in season.  I used what was at the farmer’s market and what happened to be growing in the garden, and fresh ingredients already in our kitchen.  Perhaps drinking 8 glasses of water a day isn’t necessary when we eat predominantly fresh and raw meals throughout the day.  This recipe won’t disappoint.

What you need:

 Packet of  10 or more Sushi Nori (Seaweed) Sheets.

Put in a food processor or finely chop:

1 medium sized red pepper

1 medium sized yellow pepper

1 medium sized carrot

1/2 cup sprouted mung beans

5 baby broccoli stalks

5 small kale leaves (dinosaur or black)

5 Nasturtium leaves

1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves and stalks (dhania)
The Culinary Linguist | Use Fresh Ingredients for Spring Roll Nori Wraps

Optional ingredients:

Avocado (add it later instead of putting it in the processor)

1/2 apple to add a juicy sweet taste

1 TB Korean bean paste for a savoury flavour

1/4 cup cooked rice vermicilli noodles

1/4 cup fresh papaya or mango (not too ripe)

Any type of sprouts: sunflower, lentils, etc

* If you add tomatoes or lemon juice, the moisture from the filling will cause the nori sheet to be too wet and break.  If this happens, just double the nori sheets.

 The Culinary Linguist | Use Fresh Ingredients for Spring Roll Nori WrapsDipping Sauce:Add ingredients together and whisk until smooth:2 TB natural peanut butter

2 TB Mirin sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

1/4 tsp fresh green chili (optional)

Take out one sheet of Nori paper and lay it down on the smooth side of a plate.  Take about 1/3 cup of the finely chopped vegetables and spread it around on the bottom half (4 inches-10cm) of the nori, leave an inch (3 cm) on each side.  There should be about 5 inches of clean nori on top.  Fold the 3 cm on each side towards the middle of the nori sheet and start rolling the length of the nori towards the top keeping the filling tight and together and the sides tucked in.  Essentially it is a similar technique to roll a spring roll or burrito.   As the nori sheet rolls to the top, and the filling is wrapped under the nori, dampen the top of the nori that is laying flat on the plate and roll the rest of the nori toward the damp part, sealing the roll into a perfect little edible nori wrap.

The Culinary Linguist | Use Fresh Ingredients for Spring Roll Nori WrapsTo skip the rolling technique, make a cone out of the nori and then spoon and pack the finely chopped vegetable filling inside.

Place dipping sauce in a small bowl.  Cut the spring roll nori wraps in the middle and arrange them on a plate or platter with the dipping sauce.  Taste one and then serve them immediately!

How to Cure your Own Olives in Brine: Greek Yiayia Style

In Recipe, Stories on April 25, 2013 at 19:45

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The Culinary Linguist-Homemade-How to Cure Olives-Pickle and Marinate

Olives in Athen’s Greece Farmer’s Market

How to make your own olives edible.

Mom would say, “Only eat 8 olives a day, honey.”  But it was too easy to devour the salty Grecian delights by the dozen. With crusty brown sourdough bread and green virgin olive oil on a flat side plate, nothing satisfied me more than eating Yiayia’s Kalamatas olives in the middle of Chicago’s winter.  To this day, I have a plate solely dedicated to olives and their pips and snack on these pickled fruits year round (and still by the dozen).

Growing up, I’d spin the bottom  shelf of the  cupboard to reveal  Yiayia’s hand-picked, home-cured Kalamata olives.  Purple, green and maroon olives floated in one gallon glass jars of oregano, thyme, vinegar and oil.  As a kid, I was powerlifting  the heavy 2 gallon olive jar off the bottom shelf and onto the counter in order to dip my tiny fingers into the oil and vinegar brine to search for the juiciest olives.  As I got older, I’d use an oversized spoon to fish for the tangiest Kalamatas, and strain the brine from the spoon to reveal my bite-size snacks.  When May arrived, it got harder for the spoon to fish for olives at the bottom of the jar.  I’d spend the whole year snacking on the cured fruits and diminished our Greek food provisions we would smuggle in from Greece.  The empty olive jar was an indicator that it wouldn’t be long before we would pack our dresses and sandals for the summer at Yiayia’s house.  Mom would pack a suitcase within a suitcase when we travelled to Athens.  In August, we would return to Chicago with more olives to fill the jar, and enough oregano to make the beagles sniff us out as drug smugglers.

Now, when May arrives I pick 10-20 kilos of Mission Olives around Cape Town, South Africa.  My childhood love for enjoying home-cured olives, fills my own cupboards with a cultural joy and salty olive treats to share in memory of my grandmother’s tradition.

Every step of the curing processes makes me wonder of when and how people discovered this ancient practice.

My Grandparents in Greece, 1930-40', Athena and Elias

My Grandparents, Yiayia Athena and Papou Elias Soupos

My Greek grandmother Athena culinary traditions

Greek love under the olive groves

Mission Olives in South Africa on Francolin Farm

Mission olives growing on branches in South Africa

Was it Athena’s olive tree branch that broke off during an autumn storm?  The branch that fell into the river bed and carried it for weeks into the salty estuary of Poseidon’s sea.  For weeks it may have soaked along the shores until a small family fishing boat arrived near Kalamata and came across the curing olive fruit branch floating in the water.  If they tasted the divine harmony of the Greek Gods’ elements and discovered that the olive fruit tree was not just best for oil, wood and shade, but for it’s fruit too, then let that be the start of a nourishing tradition.

I have been learning about the whole benefits of the olive tree itself recently when I’m not making up mythological stories of food origins. 🙂

With all its rich phytonutrients and phytochemicals (phyto stems from the Greek word-plant), the medicinal compounds from the leaves, fruit, roots and stems, play a major role in fighting bacterial and viral infections/disease as well as boosting the immune system to prevent and treat flus and colds.  The olive tree’s ancient medicinal presence is found in many religious texts such as the Qu’ran, Torah and Bible, and continues to feature in Internal Medicine Journals today.

The oleuropein (the bitter substance in olives) has been founded to inactivate bacteria, and display a number of other benefits in pharmacology research.  Essentially, it is an herbal powerhouse effective for infectious and chronic health conditions.  I like to use olive leaf extract or make olive leaf tea as a preventive agent in my overall health.  Olive leaves are now a staple in my cupboard alongside cured olives. I’ve found ways to use olive leaves in many everyday uses by sprinkling the leaves in salads, porridge, soups, and breads.  Don’t be surprised if I post an Olive leaf smoothie in the near future. I promise it wont be bitter!

For now, I would like to share some delicious combinations of flavours I’ve added to my curing olives over the years.

But first, there are a variety of ways to cure olives.  Check out the Australian Olive Grower Issue #4 for some inspiration.

For the past three years, I have been roughly following a water bath recipe given to me by Francolin Farm.

1. After picking your olives, place rinsed olives in a net bag (the ones you store onion’s  with) and put into a bucket and cover with water. Don’t pack olives too tightly and take care not to bruise them.  I place my olives in a cooler box because it has a spout I can lift open to let the water drain. Some people save water by placing the olives on top of the toilet basin where fresh water gets drained everytime you flush.  Others just fill their bathtub and drain it daily.  It would be nice to find some use for your greywater (olive water) in your garden.  If water shortage is an issue, fill jars with 50% salt and 50% olives.  Gently turn and toss olive jars daily for 2-3 weeks.  Rinse salt and fill jars again with 1 part salt and 10 parts water (see below for olive marinade flavours.)

2. Change water once or twice daily for 2-3 weeks. Simply lift the net bag with
olives out of the bucket and pour off water and replace in fresh water. Taste after two weeks and continue if it is still too bitter.

3. Dissolve 500 grams coarse salt in 5 litres boiling water. Allow to cool.
This mixture is sufficient for approx 2 ½ kilos of olives. Leave olives in this
brine solution undisturbed for one week. Taste, if bitter replace with fresh
brine solution and leave for a further week.  I like to use non-iodized salt or kosher salt.  The other ratio to use is 1 part salt to 10 parts water.

4. Rinse olives several times with fresh water. Cover with brown vinegar for
24 hours. Pour off vinegar and expose the olives to air overnight or a few hours
till dry.  This brings the colour of the olives back to a deep purple/black.  You may notice they lightened in colour when they were soaking.

4. Pack olives in clean warm sterilized jars. Pour over 25 ml olive oil per
jar. Make a brine of  300 grams coarse salt to 4,5 litres water (or 1:10 ratio). When brine mixture boils pour in 250 ml wine vinegar.  The vinegar is not necessary, but many people love the taste of red wine vinegar instead of the rich olive taste.  The art is getting all flavours to balance, in true Grecian culinary wisdom -Everything in Moderation. Pour hot brine mixture over  . . . . .  But wait!  This is where your creative olive marinade flavours get to feature.

Let your imagination go wild.  In addition to your brine (whether it is the vinegar and salt, or just 1 part salt to 10 part water ratio.  The salt ensures that the olives cure without bacteria growing and spoiling the fruit.  If you notice some white film, don’t stress.  You can scrape it off or leave it to add flavour as some people believe.  Before filling the jars with olives, add your favourite pinches of spice and intuitive amounts for your olives to marinate in. Then, place olives into the jar, filling the jar to the brim. Pour your salt brine over and seal jar immediately whilst the liquid is hot. Some people pour oil over to seal the jar.  This is optional.

Olives in a Moroccan marinade

Olives are tossed in salt, lemon, bay leaves, pickled garlic, and rosemary in a barrel marinade

Some flavour marinades I’ve done in the past:

Smoked Chipolte Chili Powder and Rosemary

Mustard Seeds and Laurel Leaf

Greek Traditional: Lemon Juice, Lemon Rinds, Rosemary and Garlic cloves

Herbaliser: Basil, Oregano, Lemon and Thyme

Nasturtium and Peppadew

Lemongrass and Ginger

Cumin seeds, Cayenne and Lemon

Miso and Ginger

Celery Seeds, Bay Leaf and Tarragon

Sage and Rainbow Peppercorns

Acha Masala

Smoked Paprika and Lemon Slices

Lavender Flowers, Cloves and Cumin

Cardamom, Peppercorn and Cinnamon

Red curry powder and Turmeric

Carraway Seeds, Celery and Carrot

Spices and Herbs to put in Olive marinade

Food as our medicine: Herbs sold at in Athens, Greece Farmer’s Market

Olives sold in Athens, Greece

Different types of Olives: Brined, Pickled, Dried, Salted, Cracked, etc.

Share your olive marinades and enjoy!

Scream for Ice Cream at Breakfast: Banana. Strawberry & Pecan Recipe-Egg and Dairy-free

In Recipe on September 13, 2012 at 19:17

Raw-Vegan Dairy-Free Ice Cream on The Culinary Linguists blog #recipeWho said you can’t eat ice cream for breakfast?  I don’t have a Vitamix. I don’t have an Oscar.  But I can still make easy raw food creations with what I have.  I’m using the trusty MegaMix Juicer.  During the days tofu was all the hype, Mom would add frozen bananas to our morning tofu smoothies. I steer clear of soy products as much as I can now, but I ALWAYS wait until bananas go brown and sweet and keep them frozen in the freezer for when the time is right.

For this recipe, I “juiced” two frozen bananas and added 6 fresh strawberries with a handful of pecans in between.  I know it may not be the best for the blade, but the soft pecans gave a creamy consistency, making it more of an ‘ice cream’ than a sorbet. The constitution of strawberries and frozen bananas creates a thick slushy texture once it passes through the juicer blade.  Slush instead of juice may pass through the juice spout, but all the frozen ‘cream’ is left inside the juicer’s filter where normally all the fiber of juicing fruits are left.

The fun part: scooping out all the ‘ice cream’ from the walls of the filter. I easily could have eaten from the juicer’s filter, but then I wouldn’t have been able to take the tantalizing photo of this simple nutritious ice cream.

Whether you are interested in raw food creations, vegan-ital cuisine, lactose intolerant recipes or just love ice cream for breakfast-this easy recipe in any juicer will make anyone a morning person screaming for ice cream!

Keep it Fresh with Juice and Beets

In Friend's Kitchens, Recipe on November 10, 2011 at 13:15

When my amigaFresh Carrot and Beetroot Juice on The Culinary Linguist Blog #juice, talented singer/songwriter, Ernestine Deane, was preparing to migrate to Germany, she generously gave her juicer a new home, which is now my new favourite kitchen instrument.  Up until Ernestine’s last week in Cape Town, the Le Dou MagiMix spun out delicious alchemy for her family, most importantly fresh orange juice to keep the immune system boosting during the last winter months in the Cape Town peninsula.  Now that oranges are less in abundance and spring has come into play, the iron and folic acid powerhouse: beetroot is added to every juice mix I make. Find out more what beets have to offer at: Juicing for your Health.Fresh Carrot and Beetroot Juice on The Culinary Linguist Blog #juice

The recipe below is my morning favourite.  Rich in beta-carotene, anti-oxidants and iron . . . It makes me feel that I’ll never have to wear blush again if I keep consuming such colourful produce. Turn up the volume to soulful dub while you juice your carrot sticks and beets.  It will brighten your insides and out: Play it here and wash your veggies nice.

In your juicer:

Six whole carrots

1 beetroot

Six strawberries

Healthy Juice on The Culinary Linguist Blog #juice #recipe

Chop some fresh mint for a natural mouth freshener while you gulp down the goodness.

Makes almost a pint of juice!  Chug it down.

Dankie Erniewam! x

TIP: Juice the carrots first and remove the carrot fiber from the juicing blades and place in your garden compost.  The worms will thank you. Then juice the beetroot and strawberries and save the fiber so you can later transform it into a scrumptious breakfast. (I made pink pancakes with it.)  Stay tight for that yummy post soon.

Fresh Carrot and Beetroot Juice on The Culinary Linguist Blog #juice #recipe

It’s not Rabbit Food, It’s Rainbow Raw Salsa Salad.

In Recipe on November 9, 2011 at 12:34

Call it rabbit food, but it is damn delicious and surprisingly filling too.  Inspired by Raw-vember, I made a spicy salad that is bright and tangy in flavour and festive on the eye.

Raw Salsa Salad on The Culinary Linguist Blog #rawrecipes

This is a super quick, easy and yummy crunch salad that has major nutrients because it is a whole bunch of raw vegetables and fruit at its best.  It can easily be a dish in a non-raw setting and served with tortilla chips and used as a salsa or sambal to any main dish.

I recently bought an organic cold-pressed Omega 3-6-9 (Hemp, Sesame, Pumpkinseed, Flax) oil blend and added that to the raw ingredients thanks to Crede Oils.  It gave a delicious but different flavour instead of using extra virgin olive oil.

Try this recipe out with whatever produce is freshest in your fridge but this combination is a great balance of colour and flavour.

Rainbow Salsa Salad: a Raw food discovery

2 Roma tomatoes

1 large carrot

1/4 red onion

1/2 lemon with peel

1 yellow pepper

1 Serrano chile

1 kiwi

2 tablespoons of Crede’s Omega 3-6-9 Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 TB sunflower seeds

Wash your vegetables and fruit thoroughly and quarter the tomatoes, carrot, onion, yellow pepper, lemon and chile. (Leave the chile out if you don’t want the kick)  Put all in a food processor and pulse for 6 seconds so they have been chopped in small chewable pieces.  Place chopped vegetables and fruit into a bowl and drizzle Omega 3-6-9 oil.  Put salt and pepper and sunflower seeds on top and stir until the salad is coated in the oil, salt and pepper and the sunflowers are distributed around.  Garnish with slices of kiwi.  Eat immediately. Enjoy the chew!

Raw Spicy Salsa Salad on The Culinary Linguist Blog #rawrecipes

To Cook or Dehydrate: Raw Food Recipes and Creativity

In Friend's Kitchens, Recipe on November 8, 2011 at 11:54

Rawlicious on The Culinary Linguist Blog #rawrecipes

I just learned how to harvest Aloe Ferox from the ‘cook’ book Rawlicious-Recipes for Radiant Health.  It’s a recipe book that encourages you to make colourful and vibrant food by encouraging you to put aloe in your smoothies, have sprouts as a kitchen staple,  and make edible flower salads that look like birthday confetti.  Who wouldn’t want to pick flowers and eat them too? 

I’ve enjoyed some great raw food dishes from this book made by friends who have created delicious versions of the Mango-gooseberry cheesecake and savoury snacks. The Rawlicious team, Lexi, Beryn and Peter, have put together a beautiful book that makes it fun and intriguing to incorporate raw dishes into your daily graze.  I don’t think I’ll ever substitute pancakes on the griddle for dehydrated ones but I most definitely will enjoy the creativity that goes into making other raw food dishes.  It’s a proudly South African Raw Recipe book that even attempts biltong in the form of aubergine. Props to that! I most definitely am going to try it out and attempt the beetroot ravioli too. I love having a recipe book that experiments with all the possibilities that food in it’s natural element has to offer.  Stay tuned for some posts on making these raw recipes come alive in true culinary linguistic style.

Raw Food on The Culinary Linguist Blog #rawrecipes

Do you have any great raw recipes to share?  I’d love to hear your tips, post your links, methods, and pics right here. The food pictures posted are from home gardens in my paternal grandmother’s village, Alepohori, Greece in the Peloponnese.  A place where radiant health is determined by the food you grow and the food you eat.

Raw Food on The Culinary Linguist Blog #rawrecipes

Spinach and Agushi: Ghanaian Flavour at the Portobello Market

In Events, Travel on August 10, 2011 at 13:36

Spinach & Agushi at the Portobello Market on The Culinary Linguist Blog #London

As I’m writing this my mouth is watering again.

We went to London to celebrate my Pop’s “Bones” 70th birthday year.  We travelled 9623 km from Cape Town and hopped around the 940 metres of Portobello Market in London.  There were hundreds of stalls to choose from for our varied market food palettes.  I came across the funky chalk-printed sign Spinach and Agushi, The Ghanaian Food Co. I was intrigued by the aroma and liked their Earth-friendly packaging.

 My whole family got order envy when the friendly market vendor from Congo dished me up a super-size portion after I rapped my two words of Lingala to him. I even got extra fresh salad garnish on top.

Exclamations of tastiness poured from my mouth after the first spoonful combo of seasoned rice and spinach& agushi stew reached my tastebuds.  I was a happy chowing tourist. It was most flavour-packed food at the market hands down and made me smile to know I was celebrating the diverse culture and food from the very continent I had just travelled from.

Spinach & Agushi at the Portobello Market on The Culinary Linguist Blog #London

No joke, this dish makes me want to go to Ghana to sample more of the spicy flavourful cuisine.  I’m putting it on my list of things to do. 🙂 I snagged a brochure of their booming London catering biznass, Jollof Pot. They deliver and cater events, serving up amazing dishes like gari foto-grated cassava flavoured in a spicy tomato sauce with roasted pepper and red onions, chilli prawns with crispy sweet potato chips and tilapia and coco yam cakes.

I’ll have to tell you, this stall of Ghanaian seasoned rice and stew put the popular Spanish paella stand to shame. It’s true. I did sample the flashy pan-cooked stuff and it had nothing on Spinach & Agushi . . . I wish I would have gone back or hope to someday eat at the Jollof Pot’s restaurant.  In other words, when Pops says “We’re going to have fish and chips for dinner in London.” I’ll say, “Meet me at the Jollof Pot for chilli prawns and sweet potato chips!”

The Jollof Pot has a online shop: You can order this food hamper or Ghanaian spice kits. 

Step by Step-Easy Dolmades Recipe (just like your Yiayia’s)

In Recipe on July 15, 2011 at 13:36

Easy Dolmades on The Culinary Linguist Blog #recipeIn less than a month, I’ll be back in Greece buying white peaches from my Yiayia’s (grandmother) neighbourhood laiki (produce market) and learning how to make feta cheese from the thea’s (Aunties) in the horio (village).  But lately I’ve been channeling my ancestors by consuming far too many olives and craving those cultural food comforts like lamb and dolmades.  The craving manifested itself when we decided to have ten friends over to watch some doccies on a projector.  I looked in our fridge and we didn’t have much but some leftover pickled ginger, bamboo shoots, cabbage, carrots, and a jar of vine leaves..

There aren’t many weekends left before we go to Greece, so attempting the dolmades became decided.

When I was fourteen, My Uncle Terry came to visit us from Israel and brought my mom the ultimate gadget: The Dolma Roller.  You place your vine leaf flat and your stuffing in the middle of the gadget, pull a lever towards you and out pops a tightly rolled dolma.  It seemed to work when we tested it out with newspaper and you could even change the size of how thin or thick you wanted the dolma to be rolled.  We were impressed but it was never put to real use, it never made it to the kitchen and was tested to roll other things in the basement.  Dolmades I most enjoyed were at my Yiayia Chrissy and Thea Toula’s house in Detroit, Michigan where they used a lamb/rice stuffing and made an avgolemeno sauce served on top of them.

My grandmother's dolmades on The Culinary Linguist Blog #recipe

YiaYia Chrissy blowing out candles circe 1977

Luckily in Cape Town, you can buy vine leaves and my friend, Frances, brought them over one day thinking they were ready made dolmades. I had made that mistake once before. She left the jar with me and they sat therefor three weeks waiting to be made until there was nothing left to make but these delicious hand-rolled dolmades.  With some research on rolling styles, I managed to make 50 dolmades and created an easy vegan stuffing recipe that can be creatively adapted to use lots of different legumes that you can experiment with.  With the left over stuffing I made vegan patties to cook on the grill.  Scrumptious!  That recipe later….

Easy Vegan Dolmades Stuffing

3 cups rice

1 cup brown lentil

6 cups water

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 small chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped cabbage

1 large grated carrot

50-60 vine leaves

2 large grated onions

Juice of 5 lemons

Lemon slices for the bottom of the pot

Lots of extra virgin olive oil

Makes enough stuffing for about 50 dolmades

Easy Dolmades using a hot box wonder bag on The Culinary Linguist Blog #recipe

The Hot Box

Boil water and put in the rice, lentils, salt and pepper, chopped onion, carrot, cabbage.  Lower to a simmer until fully cooked or put it in your hot box for two-three hours.  I never knew how to cook rice perfectly until I made this hot box.  I think it is a must-have and you save a load on electricity.  While the stuffing is cooking, grate the 2 onions into a pulp.  Add this to your cooked rice and lentils and knead it into the stuffing so it creates a wet dough-like consistency you can form into mounds.  Wash the vine leaves off from the preservative water they are stored in and lay it out flat.

Easy Dolmades rice filling on The Culinary Linguist Blog #recipePlace about 2 tablespoons of your stuffing mix by the edge of where the stem would start from the leaf.

How to roll dolmades on The Culinary Linguist Blog #recipe

1 step

How to roll dolmades on The Culinary Linguist Blog #recipe

2. Place the stuffing on the bottom of the leaf and fold the left corner

How to roll dolmades on The Culinary Linguist Blog #recipe

3. Fold the right corner over the stuffing

How to roll dolmades on The Culinary Linguist Blog #recipe

4. Fold the top left corner toward the middle

How to roll dolmades on The Culinary Linguist Blog #recipe

5. Fold the top right corner toward the middle

6. Roll the leaf from the bottom toward the top of the leaf

How to roll dolmades on The Culinary Linguist Blog #recipe

7. Roll it tight into your dolma shape

Fold the left bottom corner of the vine leaf over the stuffing.  Fold the right vine leaf over the stuffing, crossing over the left leaf side. Then fold the top left towards the middle of the leaf, and then the right side toward the middle.  From the bottom of the leaf, roll the covered stuffing toward the top point of the leaf, keeping the roll tight and even. Your dolma has been rolled and is ready to be put in the bottom of the pot. Rolled dolmades on The Culinary Linguist Blog #recipe Pack the bottom of the pot tightly with all the dolmades. Jo’s Cypriot tip is to line the bottom and the top of the pot with lemon slices so while the dolmades boil, they soak up the flavour of the lemon and vine leaf juice.  Once your pot is packed with the dolmades, pour water about 2 cm over the top layer. Place a plate that fits into the pot cavity to rest on top of the dolmades, then place a bowl on top of that plate with a heavy rock or brick.

So all your hard work of rolling each dolma by hand isn’t put to waste, the agitation caused by boiling water won’t disturb the dolmades that are securely weighed down by your plate, bowl, rock combo. Place the lid on top of the pan and boil the water on medium heat for an hour, or place in the handy little hot box and open up two hours later…

If there is left over water, drain it and place your steamy dolmades onto a platter.  Pour the fresh lemon juice over the them while they are still hot and then drizzle lots of olive oil to make them shine.  I wanted to take a picture of the final platter, but in 10 minutes, between 12 of us, all the dolmades were eaten and enjoyed. I was hoping there was going to be leftovers, so next time I’ll have all my sisters over to have a troop of us rolling the dolmades for us to eat and take home.  I definitely will be making these babies again, seeing they were so simple to make and with the help of the hot box, it made it super economical to make. Can’t wait to be eating mezedes in Ellada!  If I were to open a sidewalk cafe, it would definitely be made up of mezze platters featuring these super simple lemony scrumptious vegan dolmades.

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