As a Brit, I feel it’s only my duty but to moan about the weather. Sure I’m not your typical English chick, I’m not even fully British but I live here, therefore, I deem it appropriate. I feel like we hold onto July & August being these great Summer months, when in actual fact, we have a peak at Summer May/June, then it comes back for a short time in September. You know, just like a ‘so long until next year, this is what I could be..’. Ok maybe I sound like I’m totally loosing the plot, maybe not. For the most part of this month, we’ve spent it hiding away from the rain, potentially being caught in a thunderstorm or two, unless of course you have dogs.. naturally, they go berserk, therefore you are too occupied by them, than to actually be out in a down pour. It hasn’t be cold the whole time, but when it rains, the air seems different and you feel the need to grab a jacket before leaving the house. I will say, there have been a few days where I’ve left in the morning, wrapped up like a new born, only to wish I’d really just worn a pair of shorts and a loose tee, that definitely would have been sufficient. Anywho, I’m not here to continue to tell you about August and its weather problems. My reason for bringing it up was because of the produce. I’ve recently started to get my Abel and Cole box again. Mostly so I could actually start to budget and manage what I spend, rather than throwing money at food or food based products at any given moment in time. I’m a real sucker for a health food/local food shop. Sure Wholefoods is great, but I’m talking about those little niche ones, where you end up knowing the owners, they know what you buy and make fun of you for being a creature of habit.. and on occasion, they chuck in a free bunch of bananas. Yes, yes that did happen this week and yes it did make me very happy indeed.
Going back to the Abel and Cole shenanigans.. it was basically the greatest idea I’ve had all month. Don’t get me wrong, I like chatting to my local ‘veg dealers’ but boy do I spend more money than I need to. Excited by something new and exotic, which in my case, could just be a new type of bean I’ve never heard of.. yep. The produce, naturally throughout August has been somewhat different to the usual years. We’ve had a lot of rain and some of the veg that we’d normally get a little later in the year, or perhaps should have had its time, is still going strong. I’ve been craving a lot of salads. Mostly fresh things served with different proteins or grains to make a truly balanced meal. I haven’t spoken about it a lot on here yet, a fraction on Insta, but I’ve been going through a lot of changes in my diet recently following some allergy tests and a few imbalances. I’m still 100% vegan, don’t you worry about that, I just mean in terms of the types of plant based goods I’m eating. I may do an entire post about it, I may not.. but if you’re interested, then let me know. In short, I’ve been eating a lot more fats + proteins, plus I’ve cut back a little on the fructose (I cannot bare to call it sugar because quite frankly, you open a whole new can of worms that should never be opened). This has been for a number of reasons, skin issues, hormonal imbalance, inflammation.. to which I have also ended up removing ‘night shade’ foods from my diet for a little while (for those un-aware, it’s basically tomatoes, aubergine, peppers + white potatoes), just whilst it all calms down. Like I said, I won’t go into too much detail now, as I am aware that half of you probably won’t care and are simply here for the recipe. Working out what is good for you and your body is so incredibly important. I’ve never really suffered with skin issues or allergies etc before, nor to the extent did I realise, how food goes way beyond being fuel, or how one minor thing can be out of whack, balancing it with something else is incredible.
Annnnnyway, back tracking slightly to the summer salad craving scenario, with lots of fresh herbs and a fresh juice on the side, cooling the body off and bringing a little it of clarity or calmness to the mind. Again, some may think that sounds weird, but for those of you that know, you know.
I should also add that I’ve been completely and utterly obsessed with sourdough bread as of late. I’d been making it a habit to include it more in my diet for the last few months, but my god is it good. There are so many different kinds and it has such great gut probiotics, it’s a win win really. I’m baffled by those that still to this day see it as a bad thing. Sure processed bread is not good for you, it’s full of shit you can’t even read, let alone digest, but sourdough… it’s usually 3 ingredients, unless you get a little fancy and chuck some nuts, seeds or dried fruit in there. I really could go off on many tangents today, I’ve concluded it’s most definitely a talent of mine. I almost don’t know when to stop talking, going from one thing to the next in a matter of seconds, asking 5 different questions, to which my friends are then left baffled at where to even begin. Like now. I should stop.In light of the wonderful produce that is currently on offer, a summer inspired succotash; a tradition American dish, that combines both grains + pulses + veg in order to create a dish that is rich in all the essential amino acids, plus, inexpensive, fresh and DELISH.
What you’ll need: Serves 2
For the salad:
3/4 cup cous cous – w/ 1/2 stock cube
Bunch of kale – middles removed, chopped
Large handful fresh green beans – halved width ways
2 ears of corn (cobs)
1/2 red onion – sliced thin
2 sticks of celery – sliced thin
1/2 courgette – grated
1/2 cucumber – or one whole depending on size. Sliced length ways, seeds removed, sliced
1 avocado – sliced (or mashed on the side)
Large handful fresh basil
1 can black eyed beans – or any other of choice
6-8 oyster mushrooms – depending on size/hunger
2 tbsp soy/tamari sauce
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1/2 lime – juiced
1 small knob of ginger – minced/grated
Sourdough bread *optional
Red or yellow nasturtiums (edible flower) *optional
1.5 lemons -juiced
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2-3 tbsp water
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp dijon mustard
1-2 tsp Sriracha
1 small knob of ginger – minced/grated
Salt + pepper to taste
What to do:
1. Make your dressing first, simply by placing all of the ingredients into a blender and blitz. If you don’t have a blender on hand, you can hand whisk this too. Place in the fridge whilst you build your salad.
2. Prepare your cous cous with water and stock, then covering to allow to soak up. Check the packet instructions for specific ratios.
3. Cook your cobs by placing in boiling water for around 7 minutes. Steam your kale and green beans, around 6 minutes. Allow to cool slightly once cooked.
4. Prepare the rest of the vegetables; onion, celery, courgette, cucumber, avocado and basil and place into a mixing bowl.
5. Drain and rinse the black eyed beans and add to the bowl.
6. Remove the kernels from the corn cobs and add to the bowl along with the cooked kale and green beans.
7. Add the dressing and mix well, seasoning with salt and pepper to your required taste.
8. To cook the mushrooms, simple put the soy/tamari sauce, coconut aminos, lime juice and ginger into a small wok or pan. Add the mushrooms and allow to simmer whilst they soak up the flavours. Turn half way through.
9. To serve, portion out the salad into bowls, top with the warm caramelised mushrooms and a slice of fresh bread.
Notes. Usually, a Succotash salad calls for fresh tomatoes. However, at this point in time, as I mentioned above, I am avoiding them whilst the old allergies settle down. However, go ahead and throw them into the mix if you wish. I replaced them with courgette as when grated, has a slightly wetter consistency.