Hello my friends!
I’m not sure I could tell you about my week. It was mostly blurry though I’ve heard talk of eclipses and Mercury retrograde and what I do know is that it has felt like my feet aren’t quite on the ground but I’m moving on through.
There’s a light dusting of flour still on my counter from making these doughnuts as a treat for my Yoga Teacher Training friends.
Hi friends, hope you’ve had a great summer. We took a little break from blogging as we have been in Copenhagen and Barcelona. But we are back now with a great little dinner recipe. It’s a version of something we have been eating all summer. As it has been record-breaking hot in Europe, pairing lukewarm buckwheat penne with juicy and crunchy watermelon has been feeling so right so often. Satisfying, simple and soothing. Our kids love this buckwheat penne so that also plays a part why it’s been on repeat. In fact, our little Noah (soon two years old!) starts crying if we serve him spaghetti or any other pasta: “Noooooh, [I want] my pasta“.
In this version we are dressing (almost drenching) the pasta in a herby spinach, herb and almond milk sauce that is inspired by something we saw in Deliciously Ella’s feed a while back. We then stir in the chickpeas and top everything with watermelon, feta cheese, almonds and heirloom tomatoes. It’s a pretty awesome dinner that can come together in 15 minutes if you are quick with the knife and good at multitasking.
There are plenty of ways to spin this.
• If you cannot find buckwheat penne you can of course use regular or whole wheat penne.
• Vegans can just skip the cheese (and perhaps add in a little nutritional yeast for extra flavour).
• Fresh or roasted corn could be a great addition when they are in season.
• You can swap basil and mint for cilantro and parsley for a more Middle Eastern take.
• If you are allergic to nuts, use oat milk or regular milk and swap the almonds for toasted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
• For a wintery version of this, you can add in roasted broccoli and pomegranate seeds instead of watermelon.
Buckwheat Penne with Creamy Spinach Sauce & Watermelon
Buckwheat pasta penne for 4 persons (approx 400 g /14 oz)
Creamy Spinach Sauce
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
125 g / 3 packed cups fresh spinach
400 ml / 1 1/2 cups almond milk
a good handful each of fresh basil and mint
1-2 tsp maple syrup
1 small lemon, juice
a large pinch sea salt & pepper
1 x 400 g / 14 oz tin cooked chickpeas
10 heirloom cherry tomatoes
15 toasted almonds
10 fresh mint
100 g feta cheese
Boil salted water in a large saucepan, add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the package. Meanwhile prepare the sauce.
Peel and chop onion and garlic. Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Sauté onions and garlic on medium high heat until translucent and light brown. Then lower the heat, add spinach and let it wilt down, pour in almond milk and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, take it off the heat and use a stick (immersion) blender to mix it smooth. Taste to check that the flavours are balanced. You can add more lemon juice, herbs, salt or maple syrup if you prefer.
When the pasta is ready, drain the water in a sieve, give it a quick rinse and transfer the pasta back to the saucepan along with a splash of olive oil. Pour the spinach sauce over the cooked pasta and stir to combine.
Drain the chickpeas and cut the avocado into cubes and add them to the creamy pasta. Cut the watermelon into cubes, divide the tomatoes in halves, chop almonds and mint and crumble the feta cheese. Arrange all those ingredients on top of the creamy pasta penne. Serve and dive in!
Last year, Alexandra Stafford published a very good book about bread. It sprang from a recipe for the peasant bread her mother made often when she was growing up. When she shared it on her site, it went viral, which is no surprise given that it’s no-knead, comes together in under five minutes, rises in about an hour, and after a brief second rise, you bake it in buttered bowls that form it into a blond, buttery crusted bread that she boasts is “the antithesis of artisan.” Because there are no hidden tricks; no steam ovens, special flours, lames to score the crust, or bannetons to shape the loaves. Her central tenet is that “good bread can be made without a starter, without a slow or cold fermentation, without an understanding of bakers’ percentages, without being fluent in the baking vernacular: hydration, fermentation, biga, poolish, soaker, autolyse, barm.” (None of those words appear in the book.) She knows that there are a lot of no-knead breads out there, but this is the only one that can be started at 4pm and be on the dinner table at 7.
I realize you’re thinking, as I briefly worried before I read it, how does one write an entire cookbook based on one recipe? But Stafford is a gifted recipe developer, and there isn’t a thing in this book — one part breads (with all types of flours, grains, and shapes, including pizzas, flatbreads, rolls and buns), one part toasts (including sandwiches, tartines, stratas, panzanellas, soups, summer puddings and so much more), and one part crumbs (a celebration of crunchy gratin toppings, stuffing, burgers, eggplant parmesan, fish sticks, meatballs, and brown bettys) — that I didn’t want to make. (I suspect that having four kids to feed ensures that these recipes were vetted by the most finicky of reviewer classes.) It’s also a gorgeous book, with a focus and format that my inner, long-surrendered organized person finds deeply pleasing.
This is the greenest of green soups, and it couldn’t be simpler to make. You put ten ingredients in a blender, puree, and then decide if you’d like to enjoy the soup hot or cold. In winter, I like the gently heated option, but keep in mind, this is also a fantastic summer soup when served chilled. It’s a potent jolt of alkalizing vegetables and herbs, with some staying power thanks to the fat in the silky coconut cream, and the protein-rich split green peas. Serve your green soup topped with whatever herbs, sprouts, or nuts you might have on hand, or simply straight and green.
A few considerations – in winter, heat the soup gently. Just shy of a simmer. And just before serving. This will help maintain the beneficial qualities of the miso, and more of the alkalizing power of the greens.
One last thing. This is a fantastic on-the-go soup. Pour it into a thermos along with an ice cube or two in the summer. You know the drill for winter – warm it up a bit. Green soup for all seasons!