April 29, 2011

Wild mushroom soup

Is it just me or does autumn make you feel a teeny bit nostalgic? Maybe it's the sound of the pounding rain, or the cooler and darker nights when you feel like wrapping yourself in a big blanket and cuddling up on the sofa with a good book. In the kitchen, I take out my huge French casserole and a big wooden spoon and I can happily stand next to the warm stove stirring soups and stews.

Back in Finland autumn was always my favourite time of the year - I think having a birthday in September had something to do with it, though. After moving to Australia and having somehow come to terms with the opposite seasons, it took me a few years to start embracing this time of the year again.

My love for autumn produce has not changed, however. I still adore the mushrooms, chestnuts, apples, root vegetables and all that this season has to offer. Pumpkins, like the ones in these photos, make a beautiful piece of decoration too and there is no need for expensive cut flowers in the dinner table.

I treated myself with a small bag of precious dried wild mushrooms lately and thought there is no better way to celebrate their strong flavour than a gorgeously warming soup. This soup is exactly that. It is strong and bold, it is chunky with mushrooms and has a re-assuring feel to it - it will make you feel comforted and cosy. 

You could easily make this into a loving pasta sauce by just using less vegetable stock. Whatever you do don't throw away the liquid after soaking the dried mushrooms! Try freezing it for a later use in pasta sauces or other soups or use it more in this soup for a stronger flavour.

Wild mushroom soup
(serves 2-4)

30g dried wild mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
200g fresh Swiss brown mushrooms (or mushrooms of your choice), sliced
1 sprig of fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tbsp good tomato paste (organic)
0,5 litre wild mushroom soaking liquid (or less for a milder taste)
1 litre vegetable stock ( or less/more depending how thin/thick you want it)
big handful of fresh parsley, chopped
freshly ground black pepper

1. Soak the dried wild mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, but keep the liquid. Chop the mushrooms coarsely and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add brown onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes.

3. Add all the mushrooms, along with the rosemary and thyme and sauté for a further 5 or so minutes. Add some of the soaking liquid in as well.

4. Add the tomato paste, vegetable stock and more soaking liquid if you wish. Cover, then let simmer for a good 30 minutes.

5. Lastly, season the soup with freshly ground black pepper and throw in a handful of fresh parsley before serving. 

6. Serve with a rustic wholegrain bread.

April 27, 2011

Chestnut and apple crumble

I've been snacking on those gorgeous Pink Lady apples we picked during our country-side weekend and I've taken some of the delicious chestnuts to my partner's Japanese mum who absolutely adores them. I was keen to find a tasty way to combine both of these autumn ingredients and this chestnut and apple crumble is the perfect answer. 

You could easily adapt this recipe to your liking - try using rolled spelt or rye instead of oats, adding different spices like nutmeg or cloves or serving the crumble with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as an indulgent dessert. In any way it is autumn in a bowl and pure comfort on a rainy day.  

Chestnut and apple crumble
(serves 2-4)
(Recipe inspired by iga.net.au)

400g chestnuts

2 Pink Lady apples
100ml water
juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp flaked almonds
3 tbsp rolled oats*
small pinch of ground ginger
pinch of ground cinnamon

raw honey, to serve

* for a gluten-free version, use pure uncontaminated rolled oats.

1. Place the chestnuts in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes.

2. Peel the chestnuts keeping the unpeeled ones in the hot water. Cut the peeled chestnuts in half or leave whole. Set aside.

3. Peel the apples, then slice into wedges. Bring the water and lemon juice to boil, add the apple wedges and simmer for a few minutes or until just tender. Remove from the heat and set aside.

4. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the chestnuts and sauté until golden. Scoop the chestnuts into serving bowls.

5. Add the flaked almonds, oats, ginger and cinnamon onto the same frying pan and toast until golden. (Be careful not to let them burn!)

6. To assemble, place the apple wedges on top of the chestnuts, sprinkle with the almond and oat mixture, then drizzle generously with the honey. Serve warm.

April 25, 2011

Home-made quinoa milk and 'Chocoatl'

Some of you may have seen the tweets earlier this week about my experiments with home-made quinoa milk. I adore quinoa and I am convinced about its versatility, nutritious qualities and tastiness. It is suitable for both sweet and savoury dishes and its a perfect gluten-free alternative. Like brown rice, it can also be made into milk and used as a protein-rich dairy-free drink. 

As a side note I should say that I have always had a deep interest in the Maya culture. Even as a young teenager, I was (perhaps in an un-cool way) drawn into the fascinating history of the Mayas and I once aspired to become an archaeologist, something along the lines of Indiana Jones. This didn't happen, however, although I did manage to complete a minor in a somewhat less interesting field of Finnish archaeology. 

This quinoa chocolate drink takes me right back to my Maya research days. The combination of chocolate and spices is impeccable and results in a thick, velvety drink that is filling and satisfying. I have used home-made quinoa milk, but you could substitute with rice milk, almond milk or even normal milk. If you use all quinoa milk, you will get a thick almost soup-like consistency. You could use half milk half water if you like, but I the thick filling chocolate drink was exactly what was called for on this rainy autumn's day.

Quinoa milk*
(makes 1 litre)**

1/2 cup white quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

*you need to start this recipe on the previous night.
**Recipe from Food.com

1. Place the rinsed quinoa in a glass bowl and cover with water. Cover the bowl with a lid or cling wrap and refrigerate over-night.

2. The next morning, drain the quinoa and rinse with clean water. Place the quinoa in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups of clean water.

3. Bring to boil and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. 

4. Place the cooked quinoa in a food processor and add 2 more cups of water.

5. Blitz until smooth and velvety, add water if needed.

6. Strain the quinoa milk through a fine sieve or a cheesecloth.

Chocoatl - Chocolate quinoa drink
(Recipe adapted from Ruohonjuuri)

1 litre quinoa milk
25g raw 100% cocoa chocolate
1 tbsp unsweetened, dark chocolate powder
3 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
tiny pinch of chili flakes
tiny pinch of salt

1. Heat the quinoa milk (or half quinoa, half water) in a small saucepan. 

2. In the meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the microwave. (Be careful not letting it get too hot.)

3. Whisk in the chocolate and all other ingredients and whisk until smooth and velvety. Add water if too thick.

4.  Serve warm.

April 24, 2011

Time out

Our short get-away this weekend was everything we could have wished for. A simple road trip to the country-side where we could see the beautiful autumn colours, visit the local farms and pick some in-season fruit and nuts. We were lucky with the weather on Good Friday as it was a picture perfect autumn day - warm and sunny with the slightest breeze reminding us from the cooler season to come.

Buying fresh produce straight from a farm is a such a privilege for a city-dweller like myself. In the city I love visiting farmers markets whenever I can and buy produce from the local farmers. Visiting an actual farm, however, is a wonderful experience itself and I wish I could do it more often. I also love the warm-hearted community feeling in the small country towns. They are welcoming and friendly and supporting the small businesses makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing.

The apple season is at its peak so majority of the farms were selling mostly just apples. We did come across an old-fashioned unattended fruit stall where you could just pick a bucket-full of persimmons and leave the money in the tin. I adore this kind of honesty and trust - it is such a novelty nowadays.

The following morning dawned misty and rainy, but it was an atmospheric drive on the bendy roads through the native Australian bushland. We were up early and headed to a farm where we could pick our own chestnuts and, if lucky, find a few late-season walnuts as well.

At the farm we had a chance to chat with the farmer himself. He told us a bit about the farm and guided us to a tree that had the freshest chestnuts. I felt like I was back in my element, foraging, as I used to do so often back in Finland. We saw some gorgeous pine mushrooms, even nettles and dandelion that unfortunately were not suitable to eat at this time of the year. Chestnuts were plentiful and despite being slightly ill-equipped, we were able to fill our bucket in no time. 

As we were walking back to the gates, the farmer approached us with his big hands full of walnuts. He had gone out to pick them himself for us and I thought it was such a kind gesture. I have never tasted walnuts as delicious as these. The nuts were so fresh and clean, with not a hint of the rancidity many shop-bought walnuts may have. What a perfect way to end our trip!

With a freshened spirit I'll soon be back in my kitchen, cooking and bearing in mind where my food comes from and how it is grown.The little extra effort it might take to eat organic, locally grown food just makes it feel more special and more enjoyable.

I will use the chestnuts we picked to make these cakes, perhaps a soup and another savoury dish. I also cannot wait to try the recipes the farmer recommended.

I hope you are all enjoying your time out and doing things you don't normally find time for - spending time with your loved ones, trying new recipes or just relaxing. Enjoy! 

April 22, 2011

Apple date cake

It's Good Friday and the beginning of a long Easter weekend. I have to admit I am not very organised when it comes to celebrating Easter - I don't normally cook or bake special Easter treats, I don't decorate my house with colourful eggs or chocolate bunnies. There is no special reason to this, but I think it is because Easter somehow surprises me every year. Before you realise it's Easter and before you get everything organised, Easter is over. Maybe I should just get more organised next year.

We are heading out of town today to have a bit of a change of scenery and enjoy the Australian countryside. I always find it refreshing and I realise I am a country girl at heart, not so much of a big city dweller. I love the open space around me, the clean air and the rolling hills. There is just a different atmosphere compared to the hustle and bustle of a big city.

This apple date cake, however, is a little treat for our long weekend. It is perfectly moist and sweet and also gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free. I adore Medjool dates and they bring a gorgeous sweetness to cakes, sweet muffins and other treats. I've adapted this recipe from one of Terry Walters' recipes. The original recipe is for banana and date cake, but since banana prices in Sydney are still outrageously high (after the last cyclone destroyed the crops), I have opted for using apples instead. This recipe also calls for chickpea flour, but once again, I could not detect the flavour in the cake, so don't be afraid to use it! :-)

Apple and date cake
(Recipe adapted from Terry Walters' Clean Start)

10 Medjool dates, pitted
2 apples, finely grated
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chickpea flour*
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt (I use pink Himalayan)

* Besan/chickpea flour in Australia has a mild nutty flavour. If the besan flour you are using has a strong savoury taste, please substitute with another gluten-free flour.

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a medium sized loaf tin.

2. Place the dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soften for a few minutes.

3. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.

4. Drain the dates and add in the grated apples. Mash to create a chunky mixture. Add the maple syrup, olive oil, lemon juice and vanilla in the mixture and stir well to combine.

5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold gently to combine.

6. Scoop the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

April 20, 2011

Cashew cream cheese

Every now and then I come across a recipe that really blows my mind and all I can think is "you can make that?!" Recently most of these recipes have been the ones created by and for people with different food intolerance and allergies. Hats off to these people, as they truly are the most creative when it comes to tweaking a recipe to suit their special dietary needs.

When I saw the recipe for cashew cheese I thought it was an ingenious idea. Sweet cashew cream is an old favourite amongst the raw food (and vegan) supporters, but I hadn't even thought of making a savoury version of this dish. Served with gluten-free bread or vegetables this is a fabulous snack for any occasion!

Cashew cream cheese
(Recipe adapted from Ruohonjuuri)

250g raw cashew nuts, soaked*
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
1tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted
zest of one small lemon
juice of 1/2 small lemon (2 tbsp)

* Soak the nuts in plenty of water for a minimum of 4 hours or over-night. Alternatively, quick soak - place the nuts in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to boil. Turn off the heat and let soak, covered, for one hour. Drain the nuts after soaking.

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy. Serve with (gluten-free) bread, savoury biscuits or vegetables.

April 18, 2011

Amaranth and quinoa stuffed capsicums

You know that nagging feeling you get when you have an ingredient to use up, but you just can't seem to find a recipe to use it for? Whether it's a vegetable, a grain, a spice or anything else, you just can't stop thinking you should use up so you won't have to waste it. Well, to me this ingredient has been amaranth. A whole packet of it that I've tried using in a couple of different recipes, but that turned out no good. I know amaranth is superbly good for me - high in protein and all that, but I just wasn't convinced about the taste of it.

Last night I was going through my pantry and there it was - that packet of amaranth grain. I started browsing the web for ideas to use it for, you could use it like quinoa, but on its own I knew I wouldn't be satisfied with the taste and texture of it. I stumbled across this recipe by the ever so reliable Whole Foods Market and was immediately convinced - stuffed capsicums sounded like a perfect vegetarian dinner idea and I could finally use some of that amaranth I had been holding for so long!

I've tweaked the original recipe a bit, but love the idea of using the two super grains - amaranth and quinoa, instead the traditional couscous or rice you normally find with this recipe. I also love edamame and have a big bag in the freezer at all times. I was so happy with the outcome and I think this is a lovely "meatless Monday" recipe idea.

 Amaranth and quinoa stuffed capsicums
(Recipe adapted from the Whole Foods Market)
(serves 4)

4 capsicums (bell peppers) *
1/2 cup black quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup amaranth
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup edamame, thawed 
1 carrot, grated
2 shallots/green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
2 tbsp brown rice vinegar
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

*I used 3 capsicums, but the filling makes enough for 4 medium sized ones. Any leftovers can be served as a salad the next day.

1. Place the quinoa and amaranth in a saucepan and cover with one and a half cups of water. Bring to boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 5 more minutes. Fluff with a fork. 

2. Preheat your oven to 180C. Cut the tops of the capsicums and remove the insides and the seeds. 

3. Combine the quinoa and amaranth mixture with the edamame, carrot, shallots and sesame seeds in a large mixing bowl. Season with brown rice vinegar, pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

4. Stuff the capsicums with the mixture and place in an oven proof dish. Cover with the 'lids' of the capsicums. Pour 1/4 cups of water into the baking dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until tender.

April 16, 2011

Roasted cauliflower with lentils

There is nothing like roasted vegetables on a rainy autumn day - I adore cauliflower, but for some reason I don't seem to use it often enough. Today, however, it was perfect roasted with garlic, rosemary and thyme, seasoned simply with salt and black pepper and drizzled generously with good olive oil. Served with lentils it was a scrumptious rainy day meal.

Roasted Cauliflower with lentils
(serves 4)

1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
3-4 garlic cloves
2 sprigs of rosemary
few sprigs of thyme
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
a good drizzle of olive oil

1 cup lentils
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 200C. 

2. Scatter the cauliflower florets on a roasting tray, add the garlic cloves and herbs and season with salt and pepper. 

3. Drizzle generously with good olive oil and bake for 20-30 minutes or until tender.

4. Rinse the lentils and place in a saucepan. Cover with 3 cups of water and bring to boil. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until tender.

5. Whisk the olive oil and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and pour on top of the lentils. Mix through and serve with the roasted cauliflower.

April 15, 2011

Rustic tomato soup

Everywhere around me people are sneezing and coughing - yep, it's that season again and I am fighting back with this nutritious tomato soup. I always make soups by a bucket full and then freeze some of it for those emergencies when you come home from work hungry and don't know what to cook. I adore simple, no-fuss soups which you can make with the ingredients you are likely to have at home at any time.

This soup is so easy to adapt to your own liking - try adding coconut milk for a creamier taste or different vegetables for a more wholesome soup. You could replace lentils with potatoes and use different herbs, dry or fresh. You could add garlic as well of course, I've left it out but it would be a perfect addition to the vitamin shot you'll get with this soup. I sure hope this soup will work its magic!

Rustic tomato soup 
(serves 4-6)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
small knob of ginger
1,5 kg tomatoes, cut in quarters
3 tbsp red lentils
1 cup vegetable stock
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 handfuls of fresh basil
1 tbsp raw honey
freshly ground black pepper
(coconut milk, optional)

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and grated ginger and sauté for 2-3 minutes. 

2. Add tomatoes and sauté for a further few minutes. 

3. Add the lentils and the vegetable stock, bring to boil and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

4. Add the herbs, honey and freshly ground black pepper. Using a stab mixer, puree the soup until smooth. Add some coconut milk if you want a creamier taste.

5. Serve with wholegrain or gluten-free bread. 

April 13, 2011

Black rice and shitake salad

I get so excited when I find a rice variety I haven't yet tried. I normally use long grain brown rice, but I do love red rice and now my new favourite - black rice. Black rice has a nutty flavour, distinctively black colour (hence the name) and is more nutritious than your average plain white rice. Once cooked it colours everything with a gorgeous purple hue, including your lips when you eat it!

This is a perfect rice for warm vegetarian salads like this one. I've paired it with Japanese flavours - shitake mushrooms and wakame (dried seaweed), both of which lift this dish to a whole new level. Shitake mushrooms are my favourite, I adore their strong flavour and prefer to cook with fresh rather than the dried ones. If you can't find fresh shitake, however, you can try using the dried variety.

Black rice and shitake salad
(Serves 2-4)

1 cup black rice (wholegrain, non-glutinous)
2 1/4 cups water
piece of konbu

1 tbsp olive oil
100g fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 shallot greens/spring onions, chopped
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of chili flakes
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
1 tbsp wakame, soaked in cold water and drained
2 tbsp black sesame seeds, toasted 
1 tsp sesame oil

1. Place the rice along with konbu in a saucepan and pour the water on top. Bring to boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

2. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan and add the shallots/green onions and the mushrooms. Sautee for a couple of minutes and season with a pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper and chilli flakes.

3. Once the rice is cooked let is sit in the saucepan, covered, for a few minutes. Then pour it into a large bowl  and add in brown rice vinegar, wakame, toasted black sesame seeds and sesame oil. Finally add in the mushrooms and fold everything together.

4. Serve warm.

April 12, 2011

Going through some changes - Spiced rice milk drink

Habits are a funny thing - they are sometimes so difficult to break, but often a change from something that has become a habit (good or bad) feels good. I have been going through some drastic changes during the first quarter of this year and they have really helped me to re-focus as well as made me feel very energised and positive.

Cutting down on gluten and dairy has been much easier than I thought. I haven't done this due to any medical condition, but more because this feels better for me and my body. I am loving gluten-free baking and discovering alternative ways to cook and bake. I am also very excited to try dairy-free options, like this home-made rice milk and the nut milks I've made in the past.

This spicy rice milk drink reminds me of chai mix, but I haven't added any black tea in it. If you're after a stronger taste, you could easily add black tea in the mix. There are a few different ways of making rice milk, but I like this one because of its so easy and results in very creamy milk.

Spiced rice milk drink*

{Rice milk}**
1/2 cup brown rice (long or medium grain)
6-8 cups water

{Spiced rice milk drink}
1 1/2 cups
5-10 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
knob of fresh ginger
5 cloves
1 tsp natural vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean)
raw honey, to serve

*Start this recipe by making the rice milk up to 2,5 hours before.
 ** This recipe is from Food.com website. Makes about 1 litre of milk, consume the milk within 2 days. 

1. Place the brown rice and water in a saucepan. Bring to boil and let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the rice is very soft.

2. Place the cooked rice along with the water into a food processor and blitz until very smooth and creamy.

3. Let the mixture to stand for 45-60 minutes, then drain through a fine sieve or a muslin. (I had the left-over rice with umeboshi paste and it was delicious!)

 4. To make the spiced rice milk drink place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let sit, covered, for about 10-15 minutes. Drain off the spices and sweeten with raw honey, if you wish. Enjoy warm.

April 11, 2011

Creamy roasted chestnut and quinoa soup

The great thing about the cooler weather is that I can return to making some of my favourite soups. This creamy roasted chestnut and quinoa soup is a new favourite of mine and I love the silkiness and mellowness of it. You can easily adapt the flavours to your own liking by adding herbs or spices in it. I wanted to keep them to the minimum and just embrace the natural flavour of chestnuts.

Quinoa flakes make this soup so smooth and thick and I've used home-made rice milk since I'm cutting down on dairy at the moment. I will share the method and my recipe for making your own rice milk in the next post.

Creamy roasted chestnut and quinoa soup
(serves 2-4)

500g chestnuts

3/4 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup rice milk*
1 1/2 cups water or organic vegetable stock**
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

walnut oil, to serve

1. Preheat your oven to 200C. Cut an "X" on top of each chestnut and place on a roasting tray. Roast for about 10 minutes, then peel the skins off as soon as they are cool enough to handle.

2. Bring the rice milk and water/vegetable stock to boil. Add quinoa and turn off the heat. Cover and let stand for about 3-5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.

3. Add the peeled chestnuts into the quinoa, then use a stab mixer to smash the mixture into a smooth soup. Season with freshly ground black pepper and serve with a few drops of walnut oil. 

*I used home-made rice milk. I will share the recipe and method in my next post.
**Adjust the amount of liquid to your liking. This amount will make a very thick soup.

PS. My gum nuts have now lasted for more than a week! I've scattered them in old bottles and vases all over my home and they have provided us so much joy for so little money :-)

April 09, 2011

Black bean and quinoa salad

Happy weekend friends!

We kicked off the weekend last night by visiting the Sydney Opera House to see Madame Butterfly, the ballet. It was such a magical performance and I was reminded of how much I love ballet (I used to dance for many years). The night really left me with a happy, sunny mood!

This salad is another way to carry on a perfect weekend - it is so healthy, full of flavour and makes you feel like you are really looking after yourself and your loved ones. It is really not that hard to eat and live healthy, now is it?

Black bean and quinoa salad
(Serves 2-4)

1 cup black beans, soaked overnight or quick soaked*
1 cup quinoa
1/2 tsp organic vegetable stock powder
2,5 cups water (or vegetable stock)
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 lemon, zest and juice
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
pinch of salt

*Quick soaking the beans: place the beans in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil and let boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour.

1. Drain the beans and return to pan. Cover with water and bring to boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until just tender.

2. Rinse the quinoa and place in a saucepan with 2,5 cups water or vegetable stock. Add the vegetable stock powder, if using. Bring to boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

3. Drain the beans and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked quinoa, parsley, finely chopped lemon zest and juice, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar and the sesame seeds. Mix well then check the taste and season with a pinch of salt if needed.