April 29, 2012

Kale and Freekeh Soup


Hello dear friends!

This morning, during my usual morning swim, I saw a small school of dolphins swimming outside the ocean pool I go to. It was the most perfect start for the day and certainly brought a big smile to my face. It's the small things like this that make life so beautiful! 

We've had a few nippy mornings here in Sydney and I absolutely love it. Walking to the pool in the morning or going for a morning run feels so much nicer and the air is crisp and clean. Warming foods are back on the menu too, this soup being a perfect example. I adore kale, I'm sure you know that by now, and it is just so delicious in soups, stews, salads, you name it. 

This soup was inspired by the beautiful Colleen, who by the way, so kindly read my "love letter" to her on her most recent podcast episode. I was really honoured to hear that, especially since Colleen's podcasts were the reason why I decided to go vegan.

A few notes on the recipe - if you can't find freekeh, try using rye grain (rye groats) or even brown rice instead. In addition, I would really recommend using some of the 'tougher' green leafy vegetables (kale or chard, for instance) as the texture will be much nicer and not too soft. Add any other vegetables you may have - celeriac and parsnip would be great.

Enjoy!

Kale and Freekeh Soup
(serves 4)

200g wholegrain freekeh, cooked until tender
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 bunch kale, chopped
2-3 litres vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large pot, add onion, garlic and carrots and cook for a few minutes. 

2. Add kale and vegetable stock (start with 2 litres, add more if necessary) and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. 

3. Finally, add cooked freekeh to the soup and season with salt and pepper.Turn off the heat and serve.

 

April 26, 2012

Soy-Free, Vegan Quiche


It was a beautifully sunny Anzac Day here in Sydney - perfect weather for long walks and time outdoors. It felt much like one of those sunny and dry winter days, albeit warmer. I had a hankering for a warming quiche for lunch and using vegetables I had in my fridge, this was vegan quiche was born. 

I love the hearty spelt crust dotted with flaxseed meal and dried rosemary. I wanted the filling to have a bounty of vegetables - leek, mushrooms, broccoli and kale all suited for the purpose. Most vegan quiches tend to have tofu in the filling, to give it that creamy texture, but I opted for a soy-free alternative. Vegetable broth, along with some flour and nutritional yeast work really well to bind the filling together. I can imagine that addition of firm tofu would also be really delicious.

Soy-Free, Vegan Quiche
(8-10 portions)

::Crust::

250g wholegrain spelt flour
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
a good pinch of salt
a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper

125ml water
125ml extra-virgin olive oil 

::Filling::

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
250g finely chopped leek (about 2 leeks)
150g brown button mushrooms
250g broccoli florets
125g roughly chopped kale
1 teaspoon dried thyme
tiny pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper

250ml vegetable stock
70g sorghum flour (or chickpea or quinoa flour)
1 tablespoon potato flour
1 heaped tablespoon nutritional yeast

1. Start by making the crust. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix together water and oil and whisk into the dry ingredients. Knead lightly to combine, then roll into a round disk, big enough to reach across the bottom and the sides of a 26cm pie dish. Refrigerate while making the filling.

2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add finely chopped leeks. Cook for a few minutes, then add mushrooms and broccoli florets. Season with thyme, salt and pepper and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften. Fold in the chopped kale and let it soften slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 180C. 

4. In the mean while, put vegetable stock, flours and nutritional yeast in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

5. Blind-bake the base for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and add the vegetable filling. Pour the vegetable broth mixture evenly on top of the vegetables. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top feels firm to touch and the crust is crisp. You may need to cover the quiche with some baking paper whilst in the oven, to avoid the top from browning too much. Leave the quiche to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving. Serve warm.

April 23, 2012

Vegan, Gluten-Free Crepes with Roasted Pumpkin and Tofu Mayonnaise


Who doesn't love Sundays! A morning swim, a new episode of Our Hen House, farmers' markets, hatha yoga and a long walk with my fiancé - I couldn't feel more content! Well, then there are those Sundays that also include an indulgent lunch, like the one yesterday. 

I haven't made crepes in ages, but yesterday the craving got the better of me and after our walk I embarked on a mission to make some crepes for lunch. These vegan and gluten-free crepes were inspired by the amazing Candle 79, a vegan restaurant I sorely wish we had here in Sydney. 

I used gluten-free sorghum flour for the crepes, but you could use chickpea or besan flour, even quinoa flour as well. Any non-dairy milk can be used in place of almond milk, which I used. Try soy, rice or quinoa, for example. We loved the filling of roasted pumpkin, but feel free to add wild mushrooms or any other seasonal vegetables you might have. A dollop of tofu mayonnaise was a perfect addition to the flavours. This was truly a fitting meal for such a lovely day!


 Vegan, gluten-free crepes with roasted pumpkin and tofu mayonnaise
(serves 2)

::Crepes::
(makes 6)

250ml almond milk or other non-dairy milk
75g sorghum flour*
2 tablespoons potato flour**
pinch of salt
olive oil for frying

::Roasted Pumpkin::

500g peeled, cubed pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried or fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper

::Tofu Mayonnaise::

300g silken tofu
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast***
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives or spring onion

* In Sydney, sorghum flour is available at Taste Organic. Look for Bob's Red Mill brand.

** What is in Australia known as potato flour is actually potato starch. You can substitute with arrowroot powder or corn starch.

*** Vitamin B12 enriched nutritional yeast is also available at Taste Organic and many other health food stores. 

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Combine pumpkin, olive oil and herbs and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, then arrange the pumpkin on a roasting tray. Roast in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and leave set aside. 

2. Combine tofu, nutritional yeast, salt and apple cider vinegar in a blender. Blend until smooth.

3. Combine almond milk, both flours and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Brush a small frying pan with olive oil and pour a thin layer of the crepe batter on to the pan. Swirl the pan to spread the batter. Cook for a few minutes, then flip over to cook the other side. Continue with the rest of the batter. 

4. To assemble, fill the crepes with roasted pumpkin, top with tofu mayonnaise and sprinkle with finely chopped chives or spring onion.

April 20, 2012

Earth Bowl

In honour of Earth Day, which is coming up this Sunday, I thought it would appropriate to call this dish "Earth bowl". Although not all the ingredients in this dish are locally grown (most are grown in Australia) I thought this tasty mix of flavours would make a perfect meal to raise awareness on sustainable living and climate change.

Before I came to Australia, I finished a university degree that focused on the Arctic regions and Northern resources. We had an amazing international group of students from all over the world, including the Canadian Arctic, Alaska, Northern Russia, Finland, etc. and it was truly fascinating, not to mention eye-opening, to learn how people across the Arctic regions are coping with the rapid climate change and adapting to it. Although an arguably useless degree here in Australia, I am still very passionate about this topic and find issues about climate change and sustainable living compelling.

True to my values, I do try to make 'green' choices in my everyday life - I buy locally grown food at farmers' markets, walk or use public transportation whenever possible, try to consume less, reuse and recycle more, and so on. In all honesty, I think I could do even more to help the environment, and it is certainly a goal I am constantly striving towards.


Back to these Earth bowls, however. I really love the combination of the flavours - the earthy wholegrain freekeh (grown in Australia!), chickpeas, kale and a garlicky hazelnut dressing. Served with some grilled tofu, this is truly a bowl of goodness!

Earth Bowl
(serves 2-4)

200g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight 
100g wholegrain freekeh
big bunch of kale
3 green onions
1 pomegranate
 70g hazelnuts
50ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
250g grilled firm tofu, to serve

1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put the chickpeas in a large pot with plenty of water. Bring the water to boil and leave to simmer for 45 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender.

2. In the mean while, put freekeh, along with 750ml water in a medium sized pot. Bring the water to boil and leave to simmer for about 45 minutes or until the grains are tender. 

3. Roughly chop the kale and finely chop green onions. Put them in a large mixing bowl. Drain the cooked chickpeas and freekeh, add them straight on top of the kale. This will wilt and soften the kale so you won't have to blanch it separately. Add pomegranate arils and toss well to combine.

4. Lightly toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan. Roughly chop the nuts, then mix half of the nuts with olive oil, minced garlic clove, mustard and apple cider vinegar. Season the dressing with a pinch of salt and pepper and pour into the salad. 

5. Toss the salad to mix, then serve sprinkled with the rest of the hazelnuts and some grilled firm tofu. 

April 17, 2012

Moroccan Vegetable and Lentil Stew


As the autumn finally starts to arrive here in Sydney, I find myself craving for warm soups and stews. I start my day with a bowl of warm oat porridge with chia seeds, grated apple, cinnamon and a splash of home-made almond milk, I eat a huge raw salad for lunch and a warm soup or a stew for dinner. This Moroccan spiced vegetable and lentil stew is one of my recent favourites - the abundance of different vegetables and spices create a truly satisfying meal.

Moroccan Vegetable and Lentil Stew
(serves 2-4)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
small piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 carrots, finely cubed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 medium sized eggplant, cubed
100g green beans, chopped
100g button mushrooms, chopped
5-6 tomatoes, chopped
100g red lentils
250ml - 500ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tamari
pinch of freshly grounded black pepper

 1. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add onion, garlic, ginger and carrots. Cook for a few minutes, then add the spices and a splash of vegetable stock. Cook for a further few minutes.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Start with just 250ml of vegetable stock and add more when necessary during cooking. Cook the stew for 30-40 minutes or until all the vegetables and the lentils are fully cooked. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

April 15, 2012

Chestnut and Mushroom Sauce with Rye Tagliatelle


I did promise you more chestnuts recipes so here goes! Chestnuts and mushrooms are simply made for each other and this sauce, served with earthy rye tagliatelle, is a perfect autumn dish to savour. I know you might think that chestnuts are just too much work with all the peeling and whatnot. But that's exactly why this particular dish is such a winner - you can simply cut the roasted chestnuts in half and spoon out the flesh, so there's no peeling needed!

Crumbly chestnuts are perfect for the sauce and they bring incredible sweetness to the dish. If you're able to find wild (fresh or dried) mushrooms, I do recommend using them for a stronger flavour, but plain button or brown mushrooms work fine as well. I managed to sneak in some extra vegetables in the sauce, just a stalk of celery and some kale, but you could add onion, carrot, even spinach.


Chestnut and Mushroom Sauce with Rye Tagliatelle
(Serves 2-4)

700-1000g chestnuts
150g oyster mushrooms (or wild mushrooms of your choice)
150g brown mushrooms (or other mushrooms of your choice)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 celery stalk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or a few sprigs of fresh)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 sprig of fresh)
250ml vegetable stock
4 kale leaves, roughly chopped
fresh parsley, to serve
rye tagliatelle, to serve*

* if you can't find rye tagliatelle, try wholegrain spelt pasta instead. In Australia Natural Pulse makes excellent 100% rye (and vegan!) pasta.  

1. Preheat oven to 200C. 

2. Wash the chestnuts and cut a cross-section on each chestnut. Spread the chestnuts on a roasting tray and roast for about 20 minutes. 

3. Cut the chestnuts in half and scoop out the flesh. Chop the mushrooms into thin strips and finely chop the celery.

4. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add garlic and celery and cook for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for a further few minutes. Add herbs, chestnuts and vegetable stock and leave to simmer on a low heat for about 10 minutes. This will give you a fairly thick sauce, but add more vegetable stock if you want it to be thinner. Finally fold in the kale and let them heat through.

5. Cook the pasta for 5-7 minutes or until al dente. Serve with the chestnut and mushroom sauce and sprinkle with some fresh parsley.


April 13, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin with Walnut and Coconut Crumb


I quite like blurring the line between savoury and sweet dishes. This has been especially fun since quitting sugar 6 or so months ago. What others might consider "savoury" can indeed taste quite sweet to me - including this particular dish with roasted pumpkin, walnuts and coconut. Thus, I'm leaving the door open for you to experiment and make the call whether you'd serve this as a side dish with other salads, as a dessert with some coconut ice cream or just as an afternoon snack on its own, like I did. Whatever the use, the combination of these flavours simply works!



I used walnuts we picked just last week - they are so sweet and they don't have a hint of rancidity, like the older walnuts sometimes tend to have. Pumpkins are of course the highlight of autumn harvest, but you could use sweet potato too, if you like. Feel free to add a pinch of salt if you want to make it more savoury or a tablespoon of rice syrup, if you decide to go the opposite direction. Either way I hope you enjoy!

 Roasted Pumpkin with Walnut and Coconut Crumb
(serves 4)

1/2 butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
50ml virgin coconut oil
120g shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
2 heaped tablespoons shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt, optional OR
1 tablespoon rice syrup, optional

1. Preheat oven to 180C. 

2. Place chopped pumpkin in an oven dish.

3. Combine melted coconut oil, roughly chopped walnuts, shredded coconut and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spread the mixture on the pumpkin and cover the dish with a lid or some baking paper to avoid the nuts from burning.

4. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until the pumpkin pieces are tender. Serve on its own, as a savoury side dish or a sweet dessert with some coconut ice cream.

April 11, 2012

Tempeh with Chestnuts and Persimmons


We Nordic people seem to be naturally drawn to foraging, especially in autumn, when the forests are full of wild berries and mushrooms for everyone to pick for free. Here in Australia I haven't been able to do such foraging, but thankfully Pick-Your-Own farms provide some consolation for my hankering.


This past weekend we revisited the same farm where we picked chestnuts last year. We drove two and a half hours from our home in Sydney's Northern beaches to the Blue Mountains area North-West of Sydney. Fortunately we arrived early enough to avoid the crowds and found enough nuts still available. We spent a good couple of hours picking walnuts and chestnuts and I couldn't have been happier with our haul. I now have a few kilos of both ingredients to use up so brace yourself for some serious chestnut and walnut recipes to come!



This dish combines another autumn favourite of mine - persimmon, which I already used in my previous recipe. Persimmon really gives this dish a lovely sweetness, but you could easily use apples or pears as well. Chestnuts are replacing grains in this recipe and tempeh of course brings in a good amount of protein. Simple flavouring of tamari and lime juice is enough to balance the flavours.

Tempeh with Chestnuts and Persimmons
(serves 2)

300g organic tempeh
about 15 chestnuts
2 persimmons
2 green shallots/green onions
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tamari
1/2 lime, juiced
freshly ground black pepper
fresh chives

1. Rinse the chestnuts and put them in a saucepan. Cover the chestnuts with water and bring the water to boil. Let simmer for about 15 minutes, and then turn off the heat and drain. Fill the saucepan with warm water, leaving the chestnuts in the water. Using a tea towel to hold the chestnut and a sharp knife to peel with, remove the skins of the chestnuts. I find it easier to peel the skins when the chestnuts are warm and wet, so try to work quite quickly. Set the peeled chestnuts aside.

2. Cut the tempeh into big chunks and steam for 5 minutes. 

3. Heat oil in a frying pan and crumble in the tempeh chunks. Roughly chop the chestnuts and add them on to the pan. Add peeled and sliced persimmons, finely chopped green shallots, and season the mixture with tamari, lime and black pepper. Cook for a few minutes, then spoon into serving bowls and top with finely chopped fresh chives. Serve warm.

April 08, 2012

Persimmon and Hazelnut Brownies


I love autumn! It is definitely my favourite time of the year and every week I get so excited to go to the farmers' markets just to see what is new and fresh. This past week persimmons came out to play and I just couldn't resist their sweet fragrance and orange flesh. It so happens that hazelnuts are also at their best so of course I had to combine the two autumn favourites.

Not only are these brownies packed with season's best flavours, they are also vegan, gluten-free and very low in sugar. What could be better than that? I hope you are all enjoying this Easter long weekend and making the most of a few extra days spent with family and friends!

 



 Persimmon and Hazelnut Brownies
(makes 10-12 brownies)

1 large apple, peeled and finely grated (or about 125 ml unsweetened apple sauce)
2 ripe persimmons
1 ripe banana
1 heaped tablespoon rice syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure, ground vanilla beans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
200g teff flour
25g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
tiny pinch of good quality salt
85g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 180C and lightly grease a 20cm x 20cm baking dish.

2. In a blender, combine grated apple, peeled persimmons, banana, rice syrup, vanilla and cinnamon and puree until smooth. 

3. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into dry and fold lightly to mix. Lastly fold in the roughly chopped hazelnuts. 

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before cutting.

April 06, 2012

Chocolate-Blueberry Pudding


Happy Easter Dear Friends!

I thought I'd share with you this guest post I did for Golubka, a beautiful raw food blog created by Anya and her daughter. I find Anya’s food philosophy and creativeness ever so inspiring and the beautiful posts at Golubka are always a real treat to all senses.

Although my personal daily diet is vegan and mostly raw, I have not really ventured into the world of raw desserts. Thus, I wanted to share this chocolate and blueberry pudding with you today -  it reminds me of a childhood favourite of mine. These types of puddings are a staple in the Finnish kitchen and they can be made using berries, fruit, chocolate, or just milk and vanilla. They are so light, quick and easy to whip up and a perfect dessert or an afternoon treat! 

This time I’ve opted for a low sugar, vegan version that uses almond milk as a base. I’ve added blueberries, stevia, a touch of rice syrup and warming spices such as cinnamon and vanilla to provide all the sweetness it needs. The result isn’t overly sweet, but certainly ticks all the boxes for a perfect dessert. Hope you enjoy!

 
Chocolate-Blueberry Pudding
(serves 4-6)

500ml (2 cups) almond milk
100g (about 1 cup) blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons pure, unsweetened cacao powder
3 tablespoons potato starch (in Australia sold as potato flour)
1 teaspoon granulated stevia
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla powder (ground vanilla)
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
fresh figs or berries, to serve
toasted almonds, to serve

1. The easiest way to go about this recipe is to blend all the ingredients (that is, everything but the fresh figs and almonds) in a blender until smooth. Pour this mixture into a small saucepan and heat it, stirring constantly, on a medium heat until it thickens. This will take a few minutes.

2. As soon as the pudding has thickened, remove the saucepan from the heat and place it in a sink filled with cold water. The water should reach about half-way through the saucepan.

3. Leave the pudding to cool, then scoop it into serving bowls or glasses and top with fresh fruit and toasted almonds. Serve the pudding cool or at room temperature.

April 03, 2012

Raw, Vegan Easter Pascha


I can't believe it's already Easter! Although we never really celebrated Easter in my family, we did spent the long weekend skiing and enjoying the Spring sun. There was no Easter egg hunt, but mum did have a selection of Easter decorations on display, mainly decorated eggs and witches that feature strongly in the Scandinavian Easter traditions. 

There are only a couple of dishes that I associate strongly with Easter - mämmi, which is a sweet dessert made out of rye flour, rye malt and water and pasha, which is traditionally made with quark, egg yolks, cream, sugar and butter. I've been wanting to make my own mämmi for a long time, but I haven't been able to find rye malt in Australia nor have I succeeded to make the malt myself. 

You might guess that I wasn't going to make the traditional version of pasha, either. This raw, vegan pasha is a very modified version of the commonly known one, but definitely brings back memories of the 'real thing'. The texture is very similar to that of a thick and creamy dairy-based pasha and the taste has a similar blend of sharpness and sweetness to it.

I used soaked cashew nuts for the creaminess and added some rejuvelac and lemon juice for sharpness and sourness. Rejuvelac is a nutritious, fermented drink made out of grains like rye or wheat and gives this dish its unique depth of flavour. You can leave it out or add a bit more lemon juice instead, but I do encourage you to give a go at making and drinking rejuvelac! A mere tablespoon of brown rice syrup is all the sweetness this needs and additional sweetness comes from dried apricots and (not so traditional) goji berries. You could use any dried fruit of your choice, try sultanas, cranberries, cherries or even blueberries. 

Enjoy!

Raw, Vegan Easter Pascha
(serves 2-4)*

200g cashew nuts, soaked in water for 4-6 hours
2 tablespoons rye rejuvelac (optional)**
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
5-7 dried apricots
3-4 tablespoons goji berries or other dried fruit of your choice

* This is pretty rich, so you could easily make this into 4 small servings. Alternatively, use 4 individual cups to refrigerate it in or roll the 'dough' into small balls!

** Find out how to make rejuvelac, here.

1. Drain the soaked cashew nuts and place in a blender with rejuvelac, lemon juice and zest and brown rice syrup. Blend until very smooth and thick.

2. Finely chop the apricots and stir them, along with the goji berries into the mixture.

3. Line a cup or a small bowl with some plastic wrap and scoop the mixture into the cup. Press the mixture down so it sits in the cup quite tightly. Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night or at least 5-8 hours.

4. To serve, remove the wrap, decorate pascha with some dried fruit and serve cool or at room temperature.

April 01, 2012

Moroccan spiced quinoa, buckwheat and eggplant salad


Yesterday was a perfect Saturday - I went for an early morning swim in the near-by ocean pool, had a light breakfast after that and then headed off to hatha yoga for 2 hours. It was a low-energy but strong class and I felt utterly inspired and energised afterwards, which was exactly what I wanted! I was expecting a friend for a long lunch, so I prepared a couple of big salads that would keep us going while we catch up on all things in life.

This salad has its base on quinoa and buckwheat but there is so much more to it than just that - tahini-flavoured eggplant, carrot for colour, spices like cumin, coriander and cinnamon for warmth, dried apricots for sweetness and beautiful pomegranate arils and toasted walnuts to give it a nice finish. This dish is full of flavour and different textures and it certainly gave my friend and I sustenance to keep talking for 6 hours! I love that - a good catch up with a dear friend over good food. What could be better?

Moroccan spiced quinoa, buckwheat and eggplant salad
(serves 4-6)

180g quinoa (I use Tasmanian grown quinoa)
70g raw buckwheat
3 shallot greens
1 large carrot
small handful of dried apricots
1 medium sized eggplant
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unhulled tahini
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
about 3-4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon tamari
1 pomegranate
100g raw walnuts (or pistachios)
1/2 lemon, juiced
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook quinoa and buckwheat in separate pots. Quinoa should be rinsed well before cooking and cooked until tender and fluffy. I use ratio of 1 part quinoa (in this instance, about 1 cup) to to parts water (about 2 cups). You can rinse the quinoa with cold water after cooking so it won't get all mushy. Cook the buckwheat in plenty of water until just tender. This shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Place both grains in a large mixing bowl.

2. Finely chop the shallot greens (or green onions) and coarsely grate the carrot. Slice the dried apricots into thin slivers. Add these in to the bowl with the grains.

3. Cut the eggplant into small cubes. Mix tahini, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and tamari with some water in a small bowl. You should have a fairly runny mixture. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add the eggplant. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the tahini sauce and cook a further few minutes until the eggplant is soft. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly before folding it in with the grains and the vegetables. 

3. Toast the walnuts on a dry pan for 2-3 minutes. Remove the arils from the pomegranate and add them into the salad as well. Finally season the salad with some lemon juice, salt and pepper. Let the flavours to develop for at least 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle on the walnuts just before serving so they will stay crunchy.