Winter Food

Mushroom Stew with Oyster, Shiitake & Chestnut Mushrooms

As we move towards Winter Solstice here, we’re continuing to crave meals that are warming, hearty & full of grounding veggies. For us, there’s something really satisfying about cooking up a big pot of soup or stew and eating it over a few days. This mushroom stew is one of our favourite recent creations. If you’ve read the blog before you’ll know we’re pretty mad for mushrooms, whether they be the culinary or medicinal types. As well as being really delicious and full of earthy, aromatic flavours, this stew also has a lot of healing potential from mushrooms such as oyster, shiitake and maitake. These different types of mushrooms bring so much flavour to the stew and have a somewhat meat-like texture too.

You can find these varieties of mushrooms in many supermarkets these days, or they can be found at farmer’s markets or asian grocers. If for some reason these speciality mushrooms aren’t available to you, you could just use all chestnut or button mushrooms in the stew- the flavour won’t be as intense but it will still be tasty!

Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut
Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut
Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut
Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut
Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut
Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut

INGREDIENTS
3 medium onions, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
4 large bay leaves
600g of mushrooms, chopped into bitesized pieces (we used a mixture of chestnut, shiitake, oyster & maitake)
1 tablespoon of brown miso paste
1 tablespoon of tamari
2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
500ml of vegetable stock
25g of dried mushrooms (we use porcini)
250ml of oat cream (we use oatly)
200ml of oat milk (or another non-dairy milk)
1/2 teaspoon of good quality salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

METHOD
1. Heat the vegetable stock and add the dried mushrooms, turn off the heat, cover and leave to soak.
2. In a large saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil and fry the onions and bay leaves together on a low heat for 20-30 minutes, until the onions are golden and beginning to caramelise.
3. Next add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add a tablespoon of water to the pan and add the paprika, cook for 30 seconds.
4. Now add all of the mushrooms to the pan and stir well, cook for 3-4 minutes.
5. Strain the vegetable stock and keep the soaked dried mushrooms aside. Add the strained stock, oat cream, oat milk, miso, tamari, salt and pepper to the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes with a lid on until the mushrooms are cooked but retain some bite and texture. Turn off the heat.
6. To a blender or small food processor, add the soaked dried mushrooms you set aside, along with a ladle-full of the cooked stew and blend until smooth. Add this back into the pan and stir well. This is to thicken the sauce, if you find its still a little thinner than you’d like then feel free to blend another ladle-full. You could also do this step using a stick/immersion blender in the pan, but be careful not to blend too many mushrooms as you want to leave as many whole as possible.

Mushroom Stew with Oyster Shiitake Chesnut

What’s your favourite variety of mushroom?
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Liquorice, Turmeric & Ginger Anti-Inflammatory Tea

This is our current favourite soothe-all tea. Perfect for these dark winter days and full of healing properties. The roots in this tea are both grounding and nourishing. If you’re struggling with stomach problems, a cold, cough or respiratory issues then these herbs can help your body reduce inflammation and soothe any uncomfortable aches and pains. It also tastes great - a delicious combination of sweet, cooling liquorice with the heat of fresh ginger and turmeric. We love to make a big saucepan of this and drink it throughout the day. Let’s explore some of these beautiful herbs in more detail …

Liquorice Turmeric Ginger Tea

LIQUORICE ROOT
(Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Liquorice root is a sweet herbal ally that’s rich in soothing properties. Its anti-inflammatory and detoxifying actions make it a beautiful herb to work with to help heal gastrointestinal issues, reduce pain and help heal from a cold. It’s a demulcent herb, which means it can bring quick relief for sore throats, as it forms a protective film over mucuos membranes in the mouth. It also moistens the lungs, which can help heal a cough.

Liquorice root is also a saviour for the adrenal glands - which can be put under a lot of stress during this time of year! It’s an adaptogenic herb, meaning that it helps the body regulate cortisol (the stress hormone) more efficiently. This gives our adrenals a break and helps our bodies adapt to stressful situations.

It’s quite a cooling herb, which is why we’ve combined it with more spicy, hot roots/spices like ginger, turmeric and black pepper.

GINGER
(Zingiber officinalis)
Ginger is a well-loved root found in many kitchens around the world. It’s great to up your ginger intake during the colder months of the year as its warming properties help promote good circulation & assist our immune systems. Ginger is also anti-inflammatory and helps both stimulate & regulate digestion. If you ever feel nauseous, travel sick or have cramps then ginger is a great ally to have around.

Liquorice Root Tea

TURMERIC ROOT
(Curcuma longa)
Another of our favourite ingredients, turmeric root is also warming and highly anti-inflammatory (if you’ve read this far, you’ll have noticed a theme here!). Although turmeric has been treasured in Ayurveda for hundreds of years, it has really come into the global spotlight recently for its ability to reduce inflammation and mucus throughout the body. It has also been used in various studies as a method to treat cancer. Turmeric’s bitter flavour helps stimulate gastric juices, which in turn encourages healthy digestion. It’s a wonder root with such a beautiful vibrant colour. To help absorption of turmeric’s medicinal properties, we like to combine it with black pepper…

BLACK PEPPER
(Piper nigrum)
We don’t commonly think of black pepper as having much use other than adding flavour to meals, but it’s often used in different remedies in Ayurveda. A little black pepper goes along way, & we’re probably all familiar with the heating properties of the spice. This powerful heat stimulates our digestive system and helps us metabolise food. It also helps clear congestion in our lungs/throat, so it’s great to use if you’re suffering or recovering from a cold.

Liquorice Turmeric Ginger Tea

Liquorice, Turmeric & Ginger Anti-Inflammatory Tea

INGREDIENTS (Makes 1 litre of tea, feel free to adjust amounts)
a 2-3 inch piece of ginger
1 thin stick of liquorice root, broken into pieces OR 1 tablespoon of chopped liquorice root
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric OR a 2 inch piece of fresh turmeric root
5-6 black peppercorns
1 litre of water

METHOD
1, To prepare the ginger, either grate it or crush it in a pestle and mortar. This ensures that all the essential oils are released and that the water can extract all the medicinal properties.

2. Add it to a sauce pan with all the other ingredients. Bring the tea to a boil and then simmer on a low heat for around 10-15 minutes.

3. Strain the tea before serving. If you don’t want to drink the tea all at once, you can leave everything in the pan to allow it to infuse for longer. If the taste becomes too strong you can add extra water.

4. Relax and enjoy!


What’s your favourite type of tea to make during Winter?
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Miso Soup with Vegetable Noodles

As we've been faced with frosty mornings and busy work/study schedules, this warming miso soup has been a saviour in recent weeks. There's something so satisfying about soup during this time of year, but the options can often feel a little predictable... tomato, carrot, mushroom...you know the drill. So with something more 'exotic' in mind, we whipped up this delicious soup with toasted sesame seeds, vegetable noodles, herbs & tamari. This really is such a simple, quick soup to prepare, but it packs a whole load of flavour and texture too. Basically, it's the best of both worlds!

miso soup with vegetable noodles

We've opted for vegetable noodles in our soup, made with a julienne peeler and whatever we have in the fridge! This works great with carrot, courgette (zuchinni) & butternut squash. If your'e in the mood for something a bit heartier though, the soup is great with some noodles thrown in at the end too. Our personal favourite are buckwheat noodles by King Soba. 

Ingredients (serves 2-3)
2 tablespoon of organic red miso paste
1 tablespoon of tamari
1 litre of water
a handful of fresh coriander
1 small onion, finely sliced
1/2  head of broccoli, chopped up
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon of good quality salt
(optional: buckwheat noodles, fresh green chilli)
1 inch of fresh ginger, finely sliced
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
for the vegetable noodles:
1 courgette (zuchinni) 
1/2 a butternut squash
2 carrots

Method
1. In a small frying pan, toast your sesame seeds until fragrant and golden. Set aside. 
2. Prepare your vegetable noodles for the dish - you can use a julienne peeler, spiraliser or a normal vegetable peeler for this. 
3. In a large saucepan, heat some coconut oil and add your onions. Fry for 4-5 minutes until golden. 
4.Add in the water, salt, half of the ginger and the broccoli. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes,until the broccoli is nearly cooked. If you're using buckwheat noodles, add them now. 
5.Add in your vegetable noodles and simmer for another 4-5 minutes, with the lid on the pan. 
6. Turn off the heat, before adding your miso paste, coconut milk, tamari, coriander & the rest of the ginger. Stir thoroughly to make sure the miso paste has dissolved.
7. Your soup is ready! Serve and top with the sesame seeds and extra coriander. 
 

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What are your go-to meals for winter? 

Roasted Celeriac with Lentils, Mint & Tahini

Celeriac may not be the prettiest root vegetable, but it has a delicious, sweet & nutty flavour that goes so well with fresh herbs. We've loved experimenting with this underrated root recently... it's equally delicious roasted or mashed & it's currently in season in the UK, so it's a really sustainable option too!

Roasted Celeriac with Lentils, Mint & Tahini

Seeing as Tahini is one of our favourite ingredients, it also seems fitting that the two foods go perfectly together. Made from ground sesame seeds, tahini is a really versatile, rich ingredient used in a lot of Middle Eastern recipes. We seem to get through a lot of tahini every week, but thankfully it's full of goodness & is completely delicious! It's also a great source of calcium, B vitamins, iron and potassium. If you can, try and buy tahini made with un-hulled sesame seeds, as they keep more of their nutritional content (we love the organic version by Meridian). 

Bay Leaves - Roasted Celeriac with Lentils, Mint & Tahini
Mint Leaves

There are a few steps to this recipe, but it's well worth the effort and time! This dish works great as a main served with salad and pickled vegetables, but it would also work well as a side dish or part of a mezze. We hope you enjoy it! 

Ingredients (Serves 4 as a main dish with a side)
1 Large celeriac (Approx 1kg)
A large bunch of fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp tahini
150g of green/put lentils, well rinsed
6 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp of dried thyme
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or fire cider
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt & pepper

Method
-First, add the lentils, thyme and bay leaves to a pan. Add plenty of water and boil gently until just cooked through (20-30 minutes depending on the lentils).  They should retain their shape. 
-While the lentils are cooking prepare the celeriac. Chop into 1 inch pieces and parboil in salted water for 6-8 minutes until just soft. Drain and add to a deep baking pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Then roast in the oven for around 30-40 minutes until crisp and golden. 
-Once the lentils are cooked, drain them well and remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. In a bowl mix the lentils, while still hot, with 1tbsp of olive oil, the vinegar, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
-In a small bowl, mix the tahini with 2-3 tbsp of warm water until smooth and pourable. 
-Once the celeriac is cooked removed from the oven and mash some of the pieces in the pan for a good texture.
-Then divide the lentil mixture evenly over the celeriac. Generously scatter over the chopped mint and drizzle with half of the tahini dressing. 
-Serve the rest of the tahini individually at the table with even more chopped mint.

Roasted Celeriac with Lentils, Mint & Tahini

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Have you ever cooked with Celeriac? We'd love to hear your experiences!