As the chilly weather continues to taunt us, the lingering cold snap has sent me into Winter veg overdrive. At this end of the season, I usually embark on a Brussels sprouts eating fest, stocking up to make up for the warmer months when I’ll be without. The other day, I made Brussels sprouts, feta and pearl barley burgers that were delicious on a bed of red heirloom spinach.
Although it doesn’t feel like it, signs of Spring are all around us. There are flowers on the streets, the sun is brighter and local markets are starting to show their Spring best. For me, my favourite spring vegetables like artichokes, snap peas, asparagus, fennel and broad beans (otherwise known as fava beans) are a reminder of life. Their verdant, lush tones of green warm my spirits and bring a vibrant edge to my seasonal plate.
This week, I met and cooked with my new favourite New Yorker, food writer, photographer and blogger, Jodi Moreno. Jodi is a natural foods chef and her stunning blog What’s Cooking Good Looking is one of the best out there – to prove that, she has just been nominated as a finalist in SAVEUR's 6th Annual Blog Awards (you can vote here if you love her blog as much as I do). She has also just released her first cookbook, all about grains. Jodi is one of the few native New Yorkers I have met here so it was such a pleasure to spend a slow afternoon here in Carroll Gardens drinking tea, scoffing vegan fruit bread and talking about the possibilities of being a small food producer in the big city.
Oh and we cooked lunch too! Jodi brought along a bag of snap peas (or sugar snap peas as we call them in Australia) that had me all excited. But what excited me even more was when Jodi showed me her way of slicing them up raw, in extra thing strips. What a revelation! Crunchy, sweet and fresh, but without the chunkiness of whole peas. Just genius. I have always loved snap peas raw, but have never thought to shred them like this. I loved them even more when my kids ate huge bowls of raw snap pea salad for dinner. Goes to show, this old dog is happy to learn new tricks when they taste as good as this!
Snap peas with radish and spelt
Substitute spelt grains with pearl barley, farro, freekeh or another favourite grain. Spelt is not gluten free but it more easily digested than other wheat grains.
Serves 4 | Vegan
- 2 cups spelt
- 250g (about 3 cups) snap peas
- 4 radishes
- 4 Chinese shallots, finely chopped
- ½ cup coriander leaves
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Sea salt and black pepper
Ginger & Honey Dressing
- 1 inch knob of ginger, grated with microplane
- 1 small clove garlic, grated with microplane
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper
In a medium pot of salted water, add the spelt grains and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until the grains are tender. Drain.
To make the ginger honey dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Season well with sea salt and some black pepper.
Using a sharp knife, finely slice the snap peas lengthways. Slice the radishes and then slice these into thin strips also. Place the snap peas and radishes in a bowl and add the herbs, spelt grains. Add the ginger honey dressing, season with sea salt and black pepper and toss to combine. Serve with a scatter of sesame seeds.