This week I want to eat only vegetables. I crave their crunch, their colour, their life giving qualities. Spring vegetables and grains and nuts and seeds. That is all I want.
With the weather finally warming up a little and behaving, as it should be in Spring, with its typical teenage-like extremes (sunny spells quickly followed by hail storms), my body is reflecting this change. Gone is the crave for egg yolk that accompanied me throughout winter, in are the long late breakfasts with yogurt, fresh pears, tangy dried quince and hemp seeds, the jams on sourdough toast for a quicker start to the day, the colourful salads for lunch, the grain experiments for dinner.
After eating the traditional roast lamb and rabbit stew at Easter, now I feel ready to give up meat for a little while. To flush my body with fresh juices, to confide in the healing power of plants. Just because my body seems to be telling me to do so. This, in my opinion, is the real meaning of detox. Spring cleaning, inside and out.
So this week I want to give you this aromatic and super tasty recipe: ‘speltotto’, a spelt version of traditional risotto born out of an experiment for a plant based option to my DishNextDoor menu. Something the lovely people at Made in Hackney, an awesome local food kitchen where I am doing a stint as Project Apprentice, would approve of.
I hope you enjoy it!
400g spelt grain
2 tbsp odourless coconut oil
2 small leeks, finely chopped
one small red onion, finely chopped
3 small light green courgettes (they tend to be sweeter than the deep green variety), halved and thinly sliced in half moons
200g shelled peas (I used frozen this time but can’t wait for the fresh ones to be available!)
a big handful of fresh thyme, finely chopped, with the leaves pulled out of the thicker stalks
a big handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
a glass of Prosecco or any white wine
Put your spelt in a pressure cooker, add a little salt and water to cover it until it is 1cm under and cook for 30 minutes from the start of the whistling sound. Alternatively, cook your spelt for one and a half hours in water with a little salt.
This is because I used wholegrain green spelt, which takes longer to cook. You can also use the ordinary variety, which cooks in about 20 minutes. I couldn’t find it, so I resorted to my old friend the pressure cooker to get my dinner ready a little sooner.
In the meantime, warm up your coconut oil in a wok, add the leeks and onion and cook on low heat until the onion has softened. Add the courgettes and peas, sprinkle a little sea salt to help draw the natural juices of the veggies out, stir, cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the herbs and wine and cook until the courgettes are soft (about 10 minutes).
When your spelt is ready, add it to the mix and cook for a few more minutes, to help the tastes blend together.
Health score: 9