You know the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. The same principle can be applied to food – there are dishes that don’t necessarily look good (like black bean soup or chilli, for instance) but do taste amazing.
On my laptop, there’s a folder with all the recipes from the blog, organized by categories. Inside that folder, there’s one titled “?” where I keep the recipes I’m not exactly sure if I should post up here. More often than not, those recipes fit into the “ugly-but-oh-so-tasty” category that I mentioned above. There’s the tempeh and mushroom loaf, a version of greek baked beans, and a couple others. They were a nightmare to shoot and I always think they deserve a second chance (photography wise) but, for that to happen, I have to make them again.
The recipe I’m about to share was just an inch away from going into the “?” folder. I took lots of pictures of it, from different angles and with different plates, but only managed to get two or three that I think are just ok. Part of the reason for that is because this is a recipe that has its roots on the british classic bubble and squeak, a dish well known for its lack of sexiness. In this version, white beans replace the potatoes for a kick of protein, and leeks are used instead of greens just because it was what I had around. The patties come together almost effortlessly and do deliver a lot on the tasting front. Don’t sweat trying to make them look perfectly shaped, though – this is meant to be a simple, uncomplicated dish, where the hearty and rustic flavours are all that matters.
White Bean and Leek Cakes
(makes 4 to 6 patties, depending on the size)
2 large / 250 g leeks, white parts only
450 g cooked white beans (canned is fine)
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small bunch / 15 g parsley, finely chopped
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for seasoning the pan
Cut the leeks in half and wash the halves thoroughly to remove any dirt. Cut each half into thin half moons.
In a frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the leeks, garlic and parsley. Cook for 5 minutes or until the leeks are soft.
Transfer the leeks to a large bowl. Add the white beans and mash everything together with a potato masher (don’t overdo it and leave some parts just barely broken down for a bit of texture). Season the mixture with a bit of salt and lots of freshly cracked black pepper.
Clean the pan in which you have cooked the leeks with kitchen paper towels. Add a generous glug of olive oil to the pan, making sure it covers its surface, and turn the heat on medium. Shape the white bean and leek mixture into patties and add them to the pan. Season each cake with a bit more salt and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until golden brown (I like mine almost on the verge of being burnt). Serve with pickled cucumber, mustard, fried capers or whatever you fancy.
Even though I have a few favourite foods and I’m, at times, fixated over some specific ingredients (this time around, pomegranates is what I’m obsessed with), I pretty much like to vary what I eat. I do not usually plan what I’m going to have; I’d rather go to the market and, based on what I find and seems to be the freshest produce, I make my own choices.
However, this “go with the flow” attitude doesn’t apply to breakfast. For breakfast, I almost always have oatmeal porridge with raw cacao and a sliced banana. When I say “almost always” I actually mean I’ve been having this very same breakfast, everyday, for almost 3 months in a row. Coming from a person who’s pretty curious when it comes to try plant-based foods and ingredients, this is a bit embarrassing. However, having acknowledged that, I’ve been trying to be a bit less predictive when it comes to breakfast fares. This millet bowl, even though sharing the same spirit as my dearest oatmeal porridge (creaminess, warmth…), is a totally different thing. Its flavour profile reminds me, somehow, of Halva, the greek dessert, because of the nuts and dried fruits. It’s sweet, creamy, comforting… and pretty much everything I crave in the cold autumn mornings.
I already have a couple more ideas for different breakfasts on my mind and, as this blog is lacking breakfast foods, I’m eager to share a couple more with you in the meantime. I’ll also come back soon with a few Christmas-inspired recipes. (;
Millet Breakfast Bowl
(serves 4 to 6)
200 g / 1 cup millet
1 tablespoon olive oil
45 g / ¼ cup dried apricots, chopped
35 g / ¼ cup golden raisins
1 big handful /35 g walnuts , finely chopped
1 strip of lemon or orange rind
500 ml / 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
125 ml / ½ cup water
80 ml / 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a medium sized pot, over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the millet and fry it in the oil, stirring constantly, until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes).
Add the cinnamon, lemon or orange rind and salt to the millet, followed by the almond milk and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, and once boiling, decrease the heat to medium-low. At this point, add the brown rice syrup, apricots, golden raisins and walnuts and give everything a good stir. Cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes. It’s ready as soon as the mixture is soft and creamy.
Serve and eat while warm, with an extra drizzle of brown rice syrup, a few more walnuts and some pomegranate seeds.