early spring season 2014

POSTED 10 March 2014 IN Wellbeing

We celebrate the season’s early bounty and present the best of the British spring:

Almost Raw Spring Vegetables – a veritable rainbow of baby veg: beetroot, carrots, corn, purple sprouting broccoli and watercress served with a rich, tangy miso dip. It’s raw like sushi and it’s your 5 today!

Almost raw spring vegetables with misp paste

Feta Spring Roll – one bite transports you to a leafy, scented garden: velvety smooth feta paired with green beans, mint and a cool shiso dip.  Is it Pimms o’clock?

Feta spring rolls with mint and green beans

We give our Vegetarian Gyoza the spring treatment: to carrots, greens and onions we’ve added the refreshing crunch of water chestnuts and chives.

Vegetarian gyoza

Our Swing Season Breakout Star: Tofu Agadashi! A truly Japanese treat with all the richness and warmth of comfort food but the calorie count of a spring cleanse.  Cubes of delicate, creamy tofu dusted with corn flour and lightly fried are added to the dashi – an intense sweet and sour broth infused with mirin, ginger, onion and soy. Dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi) are sprinkled on top and caramelise as they hit the broth.  With more than a touch of alchemy, this is our spring elixir.

Tofu agadashi

Go on, maki my day: Shitake Mushroom Tempura Maki! Lightly crunchy on the outside, smoothly savoury on the inside, the shitake mushroom tempura with teryaki, chives, rocket and celery cress is swaddled in nutty brown rice. So cosy, so satisfying.

Shiitake mushroom tempura maki

Where has all the Nordic Noir and Scandi Drama gone? Fill the void with our Rye Salad with Feta and Papaya. Our cast of characters:

•Rye: a delicious low GI grain without the potential drama of wheat.

•Papaya: not just a pretty face – a natural multitasker, packed with nutrients and vitamins as well as happy digestive enzymes

•Feta: for fun and protein

•Celery cress: Micro herbs, trendy yes but they pack a punch: intense flavour and nutrients

•Black vinegar: Some say it lowers cholesterol but we love the woodsy, smoky flavour

•Chia seeds: tiny seeds filled with antioxidants, amino acids and the most protein of any seed

•Lemon: tingling taste and Vitamin C

Feta and papaya salad

Everyone loves a bargain and our Shirataki Noodle Salad with Miso Tofu, Edamame and Sprouts offers the most for the least. The magical, low carb, super slurpy noodles are made from mushrooms and only have 100 calories! But what makes this dish sing is the Miso tofu: marinated for 24 hours, then dried and toasted to perfection. Mint, coriander, garlic and our signature Japanese vinaigrette gives it that zing to make your taste buds sing. Perfect if you’re doing the 5:2 or just living lighter.

Miso marinaded tofu with noodles

On the more substantial side, we present the Black Rice Noodle Salad. The lovely lilac coloured noodles provide a rich background for a mixture of fresh and pickled Japanese vegetables made all zesty and spring like with the outrageous black vinegar dressing.

black rice noodle salad

 Definition of katsuobushi – dried bonito flakes

Bonito fish fillets are salted and allowed to ferment, dry and intensify for 4 to 6 months then shaved into fine flakes. Katsuobushi is used to make dashi, but also top salads, tofu and cooked vegetables.