Ginger, shitaki and goji soul-soup

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Happy 2015! I hope that the new year has gotten off to a wonderful start for you and you are enjoying the slower, short, chilly but bright days and gathering plenty of ideas for the year ahead. I know I am. Even though I’m always grateful for Januarys change of pace after the crazy festive period, I’m really getting into lots of work both here, with our home and preparing for the arrival of our new baby come spring. January feels full, rather than busy like December did. And that feels good, you know what I mean? Maybe it  has something to do with the fact that we began the year by traveling to the Canary’s, to the tiny but dramatic volcanic island La Gomera. We had two weeks immersed completely in nature, hiking through laurel forests, scrambling over tracks to waterfalls, playing on quiet black sandy beaches and eating alot of amazing sub-tropical fruit. I think I ate my weight in persimmons and papayas, and Fern had her first taste of mango sorbet which she absolutely loved!

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After two weeks spent entirely playing and exploring with my little family, coming home felt full of freshness and I was ready to get stuck into some new years projects. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I committed to the social media world that I would be making some new-years challenges for myself this year rather than resolutions. My thinking was that by making it public (in the sense of, to a few thousand people who don’t know me personally ; ) that I would be extra dedicated to create things which I’ve previously neglected due to personal barriers which I no longer wanted to be confined by. Detox and a beach-bod can wait until the warmer weather and this baby is born, and really, who wants to deprive themselves of comfort foods during January anyway? So during this season of reflection, self-care and slowness also known as Winter, I have committed to a challenge to create a recipe a month which will be beautifully photographed and written as part of a calender, which will be on sale to you by December 2015. My Nectar Recipe Calender will be made up of 12 seasonal recipes, each inspired by ingredients abundantly growing wild, in my garden and available at the farmers market which will capture the essence of each month by traditions and celebrations. In true Nectar style, they will all also be suitable for vegans, be gluten and refined sugar free. Simple, nourishing, vibrant dishes inspired by nature! I have been wanting to create something that people can buy and be inspired by for years and a recipe a month seems an achievable goal to set myself this year. There. I’ve said it. Now I gotta turn this dream into reality! I’m sharing with you Januarys recipe here today, but for a taste of the rest of the years recipes that will be featured, you’ll have to keep an eye out on Instagram or facebook…DSC_0007

January ~ Stillness and calm

However hard I try not to get caught up in it, December is totally shiz-crazy for me. Even without any commitments to host gatherings, buy lists of gifts or cook for days on end over Christmas, I still end up feeling like there is race to the end of the year. To tie up loose ends, attend social events and make as many hand-made goods for the family leaves me feeling rather frazzled. As fulfilling as it all is at the end of the day, I can’t help but feel a  bit relieved when January arrives and everything slows down again. I’ve never really got the whole January-blues thing. I tend to thrive on the introvert-ness of this month, delving into my own quiet projects and unwinding from the frantic-ness of the end of the last year. It is naturally a time of cleansing and renewal for me, without any need for drastic lifestyle changes. My rhythm generally slips back to a more relaxed state, I practice more self care and have extra time for nourishing me. Yes January, you are deserve way more credit than you get. And when your days are filled with slow-cooker breakfasts, snow-scattered walks and soul-soothing soups like this one, I can’t help but feel fond of your simple ways. You are true comfort through and through. You call for woolly jumpers, roaring fires, spicy tea and one-pot wonders. And you give us kale. Lots of it and I couldn’t be more happy about that.

I’ve been making this recipe out of my own need for all things hot, spicy, umami, creamy and earthy this month. Yes, I totally love earthy foods, the ones which leave you feeling like you’ve got your roots in nature with their woody, green, dense flavours. Kale, mushrooms and celeriac are all this and more. The mushrooms are a great veggie source of vitamin D, aka the sunshine vitamin. Here in the UK, we could all do with a vitamin D boost and although supplementing is recommended during the darker months, getting an extra boost through our food is a big bonus. According to Elenore’s fab article over on Earthsprout, mushrooms have been found to be able to increase their levels of Vitamin D when exposed to sun (even when harvested). Cool eh? Kale is a powerhouses of  nutrients and antioxidants, which will give your immune system a much needed boost at this time of year. The goji berries are not only there to boost these anti-oxident levels to the max, but add a lovely sweetness to balance out t he salty, bitter and spicy flavours. The celeriac has notable amounts of vitamin K and adds to the soups mineral-rich taste, whilst the miso adds an umami richness which is oh, so satisfying. The ginger and chilli set my inner fire roaring and the coconut milk holds all the rich, vibrant flavours together in one creamy mellow hug. In this soul-soothing soup, I have gently cooked the spices and mushrooms to create a warming, spicy broth and kept the rest of the veggies raw, meaning we are getting the best of both worlds. Hot, flavour-rich soup (essential at this time of year) with nutritious, vibrant veggies which will be minimally effected by the heat of the broth. It also takes no more than 10 minutes from start to finish to make, so when you are craving something hot, filling and nourishing, this will satisfy your every need.

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DSC_0021A few notes on the recipe: I use the King-soba brown rice and wakame noodles for this (any variety of theirs would work great and they handily come in pre-portioned bundles). If you are using another brand, go with what you like but the thinner the better and are looking for around an 75g portion between two. I use the Clearspring barley miso as it is organic and unpasteurised. I recommend looking for an unpasteurised brand so that you are getting all of the beneficial enzymes that miso is full of. If you can’t find celeriac, any root veg will do, although be aware that beetroot with turn your soup a funky red!

Coconut, ginger and lime miso noodle soup

Serves 2-3

40g unpasteurised, dark miso paste

3 cups water

80g thin noodles (I use 1 portion on king soba brown rice and wakame noodles)

75g shitaki mushrooms (about 6)

2 ” ginger root, finely grated

1 clove garlic, finely grated

1/4 tsp chili flakes

1 small handful kale, finely shredded

1/4 celeriac, grated

3 tbsp goji berries

1/4 cup mung bean sprouts

3 tbsp coconut milk ( the thick cream off the top of a can)

1 lime

Boil 5 cups water and pour three cups into a sauce pan and the rest over the noodles in another. Cook the noodles according to the instructions (mine take 4 minutes), drain and set aside.

While the noodles are cooking. bring the 3 cups of water to a simmer and add the finely grated ginger, garlic, chili flakes and mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes whilst you assemble the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.

Mix the miso paste with a little water and stir into a smooth paste. Divide it between your bowls, then pile the grated celeriac, shredded kale, goji berries and mung bean sprouts on top, dividing them equally until your bowls are no more than half full. Add the coconut milk to the saucepan of broth, stir well and remove from the heat.

Divide the noodles between your bowls and pour over the hot broth. Stir really well, to incorporate all of the miso paste at the bottom, the noodles and veggies. Top with a few more bean sprouts and a generous squeeze of lime.

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DSC_0074DSC_0136I wish you all the jolliest of years and look forward to sharing more recipes here with you soon! Believe me, I have so much I’d love to share with you this year. It’s going to be a big one, I can feel it already : ) Keep an eye on Instagram for more Nectar Recipe Calender posts and more every day shenanigans from me.

Much love and warmth,

Jo xx

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