Friday, 26 June 2015

Back to our Roots

Delicious, natural food that just happens to be good for you as well, says Sarah Britton

Written by Sarah Britton
My New Roots began with a tomato. It was yellow and shaped like a pear, about the size of a walnut shell. It hung on the vine like a golden teardrop, warming itself in the sun’s lateafternoon light. When I put the fruit in my mouth, I immediately noticed the softness and delicacy of its skin. But then I pressed it against the roof of my mouth with my tongue, and it burst into a universe of flavour unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was bright, fresh, grassy, sweet, and overflowing with juice. The tomato tasted of all the things that had made it – the sun, the rain, the soil…

In that moment my life changed. My whole life I had eaten only processed foods, I was a sugar addict, overfed and undernourished, never considering what I ate. I realised with that tomato that food matters, and that we are connected to what we eat. That the beauty of the world can be experienced through the taste, smell, and texture of a single fruit. Whole foods became a revelation.

I studied holistic nutrition to deepen my understanding of food and the body and learnt that what we eat impacts our health not just on a physical level but on an emotional and spiritual one as well. I started a blog and through sharing my my obsession with plant-based cuisine, I have inadvertently created a community of readers who are passionate about cooking food that is not only delicious but also very healthy. I found many people hungry for direction and guidance in preparing nutritious food, and discovered that my recipes were making significant changes in people’s lives.

My New Roots is no longer just my passion project, but a resource that thousands of people turn to every week. As you cook your way through my book, I hope it becomes your passion, too.

My New Roots, by Sarah Britton, with photography by Sarah Britton, is published by Pan Macmillan, priced £20.


Serves 4

250g shelled broad beans (frozen are fine)
1 knob ghee or coconut oil u 2 medium onions, chopped
Fine sea salt u 3 garlic cloves, chopped
675ml vegetable broth
250g shelled green peas (frozen are fine)
1 small bunch fresh tarragon, to taste
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Grated zest of ½ organic lemon
Cold-pressed olive oil, for serving

Fill a large bowl with water and ice cubes, and set it aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the broad beans. Boil for 2 mins, remove them from the water, and transfer them to the ice bath. Once the beans have cooled, drain them and use your fingers to slip off the tough outer skin of the beans. Set the beans aside.

Heat the ghee in a medium saucepan. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 mins, until the onions have softened. Add the garlic and stir, cooking for 1-2 mins. When the garlic and onions have softened, add the broad beans (reserving a few for garnish) and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 10 mins. Add the peas and cook for 2-3 mins, until bright green.

Carefully ladle the soup into a blender. Add half of the tarragon plus the lemon juice and zest. Blend on high speed until completely smooth. Season with more salt if needed, and add more tarragon if desired. Serve immediately, with a drizzle of olive oil and the reserved beans scattered over the top.



Serves 2

1 medium to large courgette
Knob of coconut oil or ghee, melted
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 medium spring onions
½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
½ garlic clove, minced
½ fresh chilli, minced (Serrano is a good choice)
½ tsp raw honey
Grated zest of 1½ organic lemons
A few good handfuls of baby spinach
35g hazelnuts, toasted, if desired

Heat a grill pan. Slice the courgette lengthwise into thin ribbons (but not too thin or they will fall apart when grilled). Lightly rub melted oil on the courgette slices, and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Slice and season the spring onions in the same way.

When the grill pan is hot, lay the courgette and spring onion slices on the pan, and cook uncovered until you have some char marks on the underside, 3-5 mins. Flip them over and cook until tender and marked, another 2 mins. Remove the vegetables from the grill pan and place them on a plate.

Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, chilli, honey and grated zest of 1 lemon in a small bowl. Put the spinach in a serving bowl, and pour this dressing over it; toss to combine. Roughly chop the hazelnuts. Arrange the grilled vegetables on top of the spinach. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and the remaining lemon zest, and serve.



Serves 2-3

1 bunch (250g) radishes, tops removed
2 tbsp ghee (butter will also work)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of fine sea salt
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp raw honey or pure maple syrup
1 bunch dandelion greens
Smoked sea salt

Slice the radishes in half lengthwise.

Melt the ghee in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 min. Then add the radishes, cut side down, and the pinch of salt, and sauté for about 10 mins, until they are slightly translucent and tender, but not mushy.

Drizzle the vinegar over the radishes and toss quickly to incorporate. Remove from the heat and drizzle the honey over the top; toss to coat.

To serve, make a bed of dandelion greens on each plate, arrange a portion of the radish halves on top, and pour the pan drippings over the top to dress the salad. Season with smoked sea salt.

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