Filed under: Cooking, Salad | Tags: beetroot, bulgur, chilli, communal eating, mint, nectarine, pecan nut, pineapple, raw food, salsa
Every August, my community reclaims the street that I’m living on with dinner tables. No cars are allowed in a whole day. People bring food and drinks, and the whole neighbourhood eats and socialises together. What a lucky person I am, to be living on such a street, the only one in Finland!
Eating together keeps a community alive, and reclaiming a space in a city by eating in it is a revolutionary act if any . When we eat together, we share so many other things with the food: the substance of our lives, our values and creativity. Even in today’s western world of continuous abundance, the act of sharing food has still not completely lost some of its ritual significance: if I am willing to share my piece of bread with you, you are for me worth more than the risk of going hungry.
What is proper to eat, is a question that can lead to some really heated debates – we all have our opinion on that. But I guess that amidst all the guilt that can be felt for eating food that is not sound ecologically, ethically, or health wise, it is good to remember that food also has another function in society: the festive, ritual aspect of sharing food that is common for all human cultures. Food is nourishment for the soul too: for thriving communities and fulfilling human relationships.
In the afternoon, the tables slowly start to appear on the street, and people gather around them. Food is brought out , presented and accordingly admired, wine bottles and beer appear on the tables. We sit and eat and talk, the whole sunny day. Passers – by are offered food to taste (“come, have some of these beetroot shells Salla has made!”) and of course drinks. People move from table to table, children run along with painted faces. At dusk candles appear, people find their instruments and sounds of drumming and singing fill the street. The stars that we haven’t seen in a couple of light summer months flicker in the warm, dark August night.
I get know my neighbours much better, since I’m new on this street. They tell me some gossip, like why there is such a hole in the hedge between our house and the neighbouring one: the husband of the lady next door used to originally live there… Also while sitting at the table, we four ladies from my house make a decision: next summer, our house will be painted pink, and the wooden panels in the hallways Mediterranean turquoise.
Pineapple and Mint Salsa
1 fair trade pineapple
2 – 3 dl chopped spearmint
2 red chillibean
1/2 tsp salt
I peeled and chopped the pineapple, the mint and the chilli, then I blended the whole thing with a hand held blender. We ate it with some tortilla chips.
Boulgur Salad with Nectarines
4,5 dl boulgur
9 dl water for cooking
200 g cherry tomatoes
2 red onions
2 dl chopped rucola
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 of a purple cauliflower
1 and 1/2 lemon, juice and zest
3 dl olive oil
First I cooked the bulgur: I added it to boiling water, with a bit of salt in it, and let it simmer for about 8 minutes. Then I set it aside to cool. I chopped the rest of the ingredients roughly, except for the garlic, which I chopped finely, and mixed them together with the bulgur. Then I made the dressing: I squeezed the lemons and grated the zest, and whisked it together with olive oil. I poured the dressing into the salad and mixed carefully. This amount of ingredients make up about 4 litres of salad. It is also a good thing to remember that if you are intending to have this kind of food standing in sunshine for many hours, it is quite important to remember to cool it down properly, preferably in the fridge, before serving.
1 long beetroot, or 3 round ones
100 g pecan nuts
3 tbsp oil (sesame, pumpkin, olive…)
3 tbsp water
2 tsp lemon juice
This little dish is a nice raw foodie thing, unfortunaly not of my own invention..
First, I sliced the beertoot really really thinly with a cheese slicer into round thin slices. You could use a mandolin slicer as well, or a sharp knife. Then I made the nut paste that is the filling of the shells by simply mixing the ingredients with a blender. I made the shells by sort of glueing two beetroot slices together with the paste. The thinner you cut the slices, the nicer the shells are to eat, but if your slices are a bit thicker they keep better,otherwise they’ll start to look a bit dry and greyish in a couple of hours.
There is some very offensive mint plants growing in my yard. I thought to use them for something, and wanted to make some cool sweet drink for sunny weather. Also, in my freezer there is some frozen banana, which is a great base for vegan “milk”shakes and sorbets. I usually freeze the bananas, if for some reason I have forgotten them and they have become completely black. This way they make the best sorbet. This is what I came up with this time:
Mint – Coconut – Pineapple Smoothie
1 frozen, overripe banana
1/2 can of canned pineapple
1 small handful of spearmint leaves
3/4 dl coconut milk
I blended it all with a handheld mixer.