'Nourish and Nest Kitchen'
At the start of each month, we will welcome a guest food contributor who will inspire you with a delicious recipe. Something you can create to nourish your body and to bring to the table when you gather with those who nourish your soul.
Our first guest is my friend Jacqui Tyler of Rethink Nutrition. Jacqui is an accredited practising dietitian and an accredited nutritionist. She asks the (very good) question, "what if food and eating could be this simple, this joyful, all the time?" and her peach and nut granola is the stuff of legend. Enjoy!
Balsamic mushroom, fig & walnut salad
As we slowly creep into the cooler months of Autumn, seasonal eating becomes a little earthier and we reach for foods that bring a little more comfort. While Summer is king for light and refreshing salads, Autumn produce can hold it’s own in the salad arena.
This warm salad of balsamic glazed mushrooms, subtly sweet figs and buttery walnuts, balanced with peppery watercress, makes a nourishing small meal, or a delicious side dish. Not only delicious, this salad brings the goods in terms of nutrition too.
Walnuts are a great source of plant protein (great for vegetarians!), rich in antioxidants, and are also one of the few plant sources of omega-3 fats. Mushrooms are packed full of nutrients while having a low energy density, meaning they can help you to feel full while still being a low calorie food. Watercress has twice the vitamin C of an orange, and similar iron content as spinach. You should be able to find watercress at a good green grocer or farmer’s market, but if you can’t get your hands on a bunch, substitute rocket leaves instead.
Serves 2 as a light meal
200g button mushrooms
2 cups watercress
3 ripe figs
3Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt
¼ cup of walnuts
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Wipe away any dirt from the mushrooms. Chop the thicker part of the stems off the watercress, pick out any yellow or brown leaves and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pat the watercress dry with some paper towel. Cut the figs into quarters. Mix together the vinegar, honey and salt and pour into a small frypan over medium heat. When the vinegar mixture begins to bubble, lower the heat and leave to reduce for 5 minutes. Add the whole mushrooms and stir to coat. Cook over low heat, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes. Arrange the watercress on a plate and scatter the mushrooms over the top. Top with the figs and walnuts. Drizzle any remaining balsamic reduction over the salad and drizzle with the olive oil. Serve with crusty toasted sourdough or some dense grainy bread.