How we want to eat is changing. More and more people cook without meat several nights a week and are constantly seeking to push the boundaries of their own vegetarian repertoire.
At the same time, people want food that is a little lighter, healthier, and easier on our wallets, and that relies less on dairy and gluten. Based on how author Anna Jones likes to eat day to day — from a blueberry and amaranth porridge, to a quick autumn root panzanella, to a pistachio and squash galette – A Modern Way to Eat is a cookbook for how we want to eat now.
Anna Jones signs copies of A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes at Omnivore Books on Food on Friday, June 19 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Free.
Reprinted with permission from A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes by Anna Jones, copyright © 2015 Brian Ferry. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC. Photography: Aya Brackett © 2014. You can purchase A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes at your local bookshop or through our affiliate links with Amazon or IndieBound.
I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t like eggs Benedict in all its rich hollandaise glory. This is how I make mine. Roasted slices of sweet potato step in for English muffins, and avocado and cashews blend up creamily in seconds with a bit of tarragon to make a killer super-light hollandaise, creamy but not too rich. The caramelized onions and spinach sandwich it all together.
I like to make my hollandaise this way, as I find a butter-laden sauce too much of a treat with which to start the day (delicious though it is).
To get a creamy sauce I soak my cashew nuts in water overnight, but, if you forget, half an hour’s soaking will do.
For this recipe, you need to get your hands on large sweet potatoes so that they are wide enough to sit the poached egg on top.
- 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into • ⅜-inch/1 cm rounds
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive or rapeseed oil
- 2 medium red onions, peeled and finely sliced
- 6 handfuls of spinach, with any big stalks removed
- 4 organic or free-range eggs
For the quick hollandaise:
- A small handful of cashew nuts, soaked in water
- ½ an avocado
- A small bunch of fresh tarragon or dill, leaves picked
- Juice of ½ a lime
Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.
Lay the sweet potato slices on a couple of baking trays, season with salt and pepper, drizzle lightly with oil, and roast for 20 minutes until soft through and crisping at the edges.
Now on to the onions. Put a pan over medium heat, add a little oil, and then add the onions and a pinch of salt. Fry for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the onions are soft and sweet and starting to brown. Scoop them into a bowl and set aside, keeping the pan to use later.
To make your hollandaise, grind the drained cashews in a food processor until you have a crumbly paste. Add the avocado and most of the tarragon or dill with the lime juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper and blend again. If you need to, thin the sauce with a little water until it is thick but pourable.
Heat the pan you cooked the onions in over medium heat. Add the spinach and a drop of olive oil and cook for a couple of minutes until it starts to wilt but is still vivid green.
Next, poach the eggs. Heat a pan of water until boiling—I use a frying pan, but use whatever pan is most comfortable for you for poaching eggs. Turn the heat down until the water is barely bubbling, then crack in the eggs, and leave them to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drain on some paper towels.
To serve, lay some of the sweet potatoes in the middle of each plate. Top with the onions and wilted spinach, then add the egg and a spoonful of hollandaise. Scatter over the rest of the tarragon or dill, season with salt and pepper, and dig in.
Other ways to use your quick avocado hollandaise:
- Spooned over grilled asparagus
- On top of a green spring risotto
- Next to a simple poached egg on toast
- In sandwiches in place of mayonnaise
LEMONY LENTIL AND CRISPY KALE SOUP
Serves 4 to 6
I love this simple soup, which is somewhere between a dal and a soup—it reminds me of the curry that is served in southern India with dosas. This soup is cleansing and clean, thanks to being spiked with turmeric and a lot of lemon. It’s what I crave if I’ve overindulged or been around food too long (an occupational hazard—a very nice one). I serve this with a kitchari.
Turmeric is a favorite spice of mine. If I am feeling out of sorts, I stir a teaspoon into hot water and sip it as a reviving tonic. I love the vibrant, deep saffron-gold color; the clean, sharp, savory acid note; and the hard- to-put-your-finger-on flavor. It’s a real star on the health front, as it is an anti-inflammatory and has anticarcinogenic properties—what a spice.
- A splash of olive or rapeseed oil
- 1 leek, washed, trimmed, and finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
- juice of 2 to 3 lemons
- 1¼ cup/250 g split red lentils
- 1 vegetable stock cube, or
- 1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder
- 4 handfuls of kale (or other greens), washed, trimmed, and shredded
To serve (optional):
- Yogurt, mixed with a little sea salt
Place a large pan over medium heat. Add a little oil. Add the leek and fry for a few minutes until it has softened and smells sweet. Then add the spices and fry for another couple of minutes. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon and stir to scrape up all the spices from the bottom of the pan.
Next, add the lentils, 6 1/3 cups/1 1/2 L of water, and the stock cube or powder and allow to bubble away for 20 to 35 minutes, until the lentils are cooked and the soup has thickened.
Turn off the heat and, if you like, you can blend with an immersion blender to a thin dal consistency, then squeeze in the juice of the remaining 2 lemons, tasting as you go to make sure it doesn’t get too lemony. It may seem like a lot, but you really want the lemony tang to come through.
Just before you’re ready to serve, sauté the kale in a little olive oil until it slightly softens but begins to crisp at the edges.
Ladle into bowls and top with the salted yogurt and the crispy kale.
MINT STRACCIATELLA FROZEN YOGURT
Makes a decent tub
Anyone who knows me will know about my infatuation with mint chocolate chip and stracciatella cream, which luckily is shared by John. I may have taken it a step too far.
Second to mint chocolate chip comes my love of frozen yogurt, a passion born of a childhood spent in California, where a cup of chocolate frozen yogurt heralded a sunny day. Here my fascinations come together. I urge you to make this—it’s really easy, really healthy (for ice cream), and really, really good.
I have used just fresh mint here because I like the gentle sweetness. For a more classic mint taste, add a 1/2 teaspoon of natural mint extract. This also works well with coconut yogurt (though it’s a bit more expensive).
First, put the milk into a pan and add most of the mint leaves, keeping a couple of sprigs back. Bring to a boil and then immediately turn off the
heat. Stir well, add the agave syrup, and allow to steep for at least 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes or so, your milk should be cool and will have taken on the flavor of the mint. Pour through a sieve into a large bowl and throw away the mint leaves—they have done their job.
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon/250 ml whole milk or coconut milk
- A large bunch of fresh mint
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon/250 ml agave syrup
- 2 (pint/500 ml) containers of good
- Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt
- 2 ounces/50 g good dark chocolate, chopped up small
Stir in the yogurt, then cover the bowl and let sit for 30 minutes in the fridge for all the flavors to meld. Taste for sweetness and add a little more agave syrup if needed, remembering that once it’s frozen it will taste less sweet.
Pour into your ice-cream maker and churn for 30 minutes or until it is well frozen. Then chop the remaining mint leaves very finely and stir them into the mixture with the chopped chocolate. Scoop into a freezer-proof container, cover, and freeze for an hour before eating. If your ice cream is frozen hard, leave it out for 10 to 15 minutes before eating.
Anna Jones is a cook, food writer and stylist. One grey, late-for-the-office day, she decided to quit her day job after reading an article about following your passion. Within weeks, she was signed up on Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Apprentice program. She went on to be part of Oliver’s food team—styling, writing and working behind the scenes on books, TV shows and food campaigns. Now freelance, she has worked with some of the country’s biggest food brands, including Innocent Drinks, for whom she wrote the recipes for Hungry?: The Innocent Recipe Book for Filling Your Family with Good Stuff. She has also worked with other well-known chefs, such as Henry and Tom Herbert (The Fabulous Baker Brothers), Stevie Parle and Antonio Carluccio, and cooked for royalty, politicians and LA school children alike. A Modern Way to Eat (via Amazon or Indiebound) is her first solo book. She lives, writes and cooks in Hackney, East London. annajones.co.uk.