En Route Picnic
In making passage from one place to another we humans seem to suffer such ails. Whether it be stiff joints, digestive upsets or insomnia I doubt we were designed to hurtle through time and space at such a pace. We pay a heavy price for speed and convenience. One such convenience is the humble aeroplane dinner and I'll be upfront right now; I am not a fan. Too much salt, too much processing and too little care. I instead love to take with me my own little picnic and let me tell you; it makes for the envy of a good many rows. These are the assortments I packed en route to London; handmade brown rice crackers, oven roasted chickpeas, dried orange crisps and a bento inspired bowl of wild rice, pumpkin, sweet potato, edamame, avocado and cara cara navel. All good things made for a pleasurable meal amongst the clouds.
Bento Bowl / serves one
1/2 a cup of wild rice
A small piece of pumpkin, peeled
A small sweet potato
1/2 a cup of edamame beans, boiled and shelled
1/2 an avocado, skin removed and seed discarded
1/2 a cara cara navel, skinned removed and flesh segmented
A handful of spinach
A handful of tamari almonds, roughly chopped
Toasted sesame seeds
For the dressing:
2 tbsp of tamari
1 1/2 tbsp of rice vinegar
1 tbsp of sesame oil
1 tbsp of maple syrup
Soak the the wild rice overnight. Bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil and then cook the rice for approximately 30 minutes or until it's bloomed. After which time you can rinse it throughly and then set it aside. Meanwhile dice the pumpkin and sweet potato into 2cm cubes, toss with your choice of oil and then roast for 30 minutes or until golden. Prepare the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients. To assemble the bowl filled it with rice and fold through half the dressing; top this with the remaining ingredients, the last of the dressing and the toasted sesame seeds.
Handmade Rice Crackers
1/4 a cup of linseed
1/3 a cup of quinoa
1 cup of vegetable stock
1 cup of brown rice, soaked and cooked
2 tsp of tamari
1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil
1/3 cup of sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Place the linseed in a small bowl and cover with boiling water for approximately 20 minutes. Meanwhile rinse and drain the quinoa before simmering it in vegetable stock for 12 minutes. Allow it to cool slightly and then process the quinoa, linseed, brown rice, oil and tamari in a food processor until the mixture forms a ball. Fold through the sesame seeds by hand. The dough will become very sticky at this stage. Take the mixture and roll it out between two pieces of parchment to an approximate thickness of 2mm. Score the dough with a knife so that you can break it into pieces once it's cooked. Remove the top parchment and then bake it in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown. Keep an eye on it for those last few minutes as it can burn quickly. Sprinkle the warm cracker with salt and then allow it to cool on the tray before shattering and serving. If you store the crackers in an airtight container they will last up to a month.
Oven Roasted Chickpeas
200g of chickpeas, soaked and cooked
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of ras el hanout spice mix
1/2 tbsp of cinnamon
A good pinch of sea salt flakes
Preheat the oven to 100 degrees celsius. Dry the chickpeas off with absorbent paper as much as possible and then toss them with the olive oil. Roast for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the chickpeas are golden and crisp. Toss through with the spices and salt and then leave to cool completely. If stored in an airtight container they will last up to a week.
Dried Orange Crisps
An orange; I love cara cara navels though any other variety will do
Preheat the oven to 100 degrees celsius. Slice the orange into thin rounds and then roast in the oven for 2 hours or until they're dry and crisp. If stored in an airtight container they will last up to a week.
SEASONAL GUIDE / TEMPERATE CLIMATE
Pumpkin; summer through early winter, sweet potato; early autumn through winter, oranges; a little dependant on species though cara cara navels come in during winter.
ALSO COMPLEMENTARY TO SERVE WITH
Sunflower seeds, pepitas, toasted coconut, hard cheeses, nut butters, dark chocolate.
Brown rice / broccoli florets / cashew nuts / fresh carrot
Vermicelli noodles / asian greens / toasted peanuts / fresh chilli