Jamie Oliver’s Miso Soup and Food Revolution in Croatia

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Access to good, fresh, real food and the basic skills to cook it has the power to transform lives, and that is what the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation is all about.

I already wrote in my previous post Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution in Croatia about this marvelous project being brought to Croatia as a partnership of Merkur Insurance Group, Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and Lone Hotel. A project that is all about educating people to eat better and healthier, and to learn how to enjoy food and the process. Cause cooking should be fun! At least I think so 🙂

Cooking is a vital life skill. Knowing how to cook from scratch empowers people to appreciate the value of food, to understand what they are putting into their bodies and, therefore, to nourish themselves and their families with fresh, nutritious food. It’s so important to teach  how to cook from scratch using unrefined food in their most natural condition. Somehow we have all become so lazy: buying everything ready made. We have become ignorant of what we can make ourselves without slaving in the kitchen the whole day through. Just think about it… we stopped baking our own bread, making spreads or hummus, baking and cooking our own breakfast, making sweets and cakes and all that our grand parents still used to make themselves. We just take for granted that all the food is ready bought. And here you get to discover that it isn’t all like that. That we can create our own food

And this is exactly why I myself enjoy doing the workshops of my own and why I find it so rewarding. And why I was  excited to learn about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution workshops going on in Croatia – how all of it is done on a much bigger scale.

The workshops have already started in June and will be available till the end of November. Everybody’s welcome to join and all Merkur Insurance clients can join free of charge. You can apply for the workshops and find out about the schedule directly at the Lone hotel reception.

Now to tell you about the workshop. As an introduction we had a brief nutrition lecture and we talked about how much sugar there is in processed food, using examples of different sodas and juices.

I knew the  store bought drinks were very sugary but was surprised to learn just how much. I knew that sodas had a lot – up to 12 tea spoons in a half liter bottle – but a juice based drink targeted at young children was a surprise. It had 9 tea spoons of refined sugar in it!! It made us all think about hidden sugars in every day processed food, especially when it comes to food targeted at our children – and how we can ingest so much of refined sugar just by drinking a few refreshing drinks during a day. We also talked about having too much salt and fat in our diet.

Then it was time for a fun part: seeing Chef Jimmy Grant make a Thai Green Curry from scratch cause the purpose of the workshop was just that: to leave the participants equipped to create a healthy meal from scratch, setting the path for a lifetime of kitchen confidence and essential nutritional education.

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Jamie Oliver's Miso soup and Food Revolution in Croatia4

While making a Green Curry Paste chef Jimmy shared some simple but amazing tips with us- some of them new to me too!

  • The easiest way to peel fresh ginger is – using a metal spoon! The skin goes right off without scratching into flesh.
  • How to use chillies without getting a scorched throat on the way. I knew you needed to remove the seeds but had no idea that removing the membranes from the inside was as important! Two new things I learned 🙂 And so helpful.
  • The third tip was rolling a lime or a lemon between your palms and a firm surface to make it softer and juice more easily.

I always value tips like this cause they can make a huge difference in process of cooking, especially for inexperienced cooks.

You can find the recipe for Jamie Oliver’s Thai Green Curry chef Jimmy prepared for us here.

I also wanted to share my version of a Jamie Oliver’s recipe and have chosen a Miso Soup. This is one of staples in our home, especially in colder parts of the year. And I say so often that my ultimate comfort food is a bowl of warm nourishing soup, so this is kind of it 😉

My version of Jamie’s soup is a bit more lush and more seasoned thanks to the marinade but check out the original recipe here

Miso Soup with Spicy Tofu and Button Mushrooms

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This is such an easy and quick recipe, but also nourishing and healing. Miso is traditional staple in Asian cuisine and means ‘fermented beans’ in Japanese. In Japan, people begin their day with a bowl of miso soup, believed to stimulate digestion and energise the body. A traditional ingredient in Japanese and Chinese diets, miso paste is made from fermented soybeans and grains and contains millions of beneficial bacteria. It is a miracle food that heals our gut while it purifies our blood from bad fat and toxins, even heavy metals and radiation. It provides our body with easily digestible protein, enzimes and good bacteria essential for digestive our health. It is also believed that it has anti cancer properties and that it prevents the oxidation of body tissues. Yes, that means that it helps us stay young and pretty too 😉

Miso paste is essentially mashed soy beans paste that is then fermented under pressure with addition of salt for long periods of time. There are different versions of miso paste and some are just soy but there are rice and barley version as well. Barley miso paste is my absolute favourite as it has milder flavour and I recommend you to try that one first. Fermentation process means that miso is rich in enzymes and good bacteria, known as probiotics and help a wide range of health issues, especially for digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients. By consuming fermented foods we are adding beneficial bacteria  and enzymes to our overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of our gut and digestive system and enhancing the immune system.

Miso is not only healthy, it is highly popular as it provides an instant flavour foundation. It adds the fifth taste, known as ‘umami’, to all sorts of dishes including soups/broths, salad dressings, vegetables, stews, glazes, and marinades and I use it widely in my cooking.

Miso has been Japanese miracle food for centuries so maybe it’s time that you give it a go too.  Maybe start with this easy recipe 😉

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 portions

Ingredients

1 l vegetable stock
3cm piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
1 fresh green chilli
1 cup of shredded cabbage
1 large carrot
1 kolhrabi
2 tablespoons barley miso paste
natural soy sauce – shoyu
100 g  tofu
1 cup button mushrooms
for marinade: 1 tbsp shoyu, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1 tsp ume su, 1 tbsp olive oil, powdered chilli, ginger and garlic
toasted sesame seeds, spring onion and fresh parsley for garinish

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Method
1.Drain tofu in paper sheets and cut into cubes. The step of draininig tofu is important because only then it will marinate well.
2. Make the marinade mixing all the ingredients in a small jar. Pour over the tofu cubes and halved mushrooms and leave them to marinate for at least 20 minutes.
3. Pour the stock into a pan and bring to the boil.
4. Peel and julienne the ginger, peel and finely slice the garlic, then deseed and chop the chilli. 5. Add to the stock, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Core and shred the cabbage. Peel and julienne the carrot, then add to the pan, cover and simmer for a further 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cabbage is wilted.
7. Pour a ladle of soup into the bowl and disolve the miso in it. then return into the pan and add shoyu to taste. It’s very important not to boil the soup after adding miso to save the probiotics and enzimes from miso.
8. In mean time, heat up a large skillet and toast tofu cubes until golden. Do the same with the button mushrooms.
9. Serve the miso soup in bowls topped with tofu and mushrooms. Garnish with spring onion and minced fresh parsley

*I made the vegetable stock for this soup simply by boiling in water onions, carrots, fresh ginger, garlic, leek with some wakame algae. I simmered it for about half an hour since I was in a hurry. So I nudge you to make that part from scratch as well 😉

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