I tried pretty hard, but on tour it was difficult to eat the right things all the time. Venue catering, with the exception of some really top notch places like Munich (thanks for the celeriac and turnip crudités!) consisted of a baseline of cold cuts and cheese. That’s what’s on the rider so that’s what they’re going to put out, but things like salad, sushi or guacamole are often an afterthought and when you’re tired (often) hungover (often) or just lazy (always) it’s a damn old sandwich that you throw down your throat.
Now that I’m at home and master of my own fridge destiny I’m going on a sorta kinda detox. Named because I don’t really believe in quick fixes or diets, but a sorta kinda detox is more of a kick start to healthy eating. I’m giving up cheese and meat and trying to steer clear of fish most of the time. You know, sorta kinda.
When I was at university, a small budget and interest in nutrition heralded what my friends jokingly refer to as ‘the Buckwheat Years’. Boy did I eat healthily, kind of like a hippy monk – I remember the time my sister and her friend visited and I made them this weird purple red cabbage and you guessed it, buckwheat soup. I also drank like a fish fairly frequently, but this is a no shame zone so whatever. It was mostly veggie, a lot of wholegrains including buckwheat obviously and a ton of herbs to flavour rather than salt or stocks.
I may have gotten a bit waylaid since, but I want to reclaim some of the Buckwheat Years. It was all about simple, healthy, tasty food that kept you filled up, I never felt like I was deprived of anything. Hope you enjoy some of the recipes I’m going to be concocting, I haven’t really cooked for two months so this will be exciting!
Here’s a healthy recipe to kickstart this sorta kinda detox. I made it up with what was in my cupboards and happily, it turned out really nice. It’s a super quick, crunchy, tasty bowl of noodles that you serve warm, perfect for tentative spring days. The silken tofu adds a lovely creaminess but if it makes you ralph you can leave it out, although the mix of textures makes it more palatable for Western appetites. Chopping the kale finely means you get the green flavour with none of the curly mischief, it’s not a terrible thing but sometimes you don’t want curly mischief in your mouth.
Soba noodle bowl with omelette, tofu, kale and sichuan peppercorns.
Ingredients (for two)
two bunches of soba noodles
half a packet of silken tofu
two handfuls of kale, chopped finely
two carrots, peeled and grated
tablespoon of sichuan peppercorns
Put water on to boil and start chopping the kale finely and grating your carrot. Put the soba noodles in a pan of your boiled water and set to a gentle rolling boil. Quickly beat the egg and pour into a saucepan to make a very fine omelette, you want this to be well cooked so you have a slight crispness to it. Once that is done remove and roll up on your chopping board. At this point you’ll want to chuck the kale into the noodles for a minute before draining the whole lot. Soba noodles can be tricky but if you make sure to rinse in cold water once cooked they’re usually fairly accommodating.
Slice the rolled omelette into thin strips and then along the length so you get half-strips. Diagonally chop a couple of spring onions and fry in the omelette pan with sichuan peppercorns and sesame seeds. Return the soba noodles and kale to the pan and gently heat with sesame oil, fish sauce and soy sauce. When warmed through stir in the grated carrot and split into two bowls. Add the tofu and egg and then the hot spring onions. Drizzle on some Sriracha to taste and enjoy!
Btw I am totally human so if I cave and eat a burger don’t get mad. No shame zone, remember.
Isabelle O'Carroll: I’m a writer, content designer and consultant with 11+ years’ experience across fashion, food and drink and the arts.