Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

Gravlax or Gravadlax is the most gloriously simple cured salmon using a little salt, sugar and fresh herbs. I love the addition of the beetroot because of the earthy flavour and most of all the exquisite colour. This is such a luxurious meal and such a treat to prepare for special occasions.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

The salmon must be extremely fresh and of really high quality. Ask your fish monger for a side of the freshest sushi-grade salmon. That’s really the only expense here. The rest of the ingredients are super affordable and most importantly you’ll have some bubbles to sip on during the preparation! Remember to plan ahead if this is for a special occasion as the salmon takes 48 hours to cure.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

Beetroot & Bubbles Salmon Gravadlax

Ingredients:

  • 700-800g sushi-grade side of salmon, skin on
  • 3 large beetroot, grated
  • 150g coarse Kosher rock salt
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 2 large lemons, zested
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 1 large handful dill
  • 75g Muscavado sugar
  • 75ml Méthode Cap Classique

Method:

Remove all pin bones from the salmon and place skin side down on a large baking tray lined with an oversized piece of baking paper.

Crush juniper berries in a mortar and pestle. Mix the crushed juniper berries and all the other ingredients together in a large bowl. Encrust the side of salmon with the cure.

Fold the baking paper tightly around the salmon. Cling wrap the salmon and tray very well so no air can get in. Place in the fridge for 48 hours to cure.

Remove from the fridge. Carefully drain off any liquid and gently remove the cure from the salmon. 

Slice thinly at an angle, avoiding the skin.

Serve with toasted bread, crème fraîche, fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon.

Preserve your salmon in the fridge tightly wrapped in cling film for 3-5 days.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: Méthode Cap Classique provided by the fabulous folks from Krone Twee Jonge Gezellen

tuna poke bowl

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

Poke, pronounced ‘poh-keh’, is a scrumptious Hawaiian dish that is basically deconstructed sushi in a bowl. So if you’re really rubbish with chopsticks you can finally eat sushi with a fork and not be judged. Well, judged a bit less. I adore this dish because of the different textures and flavour combos. The crunchy raw veg and creamy avocado are a match made in heaven for the salty fish and sweet rice. It really is such a well balanced dish, takes no time at all to put together and looks darn pretty too. Check out this awesome article from HuffPost for a run down on all you need to know about poke!

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

One of the most important and delicious flavours in this dish is the sesame seed oil. I used the Organic Sesame Seed Oil from Lemcke Oils. It has a subtle nutty flavour and adds depth to the dish without being overpowering. It’s a great oil to eat as is on salads and dishes such as this one but it is also a great oil to cook with as it has a high smoke point. In a dish like this it is very important to use high quality, fresh ingredients because it is such a simple dish, each ingredient really needs to shine.

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

The fish is obviously paramount. Don’t make this unless you have the freshest and very best quality of tuna or salmon you can get your hands on. When I got home with this chunk of tuna I had to stop the husband from eating it straight off my chopping board with a dash of soy sauce. It was sensational. As for the accompaniments… there are no strict rules. You can add and experiment with all sorts of veggies. You can leave out the rice as well for a deliciously healthy low carb meal. Poke can be as versatile as you allow it to be. This has definitely become a weeknight staple for us.

Tuna Poke Bowl

serves 4

Ingredients:

For the fish:

  • 400-500g fresh tuna, skinned and deboned
  • 75ml soy sauce
  • 45ml Organic Sesame Oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha or more to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced

For the rest of the bowl:

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 60ml rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • grated carrot
  • shaved cucumber
  • sliced radish
  • radish sprouts
  • nori
  • avocado
  • spring onions

Method:

Begin with the rice. Rinse the rice well in a sieve until the water runs clear and then cook according to package instructions.

*While working at The Mandarin Oriental in Paris I was taught to make sushi like a pro. Granted it was filled with foie gras and mango which was not very traditional but it was delish. Rinse the rice until the water runs completely clear. Cook the rice in just enough water to cover it with a fine layer of water sitting on top of it. About 3mm. Also only ever use a wooden spoon when working with sushi rice and do so gently or you’ll break the grains. We even had a dedicated wooden bowl for mixing the seasoning into the rice if you want to go to extremes!

While the rice is cooking mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pan. Heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Cool.

Once the rice has cooked and cooled gently fold in the seasoning using a wooden spoon.

Prep the veggies.

Finally mix all the seasoning ingredients for the fish in a large bowl.

Slice the tuna into cubes and toss gently in the marinade.

Assemble the poke bowl with rice, veggies, avocado, nori, tuna, toasted sesame seeds and little extras like pickled ginger and wasabi if desired.

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

 

*Disclaimer: Delicious oils supplied by the awesome folks from Lemcke Oils

 

oysters 3 ways

oysters 3 ways | The Secret Life of Bee

When I was tiny a family friend paid me R20 (which was A LOT back then) to eat an oyster because I thought they were the nastiest things i’d ever seen. Today the husband has to stop me ordering more before we have to declare bankruptcy.

oysters 3 ways | The Secret Life of Bee

My favourite places to eat oysters in Cape Town are Chefs Warehouse and The Duchess of Wisbeach. So this weekend after many an oyster and many a bottle of wine I called up my favourite fish shop to place an order for some fresh oysters that we could enjoy at home.

oysters 3 ways | The Secret Life of Bee

I am a big fan of just a squeeze of lemon and a tiny dash of Tabasco. But for the sake of some fun i’ve done them three ways. Mignonette which is a classic, a punchy Asian style sauce and Bloody Mary oysters. I got the idea of the Bloody Mary oyster from Sweet Paul Magazine and had to try it. I did mine a bit differently but it’s definitely a winning idea.

oysters 3 ways | The Secret Life of Bee

Oysters 3 ways

each recipe makes enough for a dozen oysters

Mignonette: 

  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sushi vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and allow to to sit for at least an hour before drizzling over freshly shucked oysters.

oysters 3 ways | The Secret Life of Bee

Asian:

  • 1 Tbsp pickled ginger, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sushi vinegar
  • squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • dash of Sriracha
  • finely sliced spring onions

Combine all the ingredients and spoon onto freshly shucked oysters.

oysters 3 ways | The Secret Life of Bee

Bloody Mary:

  • 60ml tomato juice
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • about 10 good dashes of Tabasco
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 celery stick, finely diced

Combine everything except the celery. Dress oysters with the sauce and then finish with a sprinkle of the diced celery.

oysters 3 ways | The Secret Life of Bee

If shucking your own oysters is a tad daunting head over to Serious Eats for the very best oyster shucking step-by-step guide i’ve ever come across. (picture a big thumbs up emoji)

Bon appétit!

oysters 3 ways | The Secret Life of Bee

oysters 3 ways | The Secret Life of Bee

raw vegan brownies

Raw Vegan Brownies | The Secret Life of Bee

These raw brownies are officially taking up permanent residence in my fridge. I have been wanting to make raw treats for ages. Mostly because they’re delicious but also because buying them is super expensive. They took minutes to make and I am so chuffed with the taste. Making them was like a bit of a science experiment for me having never made something like this before and trying to get the texture and taste right.

Raw Vegan Brownies | The Secret Life of Bee

What I found is that they also lend themselves beautifully to adding fun flavours. Dried apricots, cayenne pepper or mint extract would be wonderful additions. They keep really well in the fridge as they soften at room temperature so take them out of the fridge for a few minutes before you want to serve them so they get fudgy and brownie like.

Raw Vegan Brownies | The Secret Life of Bee

Raw Vegan Brownies

Makes 12 small brownies, double the recipe for a more generous portion

Ingredients:

  • 130g medjool dates
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 20g desiccated coconut
  • 30g cocoa powder ( I used NOMU)
  • pinch sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil

Method:

Place all the ingredients except the coconut oil into a food processor and blitz until fine. Heat the coconut oil in a pan until it becomes liquid. Drizzle into the food processor and mix well.

Decant mixture into a lined little loaf tin or square tray. If you do not have one small enough decant onto some baking paper and fold, squeeze and shape it into a square. Place in the freezer to set firm.

Remove and slice into squares.  Dust with cocoa powder.

Keep the brownies in the fridge wrapped up tightly for a week.

Raw Vegan Brownies | The Secret Life of Bee

Raw Vegan Brownies | The Secret Life of Bee