sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!
Let me start by telling you that in extreme weather and more relaxed periods of time, I always turn to really pared down food. Meals and bowls that have a borderline ascetic kind of vibe. Steamed vegetables with olive oil, roasted squash with a squeeze of lime and pepper, avocado eaten out of its peel with a bit of salt etc. Sharpening of temperatures and some much-appreciated slack times always seem like good opportunities to re-focus on my body and what it’s trying to communicate. Essentially, I know in my heart of hearts that my personal food program needs a bit of cleaning up. Most of the major renovation stuff is over and done with at the house (there’s a kitchen floor now!), I’m in a very relaxed pocket of time with work, and yep. All those desperation/hangry pizzas ate in paint-splattered clothing on the living room floor have taken their toll.

So a bit of a meditation on paring it all down, food and otherwise, is an ongoing thing right now. I’ve been really inspired by 5-7ish ingredient preparations and just trying to find the best way to coax flavour out of various foodstuffs. I’ve been making notes with all of the ideas and successes and I can’t wait to share more of this kind of thing with you here. I find it’s really easy to make food/meal time/life in general rather complex. So finding a wellspring of inspiration in the pursuit of simpler (but still very full) living has been really welcome. So yeah. More of that kinda stuff ’round here for sure. Hope you’re all game.

So the soup! I find soup/stew is a nice go-to when you’re cleaning things up, so to speak. It’s nice to calmly hover around the pot, it’s an economical meal strategy, and soup is also really easy to make healthy and totally delicious. With this one, it’s hard to believe that so few ingredients could be luxurious and satisfying in that deep-warming kinda way, but seriously. So silky and rich. I slowly cook the onions, garlic and aromatics in a hefty slick of oil to bring out the sweetness and to remove any speck of raw spice. I always employ this strategy with soup–kind of stewing the onions + flavour-y bits in oil before I add the larger components. When you see that slick of oil mingled with herbs, spice etc. on the top of the pot, you know you’re doing it right.

And a note on that slick of oil: I was a grapeseed kinda gal through and through until I read Winnie Abramson‘s book One Simple Change, which is a completely excellent, no-nonsense companion to living a brighter + healthier life.  I reserved my olive oils for salads and general drizzlin’ because everyone was saying that it wasn’t fit for heated contact. So grapeseed oil became my thing because of its neutral taste and ability to handle high heat, but in her segment on fats and oils, Winnie mentions its tendency to originate from genetically modified crops, so I’m slowly moving away from it/seeking out a more trusted source (holler if you got one). In the meantime, I’m using standard, organic olive oil (not extra virgin), which can be had for a reasonable price at almost any establishment that sells food. Winnie notes that bringing up the temperature slowly is crucial, so I’m taking her advice and loving it big time. It’s been nice to bring olive oil back into the circle a bit more. Anyway, hope all of youse in the midst of polar vortex round II (electric bugaloo!) are snuggled up this week. Make soup! :)

sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!squeezed // the first messpin it!sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange // the first messpin it!

sweet potato soup with coriander + blood orange
Barely adapted from GP’s It’s All Good (Yes, I get to call her GP).
serves: makes 2 litres
notes: Juice from a regular orange or a splash or sherry vinegar would be just as nice as the blood orange. Also, I garnish this with some little quickie sweet potato chips: just sauté some thin slices in olive oil over medium heat, remove when lightly browned, and then dust them with a bit of salt or spice (I used Old Bay seasoning).

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, small dice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili flakes
juice of a blood orange
2 sweet potatoes, peeled + diced
5 cups vegetable stock
salt + pepper

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, coriander, and chili flakes to the pot. Lower the heat until the sizzling sounds a bit lighter. Stir and sauté this mixture until the onions are stew-y and soft, but not browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add more oil if necessary.

Add the blood orange juice to the pot and stir. Add the sweet potatoes and stir again. Season everything with lots of salt and pepper. Add the stock to the pot and increase the heat. Once everything’s boiling, bring it down to a simmer. Cook the soup until the sweet potatoes are really tender, about 12-15 minutes. Purée the soup in batches in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the soup hot with little sweet potato chips and a sprinkle of sesame seeds if you like.

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  • Kathryn23/01/2014 - 7:43 am

    Oh yes, I remember those hangry pizzas so well especially during the month or so that we didn’t have any kind of kitchen and had a weird messed up crazy diet. It was so good to get back on an even keel. And I’m all for simplicity and paring down. There’s nothing like a gigantic list of ingredients to put me off a recipe; it just seems like you’re trying to hide something. This soup = perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Supal {chevrons and éclairs}23/01/2014 - 9:10 am

    The addition of the blood orange juice right after browning the onions a bit is a brilliant idea! Will have to try this for future soup and perhaps other fruits too :) xReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan23/01/2014 - 9:39 am

    I’m with you sister! Sometimes it’s easy to make things/recipes too complicated and miss out on the simple flavors. I have everything I need for this, so be gone polar vortex! Also, can these vortexes pleaseee be over??ReplyCancel

  • Tessa | Balancing Active23/01/2014 - 9:40 am

    I was wondering what to do with the two sweet potatoes sitting in my fridge that are about to go bad. Then I realized I also have all the other ingredients for this soup in my house (minus the blood orange, but I’ll take your word on the substitutions)–problem solved! Thanks for the simple recipe. Your photos are stunning–especially that last one.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda23/01/2014 - 9:42 am

    This is a favourite in our house; I love how much body this soup has considering it is made up of so few ingredients. Last weekend I made a double batch to freeze so we’ve got sweet potato soup for days! I love the idea of adding orange juice!ReplyCancel

  • Sini | my blue&white kitchen23/01/2014 - 10:05 am

    Wow! Absolutely gorgeous. It’s like having sunshine in your bowl. Can’t wait to make this.ReplyCancel

  • Belinda@themoonblushbaker23/01/2014 - 10:20 am

    I praise you that you only get hangry pizza during kitchen renovations; I get them even when I am re doing any part pf the house. I am a fan of grape seed oil too; I have never relaly been in to olive oil as the flavor is way too strong for me.

    it is wonderful you are being inspired by short list recipes; they are naked recipes were the best produce makes the best meals and you can focus on your cooking skills. Love this soup; and the colour is so bright and cheerful for the blue cloudy days.ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway23/01/2014 - 10:27 am

    I too have moved away from grapeseed (and rice bran oil) in the last year or so, after reading about the process it takes to make the stuff (using chemicals!) Ekk. I now only ever use olive oil, ghee and coconut oil.
    ps-love that you call her GP you rockstar. Lovely soup!ReplyCancel

  • shanna mallon23/01/2014 - 10:37 am

    goooooorgeous. and ps Winnie’s book! I love it, too.ReplyCancel

  • Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth23/01/2014 - 10:55 am

    I thought the blood orange juice would turn this a shade of pink, but the yellow color is gorgeous! Definitely the kind of hearty soup we need in the Frozen North right now!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle23/01/2014 - 12:45 pm

    This looks amazing, I really wish I liked sweet potatoes!! The pictures make me want to be brave and try it again in a new way.ReplyCancel

  • Golubka23/01/2014 - 1:18 pm

    It’s my favorite soup in that book. Can’t wait to try it with blood orange juice next time.ReplyCancel

  • Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward23/01/2014 - 1:23 pm

    This soup looks so balanced, fresh and flavorful! And the color – wow. Any vegetarian or meat eater would enjoy it. Thank you for sharing! Best, ShannaReplyCancel

  • Eileen23/01/2014 - 2:06 pm

    That soup is the most beautiful color. I love the idea of punching up sweet potato with citrus!ReplyCancel

  • Kankana23/01/2014 - 2:31 pm

    I am in love with the color of the soup, so warm, like sunshine in a bowl. Perfect for the season.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey23/01/2014 - 3:02 pm

    YES! I am so with you on the simple ingredient thing! I’ve been making a veggie stew with little more than 6 ingredients, it leaves me super full and warm, totally essential during these months. I am so intrigued by the blood orange juice, I am totally adding it next time I make sweet potato soup! GP for the win!ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea//TheNakedFig23/01/2014 - 3:30 pm

    This looks so delicious! Nothing beats a creamy soup on a cold day. And I love the addition of blood orange. Can’t wait to try!ReplyCancel

  • Amy23/01/2014 - 3:41 pm

    I love when something that looks so beautiful is made with all the stuff hanging out in the bottom of my fridge at this very moment. Perhaps a swirl of cilantro oil for party purposes?ReplyCancel

  • Dawn23/01/2014 - 4:15 pm

    Try macadamia nut oil, it has a pleasing buttery taste. I use it for shallow frying and in baked goods. Or sesame oil.ReplyCancel

  • Dawn23/01/2014 - 4:16 pm

    I don’t use the sesame oil in baking, just for frying.ReplyCancel

  • Medha23/01/2014 - 4:36 pm

    Your gorgeous pictures brighten up my day in this chilly weather. I moved away from olive oil little bit and start using ghee and coconut oil in cooking, I love the taste and smell of these oils.ReplyCancel

  • Kate23/01/2014 - 5:36 pm

    This soup looks beautiful and the flavors sound like exactly what I need to unclench my shoulders on these subzero days we’ve been having in New York City. Thanks for the idea!ReplyCancel

  • Nicola | Homegrown Kitchen23/01/2014 - 10:01 pm

    Regarding using olive oil in cooking: I am of the belief to use food how we have for centuries. Olive oil has in fact been used for ‘gentle’ sauteing in Mediterranean style food for as long as the olive groves have existed. However, and here is a tip I learned while studying natural nutrition, always add chopped onion and/or garlic when cooking with olive oil over a low/ medium heat. The sulfur in onions and garlic is a powerful antioxidant that protects the oil for oxidising. If you think about it we generally always add chopped onion and/or garlic when we make soup or sauce or a casserole, right?
    Happy cooking with olive oil Laura, love your recipes :)ReplyCancel

  • kw24/01/2014 - 4:19 pm

    I made this today. It was really good. It hit the spot during this cold snap we are having. Instead of the sweet potatoes I fried Yukon potatoes in with oil, rosemary and sage that I added at the end.

    Really good stuff. Thanks for the recipeReplyCancel

  • Sandy24/01/2014 - 5:43 pm

    You take such beautiful pictures. How does someone take red onion peels and make them look like flowers? Well done! Also I love sweet potato so I need to make this soup.ReplyCancel

  • […] 2. Sweet Potato Soup with Coriander + Blood Orange  from The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • Helen @ Scrummy Lane28/01/2014 - 11:33 am

    This is such an interesting and tasty-sounding twist on a simple soup. Still seems like it would be easy to make though. Delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures02/02/2014 - 9:43 pm

    I always struggle with what oil to use as well – there are so many contradictions out there! Lately, I’ve been using ghee (per my yoga / hippie reading: http://www.yogajournal.com/health/56) as my choice but who knows if it’s just another trend oil or could be the answer.ReplyCancel

  • […] van zoete patat met koriander en bloedappelsien! Ik kan er niet aan weerstaan. Ik zag het op The First Mess en die dame maakt echt heerlijke […]ReplyCancel

  • Ileana19/02/2014 - 6:50 pm

    Such spectacular photos! I’ll have to keep your soup tips in mind next time I’m cooking up a batch.ReplyCancel

  • […] Sweet Potato Soup with Coriander and Blood Orange / The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Sweet Potato Soup with Coriander & Blood Orange from The First Mess — The title of this soup had me drooling, but the photos and recipe made […]ReplyCancel

farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas // the first messpin it!flipping through "Whole Grain Mornings" by Megan Gordon // the first messpin it!farro breakfast bowl ingredients // the first messpin it!
Lately, I’m really into daily devotion, as opposed to yearly resolutions. Also, I didn’t make that up myself. I saw it on the sign outside of a church down the road from my house last week, all covered in snow and ice.  Mark was driving, and I read it as we whizzed on by, everything a blur except for that sharp line of guidance in neon. “Oh! That’s really great.” I made a note of it.

There weren’t a lot of spare moments for contemplation or general downtime in the four months leading into the eve of this year. There are lines of reasoning for that harried period of time, a few of them more ridiculous than others now that I have a shred of hindsight. But I caught a bit of a break over the holidays and legitimately spent one of those days shuttling to three different Target stores on the hunt for highly specific Christmas decorations that were now 70% off. You know, for our festive aesthetic enjoyment an entire year from now. I am awesome at self-crazy-making and as much as I recognize this dumbfounding capability, this is going to be the year that it stops.

On new year’s eve, we thought it would be fun to spend the night at the house, our house. We have an operational heating system, running water, a beautiful plant from a lovely friend, and a bed in its right place with cozy sheets (but not much else at this point), so it seemed like the right way to greet a new calendar year. I got some beers from the brewery down the road from my parents’ place, packed my favourite pyjamas into the overnight bag, and we were on our way as the sun began its exit. The mature trees were all stark against the reds, oranges, creamy yellow, and cold, deep-sea blue when my favourite Tom Waits song came on the radio. Whenever the stereo shuffles onto it, the smile of distinctly felt ease creeps up on my face, I lean back a bit, and stare out the window with a new glance, one of truer awareness for what surrounds. Then Mark starts doing his best Tom Waits impression and I laugh so hard/start yelling “Noooooo!” half-disapprovingly because he’s co-opting my moment of car travel serenity.

This time, my eyes started misting up at the end, the relevance and surprising weight of it all. The notion that you can build up your own personal hell with ease, taking the path of no surrender to madness despite knowing better, the startling transience of our lives here, and that you can find refuge and stillness by finally seeing the love and varied semblances of “home” that are all around you. It was a moment of clarity that caught me off guard.

There was no well-planned dinner or restaurant reservation, no champagne, not a stitch of sequins in my wardrobe that night, and no grandiose proclamations or gestures either. We stepped out for some Tsingtao’s and noodles, and then followed that up with more beers in our jams watching Parts Unknown. We barely made it to midnight before passing out, but it was perfect. Amidst the boxes and mess, our work-in-progress home was flooded with warm light and laughter. Those moments of relief were arrived at with surprising ease too.

So I’m working on greater appreciation and overall life improvement on a day-to-day basis now. I don’t poison myself with guilt over enjoying a coffee (or three) in the morning like I used to. I’m mentally pumping myself up on the idea of saying no to anything that diminishes a self-determined value of my work. I’m trying to communicate better with the man I have the privilege of sharing a life with. I’m listening, like really listening, with less pre-conceived notions. I’m valiantly trying to use less paper towels. And I’m making time for breakfast.

Megan Gordon’s book, Whole Grain Mornings, arrived in the post around Christmas time and I loved it as soon as I took a 3 minute glance through its pages. I’ve always appreciated the calm and grounded tone of her blog, A Sweet Spoonful, and she drives home the importance of mornings with her granola guru ways. The book’s arrival at my doorstep in the crush of the holidays was rather timely to say the least. It’s all laid out by season and the varying paces of life–the mornings that flash by on the way to work, the brunches that see us entertaining loved ones into the afternoon, and the days to slow down and savour every drop of that quiet early light. Simply put, it’s my kind of book. It’s personal in a way that’s relatable, all tying back to those deeply felt seasonal shifts. I’ve been eyeing the banana walnut baked oatmeal, the pear hazelnut oat muffins, the nutty millet breakfast cookies, and the whole grain gingerbread. For now, I’ve been playing around with the savoury inspiration. This bowl is a mix of her greens + grains scramble and the California barley bowl with lemon yogurt sauce. Farro is one of my favourite grains because of the delightful chew. I add some “scrambled” chickpeas with scallions + turmeric, and top the whole heap of it off with some pickled jalapeños, ripe avocado, sesames, and a creamy lemony sunflower-based sauce. Along with the myriad of daily devotions going on, it’s my new favourite thing. Maybe make it yours too?

Wishing everyone all the good things for this year. Thanks, as always, for your kindness in this space. xo

farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas // the first messpin it!turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas // the first messpin it!farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas // the first messpin it!all done // the first messpin it!
farro breakfast bowl w/ turmeric + scallion scrambled chickpeas, avocado, and sunflower lemon sauce

Inspired by Megan Gordon’s Whole Grain Mornings
serves: 2
notes: I take a pasta-ish approach to cooking farro–I just rinse it under cold water, drop it in a medium saucepan and cover it with a bunch of fresh water. I bring it to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or so, or until it’s cooked through, but still slightly chewy. You can add more water as it cooks if necessary. Once it’s done and I’ve drained it, I pour a good bit of extra virgin olive oil on top and coat all the grains in it to keep them from clumping up.

1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked for at least an hour
juice + zest of 1 lemon + extra for serving if you like
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
4 scallions, sliced, white + green parts separated
1 1/2 cups cooked farro (using the cooking method described in the notes above)
grapeseed oil (or other heat-tolerant oil)
3 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2-1 tsp ground turmeric
sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 ripe avocado, peeled + diced
pickled jalapeños
salt + pepper (I like Vege-Sal or Herbamare for this)

In a blender, combine the sunflower seeds, lemon zest, juice, dijon salt, pepper and a splash of water to get the blade moving. Mix it on high until a smooth sauce-like consistency forms. Add as much water as you like to make the sauce veer towards thick or thin, depending on your preference. Check it for seasoning and scrape the sauce into a jar or small bowl. Stir in a fat pinch of the sliced scallion greens and set aside.

Portion the cooked farro into two bowls.

In a sauté pan, heat the grapeseed oil over medium. Mash the chickpeas up with a fork, leaving some of them whole. Add the sliced white parts of the scallions and the turmeric to the pan. Stir them around until the scallions are slightly soft and the raw edge from the turmeric has faded. Add the mashed chickpeas and season the mix with salt and pepper. “Scramble” the mix in the pan until everything is hot. Stir in some of the scallion greens at the end.

Divide the chickpea scramble between the two bowls of farro. Top bowls with the sunflower lemon sauce. Garnish both with the extra scallions, diced avocado, pickled jalapeños, sesame seeds, and some extra ground black pepper.

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  • Kathryn08/01/2014 - 5:04 am

    I’m so excited for this book to arrive – I can tell it’s going to be my favourite thing ever. I love this savoury take on breakfasting too; I never thought I’d be the kind of person to want anything other than a muffin in the morning but I’m finding more and more that the idea of proper grains + veggies is appealing. Happy new year Laura, looking forward to seeing what 2014 has in store for you xoReplyCancel

  • Melissa08/01/2014 - 5:51 am

    What a wonderful take on a savoury breakfast. I will be bookmarking this recipe to make. Gorgeous photography too.ReplyCancel

  • Brianne08/01/2014 - 9:43 am

    I have to get a hold of this book. Everything I’ve heard about it sounds great! After a crazy holiday apart, my husband and I stayed in on New Year’s Eve. We, too, went out for noodles without any sparkle. Afterwards we watched some movie at home in our sweats while drinking champagne. I fell asleep at 11, but he woke me up at 11:50 so we could ring in the new year together. It was wonderful. I love your outlook on the new year; it’s so inspiring. Best to you!ReplyCancel

  • Ali @ Inspiralized08/01/2014 - 9:44 am

    This is absolutely incredible! I want this for breakfast, lunch and dinner.ReplyCancel

  • Karolina08/01/2014 - 9:51 am

    OMG!! I am doing this for my tomorrow breakfast. I have a whole jar of farro sitting on my kitchen shelf and I never knew how should I use it. I like your version very mush. Can I make it in advance? (say in the evening, to take it to work the next day?)ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright08/01/2014 - 1:53 pm

      Hi Karolina, You could definitely assemble the bowl the night before and just heat it up in the morning and top it off with your avocado, sesames and sauce. And if you’re cool with a room temperature kind of thing, by all means throw everything together the night before.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Tessa08/01/2014 - 10:42 am

    I love your use of the avocado skin (peel?)with the lemon as a little garnish/prop–very creative.ReplyCancel

  • shanna mallon08/01/2014 - 11:22 am

    daily devotion. YES. I want that, too.ReplyCancel

  • la domestique08/01/2014 - 11:27 am

    I’m a breakfast-loving person and this bowl looks like a great way to start the day! Here’s to a mega-fantastic 2014!ReplyCancel

  • Christine08/01/2014 - 1:34 pm

    This all sounds delicious, and I think you’re a genius with the sauce. Thanks for the reminder to savour those quieter moments and take a step back perspective-wise :)ReplyCancel

  • Ashley08/01/2014 - 4:48 pm

    So lovely, in thoughts, words, and pictures. As your posts always are.ReplyCancel

  • Sherrie | With Food + Love08/01/2014 - 8:14 pm

    Laura –

    Super gorgeous photos on this one. I actually own that same vintage red + white pot! I have a blue + white too, they’re the prefect props.

    So much love!
    SHERRIEReplyCancel

  • Lindsey08/01/2014 - 8:18 pm

    I totally hear you on the whole not making resolutions thing. Sounds like you and yours had a quiet and lovely celebration together – those are the best!

    This scramble is super! I love the idea of making a breakfast with chickpeas + turmeric + scallions! I’m also all over the sunflower cream,that’s def going on the must-make list!ReplyCancel

  • sara forte08/01/2014 - 8:45 pm

    first off, your writing is so sweet and wonderful. Love all of it, but especially the day at a time sort of devotion. I find that to be way more practical and worth sticking to as opposed to larger, vague goals that I seldom revisit until I return to that same binder the following Dec. 30thish. I’m on board. Also. You never cease to amaze me, Laura. Scrambled chickpeas. Of course. I love eggs HOWEVER this is genius and I am so impressed with your continued creativity, my friend.ReplyCancel

  • Sally - My Custard Pie09/01/2014 - 12:30 am

    Hopped over here from My Darling Lemon Thyme and so glad I did. Love your photographs, writing and recipes but most of all your approach to life. Balanced…and a bit messy. Will be visiting often.ReplyCancel

  • Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)09/01/2014 - 8:10 am

    “The mature trees were all stark against the reds, oranges, creamy yellow, and cold, deep-sea blue when my favourite Tom Waits song came on the radio. Whenever the stereo shuffles onto it, the smile of distinctly felt ease creeps up on my face, I lean back a bit, and stare out the window with a new glance, one of truer awareness for what surrounds. Then Mark starts doing his best Tom Waits impression and I laugh so hard/start yelling “Noooooo!” half-disapprovingly because he’s co-opting my moment of car travel serenity.”

    This. Just, this.

    We’re on a hella similar musical plane, and that just makes me smile.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda09/01/2014 - 1:56 pm

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while now, but this post resonated so much with me I had to comment. A) I love that Tom Waits song and B) the line about creating your own personal hell with ease despite knowing better just is so true. It’s amazing how we can recognize the false starts and sometimes choose not to mitigate the damage. But things have a way of righting themselves, as you felt and saw. This meal is a great reflection of that. Thanks for showing such a true reflection of yourself here on your blog. Best, AReplyCancel

  • Megan09/01/2014 - 2:25 pm

    This looks just lovely, and I am liking your outlook resolutions or lack thereof. We all could use a break from our own judgment from time to time :)ReplyCancel

  • I made resolutions but smart ones. There are two not that east- visiting Wild Wild West and seeing bridges from The Bridges of Madison County. But so far so good, I do it day by day and it seems to work. Thank you for the tip about book, I am always looking for morning inspirations :) Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • Amy09/01/2014 - 6:48 pm

    Gorgeous photos per usual! I love a good savory breakfast. Curious, why do you soak the seeds?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright10/01/2014 - 12:25 am

      Hi Amy! I soak the seeds just to soften them up a bit before they hit the blender. Makes for a creamier dressing in the end.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Jenn Radford09/01/2014 - 7:50 pm

    This looks amazing. I’m hugely into breakfast, so this book sounds right up my alley! Looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us readers in 2014. All the bestReplyCancel

  • Megan Gordon10/01/2014 - 12:40 am

    Such a beautiful post and I’m so glad you’re making the recipes your own — I think this savory bowl really lends itself to that. Leftover grains + little bits you’re excited about in the fridge = new breakfast inspiration. Gorgeous photos, as always. Happiest of weekends to you! ~MeganReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway10/01/2014 - 4:04 am

    Your New Years eve sounded absolutely perfect. As does this bowl of goodness, scrambled chickpeas?! Brilliant xxReplyCancel

  • Jacqui10/01/2014 - 12:23 pm

    Scrambled chickpeas! Such a great idea! I love a good savory breakfast, but it usually includes eggs, this will be a nice switch. Here’s to a less “creating personal hell” year ; )ReplyCancel

  • […] about as sexy as oatmeal ever looks, folks. Then I’ll probably have to try Laura’s spin on the farro bowl and prepare some saucy tomato poached eggs for brunch once I’m settled into my new house. I. […]ReplyCancel

  • hannah10/01/2014 - 9:45 pm

    This looks DELICIOUS, I’d actually love it as a cosy dinner. I’d love to see you veganise some of those recipes linked above – would you just add a flax egg to the cookies?
    Also, do you fancy sharing that persimmon smoothie? I Loooooove persimmons but have never blended one, do you just throw it in with some dates? do you peel it?
    Thank you for sharing and wishing you such a happy new year, I love your blog and every word that you write and look forward to following your adventures!ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright13/01/2014 - 1:04 pm

      Hi Hannah,
      For the millet cookies, I think I would sub mashed ripe banana for the egg and up the baking powder in the recipe to a full teaspoon. And for the persimmon smoothie, I just used a chopped ripe persimmon (peel and all), a couple chopped figs, 3 pitted dates, some vanilla, the juice of a couple oranges and some coconut yogurt. The pectin in the persimmon made it pretty thick so just be aware of that if you make it :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Teri11/01/2014 - 11:19 pm

    um, the list of ingredients doesn’t seem to have farro. (not that I have any, what is it and what can I substitute, please) and thank you for the second paragraph of your essay. I needed that… very very much.ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright12/01/2014 - 2:22 pm

      Hi Teri, sorry about that confusion. I added the amount of farro into the recipe, and just to let you know–it’s a grain similar in body/texture to wheat berries or whole grain spelt. You can use any cooked grain you like in its place (quinoa, millet, bulgur etc)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Megan12/01/2014 - 1:39 pm

    As someone who can rarely handle a sweet breakfast but is getting a bit sick of eggs and bagels w/ cream cheese, this looks AMAZING. And the further I got in the pictures the more I realized: I have almost all of these ingredients in my pantry right now, but never would have thought of combining them. It was as if you knew and were writing just for me!

    On that note, though: one of the things I’m missing is dijon mustard. Would you have any recommendations for a substitute/alternative cream sauce? Last time I had a similar problem I made a maple chili curry yogurt, but I feel like that would be too heavy for this.

    (Note: I’m very much a beginner homechef. I’m still learning a lot about flavor pairings, often through a lengthy trial and error process, as I over-zealously make things up as I go. I was quite surprised when the aforementioned yogurt turned out semi-decent.)ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright12/01/2014 - 2:24 pm

      Hi Megan, in the cookbook I was working from, the author actually recommends a simple sauce of yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and chopped chives/green onions for this bowl. So maybe you could do something like that?
      -LReplyCancel

  • Steph13/01/2014 - 3:18 am

    That bowl of goodness looks so vibrant and inviting, I have never tried farro, but think I should :)ReplyCancel

  • Emily | The Guest House13/01/2014 - 10:56 am

    I am always, ALWAYS, looking for new good savoury breakfast ideas. This is one I’ve never thought of before so thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food13/01/2014 - 11:38 am

    Well… this is going on my must make list. What a wonderful way to start the day.ReplyCancel

  • Allyssa14/01/2014 - 12:22 pm

    That breakfast looks delicious! I love your blog, by the way. :)ReplyCancel

  • Kristie Eccleston15/01/2014 - 8:42 pm

    I’m new here and WOW! I can’t get over the photography of the food. I mean I can’t wait to try some of these recipes but I was drawn in by the photos!ReplyCancel

  • The Rose Journals17/01/2014 - 1:36 am

    Every time I come on your blog I’m swept away with the originality. Seriously, you be killin it. So blessed for you! :):)ReplyCancel

  • T18/01/2014 - 3:52 pm

    Beauty. I am going to try think with black rice to make it gluten-free!ReplyCancel

  • SouthernSpoonBelle19/01/2014 - 12:35 am

    Savory breakfasts have unexpectedly become one of my favorite weekend habits– really looking forward to trying this combination. Happy 2014 to y’all, and, as always, thanks for sharing your thoughts and beautiful food!ReplyCancel

  • Monica21/01/2014 - 6:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe! It’s already become a favorite. Made exactly as written, the only change we made was adding fresh serrano chiles as garnish. The sunflower butter was a great surprise — excellent vegan ‘yogurt.’ Thanks for the great tips for cooking farro.ReplyCancel

  • Georgia09/02/2014 - 8:30 pm

    There is no way I’m not making this
    ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey17/02/2014 - 10:17 pm

    I have been a bacon and eggs for breakfast kind of girl for a long time. And even though I won’t be giving up bacon and eggs for good anytime soon, this has become my new everyday breakfast. So easy to throw together in the morning when everything is made up ahead of time, so satisfying and feel good. The jalapenos just send this over the awesome edge for me.ReplyCancel

  • Kayla01/04/2014 - 12:10 pm

    Scrambled chickpeas with greens has been my go-to lunch lately thanks to this post! I absolutely love it. I add a big spoonful of tahini right before taking the scramble off the heat and stir it around so it binds a little – adds just the right amount of creaminess.ReplyCancel

  • […] Farro Breakfast Bowl with Turmeric – The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Farro Breakfast Bowl with Turmeric + Scallion Scrambled Chickpeas- The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] A nutritious whole-grain and savory breakfast. Get the recipe here. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] them in a skillet with spinach or other veggies and seasonings (check out this yummy scallion-turmeric version from The First Mess for inspiration). (15 grams […]ReplyCancel

  • amelia05/07/2015 - 10:30 am

    I came to your website seeking chickpea scrambled “eggs” and found answers of a different kind instead. Thank you for Tom Waits and Thank you for you. God Bless!ReplyCancel

  • Audrey29/07/2015 - 11:02 pm

    Hi-
    I loved this recipe. I made it for a lunch sharing plan with a co-worker.
    When I made it, I used sunflower seed butter instead of sunflower seeds and it turned out great. The flavor of the sauce is so nice and gives just the perfect taste with the turmeric. Thanks so much for posting this!!ReplyCancel

  • […] in the morning. Some mornings it’s a quick protein shake or smoothie and others it’s a chickpea scramble or bowl of savory breakfast porridge, but lately my go-to has been this waffle. Partly because […]ReplyCancel

vegan earl grey + chocolate shakes // the first messpin it!cotoneaster // the first messpin it!
Straight up: I’ve overextended myself this holiday season. Oh, you too? I think it’s safe to say that we could all use a milkshake and a pat on the back right about now. Emotions run high and the frantic aspect of it all doesn’t seem to offer any relief (like when I overheard a bundled up elderly woman kindly asking where the chocolates were at Target the other night—cried. Like big time.) Something frothy and sweet, and maybe just a little assurance that all of our efforts are worth it could certainly help in some way. This is true in the busyness of life in a general sense; not just the month of December.

So I’m here to help with a simple little treat and a virtual high five for all the things you got goin’ on–the multiple shopping lists, the handmade hostess gifts, conveying sentiment in a way that feels just right, making the best cheeseboard ever, hitting that high note in “silent night,” flooding your sugar cookie cutouts with precision, foraging for decorative twigs to tie on your packages, planning a perfect Christmas morning breakfast, strategizing your boxing day scores well in advance, working in some time to partake in Beyoncé’s “visual experience” (you got to), shovelling the driveway like a boss, buying enough dog food to make it over the obligatory 3 day holiday retail closure, syncing your twinkle lights up to Trans-Siberian Orchestra, giving up and realizing that just telling someone how grateful you are for their light and a big hug is probably more than enough… I know that you got all of this on lock.

I’ve got mad faith in the healing properties of a chocolate shake, like a magical salve for your entire being. My little version here has an earl grey-steeped almond milk that totally brings it, and some premium vanilla from vegan baking pro/total sweetheart Ashlae. I add a little citrus zest to the milk to really enhance the bergamot in the tea. Since I went the extra step on the steep + chill earl grey milk move, I rely on some particularly good chocolate ice cream from the people at Luna & Larry’s to make this come together quickly. If you have time to make your own, this recipe without the hazelnuts would be just right.

Anyway, short and sweet today. I probably won’t be back with a post until the new year (but I’ll still be doing stuff on Instagram, Twitter + Pinterest, no doubt). Once I get through all of the things, I’ll be taking a couple days to just chill the most. Hope you all have a restorative and full holiday. Sending my big hugs for the start of 2014 too. It’s gonna be a big one, I can feel it :) Thanks as always for your love and kindness here. xo

vegan earl grey + chocolate shakes // the first messpin it!vegan earl grey + chocolate shakes // the first messpin it!vegan earl grey + chocolate shakes // the first messpin it!
vegan earl grey chocolate shakes
serves: 4 small servings or 2 very adult portions
notes: I like to blend a shake with ice to get it super frothy, but this is personal preference. Leave it out if you want a smoother kind of feel.

shakes:
1 1/2 cups almond milk (I used unsweetened)
3-4 earl grey tea bags, or 4 tsp loose leaf earl grey tea
strip of orange zest
splash of maple syrup (if you used unsweetened almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
6-8 scoops of non-dairy chocolate ice cream
big handful of ice (optional)

to serve:
coconut whip
shaved dark chocolate

In a small saucepan, bring the almond milk, tea, and orange zest to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the mixture to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and cool the mixture completely in the fridge (or place the pot in some snow if you have it in your area–worked like a charm for me).

In a blender combine the earl grey milk, maple syrup, vanilla, chocolate ice cream, and ice. Blend on high for a minute or so, or until you have a creamy, smooth and homogenous mixture. Pour it out into glasses and serve with coconut whip and shaved chocolate if you like. Enjoy immediately.

 

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  • These look wonderful, and I sure could use one right now (6am -that’s ok right). So overextended even though I planned not to be. Oh well, it always works out in the end (true words from my 7 year old!)ReplyCancel

  • Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)19/12/2013 - 9:21 am

    If any proof exists that our souls are on the same plane, it’s the fact that I read this post WHILE getting down to the Beyonce experience. For maybe the fifth time.

    Shake looks so, so boss. Big hugs for a present-(both kinds)-filled 2014, and for shakes at all times of the year.ReplyCancel

  • Ali @ Inspiralized19/12/2013 - 9:35 am

    you are a total genius, I love this blog!ReplyCancel

  • Crista19/12/2013 - 10:08 am

    i LOVE this.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey19/12/2013 - 10:24 am

    You’re constantly coming up with the most BOMB beverages. Love the combo of soothing earl gray and the comfort that chocolate provides :) Merry, merry and happy, happy in 2014 xo!ReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan19/12/2013 - 10:29 am

    Girl you are steeping that milk and making it all earl grey up in hurrr! Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica @ conveganence19/12/2013 - 10:52 am

    I wish I had this in front of me right now! Think I’ll prep the tea mixture and coconut whip on Christmas Eve so I can enjoy this on Christmas morning :)ReplyCancel

  • dishing up the dirt19/12/2013 - 12:36 pm

    These sound amazing. You are a total genius girl!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle19/12/2013 - 3:13 pm

    Um, ya, this looks wonderful Laura! You’re a star. Merry Christmas and enjoy the R&R. Looking forward to more from you in the New Year! xoReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe19/12/2013 - 6:12 pm

    I laughed out loud at the “buying enough dog food to make it over the obligatory 3 day holiday retail closure” part. I’m totes with you there. Especially because my dog eats raw food and therefore I can only buy a couple of weeks worth at a time. Sounds like you deserve a break – ENJOY!ReplyCancel

  • Harriet19/12/2013 - 8:10 pm

    This looks stupefyingly delicious. Tea-infused anything is magical.

    Thank you for your words on the festive craziness – this year I’m feeling a very relaxed Christmas is required, with lots of warmth and love.

    Wishing you the merriest of Christmases, Laura! XXReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway19/12/2013 - 8:36 pm

    This looks perfect! Ill be making one as soon as we get home. Happy holidays to you love, I hope they slow down for you soon xxxReplyCancel

  • Kathryn20/12/2013 - 7:14 am

    Happy holidays Laura. Wishing you lots of love and laughter for 2014 xoReplyCancel

  • […]  Image Source […]ReplyCancel

  • sarah21/12/2013 - 10:52 am

    Oh, I love you. Every night for the last month, my kids ask me to sing Silent Night to them before bed – and half the time I ace that note, and the others, well, they don’t mind.

    This looks so good! I’ve overextended myself, too, and could sure use this shake.

    Much love to you, Laura. I hope your holidays are merry and bright. And let your heart be light. xoReplyCancel

  • Ashlae21/12/2013 - 4:02 pm

    HELLLLLLL YES! So stoked the vanilla snuck through security. I made a chai version of this for my post-workout indulgence – used cinnamon ice cream (it’s all I haaaaad), hella cacao powder, and protein powder. So good. You rule.ReplyCancel

  • dana21/12/2013 - 4:49 pm

    smitten smitten smitten with this post/recipe/these photos! Love it all, friend!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy Feyer Salo21/12/2013 - 9:35 pm

    I am going to try this over the holidays. So gorgeous. Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Kasey21/12/2013 - 11:53 pm

    Oh, YES. I just made a big batch of Sarah Kieffer’s peppermint bark, and am getting quite close to overextending myself. These look brilliant. Happy holidays dear friend!ReplyCancel

  • Irina @ wandercrush22/12/2013 - 2:10 am

    Sometimes Christmas is synonymous with stress, which is a terrible thing to admit—but in the end it always wraps up to be perfectly sentimental, festive, memorable, and all the things that the holiday season is meant to be. Beautiful photos as always, and three cheers to Earl Grey. I’m returning to London soon, and the first thing I’m gonna do is have a huge steaming mug of it.ReplyCancel

  • ines22/12/2013 - 3:23 pm

    yumiiiiii, what a great and beautiful way to drink christmas spirit ;)ReplyCancel

  • autumn30/12/2013 - 8:27 am

    healing power of ice cream all the way. For some reason, I would have never thought of putting early grey and chocolate together, but it makes so much sense (citrus+chocolate=magic). I hope you’re enjoying a restful internet break.ReplyCancel

  • QueenSashy01/01/2014 - 9:55 am

    I so overextend myself every day of the year as an excuse to get a chocolate shake… Have a happy one!ReplyCancel

  • Sophia03/01/2014 - 10:30 am

    When you first mentioned the earl grey shakes I was hoping you would post the recipe! Although earl grey is not my number one favourite tea (that honour goes to Darjeeling, swiftly followed by hochija and chai), citrus and chocolate is one of my favourite flavour pairings so immediately warmed to the idea of a bergamotty chocolate shake!
    Also, I cannot get your idea for a vegetarian charcuterie platter out of my mind, so many possible ideas – I hope you post some more recipes for that too!ReplyCancel

  • dervla (the curator)09/01/2014 - 1:14 pm

    wait, are you serious? earl grey AND chocolate?! My two favorite flavors ever. I’ve had them in a cookie, but NOT a drink yet. YUM Happy new year, Laura!ReplyCancel

  • Jourdie03/02/2014 - 9:55 am

    Dude. Earl Grey reminds me of the months I spent in Paris as a teenager, and milkshakes remind me of being a kid in California. This is basically all the great memories of youth put together in the best way, because shakes are totally the best answer to all things. Thanks bunches. Happy late New Year!ReplyCancel

  • whitney14/04/2014 - 11:30 pm

    i love your blog. it is my favourite cooking blog. i made your lentil soup the other night and i screamed out happiness. it was incredible. i will make these shakes tonight. thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Debbie23/04/2014 - 10:55 pm

    All so lovely. Makes me almost wish it were December again:)ReplyCancel

  • Links I Love05/12/2014 - 1:38 pm

    […] delicious egg nog recipe I’d like to try […]ReplyCancel

  • Weekend Notes | Camille Styles08/12/2014 - 8:42 am

    […] rue magazine, the first mess, seventy nine […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Photo by The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

  • […] and chocolate shakes; they look delicious and are tremendously simple to make. (Originally from The First Mess // Pinned to my board Christmas […]ReplyCancel

  • […] How delicious do these earl grey chocolate shakes look? This cardamom cake also looks incredible. Oh, and these cookies are deliciously […]ReplyCancel

  • Caroline13/10/2016 - 1:12 pm

    I love chai lattes so I have a feeling I will be loving this earl grey shake recipe. Thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • […] Vegan Earl Grey Chocolate Shakes by The First Mess […]ReplyCancel

mustard roasted broccoli pâté with leeks + lemon // the first messpin it!mustard roasted broccoli pâté // the first messpin it!
Hypothetically speaking, if I had some sort of restaurant or space that served food to people that were A) willing to hang out with me and B) willing to pay for it, I would serve a version of this–on a big wooden board with lots of pickled veg, warm olives, a pot of mustard, really good bread, maybe some radishes and other crunchy roots. I could pair it with some other little veg-based charcuterie-ish concoction (I’ve been working on a few). There would always be a broth-y soup AND a puréed one with baller garnishes. There would be solid brown liquor representation and homemade, super warm-spicy ginger beer on draft. And salads that totally wouldn’t suck. Eggplant bacon + avocado BLT’s (working on that one too). Oh, and vegan earl grey chocolate milk shakes, some cozy bench seats, not-too-heavy, but just-heavy-enough silverware…

I might have got a little carried away there, but you get the idea. I like that rustic, all hands in, no fussin’ around kinda vibe implied by charcuterie/cheese boards. The preparation requires a bit of forethought, but the result is worth it. You get a variety of goods that are easy to present/enjoy with people you like. Obviously these sorts of things are traditionally made with meat. The potential for variety in flavour and texture is kind of exciting when you think about vegetables in this context though. My inspiration came from rillettes, which is generally prepared by slowly cooking cuts of salted pork (or other meats, sometimes fish etc.) in fat until soft. From here, the cooked meat is raked and mixed with the fat until a paste begins to form. The sheer amount of fat is what sets the mixture and allows it to keep for a while.

So yeah! Not entirely my thing, but sub in some broccoli + hella good extra virgin olive oil in for the off cuts + pork fat? Count me in. Ina Garten is kind of my queen when it comes to entertaining basics and her grainy mustard roasted potatoes are pretty much the best. I love broccoli with the sharp zing of a mustard-y vinaigrette, so I thought I could intensify that flavour union by taking my home girl Ina’s approach. I threw in a leek with the roasting broccoli to get some sweeter, caramelized qualities. Once everything’s soft, it goes for a whirl in the food processor with lemon, tons of olive oil, a little extra mustard, salt, pepper and some parmesan/nutritional yeast. I’ve tried this with both cheesy options, and can honestly tell you that they are equally good.

I save a bit of of the lightly blitzed vegetables to garnish this pâté of sorts and then pour a nice cap of EVEN MORE olive oil on top. This creates a textural thing and helps to preserve the brilliant green. I worked for a chef that grumbled to me once about a certain/uncertain cook at the restaurant making a batch of vinaigrette with all extra virgin olive oil and then storing it in the fridge overnight. The one litre container of it was solid and obviously not fit for immediate usage upon our realization at lunch the next day. Cool thing though? That approach gives this riff on rillettes the solid heft we’re looking for. Someone else’s mistakes = my vegetarian charcuterie success. Anyway, this recipe is pretty easy, has normal/everyday ingredients and comes together pretty fast (minus chill time). Be a holiday hero to your plant-y friends. C’mon, do it.

Also! I’ve been making some stuff in other places lately. Here’s a little rundown with links: sweet potato chips AND homemade pumpkin spice lattes for Food 52, vegan + wholesome eggnog over at The Chalkboard and some GF + vegan maple chai jammer cookies for a little sweets fête at Daily Candy. More to come too–holidays hip hip! :)

mustard roasted broccoli "rillettes" // the first messpin it!mustard roasted broccoli "rillettes" // the first messpin it!mustard roasted broccoli pâté // the first messpin it!

mustard roasted broccoli pâté with leeks + lemon
serves: makes about 1/2 a litre
notes: If you’re opting for the vegan version with nutritional yeast, you will need a bit more olive oil in the mix to achieve that extra moistness and go a bit heavier with the salt too.

3 cups broccoli florets
1 leek, white + light green parts only, rough chopped
1 tbsp heat-tolerant oil, such as grapeseed
1 tbsp + 2 tsp grainy mustard, divided
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
salt + pepper
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 – 1 1/2 tsbp lemon juice
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese OR 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil + extra for the top
flaky sea salt, like Maldon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the broccoli florets and leeks with the heat tolerant oil, 1 tbsp of mustard, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Once everything is coated, spread the mixture out on the baking sheet. Roast the vegetables until lightly browned and tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Pulse the mixture until the broccoli is finely chopped. Scoop up a spoonful to garnish the tops of your rillettes with. To the food processor, add the remaining mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parmesan/nutritional yeast. Pulse until everything is combined. With the motor running, drizzle the olive oil in through the feed tube. Continue to run the motor until you have a smooth, lightly chunky paste. Remove the bowl from the food processor and check the mixture for seasoning and adjust.

Scrape the rillettes mixture into your serving vessel and scatter the reserved fine chopped broccoli bits over the top, Pour a solid layer of more extra virgin olive oil on top. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours or until the rillettes + oil layer are mostly solid.

Sprinkle a bit of flaky sea salt on top of the rillettes before you serve it with sliced bread, olives, pickles, vegetables etc.

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  • Sophia12/12/2013 - 9:52 am

    This looks and sounds amazing – since moving to Italy I have slowly but surely adopted the Italian way of cooking vegetables long and slow in ample amounts of olive oil. It completely changes the flavour of cauliflower, broccoli etc. And a vegetarian charcuterie platter? Very much on board with that. Oh and that aubergine BLT too please – I have played with making aubergine bacon a few times, nothing perfect yet but even the first attempts were so good. Cannot wait to see your recipe! Also, I love that I am not the only one who thinks about the food they would serve in their hypothetical restaurant/cafe … I have my own list of pastries and cakes I would serve in my cafe. Congrats on the various features too!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley12/12/2013 - 10:33 am

    I loved reading the vision of your restaurant and this idea is for veggie charcuterie is insanely creative. I’m just disappointed you left out the pork fat. ;) xo!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda12/12/2013 - 10:37 am

    Heck yes! This looks absolutely incredible, I love the idea of adding some veggies to a charcuterie platter. I am not a vegetarian but always prefer vegetables, so having something green and fresh to balance out the weight of meat and cheese would be welcome. I’m putting this right at the top of the things I must make for holiday get togethers!ReplyCancel

  • Kris12/12/2013 - 10:47 am

    Let’s start that restaurant! :)ReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan12/12/2013 - 11:22 am

    I adore this! It is so hard to find vegan/vegetarian charcuterie and this is bomb ass awesome girlfriend.ReplyCancel

  • michelle12/12/2013 - 11:34 am

    What Kris said, for real. Why isn’t that a real place? My favourite meals are often just salads and good bread and cheeses and dips. Picnic dinners. I guess that’s why mezze is so appealing.

    Make it happen, girl. I’d be there all the time, even if it was in Niagara :)ReplyCancel

  • dishing up the dirt12/12/2013 - 12:40 pm

    This is pure genius. It’s so hard finding delicious vegetarian charcuterie. Can’t wait to give this a whirl!ReplyCancel

  • I love this recipe, genius! And the first paragraph of this post had me transported to a magical place…sounds like you need to start a restaurant!!ReplyCancel

  • Amalia12/12/2013 - 1:07 pm

    I hope you open a veg restaurant one day! Love all your recipes and looking forward to trying this one as well.ReplyCancel

  • hannah12/12/2013 - 1:39 pm

    Sorry, I didn’t get past Earl Grey Chocolate Milkshakes before I had to comment.
    Oh. My. God. Died. In. Heaven.
    Please say this is a recipe you have to share?! xxxReplyCancel

  • Ashlae12/12/2013 - 1:43 pm

    I’d totally pay to come hang with you + eat your grub. Maaaaybe after you’re finished with the house, a veggie heavy cafe could be your next project – if you haven’t already had it with cleaning up drywall dust. ;)

    PS – High fives to being on Team Ina. She’s such a badass.ReplyCancel

  • LaceyAnn12/12/2013 - 1:55 pm

    Your restaurant would be my favorite. For sure.ReplyCancel

  • Kerianne12/12/2013 - 3:23 pm

    I’m with Hannah – that earl grey milkshake sounds amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Eileen12/12/2013 - 3:23 pm

    I would never, ever have thought to use broccoli in pate form, but this sounds fantastic! I love the spicy mustard & salt combination.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn12/12/2013 - 5:59 pm

    This is pretty much my favourite way to eat. I’d cross the ocean just to come and eat at your restaurant.ReplyCancel

  • Eric12/12/2013 - 11:00 pm

    Your idea of a restaurant seems wonderful!

    Your charcuterie board seems so neat as do the cozy benches, and Earl grey milkshakes(yum!)

    I hate (too strong a word maybe? too-heavy silverware too! :D

    Also, I’ve followed your website for months, but I’ve never had the time to comment on a post, because I’ve been busy, sometimes I don’t see the e-mails, etc. But, I checked my e-mail today and here I am! I’ve been meaning to say that I love your website layout and design (I enjoy the pink, green and grey colors) and that your photography is really well-done and your recipes are so neat! This is a really creative recipe! The broccoli in the little glass jar is so pretty too, as is the dark brown counter-top you have, they go really well together.

    Thank you for having such a neat website!

    Also, your eggnog recipe seems really interesting and I can’t believe how you make all these recipes and posts for your website as well as others, you must be fairly busy!

    I think I might try the eggnog recipe soon!

    Good luck with you other holiday recipes too!

    Best,

    -EricReplyCancel

  • Jodi13/12/2013 - 3:01 pm

    You little resto of dreams sounds like my kinda place, especially if your serving up dishes like this! Awesome recipe!ReplyCancel

  • SouthernSpoon15/12/2013 - 4:42 am

    My family-in-law loves paté, and I just can’t stand the liver-y flavor. This, however, is my kind of spread. Also a beautiful, fresh, and light option for us warm-weather-holidayers. I’m adding it to our menu for early Christmas celebrations with the Aussie relies next week.ReplyCancel

  • sasha16/12/2013 - 5:44 pm

    Hi, love your posts and made this at the wkd, it was special to say the least, great flavoursReplyCancel

  • Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily17/12/2013 - 8:54 pm

    Hell yeah! Wanna be partners in crime? I could fall in love w a place like that! l.o.v.e. this. OXOX gorgeous photos. pinned ;)ReplyCancel

  • Peggy @ cooksbybooks.com19/12/2013 - 10:28 am

    Made this broccoli pate for our book club holiday get together and it was wonderful. Everyone asked for the recipe so I am posting a link to your blog from my posting for the evening. Happy Holidays! Only recently discovered you blog and I am becoming a big fan. Love the photos too!ReplyCancel

  • Julia21/12/2013 - 4:04 am

    This recipe looks amazing and like the perfect thing to have on a small platter of cheese and olives on Christmas Day. Problem is, I’ll be travelling from the 23 to the middle of the 25th – think I could make this ahead of time (the 22nd) and it would still be delicious on the 25th?ReplyCancel

    • Laura Wright21/12/2013 - 9:11 am

      Hi Julia, I think you could make it that far in advance. The green colour might fade ever so slightly. Just remember to put a decent cap of oil on top of the pâté before you refrigerate it.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Julia21/12/2013 - 1:17 pm

    Thank you, Laura. We will definitely be eating this on Christmas Day. I love your blog – thank you for the all the love and work you put into it.ReplyCancel

  • […] it was a big hit.  I got the recipe for this super easy to make wonderfully zingy pâté from The First Mess blog. How could you go wrong with broccoli which I love dressed up with a grainy tangy mustard and […]ReplyCancel

  • […] made a Mustard Roasted Broccoli “Rilletes” with Leeks and Lemon  featured on The First Mess, a blog I recently subscribed to. She has some wonderful recipes I am discovering. The mustard […]ReplyCancel

  • […] isn’t all for carnivores, and this Mustard Roasted Broccoli Pâté with Leeks and Lemon from The First Mess will be a hit with meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Serve with bread, […]ReplyCancel

  • Diana01/01/2014 - 6:05 pm

    This may be the most delicious meal I’ve ever prepared. I served the pate with toasted pumpernickel bread and red wine. My “savory tooth” was completely satisfied. Another miracle of healthy, satisfying and delicious food. Thank you for sharing your recipe.ReplyCancel

  • […] crush: mustard roasted broccoli pate with leeks and lemon. [The First […]ReplyCancel

  • Halley08/01/2014 - 6:35 pm

    Okay, I’ve made this twice now and it is absolutely the most delicious thing that’s ever come out of my oven. I can’t believe how easy it is! ALSO. I threw in some garlic confit to roast with the broccoli and all I can say is: Do. This. Now.ReplyCancel

  • haruspex12/01/2014 - 8:55 am

    Mm. What if you made this with Brussels sprouts? (Which I happen to have.) I’ll let you know if I try it.ReplyCancel

  • Alanna24/01/2014 - 1:49 pm

    Broccoli rillettes?! That is crazy genius right there. I can imagine how vibrant all those flavors taste against tender broccoli and sweet leeks. Can’t wait to make this – thank you for sharing your beautiful recipe.ReplyCancel

  • CSA Week 14 «21/02/2014 - 8:34 pm

    […] course.  I also recently discovered broccoli is really good with mustard.   Try this recipe for roasted broccoli pate; I made it almost two months ago and I’m still obsessed with […]ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly01/05/2014 - 8:21 pm

    Just wanted to say that I made this tonight and it was awesome. I saw it and knew I had to try it, but I tried not to get my hopes up about the flavors… but it totally delivered! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley25/06/2014 - 7:45 am

    Am totally eating up the vegetarian charcuterie idea. And FYI – if you had a restaurant, I would most definitely b) hang out with you and, b) pay for your good food.ReplyCancel

some festive fruit! w/ rosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup // the first messpin it!some festive fruit // the first messpin it!satsumas // the first messpin it!
Do you get in those traps where you tell yourself (and everyone within a decent listening radius) that you’re soooo busy, but you’re also like, perpetually stuck in highly sneaky, time-wasting downward spirals? The end of the year brings a lot of heavy, life-y things into the foreground. How did we grow and change? What can I do differently? How can we make it easier? Add to that the million tasks, work, the gift guides, the merry-making… I think it’s easy to feel suffocated by your own life this time of year. Obviously some perspective plays into that, but you know what I mean.

All of the things have been veering on the edge of completely-out-of-my-control lately, so every night before I go to bed, I make a list of things I have to accomplish the next day (FYI: surprisingly effective strategy for getting a good night’s sleep) (Also, magnesium is some good shit). There’s the normal work stuff on those lists, but there’s also things like”remember to put chia seeds on the oatmeal,” and “eat some vegetables before work,” or “drink at least 3 litres of water,” and my fave: “pause and stretch before getting out of bed.” Cool thing? Silly as those reminders seem, I actually accomplish those little bits. The list makes for some structured intent on the wellness front–less of a wishy-washy, completely distant goal. It’s all right there in a quantified or qualified sense under a bolded date in capital letters.

So the legit work seems to follow along when I’m penciling out my stretches and veggie snacks. You know how they would strategically schedule nap and snack times in kindergarten? I guess there’s some wisdom there. I’ve been so contentedly living by the list that I’m experiencing pre-emptive relaxation guilt over our upcoming 48 hour sojourn in Denver this weekend. This also happened last Sunday when we took a little drive into the city to see a friend for a leisurely brunch. On the way there, my head was muddied with ideas of things I should have been doing instead of taking an entire day away from it all. Once I had that warm coffee cup in my hand, I stopped thinking about maximizing any renovation productivity, ingredients I had to buy for whatever shoot, or how my holiday work schedule could translate into any remote concept of free time. The meal and the gathering around it put me in the moment and brought some sense of relief. I think we all look for that in certain ways–whether it’s from a long day at work, unforeseen challenges in day-to-day being, the effing deluge of Black Friday emails, those self-imposed trappings of guilt, or obsessive list-making. Relief is release, however you arrive to it.

I decided to throw together this little warm-spiced fruit deal for our brunch gathering and  I was so pleased with how it turned out–actually one of the better, simpler things I’ve made in a while. I just had this loose idea for a particularly pretty winter fruit salad with pine-y rosemary, cinnamon, vanilla rooibos tea, a good hit of maple and cool mint. The different bits of citrus and pomegranate are all juicy and tart, the persimmon is soft and delicately sweet, and I like to use bosc pears for a lightly crisp bite. The woodsy sweetness from the syrup helps to veer this dish away from being a simple bowl of fruit, which I generally love to serve alongside a traditional dessert at a dinner get-together anyway, just so that the option to go lightly is there for anyone in need.

satsuma, grapefruit, pomelo // the first messpin it!pomegranate // the first messpin it!rosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup // the first messpin it!some festive fruit! w/ rosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup // the first messpin it!
festive fruit w/ rosemary + vanilla rooibos syrup
serves: 6 – 8, depending on what else you’re serving
notes: I don’t think a persimmon needs to border on rotten to be ripe. If you’re holding it, it should have the mush factor of a lightly worked-in hackie sack. Also, my favourite vanilla rooibos of EVER is by Mariage Frères (and it comes loose or pre-bagged).

syrup ingredients:
1/4 cup maple syrup
big splash of water
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla rooibos tea
1 sprig fresh rosemary

salad ingredients:
2 ripe persimmons, sliced
1 grapefruit, peeled + segmented
2-3 satsumas or clementines, peeled + segmented
1 pomelo, peeled + segmented
2 bosc pears, cored + sliced
1 pomegrante’s worth of seeds/arils—>Life Hacker comes through with a (EFFIN LONG) tutorial
juice of 1 lime
handful of seeds (I used sesame + pumpkin)
1 sprig of mint, leaves sliced fine

In a small saucepan, combine all of the syrup ingredients. Put it over medium heat and bring it to a simmer, swirling the contents here and there. Once it’s boiling a bit, take it off the heat and set aside. Allow it all to steep for a good 10 minutes or so.

While the syrup is steeping, peel and chop all of your salad ingredients. Throw them all into a large serving bowl, reserving a bit of the mint and seeds for the top. Toss everything in the lime juice. Strain the syrup in a fine mesh strainer right over the bowl of fruit. Toss it all together and garnish with the leftover mint and seeds. Serve it up right away.

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  • Jason @ Plenty Of Zest05/12/2013 - 7:17 am

    The colours of this salad are stunning Laura! And I don’t know how you got the shot of the pomegranate, but it’s brilliant :).ReplyCancel

  • Emma Galloway05/12/2013 - 9:22 am

    Beautiful! All of it xxReplyCancel

  • Sini | my blue&white kitchen05/12/2013 - 9:57 am

    I’m intrigued by the vanilla rooibos syrup and those black sesame seeds. Just beautiful! I guess I would be the happiest person if I would have this fruit salad for breakfast.ReplyCancel

  • steph@stephsbitebybite05/12/2013 - 10:11 am

    This is so gorgeous!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)05/12/2013 - 10:14 am

    This is one of the most beautiful dishes I’ve ever seen, Laura! Love the contrast of all of the colors and sesame seeds. Your photography always blows me away.

    And totally feel you on the holiday craziness. I feel like time is disappearing before my eyes!ReplyCancel

  • Alex05/12/2013 - 10:55 am

    I really love that shot of the pomegranate. Stunning!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah @ One Window Kitchen05/12/2013 - 10:57 am

    Love this so much– the words, the pictures(!!!), the sound of all those flavors coming together. I agree that writing down tangible, doable tasks is so helpful in giving us some calm and (a very, very tiny bit of) control over our lives.ReplyCancel

  • shanna mallon05/12/2013 - 12:35 pm

    i love the hope you’ve inspired in me with this post. totally going to try the list thing. need it!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley05/12/2013 - 12:46 pm

    I feel like our lives are some what of a mirror image right now and your words express exactly how I feel but can’t quite put into words. So, thank you for this. All of it…words, food, photos, and general awesomeness. xoReplyCancel

  • dishing up the dirt05/12/2013 - 1:59 pm

    Loved this post. i can totally relate to all the craziness going on this time of year and feeling out of control. At least we can retreat to our kitchens. Beautiful dish as always.ReplyCancel

  • This is so simple and gorgeous! I love the simplicity and the combination of colors, brilliant!ReplyCancel

  • Christine05/12/2013 - 4:28 pm

    Laura, you have a masterful way of gracefully addressing deep and troublesome topics in a tone that feels entirely accessible, relatable, and calm. This irony of the beshackling liberation tactic – here, the list-making strategy that both relieves your anxiety and chains you to guilt – is well familiar to me, but its force is only as strong as we allow. Good pine-and-maple-mellowed fruit, shared around the communal table, is a good antidote to that and other bad-vibe forces. Thanks for creating this.ReplyCancel

  • molly yeh05/12/2013 - 5:38 pm

    pause and stretch before going to bed. i have needed that in the worst way this week and i’ve been too busy, like, pinteresting or doing dumb stuff! thank you for the reminder :-)

    i love how you make such colorful dishes, even in the winter! and your use of rooibos is brilliant!ReplyCancel

  • HOLLY05/12/2013 - 6:51 pm

    Laura! Has anyone ever mentioned that you need to make a cookbook, CAUSE YA NEED TO MAKE A COOKBOOK- I’ve actually considered printing these all out and having them bound (for personal use obvi) but for really, cookbook.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey05/12/2013 - 7:06 pm

    I probably should start making lists so that way when i wake up in the middle of the night I’m not an anxious freak! I will try that technique asap. I was totally thinking up a similar fruit salad, of course not with your genius syrup, but this is more beautiful than I could have imagined – for sure going on my to-make list!ReplyCancel

  • Margie05/12/2013 - 7:12 pm

    With my crazy stressed out mind I took the time to read your whole post, look at your beautiful pictures and read every word, and it calmed me. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Eileen05/12/2013 - 8:48 pm

    This has to be the most gorgeous fruit salad I’ve ever seen. Now I really want to go out and find a pomelo!ReplyCancel

  • Chloe06/12/2013 - 4:33 pm

    you LITERALLY nailed it, girl. always love your truth.ReplyCancel

  • […] This salad.  There are no words for the beauty of the photos. […]ReplyCancel

  • Heather07/12/2013 - 11:38 am

    Stunning! And what do you know, I had already signed up for a winter fruit salad for a potluck party this weekend and, this recipe, could not have dreamt up something so beautiful and wonderful if I tried (vanilla rooibos is my fave, and then drizzle it on fruit…say whaaaat?!). Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn08/12/2013 - 1:23 pm

    Love how you take ingredients I think I know and make me look at them in a whole new way. A beauty of a post. And I’m definitely stealing that list-making trick, I’ve struggled to get to sleep recently and here’s hoping it will help!ReplyCancel

  • […] recommendation.  I think she was referring more to the texture though.  As Laura so eloquently describes, persimmon’s are at their best when they feel like a “well worn in hacky sack” […]ReplyCancel

  • la domestique10/12/2013 - 10:37 am

    I am seriously craving fruit and veg right now, pretty much ready to skip the holiday indulgence and start the New Year’s cleanse. I like how you’ve combined fresh, healthy fruit and festive, spiced flavors here. Can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth11/12/2013 - 1:25 pm

    This salad has been on my mind since last week. For every meal I plan, a voice whispers, “citrus salad.” So there’s that, but also I am very fond of your advice. The holiday stress came down full-force this week, and I’m going to make a point of remembering to stop and stretch or slowly sip some tea. I so feel for you as you get set up in your new place. Not knowing where anything is is a special kind of hell.ReplyCancel

  • Hari Chandana14/12/2013 - 11:55 pm

    Looks so colorful and gorgeous.. Awesome pictures too.. first time here.. happy to follow your space :)ReplyCancel

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  • Alanna30/01/2014 - 2:35 am

    These photos are so exquisite – I can’t stop staring.. and the flavors sound amazing. Yum!ReplyCancel

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