Saturday, January 8, 2011

food lover's cleanse: days 5, 6 & 7 + ceviche

I've been foiled by the seasons! The distinct lack of summer weather here in Melbourne had made me think I could get through this cleanse with minimal changes to the menu, but the last few days have been really pretty hot; too hot for soup and turning on the oven. So I've made some substitutions in the last couple of days that fit within the broader guidelines for the cleanse but are more suitable for the summer months. One of these - salmon ceviche with ginger and apple - I've been meaning to blog about for a good while anyway, as it's really the bomb. But first, the daily round up!

Day 5 began with a surprisingly delicious breakfast of crisp rye crackers with yoghurt, chives, red onion topped with smoked salmon. Surprising, because low-fat yoghurt on a cracker spells D-I-E-T to me, but the fresh herbs and onion and the salty smoked salmon got me over the line and I'd happily eat this again. I skipped the grapefruit and orange salad with mint, as I just wasn't hungry enough. But I might squeeze it in one evening when I feel like something sweet. Lunch was leftover pan roasted fruit and vegetables from yesterday with a green salad on the side. I needed to get creative with dinner, as it felt too warm for soup, so I used the small porterhouse steak I'd bought to serve alongside the 5-spice beetroot soup to throw into a fresh and fragrant thai-style salad with cucumber, home-grown tomatoes, thai basil, coriander, red onion and lime & fish sauce dressing. I used this recipe for inspiration and took this to work the next day for lunch, too!

Day 6 began with a piece of wholegrain toast with marmalade and juicy summer nectarine, instead of oatmeal with almond milk, banana slices and walnuts. I'd been looking forward to that! But it was just too hot. Lunch was Thai beef salad again, with an afternoon snack of two medjool dates and a handful of hazelnuts. I got home (very!) late from work, but decided I absolutely must cook at least one dish from the plan; I might have been tired, but I wasn't disappointed! Pictured below is what I cooked up at around 11.30 pm last night: Itamar's Bulgar Pilaf, topped with a warm poached egg. This was another recipe from Yoram Ottolenghi - and another reason to buy one of his books, asap! The pilaf was sweet with onion, strips of red bell pepper and currants - and this sweetness was interrupted every few bites with the pop of pink peppercorns and whole coriander seeds. The poached egg on top rounded this out to make a perfect supper and a meal I'm looking forward to making again.

I began Day 7 with yogurt topped with fresh sliced strawberries, a tablespoon of maple syrup, some ground flaxseed (linseed) and a few toasted hazelnuts. Super yum! While I often eat yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, I never think to top it with nuts, seeds or a little something sweet to take it to the next level. The cleanse is really beginning to make me think about how all those little details can really elevate lift a simple dish to the level of luxury. Like in a day spa! Lunch was leftover pilaf from last night with a green salad. And for dinner this evening I made salmon ceviche instead of the salmon cakes, and skipped Molly's super-warming curried lentil soup that I was eating just last week when the temperature allowed.

Ceviche is of course diced raw fish or seafood that is not cooked with heat, but with the acidity of citrus juice! Magical, hey? In this case, diced fresh salmon is thrown together with cucumber, tomato, red onion, green apple, grated ginger, minced jalapeno, coriander and lemon and lime juices. Lots of ingredients, but so easy to prepare and super-refreshing! To scoop it up, I used some oven-baked tostadas made from organic corn tortillas and all together it was perfect. I've served this ceviche on tostadas as a starter for parties and as a light meal when you can't bear to turn the stove on. This recipe is adapted only a little from Deborah Schneider's great little book Amor Y Tacos, whose recipes really remind me of the more inventive food I encountered in Mexico and couldn't get enough of. It also has some wonderful cocktail recipes for parties and those hot summer nights when you aren't doing a food lover's cleanse.

Salmon Ceviche with Ginger, Apple and Cucumber
Adapted from Amor Y Tacos
Serves 1

100 gm fresh Atlantic salmon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
pinch of salt
half a jalapeno pepper (or to taste), minced
a little knob of fresh ginger (around 5 gm, for reference), grated
1/2 a Lebanese cucumber, peeled and seeded, diced
1/2 medium tomato, cored and diced
1/4 of a green tart apple (such as Granny Smith), peeled, core removed and diced
a handful of coriander (cilantro), chopped

Corn tostadas, to serve

1. Mix diced salmon with lemon juice, lime juice, salt, jalapeno and ginger. Cover and refrigerate for 15 - 30 minutes. The fish will "cook" in the fruit juice and turn slightly opaque.

2. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve with tostadas for scooping.


  1. Thank you so much for the ceviche recipe! I've been wanting to make one for a long time, but seeing as I cook only for me have been a bit wary of "cooking" up a big batch. Hurrah for single serving recipes!

    P.S. Medjool dates and flax seeds = love :)

  2. Looks like you are doing great with the cleanse and making common sense substitutions. I've been enjoying it very much and am excited for all the coming recipes in the second week! Also... totally envious of your hot weather right now! ;)

  3. Hey Hannah! Hope you enjoy! I love this dish. The amounts do seem a bit fiddly (and maybe wasteful), but I find that makes plenty for me. It is a dish that easier to make for two or four people for this reason, but that certainly doesn't stop me!

    Hi Meg! Thanks for your note. I've been following your progress too and your dishes all look wonderful. I've really been enjoying it as well!


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