Mintspiration: Secrets to a life full of fragrance

Published October 16, 2013 by The Feminist

mint

I was sipping on a hot cup of fresh Moroccan mint tea the other day and I kept thinking to myself: “What is it about mint that makes it so damn tasty?”

The answer to that question is both elaborate and very straightforward at the same time. Of all the fresh herbs out there, mint is probably the herb most associated with cleanliness. One bite of a minty product and your mouth is immediately coated in a refreshing layer of mountain breeze. Chewing gum or tooth paste manufacturers know this but too well, but this doesn’t mean we should limit our mint intake to just the daily brush. On the contrary, mint can be enjoyed in so many different ways, it almost seems as if its uses are limitless.

There are the wonderful minty drinks, like fresh mint tea (so good on a cold winter evening) or mojito (so good on a hot summer day). And let’s not forget how beautiful mint tastes when rubbed on meat, fish or vegetables. And what about mint gravy! Mint yoghurt dip! Drop-dead outrageous mint desserts! (chocolate and mint is such a winning combination!)

So should you still be one of those people who prefer mint on their toothbrush and not in their food, please go away. I do not want to spend my time wasted on people like you who don’t appreciate the awesomeness that is mint.

You heard me.

get out

Move!

whatever

Glad I got rid of that! So dear mint-loving readers, shall we go on celebrating our love for the chosen herb?

The following two dishes are two flavour bombs. I believe the Mediterranean, African and Middle Eastern cuisines are not only among the best in the world, but I also adore how they all mix fresh mint in lots of dishes. Inspired by these cuisines, I conjured up these two beauties:

Mint crusted salmon with South African sweet potato and avocado mash with mint yoghurt sauce

Mint is practically everywhere in this dish! It’s in the crust, in the yoghurt sauce, in the mash,… And still it is not overpowering. It just lifts everything up to an unseen level of splendidness. The herb crust on the salmon is full of spices and flavour… the mash is smooth, comforting and delectably sweet and sour… and the mint yoghurt sauce gives that refreshing zing to make an already yummy meal absolutely delicious.

DSCN3350

Ingredients (serves 2)
• 2 salmon fillets, skinned
• 3 tbsp bread crumbs
• 1 tbsp za’atar
• ½ tsp sumac
• 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
• 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
• 2 tbsp olive oil

For the South African mash:
• 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into dices
• 1 avocado, peeled
• 2 spring onions, finely chopped
• 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
• Juice of half a lime
• Lots of black pepper

For the mint yoghurt dip:
• 150ml of yoghurt
• 2 tbsp of fresh mint
• 1 tbsp coriander
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• Juice of half a lime
To serve: some mini green asparagus (perfect!)

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Make the crust by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and put them both in an oven-proof dish. Press the mint mixture on top of the salmon fillets and bake into the oven for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile make the mash. Cook the sweet potatoes in some salted boiling water until tender. Drain and mash the potatoes together with the avocado flesh and the lime juice to stop the avocado from turning brown.
3. Season with cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir in the mint and spring onions.
4. Mix all the ingredients for the mint yoghurt dip together and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Sweet parsnip and dried fig stir fry with mint

I cannot express enough how much I absolutely loved this dish. The chilli gives a good boost of heat. The turmeric turns it into a fest of golden hues, the dried figs are so intensely sweet and blend so well with the earthy sweetness of the parsnip and then in the end the mint kicks in and balances out all those warm spices and sweetness. It is -in every possible way- perfection.( I served it with some store-bought falafels and although they were really good, I refused to put them in the picture since I didn’t make them myself. It’s a matter of principle.)

DSCN3356

Ingredients (serves 1)
• 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into cubes
• 4 dried figs, cut into small chunks
• ½ tbsp honey
• ½ tbsp turmeric
• ½ large chilli, finely sliced
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground cumin

Method:
1. Cook the parsnips in salted water until they are almost soft.
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and add the drained parsnips, chilli, spices, honey, figs and a splash of water.
3. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Finally stir in the mint.
4. Be amazed!

Advertisements

11 comments on “Mintspiration: Secrets to a life full of fragrance

  • I completely agree Mediterranean, African and Middle Eastern cuisines are my absolute favourite. Hands down, every damn time. These two recipes have me drooling (and that is not something i a: i admit to often b:can say about recipes often) Thank you xxx

  • Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s

    %d bloggers like this: