How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Are you like, “wtf is onigiri?" or “that triangle looks complicated". If so, I'm here to tell you it's easier than it looks and everything will be okay. The best part about onigiri is that they are a humble food and a minimalist's dream. The result is a stomach full of rice and happiness. Those food emojis that once eluded you ( 🍙+ 🍘) are finally making sense now.

Onigiri are rice balls (or shapes) wrapped in nori and often stuffed with a filling. A comfort food made up of fun shapes and endless fillings– onigiri have the potential to steal your heart. Like all the fancy toasts nowadays, a blank canvas of rice invites almost any creation you can dream up. Maybe this is your first attempt making onigiri. If it is, I'm excited for you. I love first times because you never know what to expect and every step is an adventure and a learning process. Remember your first kiss? I do. Mine was wet and weird and his first kiss too. We were twelve and had just become official via awkward phone call on the kitchen landline. We met up with friends and were wandering the streets; we never had real destinations back then, we went anywhere and nowhere. We stopped beside a large subdivision mailbox and with our friends standing ten feet away “not watching us", we kissed. I had to crank my neck up facing the sky because he was tall and I could smell his breath, which wasn't bad but weird because I was rarely that close to someone. He didn't have a clue what to do, (I had practiced on a pillow so I knew a thing or two). My first kiss felt like something between CPR and a gaping fish mouth sucking up food from the top of the tank. It was methodical with tense tongue action and the entire time I attempted to adjust his robot-like motions with no success. He burped after, (not in a hot way), which didn't surprise me from the way he was sucking the air from lungs moments before. It was not at all what I expected and although I thought I was going to love it, I didn't. At first. I had to keep trying, maybe three or four times before kissing was fun, albeit not as good as my pillow boyfriend. Kissing is weird when you think about it. We put our germy wet mouths together and move them around. Sometimes it feels like I can almost inhale the other person's soul. Like I could pull it into mine through kiss and desire. I've always wanted to be inside someone else's soul and mine at once. Like a double soul! Would I feel twice as alive?!

My first time eating sushi wasn't great either. Yes, kissing and sushi can parallel each other. My mouth wasn't used to the textures and flavours and I had to get my mind around eating raw fish after growing up with a white North American diet. I kept trying sushi though, because there was something that appealed to me even though I couldn't eat more than a few bites. It took me five sushi outings before I began to crave it. Then I was hooked. And I loved knowing that you really can't judge a book by it's cover, or even it's first chapter. Life is funny and cliche that way. We are always changing and evolving into someone new but yet we are still the same, or appear to be. Your first onigiri may not be the prettiest but they'll get easier and better each time. Like kisses and raw fish.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Guide To Onigiri

 

Rice

To make onigiri you must use white Japanese sushi rice. Not brown, not jasmine, not wild rice. Sushi rice is the only way because of it's sticky consistency. Onigiri will fall apart with any other type. I use the brand in the above photo and you can purchase it at most Asian grocery stores. It is also very important to rinse the rise in cold water until the water run completely clear or your cooked rice consistency will be off. 

Seasoning The Rice

When the rice is still warm, add to a bowl, season with whatever you like and mix with a large spoon/ rice paddle or chopsticks until evenly combined.. Here are some ideas for seasonings. 

  • Furikake – Japanese seasoning usually made with bonito flakes (fish flakes), seaweed, sesame seeds. Can be found in Asian grocery stores. 
  • Sesame seeds – white or black, I prefer black to give colour contrast.
  • Herbs, fresh + finely chopped – cilantro, basil, mint, parsely, chives, green onions. Just remember to match your filling with your herb. (eg. mint would go well with a cucumber filling but probably not with salmon). 
  • Seaweed– soaked and finely chopped.
  • Kelp or dulse flakes
  • Yukari – Japanese seasoning made with shiso. 
  • Sakebushi – dried, fermented and smoked salmon flakes.
  • Sriracha + Tamari/ Bragg's aminos/ Soy sauce
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Nuoc cham – A Vietnamese sauce that's sweet, fishy and tart. 
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Fillings

Each onigiri only needs about one tablespoon of filling or it will seep out of the middle when you mold it. Be as creative as you like, onigiri are very versatile. Just consider your seasoning, filling and dipping flavours when you dream up your onigiri. You can use almost anything for a filling, especially if you want to use up little bits of leftovers in your fridge (eg. chicken, roasted vegetables etc). Here are some ideas for fillings.

  • Tuna or salmon, canned – w/ mayo (or Kewpie mayo from Japan), a dijon little mustard/ wasabi, salt + pepper.
  • Umeboshi – pickled salted plums, a traditional onigiri filling. Remember to remove the pit. 
  • Avocado – mashed or finely chopped w/ a pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon/lime
  • Radish – fresh or pickled. You can use this recipe for quick pickled onions to do an easy and fast pickle of any vegetable you prefer. 
  • Black garlic – It tastes like something between a sweet beet and roasted garlic. It's my new obsession (nice on fried rice as well) and can be found at most Asian grocery stores.
  • Cucumber – finely chopped. Add a little sesame oil, chili flakes and rice vinegar if you like. 
  • Mushrooms – sauted or pickled, finely chopped. 
  • Cooked fish/meat – finely chopped
  • Kimchi
  • Pickled ginger
  • Shrimp – finely chopped 
  • Egg – scrambled or boiled + chopped
  • Bacon – finely chopped

Flavour Combinations + Pairings

Here are some ideas for matching flavours within your seasoning, filling and dip (if desired).

  • Vietnamese –         seasoning: cilantro/basil/mint (or combine any together)                                                                                     filling: cucumber or cooked shrimp                                                                                                                             dip: nuoc cham sauce or peanut sauce
  • Japanese –                seasoning: furikake                                                                                                                                                       filling: tuna w/ mayo, rice vinegar + salt                                                                                                                  dip: tamari w/ a bit of wasabi.
  • Korean –                  seasoning: black sesame seeds                                                                                                                                    filling: kimchi                                                                                                                                                                   dip: Bibimbap/ Gochujang sauce.
  • Breakfast –              seasoning: bacon (finely chopped)                                                                                                                             filling: scrambled egg or mashed sweet potato                                                                                                         dip: smashed avocado/ guacamole or sriracha mayo.
  • Mediterranean –   seasoning: sundried tomatoes + fresh basil (finely chopped)                                                                                 filling: goat cheese                                                                                                                                                           dip: lemon tahini sauce
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Wet hands.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Rub with kosher salt + rub.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Take a palmful of rice + make into a ball.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Press a hole with thumb.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Add a tablespoon of filling.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Fold over like a book.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Form into desired shape.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Triangle, sphere or cylinder.

onigiri-17.jpgHow To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

For more guidance, click here for triangle shaping video.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Cut nori sheets into shapes.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Fold around onigiri.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Wet edges of nori to seal on to each other.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Cut strips for smaller nori.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Fold on to onigiri.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Dip in sauce.

How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca
How To Make Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls) || These delicious and simple snacks are easy to make and fun to shape and decorate. Made with sushi rice and filled with many different toppings like cucumber, avocado, tuna, + umeboshi (pickled plum). gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, plant based. || creamandhoney.ca

Bite.                                                                                    Chew.                                                                                 Enjoy.


HOW TO MAKE ONIGIRI (JAPANESE RICE BALLS)

the magic

inspiration:            Asian snack food    

the feels:                warm, soft, comforting

eat with:                 green tea, tamari, sriracha, seaweed salad, green                                leaf salad, sake,homemade dipping sauce                                            (below)

might like if you're into:      Japanese cuisine, rice bowls, sushi,                                                   healthy snacks, comfort food, vessels                                                 for dipping sauces, geometric shapes,                                                 Hi-Chew candy (grape is my                                                             favourite), Pocky sticks.

 

the science

makes 6 to 10 onigiri, depending on size || time: 30 to 45 minutes

ingredients:

onigiri

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 1 + 1/4 cup water
  • nori sheets for wrapping rice balls
  • bowl of water for hands (or run hands under water at the sink after each onigiri)
  • kosher salt for hand after the water
  • filling for rice balls (cucumber, avocado, pickled radish, tuna, umeboshi). Approximately one tablespoon per onigiri shape.
  • optional: few tablespoons of seasoning for the rice balls (sesame seeds, furikake, kelp flakes etc)

dipping sauce

  • 1.5 tablespoons tamari/ Bragg's liquid aminos (soy free)/ soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon sambal olek chili paste or sriracha
  • 3 tablespoons water (or less if desired)
  • optional: 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

method:

  1. Rinse the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. 
  2. Cook rice based on your favourite method (mine is always via rice cooker). One cup of sushi rice yields about three cups of rice. Make sure not to cook the rice too far in advance because it is best molded and served when warm.
  3. While rice is cooking, prepare you filling(s). Chop fillings like cucumber or radish finely. Anything that's not already a paste like consistency like tuna or mashed avocado. 
  4. Once rice is cooked, season it with whatever you like since onigiri is predominantly rice so it's important to add some extra flavour to the base of rice unless you're feeling classic plain rice. My favourites to add are furikake, black sesame seeds, or fresh herbs. Scroll up for the section on more seasoning options. Add seasoning to rice and mix with chopsticks or large wooden spoon. Add more if desired and mix again. 
  5. Wet hands with water. Add a sprinkle of kosher salt to hands and rub together for a second to distribute evenly. Grab a palmful of rice and shape into a round ball. Press thumb into the middle to create an indent about a tablespoon in size. Fill with whatever filling you desire, be careful not to overfill the hole or it will be hard to shape the onigiri and the filling will squeeze out. Fold the sides in on each other like you're closing a book. The easiest way to learn the shaping technique is to look at the hand shapes I use in the photos above or use this video to get the hang of it. It's pretty simple once you get the feel of it. Repeat with the rest of the rice.
  6. Once all onigiri are shaped, cut or rip your nori into desired shapes. You can use a whole sheet to wrap your shapes or cut thin strips. When sticking to onigiri, wet the spots you want to stick together and they will adhere to each other. Serve on their own or with sriracha or whisk up the dipping sauce ingredients for my favourite addition.

Root Vegetable Soup (A Guide To)

Root Vegetable Soup || An easy to follow recipe guide on how to make an amazing soup with any root vegetables. Use any of the following: potatoes, parsnips, carrots, celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, sweet potatoes or squash. Cozy and perfect for Fall or Winter. Very healthy, great for a detox. Dairy free, gluten free, plant based, vegan. || creamandhoney.ca
Root Vegetable Soup || An easy to follow recipe guide on how to make an amazing soup with any root vegetables. Use any of the following: potatoes, parsnips, carrots, celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, sweet potatoes or squash. Cozy and perfect for Fall or Winter. Very healthy, great for a detox. Dairy free, gluten free, plant based, vegan. || creamandhoney.ca

Hi. I've been gone awhile and I've missed you. It was nothing you did, I promise. I went on vacation to Mexico where I spent my 33rd birthday and it was exactly what I needed. I stepped off my hamster wheel of spinning thoughts and routines and settled into daily nothingness with loose plans of what food to eat and which beach to go to. I took the time I needed to breathe and be in my body and sigh out loud while watching the waves roll in and out. I did nothing and everything. I asked myself what truly feels good for me lately. What makes me feel inspired? What feels stuck? How can I move forward while keeping aligned and not overwhelmed?

I debated if I want to continue creating this blog. I love it and it's been one of the best learning experiences about myself and my capabilities, but I was feeling unsure if this is still where I want to be putting my free time and energy. It can feel lonely and disconnected writing into an abyss of space that hangs in the air and on screens. It's easy to fall into a comparison trap on social media where you're left feeling like you don't have enough or you're not where you want to be while seeing your dream life lived by other people. These incomplete feelings aren't real though, they're made up by my mind. By all of our minds. I recently had someone send me a message on Instagram that said, “do you do food blogging full-time? Because your life looks like a dream". This astounded me and I actually laughed out loud at how anyone could think that was my life. The funniest part was I felt the exact same way about her– that she had a dreamy life I coveted. I realized I assume that about a lot of people online. I find there's not a ton of transparency with online presences on how they got to where they are. I always read  interviews that mention “a lot of hard work" and  “I kept believing in myself". Although I'm sure these are true, the rest of us want to know how. Like actually how– the details, the steps, the mistakes, the times you were about to give up, what made you keep going. I want to hear about the human stuff, the relatable stuff. A lot of hard work and believing in myself are sentences I've heard my entire life and aren't new information. Without the details, it feels like there are secrets to success that no one is revealing. And guys, I love secrets. And I love details. Or maybe these details are so irrelevant to successful people because they've already made it and don't need that information anymore. Who knows? Do you? If you do– tell me?

I've been craving doing creative things with my hands and less online.  I wish the days were longer so I could experience and create more. My serving job is essential right now to pay my bills but it takes a lot out of me. It's a much faster pace than I prefer to live my life at. And this life really is short– I can feel it in the quickness of the days, the anxious feeling that comes with dusk, the moments I wake unexpectedly at 5 am and debate getting up to see the sun rise but then tell myself “another day" and fall back asleep. How can I create a life with more time and slowness? I'm forever working on it. I'd love to hear your suggestions. 

A friend and I read tarot card last night. Mine urged to me continue moving forward with current projects and that was the small sway I needed to rededicate myself to working in this space. My goal is to maintain the blog and make time for other creative activities that give me a sense of relief and disconnection from my day-to-day. For me, this will mean less scrolling social media, less tv, and more action-to-begin rather than procrastination. I am excited about this renewed feeling and sense of self. It will be a loving self that moves slowly even when there's a lot going on. I've also been re-evaluating this blog in terms of what I can offer you. I want to hear you, to help you, to know what you like or find interesting. What are your favourite parts about these posts? What do you want more of? Comment or send me a message and let me know, I would love to produce more content you want to see. That's where this soup comes in. I posed these questions to a friend. She said she loves when I make recipes approachable and the tips, tricks and whys on making food.

I wanted to create a guide where you can learn to follow your cooking intuition and create a soup out of almost any vegetables you have laying around. Soups are easy, they don't take a lot of effort and are  nourishing and delicious. One of the skills that is the most valuable in cooking is to understand the basics of a recipe so you can create one your own. I have a recipe at the bottom which you can follow directly, but this post is to act as a manual to help you feel confident in your technique and the steps of making a soup.

Root Vegetable Soup || An easy to follow recipe guide on how to make an amazing soup with any root vegetables. Use any of the following: potatoes, parsnips, carrots, celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, sweet potatoes or squash. Cozy and perfect for Fall or Winter. Very healthy, great for a detox. Dairy free, gluten free, plant based, vegan. || creamandhoney.ca

After basking in sunlight and sea for ten days, it can feel pretty miserable returning to feet of snow and -20 °C weather. Some things that help me are:

  • making hot and nutritious food and drinks like this soup
  • practicing self care (yoga, a good skin care routine, home spa nights)
  • the strikingly beautiful winter sunsets

Because the air is less hazy and more crisp and clear in cold weather, it creates brightly coloured skies upon sunrise and sunset. Every night brings fiery oranges and reds, cotton candy pinks and blues, or a rainbow gradient as the sun dips below the horizon. Our world is what we focus on. Right now, I choose beauty and slowness to centre my attention on. 

Ontario Place. Sunset in Toronto over Lake Ontario.
Toronto sunset
Root Vegetable Soup || An easy to follow recipe guide on how to make an amazing soup with any root vegetables. Use any of the following: potatoes, parsnips, carrots, celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, sweet potatoes or squash. Cozy and perfect for Fall or Winter. Very healthy, great for a detox. Dairy free, gluten free, plant based, vegan. || creamandhoney.ca
Root Vegetable Soup || An easy to follow recipe guide on how to make an amazing soup with any root vegetables. Use any of the following: potatoes, parsnips, carrots, celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, sweet potatoes or squash. Cozy and perfect for Fall or Winter. Very healthy, great for a detox. Dairy free, gluten free, plant based, vegan. || creamandhoney.ca
Root Vegetable Soup || An easy to follow recipe guide on how to make an amazing soup with any root vegetables. Use any of the following: potatoes, parsnips, carrots, celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, sweet potatoes or squash. Cozy and perfect for Fall or Winter. Very healthy, great for a detox. Dairy free, gluten free, plant based, vegan. || creamandhoney.ca

Vegetables                                                                                   

What kinds? Almost any vegetable will work for a soup! Make sure to pick vegetables you enjoy. For extra easiness and minimal thought, use vegetables that are all similar in physical structure (eg. all root vegetables, broccoli + cauliflower, etc). If you want to blend an array of vegetables with structural ranges, stagger your cooking times. Firm vegetables all go in together and any type of green (kale, collard greens, spinach) are added at the end with 5 minutes or less left on cooking time.      

Consider balancing flavours with vegetables (eg. don't use all bitter vegetables like turnip, kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts etc). Use a few but balance them out with a sweet vegetable (sweet potato) or neutral vegetable (cauliflower, potato).

Tip: You can balance extra bitterness with a creamy component like yogurt, cheese, cream, or coconut milk. Or a salty component like bacon. You can balance stinky notes from cabbage with some lemon juice and/or white beans.

Broth                                                                                  

Use whatever broth you like! For pureed vegetable soups I prefer organic chicken or vegetable broth. If you have a limited amount of broth on hand, make up the rest of the liquid with water (plus extra salt). I do this all the time if I'm missing a cup or two of broth and it still always tastes amazing but you must remember the extra salt or it may end up a bit flat or bland since the salty umami flavour is a major component of broth flavour. I salt to taste. To do this, taste the broth on its own. Now add the water and taste again. It will taste flatter and watered down. Now add a good pinch of kosher salt, mix and taste. Continue adding a little more and tasting each time until it tastes like full flavour broth again but not “salty". 

Aromatics   

This is the first (and most important flavouring step) of the soup. Cooking aromatics in some fat to begin a soup is very important. It releases flavours and is the main component of what will give your soup depth and deep delicious flavours. To begin, heat your heavy bottomed soup pot on medium-high. Add a tablespoon of preferred fat. How to know when your pan is hot enough: add a single drop of water after your fat and if it sizzles, your pan is ready for the aromatics. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Stir often while they cook until translucent. Add other aromatics once the onions are cooked.

Try: fresh ginger, herbs (dried or fresh), spices, chilis, curry paste and garlic.

Tip: Garlic burns easily so add it last of all aromatics and reduce your temperature while constantly stirring for a minute or two before moving on to the next step.

Fats

Olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee, avocado oil, animal fat, etc. 

Deglaze

Deglazing the bottom of a pot is important to scrape all those flavourful brown bits off the bottom. By adding a splash of white wine or vinegar, it creates immediate steam that releases these bits and adds a hint of acid to help balance the base of the soup. You can substitute with a splash a broth to do the same thing if you don't have wine or vinegar.

Building the Soup

Add all your vegetables (except greens) and broth to a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Leave the lid off while you let your soup simmer for 30 minutes of so. Leaving the lid off lets steam release which allows the liquid to cook down and concentrates the flavours. I taste the soup after 15 minutes or so and add more salt if needed. I find by 30 minutes the flavours are well developed but you can leave it for longer if you want it more concentrated in flavour, just keep in mind that it will yield less soup since the liquid decreases with the lid off. 

Pureeing

Once you are happy with the flavour, ladle the soup in to a blender and puree until smooth (or use a hand blender). Sometimes I serve it right away after blending. You can also pour it back into the pot and cook over low for 5 to 10 minutes to develop more flavours. Add a bit of acidity if it tastes too rich– a splash of white wine vinegar or a good squeeze of lemon will add a brightness to the soup without making it taste too acidic. Start with a little bit, it goes a long way. You can also add a creamy element at this point if you like (coconut milk or cream). If you do, keep the temperature on low to mix the creamy component so it does not curdle. 

Toppings

 For me, a pureed soup needs a topping. It feels more complete and adds texture. I use a few things of whatever I have on hand.

Try:  fresh herbs, toasted nuts or seeds, croutons, crushed Mary's crackers, parsnip (or other vegetable) crisps, herb oil, sliced green onions, roasted vegetables, roasted chickpeas, poached egg, sausage, bacon, cheddar cheese.

Root Vegetable Soup || An easy to follow recipe guide on how to make an amazing soup with any root vegetables. Use any of the following: potatoes, parsnips, carrots, celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, sweet potatoes or squash. Cozy and perfect for Fall or Winter. Very healthy, great for a detox. Dairy free, gluten free, plant based, vegan. || creamandhoney.ca
Root Vegetable Soup || An easy to follow recipe guide on how to make an amazing soup with any root vegetables. Use any of the following: potatoes, parsnips, carrots, celeriac, rutabaga, turnips, sweet potatoes or squash. Cozy and perfect for Fall or Winter. Very healthy, great for a detox. Dairy free, gluten free, plant based, vegan. || creamandhoney.ca
Winter sunset on the Lakeshore, Toronto.

Let's all do things that make us feel good, okay? 

Love,

 Megan

xx


ROOT VEGETABLE SOUP WITH PARSNIP CRISPS

the magic

inspiration:                cold winter days and nights

the feels:                    warm, creamy, smooth, earthy

eat with:                     crusty bread, Mary's crackers, fresh herbs,                                        herb oil, poached egg, sliced sausage,                                                bacon, grated cheese, ground meat. 

might like if you're into:       cozy cottages, self care, detoxing,                                                      food in bowls, historical fiction                                                        books or tv, cellars, log cabins, one                                                  pot meals, watching the fire. 

 

the science

makes 8 cups of soup (4 to 6 servings) || time: 45 minutes

ingredients:

  • 8 cups of peeled and chopped root vegetables                                                                                                (this particular soup contained the following)
    • 3 parsnips (for soup) + 1 for crisps
    • 3 carrots
    • 2 yellow potatoes
    • 1 turnip
    • 1 celeriac 
  • 5 cups vegetable broth (or chicken)
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled + grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or diced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ground pepper to taste
  • splash of white wine vinegar or white wine (for deglazing)
  • optional: squeeze of lemon for each bowl before serving to brighten
  • topping suggestions: parsnip crisps, fresh parsley, herb oil,  sliced green onions, crushed Mary's Crackers, croutons, toasted nuts or seeds, roasted vegetables, roasted chickpeas, poached egg, sausage, bacon, cheddar cheese.

method:                                                                                            

soup

  1. Heat large pot over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté until translucent (5 to 8 minutes). Add any other aromatics you are using (this recipe is ginger) and cook for another 2 minutes. Add garlic (and another tablespoon of oil if needed) and sauté for one more minute. The bottom of your pot may be brownish and a bit sticky. Pour a splash of white wine vinegar and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add herbs (thyme and rosemary) and mix.  
  2. Add root vegetables and stir to coat. Pour in broth and turn to high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce temperature to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes uncovered. Taste and add up to a teaspoon of kosher salt. When using vegetable broth I usually prefer the whole teaspoon. Chicken broth may need less. If your broth tastes slightly bland, it needs salt.
  3. Ladle soup into blender and puree until smooth. Pour back into pot and simmer for another 5 minutes or so and add anything else (more salt or ground pepper) you may like.
  4. Ladle into bowls. Add any toppings you like and add a squeeze of lemon to brighten the soup.  

parsnip crisps

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Using a thin setting on a mandolin, shave a pre-peeled parsnip into very thin slices. Lay on baking sheet and brush with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 3 to 8 minutes depending on thickness (check them at three and then every minute following). Be careful not to burn them. Let cool. 

 

Amaro Spritz Punch

Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca

Hello holiday people!

For my final post of the Holiday Blognanza with Olaiya from Milly's Kitchen, I've made you this delicious punch that will charm the pants off you and your guests. That could be a good or bad thing depending who your guests are, so invite cool and attractive people to come drink with you just to be safe. Olaiya has a recipe for toasted buckwheat granola with tahini and dark chocolate up on her blog for you to indulge in and feel good about it. This punch is perfect for pre-dinner drinks, alongside food or after food. It's versatile because it's light and contains amari that help you digest. Amari are lovely to sip on before or after a meal, particularly with some ice and a citrus peel. The fresh and bubbly flavour of this punch is reminiscent of orange crush but a very adult version being less sweet and added notes of bitterness. It even tastes amazing flat if you don't drink it all in one night. Pour it into a sealable bottle or mason jar and keep in the fridge for tomorrow's Christmas movie or a night cap. I brought a leftover bottle of this flat punch to a friend's place last night and it was a huge hit. Such a hit that as I write this, my mind is foggy from the evening's holiday cheer and lack of sleep so forgive my briefness. It was totally worth it. Now go whip up a batch of this delicious stuff (it only takes a couple minutes) and you'll be feeling extra warm and cheery in no time. 

Here are the previous holiday posts from this month if you need some food and gift ideas!

Pine Shortbread Cookies

Hazelnut Amaretti With Orange + Vanilla

Stilton Pear Cheese Ball With Pistachios + Pink Peppercorns

Small Is Beautiful: Holiday Gift Guide

Potato Cheddar + Onion Focaccia

Alison Roman's Slow Roasted Pork With Garlic, Citrus + Cilantro

 

Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca

Holiday Party Tips (section four)

 

Setting The Tone

Setting the tone of a gathering is so important. For a visceral experience, I consider what people's the senses will encounter when arriving. What will they experience in terms of their sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. 

Sight

How do I make everyone look as attractive as possible? Lighting! And booze. But mostly lighting. Overhead lights can be unflattering so unless it's your only option, side lighting with lamps and candles are a better option. If overhead lighting must be used then offset with candles and lamps or dim down if possible. Twinkly lights, a himalayan salt lamp and candles are my favourite light accents. 

Smell

Lots of delicious food aromas wafting through your home before people arrive may be all you need. I turn on my essential oil diffuser while I get ready because it's relaxes me as I ease into the evening. For a bright and uplifting scent try lemon or orange oil (you can add a little peppermint if you like which goes with both nicely). For something earthy and relaxing, lavender, rosemary and conifer work well. If you're stuffed up from winter colds or want a clean smell, half eucalyptus and half lavender is my favourite. 

Hearing

Music is key at a gathering and one of the biggest tone setters. Construct your own playlist or pick on out on Spotify or 8tracks. A classic jazz soul playlist is perfect for a winter gathering. This In The Kitchen playlist goes well with cooking, preparing and for when guests arrive. I have a few playlists with different vibes saved on my computer for when the energy changes. Maybe it evolves into a dance party (the best kind of party).  The volume level is important as well. If the music is too quiet it can feel awkward but if it's too loud, people can't hear or focus on conversations. 

TV. Yes or no?

Unless the gathering is centred around a tv show, movie or sports games I would avoid turning on the tv. I find this is a quick party killer and people end up zoned out on the screen. 

Bathroom Etiquette

I love when people have a candle already lit in the bathroom. It makes it feel cozy and like they care about every room in their home. I keep a stick a palo santo and a lighter in a small glass above the toilet for people to light. Ensure there is ample soap, toilet paper, and a clean hand towel.

When guests arrive

 Greet them with enthusiasm and a hug (this is part of the touch sense and hugs are important, okay?). If you are enthusiastic to see someone, they will feel the same. Often we mirror other people's feelings, so be the feeling-guru and have everyone else mirror your excited and cheerful vibe. Show them where they can put their coats so they don't take up room in the common area. Offer a drink by telling them exactly what the options are. Offering homemade punch to start is always a welcomed sight. 

Be aware of the vibe

Once everyone has arrived, the tone of the gathering will be set. It may need some help by initiating conversations between people and topping up drinks (which always gets the conversation flowing). If it's feeling too sleepy, consider turning up the lights a little or changing the playlist to something more upbeat. Now just let it be and enjoy! I find the more I focus on enjoying myself, the more others enjoy themselves. Happiness is contagious, guys.

 

Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca

Recipe Notes:

bay leaf gin

Pour one cup of gin into a mason jar. Take 15 fresh bay leaves and rip in half. Place into jar of gin and seal. Leave for at least six hours. I left mine overnight. Remove bay leaves or strain if needed. 

Ice

Make extra ice ahead of time or buy a bag at the store. If you have a punch bowl, there are some pretty awesome ice rings you can make the day before like this one

Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca
Amaro Spritz Punch || A delicious Christmas punch perfect for the holidays! This batch cocktail is made with sparkling wine, aperol, amaro montenegro, orange juice and gin. Fresh and light! || creamandhoney.ca

Wishing you a happy holidays with lots of lovely food, family, friends and punch!

Meg

xx


AMARO SPRITZ PUNCH

the magic

inspiration:                     Aperol Spritz

the feels:                         fresh, light, slightly sweet + bitter    

eat with:                          cocktail snacks, antipasto, cheese ball

might like if you're into:      apertivos, digestivos, dance parties,                                                   fancy parties, san pellegrino aranciata,                                             negronis, aperol spritz, amaro, campari                                             + soda

the science

makes 12 cups (one large bowl or jug of punch) || time: 5 minutes

ingredients:

  • 1 cup aperol
  • 1 cup amaro montenegro
  • 1 cup gin (for bay infused gin, read the recipe notes above)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 4 cups cava (prosecco, champagne or sparkling wine)
  • 4 cups sparkling water
  • ice for serving
  • 2 oranges, sliced into wheels (optional)
  • handful of fresh bay leaves (optional)

method:

  1. Add aperol, amaro montenegro, gin, and orange juice to a jug or punch bowl. Just before serving, add cava and sparkling water. Stir to mix. Top with sliced oranges and bay leaves if desired. Add lots of ice to punch (the more the better because it will melt slower with more and keep the punch cold for longer. Or you can add ice to each glass as you serve it. 

Pour leftovers into a sealable bottle or jar and keep in the fridge for up to five days. It's delicious flat or you can brighten it back up with a splash of sparkling water or sparkling wine.