I went into September head first. After a month of sailing and relaxing every fibre of my body, I felt completely ready to dive into all things work, writing and cooking related. September has also always been my “new year”, and maybe some of you can resonate with how easy it is to become overwhelmed with all of the positive intentions we set for ourselves around times of change. And there’s nothing wrong with setting ambitious goals, but when we depend on their success in order to feel accomplished and then don’t meet all of our expectations, it’s easy to fall into a negative mindset. Just 10 days into the month, and that’s exactly how I was feeling – both burned out and unaccomplished. I’m now making a conscious effort to remind myself that my happiness and success don’t depend on the quantity of work I put out, that it’s more than ok to have missed my self made deadlines and, most importantly, that no one is watching out for my ‘failures’.
So yes, fall is on it’s way. At the market, blueberries have been replaced by blackberries, the peaches only have a couple weeks left and mushrooms have a whole entire stall. I’ve already filled a bag up twice, and already have two dates set up to go mushrooms foraging in October. Enthusiastic is a huge understatement. Back in October, whilst helping my dear friend and former boss prepare the most incredible vegan winter menu, we caramelised a whole bunch of oyster mushrooms and onions together to top a sweet potato tart. Every part of that tart knocked my socks off, but what stuck with me the most was how much the mushroom topping reminded me of chicken – freakishly so. Fast forward five months, and I was still thinking about it every time I looked at mushrooms. I bought a bunch of the same beautiful oyster mushrooms, held back the balsamic, and instead added thyme and rosemary. Let’s fast forward another 2 minutes, and the whole pan was gone. Both the texture and flavour of sautéed oyster mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms alone, is scarily similar to chicken, and although I know I haven’t tasted real chicken in over two years, this stuff is a game change.
For the real party in your mouth you’ll want to make the rest of the taco fillers too. Toasted tortillas are topped with a fiery apple sweet potato puree, grilled corn, chick’n and a rocking peach salsa. Peach season is almost done, so I’ve been trying to use the stuff as much as humanly possible, but if you’re reading this past peach season, and more into fall, try swapping the peaches for grapes or any other seasonal fruit. The sweet and salty sweet spot is hard to get wrong with this one, so you’re formally invited to get extra creative…
Chick’n Tacos with Peach Salsa
Apple Sweet Potato Puree
3 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
Squeeze of lemon
1/8-1/4 tsp paprika (to taste)
Pepper, to taste
To make the puree you’ll need to roast the sweet potatoes whole. You can either pop them in the oven whole (at 180˚) let them cook for 40-50 minutes and then scoop out the filling into your food processor OR cube them up, cook for 30 minutes or so, and toss them whole into the food processor – up to you.
While the sweet potatoes cook, dice an apple. Over medium heat, cook down the diced apple with coconut oil and a pinch of salt. Cook it for 5-6 minutes until the apple is soft and then remove it from the heat.
Once the sweet potato is cooked, toss it in the food processor along with the cooked apple, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and paprika. Blitz for 1-2 minutes, until smooth and very creamy.
2 peaches, finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1/4 tsp sea salt
Throw the peaches, red pepper and tomatoes into a bowl and stir. Add in the cilantro, lime juice and sea salt and mix until fully combined. The salsa can be stored in a glass jar for up to 2 weeks when refrigerated and up to 3 months when frozen.
Oyster Mushroom Chick’n:
1 tbsp coconut oil
250 grams oyster mushrooms, torn into pieces by hand
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp chopped rosemary
Heat up the oil in a large pan (as you don’t want to overcrowd the mushrooms) on medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add in the mushrooms, salt, thyme and rosemary and stir lightly to coat them all. At this point, step away from the pan and fight the urge to touch and stir the mushrooms. Let them cook for 4-5 minutes, and when golden and slightly crispy on one side, turn them over. Again leave them, and let them cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove them from the heat when they’re tender and golden.
Put it all together! Heat up your tortillas, scoop up some apple sweet potato puree, chick’n, salsa and grilled corn and eat it all up.