A quick and simple Japanese black noodle salad using gluten free black rice soba noodles for a dramatic effect.
One of the joys of instagram is the way it can bring like minded people together. I’ve had more experiences of this as blogger than I ever could have imagined; Stumbling across a beautiful feed, following for inspiration, then by magic (or is it?) ending up meeting in person through one blogger event or another. Sometimes its hard to imagine that you never actually met that person before because we all share so much of our lives and our daily activities on line.
This exact situation happened earlier this year with Kimberly from The Little Plantation, after connecting on instagram we went on to meet at a photography workshop in London this May. Chatting at the workshop we coincidentally worked out we lived just a 10 minute drive away. We decided there and then that working together on a project would not only be a great social activity since blogging can be so solitary at times, but would also be a great way to explore and practice our photography and food styling skills, and of course work on some tasty new recipes for our readers.
I’ve never worked collaboratively on a blog post before, and I learned a great deal more about myself through the process, which wasn’t even the intention. Before we got together we discussed recipes, styling and props. Kimberly was keen to play around with a noodle salad because she’d seen me share a photo of it on instagram a while back. I’d also recently used the recipe for a cooking demo at The College of Naturopathic Medicine and since its one of my new favourites I agreed that it definitely deserved a place on our respective blogs.
Kimberly has a beautifully soft style in her styling and photography, usually comprising shades of white and greys, making use of gorgeous linen, lace, wooden backdrops and delicately arranged food. I prefer the more vibrant look with popping colours, and very simple styling of props. Since we’ve now spent more time together I think this is definitely reflected in our personalities.
For my final hero blog shot I was very happy with the a shot containing Kimberly’s white wooden backdrop, a large sharing-style platter on my vintage oval plate and spoons, and little else in the shot. I also liked the ingredients shots we played around with on my blue background and whilst the background was too bright for the final look, I love the way it contrasts with the black noodles and chillies so I wanted to find a place for it here. I’m not a perfectionist in any sense of the word, and was happy with these shots pretty early on. But, and this is the interesting aspect of working with another creative individual, it wasn’t what Kimberly had been envisaging. So, sadly once we had run out of time (admittedly we spent much time chatting), I left Kimberly to re work the shoot on another day as she saw fit. Her reworked shots are beautiful, totally in her style and these are the photos she has shared on her blog post today.
So, whilst this isn’t perhaps the collaboration of producing two posts with the same shots I had initially imagined, I think the results are somewhat more interesting. A case study for how one recipe can be represented in two (or more) ways, to suit different bloggers personalities and blog styles even though our philiosophies around food are incredibly similar.
Do check out Kimberly’s post for comparison: Warm Japanese Black Noodle Salad, on The Little Plantation.
The recipe makes the most of the dramatic colour of the black noodles, which are a combination of brown and black rice – naturally gluten free. I have also tried this recipe with plain brown rice noodles, buckwheat and other various combinations using pumpkin or sweet potato noodles. The buckwheat noodles are rather grey but all of them work superbly in this same recipe which is adapted from a Heidi Swanson of 101 cookbooks recipe. Feel free to change up the vegetables as you see fit. All of these are edible in their raw form, which means less kitchen time. They will soften slightly as they are broken down by the sesame dressing.
Serve alongside a fillet of steamed or pan-fried fish or serve a larger portion for a light meal.
- 250g black rice noodles
- 1 cucumber, cut in half, seeded and then julienned
- A small handful of radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 bok choy, thinly sliced into long strips
- small handful chopped coriander
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced into rounds
- 1 small red chilli, sliced into rounds
- 1 Tbs sesame seeds
- 1 small lemon, juice and zest
- 1 Inch fresh ginger
- 2 Tbs brown rice vinegar
- 1 pinch cayenne
- 2 Tbs tamari
- 2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
- Cook the noodles according to packet instructions, drain and rinse well under cool water.
- Meanwhile make up the dressing. Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, ginger, vinegar, cayenne and tamari. Continue to whisk as you mix in the oil till the dressing emulsifies
- In a large mixing bowl combine the noodles with the sliced vegetables, the coriander, spring onions and enough dressing to coat.
- Scatter the sesame seeds and fresh chilli on top.
You can add julienned carrots to this dish too.
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