Are you a lazy cook? I have to confess that I am. A big one. Quick & easy – that’s how I like things in the kitchen. Simple recipes that don’t ask for too many steps, mostly conventional ingredients and quick prep work. But little did I know how much time (and effort!) I can save with a tool that you can find in every kitchen – a high-quality knife. So today we’ll have a pep talk about knives. And in the end, I’ll share a delicious & nourishing vegan barley minestrone soup recipe (that involves a lot of chopping, of course!).
My journey in the world of knives has been an ignorant one. For a long time, I didn’t really pay attention to what kind of knife I’m using and, honestly, my knife skills are quite sad. I knew that the knife plays a major role in the kitchen but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it – what’s the best option for a sharp, smooth and quick chopping on the kitchen board?
But everything changed when I met the knife-maker Krišjānis from Karl Walter tools. We’ve been following each other on Instagram for quite a while. And he was the first knife account that I’ve ever followed – who knew that I’d enjoy a feed filled with knife photos!
Krišjānis work is exceptional and I could see that right away. He owns a one-man business and has a knife shop in Raiskums, Latvia (check out the photos from his shop below). We met in my hometown Sigulda on a snowy evening and Krišjānis told me a lot about the knives that he makes. I was not only impressed with the materials Krišjānis uses, but also the aesthetics – his knives are gorgeous.
It turns out that the thin blade made by Krišjānis out of high carbon steel lets the food you cut to stay fresh for longer. And although the blade is thin, it’s very strong – stronger than any conventional knifes’ blade. Plus, the blade won’t bend (I’ve bent so many knives before this one!) – it stays straight even after the toughest challenges.
For a while, I’ve been using my own Karl Walter tools knife and I was surprised how sharp the blade can be and how easy it is to cut, dice and chop even the hardest vegetables like pumpkins! The knife comfortably fits in the palm, allowing you to quickly get from prepping the ingredients to a finished meal.
And a tip from Krišjānis – when working in the kitchen, use only wood cutting boards. Just think about it – if you use a plastic one, the micro parts from cutting will get into the food and in your mouth! And, trust me, your body will not be happy about it.
You can see in the photos below how my knife’s blade has created a beautiful and colorful patina – it’s your own signature which has been created from the acids of the foods you cut the most.
The handle is a piece of art by itself. My knife’s handle’s dark part is made from about 4000 years old fossilized oak (I had no idea that they even exist!) but the bright part is made from a cotton micarta. As Krišjānis said, this is a real deal zero-waste knife.
Every knife is unique, 100% hand-made by Krišjānis himself and have a lifetime warranty.
If you want to take your cooking to the next level and invest in a high-quality knife that will last a lifetime, head to the Karl Walter tools profile and find your favorite knife (worldwide shipping available)! Trust me, it’s so worth it.
Speaking about the knife skills, I’m still learning every day. If you’re hustling with all that chopping and dicing, I suggest you watch this video where Jamie gives you some tips for quick and confident knife work.
And now to the soup’s recipe. I’ve talked a lot already so let me just say that this is a perfect vegan minestrone soup for chilly weather. It’s filled with straightening veggies like potatoes, carrots and kale. Barley adds its dose of minerals and will keep you satisfied for longer.
Let’s head to the recipe. 🙂
Nourishing Barley Minestrone Soup
Makes 4 – 6 servings
- 2 medium size potatoes (with skin on)
- a medium size carrot
- 2 stalks of celery
- an onion
- 3 big cloves of garlic (use more if you’re a garlic fan)
- ½ cup pearl barley, rinsed
- 1 cup kale sprouts (or chopped kale)
- 1 cup green peas (frozen or canned)
- a thick slice of lemon
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp Himalayan or sea salt
- 3 bay leaves
- about 7 peppercorns + a healthy pinch of ground black pepper
- a handful of fresh, chopped parsley (+ extra for garnishing)
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 6 cups of water
- for garnishing – spring onions and dill
- Prepare the vegetables – wash the potatoes, carrot, celery, and kale sprouts. Cube the potatoes and chop the carrot and celery. Set aside.
- Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Heat a pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and onion & garlic. Cook for about 4 minutes until translucent and fragrant. Add the spices – salt, coriander, bay leaves, peppercorns, ground pepper, and lemon. Stir well and let the spices cook for 2 more minutes until.
- Add 6 cups of water along with cubed potatoes, chopped carrot, celery, kale sprouts (if using chopped kale, add it in the end, along with green peas), and pearl barley.
- Wait until the soup starts to boil, cover the pot with lid and let it cook for 30 minutes until pearl barley is al dente and the veggies have cooked. Add the green peas and let them cook for two more minutes.
- Remove the soup from the heat and stir in chopped parsley. Taste test and adjust spices if necessary.
- Serve garnished with fresh parsley, spring onions and dill. For an extra flavor and satisfaction, add a dollop of a homemade vegan sour cream.
P.S. If you love making nourishing and warming soups, make sure to check out this recipe.