So good to have my site back. It had disappeared for 10 days – having it back was like having the comfort of an old friend.
We just came back from a holiday with my husband’s family travelling through parts of Kerala in the South of India. We started in Cochin, staying in a lovely place called The Eight Bastion in Fort Kochi, where the food was exceptional, and prepared by a wonderful chef who catered for all our odd dietary needs taking such pride,care and enthusiasm in everything he prepared – there was no need to venture out for our meals. We saw the Chinese fishing nets and visited a few local churches and a Synagogue – in the heart of Fort Kochi. We then travelled high up into the hill stations of Munnar. This part of the trip was my favourite. We stayed at a lovely resort called ‘The Spice Tree” where we were literally up in the clouds.
We went on hikes through the plantations and saw all sorts of spices grown – peppercorns, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and even had a go at cutting and harvesting rice. The evening sunset walks were particularly special, enjoying the breath-taking views down into the valley. The last part of our trip was exploring the backwaters. We spent a day on one of the typical house-boats made of teak and bamboo – observing how the local people lived on the water, using the river to bathe, to wash their clothes and dishes, as a source of food and transport and everything in between., we watched palm tree after palm tree pass us by, paddy fields and colourful houses and a romantic way of life that seems unchanged for centuries. This is the beauty of Kerala.
For the last 25 years, we have been travelling to India, and this was the first time as a tourist, rather than a budding yoga practitioner. India as always, presented her magic and opened all our hearts – it was a truly memorable and magical trip.
~ Chinese fishing nets in a bright sky at Fort Cochin
~ Tea Plantations taken from the bus window at the end of a winding, five hour journey, Munnar
~ Domestic chores along the river, Kumarakom
~ Water, vegetation and sky all become one, Back waters
a warm salad of mustard, roasted carrot cauliflower & moong dal
Recipe slightly adapted from Grown and Gathered.
Don’t be shy with the kale greens, just make it green and lots of it. I love how the carrot adds a splash of colour; roasted beets would also work. I serve it with a whole avocado, sliced and spread into a fan, and slices of grilled haloumi. It is also great with a bowl of hummus. A great dish to take along to a lunch or dinner.
Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main.
400g carrots or Baby (Dutch) tops trimmed to 2cm
½ head/400g cauliflower
½ cup/100g whole moong dal (whole mung bean)
3 cups water
120g kale, mustard greens, chard, spinach, coarsely chopped
mustard dressing :
1 Tblsp yellow mustard seeds
2 Tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tblsp brown sugar/jaggery/honey
zest from two lemons
2 Tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tblsp lemon juice (1 large lemon)
½ tsp fine rock salt
⅛ tsp ground black pepper
1 Tblsp honey/sugar (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 190 C/ 375F.
Cut the cauliflower into rough 4 cm florets, and place in a large bowl. Peel the carrots and cut into matchsticks, about 5 cm in length. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the mustard seeds until about half are ground and half are cracked. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and continue to grind gently until combined. Pour the dressing over the cauliflower and carrot. Toss, using your hands until thoroughly combined. Spread the vegetables out on a baking tray in a single layer and roast for 45min – 1 hour, or until the vegetables are just beginning to blacken around the edges.
Wash the moong dal (whole mung beans) thoroughly and place in a saucepan with the water. Bring to a rapid simmer and leave, uncovered until they are tender – about 20 – 30 minutes. Just keep in mind you may have to add more water when cooking – depending on the quality of your dal. You really need to keep an eye on them and judge so that you are not left with mush. You want the mung beans firm, but cooked. When ready, pour into a strainer to drain off any excess water – leave for a few minutes.
Prepare the vinaigrette – place the oil, lemon juice, zest, honey, salt and pepper in a jar. Seal with a lid and shake well. Set aside.
Wash the mustard and kale leaves, removing the inner thicker stem from the kale and chard, and roughly chop. Lightly saute in a heavy-bottomed skillet, turn off the heat and cover for a few minutes until just wilted. Place in a large salad or serving bowl, pour over the vinaigrette and roughly massage with your hands to bruise the leaves. Add the cooked moong dal and toss gently. The heat from the dal will help soften the leaves even more. Set aside for the flavours to come together while the vegetables are still roasting.
When the vegetables are ready, add them to the marinated greens and dal and gently combine. Garnish the top with a large avocado, sliced and spread out into a fan, then add a few good rounds of freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.
Goodness shared by Stacey