5 ingredient almond & tahini cookies (vegan)

17th October 2018

Deliciously moor-ish satisfying cookies that are chewy on the inside (due to the fluid stretchy nature of tahini) and crispy, crumbly on the outside (due to the almond meal).

~the relief and release of autumn

5 ingredient almond & tahini cookies

Makes 15 cookies

Recipe from Cook Republic.

I have written this recipe as is from the link above, as most people preferred them that way.  My son and I needed more sweet, so the second and third time I baked these –

  • I added 2 Tablespoons(35g) of light brown sugar and found them just right in balancing the bitterness of the tahini.
  • Lastly, I baked them 5 minutes longer and left them in the oven for a further 20 minutes as opposed to 5 minutes.

If wanting to use unrefined brown sugar instead of the maple syrup, dissolve ½ cup sugar in ½ cup hot water and proceed with the recipe or for less sweet, ¼ cup sugar – ¼ cup water.

Almond meal is finely ground almonds. I grind whole almonds in my food processor or vita-mix.

I use a traditional brand of Tahini which is runny and smooth.

ingredients:

2 cups/225g almond meal

¾ cup/200g tahini paste

½ cup/130g maple syrup

½ tsp fine rock salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

chopped pistachio, almonds or sesame – to garnish

preparation:

Preheat the oven to 170C/340F. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place the tahini, maple syrup, salt and vanilla in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly until smooth and blended. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 – 15 minutes.

Add the almond meal to the tahini mixture and mix until a rough dough forms. Allow it to sit for a few minutes for the dough to come together.

Roll 1 – 2 tablespoons (40g) of the dough in the palm of your hand into a ball. (My dough was quite oily due to the runny tahini I used). Place on the prepared tray and garnish the cookies by gently pressing the nuts or seeds on top with your fingertips. 

Bake in the pre-heat oven for approximately 10 minutes. Switch off the oven and let the cookies brown slightly in the hot oven for another 5 minutes before removing.

Cool on wire racks.

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sandwich night with sesame-tempeh, charred fennel & pepper rings

3rd October 2018

Usually, sandwich night falls on Friday night when it is just the three of us and I have made a fresh loaf of challah bread. The meal comes together in half an hour and is so delicious and satisfying. Slices of homemade bread are brushed with a strong English mustard, followed by a thick layer of vegan mayonnaise and filled with an avocado salsa, green garden leaves, tamari-sesame coated slices of tempeh and charred fennel and red pepper rings.

sandwich night

Serves 3

for the charred tempeh, fennel & pepper rings:

1 small red and green pepper

1 large fennel

1 packet/200g tempeh

6 Tblsp oil/ghee

3 Tablespoons sesame seeds

3 Tablespoon of tamari

for the sandwiches:

slices of your favourite bread

strong English mustard

avocado with tomato, coriander salsa and mustard seeds

vegan mayonnaise

bitter salad leaves

salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the charred tempeh, peppers and fennel:

Slice the fennel into rounds, set aside. Slice the peppers into round or half rounds, set aside. Cut the tempeh into strips or rounds. (Depending on the shape of the tempeh you are using).

In a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Drizzle in a tablespoon of oil and cook the fennel rounds until charred around the edges. When sufficiently charred, scoop them out onto a large plate and repeat with the same procedure with the red & green peppers. When charred and cooked add to the same plate as the fennel.

Keep the pan on the heat, pour in the remaining oil and fry the tempeh until golden, flipping over and doing the same with the other side. Once all have been done (may need to do in two batches), return all the tempeh to the pan, sprinkle over the sesame seeds and saute, coating the tempeh with the seeds for a minute. Turn off the heat and drizzle the tamari over the tempeh. Stir a few times and scoop out onto the plate. Making sure you brush out all the seeds left over in the pan over the charred peppers, fennel and tempeh.

assemble the sandwiches:

Drizzle each slice of bread with olive oil, a swipe of mustard and spread a thick layer of mayonnaise. Add a dollop of avocado salsa, and a layer of garden green leaves, a few slices of tempeh, a generous sprinkle of fennel and pepper rings and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy!

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shaved carrot salad

21st September 2018

This is a salad that comes together really quickly, it is one I make confidently for a last minute addition to a meal when you want something fresh, with a bit of crunch. I serve it with a spicy warm bowl of dal and rice.

Carrots are the bulk of the recipe, and at times I combine them with shaved beetroot, the sunflower sprouts add a bit of colour and more crunch, with the sesame seeds providing that nutty earthiness. The dressing enlivens everything; adding a sweet tangy zingy lift to it all. It can also be made with cucumbers or fennel, it doesn’t need an exact recipe, normally I do one or two carrots depending on the number of people. I usually make a good amount of the dressing to use throughout the week.

shaved carrot salad

Serves 6 – as a side dish.

This simple salad is a joy to make, can be ready within minutes and has been requested many times whenever it is served. The dressing is from this salad recipe which I make so often.

for the salad:

3 Tblsp toasted sesame seeds

4 medium/420g carrots

two handful’s of sunflower sprout

3 Tblsp sesame seeds

for the dressing:

1 Tblsp finely grated fresh ginger

3 Tblsp olive oil

2 Tblsp agave or honey

2 Tblsp fresh lemon juice

tsp fine rock salt

to make the salad:

Toast the sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat. This will only take a few minutes until they start getting a little colour and become fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Remove the carrot tops, wash and trim the carrots. Using a sharp vegetable peeler, peel ribbons of carrots into a salad bowl. Apply pressure as you peel to achieve thicker ribbons. For the very end pieces which are difficult to ribbon, chop them and add them to the salad.

Wash the sunflower sprouts, dry and add them to the shaved carrots. Set aside while you prepare the dressing.

prepare the dressing:

Grate the ginger (skin and all) and whisk the lemon juice, agave/honey, salt, and oil together. Taste adding extra sweet, if needed.

When ready to serve, sprinkle over the sesame seeds and pour over the dressing. Gently lifting the shaved carrots and distribute the dressing through the salad without over mixing. Sprinkle over a few nasturtiums flowers if you have them in the garden.

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lasagna tart

11th September 2018

sunkissed and content…

A very decadent and comforting dish for a special occasion. A bit rich on its own but goes well as part of the main meal, accompanied by a simple rice dish and a variety of salads. The parmesan crust is divine, crunchy and flavourful.

lasagna tart

Serves 6 – 8

Makes one 9-10 inch tart.

Recipe adapted from here. 

ingredients:

2 medium/350g zucchini, sliced into very thin coins

¾ tsp fine-grain rock salt

tart crust:

½ cup/75g unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup/70g whole wheat flour

½ cup/115g unsalted butter, well chilled + cut into small cubes

2 cups/100g loosely packed grated parmesan cheese

½ tsp fine-grain rock salt

2 Tblsp ice cold water

tomato sauce:

2 Tblsp olive oil

1 tsp each of finely chopped fresh rosemary and oregano leaves

¾ tsp red pepper flakes

400g cherry tomatoes, finely chopped

½ tsp fine-grain rock salt

½ tsp brown sugar

 

1 cup/250g ricotta cheese

¼ cup small basil leaves

preparation:

Preheat your oven to 190C/375F. Oil a 10-inch tart pan and set aside.

prepare the zucchini:

Slice the zucchini using a mandoline or knife into 2 mm slices. Place in a bowl, sprinkle over the salt and gently toss until evenly covered with salt. Transfer to a colander and let drain while you make the tart shell and tomato sauce.

make the tart crust:

Place both flours, butter cubes, parmesan and salt in a food processor and pulse quickly about 25 times. You are looking for a sandy textured blend, with pea-sized pieces of butter. With a few more pulses, blend in the 2 tablespoons of ice water. The dough should stick together when you pinch it with your fingers. Pour the dough into the tart pan. Working quickly, press the dough uniformly into the pan by pressing across the bottom and working up towards the sides. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes. You can use this time to finely chop the tomatoes.

bake the tart crust:

Pull the tart out of the refrigerator and poke a few times with the tongs of a fork. Cover the tart with baking paper and fill generously with pie weights (I used red kidney beans). Bake for 15 minutes, pull the tart out of the oven and gently remove the baking paper containing the pie weights. Place the uncovered tart back in the oven, weight free, and allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

prepare the tomato sauce:

Stir the olive oil, red pepper flakes and finely chopped herbs in a saucepan, cook over medium-high heat until the herbs start to sizzle just a bit. Stir in the finely chopped tomatoes, bring to a simmer, cook the sauce down, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the salt and sugar, set aside.

to assemble the tart:

Use a spatula to spread half the ricotta cheese across the base of the tart shell. Now spoon half the tomato sauce over the ricotta and arrange half the zucchini in a single layer on top of the sauce. If your zucchinis are still quite wet, press them with a paper towel. Spoon the remaining ricotta over the zucchinis and push it around a bit with your fingers so that it forms a layer. Arrange another layer of zucchini and finish with the remaining sauce. You want the filling to nearly, but not quite fill the pan.

to bake the tart:

Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet (in case you end up with an overflow) and bake for 40 minutes or until the tart is cooked through. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the top with fresh basil leaves.

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slow cooked zucchinis with basil

4th September 2018

ZUCCHINI

This year I staggered my planting to have a continuous supply of zucchini throughout the summer, but I forgot how quickly they grow from seed to plant and now I have an endless supply.

Just when I think I have the zucchini under control, I venture out into the garden and miraculously there is another batch ready to be picked! I have been giving away a lot and trying many new recipes to use them up.

I have been returning to these zucchini fritters, a lot, and recently sitting in my drafts is this lasagna tart recipe from 101 Cookbooks which I will make for my daughter before she returns to University in London.

I have also been making a sweet zucchini palya to accompany any dal or sambar.

In the garden…..

slow-cooked zucchinis with basil

Serves 4, as a side dish.

Recipe adapted from `Spring´ by Skye Gyngell.

ingredients:

6 small/530g firm zucchinis

2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil

2 Tblsp ghee/butter, melted

rock salt & freshly ground black pepper

preparation:

Trim the zucchinis and slice them into fine rounds, about 3mm thick. I used a mandoline for this.

Place a medium heavy-based pan over medium heat and pour in the olive oil and melted ghee. Add the zucchinis and stir well to coat the slices in the ghee and oil. Add a good pinch of salt.

Now turn down the heat to its lowest setting possible and cover the pan with the lid. Cook for 40-50 minutes, stirring every few minutes to ensure the zucchinis do not stick to the bottom or brown. As the zucchinis cook they will soften and their flavour will deepen. Eventually, they will begin to disintegrate, becoming almost like a thick mushy jam.

At this point, remove from heat and add half the basil leaves, plenty of pepper and a good pinch of salt. Stir well, sprinkle over the remaining basil leaves and serve. These zucchinis are surprisingly good eaten cold as well. Serve as an antipasto with crusty bread, stirred into pasta or as a vegetable side dish.

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favourite rasam recipe – three ways

22nd August 2018

This is a recipe I fall back on as a twice or thrice weekly meal. It is the same recipe, same measurement of spices, using a variety of different dal and vegetables. The first two recipes include grinding the coconut-rasam mixture, while the third does not, making it a quicker dish to prepare. It’s a good example of how one recipe can be used in many variations to give a totally different dish.

In these three recipes, I alternate between using mung beans(whole moong dal)toor dal and split yellow moong dal.

whole mung beans with tomatoes & chard

ingredients :

½ cup/100g mung beans(whole moong dal)

1 litre/4 cups water

1 tomato(100g), finely chopped

1 cup/50g tightly packed chard leaves (can use kale/fenugreek)

2 heaped Tblsp sugar/jaggery

1 heaped tsp rock salt

sambar-coconut mix

¼ cup/25g dried shredded unsweetened coconut

1½ heaped tsp rasam powder (mildly spiced) 

½ – 1 tsp tamarind paste 

1½ cups/375ml water

voggarane :

2 tsp ghee

½ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

10 fresh curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp asafoetida powder 

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

preparation:

In a heavy based saucepan, wash mung beans with several changes of water until the water runs off clear – then drain.

Pour in the filtered water into the saucepan and bring to boil over a medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer. (Do not cover the pot with a lid, as this allows certain impurities or energetic imbalances to be eliminated.)  Simmer until mung beans are soft and have broken down – approximately 30 – 40 minutes.  Halfway through cooking add the chopped tomatoes.

prepare the rasam-coconut mix:

In an upright blender add the dried coconut, rasam powder, tamarind, and ¾ cup water, blend for 1 minute.  Pour into the mung beans rinsing the blender with the remaining ¾ cup water.

prepare the voggarane :

In a small pan/bandalei over medium heat, add the ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splutter and pop (make sure the mustard seeds have popped well), add the fresh curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric powder, swishing the pan around to allow for the spices to fry evenly.

Pour the voggarane into the mung beans, add the salt, jaggery and stir in the chopped chard leaves.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes for the flavours to settle, the chard to soften and mung beans to thicken slightly.  Taste adding more sweet, tamarind or salt. Serve with rice, yoghurt and drizzle with a spoon of ghee.

 

 

split moong dal with charred okra & fenugreek

Serves 3 – 4

This dish requires frying the vegetables, in this case, the okra, in the voggarane until nicely charred, then stirring it through the cooked dal when ready to serve. I like to keep 1 cup of the okra aside to use as garnish. This method of cooking works very nicely with green beans as well.

ingredients :

½ cup/100g split yellow moong dal

3 cups/750ml water

2 heaped Tblsp sugar/jaggery

1 heaped tsp rock salt

rasam-coconut mix

¼ cup/25g dried shredded unsweetened coconut

1½ heaped tsp rasam powder (mildly spiced)

½ – 1 tsp tamarind paste 

1½ cups/375ml water

voggarane :

3 Tblsp peanut oil

½ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

1 heaped Tblsp bengal gram

1 heaped tsp urad dal

400g okra

15 fresh curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp asafoetida powder 

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

2 cups fresh fenugreek/kale leaves – chopped

preparation:

In a heavy based saucepan, wash the dal with several changes of water until the water runs off clear – then drain.

Pour in the water into the saucepan and bring to boil on a high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer. (Do not cover the pot with a lid, as this allows certain impurities or energetic imbalances to be eliminated.)  Simmer until dal is soft and has broken down – approximately 30 minutes.

Top, tail the okra and cut into 1 cm pieces. Set aside.

prepare the rasam-coconut mix:

In an upright blender, add the rasam powder, tamarind, dried coconut and ¾ cup water, blend for 1 minute.  Pour into the dal rinsing the blender out with the remaining ¾ cup water.

prepare the voggarane :

In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the peanut oil and once it’s hot, add the mustard seeds and fry until they turn grey and start popping, add the bengal gram and urad dal, keep frying, stirring constantly until they start to brown, a minute or so. Add the chopped okra and keep everything moving in the pan until all the okra starts to char around the edges, this could take five minutes. Turn off the heat and fold in the chopped fenugreek leaves. Set aside 1 cup of the okra mixture for garnishing and stir the remaining into the dal.  Taste adding more sweet, sour or salt.

This dish is best served immediately as the okra can become gooey, otherwise, keep the okra and dal separate until ready. Serve with rice and drizzle with ghee.

 

 

toor dal with carrots and green beans

This is the same procedure, using a different dal and vegetables, however, the rasam and coconut are not ground, just added directly into the dish.

ingredients :

½ cup/100g toor dal

1 litre /4 cups water

1 medium/100g carrot – finely chopped

½ cups finely chopped beans (can use cabbage in Winter)

¼ cup/25g dried shredded unsweetened coconut

1 ½ heaped tsp rasam powder (mildly spiced) 

½ – 1 tsp tamarind paste 

2 heaped Tblsp sugar/jaggery

1 heaped tsp rock salt

¼ cup chopped fresh coriander

voggarane :

2 tsp ghee

½ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

10 fresh curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp asafoetida powder 

heaped tsp turmeric powder

preparation :

In a heavy based saucepan, wash dal with several changes of water until the water runs off clear – then drain.

Pour in the water into the saucepan and bring to boil on a high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer. (Do not cover the pot with a lid, as this allows certain impurities or energetic imbalances to be eliminated.)  Simmer until dal is soft and has broken down – approximately 30 – 40 minutes. Halfway through cooking add the chopped carrot & green beans.

When the dal is soft, stir in the coconut, rasam powder, tamarind, salt and jaggery, mix to combine well.  Simmer for 4 -5 minutes.

prepare the voggarane :

In a small pan/bandalei over medium heat, add the ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splutter and pop (make sure the mustard seeds have popped well), add the fresh curry leaves and turmeric powder, swishing the pan around to allow for the spices to fry evenly.

Pour the voggarane into the dal, and stir in the fresh coriander leaves.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes for the flavours to settle and dal to thicken slightly.  Serve with rice and drizzle with ghee.

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ginger peach muffins (vegan)

24th July 2018

New MOON dip.

“The leaves of the lotus are emergent, meaning that they rise above the water level whereas the leaves of water-lily are found floating on the water surface. Same is true for their respective flowers; lotus flowers are emergent and water-lily flowers are floating.”

Monserrate Pond, Sintra

ginger peach muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Adapted from ‘Good to the Grain’ by Kim Boyce.

‘Ripe peaches, cooked briefly in ginger syrup, are spooned over muffins made with soft, mellow oat flour and minced candied ginger. Be sure to use peaches that are slightly tart and not so ripe that they’ll break apart in the pan. Allow time for the muffins to cool before eating, as the oat flour can be moist when warm’. – Kim Boyce. 

ingredients:

2 Tablespoons chia seeds

½ cup nut milk (almond, rice etc.)

peach topping :

2 medium/310g firm, ripe peaches

1 Tblsp ghee/coconut oil

2 Tblsp brown sugar/maple syrup

1 heaped tsp freshly grated ginger

dry ingredients :

¾ cup/75g oat flour

¾ cup/100g whole wheat flour

¾ cup/120g unbleached white flour

1 Tblsp baking powder

¼ cup/50g light brown fine sugar

½ cup/75g dark brown sugar

¼ tsp fine rock salt

wet ingredients :

¾ cup/185ml nut milk (almond, rice, etc)

 cup/80ml mild-tasting olive/coconut oil

1 Tblsp vanilla essence

2 heaped Tblsp freshly grated ginger

3 Tblsp/35g finely chopped crystallized ginger

preparation :

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.  Rub a muffin tin with butter or oil.

Whisk the chia seeds and almond milk together in a medium bowl; set aside for at least 10 minutes to thicken.

Grate the ginger, you will need 2 heaped tablespoons plus 1 tsp – divided.

for the peach topping:

Halve the peaches, remove the seeds, cut into quarters and then each quarter into three slices about ¼-inch thick. Set aside. In a large skillet over a medium heat, add the ghee/oil, sugar and 1 heaped teaspoon freshly grated ginger, melt the mixture, stirring to combine. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble, about 2 minutes. Add the peaches, toss the pan to coat them with syrup, cover and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

for the cake:

Whisk together the oat flour, whole-wheat flour, unbleached white flour, baking powder, sugars and salt in a mixing bowl.  Set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the chia mixture, nut milk, olive oil, vanilla essence, grated ginger and finely chopped crystallized ginger.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients.  Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon; do not over mix. Scoop the batter into 12-muffin cups, using a spoon or an ice-cream scoop, fill only a little bit over halfway, as the batter will rise when the peaches are placed on top.

Toss the peaches to coat them with the pan juices and individually lay one slice of peach over each of the muffins, tucking the second slice partway into the batter. Any extra peaches can be served with the muffins. Spoon the pan juices over the muffins.

Bake until golden for approximately 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The muffins are ready when they are golden and the edges of the peaches are caramelized. These muffins are best eaten the day they are made. Serve with a dollop of cream or Greek yoghurt and remaining peaches.

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carrot & coriander fritters

8th July 2018

June has been a month of abundant poppy blossom, big round buzzing bees and cool, misty, chalky mornings. I wonder what July will bring?

~ Oriental Brillant Poppy (Papaver orientale)

carrot & coriander fritters

15 – 18 fritters

ingredients :

¾ cup/90g chickpea flour

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp fine rock salt

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp coriander seeds

1 chilli, finely chopped

pinch asafoetida powder

¾ cup/180ml water

3 – 4 medium/350g carrots

½ cup/20g fresh coriander

peanut oil/ghee for frying

preparation :

In a small pan dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds. Set aside to cool, then roughly grind in a mortar and pestle.

In a medium bowl, measure out the chickpea flour, add the salt, pepper, turmeric powder, ground coriander and cumin seeds, chopped chilli, and a pinch of asafoetida powder – stir to combine.  Add the water and whisk together until smooth. Set aside. The mixture will be sticky.

Top, tail and scrub the carrots.  Grate them, either with a box grater or using the shredding blade of a food processor. Place in the bowl with the chickpea batter, along with the chopped coriander.  Stir to combine, the mixture will be quite dry. Allow to sit for 5 – 10 minutes for the water to come out of the carrots.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet.  When hot, place a heaped tablespoon of the batter into the hot oil.  Spread a little to make a round, flatter shape. Cook them over medium-high heat until the edges turn golden, about 3 – 4 minutes.  Flip the fritters and fry for another 2  – 3 minutes.

Drain briefly on a paper towel.  Best served immediately with the avocado raytha or spicy pickle, also nice alongside this coriander leaf vanghi bath.

Goodness shared by Stacey

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a buttery herbed pilaf

16th June 2018

Each year I plant broad beans because of their delightfully scented pure white, black and white flower. The seed always germinates, even in this unpredictable Sintra weather but when the beans arrive, I am sometimes at a loss at what to do with them.

This year, there was an abundance of both succulent beans and sweet peas. Just in time, I came across this rice dish which enabled me to make use of all the various green bits and pieces from the garden, that have emerged at this time of year.

The herbs soften the buttery rice and infuse it with flavour. The steaming method of cooking the rice forms a crusty bottom, creating crunchy shards of golden rice. It is a splendid outcome.

a  buttery herbed pilaf

Serves 3 – 4

Recipe adapted ‘Gather Cook Feast’ by Jessica Seaton.

Feel free to swap the vegetables around or even omit them out completely. I sometimes just prepare the crunchy buttery rice without any herbs or vegetables and serve it alongside a simple Indian spiced dal. 

ingredients:

1 cup/180g white basmati rice

½ cup/65g fresh young broad beans

½ cup/70g fresh sweet peas

½ cup/70 g finely chopped green beans (optional)

1 large bunch/20g each of fresh parsley, dill or fennel fronds

1 very large bunch/80g of fresh coriander

½ cup/125ml melted ghee – divided (or 75g butter-melted)

salt and pepper to taste

zest from half a lemon

juice from half lemon

preparation:

Wash the rice in cold water and drain. Repeat three more times to flush out all the excess starch (this helps the rice to be fluffy with nice separate grains when cooked). Then leave to soak in cold water for an hour while you prepare everything else.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. In it blanch the broad beans, peas and chopped green beans for 3 – 4 minutes, then drain and refresh in ice-cold water immediately to cool them down (this keeps them green). When they are completely cold, drain the peas and beans, set aside.

Finely chop the leaves and tender stems of all the herbs, and mix together. Keep any tough stems for soups or stews. Set aside.

Drain the rice. Fill a medium saucepan (with a lid that fits) with very well salted water. Bring the water to a vigorous boil and cook the rice for exactly 5 minutes, starting the timer from the moment the rice enters the pot. Drain in a colander and let sit for 5 minutes or so to steam dry.

Return the empty pan to the stove, add half of the melted ghee. Split the pile of herbs in two – one to use now, setting the other half aside to use later. Add one-third of the rice to the pot, then half of the herbs for using now. Do not mix. Repeat with the next third of the rice and the other half of the herbs. Finish with the last third of rice. Drizzle the remaining melted ghee over the top.

Cover the pot with a tea towel, then place the lid firmly on top, folding the corners of the tea towel over the top so that they don’t catch fire. Cook over a medium heat for 8 minutes, then place the pot on the lowest heat you can manage and continue cooking for another 45 minutes.

When the rice is ready, mix the reserved herbs from the bowl and the peas and beans into the rice and pile it all on to a good wide platter or bowl. Sprinkle over the lemon zest and squeeze over the lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and a few rounds of pepper. Scrape up the crisp rice at the bottom of the pot and tuck it into the pile of rice shards – it’s delicious.

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okra & fresh fenugreek palya

5th May 2018

Growing fenugreek (methi) in the garden or in a pot on a balcony is one of the easiest things to grow. The seeds miraculously start to pop up in 3 -5 days and in four weeks the fenugreek is ready to harvest.

Fenugreek grows well in Spring to early Autumn, especially when the soil is warm. It can be grown in full sun or part shade. The fenugreek can be grown in the soil directly or in a pot. I stagger my planting both in a pot and in the soil every 2 – 3 weeks for a constant supply.

To plant, prepare the ground with some compost and well-rotted manure mixed into the soil. You can buy the seeds from the sprouting section in the health food store or as I do, buy from your local Indian store, the seeds grow very well. I sprinkle the seeds directly in the soil, however, you can sow in straight line trenches and cover with soil. The fenugreek seeds don’t need to be evenly spaced apart like other plants in order to grow. The seeds also don’t need to be buried deep in the soil, so a scattering of soil on top to cover the seeds are all it needs. Keep the soil moist and within in 3 – 5 days little buds will appear.

I start harvesting around 4 weeks when the plant is about 6 inches high. To harvest cut the plant with a pair of scissors a few centimetres at the stem above the soil. This will encourage new growth enabling you to get a new crop in 2 – 3 weeks.

To harvest your own seeds, wait for the pods to turn yellow before harvesting.

~Fenugreek or methi~

okra & fresh fenugreek palya

ingredients:

2 Tblsp peanut oil/coconut oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 Tblsp channa dal

1 tsp urad dal

500 g okra/ladyfinger

3 tightly packed cups chopped fresh fenugreek

½ cup/45g dried shredded coconut

1 tsp jaggery/brown sugar

½ tsp fine rock salt

preparation:

Cut the tops off the okra and cut into uniformed 1 cm pieces. Set aside.

Wash the fenugreek leaves, pat dry and roughly chop. Set aside.

In a large wok or similar pan over high heat. Add the peanut oil and once it’s hot, add the mustard seeds and fry until they turn grey and start popping, add the channa and urad dal, keep frying, stirring constantly until they start to brown, a minute or so. Add the chopped okra and keep everything moving in the pan until all the okra starts to char around the edges, this could take five minutes. Turn off the heat and fold in the fresh fenugreek leaves, leaving the pan on the stove to continue to cook even though the fire is off. Once the fenugreek is wilted, stir in the coconut, add the salt and jaggery and mix well. This dish is best eaten immediately with chapati, rice and accompanied by a simple dal.

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