moong dal with slivers of ginger

8th April 2021

This soup is inspired by a recipe posted many years back, this version uses dal that is lighter and easier to digest – whole moong (green mung bean) and split yellow moong (which is the whole moong that has been skinned and split – see photo below).

It can be served as a soup with chapati or bread or with rice and a simple vegetable palya (adding less water for a thicker consistency).

~ late evening walk in S Pedro de Sintra

I live in a village called São Pedro de Sintra, just on the outskirts of the historical city centre of Sintra. It is surrounded by history and character with many old palaces and castles meandering up and down cobblestone roads and tall trees. I walk out my door and within 5 minutes, enter into a majestic forest and the beauty of the Sintra Mountain.

I try to walk daily and find exercise a soothing medicine; my sleep is better and my mind is calmer with fewer thoughts. There is a deep sense of well-being and wonder when in nature.

Nature brings gratitude and opens the heart.

moong dal with slivers of ginger

Preparation 30 – 40 mins

Serves 3 – as a soup or 2 – as a dal

ingredients

½ cup/100g split moong beans (split yellow dal)

¼ cup/50g whole moong dal (mung beans)

6 – 7 cups water

1-inch thick knob fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very thin slivers

1 medium /120g carrot, chopped

¼ tsp turmeric powder

voggarane

2 Tbsp ghee – divided

½ tsp mustard seeds

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

1 small fresh mild green/red chilli, seeded and cut into slivers

8 – 10 curry leaves

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped

juice of ½ lemon

1 tsp fine rock salt

preparation 

1.  In a large pot, rinse the dal until the water runs clear, drain, add the water, bring to boil, skim off the foam that collects on the surface, then add the carrot, ginger, turmeric and 1 teaspoon ghee.

2.  Gently boil, uncovered, until the dal is soft and broken down; approximately 30 mins. Add more water if needed.

voggarane

3.  Heat remaining ghee, add mustard seed, fry until they turn grey and pop, then add the cumin, asafoetida and chilli; fry until fragrant and golden, add curry leaves; fry for a few seconds, then add to the dal.

4.  Stir in the salt, lemon juice and coriander. Taste, and add more salt or lemon as needed.

When serving, garnish with fresh coriander and drizzle with ghee.

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vegetable barley soup

15th March 2021

This soup is easy to make and hearty enough to be served by itself or for a substantial meal with a loaf of freshly baked bread.

The barley expands three times its original size when cooked, as a result, leaves you full and satisfied. Use fresh herbs as they play an important role in the flavours of the finished soup.

a few tips

  • In order to allow everything to cook at the same rate, it is important to chop the vegetables into a uniform size. I like to chop them into very small uniform cubes.
  • Finely chop the rosemary as it opens up the flavour.
  • At the end of the cooking, press down on the vegetables a few times with a potato masher to add more texture to the soup.

vegetable barley soup

Serves 2

Preparation 10 mins

Cook 55 mins

ingredients

3 Tbsp oil or ghee

2 sticks/80g celery

1 fresh bay leaf

1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary

6 – 8 sprigs/6g fresh thyme

3 Tbsp/45g barley

1 large/140g carrot

1 medium/110g potato

1 small/125g sweet potato or pumpkin

½ cup/80g cabbage or green beans

5 cups water

1 heaped tsp fine rock salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh dill 

preparation

1.  Peel and finely chop all vegetables into very small uniform cubes. Set aside.

2.  In a heavy based saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil/ghee, add celery, bay leaf, rosemary and thyme – fry till fragrant, approximately 2 minutes.

3. Add the barley and stir until well coated in oil, then add the remaining vegetables stirring after each addition. Fry for a few minutes, stirring regularly to avoid sticking.

4. Pour in the water, bring to boil and rapidly simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, turn down the heat and simmer with the lid ajar for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and barley is cooked.

5. Remove the thyme twigs and bay leaf. Using a potato masher, press down a few times to break up some of the vegetables adding texture to the soup. 

6.  Add salt, pepper and fresh dill. Allow to sit for 10 minutes for the flavours to develop, taste adding more salt or pepper if needed.  Drizzle with ghee when serving.  

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lemon-sourdough pound cake (vegan)

1st March 2021

Another delicious recipe by Aran Goyoaga and shared in her newsletter. I adapted it slightly by making it vegan; replaced the 3 eggs with ground flaxseed, added baking powder, used maple syrup instead of honey and reduced the glaze by half. 

I have recently entered into the world of sourdough bread and every Monday I make a loaf of sourdough to bake the following day, so this recipe was perfect to use any leftover starter and use up the lemons which are hanging heavy from the trees in the garden. 

The sourdough starter does add more complexity to the crumb. I use a 1:1 ratio, meaning equal amounts of flour and water. Aran uses more liquid in her starter, 120% hydration ratio meaning 100g flour to 120g water the difference is small and does not affect the end result.

variation

If you don’t have a starter, add an extra ½ cup/70g rice flour, and ⅓ cup/80g of water/buttermilk, and increase the baking powder to 1 ½ teaspoons.

To save time, soak the flaxseed first, then grate the zest and prepare the other ingredients giving the flax the time it needs to thicken.

lemon-pound sourdough cake

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 45 – 55 minutes

Makes one pound cake (11 x 25cm loaf pan)

ingredients

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseed + ½ cup/100g hot water (allow to sit for 10 mins as below)

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (zest from 3 lemons), plus more for garnishing

2 Tbsp/50g maple syrup (this gives a crisp caramelized exterior)

½ cup + 2 Tbsp/200g bubbling and ready to go sourdough starter

½ cup/110g extra virgin olive oil or neutral-tasting oil

¼ cup/55g lemon juice (1 very juicy lemon)

1 cup/140g brown rice flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

¼ cup/30g tapioca starch (or arrowroot powder)

¾ tsp fine rock salt

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

glaze

2 Tbsp/25g light brown sugar

2 Tbsp/27g lemon juice (½ of a very juicy lemon)

preparation

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Generously grease your loaf pan.

2. Into a large bowl add the flax with water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add sugar, zest, maple syrup, sourdough starter, oil and lemon juice – whisk until smooth.

3. In a small bowl measure out the brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, baking soda and powder. 

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45 – 55 minutes (my oven took 55 minutes.) Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, then invert onto a platter.

5. Meanwhile, make the glaze by gently heating the sugar and lemon juice together in a small pan until the sugar dissolves – don’t heat for too long. Immediately brush the top of the cake allowing it to drip over the sides. Generously garnish the top with lemon zest (I like to use a combination of lime, lemon and orange.)  

note

  •  Use a metal pan, as suggested and grease it well. Alternately, you can line it with baking paper which makes it easier to lift out of the pan, but note that the exterior won’t caramelize, as it won’t be in direct contact with the metal.
  • Important! Let the cake cool completely. This will allow the crumb to set nicely and not fall apart.

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challah rolls

23rd February 2021

Challah is a type of yeasted bread popular in Jewish cuisine, it is similar to a brioche but with no dairy. Challah usually contains egg, however, like my other challah recipes, this one is vegan –  light, fluffy, dairy and egg-free. Before baking, I brush the dough with oat milk and top it with sesame seeds. 

These rolls might seem a lot of work because they are small and braided but they are actually very easy to make. The shaping isn’t difficult at all, if anything they are a lot of fun. They are even a great project to do with young children! I have put a link below so you can see how the braiding is done or go to @goodnessis Instagram stories.

challah rolls

Preparation 2½ – 3 hours

Baking time 25 minutes

Makes 8 small challah rolls

The recipe uses a mixer with a dough hook, but you can easily use your hands.

dough ingredients 

2 Tbsp/20g flaxseed

1 cup + 2 Tbsp (246g) oat or nut milk

6 Tbsp/60g olive oil

1 tsp active dry yeast

1¼ cups/150g whole spelt flour

2¼ cups/350g white spelt flour

¼ cup/40g light brown sugar

1 tsp fine rock salt

toppings

oat milk, for brushing

sesame and poppy seeds

preparation 

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, whisk together the flaxseeds with warm oat milk, oil and yeast. Leave it to sit for 10 minutes, undisturbed until the mixture foams, about 5 – 6 minutes.

2.  Add the flour, sugar and salt to the yeast and milk mixture, turn the machine onto the lowest setting and knead on medium speed for about 5 – 10 minutes.  The dough should be elastic and smooth.  If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time or if too dry, add more liquid, a teaspoon at a time. The dough should feel tacky but shouldn’t stick to your hands.

3.  Cover with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to sit in a warm place for 1 – 1½ hours until well risen and doubled in size.

plaiting the dough

4.  Take out the dough and divide it into eight equal pieces, approximately 110g each.  Using your palms, and starting from the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope approx 40-cm long.  

For easy braiding instructions, refer to this video – jump to 1:02 mins.

5.  Place the strand onto the work surface and bring the end piece around and pinch it into the middle of the strand so that it looks like a number 6. Then take the long strand and bring it over the top and through the loop, allow it to hang while you gently pull and twist the loop into a figure 8. Take the strand, and bring it from underneath and over the right side so that it tucks down into the bottom of the figure of 8. Gently pinch it underneath.

6. Place on a baking tray and repeat with the remaining 7 pieces. Brush with oat milk and sprinkle with poppy and sesame seeds.

7.  Cover loosely with an oiled plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 – 1½ hours.

8.  About 15 minutes before the dough has finished rising, preheat an oven to 180C/350F.  Remove the plastic wrap or towel and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Rotate the tray halfway through. Allow to fully cool down before cutting into them.

variation

  • 6 rolls – divide into 6 pieces, approx. 145g each – roll to 45 cm.
  • 10 rolls – divide into 10 pieces, approx. 90g each – roll to 35 cm.
  • You can leave the dough rising overnight. After the first rise, when the dough has doubled, store it in the fridge covered with plastic wrap. The next morning leave at room temperature for an hour and then resume braiding.
  • You can make them pull-apart rolls: place the shaped rolls into a lined baking dish close to one another, so they touch each other after the second rise/baking.

note

  • Make sure to divide the dough into evenly sized portions for even baking.

 

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sesame cake (vegan)

27th January 2021

“This cake gets a double dose of sesame, with tahini and sesame seeds in the batter and lots of crunchy sesame seeds to coat the pan, too” – Yossy Arefi. 

It’s simple to make as it only uses one bowl. To ensure even mixing, use the edge of a whisk to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. For best results, make sure you use a traditional brand of tahini that is runny and smooth. I like baking this in an 8-inch square pan to be cut into tidy squares for gifting to friends.

~ holy basil

~ holy Brahmin cow

~ frangipani tree

~ offerings

sesame cake

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 35 – 40 minutes

Serves 10 – 12

Recipe slightly adapted from Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi.

ingredients

6 Tbsp/50g sesame seeds (a combination of black and white is nice) – divided

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseed

¾ cup/170g oat/almond milk

¾ cup/150g plus 1 Tbsp light brown/blond sugar – divided

½ cup/120g smooth runny tahini, well stirred

¼ cup/50g neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ tsp fine rock salt

1¼ cups/160g all-purpose flour

1½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp cardamom powder (freshly ground)

dried rose petals (optional)

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Oil a sheet of parchment paper and line it in an 8-inch square baking pan, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons sesame seeds on the bottom and 1-inch up the sides.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flaxseeds and milk, allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add the sugar, tahini, oil, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until smooth.

3. Add the flour, 3 Tbsp of the sesame seeds, baking powder, baking soda and cardamom. Whisk until well combined and smooth.

4. Pour the batter into the lined pan, tap gently on the counter to release any air bubbles, and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining sugar and sesame seeds on top.

5. Bake until golden, and a tester comes out clean, 35 – 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Allow to cool completely before serving, otherwise, it may crumble. It’s optional to sprinkle with rose petals when serving.

flavour variations

peach and raspberry sesame cake: Slice 1 small pitted peach over the top, scatter ½ cup/70g fresh raspberries over the top, then sprinkle with sugar and sesame seeds.

chocolate and sesame cake: Fold ½ cup/85g chopped chocolate/carob into the batter.

use another pan

loaf: Bake in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. (45 mins)

round: Bake in a 9-inch round pan. (35 – 40 mins)

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cornbread date muffins (vegan)

11th January 2021

It’s been cold here, and our heating system along with the hot water boiler shut down on Friday, so the weekend was spent huddled around the fireplace dressed in layers, coats and wearing three pairs of socks! It was sunny and bright though, so yesterday we drove to our favourite lookout for a walk and filled two Ikea bags with pinecones, making it back before the 1 o’clock curfew.  I added some pinecones to the fire, turned the oven on for extra warmth and baked these muffins.

I love the grittiness of the cornmeal and the sweet addition of the dates. Slather them in butter with strawberry jam as you would a scone. The extra sweetness from the jam gives a perfect balance of sweet!

cornbread date muffins

Preparation 45 minutes

Serves 7 muffins (I use these sized baking cups)

Recipe from here.

ingredients

6 pitted Medjool dates (120g)

½ cup/100g boiling water

2 heaped Tbsp/18g ground flaxseed

3 Tbsp/30g melted coconut oil

1 cup/225g unsweetened warmed oat/rice milk

¾ cup/120g medium-ground yellow cornmeal (can use polenta)

¾ cup/90g white spelt flour

2 tbsp/15g coconut sugar/brown sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

¼ tsp fine rock salt

preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Place 7 baking cups in your muffin tray. Set aside.

2. Put the dates and ground flaxseed in a medium bowl and pour in the boiling water – allow to soak for 10 minutes.

3. Then add in the melted coconut oil and proceed to mash the dates with a fork, until mostly creamy but with a few chunks remaining – this can also be done in a food processor. Gradually add in the warmed oat milk and whisk until well combined.

4. Add in the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix with a fork until the wet and dry are well combined.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, distributing it evenly among them (they should be full).

6. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the muffins are golden. Let cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve them with butter and honey or almond butter and homemade jam.

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double ginger molasses cookies (vegan)

26th December 2020

These cookies are soft and chewy on the inside and crispy around the edges. This is achieved in the baking by keeping the cookies dough round, rather than pressing them flat. The taller you make the dough the chewier the centre. The bottom of the cookie dough bakes first, spreads out and the top remains thick and chewy in the middle. I added finely chopped crystallized ginger for added texture and zing.  If wanting to make the cookies less sweet, skip the process of rolling in sugar. However, the cracking effect on the cookies will not be achieved. This happens when the cookies are rolled in granulated sugar (I use a combination of granulated blond sugar and brown sugar). 

Happy Holidays and Happy Baking!

double ginger molasses cookies

Preparation 20 minutes

Makes 14 cookies

Recipe adapted from here.

ingredients

1 cup/120g white spelt flour

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp ginger powder

½ tsp cinnamon powder

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

2 Tbsp/20g finely chopped crystallized ginger

⅓ cup/70g soft coconut oil (not melted) or vegan butter or butter

¼ cup/20g brown sugar or coconut sugar

¼ cup/80g light coloured molasses (if using a dark molasses, use only 30g and add 50g date syrup)

1 Tbsp water

granulated brown sugar, for rolling

preparation

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and crystallized ginger. Set aside.

3. With a hand beater or whisk, beat together the oil, sugar, molasses and water until creamy. Fold in the flour mixture until combine. It will seem dry at first; keep mixing until all the flour is incorporated. (If your cookie dough is too wet,the coconut oil was not solid enough. To fix this, cover and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.)

4. Scoop a spoon of dough (approx 20g) and roll into a ball, then into the sugar, place on the prepared baking sheet and bake 13 – 15 minutes until golden. Rotate the tray halfway through cooking. Allow to cool on the baking sheet.

tips

  • Avoid using blackstrap molasses in baking. It is very strong and bitter and will impart an unfavourable taste. Use a light tasting molasses and if not available, combine dark molasses and date syrup (silan) which will soften the taste making it perfect for baking. 
  • If your coconut oil is too liquid, the cookies will bake up flat. Place the measured amount in the freezer until solid – you want it to be solid, but just slightly soft enough for cutting.

 

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an exceptional zingy-ginger-sweet-lemon dressing

15th November 2020

This is a dressing I make a lot. It has a fresh, light cleansing quality to it. My favourite way of using it is poured over a vibrant beetroot and carrot salad (see below) which is a simplified version of this salad. It has become a ‘goodnessis’ signature dish when served alongside coriander leaf vanghi bath, vegetable bath, or this whole moong dal. The combinations and flavours complement each other.

I am always up early, to enjoy the quiet of the house and the stillness of the garden.

Each morning the mist materializes, holding us in until midday, it clears and reappears at the end of the day; then repeats itself the next day- shifting our perception from one moment to the next.

an exceptional-zingy-ginger-sweet-lemon dressing

ingredients

2 Tbsp/20g grated ginger

3 Tbsp/30g olive oil

3 Tbsp/50g agave or honey

¼ cup/52g lemon juice

¼ tsp fine rock salt

preparation

1. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small jug with a fork.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes for the flavours to develop.

My favourite way of serving it is to peel equal amounts of beetroot and carrots (depending on the number of people), then using a mandoline, grate the beetroot, then the carrots into a salad bowl. Do not mix just yet. Sprinkle over a generous amount of toasted sesame seeds. When ready to serve, pour the desired amount of dressing over the salad and gently lift to mix the colours and distribute the dressing.

The key to the success of this salad is the right size shavings. Don’t be tempted into using a hand grater as it will produce a sloppier mix that loses its appeal.  Use a mandolin if you have, alternatively you can use the largest grate in the food processor or a knife and cut very, very thin matchstick gratings.

~

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salted tahini caramel balls (vegan)

9th October 2020

These lovely luxurious bite-sized balls of salted tahini caramel are so satisfying after a meal.  They are covered in a simple sweet maple glaze with equal amounts of maple syrup and coconut oil. When the cold balls get dipped into the glaze it instantly hardens creating magic!

VIOLAS in the garden, add them to salads, desserts, or fruit. They happily self-sow and despite their delicate appearance, violas are fairly robust.  Sow early spring, then again in late summer, to ensure violas throughout the winter.

salted tahini caramel balls

Inspired by this recipe.

Makes 15 small balls

dough ingredients

⅔ cup/60g dried shredded coconut

⅔ cup/130g medjool dates (approx 7 dates)

⅓ cup/80g tahini

⅛ tsp fine rock salt

⅓ cup/50g TOASTED pistachio or almonds

glaze ingredients

2 Tbsp/30g coconut oil

2 Tbsp/35g maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract

preparation

1. Make the dough: place the coconut, dates, tahini, and salt in a food processor or high-speed blender for 1 minute, scraping down the sides halfway through. Add the toasted nuts and blitz 3 – 4 times until well incorporated. If the dough is still too crumbly to form into balls, depending on the quality of your tahini, add 1 tablespoon of water.

2. Roll into balls, approximately 20g each, you should have 15 balls. Place in the freezer for 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, make the glaze: melt the coconut oil on low heat, turn off the heat, then whisk in the syrup and vanilla. It will combine into a thin caramel-consistency. Set aside.

4. Once the balls are frozen, take out of the freezer. It is important that the balls are very cold to help the glaze harden. Place a toothpick in each ball and dip into the glaze, place on a cardboard box until the glaze hardens. Whisk the glaze each time before dipping the balls. Once set, re-dip them until the glaze is used up. Towards the end, you may need to place the glazed balls back in the freezer for 15 minutes and heat the glaze slightly again, then continue re-dipping.

5. The balls can be kept in the fridge for 10 days or up to 1 month in the freezer.

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a quick way with courgettes (zucchinis)

29th September 2020

“This is very useful when you need a vegetable in a hurry: you cut them in short pieces and toss them in a pan of hot olive oil, then leave them to tender, when they are golden at the edges, season with salt and pepper and lemon juice.”

Serve them alongside your favourite pasta dish, pongal, dal, rice, over sourdough bread or as croutons like in this tomato soup.

a quick way with courgettes

Inspired from Tender by Nigel Slater

Preparation 10 minutes

Serves 2 – 3, as a side dish

ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 medium courgettes (zucchinis), cut into short diagonal pieces

salt and pepper, to season

zest and juice of a lemon

scattering of hand-torn herbs

preparation

1. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the courgettes, zest of one lemon and season well with salt and pepper.

2. Toss in the pan, for 5 minutes, until golden around the edges.

3. Stir in a handful of finely chopped herbs; fennel, coriander, parsley and thyme. Season again with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Serve immediately.

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