carrot cake – vegan

9th November 2017

There are two ways to serve this cake. The first, for a special occasion and serving it with a very decadent cashew cream, the second, without the cream and giving it a warm earthiness by sprinkling the top of the cake with 2 extra tablespoons sesame seeds and the roughly chopped raw walnuts before baking. Both ways are delicious it just depends on the occasion.

As a general rule, all nuts are heating. In Ayurveda, it is recommended to eat sparingly, especially cashews as they provoke Pitta and because of their thought-provoking qualities can disturb the sleep and meditation.

sesame-seeded carrot cake

Inspired by the much loved Gingerbread Spice Cake.

The cardamom adds a rich warmth, so it is important to grind your own as the taste is so much more fragrant, fresher and more intense. An easy way to do this is to place ¼ cup of cardamom pods in a high-speed blender or coffee grinder, and roughly grind. Use a strainer to sift the ground pods, discard the shells and grind the bigger chunks again to a finer powder.  

cashew cream :

1 cup/140g cashews, soaked for 4 hours or overnight

¼ cup coconut cream (the cream from the top of a can of coconut milk)

1 Tblsp coconut oil

1 vanilla bean

2 – 4 Tblsp maple syrup

ingredients for the cake :

2 Tblsp sesame seeds – for sprinkling inside the greased pan

½ cup/50g walnuts – for garnishing

2 cups/210g tightly packed grated carrots (approx 2 medium)

1 cup/120g whole-wheat flour

1 cup/120g unbleached white flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

½ tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp cardamom powder

2 full tsp ground cinnamon powder

½ cup/125ml melted coconut oil/mild-tasting olive oil

1 cup/250ml maple syrup (can replace with 1 cup brown sugar & increase almond milk to 1 cup instead of ½ cup)

¼ cup brown or coconut sugar.

½ cup/125ml hulled tahini paste

½ cup/250ml soy/almond milk

1 Tblsp apple cider vinegar

½ cup/80g golden sultanas/raisins

prepare the cashew cream :

For the cream, soak the cashews for at least 4 hours or overnight in cold water. Drain, rinse and place in a high-speed blender. Split the vanilla bean down its length, scrape the seeds into the blender, along with the coconut cream, coconut oil and maple syrup, blend until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust the amount of maple syrup. Transfer the cream to a bowl, cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.

prepare the cake :

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Spread the walnuts on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.  While they are still warm, rub the nuts gently in a towel to remove the skins.  Inevitably there will be some skins that refuse to peel away, but no matter.  Roughly chop, and set aside. Oil a 9-inch springform pan or a baking dish with oil. Sprinkle the sesame seeds around the sides and bottom of the pan.

Wash the carrots and grate either using a box grater or your food processor (using the smaller grater attachment). Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients –  the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine. In another medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients – oil, maple syrup, sugar, tahini, soy/almond milk and vinegar. Whisk until the wet ingredients are emulsified. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, whisking together just until all the dry ingredients are absorbed. The batter will be quite wet. Stir in the grated carrots and sultanas, fold gently with a spatula to combine.

Pour the batter into the oiled pan and place on a middle rack in the oven. Bake about 50 – 60 minutes, (mine took 60 minutes) or until the cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. If the top looks like it’s getting dark, but the inside needs more time, cover loosely with aluminium foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

When the cake is completely cool and you are ready to serve. Spread the cashew cream evenly over the top of the cake. Decorate the cake with the toasted walnuts and long strips of carrot peel. To keep the carrot strips from discolouring, toss in a little lemon juice before placing on the cake.

Serve within a few hours of frosting otherwise, it is best to keep the cake refrigerated or to frost only when ready to serve.

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easy vegetable soup

30th October 2017

This is a quick, simple, useful soup recipe which doesn’t tie you to specific ingredients, allowing you to substitute whatever is available in your fridge or garden. Being the start of Autumn, I am enjoying digging up crisp potatoes, picking the last of the beans and podding those over-matured borlotti beans, which I somehow missed harvesting. It is important to toast and grind your own spices to bring out their flavour, enhancing this soup.

Late afternoon walk ~ Sintra mountains

easy vegetable soup

Serves 4

The whole ground peppercorns give the soup a soft kick; the cumin & coriander seeds add earthiness, and the lemon brings all the flavours together. The vegetables listed are those that work best for me. It can be made with any seasonal vegetables – sweet peas or green beans, sweet potato instead of potato, fennel instead of celery.  I like to serve it with a guacamole and freshly baked challah bread.

ingredients:

3 Tblsp ghee/oil

2 stalks/150g celery

¼ cup/45g pearl barley/red rice

1 Tblsp finely chopped ginger

1 fresh bay leaf

8 cups water

1 large/130g potato

2 medium/140g carrots

1 cup/70g chopped cabbage

½ cup/60g freshly shelled borlotti beans/green beans

1 cup/120g spaghetti squash/pumpkin

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

1 heaped tsp coriander seeds

¼ heaped tsp whole peppercorns

1½ heaped tsp rock salt

 heaped tsp sugar/jaggery

1 Tblsp fresh lemon juice

a handful of fresh coriander or kale

preparation:

Finely slice celery stalks and set aside. Peel and finely chop the potato and carrots into small cubes, along with the remaining vegetables.

In a medium pot over high heat, drizzle in the oil/ghee and sauté the celery until tender. Add barley, ginger and bay leaf. Sauté until coated in oil.  Add the water and remaining vegetables.  Rapidly simmer, uncovered for 45min – 1 hour.

Place the whole peppercorns, cumin and coriander seeds into a small saucepan, and dry-roast over medium heat until a good fragrance appears. Allow to cool, then roughly grind in a mortar and pestle.  Add to the soup along with the salt and sugar.  Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes, or longer for the flavours to develop. Taste, adding more sweetness or salt.  Sprinkle in a generous handful of finely chopped coriander or kale. Serve with a drizzling of ghee and more fresh coriander.  If trying to avoid bread, it is lovely served with a spoonful of rice.

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a mostly wholewheat challah (revisited)

5th October 2017

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I  always look forward to sharing this bread when the four of us are all together.  And, especially if we are lucky enough to have our family or friends join us on these Friday nights. This is where we savour the opportunity to pause, bless and reflect on the week just passed and to light the candles as a reminder of that inner light inside all of us.

What is left-over, we spend the weekend eating with all sorts of delicious spreads.

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Freshly pressed sugar cane juice – Mysore, South India.

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a mostly whole wheat challah

Makes one large, challah.

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

ingredients :

2 Tbsp flaxseed, plus 6 Tblsp water, whisked together

1 cup warm milk/almond milk

60 grams butter – room temperature/6 Tblsp olive oil

1 tsp active dry yeast

150g wholewheat flour

350g regular all-purpose flour

40g brown sugar/coconut sugar

1½ tsp fine rock salt

preparation :

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.  Whisk together the flax seeds with 6 tablespoons water.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Add the warm milk/water, soft butter and sprinkle in the yeast, leave undisturbed until the mixture is foaming, about 5 – 6 minutes.

Measure out the flours, sugar and salt, whisk together and sprinkle over the yeast & milk mixture, turn the machine on the lowest option and knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes or 10 minutes by hand.  The dough should be elastic and smooth.  If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time or if seemly too dry, add more liquid, a tablespoon at a time.

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 its size.  The longer it sits the better the final bread. I usually start in the early morning and it sits for 4 – 5 hours before proceeding to the second rise.

Take out the dough, knead a little with the heel of your hands and work it into a ball.

plaiting the dough :

Divide the dough into three equal pieces with a sharp knife or bench scraper.  Using your palms, and starting from the centre and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope the desired length.  Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces. Place the three side by side.  Now pinch together the top ends and carefully braid the three, like you would if you were braiding or plaiting hair.  As I braid, I gently pull them length-wise to keep them as even as possible. Pinch together the ends and tuck them slightly under.

Transfer the plaited loaf to the baking tray and brush with ghee/oil and sprinkle with poppy & sesame seeds.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1½ hours.

About 10 minutes before the dough has finished rising, preheat an oven to 200C/400F with a rack in the lower third of the oven.  Remove the plastic wrap or towel and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into it.

When it is just the four of us, we have been enjoying the challah with a simple vegetable soup, a salad and a bowl of guacamole, and for dessert, slathered with homemade jam.

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walnut parsley pesto

22nd September 2017

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Within a day of moving into our new home, I planted a small herb garden just next to the back door, it contained coriander, parsley, sage, thyme, and all the essentials plus 12 kale seedlings which I had been growing on the window sill in the old house. I am so glad I did as it’s been a vital addition to quick meals and those kale plants have been growing wild and wonderful. This is where the parsley came from. The main vegetable garden is quite a walk away from the house so it is helpful to have a small garden so close for emergencies.

This pesto is one I make weekly for pasta lunches for school and quick sandwiches for my young adults.  It goes nicely with a minestrone soup; a favourite with my daughter and part of easy dishes which she can prepare herself – recipe soon.

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~ Cosmos (Coreopsideae )

~ Cosmos is a Greek word meaning harmony or balanced universe.

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walnut parsley pesto

Makes 1½ cups

When a bit low on the essentials I change the recipe a bit, adding a mix of pine nuts and walnuts or basil and parsley – or whatever I have in the garden at the time.

Inspired by Gillian.

ingredients :

¾ cup/80g whole walnuts

90g parsley – rinsed, bigger stems removed

½ cup olive oil

¼ tsp fine rock salt

⅛ tsp freshly ground pepper

¼ cup/20g grated parmesan (optional)

extra olive oil for sealing the pesto

preparation:

Preheat the oven 180C/350F.  Place the whole walnuts on a tray and roast for 10 minutes.  Set aside to allow to cool.

Wash the parsley and pat dry, remove the larger stems from the parsley and add to the compost, place the leaves and smaller stems in a food processor with the ‘S’ blade attached, along with the cooled walnuts, olive oil, salt and pepper. Blend until all broken down – using a spatula to wipe down the sides.  Add the parmesan and blend until well incorporated – adding more oil if needed.

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Store in a jar, with a layer of olive oil on top to exclude the air, refrigerate until needed, for up to two weeks.  Level the surface each time you use it, and recover the pesto with olive oil.  Delicious served with home-made pasta.

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Jonathan´s Sunday night pasta sauce

8th September 2017

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Sunday night is pasta night and has become a regular for years now, mostly because we cook a lot of Indian and it was requested by our children to be guaranteed a  ‘normal’ non-Indian meal at least once a week! It started off as a special weekend dish my husband would cook and slowly my son started helping out by chopping vegetables and now he is in charge and has taken on the important role of making the pasta sauce. This past year, focaccia has become a regular at the pasta table and recently I have been making my own vegan pasta.

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~Marigold (Tagetes patula flowers).  The genus name for marigold (Tagetes) gets its name from the Etruscan god ‘Tages’ – the god of wisdom. It’s common popular name ‘marigold’ comes from “Mary’s gold” after Mother Mary.  In Hinduism too, the flower symbolizes auspiciousness. The saffron/orange colour signifies renunciation and hence is offered to God as a symbol of surrender.

The plant’s odour and root hormones scare away many animals and insects from the garden.  Marigolds are often used in companion planting for tomato, eggplant, chilli pepper and potato.

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sunday night pasta sauce

Serves 6 – good for 500g pasta

For everyone who has joined us for pasta night!

ingredients:

⅓ – ½ cup peanut/olive oil or to generously cover the base of a large saucepan

½ heaped tsp asafoetida powder

1½ cups/155g celery

2 heaped Tblsp finely chopped ginger

2 cups/220g carrots

1½ cups/125g red bell pepper

1 x 140g tube tomato paste

1.5 kg/16 medium plump Roma tomatoes

3 heaped tsp fine rock salt

3 heaped tsp jaggery

to serve :

pine nut parmesan

bowl steamed broccoli & kale, or grilled zucchini slices.

preparation:

Wash the vegetables and finely chop the celery, ginger, carrot and red pepper.  Set aside in their own piles on a chopping board.  Cut the base off the tomatoes, and cut each tomato into quarters. Set aside.

Over a medium heat, pour the oil to fill the base of a large heavy-bottomed pot, sprinkle the asafoetida powder evenly over the oil and fry for 30 seconds.  Add the chopped celery –  fry until the celery starts to soften.  Add the ginger and finely chopped carrot, simmer for 3 – 4 minutes or until the carrots are soft. Add the chopped red pepper, simmer for 3 – 4 minutes more.  Clear a space in the middle of the vegetables and squeeze in the concentrate, add the tomatoes and give everything a good stir.

Simmer, uncovered over medium heat for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. Toward the end of cooking, stir in the salt and jaggery.

If the sauce is very liquid, leave uncovered. Not very liquid, leave covered but with the lid ajar.

Once the sauce is ready, roughly puree using an immersion blender.  Serve with your choice of pasta, a sprinkling of vegan parmesan and grilled zucchini, steamed broccoli or beans.

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pasta dough without eggs

29th August 2017

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Once you get the feel of the dough, making pasta without eggs is easy, it is a little softer, more delicate, however, the texture is divine. Homemade pasta is much lighter on the system and easier to digest.

The durum wheat flour helps absorb the flavours. It makes a softer, silky, smooth dough, that you will not get from other flours it also absorbs more water then ordinary flour, so keep that in mind if swapping the flours around.

This is a recipe that has developed over trial and error, as time goes on I am sure it will evolve even more and I will update accordingly. So far, I found when rolling and thinning the dough I used a liberal amount of flour – this may have something to do with where we live as there is a lot of moisture in the air in Sintra. I found using an icing sugar shaker very handy for this purpose, a sifter or sieve will work just as well to get a fine layer of dusting. The process is quite time-consuming, however the more confident you become with the process the quicker it is. The results are so delicious and worth the effort and impossible to go back to a box of dried pasta.  Making your pasta from scratch is a very satisfying process.

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pasta dough without eggs

Serves 6 

Recipe inspired from Kusama via Elegantly Vegan.

If attempting for the first time halve the dough recipe.  It comfortably serves 3 – 4.  The best way to get good at making fresh pasta is to make it again and again. 

ingredients:

480g/4¼ cups finely ground semolina flour from durum wheat

2 tsp fine rock salt

4 Tblsp olive oil

300 – 360 ml warm water

extra flour for dusting

special equipment :

pasta making machine

preparing the pasta dough:

In a medium bowl, measure out the flour, sprinkle in the salt and whisk to combine. Create a well in the centre of the flour, drizzle in the olive oil and slowly pour in 300ml (about 1¼ cup warm water). Using your hands, combine the dry into the wet, adding water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together into a ball. Dust your work surface with flour and knead the dough, begin gently folding the dough on itself, flattening, and folding again, for about ten minutes.

When you finish kneading, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least half an hour to an hour. For best results knead and allow the dough to rest for as long as possible.

rolling out the pasta dough:

Unwrap the dough and divide it into quarters, and then each quarter in half again so you have eight equal portions, weighing approximately 90 – 100 grams. Work with one portion at a time, and cover the rest. Flour your work surface and flatten one piece of dough a little less than the width of the pasta maker. Feed it through the thickest setting on the machine – #0.  Lightly dust both sides of the sheet of pasta with flour and fold this piece of dough into thirds, like folding a letter, dust again and feed the pasta crosswise between the rollers.  Repeat this step 5 – 6 times. This helps strengthen the gluten in the flour, giving it a chewier texture when cooked. Change settings to the slightly thinner setting – #1, dust with flour and feed it through the machine without folding it; then set it on #2 and so forth until achieving the desired thickness – I finished at #6.

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If your pasta sticks at all, dust both sides with more flour or is too lengthy to manage, lay on a cutting board and cut in half.  Don’t tug or pull on the pasta as it goes through the machine. Let the rollers do the work. With practice, you will become familiar with your machine and with the dough and will be able to manoeuvre the dough by slightly moving it left or right so that it doesn’t go in crooked.

Now cut the sheet of pasta crosswise into pieces about 25 cm long and lightly dust them with flour again. I like to air dry the sheets for 15 – 20 minutes before cutting.

To make the process easier, roll out all the dough at once before cutting it into the desired shape. Dust the sheets of pasta generously with flour and overlap them on a floured board or hang them over racks. When ready to cut use the sheets which were rolled out first and have been sitting longer to dry.

cutting the pasta :

If making filled pasta or lasagna, proceed with shaping.  If cutting into noodles, switch from the pasta roller to the noodle cutter, dust again with flour and run the sheet of pasta through the cutter. As soon as the pasta comes through the cutter, dust generously with flour and gently fold into loose rounds to make a nest. Dust again with a little flour and continue with the remaining dough. Leave the pasta to air dry for 15 minutes – 3 hours before using. This helps the pasta to not clump together while cooking.

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I usually make it around midday to use that evening. Once cut and sitting in mounds, cover loosely with a cloth and every hour gently pick up the mounds to loosen the noodles, gently replacing them into their mounds again.

to cook the pasta :

To cook the pasta immediately, bring a pot of well-salted water to a rollicking boil. Add the pasta to the water and cook for about 1 – 2 minutes – don’t overcook!  The pasta should float to the top of the pot when it’s ready and be al dente. Be gentle with it when you lift it from the water. Drain and then just drizzle it in olive oil or toss it with your favourite pasta sauce, and it’s ready to serve.

To dry, allow to air dry until completely brittle, turning the nests from time to time. Depending on the humidity it should take 5 – 6 hours.

To freeze, gather the bundles in a single layer separated with baking paper and freeze, in an airtight container, up to three months. Do not thaw them – place them directly in boiling water – may take 2 – 3 minutes to cook.

Enjoy!

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fig & ginger cluster granola

17th August 2017

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quietness

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Just now I went out into the garden, it was so quiet and still out there, except for a single bird, melodious and sweet.

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tara o’brady’s fig & ginger cluster granola

Makes approximately 8 cups.

The recipe is taken from Taro O’brady’s Seven Spoons Cookbook, with a few small changes.

Tara goes on to say ‘This recipe is my standard and is intended only as a starting point. By all means, add, substitute, or subtract ingredients (add ground nutmeg or ginger, cardamom; or take away the seeds and go heavy on the nuts; swap pistachios for pecans, or dried apricots and dried cherries for the figs) as long as the general guidelines are loosely followed.”

ingredients:

¼ cup/60g ghee or unsalted butter

3 Tblsp olive oil

3 Tblsp maple syrup

½ cup/100g packed jaggery/light brown sugar

½ cup/120ml hot water

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 cups/455g old-fashioned rolled or quick-cooking oats

1½ – 2 cups/180g slivered almonds & hazelnuts (I roughly chop my own into thick slivers)

¾ cup/65g flaked coconut

¼ cup/35g raw, hulled sunflower seeds

¼ cup/35g sesame seeds

1 heaped tsp cinnamon powder

½ cup/70g finely chopped candied ginger

1 cup/150g chopped dried figs & sultanas

preparation:

Preheat an oven to 325F/160C and with racks in the upper and lower thirds.

In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt the ghee into the olive oil and maple syrup. Turn off the heat add the brown sugar, hot water, and ½ tsp of the salt. Cook, stirring often until the sugar dissolves. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and set aside to cool.

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, grind 2 cups/180g of the oats into flour. Transfer this oat flour to a large bowl. Stir in the remaining 3 cups/275g whole oats, the remaining ½ tsp salt, and the nuts, coconut, seeds and cinnamon powder.

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Pour the ghee and sugar mixture over everything and stir to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes, to give the oats the opportunity to lap up the sugar syrup.

Line 2 half sheet pans with standard baking sheets. using your hands, drop the oat mixture in clumps onto the pans, then bake in the preheated oven until dry, light golden, and evenly toasted 45 to 50 minutes, gently stirring and turning the granola with a large spatula every 15 minutes or so and rotating the pans once from the top to bottom and front to back.

Remove from oven and leave the granola in the pans. The granola will continue to crisp as it stands. After 5 minutes, stir in the candied ginger. Once the granola has cooled completely, stir in the figs.

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Transfer the granola to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

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ginger coconut chutney

7th August 2017

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Chutney can be consumed with rotti, chapati, dosa, idli and rice. Recommended to all constitutions. Can be used once or twice a week, at any time during the day and in all seasons. For those suffering from Pitta imbalance, little ghee can be mixed into the food in order to eliminate any aggravation.  One may spice the dish as per his natural inclination adding or lessening the salty, sweet, sour (tamarind), pungent (chilli) tastes.

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Ginger Coconut Chutney

Makes approximately 2 cups.

Recipe shared by our teacher Ganapati Aarya, as part of the Jivana Yoga Programme. 

I make this quick and tasty chutney whenever I make dosa or idli.  The toasted chana dāl can be purchased from your local India store and once you purchase this everything comes together within minutes.

ingredients :

1 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut

1 – 2 cups lukewarm water (start with 1 cup for right consistency)

¼ cup toasted chana dāl (bought from your local Indian store)

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

½–1  red/green chilli (according to taste and strength of chilli)

3 sprigs fresh coriander

¼ tsp tamarind paste

1 tsp sugar/jaggery

½ tsp fine rock salt

preparation :

Place in an upright blender/grinder the dried coconut, chana dāl, chopped ginger, chilli, jaggery, salt and tamarind paste. Wash the coriander leaves, remove the thicker stems and place with the ingredients.

Pour in 1 cup water and puree until you have a thick paste, adding more water until you have the desired consistency.  The texture should be a bit coarse.  Taste for seasoning, adding more salt, sweet, tamarind or chilli, as needed.

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chuchu gojju

31st July 2017

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Chuchu known as Seemebadanekaayi in Karnatika, India, or chayote squash in Mexico. It is a pear-shaped, light-green vegetable in the gourd family and has a crunchy texture and a mild, sweet taste. Chuchu is a perennial vine that climbs over fences, shrubs, and even on trees. There is no need to peel the skin in the young, tender pears. However, larger and over-mature fruits need light peeling using a vegetable peeler. When in season you can find it in most supermarkets here in Portugal.  I make this weekly for a simple no fuss dinner – served with brown basmati rice and an extra drizzling of ghee.  I also use them when making a simple dal, grated carrot and finely chopped chuchu is a magical combination.

To sprout:  Each chuchu contains a single seed which is enclosed within the fruit and cannot be separated from the fruit.  To sprout place the whole fruit on a light-filled window sill and within days the chuchu will sprout from the broad end.  You can also set the whole fruit directly in the soil and within a week or two will sprout.

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Plant 1 chuchu vine per household of 4 persons. Chuchu is a vigorous climber; set a sturdy trellis or support in place at planting. Do not allow maturing fruit to come in contact with the soil; it will spoil and germinate while still attached to the vine. Chuchu will be ready for harvest when the fruit is tender and about 4 to 6 – inches in diameter, usually 120 to 150 days after planting. Cut chuchu from the vine with a knife or hand-pruner. Harvest chuchu before the flesh gets hard.

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chuchu gojju

Serves 3 – 4.

Recipe shared by our teacher Ganapati Aarya, as part of the Jivana Yoga Diploma. 

Chuchu gojju is best served with rice or dosa – the dosa flavour and rice texture mixes well with the flavour of this dish.  It can also be served with chapati, however, it is best to decrease the amount of tamarind (sour) added.  Eggplant or capsicum can replace the Chuchu, additional capsicum may also be added.

ingredients :

1 medium Chuchu – approx 280-300g

1 cup/250mL water

1½ tsp fine rock salt

1½ heaped tsp brown sugar/jaggery

¼ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped

voggarane :

¼ cup/60ml peanut or coconut oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

15 fresh curry leaves

sambar – coconut paste:

¾ cup/60g dried shredded coconut

2 heaped tsp Sambar powder- moderately spiced

1 tsp tamarind paste

2 cups/500mL water – divided

preparation:

Wash, peel and chop chuchu into very small pieces to fill approximately 1½ cups.  Set aside.

Wash and roughly chop the fresh coriander – measuring ¼ cup.

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voggarane:

In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat, add oil and mustard seeds. When seeds start to splutter and pop (make sure they have popped well), add asafoetida, turmeric powder and curry leaves.

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Continue to fry for a few seconds.  Add the chopped chuchu and 1 cup water. Allow to simmer, uncovered, until the chuchu softens – about 15 minutes.  

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Meanwhile, prepare the sambar-coconut paste.

sambar – coconut paste:

In an upright blender, place the dried coconut, sambar powder, tamarind paste and 1½ cups water.  Blend until smooth, approximately 1 minute.  Set aside.

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After the chuchu has softened, add jaggery and salt, mixing well.  Pour sambar – coconut paste into gojju. Use remaining ½ cup water in the blender to clean out any sambar paste.

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Allow to simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Turn off heat and add freshly chopped coriander.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust the sweet, sour or salt to your preference.  The gojju will thicken as it cools. Delicious served with brown basmati rice or dosa.

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easy spelt focaccia & a vegetable garden

13th June 2017

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I make this focaccia every Sunday as an accompaniment to our traditional pasta night.  I mix the dough in the morning and leave it covered on the side for a full day, the extra fermentation adds flavour to the bread.  You can also make it days before, and store in the refrigerator after the first rise, the dough develops a more complex flavour, and you can pull part of it out to make dinner – just be sure it has time to come to room temperature before shaping and continue with the recipe.

I usually make one large focaccia but since our move a month ago I have a small oven that fits two narrow trays – now I make two oblong focaccia.

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Quality of Food

‘A very natural lifestyle in which we could collect fresh vegetables every day would be even more ideal, however. Growing a small garden can serve that purpose to some degree. There are also many other benefits one may experience from having a small garden. For example, one may gain beneficial exercise, as well as deep satisfaction in doing garden work. If done in a measured and relaxed way, it may lead to a calm and quiet mind.’ 

~ Dr. Shankaranarayana Jois – The Sacred Tradition of Yoga

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easy spelt focaccia

Makes 1 rectangular or 2 small focaccia. 

Recipe slightly adapted from Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce.

‘You can top the focaccia with almost anything: a liberal pouring of oil and a dusting of salt, a handful of fresh herbs, olives or sautéed vegetables, or a flavourful tomato sauce. However, you plan to top your focaccia, before cooking pour a generous glug of olive oil over the top – especially around the edges – for a crunchy golden crust’.

ingredients :

1¼ cups warm water

1 tsp active dry yeast

tsp sugar

1 cup/120g whole-spelt flour; plus additional for kneading

2½ cups/320g white spelt flour/all purpose flour

1 tsp fine rock salt

2 Tblsp olive oil + ¼ cup (divided) for drizzling over the top

herbs, spices, or other toppings of choice

preparation :

Lightly rub a large bowl with olive oil. Set aside.

Add 1¼ cups of warm water, yeast, and sugar to another bowl. Stir, and allow the yeast to bloom and bubble for about 5 minutes.  (If it doesn´t, it may be inactive; throw it out and start again.)

Add the flours, salt, and 2 Tablespoons olive oil and mix to combine to form a sticky dough.

To knead by hand: Turn the dough out on to a clean work surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and silky.

Or, to use a food mixer: Fit the dough hook and add the water, yeast, and sugar to the mixer bowl, stir, and allow the yeast to bloom and bubble for about 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until evenly combined, then add the oil and leave to knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and silky.

For the first rise: Put the dough into the oiled bowl, turning it so that the top of the dough is coated with oil. Cover with a towel and leave for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

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Generously oil a baking sheet with olive oil.

For the second rise: Place the dough on the baking sheet or divide the dough into two pieces and place them on the oiled baking sheet.  Stretch the dough out with your hands (It helps to oil your hands) into your desired shape on the baking sheet, and dimple it with your fingers. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and leave to rise for an hour.

Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven (or put a single rack in the middle if you´re using one baking sheet) and preheat to 200C/400F.

After the dough has completed its second rise and has puffed up on the sheet, drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt, herbs or spices, or toppings of your choice.

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Bake for 22  – 25 minutes, until golden brown. Drizzle with the remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil while still hot from the oven.  Allow the bread to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Serve it with your favourite pasta or top it with mashed avocado, grilled zucchini, tomatoes, red pepper, fennel and a sprinkling of fresh herbs and salt.

Focaccia is always best eaten the day it is made.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

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