fig almond & orange swirl cookies

19th March 2017

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This recipe was quite a journey.  After many attempts and too many references to mention, I persevered, as there seemed too much scrumptious potential in these cookies to give up. It felt like I was conjuring up a kind of magic, from the transformation of ingredients to the finished result – even more so due to the many attempts to get here.  I am now satisfied to share it with you.

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In Ayurveda, sultanas are considered kingly of all the fruits, figs are considered precious and Winter citrus adds colour and zest to the last of these dark and rainy days.

Figs, whether fresh or dried, are an incredibly healthy treat and have favourable levels of calcium, contain iron, potassium, manganese and vitamin B6.  They also have a high fibre content, keeping us feeling fuller for longer and have a helpful laxative effect.  When buying any dried fruit, look for organic and sulfite-free.

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fig almond & orange swirl cookies

Makes approximately 18 cookies.

Recipe inspired by here and here.

Not overly sweet, the luscious fig filling is deeply flavourful and the pastry is light and buttery. 

The filling could be replaced with any dried fruit of choice – dates would work nicely.  I used 1 cup whole almonds which I ground in a blender – blanched almonds would give a much more visually pronounced contrast between the filling and the dough.  I wanted to achieve a lighter cookie, so I used white spelt flour, but it can be replaced with whole spelt or for a gluten-free version, rice flour. 

I call this a dough but just to clarify it doesn’t handle like a normal dough – it is very fragile and easily crumbles this is why it is recommended to work between to pieces of baking paper – the end results is delicious and is worth all the fiddliness.

for the dough :

1½ cups/130g almond meal (1 cup whole almonds ground in a blender)

1 cup/120g white spelt flour

¼ tsp fine rock salt

¼ cup/60ml olive oil

2 heaped Tblsp brown sugar/coconut sugar

¼ cup/60ml freshly squeezed orange juice

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

for the fig paste :

180g dried soft figs

80g dried sultanas/raisins

orange zest of 1 orange

½ tsp cinnamon powder

¼ cup/60ml fresh orange juice

sesame seeds for garnishing

preparation :

Set the oven to 180C/360F.  Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

to make the dough :

Place in a medium bowl the almond meal, flour and salt, then whisk together. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the oil and sugar for a few minutes.  Add the fresh orange juice, baking powder and baking soda.  Whisk until combined – it will billow up and turn into the most gorgeous, soft, golden colour.  Slowly add to the flour and almond meal mixture, then gently combine.  The dough should be quite moist and soft. Cover and refrigerate while making the fig paste.

to make the fig paste :

Remove and discard the hard stems from the figs, chop in half, then place into a food processor, along with the sultanas, and orange zest, process until the fig are nicely broken up.  Add the cinnamon powder and pour in the orange juice. Process until it forms a thick, sticky paste and starts to come to together.  Cover and set aside.

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to assemble :

Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a piece of baking paper.  Place another piece of baking paper on top and roll out the dough into a rectangle just under ¼-inch thickness, approximately 15-x 9-inches.  (It is fine for the dough to be longer than 15-inches but makes sure it is no wider than 9 – 10 inches.  To make a neat rectangle, trim off any excess dough around the sides and press it into the corners which need more shaping.  Spoon the fig filling over the dough and spread evenly, making sure it comes all the way to the edges.

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Use the baking paper to gently roll the long side of the dough around the filling, so that it forms a neat log. Leave the seam side down as the weight of the roll seals the edge.  Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and use the outer edges of the baking paper to help press the seeds into the top of the roll and the sides, pressing any seeds which have fallen down.  The contrast between the dough and fig paste will be more pronounced after baking.  Place the log in the freezer for 20 minutes – this will make it firmer for easier cutting.

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With a sharp knife, slice into 2 cm thick pieces, wiping the knife after each cut. If wanting a more perfect round shape, rotate the roll after several cuts, then give them a gentle squeeze to reshape them into rounds on the tray.

Carefully transfer them onto the baking tray, laying them flat, with the spiral of the fig paste facing up.

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Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, rotating the tray half way through baking and bake until golden in colour,  remove from the oven.  Delicious eaten warm, or later that same day, or the next.

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everyday simple dal for Yasmin

6th March 2017

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A simple dal we make weekly, served with chapati and along side a cabbage or okra palya.  A recipe my daughter requested that I write-up so that she can refer to when she moves out later this year.  It is also one of her favourite meal combinations.  We are in the process of learning how to make 6 easy meals which she can prepare herself.  This dal being one of them.

If the thought of making chapati sounds a bit over whelming – it can be served with a bowl of rice and a crispy salad.  When drizzled with ghee it becomes a deeply soothing, warming, nourishing meal.

The tomatoes can be replaced with any vegetable of choice,  I like the process of stewing them in a voggarane pan before adding them into the cooked dāl, this way they slightly caramalise, deepening the flavour with the spices.

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~ Evening forage at the end of the day in a blanket of mist.  Silent.

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everyday simple dal

Serves 3 – 4

Inspired by Tara O’brady – Everyday Yellow Dal.

In Ayurveda, it is important to understand the different types of dal/legumes used and their energetic qualities.  There are two dals which are favourable and used most often – whole mung beans (whole moong dal) and split moong dal (yellow split lentils) which are whole moong dal skinned and split.  These two are easy to digest, gentle on the system and cause minimum disturbances to your constitution.  All other dal/legumes are recommended to use in moderation and in small quantities.

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ingredients :

1 cup/220g yellow split moong dal (yellow split lentils)

3 cups/750ml water

for the voggarane :

2 Tblsp ghee

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

8 fresh curry leaves

1 dried chilli – torn in half

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

1 medium tomato, chopped into small pieces

½ – 1 tsp fine rock salt

a small handful coriander leaves

juice from half a lemon

preparation :

In a heavy saucepan, wash dal several times until water runs clear – then drain.

Pour the 3 cups water into saucepan and bring to boil on a medium-high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer. (Do not cover the pot, this allows certain impurities or energetic imbalances to be eliminated.)  You may need to skim of any foam which accumulates at the top at the beginning of boiling.  Simmer until dāl is soft, creamy and broken down – approximately 30 minutes.  You may need to add a little water if the dal becomes too dry.  I like to have the consistency quite thick when serving with chapatis and more liquid when serving with rice.

While waiting for the dal to soften, prepare the voggarane.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee, once hot add mustard seeds; as the seeds start to splutter and pop (make sure the mustard seeds have popped well), add the cumin seed, curry leaves, fry for a few seconds, then add asafoetida and turmeric powder, swishing the pan around allowing spices to fry evenly.  To the voggarane add the chopped tomatoes and ginger, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, fry until the tomato starts to break up.

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Stir this into the dal, add salt, lemon juice and garnish with fresh coriander.  Serve with fresh chapati, a cabbage or okra palya.

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barley kichadi

22nd February 2017

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Barley is cooling, sweet, and mildly astringent.  Ideal for decreasing Pitta and Kapha.  It can improve a sluggish digestion and has a slightly drying effect, helping to clear fluids from the body. Barley is considered one of the “good” carbohydrates.

If the water in which barley is boiled, is given to a person suffering from diarrhea it gives him instant relief.

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~ evening reflections.

~ Pleopeltis polypodioides, also known as the resurrection fern. The resurrection fern gets its name because it can survive long periods of drought by curling up its fronds, appearing grey-brown and dead. However, when just a little water is present, the fern will uncurl and reopen, appearing to “resurrect” and restoring itself to a vivid green colour within about 24 hours.

~’Crocosmia‘ which comes from the Greek ‘krokos‘ – saffron – and ‘osme‘ – smell.  I am told that they smell of saffron when submerged in hot water.

~ the outer edges of the wall at the end of the day.

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barley kichadi

Serves 3 – 4

I have been making this weekly, quick and easy with a scoop of thick yogurt and a drizzling of ghee, it is a wonderfully warming, soothing and cleansing meal.  When simmering the moong dal try to catch them while they still hold their shape and before they turn to mush.  I use an organic pearl barley in this recipe, if using unhusked barley it will need an overnight soaking and longer cooking time – recommended to boil separately ½ hour before adding the moong dal .

Our favourite barley recipe is this lovely soothing lemon barley water.

ingredients :

½ cup/100g  pearl barley

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

2 litre /8 cups water

1 cup/90g chopped celery/fennel

1 cup/50g chopped cabbage

1 heaped teaspoon rock salt 

1½ heaped tsp jaggery/brown sugar

¼ cup/20g dried shredded coconut

1 Tblsp finely chopped ginger

½ cup/60g frozen green peas

voggarane :

1 Tbsp  ghee

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

⅛ heaped tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)

1 medium red chilli, roughly chopped

10-15 fresh curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

juice of half a lemon or more to taste

½ cup chopped fresh coriander 

handful small kale/spinach leaves

preparation :

Place the whole moong dal & barley, in a heavy saucepan and cover with water.  Swish around with your hand, drain, repeat and rinse.  Do this several times until the water runs clear.  Pour the 8 cups water into the pot and bring to boil over a high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a rapid simmer.  Simmer until barley has soften and the dal is cooked but still holding their shape – approximately 30 – 40 minutes. (Do not cover the pot, this allows certain impurities or energetic imbalances to be eliminated.) Half way through cooking add the chopped celery & cabbage.

While waiting for the barley & dal to cook, chop the chilli into three pieces and tear the curry leaves in half (this way everyone is guaranteed to consume a curry leaf and benefit from their medicinal properties).

When the barley & moong dal has softened, add salt, sugar/jaggery, dried coconut and the chopped ginger.  Simmer for 5 minutes more, then turn off the heat, add the peas, (if using fresh peas add 5 mins after adding other vegetables) cover and set aside.

prepare the voggarane:

In a small pan over medium heat, add ghee and mustard seeds.   When the seeds start to splutter and pop, turn down the heat and add the cumin seeds, asafoetida powder (hingu), and the chopped red chilli.  Fry until sizzling and fragrant.  Add the curry leaves and turmeric powder and fry for 30 seconds, swishing the pan around to allow for the spices to fry evenly.

Turn off the heat, add the voggarane to the kichadi.   Squeeze in the lemon juice and with your hands, break up the fresh coriander and kale, stir into the kichadi.  Check for seasoning, adding more salt or lemon if needed.  When ready, drizzle with ghee, garnish with fresh coriander and serve with a spoon of yogurt.

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kaseri bath – sweet upma

12th February 2017

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Satyam, sivam and sundaram.

Truth, sacredness, and beauty are three most important characteristics seen through the universe. They come from the Eternal Truth and are contained in everything to a greater or lesser extent. Happiness takes shelter under their protection.  Violence can utterly spoil them.  When we intentionally violate these qualities we violate Truth. It is therefore our duty to preserve and maintain them.

~ The sacred Tradition of Yoga – Dr Shankaranarayana Jois

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A recipe shared by our teacher last year as part of  The Jivana Yoga Diploma, we are fortunate to be graced with their presence here in Portugal.  Their presence in our home and lives leaves a profound effect on our daily existence and our practices become that little bit more concrete and established on this yogic path.

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Kaseri Bath – Sweet Upma

Serves 8 – 10 small servings

Kaseri Bath is especially recommended for Yoga practitioners.  It calms the mind and keeps it fresh.  It may be used by all constitutions.  Kaseri Bath can be served as part of a main meal and it is especially recommended to be served with Upma or Idli.  Best served warm, it is the Indian tradition to start with the sweet first.  Depending on the type of sugar used, the taste and colour may vary. Instead of bananas, apple or pineapple can be used.

ingredients :

1½ cups/350ml warm water

1 pinch saffron – approximately 15 threads

6 cardamom pods  – ¼ tsp ground

3 medium-sized bananas – approximately 200g chopped

10 pieces raw cashew nuts

10 pieces raw almonds

1 cup/165g semolina

½ cup/125ml ghee – liquid

¼ cup/35g raisins/sultanas

¼ tsp fine rock salt

1 cup/205g light brown sugar 

preparation :

Measure out the 1½ cups water and place the saffron threads to steep for 15 minutes, while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Peel & cut the bananas into 1 cm pieces.  Cut the almonds into 3 pieces and the cashew nuts into 2 pieces.

Remove the hard shell from the cardamom, and place the small black seeds in a mortar and pestle, grind into a fine powder.  Set aside.

Over a medium heat, pour the ghee into a medium-sized skillet/bandalei, add almonds, cashews and semolina.  Stir continuously for approximately 10 minutes, or until the cashews have turned golden-brown in colour.

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Pour in the saffron water, add the raisins, chopped banana and salt. Stir continuously for approximately 3 minutes.  Add the sugar, after about 30 seconds of stirring the Kesari Bath will become considerably more softer and liquid in consistency, and then will thicken slightly again. 

This process will take approximately  2-3 minutes, of continually stirring; or until the sugar has dissolved.  While stirring, once you feel the Kesari Bath is thicker in consistency and starts to slide away from the pan – it is ready.  Turn off the heat, stir in the cardamon powder, mixing well. 

Allow the Kesari Bath to rest for a minute and for the flavours to deepen.  Serve warm.

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garam masala powder

25th January 2017

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Garam means “heating” and masala means “spice blend”.   Garam masala is a warming spice mix – in Ayurveda, the word ‘warming’ refers to the ‘heating properties’ of the ingredients.

Garam Masala is a very simple spice to make, you can toast the spices on the back burner while you prepare the vegetables for the dish you are going to make.  When you grind the spices, the most delicious aromas fills your kitchen and puts you into a state of blissful contentment.  And that is good place to start when cooking!

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In yogic philosophy the cook who prepares the meal is very much honoured.  The mindset of the cook deeply affects the food.   It is important for the person preparing the food to maintain a calm and quiet demeanor, thinking about divine subjects is also highly beneficial while preparing food.  If the cook is a seeker of Truth, holding the thought that her efforts to prepare the meal will support aspirants will have a positive effect to those who eat it.  

  ~ The Sacred Tradition of Yoga – Dr Shankaranarayana Jois.

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garam masala

Recipe inspired from ‘The Vegetarian Table’ by Yamuna Devi.

If you have ajwain seeds add ½ tsp to the recipe below.  Grind your own cardamom as the taste is so much more fragrant, fresher and more intense. An easy way to do this is place 3 tablespoons 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.  Make in small batches, as the spices can lose some of their flavour after just a couple of months, which can change the flavour and balance of the whole blend.  When using Garam Masala it is best to add at the end of cooking.

Makes about  cup

ingredients :

½ cup/35g coriander seeds

3 Tblsp fennel seeds

1 Tblsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cardamom seeds

10 whole cloves

½ tsp red pepper flakes

2 – inch piece cinnamon stick (roughly broken up)

preparation :

Preheat a heavy skillet over medium-low heat.  Add all the ingredients except the cardamom (as roasting it destroys the ‘sweetness’ in the seeds) and dry toast the spices, stirring occasionally, until they darken slightly – about 10 – 15 minutes.

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Transfer the spices to a bowl, allow to cool completely, when cool place in a coffee grinder or blender, add in the cardamom seeds and grind to a powder.

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Sift through, discarding the roughage – depending on how powerful your grinder is.  Use while fresh or store in an airtight container for up to a month.  I use garam masala in this gingerbread spice cake & fruit cake in replace of the all-spice, in this tofu curry or in these vegetable samosas – using a quick good quality puff pastry.

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roasted carrot, cauliflower, whole moong dal, mustard & greens

10th January 2017

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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.

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~ 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

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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 welcomed dish to take along to a lunch or dinner.

Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main.

ingredients :

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

vinaigrette :

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)

preparation :

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.

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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.

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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.

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chocolate-hazelnut truffles & pecan-cardamom date balls

17th December 2016

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These make a wonderful healthy addition to bring along to a festive celebration or wrap them up in some recycled paper, a ribbon with a little bit of nature tucked in somewhere for a well-wisher or loved one.  They are always appreciated.  Some other ideas are these homemade raw halvah or zesty mango bliss balls or these chocolate covered caramels  Or an assortment of all three!

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chocolate – toasted hazelnut truffles

You could experiment with the different variations of these chocolate balls by adding orange or lemon zest, fresh mint, peppermint essence or even delicately salted.  For a smoother consistency, grind the nuts first, and then add the rest of the ingredients.

I like how toasting brings out the rich flavour in the nuts, if wanting to keep the truffles raw skip the toasting process.

Inspired by Donna’s Date Chocolate Balls & Green Kitchen Stories

Makes about 18 – 20 balls

ingredients :

15 large medjool dates, pitted

50g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

100g toasted hazelnuts/almonds

1 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 – 4 Tbsp cacao/carob powder

1 Tblsp water

1 tsp cinnamon powder

preparation :

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Place the hazelnuts on a tray and toast for 12 minutes, (until fragrant, careful not to burn them) roll in a clean tea towel to remove some of the skin.  The toasting brings out the warm rich hazelnut flavour.

Place all the ingredients for the chocolate-hazelnut truffles in a food processor, and pulse for about 1 minute or until the mixture comes together.  Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into small round balls.  If you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, place the dough in the  fridge for 15 minutes.  Rolls the balls in cocoa/carob powder, finely chopped toasted almond flakes or shredded coconut. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.  Or package them into a jar tied with ribbon or raffia for a holiday gift offering.

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pecan – cardamom spiced date balls

I love these bite size balls for their exotic taste!  If possible, grind your own cardamom as the taste is so much more fragrant, fresher and more intense.  An easy way to do this is place 3 tablespoons 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.  

A recipe inspired by Anna

Makes 18 – 20

ingredients :

12 large medjool dates, pitted

50g dried cranberries/goji berries (if using goji berries roughly chop)

50g dried unsweetened shredded coconut

100g raw pecans/toasted almonds

1 Tblsp extra virgin coconut oil

2 Tblsp freshly ground cardamom

1 Tblsp water

1 tsp ginger powder/1 Tblsp grated fresh ginger

preparation :

Place all the ingredients for the pecan-cardamom truffles in a food processor, and pulse for about a minute or until the mixture comes together. Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into small round balls; half the size of a golf ball.  If you are having trouble with the mixture coming together, place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes.  Rolls the balls in finely chopped toasted pecans or shredded coconut.  Place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.  Or package them into a jar tied with ribbon or raffia for a holiday gift offering.

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a traditional Ayurvedic herbal drink – Kashaya

3rd December 2016

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Kashaya is a deeply nourishing and soothing drink that brings calmness to the mind and supports the general health and balance of the system. Kashaya is appropriate for all constitutions and in all seasons.  It is recommended to consume at the end of a meal and to have once – twice a day.  Kashaya balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha, helps maintain the digestive fire and reduces heat in the body.

There are many variations of Kashaya – Below are two very simple and easy to prepare recipes for everyday use. They require only two of the main spices – cumin and coriander.  The first is a Kashaya powder which involves lightly roasting and grinding the seeds and the second, a simple infusion using the whole seeds.

Considering your constitution, it is good to keep in mind that jaggery is more heating for the body than brown sugar.

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coriander seed:

Coriander is one of the best herbs for supporting healthy digestion.  Bitter, pungent and sweet in taste.  It evokes the digestive fire while simultaneously cooling and soothing. It tonifies, increases absorption, improves digestive enzymes, reduces nausea and blood pressure.  Coriander seed removes excess heat in the body, making it useful in cooling Pitta-related imbalances associated with menopause.  It also supports proper function of the kidneys and healthy urination. The seeds combine well with Cumin to make an excellent digestive tea.

cumin seed:

Cumin is one of the best herbs for supporting healthy digestion.  Bitter, Pungent and Astringent.  It is carminative, aromatic, and on the whole, cool in action.   A common household spice, its Sanskrit name literally means ‘promoting digestion’.  In addition to providing flavour to food, cumin evokes the digestive fire, promotes healthy absorption and eliminates natural toxins.  It is useful to the eyes, beneficial to the heart and strengthens the uterus.  It enhances immunity and invokes good sleep.

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Coriander-Cumin Kashaya Powder

This recipe was shared by our teacher, Ganapati Aarya, as part of the Sadvidya Yoga Diploma.  It came about as an aid to reduce Pitta disturbances in the body and to assist with interrupted sleep due to menopause.  It is deeply nourishing and satisfying drink to have after a meal and satisfies that sweet craving, as well as benefiting from its wonderful medicinal qualities.  The key to opening up the real flavour is making sure that you get the kashaya to a rolicking boil just before straining – the heat changes everything.

Makes approximately 18 – 20 cups Kashaya

ingredients for kashaya powder :

⅓ cup/35g whole cumin seed

½ cup/35g whole coriander seed

preparation :

On a medium flame, heat a skillet until it is hot to touch. Dry-roast the cumin seeds until their colour deepens and a noticeable smell appears – approximately 1 minute. Seeds may start popping by that point.  Be careful not to burn the spices as they can ruin the taste of the kashaya.  Set aside to cool.  Place the coriander seeds into the skillet and repeat the process – the coriander seeds will take 1½  minutes to roast.

In a powerful blender/coffee grinder, grind the toasted cumin seeds to a fine powder. Pour into a bowl and set aside.  Repeat with the toasted coriander seeds – these may take slightly longer to grind.  Pour into the bowl with the ground cumin and combine well.  Store in an airtight container.  

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To preserve the medicinal qualities of the spices, it is recommended to make fresh every 10 – 14 days.

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to prepare the kashaya :

¾ cup water

1 heaped tsp Kashaya Powder

1 heaped tsp brown sugar/jaggery

1 – 2 tsp/5 – 10mL milk (less milk is easier on the digestion, especially in the evening)

preparation:

In a small pan, pour in ¾ cup water and bring to boiling point.  Add the Kashaya powder and sugar.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes.  Turn off the heat, add the milk, stir and pour into a cup (no need to strain as drinking the layer of powder which collects at the bottom is beneficial for the medicinal properties). Set aside to cool until moderately warm.  Enjoy.

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Whole Coriander-Cumin Seed Kashaya

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1 serving

Don´t throw away those left over seeds after straining, place them in a pot outside your kitchen or in the garden – in no time you will have fresh greens to harvest for your cooking.

ingredients :

½ tsp whole coriander seeds

½ tsp whole cumin seeds

1 cup water

1 tsp brown sugar/jaggery

1 tsp/5mL milk (optional)

preparation :

In a small pan, pour in 1 cup of water and bring to boiling point.  Add the whole coriander and cumin seeds and sugar.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes.  Turn off the heat, add the milk (if using), and strain the Kashaya.  Set aside to cool until moderately warm.

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sweet parsnip fries

16th November 2016

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Parsnips are a ivory-cream root vegetable, their taste slightly astringent with a gentle earthy sweetness.

Parsnips taste sweeter as the soil temperature drops – the starch in them turns to sugar – so they’ll be at their best just after a cold snap. These tender morsels are lovely as a garnish in a hot soup like this one, steamed, mashed to a puree, roasted in ghee, served like this with a mayonnaise or tossed in a winter salad.

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~ this morning, glorious colours of Autumn, lighting up the mistiest of mornings…

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sweet parsnip fries

Serves 4, as a side dish

When buying organic I usually leave the peel on my root vegetables but with parsnips – the skin tends to toughen on cooking, so it is best to peel. 

ingredients :

7 medium/480g parsnips

2 Tblsp ghee/oil

rock salt

freshly ground pepper

preparation :

Preheat oven to 210C/410F.

Rinse the parsnips and scrub well under running water and peel the skin off them, with a sharp knife cut into fry shapes about 1 cm thick.  Place them in a bowl of water, move them around a few times, allow to soak for 10 minutes, then drain.  This step helps to remove some of the starch and improves the crispness.  Place the parsnip fries on a dry towel and dry them well – very important. Allow them to air dry for 15 minutes.

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Once dry, place in a large bowl, drizzle over the melted ghee/oil and using your hands toss well until well coated in oil.

Pour the parsnip fries on a lined baking sheet, (may need to use two) and arrange them so they are not over lapping. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown.  No need to flip them halfway during cooking.  Serve immediately.

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golden-crusted brussel sprouts

1st November 2016

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Just back from our yearly retreat in India.  Feeling FULL of stillness and quiet…

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A recipe created last year for Holmes Place magazine as part of an ongoing concept of seasonal ‘superfoods’ through out the year.

Brussels sprouts are a warming food that support the stomach and large intestine.  They are very similar to cabbage and have a similar range of cancer fighting compounds.  Brussels sprouts are rich in many valuable nutrients and are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K. They are a very good source of numerous nutrients including folate, manganese, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, choline, copper, vitamin B1, potassium, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids.   They are often recommended for chronic fatigue, headaches, and hypertension.

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golden-crusted brussels sprouts

Serves 4

I love how easy brussels sprouts are to prepare and how the require very little seasoning to make them shine.  Look for brussels sprouts that are small and tightly closed.  The smaller ones cook through quicker, whereas the larger ones tend to brown on the outside long before the insides are done.  A lovely side dish to serve with a simple dal and rice.

Inspired by 101 Cookbooks

ingredients :

24 small brussels sprouts

2 Tablespoon melted ghee\olive oil

zest from one lemon

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

fine rock salt and freshly ground pepper

preparation :

Wash and pat dry the brussels sprouts.  Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves.  Cut in half from the stem to the top and toss them gently in a bowl with a tablespoon of melted ghee or olive oil, being careful to keep them intact.

Heat 1 Tablespoon of ghee or oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Do not overheat the skillet, or the outside of the brussels sprouts will cook too quickly.  Place the brussels sprouts in the pan flat side down in a single layer, sprinkle with salt, cover, and cook for approximately 5 minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning.  Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to check whether they are tender throughout.  If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.

Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are golden brown and caramelized.  Use a metal spatula to toss them once or twice to get some browning on the rounded side.  Season with more salt, a few grinds of pepper, a sprinkling of lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice.  They are almost like eating candy, lovely bite – sized pieces.

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