main grains & vegetable dishes

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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Goodness shared by Stacey

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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Goodness shared by Stacey, Jonathan & Elijah

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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Goodness shared by Stacey

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, Backwaters

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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 halloumi. 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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Goodness shared by Stacey

sweet parsnip fries

16th November 2016

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Parsnips are an 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 the melted ghee/oil over them 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 overlapping. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown.  No need to flip them halfway during cooking.  Serve immediately.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

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’ throughout the year.

Brussels sprouts are a warming food that supports 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 fibre, 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 they 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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Goodness shared by Stacey

raw zucchini pasta with a creamy green garden dressing

3rd October 2016

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This is a recipe created last year for a series of raw dishes for Holmes Place, however, I never got around to posting it here.  Also included, was this raw carrot slice and a refreshing, light gazpacho. A wonderful addition would be Donna’s roasted thyme-infused cherry tomatoes, and for a more substantial meal, you could even use a combination of zucchini noodles and cooked whole-grain pasta.

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~ Garden, bursting with beans and zucchini

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raw zucchini pasta with a creamy green  garden dressing

This is a light, refreshing raw meal and makes a great pasta replacement.  I love how the zucchini noodles behave so similarly to pasta. Tossed with a creamy herb dressing, it is a perfect meal on a hot Summer’s day. And is perfect for using up the surplus of summer zucchini in the garden.  

Serves 4 

Recipe slightly adapted from here

for the noodles :

2 large/800g mixed zucchini (yellow and green zucchini are always nice)

½ tsp fine Himalayan salt

for the creamy garden dressing :

½ cup raw cashews (soaked overnight/a minimum of 4 hours)

2 Tblsp water

2 Tblsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tblsp balsamic vinegar

½ cup chopped fresh basil

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

2 Tblsp fresh mint leaves

freshly ground pepper

pine nut parmesan for sprinkling

to make the noodles :

Wash, dry and cut the ends off the zucchini.  Take a box grater and place it on its side – the side with the largest grating holes on it face up.

With pressure and in long strokes, push the zucchini along the top of the grater in order to create long, thin ribbons of zucchini.  Or alternatively, use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to make long ribbons.

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Sprinkle the zucchini with the salt, toss gently, and place in a colander over a bowl for 20 minutes, allowing the excess liquid in the zucchini to drain.  Carefully and gently squeeze the zucchini over the colander.  Pat with a clean, absorbent kitchen towel to dry and soak up more of the liquid.

for the creamy garden dressing :

Drain the soaked cashew nuts.  Place in a high-speed blender or food processor, with the water, vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice.   Blend until smooth and creamy.  Add the basil, parsley and mint leaves and blend again until the herbs are well incorporated.

to assemble :

Using your hands, gently toss the zucchini with about three-quarters of the dressing.  Sprinkle over the pine nut parmesan, a few rounds of fresh pepper and toss again, using more dressing if needed.  To serve, garnish with more pine nut parmesan, and small leaves of basil and mint.  This dish is best served immediately.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

Kristin’s cinnamon spiced Moroccan stew

20th January 2016

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Since arriving home from our American trip a few weeks ago, I have been ‘nesting’ in my home, cooking, baking, moving things about, filing, organising, simplifying, and creating things, all inspired by my stay in Sebastopol and that lingering sense of being held, nurtured and a deep inner feeling of peace I felt there.

This tasty Moroccan stew is inspired by Kristin, who made it for dinner one rainy, chilly evening. I have been making it weekly for Jonathan to take to work and for the children’s school lunches, or in the evenings for a warming, cosy, comforting stew.

This was a recipe Kristin had written down for me and sent by ‘snail’ mail years ago, but I had never gotten around to making it.  So when I arrived home from our trip, I set about rifling through my drawers, walls, cupboards, mirrors, where I have all of her artwork and things stuck – to find it.  I keep all of her letters as they hold such soft, peaceful beauty and the art inside always inspires.  She says I am her muse, but she is my teacher, in so many, many ways – I admire her authenticity to this yogic lifestyle and teachings, and her simple living as a householder.  She has the ability to live with such modesty, surrounded by natural beauty as you can see by the images below – but still maintains a balance as she moves in this world.  I am ever grateful to be moving on this path with her.

kristin in windowkristin kitchen windowinspiration kristin house

– Sebastopol, California

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Kristin’s cinnamon spiced Moroccan stew with couscous

serves 4 

I always keep bags of pre-cooked chickpeas in my freezer for easy meals during the week – Chickpeas that have been soaked overnight and simmered until soft.  A few pinches of bicarbonate soda added when simmering helps to soften them.  I also find freshly ground spices where possible make all the difference to the flavours of the finished dish.  The cinnamon & cumin has such an exotic aroma, flooding your senses with a ‘little of divine’.   It is delicious.  Use any combination of vegetables – carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, eggplant, zucchini, beans – all combined to make at least 5 – 6 cups of finely chopped or sliced vegetables…

for the couscous:

2 cups couscous

3½ cups boiling water

½ tsp salt

2 heaping tablespoons ghee/butter

½ cup roughly chopped almonds

for the stew:

cup olive oil

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

1 heaped tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp cinnamon – preferably Indian – a spicy, strong cinnamon

½ tsp good quality paprika

a combination of approximately 5 – 6 cups of finely chopped vegetables – 

1 large fennel/2 sticks celery

1 large red bell pepper

2 large tomatoes

2 small carrots

1 small sweet potato/wedge of pumpkin

1 cup cabbage

1 cup pre-cooked chickpeas

1 – 2 cups water

2 Tblsp small dried currants/ jaggery

salt & pepper, to taste

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prepare the couscous:

In a medium saucepan, place the couscous, ghee and boiling water.  Stir to combine, cover and allow to sit for 20 minutes, undisturbed.

prepare the stew:

In a small pan, dry-roast the cumin seeds until slightly golden.  Allow to cool and grind in a mortar and pestle.  Set aside.

Wash, peel where necessary and finely chop the vegetables, keeping them separate.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, and saute the celery and red pepper until soft, add the chopped tomatoes, the ground cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and paprika, stir to combine. Depending on the choice of vegetables, add them bit by bit, adding the starchier vegetables first as they take the longest to cook.  Once all the vegetables have been added, add the water and the pre-cooked chickpeas. Cover and stew on low until the vegetables are slightly softened.  When cooked, season with salt, stir in the dried currants/jaggery and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley/coriander.

Fluff the couscous with a fork, and garnish with the roughly chopped almonds.

Serve in a bowl, a generous helping of couscous, a bountiful scoop of Moroccan stew, garnish with more almonds and freshly chopped coriander/parsley.  A few good rounds of pepper, and if desired, a crumbling of feta or grated parmesan.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

a gentle late summer vegetable dish served with whole-wheat couscous

29th September 2015

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For Yasmin – a favourite of yours and a thank-you for all your patience in holding those heavy skillets, plates, seeds, vegetables and flowers in all sorts of elements – wind, rain, cold and in all those inconvenient times…Xx

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This is one of the weekly lunches I make for the children to take to school, Jonathan to work and for me to have my first meal at around 10 ish.  I have a list in the kitchen of meals which I refer to so I don’t have to spend time thinking about what to make when I start cooking early morning and the combination works for everyone’s likes and dislikes. 

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a gentle late summer vegetable dish served with whole-wheat couscous

Serves 4

This dish is perfect when needing a gentle tasting, soft dish.  The key is the lightly cook the vegetables so they remain vibrant & firm.  When needing a more hearty, protein dish instead of the potatoes, add a cup of cooked chickpeas.  When available, corn fresh off the cob is a nice addition.  The couscous is great as it cooks up in only 10 minutes.  Whole wheat couscous is a finely crushed form of durum wheat semolina, less processed than pasta with more fibre and nutrients.

for the couscous

2 cups whole-wheat couscous

3 cups boiling water

1 Tbsp ghee

½ tsp salt

for the vegetables

2 Tblsp oil of choice

1 Tblsp yellow mustard seeds

1 fresh/dried bay leaf

2 carrot, chopped into diagonals

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut

½ – 1 cup water

1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced into rounds/2 sticks celery

1 zucchini or handful of green beans, chopped into diagonals

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

3 Tblsp small dried currants

salt and pepper, to taste

fresh coriander/parsley

¼ cup lightly toasted pine nuts/pine nut parmesan

preparation :

Place the couscous in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of ghee/oil and salt.  Pour the boiling water over the couscous.  Cover and leave for 10 minutes, when ready to serve fluff up with a fork.

Place the peeled and chopped potatoes in a saucepan with a little water and simmer until soft and cooked.

In a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan heat the oil, when hot add the yellow mustard seeds and saute for a few seconds.  Add the bay leaf, chopped celery, carrots, red pepper, and green beans.  Cover and simmer for four minutes or more.

Once the vegetables have softened slightly but still firm & vibrant, add the soft potatoes and currants.  Simmer for a further 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt and a generous few rounds of freshly ground pepper.

To serve, spoon the couscous into a deep plate, bowl or lunch box.  Sprinkle over a good helping of fresh parsley or coriander.  Spoon the vegetables onto the centre of the couscous.  Drizzle with a good tasting olive oil, a generous sprinkling of pine nut parmesan or toasted pine nuts, garnish again with freshly chopped coriander or parsley & a few rounds of freshly ground pepper.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

baked vegetable samosas with a spicy mango chutney (also a quick puff pastry option)

29th March 2015

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I woke with a feeling of peace in my heart….

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all day I breathed softly, moved slowly

afraid it might disappear….

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baked vegetable samosas

Makes 13 half-moon samosas

I made these for a special dinner to have sitting around the fire outside.  I used a good quality ready-made puff pastry for my first attempt, but the second time I made my own pastry, which was a recipe tried and tested from Noa.  Both were great – it just depends on how much time you want to spend making them.  

 I keep the filling mild, as the chutney adds the spark it needs, but if you like strong flavours, increase the spices by ¼ teaspoon each.

for the dough:

350 grams flour (I use 200g white & 150g wholewheat)

½ tsp rock salt

1 tsp sugar

200g unsalted pure butter

100mL very cold water

for the filling:

1 large bulb fennel/2 sticks celery (160g)

1½ cup/220g finely diced sweet potato/pumpkin

1 cup/190g finely diced potato/parsnip

1 cup/90g finely chopped cabbage

1½ cups/180g finely chopped cauliflower

½ tsp brown mustard seeds

1  tsp cumin seeds

1 Tblsp finely grated ginger

½ tsp home-made garam masala powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ cup coconut milk/water

¾ cup/90g frozen peas

to make the dough :

Place the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and mix.  Cut the butter into hazel-nut size pieces and add to the flour, making sure all the pieces of butter are well coated with the flour.  Cover and place in the freezer for a minimum of an hour or overnight.

In a food processor with an S-blade attached, add the very cold flour and butter, process for 20 seconds (the mixture should resemble fine meal).

Add the very cold water and pulse in short bursts.  The dough will still look crumbly, but if you press it between your fingers, it should become smooth.  If the dough is too dry and is not coming together, add ice water a tablespoon at a time.

Turn dough out onto a clean work surface.  Gather and press the dough together to form a unified mass.

Divide the dough into 12 equal balls, each one weighing roughly 50 – 55 grams each.  Press each ball into a small round disc, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 24 hours.

to make the filling :

In a small pan dry-roast the cumin seeds, then place in a mortar and pestle and ground coarsely.  Add the turmeric and garam masala into the pestle.  Set aside.

Remove the outer leaf of the fennel and the middle core.  Finely chop into very small pieces.  Set aside.

On another chopping board, peel the sweet potato and finely chop the rest of the vegetables. Remove the thicker stems of the cauliflower and chop into thin shreds.

In a large skillet over moderate heat, add a tablespoon of oil/ghee.  When hot, add the mustard seeds, and then when they pop and splutter, add the ginger and rest of the spices.   Add the fennel/celery, cauliflower, potato and sweet potato, and cabbage, stir in the coconut milk/water and saute covered for 5 -7 minutes.   Add the peas and turn off the heat, cover and allow to rest so that the vegetables continue to soften.  Set aside to cool for 30 minutes.

to assemble the samosas :

Remove one of the discs of dough from the fridge.  If they are very firm, let sit for a few minutes at room temperature until the dough is pliable enough to roll.  The dough will soften and become easier as you work with it.  Roll each disc between two pieces of cling film, into a circle of 5½ inches.  (When using the cling film there is no need to use any flour).  Place two heaped tablespoons of the vegetable mixture into the middle of each circle (I like to put as much filling as I can in).  Brush the edges with milk/ghee, and flip the corner over the mixture to create a half-moon.

Press the edges together with a fork and prick the top twice to allow the heat to escape.  Repeat with the remaining pastry.  Brush the top with melted ghee/milk, then sprinkle over black sesame seeds.  If not cooking immediately, cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Make the mango chutney (recipe below).

when ready to bake:

Place the tray into a preheated 210C/420F oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

If using ready-made puff pastry, they will take longer to bake – about 30  – 40 minutes or until golden brown.

spicy mango chutney (mango gojju)

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Inspired by South Indian yogic cookbook

I make this quick & easy chutney when I see green mangoes in the stores.  Can be also made with barely ripe mangos as well.  It is so tasty and deeply fragrant.  I use it as a replacement for pickle in dishes like this one.   It makes a great dipping sauce for these samosas.  Also great as an accompaniment to any rice dish or Indian meal.  Rasam powder can be bought at any Indian Store.

Makes about 1½ cups

ingredients :

2 medium-large/765g green mangoes (half-ripe, green outside & yellow inside)

½ tsp mustard seeds

2 small whole chillies

6 fresh curry leaves (optional)

¼ tsp asafoetida powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

2 heaped tsp rasam powder

½ tsp rock salt

2 heaped tsp jaggery/brown sugar

preparation :

Peel the mango and cut into tiny cubes, then set aside.

In a heavy-based saucepan, heat a little ghee/oil.  Add the mustard seeds, then when they start to pop, add the whole chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida powder.

Saute for 20 seconds, then add the turmeric and mango.  Saute until the mango becomes soft, adding ½ cup of water when it starts to stick. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat, and add the salt, jaggery and rasam powder.  Taste, adding more jaggery or salt.  Puree half the mixture with a hand- immersion blender. (I try to puree at least one of the chillies for a really spicy chutney.)

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Update:

I make this version on a regular basis.  I follow the recipe but instead of making my own pastry I buy a good quality organic puff pastry. Brush the outer edge of the circle of the pastry with melted butter or milk.   Take the vegetable filling and scoop inside the circle of pastry leaving a space of one-inch around the outer edge.  I flatten the top of the filling with a back of the spoon so that there is less of a mound. Take the other round pastry from the fridge and gently place over the filling, so that it sits evenly on top.  Roll the edges over itself and press to seal with the edge of a fork.  Place in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up, then move the pastry back to your work surface. Brush the top with melted butter or milk, slash decoratively and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Prior to baking rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to prevent shrinkage during baking.

Place the tray into a preheated 200C/400F oven and bake for 40 – 50 minutes, until deeply golden.  Serve with a very green Tabouli salad of soaked bulgar, with lots of finely chopped parsley, coriander and lemon zest.  Serve with the spicy mango chutney.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

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