main grains & vegetable dishes

Indian spiced millet cauliflower mash with a sweet & sour tamarind sauce

7th February 2016

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This would have to be my second favourite Indian breakfast – my first being idli.  In my earlier days when I was studying yoga in Mysore, there was an Indian lady who opened up her house for Westerners serving breakfast and dinner.  She would make the most delicious pongal drizzled with a sweet-sourish Tamarind sauce.  Only recently, after making it for so many years, I finally obtained an authentic recipe for the Tamarind Sauce on our last retreat in India.  The secret lies in obtaining fresh curry leaves and using a seedless tamarind pulp.  A wonderful soothing dish, perfect for chilly mornings.

When my husband made it with our teacher’s wife a few years back, she added a heaping spoon of rasam powder to the sauce, and it oozed and tasted of India.  I must admit I prefer mine sweeter and drizzled lavishly with ghee.

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Indian spiced millet cauliflower mash with a tamarind sauce

This millet mash is a lighter version of the traditional South Indian breakfast dish – pongal, which is usually made with white rice and a yellow split moong dal.  The traditional method uses ½ cup white rice with ½ cup yellow split moong dal and is simmered until soft. Either method can be used. I alternate between the two.  Both are deeply satisfying and soothing.  

The millet mash is lovely just on its own without the addition of the Indian spices – with a side of greens and a drizzling of ghee. 

I start to soak the tamarind first, then pressure cook or simmer the millet & cauliflower while going back to the spices & chutney…..

serves 2 – 3

for the millet mash

½ cup millet, washed and soaked overnight (if not soaking, cooking time will be longer and more water added as required)

400 grams cauliflower, cut into florets – thicker stem discarded

3 cups water

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp ghee

for the Indian spices

1 tsp ghee

1 tsp cumin seeds

10 fresh curry leaves

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

2 tsp grated ginger

1 dried chilli, broken in half (optional)

10 pieces raw cashew nuts, roughly chopped

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 cup freshly grated coconut or ( cup unsweetened dried coconut)

to prepare the millet mash :

Drain and rinse the millet.  Place in a medium saucepan and add the cauliflower, water and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 25 minutes or until millet is soft, fluffy and all the liquid has absorbed.

While waiting for the millet to cook, prepare the Indian spices as outlined below.

When the millet has finished cooking, remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.  Add the ghee, and mash with a potato masher until creamy.  I like to puree a quarter of the mixture using an immersion hand blender for a more creamy consistency.

to prepare the Indian spices :

Heat a teaspoon of ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan.  When hot, add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, pepper, ginger, chilli if using, and cashew nuts.  Fry gently until the cashew nuts are browned slightly and there is a wonderful aroma.  Add the coconut and turmeric, mix well and set aside.

When everything is ready, stir the Indian spices into the millet mash, season with salt and spoon into bowls.  Drizzle with ghee and a generous helping of the Tamarind sauce.  Enjoy warm.  The cauliflower and millet will thicken as it cools, just add hot water and mix well.

 

TAMARIND sauce

tamarind chutney

This Tamarind sauce really deserves a post all on its own, it is so good.  The colour will also vary with the type of tamarind used.  Use a seedless tamarind pulp which comes compacted in a package. When I am pressed for time, I use ¼ cup tamarind paste which I dilute with a little water, then proceed as in the recipe.  The sauce will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, use it to drizzle over kitcheree, rice dishes, or as a dipping sauce.

ingredients :

150g seedless tamarind pulp

2 ¼ cups hot water – divided

2 Tblsp oil

¼ tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 green chillies, sliced in half

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

10 fresh curry leaves

80g – 100g jaggery, or dark brown sugar

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 cup loosely packed freshly grated coconut (or cup unsweetened dried coconut)

½ cup water

salt to taste

preparation :

Break the tamarind pulp into pieces and place in a bowl.  Pour 1 ¼ cups of the hot water on top and set aside for 30 minutes, mashing and turning the tamarind regularly.  Pour through a strainer and allow to drain. Using the back of a spoon, scrape against the bottom of the strainer to get as much of the thick tamarind liquid as possible.  Pour the remaining cup of hot water over the pulp to flush through more of the tamarind.  Compost the remaining pulp.  Don’t worry, the sauce will be very liquid, the jaggery/sugar will thicken it while it simmers.

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On a medium heat in a small saucepan, heat the oil, then add the mustard seeds.  When they pop, quickly add the fenugreek, chilli, asafoetida and curry leaves. Fry for a few seconds, then add the tamarind water, bring to a rapid boil, turn down the heat, and crumble in the jaggery/sugar.  Allow to simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, until it becomes slightly thicker and comes away from the edges around the pan.

In a high-speed blender, add the half cup of water and grated coconut.  Blend for one minute.  Add to the tamarind sauce, using a spatula to get as much out of the blender as possible.  Let simmer for a few minutes, then add the turmeric and season with salt.  Drizzle over the millet mash, or enjoy with rice, vegetable palya, or as a dipping sauce with these samosas.

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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.

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– 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 tsp coriander 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 and coriander 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, ground spices, garam masala and turmeric powder.   Stir in the fennel/celery, cauliflower, potato and sweet potato, and cabbage, pour 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

winter roasted kabocha pumpkin

31st January 2015

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My Winter garden is looking quite sad and neglected at the moment, soon I will spend the day in there, planting broad beans, sweet peas, more cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and preparing the soil for Spring. I also aim to turn over the compost and dig in the horse manure I just purchased.  I will then cover the soil with cardboard and newspapers, ready for planting in a month or two.

I still have a pumpkin or two left over from last year’s harvest. They came out quite small, but bright and tasty.

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roasted kabocha pumpkin

Serves 4 as a side dish

We seem to be having this three times a week as an accompaniment to any meal I make.  Last night it was this dal with a bean & broccoli palya.  Or my favourite this mung bean dish with roasted tomatoes added to the pumpkin.  It is also lovely with a salad of kale or spinach. The golden colour is right up there with the freshly picked, squeezed orange juice we have been having most mornings.)  

The kabocha pumpkin is much sweeter than other pumpkins and the texture is smooth and creamy – very much like a cross between a sweet potato and a pumpkin.  It’s packed with fibre, beta-carotene, iron, Vitamin C and B vitamins.

The outer skin becomes soft and sweet when it’s roasted, so no peeling is necessary. It is packed with great nourishment.

ingredients :

1 whole/2 small kabocha pumpkins (or any pumpkin will work fine)

1 Tbsp melted ghee/oil

1 tsp coarse salt

freshly ground black pepper

red pepper flakes

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

preparation :

Heat the oven to 400 F/200 C.

Scrub the pumpkin.  Cut in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.  Take one of the halves, lay down on its flat side, and cut the kabocha into one-inch slices.

In a large bowl, gently toss the pumpkin with the oil/melted ghee, salt, a couple of grinds of freshly ground black pepper, a good pinch of red pepper flakes, and the thyme.  Mix everything together with your hands.

Arrange the squash on a baking sheet, and bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until the squash is tender when pierced with a knife and charred along the edges.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

spiced adzuki bean stew with vibrant green chard

23rd November 2014

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Delicious splashes of autumn colours

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here and there…

spiced adzuki bean stew with vibrant green chard

Serves 4

Grounding, Warming and Hearty.  Sometimes I alternate between using kidney beans instead of adzuki beans.  The adzuki beans are much easier to digest.  If I am short on time, I replace the ground spices and chilli with a tablespoon of sambar powder.   Serve with avocado raita/greek yoghurt, crunchy green, cucumber salad and a bowl of quinoa.

ingredients :

2 cups dry adzuki beans

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

1 tsp whole coriander seeds

¼ tsp hot chilli flakes (or half a fresh chilli)

1 Tbsp ghee/oil

1 tsp turmeric powder

¼ tsp asafoetida powder

2 cup chopped tomatoes

2 Tblsp tomato paste

2 medium carrots

3 sticks celery

bunch of chard, kale or spinach

a handful of roughly chopped fresh coriander

1 tsp rock salt

freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tsp jaggery

preparation :

Pick through the beans and soak overnight, or for 24 hours with one change of water. This is for better digestibility.

In a medium saucepan, place the drained beans and a generous amount of water.  Bring to a rapid boil, then reduce to a simmer until beans are soft (approximately an hour).

In a small pan, dry roast the cumin, coriander and chilli flakes until there is a lovely aroma (be careful not to burn).  Remove from heat and grind in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil/ghee add the asafoetida, turmeric and the ground spices. Saute for a few seconds.  Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the carrots and celery. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes longer.

When the beans are soft, drain, then add to the tomato mixture with the addition of one cup of water.  (I found if the stew sits for half an hour the beans soak up some of the liquid and the consistency becomes thicker.)   Add the roughly chopped chard and fresh coriander.  Stir through for 2 – 5 minutes and season with salt, freshly ground pepper and add jaggery.  Remove from heat and serve.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

beetroot fennel & black currant quinoa pilaf with a leafy lemon garden herb salad

8th May 2014

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Create an INTENTION to practise conscious eating, connecting to your food with all of your senses and with a grateful attitude.  Here are a few mindful intentions that help to guide me.

Invite a feeling of gratitude and thanks by blessing your food before and after eating.

Nourish yourself by practising silence when eating your food.

Take the intention to always sit down to eat.

Eat only when hungry and drink only when thirsty.

Nutrients are better absorbed when meals are kept simple, not mixing too many different foods together.

Thoroughly chew your food and eat slowly.

Increase awareness and avoid drinking large quantities of liquid, especially cold when eating.

Open your heart by using candles, special dishes, flowers to create beauty around meal-time.

Never eat in an agitated or angry state and always eat in a calm, relaxed, settled and quiet atmosphere.

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beetroot fennel & black currant quinoa pilaf

A favourite way of serving this is with a freshly made still warm hummus and a leafy, lemon, garden herb salad. When I am short of time, I put everything into the pot to cook with the quinoa – not as aesthetically looking, but still deliciously tasty. This could be made with rice, barley, millet or any grain of choice.

ingredients :

1 cup quinoa

1½ cups water

1 small fennel bulb

1 medium beetroot

1 medium carrot

½ tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp pink peppercorns

2 Tbsp small black currants

salt to taste

preparation :

Wash the quinoa in water three times and allow to sit in the water for 10 minutes.  Rinse. Place in a saucepan with the water, bring to boil, turn down the heat and allow to simmer covered until the water has absorbed (Try to just under-cook the quinoa slightly – it gives a nice texture and nutty bite).  Allow to sit for 15 minutes.

Finely slice the fennel.  Peel the beetroot and carrot and cut into very small cubes. (Cutting them small allows them to become tender quicker without overcooking the fennel.)

In a mortar and pestle, roughly grind the coriander seeds and peppercorns.

Heat a little ghee or oil and add the coriander and peppercorns.  Saute for a minute, then add the fennel, carrot and beetroot.  Cover and saute on a low heat until just tender, 12 -15 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Add the small currants and the cooked quinoa.  With a fork, fluff up the quinoa as you stir to combine.  Season with salt.  Garnish with finely chopped fennel leaves.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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lemon leafy garden herb salad with a pine nut lemon dressing

for the salad :

a mixture of small garden leaves of parsley, fennel, mustard, spinach, lettuce and coriander

edible garden flowers

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced

1 avocado, cut into small cubes

for the dressing :

¼ cup pine nuts

1 Tblsp sesame seeds

½ juice of a lemon

pinch of salt

freshly ground pepper

¼ cup cold press olive/flax oil

In a skillet, dry-roast the pine nuts and sesame seeds until golden.  Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.  Roughly chop 2 tablespoons and set aside.  In a blender place the remaining pine nuts with the rest of the ingredients and blend on high for 1 minute.  While blender is running add the oil, blend until thick and creamy.  Transfer to a jar and set aside.

Gently wash the garden flowers separately, and place on a cloth to dry. Wash and spin the salad leaves and place in a bowl with the cucumber and avocado.  Shake the dressing and drizzle over the salad and lightly toss.  Sprinkle over the lemon rind, pine nuts and edible garden flowers.

Find a quiet place, bless, and enjoy with gratitude.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

baked cauliflower slices with a green garden sauce & a vegetable garden in Portugal

13th June 2013

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When we moved to Portugal almost a year ago in the height of Summer from Israel and released two bewildered cats and a very dishevelled elderly dog into their new home, a new country and into the beauty of this lush, green cool climate with the potential of lots of overcast and raining days, it was a dream come true for me.  After many very hectic days, one of the first things I did was find a potential spot for my vegetable garden.  A spot of peace, calm, quiet and completeness. A spot to be inspired and for the JOY it will bring.  The spot I found was this one.

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It was a much narrower space to work with than my garden in Israel but I knew I wanted to create the same idea with a central point and in some form or shape of a mandala.  What I chose is this rectangular space.  Protected from the winds which blow strong off the Atlantic in the Summer months.   A blank canvas with a gardenia and plum tree at the very end, which could extend in the future when I needed more space –  I envisioned beds of potatoes and sweet potatoes way down there.

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So as we prepared the soil, I sat on those stairs and started sketching and planning.

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While it took shape, I planted in pots outside the kitchen, zucchinis, tomatoes and different fresh herbs, and even a spaghetti squash which took off in an abundance of leaves.  It bared no flower or fruit, but with much leafy enthusiasm threatened to enter into our kitchen.  So as Summer ended and Winter passed, the spaghetti squash, tomatoes and zucchini in the pots died off and Spring began.

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And with another Summer just beginning –  a vegetable garden takes shape.

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This space does have a feeling of being hidden.  You need to walk down into it and when I work, I feel enclosed, protected – a secret space where I can disappear into and not be seen or found for hours.  On either side, it has a long shrub of rosemary bushes and a row of the sweetest smelling roses.  I have thrown in seeds of flowers and sunflowers and by the mid-Summer, it will be a surprise to see what survives and thrives.  In the early and quiet of the morning, I come to check on everyone’s growth.  I enjoy the buzz of watching green shoots poke through the soil and I wait for the inspiration as to what to make and add to everyone’s lunches when I go back to the quiet of the kitchen.  Maybe a flower or two to surprise them when they sit to open and eat some hours later at school or work.

Right now, as I write, my little vegetable garden is home to four varieties of courgettes, two varieties of beans, the climbing yard bean you see in the distance and a French green bean, three varieties of tomatoes, radishes gone to flower, chard, spinach and small kale plants which I save from the snails each morning. Purple and red cabbage, the last of the broccoli, rhubarb, eggplant, endless varieties of lettuce, arugula gone wild, sweet peas, capsicum, cucumber seeds just now pushing their way through the soil, more herbs, plenty of flowers and the last of this cauliflower.

baked cauliflower slices with a green garden sauce

A dish inspired by Mia

ingredients :

1 large head cauliflower

3 Tbsp oil/ghee

10 cm sprig fresh rosemary

cup flaked almonds/breadcrumbs

coarse salt and pepper to taste

sprinkling paprika

for the green, garden herb sauce

parsley leaves – a generous handful

mint – 6 bushy sprigs

basil leaves – a handful

whole grain Dijon mustard – a tablespoon

olive oil – 6 tablespoons

lemon juice – 2 tablespoons

preparation :

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Wash the cauliflower and remove the tough outer leaves of the cauliflower and discard.  Leave the core stem intact.  Cut the base so that it can stand up without moving around.

Place the cauliflower, base side down, on a work surface.  Using a very sharp knife, and starting at the top centre of the cauliflower head, cut down the centre of the cauliflower head to divide it in half. Then carefully cut four ¾ – inch thick slices (two off each half).    You should get two large slices and two medium slices.  Pieces will crumble off – don’t  worry.

Lay the slices and bits in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Brush or drizzle the cauliflower slices with oil/ghee.  Generously sprinkle with flaked almonds, rosemary and season with paprika.

Place in the oven and roast for 15 – 20 minutes.  Turn the slices around, and roast for 10 – 15 minutes more, or until the edges start to brown.  Season with salt and black pepper.

To make the sauce, chop the herbs quite finely or alternatively place in a small blender and blend for a few seconds.  Stir in the mustard.  Pour in the olive oil slowly, beating with a fork.  Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper.  Be generous with the seasoning, tasting as you go.  The sauce should be vibrant and bright.

Serve the cauliflower with the sauce.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

mellow tofu & vegetable stew with kombu

15th July 2012

deep breath in…..

and let go….

I did ask for something tremendous to come into my life and I think this is it.

This shift. I’m grateful.

But then with these

shifts, there’s always a letting go.

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mellow tofu & vegetable stew with kombu

I usually make this for a Friday lunch when the children get home earlier from school.  I change the vegetables to suit the seasons. Quick, simple and tasty.  Inspired by an old friend, Cher, who was an inspirational sparkle in the kitchen, putting quick, healthy meals on the table for her 4 children.  The secret to this dish is to simmer the sweet potato until it is soft and breaks up, as it thickens the sauce and makes it especially tasty.

ingredients :

1 Tblsp ghee/ oil

200 grams tofu

2 medium carrots

2 medium sweet potatoes

6-inch strip of kombu (kombu contains glutamic acid – a food tenderizer and flavour enhancer)

2 small zucchini

handful green beans

handful cabbage

½ tsp cumin powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp paprika

6 – 8 cups vegetable stock

fresh coriander

salt to taste

preparation :

Peel the sweet potatoes and carrots and cut all vegetables into bite-sized wedges. Heat a little ghee in a heavy based saucepan and saute tofu.  Add the turmeric, paprika, and cumin powder.  Allow to saute with the tofu for a few seconds, then add the stock, kombu, sweet potato, zucchini and carrots. Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.  Remove the kombu, slice into half-inch squares, then add back into the soup.   Add the green beans and cabbage, simmer for 10 minutes more or until tender.  Add salt to taste and freshly chopped coriander.

Serve with rice or quinoa.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

:: lentil millet chilli ::

17th November 2011

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Before you taste…

Pause to smell.

 Take in the beauty of dish in front of you.

Take a moment to be grateful.

Breathe!

Take a bite.

Let the flavours greet your tongue.

Feel your mouth water.

Then, chew, slowly.

Close your eyes.

::lentil millet chilli::

Inspired by this post

Serves 4 – 6

ingredients :

1 Tbsp olive oil/ghee

1 red pepper/capsicum (the second time I made this  – for the photo I used a green capsicum as I had no red ones left in the garden, much prefer the sweetness of the red)

1 Tblsp cumin powder

1 Tblsp sweet paprika

1 tsp hot paprika (or chilli powder)

1 Tblsp coriander powder

1 x 240g can crushed tomatoes

1 x 100g tub tomato paste

2-inch strip of kombu (optional – adding seaweeds to recipes soften the beans/lentils and speed cooking time, as well providing a wealth of nutrients)

¾ cup green brown lentils

¼ cup red lentils

¼ cup millet

4 – 6 cups water/stock

salt and pepper, to taste

finely chopped fresh parsley

preparation :

Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee or olive oil in a saucepan.  Add the chopped red capsicum and saute gently for a few minutes.  Add the cumin powder, hot and sweet paprika and coriander powder continue to cook for a minute.

Add the tin of crushed tomatoes and refill the can and rinse out any goodness left in the can into the pot.  Add the tomato paste and the strip of kombu.  Clean and rinse the lentils and millet and add to the pot. Add another 3 – 4 cups of water.   Partially cover with a lid and continue to cook at a slow simmer for 1 and ½ hours.  Add extra liquid if it is low.

After the long simmer add the salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with finely chopped fresh parsley.

I serve it with cooked millet or quinoa a dollop of yoghurt and a green salad and guacamole.  A very grounding and earthy dish.

Goodness shared by Stacey

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