ginger coconut chutney

7th August 2017

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

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Ginger Coconut Chutney

Makes approximately 2 cups.

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

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

ingredients :

1 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut

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

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

1 tsp finely chopped ginger

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

3 sprigs fresh coriander

¼ tsp tamarind paste

1 tsp sugar/jaggery

½ tsp fine rock salt

preparation :

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

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

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chuchu gojju

31st July 2017

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

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

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

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chuchu gojju

Serves 3 – 4.

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

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

ingredients :

1 medium Chuchu – approx 280-300g

1 cup/250mL water

1½ tsp fine rock salt

1½ heaped tsp brown sugar/jaggery

¼ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped

voggarane :

¼ cup/60ml peanut or coconut oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

15 fresh curry leaves

sambar – coconut paste:

¾ cup/60g dried shredded coconut

2 heaped tsp Sambar powder- moderately spiced

1 tsp tamarind paste

2 cups/500mL water – divided

preparation:

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

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

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voggarane:

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

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

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Meanwhile, prepare the sambar-coconut paste.

sambar – coconut paste:

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

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

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

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easy spelt focaccia & a vegetable garden

13th June 2017

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

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

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Quality of Food

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

~ Dr. Shankaranarayana Jois – The Sacred Tradition of Yoga

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easy spelt focaccia

Makes 1 rectangular or 2 small focaccia. 

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

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

ingredients :

1¼ cups warm water

1 tsp active dry yeast

tsp sugar

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

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

1 tsp fine rock salt

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

herbs, spices, or other toppings of choice

preparation :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Generously oil a baking sheet with olive oil.

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

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

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

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

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

Focaccia is always best eaten the day it is made.

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cosamberi – moong dal coconut carrot salad

31st May 2017

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Cosamberi is a delicious light, easily digestible raw salad that nourishes the body. It can be eaten twice a week and in all seasons. Cosamberi is best eaten as a side dish alongside the main meal. It can also be eaten as a small snack in the morning or evening.  It balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

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Less is More 

There are hundreds of varieties of food, but in order to be fit and healthy for Realization, we need to eat only a few of them. Once we establish a basic diet, we may or may not decide to eat other kind of foods. We are best served to work hard only for what is most needed to maintain a balanced mind and body. This is our duty and the essence of aparigraha (the value of having few belongings).

~ Dr. Shankaranarayana Jois – The Sacred Tradition of Yoga

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cosamberi

Serves 4 – as a side dish.

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

Any left-over coconut can be grated, sealed and stored in the freezer. If unable to obtain fresh coconut, replace with ½ cup/35g dried shredded coconut.  For best results, grate the carrot and coconut small and fine, using the finer side of a box grater.

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ingredients :

½ cup/100g split moong dāl  (split yellow dāl)

1 heaped cup/75g grated fresh coconut

1 large carrot – approximately 100g

1 Tblsp + 2 tsp/25ml lemon juice – divided

⅓ cup/15g finely chopped coriander

½ tsp fine rock salt

voggarane :

1 Tblsp + 1 tsp/20ml peanut or coconut oil

½ heaped tsp mustard seeds

1 heaped tsp split urad dāl

1 dried red Byaadagi chilli

20 fresh curry leaves

pinch asafoetida powder

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

preparation :

Rinse moong dāl thoroughly by covering with water and swishing around with your hand, drain, then repeat 3-4 times until the water runs clear.  Cover again with water and set aside to soak for one hour.  After one hour, drain the dāl through a fine-mesh sieve and allow it to dry for 15 minutes.

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Finely grate the fresh coconut using the finer side of a box grater – measuring 1 tightly packed cup.  Wash, peel and grate the carrot – measuring 1 tightly packed cup.  Pour 1 tsp lemon juice over the carrot to prevent discolouring. Rinse, dry and chop the fresh coriander – measuring ⅓ cup.  Place in a medium-sized bowl along with the soaked dāl, sprinkle with salt and do not mix.

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prepare the voggarane :

Depending on the level of spice preferred, cut the chilli into small or large pieces, then set aside.

In a small pan over medium heat, add oil and mustard seeds. When the seeds start to splutter and pop (make sure the mustard seeds have popped well), add the urad dāl and the chopped chilli, then fry until the urad dāl is golden in colour.  Add the curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric powder, and continue to fry for a few seconds, swishing the pan around so the spices fry evenly.

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Pour the voggarane into the bowl, and add the remaining lemon juice, mixing well to allow all colours and flavours to blend evenly.

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raspberry quinoa muffins with an almond crumb

30th April 2017

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This garden breathes beautifully of our time here……

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and deeply grateful for the gifts it has given……

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raspberry quinoa muffins with an almond crumb

Makes 10 muffins.

A recipe I make often based on this Plum Millet Cake, the sweet almond crumb adds a delicious crunchy texture which contrasts nicely with the sourness of the raspberries. These muffins are tender, fragrant and light.  The maple syrup can be replaced with ½ cup brown sugar; you will need to increase almond milk to ¾ cup instead of ¼.  

I made my own muffin liners by tearing up  12 x 12 cm square pieces of baking paper and pressing them down into the tray – if you grease the tin beforehand the liners behave nicely.  If you don’t have a muffin tin, this recipe can also be made as a cake, may need to increase the baking time.

for the quinoa:

¼ cup/50g quinoa, washed

½ cup/125ml water

for the almond crumb:

cup/30g flaked almonds

2 Tblsp/15g brown sugar/coconut sugar

2 Tblsp maple syrup

for the cake:

1½ cup/210g whole-spelt flour

1 Tbsp aluminium-free baking powder

¾ cup/185ml maple syrup

¼ cup/60ml plus 2 tablespoons mild-tasting olive oil/melted coconut oil

¼ cup/60ml almond milk

1 Tblsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

¼ tsp fine rock salt

150g frozen/fresh raspberries

to cook the quinoa:

Drain and rinse quinoa.  Place in a small pot, add ½ cup water and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium – do not cover as this eliminates any impurities.  Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the water has evaporated.  Turn off the heat; cover and let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing up with a fork.  Measure out 1 cup/130g cooked quinoa, set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.  Fill a muffin tray with 10 liners.

prepare the almond crumb:

In a small bowl place the flaked almonds, sugar and maple syrup, stir to combine and set aside.

to prepare the cake:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; set aside.  In a medium jug, whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, almond milk, vanilla, lemon zest, salt and the cooked quinoa. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture then pour in the wet, and using a rubber spatula, stir until well combined.  Fold in the raspberries – be careful not to over-mix.

Scoop the batter into muffin cups, filling them all the way to the top using a spoon or an ice cream scoop.  Spoon a teaspoon of the almond crumb on top of each muffin and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.  Take the muffins out of the tin and place them onto a wire rack to cool. Serve with a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt.

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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 sulphite-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 two pieces of baking paper – the end results are delicious and are 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

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/9 medium dried soft figs

80g/½ packed cup 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 is 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 more of a perfectly 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 to the baking tray, laying them flat, with the spiral of the fig paste facing up.

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Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tray halfway 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 alongside 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 overwhelming – 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 caramelise, 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 is two types of dal which are favourable and used most often – whole mung beans (whole moong beans) and split moong dal (yellow split lentils) which are whole moong beans 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 a 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 off 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 diarrhoea 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.

~’Chasmanthe floribunda, African cornflag.

~ 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 yoghurt and a drizzling of ghee, it is a wonderfully warming, soothing and cleansing meal.  When simmering the whole moong dal/mung beans 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 

1 heaped Tblsp 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 

2 cups of loosely chopped 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 softened 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.) Halfway 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 yoghurt.

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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 Programme, 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 the 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 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 cardamom 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 fill your kitchen and puts you into a state of blissful contentment.  And that is a good place to start when cooking!

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Food Preparation

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 demeanour, 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 flavours 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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