pizza dough

26th May 2020

This dough can be made on the day or can be refrigerated up to 3 days (the latter allows the dough to develop, creating more flavour and texture). I alternate between the two, depending on convenience.

NOTES 

  • Choose quality flour: flour is the main ingredient in pizza dough, so use high quality and high protein flour, all-purpose works fine but for better texture (in terms of hole structure), use bread flour or tipo “00”.
  • Lean towards a wetter dough: when mixing the dough, if in doubt, keep the dough on the wetter/stickier side, you will be adding more flour during the roll-out phase.
  • Cold ferment: as mentioned above, a cold ferment improves flavour and structure, after making the dough (step 2), keep in the fridge for 1 (minimum) to 3 days (ideal), then on the day of pizza making, take the dough out 3 – 4 hours prior to cooking and repeat as above (step 4).
  • Keep toppings simple: use quality ingredients and keep the toppings to 2-3 vegetables.
  • Crispy crust: invest in a baking stone, it holds a lot of heat, releasing it into the pizza as it bakes, giving it a crispier crust.
  • Hot oven: a very hot oven plays an important part in the finished result. Preheat the oven on the highest setting – generally 290C/550F, for at least 45 minutes – 1 hour.

pizza dough

Recipe adapted from Shir, with guidance here and here.

Makes 3 medium pizzas (enough for 3 – 4 people).

Active time – 90 minutes

Total time – 4½ hours

ingredients

1 tsp yeast

1 cup/220g water

2 Tbsp olive oil

2½ cups/340g bread flour/Tipo “00” or unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

cornmeal or semolina, for cooking

preparation

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast and water, allow it to sit for a few minutes for the yeast to activate.  Add the olive oil.

2.  Add the flour and salt, and with the dough hook attached turn the mixer on low, mix for 4 minutes. The dough should look sticky but still resemble a loose ball. If not, add a tablespoon of flour or water accordingly, it is safer to lean towards a wetter dough, you can always add more flour later on. When you touch it, the dough should be sticky on your hands. I leave it to sit in the bowl, however, if kneading by hand, transfer to an oiled bowl.

IF YOU WANT TO PREPARE THE DOUGH IN ADVANCE – at this step you can refrigerate the dough up to 3 days (see variation above). 

3. Cover and allow the dough to rise for 2 – 3 hours.

4. Cover a working surface with a generous amount of flour, gently shape into a rough rectangular shape and divide into 3 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time, gather the four corners to the centre. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball.  Dust with flour; set aside on work surface. Repeat with remaining portions.

5. Cover and let rise for 30 mins – 1 hour (preferable). Preheat your oven to the highest setting, 290C/550F with your pizza stone or baking tray in it. Prepare your toppings (see below).

6.  When ready to bake: cover a baking sheet with semolina/cornmeal and press down the dough, working from the centre outwards with your fingers to form a crown. Then, pick up the dough and stretch the dough between your knuckles, slowly enlarging the circle keeping a raised edge. This is a helpful video to watch, from 1 min onwards.  Avoid using a rolling pin because the pressure pops the bubbles. Leave the outer ½-inch untouched to keep the bubbles intact. Repeat with the remaining dough.

7.  Assemble your toppings: drizzle a little olive oil on top and assemble your toppings. I try to keep the topping to 2 – 3 vegetables. When finished, brush the outer edge with olive oil.

8.  Cook your pizza: In the preheated HOT oven, scoot the pizza (still with the baking sheet) onto the pizza stone or preheated baking tray. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. After 2 minutes of baking, lift the dough and slide the baking paper off – but if you forget – no problem, the baking paper gets brittle where there is no pizza. 

favourite pizza toppings

  • finely chopped rosemary, tomato base (I use smaller quantities of this sauce), grated mozzarella, sauteed red and green peppers, sauteed eggplant rounds. When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with fresh oregano leaves and red pepper flakes.
  • extra olive oil, ¼ cup ricotta cheese, torn strips of mozzarella, ¼ cup basil pesto, grilled zucchini, finely chopped green olives, fresh basil leaves. When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with ¼ cup grated parmesan and fresh basil leaves.

vegan 

  • olive oil, tomato base, pesto, sauteed red & green peppers, sauteed eggplant rounds, chopped green olives. When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with pine nut parmesan and microgreens.

to serve

  • a big green salad of arugula leaves, toasted pinenuts, shaved parmesan with a sweet balsamic and olive oil dressing.

Because of the hot oven, the cooking time is quick, so as one pizza comes out, the next one goes in and by the time you have finished the first pizza, the next one is ready!

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banana bread with sunflower seeds (vegan & gluten-free)

14th May 2020

I am not gluten-free, however, I am running very low on regular flour, due to the situation at the moment, so this was a good opportunity to try recipes using other alternatives. This cake surprised me. It has a perfect balance between sweetness, banana flavour and consistency which melts in your mouth.

~clivia-miniata~

banana bread with sunflower seeds

Slightly altered recipe from `Cannelle et Vanille´ by Aran Goyoaga.

Makes 1 x 28cm loaf

Preparation – 15 minutes

Baking time – 50 – 55 minutes

ingredients

3 Tbsp ground flaxseeds

½ cup/110g water

½ cup/115g extra-virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil

4 ripe medium bananas, peeled, divided

¾ cup/150g granulated sugar

1 Tbsp finely grated ginger

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup/100g almond flour

¾ cup/105g superfine brown rice flour

½ tsp fine rock salt

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

¼ cup/25g sunflower seeds, plus more for topping

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 28 x 7-cm loaf pan and set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the flaxseed and water, whisk to combine and set aside for 10 – 15 minutes for the flax to thicken.

3.  To the flax mixture, add 3 bananas and mash with a fork until there are some chunks left but it is fairly pureed. Add the sugar, oil, ginger, and vanilla – mix until smooth.

4.  Whisk together the almond flour, rice flour, salt, baking soda and powder. Pour into the banana mixture and stir until the batter comes together.  Fold in the sunflower seeds.

5.  Pour into the loaf pan. Cut the remaining banana in half lengthwise, place gently on top of the batter and brush the banana pieces lightly with coconut oil.  Sprinkle a few sunflower seeds on top of the cake and bake for 55 – 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Set the pan on a cooling rack to cool.

to note

  • turn out of the tray when the cake is completely cool.
  • bake in a long loaf pan for best results when baking vegan cakes.

variation

  • the rice flour can be replaced with regular all-purpose flour.
  • replace the sunflower seeds with walnuts

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saffron celery rice

25th April 2020

This is a modified rice dish that Donna posted years ago and because I make it often I thought I would revisit and repost it. It is soothing on the digestive system and soft on the eyes with its pale yellow saffron hue. Serve it with roasted vegetables and an avocado-yoghurt sauce. It also goes nicely with a simple tovve and vegetable palya.

Saffron is considered sattvic, balancing all three doshas. One flower bears three stigmas, which are plucked and dried. It contains a carotenoid called crocin, which imparts a golden-yellow hue to dishes.

“Generosity is a noble quality. It opens the mind and heart to appreciate the universe and all that it encompasses.” ~ The Sacred Tradition of Yoga by Dr Shankaranaranaya Jois.

saffron celery rice

preparation 25 minutes

serves 3 – 4

ingredients 

1 cup white basmati rice

2 cups hot water/vegetable stock

two pinches saffron threads (15 threads)

2 Tbsp ghee

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

½ tsp fine rock salt

handful coriander, finely chopped

zest and juice of ½ lemon

to serve

roasted vegetables

spicy avocado-yoghurt puree

preparation 

1.  Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, pour into a sieve to drain.

2.  Place the saffron threads in the hot water to steep for 5 minutes.

3.  In a heavy-based pan, heat ghee, then fry the celery, bay leaf and salt; when soft, add rice and stir to coat grains in ghee.

4.  Pour in ¼ cup saffron water and stir. When almost evaporated, add remaining saffron water and bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer, uncovered for 8 – 10 minutes or until the water has evaporated.

5.  Turn off heat, and cover with a tea towel between the lid – set aside undisturbed for further 10 – 15 minutes.

6.  Add coriander, lemon zest, juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Amy Chaplin’s easy pine nut sauce

11th April 2020

Don’t be deceived by the unassuming appearance of this sauce, it is delicious! I have replaced our weekly pesto sauce with this one.  It is quick, easy and any leftovers make a delicious salad dressing. Serve with homemade pasta, skillet roasted tomatoes and steamed greens.

~ sunlight and water drops~

easy pine nut sauce

Recipe – Whole Food Cooking Every Day by Amy Chaplin.

Makes 1 cup. 

Serves 3 – 4

ingredients

1 cup/120g raw pine nuts

6 Tbsp/65g olive oil

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp fine rock salt

to serve

½-portion homemade pasta

skillet charred tomato (see below)

steamed or sauteed greens

grated parmesan or pine nut parmesan

preparation

1.  Warm a skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Toss in the pine nuts, reduce heat to low, and toast, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and golden.

2.  Transfer to a mortar and pestle or mini food processor and add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.

3.  Use a pestle to crush the nuts and grind until a paste forms. Or, if you’re using a mini food processor, blend until smooth, scrape down the sides, and blend again.  Use immediately, or store the sauce in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week. Optional to garnish with lemon zest.

Note

  • Any leftovers can be used as a salad dressing the next day. When using as a salad dressing add a little honey.

to serve

skillet charred cherry tomatoes

serves 2

preparation – 7 minutes

ingredients

2 Tbsp olive or peanut oil

350g small cherry tomatoes

1 red bell pepper/135g, roughly chopped (optional)

One 5-cm sprig rosemary – leaves removed

½ tsp red chilli pepper flakes

preparation

1.   Place a medium skillet or wok over high heat, add oil, whole cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, and rosemary leaves, toss to coat in the oil. It is important to use a larger skillet to allow space for the tomatoes to cook without losing their shape. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

2.  Sautee for 5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until charred in parts – don’t cook for too long, otherwise, the tomatoes will turn mushy.

3.  Remove from heat, stir in salt and chilli flakes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serve with your favourite pasta!

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apple blackberry crumble tart (vegan & gluten-free)

22nd March 2020

The is a simple and foolproof tart. The dough is mixed in one bowl and pressed into a tart pan, so there is no kneading or rolling. The fruit can be changed to what you have on hand. Peaches, plums, pears or frozen berries are great, and the spices can be changed to suit the fruit. Delicious served warm with vanilla ice-cream!

~ first day of spring ~

apple blackberry crumble tart

recipe by Aran Goyoaga.

preparation – 20 mins

baking – 50 mins

serves – 10

base ingredients

1 cup/140g superfine brown rice flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

½ cup/100g light brown sugar

1 tsp fine rock salt

10 Tbsp/140g virgin coconut oil, not melted

2 Tbsp ice water

⅓ cup/25g pine nuts

filling ingredients

1½ cups/180g blackberries, fresh or frozen

3 small or 2 large apples/300g – halved, cored and thinly sliced (2-mm)

1 small lemon, juiced and zested

2 Tbsp light brown sugar

1 – 2 Tbsp tapioca or corn starch

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

½ tsp ground cinnamon

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/375F. Grease a 9-inch tart mold.

prepare the base

2.  In a bowl, toss together the rice flour, almond flour, sugar and salt. Add the coconut oil and work it into the flour using your fingertips until you have a dough that resembles coarse sand. The dough should clump up but feel slightly dry. Add 2 Tbsp ice water and mix it with your hands until it comes together into a loose dough.

3.  Take approximately two-thirds of the dough and press into a 9-inch tart mold, bring it up around the edge.

4.  Mix the pine nuts into the remaining dough to make the crumble topping. Refrigerate both the tart crust and the crumble topping while preparing the filling.

prepare the filling

5.  In a large bowl, toss together the blackberries, sliced apples, lemon juice and zest, sugar, tapioca starch, vanilla and cinnamon. If the filling is very wet, add 1 more tablespoon of tapioca starch.

6.  Add the fruit filling to the tart mold and sprinkle with the crumble topping.

7.  Bake until the crust is golden and filling is bubbly, 45 – 50 minutes. Allow the tart to cool slightly before slicing.

variation

  • replace apples and berries with seasonal fruits.
  • Replace the rice flour with all-purpose flour.

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zesty turmeric tahini dressing

2nd March 2020

I like to serve this sauce over sauteed broccolini or roasted vegetables. Any leftovers gets drizzled over leafy green salads or scooped up with home-made bread.

~Kasbah Bab Ourika, Atlas Mountains, Morroco~

zesty turmeric tahini dressing

Recipe from Amy Chaplin’s – Whole Food Cooking Every Day.

makes 1½ cups

preparation time – 15 minutes

ingredients

½ cup/115g tahini

½ cup/100g water

2 Tbsp/22g olive oil

2 Tbsp/25g freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ tsp fine rock salt, plus more to taste

one 4-inch(10cm)/30g piece fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated (2½ Tbsp)

¼ cup/60g freshly squeezed orange juice

2 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped

1 tsp tamari (optional)

¼ tsp cayenne pepper, plus more to taste

preparation

1.  Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

2.  Taste and adjust the salt and cayenne to taste.

The colour intensifies as it sits!

Use immediately, or store the sauce in the fridge for up to 2 – 3  days. Bring to room temperature before using and add water or orange juice to thin if needed.

Note

  • If using a high-speed blender, there is no need to grated the turmeric just roughly chop. Pit the dates and add whole to the blender.
  • If you have particular runny tahini, reduce the water by half and add more as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

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chuchu palya

8th January 2020

I  planted a chuchu vine 2 years ago, the first year it took off with great enthusiasm climbing up and over anything in its path. By the middle of Autumn, it was covered in small white flowers which sadly fell to the ground. This year, those white flowers turned into little buds, which grew into tiny, then small, then medium, then big chuchu. Lots of them! There are so many hidden amongst the leafage that when I think that I have picked them all, a few days later I come away with another basket full!

~locally known as Chuchu, Seemebadanekaayi in South India, Chayote in Mexico and Choko in Australia~

chuchu palya

Preparation –  25 minutes

Serves 2 – 3

Use heaped spoon measurements unless otherwise stated.

ingredients

2 Tbsp peanut oil

1 medium/360g chuchu

½ cup water

⅓ cup dried shredded coconut

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp jaggery

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped

voggarane

½ tsp black mustard seeds

1 Tbsp channa dal

tsp asafoetida powder

tsp turmeric powder

15 curry leaves

to serve

carrot palya

yoghurt

spicy amla pickle

round brown rice

preparation

1.  Peel the chuchu and finely chop into small uniform cubes. Set aside.

2.  In a skillet, over medium-high heat, pour in the oil, add the mustard seeds and split channa dal – fry until the mustard seeds pop and channa dal starts to turn golden-brown.

3.  Add the asafoetida, curry leaves and turmeric – fry for a few seconds.

4. Add the water and stir in chuchu, simmer uncovered for 10 minutes then cover and simmer, stirring often  – approximately 5 minutes or until the chuchu is cooked and water has eliminated.

5.  Turn off the heat, add the dried coconut, salt, jaggery and coriander. Stir to combine.

variation

  • Towards the end of cooking stir in ½ cup full-fat yoghurt.

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pear ginger macadamia muffins (vegan & gluten free)

11th December 2019

For this recipe, I used Amy Chaplins gluten-free muffin base recipe from her new book ‘Whole Food Cooking Every Day’ and combined it with two of my favourite recipes – Peach Ginger Muffins and Pear Ginger Cornmeal Cake.

She goes on to say, “I discovered textural magic (and a gorgeous golden crumb) with a combination of millet flour, oat flour and almond flour. These flours, along with plenty of ground flax seeds, becomes a winning base from which an endless number of variations have stemmed.”

~marigold~

There are four parts to this recipe, the pear topping, the wet ingredients, dry ingredients, and macadamia crumb – once these four parts are assembled and ready, the muffins come together easily. I used the variation option (see below) in this photo and cut the pear into cubes, adding a ¼ cup into the batter and remaining on top.

pear ginger macadamia muffins

To make the different flours, place separately and in small quantities, whole millet, almond and oats in your high-speed blender and grind to a flour. Make in bigger amounts and store in the freezer.

Preparation – 20 minutes.

Baking – 35 minutes.

Makes 10 -12 muffins, depending on the size of your muffin cups.

pear topping

2 small/165g pears (the smaller fit nicely on top)

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp maple syrup/coconut sugar

1 heaped tsp grated ginger

macadamia crumb

½ cup/70g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp coconut sugar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

cake

¼ cup/22g ground flax seeds

1 cup/225g almond milk

⅓ cup/70g melted coconut oil

¼ cup/75g pure maple syrup or coconut sugar

¼ cup/75g orange juice, freshly squeezed

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

½ tsp fine rock salt

1 small/80g pear, grated (skin and all)

2 heaped Tbsp/25g crystallized ginger, finely chopped 

2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger

~

1 cup/130g millet flour

½ cup/45g oat flour (gluten-free)

½ cup/45g almond flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a standard muffin pan with 10- 12 paper liners and set aside. 

2. In a medium bowl, combine the ground flax seeds and almond milk from the cake ingredients, whisk to combine and set aside while you prepare the pear topping.

pear topping

3.  Halve the pears, remove the seeds, cut into quarters and then each quarter into three slices about ¼-inch thick. Set aside.

4.  In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil, sugar and ginger, melt the mixture, stirring gently to combine. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble, about 2 minutes, then add the pears, toss the pears to coat them with syrup, cover and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

macadamia crumb

5. In a small bowl, place the macadamias nuts, sugar and maple syrup, stir to combine – set aside.

cake

6.  To the flax mixture, add the coconut oil, maple syrup, orange juice, vanilla, salt, grated pear, ginger and crystallized ginger.

7.  In another bowl, combine the millet flour, oat flour, almond flour and baking powder, breaking up any clumps of almond flour, using a spatula stir the wet ingredients into the dry until combined, then spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling them three-quarters full.

8.  Toss the pears to coat them with the pear juices and lay 2 – 3 slices over each of the muffins. Spoon any extra juices over the muffins.

9.  With your fingers, crumble the macadamia crumb on top of each muffin.

10.  Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow the muffins to sit for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before serving, this allows the structure to set resulting in a tender crumb.

Note:

  • If melted coconut oil is added to cold ingredients, it will clump and harden. If wet ingredients are cold, not at room temperature, don’t add the coconut oil until right before combining the wet and dry ingredients.

Variation:

  • For extra sweetness, replace the orange juice with maple syrup or coconut sugar.
  • Chop the pears into cubes instead of slivers, add ¼ cup/90g into the batter and the remaining on top.

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carob walnut chip cookies (gluten-free, vegan)

22nd November 2019

These cookies have crunchy edges with a soft centre, a rich buttery flavour with studs of walnuts, oats and carob chips.  It’s surprising how delicious they are!

Chocolate contains theobromine – a stimulant. Like all stimulants, it is unsupportive for yogic practices that require focus of the mind. Carob is an excellent replacement for chocolate and has hardly a trace amount of theobromine. I have made them with both chocolate and carob, and prefer the softness of the carob.

carob walnut chip cookies

Preparation – 25 minutes

Baking – 12 – 15 minutes

Makes 12 medium or 8 large cookies.

Recipe slightly altered from Healthier Together by Liz Moody.

ingredients

1 flax egg (2 Tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 Tbsp water)

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup/120g homemade almond butter

¼ cup/25g almond flour

¼ tsp fine-grain rock salt

½ cup/65g coconut sugar

½ tsp baking soda

¼ cup/25g chopped walnuts

¼ cup/25g rolled oats (gluten-free)

¼ cup/35g unsweetened carob chips or chopped carob bar

preparation

1.   Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2.   Mix together the ground flaxseed and water in a medium bowl. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to thicken.

3.  Add to the flaxseed, vanilla and almond butter – mix together with a spoon until well combined.

4.  In another bowl, mix together the almond flour, salt, coconut sugar, baking soda, walnuts, oats and carob chips.

5.  Add to the flax-almond mixture, mix, working the dough a bit to get everything distributed evenly (the dough may seem a bit dry and thick – keep mixing.)

6.  Scoop heaped teaspoon full into your hand and squeeze into balls. Place on the baking sheet, leaving about 1-inch between them, and slightly press down with your fingers.

7.  Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through until the edges turn golden. Remove from oven and let them cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. These cookies are best eaten warm from the oven, or later that same day. 

Note:  For freshly baked cookies anytime, refrigerate some of the dough for later.

Variation: Replace the carob with small currants or chopped raisins which have been soaked in water for 10 minutes.

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tomato soup by Yasmin

8th November 2019

After being away from the garden for one month, I wasn’t sure what I would find on my return. Everything green was munched down by caterpillars, however, to my surprise, there were lots of cherry tomatoes hanging off dried skeleton branches and small but healthy bell peppers. I collected them all and made this comforting, nostalgic soup. Their flavour was enhanced by a month of neglect.

My daughter has been making her own version of this soup, it’s so simple and creamy, served with a big spoon of cooked barley.  The added coconut cream takes the edge off the acidity and softens the soup.

tomato soup by Yasmin

preparation – 35 mins

serves 2

ingredients

2 Tbsp coconut oil

½ large fennel/2 sticks celery(70g), roughly chopped

½ medium/80g bell pepper, roughly chopped

few sprigs thyme

1 fresh bay leaf

400g/2½ cups cherry tomatoes

1 Tbsp tomato paste

¾ cup water

1 tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp jaggery

¼ – ½ cup coconut cream

to serve

barley

ghee/olive oil

preparation

1.   In a heavy-based pot over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil, fennel, bell pepper, thyme and bay leaf – fry for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.   Add in the whole cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, stir to combine, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

3.   Add in the water, salt, jaggery and coconut cream, stir to combine.

4.  Remove the sprigs of thyme and bay leaf, then puree until smooth. Taste, and adjust the seasonings.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls with a spoon of cooked barley.  Garnish each with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves, a few rounds of pepper, and drizzle with coconut cream.

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