steamed or sauteed vegetables

a quick way with courgettes (zucchinis)

29th September 2020

“This is very useful when you need a vegetable in a hurry: you cut them in short pieces and toss them in a pan of hot olive oil, then leave them to tender, when they are golden at the edges, season with salt and pepper and lemon juice.”

Serve them alongside your favourite pasta dish, pongal, dal, rice, over sourdough bread or as croutons like in this tomato soup.

a quick way with courgettes

Inspired from Tender by Nigel Slater

Preparation 10 minutes

Serves 2 – 3, as a side dish

ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 medium courgettes (zucchinis), cut into short diagonal pieces

salt and pepper, to season

zest and juice of a lemon

scattering of hand-torn herbs

preparation

1. Heat the oil over medium heat, add the courgettes, zest of one lemon and season well with salt and pepper.

2. Toss in the pan, for 5 minutes, until golden around the edges.

3. Stir in a handful of finely chopped herbs; fennel, coriander, parsley and thyme. Season again with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Serve immediately.

steamed green beans

19th August 2020

Lately, I been working in the garden in the mornings. I found that the sun is softer and the areas that need work are in the shadier parts at that time. Early this morning, I picked some green beans to go along with Monday’s Pepper Rasam. Later that morning I returned to the garden and started pottering around, feeding the plants with compost, and staking up a few bean bushes – to my surprise, despite thinking I had picked all the beans earlier, I found myself walking away with another handful. The thing with beans, and even cucumbers to a lesser extent, is that you really need time and patience when harvesting them. There is much happiness to be had in rummaging through the leaves in search of their elegant, dangling pods. Just when you think you have picked them all, there’s still more hiding behind their foliage. It’s important to approach the plant from different angles and heights, squatting down to their level, even then you can still miss a few…

I planted a few varieties of beans this season: romano pole bean, small french finger bush beans, and a long climbing snake bean. And for the first time, I planted another climbing variety in a pot on our balcony, so it can climb up the iron gate outside our kitchen door.

I have been staggering the sowing for a continuous supply, late May-early June, then another crop in July, and again in the last week of July. The hot season seems to come later each year, enabling another harvest just before the cooler weather hits by early November.

The better quality and fresher the beans, the better tasting this recipe. Serve with, pepper rasam, simple dal or pongal.

steamed green beans

Steaming beans, rather than boiling help keep their colour and flavour.

Preparation 10 minutes

Serves 3

ingredients

350g green beans

2 Tbsp ghee

freshly ground pepper

Himalayan salt

preparation

1. Wash the beans and trim the ends. Leave them whole or cut in half.

2. Set a steaming basket in a medium saucepan filled with 1 – 2 inches water, once boiling simmer over high heat for 5 – 7 minutes, depending on how tender or crisp you like them.

3. Discard the water in the saucepan.  Add the beans and ghee, season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Serve and enjoy!

other recipes using green beans

toor dal, mung beans, green bean and dill palya

vegetable bath

green bean palya

simple yellow dal with green beans and cabbage

summer garden palya

moong dal sambar with green beans

moong dal with garden greens

carrot and green bean rasam

green moong dal with Indian spices

a buttery herbed pilaf

bisi bele bath

Kristin’s Moroccan stew

gentle Indian spiced vegetable stew

slow cooked zucchinis with basil

4th September 2018

ZUCCHINI

This year I staggered my planting to have a continuous supply of zucchini throughout the summer, but I forgot how quickly they grow from seed to plant and now I have an endless supply.

Just when I think I have them under control, I venture out into the garden and miraculously there is another batch ready to be picked! I have been giving away a lot and trying many new recipes to use them up.

I have been returning to these zucchini fritters and recently sitting in my drafts is this lasagna tart recipe from 101 Cookbooks which I will make for my daughter before she returns to University.

I have also been making a sweet zucchini palya to accompany any dal or sambar.

In the garden…..

slow-cooked zucchinis with basil

Preparation – 1 hour

Serves 4, as a side dish.

Recipe adapted from `Spring´ by Skye Gyngell.

ingredients

6 small/530g firm zucchinis

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp ghee/butter, melted

rock salt & freshly ground black pepper

preparation

1.  Trim the zucchinis and slice them into fine rounds, about 3mm thick. I used a mandoline for this.

2.  Place a medium heavy-based pan over medium heat and pour in the olive oil and melted ghee, add the zucchinis and stir well to coat the slices in the ghee and oil. Add a good pinch of salt.

3.  Turn down the heat to its lowest setting possible and cover the pan with the lid. Cook for 40-50 minutes, stirring every few minutes to ensure the zucchinis do not stick to the bottom or brown. As the zucchinis cook they will soften and their flavour will deepen. Eventually, they will begin to disintegrate, becoming almost like a thick mushy jam.

4.  At this point, remove from heat and add half the basil leaves, plenty of pepper and a good pinch of salt. Stir well, sprinkle over the remaining basil leaves and serve.

These zucchinis are surprisingly good eaten cold as well. Serve as an antipasto with crusty bread, stirred into pasta or as a vegetable side dish.

golden-crusted brussel sprouts

1st November 2016

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

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

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

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golden-crusted brussels sprouts

Serves 4

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

Inspired by 101 Cookbooks.

ingredients 

24 small brussels sprouts

2 Tbsp melted ghee\oil – divided

zest from one lemon

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

fine rock salt and freshly ground pepper

preparation 

1.  Wash and pat dry the brussels sprouts, trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves, then cut in half from the stem to the top.

2.  Toss them gently in a bowl with 1 tablespoon melted ghee, being careful to keep them intact.

3.  Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a large skillet over medium heat.  Do not overheat the skillet, or the outside of the brussels sprouts will cook too quickly.

4.  Place the brussels sprouts in the pan flat side down in a single layer, sprinkle with salt, cover, and cook for approximately 5 minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning. Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to check whether they are tender throughout.  If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.

5.  Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are golden brown and caramelized.  Use a metal spatula to toss them once or twice to get some browning on the rounded side.

6.  Season with more salt, a few grinds of pepper, a sprinkling of lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice.  They are almost like eating candy, lovely bite-sized pieces.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

artichokes with a tahini – sesame dipping sauce

17th April 2016

artichoke

A particular favourite with my daughter.

mandala edge

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mandala edge

This is another recipe which was created for the Holmes Place magazine as an ongoing concept of seasonal ‘superfoods’ throughout the year.

Globe artichokes, with their sharp, sometimes prickly edged ‘petals’ are actually the plant’s flower buds and will open up into showy mauve thistle heads.  When picked young as in this recipe, their heads are small and tight, they can be eaten in their entirety.  The real treasure – lies hidden.  This is found by removing all the petals and ‘furry ‘choke within, revealing the grey-green tender heart.

When buying artichokes, choose those which the petals are still rather closed, not open.  They will be more fresh and tender.  Buying in season and buying fresh you will benefit more times over from their amazing health benefits.  Not only being full of fibre, they also have the highest level of antioxidants out of all vegetables, a good source of Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, folate, and iron.  They are also very good for the liver and were used for centuries as a traditional liver tonic.

artichoke

artichokes with a tahini – sesame dipping sauce

Serves 4

ingredients

8 medium artichokes (Depending on how big your artichokes are, I offer two artichoke globes per person.)

to cook 

1.  In a large pot on medium heat, add enough water to cover the artichokes, add a bay leaf and a slice of lemon. (This adds a nice flavour to the artichokes.) Leave to heat while you prepare the artichokes.

2.  If using large globes, cut the thorn tips off all the leaves using a pair of scissors – not necessary when using smaller globes.  Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem. Trim off the bottom, leaving about an inch of the artichoke stem.  The stem is more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, edible if you remove the tough outer layer using a vegetable peeler. Cut off 1-centimetre off the tip of each artichoke, then rinse the artichokes in cold water.  Open up the petals a little so that the water does get inside more easily.

3.  Add the artichokes to the boiling water.  Cover, and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, (depending on the size of the artichokes) or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off and a knife tip goes easily into the base of the artichoke.

artichoke in pot

to serve 

Artichokes can be eaten cold or hot. Serve them with your favourite sauces, melted ghee, mayonnaise, a simple mix of olive oil, salt and lemon or a sesame dipping sauce – like the one below. I usually choose a few to satisfy each member of my family.

tahini – sesame dipping sauce

2 Tbsp sesame seeds – I used an even amount of white & black

¼ cup tahini

1 Tbsp rice vinegar or umeboshi plum vinegar

1 Tbsp tamari

1 Tbsp honey

cup water

1.  In a high-speed blender, add the sesame seeds and grind until they are roughly ground.

2.  Add the tahini, vinegar, tamari, oil and water, and blend until well mixed.

Depending on the preferred thickness of the tahini, you may need to add more water. I like the consistency quite thick. I tend to double the recipe and use leftovers as a salad dressing or served with brown rice and sautéed vegetables.

artichoke

to eat 

1.  Pull off the outer petals, one at a time, starting at the base and dip in the sauce, then bite off the soft part found at the base of each leaf. Discard and compost the tough leaves in a pile as you go.

2.  When all the leaves have been enjoyed, you will come to the choke, with a spoon scrape out and discard the fuzzy part covering the artichoke heart, the remaining is the heart.  The treasure! Savour, dip and enjoy the journey.

to eat 1

Reference: ‘Tender’-Nigel Slater

Goodness shared from Stacey

cleansing yogi bowl with a golden tahini ginger turmeric sauce

31st December 2015

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This is a wonderful cleansing restorative bowl that is so easy to make.  A perfect dish for busy lives and those who desire to eat well, choosing foods which are beneficial to support you on your journey.  The mix of cooked and raw vegetables provide a feeling of cleansing, balancing, grounding nourishment for the mind and body.  It holds all six tastes in Ayurvedic cooking –  salty, sour, sweet, astringent, pungent and bitter. These six tastes help maintain one’s contentment and keep all our emotions in perfect balance.  The earthy flavours of the turnip and their greens provide a balance to the sweetness of the sweet potato.  The golden tahini ginger turmeric sauce brings all the flavours and textures together.

The Ayurvedic bowl is a very quick, easy and simple concept with a tasty sauce that compliments and brings the added nourishment.  All vegetables can be changed to whatever is in season or what is available in the garden or fridge.  I appreciate the play of colours in this bowl which is divided into one part grain and legume; two cooked vegetables with their greens; two types of raw vegetables; some garnishes; and a delicious sauce.

When using turnips, use the younger, smaller turnips; they can be grated, tossed into salads or steamed and dressed with ghee or a favourite sauce like the one below.  The green leaves of the turnip have a very high calcium content, this is why they are slightly bitter.  They also provide special nutrient support to the body’s detox system, its antioxidant system, and its inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system.  When cooking with turnip greens, chop and wash the leaves and thinner stalks, and then lightly steam as you would spinach, kale or chard to maintain their maximum nutrition and flavour.

early morning sebastopolleaf - early morning frost on fence

These are a few snippets of where we have been these last few weeks – taken early morning outside a sweet little room in Northern California on our friend’s beautiful property.  We are still travelling, celebrating the New Year in the high mountains of Colorado surrounded by a soft blanket of snow, a cosy warm fire, deep loving laughter, dear friends and nourishing meals, inner-spersed with bouts of creative painting.

Wishing you a joyful and deeply peace-filled year ahead.

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cleansing yogi bowl

Serves 2

Inspired by this abundance bowl.

What I love about this bowl is its simplicity.  The rice and moong dal are cooked together and just before they are done, the vegetables are added to steam on top. While they are steaming, you make the sauce, then shred the cabbage.  So quick and easy!  

for the bowl

cup small round brown rice

cup whole moong dal

2 – 3 small turnips, greens attached

2 cups sweet potato, cut in small cubes

1½ cups purple cabbage, finely shredded 

for serving

2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

4 Tbsp melted ghee

a handful of fresh coriander

preparation

1.  Combine the rice and dal in a medium saucepan, rinse a few times and drain, add 2 cups water, bring to boil over a high flame.  Once boiling, reduce the flame and simmer covered until the water has absorbed – about 45 minutes.

2.  Wash the sweet potato, turnip and their greens (if using small turnips there is no need to peel), peel the sweet potato, and chop into 1 cm cubes.  Break off the thicker stems of the turnip greens, keeping the tiny leaves for garnish, and set aside.

3.  20 minutes before the grains have finished cooking, place the sweet potato and turnips on top of the rice and dal, then cover.

4.  When the grain and vegetables have cooked, turn off the heat and place the turnip greens on top.  Keep covered, and leave to sit for 4 minutes for the greens to lightly steam through.

5.  Shred the cabbage very finely, either using a mandolin or a sharp knife.  Wash and dry the coriander leaves- set aside.

6.  Make the sauce below.

assemble the bowls

7. Once everything is ready, simply spoon into the bowls, the rice and dal with the steamed vegetables and greens on top, drizzle generously with ghee, add the shredded cabbage and coriander leaves on the sides of the bowl and pour over the sauce.

Season generously with a few good rounds of pepper and salt, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

golden tahini ginger turmeric sauce

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This has become a favourite in our household and can be used to spruce up salads, roasted vegetables, and cooked whole grains.  For a smoother consistency, place in a blender, and blend for 30 seconds.

ingredients

cup tahini

cup water

½ tsp cumin seeds

2 – 4  Tbsp freshly grated ginger

1 Tbsp freshly grated turmeric or 1 tsp turmeric powder

zest and juice of half a lemon

tsp fine Himalayan salt

preparation

1. In a small pan, dry-toast the cumin seeds, once cool, transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder, then add the grated ginger, turmeric and tahini, gradually add the water, stirring constantly.  The tahini will start to seize up, but keep stirring until smooth and creamy.

2.  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until well combined.  For a more pourable sauce, add water as needed.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more ginger or lemon.  The flavours and golden colour will intensify as the sauce sits.

 

4V7A9868_1980x1297Goodness shared by Stacey

nettles

31st December 2011

Another one of natures plentiful seasonal treasures.

I can’t seem to get enough of them and have been eating nettles daily for weeks now.  If you google nettles on the internet there are so many elaborate recipes, but I  prefer mine simply sautéed in a hot skillet with a little ghee and a sprinkling of salt.  I have enjoyed them as a comforting breakfast, but mostly I love making this healing golden soup with a big spoon of vibrant green sautéed nettles dolloped in the middle, then mixed through.  The idea of a nettle pesto risotto intrigues me.   You can simply substitute any recipe that uses greens, such as spinach or kale. Then replace those greens with nettles.  It’s that easy.

After reading up about nettles, I discovered that they are full of Vitamin C and A, iron, fibre and a bunch of other goodies.  They’ve often been called a ‘superfood’ for this reason. They are unusually high in protein for a green plant. I found out that they are a great blood tonic and cleanser. I also read how they make your hair brighter, thicker and shinier, and your skin clearer and healthier.

Take care when harvesting as they will sting!  Always use gloves to transport the nettles to your pot or pan. As soon as they begin to cook, the sting goes away.  I like to use the younger nettles around 10-inches in height, as I find the flavour more richly deeper and oozes their vibrant, green plant essence.  I cut them just where the first leaves start on their stem.  This can be done when using the younger plant.  If using older plants, pick the tips off the plant.

sautéed nettles

ingredients 

A big, big bunch freshly, field-picked nettles (remember they will disappear down like spinach)

2 tsp ghee/olive oil

sprinkling rock salt

preparation 

1.  In a large skillet, melt half the ghee in the pan, add the nettles, being careful not to come in contact with them.  Use two wooden spoons to toss them about, drizzling the remainder of the ghee.  Ensure the pan is quite hot, and move them about quickly, making sure they wilt right down as in the photo below. This happens surprisingly fast.

2.  Sprinkle with salt and toss to mix.  Because I use the stems as well as the leaves, I use my kitchen scissors to cut them up into smaller bite-sized pieces, otherwise, you will begin to feel like a cow, forever chewing to break them up.

nettle tea

Pour boiling water over fresh nettles.  Steep, strain and enjoy.

OR

Bring water and nettles to a boil.  Simmer for a couple of minutes.  Remove from heat.  Strain, enjoy.

The tea is also good as a compress for wounds, cuts, stings and burns.  It is also good for facial steams and rinses.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

steamed greens with sesame dressing

15th July 2009

I am currently waging an ongoing war with a hairy, creepy sort of creature.  I am trying to defend my broccoli crop from being ravaged by a particular species of caterpillar.  At the moment I have the upper hand with my molasses pressure pump spray, but as soon as I stop the regular bombardment, they’re back with a vengeance.  If you have ever had the opportunity to taste freshly picked broccolini, you would understand why I want to desperately protect my crop.  It is very hard to go back to buying the withered stalks on offer when you can pick your own.

Thankfully I have collected six pickings so far, with more to come if I remain on the attack.   I used my latest pickings in this steamed greens recipe.  Red pak choy, broccolini and tatsoi were picked from the garden and I added bought beans.  Any Asian vegetables would go nicely, particularly choy sum.  This was served with the Coconut Sugar and Five Spice Tofu accompanied by rice.

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steamed greens with sesame dressing

ingredients 

collection of Asian and green vegetables (I used broccolini, tatsoi, red pak choy and green beans)

about ½ tsp toasted black and white sesame seeds (I keep a bottle already pre-toasted in the fridge)

¼ tsp sesame oil

½ tsp mirin

½ tsp rice vinegar

½ tsp tamari/soy sauce

preparation 

1.  Combine sesame oil, mirin, rice vinegar and tamari together.  Set aside.

2.  Steam harder greens (broccolini, beans) until tender, but firm.  Add soft greens (tatsoi, pak choy) for the last 30 seconds or so.

3.  Drain (I reserve the liquid and freeze for vegetable stock) and toss through the dressing.

Serve with a sprinkling of the sesame seed mix.

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Shared goodness from Donna

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