Northern California

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 meal.

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

kristin in windowkristin kitchen windowinspiration kristin house

– Sebastopol, California.

Freshly grind the spices where possible, it makes all the difference to the flavours of the finished dish. The cinnamon and cumin have an exotic aroma, flooding your senses with a ‘little of the divine’.   It is delicious.  Use any combination of vegetables – carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, eggplant, zucchini, beans – all combined to make at least 5 cups of finely chopped or sliced vegetables…

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Kristin’s cinnamon-spiced Moroccan stew with couscous

Serves 4 – 6

for the couscous

2 cups couscous

3½ cups boiling water

½ tsp salt

4 Tbsp ghee/butter

½ cup roughly chopped almonds

for the stew

cup olive oil

2 heaped tsp cumin seeds

2 heaped tsp turmeric powder

1 heaped tsp cinnamon – preferably Indian – a spicy, strong cinnamon

1 heaped tsp good quality paprika

a combination of approximately 5 cups of finely chopped vegetables – 

2 sticks celery

1 large red bell pepper

2 large tomatoes

2 small carrots

1 small sweet potato/wedge of pumpkin

1 cup green beans

2 cups water

1 cup pre-cooked chickpeas

2 heaped Tbsp jaggery

1  heaped tsp fine rock salt

a handful of chopped parsley or coriander

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prepare the couscous

1.  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

2. In a small pan, dry-roast the cumin seeds until slightly golden, allow to cool and grind in a mortar and pestle. Add the turmeric, cinnamon and paprika – set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, and saute the celery and red pepper until soft, add the tomatoes, and spices, stir to combine.

4.  Add the starchier vegetables first as they take the longest to cook, add the water and pre-cooked chickpeas, simmer for 10 minutes, then add the green beans, cover and simmer on low until the vegetables are slightly softened – 10 minutes.

5.  Season with salt and jaggery, stir in the chopped parsley/coriander.

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

To serve, scoop a generous helping of couscous, a bountiful spoon 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

Gillian’s 6-minute carob cake (vegan)

5th January 2016

full cake 1

While staying with Gillian, I had the honour and privilege of spending time and cooking together with her in her exquisite kitchen.  I left fulfilled and inspired along with a favourite book tucked into my suitcase and together with a bundle of recipes.  This is one of them, which we cooked together for Christmas Eve dinner. It is a celebratory cake which Gillian bakes for all birthdays, celebrations and special occasions. Sometimes using cocoa powder instead of the carob powder, and in summer decorated with fresh strawberry slices, and in winter, pomegranate seeds.

Gillian possesses a divine talent for cooking, a grace which flows through her to create a perfect balance of tastes, leaving a feeling of deep satisfaction and contentment.  Each dish is created with such pure intention and ease – a delight for the senses.

Gillians home sunriseperfect spot for teasunrise on slate stones

A few more photos of our trip – still on Paul & Gillian’s idyllic property.  I spent almost a week there, and it felt like a retreat. Waking early, painting in silence, morning tea by candlelight. Then just as the light started to change, I would bundle myself up, camera in hand, and venture out of my warm, little room walking the surrounding forest, breathing in the silence, and soaking up nature’s soft beauty in the morning golden light.

side view chocolate cake

Gillian’s 6-minute carob cake

Recipe adapted from ‘Enlightened Eating’ by Caroline Marie Dupont.

A fast and delicious treat that can be mixed right into the baking pan.  The recipe says that it is not necessary to grease the pan, but I have not been brave enough to try that.  Carob is a naturally sweet, nutritious little gem.  The taste of carob does vary – I prefer using a lighter variety.

For the best result, I make this cake the day before and keep in the fridge.

ingredients 

1½ cups whole-spelt flour

cup unsweetened carob powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 cup coconut sugar (or unrefined cane sugar)

½ cup good quality olive/sunflower oil

1 cup cold water

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp vinegar – I use apple cider vinegar

to make the cake

1.  Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Grease an 8-inch square pan or an 8-inch round baking pan.

2.  Mix together the flour, carob, baking soda, salt, and coconut sugar in the greased baking pan and stir to combine – set aside.

3.  In a large measuring jug, measure and mix together the sunflower oil, water and vanilla extract.

4.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the baking pan and mix batter with a fork or small whisk.

choco cake in the making

5.  When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly.  There will be pale swirls in the batter where the baking soda and the vinegar are reacting.  Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

swirling batter

6.  Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  When cooked, remove from oven, set aside to cool completely and then, refrigerate for 30 minutes.

carob glaze

elias frosting

I love this glaze, so simple with minimum ingredients.  What is created is a thick (because of the coconut oil), pourable glaze with no nasty sugars or powders.  The coconut oil is liquid when heated, and solidifies when in contact with the cold – because of this it plays an important role in thickening this glaze.

ingredients 

2 Tbsp cold-pressed coconut oil – melted

cup maple syrup

cup carob powder

preparation 

1. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat.

2. Add the maple syrup and carob powder, mix with a small whisk or fork until smooth – set aside to cool.

3.  Remove the cake from the fridge, drizzle over the glaze.  When ready to serve, decorate with strawberry slices or pomegranate seeds and sprinkle with dried shredded coconut.

elias with cakeGoodness shared by Stacey

Baked by Gillian

Decorated by Elias

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

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