spring

spring miso with lemon

31st May 2016

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I am out in the garden every day now, finding any excuse to be there.  The fresh air, to experience the spring in its full glory.  It can still be cold and unpredictable but we are now blessed with warm weather days that lift us up and put a spring in our step.

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precious evening twilight & a walk in the garden

I had written this at the start of spring last year but it got put to the side by other inspiring dishes. A lovely light cleansing soup. You can vary this recipe using whatever vegetables you like. In summer, I add a whole cob of corn, cut into fours, with thinly shaved garden zucchinis. For a more substantial meal, add a small amount of cooked noodles when adding the blanched vegetables. It is important not to boil the miso, the rich enzymes and nutrients due to the fermentation, will be lost.

spring miso with lemon

I have been slowly working my way through Amy Chaplin’s – At Home in the Wholefood Kitchen. This recipe is another from her book – ever so slightly adapted.

If you want to make this soup ahead of time, leave out the miso and keep the blanched vegetables and dashi separate.  Reheat together; then add miso, lemon zest and juice.

Serves 4

dashi

6 cups water

4-inch piece kombu

2 large slices fresh ginger

soup

8 asparagus spears, trimmed and cut diagonally

1 cup tiny broccoli florets/sugar snap peas, strings removed and chopped in half lengthwise

1 carrot, thinly sliced into rounds

2 small radishes, thinly sliced

6 – 8 Tbsp sweet white miso

zest of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

handful of baby kale/spinach leaves

make the dashi

1.  In a medium pot place the kombu, ginger, and filtered water bring up to boil over high heat.  Cover pot, reduce heat to a low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove kombu and ginger using a slotted spoon.

make the soup

2.  Bring the dashi up to a simmer over high heat, add the asparagus, broccoli/sugar snap peas, carrots, and cook for 30 seconds.

3.  Add the radish rounds and cook for another 30 seconds, reduce heat to low, then remove all the vegetables using a slotted spoon.  Set aside to cool.

4.  In a small bowl mix the miso to a paste using a little of the soup and pour through a small strainer into the soup.  Taste, add more miso or a small spoon of salt if necessary.

5.  Add the blanched vegetables and small kale/spinach leaves, warm over a gentle heat for a minute or until the leaves are wilted.

6.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice. (Adding a pungent flavour such as ginger or lemon to miso soup just before serving will activate the enzyme, making them more beneficial).

Serve immediately.

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toor dal rasam with carrot and sweet peas

15th May 2016

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If I move slowly and in silence and breathe long and deep, I feel my heartbeat slow and my mind clear…

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Crocosmia

– The caress & colours of Spring

– Two friends

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toor dal rasam with carrot & sweet peas

Serves 3 – 4

Rasam keeps the digestive system in good condition.  Apart from strengthening the body, it can be used when omitting the vegetables and diluting with water, as a drink to help with digestive disorders.  People, who are suffering from Vata disturbances, should not consume it very often.   It can also be prepared with split moong dal which will cause fewer disturbances for the Vata constitution.  It may be consumed at any meal-time throughout the day, in all seasons.  Rasam powder and tamarind paste are available at your local Indian Store.  If toor dal (yellow split lentils) are not available replace with split moong dal.

Use heaped measurements except where otherwise stated.

ingredients 

½ cup toor dal or split moong dal

4 cups/1-litre water

1 medium carrot, chopped

⅓ cup fresh green peas

1 tsp rasam powder (mildly spiced)

1 tsp tamarind paste 

2 heaped Tbsp jaggery

1 heaped tsp rock salt

¼ cup dried shredded unsweetened coconut

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped 

voggarane 

2 tsp ghee

½ tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida powder (hingu)

⅛ tsp fenugreek powder (optional)

10 fresh curry leaves

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

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preparation

1.   In a saucepan, wash toor dal until the water runs off clear, drain, pour in the water, bring to boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer, simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.  

2.  Add the carrot and sweet peas and simmer until the dal has softened – 20 minutes.

3.  Add the rasam powder, tamarind, salt, jaggery, and coconut, stir to combine well – simmer for 5 minutes.

prepare the voggarane 

4.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds start to splutter and pop, add asafoetida, fenugreek, curry leaves and turmeric powder, swishing the pan around to allow for the spices to fry evenly.

5.  Pour the voggarane into the dal, and stir in the fresh coriander leaves. 

Allow to sit for 10 minutes for the flavours to settle and dal to thicken slightly.  Serve with rice and drizzle with ghee.

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apricot coconut bars (vegan)

12th May 2015

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~

” Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you. “

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

~

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apricot coconut bars

Recipe adapted slightly from here.

“This base is rich and buttery with a flavourful apricot filling and a delicate almond, coconut topping. Don’t be intimidated by the three layers it is very easy to make” – Amy Chaplin.

Makes 16 bars

crust

1 cup dried, unsweetened, shredded coconut

½ cup regular oats

¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 cup whole wheat spelt flour ( or ¾ barley & ¼ whole-spelt flour)

¼ cup melted coconut oil

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

filling

cup thinly sliced dried unsulfured apricots

½ cup unsweetened apricot jam

topping

¾ cup dried, unsweetened, shredded coconut

cup almonds (with skin)

¼ tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp melted coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

zest of one lemon

¾ cup dried, unsweetened, coconut flakes

preparation 

1.  Preheat oven to 350F/180C.  Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with parchment paper; set aside.

2.  For the filling – place the thinly sliced apricots in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Set aside to softened for 5 minutes while you make the crust.

3.  To make the crust – place the coconut, oats, baking powder, and salt in a food processor; blend until fine, about 45 seconds, then add the flour; blending for a few seconds until combined.

4.  In a medium bowl, place the oil, maple syrup, and vanilla, whisk until combined, then add the coconut and oat mixture, and mix with a fork until combined.  The dough should be moist but not sticky.

5.  With your hands press the dough thinly and evenly over the bottom of prepared pan.  Prick crust with a fork, and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the edges are just beginning to brown.  Remove from oven and set aside; keep the oven on.

6.  While waiting for the crust to bake, drain the apricot slices and set aside to drain well.

7.  To make the topping – place the maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest in the medium bowl. (Use the same bowl used for making the crust – no need to clean).  Whisk to combine and set aside.

8.  In the food processor, place the shredded coconut, almonds, and baking powder, and blend until ground and moist, about 45 seconds; transfer to the bowl with the wet ingredients – stir to combine, then mix in the flaked coconut.

9.  When the crust is ready (It doesn’t need to cool.) Spread the apricot preserve over the crust and sprinkle over the apricots.

10.  Crumble the topping over the apricot crust, leaving some filling showing.

11.  Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until golden on top.  Remove from oven, and set aside to cool completely before cutting into bars.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

baklava

13th April 2013

The end of our first winter in Portugal.  Just beautiful.  I wish I could express the loveliness that surrounded us this morning.  The light was awe-inspiring, golden and clear, clean and divine.

There are two magnolia trees right outside the entrance door, so I see them every time I come and go.  In Winter, they are both completely uninhibitedly bare.  Standing together side by side, in all of their euphoric natural beauty.  They are lovely, with their knobbly tendrils and smooth, graceful limbs.  There are small buds. Lots and lots of them getting bigger and bigger, almost bursting with their divine essence. The other morning there was a splash of color, just a little at first, and now, soft blushes of the loveliest pink.

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Traditionally, baklava is made with honey, however in Ayurveda honey should never be cooked, boiled or baked.  In high temperatures, honey becomes nonhomogenized and gluelike. As a result, it increases the toxicity of the body. I replace the honey with maple syrup with wonderful results!

 

baklava

This is a recipe from Kristin, which she made on more than one occasion when we had our house overflowing with special guests for our teacher’s workshop in Israel.  We make it for very special occasions in her honour.

ingredients 

1 packet phyllo dough (18 sheets)

450 grams chopped small nuts – walnuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds (I use 350g walnuts and 100g pistachios)

1 cup butter or ghee, melted 

3 tsp cinnamon powder

generous pinch rock salt

for the syrup 

cup water

cup raw brown sugar

6 cardamom pods

cup maple  syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract

preparation 

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.

2.  Make the syrup  place the water, sugar and cardamom pods in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, remove from heat, add maple syrup and vanilla, and stir until well blended. Set aside and allow to cool.

3.  Grind the nuts – in a food processor – process using the on/off pulsing action until the nuts are roughly chopped.  I like them quite chunky and not too powdery fine, then place in a bowl with the cinnamon powder and salt – mix well.

4.  Unroll the phylo dough and with scissors, cut to the size of your tray.  I use an approximately 23 x 32 cm tray.  Cover with a damp cloth so it does not dry out.

5.  Assemble the baklava   with a pastry brush, brush the surface of the tray with melted butter, then place one phylo sheet in the bottom of the dish, brush with butter.  Continue with seven more sheets, brushing each individually.

6.  Spread half the nut mixture over the phylo sheets, then layer two more sheets of phyllo pastry, brushing each individually, then spread the rest of the nut mixture, then layer 8 more sheets on top – butter each layer.

7.  Brush the top with butter.  Using a sharp knife cut all the baklava into diamonds by slicing straight across in one direction, then diagonally in the other direction.  Make sure you cut all the way through the layers.  (This is done before baking as it will be very fragile after it’s been baked.)

8.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and remove the baklava from the oven.

9.  Remove the cardamom pods from the syrup and pour evenly over the already cut baklava.  Let it sit until it comes to room temperature,  at least an hour.  Cut through the same lines before serving.

variations

  • For a vegan version, replace the butter with mild-tasting olive oil.
  • Instead of brushing each individual layer, after slicing the baklava, pour the melted butter over the top and then bake.  The butter seeps all the way through each layer, making its way to the centre of each piece as it bakes and resulting in perfectly cooked baklava without the tedious layering.

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flaxseed crackers

10th February 2013

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yesterday

it felt like SPRING

 it left me in wonder at all this loveliness right at my feet!

today

the wind howls, nips and bites – leaving me somewhat bruised and bent, but still rooted.

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tomorrow?

well…..

flaxseed crackers

Makes approximately 40 crackers

These are a wonderful gluten-free snack inspired by Sarah Britton’s Detox workshop I attended the last weekend.  Feel free to experiment with the flavours using whatever is in season, a walnut and fig version sounds delicious.

ingredients 

1 cup flax seeds plus 1 cup water

1 cup ground flax seeds

½ cup toasted sesame seeds

1 medium beetroot – chopped with skin (if using organic)

1 small carrot – chopped

1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

2 Tbsp olive oil

¼ cup tamari

¼ cup water (if needed)

pre-soak 

1.  In a large bowl, combine the flaxseed with 1 cup water and allow to sit for at least 1 hour.

preparation

2.  Add the ground flaxseed, tamari, toasted sesame seeds to the soaked flaxseed gel – mix well.

3.  In a food processor with an s-blade attachment, process the beetroot, carrot, rosemary and olive oil – add to the seed mixture and fold to combine.  Add the extra water if needed.  Mix well.

4.  Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F.

5.  Divide the mixture into three equal batches, then turn out one batch onto a piece of parchment paper on a flat baking tray, using a spatula, spread the mixture out as evenly as you can, then place another piece of parchment on top of the mixture and using a rolling pin, roll the dough until as thin as possible (about three linseed deep). Remove the top piece of parchment, score cracker shapes with a knife.  Then, repeat with the other dough on another baking tray.

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6.  Place the three trays in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Take the trays out and flip the mixture over.  Peel off the parchment paper so that the moist side is now facing up (it may be a bit sticky on top and you will lose a little, but this is okay).  Place back in the oven, rotating the tray which was previously on the top to bottom.  Bake until crispy – about another 30 minutes.

I found it difficult to get the dough totally even and I ended up after the last 30 minutes, turning the oven off, removing the outer squares setting aside and placing the rest back into the oven.

7.  Allow to cool and break into pieces.  Store in air-tight containers if they last this long.  They will go quickly!!

Alternatively, if you have a dehydrator, spread the mixture evenly onto several dehydrator sheets, and dehydrate for 3 – 4 hours or until the top is dry.  Then flip over to a mesh dehydrating sheet. Continue dehydrating at 105 F until crisp, about 5 hours.

 Nutritionally it is better to use a dehydrator or using your oven’s lowest temperature as the high heating breaks down the oils and nutritive properties of the flaxseed, but unfortunately, this takes a lot longer. 

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Goodness shared by Stacey

strawberry jam

8th May 2011

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Someone had left a big bucket of beautiful, very ripe strawberries in my kitchen while I was out on my afternoon walk.  I am sure I will find out who it was over the next few days.  Living in a Moshav and having a very open house allows neighbours, friends and children to wander in and out as they please. They look like they were picked fresh from the fields which are nearby.  We are spoilt with our strawberries this time of year, being able to buy them freshly picked from the fields, if the time it right.  These were perfectly ripe for making strawberry jam.

This recipe is based on Anna’s recipe and it makes about 6 medium jars which I freeze as I need them.  What I love most about this recipe is that it allows for the sweetness of the strawberries to come through without being overpowered by the sugar.  Because of the less sugar, it is a little on the watery side and I do end up scooping it out with a spoon onto my bread.  The taste is sensationally strawberry-sweet!

I have grown them in the garden a few times, but the ruby-red, ripening fruit would lure in my three peacocks, and they would always find them before I did.  Now I have replanted them in a sunny corner in the garden, just outside my kitchen window, so I can enjoy watching our peacocks find them as a surprise treat.

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strawberry jam

For jam making I prefer the smaller strawberries, they have much less water content.  If using the larger ones buy them very ripe.  This is a very easy recipe that requires no chopping.

Makes 6 – 7 jars

ingredients 

2 kg small strawberries, rinsed and topped

700g light brown sugar

preparation 

1.  Place the strawberries in a wide, deep saucepan and sprinkle over the sugar, allow them to sit overnight, so all the juices can be drawn out of the strawberries.

2.  The next morning, bring to boil and boil rapidly for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to settle for 30 minutes, then using a potato masher and roughly break up the strawberries.

3.  Scoop up all this red goodness into sterilised glass jars.  Because of the low sugar content, this jam needs to be refrigerated.  Close your eyes and enjoy the lingering smell that fills the kitchen, just for a moment or two.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

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