yellow mustard seeds

warm salad of roasted carrot, cauliflower, dal & mustard

10th January 2017

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So good to have my site back.  It had disappeared for 10 days – having it back was like having the comfort of an old friend.

We just came back from a holiday with my husband’s family travelling through parts of Kerala in the South of India.  We started in Cochin, staying in a lovely place called The Eight Bastion in Fort Kochi, where the food was exceptional and prepared by a wonderful chef who catered for all our odd dietary needs, taking such pride, care and enthusiasm in everything he prepared.  We saw the Chinese fishing nets and visited a few local churches and a Synagogue – in the heart of Fort Kochi. We then travelled high up into the hill stations of Munnar staying at a lovely resort called ‘The Spice Tree”, where we were literally up in the clouds.

We went on hikes through the plantations and saw all sorts of spices grown – peppercorns, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and even had a go at cutting and harvesting rice. The evening sunset walks were particularly special, enjoying the breath-taking views down into the valley.  The last part of our trip was exploring the backwaters. We spent a day on one of the typical house-boats made of teak and bamboo – observing how the local people lived on the water, using the river to bathe, to wash their clothes and dishes, as a source of food and transport and everything in between.  We watched palm tree after palm tree pass us by, paddy fields and colourful houses and a romantic way of life that seems unchanged for centuries.  This is the beauty of Kerala.

For the last 25 years, we have been travelling to India, and this was the first time as a tourist, rather than a budding yoga practitioner.  India as always, presented her magic and opened all our hearts – it was a truly memorable and magical trip.

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~ Chinese fishing nets in a bright sky at Fort Cochin

~ Tea Plantations taken from the bus window at the end of a winding, five-hour journey, Munnar

~ Domestic chores along the river, Kumarakom

~ Water, vegetation and sky all become one, Backwaters

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a warm salad of roasted carrot cauliflower, dal & mustard

Recipe slightly adapted from Grown and Gathered.

Don’t be shy with the kale greens, just make it green and lots of it.  I love how the carrot adds a splash of colour; roasted beets would also work.  I serve it with a whole avocado, sliced and spread into a fan, and slices of grilled halloumi. It is also great with a bowl of hummus.  A welcomed dish to take along to a lunch or dinner.

Serves 4, as a side dish or 2 as a main.

ingredients 

400g carrots or Baby (Dutch) tops trimmed to 2cm

½ head/400g cauliflower

½ cup/100g whole moong dal (mung beans)

3 cups water

120g kale, mustard greens, chard, spinach, coarsely chopped

mustard dressing 

1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp brown sugar/jaggery/honey

zest from two lemons

vinaigrette 

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

4 Tbsp lemon juice (1 large lemon)

½ tsp fine rock salt

⅛ tsp ground black pepper

1 Tbsp honey/sugar (optional)

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 190 C/ 375F.

2.  Cut the cauliflower into rough 4 cm florets, and peel the carrots and cut into matchsticks, about 5 cm in length and place in a large bowl – set aside.

3. In a mortar and pestle, grind the mustard seeds until about half are ground and half are cracked; add the remaining dressing ingredients and continue to grind gently until combined.

4.  Pour the dressing over the cauliflower and carrot and toss, using your hands until thoroughly combined.

5. Spread the vegetables out on a baking tray in a single layer and roast for 45min – 1 hour, or until the vegetables are just beginning to blacken around the edges.

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6.  Wash the dal and place in a saucepan with the water, bring to a rapid simmer and leave, uncovered until they are tender – about 20 – 30 minutes. Just keep in mind you may have to add more water when cooking – depending on the quality of your dal. You really need to keep an eye on them and judge so that you are not left with mush. You want the dal firm, but cooked. When ready, pour into a strainer to drain off any excess water – leave for a few minutes.

7.  Prepare the vinaigrette – place the oil, lemon juice, zest, honey, salt and pepper in a jar. Seal with a lid and shake well.  Set aside.

8.  Remove the stem from the kale, mustard and chard, and roughly chop, then lightly saute in a skillet, turn off the heat and cover for a few minutes until just wilted.

9.  Place in a large salad bowl, pour over the vinaigrette, add the cooked dal and toss gently.  The heat from the dal will help soften the leaves even more – set aside for the flavours to come together while the vegetables are still roasting.

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10.  When the vegetables are ready, add them to the marinated greens and dal and gently combine. Garnish the top with a large avocado, sliced and spread out into a fan, then add a few good rounds of freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

crunchy slaw salad with mustard greens

1st March 2015

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I can feel spring deep in my being.  I am starting to crave the crunch and freshness of salads that curiously draw me into the vegetable garden.  At first glance, it seems there are few things growing at this time of year, everything is in that in-between stage, but if I soften my gaze, there is so much more than at first glance.

I also love that I need to get down on my hands and knees to find the little delights that are popping up in these slightly warmer days.  I use the tiny small leaves of the mustard, found at the heart of the bigger plants and the smaller leaves of the seedlings which have self-seeded everywhere. They are flourishing in all sorts of unexpected and unusual places.  I use the bright yellow, dainty flowers from the older plants in salads.

Greens such as purple leaf mustard, rocket and arugula provide a peppery freshness, as well as a boost of vigour.  Salads with these greens combine antioxidants with detoxification and anti-inflammatory properties.

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crunchy slaw salad with mustard greens

Serves 4

Inspired by a vegetable garden & Jerusalem by Ottolenghi.

Raw mustard greens alone can be very intense in a salad, but their pungent, peppery bite is quite appealing in combination with the other greens and balances the sweetness of the fennel, apple and carrot. This salad was served with red rice and this soup using 1 cup fresh sweet peas instead of the half cup of dried peas.  It was a lovely refreshing dinner and noted to be repeated.  Also really good with a cooked red lentil hummus.

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for the salad 

2 large bulbs fennel

2 medium carrots

1 large apple/firm pear

cup chopped dried cranberries

zest of one lemon

an abundant bowl of freshly picked mustard greens, arugula, rocket, parsley, fresh coriander, mint, tatsoi leaves, dandelion leaves – whatever green leaf you find in the garden at this time of year

a sprinkling of mustard and borage flowers to smile up at you

preparation 

1.  To prepare the salad, peel the carrot and slice thinly, about 2 mm thick.  Stack a few slices at a time on top of each other and cut them into matchstick-like strips.

2.  Repeat with the apple and squeeze generously with lemon to stop the apple from browning.

3.  Slice the base off the fennel and remove the first fibrous outer leaf, then cut the bulb in half lengthways.  Place each half, cut side down and cut lengthways into fine shards – the slices should be almost paper-thin.  Place all the strips in a bowl.

4.  Wash the salad greens and spin dry.

5.  When ready to serve, add the salad greens, cranberries and lemon zest to the bowl of chopped vegetables. Pour over the dressing, toss well. Eat immediately once the salad is dressed.

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honey mustard dressing

Update – Lately I have been adding 2 tablespoons soaked cashews soaked with ¼ cup water and place in a blender with the rest of the dressing ingredients, blending until rich and creamy.

ingredients

2 – 3 Tbsp honey diluted with a dash of warm water

2 Tbsp olive oil/ flaxseed oil

1 level Tbsp yellow mustard seeds

juice of one lemon

salt

preparation

1.  Dry-fry the mustard seeds until they start to pop, transfer to a mortar and pestle and roughly grind.

2.  Add the diluted honey, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and whisk until well combined.  Set aside until you are ready to serve the salad.

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