Brown Rice with Roast Sweet Potato & Corn

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This is a great ‘using leftovers’ recipe, I use brown basmati rice, and some leftover roast sweet potato from last nights dinner and then sliced the corns off the cob (again from last nights dinner) to produce this subtle, sweet tasting, healthy accompaniment to any meal.

Shopping List
Brown Basmati Rice
Sweet Potato – pre roasted
Sweet Corn – sliced from the cob
Carrot – grated
Arame Seaweed – soaked in hot water for about 10 mins (it doubles in size so go easy with the amount)
Tumeric
Sea Salt
Olive Oil
Toasted Sesame Oil – optional

Wash the rice in water and drain (2 or 3 times) until the water is clear.  Then place in a pan with water using a 2:1 water rice ratio.  Add powdered turmeric and a pinch of salt.  Cover and simmer – this will take around 40 mins, less time if using a pressure cooker.  When all the water has gone the rice will be cooked to perfection.  Turn off the heat, give it a little stir and leave covered to fluff up.
While the rice is cooking, add the grated carrot and arame seaweed to the steamer and briefly steam to soften the carrots.
Chop up the roast pots and then add them to the steamer with the corn to warm up.
Stir all the ingredients into the rice and add a little toasted sesame oil to flavour.

Meal – In the photo I included this recipe with Lentil and Mint Pate, green salad, half an avocado and roasted artichoke – for a balanced, healthy, delicious and nutritious meal.

Turmeric – The health benefits of turmeric are many – it is rich in anti-oxidands, and is apparently antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflamatry (to name but a few) making it extremely useful in supporting a healthy lifestyle.  There are plenty of articles on the web listing the potential benefits of using turmeric in your diet.

Balsamic Lentils and Peas

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The sweetness of the balsamic vinegar and the sharpness of the lemon really brings an interesting flavour to this lentil dish, a simple recipe that is really very easy to make and tastes delicious.

Shopping List
Puy Lentils
Red Onion
Peas (frozen)
Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Cook the lentils in plenty of water (no need to soak lentils).  I use a ratio of 3:1 water to lentils, add them to boiling water, simmer, covered, until tender, which can mean anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on their age, which affects moisture content. Most likely they will be done in under 25 minutes. Check them for doneness before cooking time is up, as you don’t want mushy lentils.  Do not add the salt until just before they are ready.
While you are waiting for your lentils to cook, in a large open pan or wok, heat a little oil and then stir fry the onions until they begin to soften and become translucent.  Then add the balsamic and the lemon juice and simmer to reduce the liquid to a sticky, sweet consistency.  The amount you use will on how many peeps you are feeding and how many lentils you are using, I really like my flavours strong so I use quite a bit but you will work it out according to your taste.
I dont cook the peas, just place them in hot water until they de-frost, this will keep them juicy and crisp and fresh tasting.

When the lentils are cooked, drain and stir into the balsamic onions and then add the peas.

Cooking with ‘Leftovers’ – Lentil & Mint Pate – I usually make plenty of this recipe because it tastes amazing the next day blended into a pate – add olive oil to keep it moist, perhaps a little salt to taste and adding mint leaves as you blend can be a real taste discovery!  Enjoy your experimenting.

Delicious & Healthy Breakfast or Snack

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I absolutely love this tasty little treat, one of my favourite quick and easy breakfasts or snacks, was a favourite with the yoga apprentices this summer, no sugar, no wheat, just healthy yumminess!

I love rye bread but it really needs toasting to bring out its full nutty taste and softness with a crunch.  I bought this delicious variation yesterday with nuts and fruits (it tasted as good as it looks)  Once toasted I covered it with lashings of organic almond butter and sugar free organic blueberry jam!  Very self-indulgent.

Raw Courgette and Coriander Salad

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Super delicious, clean tasting, simple, healthy, need i say more – I love this, it is an easy, 10 minutes to prepare recipe, if you are a raw food yogi you’ll be very pleased.

Shopping List
Courgettes – stripped using a veggie peeler
Coriander – roughly chopped
Olive Oil
Fresh Lemon Juice
Macadamia Nuts (nuts are optional, still tastes wonderful without) pre soaked
Sea Salt – just a pinch

Place oil, lemon juice, optional soaked nuts a pinch of salt into the blender and whizz.  Taste it to see whether your taste buds enjoy (good to be quiet sharp) In a large bowl, chuck in the stripped courgettes and chopped coriander (I also used stripped carrots in the photo) and stir in the dressing (with your hands is the best way to ensure even covering)  Add dressing little by little so as not to overpower the fresh veg.
You could use soaked cashews for a more creamy dressing.

Bean Cooking Times

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Beans are a great addition to any well-balanced diet, they are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber but if you wish to avoid a swollen tummy and bottom burps you will need to prepare, soak and know your cooking times.

So to give you a helping hand I have prepared this little guide…..

CLEAN YOUR BEANS – give them a good wash, picking out any discoloured beans, debri or dirt.
SOAK YOUR BEANS – IN PLENTY OF WATER – for most beans this will need to be an overnight affair, even longer if you have large or old beans.  I like to soak chickpeas for a minimum of 24 hours, changing the water a couple of times.  In general your beans will need enough time to soak up the water and swell in size. Place a stick of dried Kombu (seaweed) in the soaking water with the beans, this will help to reduce gas.  Discard soaking water when beans are ready to cook.
COOK YOUR BEANS WELL – using fresh water, add the beans and Kombu to a saucepan with a lid or better still a pressure cooker.  Cover beans with water using a 1:3 ratio (3 being the water) do not add any salt at this stage, this can harden the shell and make them difficult to cook and digest.  Scrape of any foam before the beans come to boil.  Once boiling and foam free cover and simmer on a low heat (I have heard that some people discarding this water and then starting the cooking process again, I don’t, but you may want to try this if you have trouble with gas).
TEST YOUR BEANS – always good to test before you turn them into something yummy. The beans are cooked well when you can easily crush the bean against the roof of your mouth using your tongue (wait for the tester bean to cool before putting it in your mouth).  When the beans are ready I like to cook for a few more minutes using a little salt for flavour and a little apple cider vinegar to aid digestion.
CHEW YOUR BEANS – chewing your beans until they are like a watery paste is the most sensible way to eat them.  Your saliva contains enzymes that are going to begin the digestion process before they even hit your belly! If you are new to beans, start with the smaller variety which are easier to cook and a little less gassy.  Don’t eat too many,  beans are incredibly yummy and satisfying but they are also rich and heavy.  Too many beans can make you feel sluggish, find out what is right for you.

Rough guide on cooking times for some popular beans – always wise to leave some extra time incase they need a little longer.  Remember this is a rough guide, your cooking time will depend on variety, age, hard water etc.  Always check the packet.

BEAN                            SOAK                              COOK                           PRESSURE COOK
Aduki beans                 none – 3 hours                45-50 mins                    15-20 mins
Mung beans                 3 hours – overnight         1-1½ hours                   10-15 mins
Chickpeas                   overnight -24 hours         1½-2½hours                 1-1½ hours
Pinto beans                  overnight                         1-1½ hours                   10-15 mins
Black (turtle) beans     overnight                          45-60 mins                    15-20 mins
Lentils                           none                               15-45 mins (depending on variatey)

 

Justyna’s Sugar Free Fruit Crumble

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You will never believe that this delicious simple recipe is sugar free, we got to make it on Friday afternoon at the Windfire Yoga Retreat and absolutely everyone loved it!  A big thanks to my beautiful quiet friend Justyna for this recipe ♥

Shopping List
Any fruit you want!!!
I used: Apples, Pears & Nectarines (blackberries would be great too)
Oats (if you want gluten free, then use gluten free oats)
Roast Hazel Nut Flour (super simple to make, see below)
Rice Syrup
Sesame Oil
Cinnamon
Sea Salt

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
Roughly chop and deseed/stone the fruit, place in deep roasting dish and cook until soft, about 20 mins.
Meanwhile to make the topping, using your hands (go on!) mix the oats, nut flour, rice syrup, oil, cinnamon and salt until you have a crumbly mixture.  Lots of oats, I like jumbo but you could use porridge for a less grainy texture, keep tasting as you may find you do not need as much rice syrup as you think.  Just a little oil to give that extra crunch.
When fruit is soft, remove from oven, stir in a little cinnamon (at this point you will have to resist eating because it will smell delicious) then cover with your crumble topping and pop back in the oven until it turns golden brown.

If you would like a delicious pouring cream try blending some blackberries with oat cream.  Or to make a hot chocolate berry sauce simply add a little water and frozen berries to a pan, when the fruit becomes soft use a potato masher to squash and then add carob powder (or cocoa will do too)

To make hazel nut flour you will need to roast the nuts in the oven until browning and smelling toasted (I usually keep a jar of these in the cupboard to use in smoothies etc) Place the roasted hazelnuts in a food blender and wizz up to a flour consistency.

This is usually what is left…
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Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Curry

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In this post we make a delicious, super simple vegetarian recipe, sweet potato & cauliflower curry – might make this at the Being Woman Yoga Retreat this November.  I like to cook the Sweet Potato and the cauliflower separately to give different flavours in the dish.

Shopping List
Sweet Potato – peeled and cubed
Cauliflower – cut into small florets
Spinach (I actually used cavolo nero in the photo but not always easy to get hold of)
Onion – chopped
Whole Cumin Seeds
Fresh Ginger – grated (fresh is best, powdered will do)
Sweet Paprika
Ground Cinnamon
Cayenne Pepper
Sea Salt
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
I used a whole small cauliflower and 4 sweet potatoes, as a main this would feed approx 3 peeps, I actually wish I had made more as there was only a little left over and it was delicious cold the next day for my lunch.  I used a quater of a teaspoon of the cayenne and about a teaspoon of each of the other spices to begin with (just a small pinch of salt)

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
In a large pan (with a lid for later) heat the olive oil and when hot add the cumin seeds, stir continually and when you begin to smell that delicious aromatic cumin aroma (about 20 seconds) add the chopped onion and ginger (if using fresh) and continue to stir until onions begin to soften and brown.
Stir in remaining Spices then add the sweet potato and about a cup of water (to almost cover)  Cover with lid and  simmer for about 15 mins until sweet potato is soft.
While this is cooking, add a spoonful of coconut oil onto baking tray and put in oven for a few seconds to melt, then add cauliflower florets, stir to coat in oil and roast – keep an eye on this it really doesn’t take long for the cauliflower to cook, about 10 mins depending on how crunchy you like it.
When the Sweet Potatoes are beginning to soften, remove lid and turn up heat a little to reduce the liquid.  Now is a great time to taste – I love plenty of flavour in this dish so I always add more spices, you could add a little bouillon if you feel it needs a little boost.
When you feel you have perfected the taste, turn off the heat, stir in the spinach and add the cauliflower.

If you like garlic you could also add fresh garlic with the onions or cook the onions in garlic infused olive oil.   A little cardamom powder is also another interesting flavour to add to this dish.  You could add more veg like courgette, carrots etc, you could swap the sweet potato for butternut squash.  To make it more simple as a side dish you could leave out the cauliflower – lots of options, let me know if you find a really good one :-)

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simple, yummy veggie medley

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This tasty, healthy veggie meal went down a storm at Windfire Yoga Retreat this summer, and best of all it’s a really easy vegetarian dish to cook.  I made a huge bowl and every little bit of it disappeared.  Served it with roast swede & onion, a raw turnip salad, plain chunky chopped cucumber, rice and a bean dish – I think I also made a light miso soup to start.  (recipes to follow)

Shopping List
steamed green beans & spinach

stir fried leeks & stripped courgette (I used yellow courgette here for extra colour, to get the lovely thin strips use a vegetable peeler)
hijiki seawead – simmered in a little water for 20 mins and drained (quite strong flavour so go easy – smells rather dreadful when cooking but ignore, it tastes great in the medley)
raw stripped carrots – stripped using veggie peeler again
shoyu (soy sauce) – simmer in a hot wok to reduce to a more sticky consistency then briefly stir fry the green beans to give a delicious coating
roasted pumpkin seeds

So simple – chuck all the prepared veg and seaweed into a big bowl, mix up and top with some roasted pumpkin seeds.

Shoyu is quite salty already so you may not need to add salt, but if you do make sure that it is a good quality sea salt, or other natural variety.  You could also add a little toasted sesame oil for extra yumminess.  Try the dish first before you add the oil or the salt, perhaps you will prefer without.

 

 

Before i begin….

I would like to dedicate this site to two amazing, beautiful women – Natalia and Guro.  It is through your enthusiasm, encouragement and interest that I have finally been inspired to begin this little cooking blog.  I hope that you enjoy it girls because it really is especially for you.
And also to Eloise, because my darling it was you who awakened this growing interest within me.
And to Charlie, for giving me the opportunity to see that I really can flourish outside of my comfort zone and for all of your help and tirelessly answering all my (probably very boring) questions.

So with a smile, a deep breath and a trust in that whatever happens, it will be perfect…….