Tune in

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Stressful life situations can bring out the worst in all of us. We over-analyze, fret, escape from painful feelings and generally keep ourselves super busy hoping things will get better or, ideally, go away. More often than not, however, looking outward for a solution to our problems tend to bring meagre returns – at the end of the day we can’t fix that over which we have no control no matter how much we try. Continue reading “Tune in”

Bowl of Goodness

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Bowl of Goodness…

One of the (few) benefits of colder evenings is that I get to experiment with autumn and winter recipes – in August! Who’d have guessed? We’re still unpacking and generally settling back into the house after summer holidays so last night’s dinner HAD to be quick as well as warming. With a few left overs in the fridge the focus was on the broth. I used a red thai curry paste as a base that I buy from the health food shop, ready made, suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

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I know you can make this paste yourself but with no ingredients at home this brand is a great go to in need. It is so intensly flavoured that even a tiny bit adds richness and gravitas to any broth you make – and if the broth is good the world is your oyster. You can add almost any veg, fish or seafood and you’ve got yourself a rocking meal that infuses your body with goodness too. I used wild salmon as the ‘meat’ ingredients but if you are vegan you can easily leave that out and the soup would be just as good.

Here’s what went into last night’s soup:

 Bowl of Goodness 

Serves 2

1 medium onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

2″ piece of ginger root

2 tsp red thai curry paste, concentrated

coconut oil

edamame beans

1 courgette, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 small can of coconut cream

1 fillet wild salmon (already cooked)

salt and pepper

fresh parsley

Start with chopping onions, garlic and ginger finely. Add to pan with large table-spoon of coconut oil, the more the yummier I say. Add a couple of  teaspoons of the red thai curry paste and mix with the coconut oil and the onions for a couple of minutes until the paste has dissolved and the onion mixture softened (not burned).  Add the courgettes and the red pepper and stir continuously until softened, then add the edamame beans and the coconut cream and stir until all is coverd in the cream. Add salmon and turn down the heat and let simmer under lid for about 5-7 minutes. You may need to add a bit of water if you  Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in pretty bowls and garnish with parsley. For a meatier meal you can add rice noodles and/or mushrooms to the soup, I just didn’t have any at home. Hope you enjoy the soup!! Happy Sunday! x

Coconut Curry with Lentils and Butternut Squash

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This curry is marvellous if you are struggling to figure out what to cook for dinner. It is very simple and only requires coconut oil, coconut milk and a few spices mixed in with whatever vegetables you may have lingering in the fridge – that’s it!. Now that our sunny bank holiday weekend is coming to an end, cooking may not be at the forefront of your mind. And that is when this dish comes in handy. It requires minimum investment and maximum return – a win/win scenario if there was one.

I happened to have some left over butternut squash, lentils, potatoes and celery at home, all of which went into the curry. Another combo, like tomatoes, courgettes, sweet potatoes for example, would have worked equally well. There are no limits here. The spices were reminiscent of my Mung Bean Casserole from the other night and worked equally well in this curry. I would have liked to have had more fresh coriander in this dish so if you make it, make sure you add plenty of it just before serving. I added a piece of salmon to my plate which I cubed and tossed in the spices and coconut oil until just cooked, approx. 5 min. If you are a strict vegan, however, it is just as good without the fish. If you can tolerate dairy then a bit of yoghurt on the side would work too. Only you know what works for your body.

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Coconut Curry with Lentils and Butternut Squash (serves 2)

1 can organic coconut milk

3/4 butternut squash, deseeded and cubed

5 – 6 broccoli florets

1 cup puy lentils, cooked

2 potatoes, cubed

3 celery sprigs, chopped

1 small onion or charlotte

1′ ginger root, finely chopped

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp turmeric

sea salt and pepper to taste

Fresh coriander

Fry the onions, ginger and spices in the coconut oil until soft. Add all the chopped vegetables bar the lentils and broccoli – stir until coated with the oil and spices. Add the coconut milk and bring to boil, simmer under lid for about 10 – 15 minutes – veggies should be soft, not mushy. Add the broccoli and lentils and cook for an additional 5 min (if you like your broccoli a bit crunchy cook for less time). Serve with brown rice and fresh coriander. Enjoy! x

 

Take out Hawaiian style

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Vegan chilli with brown rice and salad

There is a small cafe and health food shop right here in Waikiki that has been providing the most essential of services since we arrived in Honolulu a few weeks ago. Simple, healthy, delicious and inexpensive take out dishes for green lovers like me. The cafe is called Ruffage Natural Food and it is not a trendy vegan joint by any stretch of the imagination, quite the opposite in fact. They run a simple show. You can come for a healthy smoothie in the morning, and a selection of salads and hot bowls for lunch or dinner. But the ingredients are fresh, of the right kind and in the right combination such as Chicken teriyaki on a bed of lettuce, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, carrots and yummy vinaigrette dressing. Miso soup. Salmon on a bed of lettuce, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, carrots and yummy sesame dressing hot food. Miso soup. Vegan chilli with brown rice, bed of lettuce, avocado, alfalfa, tomatoes and carrots. Miso soup. Vegan lasagna on bed of lettuce, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, carrots. Miso soup.

You get the picture. As Ruffage is situated about two minutes walk from where we live I tend to leave the house at five to seven and return ten minutes later, laden with biodegradable take out boxes that are sturdy enough for nothing to leak out.  In a world of fast food restaurants in a land of giant portions, Ruffage has provided us with nourishing and healthy green food (and a bit of meat) without having to plan, shop and cook. The question I keep asking myself is this. Why does a place like Ruffage not exist on every high street in the UK? If it can be this easy and this cheap to eat well – why do we still eat paninis and triangle sandwiches from coffee chains?

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Salmon with avocado, lettuce, carrots, alfalfa, tomatoes and sesame dressing

I get that not everyone is going to juice in the morning and buy organic ingredients for green and healthy meals simply because they may not be that interested. But just because you don’t want to make it yourself does not mean that you don’t want to eat it, prepared by someone else who can do it for you. I shall investigate how many places like Ruffage there are in South West London when I return.  In the meantime, if you’re ever in Waikiki and feeling peckish, go here! Mahalo x

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