peace, love & mung bean dhal

Baby Carrots & Mung Dhal with Coriander, Turmeric & Marigolds

There’s always something more to ponder and run through the ‘kindness test’ when it comes to food. I love that. The never ending joining of dots that helps you make your way to your own cooking style. I’m always up for an extra helping of information to add to whatever I’m eating and the latest little nugget has come in the form of ‘intent’, as in, cooking with it. We’ve all seen ‘Like Water For Chocolate’ – we know how our moods can effect what we’re cooking, but whether that’s because a ‘good’ mood has us at our most alert and we follow a series of steps with more discernment, and a ‘bad’ mood has us rushing through the process just to get it done, or it’s something entirely more ethereal than that, something we can’t really include on an ingredient list – I’m not sure. My inner hippy is shouting, “it’s LOVE!” Could be a name for it. Anyway I figured it’d be interesting to play with the idea further. When I remembered.

 

That’s part of this whole thing I think, remembering to remember to check what frame of mind you’re in, before the spoon hits the bottom of the pan, or your knife starts chopping veggies. I can imagine not everyone wants to be ‘present’ when they’re cooking because I guess not everyone loves doing it, but I found it was way easier to take note of my headspace if I started the process while I was wandering through the garden deciding what to pick. It was kind of started for me by the sheer gratitude I feel for just being able to have a garden. Growing your own food and enjoying cooking – another couple of dots joined?

 

Zen masters aside, not all of us are going to add grace to every dish we put on the table, but after reading about the concept and including this in our kitchen over the past 6 months or so, I think my inner hippy may be onto something. Maybe that amazing way-down-deep kind of nourishment isn’t just about what we can see going into the pot?

 

Alrighty then, the recipe…

 

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Baby Carrots & Mung Dhal with Coriander, Turmeric & Marigolds

 

10-12 organic baby carrots with tops

1 cup organic mung bean dhal

2 fresh organic bay leaves

3 organic cloves

2 cm piece organic fresh ginger

1 piece organic fresh turmeric root

1 big handful organic coriander leaves

1/4 cup organic hempseeds

1/4 cup organic lemon olive oil, ‘agrumato’

3-4 organic marigold flowers

sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

Cook the mung dhal in enough water to cover it completely. Add a slice of fresh ginger, the cloves and bay leaves while it simmers. It won’t take anywhere near as long as a lot of other pulses, so keep an eye on it to avoid it turning to mush. About 10 minutes should do it, or until it is just tender but still holding its shape.

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Remove from heat and then drain and remove the bay leaves, ginger and cloves. Salt to taste.

 

Cut the leafy tops off of the carrots and keep to put into the pesto. Cut the carrots in halves along their length and wash.

Heat a griddle pan and grill the carrots until tender but with a crisp centre. Salt to taste and drizzle with lemon olive oil.

 

To make the pesto, add the coriander leaves, carrot tops, fresh turmeric, fresh ginger and a good glug of lemon olive oil to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Salt to taste.

 

To assemble, spoon the mung dhal onto a plate, topped with the carrots and dobs of pesto, and sprinkle the plucked marigold petals and hempseeds over everything. Drizzle with extra lemon olive oil and season to taste.

NB. This pesto is good on almost everything from brown rice to tofu burgers, pasta and quinoa so don’t be afraid to make a big jar to keep in the fridge. The goodness of raw turmeric, ginger and coriander in every meal!

velvety sunshine

blueberry & violet flapjacks with whipped honey

The garden has been doing a brilliant job of deciding our meals lately – lots of greens and herbs, and fennel tips, and lovely little baby onions, broccoli and sorrel – really good. But it’s almost like Spring arrived in its complete form all in one day yesterday, and the only thing I could see were flowers. The bees were loving it. Sitting having a cup of tea on the verandah, we actually had to talk up to hear each other over the buzz of bees going from the lavender hedge to their hive and back. It was like having tea with a bunch of chanting Buddhist monks – such an incredible vibration to hang out in.

Even though it was Wednesday yesterday, we were claiming it as Sunday to try and make up for lost time over the weekend. And although I can’t say we eat flapjacks each and every Sunday, it just seemed like a Sunday kind of breakfast, so a hankering began.

Walking back inside to start the process the violets jumped out at me so they became part of things, and having recently read that they’re high in vitamin C, I thought why not ramp that up another notch with blueberries too?

Violet and blueberry flapjacks sounded like a good combo, and they really were, but the surprise addition was a super quick experiment in whipped coconut honey. Throw some coconut oil and honey into a food processor and try your hardest not to put it on everything. Wow. Velvety sunshine.

 

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Blueberry & Violet Flapjacks with Whipped Honey

 

For the flapjacks – makes 6-8

 

1 cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries

1 1/2 cups organic GF whole flour mix (or plain flour of your choice)
1/3 cup of organic raw mesquite flour
1/3 tsp sea salt
1 tsp GF baking powder
2 1/2 cups organic soy milk

2 tbsp organic chia seeds

 

For the whipped honey

 

4 tbsp organic raw coconut oil

3 tbsp organic raw honey

 

To serve

 

1/2 cup fresh organic violets (Viola odorata, not African violets!)

extra blueberries

 

To make the flapjacks, add about 2/3 cup of water to the chia seeds and stir until they gel.

In a large bowl mix the flours, baking powder and salt together.

Mix the milk and chia seeds together and stir through the dry ingredients.

Add the blueberries at the last stage to gently fold through so they don’t break up and turn everything an odd shade of grey.

 

Heat a griddle pan or flat based sandwich press and drop spoonfuls of the flapjack mixture onto the hot surface. Leave to cook for a couple of minutes until you can easily slide a spatula under the flapjacks to flip them over. Cook on the other side until they are cooked all the way through.

 

To make the whipped honey simply put the coconut oil (unmelted) and honey into a food processor and blitz until smooth.

 

To assemble the flapjacks, pile them up with the extra blueberries, then top with a generous spoonful of whipped honey and sprinkle the violets all over to finish. Pretty and delicious. And good for you, believe it or not!

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tea & shibori

Tea Dyed Shibori T-Shirt

It’s kind of a given that tea is a bit of a thing out here on the hill. We drink a lot of it. Really. A lot. I know that for a fact, because taking a sideroad into another obsession that’s quietly been building for a while, I started saving our tea leaves to make a dye and within 3 days I had more than enough in a pot to start a small Shibori factory. That’s the other thing that has been circling in my brain for the last few months – Shibori. So perfectly beautiful. So Japanese. The two go hand in hand, huh? And I figured tea and Shibori could be a cool team too, so after too many weekends had been eaten up working on the ‘gotta do’ list, today was the day.

I’ve never done Shibori before. Actually I’m not entirely sure I’ve even tie-dyed anything. But this is not a ‘have to’ project, it’s more a lovely avoidance of that world; in the same category as horse riding along a quiet dirt road, making daisy chains and cloud watching, drinking tea and knitting. You know, the stuff that falls off the radar when responsibility walks into the room and demands your attention. There’s nothing right or wrong in how to do Shibori and I love that. You just find an old t-shirt, some sticks, pegs, stones, rubberbands – whatever you like – and you wrap them up like a kooky little gift and drop it into dye. Old tea makes new t-shirt; it’s all sounding a bit like a sustainable good time right? Just wait ‘til you getting to the unwrapping part. All of a sudden Shibori seems like the only responsible thing to do on a Sunday afternoon. Could be living in a tea stained Shibori haze for a while I think.

 

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Tea Dyed Shibori T-Shirt

 1 100% natural fibre (cotton, linen, hemp) old white t-shirt

6-8 teapot’s worth of used tea leaves

3-4 litres of boiling water

pegs, sticks, small pebbles, string

1 large shallow pan or similar container, to soak the t-shirt overnight in

 

Brew up the tea, by adding the boiling water to the used leaves you have saved up, and boil over high heat in a large saucepan until you have a lovely deep colour. To create the pattern, use whatever you might like to create a ‘resist’ and prevent the tea from colouring the t-shirt in areas. I used some old apricot tree prunings and figured if they stained the t-shirt that’d be quite cool too. Either concertina the fabric with the sticks, or you could take pinches of fabric and peg different areas. You can also use small pebbles and tie the fabric around them with rubberbands. It’s all a lovely experiment!

 

Once you have bound your t-shirt with the chosen ‘resist’ in place, then soak the t-shirt in the strained, hot tea overnight. It’s up to you whether you want to dip the whole t-shirt or just part of it.

 

The next morning, rinse the t-shirt while it is still bound and then unwrap it. Ta da! Put it in the dryer to seal the colour in. Shibori done and done.

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