Indian

digging the dirt(y)

Dirty(y) Food Saag Aloo

Way back when the idea of the Full Moon Farm Gate started percolating, dirt(y) Simon Bryant was one of the first foodie types I thought of calling to see if he’d be keen to be on board. He was. His diary wasn’t. It’s taken since 2013 until now to find a happy collision of his free time and our popping up, but that junction is here and it’s happening! This is a very cool thing for lots of reasons, but the most of them are about Simon’s food and his approach to how and why things end up on a compostable plate. If you didn’t get any ‘celebrity’ vibe in that, it’s because there isn’t any of that with Simon. Really. And he’s more than entitled, believe me. Instead, there’s the ‘sure, we can cook to order in a stone stable in unpredictable weather, not knowing how many people are coming, and we’ll talk to all the local producers to make sure we get as many things grown down the road as we can.’ That’s Simon. Clearly a Full Moon Farm Gate kind of guy.

You’d think, knowing all the above, that I wouldn’t possibly ask him for anything else, but when he told me what he had planned for Saturday night’s menu, “hey, would you guest blog one of the recipes for me?” was out of my typing fingers before I could add, “please say yes!” And he did. So here’s one of the ‘wokked to order’ dishes he’ll be serving come Saturday night at Langmeil. It’s from his new book. The one that hasn’t actually been released yet. If that doesn’t make us all feel loved…

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 Dirt(y) Food Saag Aloo by Simon Bryant

500 g starchy potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

(Syd Lewis’ Pontiacs)

60 ml dirt(y) raw pressed red skin peanut oil *

2 onions, diced

(from Alnda Farms)

4 cloves garlic, crushed

(from Krondorf Farm)

1 tsp freshly grated turmeric

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tbsp poppy seeds

1 big bunch English spinach, leaves roughly chopped

(from Alnda Farms)

salt flakes

100 ml raw coconut oil

½ large green chilli, sliced

coconut yoghurt and steamed basmati rice, to serve

 

Start by boiling the spuds till they are tender and set aside and keep warm. 

Heat a large heavy-based pan (with a lid), add the peanut oil and once hot sautee the onion and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes or until soft. Turn the heat up a little and add the spices to fry for about 30 seconds or till aromatic – but don’t burn that fenugreek or it will turn bitter! 

Add the spinach along with ½ cup water and toss gently so the spinach is covered with the spice mixture. Place the lid on and cook covered for around 3 mins or until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt flakes. Grab a stick blender and puree the mixture, adding the raw coconut oil while the mixture is hot. 

Add the potatoes and gently fold through the pureed mixture.

Garnish with the green chilli and serve with coconut yoghurt and steamed basmati.

 

A note from Simon…

* dirt(y) is my brand of Australian grown, gm free, wholefoods. So I guess this is my shameless plug for our peanut oil…

dirt(y) raw pressed red skin peanut oil is made with red skin peanuts grown in sunny Kingaroy, Queensland – Peanut Capital of Australia. The peanuts are raw pressed, an authentic, artisan-style process that captures all the intensity of the peanut’s flavour and aroma.

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Bring on Saturday night, we’re so ready for this meeting of worlds!

wake up tea

Alu Paratha with Lemon Achar

Every morning that we were trekking in the Himalaya, we were woken up with hot tea brought to our tent; if that one action doesn’t set the scene for how much we loved being in India, I don’t know what could. Beyond stating over and over again how extraordinary the magnitude of the Himalayas is, and how I tried to find new spaces in my head and heart to cram it all in, I really can’t find a way to wrap words around the experience. It was as though every spiritual teaching I have ever happened upon, all the beautiful passages of poetry, every minute of yoga practice, and all the meditation I have ever sat in, all met in a point of singularity, and what really, really blew my mind was how they all just fell away, in an instant. And there I was breathing and walking. Breathing and walking became the most incredible things. Stuff I’d be doing, let’s face it,  for quite sometime now, these everyday things, all of a sudden became truly sacred. And that’s pretty much how it played out, from one moment to the next, so overwhelmed with the beauty of breathing and walking in surroundings that asked nothing more or less of me. Insane levels of peace right there. Wake up tea indeed. And that’s before we found ourselves sitting in the kitchen of an 1100 year old Buddhist monastery. Crazy beautiful.

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And of course there’s so much more, there always is. And it’s still coming, even now that we’re home. I love that. And Alu Paratha, I love Alu Paratha. If there was a quintessential meal for me while we were in India, it was Alu Paratha, with Achar (pickle) and chai. So good. It’s our new Sunday brunch now that we’re back, and if the Gayatri Mantra is loud enough in the background, it just about tastes like the real thing – only with Spelt Flour, Vegan Butter and Almond Milk. Here’s our rendition of the originals if you’d like to create your own Little (Vegan) India.

Lemon Achar (Pickle)

The lemon achar will need to be made a few weeks before hand to allow the skins of the lemon quarters to soften, this is when you’ll know it’s ready.

1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds

1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns

1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3-4 strands of saffron

1 small dried chilli

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt 

4 organic lemons

300 ml mustard seed oil

Lightly dry roast the spices in a pan until fragrant and popping, then add the salt and saffron and roughly crush in a mortar and pestle.

Cut the lemons in quarters and remove the pips. Put in a bowl and stir the spices through to coat the lemon quarters. Put the quarters into sterilised jars, stacking the fruit as you would for preserved lemons.

Gently heat the mustard oil in a pan until it is hot, but not smoking. Add the small chilli into the jar and pour the hot oil over the lemons. Make the jar airtight and leave for at least a week until the lemon skins have softened, again in the same way preserved lemons do.

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 Alu Paratha

For the paratha:

1 cup organic spelt flour

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

2 tablespoons organic coconut oil

For the alu:

2 organic potatoes

1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Boil the potatoes, drain and cool. Mash together with the spices, salt and lemon juice.

Mix the spelt flour with the salt and rub in the coconut oil. Slowly add the water until you have a workable dough.

 Split the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece out to about 1/2 cm thick. Place a tablespoon of the potato mix in the centre of each and fold the edges of the dough over the potato like you were wrapping a present.  Turn the dough over and gently roll out as thinly as possible to spread the potato mix throughout the bread, but trying not to break the dough and let the potato bust through. This can take a little practice!

Heat a flat grill plate and cook each paratha until golden, flipping halfway through the cooking time to cook both sides evenly.

Serve with lemon achar and chai.

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