spice

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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a big birthday

Spiced Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream & Hempseeds

Damien turned 40 yesterday. No biggie really, we said. I can only see good things ahead when my question of what kind of a birthday cake he’d like was met with, “Some gnarly, full of spice, vegan concoction.” What a guy.

At one point across the day, it struck me that I’d love to pop back and chat to our 14 year old selves about what might fill in the time for the next 26 years. I think the bucket list might be more of a surprise in itself, than the shock of a visit from our future selves. It’s been a heck of a ride. And so much of it unplanned and unexpected but always met with hearts wide open. Mostly because at 14, we had no idea there was any alternative. I’m sure we could have saved ourselves some anguish if we had. Momentarily at least. But if I turn around to look back at the pages and pages of our story together, it’s more like a flicker book. It’s so full, and the feeling of all those memories we’ve made is almost overwhelming. Not for a minute has it all been daisy chains and cloudless skies, but it’s been beautifully raw, and unencumbered of the kinds of expectations our 20 or 30 year old selves might have had if we’d met much later along the line. We’ve held such a big love in our hands all these years, and sitting around a fire last night, celebrating with some of our dearest friends, dropped me perfectly into the space to remember that. And be so grateful for it. Happy Birthday DT. Big love.

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Spiced Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream & Hempseeds

 

2 cups organic spelt flour (I used freshly milled from Nature’s 9, so good)

1 cup organic panela sugar

1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt 

2 tsp baking powder 

1/2 tsp baking soda 

2 tsp ground organic cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground organic cloves

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 

3 cups organic carrots, grated 

3/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil 

2/3 cup freshly squeezed organic orange juice

1/2 cup organic raisins

1 cup organic walnuts / brazil nuts / almonds, chopped

 

1 cup organic raw cashews

1/2 cup organic raw coconut oil

1 cup water

juice of 2 organic lemons

pinch Celtic sea salt

3 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup

4 tbsp organic pepitas, dry roasted for 3-5 minutes until coloured

1 tbsp organic hempseeds

 

Pre heat oven to 180C.

Prepare a 26cm diameter bundt tin with coconut oil.

 In a large mixing bowl, add spelt flour, panela sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices and stir with a wooden spoon.

In a separate bowl, mix carrots, oil and orange juice.

Ad the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together. Don’t worry that it will seem too dry, keep mixing and the cake will come together.

Finally add the raisins and nuts and give one last mix through before spooning into the cake tin.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave in the cake tin to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

 

To make the icing, blend the cashews, coconut oil and water until really smooth. Add the salt, lemon juice and honey and blend again. At this stage you can put the icing into the fridge if you’d like more of a set icing that you can spread with a butter knife, or if you’d like to let it run down the contours of the cake like I have then leave it out at room temperature.

Once the cake has completely cooled, ice it with the cashew cream cheese and sprinkle toasted pepitas and hempseeds across the top. Hempseeds make sprinkles just blokey enough.

Candles are optional.

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purple piccalilli

Purple Piccalilli with Saffron

This is the kind of purple that stands out as a pretty fancy hue on a Farmer’s Market trestle. Less so as a hair colour, which is where my thoughts immediately went when I picked up this cauliflower. Perhaps I’ve just sealed my fate for my elderly years. What can you do?

As a cauliflower colour, this is so, so lovely and really anything purple gets the vote in my ‘what veggies shall we plant’ book, so we do have some of these beauties growing themselves to an edible size in our garden but in this case the Farmer’s Market just got there first. Either way, there’s cauliflower ideas circling. In technicolour.

I sat this beautiful cauli next to some purple beans from our greenhouse and the incredible, incredible wildcrafted local saffron I picked up at the Full Moon Farm Gate recently, and it was Bollywood on a plate. It had to be something Indian inspired with that level of riotous colour going on. Purple Piccalilli with Saffron – a delicious dish and quite possibly a basis for an extra happy outfit.

This is so good with dahl, or a potato curry, or even just with chapati as a quick snack during the day. Freshly ground spices are the deal clincher and totally worth the mortar and pestle effort, so if I can be a tad bossy and insist on those, I know you’ll love piccalilli if this is the first time you’ve tried it. This recipe is adapted from Pam Corbin’s Preserves Handbook, such a great book for all things English in jars.

 

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Purple Piccalilli with Saffron

makes 4 x 350g jars

 

1kg organic purple cauliflower and purple beans, cut into 3cm pieces

3 tbsp Himalayan salt

1/4 cup potato starch

5 tsp organic ground turmeric

5 tsp freshly ground organic yellow mustard seeds

1 1/2 tbsp whole organic yellow mustard seeds

1 tsp freshly ground organic cumin seeds

1 tsp freshly ground organic coriander seeds

2 1/2 cups cider vinegar (with mother if possible)

3/4 cup organic panela sugar

2 tbsp raw honey

10-15 organic saffron threads

 

Once you have cut the cauliflower and beans into similar sized pieces, sprinkle them with salt, mix through in a bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave for 24 hours. Rinse and drain. This helps to start the ‘cooking’ process without losing the crunch you want in your finished pickle.

Use a mortar and pestle to grind the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and 5 tsp of mustard seeds.

In a measuring jug or glass bowl mix the potato starch, turmeric, ground seed mix from the mortar and pestle with the whole mustard seeds. Add a little vinegar to make a paste and mix thoroughly.

In a saucepan, mix the remaining vinegar with the honey, saffron and sugar and bring to a boil. Take a little of the hot liquid and pour over the paste mix, stir and then transfer the paste mix back to the saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken.

When the sauce is ready, remove from heat and add the drained vegetables. Stir to coat the vegetables and then pack into sterilised jars and seal with vinegar proof lids. Leave to mature in the fridge for 4-6 weeks and serve with your favourite curry or in a sourdough sandwich with cashew cheese and rocket. Good stuff.

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moonlighting

Whole Spice Cola

With the very first Full Moon Farm Gate happening this Saturday night under not just a full moon, but a super full moon, I figured it would be especially good timing for my buddy Ben to share one of the most amazing recipes that will sit trestle-top on the night. Superfood cola. I can’t be entirely sure my earliest taste of this wasn’t the driving force to create the Full Moon Farm Gate in the first place. Thanks so, so much for sharing Ben, and even more for making this, it’ll be the coolest thing to be sipping on this Saturday night. After reading the epic ingredients list for this, all those heading to Langmeil on the 25th may well want to genuflect at the Moonlight Cola stall prior to purchase.

 

Beautiful pics, witty narration and epic recipe by Ben…

Cola Ingredients bottle and glass

 

 

So, this is a recipe for making cola syrup at home. I can’t remember exactly what started this little project – I suspect there may have been rum involved – but it’s developed into a series of still-running, sticky experiments which take over our kitchen for days at a time. Thankfully, it makes the house smell amazing throughout the process, otherwise I think I’d be making it in the garden shed by now.

A funny thing about cola is that it’s a wholly modern invention – well, late 1800’s anyway – and was made from the start with a lot of chemistry, using essential oils for flavour. Unlike a lot of recipes that are now mass-produced, there’s no ‘original homemade version’ we can go back to if we want the real thing (pun absolutely not intended). The name ‘cola’ comes from the Kola nut used in the original recipes, but Kola nut doesn’t really taste of much on its own – vaguely woody, and a bit bitter – it’s just there to provide caffeine. The real flavours that make something taste cola-ish are vanilla and sour citrus to offset the sweetness.

Anyway, the idea behind my tinkering is to make something that’s definitely cola, but by using real ingredients: whole spices, fresh zest and unprocessed sugars for sweetness. Really, it’s just a big, involved pot of some sort of mutant chai tea, with sugar added to turn it into a concentrated syrup. It keeps forever in the fridge – just add sparkling water whenever you fancy something sweet (yes, you can add rum if you’re a grown-up and/or a pirate).

 

Pestling

 

Whole Spice Cola

 1l water

Round one

3 whole vanilla beans

10 star anise nibs (1-and-a-bit whole stars)

10 green cardamom pods

10g coffee beans

10g cacao nibs or whole beans

5g cinnamon stick

2g long pepper

2g black peppercorns

4 cloves

10g dried açaí berry

 

Round two

24g tamarind pulp

20g fresh ginger

5g fresh turmeric

5g fresh galangal

pinch of saffron

2g lavender flowers

 

Round three

10g whole, fresh citrus leaves (lime, lemon, orange, cumquat are all good)

15g lemon zest

15g lime zest

15g orange zest

 

Round four

75g rapadura sugar

50g raw caster sugar

25g dark muscavado sugar

A pinch of sea salt

2tsp of citric or tartaric acid (taste!)

 

Take all the whole, woody spices (that’s all of round one, except the cinnamon, vanilla and açaí) and gently crack them in a mortar and pestle – we’re just trying to open the pods and seeds, without making any fine dusty bits. Dust is our nemesis, as you’re about to find out! Split the vanilla pods with a sharp knife – don’t worry about doing the famous ‘seed scrape’, for once we don’t need the floaty little specks. 

Starting cold, add the water and all the round one ingredients to a pot, and bring it to just under simmering. We’re really just making our giant pot of tea at this point, so we don’t need to see any bubbles. Keep it at this temperature for 30 minutes, stirring whenever you feel like it.

Lime and cinnamon

Add all the round two ingredients to the pot and give it a good stir. Keep it at the tea-brewing temperature for another 10 minutes, then go fishing for the tamarind pulp with your wooden spoon – it’ll be sitting in soft-ish lumps at the bottom of the pot. Either with the back of the spoon, or with your fingers if you’re feeling heatproof, break up the lumps so they dissolve nicely. Once that’s done, give everything a big stir, and let it keep brewing for another 30 minutes. 

Turn off the heat, then add the round three ingredients. Stir the pot well, cover it tightly, and let it cool completely. Adding the citrus ingredients last, and letting them infuse in the cooling liquid keeps the raw, zesty flavours better intact.

Infusing

Alright – what we’re dealing with now is the base flavour for our cola. Taste it: you should get sourness from the zest and tamarind, big earthy dark flavours from all the woody spices, and some sweetness and a big dose of vanilla perfume. It will taste bitter, too – just like you’d expect an hours-long-brewed tea to. That’s fine, even desirable. The real challenge now is our nemesis – the floatie. I’m going to digress on a little bit of science here (if I don’t bring science to a guest-post on the Scullery blog, I’ve failed) – but if you want to skip this part, be warned. There is filtering in your future. Lots of it.

So, the science. It’s about bubbles. Bubbles belong in cola like, well, like they belong in champagne. The problem with our lovely home-infused concoction is that it’s full of all the little floaty particles that separated from our delicious whole ingredients. Bubbles and floaty-particles are really, really good friends – as soon as sparkling water touches a floaty-particle, a big new bubble springs into being (bonus nerd points – every particle is a potential nucleation site). If there are thousands of floaty-particles in your syrup, then you get thousands of bubbles all at once – which gives your glass a head like badly homebrewed beer, and you a flat drink about 30 seconds later. Incidentally, I imagine this is why the original and ‘clone’ recipes you see floating around for the famous, mass-produced colas all call for essential oils of orange, lemon, neroli – you get some of the flavour without any floaties).

Anyway, presuming you’re going to mix your cola syrup with some lightly sparkling water we need to get our syrup as clear and free of floaty bits as we practically can. Let’s get started:

First, slowly pour off the liquid, through a colander and into a bowl. If you’ve got a fancy conical one, use that. That removes the bits bigger than 5mm or so. Save the vanilla beans, and throw the rest in the compost. Clean your pot, then pour the liquid back into it, this time through a fine mesh sieve. Pour slowly (you don’t want to push bits through the mesh with the force of the liquid), and tap gently on the side of the sieve to encourage things if you like. Definitely don’t rub spoons or anything around inside the sieve – let gravity do its thing. We’re down to soft pieces smaller than about 1mm now, which are still plenty big enough for bad nucleation to happen – we’ve got to keep going!

Set yourself up a clear glass bottle, funnel, and the clean mesh sieve. Pour the liquid gently through the sieve again to fill the bottle. Cap the bottle, and put it in the fridge overnight.

Decanting

The next day, you should find a layer of sediment has settled to the bottom of the bottle. Gently, gently take the bottle and pour off the clear liquid on top, back into the pot. Stop before you hit the goo in the bottom. If you want to save every last drop, pour the goo layer back through the sieve, and into a paper coffee filter. You might also see some yellowish solidified oils around the neck of the bottle – don’t worry, they’re there as evidence we’ve used real, proper ingredients, and they’ll reincorporate once you add the sugar.

Now, if you want super-crystal-clear syrup, you can paper-coffee-filter the liquid at this point. Be warned though – filtering through paper takes hours (or days, as I found out while experimenting). If you’re going to do it, set up lots of funnels and lots of filter papers, to spread the load out as much as you can. If you can’t be bothered with this step, just be gentle when you pour the finished syrup – the last little bits tend to settle out in the fridge over time.

When you’re happy with the amount and clarity of the liquid, gently warm it in the pot, just enough to take the chill off. Pour all the sugar into a clean bottle, add the liquid, and shake and stir until everything’s dissolved (you can be rough with it, it’s cool!). Now’s the time to have a taste test as you add the final two ingredients: the sea salt and the acid. The salt is a funny thing – you definitely won’t taste anything salty, but it really brings out the flavours of everything else. The acid is perhaps a debatable point: with everything else being completely whole and natural, it seems a shame to add it, but it gives the finished drink a sourness and ‘rightness’ that I just haven’t been able to get with any other ingredient. Tartaric acid is my pick – it has the handy benefit of preventing the syrup crystalizing in the fridge, and seems to help the mixed drink hold onto its bubbles better. In any case, both acids are naturally found in fruit: citric in citruses, tartaric in grapes (amongst other things), and if you use baking powder in a cake, you’re using tartaric acid anyway. You can easily, easily overdo the acid, though, so add a little bit, mix up a mouthful with water, then adjust until you have it as sour as you like. My syrup usually has about 3 teaspoons per litre, but you’ll need to adjust depending on all your other ingredients. 

For the final drink, I usually use 6:1 sparkling water to syrup – roughly 1 shot in a tumbler of sparkling water – but this syrup isn’t very sweet, as far as these things go. You can personalise the flavour a lot with the blend of sugars you use: More muscovado will give you caramelly-molasses flavour, and the dark-brown colour people expect from cola. Panela or rapadura brings mellow honey flavours, and lighter sugars (raw or even white) are sweet but very neutral, which let more of the herbs and zests come through. 

All that’s left is to bottle it however you like. Depending on how assiduous your filtering is, you’ll get about 800ml of syrup, and it’ll keep for months in the fridge. Cheers!

Finished

trust me

fresh pea and sprouted chickpea samosas

My brother has been responsible for some of my favourite food memories. He has an uncanny knack of leading me into unexpected situations that require another folder be added to the archive of all things delicious. But before the romance of this notion has us sounding like the Brady Bunch, I should say that our latest sibling food moment was in a food court. Yeah. My brother has taken me to some seriously dodgy places under the pretence of ‘trust me’. Thing is, regardless of how uninspiring the surrounds may be, he comes up with the flavour goods time and again.

So the food court is smack bang in the middle of Bangkok; 9 floors up into the clouds of smog, atop a department store full of more stuff than any one person could possibly need in a lifetime. You know the deal.

The scene initially played out like so many others, with my brother telling me to trust him and me whinging about why we couldn’t eat mango on the street under the tree near our restaurant. In this case the whinging continued on the train, through the rotating doors of the department store, through the perfume section and all the way up the escalators to the cashier who issued us with a card to be scanned each time we ordered something. My brother smiled and disappeared into the abyss of shoppers all looking for their favourite thing for lunch. I sighed like a spoilt brat at my ‘scan card’ and started to bumble my way into the crowd. And there they were, 2 super smiley faces behind a wall of samosas and a veritable cauldron of chai. It was probably only 3 minutes of chatting to these guys as they made fresh samosas and poured me a huge pot of chai, and I walked back to my brother with lunch and a completely different attitude.

Samosas and chai – so good. A sip of tea and a nibble of spicy samosa, and so it went for the next few minutes. My brother didn’t say a word other than, ‘You cool now? Shall we go?’ I think I talked about how the heat of the tea perfectly amplified the spice in the samosas, and how incredible the pastry was, and how I would never again eat samosas without drinking chai at the same time, all the way home. Another favourite food memory firmly logged in the archive. I just need to figure out how to remember the ‘trust me‘ part when my brother says he knows a good place for lunch.

These samosas are just one of perhaps a million versions, but they worked to make the most of fresh Spring peas and sprouted chickpeas, and the last of the coriander in our garden. I used a ‘Spring masala’ from Maya Tiwari’s book too. And there’s no deep frying with these. While the samosas are cooking, make your favourite recipe for chai – a big pot of it so you don’t risk running out before the samosas are eaten. We ate and drank ours on the front verandah overlooking the lavender and watching the runner ducks hunting snails – and it took me right back to that food court! So romantic.

 

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Fresh Pea & Sprouted Chickpea Samosas

makes 10 samosas

 

For the pastry:

 

1 cup organic wholemeal spelt flour

2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

A little water

 

For the filling:

 

1 organic potato, boiled and mashed 

1/2 cup organic peas, shelled

1/2 cup sprouted organic chickpeas (or use cooked chickpeas if you’d rather)

2 organic spring onions

1 cm slice of fresh organic ginger

3 tsp Spring Masala mix (below)

2 tsp tamarind puree

handful of fresh organic coriander leaves

1 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

Himalayan salt to taste

 

For the Spring Masala:

 

1 tsp organic cumin seeds

2 tbsp organic coriander seeds

1 tbsp organic yellow mustard seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 tsp organic cardamom

 

 

To make the masala, dry roast the spices until they are fragrant and then grind to a fine powder with a mortar and pestle.

 

To make the pastry, put all the ingredients into a food processor and add enough water to pull the dough together into a ball.

 

For the filling, put everything except the potato, peas and chickpeas into a food processor and blend until smooth. Then combine the paste with the remaining ingredients and eat some along the way as you prepare the samosas. I did this, so imagined you would too, and have allowed for extra filling so no one is caught out!

 

Pre heat the oven to 180C.

 

To assemble the samosas, divide the pastry into 5 equal balls and roll out to a thin disc. Cut each disc in half to create 10 crescent shapes. Place a couple of tablespoons, or so, of filling in the centre of each crescent of dough and then wrap up by pulling the sides over the filling and sealing them at the base of the samosa. You can just press the dough together with your fingers, no need for water.

 

Place the samosas onto a baking paper lined, or flour dusted, tray and cook for 15 minutes on one side, then turn each samosa over and cook for a further 15 minutes to brown the other sides.

 

Serve with copious amounts of chai. Nibble and sip.

 

You’ll have more Spring Masala than you need so use it in other curries or sprinkled over roasted veggies. So good. And if you’d like to sprout chickpeas, just soak them for a day first and then pop into a sprouting bag. We’ve been using a hemp fabric bag which means you can just dunk the whole bag in water and then leave to drain by tying the bag to a tap over the sink. Dunk it each day for 3-4 days and you’ll have lovely little tails on your chickpeas.

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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!