Ginger

Chickpea coconut curry with seasonal greens

This is a deliciously comforting meal to keep you warm in the winter months, my definition of comfort food. It is inspired by my  Iranian culture and travels to Sri Lanka & India. It's also 100% whole food plant based made with nothing but pure goodness. I've recently started an online course in plant based nutrition with the Center for Nutrtion Studies founded by Dr. T Colin Campbell and it is such a joy to enhance my knowledge of this lifestyle. It has also influenced my food choices, I'm eating more greens than usual and using a lot less fat. The studies in this field are absolutely incredible and it's so interesting to see how much research has been done in the field of plant based nutrition, especially in relation to chronic diseases. I would suggest reading Whole by Dr. Campbell or watching one of his many talks online if you're curious to know just how much our diet affects our health.

Anyhow moving on to the recipe!

The rice and tahdig, crispy Persian rice literally meaning bottom of the pot, are made in a rice cooker. I've found that this is the most foolproof, and fuss-free way of making it without burning the rice. However if you don't have a rice cooker you can also use a non stick pot, preferably a non toxic one like the ones Green Pan make. Follow the instructions to cook the rice as stated below, then when it comes to making the tahdig, make sure you cook the rice on low heat so that it doesn't burn. I admit this is quite an art and gets better with experience and much easier if you use a rice cooker!

The greens can easily be replaced with whatever is in season in your part of the world.

(Serves 6) *Use organic ingredients where possible

Curry

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric, diced or 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, diced or1/2 tablespoon ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 6 plum tomatoes or 3 vine tomatoes, diced
  • 1 kohlrabi, skinned & diced or 1 medium potato
  • 4 teaspoons coconut butter
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, I used brown chickpeas
  • 4 mustard leaves, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 6 spinach leaves, chopped

Coconut Rice & Tahdig

  • 4 cups brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups dried shredded coconut (unsweetened, organic)
  • 8 cups water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or another high smoke point oil)

Coriander vegan "yoghurt"

  • 1 cup fresh coriander, leaves and stalks
  • 2 handfuls cashew nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Apple cidre vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
  • Pinch of sea salt & black pepper 1/2 cup water

Method

1. Rinse the rice a couple times, strain and place in a rice cooker, add the 8 cups water, dried coconut and salt and leave to cook, approximately 30 mins.

*If you don't have a rice cooker please read the notes above.

2. While the rice cooks, add the tablespoon of coconut oil to a medium sized pot and on medium/high heat until the oil melts. Add the diced onion and let cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic, turmeric and curry powder, stir to combine let cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Then add the diced tomatoes, reduce heat to medium/low and allowing the tomatoes to reduce for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally add the kohlrabi/potato, coconut butter, chickpeas, and enough water to cover the ingredients by half an inch or so. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.

3. Once the rice has cooked through, gently scoop the rice from the edges of the pot towards the middle to form a pyramid shape. Make 5-6 holes in the rice pyramid by gently poking the back of a spatula through to the bottom of the pot. Pour a small about of the melted coconut oil into each hole, and leave to cook for another 15-20 mins, this is how you get the crispy rice.

4. Add the chopped spinach and mustard leaves to the curry, cover the pot and let cook for 5 minutes, until wilted. Stir to combine, remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the flavours to settle.

5. In the meantime place all the "yoghurt" ingredients in a blender (I used my magic bullet), and blend until smooth. 6. Take most of the rice out the pot, except for the bottom layer touching the base of the pot, and using a wooden spatula gently cut and flip over the thin crispy bottom layer.

7. Serve up the dish and enjoy! **This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days and usually tastes better the next day as the flavours infuse further.

Summertime Homemade Popsicles

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I know I haven't had the chance to post a recipe up on the blog for a while... We went away on a family holiday to Jordan & Dubai and as soon as I got back I went straight into weekly special orders, my first ever group cooking class, followed by lots of catering orders and few new exciting developments which I'll hopefully be able to write about soon :)

I've been practising yoga on the balcony recently as the weather is absolutely beautiful over here at the moment, and this recipe idea came to me on one hot morning! It was a lot hotter than usual and after I finished I was drenched in sweat, all I could think of was having a nice fruity popsicle. I rummaged around the cupboards and found my old popsicle moulds, reached for the few ingredients we had in the fridge and decided to make some mango, coconut milk, lime, and ginger popsicles.

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Mangos are very alkaline, which help balance the acidity in your body, they are also high in antioxidants which help protect the body against certain types of cancers.

Coconut milk has a multitude of benefits so here are a few, it's anti-bacterial, high in good fats, and iron, which is especially good for women.

Limes are an amazing source of vitamin C, they also help keep the body's blood sugar levels balanced, which is a good combination with mango as they are high in natural sugars.

Finally, I love ginger, not only does it add a nice depth of flavour but it's so good for you too! It helps reduce inflammation, aids in digestion & nausea and has also been linked to studies which have shown that it kills cancer cells.

So not only will this popsicle cool you down in the summer heat, but it will also be doing a lot of good to your body, in contrast to the sugar and chemical filled popsicles you can by at the shops! Again, if you don't have all the ingredients, try experimenting with what you have at home.

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Ingredients (makes 6)

1 medium ripe mango

1 frozen ripe banana

1/2 cup coconut milk/cream

Juice of 1 lime

1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled

Method

Scoop the flesh out of the mango, place in a blender along with all the other ingredients and pulse until you have a nice smooth consistency.

Fill the moulds with the thick mixture, tap the moulds on the counter to make sure the mixture has been evenly dispersed, then place in the freezer for 4 hours, or over night.

Enjoy!

Meat or Beet Burgers

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I made these juice pulp burgers when I was still in London and decided to post the recipe up as I had a lot of people ask me how to make them. I was inspired by  The Whole Pantry App, and would recommend buying this app if you haven't already, not only is it filled with amazing healthy and delicious recipes, there are also a bunch of very insightful articles, and the proceeds go to charity!

So if you've been juicing a lot of beetroot lately, or if you just want to try these out and have a beetroot juice as an added benefit give this a go. I had made a batch of beetroot, apple, carrot and ginger juice earlier in the morning and saved the pulp in the fridge so that I could have these for lunch. To be honest I didn't know what to expect and was quite dubious so I invited my neighbour Caroline (who I miss dearly) over to try out with me and we were both very pleasantly surprised!

Ingredients (Makes 4)

1/2 onion - diced handful of fresh parsley - chopped roughly 1 clove garlic - minced 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon paprika 5 tablespoons ground chia seeds 1/2 cup water

Juice pulp of: 2 medium beetroot 2 carrots 1 apple small piece of ginger

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Squeeze the pulp over a sieve to remove any extra juice.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well, making sure the chia seeds are mixed in evenly.

Measure out 1/2 cup of the mixture for each burger and shape the patties with your hands.

Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat.

Leave them bake for approximately 50 mins, turning them over half way through.

Remove them from the oven when done and serve with a minty yoghurt sauce, a bun or a green salad.

Enjoy!

Sunshine Juice

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I wasn't feeling well last week and the day I made this juice was the day I started to get better. Just looking into the glass and seeing all the beautiful natural colours lifted my mood and helped me be more positive! So I decided to call it the Sunshine Juice, because it felt like I was drinking up the summer sun with every sip, even though it was wet and windy outside.

Oranges are filled with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and protect your body from viral infections. Beetroots have a lot of antioxidants so they aid your body in fighting off any nasty toxins, and are high in iron which helps if your feeling fatigued. Kale is an anti-inflammatory and again an antioxidant. Carrots have a list of benefits, they are a great antiseptic, and rich in Vitamin A which assists the liver in flushing out toxins from the body. Cucumbers are a great source of B vitamins, Vitamin C (found in the skin, so please don't peel them!), and mostly made of water so are a great for keeping your body hydrated. Ginger helps the absorption of nutrients into your body and has a wonderful warming quality, which is probably why this juice reminded me of the summer sun!

sunshine juice

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 large oranges 6-8 curly kale leaves - stems removed 1/2 beetroot 2 carrots 1/2 large cucumber Big piece of ginger

Put all the ingredients into the juicer, let it work its magic and enjoy!

Green Juicie and Chia Seed "Pudding"

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This is a great breakfast packed with super foods which will help wake you up and get you through an action packed morning with a lot of chia power! A juicie is what I like to call a mix between a juice and a smoothie, I normally make them when I want a smoothie but don't want chunky bits of fibre, for instance when I'm using kale. The chia "pudding" is packed full of goodness, chia seeds are a great source of protein, and a little goes a long way. Coconuts work wonders on your immune system with antiviral, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, to name a few. And goji berries are again a great source of protein, Vitamin C, fibre, iron and antioxidants. You can replace the water with almond/soy/hemp milk if you like but since I used almond milk in the juicie I thought it may be too heavy to have in both.

Please Note: Items marked with * suggest using organic products if possible.

Chia "Pudding" Ingredients (serves 1)

2 tablespoons chia seeds* 1 1/2 teaspoons goji berries* 1 tablespoon dried coconut chips* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder 1/2 cup of filtered water

Place the chia seeds and cinnamon powder in a bowl/cup and pour the 1/2 cup of water over them and stir. Then add the goji berries and coconut chips, and set aside while you make your green juicie.

Green Juicie Ingredients (serves 1)

4 stems of kale * 1 piece of ginger (to your taste preference) 1 apple* (I used Braeburn) 1/4 avocado 1/2 cup blueberries* 1/2 cup almond milk Scoop of green superfood powder of your choice (optional) 1/2 teaspoon edible dried rose petals (optional)

Juice the kale, ginger, and apple. Then add the blueberries, avocado, almond milk, and green superfood powder (optional) to the juice and blitz them with a handheld/regular blender. Sprinkle the dried rose petals on top and enjoy the mood enhancing aromas with every sip!

Curried Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup

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I have started juicing a lot of vegetables lately and when I do, I save the pulp from the juicer, which is full of fibre, and try to reuse it. It seems like such a waste not to, and if you know me you will know that one thing I hate is wasting food. So the original recipe was made with carrot, fennel and ginger juice pulp but you can also make it with grated carrot, fennel and ginger too. I made this soup the other night for some friends and accompanied it with some delicious fresh Turkish bread from the shop up the road.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 medium butternut squash 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1/2 yellow onion (diced) 2 cloves garlic (crushed) 2 teaspoons curry powder 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon turmeric 2 carrots (grated) 1/2 fennel bulb (grated) 1 relatively large piece of ginger (grated) 1 litre vegetable stock (I use Marigold) 1/2 cup yellow split peas Chilli infused olive oil or olive oil & chilli flakes 6 stalks Tuscan kale/cavolo nero (de-stemmed) Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Peel and chop the butternut squash into small pieces, season with salt and pepper, place on a lined baking tray and pop in the oven for 20 mins. Get your largest soup pot and heat up the coconut oil in it. Then place the onion in the pot and let cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes, followed by the crushed garlic. Add all the spices and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the grated vegetables/juice pulp and leave to cook for about 5 minutes until the flavours infuse. Then add the vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and with a handheld blender, blend the soup into a nice smooth consistency. If you are using juice pulp I would recommend sieving out the soup into a large bowl after blending to avoid having pieces of ginger fibre in the smooth soup. Put the pot back on medium heat and add the yellow split peas, and salt and pepper to taste and then let cook for at least 25 mins. In the meantime de-stem the kale so that you are left with the leaves. Just before you serve the soup, put a pan on low heat and warm up the chilli infused olive oil/olive oil & chilli flakes and quickly cook the kale for approx. 2 minutes. Divide the soup up into bowls and place the kale on top. Enjoy!

The Best Juice...Ever!

I just made this juice and would recommend it to anyone with a juicer. It was so good that I didn't even have a chance to take a photo of it!

I would recommend using organic ingredients if you can get a hold of them.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 fennel bulb 1/2 box of blueberries 2 small apples (I like to use Braeburn) 1 small bunch of basil (leaves and stems) Ginger to taste (I used a big chunk) 1 teaspoon linseeds/chia seeds/cinnamon (optional)

Cut the fennel, and apples into large chunks and put them in the juicer. Then add the blueberries, ginger and basil. Sprinkle some linseeds/chia seeds/cinnamon on top for an extra nutritional kick. Enjoy xx

Turmeric and Ginger Tea

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I usually make a pot of this tea first thing in the morning before I start my yoga practice so that it is nice and infused and just the right temperature to drink when I'm done. It's super easy and a lovely way to start the day. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, and ginger is a great immune booster.

I like to use a pot with a mesh strainer to put all the ingredients in, alternatively you can use a tea filter or make it in a saucepan and use a sieve to separate the liquid.

Ingredients (serves 4)

Fresh ginger to taste 2 teaspoons turmeric powder 3/4 cardamom seeds

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Put the kettle on so that the water is boiling while you prepare the ingredients. Grate or chop up the ginger, I like to use a lot which comes to about a tablespoon once grated. Crush the cardamom seeds in a pestle and mortar so that the interior seeds fall out. Place all the ingredients, as well as the turmeric powder in the strainer/filter/saucepan. Pour the hot water over them and let steep for at least 5 minutes so that all the flavours infuse. Enjoy!