Category Archives: Recipe

Simple Living + Recipe Roasted Vegetables

A child of five could understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.” ~ Groucho Marx

Somewhere in our attempt at keeping up with the Jones, we seem to have lost our connection to the simple pleasures of life. Society and media encourage us towards more and more expensive, grandiose and pretentious tastes.  Whereas everyday gems are long forgotten, even dismissed for their ordinariness.  But that is the challenge that we humans face.

We tend to take our gifts for granted.  Unless they come wrapped in fancy trappings and are difficult to obtain, we seem to miss their intrinsic value.

What would it be like to actually appreciate the presence of the many unadorned gifts in your daily life?  The flowering of your terrace plant, the smile on your child’s lips, the appreciative glimmer in your partner’s eyes, the colorful sunset over a soothing sea? We starve ourselves of these daily blessings by failing to notice them. Instead, we are distracted by our impatient cravings for the rare designer label, the exotic vacation to far off lands, or more commonly, the validation of having provoked envy in others through the obtainment of such symbols of success.

Consider how your food preferences can remind you of all this.  Despite all the expensive restaurant meals, lavish parties, complicated recipes and exotic ingredients that you may have already sampled, your regular favorite is likely to be a basic, home cooked meal. Perhaps the jhunka-bhakar for the Maharashtrian, or the sambar-rice for the Tamilian. No matter which part of the world you come from, your own preferred fare will most likely be one of the simplest dishes of the region.  For example, one of the most popular pizzas in Italy is the original Margherita, which has only tomato, mozzarella, and basil.  Now, isn’t that food for thought?

So while I am not dissuading you from your ambitions and aspirations, what I am proposing is that you re-discover an appreciation for the day-to-day ordinariness around you.  You may be amazed at how much is going unnoticed.  If you need any help, as Groucho suggested, call for a child.

After all, they say God is in the details.  We just need to look.

This post was inspired by the extraordinary taste, nourishment and satisfaction provided by this uncomplicated dish… The slow cooking and light herbs proved ideal in bringing out the nuanced taste of each vegetable in generous deliciousness.

roasted vegetables

Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients
4 cups                        mixed vegetables (bite sized)- Cauliflower, 
                                     Potatoes, Mushrooms, Yellow Pepper, French Beans
3/4th cup                cherry tomatoes, halved
4                                  small red onions – cut into wedges
8-10 cloves             garlic,  finely chopped
4 leaves                    garlic chives
4 sprigs                     marjoram
4 tablespoons        olive oil
3                                   lime leaves, broken
Salt
Dried Herbs (mixed)
Optional:  Small amount of crumbled cheese(feta) and paprika
Method
  1. Coat onions in salt and oil, roast for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix rest of dressing, toss and coat vegetables.
  3. Add roasted onions on top.
  4. Cover dish with aluminium foil.
  5. Bake at 230 C for 40 minutes.
  6. Optional topping of crumbled feta and paprika

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Filed under Life and Living, Meal Experience, Recipe, World and Community

Too Much Of A Good Thing + Recipe Apple Crumble

With all the emphasis on optimism, manifestation, happiness and positivity, we tend to focus our attention and desires on all that we deem to be ‘good’.  However, is it possible that there is something like too much of a good thing?

As a young child, my nephew was exceedingly fond of Gulab Jamuns.  On one occasion, he declared that he would skip the entire meal and eat only the dessert.  His insistence was indulged, because no one really expected him to eat as many as he did.  At the end of the meal, his relationship with his favorite dessert was forever transformed.  He did not eat another Gulab Jamun for the next ten years or so.

Food offers us a great lesson in diversity, balance and wholesomeness.  The success of any meal lies in finding the right blend of various flavors such that we enjoy a rounded, rich and savory experience.  If you happen to like spicy food, try adding too much chilly and you will soon see how a potentially wonderful dish quickly turns into a disaster.  Or add too much sugar to your dessert and you will find it makes you feel sick.

Yet, we often fail to apply this mindful balance to the happenings of life.  What if we recognized that it is the contrasts in our experience that lend such a rich texture and depth to our life?  That our habitual labeling of events as good or bad, and the consequent desire and rejection of the same lead to a never ending sense of insecurity, imbalance and incompletion?

What would it be like to welcome all of life, in it’s various colors and hues, without insisting on just one color, or disowning particular shades?

As I look back at this eventful year, I am sincerely grateful for all that it has brought.  For me, it has been a landmark  year in personal growth and evolution.  And no growth has ever come without it’s growing pains.  However, it has revealed within me a greater love and peace.  The ‘Sparkling Stillness‘ as I like to call it, seems deeper than ever before. So I am grateful.  For all that has happened, and for all the souls who made it what it was.

This Apple Crumble is rather representative of the wholesome balance I feel right now.  Richly textured, nourishing and nutritious, with just the right amount of tart, spice, sweetness, comfort and fulfilling satiation that comes from having fully lived all shades of life 🙂

Wishing you all a de-lightful New Year of enriching experiences!

Apple Crumble

Ingredients

3 Large Apples, cored, peeled and cut into small chunks
Little Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/3 rd cup Raisins, soaked in water and then dried

2 cups Swiss Muesli
80-100 grams melted (salted) butter
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar

Method

Toss the apple chunks in the sugar, lemon juice and spices.  Flatten into a buttered pie dish.  Sprinkle raisins over this layer.  Mix the Muesli, melted butter and brown sugar until it looks like bread crumbs.  Flatten this layer on top of the apples and raisins.

Bake in a preheated 180 C oven for about 25 minutes.

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Filed under Flow, Meal Experience, Recipe

Celebrating Life + Recipe Pineapple Upside-down Cake

Everyone has a different way of coping with loss.

Today is Christmas and it also happens to be my parent’s wedding anniversary.  My mother passed away nearly twenty years back.  Her loss was sudden and catastrophic for us all. Several loved ones have left after that.  Its been a long journey, and over the years, I have found that what brings me peace is focusing on the gratitude that they lived.  Instead of sinking into depression, I recollect the wonderful moments we had together and how  deeply they have touched and influenced my life and continue to do so.  So birthdays and anniversaries remain days of gratitude and celebration.  One month after my husband passed away, my friends and I celebrated his birthday with a wonderful party at our regular haunt.  We played his favorite music, ate his favorite food, clinked many a glass in good cheer and laughed at his idiosyncrasies.  The attitude took some by surprise, but to their credit – they joined in with whole-hearted support.  Several of them have told me how touched they were and how it helped them cope with his loss.

I have shared this approach with my clients as well.  Emotional Freedom Techniques has improved its efficacy.  Using The Choices Method in EFT, I ask them to focus on a mental snapshot of one of their happiest times together.  We tap for the grief, helplessness, etc.. , using an affirmation like: “Even though I am overwhelmed with grief, I am grateful __ was in my life.”  We then do another round focusing on this snapshot and then a last round alternating between the two.  I cannot tell you what a transformation it has brought about in grieving clients.

In this world of duality, let us embrace both realities of life – living and moving on are two sides of the same coin.

Today – I chose to make a modified version of an upside down Pineapple Cake, because my mom enjoyed it.  For my father, I made my version of Egg Florentine.  (Don’t ask me what the rose petals and almonds are doing on the cake, that was his idea!)

Merry Christmas to you all!  Let the good cheer spread far and wide 🙂

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

pineapple cake

Ingredients

Topping
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar (I used white)
1 medium pineapple (or 3/4th tin)
1/4  teaspoon Vanilla Bean scraping

 

 

 

Cake

1 egg
1/4 th cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean scraping
1/2 cup  milk
1/4th cup salted butter
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Method

Melt butter, sugar and vanilla together.  Add a little water if required.  Pour into a buttered cake dish.  Place Pineapple slices.

Beat the egg, add sugar, melted butter and milk, then the vanilla and sieved flour and baking powder.  Pour batter over the pineapple.  Bake in a preheated over (180 C) for about 40-45 minutes.  Take out and turn upside!  If you use white sugar, it will look like mine.  The more traditional one looks caramelized because of brown sugar.

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Filed under Life and Living, Meal Experience, Recipe, Relationships

Meeting Points + Recipe Spinach Vegetable Rice

“Do not do unto others as you expect they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Consider this – on one occasion, I had some friends over and asked whether they would like some tea. Ended up preparing a boiled chai with ginger, one without ginger, black tea with lemon, one green tea, one black coffee without sugar, one cold coffee with full milk and a few more.  You get the idea, I am sure.

Everyone has their own tastes, preferences and priorities. Meeting of interests and a commonality in ideas and values can generate much togetherness and synergy.  The tendency can be to start expecting this similarity to spill over into most, if not all areas.  However, this need not be the case.  Everyone has their own approach, likes and dislikes and simply because there is a common agreement in some of these –  it need not extend to all areas.  

While it seems an obvious observation, in hindsight, I realize that it took me a while to remember this and to stop making any such assumptions about another, regardless of how well you feel you know them.  Such assumptions could lead to misunderstandings or differences that can be avoided.

I have also found it useful to remember that there should be no insistence to convert others to your point of view.  If someone believes he must have his meat for protein intake, so be it.  If another feels he must go vegan, so be it.  Everyone has their own reasons, understanding and compulsions.  Just as I have my own.  So live and let live.

Hence, today, while I may share what I have learnt, or how I feel about things, there is no longer any forceful attempt to convince another of my chosen ways.  As Gibran said beautifully, “Say not, I have found the truth, but rather, I have found a truth.

This post came about as I was preparing a meal for a friend.  I wanted to use spinach and mushrooms and for me, cheese goes beautifully with the two.  But my friend avoids dairy.  So I made this tasty, nutritious fried rice instead.  When I told him this, he said, “But a little cheese would have been okay.  You didn’t have to change plans.”

The point being – when you respect each other’s opinion and give the space – people are more than likely to meet you half way 🙂

Spinach, Mushroom, Broccoli fried rice

Ingredients

15-20 Spinach leaves, chopped
1 large Red Onion, thinly sliced
4 large Portabella Mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 or 3 large florets of Broccoli, sliced long
1/2 cup semi cooked green peas
1 tomato, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Red Bird’s Eye Chilly
Soy Sauce
Salt
Pepper
Sugar
1 tablespoon oil

2 cups cooked Rice

Method:

Fry onions, garlic and chilly. Add mushrooms, broccoli and seasonings. Stir a few minutes on heat. Add spinach. Once it has wilted, add rice, peas and lastly, the sliced tomato.

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December 20, 2012 · 9:16 am

What does your cooking say about you?

Who you are shows up in everything you do…  

Consider this:  If its 2 minute noodles that you make when you have to cook – well, that could mean you like to get things done quickly, without a fuss, just meeting the basic needs of the moment.   If you add in the cheese, vegetables or the eggs – you probably have an interest in flavor, as long as there isn’t too much of a fuss.  Or you aren’t completely insensitive to nutrition and self care.  On the other extreme, if you enjoy preparing an elaborate 7 course meal, then this could mean a willingness for hard work, liking for details and an interest in sensual tastes!

This thought came to me as I prepared my nth salad in the last few months.  One of the reasons that I make them so often is of course the fact that I have found a great supplier for my greens.  But there is certainly a great deal of alignment between making Salads and who I am:

Salad

  1. Keep it Short and Simple : I have a preference for crispness, essence, efficiency and speed.  
  2. Start with what you have:  I rarely look up a recipe and go shopping for ingredients.   My cooking is usually a putting together of what ever is on hand.  My approach to life has been pretty much the same… if life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.  Or reach for the tequila and salt!
  3. Be Resourceful and Adaptable: I generally make things up as I go along, modifying the process as per what happens along the way.  
  4. Enjoy Variety:  A small number of ingredients can be mixed to provide a wide range of tastes.  Keeps things interesting!
  5. Make it Colorful:  The bright, radiant colors appeal to me not only in food, but in life.  I like to think its been a fun and colorful life.
  6. Be Health Conscious: With my personal life and work both revolving around matters of holistic health and well being, this is a given.

I could go on with this flattering list 🙂

But the point is to encourage a similar introspection for you…

  • What do your cooking habits say about you?
  • Do you now notice something you haven’t appreciated about yourself?
  • Do you now feel there is something you would like to change?

If you find this inquiry interesting or helpful in any way, do share your insights as comments!

Recipe: Iceberg Salad

Iceberg lettuce + Cottage Cheese + Yellow Bell Pepper +Black Olives + Cherry Tomatoes + Green Pepper
Tossed in Olive Oil + Salt + Paprika + Dried Basil & Oregano

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The Magic Ingredient:You + Recipe Spinach Pancakes

Invest a small part of your self in the ingredients and experience the difference…

The growing interest in kitchen gardens and terrace farming is fueled by many factors.   I won’t discuss the more voiced concerns over pesticides,  genetically modified produce, hidden costs of packaging and transport, impact on the local environment, culture, etc… Instead, I invite you to notice some rather simple, less obvious benefits in growing at least some of your own ingredients.  Experiment with growing a few herbs, fruits or vegetables.  Other than their beauty and freshness, you may also benefit in other ways.

I am reminded of an instance at my sister’s house.  They had planted a few strawberry shrubs for the first time. When one small strawberry showed up, there was great excitement among adults and children alike.  Every day the kids would marvel at the small signs of growth and change.  When it was finally decided that the strawberry was to be ‘harvested’, they all gathered together in happy anticipation.  The single strawberry was cut into 6 pieces so that it could be tasted by all those present at that time!

This degree of awe and appreciation can only come by investing of yourself. Those small acts of watering the plant, noticing it change and simply gazing at the marvels of nature for a few minutes everyday – makes you a part of that plant.  Your energies are interlinked with it and when its used – its with a great deal of love, reverence and gratitude.  Even a few leaves of Kadipatta (curry leaves) will be broken off with thought and care. Because you would know firsthand, the amount of time and nurturing that it took for those few leaves to come into existence for your benefit.

Just try it for your self!

Spinach Pancakes

Ingredients

15-20 Spinach leaves, finely chopped after discarding stalks
10-12  Chives (fresh from the terrace garden!), finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Salt
Pepper
Paprika
2 Eggs
3/4th cup Milk
6 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons grated Cheese
Oil

(Makes 4 pancakes)

Method:

  1. Heat a little oil, add onions, chives, spinach, nutmeg, salt, pepper and cook till dry.
  2. Beat up the eggs, add milk and flour and whip the mixture again.
  3. Then add cheese and the cooked spinach mixture, whip together.
  4. Heat a little oil, pour in about 2 ladles of the mixture, sprinkle paprika.
  5. Cover for about 30 seconds.
  6. Flip around and cook the other side.

The mixture tends to set, cook and brown very quickly.
For those who don’t mind a little indulgence, serve with a pat of butter and a spoonful of Sundried Tomato Pesto on the side.

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Filed under Healing Foods, Meal Experience, Recipe

Healing Kitchen + Red Radish Apple Salad

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food
~ Hippocrates (often referred to as the father of Western Medicine)

My grandmother was extremely knowledgeable about food and herb remedies for a wide variety of diseases. At an early age, I was taught that almost  every herb, spice, fruit and vegetable could be a powerful, natural and effective remedy.  She was naturally attuned with plants and animals and told me that many of our rituals that required women to gather flowers and particular plants for ceremonies actually had hidden benefits of exposing them to oxygen rich, healing environments.  In hindsight, I feel faith held more power over the people than science and hence useful practices were garbed in religious rituals.  Today, with science being elevated to the status of an unquestioned God, these practices have been reduced to meaningless dictum, rarely understood or practiced with useful intent.

I am slowly building up a ‘kitchen’ and ‘healing’ garden and every time I pluck a leaf, I am reminded of my grandmother’s words…”Apologize to the plant for breaking off any piece of it and give it your sincere thanks.  They too have feelings and we must respect and honor their energies.  Because of them, we are able to partake of this nourishment.”  Her simple wisdom has been proven true by any number of scientific observations that have measured how plants respond to external stimuli, communicate with each other and the inter-connectedness of it all.   This simple conscious act of gratitude is in itself greatly healing, because it reminds us of our place in the world.  The world does not revolve around us; we are a part of a larger whole.

Rich in anti-oxidants, vitamin C and other micro-nutrients, this low calorie salad happens to contain ingredients that can help build immunity and combat cough, cold or flu symptoms.  It also has an interesting, delicious taste! Give it a try and let me know how you liked it…

By the way, honey and ginger are great for the throat, and Oranges (Vitamin C) or raw garlic (natural antibiotic) are very effective for colds.

Red Radish Apple Salad

Ingredients

8 small red radishes, thinly sliced
2 small red apples, cored, thinly sliced
2 cups chopped greens
Dressing:
1 tablespoon Mustard Oil Dressing
2 finely chopped chive stalks
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons Honey
Paprika
Salt

Method:

  1. Prepare dressing
  2. Coat radish and apple slices well in dressing
  3. Toss in the assorted greens

Enjoy!

This article is for informative purposes only is and is not intended as a substitute for medical advise.

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Filed under Healing Foods, Meal Experience, Recipe