Quick meals

Quick meals (once you have a stock!)

Chickpea Soup (River Cottage, light and easy, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – a favourite cook book)

Serves 2 – 4

 

Favourite recipies

The following books and recipes have been used frequently by me over the years;

 

River Cottage – light and easy – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

This is a wheat and milk free cook book. I've found some that are also gluten and sugar free and many that are egg free and that also follow food combining principles. Here are some excellent recipes;

Breads – Carrot cornbread p67, Socca p74,

Soups – Chickpea soup p114, Roasted fennel & lemon soup p122, Creamy roasted tomato soup p12,

Salads – Tomatoes with tahini p166,

Veg Caper & olive pesto p278,

Fruit – Pear, ginger and cashew fool  p332,

Treats Castagnaccio p366 (use coconut nectar sugar instead of brown sugar), Chestnut marmalade muffins (2 eggs for 10 muffins) p376, Spiced date and almond cookies p387 (2 eggs for 12-14 cookies), Cashew cream p394

 

Leon – Fast vegetarian – Jane Baxter & Henry Dimbleby.

A very inspiring cookbook and packed with great food ideas. A journey of food and family, complimented with lovely photography. Happy cooking!

Veg Stock – p23,

Soups – Spinach & lentil soup p59,

Fritters & Pancakes – Turnip pancakes p99,

Curry – Stuffed aubergine curry p177 (you don't need to have small aubergines, just slice thinly)

 

River Cottage – much more veg – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Red pepper and olive hash – A creative and tasty way to use leftover cooked spuds or mash. p22,

Fragrant veg stoup – A comforting dish, somewhere between a stew and a soup. p64,

New potatoes and lentils with coriander and tamarind sauce – delicious. p98,

Green garlic and carrots with preserved lemon – This simple side-dish is a real delicacy and treat for the senses. p114,

Roast squash and walnuts, two ways – A light dish that works great with salad leaves. p127,

Fennel, lentil and seaweed soup – It turns out velvety in texture, need I say more! p203,

Carrots with dukka and preserved lemon – A tempting mix of bashed nuts and spices. p250,

Green new potatoes – Hot little new potatoes, fantastic tossed with this lovely raw sauce. p323,

Squash mash – Enriched with peanut butter, trickled with chili oil, quite tasty. p358,

 

 

Deliciously Ella – with friends – Ella Woodward.

Great book with exiting and wholesome recipes. Ella provides an abundance of additional information on healthy eating in all of her books and if your new to eating a plant based diet this book is a fantastic starting point.

Sweet poatoe noodles with a creamy peanut satay sauce – tastes as good as it sounds! p86,

Garlicky black beans A simple way of adding rich flavour to any meal, healthy & hearty. p190,

 

 

The case for soup stock, wild foods and eating more fruit 

It is common knowledge that the soil is far more depleted now than decades ago.  A study of British nutrient data from 1930 to 1980, published in the British Food Journal, found that in 20 vegetables the average calcium content had declined 19 percent; iron 22 percent; and potassium 14 percent. Vitamin levels are even more depleted. The Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data between 1975 and 1997 found vitamin A levels down 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent. These reports are more than 20 years old now so the situation will be worse now. Add to this soil depletion, fertiliser 'enhanced', herbicide raised, pesticide sprayed, genetically altered and hydrogen ripened and the fact that because fertilised food is forced to grow more quickly their roots are more shallow  – all these are good reasons to buy organic whenever you can. Organic plants are allowed to ripen in their own time so they have deeper roots which take up more space and are therefore better able to store nutrients, this is especially true of fruit, since many fruits grow on trees 

So to increase your nutrient levels;

  1. Eat more wild foods that haven't had the nutrition breed out of them. For example dandelions have seven times more phytonutrients than spinach, which we consider a “superfood.”
  2. Make a stock for your soup – by boiling a large quantity of vegetables you have the resultant water which is swimming in nutrients (yes I know the argument about eating raw food for higher vitamin and mineral content but warming food helps with assimilation, especially if your digestion is not so strong and the cold energy of raw food can compromise your ability to turn the food into available energy).
  3. Eat more fruit. Since many fruits come from trees and tree roots go deeper there is more chance that the nutrient they are

The following stock and soup recipes are ones that have impressed me over the years and to which I frequently return (some of them have been adapted slightly);

Making a good stock 

Stocks can be made from scraps and peelings but will always taste richer and fuller if you use the main body of the vegetables. This is a recipe from Leon, Fast Vegetarian (p23) with some minor adaptions

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 onions

2 sticks of celery

1 leek

2 carrots

1 slice of swede

150 g mushrooms

150 g fresh tomatoes

4 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaves

parsley stalks (fresh or dried)

1 tablespoon black pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions, turn down to a very low heat so that you the sweetness will come out of the onions whilst you chop the celery and leeks. Twist the bay leaves without breaking them completely and add them. Next the carrots and swede and then the rest of the ingredients.
  2.  Add enough water to cover all the vegetables and a bit more.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for an hour with a lid on (allow some air to come out either through the hole in the lid, or by not covering it completely). Strain pushing down on the soft veg to extract all the goodness.

Use for the following (these serve 2 – 4 people depending on your appetite!);

French Onion Soup from Recipes for Self-Healing by Daverick Leggett

"The art of making a good onion soup is to cook the onions slowly"

Ingredients

6 onions

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil (Daverick only uses 1/2 teaspoon)

1 – 2 teaspoons of dried thyme (1 given)

1 teaspoon of dried rosemary (1/2 given)

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons of tamari

2 tablespoons of miso

water as required.

Method

  1. Chop the onion. Heat the oil and add the onions and all the herbs, stirring occasionally. Cook slowly for 30 – 45 minutes without burning (if you turn the flame down to it's lowest you only need to stir very occasionally)
  2. Add the water and tamari, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Scoop out a bit of the water into a cup, break up the miso in this and return to the pot (it's not good to boil miso as you lose the nutrients out of it easily that way). Add extra tamari to taste.

Silky celeriac soup (The Medicinal Chef, Healthy Every Day, Dale Pinnock)

Ingredients

olive oil

1 – 2 large white onions (a sweeter variety)

3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

One medium – large celeriac, peeled and diced

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion (I always get the onion cooking first) and garlic and cook for 10 mins or until soft. Add the celeriac and cook for another 5 mins.
  2. Add enough veg stock to cover, a little salt and pepper if you like, reduce heat to simmer until celeriac has softened, about 15 minutes.
  3. Use a stick blender to make a smooth, silky soup.

Daverick says it has an anti inflammatory effect on the upper-to-mid digestive tract and its anti inflammatory effect makes it good for joints and bones.

Chickpea Soup (River Cottage, light and easy, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – a favourite cook book)

Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil

4 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon

A pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)

2 x 400g packets of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

800 ml of hot veg stock

1 heaped tablespoon of tahini

Leaves from a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Smoked paprika, to finish

 

Method

Place a saucepan on a medium heat. Add half the oil, the garlic, preserved lemon and chilli flakes if using. Fry gently for a few minutes, letting the garlic soften but not colour,

Se aside about 5 tablespoons of the chickpeas. Add the remainder to the saucepan, mix well and cook for a further minute. Pour over 750 ml of hot stock and spoon in the tahini. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 – 3 mins.

Puree until smooth. Add a little more stock if the soup seems very thick but keep the texture nicely creamy, Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the parsley with the reserved chickpeas and the remaining extra virgin olive oil. Spoon the herby chickpeas on top of the soup and finish with a pinch or two of smoked paprika.

 

Very Green Soup (River Cottage, light and easy, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – a favourite cook book)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons rapeseed or sunflower oil

1 onion

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

1 garlic clove (optional – 1/2 is given)

100g spinach, any tough stalks removed

100g flat leaf parsley or watercress, or 50 g of each (fresh young nettle tops instead is given to replace this or the spinach to create 'spring nettle soup')

salt and pepper

Method

  1. Add oil to a large saucepan, when hot, add onion, carrot and garlic, if using, Sweat gently to soften.
  2. Add the spinach and parsley and/or watercress, about 3/4 of the stock and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for a few mins until the leaves have wilted. Turn off the heat.
  3. Blitz with a stick blender

 

 

 

Bhoj Kriya. A lecture by Yogi Bhajan

How to Bless and Eat Your Food: Bhoj Kriyai
Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®
August 30, 1992

Copyright © The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan

I have to teach you how to eat. You do not know how to eat; so I have to start alphabetically [from the beginning], all right? Now please, sit calmly and fold your hands. Bring your hands into Prayer Pose and close your eyes and feel that you are going to be blessed. You are going to be blessed. Calm down and empty yourself to receive the gift of God. If there is no emptiness, nothing will come in.

You are receiving the best gift of God; it is for your nourishment, for your acceleration, for your healing, for your purity. It is something for today, at this moment, marvellously wonderful, ‘blessful,’ and blissful. Please concentrate. Now please bow down for a moment in prayer—just a little, not much. Okay, please open your eyes and touch your hands to your shoulders as a sign of strength. Touch your knees as a sign of strength, touch your heart as a sign of compassion, and touch your forehead and then please put the food before you as it is served and put your hand on it to bless it. Concentrate and bless your own food calmly and quietly. Create a relationship with your food and your spirit, your soul.

Be calm and quiet; a saint blesses her own Self. There is a God in you—feel it. Feel the food piece-by-piece; touch it and request that when you become part of it and it becomes part of you, that there is a union. You are experiencing a union; you are having an intercourse. This food will become part of you and you will become part of it.

Now this food is identity. Now it is between you and your identity. Once it goes in, it can give you gas, it can give you indigestion, it can mess you up, it can create poison in the man. You may not digest it all; it may mess up your colon, your descending colon. It may come through so heavy that you wish you would never have eaten it; therefore, create friendship, create love, create grace, create respectfulness. You and your food become one. Cut out the rudeness: “I am going to eat it, I am going to swallow it, I am going to have it.” You have time, you have space, you have grace, you have blessing, and you are blessing your own today, so it can serve you tomorrow.

Now, you have to touch it, look at it and feel it exactly. You have to mentally talk to your food. Ask it, “What are you going to do to me?” Talk to your food. It’s very difficult for you because you are Western: you want to drive a car, talk on the telephone and eat at the same time—and if the car had a commode, you would want to go to the bathroom at the same time. But this is not life. Animals don’t live that way. You are human: touch it, feel it, discuss with it and tell it, “I selected you, I cooked you, I brought you here to become part of me.” Create a very graceful relationship, a relationship of understanding, affection and love.

I have seen a man, 120 years old, absolutely healthy. His total meditation in life was the preparation of his Bhoj Kriya. Fantastic man! I saw him doing it. What I read in the scripture was nothing compared to what he did, which was so graceful. Actually, I thought to myself, if he gives his plate to me and I eat it all, he can do it again; it was so good. Now, do you feel ready?

Now please, with your hands, choose what you are going to eat. Each thing must be touched by all five fingers, at least a portion with all five fingers and send all your energy into it with your fingers. And whatever little portion you put in your mouth, like a kiss, then chew it. Your saliva must become part of it—25% of the food. Chew it totally, freely, openly. You don’t have to keep your lips closed. Some of you have a habit of eating—smack, smack, smack—do that; that’s not bad. But each muscle must have 25% saliva mixed with it. You have the capacity and that is the most nurturing, health-giving, young-making stuff; it’s right in your mouth! Chew it; don’t swallow it; I have not said so. All I said is to chew it, mix it, grind it, whatever you do, but keep going, you can’t swallow it yet. It has to be in your mouth—and now, with your tongue, feel if there is anything hard or still in one piece. It should be total jelly, feel with your tongue and use your tongue to get a little more juice into it.

Now bring it to the tip of your tongue and find out if it is sweet enough. If it’s not, keep chewing it. Now, very slowly, take it in. You have to take it through the throat many times and with your tongue, clean your mouth, around your teeth, inside, up, down, you know? Clean your mouth once and for all. Isn’t it a shame that I am teaching middle‐aged people how to eat? But no, it’s a kriya, which guarantees health forever, youth forever, strength forever. Now, just see that your mouth is all clean—that there is nothing in it. There should not be one trace of that thing you put in your mouth—check around. All right, then go to the food again. Look at it, look at this, look at it, talk to this guy and then take a small portion and very affectionately put it in your mouth. Just remember, all five fingers must touch it and in the same way, chew it. Looks ridiculous, I know, but in the end, we will discuss whether we were ridiculous before or we are ridiculous now.

Any person who doesn’t have time to nurture himself is sick to start with. Now, calmly and quietly, in this procedure, please eat. Each time you have to repeat it; you have to totally create a hypnotic relationship with this food today. It’s going to be part of you, you are going to be part of it, and there are certain things I will tell you in the end, if you do it right; there is no hurry. Each time your mouth should be totally clean and absolutely clear of its existence before you put a second one in and you chew it. You have to see and taste of everything. Food in the mouth cannot go to the throat and on into the stomach until it is sweet to your tongue.

I tested this one day with green chili. Really, my tongue is numb today because it was so bitter; somehow it happens you know. I numbed my tongue but I still made it sweet before I swallowed it. And it’s my request to you that you do this, just as an experiment, very perfectly. We are not going to hurry, there is nothing we have to go to, weather is clear and cool and we are already in the heaven of the Earth. It’s called Española; so enjoy your time, concentrate on the food, meditate on it.

What I am trying to make you experience is the food, which we usually just gulp in 15 minutes. But if you just proceed and eat in this way, methodically, it will become your best friend, your best strength and your best Self. Your entire nervous system moves when you move your mouth and your tongue together. I want you to feel it, I want you to understand it. I know, we should just gulp it and go to the movie, you know? You swallow things, but you don’t eat. When you swallow things, they swallow your strength, your life, then there is nothing left of you.

I didn’t do any hard exercises; they were just simple exercises, which I used to put my officers through in training and I could not believe it. How much pain everybody experienced—and they were not even three minutes each. When you put food in your mouth and muscle it, it should have touched all five fingers: thumb, Jupiter, Saturn, Sun and Mercury. You can understand your mental strength within another three minutes; you should start freaking out, even just eating. Slow eating is one of the biggest meditations on this Earth; that’s why Guru gave us langarii. Langar mean anchor. Ships have a langar; the word langar came from anchor.

All the sea‐going ships have an anchor. When they put out their anchor, they are stabilized, then the storm cannot take them away. That’s why the word langar means anchor of the ship. The other word we have is teg deg: deg is the sword of righteousness and teg is the food of righteousness. The deg is what you prepare spiritually, respectfully as an offering; teg you all know. Between the sword of righteousness and the food of righteousness, we live. Now, don’t look left and right; look at your food. You have two things going for you: your food and your energy. You are going to baptize each muscle, each part of your food, each little bit of it.

 

Thoughts on Eating

Ask yourself ‘why did I stop eating’; was it really because you had eaten enough?

In the book ‘Eating the Moment’ you are encouraged to keep a 2 week journal considering the following as a list of reasons for stopping eating:

  • Hunger relief: you relieved the sensation of hunger (the next 2 stages are pleasant fullness and unpleasant fullness)
  • Pleasant fullness: you reached a point of pleasant fullness
  • Unpleasant fullness: you reached a point of unpleasant fullness
  • Ran out of food: you stopped eating because the food ran out
  • Emotionally felt better: you stopped eating because you felt better inside
  • Binge witnessed/shame: you stopped because someone witnessed a binge, you were shamed
  • Diet-violation guilt: you stopped eating over guilt about violating a diet
  • Entertainment over: you stopped because you had nothing left to watch, read and so on
  • Company left: you stopped eating because you no longer had companionship for the meal
  • Ran out of fun food: you stopped eating because you ran out of snacks or fun foods
  • Distracted from eating: you stopped eating because the phone rang or you were otherwise distracted
  • Plate clean
  • Got money’s worth: at an all you can eat buffet, you didn’t stop eating until you felt you got a bargain
  • Got sleepy: you stopped eating because you became drowsy or lethargic

What is it that most nourishes you? What is the activity, the principle that you need to give birth to, that needs to see the light of day? This is what needs to be given so that what touches you most deeply is not hidden but shared with others.

Work consistently to find out what it is you have to share and the format that it will be delivered in (recommended books to help in this process; ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller, asks the question; ‘What is the One Thing I can do such that be doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson reminds us that our consistency in small, daily commitments is the difference that makes the difference)

stop going for the temporary fix – another coffee, biscuit, tv programme, newspaper, gossip or any other distraction that stops your ability to be consistent