Saturday, 5 June 2010

Starting over for the last time...

The wonderful thing about having dabbled in a healthy, natural-eating lifestyle in the past, is that when you start over after time away, it all comes back again so naturally.
This morning I woke and cooked organic oats and raisins for breakfast, sprinkled liberally with freshly ground linseeds, added some organic un-homogenised milk and organic coconut palm sugar, and knew I could really do this for the long haul.
If you don't have one of these...
...can I encourage you to think about adding it to your necessary kitchen equipment? It's a coffee grinder that has never seen a coffee bean. I have always ground my linseeds on the spot, as they go rancid when you buy them pre-ground (usually in LSA mix), but I also grind sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, spices, nuts etc. There is nothing like freshly ground cinnamon, and in a recipe I'm going to share in a couple of days I'll be using some.
If you would like the make the yummiest breakfast cereal with me over the next few days you can start today by soaking  4 cups of raw buckwheat kernels in water for an hour...
...then strain them and leave them in the strainer to sprout over the next 24-36 hours. 
You will need to rinse them under water 3 or 4 times over the next day, because the kernels become covered in a gelatinous fluid as they begin to sprout. Every time you rinse, just set them aside again to continue sprouting. Buckwheat sprouts very quickly, regardless of the weather.
Even though I live in the tropics, the weather (to us) is cooler now that winter has arrived. We're still wearing t-shirts and thongs during the day but once the sun goes down the temperature drops considerably and we rug up with fluffy slippers and dressing gowns. Overnight it can be anything between 8-16 C (45-60 F) which isn't cold to some, but when you are used to extremely hot summers this cooler weather is bliss.
And cooler weather is wonderful for soups!
Today I spent the afternoon in the kitchen reaquainting myself with some old favourite recipes, and on tonight's menu we have -

~Monks Lentil Soup~
Add some olive oil to a soup pot, and saute carrots, onions and celery for 5 minutes...
Add some basil and oregano, a grated garlic clove, plus a bay leaf, and saute another 2 minutes.
Add a ham bone to the pot...
 Pour in a tin of diced tomatoes, and a cup of dried red lentils...
 Pour in 8 cups water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to very low and simmer for 90 minutes. 
Remove the ham bone from the soup and if you're like my family and prefer a smoother soup, use a stick blender to puree the chunky bits.
Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the pot just before serving.
When we have this soup it's tradition for us to serve it with fresh baked Foccacia, sliced apples, and chunks of tasty cheese.

In a breadmaker add ingredients in this order -
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons raw sugar
1 cup white bread flour
1 cup wholegrain bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast

Set your breadmaker to make 'dough'. My breadmaker takes 90 minutes to complete this cycle.
While the dough is being prepared, mix together these ingredients:
2 tablespoons organic tomato paste
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt ( I use Celtic)
1 grated clove of garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried)

When the dough is ready, divide it into 2 pieces and roll out into two long ovals. 
Spread the tomato paste mix over the top...
Bake at 180C (375F) for 12-15 minutes.
Slice into fingers and use to dip in your Monks Lentil Soup!
I also made some chicken stock while my soup cooked. It's on my list of items needed for next week's class at Nourished Kitchen, so as I had a carcass left from a baked organic chicken it seemed sensible to make my own stock.
Making your own stock is so easy, cheap, and NUTRITIOUS. Love that word - nutritious - makes me feel good knowing I'll be giving something that wholesome to my family in a meal later next week.
Add the chicken carcass (raw or baked) to a pot of water. Throw in some carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Simmer for a good hour. 
Drain out the stock, and discard the carcass and vegetables.
The liquid will have reduced to about 2/3rds the amount you started with, but a lovely rich stock will remain. 
I made almost 2 litres, and it can be used in any recipe requiring chicken stock. If you're not going to use it in the next couple of days just pop it in the freezer. 
Now I can sew with a clear conscience. ;-)
If you'd like to save the recipes for Monks Lentil Soup, and Foccacia, you can download the file HERE.


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