Minestrone

minestroneI think the best winter warmer food is Minestrone. A simple traditional Italian soup with a selection of vegetables, beans and pasta is just the comfort you want after a cold day out, warming your cold bones. It is nourishing but still quite light, full of perfuming garden herbs that wake up the appetite and make the soup easy to digest. I shared it tonight with my friends and we just couldn’t stop humming with pleasure. There are many ways of making it. I prefer it without tomatoes, with clear broth and a nice sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top. Here’s my recipe:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion

1 stalk of celery

2 carrots

3 big potatoes

1 can of beans (mixed, borlotti or cannellini)

1 cup of frozen peas

Handful of green beans

1 cup of small pasta

1 clove of garlic

1 stock cube

Pepper

Thyme

Sage

Parsley

Himalayan Rock Salt

Fry chopped onions and celery in olive oil, add all the rest of chopped vegetables, herbs and stock cube. Let boil until potatoes are soft. Add pasta, beans, crushed garlic, pepper and salt. Cook until pasta is al dente. Serve with a dash of olive oil and grated parmesan cheese.

Tip: if you know you’re cooking more than you’ll eat, you should cook the pasta separately. It will become soggy and lose being al dente if you leave it in the soup. If you freeze the soup only you can always cook some more pasta alongside with it.

 

Raw Coconut chutney

Coconut chutneyIt’s late summer and to celebrate it here’s the last of my seasons recipes. This brings me back to the days I was studying in India. We always dined at my teacher’s house and ate heavenly. Here’s one recipe from Nani, the grandmother. She shared her recipes gladly and we were eager to learn. Here’s one of them. It’s the good old coconut chutney. Obviously you can have it as a condiment for your meal but in India we often had it as a main with chapatis, freshly made and dripping with home made ghee. Here in London I like to use buckwheat flour to make the flatbread. You can find the recipe in my previous blog post of “Buckwheat flatbread with spinach and ricotta filling”.

Ideally you would use a fresh coconut but I just use the dry grated one and soak it in coconut milk (or cream if I want to be decadent). Mix all ingredients together and let soak for a few hours before enjoying. As for quantities of ingredients, all I can say, play it by ear or by your palate.

Grated coconut soaked in raw coconut milk/cream

Finely chopped fresh green chillies

Salt

Chopped fresh coriander

Curry leaves

Cumin seeds

Garlic

Come and buy come ingredients from our shop like the organic coconut flakes and milk. We also now stock 100% raw coconut milky Rhythm.

 

Healthy food is good… but it can also be your undoing

binge-eatingI just ate a slice of wonderful Finnish cabbage pie I baked modifying my mum’s recipe ever so slightly towards my Italian culinary preferences. A bit of parmesan won’t hurt any dish. Or maybe a fish dish… oh no, I do put it there as well sometimes!! Flexibility is one of the requirements of good living so I am justified.

Back to the point, I ate a slice, and then I ate another. I ended up eating so much I had to open the button of my trousers and lie on the couch as sitting up was too much. Even if I made the cabbage pie from very healthy elements: white cabbage and onions fried in ghee (does not turn to transfat), baked in spelt flour mixed with ghee and water for dough and flavoured with Himalayan rock salt. I mixed in mashed boiled eggs and grated the parmesan with cabbage, added some pepper. The only non organic item I used was a dollop of dark molasses to give a nice sweet twist to my pie. So, that should be a pretty healthy, only slightly Italian Finnish dish, right? Except that it ruined my good night sleep and in the morning I was grumpy and I certainly couldn’t get the leg behind my head.

Any food can be toxic. Even the healthiest of foods can become toxic if you consume it in a wrong way. Eat too much, too fast, in wrong combination whilst concentrating on something else like media or eating to calm down negative emotions. Stress, both physical and emotional brings digestive power down. There are so many factors that can go wrong with a superfood bomb green smoothie.

Inversely, even the food that is not the healthiest of all can yield nutritional benefits if it is consumed in a correct way. Sitting down, eating slowly, chewing properly concentrating only on eating, not washing food down with drinks, eating seasonal food, emphasizing the right balance of meals is the way to go. These rules will allow you to enjoy foods that are not exactly on your preference list for absolute health.

You can’t always be in control of what is on your plate. Knowing how to eat it makes a big difference though. And, even if you binge on cabbage pie and feel ill and lose your sleep, there is still something to do. That’s a topic for another blog entry. In the mean time, call for a health consultation for information.

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