Early Spring Curry Bowl

Oh gosh it is Spring here … I literally did a little dance when I woke up on the 1st of September. The nights are already lighter, the few degree temperature drop is a blessing, and things are blossoming everywhere. It is time to really get in to the garden too .. and literally nothing makes me happier or more excited ( ok except for maybe being in the kitchen .. ) !

This following recipe is a result of harvesting almost the last of my winter vegetables … and quite honestly I am very proud of my amazing Kale and Cauliflower crop this year. Totally Pesticide free ( planted it with garlic and hand picked any of those hungry caterpillars ) and just beautiful looking too. Not to mention they taste amazing too ! There is nothing quite like eating your own homegrown veggies. Of Course buying from your local farmers market, wholesale store or organic place will result in an equally nutritious meal .. but I encourage you to get in to the garden this spring. There is nothing more satisfying than cooking and eating your own produce ! Why not check out the Little Veggie Patch site ? Their books and monthly newsletter have certainly have caused my love for the garden to blossom .. couldn’t help the pun !

So, back to the food ! I’ve been experimenting a lot with some fantastic homemade curries this winter. Most of them have been made from scratch, with home ground spices and hours over the stove top in the warm kitchen … perfect for winter afternoons. Whilst I am definitely not new to Indian flavours the experience from making these delicious nourishing dahl and curries has almost been as healing as the finished product. My desire to travel through India and Sri Lanka, it is safe to say, has tripled. Top that with my experimenting in Aruyvedic diets and treatments ( and getting some success in them too ) and I am an advocate for cooking in ghee and adding fresh ginger and turmeric to everything in site ! Not only is it delicious but I’ve been cold and flu free all season.

This particular curry bowl is a  definite transition in to spring, a little lighter and perfect for those still chilly nights. A  antastic homemade vegan curry, that is not only super easy and will freeze like a dream, but is loaded with alkalising, potassium rich and digestive friendly vegetables and spices.  Paired with some delicious sautéed ginger greens, brown rice and some homemade raita .. your body will thank you for it .. and so will your wallet. Thats right this is one uses super budget friendly superfoods and pantry/fridge staples !!

Early Spring Curry Bowl

As always with this recipe I have went homemade and organic where possible and most affordable. I recommend making the curry on a Sunday ( or your food prep day ) and enjoying with the extras through out the week. As with almost any curry it improves with time ! See notes at the bottom for extra protein variations and if you want to keep it entirely vegan.

Pumpkin, Kale and Cauliflower Curry
( Serves 6-8 … plenty for freezing !! )

600gm Pumpkin, cut in to bite size pieces
500gm Cauliflower, cut in to florets
1 Bunch Kale, stem removed and chopped
2 Carrots, cut in to bite size pieces
2 Onions, halved and thinly sliced.
1 cup Frozen Peas

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp fresh grated turmeric (or 2 tbsp
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 tbsp good quality curry powder/mix ( or use your own fav mix )

1 can 400gm chopped tomatoes
2 chopped fresh tomatoes
270ml Coconut milk ( must be full fat )
1 cup vegetable stock with 1 tbsp asv added
Himalayan Salt
Bunch of Coriander, leaves picked ( freeze the roots for use in curry pastes )

Heat oil and ghee in a large pot and add onions and a little salt. Sauté on a medium heat until golden and translucent. Add ginger and turmeric and sauté for a further 3-5 minutes. Add curry powder and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. don’t burn those spices !

Add all chopped pumpkin, cauliflower and carrot and give a good stir. Add in chopped and tinned tomatoes, coconut milk and vegetable stock. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, adding kale 20 minutes in.

Add peas and cook for a further 10 minutes. Take off heat and miix in coriander leaves, reserving a few for serving.

Sautéed Ginger Greens

2 Handfuls of green beans
1 packed cup of baby spinach
1 tbsp ghee
2 inch pice of ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lemon, half zest grated and juice
Himalayan Salt and Pepper

Place green beans in a bowl and fill with boiled water. Cover and leave.
Add ghee to pan, once melted add garlic, ginger and lemon zest. Allow to gently cook for 1-2 minutes.
Drain green beans and add to pan. Once warmed and cooked but still crisp add spinach. Stir and take off heat.
Add lemon Juice, salt and pepper.

Serve Curry with ginger greens, steamed brown rice, coriander leaves and homemade raita/chutneys either in a big comfortable bowl or as a fun Indian platter.

Variations

For a higher protein meal add red lentils with pumpkin and carrot.
To keep it entirely vegan make a vegan raita with shredded cucumber, shredded coconut, mint, lemon, a good drizzle of olive oil and salt an pepper.

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Veggie Chilli

Every year in Adelaide we all sit around, look at one another and exclaim in surprise to how cold it is. To be fair .. we get the extremes here .. its hard to go from 45 degrees to 1 degrees (and below !) … especially when central heating simply doesn’t exist here. A true ‘Adelaidian” will complain through the worst of winter and the very hottest of summer. Secretly we could not live without our seasons, I am thinking of our beloved wine grapes here …

Personally, apart from those terribly cold mornings I don’t mind it. I see it as touch of the UK and enjoy pilling on my collection of woolly hats and scarfs. Of course the excuse to cook up some bold and spicy dinners isn’t half bad either. This amazing veggie chiili is definitely one of them. With a great kick of spices, fennel and herbs it is great for digestive health. A decent dose of veggies and a great protein kick from the beans leaves you feeling both nourished and warmed … not to mention it is both budget friendly and easy to take along to any pot luck dinner. It freezes like a dream too !

Veggie Chilli Recipe

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1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion
1 Small Fennel
3 garlic cloves
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 red chilli
1 tsp cayenne pepper/chilli powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 dried chipotle chilli ( optional )
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 bunch of coriander
1 tbsp of fresh oregano (heaped)
1 tbsp ACV
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 lcarrot
1 small sweet potato
2 zucchini
800 gms beans ( Black/Kidney – mixed is good )
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can whole tomatoes
1 lime

Natural Yoghurt, Avocado and Cos Lettuce leaves to serve

Method:

  1. Peel and roughly chop the onion, along with the fennel.
  2. Peel and slice garlic.
  3. Halve, deseed and roughly chop the peppers and finely chop deseeded chilli.
  4. Chop Coriander root (reserve leaves) and oregano.
  5. Heat coconut oil in large pot. Add onion, garlic, fennel and peppers. Cook for 8 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  6. Add the mixed spices, herbs, chilli and chipotle chilli. Cook for 10 minutes. Add a little water if needed.
  7. Add chopped vegetables ( bite size cubes ) and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Add tinned tomatoes, beans (drained and rinsed) and apple cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, give a good stir and bring to the boil.
  9. Allow to simmer for 40 mins, add filtered water if needed. Stir every 10 mins.
  10. Once cooked and cooled slightly add cocoa, Half the lime juice and half the coriander. Give a good stir

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Serve in a big bowl with sides and lime wedges and nourish  !

Ps. Don’t be alarmed by the cocoa ( you can make it cocao if you wish ) it creates a richness in the dish.

The epiphanies of turning 30 …

So yes … my last blog post was August last year. It is now June 2015 …. that is nearing the year mark.

First of all, love of my life number two, Oscar the Pugalier …. has been the most wonderful learning curve. That pup will forever believe he is human and dictate which walking route we take each evening. He just celebrated his first birthday !

The other half ( love of my life number one ) got his first big promotion after a lot of hard work. He loves his knew role and I can see his passion each day when he shares his thoughts with me. I am excited for him and know how good he is in his new role.  I cannot wait to see where this takes him. So inspirational.

Myself .. ? I got sick .. really sick. Weeks after my last blog my health declined, weight dropped .. and I could barely wait each day until it was time to go back to bed. It was hard to care beyond what I had to do. Then I ended up in hospital with stupid low potassium levels ( that stuff is painful to replace .. think acid in your veins ) and weird spiking/dropping sugar levels that caused pretty scary seizures. Yup .. 2014 didn’t quite deliver the healthy self I aimed for.

Then came our Bali and Lombok ‘escape Christmas’ holiday … which I went on despite dubious doctors thoughts .. and goodness did that trip heal me. No longer was I sickly Cheryl.  Suddenly we were taking leisurely breakfasts, walking the beaches, taking yoga and mediation classes and sampling the best Indonesian fare .. whilst truly staying in some amazing hotels and boutique resorts. We reconnected with each other .. and ourselves. Here came epiphany number one .. Doctors are not always right. My interest for natural healing and holistic nutrition doubled.

On a side note … I will post about some properties I have stayed at in Bali and Lombok over the last year … I urge you to try these properties, they are so different and unique each way I feel that at least one will resonate with your holiday self … if not all, like me ! Bali is so much more than a cheap getaway for Australians. Indonesia is a very special place to visit – I encourage you to embrace all it has to offer !

Sadly my return home saw my health decline again .. and truly it got me terribly depressed .. and grumpy !!  That centred being with glowing skin ( It really was .. ) that walked off the plane from Bali disappeared almost completely in a matter of a month. What can you do when you can’t even keep your social plans ? I was back to doing the bare minimum … work, eat, sleep. It felt like the walls were closing in again … Doctor after doctor just sent me to the hospital. Miserable … with a capital ‘M’.

It didn’t help that this year I was turning 30 and felt my life was slowly sliding backwards instead of piloting forwards. Where was my high flying career ? Where was my success .. my pulitzer prize, my New York Times review … ?! Ok, I got carried away. Truly though, I once had dreams … and I was back to hoping I could just make it to work for the day .. and through that day for that matter. I didn’t see the point in setting goals or having dreams .. what was the point if you could never reach/achieve them ? I once was a high achiever .. and yet my ‘gumption’ had gone.

Then one day early May I woke up .. and epiphany number two hit . Now this could very well be that our new mattress and pillows finally meant a proper nights sleep or.. that my regular physio sessions were magically helping with my joint and neck pain management .. but I think my mind just shifted. I have become comfortable in my own skin – and isn’t that the magic of growing older ? I am not just my illness. I achieve things every day. I have travelled the world .. experienced many wonderful cultures and will do so till my dying days. I am ok with who I am .. because I have grown and continue to seek ways to do so each day. I strive to be good to others and myself.

With that in mind I felt like I could begin to Blog again. I want this blog to be what I set out it to be. A place of mindfulness, exploration, growth and love of life … now I feel it can.

Sooo here it is .. my new commitment to what is Missy Bluebird. It is not about finding happiness over the rainbow .. its is about enjoying life and marvelling at the beauty, rather than focusing on the battles. I think with this we can all live over that mythical rainbow ! Now … They say things come in threes … so I look forward to epiphany number 3 because its sure to be a cracker !

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