Easy Chicken Curry with Coconut Cream

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“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness. The angels, who know no hunger, have never been as satisfied.”
~ Eli Brown, Cinnamon and Gunpowder                                                       

Chicken curry is one of my go-to meals when I need something nurturing. This curry is mild, although you can ramp up the spiciness to your own taste. The recipe will serve four, and is also easily doubled. If you’re cooking for one don’t be put off by the quantities. It freezes and reheats well, and there is something very reassuring about having a few good meals waiting for you in the freezer for those days when cooking is too much effort.

I love that food can give comfort and pleasure at the same time as it is working to heal and rebuild you. This simple chicken curry is terrific for anyone healing from chronic illness, or who is suffering from exhaustion, adrenal fatigue or a low immune system. The creamy sauce delivers a multitude of good things:

  • turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory
  • garlic and onions are anti-bacterial and anti-viral
  • Coriander (cilantro) aids digestion, is an immune booster and helps detox heavy metals from the body
  • Coconut oil and coconut cream are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and support healthy heart, brain, thyroid and metabolic function
  • Carrots and pumpkin provide anti-oxidants, fibre, phyto-nutrients and loads of vitamins.

And if you’re eating for your chakras, then your Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakras will be well nourished too!

But most importantly this dish is delicious, wholesome and simple to prepare.

Ingredients:

500 to 600 grams of chicken breasts or thighs (that’s about 4 chicken breasts), 2 tablespoons of coconut oil,1 large onion – chopped, 6 cloves of garlic crushed or diced, 2 large carrots chopped into pieces, 1 cup of fresh diced tomato, 2 cups of diced raw pumpkin ( or substitute potato or sweet potato) 1 to 2 cups of chicken stock, 1 x 270 gram can of coconut cream, 1 heaped tablespoon of turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, 1 to 2 tablespoons of Indian curry powder, 1 large bunch of coriander (cilantro), pinch of good salt.

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Optional: finely sliced fresh green shallots (green onions/scallions) and red capsicum (bell pepper) as a garnish – gives a big boost of vitamin c!

The funny-looking lemon below is a bush lemon from an old tree we found out in a paddock on our farm, and the tomatoes are an heirloom variety from our garden called Lemon Drop.

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Method:

Wash coriander and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Clean away the finer roots and then divide the bunch by cutting the stalks and roots away from the leaves.

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Finely chop the stalks and roots.

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Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and fry gently until fragrant but not coloured. Then add in the turmeric, coriander stalks and roots, and curry powder – 1 tablespoon for a very mild curry and 2 tablespoons (or to taste) for a stronger curry. Add a little chicken stock to moisten the pan..

Then add in the diced chicken and stir until well coated and beginning to colour.

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Tip in your can of coconut cream and one cup of the chicken stock. Then add your salt, lemon juice, carrot and pumpkin. Mix well.

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Stir through the diced tomatoes. If it seems a little dry add some more stock. Lower the heat and simmer with lid on for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking on the bottom.

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Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. If you prefer your curry to be soupier – with lots of sauce – add the remaining stock and/or top up with a little water.

The curry can be served on a bed of rice or as a hearty one-bowl meal. For a final flavour and health boost add some finely chopped coriander leaves, shallots and red capsicum as a garnish. Here’s mine – served without rice. As you can see, I like mine a little soupier.

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And here’s my bowl about half way through dinner. A lovely nurturing meal.

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This curry freezes well, and will keep in the refrigerator for four days. Enjoy!

Lemony Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks Recipe

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“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” 
~ W.C. Fields

Slow cooked food – there’s nothing better to nurture the body and comfort the spirit, and this tasty dish fits the bill perfectly. Now that there’s a chill in the air here at the farm, a nourishing warm dinner is always welcome. I’ve adapted this recipe from my Grandmother’s so that it is gluten-free. It’s a firm favourite, no matter what time of year.

This meal is good for you! The lamb shanks create a rich bone broth during the long cooking time, and the nutrients are easily absorbed by even the weakest digestive systems.  The sauce will become full of the amino acid glycine, which is great for liver detoxification and regeneration.  It’s also rich in collagen and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) which are important for artery, bone and joint health.  The gelatin produced from the well-cooked bones and cartilage helps heal leaky gut, and also reduces your need for meat and protein.

In Chinese Medicine, bone broths are considered to support the kidneys and kidney meridians, and as such are also useful for healthy teeth, bones and adrenal gland function. So if you are feeling unwell, suffering low energy or have adrenal fatigue this is a super meal for you!

This recipe uses the tang of lemon to compliment the lamb, and a dash of sweet vermouth gives the whole meal a little extra zip. (I use Cinzano Bianco but any sweet vermouth will do.)  At a pinch you could use white wine, but truly – if you can – use the vermouth.  I keep a bottle in the cupboard just for this recipe!

These lamb shanks are quick to throw together but  the secret to the silky, melt-in-your-mouth meat is to cook the whole dish slowly, over a long time-frame.  If you have a slow cooker with a timer, then chuck it all in so it’s ready when you come home from work.  This recipe is versatile enough to cook in a big saucepan on top of the stove, or in a covered casserole dish or roasting tray in your oven.  It also reheats and freezes like a charm!

Ingredients:

6 to 8 frenched or trimmed lamb shanks (this means that the end of the shank bone will have been cut off, exposing the marrow – the meat may have also been pushed away to reveal a clean bone at one end); 6 cloves of garlic, crushed; 1 carrot roughly diced; 1 stick of celery chopped; 1 large onion chopped finely; 3 dried bay leaves; 1 heaped teaspoon tumeric; 2 tablespoons of almond meal; 1 cup of good chicken stock; 1 cup of sweet vermouth; 1 to 2 tablespoons of ghee, olive  or coconut oil; juice and finely grated rind of 2 lemons; 2 tablespoons of quinoa (you could also try red lentils or pearl barley), salt and pepper

Method:

Note:  A few words of wisdom before we begin! Find a saucepan or roasting pan big enough to fit all of your lamb shanks. Of course you can also use your slow cooker – just make sure that you have checked the size of your pot BEFORE you start cooking…

Add a little oil or ghee to the bottom of a heavy-based frypan, season the meat with salt and pepper and fry off your lamb shanks in batches over medium heat so that they are lightly browned. Then arrange your meat in the cooking pot.  Poke the bay leaves in between the shanks.

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Next place your onion, carrot, garlic and celery in the frypan with a little extra oil or ghee if needed and cook until fragrant and beginning to brown slightly.

Stir through your tumeric and then add your quinoa, chicken stock, lemon zest and almond meal.  Mix well and then pour over the lamb.

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Pour your vermouth and lemon juice over the lamb shanks and vegetables – don’t worry about stirring it, it will all mix itself up during the cooking. Ladle some of the liquid over the meat.

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Cover and cook.  Don’t be put off by the long cooking times.  The longer you cook the meat the more tender it will be, and the more goodness will be imparted to the sauce.

Cook on low in a slow cooker for 6 hours.

Cook on low heat in a saucepan on the stove for 4 to 5 hours.  Turn your shanks at least once during this time, and re-baste with sauce.

Cook in a moderate oven (180 degrees celsius/ 350 degrees fahrenheit) for 30 minutes, and then reduce heat to 150 degrees celsius/ 300 degrees fahrenheit) and cook for 3 hours.  Turn your shanks at least once during this time, and re-baste with sauce.

Serve with your favourite seasonal vegetables, and some mash, rice or pasta if it suits you. A good bread to mop up the juices is always welcome too.

When cooked low and slow the marrow and gelatin from the meat help thicken the sauce. Don’t waste any of it!  Whatever is not eaten with dinner can be used as a basis for a pasta sauce, or as a gravy over other meats or vegetables.

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The meat will be so tender you will be able to flake it off the bone with just a fork.

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If you have left-over lamb shanks, you can also flake the meat off the bones, add it to the remaining sauce and then reheat this as another meal, or thin it out to make soup.

Green Porridge – A Healthy Breakfast Recipe

green-eggs-ham1 Green anything for breakfast sounds a little odd.  But just as Sam-I-Am finally discovered that he liked Green Eggs and Ham, you might be persuaded that my Green Porridge recipe is just as delicious. When you imagine porridge, most people think of a creamy bowl of oats topped prettily with fruit… Maca porridge My offering today may not look so appealing, but I promise it packs a nutritional punch, and will get your day off to a great start.  Green porridge is a super-food concoction of body-supporting nutrients that are gentle on the digestive system and that will nurture and heal you.

Oats are a fantastic food – full of soluble and insoluble fibre, magnesium and low-glycemic carbs. They fill you up, give you consistent energy and also make the perfect delivery system for any number of nutritional add-ins.

Ingredients for one serve: You can start with smaller quantities of all of the add-ins if you prefer, or be brave and dive right in!

  • 1/2 cup of organic rolled oats (don’t use quick oats!) and 1 cup of water.  Using this ratio  you can adjust your quantities as necessary
  • a pinch of Celtic or Himalayan salt
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of LSA (Linseed, Sunflower Seed and Almond Mix – pre-ground).  If you can’t buy this locally, here’s a simple recipe so you can make some and keep it to hand: LSA Recipe  LSA is high in protein and is helpful for detoxing and supporting your liver.  I use it daily, and it makes a great addition to smoothies, salads, and even sprinkled over your steamed vegetables.
  • 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil or Udo’s Oil (my favourite!). These essential fatty acids support your hormones, brain, skin and hair, immune system, digestive system and metabolism.
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of spirulina. This superfood’s benefits include: high in protein, a strong detoxer, anti-candida supplement, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, boosts immune system.
  • 1 dessertspoon of blackstrap molasses. This under-appreciated sugar byproduct is chock full of iron and B group vitamins.
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of your favourite yogurt (cow, sheep, goat, soy or coconut!)

Optional add-ins:

  • 1 heaped teaspoon of your favourite greens powder. I’m currently in love with Udo’s Beyond Greens
  • An extra sprinkle of a pro-biotic powder if you are taking antibiotics or have gut health issues
  • A teaspoon of Maca powder to help support your adrenals, endocrine system and libido

Method: Add the oats, pinch of salt and the cold water to a saucepan and place over medium heat.  Stir often to prevent sticking.  The mixture will thicken in about five minutes. Tip the porridge into a large bowl and then start adding your toppings:

Naked Oatmeal...

Naked Oatmeal…

LSA mix and molasses

LSA mix and molasses

Green powder and spirulina

Green powder and spirulina

And a dollop of your favourite yogurt!

Tip in your oil, and a dollop of your favourite yogurt!

Mix it all together and you get… Green Porridge.  Enjoy!

Not pretty but yummy!

Not pretty but yummy!