Spicy Roast Carrot and Apple Warm Salad Recipe

2013-08-26 12.18.42

Now Hare ThisMcKimson-1958
Oh the carrots that bloom in the spring time 
I’d rather have carrots than fish 
Or pheasants or fowl or even an owl
In fact they are my favorite dish
.

 

This delicious warm salad is a tasty accompaniment to most meats and fish, and is equally satisfying when eaten cold. The buttery sweetness of the roasted carrot and apple is offset by the slightly bitter turmeric, creating a comforting and nourishing dish that is full of anti-oxidants and anti-virals.

With the addition of some fresh green leaves and a little good cheese (feta, goat, aged cheddar) or some nuts it’s a meal in itself.

A cup of chicken or vegetable stock and a few moments in a blender and you have a splendid soup. I have also folded leftovers into an omelette. This is a dish that is endlessly versatile.

 

Ingredients:

4 cups of raw carrots – halved and chopped into short pieces, one large brown onion – peeled and cut into wedges, 1 large apple or two smaller ones, 1 heaping tablespoon of ghee (or butter), 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder, 1 heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (170 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Chop carrots and onions.

2013-08-26 11.17.11Dump carrots, ghee, coconut oil and cumin seeds into a saucepan. Heat until butter and oil has melted and makes a shiny fragrant coating on your carrots. *Note – Vegans, omit ghee and add extra coconut oil.

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Now that carrots are well covered in oil, add in your onion wedges, balsamic vinegar and your turmeric. Stir well over low heat to coat.

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Dump your vegetables into a baking paper lined tray (makes clean up a breeze!). Use a spoon or a clean hand to spread the carrots and onions out in an even layer.

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Now place into the hot oven and roast for twenty to thirty minutes. Time will depend on size and hardness of carrots and how fast your oven is. When tested carrots should be softish but not quite done.

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Chop apple and rub between your fingers with a little ghee or coconut oil. Remove tray from oven and scatter chopped up apple pieces over the top of the baked vegetables.

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Sprinkle apple with cinnamon. Don’t panic if a little gets onto the carrots and onions.

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Return to oven for ten minutes. Apple should be warmed through and cooked, but not mushy. Stir well to combine apple with carrot and onion. Serve and enjoy! 🙂

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PS – If you are avoiding grains or carbs, this dish goes beautifully well with my Nana’s Curried Sausages Recipe. Here’s a picture of what that meal looks like, with a little good sauerkraut folded through too. This meal is a delight – all earthy comfort and nourishment. Sweet, spicy curry goodness…

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Tasty Asian Flavours Quinoa – Virtual Vegan Potluck 2013

2013-05-10 13.05.23

“Eating superfoods won’t turn you into a superhero, but it might help you look better in Lycra.” ~ Nicole Cody

Quinoa (pronounced keen- wah) is touted as one of the latest ‘superfoods’ and apparently all the cool and beautiful people have recently discovered it. As you well know, I’m not in the ‘cool and beautiful’ department but I have been eating quinoa for years, and it rocks!

It looks like a grain but quinoa’s actually a seed; gluten free, low in fat, high in complete protein, and chock full of iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc.

My previous efforts for the Potluck have included Vegan Broccoli, Cashew and Lime Soup and Creamy Satay Hotpot.

Today’s quinoa recipe can be served warm as a side, or cold, as a salad. It’s a terrific dish for all your vegan and vegetarian friends, as well as a tasty addition to your average carnivore’s plate. It also doesn’t take much cooking skill, so it can be prepared by the least confident of cooks! 🙂

Ingredients:

I cup of quinoa, 2 cups of water or vegetable stock, 1/2 large or 1 small red salad onion finely diced, 1/2 to 1 cup of broken walnut halves, 2 oranges peeled with seeds and membranes removed and chopped into small pieces, 2 scallions/green onions/shallots chopped, 1 small bunch of coriander/cilantro chopped, butter lettuce or similar to serve.

Quinoa white and ready to be cooked

Cooking the Quinoa:

Place quinoa and water or stock into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa is fluffy and delicious.  Feel free to eat a spoonful or two as a taste test.

While the quinoa is cooking, cut up your herbs, onion and oranges, roughly chop or break your walnut halves and drink some water.  Water is good for you.  If it’s cold drink warm water. There, doesn’t that feel better?

Dressing:

1 teaspoon of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari or soy sauce, 1/3 cup of fresh orange juice, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root (use this to taste!), 1 to 2 cloves of freshly crushed garlic, 1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder (optional but good).

Whisk all ingredients together until well blended, or place into a lidded jar and shake vigorously to combine.

To assemble:

If you want to eat this as a warm side, immediately toss all the other ingredients and the dressing through the quinoa and spoon onto your washed and drained lettuce leaves.

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For a cold side, let the quinoa cool and then add all other ingredients.

It looks very decorative served up in a pretty bowl lined with lettuce, or it can be plated up individually.  This dish makes for great left-overs too!

quinoa with asian flavours

To enjoy the rest of the Virtual Vegan Potluck recipes, click on the navigation buttons below.

Clicking go back takes you to Canned Time – a vegan delight, where Angela has created the most delectable Pear and Broccoli Sprout Salad with Balsamic Caramelized Sweet Potato Cubes.

Clicking go forward will land you at an unrefined vegan – hosted by the honestly amazing, undauntable, and most lovely Annie. Her blog is a thoughtful and beautifully assembled exploration of her journey into veganism, and that bumpy road we call life. Hugs and love to you, gorgeous Annie! Her offering today is Sweet Potato Fries with parsley, garlic and lemon zest.

Annie is the original inspiration behind these Virtual Vegan Potlucks, and I’m so glad that I stumbled upon her blog about the time when I first started my own. Thanks too to Somer and Jason for all their efforts with making this Potluck happen.

Thanks for visiting, and enjoy the rest of the Potluck! xx

                      

And if you’d like to start from the beginning of this fabulous Potluck click here.

Stir Fried Sweet Potato, Mushroom and Broccoli Recipe

2013-04-25 18.09.05

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”  ~ Virginia Woolf

 

Food isn’t just food.  Food is also a healing tool.  A spiritual tool. A way to give love and care to self and others.

If you want to think about this recipe as just food then this is what you need to know:

This is a handy recipe – it works well for a vegan or vegetarian main course, or as a tasty side to accompany fish, chicken or meat.  It is equally good served cold as a salad, and is delicious when folded into the centre of an omelette.  The dish is also paleo compliant, as well as being dairy and gluten free.  Needless to say, I recommend you make up enough to enjoy some leftovers!

If you want to think of it as more than just food, this simple recipe provides instant grounding for those times when you feel frazzled, disconnected, stressed and not quite in your body. It works to soothe, nourish and centre your Solar Plexus, Heart and Crown Chakras. It’s anti-inflammatory, and nurturing for those of us with exhaustion issues and adrenal fatigue.

Ingredients for 2 as a main, or 4 as a side dish:

2 cups of sliced mushrooms, 2 cups of cubed golden sweet potato, 4 garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of tumeric, 2 tablespoons wheat-free Tamari Sauce, 1 cup of water, 2 cups of broccoli florets, 1 sliced red capsicum (bell pepper), 1/2 cup of raw walnuts

*Note – leave the mushrooms in thicker slices or chunks for a more satisfying texture.

Method:

Place 1/4 of the water and the coconut oil in a large heavy-bottomed frypan or pot over medium heat.  Toss in your sliced mushrooms, stir well and leave to cook for a minute until they begin to soften slightly.  Then add your cubed sweet potato and another 1/4 cup of water. Stir to combine, lower heat and cook five minutes until sweet potato is becoming soft.

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Increase heat again, add in the garlic, tumeric and tamari and stir well.  Then dump in the broccoli and another 1/4 cup of water. Stir fry for one minute, and then add the sliced capsicum. Continue to cook over high heat, stirring frequently and adding the final 1/4 cup of water if required. Add the walnuts, stir through, and remove from heat.

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Your easy meal is now ready to enjoy, and is packed full of good things to help you nourish and heal yourself. The flavours are simple and clean, and the food is easy to digest. Great for those with chronic fatigue, and for anyone recovering from illness. It grounds us, energetically soothes us and helps us to sleep better.

But if you don’t tell people any of that, they’ll just eat it ‘cos it tastes good!

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!

Tasty Fried Rice Recipe – Easy!

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It’s that time of year. Lots of Christmas leftovers, or maybe you just don’t feel like going to any trouble in the kitchen but you still want something tasty.

Fried rice is one of my go-to comfort foods – endlessly able to be varied, and can be made to suit vegans, vegetarians and omnivores. Eat it on its own, or as a simple side.

Ingredients:

All of this will be based on guess-timation.  That’s the joy of this dish.  You work with what you have to hand. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and for the recipe to taste different each time you make it!

Must haves

  • cold cooked rice – at least one cup per person. Use your favourite here – brown, basmati, jasmine, white – it’s all good! (if you have only just cooked the rice, spread it out on a lightly greased tray and place in a moderate oven for ten minutes to dry it out so your rice won’t be gluggy)
  • soy sauce (you could also use tamari, which is gluten-free, or Bragg Liquid Aminos)
  • sesame oil
  • a non-stick frypan, lightly sprayed with cooking oil, or a well-oiled heavy bottom frypan

Throw In’s

I like to work with a ratio of about 1 cup rice and 1 and 1/2 cups throw ins. You can add more throw ins if you are in the mood for lots of herbs and vegetables etc.  Choose your additions based on your dietary preferences, and what’s in your fridge, pantry or garden. Obviously if you are vegan you won’t be throwing the leftover Christmas ham in! Suggestions include any of the following:

  • Freshly diced ginger and garlic – or you can use bottled or tubed if that’s all you have.  Use as little or as much as you like. It adds a beautiful dimension to this dish, but you can do without it at a pinch, so I’ve listed it as optional.
  • Diced ham, bacon, turkey, or other cold roast meats
  • Peeled prawns (shrimp!), crabmeat or other cooked seafood
  • Shredded omelette (whisk a few eggs with some salt and pepper and a dash of water, tip into your hot greased frypan and allow to set into a thin cake.  Slide out onto a board or plate to cool -roll up and chop into slices)
  • Tofu or tempeh
  • Raw cashews or other nuts of your choice
  • Diced raw capsicum (peppers)
  • Seeded red chilli
  • Green shallots
  • Fresh coriander or parsley (save some to garnish)
  • Fresh or tinned sweetcorn
  • Mushrooms – fresh or tinned
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Finely sliced raw onion, raw carrot
  • Snow peas (mange tout)
  • Frozen or fresh peas or sliced green beans
  • Broccoli, cauliflower or broccolini in small pieces
  • Pineapple – tinned or fresh

Method:

Heat up your big frypan with a little oil, toss in the garlic and ginger (and chilli if you like it spicy) and cook until aromatic. If you are using ham, bacon or tofu/tempeh add this in next and let it cook for a few minutes.

Add in the vegetables that take more cooking time, as well as any other meats. Keep tossing around. Then add in your smaller vegetables and dump in your rice. Break up any lumps and keep stirring until it is well heated through.

Add a few tablespoons of soy sauce and a good slug of sesame oil. Stir well  to coat the rice and then add in the cooked egg and fresh herbs, stirring to combine.

Dump into bowls and add a flourish of fresh herbs over the top.  Eat and enjoy!

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Vegan Broccoli, Cashew and Lime Soup Recipe – Virtual Vegan Potluck 2012

Today’s post is part of the Virtual Vegan Potluck – where you can find 100 fabulous new plant-based recipes to try at home! Thanks to the awesome Annie, who made this Blogfest possible.  Her Blog is well worth a visit: An Unrefined Vegan.

For the last Potluck I made a Creamy Satay Hotpot Recipe. My offering this time is soup.

I found inspiration for this soup after a trip to a local farmers’ market. It celebrates all things green and good, and is one of the most delicious combinations I’ve tried in ages.  It’s so tasty that non-vegans will happily slurp it up in all its green goodness. And it uses one of my favourite vegetables – BROCCOLI.

Ingredients for 4 big serves: 4 heaped cups of broccoli, 4 cups of silverbeet leaves (or spinach), 2 cloves of garlic, 1 large potato, 2 sticks of celery, 1 cup of raw cashews soaked in water, 3 cups of good vegetable stock, zest and juice of one lime, salt and pepper to taste

*Note on cashews:  Cashews give a lovely creamy texture to this soup without the use of dairy.  They are also magically good for you.  The secret is to soak your cashews a minimum of two hours, but preferably overnight.  More info on soaking nuts here.

Method:

Chop broccoli into smallish pieces and add to a large cauldron.  Then peel your potato, cut into small cubes and add to the pot.

Slice your celery and then peel and chop your garlic cloves roughly, and place them in the pot with the three cups of stock.

Lastly, cut the white rib out of the silverbeet leaves, chop the green section coarsely and stuff this into the pot as well.  Don’t be alarmed if your pot is brim-full.  The vegies will shrink down dramatically as they cook.

Cover with a lid, turn heat to high, and cook for ten minutes, before turning the heat to low.  Continue cooking until the broccoli and potato are soft (this could take five to ten minutes, depending on your stove heat and how big your vegetable pieces are).

While the soup cooks, zest your lime, and then extract the juice.  The lime gives a lovely freshness to this dish, and lifts the flavour superbly.

When the soup is ready, add the lime zest and juice and the soaked cashew nuts. Blend with a stick blender or cool slightly and use a food processor.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Thin your soup with a little extra stock if necessary.

Serve with some crusty bread, and a good salad, although it’s perfectly delicious on its own.  It’s also good cold the next day, if you can’t be bothered reheating it!

To enjoy the rest of the Virtual Vegan Potluck recipes, click on the navigation buttons below.

Clicking go back takes you to the inspiring Cocina de Nihacc – a vegan delight, where today’s offering is Roasted Tomato and Pepper (Capsicum) Soup.

Clicking go forward will land you at Emmy Cooks – one of my favourite cooking blogs.  Emmy’s meals are simple, delicious and made with an emphasis on practical living and joyful celebration of good ingredients.  I even named the sweetest little calf on our farm after Emmy (that story here). Emmy will show you how to make Creamy Roasted Celery Soup.

Thanks for visiting, and enjoy the rest of the Potluck! xx

Orange, Walnut and Fennel Salad Recipe

The orchard at our farm is laden with citrus at this time of year, so whipping up a tasty salad is easier than ever.  This salad is perfect with crusty bread, and can be a vegetarian meal on its own (vegan if we omit the feta) or a perfect side for a barbeque or roast. It goes beautifully with grilled fish or chicken.

Ingredients to serve four generously:

4 cups of salad leaves (using rocket, mustard greens, radish tops or other leaves with a little bite to them contrasts well with the oranges), a fennel bulb or two, a bunch of fresh chard if available (or add in two cups of baby spinach), one small red onion, two large oranges cut into segments (if you’re mad on oranges feel free to add another one!), a generous handful of walnuts, 1/2 a cup of olives, optional – 1 cup of feta cheese chunks.

Method:

Clean and wash your salad greens, and tear leaves into smaller pieces if desired. Finely chop the fennel. Slice your onion into thin rings or pieces and arrange in the serving bowl.

Arrange the leaves, fennel and onion in your serving bowl

Now chop your chard, cutting the stalks into small pieces and roughly shredding the leaves.  Add these in and toss well with your hands to combine the ingredients.

Isn’t this chard the most heavenly colour!

Segment your oranges over a bowl, keeping back the excess juice to use in the dressing.  If you don’t know how to segment oranges, watch this video:

Arrange your orange segments, walnuts and olives on the top of the salad.  If you’re using feta cheese, chuck that on too. Just before serving, pour on the dressing.

I find it important for the chef to taste some of the orange segments and olives to make sure it’s all up to standard…

Dressing:

1/4 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon Dijon-style prepared mustard, 1 to 2 teaspoons honey, a grind or two of cracked pepper and a pinch of salt.  Put all the ingredients in a small jar, add lid and shake vigorously to combine.  This is an oil-free dressing that is light and flavorsome.

Salad Variations:

Add cooked, sliced chicken breast for a complete meal.

Sliced cooked lamb fillet is wonderful for a warm salad.

Substitute cherry tomatoes for feta, and add fresh peeled prawns (shrimp) – this is one of my favourite salads!

Enjoy! ♥ xx

Roast Carrot and Pine Nut Salad

This is a delicious salad that can fill you up on its own, or that makes a beautiful side for other dishes.  I’ve made this with baked carrots, but you could also use baked parsnip or sweet potato for equally tasty results.

Hint:  If you are prone to nibbling on the baked vegetables prior to serving, double the quantity – or at least cook a few extra as chef snacks…

Salad Ingredients:

4 cups of mixed leaves (today I’ve used rocket, mustard greens and baby spinach because that’s what was in my garden), a handful of chopped spring onion/green shallots, 2 large tomatoes chopped into wedges (or use a handful or two of cherry tomatoes), 1/2 a red salad onion sliced into fine rings, 6 to 8 largish carrots , 2 heaped tablespoons of pinenuts

Chop the carrots into batons or wedges, coat lightly with olive or coconut oil and bake in a moderate oven for around 30 mins or until cooked to your liking.

Toast the pinenuts in a dry frypan over medium heat for one to two minutes until they are light to golden brown.  Watch them carefully as they can burn easily!

Lemon Dressing

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup virgin cold pressed olive oil, generous pinch of salt, generous pinch of raw sugar, 1/4 teaspoon dried ground ginger or 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root.  Place in jar, add  lid and shake like crazy until emulsified.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  Pour over salad just before serving.

If you’re looking for a higher protein content, add some fetta cheese, or some grilled haloumi (my absolute favourite with this salad!)

The salad can be served warm, with the carrots straight out of the oven, or as a cold dish once your baked vegetables have cooled.  This transports really well for picnics and other adventures too.  Enjoy!

Creamed Rice Pudding Recipe

“It’s  lovely rice pudding for dinner again.” ~ A.A. Milne

Winter has well and truly arrived Down Under. It’s freezing in Brisbane right now. (Well, as freezing as sub-tropical can be…) Puts me in the mind to eat warm foods, and there is nothing better than my Nana’s Creamed Rice Pudding, a velvety-smooth vanilla rice concoction. This is another fantastically simple recipe which is equally good eaten warm, or served icy cold from the fridge for all my friends who are enjoying summer on the other side of the world.

Nana always prepared this as a dessert, but I must admit to also having eaten it for breakfast and as a filling snack.

It never lasts long around here. Want the proof of that?

The rice pudding thief broke in and stole my dinner…

I cooked a double batch of creamed rice, and served some up immediately. Who could resist it when it was warm and smelled so heavenly?  After my initial consumption I had intended to take some pretty photographs with my remaining rice pudding, arranged with berries and some little wafers, but when I came back to do so, the pot had been scraped nearly clean. Luckily I had taken a few shots of my rather less exotic creamed rice and stewed cinnamon apple lunch! (Click here to find out how to make the stewed apple)

This recipe is gluten-free and can easily be adapted to be vegan, dairy or sugar free too.

Here’s what you need to do to make this rice pudding for yourself:

Ingredients: 4 cups of milk (1 litre), pinch of salt, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup short grain white uncooked and unrinsed rice, 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  This recipe is easily doubled – just make sure you use a large enough pot. (Note – you can also use stevia or another sugar substitute. The milk can be swapped for soy milk, almond or rice milk.) A single batch will make four small serves.

Method: Place milk in a large saucepan.  Add the sugar and salt, then stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Bring to boil.

Don’t you love this action shot with the steam rising from my milk and sugar mixture?

Slowly add rice.  Return heat to a slow swimmer.  Stir every so often, leaving uncovered.  It will take about 60 minutes for your pudding to cook, depending on how low you have your heat. Add a little more milk if needed. Test the rice – if it is soft, and the mixture is thick and creamy, it is ready. Stir through your vanilla, taste test again. Note – Pudding will thicken more as it cools.

About midway through cooking; the rice is swelling and the starch from the unrinsed rice is slowly thickening the milk.

This rice pudding can be served warm or cold.  It is delicious served with canned, stewed or fresh fruits. A sprinkling of nutmeg on top is also yummy! Enjoy. ❤

Not arty, but tasty!

Pumpkin Soup Recipe and the Writing Disease

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it. ~ Anais Nin

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~ Ray Bradbury

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. ~ Ernest Hemingway

I’m deep in a story right now.  Whenever writing grabs me by the throat like this I forget to eat, it becomes too much bother to cook, and when I do suddenly remember that I’m hungry I want something I can eat fast. It’s like an illness, this kind of writing. I breathe story, dream story, bleed story.  It’s all I can think about. Food? Yeah, when my stomach aches and grumbles I want to eat something that fills me up and nurtures me, but that also lets me get back to work again with a minimum of fuss.

The answer to my problem is soup!

I like to make an industrial-sized vat of the stuff, so that there is plenty to feed me, and anyone else who happens to be around, for at least one meal. In truth, if there is enough soup, and enough bread, I can exist in this writerly state for days…

My soup of choice today happens to be pumpkin.  Why? I have a triffid-like  jap pumpkin vine taking over my vegetable garden.  Jap pumpkin is sweet and buttery, easy to cut, and a great all-rounder in the kitchen. Once this writing frenzy subdues a little I might whip up a batch of pumpkin scones and share that recipe with you too.

Of course I also got to leave my desk and wander up the hill to pick a pumpkin, and some shallots (green onions) for my soup. I already had garlic hanging in the laundry from summer’s harvest.  Gardening is a very healthy and grounding pastime for writers!

Pumpkin Soup Ingredients:

Vary the quantity to suit the size of your crowd, but for four hearty serves you’ll need half a jap pumpkin (about 4 to 6 cups of flesh – you can also use any other kind of pumpkin with good flavour), a large onion, two bay leaves, stock (at least two cups, or a quality stock powder and some water – if I have none of my own stock in the freezer I use Massel brand chicken style stock – great flavour and it’s 100% vegan!) 3 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to season, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of honey.

To serve you’ll also need some good bread for toast, some plain yoghurt or sour cream (if you’re vegan or dairy-free try coconut yoghurt!), and some fresh herbs such as green onion, chives, coriander (cilantro) or parsley.

Method:

Take a large saucepan.  Peel and chop your onion and garlic roughly. Then skin and de-seed your pumpkin and chop into chunks. Dump into the saucepan with the onion and garlic.  Barely cover with stock, or a good stock powder and water.  Season with some salt and pepper, and add in the cumin and bay leaves.  Bring to boil and then reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for twenty minutes. Take off the heat, and allow to cool a little.

If you have a stick blender you can puree the soup directly in the pot.  Otherwise transfer to a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Return to a saucepan to reheat.  Test seasoning, and adjust if required, adding honey if necessary.

To serve, ladle into a bowl.  Add a dollop of sour cream or natural yoghurt and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.  serve with hot buttered toast. Enjoy!  ❤

Feel motivated to grow your own pumpkins or herbs? It’s easier than you think. Maybe this will inspire you: