Tag Archives: Imbolc

Plant Based Recipe of the Week – Week 4 – Aditi’s lentil daal and BONUS Vegetable Pakora!

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I hope you enjoyed your December festivities, have dodged the January germs and are ready for more new, fresh food ideas now Imbolc, the first day of Spring is here. Today’s recipe, Aditi’s lentil daal is one I use often, is easy to double up and freezes well.

When my youngest daughter was approaching her seventeenth birthday, I contacted Aditi. She advertised Indian cookery lessons in her home and we arranged a vegetarian morning with her as a birthday present. I learned to make this daal that day and have been cooking it ever since, more than seven years. Aditi and I have remained friends. She’s a beautiful lady inside and out and is always happy to share her natural beauty tips too. You can find her on Facebook here

https://www.facebook.com/groups/HealthyNaturalLiving/

 

Aditi’s Yellow Daal Tadka

Serves 4

1 cup yellow daal – split peas (I often use red lentils to save time)

3 cups of water to cook daal

 

4 tablespoons ghee (I use 3 tablespoons of oil)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

¾ tspoon turmeric

Salt to taste

1 tspoon cumin seeds

Whole red or green chilli

Fresh coriander leaves, chopped

 

Boil the daal in a pan/pressure cooker with 3 cups of water and open the lid carefully. Stir well to check consistency. (I simmer red lentils in a saucepan for about 10 minutes while making the seasoning. If using yellow split peas, soak overnight, discard the water, rinse, bring to boil and simmer for about 35-40 minutes. Stir often. NB: the first time I made this recipe I didn’t own anything to measure ‘a cup’ so I always used the same mug and it was always perfect. I’ve measured it since and it’s just under half a pint)

Heat the ghee/oil. Add cumin seeds and split chilli and let splutter in oil to bring out the flavour. When they change colour, add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until golden. Add turmeric and salt to taste.

Add this seasoning to the daal or the daal to the seasoning and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Transfer to serving dish and garnish.

 

Daal is great on its own with bread or popadoms but we often have it with a dish packed with vegetables and something to dip in it like…

Vegetable Pakora

This is a Hari Ghotra recipe which you can find here

https://www.harighotra.co.uk/indian-recipes/courses/starters/vegetable-pakora

My tweeks are in brackets…

100g gram flour, sieved

1 medium onion (I used large)

3 medium potatoes

1 tspn of salt

2 tspn of garam masala

1 tspn of turmeric

2 chillies, finely chopped

1 tbspn ginger, grated, optional

Handful of coriander, chopped

2 tspn of dried fenugreek leaves (I didn’t have these so used 2 tspn Panch Puran that I discovered in a World supermarket in Swansea: cumin, fennel, nigella, black mustard and fenugreek seeds, delicious!)

1 tspn of cumin seeds (I still added this)

½ tspn of red chilli powder

Water

Oil for deep frying

 

Heat up the oil in a karahi or wok to a medium heat. (We use a large, ancient, thick bottomed aluminium  saucepan)

Slice the onion lengthways very thinly and place in a bowl.

Peel and grate (or very finely chop) the potatoes into the same bowl. (The first time, I grated and had to add extra flour. Second time, I did half and half and it was perfect) You can also use aubergines and cauliflower – chop into very small pieces.

Sprinkle all the dry spices and freshly chopped coriander, chillies and ginger into the bowl and then sieve in the gram flour – mix together using your hands.

Add a small amount of water a little at a time to create a thick batter that coats all the vegetables. Squeeze the mixture through your fingers to ensure all the spices mix through. Do not leave the batter and vegetable mixture for too long before cooking.

Test your oil is hot enough by dropping a little batter into the oil. If it browns and rises immediately then it is ready. Very carefully drop in spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil and fry until golden brown.

Using a slotted spoon move the pakora around, be careful not to overcrowd the karahi.

Once golden brown and crisp remove from the oil and set on some kitchen paper.

 

I hope you enjoy making these recipes and will visit again for more.

You can also join me on my YouTube channel, Phoenix and the Dragon, reading short stories and extracts from my novels, from my Welsh riverbank  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber

I’ll leave you with one of my new kittens discovering snowdrops for the first time…Bright Spring Blessings

 

 

 

Finding myself

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Since welcoming the Goddess Brigid at Imbolc, looking forward to the new shoots of spring and new ideas and projects, I’ve struggled to hang onto me.

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Within the safe circle of our ritual, we shared our hopes and love, there to support each other through the coming months and from that evening onwards, I’ve dreamed every night. No big deal, you might say but I haven’t knowlingly dreamed since my mum died, over a year ago.

At first, they were comforting, almost supporting my days. Opportunities became known to me and I wanted to do them all. Having already made plans at Samhein, my diary expanded at a rapid rate so two weeks ago, I called a halt. I needed time to reflect, time to assess what I really wanted to do but every day, though I’d planned yoga and reiki, writing and meditation, demands of others shook my resolve.

And then, I dreamed the big dream. It was a nightmare, waking me three or four times in the night but when I shut my eyes, I returned to it, vivid and real until I hauled myself, weeping from the duvet to stop the pain.

I walked arm in arm with my dad, pointing out the daffodils opening their yellow trumpets to the sun. I held is hand, felt the soft, crepey skin and he told me he loved me. I carried my mum, first on my back and then in my arms, through landscapes, up stairs and along corridors, all the while knowing she was no longer alive, part of me basking in the feeling of her heart beating against me and the other half knowing this couldn’t be true. As she rested on her bed, I held her hand and she squeezed mine back, her last act before she died.

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I was wobbly the following day, tearful, emotional and confused but then I began to understand…to know myself, to find the person I really am, I needed to go back to my roots…I began with mum and dad. I remembered their hopes for me, the skills and life lessons they had taught me and knew my time had come to truly grieve.

It’s been a tearful week but out of my sadness has come strength I was not aware I had. On Wednesday, I was bombarded with phone calls and emails, ‘do this now’ requests from all sides and I did them, keeping the work on the byre moving, ordering skylights, transferring money, making calls. On Thursday, I caught up with my work and on Friday, I planned a writing day….not a ‘do stuff for everyone else and then if there’s time, do some writing’ day. I said ‘no’ to two people with no apology, only that I would meet their requests the following day….you should have seen their faces! Two short stories emerged from seven hours of writing….one is a cracker that needs a little work while the other may well be rewritten in the first person but I don’t care. I’m happy that I valued my own work as equal to others.

The invitations I’ve received have been considered. Some I will attend because I want to, others I won’t because they are not what is best for me…so many times in the past I have said ‘yes’ because of others feelings but my feelings are important too. I’m deciding as me, for me and it feels wonderful.

These decisions do not come from ego but from a sense of myself within this amazing world. Understanding my place in it, defines me as a person and as the sun shines this week, I shall visit the riverbank and say ‘thank you’ for being alive, for my mum and dad, friends and family and for the opportunity to dance, heal, write and love.

 

The Purple Flame of Hope

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DSC_1234 Over a month ago now, the Midwinter Solstice heralded the good news that the days would get longer and Spring would soon be with us.

As we approach Imbolc on 1st February, here are the feelings this time of year evokes in me.

Time of the reappearing maiden goddess, full of sacred understanding from her time within the sleeping earth of winter.

Nature heralds her return – the springs and swelling streams are her attributes – the life giving water of soul and survival.

Willow
Catkins are appearing on the willow – it is time to make the most important wishes of the year – walk out to a willow, tie a bow or a love knot into a willow frond. Celebrate all joys and a rainbow good feeling – tie the 7 coloured ribbons of the spectrum into the pale green branches of the tree. As they flutter in the wind, they bring blessings to all you think about. Only 3 precise wishes during the year so, choose carefully.

Light
Imbolc – Festival of Lights. Circle of tea lights for higher inspiration from the goddess. Lunar sabbat – mysteries of the unknown. In this circle, meditate, sing, chant, ask questions of your inner soul that are troubling you. Answers will come after a night’s sleep.

Love
Love rituals – for new love or to meet someone new. Imbolc maiden is innocent but stirring. Shrine to love: lock of hair, ribbons and ornaments and a single vase holding a crocus or snowdrop – blessings under your roof. Plant one white flower for peace and prosperity from the maiden.

We honour the triple goddess Brigid – teacher, magical instructor. We honour her in her maiden aspect, though she is pregnant with the young seed of the Sun.
Activities include making corn dollies or just use one dried ear of corn and tie with a white ribbon, improvise.

Useful Correspondences

Herbs: heather, dried sage, lemon, honey, garlic, coriander seeds, rose hips, witch hazel, sunflower seeds, dried sunflower petals, vervain, violets, wheat, grains, myrrh, dragon’s blood, benzoin.

Stones: clear quartz, citrine, yellow tourmaline, green tourmaline, rose quartz, iron, hematite, ruby, garnet, red zircon.

Scrying and divination are appropriate to this time.
Light, divination and love.

This coming Sunday, Tribal Unity Wales will dance in a circle of light on our Welsh decking and welcome the Spring.