Tag Archives: plant based

Plant based recipe of the week – week 10 – Holly’s Jammy Flapjack

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My children visited at the end of August and I was looking for a different cake to bake to go with my lemon curd slice, which you can find here https://wendysteele.com/2017/12/04/plant-based-recipe-of-the-week-week-2-happy-birthday-to-me/

Camping with my tribe, we all brought food to share and Holly brought along this delicious flapjack, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you all.

Holly’s Jammy Flapjack

 200g butter/margarine

175g golden syrup

300g porridge oats

200g jam

Preheat oven 200C/Fan 180/ Gas 6.

Grease 20cm X 20cm tin and line with greaseproof paper.

Melt margarine and syrup. Turn off heat. Stir in oats.

Press half the mixture into the tin. Spoon over the jam. Spread over the rest of the mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Cool and cut into 12 bars.

 

I used dairy free margarine and doubled the recipe to in the baking tray above.

 

Enjoy this delicious sweet treat. For more tried and tested plant based recipes, type ‘plant based recipe of the week’ into the search box on the home page. Do pop back again soon.

 

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Getting the balance right part 2

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It’s life, isn’t it? Mind and body, work and play, life is all about balance.

Living in a renovation project makes balancing really difficult. There’s always something to do on the house, byre or land, but since stopping smoking on 21st January, I’ve struggled to find a balance for my body.

The terrible gnawing pangs in my stomach could not be sated with food. I found that out after a couple of weeks, but even though I stopped eating so many granola bars, my hormones were going balastic. My IBS symptoms and menopausal symptoms returned with a vengeance. The new HRT my doctor insisted on didn’t agree with me and I gained weight really fast. My usual six hours of dancing each week wasn’t enough to stop me continuing to gain weight and on top of that, I wanted to cry every morning because I couldn’t have a cigarette.

That’s when I decided to start walking and counting steps every morning. It began with 1k in the morning, and then I made it morning, noon and night. It quickly rose to 2k when I discovered that was approximately one mile. Every morning when the alarm goes off, I get up and walk around our land, sometimes accompanied by Loki, who loves being carried around.

I do the same at lunchtime and in the evening and these past two weeks I’ve added in 3 barrows full of brambles and 3 Wendy barrows of stones moved, to try to achieve every day. This gives all my arm and back muscles a good work out too.

But this exercise has to fit around my writing plans for August; to complete the fourth Lizzie Martin Witchlit book, The Eloquent Witch. And then, of course, there’s marketing and promotion. I’m using my power naps, but my family is visiting next week and I’ve less than half of the novel completed.

Have I got the balance wrong? I hope not because I’m feeling more energised. I don’t know if I’ve lost weight because I don’t have scales but there’s no doubt the equator-like ring around my middle is decreasing…and last night on the river bank, I jogged the length of it for the first time. I asked myself the question ‘Can you jog?’ It’s been over thirty years since I’ve run and I’m going to build up to 1k steps, 200 jog and 200 walk and repeat, by the end of the month.

Balance of mind and body has to be a personal thing, but if walking, dancing and maybe even jogging, give me more energy and keep my depression away, enabling me to write and enjoy life more, I’m going for it. I’m sure the plant based diet helps too, with fresh vegetables from the garden.

For tried and tested plant based recipes, type ‘plant based’ into the search box on the home page.

 

 

 

First Harvest

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I know we’re already more than two weeks into August, but I wanted to share tipping out that first potato bag for potatoes to cook for dinner. Rootling through the earth, glossy potatoes appear as if by magic. Our first harvest this year, earth rubbed off and cooked immediately with sausages, peas and onion gravy. Delicious!

Our little veg garden is giving and giving, thanks to the donations of plants from friends and neighbours.

We’ve had runner beans and peas which went into curries.

This week we had our first marrow, rescued before the slugs helped themselves and cooked up in curry for our Tribal Unity camping weekend. There are some apples on the trees too and we’re hoping they grow a little bigger before they get nibbled! Our single tomato plant is laden and the onions and leeks are coming on. I’m growing fennel too, so I’m looking forward to finding tasty recipes to use that in as I’ve never cooked it before.

Eating fresh vegetables makes you feel good and I can’t wait to get our ‘potting shed come greenhouse’ up ready to start growing from our own seeds.

For tried and tested plant based recipes, type ‘plant based’ into the search box on the home page.

Appreciate the first harvest and the wonders of nature.

Plant Based Recipe of the Week – week 9 – Chickpea and Spinach Curry

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This is one of my favourite recipes at the moment and we’re eating it at least once a week, either with dahl or Tracy’s Curry https://wendysteele.com/2018/05/18/plant-based-recipe-of-the-week-week-7-tracys-curry/

Chickpea and spinach curry, affectionately known as ChiSpi (rhymes with hifi), in our house was originally a recipe by Hari Ghotra called Sholay Saag (Kale and Chickpea Curry). I enjoyed it with the kale, but I found it a strong, overpowering flavour for my taste buds. One day I had fresh spinach in the fridge and thought I’d give it a go. This is the link to Hari’s website with lots of recipes, tips and ideas for cooking authentic Indian Food https://www.harighotra.co.uk/

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

1-2 tablespoons of  rapeseed oil

½ tspn mustard seeds

1 tspn cumin seeds

1 large onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

4 plum tomatoes (I used a tin of tomatoes)

800g/2 tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tspn salt, or to tast

1 heaped tspn coriander seeds, crushed (can use powder)

1 green chilli, chopped (or red if you don’t have a green one)

200g spinach (or chopped kale)

1 green chilli, sliced for garnish

  • Heat the oil in a lidded pan over a medium heat and when it’s hot add the mustard seeds and then the cumin seeds.
  • Stir for a minute until you can smell the aroma of the cumin seeds and the mustard seeds stop sizzling, then add the diced onions.
  • Fry the onions for 15 minutes until they start to brown, then add the garlic. Fry together for 4 minutes before adding the tomatoes, stir and leave to cook for a few minutes. Add a little water if required.
  • Add the crushed coriander, green chilli, chilli powder, turmeric and salt and leave to cook on a gentle heat until the tomatoes start to break down and create a thick masala sauce (about 10 minutes).
  • Turn the heat up to thicken the sauce a little if required.
  • Add the chickpeas and stir to coat them with the masala. Add a splash of water and let them simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the spinach (or chopped kale) a handful at a time, stirring in between. Leave this to cook for 5 minutes until kale is soft and tender. Top with the sliced chilli and serve.

Take time to make the masala sauce… it’s worth it. This recipe benefits from reheating so if possible, make and refrigerate overnight.

 

I’ll leave you with a lovely photo of Jibby (the feral cat who came with the house) and Odin (one of the latest pair of rescued cats to come and live us), watching the sunrise.

Stay safe, stay healthy and enjoy life. Bright blessings xx

 

Plant based recipe of the week – Week 8 – Lisa’s Vegetable Curry

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Apologies for the delay in posting. I’ve not been trying new recipes, but instead eating food I know will be good while I focus on the latest Witchlit novel, The Flowerpot Witch, which will be published on Thursday 21st June.

But I did cook this curry again last week and remembered to take photos for you.

This curry is from my friend Lisa. It’s delicious with dahl and rice or with popadoms or naan…. in fact, it’s just delicious!

Lisa’s Vegetable Curry

2 tablespoons oil

2 onions

1 tablespoon fresh ginger

Vegetables:

My favourite – ½ butternut squash, 1 large sweet potato, 2 carrots (plus 1 head broccoli, 200g spinach)

2 teaspoons garam masala (I ran out and used 1 tspn madras curry powder and was good)

Salt

3 whole peppercorns

Big bunch of fresh coriander

1 tin of coconut milk

1 heaped tablespoon of peanut butter

Green pepper

150g green beans

Fresh parsley (optional)

Fry chopped onion for about 2-3 minutes until softened.

Add ginger and cook for about one more minute

Add chopped vegetables – you could try parsnips, peas, potato or swede. (I chopped up a whole butternut squash and roasted in the oven for about ten minutes and used the other half for making soup)

Add garam masala, salt, peppercorns, the chopped stalks of the coriander and, if you have it, about a teaspoon of a kebab spice mix containing chilli and dried mango. (I checked out Ras Al Hanout and used that. It contains coriander, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, salt, pimento, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and aniseed)
Continue to cook for about 5 minutes stirring constantly.

Add a tin of coconut milk and a heaped tablespoon of peanut butter.
Bring to the boil while stirring then leave to simmer for about 45 minutes.

If using cauliflower or broccoli then add after about 25 minutes. (I added green pepper and green beans with the broccoli)

After about 30 minutes taste and add more spice/peanut butter if you think it is needed.

If using spinach add it about 8 minutes before the end.
At the end add a large handful of chopped fresh coriander and/or parsley. (You can leave out both but fresh coriander is fab in this dish)

If freezing don’t add spinach or fresh herbs until you reheat.

 

 

 

 

Plant based recipe of the week – Week 7 – Tracy’s Curry

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This week I’m sharing a favourite recipe from my friend Tracy. She’s a dancer and one of the most inspiring women I know, remodelling her own home and designing and building her own garden.

Tracy’s Curry

5 tblspoons vegetable oil (I use 3)

2 tspns mustard seeds

1 tspn fenugreek (I used punchpooran – cumin, mustard, nigella, fenugreek and fennel seeds)

2 fresh green chillis (Original recipe was 3 but too hot for me!), finely chopped

 

1 handful curry leaves

3 large onions, peeled and chopped

 

Veg

 

1 tspn chilli powder

1 tspn turmeric

6 large tomatoes (or 1 tin/carton of tomatoes)

 

1 or 2 glasses of water

1 tin coconut milk

Salt

 

 

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek (or punchpooran) and chillis and stir for a couple of minutes.

Add curry leaves and onions and cook until they are light brown.

Add your vegetables, depending what you have in the fridge. You could try one large white potato, one large sweet potato, two large carrots, 150g green/french beans and a head of broccoli. Mushrooms work well with parsnips and butternut squash. You can use frozen veg too but be sure to adjust the additional water.  (if I’m using frozen veg, I don’t add any water until it has all broken down with the tomatoes and I’ve added the coconut milk.)

Add spices and tomatoes and coat all the veg.

Add water (or not!). Add coconut milk and salt…I start with half a teaspoon and add more if I need it.

 

This curry is good the day you make it but even better the next day!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I’ll leave you with a picture of our elderly cat, Tiggy, sixteen years young but loving having new family to snuggle with.  He and Odin get on really well.

 

For short stories and extracts from my books, subscribe to my YouTube channel, Phoenix and the Dragon, where I read to you from Pan’s Grotto on my Welsh riverbank

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA

 

 

 

 

Plant based recipe of the week – Week 6 – Wendy Woo’s Flapjack

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Eating plant based is about getting the balance right. I find eating enough veg a challenge, especially in the winter when a salad just doesn’t hit the spot, but chillis and curries are perfect for this. I try and include as many colours as possible too, as variety is also important.

But there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a sweet treat, as long as it’s part of the balance. This is my flapjack recipe, a merger of three old recipes plus a Wendy Woo twist! I learned this recipe by heart in ounces. I’ve used 1oz = 25g for the conversion.

 

Wendy Woo’s Flapjack

9oz (225g) butter/dairy free margarine

2oz (50g) brown sugar

1oz (25g) Demerara sugar

1 large tablespoon syrup

 

12oz (300g) oats

2oz (50g) sunflower seeds

1oz (25g) pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons chia seeds

1oz (25g) dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, chopped cranberries, dates or apricots)

Line a baking tray ( 25cm X 35cm) with baking parchment and set oven to Gas Mark 6/200 C/400 F.

In a large saucepan melt margarine, sugars and syrup.

Off the heat, add all the dry ingredients and stir well.

Press into baking tray and bake for 12 minutes (May need two more minutes – test by lifting edge of sheet and if bottom of flapjack is light brown, it is done)

Once flapjack has stopped bubbling, divide into 16 (4X4) for big pieces or 20 (4X5) for smaller ones with a large knife. Leave to set.

 

The original recipes I merged had more than twice the sugar of this recipe. You may be able to cut down even more but your flapjack may be more crumbly and not hold together whereas this recipe travels in a tin to writing group and dance class to share!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I’ll leave you with Jibby being cute, the feral cat who came with our house, who has adopted us as the humans who feed her.

If you’ve found me for the first time, you are most welcome. Do check out my books on my author pages https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref 

And for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plant Based Recipe of the Week – Week 5 – Friend’s recipes – Hara’s Curry

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Some days there just isn’t time (or money) for a dud recipe so I’ve asked my friends for their favourites, knowing they are tried, tested and loved.

This week is Hara’s Vegan Curry

2 onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 red or green chilli (2 if you like it hot)

Thumb size piece of ginger

1 heaped tspn fenugreek (I used punchpooran, a mix of cumin, fennel, nigella, black mustard and fenugreek seeds)

1 heaped tspn turmeric

1 heaped tspn black mustard seeds

1 heaped tspn cinnamon

1 heaped tspn garam masala

1 heaped tspn coriander seeds, crushed (if you’re short of time, coriander powder is fine)

250 ml water (approx.)

2 tspn veg bouillon

Veg

Half block of coconut

100 gms ground almonds

1 tspn salt

 

Fry onions, garlic, chillis and ginger until soft.
Add one heaped tspn each of fenugreek, turmeric, black mustard seeds, cinnamon, Garam masala and coriander seeds and fry for one minute.
Pour in 250 ml water and two tsps bouillon, stir and add veg. You can use any veg you like. Hara says cauliflower works well but, unfortunately, it’s a veg my tummy can’t handle. Here are two combinations I’ve tried and enjoyed.

(Option 1: One white potato, one sweet potato, 150g green beans, head of broccoli, 300g mushrooms

Option 2: One sweet potato, head of broccoli, two large carrots, 1 red pepper, 150g frozen peas, 150g mushrooms)
Simmer until tender with the lid on.

When almost ready add half a block of coconut and 100gms ground almonds, and a tspn of salt, stir, simmer for a few minutes and serve.

TIP: If you dice the veg really small, you don’t need to parcook it and I prefer to add it before the water, helping me judge how much water I really need. This recipe works well with frozen veg but again, you’ll need to gauge the water.

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It goes well with Aditi’s dahl recipe from Week 4 https://wendysteele.com/2018/02/16/plant-based-recipe-of-the-week-week-4-aditis-lentil-daal-and-bonus-vegetable-pakora/

I’ll leave you with a photo of one of my kittens enjoying snow for the first time a few weeks ago and be sure to check out my stories and book extracts read to you from Pan’s Grotto on my Welsh riverbank

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA

 

 

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

 

 

 

Awakened Bellydance™ – 7 months on

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At the end of April this year, I embarked on a personal journey with eleven other women in Bulgaria, guided and supported by Katie Holland, dancing and learning to facilitate Awakened Bellydance™. I wrote this a few days after returning home…

‘We breathed, we feared but we trusted and within the safe, protected space of our room, we danced, allowing the music to shake up our bodies and free our minds. We let go and the layers began to peel away.

Every day, we learned, shared, discussed and laughed and then we danced again, fear, judgement, disempowerment and pain, relinquished from our bodies and minds, into the earth to be transmuted to the love we craved.

Together, we healed, allowing our minds to be free to think, to create and to manifest and to step closer to our bodies, to feel the emotions and energy rising through us.

Deeper we delved into the closed off parts of ourselves, removing all obstacles and reinstating the power of the goddess, the women we truly are.

We reached up, beyond ourselves, out into the universe, to the stars from whence we came.’

Awakened Bellydance™ changed my life… I was no longer afraid. Without fear, I chose music for Tribal Unity Wales to dance to, confident that I had chosen well and in every lesson I taught, I allowed my heart to guide me.

I published my second Witchlit novel ‘The Orphan Witch’, knowing it was the perfect magical sequel to The Naked Witch’ as Lizzie Martin, my main character, followed her heart. The third novel, ‘The Flowerpot Witch’, flowed from my pen.

I grew a few vegetables in a bath tub and a tractor tyre and cooked plant based food, gathering new recipes and sharing time cooking with my partner.

I sang in the car…and in a hot tub in Essex in front of other people!

And so much more! Everything I did was different…I was different. I shone with a sense of ‘me’ I’d never felt before. There was no ego, just a deep connection to myself, who and where I was and an understanding of where I fitted into the universe.

Life hasn’t been easy. I’ve had a lot to deal with but trusting from the heart, I could cope with anything.

One morning, a few weeks ago, I awoked to depression, anxiety and fear. I wanted to cry. I wanted to stay in bed and hide from the world forever. Why had the fear returned? How had the depression manifested when I was so much more in tune with my mind and body? What had I done to bring this on? What had I done wrong?

But I refused to revert back to the old stories. The past is gone, no longer my story to tell so, I chose to see this time as a different kind of chaos and Awakened Bellydance ™ had equipped me with tools I could use to live in it. If I cared one iota about myself, now was the time to use them. I grounded and protected myself every day, sometimes outside in my wellies and dressing gown in the frosty morning air, sometimes indoors. I danced every day to my favourite song at the moment, ‘Wild Things’ by Alessia Cara and allowed myself to laugh or cry, however the music moved me. I continued to write, sometimes choosing to research or write a short story rather than my novel. I taught my dance classes from the heart, allowing myself to be swept up in the music but always focussed on creating the best lesson possible for my ladies.

I facilitated Awakened Bellydance™ solar plexus chakra, guiding and supporting women to clear away the old stories where they lacked confidence and self esteem and where they sought impossible perfection. We opened our hearts to new opportunities, stories we could create of focus, achievement, perseverence and resilience. We stoked the fires, burned away the obstacles and rose like the phoenix from the ashes.

I’ve focussed on strengthening the connections to the things I care about. On my riverbank, beneath the magnificent full moon, I blessed my physical sacred tools and sang to the goddess of the moon with my singing bowl.

 

I’ve lived with depression since my teenage years and learned to cope in many ways but Awakened Bellydance™ provides the dancer with the ability to reconnect with herself and the universe. It’s not about coping but living in confidence and love. Not only are the old stories confronted but they’re dealt with and binned and new stories are created, ready to manifest and be the story of the life you want to live.

For more information about Awakened Bellydance™ and its creator, Katie Holland, visit https://www.awakenedbellydance.com/awakened-bellydance

Lift the veil and live your life as the person you really are.