Tag Archives: vegetables

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

 

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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 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

 

 

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.

 

 

Plant Based Recipe of the Week – Week 3 – Sweet Potato Chilli

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Welcome to plant based recipes, tried and tested by Wendy Woo!

Today’s recipe is Sweet Potato Chilli, adapted from Holly Wakeham’s chilli on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ffeXbFIZBs

It’s versatile and delicious with jacket potatoes, rice or pitta bread.

Sweet Potato Chilli

 Ingredients

1 tablespoon of oil

1 pepper – chopped (I used red but you can use green or orange)

1 large onion – chopped

4 cloves of garlic – crushed

1 large red chilli – split and deseeded to remove – can use chilli flakes/dried chillis to taste

1 teaspoon mild chilli powder

1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon

1 heaped teaspoon cumin

4 sweet potatoes – peeled and cubed

500ml stock – I used vegetable bouillon but cubes are good

Mixed herbs – I used 1 heaped teaspoon of oregano and basil and ½ teaspoon of rosemary

2 tins of tomatoes

2 tins of kidney beans – washed

2 tablespoons of tomato purée

300g mushrooms – halved (more or less is fine)

Black pepper

Salt

Sweetener – I used agave nectar, can use coconut sugar or other

 

Instructions

Use a large pan with a lid.

 

You can sweat onions, pepper and garlic on a medium heat with no oil and a little water if you wish, but I don’t mind a little oil so I added split chilli and chilli powder, cinnamon and cumin at this point, preferring to cook my spices.

 

Add rest of the ingredients, stirring them in, except salt, pepper and sweetener.

 

Simmer for ten minutes with lid on. Second time I made this, potatoes weren’t quite soft so I left with lid on for five more minutes.

 

Simmer for ten more minutes with lid off to thicken. If using fresh chillis, remove at this point.

 

Add salt (I used ½ teaspoon), black pepper and sweetener (I used one tablespoon of agave nectar) to taste.

 

I hope you enjoy this winter warmer and will visit again for more Wendy Woo recipes from my little house in Wales. Do check out other features on my site including pages on my books, pixie coats, dance and magic.

 

 

 

How much juice is enough? Part 2

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Into our second week of juicing and, after the busy and exciting Saturday I had, dancing with Tribal Unity at the Lampeter Food Festival, I’m loving it and really feeling the benefits.

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The juice recipes in the book to go with the video ‘Fat sick and nearly dead’ are useful and inspiring. Set out for each season, to encourage use of seasonal and local produce, we’ve tried a number of the ‘summer’ recipes. The food recipes, however, are not to our taste.

DSC_1435These are the quinoa and bean burgers, using the pulp from juicing, coated in nutritional yeast, served on spinach with tomatoes. This was not a successful dinner as spinach was disappointingly tough and burgers inedible. The recipes feel like someone has put together a group of ingredients that are ‘good for you’ rather than any tasting having gone on with the creation of the dish. Cumin powder stirred into a mix and then the whole baked in the oven is really unpleasant and left a hot feeling in my chest all evening. So…..we resorted to our own food.

DSC_1436 My plate on the left shows home made vege burgers while Mike has goat’s cheese and spinach lattice, served with sweet potato, peppers, sweetcorn and spinach. We’ve continued to eat our own food but changed the proportions on the plate. At least half has to be vegetable and less than a quarter each of protein and carbs.

We are drinking a green juice and a fruit juice each day, sometimes adding one more and eating our usual veggie diet. I’m still not eating dairy and I do feel better for it. Here are our three favourite recipes, from the book, online and from my dance teacher, Deana.

Morning Green Glory

4-5 large kale leaves

1 large handful of spinach

3 romaine leaves

1 cucumber

3 celery stalks (which we are omitting following the head slammer reaction!)

1 green apple

1 lemon (peeled or it’s very bitter)

 

Deana’s Morning Wake Up

2 oranges

2 carrots

2 rings of pineapple (about a quarter of a pineapple)

half a mango

2 passionfruit

I’ve been leaving out the mango most days as have only managed to ripen one before it went mouldy, in two weeks! Passion fruit are quite expensive so some days, I’ve been adding a peeled lemon instead.

 

Beet Delight

2 red apples

1 large beet

1 large carrot

1 lemon

This recipe is supposed to have a small turnip in as well but doesn’t need it.

I think two or three juices a day, with a vegetarian diet, upping the amount of vegetables and cutting back on protein and carbs, is a good balanced diet for me. I feel satisfied after my meals and have plenty of energy for physical work on the house and dancing and my mind feels clearer and more focussed when I’m writing.

Happy juicing!

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How much juice is enough?

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My son Ed is twenty four and suffered from arthritis since the age of 12, culminating in him taking the strongest meds the hospital could give him for the past two years. When I spoke to him last, he had switched his diet from vegetarian to vegan and included juicing and was off all his medication. He said he felt like a young man again. I was overjoyed, of course, and on his recommendation looked into juicing and watched the video ‘Fat, sick and nearly dead’. I can’t begin to describe the film as I’d miss out too much but it’s a great watch.

My partner and I decided to take the plunge, bought a juicer and ordered the book of juices, recipes and advice that accompanied the video. DSC_1424

We had our final meal DSC_1426 and were ready to fast.

Some background….Mike and I are vegetarian. I make most of our food so we eat few processed and packaged items but, when we saw the video, we were surprised that, balanced against fruit and vegetables, we still ate too much. Our aim was to cleanse our systems and then change the balance so fruit and vegetables, be they eaten or juiced, were to become the major part of our food intake. This leads perfectly to the fruit and veg we want to plant and grow in our raised beds and greenhouse (when they finally happen!)

We tried detoxing while we carried on working…….we were mad! So my first piece of advice once you’ve watched the video, read the book and have your juicer set up is….WATCH THE VIDEO AGAIN! We realised that fabulous Joe Cross spent the first ten days with himself in a hotel room dealing with the detox and Phil was at a beach resort by a lake, but we only realised this on the second viewing. We missed lots of useful advice the first time around.

Not only am I a vegetarian but I eat very little dairy and am wheat intolerant. We don’t drink alcohol and have very few take-away meals. I teach dance classes while my partner lays and sands wood floors and together, we are attempting to renovate the Grade II listed house and byre that we live in and rescue four acres from thirty years of neglect.

Neither of us was carrying much fat so we attempted to juice fast and keep working with very little reserve….the first night I fainted, luckily in the bedroom and was able to get on the floor. So my second piece of advice is, be kind to yourself. For at least five days, give yourself time to adjust, rest…the video says all you want to do is curl up in bed but….it does get easier.

Nearing the end of the third day, Mike needed to drive to Cardigan to give a price for a wood floor and I was wrapped up in layers and a hot water bottle trying to get warm. We felt dreadful and made the decision to add some food at this point. Mike had eggs and in the evening, I made leek and potato soup (loads of leek, little potato;-)) with the broth I made from the vegetable pulp. On the fourth day, we had our fruit juice breakfast, green juice and took our Berries and Beet coconut water to the beach. Home made hummus, crackers, ryvitas, grapes and carrots for lunch followed by Beet delight juice and hot carrot spinach salad (v v hot!!), home made vege burgers and sweetcorn for dinner and apple crumble with nuts and seeds topping for our evening meal. We have continued to drink lots of water.

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It’s day five today. Coconut water contains electrolytes to help with the dettox symptoms…tricky to know if it works as I’m not feeling great but, the Berries and Beet recipe is delicious!

I’ve learned a lot about the foods our bodies really need and what my body needs to stop it keeling over! Maybe we stopped too soon to get the full benefit of a detox but I’ve been shopping today so I can try the Quinoa burgers and Veggie meatballs recipes, and I’ve bought more kale and spinach. I’ve learned I can’t ‘eat’ cucumber or it repeats on me all day but has no effect on me if juiced. I’ve learned that I may actually be allergic to celery as after the first green juice, where I thought someone had hit me on the head with a sledge hammer, I reduced the amount to no avail until yesterday when I removed it and no head slam! While I’m drinking the juices, I can eat apples and oranges with no tummy ache. A delicate but necessary detail…instead of around five visits each morning, I’m now having a much more comfortable one or two.

Please join me next week for the next five days of this juice journey where I try to decide, how much juice is enough!