Jul 2013

STEAM FRIED SPRING GREENS (COLLARDS) WITH RED PEPPER AND CASHEWS

STEAM FRIED SPRING GREENS (COLLARDS) WITH RED PEPPER AND CASHEWS

Mexico, as it was announced today, overtook the USA in the obesity race. Mexico is now the most obese developed nation with 32.8% of people classified as obese. That is every 3rd person! Not overweight but obese! I was surprised the country of my birth, the Czech Republic, is occupying the 12th position. The UK (together with Russia) is 23rd, a surprise, I thought it would fare much worse.

Looking around me I don’t believe that the UK’s obesity crisis has improved. I think that unfortunately the nations above the UK have simply managed to get even worse over the last several years. The WHO (World Health Organisation) numbers show that some 35% of the world’s population is overweighed and 11% obese (these are 2008 numbers, probably higher today). Even more worryingly 40 million of children (under 5!) were overweight in 2011. More people die from being overweight and obese than from being underweight.

Couple days ago my kids and I walked up to the local playground and I couldn’t help noticing that out of 6 adults 3 were obese. Not overweighed, not needing to shed couple pounds, but obese. Luckily none of the kids were. This is becoming the norm.

What are some of the recommendations from the WHO?


  • limit energy intake from total fats and sugars
  • increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts (I call this plant based diet!)
  • engage in regular physical activity

See it’s a no-brainer (I know it’s not always that simple). My recipe fits perfectly within the WHO guidelines and is the tastiest way to cook spring greens I have made so far :)

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/news/america-fattest-obese-un-144341236.html


springgreensteamfry

STEAM FRIED SPRING GREENS WITH RED PEPPER AND CASHEWS
If you are feeding more people just add another bunch of greens

Serves 2

ingredients

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or I whole green garlic when in season)
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 large red chilli (mild)
1 ramiro pepper (or red bell pepper)
1 large bunch of spring greens (collards), washed and shredded, tough stalks removed
1 tbs sweet soya sauce (ketjap manis)
handful of cashews

method
  1. In a wok heat 60ml (1/4 cup) water. Add the garlic, chilli and ginger. Cook for 5 min till softened. Add more water if needed.
  2. Next, add the pepper and saute for 5 min till softened. Again add more water if needed.
  3. Add the spring greens and another 60ml of water.
  4. Cook for 5-10 min, or until most water evaporates. This depends how soft you like your greens.
  5. Add soy sauce and cashews. Cook for further 1 min.
  6. Serve with brown rice, quinoa or noodles.
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ASIAN NOODLE SALAD WITH PEANUT DRESSING

ASIAN NOODLE SALAD WITH PEANUT DRESSING

We have been experiencing an incredible heatwave. I don’t think I have ever managed to wear all my summer clothes in one season in the UK. Don’t get me wrong we do get lovely weather here it but it just never seems to last very long.

Last week the intense heat made it very hard to revise for my college exam, I felt like falling asleep every time I picked up my study materials. I must say it is a relief that this college year is now behind me. At the same time I can’t wait to start my final one in September.

This week it has been lovely to have some study free time, my last three days have been spent catching up with housework (like the massive pile of ironing - I think my son has a t-shirt disorder!!!), friends (my lush 4 hour breakfast yesterday morning) and my son"s activities to mark his last year of junior school.

Two nights in a row my son’s year put on a production of The Pirated of Curry Bean so I had to make sure he had some food ready for a quick after school meal before I had to take him back to school to perform the role of a naughty monkey from the island of Lumbago (in the sea of Sciatica...). I am not quite sure how he survived wearing his monkey costume (a thick fleece hoody) in this heat!

Chatting with my friend over our rather long breakfast yesterday, she suggested making pasta salad for last nights dinner. Of course I had to put a bit of a spin on the theme and came up with the recipe below. It’s filling but light, and provides plenty of energy for any performer. My monkey had two bowls before his show and another when we got back home. Success! I think this could become a staple as it is perfect for lunch boxes, picnics or as a part of a cold buffet.

asian-noodle-salad-peanut

ASIAN NOODLE SALAD WITH PEANUT DRESSING


Serves 4-6

ingredients
200g Asian noodles (rice, buckwheat, wheat...just not udon)
1 and 1/2 cups (or a punnet) sugar snap peas
2 medium carrots
1/2 cucumber
6 larger radishes
4-6 spring onions (depends on their size)
2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
juice of 1 lime
1/2 inch of ginger, chopped
3/4 cup organic smooth peanut butter
2-3 tsp vegan red curry paste
1/2 cup drinking coconut (or another dairy free) milk
2 tsp Bragg liquid aminos, tamari or shoyu
2 tbs black sesame seeds
fresh coriander to taste

method
  1. First cook your noodles according to packet instructions. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Steam the sugar snap peas for about 2 min until crisp tender, cool them down in a bowl of iced water or under a cold running tap.
  3. Coarsely grate the carrots and put them into a large (very large) bowl.
  4. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, using a teaspoon scoop out the seeds and slice into lovely half moons.
  5. Halve the radishes (if large) and slice.
  6. Slice the spring onions on the diagonal.
  7. Add the cucumber, radishes, sugar snap peas and spring onions to the carrots.
  8. Add in the noodles and 2 tsp of sesame oil if using.
  9. Put the lime juice, chopped ginger, red curry paste, peanut butter, coconut milk and Bragg Liquid Aminos into a blender and process till smooth.
  10. Pour over the noodles, add the sesame seeds and mix well. Your hands are the best tool for this.
  11. Add the coriander just before serving.


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CURRY LAKSA WITH BABY AUBERGINES AND TOFU

CURRY LAKSA WITH BABY AUBERGINES AND TOFU

Today I met up with friends for lunch. They chose Wagamama, a pan Asian noodle place. I have eaten there a few times so had no worries.

First the waiter forgot my miso soup and pickles, he just brought my main dish straight away. I started to eat it and after getting through about a third I discovered an alien (to me) food. OK I admit I first thought this was an oyster mushroom but at a closer look I recognized from my distant memory this was indeed a good sized piece of chicken.

I returned the dish, expressing my disgust. They apologised and quickly made a new portion of my noodles. They also finally brought my (luke warm) miso soup and even offered a free dessert. I ended up paying only for my fresh blueberry apple and ginger juice. Still I felt disappointed.

Everybody makes mistakes we are only humans. However if this was a peanut in a dish of somebody who has severe nut allergy or some breadcrumbs in a coeliacs dinner we would call it serious. This could be a life and death situation. Of course I won’t suffer an anaphylactic shock should I put this piece of chicken in my mouth. I just like to receive what I ordered, I have a reason (actually reasons) why I am a veggie and I would like eateries to be more respectful. Not so long ago at Yo Sushi I saw a piece of breaded tofu being sliced on the same chopping board with the same knife as the breaded chicken. Is it carelessness or ignorance? Attention to detail makes a big difference.

no chicken in these noodles :)
laksa-thing

CURRY LAKSA WITH BABY AUBERGINES AND TOFU
This is my take on laksa. It is a lot thicker than laksa should be, but that can be remedied by adding a bit more water. Thicker sauce makes it very comforting and thats how I like it.

I was cautious and added just one chilli pepper but regretted it later, it could have done with at least 2. Of course it depends on the type of chillies you have and your "heat resistance".

serves 4

laksa paste
laksa-thing-paste

ingredients:
paste
1/2cup macadamia nuts
2 stalks of lemongrass, outer leaves peeled, coarsely chopped
1-3 red chillies, coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, coarsely cut
1 bunch of coriander (about 2 cups)
1 inch of fresh turmeric root (or 1 tsp dried turmeric), peeled and sliced
1 inch ginger rood or galangal, peeled and sliced
2 large banana shallots

16-20 baby aubergines
1 1/2 tbs rapeseed or coconut oil
250g (9-100z) firm tofu, cut into bite size pieces
1 tin coconut milk
500ml (2 cups) of water
1 Tbs tamari
1 tsp coconut nectar sugar
10 kafir lime leaves
1-2 limes
fresh coriander for garnish
1 red chilli
250g (9oz) rice noodles,medium thickness.

baby aubergines

baby-aubergines-


  1. First make the paste. Place all the ingredients into a blender or a food processor. Blend to a coarse paste. You will have to stop and scrape the sides few times. Set aside.
  2. Cut of the stalks of the baby aubergines, halve them and place into a roasting dish. Add 1 tbs of oil and mix well. If using coconut oil you should melt it first. Roast the aubergine in a 200C oven for 20 minutes.
  3. In a large wok heat the remaining 1/2tbs of oil. Add all the paste and cook gently for 2 minutes.
  4. Next add the coconut milk, water, tamari sauce, coconut sugar, kafir lime leaves and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile prepare the noodles. Soak them in just boiled water for 10minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  6. Next add the roasted aubergines, and tofu into the wok. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the rice noodles into the wok and let just heat through.
  8. Add lime juice and salt to taste.
  9. Serve topped with coriander and sliced chillies and some lime wedges.

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