Archive for September, 2012

Pitta, pitta, pitta

That is what my friend who is an ayurvedic practitioner told me when I asked what my dosha was, according to Ayurvedic tradition.

This tradition identifies your constitution/digestion according to to your percentage make-up of the three different doshas: kapha, vata and pitta  , and there are diet recommendations accordingly. (Sorry, I do not know enough about this to say much more)

Patricia she said I was a pitta. Ayurvedic tradition encourages paying attention to the seasons and eating more cooked food in cold weather for example, and encourages drinking herbal teas over cold water or juices.

All of this slightly random information to say, that I was thinking of Patricia this morning as I took some of my fig abundance and I stewed them with some apple, a peach, fresh pineapple, dates, and dried apricots.

I am not much of a stewed fruit eater, I generally just prefer it as it is.

And yet….WOW. That was just what I needed on a cold morning. Not a bit of sugar needed; some cinnamon might have been lovely too.

 

Such a cosy breakfast for a cold day, and kept me full all morning. Alfredo loved it too. The children did not deign to try it (it did look rather….brown?)

 

If the cold is kicking in, try stewing some fruit sometimes. Delicious eaten alone, or on oats. Or with a healthy crumble topping. Fantastic!

Erm…darling?

A funny thing happened last night.

My husband brought back fresh figs. Yes, that’s right.

You see, after gifting a hefty number of boxes (and eating plenty of them too) we still had about 8 or 9 boxes left of not-quite-ripe figs. This was mainly because people who love figs, or who tried one and discovered they love them, would then say “oh don’t give me more than one box! I won’t eat more than one a day” (I guess I am a fruit glutton…so there I am foisting them lovingly…)So anyway, I had the remainder ripening in a cupboard and he thought his fig-loving wife and daughter had run out of figs, and he saw them for 25p a box and thought we would be pleased.

Which of course, I am.

But now, I have to get creative.

I have to confess I hadn’t thought of using them in smoothies, so that was my first task.

One recipe recommended banana, figs, soy milk and cardamon- and that is what I did for Alfredo (minus the cardamon) He liked it, but it was a bit weird for me, I generally like banana in a creamy context all by itself.  Here it is though- LOVELY colour!

okay, the colour was WAY lovelier in real life. Guess it’s my photography “skills”

 

I made myself and Isaac  one with 4 fresh figs, 4 frozen-thawed strawberries, an apple and 1/2 cup of water. Thick, but DELICIOUS.

I think I will freeze some in chunks for smoothies. However, I now fully intend to use the rest in a wintery context, like make some sort of sweet and sticky compote to go on oats in the morning as I am seriously needing warmth in the mornings at the moment. And maybe some baking. Watch this space.

39 boxes of figs

The bargain Gods finally smiled upon me once again. 10p  for a box of 4 figs.

Yes, I did take all 39 boxes.

No, I don’t have a problem with that.

I have plenty of fig loving friends, and Ellie is in heaven. (me too!).

Also, shops tend to put in a box of 4, 2 that are ready and two that are less ripe. So we’re good for next weeks packed lunches Ellie. And the week after. Furthermore, they are small and moreish that you can never eat only 1 anyway. As for me, I am currently eating a delicious green salad with balsamic and chopped figs, feeling like a queen, quite frankly. Just what I needed, since Isaac has consciously decided to regress in his toilet habits, and YES, it is conscious.

 

Who says leaves and fruit can’t be comfort food?!

 

PS We have a dessert party later for our friends who are emigrating.  A  “Sorry you’re deserting us” party.

I am taking figs (that’s not a joke) and a slightly tweaked variation of the Chocolate Orange Raisin Pie on this blog that I am too lazy to link to because I want to make another salad before school run. I am also taking a choc chip and orange cake (relatively conventional) lest my daughters hate me. Happy weekend!

Sattvic, Tamasic, Rajasic

So, some of you who are my friends will know that I am doing yoga teacher training this autumn (eeek, so excited!) While time is short, here are some pearls of wisdom from the Ancient East that belong here on Loving Leaves. See if you can spot anything that may be familiar. By which I am not claiming to be a sage…just that true principles in a wide sense will always be found across all cultures, though of course there will be nuances and differences in interpretation.

Yogic philosophy says there are three main constituents of nature:

Sattva (Creation) embodying purity and light

Rajas (preservation) Energy, passion, movement

Tamas (destruction) Inertia, heaviness, laziness

 

All foods and drinks fall into one of these categories. While there are some differences in opinion, which I will point out, a summary might be as follows

 

SATTVIC foods are foods which lead to enlightenment (not in isolation- but that they are an aid to spiritual awakening with other practices and attitudes) They are conducive to a calm mind, open and able to receive light from the Divine. These are clean water, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and pulses, and dairy. (I part company on them over the dairy. However, I will say that the dairy products we eat may bear little resemblance to the way it was consumed in those times…likewise the quantities)

RAJASIC foods are foods that stimulate. They inhibit a steady, clear-thinking mind, and they arouse animal passions. Among these are heavily spiced foods, fried foods, and nowadays there are plenty of “foods” that did not even exist at the time yogic texts were written, but also fall into this category: sugary foods, processed foods, heavily caffeinated drinks etc

TAMASIC foods make us feel sluggish, heavy, sleepy, lazy. This includes meats and fish, alcohol, and over-ripe food.

 

Some foods are rajasic (stimulating) but shortly after become tamasic – sugar, and alcohol are both good examples of this.

Not only do Sattvic foods help to elevate our consciousness (I absolutely believe this, as you know if you read this blog regularly) but they also happen to be the foods that nurture, protect against illness and are full of immune-strengthening properties. What a happy “coincidence” for our body, mind and spirit.  🙂

Sattvic foods are also in harmony with the yogic principle of AHIMSA (non-violence), though again, I would not say the dairy industry falls into that category. At all. However…if you wish to live increasingly in harmony with the principle of non-violence,  but do not wish (yet?) to eliminate these things entirely, you can still reduce the quantity of animal products you eat, source more ethically, etc etc

While you may disagree on this, or that…I think you see what I am trying to put over here.

And on that note, brief though it has been,

Namaste.

Adapting in the absence of innovating

I have neglected my baby (this blog) of late. I hope you are all still loving leaves and investing in some self-care.

I just did the Blueberry Oat bars but with strawberries. I actually just kind of guessed quantities: I threw plenty of oats and spelt flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt and a small glug of oil. I then realised I had no maple syrup left (tragic! The end of my £1 a bottle haul. I won’t be seeing that in my kitchen for a while!) My honey had crystallised (can you see a pattern?) so I used some regular old brown sugar. I just taste tested it so it was sweet enough to get it past the kids but not sickly sweet. It was sweet enough with not too much sugar, I noted happily. Strawberries are sweeter than blueberries anyway so that helped reduce the need for too much sugar.

Meanwhile, in the original recipe, the base holds together when you press it into a tin (because of the syrup) but this did not….so I had to throw an egg in (#veganfail) I took some of the mixture out to crumble over the top before I added the egg.

I am without a camera so there is no “quality” photo as I sometimes like to add. Indeed, this post is somewhat lacking in quality.

But I hope it reminds you that there is easy, healthi(er) baking out there for your children, heck, and you. It was pretty delicious. Amelia clearly liked it, as she ate……let’s just say….quite a lot! Ellie loved it too when I finally convinced her to try it. Isaac said “I don’t like crumble Mum”. Alfredo said “Has that got sugar in? No thanks” (even though there was a cold pepperoni pizza in the fridge this morning! Just teasin’ ya honey….)

 

I hope to stop by here again soon. And now, we forage!

A-foraging…..and a-packing….

There have been blackberries a-plenty in this house. Just at the top of our road there are tons and will probably see us through to October. Kids get such a kick out of foraging; wait, so do I!!  We have had 2 lots of pancakes with blackberries for breakfasts, and then an awesome coloured milkshake which I forgot to photograph. We are off to Spain tomorrow for some sun, swimming, and sandia (watermelon).

Hasta luego.

Warming date and apricot quinoa

I was running the food down for a trip away and I slightly mis-timed it….so there I was with an empty fruit bowl and fridge (read- almost entire kitchen) …..the kids had pancakes (hurrah for egg-less spelt pancake recipes, and frozen berries!) I decided to do a little experimentation for myself….I would have happily had pancakes but I turned around and they were gone. The cheek!

So here was my experiment..

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 3.5  cups water, or more if needed during cooking
  • 4-5 dates, snipped
  • 4-5 dried apricots snipped
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ginger
  • 2 teaspoons honey (if you have quality, unheated farmers market type honey, stir it in at the end, once cooked, for maximum benefits)

 

Quinoa cooks in about 20 minutes at a medium simmer- follow pack instructions. It is a seed-grain. You know…a seed, that seems like a grain. It is a very rich source of protein and a favourite among vegetarian food bloggers 🙂 It is a slightly different texture to couscous, and very pleasant in a fluffy kind of way. It was a mild flavour, that most bloggers describe as “nutty” in the same way that everything else “tastes like chicken”! 😀

 

Top with chopped almonds (unroasted, or slightly toasted if you wish) and some extra honey or maple syrup if you want it a little sweeter.

 

I don’t know if it tastes “nutty” but I did enjoy it immensesly. And just what I needed to begin this chilly month of September.

 

when beige is not Beige.

 

However!! I am so happy that I will be eating fresh figs, watermelon and massive big peaches for breakfast next week!!

 

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