Barley is one of those grains that often hangs out at the back of the kitchen cupboard collecting dust. It’s a great grain to have on hand, but what exactly do you do with it……? Continue reading “Asparagus and broccoli barley risotto”
Many dairy-free or plant-based recipes use nutritional yeast as an ingredient. It has a fabulously savoury almost cheesy flavour. But have you ever wondered what it actually is? And where it comes from? Continue reading “All about nutritional yeast”
Okra is one of those ‘marmite’ vegetables – you either love it or hate it. I’ve not come across many people who don’t really have an opinion! Personally, I love it, but I do get why some of you don’t – it’s the slime factor!
I fell in love with okra years ago when I first discovered bhindi bajee at the local curry house. It was always my go-to side dish, although I tend to avoid it now as it’s often drowned in oil. When I went to India, though, I discovered there was so many more dishes it could be used in and used to cook with it on a regular basis. Of course the advantage there was it was locally grown and fresh; most okra bought in Europe has travelled a long way and can lose its vitality and flavour, which is a shame.
Okra contains some great nutrients including a good dose of magnesium, vitamins C, B6, folate and K. It also has some powerful antioxidants including polyphenols which have been connected to good brain and heart health, which is good to know.
The fibre is the star of this veg for me – or rather the mucilage is. This slimy type of fibre has two powerful supporting roles when it comes to health. 1) it binds with excess cholesterol and transports it out of the gut 2) it lowers the sugar absorption so can help maintain stable blood sugars and support people with diabetes. In fact, if you already have diabetes and are prescribed metformin, you might be advised to avoid okra as it is so effective. Which is a shame. It just shows how powerful food is when it comes to promoting good health. And why changing diet and lifestyle before going to medication can make such a big difference.
This masala is super easy to make – don’t be put off by the list of ingredients as those are mainly spices and flavourings. You can make this as spicy (or not) as you like; if you’re not into heat then leave out the fresh chilli and use just a little chilli powder. That way you get all the flavour without the burn. If you’re not in a hurry, make this in advance and leave the flavours to develop. Leftovers taste great the next day or can be frozen for another time.
I hope you enjoy this super tasty curry – the taste as well as the super body benefits. If you give this a go, do let me know how you get on.
If you’re interested in discovering more about how the food you eat can affect your health (and the world around you), then check out my online courses by clicking here.
Okra and potato masala
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cm chunk fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 2 fat cloves of garlic peeled and grated
- 1 medium red or green chilli deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 large tomatoes chopped
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder kashmiri if possible
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 medium potatoes scrubbed and diced
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 250 grams okra washed, trimmed and cut into 3cm chunks
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon garum masala
- Toast the cumin and mustard seeds in a medium sized pan until they start to pop. Remove the pan from the heat and leave for one minute to cool slightly, then carefully add 2 tablespoons of water to the pan (it will be super hot and sizzle so take care). Put the pan back on the heat and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes then add the chilli, ginger and garlic to the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes, adding a litte more water if needed.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, chilli powder, coriander powder and ground turmeric to the pan. Stir well to combine and cook for another 2 minutes before stirring in the chopped potatoes and tomato purée. Stir well to coat the potatoes then add enough water to create enough fluid to just cover them. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the potatoes are just cooked.
- Add the okra to the pan and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so until it is just soft - try not to over cook it or you will get more slime than you might enjoy!
- Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with fresh coriander and a sprinkle of garum masala (both optional).
Lockdown due to the Covid 19 pandemic opened up the opportunity for people to rediscover – or even discover – a passion for cooking. Baking in particular has been a top family activity, and swathes of people have started to bake their own bread. This led to flour shortages and a boost for smaller, local mills. It’s a trend I hope will continue going forward. Continue reading “Basic sourdough starter”
As more is learnt about gut health and the microbiome (the mystical population of bacteria hiding out in your colon), the more scientists are beginning to understand just how important it is to human health. And it really is. So it’s a good idea to take steps to look after our friendly bacteria, as they will look after us in return. Continue reading “Simple sauerkraut”
It’s nearly the beginning of May, and Spring is in full flow. I love this time of year – longer days, warmer weather and new life blossoming in nature. In the middle of dark, grey winter its hard to visualise the trees budding green and beautiful blossom fluttering in the breeze. Continue reading “Spring cleaning from the inside out”
Over the last seven weeks I’ve been sharing my top tips for making positive change easy. We started off looking at looking into why you might want to make change, and how it’s important to go at your own pace. Then it was my 5 easy steps; eat more (fruit and vegetables), go brown, make easy swaps, eat real food and now finally – variety. Continue reading “Easy changes – step 5”
One of the most common questions I get asked by people trying to move to a more whole-food plant-based diet is “What do I have for lunch?”. It’s particularly challenging for people who are avoiding gluten due to an intolerance or chronic health problem. It’s not so easy to rely on a sandwich or other bread option. Continue reading “Wholesome rice salad”
Have you ever thought about how the food you eat directly affects your brain? As its Brain Awareness Week, it’s worth sparing a minute or two to do just that. Do you give your brain what it needs?
The brain is the hungriest organ in the body. Mind you that’s not surprising really as it’s always on the go, managing and controlling everything else in the body, even (and particularly) when we’re asleep. 25% of the body’s energy supply (in the form of glucose, its fuel of choice), is used in the brain Continue reading “Brain food”
This is the first year I’ve tried to grow squash in my little vegetable patch. A bit late in planting them out, they’re still not quite ready despite the weather beginning to change. They seem happy where they are though, for now, and will hopefully grow and ripen a little more than this!
You will find a number of links to different pumpkin or squash recipes on my blog – I have a bit of a thing for this wonderful veg! During the autumn and winter months, it’s a staple in our house, appearing in recipes at least twice a week. Apart from their versatility, sweet flavour and smooth velvety texture, these wonderful vegetables are an amazing source of nutrients, bringing a burst of veggie sunshine in the long, grey months.
Pumpkins and squash really can help to keep the body healthy during winter. You only have to look at the amazing orange coloured flesh to know it’s packed full of goodies. Winter squash have been found to have the highest percentage of beta-carotene of any vegetable. Beta-carotene is the plant form of vitamin A (easily converted in the body), essential for healthy eyes, skin and immune system. There are many types of beta-carotenes, wonderful little phytonutrients that acts as co-enzymes and catalysts for metabolic processes – all things that keep us functioning properly. On top of that, pumpkin and squash also contains an amazing array of anti-oxidants, including vitamin C, that help mop up harmful free-radicals, and a great selection of B vitamins, and essential minerals like magnesium, manganese, potassium and calcium.
And it doesn’t stop there. The sugars in pumpkin and squash are super-healthy too. Not only are they full of fibre, they also contain a specific type of polysaccharide sugar called homogalacturonan (I haven’t just made that name up, honest!) that has special anti-inflammatory effects on the body particularly for heart disease and diabetes. The fibre also contains pectin, a favourite food for friendly gut bacteria, so benefiting gut health too.
So what’s not to love? Unfortunately, all good things have a not so good side – with pumpkins and squash, it’s how they’re grown. These water-loving veggies can be used to de-contaminate land, as they readily absorb anything in the soil and water. So if there is a lot of soil pollution, that will end up in the final product – and inside you. So it’s best to buy organic whenever possible, or from a reliable source. There is a small organic farm near me that always has a wonderful selection – here’s their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lainesorganicfarm/.
To celebrate this pumpkinlicious time of year, I’m going to add some extra recipes over the next few week. In the meantime, why not check out one of the yummy recipes already here on the blog? They’re all fully plant-based, dairy free and really tasty. Here are the links to take you there.
Pumpkin pancakes, perfect for breakfast, lunch or any time! http://thesensitivefoodiekitchen.com/pumpkin-pancakes/
These tasty pumpkin scones are easy to make and freeze well https://thesensitivefoodiekitchen.com/savoury-pumpkin-scones/
How about this tasty dish that matches squash with the nutrient power-house of brussel sprouts! https://thesensitivefoodiekitchen.com/roasted-squash-red-onion-and-brussel-sprouts/
Pumpkins and squash work wonderfully in soup. Here’s two to try – a gorgeous soup to warm you through http://thesensitivefoodiekitchen.com/happy-earth-day-have-some-gorgeous-squash-soup-to-celebrate/ and a filling winter warmer https://thesensitivefoodiekitchen.com/roasted-squash-and-barley-soup/
Try this stuffed squash for a satisfying and filling supper http://thesensitivefoodiekitchen.com/stuffed-squash-for-thursday/
This hubby-inspired curry is a winner every time http://thesensitivefoodiekitchen.com/steves-saturday-night-squash-curry/
Watch this youtube video about a family friendly dip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HuweHV24ao&t=16s