Gomasio, pomegrates and ras-al-hanout – cooking for mind, body and soul

Okay, so I’ve been trying to cook a bit more.  Make more of an effort, kitchen-wise.  And my inspiration this week has come from the divine Shruti.  Shruti runs Fairfield House, a vegetarian bed and breakfast in Williton in Somerset – mid-way between Minehead and Bridgwater.  Fairfield House also hosts gentle detox weekends, silent meditation retreats and mindful cookery courses.
Shruti’s food is all cooked with total mindfulness and love, and somehow you can tell, by the taste and the way it makes you feel.  Did you know that the nutrient power of food is boosted if you cook it with intention? Apparently tis true.  You can read more about mindful cooking and soul eating in The Energy Secret, should you be interested.
Anyhow.  Shruti gave me some of her recipes and, continuing the spirit of giving, I thought I’d share them with you.

Soda Bread (makes one small loaf)
Now then, I rarely eat normal bread because, although I love it, it doesn’t love me.  Three slices of toast and my intestines are outgymnasting the Olympics and the resultant wind could power a small nation all by itself. But Shruti makes this with spelt flour, which is a lot kinder on the guts.  You can use whatever flour you prefer, of course – rye and whole wheat also work well.

2 cups (220g) spelt flour
1 cup milk (almond, soya, or dairy)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Mix the apple cider vinegar and milk and set aside to curdle.
Mix the dry ingredients together, sifting so they mix well.
Add the curdled milk (it will look a bit yellow) to the dry mix and make a rough textured dough. Don’t over-knead.
Roll into whatever shape you fancy (round is traditional) and bake in a hot oven at 180 C/gas mark 4 for 45 minutes.  Eat warm from the oven.

Note: You can add anything to this really – herbs, seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, olives.

Oh my!  This was a revelation to me.  It’s a macrobiotic seasoning that is said to de-acidify the blood.  In addition it’s supposed to strengthen the digestion and improve energy levels.  But, above all, it’s totally delicious. Sprinkle it over grains, vegetables, salads, whatever.  Utterly yummy.

Dry roast sesame seeds (do lots as I guarantee you’ll regret it if you don’t make lots).  Add some pink Himalayan salt or tamari.  If you’re using salt add it to the hot pan, after roasting.  If you’re using tamari, wait until the seeds have cooled down.
Now grind them in a coffee grinder.
Keep in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.  They will be fine for up to a week (but I challenge you to keep them that long).

Lovely version of an old favourite.
225g red or white quinoa/frekeh/bulghur wheat
pinch of salt
350ml cold water
Flat leaf parsley
Seeds of one pomegranate
Bunch of spring onions
75g pine nuts – dry roasted
2 medium carrots, coarsely grated
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice

Cook the grain until al dente.  Make a dressing (olive oil, lemon juice, honey and seasoning to taste). Add all the ingredients to the freshly cooked, warm grain and then pour over the dressing.
Quinoa is an ancient Inca grass that purportedly contains all the amino acids the body requires.  Pomegranate is high in fibre, vitamin C, potassium and flavonoids. Plus it’s delicious.

Beetroot and carrot salad
1 beetroot
2 carrots
1 clove garlic
Cumin seeds, ras-al-hanout
Fresh lemon juice
Fresh mint
Organic cold-pressed rapeseed oil
Sea salt or Himalayan salt, freshly ground black pepper
Toasted pine nuts

Grate the beetroot and carrot.
Make the dressing with the oil, lemon juice, garlic, mint, salt and pepper.
Dry roast the cumin seeds and the ras-al-hanout.
Mix all the ingredients and then pour over the dressing.  Mix well.
Garnish with mint and pine nuts.

Beetroots are  high in fructose, B9 and vitamin C.  Carrots are high in beta carotene, vitamin A and fibre.

I confess I love this because it gives me an excuse to use the ras-al-hanout I brought back from Morocco. You can either buy this spice mix on-line or make your own.  Shruti, of course, makes her own…mindfully.

Anyhow try them…let me know how you get on. Oh, and don’t forget to eat mindfully too – savour each mouthful.  Put your cutlery down in  between mouthfuls.  Breathe.

Photo by Priyanka Singh on Unsplash

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