Food-motions – a few glorious grains and soft spring rolls!


The foods in the photograph above make me happy! I love the hot red of the chilli peppers, the earthy textured dark of the Haas avocado, my all time favourite, that little peppery creamy French brie plus those tiny tomatoes which baked with rosemary sprigs slowly are a prefect companion to any salad.

I just find food and meals just so wholesomely human really – a simple and genuine full circle of love, caring and shopping with sustainability in mind. I  do try and temper my desire to cook and experiment with consience and our small planet is constantly in my thoughts. Growing up in the 60s/70s on a small dairy farm taught me much about  the land, farming and the farmers lot. I try to buy my dairy products from sustainably run or organic farms. I like small holdings and kind farmers and large agri-business tend to make me nervous. Cruelty-free food seems to make  my meals taste so much more satisfying all round. And having frugal parents who were also avid food-lovers taught me to waste as little as possible and to re-compost that which was unusable.

Preparing food is something most of us do for ourselves and our loved ones every day of our lives.   We share meals, buy/trade/grow/ store food, throw away food  (alas) and plan our next meal every single human day. As for me – I teach kids & adults about cooking, develop new recipes, write and read about food (and the behaviours/habits which surround it) from morning through to night.  And I have spent many a glorious hour exchanging recipes, sharing food memories and just chewing the fat with people all over the world.  Time spend teaching and talking food makes me as happy as an organically farmed pig in clover, oh, it does. Food is beautiful, colourful, smell-licious and divine.

Food -motion. Food-ire, Fear of Food…..

However, there is the food-motion side of things. Mention ideas such as healthy eating, home cooking, slow food, meatless Mondays, smaller chocochip cookies, those unneeded sports drinks, more dark brown bread, using lots of spices and fresh herbs and then you start to get into some dark and emotionally-edgy conversations. Sometimes I feel a great chilliness hovering above my food laden table, often I am surprised to find that people feel threatened and challenged. I am rather shocked that people seem so unaware of the epidemic of diabetes and the rates of adult obesity in developed countries given the constant media coverage.

It never ceases to amaze me how Jamie Oliver attracted such bile for suggesting we should do more cooking in our homes and schools both in the UK and the US – thanks Jamie, you got us thinking although I wish more of us would watch your speech on (2010 Ted Winner). Really, Jamie was not trying to make anyone feel bad, he just wants us to cook great food and consume it. Food is glorious, a priveledge to eat and have accesss to. So many in our world can’t get a good square meal that it would be a shame not to put our best into what we have and to teach our kids how to as well!  It is central to our human lives and we all need to learn more about it.

I believe that learning to cook is a great skill to have, teaching us manual dexterity, organizational and managerial skills, chemistry, intuition, self-efficacy, confidence and above all teaching our knowledge about where food comes from and how it impacts on our planet.  On a lighter side, it is just such fun and for that little extra bonus you get to eat the end result. My next cooking course “Eating A Rainbow” – simple, delicious dishes from around the world will be taught at The Hungry Mind Centre, just by the International School of The Hague on March 19 and 26th – come and join me if you fancy – register via or phone 070 3681804.

Now onto proper stuff, like cooking. Below is a picture of  few of my fav nuts and grains straight from the organic market of course. And I have a new cookbook –  have just made some quinoa and beetroot burgers from the Vegetarian with a Vengeance Cookbook, lovely stuff ladies – I am impressed.

organic nuts and grains, homemade ruccola pesto and sun-dried tomotoes

But today I am feeling very spring rolly. Maybe it’s that hint of watery sunlight or a bunch of Thai basil I found at the Amazing Oriental. You can fill these fresh spring rolls with almost anything as long as it mix up it – it has to have crunchy, spicy, herby with all those textures added to the soft rice noodles. But you will need a good dressing. The Vegetarian with a Vengence book gives you three possibles – a peanut butter, chilli and soy ginger sauce, a hoisin coconut milk garlic sauce and a lemon grass lime – all of which sound great. My quickest and so far my best sauce is a simple mix of shoyu (a quarter of a cup), a good squeeze of ginger juice from a lump of coarsely grated ginger, some lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of palm sugar (or to taste!) Mix it up and add some coridander or holy basil leaves and it is divine. Can add water if it is too much for you!

Soft Spring Rolls

Now, make your soft spring rolls out of rice paper sheets. It is not really cooking as such but more an assembly line so it is best to be prepared and think about flavour combinations. Buy the rice papers at Amazing Oriental where you will see either the large round variety or half rounds. I get the whole rounds. Prepare a variety of tofu, vegetables and noodles, and nuts first.

I like to marinate the tofu in curry paste and then fry on both sides gently until crispy. Cut into thin strips. If you can find some sustainably caught shrim (eko shops or Marqt then fry it with garlic or chilli sauce and set aside.  Boil some rice noodles and drain. Add some mild seasame oil and seasame seeds to them and set aside. Finely chop some sweet carrots, spring onions, cabbage or lettuce. Dry roast or add tamari sauce to raw peanuts or cashews and put in a small bowl. Wash your holy basil, coriander and mint and dry. The secret is practise and organization. Jack seems to be much better at rolling the spring rolls than me. But I keep trying to get it right.

Some lovely soft spring rolls!

Have all your ingredients handy and in small bowls. Work over a clean tea towel and have a bowl of warm water large enough to place the entire sheet of rice paper in it. Dip in your rice paper in the water for a few seconds and drain on another tea towel. Place the soft rice papre on a clean teatowel and put a lettuce strip in the middle – you can overlap the edge or fold it in later. Add in your other ingredients, noodles, some nuts, tofu, shrimp, herbs, bean sprouts, carrot and spring onions. Fold or roll into middle and tuck in edges or leave lettuce outside at top. It is difficult to describe but you will develope you own method. There will be a variety of different shapes and sizes, and the tightness of the roll will vary until you get the hang of it. Persevere, it is worth it. The idea is to make bite sized rolls to dip into sauce and pop into your mouth. Eat within an hour or so or they will start to dry out. If you want them for later cover well in a air-tight container. Enjoy. Can also serve with a watered down version of a thai chilli sauce – or soy sauce.  And love, love, love

hearts of dark choc from Mary's in Brussels with rose petals!

your food – it’s better when you cook it yourself and cheaper. It really is!

About these ads

Leave a comment (+add yours?)

  1. Nancy
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 18:04:58

    Great post, Kathy! We love making springrolls, but haven’t done it in a long time. I love your ideas of making the ingedients a bit tastier before they go in. We’re planning a springroll evening!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 640 other followers

RSS my school lunch blog

  • Summertime and the Vegans are Easy, Inspiring and Quite Delicious!
    We reflected how it is absolutely possible it is to cater an event in an entirely vegan way using loads of fruit, veggies, and flowers and the punters went mad for it! Everything was gone in a flash!
  • Veggie, veggie, vegan? Lentils, Quinoa, Beluga & Tofu!
    Serve this with flatbreads and maybe some homemade hummus, a few salad leaves and you will be quids in for protein, fibre and taste!!!
  • Cakes Galore & More…., nothing ventured, nothing gained! We set up Shop in The Hague!
    I've been writing about food, experimenting with it, developing recipes and sharing food for most all of my life and now I am about to put my muffin so to speak where my mouth is. We, my friend Bintou and I, have a small 2 metre space in a start up venture called The Barbershop & Co in The Hague.
  • Brrr, Party Food Fit for Jack Frost – December is (almost) Here!
    It’s been 3 years now since I starting writing recipes for this Shiny Bright new blog. Three years of experimenting with food, testing it out on family, friends and complete strangers. Three years of cutting back on white sugar, salt and white flour. And many long years learning that ‘home-made’ is in danger of always […]
  • More Pumpkins Than You Can Shake a Ghoul at…. and how to bring a glow to a grey day
      Thank goodness there is a bit of colour in our lives on days such as these, when grey skies are above and the world is damp and chill. Jack and I were entranced by the pumpkin display at Vlinders ann de Vliet in Voorshoten, so we had to stop and take a photo. So […]
  • October Already – Birthday warm Fuzzies, Roasted Almond Pesto, Favourite Things, November 9!
    There was yet another birthday to celebrate in our house (mine!) and this year I invited my friends to cook their current favourite food or bring a tried and tested recipe to afternoon tea. It's so lovely to share beautiful food with wonderful friends! It all ended way too soon for me so I have decided to do the same for next birthday.
  • Jamming into July, and the Best of all Tofu Dishes
    So, an unexpected gift arrived this week in the shape of some pretty squishy strawberries ( 8 punnets) some of which were slightly past their best. “Jam” we said, and began tailing the tiny wee things. We added in some sugar but not too much, the juice of 2 lemons, and gently cooked it down […]
  • Summer, dear Summer, you are here at last!
    Oh, it’s been a long time coming this year. Yes, there have been tasters, a warm day or three, the hazy sound of a lonesome bumble bee on the wing, but just as we went to put away our mittens and our heavy winter coats, there was a fresh burst of arctic air to keep […]
  • Super Squishers – Delish Spring Smoothies made by 10 teams of year 3 kids
    Oh, it’s a grand thing to do. Work with eager young minds who are keen to learn, try, taste and enjoy, which is why I look forward to doing workshops with kids, even if they take place in halls, rather than fancy master chef style kitchens and stretch me, mentally  and physically. Yes, there is […]
  • High Tea, ANZAC Biscuits and Being Sweet….
    All and all we needed some sort of motivational tool to make this dull rainy afternoon feel radiantly spring like. So, I decided to celebrate our late spring with a high tea to be served only after rooms had been cleaned, jobs had been done and various things accomplished. It certainly cheered me up immensely and proved to be an excellent "clean room […]

Sharing inspiration, questions, insights, observations, recipes and more from my life and my work with yoga and nutrition


Places to go, people to meet.....

Midnight brambling

Lia Leendertz's gardening blog

Stacey Riordan

Marketing Professional specialising in SME B2B marketing, strategy and communications. Email

isobel buiter

word & image

Emily Smith Pearce

Children's Author, Maker of Stuff, Less-Meatarian

The Singing Warrior

finding happiness after a past filled with pain


taking the stress out of lunch boxes and learning about food


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 640 other followers

%d bloggers like this: