We know that we are the wasteful generation, a throw away society, a people removed from the field and the farm but did we know it was this bad? 30 to 50 % of food thrown into black plastic bin bags, 30% of produce never makes it to the market place and food turning to mouldy dust in our fridges, in our warehouses, and our fruit bowls. And in our lunch boxes! There can be no doubt, we have lost our way to some extent. Our kids don’t know how to grow food or even where it comes from and we have forgotten how to use up leftovers by bottling, making chutney, or even freezing the slightly mushy fruits and veggies. My challenge this year to try to throw away nothing (unless it is glowing with bacteria in which case it will go into the worm composter) and to regularly check the veggie drawer and clear it. Those scraggy ends of cabbages, aubergines, courgettes, may turn into the best chutney I have ever made, the best filo strudel, the best gratin or the best soup.
We have had a bit of an early spring but I predict a return to cold wintry weather – I know, I know, doomy and gloomy – so it will soon be time to make luscious, creamy, gingery, garlicky soups. I suggest you keep a few curry pastes in the house and use them as a base for soups. You may be familiar with our ever popular chickpea curry soup recipe (probably our most popular soup as voted by family & friends) but that recipe can be adapted and developed into whatever you fancy. Add chickpeas or orange/green lentils to bulk up veggies, use coconut milk to make creamy, fresh ginger to bring comfort, and roasted spices such as cummin and mustard seeds for flavour. But on to the best granola you will ever taste. The wonderful Sarah Britton demonstrated this at her last Amsterdam based cooking course before she spoke at the TedXWomen conference there. See her excellent recipes on her blog http://www.mynewroots.blogspot.nl and of you ever get a chance do please give yourself a great gift by attending one of her workshops! We had such a lovely time and learned so much. Joyous!
Here is my version of this absolutely, OTT, luxury granola, complete with dark sour cherries, snipped dried mangos, loads of coconut and dark lemony apricots. It is great to eat with thick creamy greek style yoghurt and pomegranate seeds, but it is also lovely to eat out of the jar (don’t tell the kids, I wrote that!).
3 – 4 cups oats
3 ripe bananas
half a cup of coconut oil gently heated with half of cup of honey or maple syrup (date and rice syrup would work as well)
ground cinnamon – how ever much you wish
vanilla – use the real stuff
Blend the banana, vanilla, coconut oil and honey together. Add in the cinnamon (and or nutmeg, allspice or you favourite sweet spice) and a pinch a sea salt.
When it is thoroughly blended pour it on top of the oats and mix well.
1 cup of walnuts or pecans (or a mix)
a handful of a mixture of seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, almonds etc.
half a cup of dried banana chips
half of cup of dessicated coconut
Mix well and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper
Heat the oven to 175 and set the timer to 7 minutes. Open the oven and turn the mixture with a spoon. Set the timer again and turn after 7 minutes and repeat under the mixture is slightly golden and smelling roasty. It should be roasted in about 15 minutes. Do keep your eye on it as the nuts burn very easily.
As it cools add in snipped dried mangoes, chopped sour cherries, bright apricots, dried apple, dried cranberry, some extra coconut pieces. It will be beautiful. Enjoy
When cool place in a jar and see how long it lasts.