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Spinach & Haloumi Curry, and kindness.

palak haloumi 1 copy

I saw the movie ‘Lion’ a few weeks ago. I read the book a little while ago and so had an understanding how much my heart would bleed. Allll the emotions… In this world which just seems a little on the unstable side at the moment, it was therapeutic to have a big old cry. It’s also greatly motivating. A little motto in our home is ‘It’s the responsibility of the strong to help the weak’. And this doesn’t necessarily need to be on a super grandiose, start your own charity kind of scale. It might be helping your little sister down the steps, or cooking a meal for your neighbours with a newborn, or just showing kindness in general. I’ve been reminded of what values are important to me as I try my best at navigating this parenting thing, and I continually come back to kindness as my number one. Because I think to show kindness you need to have empathy, which along with love make the world go ’round. IMO anyway. I won’t spoil anything for those that are planning to see it, but Sunny Pawer as little Saroo is just delicious, and Dev Patel is incredible. And has incredible hair!

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(Image credit: eyeforfilm.co.uk)

This recipe I have for you today is Indian inspired. My version of a palak paneer, the traditional spinach and cheese curry. I have changed it up just a little, but I hope you’ll agree it’s still super delicious. Typically the greens are pureed for this dish, but I have left them a little more rustic for texture. It also traditionally includes tomatoes, which I have also left out, but you could just as easily throw some in if you prefer. I’ve added chickpeas and peas for extra fibre and nutrition too. This is …

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Wholesome Fruit Mince Tarts

mince tarts 2

This was a strange decision to make mince tarts for the blog… I’m not a great fan of dried fruit, or fruit peel for that matter. But I got chatting to my gorgeous friend Jo last week and we were discussing the finer points of a good mince tart. Not too sweet, no chunks of fruit peel (IMO), and a good pastry – has to be good pastry. So I think that’s why I wanted to give them a go, so that I could make a version that was tailored to my liking. And I guess that is the beauty of cooking really isn’t it!

This is not a super fast recipe, but it’s also not super difficult. At this time of year especially when everything and everyone can be a little crazy, sometimes I like/need the therapy of small, simple tasks. Finely dicing apple, pushing pastry into moulds, it is something that I don’t always have time to do, and when I do I like to think about the people I’m making this for and infuse it with as much love and good vibes as possible. That may sound a little naf, but there you go.

I really love this passage from Sally Fallon:

“Food preparation is actually a sacred activity. According to esoteric lore, if a woman could see the sparks of light going forth from her fingertips when she is cooking, and the energy that goes into the food that she handles, she would realise how much of herself she imbues into the meals that she prepares for her family and friends. It is one of the most important and least understood activities of life that the feelings that go into the preparation of food affect everyone who partakes of it. This activity should be unhurried, peaceful …

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Zucchini, Halloumi and Pea Fritters, and the importance of getting in touch with food.

Zucc Halloumi Fritters copy

It’s quite rare to find someone who doesn’t love a fritter, don’t you think? They are equally at home as a part of an elaborate meal, in a school lunchbox, or served with a lovely tomato relish and maybe some sort of delicious fermented vegetable. I like to make sure there is some sort of protein involved, and that way they are perfectly acceptable as a grab and go snack too!

This recipe is quite mild and simple (very family friendly), so feel free to spice it up a little by adding your favourite spice or curry mix, or some extra chilli or cayenne pepper. It is also an extremely easy recipe to make, so if you have kids, get them involved in the making! Research shows that by including children in food preparation, we are increasing the likelihood that they will actually eat it exponentially. Aside from that, it teaches them where their food comes from, knowledge about different herbs and produce and what they smell/taste/feel like, and provides the perfect landscape for you to have fantastic conversations about food with them. That someone has worked really hard (be it a farmer, yourself in your own garden, a cow, etc) to make this produce, and appreciating that we are lucky enough to have access to such high quality food. It also gives them confidence and pride in having made something the family can all enjoy. This is something that I feel very strongly about, and I truly believe that educating our children about whole, real food is so important not only for their health, but for the future of our food industry.

Food culture is another huge topic that’s extremely close to my heart, and just yesterday, the lovely Jude Blereau of Wholefood Cooking wrote a Facebook post addressing …

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Pistachio, Pear and Chocolate Buckwheat Cake

pistachio pear cake 1

My husband Mat is travelling at the moment, and whenever he does, I’m reminded how lucky I am to have a partner in kid-raising, dinner-making, dishes-doing, bill-paying crime. One of my dear friends was a single parent during those first few challenging years, and I still have no idea how she managed. Well actually I suspect the support of a wonderful mum, family and good friends were kind of crucial. That old saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is so relevant, not just for raising children, but just for being a human. Social connection and support is so important – feeling valued and loved, sharing experiences, having someone you can reach out to for advice, and just sometimes having a good whinge.

So without my main man this week, I’m left with a bit of a void, but I’m encouraging myself to use the time to focus on those other social connections with the rest of my ‘village’. It’s easy to fall into a routine and especially with the littles and work and life – it gets busy! But cake always helps to bring people together. Especially this one 🙂

pistachio pear cake 2

This is the perfect cake to serve mid morning or afternoon to remind yourself that life is ace. It is light enough to leave you feeling good afterwards, but dense enough to carry some real nutrition. N.B. I’m just not a fan of sponge. There, I said it. I’m sorry to all the sponge cake lovers, but I feel like it’s just eating air. And although air is great, when I crave cake, I want something a little more dense and filling.

This cake is also gluten free, using buckwheat flour as the main flour which I love. It’s high in protein and fibre, and also has …

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Meg Thompson

Naturopath & Nutritionist
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