Sunday, 17 November 2013

Winter Comfort

So this week we have been told, we will be seeing the real start of winter - not a very cheering prospect.  But it happens every year, so we should be used to it.  And as the great Ranulph Fiennes once said "There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing" get your thick vests out!
Much the same also applies to food.  We were having a discussion this week about how, in the winter, you really fancy comforting foods.  One person described it as 'stodgy' food - think of those great steamed puddings, or meat pies - that is certainly comforting.
But equally comforting, and possibly more nutritious, are great colourful stews and curries.  Just because it's winter doesn't mean we have to leave the bright colours of summer behind.  Going back to the clothing theme, it's interesting how all the clothes available to buy in the winter are devoid of colour - why?  When surely we want to brighten the dreary days?
So forget the beige and brown puddings and pies and pile on the colourful veg!
Adding spices to your food also adds heat, so you are warming yourself from the inside, as well as getting other great benefits from these foods, for example - ginger (anti-inflammatory), garlic (anti-oxidant), turmeric (anti-inflammatory), black pepper (rich in minerals) - the list is endless.
So even though this recipe uses a ready-made sauce for convenience, I still add lots of other spices to improve it.  Or you could make your own sauce completely from scratch.

Vegetable Thai Curry

Serves 2-3

2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
3cm piece root ginger, peeled and diced
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp red Thai curry paste
1 x 400 ml can coconut milk
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
5 stems of tenderstem broccoli, halved
small handful green beans, halved
6 cherry tomatoes, halved 
3 tbsp almond flakes, toasted

Heat the coconut oil in a wok or large frying and and cook the seeds for 2-3 minutes, until the mustard seeds start to 'pop'.
Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.
Add the onion and pepper and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes before stirring in the curry paste and cooking for a further minute.
Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
Add the vegetables, then simmer for 8-12 minutes, until the sweet potato is tender.
Serve with cooked quinoa or rice and sprinkle with the toasted flaked almonds.

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