Vegan Christmas Meal – Chickpeas with Mushrooms, Chicory and Tomatoes

mushroomsOkay, so this is it – the start of my new Blog on Recipes!  Starting today, Christmas, I will be posting 3 recipes per week – from starters to mains to puddings!  And not only will you find out why these recipes are good for you (I’ll list all the nutritional benefits) but my cooking refrains from using Oils!  All oils are just 100% saturated fat and most of them shouldn’t even be heated!  So, did you know it is SO easy to cook with just a bit of water or if you want to flavour the water – add some Bouillon (Vegan).

After having my yummy Green Christmas Smoothie this morning and watching all 4 kids open their gifts (and yes, our youngest finally got his real live Tarantula – some of you who’ve come to my yoga classes recently probably remember the mentioning of Nestor’s tarantula (while you were all in tree :)) And by Joe, he got it!

So my inspiration for my Christmas meal comes from the new cookbook Veggistan that my sister-in-law gave to me for Christmas.  I’ve definitely jazzed it up.  In fact, the only 3 ingredients we have in common are the chickpeas, tomatoes and garlic.  But I always like looking at yummy cookbooks and then deviating from there.  It’s very satisfying!

On Christmas Eve, I went to Whole Foods and got a good mix of various mushrooms.  Portobello, Enokitake and Oyster.  Get yourself a good selection  as the health benefits of mushrooms are out of this world! Here’s a snippet: They may be small but they pack it in when it comes to vitamins and minerals. One cup of mushrooms includes vitamins C, D, B6 and B12, plus large doses of riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid. These vitamins along with minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and selenium help to keep you healthy!  And, hey – it doesn’t hurt that a major health benefit of mushrooms is weight loss – which might be a good thing after the overindulgence of the holidays!  3 cheers for mushrooms!

While at Whole Foods, I stocked up on Organic Cherry Tomatoes, Chicory, Coriander and Chickpeas.  So here I went and here’s how it went!  Recipe below and enjoy the photos (that was my Christmas pressie from kiddies – a good camera just for this blog!) Merry Christmas everyone and keep coming back for at least 3 recipes per week!

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Serves 2

1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
good splash of water (optional to mix with Bouillon)
2 large handfuls of a variety of mushrooms 
1 head of chicory (roughly chopped)
200g cherry tomatoes
1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained
handful of coriander (roughly chopped)
1 teaspoon tumeric
Herbamare
 

Saute the garlic in some bouillon water – add more when needed.  As the garlic softens, add the mushrooms – again adding splashes of water when needed.  After a couple of minutes, add the tumeric and stir well.  Next, add the tomatoes, chicory and chickpeas.  Allow to cook through for a few more minutes and season with Herbamare to taste.  Tip into a bowl and top with the chopped coriander.

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Autumn Nutrition and Yoga Retreat 2012

Last weekend I held the first of my weekend yoga and nutrition retreats at Symondsbury Manor in Dorset.

Spread over three days – Friday to Sunday, the retreat provided the perfect getaway from hectic London life (for both me and my guests!). I visit Dorset often and have absolutely fallen in love so the location was a no-brainer for me. Symondsbury Manor is a gorgeous tudor manor house owned by an artist, resulting an a mix of old English elegance and quirky paintings and decor.

We kicked off the retreat with a Yin Yoga session, the perfect wind-down after the drive to the retreat followed by a delicious meal of stuffed peppers and salads provided by my lovely caterers – completely vegan, gluten and oil free! The evening ended with Yoga Nidra – or “yogi sleep” which ensured we all slept peacefully and woke up refreshed for our 90 minute power yoga session the next morning.

After an amazing quinoa porridge breakfast we congregated around the fire with mugs of peppermint tea and began our first nutrition workshop, detailing the benefits of eating a plant-based diet and information on my favourite superfoods – chia, goji berries, bee pollen, spirulina and raw cacao to name just a few! This was followed by relaxation time in which my guests chose to take a walk, drive to the local beach or have a one-on-one nutrition session with me.

We met back again for a delicious lunch and our next nutrition session in which we focused on healthy grains and natural alternatives to refined sugar. Our evening comprised of lots of tea drinking, another yoga session followed by a delicious and nutritious meal of butternut squash risotto, black bean patties with mango salsa, potato, tofu and spinach bake and a variety of delicious salads, followed by a cinnamon chia pudding – we were stuffed! We ended the evening once again with Yoga Nidra to calm the body and mind for a deep and relaxing sleep.

The final morning began with our final power yoga session followed a pumpkin oatmeal breakfast. This was followed by a relaxation session in which we soaked up the sunshine and picturesque surroundings before our final nutrition workshop in which we discussed different metabolic rates, personality types and why to stay away from sugar and caffeine! This was followed by a delicious farewell lunch of a vegetable quinoa salad and warming soup.

A huge thank you to everyone that came to the retreat and made it such a special weekend!

I am pleased to announce that I will be holding a second retreat from the 22nd – 24th of  February 2013, the perfect post-christmas escape – Book now!

I will leave you with one of the (many) amazing dishes that was served up at the retreat:

Autumn Simmered Butternut Squash with Lentils and Savory Fruit 

1 large butternut squash

1/2 medium yellow onion (thin slices)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 1/2 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth or water

1/2 cup red lentils rinsed

handful fresh thyme (chopped)

1 medium apple (chopped)

Peel squash and cut into 1 inch chunks. Spray one heavy bottomed pay with cooking spray and heat on high. When hot add squash, onion and half of the cumin. When squash starts sticking add 1/2 cup of broth and simmer for 5 minutes with lid on. Add lentils, thyme, apple and remaining broth. Replace lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Enjoy! Delicious served with brown rice.