Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The coconut tree I once took for granted

My great grand uncle's house in Jaffna was where I spent the last few years of my permanent residence in Sri Lanka. 

I loved it very much. Often, it's great yellow-creamed walls, and sandy yards filled with jasmine bushes and their lovely perfume float back into my adolescent mind now and then. It was the smell of balmy summers and  orange tinted skies. But I still can't forget the singularly magnificent, large coconut tree that stood out the front of our family home, snuggled in among the landscape of rural Jaffna
It was a king. A benevolent king whose role in life was to provide it's people (the residents of my great uncles estate), with beautiful coconuts whenever possible. 

Coconuts were an average normal part of our everyday life in Jaffna. My great grand-fathers owned coconut estates, just like many other men who lived in villages like ours all over Sri Lanka, and I was their typical coconut loving grand daughter.  Where we here in the western parts of the world enjoy an apple or two during the day (unless your like me and devour a few more than what's considered normal), those in Sri Lanka can joyfully relish the unique flavours of beautiful young coconuts all day long, either bought off the streets from vendors for a reasonable fare, or picked off their own trees by their very own hands. With home grown coconuts come a certain satisfaction in slurping down the juice of a coconut straight from your own yard. As a child, I grew off coconut juice as if it was the elixir of happiness. I slurped it down, inhaled it's sickly sweet flavour and indulged in its beautifully white flesh. We cooked with ripe coconut flakes and used it in all of our dishes - puddus, varrais and sweets and things. I used the empty shells as bowls to. We played with empty coconut shells in our front yard and used them to collect various miscellaneous things. 

But then we left Sri Lanka and it was quite some time before I tasted the subtle, sweet flavours of coconut juice again, when I went back to Sri Lanka for a holiday. I almost cried yesterday, when there, nestled in amongst ripe bananas and weird and wonderful exotic fruits, lay a bunch of beautiful, young, green coconuts whose shells shone like the beautiful memory of my great grandfather's glistening bold spot. Hehe

                  (This website has amazing photo's from all around the world, celebrating the diversity of our world; its cultures and lifestyles, people and food.)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Tomato pomegranate salad with avocado mint dressing

Weekends are my favourites because it is literally the only chance I get to cook, or rather, throw-things- together-that-are-edible.

I'm taking a very interesting fitness/health elective an I'm absolutely loving it. We're learning so much about training techniques, the systems of our body and of course nutrition. We just recently had a lesson on food combining and I have been putting it to practise. I encourage you all to search it up because it's theory is very interesting.

The basic theory is that different kinds of food digest in different ways. The mistake we make in our everyday diet is mixing together too many different kinds of foods all in one go and they end up reacting very badly in our stomachs, which is probably why lots of us experience bloating, indigestion and all sorts of other tummy problems. I am warning you, it is not an easy feat because we are so used to eating a specific way, but lots of people do feel a whole lot better eating this way

Our assignment for this week was to go home and make something which was
1) gluten-free
2) refined sugar free
3) as healthy as can be

I went online and researched a little and went on (which is a fantastic website might I add) and was inspired by a beautiful pomegranate and tomato salad. Not all of the ingredients were on offer at my veggie market so I adapted it a little and made my own dressing. Click here for the original recipe. However, it used pomegranate molasses, which must add a whole new dimension to the salad, but unfortunately, I don't just stock up on pomegranate molasses.

Tomato pomegranate salad with avocado mint dressing
 Ingredients (salad):
200gm cherry tomatoes diced
200 gm yellow cherry tomato200 gm plum tomato
4 medium vine tomatoes1 red pepper
1 small red onion
1 cup chickpeas
2 pomegranates
1 cup
(dressing)1/2 an avocado
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil1 tsp cayenne pepper 
1 tsp ground coriander
2 medjool dates
small clove garlic
small handful mint salt
1)dice all the tomatoes, onions and red pepper 
2) chop parsley finely and add to a bowl with all the diced veggies and pomegranate along with the chickpeas 
3) in a blender add all the ingredients for the dressing and salt to your taste and blend until well combined 
4) Add salt to taste
5) serve together with dressing or with dressing on the side