Friday 17 January 2014

Cous cous warm my soul salad

It's been an emotional week. Since the new year, I've been really focusing on myself, physically and emotionally. It's been going fantastically well. I got really excited about my permaculture diploma again, my ankle has healed massively, I started to get really excited about my trip to New Zealand and proud of my positive bucket list for the year. I rested, burnt incense, drank beautiful herbal tea and reconnected with great friends since Christmas.

I took stock of the new moon on the 1st and the full moon on Wednesday. I took my time. The full moon this month was about care for ourselves, healing, taking stock, resting and most importantly, listening to emotions. If you're interested or intrigued, I suggest you follow this website, Mystic Mamma .

Last week was high productivity, a new lease of energy but the lead up to the super moon this week put me back in my place and really made me stop and look at the emotions that came with the events of this week and what lead to them. Getting the fantastic news that my Mum's six month check up is all clear is a welcome relief. Receiving an unexpected email from my ex weeks before I'm about to leave was not. The emotions that poured out reading it shocked me.

This may seem very deep for a food blog but I think we'd all be kidding ourselves if we didn't admit to the connection between food and emotions. Soul food has been around for a LONG time. With good reason too! As you might have guessed, I eat healthy and strangely, a plate of freshly chopped tropical fruit or a mega salad full of colours fresh from the garden nurtures my soul far more than sweets. That didn't stop me from burying myself in a tub of Häagen-Dazs. I did feel better, I felt the sugar wrap itself around my belly. The next day, I realised that as much as ice cream is amazing and as much as I really needed it at the time, it's not what really feeds my soul.

Tired from emotions, inspiration hasn't been a key factor this week, hence the delay on a new post. I realised that I needed to make something simple, easy, colourful, cheap and deliciously soothing to my soul. Waiting for nourishing brown rice to boil really wasn't going to work so I changed it for couscous. I realised I needed a grain that would absorb flavour and steam its warmth out. Couscous really did the job.

Vegetables needed to have different textures so that I didn't feel like I was munching into a mush of flavours but something substantial that was going to make me happy just looking at it, with all its colours and at the same time nourish my body and my soul. I used the veggies below for texture and colour but by all means, change them for what you really love. This recipe is about looking after yourself so that ten minutes later, you're sitting and eating something that tastes and feels good.

I know that the warmth will come back. I know that it's only two weeks until I'm in New Zealand. I know whatever happens, the heart has to be loved. Be gentle to yourself and make yourself a soul salad. Take that time out to look after yourself. January is a time for rest, not for punishing resolutions and running to the gym in the cold and rain. Be good.

Use 100 grams per person. I made this salad with only me in mind but it can be made bigger for others. I used the couscous in a bag-it takes 2 minutes in boiling water. If you're using the unpackaged version, add even quantities of couscous to boiling water and the zest and juice of one lemon to a bowl and cover with a plate/cling film. Leave for 10 minutes to allow the couscous to absorb the water, then fluff with a fork before serving. I also stirred some fresh herbs through (oregano and mint)

Portions are for one.
You'll need:
1 carrot, half a courgette (zucchini) and 1/4 of a small red cabbage, 1 clove of garlic, 1 handful hazelnuts, 2 tsp soy sauce (or tamari), coconut oil/walnut/sesame for cooking, sesame or broccoli seeds as topping.

Wash your veggies. Peel the carrot and then using the peeler, peel ribbons of carrot. Slice the courgette in half lengthways and then into thin half moons. Slice cabbage thinly. Crush the garlic.
In a wok/frying pan, toast hazelnuts in the coconut oil until brown. Add the oil and garlic and fry gently, then add cabbage and courgette and toss for 1-2 minutes until heated through (you don't want to cook them, just heat them up-veggies retain great heat). Add your cooked couscous and stir through with the soy sauce and 1 tsp of oil (preferably a  nut oil). Top with seeds and carrot ribbons and serve.

This may seem like a ridiculous salad to warm you up but trust me. The toasted nuts, combined with the warming garlic and the fragrant nut oils will warm you up in no time. The freshness and feel good colours and textures of the veggies are awesome and the flavours of the steaming hot couscous really make this proper soul food.

Be good to yourself this weekend and listen to your body and emotions-feed that soul :)

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