Mel’s Kitchen December 14, 2017 Marta Thank you for joining me and welcome to my kitchen: the heart of my chaotic home and the place that I turn to on a daily basis for nutritional therapy. A place where I belong. My name is Mel. I am a mother of five adorable children, a full time psychiatric nurse and prescriber, a wife of a very patient and loving man, a loyal friend to beautiful people and a firm believer in the medicinal powers of wholesome, nutrient-enriched food. Two years ago, after much deliberation, we relocated to the country in the hope in living an idyllic lifestyle. In the words of John Lennon, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” – which is so true. Once settled I endeavoured to ‘stand still’ and take a good look at the world that surrounded me: the countryside, the colours, the smells and above all, the people. Most of us lead rampageous lifestyles and the thought of preparing and cooking delicious meals on a daily basis is an almost impossible task. When considering the impact that contemporary life has upon us all, there is much to say about getting the balance right. I believe nutrition plays an integral role here and I can wholeheartedly say that I would prescribe food ingredients in a bid to welcome health, happiness, truth and opportunity. It works, it really does. I have utilised a number of recipes that capture the essence of earthy, accessible eating. Over the course of time, and with your invaluable feedback, I will capture and cultivate a culinary field of healthy splendour for you to devour. I invite you to join me on a cultural food experience that incorporates all my passions: words that beckon emotion, colour that inspires and food that heals. Let’s begin. This has to be one of the most fragrantly delicious curries. Originating from Thailand, it comprises of a wealth of spices that hold many health benefits. A family favourite (yes, all my children love this and have done from post-weaning days, literally!!) this curry really is extremely versatile and therefore a perfect way to introduce you to ‘Mel’s Kitchen’. For health purposes, colour and texture, I am introducing Spinach as an integral ingredient to this dish. Spinach is made up of a family of vitamins and minerals that help manage a variety of health conditions. These include vitamin K, A, E, C, some of the B vitamins along with manganese, folate, calcium, zinc, potassium and protein- wow!!! There are many versions of this curry. Some involve a degree of faff but I can assure you that this is super quick, easy and most of all, there is no compromise on flavour. You really can mix and max your choice of meat and veg options here too – the principles of flavour will remain. (serves approx. 6) Approx. 600-800g of any meat you like, chopped One red onion, thinly sliced Two carrots, thinly sliced Two peppers (assorted), thinly sliced A handful of mushrooms, thinly sliced Any other veg of choice, sliced Spinach (several handfuls) 200g can chick peas/cannellini beans (optional) Approx. 3 large tomatoes Chopped ginger (inch) Chopped garlic (4 cloves) Chopped lemongrass (inch) 2 teaspoons fennel seeds 1 teaspoon turmeric powder 2 teaspoons tandoori masala powder (yes, I know!!!) 1 teaspoon cumin seeds/powder 2 teaspoons fish sauce 250mls vegetable stock 1 400ml tin of coconut milk Handful of nuts (cashews, unsalted peanuts, almonds – blanched/flaked) Juice of 1 lime Approx. 200mls white wine vinegar Splash of white wine Dried/fresh chillies – own preference Salt and freshly ground black pepper Approx. 600g of rice – of your own choice Gently heat the wine (trust me) before adding the onion, garlic and ginger and sautéing for a couple of minutes (or until the onions are translucent). Add the meat and cook for a further 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally. Add all the vegetables (including the chick peas/beans – or any other legumes if using) and continue to stir for about 2 minutes. Stir in all the spices and season well. Once you can smell the beautiful aromas pour in the stock and simmer for a few minutes, again stirring well. Finally, add the white wine vinegar (this little gem gives it that mouth-watering ‘tangy’ taste), lime juice and coconut milk. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. 5 minutes before serving, sprinkle over the spinach, stir in and continue to simmer. Serve with your choice of rice and/or Indian breads.