I had a whole post ready to ‘go live’ about the decision and feelings behind my resent hair cut. but it sat in my saved file for too long for me to be comfortable with. It was too ‘selfish’ and well, I guess kind of boring. To put it straight…I had my long hair cut to my shoulders. Any emotion baggage and past memories that I had around my hair and it being exotic and looong are gone. I feel fresh and oh so excited about the look and feel of my new cut.
That isn’t what I want to talk about though. I want to write about the weather. No, this isn’t ‘small talk’. I want to talk about tradition and routine and the over all feel of the weather we are experiencing. Here in Australia we are at the end of Autumn and about to go into Winter. Let me just take a moment to say… I LOVE IT! It isn’t dreary or depressing here in Autumn or Winter (Thank you!). But it does get chilly enough for an inside fire to warm, most, of the house up. Autumn is also a really fun time to be outside because if you get a little hot in the sun just chill out in the shade for a bit. You can eat a really hearty, vegetarian, meal or a salad or smoothie bowl (in the sun) and not feel uncomfortable. Word.
I may be a bit bias. I cannot think of one thing that I don’t like about Autumn or Winter. Summer on the other hand, there is a small list. Sun-baking in the morning sun, bathing in the ocean, or being able to walk outside with ahem… nothing but a smile on are all definitely NOT on the cons list.
Gardening (something I am passionate about) in Autumn and Winter has a poetic feel about it. The smoke from the fire burning away fills the afternoon air, your wearing jeans with boots and a jumper or long sleeved shirt, the excitement of turning the soil and finding worms(no? just me? all right), and the smell of a slow cooking soup or stew on the stove as you walk into the house. Being outside is so much more fun because you don’t really need to worry about getting burnt or getting sweaty. Smells are earthier and routines are slow and calming. I wont go into the clothes because there is just so many wonderful things to say about layering in earthy tones. But curling up under a blanket, with a tea and a book or the flickering flames to entertain you… oh yeah! That is perfect!
I didn’t forget Spring. There just isn’t anything bad to say about that flowery season. EVERYBODY loves Spring.
If you have mixed feelings about the cooler months after all my unpaid promoting above, theeeen maybe this recipe will change your mind. Sorry about the photos, I was chasing the fading sunlight.
Seasonal Life Changing Stew
This particular recipe can be altered for whatever season you are in. Though I think it is best to be eaten during Autumn and Winter, it just seems to taste better and it really does do a wonderful job of warming you up. I love cooking this on a Sunday using vegetables that I find at the Farmers Markets or at my local Organic Market Place. Picking those fresh roots and greens from the baskets then driving home through the cool mountains to slowly cook them on the stove while I get my organic garden ready to plant in is way too poetic to even bother buying a pre-caned soup from the grocery shop.
(Serves 4-6 people, or 1 person for a whole week)
Homemade Curry Powder Mix
1/2 tsp paprika (adjust to your personal liking)
1 tbs turmeric powder
1 tsp dried oregano, or powder form
a generous pinch of black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder (optional but warming)
a pinch of cumin powder (again optional)
Nutmeg, fennel seeds, cardamom…etc. can also be used as substitutes for cinnamon, cumin, or oregano.
Mix them all together in a small bowl and sit aside to add to the stew.
Seasonal Life Changing Stew
1 tbs coconut oil (it can stand a high heat)
1 yellow onion
1 small bulb of garlic (just half if you have a bigger bunch of the cloves)
a small knob of ginger (adjust to your personal liking) 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder
1 small tbs organic curry powder, or homemade curry powder mix (above)
3 1/2 – 4 cups water
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds (or a tsp of whatever mustard you have will be okay)
1/2 a medium pumpkin (I used organic butternut and left the skin on)
3 small sweet potatoes (leave skin on if organic, remove otherwise)
3-4 small parsnip (remove skin if not organic)
3 small to medium carrots
1/2 cup red lentils
2 sticks of celery
3 leaves of kale or other tough leafy green
Other add ins: cauliflower, zucchini, turnip, swede…
Wash your organic roots, greens and celery (peel the roots and pumpkin if that aren’t organic). Heat oil in a large pot on the stove, while you chop the onion roughly. Add the onion to the pot with minced ginger. Let cook on a low to medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are soft, not brown. Add in the mustard seeds, finely chopped ginger and the curry mix or organic store bought curry powder with all of the water. It should be watery now, but it will reduce a little by the time it is cooked.
Chop the vegetables into small and rough peaces, you don’t want them too small other wise they will turn to complete mush (still tasty but not pretty). Add all the vegetables except for the kale and celery to the pot. Turn up the heat to boiling point, then reduce to a very light simmer and cover with lid for an hour. After about 45 minutes and when the roots are soft add in the celery and the red lentils, then stir and cover for another 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Tear up the kale and mix it into the stew. Let it sit with the lid on while you set the table, light the fire and some candles, and turn on some calming music. Serve hot and top with shallots, thyme, microgreens, or some thinly sliced cauliflower. You can also serve with some cooked quinoa or lentils.
P.S You can also use a Slowcooker (I don’t own one) and add in meat, if that’s your thing.