Monthly Archives: December 2014

Cute little Mince Pies

DSC08315This is my recipe for mince pies. I buy Waitrose mincemeat add 1 chopped apple (sometimes cherries too)  and make my own coconut oil pastry which is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

DSC08318They are not your traditional mince pies, but they are not so far dipparted from the original version that those set on tradition will bite into them and go: “You call this a mince pie? This is an abomination!”

I love to keep things traditional during Christmas, at home we eat pan dulce (an Argentine cousin of Italian Pannetone), and even though everyone seems to be falling for it, I refuse to buy those chocolate chips pan dulces that are popping everywhere. Chocolate chip? On my Christmas pannetone? I don’t think so! So, yes, I understand the importance of keeping the flavours we grew up with during the holiday season.

But a teeny-weeny tweak here and there, say, adding chopped cherries to the mix of fruits in my pannetone, or changing the pastry on my mince pies, can add some flavour without completely changing the dish.

 So, without further ado, Christmas is almost on top of us after all, here is the recipe.

Ingredients (makes 12 pies approx.):

100g coconut oil

300g plain flour

2 egg yolks

50ml cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 jar of mincemeat.

How to:

1.- In a bowl place the flour and the salt. Mix together and then add the coconut oil.

DSC082382.- With your fingers rub the coconut oil into the flour mixture until it resembles bread crumbs.

DSC08240Coconut oil isn’t as pliable as butter, so it is harder to rub it into the flour. The little lumps of oil are tougher than their butter equivalents; but be patient, it can be done.

I haven’t tried using a blender. You can try it though, and if it works, then making these pies will be a breeze.

3.- Make a well in the centre, add the egg yolks, vanilla essence and the water.

DSC082414.- Mix everything by hand until you have a dough that comes off the sides of the bowl. Don’t overwork the dough or it will make a tough pastry. Just mix enough for the wet ingredients to permeate the dry ones and then press everything together to form a ball.

DSC082535.-Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 1 hour, ideally for 2.

6.- After 1-2 hours, take the dough out of the fridge. You can then lightly flour a surface  and roll out your dough; or you can spread a rectangle of cling film on your working top, place the dough on it, and then cover loosely with another cling film sheet and roll out the pastry through the cling film; that way, the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling-pin and you avoid using too much flour, which will also make your pastry tough. Roll out to a 3mm thickness.

DSC082677.- Cut circles of 4-5 cm diameter, depending on the size you want your mince pies to be. Try not to make them too big that they are difficult to eat, or too small, because they won’t take enough filling.

8.- Spread 1 -2 teaspoons of filling into one of the circles, then paint around the edges with a bit of water or egg white so that the top of the pie will stick to the bottom. Take a second circle,  prick it with a fork and place on top of the filling.

DSC082699.- Use a fork to press the edges together and seal the tarts….
DSC0827110.- Continue with the rest of the pastry.

DSC0827711.- Place in the fridge for 30 mins and then bake or freeze them wrapped in cling film.

12.- To bake them: Preheated your oven at 200 C. Place the pies on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

DSC0830513.- You can prepare a simple glaze with 1/2 cup of icing sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice to cover them once they are cold. If you want your icing to be super white, like in the photos, the add 1 teaspoon of egg whites to your icing sugar/lemon mix and whisk everything together until soft and fluffy.

DSC08316Merry Christmas!!

Paula

Balancing your Chakras with food

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If you can make sense of my simple drawing, you’ll see the seven major chakras (energy centres) in the human body are located along your spine.

This energy centres, when balanced, help to your well-being by grounding you, helping you express your creativity, emotions, needs and spirituality. When they are unbalanced, however, you feel stressed, worried, unable to express your deepest needs or emotions, and sometimes, even physically ill.

Chakras can be balanced through sound, colour therapy, foods, mantras and mudras.

On previous posts we have  used sound, specifically Tibetan singing bowls, to balance the chakras;  so this post will be dealing with the use of food as a means to balance our energy centres. Given that we eat every day, this can be an easier way to find your balance again.

Basically there are certain foods that either because their colour or properties mirror those of a specific chakra , when eaten can help strengthen a weak chakra or, if avoided, can help weaken an overactive chakra.

Root Chakra Balancing Foods:

Given their connection to the Earth and the inherent grounding quality of the Root Chakra: Root vegetables, edible and medicinal mushrooms.

Because they share the same colour with the chakra: Red-coloured foods, such as apples, red peppers, pomegranates, etc.

Sacral Chakra Balancing Foods:

Because this is the chakra of creativity and reproduction: seeds and nuts.

Because they share the same colour with the chakra: Orange-coloured foods such as oranges, mangoes, butternut squash, carrots and pumpkins.

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You can try this Carrot juice (replace grapefruit for orange) in the morning to start your day with a Sacral Chakra boost or this spiced pumpkin soup for a tasty lunch.

Solar Plexus Balancing Foods:

This is the chakra related to our self-esteem and will-power, a yellow coloured chakra, like the Sun: Complex carbohydrates such as oats and spelt (cereals grown under the Sun) are important for the solar plexus chakra.

Because they share the same colour with the chakra: Yellow fruits and vegetables such as yellow peppers, yellow lentils and yellow squash.

You can try making a simple spelt bread or a yellow pepper soup.

Heart Chakra Balancing Foods:

A healthy heart chakra has the power to transform love into healing energy. Because love is the most nourishing energy, the heart chakra has the ability to balance all the other chakras through its expression of love.

Because they share the same colour with the chakra: Green-colored foods such as broccoli, kale, chard and all other leafy greens.

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Try with a simple Green Juice, there are many to choose from and you will probably find one that is to your liking.

Throat Chakra Balancing Foods:

Because they share the same colour with the chakra:  Blue-tinted foods such as blueberries, blue raspberries and figs are foods that encourage balance in the throat chakra. Kelp is another food that supports the throat chakra.

You can try making this simple Blueberry Smoothie or if you are up for a bit more work, try making  some Fig Jam.

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Third Eye Chakra Balancing Foods:

Any foods with the colour violet will help the function of the third eye. Foods such as purple potatoes, blackberries, plums and purple grapes are all balancing to the sixth chakra.

Crown Chakra Balancing Foods:

The crown chakra is more “spirit” than “matter”, therefore, the true food of the crown chakra is fresh air, meditation, sunlight and being out in nature.

The mantra Om is also used for the crown chakra.

Namaste, and a truly Merry Christmas!

Paula