‘Although a long-serving vegan and a strong advocate of the abolition of the abattoir, neither of these points was mentioned in the one hundred television reports that I witnessed yesterday as they covered the enchanted life and sad death of Prince. The points were not mentioned because they are identified as expressions against e$tabli$hment interests, therefore we, mere galley slaves, aren’t allowed to know.

Prince has influenced the world more than is suspected, and somehow the life of his music is just beginning, and he would be thanked not only by humans but also animals for living his lyrical life as he did. Humans, you see, are not the world.

Meanwhile, on the same day that Prince melts away in physical form, London and England remain two very different countries, and in London the news media (under tyrannised instructions from Buckingham Palace) are informing the world that her Royal Slyness is celebrating her 90th birthday, and we are assured that all of the United Kingdom is celebrating a monarch who has “served” (that is, served herself, not the people) for over 60 years. There is no evidence of celebrations, and in fact there are hushed reports of national indifference. In this mental maze the marrow of the matter has been grasped by everyone: monarchy is the new anarchy. It is the face of white supremacy, social repression, tyranny, oppression, thought control, big stick control, minority rule, dictatorship, and, on the streets beyond SW1, unfairness. All that can honestly be celebrated on Elizabeth’s 90th birthday is the reality that she is the end of the family line. What else could her point be?

Prince, who made something of his life as opposed to having fortune handed to him, is far more ‘royal’ than Elizabeth 2, and he will be mourned far more than she, for she could never make herself lovable, no matter how many paid and promoted non-stories flood the newspapers of the world. The laughing gulls of Buckingham Palace will never allow you to forget who wields the stick. And, of course, we know very well what gulls tend to do on the people below’ – Morrissey (http://true-to-you.net)

 

This is a simple recipe for vegetarian kebabs.  I have used panir for this recipe, but vegans may prefer tofu. You can also use haloumi cheese.

Method:

The Kebabs

  1. Shallow-fry radishes, cauliflower flowerets and peppers in olive oil in a frying pan at medium-high heat.
  2. Shallow-fry panir cubes in a frying pan until crispy-brown all round.
  3. Cut plum or cherry tomatoes, prunes and dried apricots into halves
  4. Assemble on skewers

The Marinade

Mix olive oil, soya sauce, two tsps pomegranate molasses with mix of roasted-and-crushed coriander, cloves and cumin.  Add a little water.

Place kebabs on foil on oven tray.  Drizzle marinade over both sides of the kebabs.  Roast in oven at 170C for 10 mins.  Grill till crisp for another 5-10mins.

Offer and eat.

There is a lovely food store in Shoreditch, near Arnold’s Circus, called ‘Leila’s’, which has an interesting range of fine quality vegetables etc.  Here is a vegetarian cornish pastie pie partly based on Leila’s advice.

Directions:

  1.  Cut potatoes into small cubes, do the same with two carrots, cube one swiss chard (it is onion family, so you may not want to do this if you’re very strictly anti-onions), add a large handful of celery.
  2. Put tbsp butter in pan at high heat.  Add smoked paprika, pepper flakes, grated nutmeg, fresh turmeric root, asafoetida and two bay leaves.  Add two cups of water.
  3. Add Himalayan salt, crushed black pepper and vegetable stock.  Add vegetables.
  4. Cook until tender.  Add fresh parsley.
  5. Cook until fully cooked and a little stodgy. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
  6. Fold out puff pastry (check to to see if it is vegetarian-friendly) and roll a little, adding flour to the rolling surface to prevent from sticking.
  7. Add pie-filling to pastry.
  8. Fold pastry over, using a fork to close the pie.  Prick the top of the pastry.
  9. Glaze with milk, using a food brush
  10. Place in oven at 180C for about 20-25mins.
  11. Remove when crisp and brown.

 

Purchased some sage the other day and was thinking of ways to use it before it wilted like an old lizard’s skin.  Googled vegetarian recipes with sage.  Search suggested a whole bunch of recipes with pumpkin and butternut.  Here is my adaptation of a pumpkin risotto recipe.

1. Boil water.  Dissolve vegetable stock cube.  Roast small cubes of pumpkin in oven with a little oil.

2. Pan fry risotto/arboreo rice in butter, with asafoetida until light brown.

3. Add stock water to rice, a couple of centimetres above rice.  Boil on high heat.  Keep adding water to rice, as water evaporates.  Add pumpkin and finely chopped celery when  rice is 3/4 cooked.  Add crushed pepper and Himalayan/sea salt.  Add lemon rind and finely chopped sage. Pinch of paprika.  Add butter or extra virgin olive oil.

4. Remove from heat when rice is soft.  Nice with rennet-free parmesan cheese.

 

‘Animal welfare groups cannot persist simply in order to continue to persist.  There must be a governmental voice against the hellish and archaic social injustice to animals in the United Kingdom simply because those animals do not speak English, otherwise millions of very caring citizens are greatly concerned about issues that non one is able to do anything about.  What animal protectionists need to say is very well worth saying and well worth hearing.  But we cannot sit around waiting for establishment enlightenment.  The sanctimonious disaster of animal agriculture cannot be allowed to go on forever, because its widespread impact is hellish. Animals in dairy farms and abattoirs are very eager not to die, yet their bodies are torn apart whilst still alive as they are strapped beneath a blade.  No outcome can justify this, and we cannot be happy with a society that allows it to happen, because such a society without compassion goes nowhere.  The abattoir is the modern continuation of the Nazi concentration camp, and if you are a part of the milk-drinking population, then you condone systems of torture.  There is no such thing as humane slaughter, and if you believe that there is, then why not experience it for yourself?  If animal serial killer Jamie Oliver feels so passionate about including ‘kid meat’ (young goat) into the human diet, would he consider putting forth one of his own kids (children) for general consumption?  If not, why not?  What makes such people have absolutely no forgiveness towards animals?  What hate drives them? The meat industry, after all, shows no compassion towards the planet, towards climate change, towards animals, towards human health.  It is diabolically contrived and is the world’s number one problem.  It is also the number one issue stifled from any political debate, which, if anything, highlights its importance.  The slaughterhouse effectively means that none of us are safe.  Just investigate the appalling effects of meat production on our climate, environment, fields, forests, lakes, streams, seas, air and space. Your eyes will pop.  No bigger global disaster could possibly be devised.  Social justice for animals is not much to demand, because we are only asking humans to think rationally and with heart, even if being unable to hunt foxes and shoot birds would leave the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha family with nothing else to do’.  Morrissey, http://true-to-you.net, (4 March 2016)

The town of Govardhana is named after Govardhana Hill.  Govardhana Hill is the sacred hill Krishna lifted on His baby finger to protect the inhabitants of Vrindavan from lord Indra’s wrath. Indra, the king of heaven, resented the brijbasi’s  adoration of Krishna.  He summoned his samvartaka clouds, ordinarily invoked at the time of universal destruction, to destroy Krishna’s brijbasis.  It is said Lord Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill ‘like a mushroom’ – an action commemorated by the  Govardhana anakhuta festival or Govardhana puja (puja means ‘worship’).  The pastime called Govardhana-lila is depicted on gaudy cloths and paintings in the homes of pious Hindus all over the world.  I arrived in Govardhana at midday amidst a swirl of tuk-tuks (diesel taxis), dust and mendicants. I was half out-of-sorts.  A weary, but purposeful, pilgrim.

A grimy, wiry youth with a red-and-white checked gamcha wrapped around his forehead approached me as I slid off the metal back-bar of the autoriksha. The boy was holding a basket which he pushed towards me with his outstretched arms. I remembered yesterday’s feast at Govardhana Palace.  Rice, dal, spicy Indian sabjis, sweet rice and Giriraja saonpapri – lovingly served by Russian devotees from circular straw baskets. Saonpapri is produced by repeatedly adding syrup to a mixture of channa (chickpea) flour and ghee, heated in a kadai or wok.  The golden-yellow mixture is removed from the kadai, twisted into sticky strands and beaten over a marble surface.  Saonpapri is the light-brown, buttery result of this labour of love. Saonpapri melts in your mouth, like a blend of compacted sugarcane and biscuit.

The boy ceremoniously opened his basket.  No heavenly confections.  Only the brown, scaly coils of a lethargic Indian cobra!  Snake charmers starve their cobras to keep them docile.  I watched the boy’s hand slide over the snake’s neck, in a light caress, a meter from where I stood.  I stepped back.  My craving for Giriraja saonpapri vanished as I thought of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami’s story, ‘The Frog and the Lily-pad’. The frog sits poised on a lily-pad, waiting for a fly.  The frog is unaware that the black serpent of time is hovering over him with open jaws.  Like the frog, we are also unaware of our mortality.  We think we are going to live forever and, in our foolishness, seek sensual enjoyments.  We do not realise the “snake” of death is waiting for us with wide open jaws. The ancient Sanskrit adage goes: Padam padam vipadam na tesam.  There is ‘danger at every step’.  Why?  Because we are subject to birth, disease, old age and death.  My visit to Varsana was now serious.  I hailed another autoriksha, skipped my visit to Giriraja Sweet Shop and prepared my mind for the next stop:  Radharani’s palace.  The afternoon was slipping by.

Recipes for Cooking Course given at Meryl’s Home in Johannesburg, September 2014

Flavoured Basmati Rice

The following recipes are for 6-8 people. Add salt as per your requirement. For the curries, 1 tbsp is probably sufficient.

Wash 2 cups of basmati rice in hot/warm water three or four times (until the water is clear and no longer milky/cloudy), then allow to soak in warm water for half-an-hour. Meanwhile, bring six cups of water to boil. Add a tablespoon (tbsp) of salt to the water and a teaspoon (tsp) of oil.

When the rice has soaked, add it to the boiling water. Add 1 tbsp turmeric, for colour. Boil for about 5 minutes. Test to see how soft it is. Boil for another five minutes or so. You will know it is ready when it is soft, but not too soft ie. you can still feel a little hardness in the rice.

Decant rice into colander. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Chaunce (braise/masala):
Add 1 tbsp mustard seed to 2 tbsp oil/1 1/2 tbsp ghee.. Add 2 cinnamon sticks when mustard seeds splutter. Add 1tsp hing. Garnish with a handful of finely chopped dhanya leaves.

Jaipur Style Split Yellow Mung Dal

Clean 3 cups of dal in warm water by soaking three or four times. Meanwhile bring six cups (a litre and a half) water to boil. Add dal to water. Place a few whole pepper corns, two or three cloves, 3 cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and 1 tbsp turmeric powder in water. Bring to boil. You can add a tbsp pureed tamarind to the boiling dal or some lemon/limem juice at the end. You can counterbalance the tartness of these sharp flavours with a tbsp of sugar if you like.

After 15 minutes add a handful (100g) chopped spinach and on fresh, diced tomato. Add 2tbsp’s salt.
Boil for about another 10 minutes (that is 25 minutes in all). When the dal is nice and thick, it is ready.

Chaunce:
2 tbsp oil/ghee, 1 tbsp cumin seeds, 2 tbsp fresh ginger root (grated/finely chopped), 1tsp hing, 1tsp curry powder or fresh chillis, a pinch of nutmeg and 1 tsp crushed dhanya/coriander.

Add chaunce to boiled dal (ie. add the ghee and spices to the standing dal). Garnish with fresh dhanya.

Chickpea Fudge or Laddhu

Ingredients: 1 ½ blocks of unsalted butter (salted butter is fine, we used that for the demo), 750g (5 cups) fine chickpea/channa flour and 250g icing sugar (just under 1 1/2 cups) (or alternative sweetening agent eg. honey, agarve, fructose, jaggery/palm sugar etc.).

Method: Melt butter on medium-high heat. When butter has melted, add chickpea flour. Constantly stir the mix for about 10 to 15 minutes until colour darkens. When you can smell a nutty flavour coming from the mix or the mix goes reddish-brown, take off the heat. Add icing sugar and mix until icing sugar has dissolved.

Place wax wrap or cling wrap (cling wrap sticks onto the baking tray if you dampen it with a damp cloth) in a tray and place mix therein. Allow to set. Cool separately. If you want it to be ready quicker, set in fridge.

Koftas, Pakoras and Chilli Bites (Traditional Indian Vegetable Fritters)

I first learnt how to make pakoras for the Sunday Feast at the Hare Krishna Temple in Cape Town. This little experience in pakora making got me recruited to make pakoras at the Grahamstown Festival in 1998. My experience was consolidated in Cape Town in December 1999 at the ‘Govinda’s Restaurant’during the World Parliament of Religions. The organizers asked the Hare Krishna’s to run the main restaurant since our food is compatible with the dietary specifications of just about religions. I was frying pakoras for 14 hours a day. By the second or third day I started to dream about the oil slowly starting to bubble in the wok!

Generic batter (for about 40 pakoras/you could halve this to make 20 (enough for eight)):
3 cups chickpea flour
1 tbsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kalonji seeds/1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp hing
1 tbsp chilli powder, ½ handful fresh coriander/2 tbsp grated ginger

Mix dry ingredients. Then add 2 cups of water to the mix. Stir with an egg-beater until there are no lumps in the batter.

Take brinjal slices, butternut slices, potato slices, cauliflower flowerets, spinach leaves, jalapenos etc., dip in batter, and add to boiling oil. Remove from oil when reddish-golden colour. Test to see if the pakoras are soft enough with a knife. If the batter is cooking, but the pakoras are too hard, reduce the heat of the oil. If the batter is too runny, add chickpea flour. If the batter is too thick, add water. If the pakoras aren’t crispy enough, add a pinch of baking powder.

If you mix this same batter into grated cabbage, then you have koftas (half a medium-sized cabbage makes about 20-25 kofta balls).

The same batter can be used to make chilli bites. Mash half a banana into the batter . Add finely chopped spinach, and fry.

Serve with chatni

Tomato Sauce for Koftas

Chaunce: Basic ‘bengali chaunce’ (braise): mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, curry leaves, hing powder, chilli powder (or ‘mother-in-law’s revenge’) and turmeric

Add 10 pureed tomatoes (steamed, peeled and blended)

Add ½ cup sugar/jiggery and tbsp salt
Boil at high heat for 5 minutes

Basic Fruit Chatni

A variety of fruits like plums, apricots, apples, pineapples, pears, green mangos, cherries etc. can be used to make the following simple chatni

Method: cut fruit (eg. 2 pineapples or 6 apples) into small squares

Chaunce: heat 3 tbsp oil/ghee in a small pan, 1 tsp cumin seeds, when the cumin seeds turn brown add 2 small cinnamon sticks, followed by 2 bay leaves, add 1 finely chopped chilli/1 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp turmeric, ½ tsp hing

Add fruit, add 1 cup of water (we didn’t do this in the course and that is why the pineapple caramalized) and turn to high heat. Cook for about 10 mins, then add 2 tbsp sugar/jiggery/palm sugar. Cook until water absorbs and spiced fruit turns soft.

Brinjal and Potato Curry

Ingredients: 8 brinjals, 8 medium-sized potatoes, small bunch of dhanya and spices

Cut brinjals and potatoes into cubes. Deep fry at medium-high heat (140C)

Chaunce: tablespoon (tbsp) mustard seeds, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 bay leaves, 4 curry leaves, 1 chilli chopped up/2 tsp chilli powder, 2 teaspoons (tsps) turmeric, 1 ½ tbsp crushed coriander, 1 tsp asafoetida/hing and pinch of fenugreek powder

Add fried brinjals and potatoes to the chaunce. Add salt. Cook for 5 min on medium heat

SOME EXTRA RECIPES THAT ARE A REGULAR FEATURE OF ‘HARI HARI’S VEGETARIAN DELIVERY SERVICE’

Broccoli, Cauliflower and Potato I (for Tracy)

1. Wash broccoli and cauliflower in warm water. Cut into flowerets. Deep fry in boiling oil/ghee until a tender (but not too soft). Deep fry the potatoes so that they are still a little hard (not fully fried). Drain in a colander.

2. Chaunce: Mix equal parts of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg (‘sweet spices’) and add a little garam masala. Make a spice paste. Place a few tablespoons of oil in a saucepan and add the paste to the oil when it is hot.

3. Add the vegetables to the chaunce and cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.

Cauliflower/Yoghurt Sabji (‘sabji’ means vegetarian curry) II (alternative recipe)

1. Wash two medium caulifowers. Cut out core. Cut into flowerets.
Boil a little water in a pot and steam the cauliflower flowerets in that water for about 10mins.
Test to see if the cauliflower is tender with a knife (the flowerets shouldn’t be too soft otherwise it will turn into a mush). Drain in a colander.

2. The Chaunce (masala/braise/vagaar):
Heat 2 tablespoons (tbsp) ghee/oil in a frying-pan at medium-high heat. Add 1 heaped teaspoon (tsp) of mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add 4 curry leaves, 3 medium cinnamon sticks and 1 tbsp grated ginger. Stir together. Then add 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 a tsp hing and 1/2 a tsp kalonji (nigella) seeds. Add two cups/500ml amasi or yoghurt. Add 1 heaped tsp turmeric/haldi powder and 1 tbsp of salt. Stir, again.

3. Add steamed cauliflowers to the chaunce and cook on medium heat for 5mins (to draw the flavours out)

Golden Khicari (Ayurvedic Health Meal, a regular feature on my delivery route)

This khichari recipe took me several years to develop. I recently prepared this dish for a SATV cooking programme but was very nervous in front of the camera (so it might not be screened!). Influences: Yamuna Mataji, Kurma prabhu and Gaura Sakti das (from South Africa). To quote Prabhupada: ‘A pauper’s meal fit for a king.’ Nice if served with puris, bread-sticks, papadams, lemon, yoghurt and/or tomato chatni. Please forgive sketchy presentation.

Serves 5 to 6 people. Total preparation time 45 minutes.

8 cups/2 litres water. Add 1 cup split yellow mung dal (washed), 1 tablespoon turmeric, 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 whole pepper corns. Bring water to boil. Boil until the dal begins to split (about 25 mins).

Add cup of basmati rice (washed), 2 medium-sized potatoes cubed. And 150g green beans. Cook for about 10 mins at high heat.

Add several large zuccini bits, a couple of cauliflower heads and several large slices of green/yellow/red pepper (green or red are nice for colourful effect). Cook at high heat for about 10 mins or until vegetables (including potatoes) are soft (the rice should also be soft). The khichari should have a reasonably thick consistency. (Note: It is better to remove excess ‘juice’ from the khichari than to add water. We do not want to water down the natural flavour of the mixture. It is ideal if you get your water quantity just right. I like the khichari to be a little runny – consistency of a wet porridge).

Turn off flame

Add one-and-half tablespoons salt and one-and-half tablespoons sugar (voluntary)

Chaunce: Heat ghee (oil if vegan) in separate frying pan. When it is hot add one-and-a-quarter teaspoons mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds pop, add same quantity cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds go brown, add grated ginger and chilli (de-seeded). Add 3/4 curry leaves. And a pinch of cinnamon powder, a pinch of nutmeg powder and a teaspoon of hing/asafoetida powder. Mix chaunce/masala into khichari.

Garnish with 2 tablespoons chopped dhanya (coriander)

Add 2 tomatoes (cut into 4 or 8 bits)

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