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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday share: the 3 Spice Friends that saved me from Sugar

Happy Sunday, beautifuls!  I hope you are somewhere the sun is shining, or you are enjoying being cosy.  Today, this is the view from my window~ of a stormy Irish Sea; it's greedy teeth snapping to take a bite of the Lifeboat station. 

On the way to see a client, I watched the mist rolling over the hills and down to meet that wild ocean...
Is it any wonder we crave warm and creamy things to make us feel safe and soothed this time of year?  Yet the weather's not so cold that it seems appropriate for roast meats and pureed root vegetables just yet...

Sunday lunch today: fresh local prawns, garlic and onion, tomatoes, broccoli and red pepper in what started out as a stirfry...

I love to serve sliced cucumber with spicy or creamy dishes, it's not as fiddly as a salad to make, looks so pretty, lightens the palate and is so much healthier to munch on as a side dish, instead of pappadoms or bread!

and part 2 of this sunday share (because the above paragraph I hope you will find as helpful in practise, as I do!) is the secret sauce recipe to the juicy, soupy texture of pictured dish- it's more a laksa or asian-inspired stew than a stir-fry, and just the texture our bodies are nourished by in Autumn.

Here's how it came to be.  Wanting to add peanut butter to the stirfry, I noticed n the jar there was only a tablespoon or so left.  So I made a cup of stock using hot water and vegetable bouillon, and added it to the peanut butter jar.  To jazz it up, I also added 1/2 a teaspoon of curry powder.  Then, we all danced around the kitchen shaking it.  Tipping it over the sizzling pan, it became a fragrant stew-y business.  YUMMO.

But here's the thing-  so many asian foods use sugar in their cooking.  Sweet chilli sauce, for example, is 95% sugar.  Laksas and curries in thai and malay dishes are sweetened with brown sugar, and the dish above just didn't take any good without... WAIT.  I reached for the honey, and decide to pull out a carrot instead.  I  added it, grated, and although it now looked more like an Asian curry- it didn't seem any sweeter.  Sigh.  So I reached for the honey (wait...) and my hands rustled over the spice rack.  Turmeric, it's rich gold beckoned me.  So did Cayenne pepper... and it I was going to go all Ayurvedic then hey- the Cinnamon wanted in, too.

Turmeric added richness and thickness.  A woody density that made me forget to think that the dish needed sugar.  There was something else going on now, and I didn't want to miss the taste.
Cayenne Pepper added brightness.  Often now when it's a dark or gloomy day, I'll add cayenne pepper to a cup of soup.  It's lift is positively amazing.
Cinnamon added fragrance.  And in a world where we wolf down our food without any thought to it's subleties, I am so glad my three spice friends sat up and asked to be included.  The honey stayed on the shelf (for now :).

wherever you come from
however you are here enjoying this with me
I wish you a warm healthy body and too many hugs to handle today, and everyday this coming week.  

Do You have favourite spices you use instead of sugar or salt?  Please share, by leaving a comment, below!


Sabrina said...

Hi Samantha,
a lovely week ahead to you!
I quite enjoyed your post, and I just wanted to share that I loved the way you described the taste of turmeric,.."woody density", that's so true! that really is the flavour it lends to any dish..
here in India, turmeric has wide usage, as a spice used in daily food, on cuts and bruises and in also in kitchen-made face packs :-) because of its anti-septic properties...
and cinnamon is lovely too, I keep a small jar of cinnamon powder and sprinkle a pinch onto any sweet dish I'm making, it adds aroma and that extra touch!
back here we often add cardamom also in sweet dishes as well as for dishes served as main could, powder the seeds inside and sprinkle that into your food...

love + light

Samantha Honey said...

Cardamom! thank you so much, Sabrina! and also for the properties of Turmeric. I have been reading that cardamom is excellent for digestion and as a tea can relieve depression. Will be sure to get some pods to experiment with. I love your advice and blog, too.