Roast Aubergine & Chaturanga Dandasana

I’ve had a glut of new potatoes this week! I got tons in the veg bag, and we harvested the tatties in both community gardens I work in. And with all the sun and rain we’ve had here in sunny Glasgow everything’s been growing really well… which of course means the mint is out of control! The tattie side in this recipe is probably my favourite way to eat them at the moment and really showcases fresh produce in it’s glory. This week’s recipe I actually made twice, two ways, and only photographed one, but I’ll give you all the options and you can decide how you want to make it.

Roast Aubergine with Minty New Potatoes

Ingredients

Handful of new tatties
1 aubergine
small handful of fresh mint
knob of butter
drizzle of EVOO
salt & pepper
tbsp tahini
juice of half a lemon
1 large clove garlic
2 handfuls leafy greens (I used turnip tops,
but spinach or kale or anything you want will
work here)
small handful pinenuts

IMAG0881

Option 1

aaaaaand……

option 1

8 cherry tomatoes on the vine

oooorr….

option 2
4 tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
75g quinoa

Method
– 
Preheat oven to 225°C.
– Prick aubergine with a fork, put in a roasting tin and salt. Put in oven for 30 mins.
– OPTION 2 – Also put tomatoes and garlic in oven. Put quinoa on to cook. (1:2 quinoa to water, simmer with a lid on until all the water is absorbed.)
– Put tatties on to boil in lightly salted water.
– Crush garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add in greens and wilt.
– In a wee bowl whisk together tahini, EVOO, lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
– OPTION 1 – after 20 mins of aubergine being in oven, pop the cherry tomatoes in for the last 10.
– OPTION 2 – After 20 mins remove tomatoes and garlic from oven and push through a sieve with a wooden spoon. Pop the liquid on a high heat to reduce until it is a thick sauce.
– Drain tatties and toss them in a little dairy-free butter (Flora freedom is nice) or EVOO. Finely chop mint and toss that through too.
– Assemble! Option 1 peeps – take top of aubergine, cut in half and put on a plate. Put greens on top, and cherry toms on top of that. Drizzle with tahini dressing and scatter over pinenuts. Serve with tatties.
– Option 2 peeps – arrange greens on a plate. Take top off aubergine, slice in half and put on top. Top aubergine with quinoa, pour over tomato sauce and drizzle with tahini. Scatter over pinenuts and serve with tatties.
IMAG0894Unfortunately, I had to buy garlic from the shop because this week is the first for garlic in the veg bag. But when you buy it in the shop it comes in a wee net bag, and it seems very wasteful – especially when there’s just one bulb – so in my efforts to re-use I made a cute wee bird feeder. So far no birds have been eating from it… or squirrels for that matter… but I’m sure that’s more to do with the year rather than the quality of the feeder. And it’s super easy. You sew up the side you ripped open (I’m assuming here) except for the last inch. Fill with bird seed. Sew up the last wee bit, and make a few big loops at the top, et voila! One DIY bird feeder. One less thing for the bin (immediately, anyway).
I chose Chaturanga Dandasana as my pose this week because, and I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I looooove it. Always have, always will, I think it’s super important to learn and learn right, and it helps with core and upper body strength. Plus it just looks so neat and tidy when done properly.

  1. Come into a high plank. Let’s assume it’s spot on alignment-wise.
  2. Relax the shoulders away from the ears and press back through your heels.
  3. Shift your weight forward, pressing the floor away with your toes.
  4. Lower down until your face is a few inches from the ground and your elbows are at a right angle.
  5. Hold for 1 breath to start, but work up to 8.
  6. Congratulate yourself with an wee child’s pose. Or just lying face down on the mat. Whatever seems like a better option right now.

    Once you’ve got it down you’ll sail smoothly through your vinyasas and be the envy of everyone with your effortless ability to hold yourself parallel to the floor as you hover above it. Well done you.

    Namaste 🙂 x

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Easy Peanut Butter Cups & Uttanasana

Okay, so this is not my recipe… my lovely sister – aka the least bridey bride ever – came over for dinner and a catch up and brought with her there peanut butter cups and they’re SO GOOD. And crazy quick and easy, so I thought they were definitely worth sharing.

As a bridesmaid I’ve been fully prepared to do whatever madness she can think of, but so far we chose our own dresses, we’re organising a fun & tasteful hen do and there have been no demands whatsoever. It’s all starting to come together, which as just as well because it’s very soon. Well, “very soon” in wedding terms. 3 months. But it’s very exciting. So when she wanted a catch up I thought that there might be some ulterior motive… but it turns out she just wanted to give me a t-shirt she bought for me for no reason, and make yummy chocolate treats. So here’s this week’s guest recipe:

Peanut Butter Cups (makes 8)

Ingredients
1 large chocolate bar
16 Nakd caramel nibbles
8 tsp peanut butter

Method
– Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases.
– Melt chocolate in a bain marie.
– Pour an inch (ish) into the bottom of each cupcake case.
– Smoosh (technical term) 16 nibbles and drop 2 into the chocolate in each case.
– Drop in a teaspoon of peanut butter on top of the nibbles.
– Cover with more melted chocolate.
– Pop in the fridge and allow to set.
– Keep in the cupboard and enjoy them whenever you need a chocolate fix!

My pose this week is Uttanasana, or a Standing Forward Fold. My friend who lives very far away is starting to try yoga because he’s been having back pain. When he messaged me and said he couldn’t understand how his face was supposed to touch his knees with a straight back, keeping everything parallel. Of course, as a complete beginner, you can’t! So here’s a breakdown of the pose, and how to do it safely. Don’t push yourself too far, and don’t lose the length through your spine for the sake of getting your head lower. You’ll get there.

  • Stand with your feet hip distance apart, outside edges parallel with the edges of your mat.
  • Lengthen up through the crown of the head, relax the shoulder, and ground down through your feet.
  • Place your hands on your hips and on an inhale get very tall.
  • On an exhale, hinge forward from your hips until you can’t go any lower without rounding the back.

And that’s it. Practise every day and one day your face will touch your knees, but don’t expect to fold in half the first time you do it. It can help with back pain, posture, learning alignment and stretching the hammies. Keep it up!

Namaste 🙂 x

Quinoa, broad beans & crispy courgettes

I’m so excited to be covering Sam’s classes in South Ayrshire this week. I get to see a lot of familiar faces, get out to the countryside (with Eiko loves too!) and spend a little quality time with my Ma. I have 2 new classes starting at the end of this month which I’ve been getting organised – 1 at Toryglen Community Hall, Mondays 5:30pm, 1 at Couper Institute in Cathcart, Sundays 7:45pm. See the Yoga Classes page for more info! So it’s been all go here, and I’m making a conscious effort not to get lazy and just eat shite all the time, but we all know that struggle. There’s been great stuff in the veg box the past couple weeks and so I’m trying to make the most of it and not just bung it all in soup (happens), so this week’s recipe really showcases some of the season’s produce.


Courgette Fritters with Quinoa Salad

Ingredients
1/2 mug quinoa
12 pods of broad beans
1 small courgette
handful walnuts
1 small clove garlic
juice 1/2 lemon
twice as much EVOO, plus more for frying
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
approx 1 tbsp plain gluten free flour
small handful celery leaves

Method
– Put in pan with twice as much water (measure it). Pop the lid on, bring to the boil, then turn down to simmer for around 15 mins or until all the water has been absorbed.
– Meanwhile, pod the broad beans. Blanche in boiling water for 2 – 3 mins them quickly immerse in cold water. Pinch to remove white casing.
– Slice courgette at an angle, about 2mm thick. Mix flour with a pinch of salt and a few twists of pepper, and spread out on a plate. Dip each courgette slice into flour mixture on both sides, and shake off excess. Fry for a few minutes either side, or until golden brown.
– In pestle & mortar, bash up garlic with a little salt. Add lemon juice and twice as much EVOO.
– Roughly chop walnuts. Finely slice celery leaves.
– Mix quinoa, broad beans and walnuts in a bowl, and dress with the lemon dressing.
– Arrange courgette slices over a plate. Add quinoa salad on top and garnish with the celery leaves. Enjoy!


What with all this excitement, I feel my mind running away from me, so I’m trying to keep calm, keep composed, keep on top of everything! My favourite meditation technique is also one of the first that ever really made sense to me… although it wasn’t taught to me as a technique, more a metaphor. However, it works for me, and I think it might for you… especially if you’ve raised a puppy! So this week’s ‘pose’ is Puppy Meditation.

Sit or lie in a comfortable position you can maintain

2013-08-07 14.53.06

This little munchkin wants to help.

for at least 10 minutes.
Close your eyes and bring your focus to your breath.
Imagine in your minds’ eye the most adorable little puppy you’ve ever seen!
Try to get him to sit still.
Puppies are very excitable, so don’t be surprised if he runs off. Don’t get angry at him, just gently coax him back to his original spot and get him to sit.
As you continue to do this notice if your mind wanders, with your puppy, then gently and kindly bring it back to stillness.
Continue with this technique until 10 minutes is up, or you and your puppy are in complete stillness for as long as you desire.

 

 

Take this calmness with you into the rest of your day, or your dreams, and remember to treat yourself and others with the kindness with which you treat your adorable little puppy.

Namaste 🙂 x

The Best Mushroom Gravy

Although it’s cheating, I must admit I love Dee’s sausages. They’re so tasty, and a great quick supper grilled with some tatties or in a sandwich. The other night I was craving comfort food. I had been out in the rain with the dog for 2 hours, after what felt like a very long day at work, and I had a dose of the blues. Stodgey, easy and delicious was all I wanted, and everything my humble dinner turned out to be.

I picked up some sausages on the way home, knowing I had tons of tatties that needed using up, and an open bottle of red wine in the kitchen. The whole thing took about 20 minutes and it was so good I would’ve eaten the whole thing twice. The dish is helped by those tasty sausages, and I bought the new Flora dairy free just to see what it was like, which really gave a boost to the tatties, but the star of the show was the sweet, sticky, earthy, rich gravy… so please make the effort to make it, I promise you won’t regret it.

Sausage & Mash

Ingredients             

3 Dee’s traditional sausages
1 small onion
3 mini Portobello mushrooms (or a couple of big ones)
2 medium tatties
handful of green beans
1 small garlic clove
a big spoonful of dairy free butter
splash of plant milk of your choosing
100ml red wine
2 tsp maple syrup
1 veggie stock cube, or 2 tsp bouillon powder
1 glug of extra virgin olive oil
a couple pinches of sea salt and a freshly ground black pepper

Method
– Preheat the grill to hot.
– Wash, peel and dice tatties. Bring to the boil in a pan of water with a pinch of sea salt.
– Put the sausages under the grill. Keep an eye on them, and you’ll have to turn them halfway (about 5 mins in).
– Top and tail the green beans and pop in a steamer on top of your tatties.
– Finely chop or mince the garlic. Slice the onion and mushrooms. Heat the EVOO in a deep frying pan. Add a pinch of sea salt and the garlic and sauté for about a minute. Then add mushrooms and onion, and sauté until soft. Pour in the wine and cook off the alcohol – takes a few minutes, give it a careful sniff when you think it’s done and if it’s not you’ll know about it. Add in the stock cube or powder, maple syrup and a few twists of black pepper and reduce until it’s thick, runny, almost gravy like consistency.
– Drain the tatties and mash them up with the “butter” and “milk” until very smooth.
– Serve a pile of mash, with green beans on top, sausages on top of that and the gravy generously poured over the whole lot. Enjoy!

So if you feel in need of something that will proverbially stick to your ribs – this is the one for you. *Dieters need not apply.

I’ll be back next Monday with news of my new yoga classes starting in the next few weeks, and another tasty recipe for you.

Got requests? Questions? Complaints? Let me know in the comments below, facebook or twitter.

Namaste 🙂 x

Spag Bol and Virabhadrasana III

It’s been a while since my last post due to some upheaval in my life, but now I’m back on two feet and my internet is up and running!

I thought I would share with you one of my favourite recipes… it’s my go to when cooking for non-vegans for the first time and also a slight bastardisation of the first recipe my mother ever taught me (but it was her that suggested the lentils in place of meat!).


Ingredients
1 jar puy lentils (or rough equivalent of dried, soaked and cooked)
500g passata
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp agave syrup (maple works fine too)
a good slug of extra virgin olive oil
good pinch of sea salt and a few twists of black pepper
handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped

200g gluten free spaghetti (I like brown rice, but corn/maize is good too)
enough salt to make the cooking water as salty as the Mediterranean Sea

Method
– Heat oil in a deep frying pan to a medium heat.
– Add garlic, salt, black pepper, chilli and paprika, and saute for a minute or two.
– Add passata, tomata puree, puy lentils and syrup. Allow to simmer whilst you prepare pasta.
– Cook your pasta according to instructions on the packet (normally a roiling boil for 8 – 12 minutes in the biggest pan you’ve got, taste every minute to check).
– Drain pasta and reserve a small amount of the cooking water. Add to sauce along with the spaghetti and stir to combine.
– Transfer to serving dish and garnish with basil. Buon appetito!


 

In class over the past few weeks we’ve been working on the warrior sequence – my favourite! For those that don’t know, the story goes that Sati married Lord Shiva, despite her father’s disdain for the man whom he considered unfit for his daughter. After they were married, Daksha (the father) held a party without inviting either, but Sati showed up and after much humiliation and ridicule resolved to be done with her father once and for all – including with the earthly body he had given to her. She sat in meditation, stoking her internal fire until she burst into flames. Shiva heard of her death, pulled out his dreadlocks and threw one into the earth to create Virabhadra, who he sent to the party to destroy Daksha. Virabhadra burst up from deep underground with his sword in both hands above him, as in Virabhadrasana I. Then he got Daksha in his sights, sword at the ready, as in Virabhadrasana II. Lastly, he thrust forward and cut Daksha’s head clean off, the pivotal moment of which we re-enact in Virabhadrasana III. It’s a good story, and the poses are fundamental for good reason, and, I believe, essential for beginners through to the advanced to practise. In Virabhadrasana III we focus on centring our drishti, balance, even breath and core strength. After all, we are all our own warrior, in our own way.

  • From Tadasana, shift your weight to your right foot.
  • Lift the right toes, lifting the arch of the foot and engaging mula bhanda and uddiyana bhanda. Place each toe down one at a time, spreading them wide.
  • Focus your sight on something non-moving (normally not your wobbly teacher!).
  • When you feel balanced and ready soften the right knee and reach your arms out in front, hinging forward until your torso is parallel with the floor.
  • Press your left heel back away from you in line with your body, until the leg is straight.
  • Straighten your right leg, and if it feels okay then bring the arms down by your side, fingers pointing behind you.

Just like that! You got this. If you feel more comfortable then start off practising with your hands on the wall, and take them off one at a time, but do take your time. As I said before, this is a pose you’ll want to continue into your practise forever, so it’s worth getting it right and that means getting there at your own speed. And when you’ve got it, and you feel strong and resilient in this pose, you can take that feeling into your life and draw on it whenever you feel you need strength.

Namaste 🙂 x

A barking great week!

Hi! Hi! Hi! It’s me! It’s Eiko!! I’m SO happy to see you! HI!

Nicky is still “too busy” to blog, or “not up to it” or something, so I thought I’d step in and tell you about my week… it’s been FANTASTIC!

Nicky has a new job so at first I was a bit worried. She was very busy the first couple of weeks and was out the house a lot, and we didn’t get our usual morning time routine together. It’s better now I know she’ll come back, and she’s much happier than before, plus we get to go for a walk in the sun just as it leaves the living room floor.

I’ve been doing a ton of sunbathing, my tan looks great.

The past few days both humans have been home a lot. They’re on holiday from their work, but if you ask me they’re mad hanging about the house when they don’t need to, but I have been getting more walks so that’s good. I love having everybody home in the evening too, and getting lots of cuddles.

Due to a miscommunication between the humans I got extra food at dinner time twice this week. 😀

A few days ago I got a special walk because I got off the lead! I got to run around and chase squirrels and birds! I even got to run around the streets a bit! Nicky didn’t seem very happy when I eventually came back… I haven’t got to go off my lead since…

All in all, it’s been a great week. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try and get a game of ball on the go…

Woof 😛 x

 

The dog ate the Bhagavad Gita

When spirituality meets reality. When peace meets choas. When dogs meet Hindu scripture.

Yes, I went out to work and she ate my book. My lovely, beautiful book I hadn’t read yet, that my mother bought for me, and I was very sad and frustrated. But, as they say, shit happens.

I don’t think I’m alone in struggling sometimes to fit my idea of life into my actual real life. It would be amazing to get up at 6am, do yoga, meditate, eat a healthy breakfast and walk the dog before heading off to my dream job, but that just isn’t realistically going to happen for most of us. Aside from falling at the first hurdle – 6am start after a bottle of wine, anybody? – shit happens, time gets away from me, I sleep in, I stay up too late, I get distracted by some article on MindBodyGreen, and suddenly I’m running out the door with a slice of toast and a banana in my bag, the dog had 30 seconds to pee and no more, and the livingroom hasn’t been dusted in weeks. I strive and strive for the former scenario, but most days feel like the latter.

So what to do?

Well, I see 3 options…

1. Give up. Accept that that will never be my life. Eat rubbish; drink all the coffee and alcohol available; lose all ambition; get fat; roll up a joint and watch TV.

2. Hate myself. When I inevitably slip up – sleep in; miss yoga; have toast for dinner again – beat myself up. If only I were better organised; smarter with my time; more patient; immune to stress; liked green tea; then I could be a good person. Then I could live a productive and meaningful life. Then I would be good enough.

3. Love myself. Try to make the time for things that make me happy and healthy; try to limit unhealthy behaviours; try to make time for loved ones; aim for the stars but recognise that making it to the moon is still pretty great. Remember it’s human to be imperfect, and it’s our imperfections that make us interesting and beautiful.

Now, of course, I pick the third option. But it’s hard not to let a little of 1 and 2 creep in sometimes – and unfortunately they feed off each other and can bring about this cycle of depression that’s very hard to get back out of. It takes a lot of fortitude to lift yourself up again and look towards the stars, and it’s a courage and strength that’s rarely recognised – in fact, more often than not, it’s swept under the carpet – but it should be celebrated. We should be proud of ourselves for making the first step on the road to our goals, we should be happy we made it through the day without screaming at anybody and we should recognise that any achievement, however small, is worth congratulations.

So try and love yourself a little more, love your friends, loveyour family, help them up when they fall down if you can, and if not, sit down with them and have a glass of wine.

IMAG0707

How could you stay mad at that face?

And hug your dog. She didn’t mean it.

Namaste 🙂 x

Don’t get mad, get even.

Sometimes when all we strive for is peace and happiness it can be hard to come to terms with feelings of anger, hatred and sadness. These emotions are at odds with who we perceive ourselves to be and can feel toxic to our lives and relationships. In an effort to rid ourselves of these feelings we vent, bitch, gossip, complain and lash out – but unfortunately when we lash out we’re just rehearsing anger and reinforcing these negative thoughts and pathways in our brains.

Instead of fighting with our emotions we should embrace them, and help bring them back to positivity. If we acknowledge and accept our emotions for what they are, we can breathe into them and nourish them with love. I find this breathing exercise works very well. “Breathing in, I know that anger is in me; breathing out, I smile at my anger.” Repeat for 8 breaths.

When someone angers us, we should empathise and try to understand their reasons for behaving in the manner they have. Understanding leads to forgiveness, and it’s important to always remember that everybody in this world is inherently good. Even people who seem “bad”, or do bad things, are often reacting to things that have happened to them in the past, or are reacting to things going on in their life we don’t know about.

Negative emotion is a part of life, but overtime will become a manageable part, and with practise need never negatively impact into our lives. But it will take practise.

Namaste x

Will Garden For Money

I am so happy to announce that I’ve got a new job! It’s only part-time, but 2 days are better than no days, and it’s to Food Fruition logowork as a community garden grower with the charity Food Fruition. I am so so excited as my main focus, as well as running the already established gardening club for Maryhill Integration Network, will be focusing on reaching out to children delivering 3 workshops to about 600 pupils from 2 local schools. We’ll be teaching them about growing veg, sustainability, environmental impact and healthy eating – my favourite! And not only that, but I get to work in a trendy loft office in the West End, literally 1 minute’s walk from Hanoi Bike Shop – I mean, does life get any better??

But wait… because maybe it could! Locavore are looking for “apprentices” to work plots on their Urban Croft just 10 minutes walk from where I live, to grow veg to sell back to them – so my application has been submitted I am hopefully awaiting their reply.

Now that I’ve signed an 11 month contract I feel confident I can commit to starting a new yoga class (or 2…) so hopefully I’ll be giving you details of that very soon. I am so excited to teach regularly again, I’m missing it so much, but whilst everything was up in the air and for a while I didn’t even know if I’d be in Glasgow past the summer, I didn’t want to start a new class just to have to abandon it.

On a more personal note, I’ve set myself a 3 week challenge to open up my chest and shoulders because I have been so tight and stiff there lately it’s unreal. I suppose it’s all the stress I’ve been under, coupled with work, driving and cycling. I’m also trying to be mindful of the effects of being on my bike regularly by stretching out my quads, hamstrings and psoas whenever possible.

The other wonderful thing that’s happened this week (and it’s only Tuesday) is that I found this huge patch of wild garlic growing in Linn Park, so when the chef and I were out

wild garlic leaves

Wild garlic leaves

with the dog yesterday we stuffed our pockets and came home stinking but very happy – and are eating wild garlic with everything. We’ve got sorrel hummus with wild garlic, potato and wild garlic soup, and wild garlic and rocket pesto (which is incredible, you should try it). It is wild garlic season – so go out and find some! It’s super easy to identify because it stinks of garlic, tastes of garlic and looks like…well ….fat grass (see right). And if you live near Linn Park – it’s at the entrance by the cemetery just up past the waterfall bridge, by the river.

One more thing that’s made my past couple weeks great – Thich Nhat Hanh. I’m reading Peace Is Every Step and it is so lovely, such a great read. I strongly suggest you have a read if you can get your hands on a copy. As corny as it sounds it’s helping me look more closely at how I live day to day, my relationships with the people around me and my outlook on the world.

Oh, and today marks 41 days sober :).

Namaste x

Street Yoga

ultimo make a shape

So here I am (far left) with 7 lovely ladies doing yoga in the middle of Buchanan Street on a cold and windy day. This was for a PR event for Ultimo lingerie, and whilst it sounds and looks mad, honestly once you found yourself on your mat and focused on your poses you really could forget where you are. I lost count of the amount of times I found myself singing or laughing, and was blissfully unaware of the people with their phones out – until I lifted up into Wheel Pose and there they were behind me!

I had no idea what to expect from the day, and was honestly quite apprehensive about the whole thing, but I’d committed so I went along. And I am so glad I did! I had the best day, it was so much fun, not just the yoga although I did enjoy that, but meeting all these lovely yogis and hanging out with them. It was a great group, and was really the boost I needed to keep me going through these busy and stressful weeks. We were lucky that the rain stayed off – especially as we were in white t-shirts! – and everybody had great fun. Now I’m looking forward to my free lingerie!

This week I’ve not been in the kitchen as much as I’d like due to one thing or another, but I have been playing about with a few new ideas, and rejigging some old ones – steak and mash anybody? But truth be told it’ll be a few weeks yet ’til you see new recipes up in the Spring section, but eventually we’ll get there!

One of the reasons I’ve been so busy is that I’m learning to drive, which is scary and fun and very scary. But yesterday I sat and passed my theory test! So I’m super happy about that, proud of myself, and relieved to have one less thing to worry about. Just need to keep rocking the lessons, and look forward to the practical test!

Until next week, take it easy and look after yourself. 🙂

Namaste x