City Jungle

It is hard to see the bright side of things sometimes especially when it is dark grey all day every day with rain on and off setting an eerie mood. Every day I was longing for some warm sun shine to cheer me up.

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But then despite the circumstances Harry and I decided to venture out into the city and its little lanes and alleyways to dive into the shadows and discover serenity just there.

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Because the upside of grey weather and low hanging clouds is that life slows down – people are not out and about everywhere and so life in a big town becomes more calm and peaceful.

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There is always an opportunity to find stillness and reconnect to yourself. Even in the city jungle especially when you find roots that lead the way to reveal your essence.

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Thank you Harry for being adventurous with me and letting your light shine through.

x

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Presto Pasta

I am sure I am not the only one who craves more warm starchy comfort foods when the weather starts cooling down a bit and the days are getting shorter and on grey rainy days.

This week I fell in love with pumpkin pasta.

In summer I love making zucchini pasta as a quick easy meal but for colder days it is just not what I crave. So I swapped the zucchini for butternut pumpkin that I cooked quickly in a pan instead. And voila! Absolutely delicious. Done in literally 10 minutes and hitting the spot on all levels.

The combination I love the most right now is pumpkin pasta with oyster mushrooms, smoked garlic, majoran and red spinach.

Apart form being tasty this dish has so much nutritional goodness to offer for the approaching cold and flu season:

Carotenoids or  beta-carotene are precursor to Vitamin A and can be found in all foods that are mainly yellow,orange or red  in colour such as carrots for example. Carotenoids are anti-oxidants that are converted to Vitamin A by our incredible bodies. As we know anti-oxidants are really important but what do carotenoids or Vitamin A do for us? They have been shown to play a specific role in growth and development during pregnancy as they also influence and regulate gene expression. Furthermore,  Vitamin A supports optimal immune function, aids in maintaining good vision as well as red blood cell production and also protects our lungs and skin. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin and therefore needs a bit of fat to facilitate conversion and can be stored by our bodies in our liver.

Oyster mushrooms are very popular due to their delicate flavour and bite. Mushrooms are also often called a vegetarian’s or vegan’s meat – they are high in protein and most species can be regarded as good source of iron. Most mushrooms offer additional  health benefits such as cardiovascular health due to their cholesterol lowering effect and immune boosting capability. Some sun dried mushrooms are even able to store Vitamin D and therefore help in preventing that winter blues.

Smoked garlic just like fresh garlic in general contains allicin which is a sulphur compound with potent anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial effects to fight off any infection in this beginning cold & flu season.

Majoran is a common kitchen herb but as so many other humble kitchen herbs it has medicinal properties. Majoran tea is used for symptoms such as runny nose, colds and coughs as well as poor appetite and upset tummies especially in kids.

Red spinach is a very pretty leafy green that boasts with folate (B9), Vitamin C and iron.    It is related to amaranth that you may know as ancient grain and its leaves add a great earthy flavour in your salads or any other dish as warm side salad. To preserve most of its nutritional value it is best not to heat your leafy greens too much why I usually just toss them through right after the end.

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Prep time: 15 min, cooking time: 15 min, easy

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1/2 medium size butternut pumpkin

4 medium to large size oyster mushrooms

2-4 cloves of smoked garlic according to your liking

1/4 bunch majorcan fresh

2 cups of red spinach leaves

celtic sea salt and fresh pepper if you like

ghee or coconut oil to cook

olive oil

lemon juice of 1/2 a lemon freshly pressed ideally

Method:

  1. peel the butternut pumpkin and remove all seeds and cut into spaghetti- like  noodles using a mandolin or a zest peeler
  2. peel cloves of smoked garlic and cut into quarters lengthwise
  3. clean oyster mushrooms with a paper towel or use a soft brush to remove all debris (do not wash your mushrooms!)
  4. wash about quarter of a bunch of your Majoran bunch and press it dry with a kitchen cloth or paper towel
  5. wash and spin dry your red spinach leaves
  6. press 1/2 lemon
  7. warm up 2 frying pans to medium heat and add 1 tsp of ghee or coconut oil in each
  8. add smoked garlic into the pan and fry for 1 minute until gold brown, move to the edge of the pan to keep warm but stop from further frying
  9. add oyster mushrooms  to the pan with the garlic and fry them on both sides for about 1-2 minutes
  10. add pumpkin spaghetti into the second pan and fry for about 2 minutes until the pumpkin is semi-cooked, add 1 cup of water (I prefer filtered) to the pan and reduce heat so the noodles steam cook instead of boil
  11. add the fresh majoran to the pan with the oyster mushrooms and put a little salt on your mushrooms after turning them flipping them
  12. check your pumpkin pasta to be ‘al dente’ and still have some bite to them, pour off any remaining liquid and add salt ( and fresh pepper if you like)
  13. toss the red spinach leaves through your pumpkin noodles and transfer into a bowl or onto your plate
  14. sprinkle to lemon juice on top to increase iron absorption from your greens
  15. top with your mushrooms, fried garlic and majoran and add a splash of olive oil
  16. Enjoy!

No regrets

I love this quote because if I have one rule in life it is: No Regrets!

“I try to live my life where I end up at a point where I have no regrets. So I try to choose the road that I have the most passion on because then you can never really blame yourself for making the wrong choices. You can always say you’re following your passion.”
Darren Aronofsky

What is this all about?

I thought I might start with explaining why I call my blog salutarybites.

According to Merriam Webster Dictionary :

sal·u·tary

adjective \ˈsal-yə-ˌter-ē\

Full Definition of SALUTARY
1:  producing a beneficial effect :  remedial <salutaryinfluences>
2:  promoting health :  curative.
I feel drawn to this word because of its definition  – I also love the sound of it – and as we as humans tend to strive for health and more often are searching for a cure. Salutary implies the meaning of “having a good or helpful result especially after something unpleasant has happened”. For me this is very relevant as we usually need to become very unhealthy,  unhappy or in any other way challenged to be pushed out of our comfort zone and ready to explore new ways –  that is usually the time when the quest begins.

bite

verb \ˈbīt\

Additionally to salutary I have chosen the word bite. Why? Because I am a foodie! I LOVE food and every time I enjoy a beautiful meal and explore flavours and textures – I feel happy, inspired and simply blown away by the sheer abundance and greatness our world and life has to offer.  I am a clinical Nutritionist too and therefore I see food as medicine and an integral part of a cure.