Would you like a Xmas treat?
Only a few more nights to Christmas day! Have you thought about what special culinary delights you would like to prepare or share this Christmas Day?
It can be a challenge to find tasty and balancing options all in one. Tasty meals that include easy to find ingredients and incorporate seasonal produce while helping to promote balance in our mind and body too. Also as it is a special time you may want to do something a little different or try something new.
The key to getting it right
Ayurveda has some helpful tips on food selection and preparation that always make me smile.
Fresh seasonal foods, prepared by a happy cook, eaten with full attention, in a timely manner (at regular intervals during the day) when appetite is present, will have the best result.
As Vata dosha governs Autumn and Winter it is best to include warm, heavy, moist, oily and strengthening foods into your diet. Favour sweet, sour and salty tastes. Reduce light and dry food, cold food, pungent, bitter and astringent tastes.
When the weather is cold outside our internal digestive fires can become irregular in strength. To help promote healthy digestion take 2 tablets of Herbal Digest (MA927) 15-30 minutes prior main meals and 1-2 tablets of Digest Plus (MA154) 15-30 minutes after meals.
If you find Christmas day a little stressful then you will be pleased to know that MA686 Ashwagandha/Indian Asparagus formula helps to promote calm and supports resilience to stress. Take 2 tablets first thing when you wake and 2 tablets around 5pm.
Check it out!
For inspiration here are some savoury dishes that could serve as an Entree and Main Meal for Christmas day. Or you may like to choose one of the dishes to add to your current meal plan.
Christmas Lunch Menu
Minty Almond Couscous
Ratatouille Parcels with Apple Spice Chutney
Add your most favourite dessert and enjoy!
T = Tablespoons
C = Cup
t = teaspoon
12 large, ripe, firm tomatoes
Black pepper to taste
3 T olive oil
1 C short grain rice, washed, rinsed and drained
2 T pine nuts
1/2 C dried currants
1 T fresh chopped mint and parsley
1 C water
1 T dried breadcrumbs
Olive oil for drizzling
- Wash the tomatoes and slice a thin section off the opposite end from the stalk. Set the slices aside – these will be the tops of the tomatoes at the end. Scoop out the tomatoes using a small spoon, placing the scooped out pulp into a sieve set over bowl. When all the tomatoes have been hollowed out, sprinkle the inside of each with salt, pepper and the sugar. Place the tomatoes onto an oiled baking dish, where the tomatoes sit snugly. Drain the tomato pulp for 5 minutes, then discard the drained liquid. Push the pulp through the sieve and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the rice and fry for a few minutes. Add the pine nuts, currants, mint, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir well then add 1/2 cup of tomato pulp and the water. Lower the heat, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes or until the rice in half cooked.
- Spoon the rice mixture into the hollow tomatoes, be sure not to over-fill them, and place the tops of the tomatoes back on. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and a little oil. Pour in 1/2 C of tomato pulp around the stuffed tomatoes and slide into a preheated 180 degree Celsius oven for 30 minutes. Check on the tomatoes during cooking and if the pulp begins to dry out, add some more. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Minty Almond Couscous or Quinoa
Take warm alongside the other dishes.
60g slivered almonds
1 C couscous (if you are gluten intolerant use 1 C of quinoa)
1/2 C chopped dried apricots
1/4 C sultanas
1 C roughly chopped parsley
1/2 C roughly chopped mint leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T olive oil
1 1/2 t ground cumin
1 clove garlic
2 T lemon juice
1/2 T maple syrup
Salt and pepper taste
- Roast the almonds in a preheated 180 degrees Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit oven until golden, this will only take a minute or so. Set aside.
- Cover the couscous with boiling water and allow to soak until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork occasionally.
- To make the dressing heat half of the oil over a medium heat and saute the spices and garlic for a few minutes. Stir in the remaining oil, lemon juice and maple syrup. Add the dressing to the couscous and stir through.
- Add the apricots, sultanas, parsley, mint, seasonings and toss gently. Set aside. Serve the couscous with the almonds sprinkled over the top.
Ratatouille Parcels with Apple Spice Chutney
Parcels – Makes 4 parcels
1 T olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced (optional)
1/2 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 a small eggplant, cubed
1 green capsicum, coarsely chopped
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 t dried leaf basil
1/4 t dried leaf oregano
1/8 t dried thyme leaf
1 T chopped fresh parsley
6 sheets of filo pastry
1 T melted butter
1 T breadcrumbs (use gluten free breadcrumbs if you prefer gluten free)
2 T Ghee
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T plain wholemeal flour or flour of your choice
1 C coconut milk
2 T chopped fresh basil
2 T grated parmesan cheese
- In a 4 Litre saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add eggplant; stir until coated with oil. Add peppers; stir to combine.
- Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep vegetables from sticking. Add tomatoes, zucchini and herbs; mix well.
- Cut pastry sheets in half crossways to make large triangles. Each package uses three of these triangles, cover the pastry that you are not using with a wet cloth to avoid them drying out. Take one triangle, brush with melted butter, place another triangle on top, brush with butter and finally one more triangle, brushing with butter also.
- Place a quarter of the ratatouille along the point of the triangle, then roll up, folding in the sides as you go. Repeat to make another 3 parcels. Arrange onto a greased baking tray, brush with butter then sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
- Slide into a preheated oven, 180 degrees Celsius or 350 Fahrenheit, for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- While the parcels are cooking make the basil sauce and salad. In a medium saucepan on a medium heat add the melted ghee and garlic. Sift in the flour, whisk constantly for a minute, and then slowly add the coconut milk, whisking all the time to ensure no lumps are created. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and cheese.
Apple Spice Chutney
3 medium sized apples or 2 large apples
1 T ghee
2 t mustard seeds
4 –5 curry leaves
1 T cumin seeds
1/2 T fennel seeds
¼ t hing
½ t salt
½ t black pepper
2 T coriander powder
1 T cumin powder
2 T grated ginger
¼ to ½ C water depending on the bulk of the apples
Sauté the spices in ghee, add the diced fruit with a little water, and simmer till nice and soft.
How to Serve
Serve the Ratatouille parcel next to the stuffed tomatoes with a generous serving of Apple Spice Chutney.
Drizzle the basil sauce over the top of the parcel.
Serve the Minty Almond Couscous on the side and bon appetit…
Wishing you the bliss of balance this Christmas Day and always
Linda Sinden, Maharishi AyurVeda Consultant
Linda Sinden has been a practising Maharishi Ayurveda Consultant since 1990 and is a regular contributor to our health articles. She has a practice in Auckland, New Zealand and also provides phone or Skype sessions for those who need assistance, but don’t have a consultant in their vicinity.
Mobile: +64 212237525