Homemade Tagliatelle with Ying Yang sauce

Homemade Tagliatelle with Ying Yang sauce

Life is about balance so if there is anything wrong with your life right now, just try to compensate with a bit of the opposite. I do this when I cook as well, I call it the Ying and Yang of cooking and it was invented thousands of years ago by the Chinese. If, for example, your food is a little too spicy (fire) then add something cooling such as cucumber (water) which will extinguish the fire caused by spicy food. Food must be balanced but you also have to follow your feelings and intuition as well. What does it mean? It means that if you feel like having just a salad then have a salad. Or if you feel like having some healthy peanut butter then eat it without any guilt. Your body knows best – of course that doesn’t mean that you have to exaggerate with your portions: when you are no longer hungry, stop eating. That’s it! You don’t need to go to a nutritionist to teach you how to nourish yourself, learn by direct experience. Only you know how you feel!

Learn to listen to your body

Ingredients :

gr. 100 of the best unbleached wheat flour possibly organic (whole wheat is good too)

gr 50 yellow or orange lentils

sea salt

1 eggplant

1 red onion

2 cloves of garlic

1-2 hot chili peppers (optional)

cooking oil (the best you can find)

fresh coriander

2 cucumbers (small)

3 juicy red tomatoes

Natural Soy Sauce (optional)

crushed peanuts (optional)

Tagliatelle:

  • Fill a big pot with water put a full spoon of salt, cover it with a lid and bring to boil.
  • Put the flour in a big round bowl, add a pinch of salt and a little bit of water. Mix everything with a fork until you can start working the dough with your own hands. Add a little organic oil to make the dough smoother.
  • After a few minutes, when you can see that the dough consistency is homogeneous, add a little bit of flour on top of it and put it aside.
  • Prepare enough space on a surface to lay the dough; the final result will be a big rectangular shape so make sure you cover the surface with little pinches of flour to make sure the dough doesn’t stick to the surface.
  • Make a a ball with the dough and start pressing it down until it gets flat. Give it a rectangular shape.
  • Now, put some flour around your rolling pin (you can use a clean and dry bottle if you don’t have one) and flatten the dough until it becomes thin but not transparent. Do it in a way that you get a long rectangularly shaped dough.
  • Sprinkle the surface of the dough with some wheat and smooth it with your hand.
  • Take a knife and start cutting along the edge of the the though, it doesn’t matter is the fettuccine are not exactly the same but make sure you put them on a plate a bit separate from each other so they don’t stick.
  • When you are done, gently placed them inside the pot with the boiling water (medium heat).
  • Stir gently with a fork and when the tagliatelle rise to the surface it means they are ready. If you are not sure, take one and taste it.
  • If ready put them in a strainer and then place them in the pan with the veggie sauce.

 

Sauce:

  • Cut the eggplant in small cubes of about the same size
  • Clean the garlic and smash it with the flat part of a knife
  • Cut the chili in very small pieces
  • Rinse the lentils in a bowl of water and let them soak for five minutes
  • Put a little oil in a no stick pan
  • Add the garlic, the chilly and the eggplant
  • Set the fire to low and stir often with a wooden spoon
  • When the garlic starts changing color, add the lentils with the water as well. The water should be enough to cook the lentils but the final result should not be soupy but rather creamy. Add a pinch of salt, cover with a lid and let it cook at medium low temperature
  • Check it often to make sure the lentils are not getting burned, if necessary add a bit more water. Do this step all the way until completely cooked. The lentils have to be soft and creamy.
  • In the meantime, slice the tomatoes and the cucumbers and place them in a dish
  • Peel the red onion and slice it very thin then add it to the tomatoes and cucumbers

cucumber and tomatoes

  • Fill a big pot with water and put a spoonful of sea salt, cover it with a lid and bring it to boil at medium heat
  • Chop up the coriander and put it aside in a small dish
  • Only put the tagliatelle in hot water when the sauce is ready, if it’s not, turn the heat down to very low.
  • The sauce is ready when the consistency is very creamy, you can taste it at this stage, if necessary add a pinch of salt. Turn off the heat when the sauce is done.
  • Now, put the tagliatelle in hot water and turn the heat back to medium. You have to be fast to put them individually in the water not to break them but quickly enough to make sure their cooking time is even.
  • Once the tagliatelle rise to the surface, drain them – don’t wait too long or they will get sticky – and add them to the sauce in the pan.
  • Gently mix them with a fork and a spoon and place them in a large bowl

tagliatelle_lentils

 

  • Add the tomatoes and the cucumbers and stir slightly and gently
  • Last, add some coriander
  • Put the soy sauce and the crushed peanuts on the table so that people can help themselves

Voila’!

Buon Appetito!

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Homemade Fettuccine with fresh Veggie sauce

Homemade Fettuccine with fresh Veggie sauce

Gandhi used to say  Be the change, I’m gonna tell you Be the Chef!

The reason why a lot of people are allergic to gluten is because the low quality white wheat that you find in bread and other products are really deleterious for our health.

The only way to make sure that your food is 100% pesticides, fertilizers and chemically free is to grow it yourself.  However, though it may be relatively easy to grow veggies, it may be quite challenging when it comes to wheat. So what can you do in this case?  Buy the highest quality wheat possible and make sure it’s organic. Now please don’t give me the poor me story about living on a low budget just cut your expenses on anything else but invest in your food – the source of your health and well being!

Ingredients:

gr 100 High Quality Wheat Flour per person 

1/2 glass of water

Organic oil (whatever you prefer)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 onion (the small red ones are the best)

7 baby corns

2 sweet potatoes

1-3 red hot chili peppers (adjust according to your taste)

1 bitter gourd

3 tomatoes

fresh coriander

spring onions

sea salt

brown sugar

fresh coriander or parsly

Instructions:

Fettuccine

  • Fill a big pot with water put a full spoon of salt, cover it with a lid and bring to boil.
  • Put the flour in a big round bowl, add a pinch of salt and a little bit of water. Mix everything with a fork until you can start working the dough with your own hands. Add a little organic oil to make the dough smoother.
  • After a few minutes, when you can see that the dough consistency is homogeneous, add a little bit of flour on top of it and put it aside.
  • Prepare enough space on a surface to lay the dough; the final result will be a big rectangular shape so make sure you cover the surface with little pinches of flour to make sure the dough doesn’t stick to the surface.
  • Make a a ball with the dough and start pressing it down until it gets flat. Give it a rectangular shape.
  • Now, put some flour around your rolling pin (you can use a clean and dry bottle if you don’t have one) and flatten the dough until it becomes thin but not transparent. Do it in a way that you get a long rectangularly shaped dough.
  • Sprinkle the surface of the dough with some wheat and smooth it with your hand.
  • Take a knife and start cutting along the edge of the the though, it doesn’t matter is the fettuccine are not exactly the same but make sure you put them on a plate a bit separate from each other so they don’t stick.
  • When you are done, gently placed them inside the pot with the boiling water (medium heat).
  • Stir gently with a fork and when the fettuccine rise to the surface it means they are ready. If you are not sure, take one and taste it.
  • If ready put them in a strainer and then place them in the pan with the veggie sauce.

Veggie Sauce

  • Put a little bit of organic oil in a pan
  • Slice the onion in small pieces
  • Cut the chili and put it in the pan together with the onion.
  • Turn on the heat to very low
  • Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into small cubes
  • When the onion is starting to get a bit cooked (very slightly), add the sweet potatoes, half a glass of water, cover with a lid and wait about 5-10 minutes.
  • Clean and chop up the baby corns and the bitter gourd (seedless).
  • When the potatoes are done, add the baby corns and the bitter gourd, stir and keep cooking at low heat.
  • Cut the tomatoes into small dices, sprinkle with 1 spoon of brown sugar
  • When the bitter gourd is soft enough, add the tomatoes and stir one more time. Cover with the lid and keep cooking for another 5 minutes.
  • Finely cut the coriander
  • Add the fettuccine,the fresh coriander, 1 spoon of olive oil and stir thoroughly

Cook the veggie sauce first and the pasta later.

Buon Appetito

tagliatelle4

Falling in love at the wrong time in the wrong place

Falling in love at the wrong time in the wrong place

The crucifixion of romance

A couple of years ago I went to Myanmar to attend a meditation course in a secluded area in the forest, North East of Mandalay. The monastery was really beautiful and the monks and nuns there truly warm hearted.  I had been looking forward to this experience as I was desperately trying to find some answers to what had been happening to me. Ever since I started doing yoga and meditation, I began having clear visions of people and places I have never met in my life, sometimes I even heard conversations but not with my physical ears. I was desperate for answers. Who am I, what am I doing here? What’s happening to me?

I was given a very comfortable room with bathroom in an area where even electricity is considered a luxury. The food was excellent and suitable for my vegan requirements; I had coincidentally chosen the best monastery I could possibly find.

It took me at least a few days to get used to the meditation routine as I was also not feeling well because of a terrible cough.

After a few days, while I was just about to step into the meditation hall, I heard the echo of the voice of a friend telling me – you are going to meet the love of your life in Asia –. She said  that just before I left Italy in 2014 and I remember thinking that that was completely out of the question. I had had enough of relationships and the idea of having to deal with another human again made me sick.

I don’t really know how it happened but gradually, I started noticing the kindness of one of the nuns there. She was very beautiful as well but that was not the reason why  I fell in love with her. I fell in love with her mainly because of her kindness: she was the incarnation of Buddha’s qualities.

Day after day, my feelings for her grew stronger and stronger until the point where I couldn’t meditate anymore; all I could see was her. If I closed my eyes, there she was, right next to me. I also tried to find every excuse possible to go and see her, I desperately wanted to be with her, I wanted to stare at her beautiful warm eyes one more time and I just couldn’t get enough. As an Italian woman, I’m really hot blooded and I’m not very good at concealing my feelings, I’m pretty sure the entire monastery knew how I felt. I even caught myself planning about how to lure her into my room at night… That was enough, I thought, I had started to think like a thief, my attraction for her was unbearable I had to leave as soon as possible.

After leaving the monastery, I found the courage to write an email to her where I confessed my love for her with all the colorful details about my  sexual dreams and fantasies. I had never done that before in my life but somehow I felt I could be completely honest with her, I thought she could read my mind easily and I wasn’t telling anything new. But I was wrong: so wrong! She replied to me almost a month later by telling me that I fell in love with her Buddha’s qualities and that was it.

Yet my gadar (gay radar), was beeping loudly every single time we approached each other. I’m sure there was no mistake about what I felt but I didn’t consider that for a nun, falling in love with another woman meant giving up her vows and changing her lifestyle completely. As a passionate Latin woman, turning my reality upside down in the name of love is common routine but I still have no idea what it meant for her, apart that homosexuality is not easily accepted in religious premises though wildly practiced…

I left, my heart exploding with pain, my heartbeat pounding in my throat, I couldn’t speak I was so brokenhearted. I wanted to say something to her but I couldn’t utter a single word, I was afraid I was going to burst into tears at any moment so I left without even looking at her. I was staring at my feet. I boarded the boat by the river with two other guys whom I didn’t even know, yet the pain was so profound that I wanted to hug one of them and cry my heart out in his arms.  Why did I leave? It was unbearable to see you there and pretend that nothing was happening and it had been even more painful leaving you behind but I had no choice. That was the crucifixion of romance!

I have been thinking about you for all this time; I’ve been praying my Goddess not to let me suffer like this again. I thought it was a test to learn the meaning of attachment but I learned something else instead. We are human beings and human beings fall in love, it doesn’t matter how much you want to prevent yourself from falling in love; it’s bound to happen, it’s part of our experience as incarnated humans in this reality.

I respect those who decide to practice celibacy for a higher purpose but I do not believe that celibacy is a requirement for the evolution of the soul. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here but incarnated somewhere else without genitals and the feeling of needing one other.

Of course, love can be platonic (sexless) but denying its existence is truly harmful. We are what we are, end of the story.

It’s been two years now and I’m still thinking about you. I found your FB account and I wrote you a message. You didn’t reply. I don’t know what to think but it’s obvious that you don’t want to hear from me ever again in your life and so be it. I wish you had told me the truth no matter how painful because being ignored is the worst thing you can do to a person.

By the way, the kitten in the photo is Pippi, he loves me unconditionally.

I wish you good luck or chok dee as they say in your country

The Harmony of a Balanced Life

The Harmony of a Balanced Life

A brave new world starts from you; no one else but you. Are you ready for the challenge?

The more you document yourself about nutrition and the more you discover that the secret of real health lays in your own hands. While in Thailand, I met a doctor who happens to be a Buddhist monk as well, known as Doctor MorKeaw (Green). My Thai friends convinced me to attend one of his numerous workshops and though it was entirely in the Thai language, I could grasp some of its meaning because there were numerous exercises and slides to accompany his presentation. In addition, at the end of the workshop, one of his assistants came to me to translate what were considered the salient points of the workshop. Basically, he was telling people to become their own doctor by taking responsibility about their lifestyle. Doctor Morkeaw is an incredibly humble man who lives a very humble life in accordance to Dhamma (Dharma) teachings, he has authored numerous books and videos on Buddhist Traditional medicine. Some of the exercises can be found in yoga and other disciplines and include practices to detoxify your body. Dr Morkeaw is a strong supporter of a vegan diet as food plays a fundamental role in our life.

morkeaw

I have always been interested in holistic practices and traditional medicine so, quite apart from studying a lot of books written by doctors and researchers in this field, I also had the opportunity to test traditional medicine on my own self. In particular, Chinese Traditional Medicine – which I find highly effective, Tibetan Medicine – also very effective and Ayurvedic Medicine – which in my case was not as effective as the previous ones though largely based on the same principles.

However, after having experienced the extraordinary efficacy of the above mentioned traditional medicine methods, I came to the conclusion that I was the only person to be held solely responsible for my own health. The body is not a car that you take to the mechanic when it breaks down though we behave as if it were. Everything you do has a consequence: drinking, smoking, and other deleterious behaviors cannot bring different results. The chemicals in our food, water and air also take a toll on our body so it is up to us to change lifestyle to preserve the environment and ensure a future for us as well as future generations.

Nowadays, I don’t even take holistic medicines anymore and I have started to follow the natural way or what some people call it, natural hygiene. So far so good but one thing is certain, the more you get in touch with your body and its needs and the more you get to trust yourself deeper and deeper. I belong to a generation of people who was born before the digital age so when we were young, we were led to believe that only the “elite” held the key to access knowledge. Thank Goddess that has changed and if you don’t believe me just google it!

 Dr Morkeaw’s website (Thai language)

Vegan because taste matters!

Vegan because taste matters!

Of course, I’m vegan for ethical reasons but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate delicious food.

As a matter of fact, becoming vegan has turned a lot of people into improvised chefs. In my case, I have been enjoying cooking ever since I can remember but becoming vegan has given me the opportunity to explore new palatable frontiers. Naturally, not all my experiments have been a success but the failures are a natural step towards greater achievements.

There are different types of vegans on this planet. Some are concerned with the environment and the welfare of the Creatures who inhabit Mother Earth, others just want to have a healthier lifestyle and look fit. Whatever the reason, the fact is that eating is one of the pleasures of our existence and turning vegan should not deprive people of such divine delight.

There is also junk vegan food which has been labeled as such because though it lacks of animal products, it does contain a lot of other ingredients which are known to be harmful for our health. Fried vegan chicken for instance or gluten based meat products are definitely off the list if you are trying to eat healthily.

Today, I’ve cooked a fantastic brunch for myself: brown rice, sauteed bean sprouts, green and red capsicum with saute’ fresh tofu and  bitter gourd with garlic.

I try to use as little oil as possible and I also use good quality soy sauce to garnish my dishes.

I had a great time and even  Pippi was tempted to have a bite of such delicious vegan food!

This is Pippi:

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