National Spinach Day

I bet you didn’t know that spinach had a special day? Well it does, and it’s called National Spinach Day and it’s on the 26th March. Spinach is my favourite leafy green. It’s a nutrional power house that has lots of health benefits and can be used in loads of dishes. In Indian cooking, spinach is often the star of the show, with a bunch of recipes and dishes that put this humble green leaf at the heart of the meal.

Why We Love Spinach

  • Native to central and southwestern Asia, it’s thought to have originated in ancient Persia. Arab traders carried spinach into India, and then it was introduced into China where it was known as “Persian vegetable.”
  • Catherine de Medici loved spinach so much that it was served at every meal. To this day, dishes made with spinach are known as “Florentine” reflecting Catherine’s birth in Florence.
  • Spinach is a true superfood. It’s packed with nutrients but low in calories. Dark, leafy greens like spinach are important for skin, hair, and bone health and they also provide protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Eating spinach can improve blood glucose control in people with diabetes, lowering the risk of cancer, improve bone health.
  • Spinach has been used by various cultures throughout history, notably in Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern, and South-East-Asian cuisines. It can be incorporated quite easily into any diet, as it is cheap and easy to prepare.
  • Spinach contains an antioxident known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase sensitivity, and prevent oxidative, stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes.

One of my favourite ways to eat spinach is saag aloo. Here’s my recipe…

 

Saag Aloo Recipe

Ingredients:
serves 4-6

 

3 tbs of olive oil ( Please note – if you are being extra healthy- you can replace the oil with water- this will just help the masala to cook down)

4 large floury potatoes (peeled and cubed) OR 1 Sweet Potato
2 bags of freshly prepared spinach
2 tomatoes washed and roughly chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped (optional)
1 heaped tsp fresh garlic purée,
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1-2 green chillies
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
a large pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
3/4 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander cumin powder
1 tbs finely chopped fenugreek leave or kasuri methi
2 tbs fresh coriander
2 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste

Method:
Heat the oil in a large pan. When it is hot enough, add the mustard seeds and let them pop and crackle.
When they have popped, add the cumin seeds and the asafoetida, fry for a second before adding the onions if you are using. If you are not using onions then you can increase the amount of asafoetida.
Stir-fry until the onions turn translucent and then add the ginger, garlic and green chilli and saute for a minute or two without without colouring the garlic.
Add the fresh coriander and methi (fenugreek) leaves and saute until the leaves have wilted.
Add the tomatoes and cook until all nice and pulpy and some of the moisture has evaporated. Add salt and sugar.
Add the powdered spices and a splash of water and stir in the cubed potato. Stir everything through and simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes.
In the mean time, prepare the spinach by chopping it very finely.
When the potatoes are just over half-way cooked, add the chopped spinach and give it a stir. Cook until the potatoes are tender.
Taste the dish and adjust the seasoning (salt) and then add the lemon juice.
To serve, sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with dal or kadhi, rice and chapati.

Fruit & Veg of the Month – February

 

 Heath Benefits of White Cabbage

  1. Cabbage is a low-calorie vegetable that is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  2. Cabbage contains powerful antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation.
  3. Your body needs vitamin C for many important functions, and it is a potent anti-oxidant. Red cabbage is particularly high in this nutrient, providing about 85% of the RDI per cup (89 grams).
  4. Cabbage contains insoluble fibre, which keeps the digestive system healthy by providing fuel for friendly bacteria and promoting regular bowel movements.
  5. Cabbage contains powerful pigments called anthocyanins, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  6. Potassium helps keep blood pressure within a healthy range. Increasing your intake of potassium-rich foods like cabbage may help lower high blood pressure levels.
  7. Cabbage is a good source of soluble fibre and plant sterols. These substances have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol.
  8. Vitamin K is critical for blood clotting. Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K1, with 85% of the RDI in 1 cup (89 grams).
  9. Cabbage is a versatile veggie that’s easy to incorporate into your diet. You can use it to make many different dishes, including salads, stews, soups, slaws and sauerkraut.
  10. Cabbage contains calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which all are necessary for bone health.

The Bottom Line:

Cabbage is an exceptionally healthy food. It has an outstanding nutrient profile and is especially high in vitamins C and K. In addition, eating cabbage may even help lower the risk of certain diseases, improve digestion and combat inflammation. Plus, cabbage makes a tasty and inexpensive addition to a number of recipes. With so many potential health benefits, it is easy to see why cabbage deserves some time in the spotlight and some room on your plate.

January Pop-Up at Pinkney’s Arms

Miss out on a ticket for 2019’s first pop-up at the delightful Pinkney’s Arms? To be sure you don’t miss the boat again, sign up to my newsletter where you’ll be the first to find out about my next pop-up.

For those who did get tickets, I look forward to seeing you on January 29th for an 8-course feast of Indian specialities from the Gujarat region.

Keep your eyes peeled for the menu details which will follow soon, and if you missed out, don’t despair, you can always order a smaller feast for a party at home with my take-away service that operate twice a week. To order your take-away, sign up to the private group on my Facebook page.

Pinkney’s Arms Diwali Pop-Up

For the Diwali pop-up menu at The Pinkney’s Arms on November 7th, I have chosen my menu from a combination of ideas; going back to my roots, takeaway night favourites at Priya’s Kitchen and observing the Gujarati dishes that are popular around the nation. Pub manager Ian Norman insisted on pani puri for starters; an iconic street food and a great way to start a meal with a burst of flavours and a hint of what’s to come. These were followed by vegetable samosa chaat, served with crispy noodles and a selection of sauces.

 

 

 

For mains, mutton curry has that Sunday night feel, comfort-food for the soul and dhansak, ranks as one of the nations favourite dish, combined with some elements of Persian flavour we created something quite unique. The day after Diwali, Indian New Year’s Day is celebrated and most Indian houses will cook pan fried Masala fish. Sides included chilli paneer in a tomato-based sauce rich with Indian and Chinese spices, tarka daal, chapattis and steamed rice.

 

 

 

Mango Shrikhand is one of my favourite Indian desserts which is made with hung Greek yoghurt, mango puree, pistachios, saffron and almond. I loved working in the professional kitchen at Pinkney’s Arms and I couldn’t have done it without my mate (and professional chef) James Smith. I enjoy plating the dishes up and greeting all my guests. There was such a great buzz and I love that everyone loved it so much. Local business networking guru Amanda Ayres said “truly stunning food. Authentic, fresh and utterly delicious. It was exciting to wait for each of the eight courses to see what was coming next! Priya is an incredible and talented Chef who clearly has a passion for authentic Gujarati food.”