Posted on August 5, 2014
Ohhhhh baby! Well, here we are at my favourite lil spice.
I came across ASAFOETIDA or HING, when I did my first Yoga teacher training in Byron Bay.
It was used frequently in the beautiful meals that were prepared for us, as it is a common substitute for onion and garlic, which were not part of our diet there.
According to Ayurveda, Yoga’s sister science, garlic and onions are considered rajasic and tamasic foods, as opposed to sattvic. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click HERE to read Kurma’s essay on it. I was lucky enough to do a cooking workshop with Kurma, and I’m a fan of his authentic work and delicious food! But basically, yogans do well to eat a more sattvic diet – which in short refers to certain foods that assist in realising yoga, or a yogic state.
Anyway, while onions and garlic used to be for me, and seem to be for many, the basis of most meals, I now often leave them out of mine, and am happy to do so. While I can tell you I do enjoy how they taste, I am repulsed at how they make my breath smell and taste, even so the next day, the aroma – especially of garlic – lingers! And in fairness, why stop at breath – they also make for tangy body odour, to which I have a very high sensitivity!! I’m sorry, but I just don’t like to stink, nor do I like to smell other people’s stink if I can help it!
So for example, I would suggest a ‘private eye’ should steer clear of garlic, it’s like a built-in body app that tells everyone “I’M HERE!” … within a 5km radius!! And I’m not pointing fingers here, shur I’m guilty myself from time to time!
But there are other more practical reasons I don’t rush to use these fellas;
1. Garlic often can make me feel nauseous, depending on quantity and how it’s cooked,
2. Both onions and garlic seem to make me a bit bloated and give me an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, caused by everybody’s at-least-one-time-friend – G A S !
I find it interesting that in Western medicine, garlic is heralded as having great antibacterial qualities, but I have read too that it also destroys beneficial bacteria, which are essential to the proper functioning of the digestive system. So here we go on the merry-go-round again with all the contradicting views and rhetoric about what we should eat and what we shouldn’t … so I’m just bringing it back to my mantra – I mostly eat what mostly makes me feel good. To me, it’s just about having a bit of self-awareness, or as my mother would say, “a titter of wit”! Howaya ma! If it’s gonna give me stomach pains, then I’ll think twice about eating it! They won’t be on my menu, if I have to, say, wear an unforgiving dress, or share other people’s company in a small/enclosed space!, etc etc! I think you get my drift (not waft!).
Having said all that, I haven’t cut them out strictly, let’s just say I tend to veer away from them.
ENTER ASAFOETIDA DOWN STAGE LEFT!
The name “asafoetida” is derived from the Farsi (Persian) word “asa” (resin) and the Latin “foetidus” (smelling fetid). Many unusual medical claims have been made for the resin, most stemming from the belief that it’s foetid odor acts as a deterrent to germs. In my research, I have found comments where some people say they don’t really notice the smell of this stuff!
WHAT?! ARE THEIR NOSES DETACHED FROM THEIR BODIES???!! This stuff S T I N K S ! I do not understand how anyone could not notice it! It is a most pungent odour that certainly stops me in my tracks! It is also known as ‘Devil’s Dung”, so c’mon?! But the cool thing about it is – it doesn’t make ME stink when I eat it! Unlike the aformentioned!
It’s not just me – there are records that tell us the shock of the sulfurous smell was once thought to calm hysteria, and in the days of the American Wild West, asafoetida was included in a mixture with other strong spices as a cure for alcoholism no less! Other early records mention that Alexander the Great carried this “stink finger” west in 4 BC. So it’s been around the block, and for a while!
So what is it?
Asafoetida, also known as HING, is a gum that is from the sap of the roots and stem of the ferula species, a giant fennel that exudes a rank odour! It is grown chiefly in Iran and Afghanistan from where it is exported to the rest of the world. In India it is cultivated in Kashmir. It was used as a spice in ancient Rome, and although not native to India, it has been used in Indian medicine and cookery for ages. And indeed in Chinese cooking and medicine. It is commonly found in Ayurvedic cooking and has reportedly many positive health benefits, especially for the Vata and Kapha dosha.. Which is, of course, why I love it!
In Ayurveda, it is used to aid digestion, cure colic, and stagnation in the gastro-intestinal tract. Asafoetida burns ama (the sticky waste-product of digestion that builds up in the digestive tract when your digestion is either weak or overloaded with the wrong foods).
In western herbalism, it is used to reduce the growth of flora in the gut, especially candida, directly reducing gas. It apparently has anti-viral properties and it was used to fight the flu during WWI and it’s also been documented that in 1918 asafoetida was used in the Spanish influenza pandemic.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is viewed as entering the liver, spleen and stomach channels. It stimulates the intestinal, respiratory and the nervous system. It can be used for food stagnation, weak digestion, intestinal parasites and flatulence as well as asthma, whooping cough and chronic bronchitis.
It is also regarded in Ayurvedic, Chinese and Western medicine as an effective remedy for worms and other intestinal parasites.
Note: It must be fried before use, as raw and un-fried asafoetida may cause nausea and vomiting.
Other reported Ayurvedic benefits and uses of Asafoetida:
As I mentioned above it is considered to be pacifying to the Vata and Kapha doshas. (Do you know your dosha?!)
It is a powerful antispasmodic – useful in cough, asthma, intestinal colic, and uterine spasms and is nourishing to the nervous tissues in the body.
Asafoetida is also used to treat low libido, impotence, and encourages ovulation and fertility where the uterus is congested from Kapha. Curiously, it has also been used as a contraceptive, perhaps by employing the anthelminthic qualities topically to destroy semen.
NOTE: Asafoetida is abortifascient and should not be used in pregnancy or breastfeeding.
According to the website (with American spelling) Drugs.com :
“Asafetida Uses and Pharmacology
Asafetida is a potent antioxidant, and ferulic acid, a component of the resin, has shown promise as a chemopreventive agent, suggesting that asafetida may offer some protection against carcinogenesis. In vitro studies have shown some cytotoxicity against lymphoma ascites, tumor cells, and human lymphocytes. Protection against the mutagenicity induced by aflatoxin B 1 has also been demonstrated; however, this effect was only evident against one strain of Salmonella typhimurium and was less than that observed with tumeric and garlic. The mechanism through which asafetida exerts its antitumor activity is unclear. Hypotheses include interception of free radicals, inhibition of natural killer cells, induction of enzymes such as glutathione S-transferase and quinone reductase, and inhibition of polyamine and DNA biosynthesis.
Administration of F. asafoetida conferred considerable protection against chemically induced mammary carcinogenesis in young female rats. The reduction in the mean number of mammary carcinomas per rat (regarded as the most reliable index of mammary tumorogenesis in experimental animals) was highly significant in rats receiving asafetida as part of their diets (1.25% or 2.5% w/w). Long-term studies showed reduction in the multiplicity and size of palpable mammary tumors, as well as a delay in mean latency period of tumor appearance. The administration of asafetida in the diet did not affect food intake.
Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of asafetida in cancer.
Antispasmodic and hypotensive activity of the gum extract has been demonstrated in animal experiments. Antiviral activity by sesquiterpene compounds of F. assa-foetida has been demonstrated in vitro against the influenza A virus (H1N1). Molluscicidal activity of plant extracts has been demonstrated against snails, which act as intermediate hosts for the fasciola cattle fluke.”
Some of you will notice that most of the asafoetida products available on the market contain wheat, rice flour and gum arabic.
The handsome product in the picture at the top of this post, is one I picked up when I was in Mumbai earlier in the year. Out of the few different brands I’ve used, I declare it to be my favourite as it is pure, with no additives, the aroma is super potent and I like that it is hand pounded. And ok, I like the bloody packaging, but that’s last on the list! The thing is, I have yet to find a way of acquiring it here in Sydney, so diddums!
I am looking at THIS product though, for when my lil jar above runs out, as it’s certified organic and has no additives. Also HERBIE”S SPICES stock their version and there is no added wheat, however the package says it may contain traces of gluten, (less than 20ppm), due to manufacturing practices. I have used this product in the past and it’s really good.
So that’s it! I just thought I’d share my super secret special sattvic sustenance spice with you!
I use it mostly in my winter casseroles and stews, in my kitchari and I sometimes sprinkle it in with roast vegetables. A pinch is plenty as it’s pretty potent and remember – you gotta COOK it! I’ve used it more frequently when there is tummy trouble in our house, and perhaps with blind faith, when there was a sufferer of stomach ulcers. I’m a strong believer in it’s healing and positive power.
ALWAYS store it in a VERY well-sealed jar or container, to prevent contamination of the flavour to other ingredients in the pantry. You’ll see what I mean when you get yours!
If you’ve never tried it, why not give something new (yet ancient) a whirl, and tell me all about it!
Love n sparkles!
Posted on July 30, 2014
Get Your Sugar Here! I’m VERY excited to share this …
Ok … so I recently read the most WONDERFUL book, called Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed. So wonderful, that I ordered a few copies to sell in my lil’ shop here!
I DEFY YOU NOT TO LIKE THIS BOOK!
Tiny Beautiful Things, Advice On Love And Life, is a book that will soothe you, bring you hope, open you right up to the world, and teach you the beauty and value of gentleness and honesty, in the harsh, heartbreaking place that life inevitably finds us, from time to time.
Something about reading this book confirms to me that everything is always ok … such an eloquent and unpredictable writer is Cheryl Strayed, this Sugar is DEFINITELY the addictive kind, and not a trace of poison to be found.
This book made me laugh, cry, wonder, marvel, admire, trust, forgive, search, listen to my inner voice, inspired me to be the ‘best version of myself”! … and just gave me that feeling of a hot sun on a chilly day warming my bones, a smile of contentment breaking all over me ….
Sugar, the once-anonymous online columnist at “The Rumpus”, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir “Wild” – is the person thousands turn to for advice. “Tiny Beautiful Things” brings the best of Dear Sugar in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond. Rich with humor, insight, compassion–and absolute honesty–this book””is a balm for everything life throws our way.
Here is an example of one of her pieces Continue Reading
Posted on July 30, 2014
These lil babies seem to be a popular bunch! I made mine with gluten free flours – but you can use plain flour for a more gluey result! (Have you seen what wheat flour does to your insides?!! I’ll show you some day!)
This simple recipe is one of my favourite mathematical equations: quick + easy = I like very much.
Basically I’m using up stuff in my pantry and the last bits of that which is left in the fridge – so depending on what I have and feel like using, I might throw in some prosciutto (and I probably wouldn’t add salt in that case as ’twill be salty enough with the cheeses in my view) or some jarred roasted red peppers. Maybe even some pine nuts or toasted seeds?
Amongst my fridge, freezer and pantry staples there is usually Greek feta cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto San Daniele, frozen spinach, jars of roasted peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. So I really like this recipe because I usually always have these ingredients hanging around. But also, if you buy the ingredients especially for this recipe, you don’t have to make it on the day – which sometimes happens with me – I spend a long time shopping and then am too exhausted or behind time to bake when I get home!! These ingredients are staples.
I have a few types of gluten free flour hanging around, (quinoa, tapioca, buckwheat, brown rice, almond, coconut etc) and I’m always experimenting with them in place of wheat flour, as different gf flours seem to yield different results, and often they can turn your cakes to rocks! The trick is to mix gf flours and sometimes you might need to add more liquid. If you’re not too worried about being gluten free, try this first time with plain unbleached flour and progress from there.
I’m kinda particular about things! I might sound a bit wanky but I have my reasons for sounding so (not saying they’re not wanky reasons – whatever!) For instance, I like to use/eat Parmigiano Reggiano because I happen to think it’s a better quality, and it’s original, which is what I want to use in my cooking. It’s bloody expensive at the moment, but I would rather buy the good stuff and use it sparingly, than buy “parmesan” that’s not from Parma/Reggio Emilia, and have to use a heap of it in search of flavour and substance! But that’s just me.
Let’s Make Muffins!
Preheat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius, and grease your muffin pan. This recipe makes about twelve large sized muffins, but I made mini muffins and so yielded about 28! I pretty much ate them all myself too – ssssh!
2 Cups of Gluten Free flour – I used 1.5 cups Quinoa flour, 0.5 cups tapioca flour. Or just 2 cups Plain unbleached Flour!
4 tsps (gluten free & no nasties added) baking powder
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 lg free range organic eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup spinach (I use thawed chopped frozen spinach)
3/4 cup feta cheese (I love Dodoni Greek Feta)
3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained & chopped.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and Parmigiana.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, and combine with the buttermilk, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and feta.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just mixed. You don’t want to overbeat muffins or they won’t rise nicely.
Spoon the mixture to fill 3/4 of each muffin hole and cook for about 12-15 minutes, or until cooked through and golden on the outside.
Leave in the pan for about ten minutes (or they’ll break up when you try to extract them!) then turn out onto a wire rack to cool …. this is where mine usually disappear … they taste delicious eaten warm from the oven!
Posted on July 30, 2014
The holiday season is upon us, and I’m on desserts for Christmas day!
Not everyone in the gang likes to eat dessert without sugar and wheat, so I’ll be making some good old fashioned gluten-y sugary stuff, and I’ll share those recipes with you too. But just for balance, here’s a really tasty, zingy, healthful lime pie recipe. It really bursts of citrus and is quite something! I’ve made it in both a square springform pan and a round one. Try it any ol’ way! Also, feel free to experiment with whatever nuts you have in your pantry … most of all … enjoy the experience and take lots of photos & notes!!
Key Li Lime Pie Recipe
2.5 cups of macadamia nuts
2.5 cups of almonds
Packed 1/2 cup of well chopped dates/ date paste (just blend dates with a little vanilla & a drop of water so it blends easily, but don’t make it watery!).
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder /extract/ scrapings of half a vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1.5 cups of lime juice (I used 9 garden limes)
Zest of 3 of those limes
2 medium – large sized avocados (approx 425 g) Use firm but not hard, ripe but not soft fellows.
3/4 cup coconut milk (no nasties added?!)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder / 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract/ scrapings of a vanilla bean
4 tablespoons of NON GMO lecithin granules
1 teaspoon of Vital Greens powder (or something similar)
1 cup rice malt syrup
12 drops liquid stevia (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 1/3 cups of coconut oil melted. (I used expeller pressed coconut oil for this recipe as it has less coconutty flavour)
Grease a 9inch springform pan with coconut oil, unscented if you have it but any oil/fat not too pungent will work.
TO MAKE THE PIE CRUST:
In the bowl of your blender, process the nuts, vanilla and salt until small and crumbly. TAKE CARE NOT TO OVER-PROCESS OR THE MACADAMIAS WILL BECOME TOO OILY. If this happens don’t freak out! It will still be edible – it’s happened to me before and mine was!! It just doesn’t look quite as nice nor does it hold it’s shape as well, but definitely tastes good! You could possibly refrain from greasing your pie pan if this happens – twil be oily enough.
Continue processing as you add small amounts of the dates, until you see the crust starting to stick together. You want it to have the consistency of a mixture that can hold together with gentle pressure but can be broken apart with a clean break.
Then press this into the oiled pie/cake springform pan.
TO MAKE THE PIE FILLING:
Blend all the ingredients listed under ‘Pie Filling’, EXCEPT THE COCONUT OIL AND LECITHIN, until smooth.
Then once smooth and creamy, add the lecithin and coconut oil and blend again until smooth and well incorporated.
I would taste here, to see if you need to adjust anything to your liking.
Then pour the filling into the pie crust and place in the freezer for about an hour to set.
Once set, you can decorate how you like to with the freeze-dried berries, or fresh berries if you have them and serve!
This will store in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 3 days.
We just keep ours in the freezer and slice a piece before dinner if we’re feeling like a sweet treat.
Hope You Enjoy!
Love Lila! xo
Posted on July 30, 2014
INVICTUS. I didn’t know this poem before I saw the movie, but now … I love it.
I think of it every now and then. I thought of it this weekend, when I watched this scene from Breaking Bad.
I am absolutely with this philosophy … definitely in theory anyway – my life has taken such a shape, that I haven’t had too many opportunities yet to really test myself on it. I am so intrigued by those who will their way to survive, who refuse to allow their inner light to be blown out by anyone, regardless of what life throws at them, and often in spite of it. Apparently human nature IS the will to survive, but not all of us choose to make it through the tough times. And while most of us survive them alright, it’s the perspective we adopt which decides whether we experience the tough times with less or more suffering. Or even recognise that they are tough times – because once we accept that things are what they are, less and less, we classify them as good or bad – they just ‘are’!
I’m not sure if Walter White and William Earnest Henley were yogis, but for me, it is Yoga that teaches me how to adapt to the approach of less suffering, that and a particularly good human example. And I sure do hope that I will get the strength I need when life calls for it, and remember that I, and only ‘I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.’
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT WITH YOUR PERSPECTIVE ...
Posted on July 1, 2014
It goes in and out.
You wouldn’t want the sun to shine day and night now would you?”
This was one of my favourite TV shows when I was a wee-un … I watched some of this today and it made me smile, just felt like banking in here …
Posted on May 28, 2014
I love listening to Alan Watts.
It’s soothing, and such a great reminder of the kind of stuff I want to remember! More MIND STUFF but it’s practical, nourishing and broadening for the mind, or at least for my mind . . .
I’ll be sharing lots of this sort of stuff here . . . For me, I like to listen to it when I’m preparing the dinner, or if I can’t sleep, or in my car on the way to/from work.
Some say they don’t have time to listen or watch Youtube, I just swap TV & Facebook time for this sorta stuff (Instagram still gets me though!!) . . . Anyhow I find it more meaningful, super interesting and enjoyable than most media, it keeps me positive and feeling pretty good about life!
It’s just a matter of tracking down the good stuff, and playing or copying to my iPod so I can listen in more ways.
Hope you dig it too!
Posted on May 28, 2014
Posted on May 23, 2014
When: May 24th11:30AM – Assemble at Sydney Town Hall12:00PM – March to Hyde Park Fountain12:30PM – Speakers and music in the park GUYS! IF YOU AREN’T AWARE OF WHO MONSANTO ARE OR WHAT THEY DO . . . you only have to look at the first 1o minutes of this doco to…