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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson, from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (Harper Collins, 1992; from Chapter 7, Section 3)

Minty Roasted Root Vegetable Soup -Serves 3-4

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Prep time 15 -20 min.                                       Cooking time 45-50min


A delicious golden nutritious soup to brighten up a cold dreary winter day

1 cup peeled and cubed pumpkin
1 medium sized sweet potato
1 red pepper
1 medium sized green house  tomato or 2 plum tomatoes
6-8 tops of green onions finely choppd
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
2-3tbsp.of extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tbsp.finely chopped mint
3-4tbsp of plain yoghurt or Greek yoghurt
salt and black pepper to taste

2-3 Cups of Water


Method
1. Spread the pumpkin on a baking tray and roast at 375-400degrees and also bake whole red pepper and the sweet potato for 3o-35 minutes. The whole sweet potato might take longer to cook. Insert a knife and make sure it is cooked through.
2. Toss the pumpkin few times so it is roasted on all sides, turn the red pepper also the skin is charred on all sides.
3. Grill the tomatoes for 10- 15 minutes at the same time.
4. Take out the red pepper once done and put in a brown paper and close and leave for minutes to allow the trapped steam to loosen the skin (you can also wrap in a paper towel )
5. Peel the tomato and peel the sweet potato and chop into big pieces.
6. Put them all in pot, add water and puree with a hand blender or puree in a food processor.
7. Heat this velvety sunshine golden soup and let it heat through on medium heat (need not come to a boil  as all the vegetables are roasted)
8. Now add the chopped green onions and cook for few minutes. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
9. Turn off the stove and add the finely chopped mint.
10.Voila!! the beautiful delicious soup is ready to be served.Serve the soup in white coloured bowls, drizzle some olive oil and put a dollop of thick plain or Greek yoghurt (addition of yoghurt elevates the taste!!!)

Smoky Rustic Eggplant Dip

After a month long hiatus I am back. This rustic eggplant dip with with strong earthy flavours is a souveneir from my recent trip to India (specifically interiors of Gujarat a northwestern desert state). It was an unscheduled stop at an acquaintance’s farm which got prolonged because of our 2 hour delay and like my nephew commented it was the best flight delay ever

This farmhouse was where we had the most succulent sweet Sapodillas (chickoo’s) tender fresh off the tree Guavavas, the freshest vibrant green onions. Because of the delay our very kind and hospitable host cooked for us a rustic meal of thick well cooked chapatis and few fresh vegetables. But for me the star of this meal was the eggplant dip. For this dip small round eggplants were buried under a  burning fire of coal and firewood and left there till their skin was completely charred.

This dip was a simple delicious melange of flavours, smoky flavour of grilled eggplants, freshness of freshly picked geeen onions and delicate flavour of fresh green garlic.
I am presenting this receipe with very fond memories of our trip. I have made some necessary modifications to the receipe because of the availability of the ingrediants, roasted garlic instead of fresh garlic greens (these have very subtle flavour), extra virgin oil instead of mustard oil which is very strong in aroma and taste.And off course grilling the eggplant in the electric oven instead of hot coals.

Hope you will all enjoy this delicious dip.

Ingredients

Serves 6-8

1 eggplant 11/2 – 2 lbs.

Green tops of 6-7 green onions washed and finely chopped

2 green chillies finely chopped (adjust according to taste )

2 cloves garlic roasted for 3-4 minutes in the oven

1/2 cup of cilantro washed and finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime

Salt to taste

2- 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Grill the eggplant at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes till the skin is charred and it is cooked through.

2. Once the eggplant cools ,peel and mash with a fork or a masher so that there are no lumps.

3. Now mix all the ingredients ( just save 1 tbsp. Oil to drizzle on top )

4. Drizzle the remaining oil on top and serve this delicious dip with pita bread or brown rice crackers.

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