Ital

Jamaican/Rastafari word for VITAL, ORGANIC, NATURAL, WHOLESOME… real roots


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Vegan White sauce

We eat some form of pasta about once a week and a few weeks ago I was craving a white sauce instead of the typical tomato red that we would do. This is not a real Béchamel sauce because it isn’t made with a roux which is made by adding flour to butter to make a paste. I made it by just adding flour to warm milk.

Here’s how I made this one:

vegan-bechemel-white-sauce1 cup Oat Milk (I made it perfectly with rice milk that I mixed out thicker than usual from the powder)
2 tbs salt
3-5 tbs flour
1 tsp white or black pepper

Heat milk on a low heat. When it is warm, but before boiling start sifting flour into pot in small portions and whisk as you go along.  It should thicken as you gradually work in the flour. Add salt and pepper and whisk in well.

I sauteed some garlic and chives in a little olive oil before adding the milk for some more tastiness.
Simple as that 🙂 


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Beans growing in our garden

I’m so excited, we now have beans growing in our garden.

I planted a few ‘red speckled beans’ in the garden not really expecting much from them, so imagine my delight and gratitude when earlier this week I realized that there were pods growing right along with the plant even though I hadn’t paid it much attention.

The ‘red speckled bean’ is a type of kidney bean and family to what we call ‘red peas’ in Jamaica even though the legume is a bean and NOT a pea. This is the bean we use to cook our Sunday rice  and peas here since we haven’t come across the familiar ‘red peas’ in Johannesburg.  These ‘speckled red peas’ taste similar to ‘red peas.’

red-speckled-bean


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Vegetarian Chickpeas masala

I haven’t cooked chick peas (also called garbanzo beans) in a long time and I am wrong for that!This masala hit the spot for our Sunday dinner.

Here’s what I used to season the pot:

ital-mama-spice-chickpeas

Missing is luscious coconut milk. I added Rice Milk Power instead… I dont care, judge me.

Preparation
-Chickpeas need to be soaked overnight or pressure cooked for a long time. Make sure you soak, boil and prepare them before hand as this recipe is quick and easy once your ingredients are ready.

-Save some of broth boiled with the chickpeas to incorporate into your dish.

-I also cut my potato, carrots, and string beans into small bits and gently steamed them in a strainer over hot water beforehand.

Cook it up
-Heat some oil to fry onions, garlic, scallion etc until they start to go translucent. I added a 1/2 inch stump of ginger crushed under a clean glass here too.

-In Jamaica cooking there is a technique called “burning the curry” where curry powder is added into the hot oil before anything else. I like to add my curry (in this case tumeric and masala powders) after my onion, garlic, chives etc.

-Stir continuously so it doesn’t catch but so that everything is well coated.

-Add your steamed veggies and keep stiring. I like mine get a bit of a crisp here.

– Now your ready for your pre boiled chickpeas and enough broth to make a nice sauce. Start with a small amount and work your way up if you’re not sure how much broth. Add salt, thyme, coriander and other herbs and spices here.

-Cover and let it bubble on a low heat for 10-20 mins.

-Add tomato in the last five minutes, giving the dish a burst of freshness.

Voila
chickpeas-meal

I know i know i know, this is a hefty meal, Real Jamaican Style 🙂


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Homemade garlic butter

Garlic_Press_and_GarlicHere’s a nifty little recipe, too easy to ignore. Simply crush a clove of garlic (or however much you want) or dice it really small. Add to some butter with a bit of salt and mixed herbs to taste. I like to add a pinch of cayenne pepper too. Mix well. Depending on how strong you want your garlic butter, one clove should be enough to blend with up to 4 oz of butter or less.

It even works great in cooking. Go all out and try infusing your oils with garlic too.

Next time forgo the store bought garlic bread and whip up this butter. Smother it all over a french roll or other bread then pop it in a hot oven. I promise it will be better than anything you buy at the store.


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Black-eye peas stew

Nothing like a nice pot bubbling with black-eye peas. The smart looking bean (though called a pea) is jam packed with protein- they have high amino-acid content and are gluten-free.This little legume is also a great source of fibre, folate, iron and calcium.

I like to cook them down in a simple ital stew. Lots of garlic, pepper and onion, pumpkin, potato and carrot. Then my favourite part- a tuuups of the all-perfect coconut milk a few minutes before removing from heat.

In a quick search online I found that people in the US south make black-eye peas with okra and all across the world they are used in salads.

How do you like your black-eye peas?

black-eye-peas-meal

Served with traditional Jamaican rice and peas and mashed potatoes.


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Reggae Sundays: Weep Not- Khalilah Rose

Khalilah Rose

Khalilah Rose

Khalilah Rose goes in on food control and food pollution in mainstream food sold to us today and warns people to take control of their health.

“Be conscious of what you put inna yuh mouth, stop and read the label/ cancer is lurking about, so watch what yuh puttin on yuh dinner table.”


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Plant Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids (ALA’s)

This post on fats explores eating good fats versus bad fats  and one of the things that stood out was that one type of essential fat, Omega-3, came best from fish. This lead me to think of vegetarians and vegans who may not eat fish and what is the best way to get the highly important fatty acid into their bodies.

Omega-6’s are best found in seeds and oil from these seeds, but for Omega-3’s, studies have shown that they are best found in oily fish like herring, tuna and salmon. This is because our bodies most efficiently use the Omega-3’s called EPA and DHA that are directly found in oily fish while the plant source, ALA, must convert to EPA and then DPA, losing some of its oomph along the way.

Flax Seeds are the best source of plant based omega-3’s (ALA’s)

Here are some tips for balancing Omega 3’s

•     These oily fish get their high levels of Omega-3’s directly from plant based marine life and vegans too can get high levels of DHA from algae derived supplements. Unfortunately, EPA is not found in these supplements.

•    Ensure that the body has enough ALA’s (plant based Omega-3’s which convert in the body to EPA and then DHA) in relation to the amount of LA’s (Omega-6’s) included! As the excerpt explained, Omega-6’s make common household oils that we use everyday (like corn, sunflower, and soybean) and are also rife in animal products and processed food, while Omega-3 fatty acids are harder to find.

•    One recommendation is to substitute an oil rich in Omega-6’s (like corn, sunflower, and soybean) for an oil rich in monounsaturated fats such as olive and and nut oils. This is to help balance the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio since we often have an overabundance of the former fatty acid and a deficiency of the latter.

•    There are great plant sources of Omega-3’s:

  1. The richest known source of ALA Omega-3 fatty acids is flax seed aka linseed. Add them to cereals/porridges, smoothies, salads, baked goods, stews and soups but remember, “the rawer the better”.
  2. Eat lots of Fresh green veges. Whole plant foods contain enough fat for your diet if you eat enough. Since most Western diets have low green food intake they are not seen as significant contributors to fat intake. Regularly eat avocados, olives, nuts, wheatgerm and seeds to get plenty good fat.
  3. Walnuts are the nuts with the highest levels of ALA’s.
  4. Pumpkin seeds, hempseeds, soybeans and canola contain ALA though in lower concentration.

More info on how to balance the omega fatty acids in your diet from womantowoman.com and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition