Tag Archives: Curry

Things to know before you spray perfume on your body

Have you walked behind someone and inhaled a massive stench of sickly perfume or been on the bus when some idiotic teen is spraying lynx all over themselves? It’s gross right, especially if you don’t wear it yourself, it catches the back of your throat, irritates your breathing and feels claustrophobic.

Well not only is it offensive to your nose, it’s also really bad for your body.

Toxic-Cosmetics_edited-1-819x1024                                                                                                               Image from Dr Jockers

According to a new report released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), commissioned by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, seventeen name brand perfume products were found to contain a “complex cocktail of natural essences and synthetic chemicals – often petrochemicals,” including diethyl phthalate, a chemical linked to sperm damage in adult men and abnormal development of reproductive organs in baby boys. Lab results revealed an average of 14 chemicals secretly lurk in common fragrances; some of which have been linked to hormone disruption and allergic reactions while others have not even been assessed for safety in personal care products.

Chemicals from perfumes, cosmetics, and personal care products are absorbed through the skin and inhaled with applied or sprayed. This pollution begins in the womb: a 2009 EWG study found synthetic musk chemicals Galaxolide and Tonalide in the umbilical cord blood of newborn infants.

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Aubergine and lentil vindaloo

The wonderful Jack Monroe has updated her blog with another super vegan recipe, this vindaloo sounds delicious and we can’t wait to try it.

jack monroeIf you don’t like aubergine, use mushrooms instead. Red lentils could easily be kidney beans, baked beans, black beans, brown or green lentils, or yellow split peas; whatever you have in the cupboard or like. They are here to add texture and protein; all the other flavour speaks for itself, or rather, shouts and sings and dances.

Serves 2-4 depending on appetite:

3 onions

6 fat cloves of garlic

1-2 tsp chilli flakes

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cumin

1/4 of a star anise or an 1/8 tsp fennel seeds

a good grind of black pepper, and then another one

2 tbsp tomato puree

2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice

1 large aubergine or 2 small ones

100g red lentils
First peel and finely slice your onions and toss into a pan with a little oil. Bring to a low heat to start to soften the onions, and add the garlic cloves, whole and peeled. Dice the aubergine and add to the pot, stirring all to disturb and stop it from sticking and burning.

Add your spices, but only half of your chosen quantity of chilli. It is easy to add to, but rather more difficult to temper down if you misjudge it, so I put half the chilli in to cook, and leave half to garnish. It means guests and dining partners can choose their own heat, too, which is ideal if everyone is a little different. So, add the cinnamon, cumin, star anise or fennel, and pepper, and stir well to combine. Add half a cup of water to the pan, and crank up the heat. It doesn’t look brilliant right now but trust me, it geets better.

Thoroughly rinse your lentils. In a separate pan, cover them with water – no salt or the lentils will take an age to cook – and bring to the boil. I was initially tempted to throw them into the pot to make this a one-pot dinner, but lentils produce so much ‘scum’ that rises to the top of the pan, I didn’t want to mar my beautiful adventure, so doubled my washing up… When the water is boiling,  reduce to a simmer for around 12 minutes until soft and swollen. Drain, rinse well to knock off the scum, and tip into the first pan.

Add the tomato and vinegar and stir well. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring slowlly and therapeutically every now and then. It should take around 10 more minutes to meld into this glossy, orange, spicy goodness, and the liquid should thicken to an unctuous sauce. If it is too watery for your liking, bring it back to boil, then reduce the heat and cook a little more. If the thought of 10 more minutes on the gas worries you, give it all a thorough stir, remove from the heat and cover with a plate or foil or baking tray for 20 mins. It takes a little longer but by insulating some of the heat, it will continue to cook and thicken as it cools. – words taken from Jack Monroes blog, photo credit to her also.

I love curry and although vindaloo is too hot for me , Tom really likes it so I will be brave and give it a go!

Vegan coconut veggie curry

Sometimes the simplest meals are the tastiest, when everything is running a bit low in the cupboards and fridge I always make curry, it’s great for using up veg and it has loads of health benefits too, including the prevention of cancer, protection against heart disease, reduces Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, eases pain and inflammation, boosts bone health, protects the immune system from bacterial infections and increases the liver’s ability to remove toxins from the body.

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