Royal Croutons

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In this easy recipe the pear, queen of Yin, meets the walnut, king of Yang. The first is the best fruit to fight the dryness of Lungs and therefore is indicated in case of cough and sore-throat; while walnuts sustain Kidney and give instant vitality when we feel tired and exhausted. Cabbage is a discreet companion and drives energy to the Center (digestive system). What about cheese? Cheese just makes it even better. Enjoy!

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Blushing Brussels sprouts

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The Brussels sprouts,  due to  their sweet taste and their neutral thermal nature, go straight to the center (spleen-stomach). In this recipe, the dynamism of red wine help to tone your IQ and at the same time balance its own tendency to create heat.

Serves 4 –Easy -Prep time: 20 minutes

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 You will need:  

  •  500 g Brussels sprouts;
  • 1 leek;
  • 1 glass of red wine;
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil;
  • a pinch of salt.

How to:

  1. Cut the Brussels sprouts and the leek into thin slices;
  2. fry-pan the leek slightly till brownish;
  3. add the Brussels sprouts and let them cook for 5 minutes covered up;
  4. pour the wine;
  5. add a pinch of salt. 6. Cook till it evaporates, without the cap, for about 10 minutes;
  6. serve warm or cold

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What the gyoza

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Winter-oriented stuffing. Why you say? Shrimps strengthen the Kidney (extremely sensitive to cold) and tone up the Yang (easily suffering in this season); Brussel sprouts are always present in our ecologic-bio basket, they re-connect to the center, activating Spleen-Stomach; ginger warms up and protects us from cold, helping digestion. Finally, the quick cooking gives extra vitality to this dish and it gives it an extra-YANG crunchiness.

Stuffing for about 30 dumplings -Medium– Prep time: 30 minutes

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You will need:

  • 30 dumpling disks (here you find our recipe);
  • 6 Brussels sprouts;
  • a piece of ginger root about 3 cm long;
  • 8 big shrimps (pre-boiled);
  • juice of half a lemon (untreated-BIO);
  • finely chopped lemon zest;
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce;
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil;
  • 2 tbsp of sunflower oil;
  • a pinch of salt;
  • sunflower oil and some hot water to cook;
  • hibiscus or sesame seeds to garnish;
  • soy sauce to dip.

How to:

  1. Clean the shrimps (leave only the edible flesh) and cut them into 4 pieces each;
  2. peel a piece of ginger root of about 3-4 cm long and chop it very finely;
  3. let the shrimps marinate in lemon juice, soy sauce, olive oil. Add tiny pieces of lemon peels and ginger;
  4. wash and chop the brussels sprouts into thin slices;
  5. pan-fry the sprouts in  a wok with sunflower oil and a pinch of salt for about 1-2 minutes. Then add half a glass of warm water and let them cook for about ten minutes (until all the water has gone);
  6. add a teaspoon of the cooked brussel sprouts to the dumpling dough disks, add a piece of shrimp on the top and close the dumplings as explained by this video;
  7. put some sunflower oil on a big pan. When it is hot place the dumplings with the wrapped side up;
  8. cook them till the bottom is brownish (3-4 minutes), then add a glass of hot water and immediately put a lid (watch out because it could be that some water drops out due to the high temperature);
  9. let the dumplings cook covered for 10-15 minutes;
  10. serve them hot garnished with some hibiscus seeds (if you don’t have them, sesame seeds will do) and soy sauce to dip.

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Dumplings

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This is the basic recipe to prepare the dumplings dough. Is it really easy, and you can see also the video that quickly guides you through the main steps of the procedure. You can prepare the dough in advance, and then freeze it after it’s cut(remember to place a small piece of baking paper in between them otherwise they’ll stick together!). There are different ways you can then cook them. In this and this posts you will find our recipe for a delicious stuffing and the guidelines to easily cook them in a pan.

Makes about 40 dumplings -Medium– Prep time: 30 minutes

You will need:

  • 200 g plain white flour;
  • warm water qs (about half of the flour);
  • 2 tbsp of sunflower oil;
  • a pinch of salt.
  • a pasta machine or a rolling pin: if you have it, a gyoza maker will make things easier.

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How to:

  1. Put the flour on the table, making a hole in the middle and add a pinch of salt;
  2. pour the warm water while you knead, until you get a smooth, non sticky dough
  3. once the dough is well compact, add the oil and knead until it gets all absorbed;
  4. let the dough sit in a bowl and in the meanwhile prepare the stuffing you prefer (here you’ll find one of our favourites);
  5. when the stuffing is ready, take a piece of dough and roll it out with the pasta machine (first size 6 and then 3) or by using a rolling pin till you obtain a thin layer (3 mm thick). Use some flour to avoid sticking;
  6. cut into circles (6-7 cm wide) by using a glass;
  7. cut the stuffing in the center and pass some water on the borders to help sealing;
  8. fold it in half and make small waves on the border-or, if you have it, use the gyoza makerdampling dough 3 copy

Soup ups

[button link=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVpptmgSTxE” color=”blue”]We are listening to: the Emmanuelle Sigal Ensemble – one for my heart, four for his rum[/button]

Cumin gives to this basic dish an exotic touch that you will notice straight away. As most of the spices, it is warm in energy and helps to move the QI, thus helping the digestion and opening the Stomach. Lentils are the best pulses to nourish Blood and together with cooked cabbage and carrot tone up the center (Spleen and Stomach). Don’t forget about chili pepper for instant warming and immediate relief from cold weather. In case you have some soup left, have it for lunch with crunchy bread or rice.  By adding the cereals you will have a complete and balanced meal.

Serves 4 -Easy– Prep time: 35 minutes

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You will need:

  • 300 g red lentils;
  • half cabbage;
  • 1 leek or onion;
  • 1 big carrot;
  • 4 tbsp of tomato sauce;
  • 1 tsp of cumin;
  • 3 small chili peppers;
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil;
  • a pinch of salt;
  • 0,7-1 l of hot water.

How to:

  1. Cut the leek/onion and the carrot in thin slices;
  2. pan-fry the leek (or onion) and the carrots with some olive oil, cumin and chili pepper;
  3. add the cabbage previously chopped, the tomato sauce and the lentils, and stir in the pan for couple of minutes;
  4. pour the hot water and let it cook covered for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

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Bitter Sweet punK-cakes

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Banana pancakes, sweet and soft, perfectly accompany the bitterish, crunchy oranges. This combination produces a balanced taste, making us get off the bed a little less unwillingly carving for this delicious breakfast treat.

A final dust of cinnamon is a must: the queen of winter spices warms up until the very deep, moves the QI and calms pain. For a soft awakening and a good day.

Serves 2 -Easy- Prep time: 20 minutes

You will need: 

  • 2 oranges, untreated;
  • brown sugar;
  • 2 tsp of butter;
  • 1 cup of plain flour;
  • 1 cup of milk;
  • 1 egg;
  • 1 tsp of baking powder;
  • 1 medium size banana.

How to:

  1. Put a pan to warm up on medium heat, spread a tablespoon of brown sugar and let melt;
  2. cut an orange in slices of about ½ cm, place them on the pan, and let them cook on the first side, covered;
  3. sprinkle them with some more sugar, then turn them so they cook on the other side;
  4. finish off with a small knob of butter on each slice, and one more minute of cooking;
  5. prepare the pancakes’ batter. Our favorite recipe is from Jamie Oliver, and it is as simple as it goes: combine together one egg, one cup of milk, one cup of flour, a pinch of salt and the baking powder; whisk until smooth;
  6. you can now add some extra flavors to your recipe. This time we went for banana slices (which also add extra softness to our pancakes). So cut your banana in slices, and add them to the batter;
  7. melt a knob of butter in a pan, wait for it to be melt and hot then add a scoop of your batter. When it has become brownish (and it starts forming bubbles), turn it with decision and let it cook on the other side. Go on until you are done with all the mix;
  8. serve those fluffy pancakes with some slices of oranges on top, sprinkle with some cinnamon powder.
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Cold fighting salad

Among all the winter vegetables fennel is surely the most aromatic one, characterized by a sweet charming taste. It has got very good digestive properties -in particular its seeds- thus resulting helpful in case of bloating. The warm energy of fennel promotes digestion and Liver energy circulation. Oranges are perfect to detox and tone up the stomach while black sesame seeds nourish yin of Kidney. Mustard warms up Lung and moves the QI.

Serves 4/6 –Easy- Prep time: 10 minutes

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You will need:

  • 2 fennels;
  • 1 orange;
  • 2 tsp of black sesame seeds.

For the dressing:

  • 2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil;
  • juice of 1 fresh lemon;
  • 1 tsp of mustard;
  • a pinch of salt.

How to:

  1. Wash and chop the fennel into thin slices.
  2. peel the orange with a knife, getting rid also of the white peel. Cut it into small cubes.
  3. place the fennel, the orange and the black sesame seeds together in a bowl.
  4. prepare the dressing, mixing together the lemon juice, the oil, the mustard and the salt.
  5. mix the salad with the dressing (if you want you can use your hands! this will help a more even spreading of the dressing).
  6. serve as starter dish salad, or as a side dish. It’s fantastic to accompany some grilled fish.

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Winter

It starts to feel cold, and days are getting shorter while fall’s vivid colors slowly fade out. We enter in the most yin season of the year: winter. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) associates it to the element Water, the zang-fu Kidney and Bladder, the color grey and the emotion of fear. We are naturally led to adapt our rhythms to the lazy winter days; it’s harder to get out of the bed in the morning and we feel more tired in the evenings.

In order to warm up and to protect our Yang from the excessive numbness, the TCM recommends for this season a diet that mobilizes the QI and avoids stasis. Nature helps us for this with a wide spectrum of seasonal products, such as the vegetables of the family of Brassicacae. Colliflower, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, radishes, horseradish and mustard-thanks to their spicy taste and thermic nature-sustain the energy of the Lung, harmonize the center and help digestion. Citrus fruits help us to dissolve tans (catarrh / mucus) and protect us from colds. Pears are perfect to nourish the Lung’s yin, as are dried fruits, which can also be a fantastic healthy and invigorating snack. Quinoa, wild rice, black beans and nuts are perfect to sustain the Kidney’s yang .

The best would be to kick off the day with a good, warm breakfast, then try to animateour meals with warming spices and herbs such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper. Our advice is to drink hot beverages during the day, and to comfort ourselves in the evening  with a soup. And why not, also with a good glass of red wine…

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