Sometimes you meet a person whom you know will change you. You may not know how, what or when. But you know something is different about you after this connection. This is what happened to me when I met the lovely Tess and her family.
Tess was the host at my wonderful Peckham based air BNB during my stay in London. Staying at this calm and peaceful home she shares with her husband, young daughter and two cats felt like a sort of mini retreat to me. I remember saying to people in Amsterdam that I was going to London for a well deserved rest. And they would look at me in horror and say:,,You are going to rest in London! Are you crazy?” But somehow, as soon as I laid eyes on this beautiful place on the Air BNB site, my intuition told me that that was exactly was I was gonna be doing.
I stayed in their private garden pod seperate from the main house which gave me total privacy, was super comfy, tastefully decorated and is set in a calming zen like garden. But without a doubt the biggest assets of this city dwelling are the hosts. As soon as I walked in the door Tess made me feel welcome, safe and cared for in a totally relaxed way. Her hospitality I can only compare to what I experienced growing up as a child in Surinam. Where no guest would leave without a full belly and heart. And so did I.
Tess would offer me a cup of ginger tea at the exact right time, share her super healthy lunch with me, invite me to watch inspiring Nature documentaries with her family and instinctively feel when I needed my space. I was humbled and grateful to feel so cared for and loved in the home of total strangers. My whole London experience was taken to the next level for having such a warm nest to come home to after exploring the bustling city.
But however heart warming the hospitality of this loving family was, it was Tess who gave me the greatest gift I could have ever wished for. A gift that I will take with me for the rest of my days. She answered the question that I wanted answered so bad for myself and came all the way to London for. The morning of my departure to the airport she told me that the most important resource in life is time. All other resources, like money and material goods, you have some control over and in good time may increase if you so desire. But the one you have absolutely no influence on is time. You have no clue how much of it you still have left and thus how much of it you may have already wasted.
This insight was a biggie for me. Let me just be dramatic and go as far as to say it was huge! Since I’ve been back in Amsterdam every and any decision I make, from the smallest thing to the bigger life issues, I make by first asking myself ,,Is this really what I want to be doing with my precious time?” And the different choices I’ve been making since because of it feel geniune, right and real to me.
So lovely Tess, this recipe is in your honour. Because I can think of no better way to say thank you than by making a meal inspired by that refreshing kale salad you so graciously shared with me on my first day in London. Since autumn weather has taken over life in Amsterdam I’ve gone for a stir fry with a belly warming spice mix that may look familiar to you:). Pretty and wholesome organic veggies swimming a small pool of coconut milk as a nod to your Vietnamese roots with rose petal garam masala? I don’t know about you Tess, but in my book munching on this stir fry piled high over steaming basmati or black rice seems like an excellent way to spend my time. I hope you agree!
Tess’s Stir fry with rose petal garam masala
For 2 to 3
- 100 grams haricot verts cut in thirds
- 75 grams broccoli heads cubed
- 1 big tablespoon ghee
- 1/2 a medium onion in thin slices
- 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
- small piece of ginger finely chopped
- 75 grams carrots in medium thin slices
- 100 grams zucchini sliced in half moons
- 1 – 2 teaspoon(s) rose petal garam masala
- 150 ml thick coconut milk
- 1 big handfull of thinly shredded kale
This amount will make more than you need, but you can store the garam masala in an airtight container for at least a month.
- ½ teaspoon black pepper corns
- 1 tablespoon toasted coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds (only the seeds, not the pods)
- about 6 cloves
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 tablespoon dried rose petals (you can find these at Persian or sometimes tea shops)
First make your spice mix by grinding all ingredients, except the rose petals, in a spice grinder or in a mortal and pestle. Pour in a small bowl and mix in the rose petals by hand. Store for later use.
Heat slightly salted water in a small pan. As soon as it boils add the haricot verts and the broccoli and blanch for 2 minutes. Pour through a sieve and keep in a bowl.
Heat the ghee in a medium pan and bake the onions until translucent. Than add the ginger and garlic and fry a minute more. Make sure they don’t burn or even color too much, so lower the heat if necessary.
Add the carrot slices and fry on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the zucchini and fry another minute or 2. Now spoon over the garam masala and stir in well. Add the blanched broccoli, haricot verts and the coconut milk. Heat for about 3 minutes before finally throwing in the kale. Stir the kale into the rest of the veggies, season with salt and take off the heat. Serve over steamed (black) rice, quinoa, millet or buckwheat.
Tess’s roergebakken groenten met rozenblaadjes garam masala
For 2 to 3
- 100 gram sperzieboontjes in drieën gesneden
- 75 gram broccoli in blokken
- 1 grote eetlepel ghee
- 1/2 medium ui in dunne ringen
- 1 fijngehakt teentje knoflook
- klein stukje fijngehakte verse gember
- 75 gram wortel in medium dunne plakjes
- 100 gram courgette in medium halve maantjes
- 1 – 2 theelepel(s) rozenblaadjes garam masala
- 1 grote handvol flinterdun gesneden boerenkool
- 150 ml dikke kokosmelk
Deze hoeveelheid is meer dan je voor het gerecht nodig hebt. Maar de garam masala blijft luchtdicht zeker een maand goed.
- ½ theelepel zwarte peperkorrels
- 1 eetlepel geroosterd kokosrasp
- 1/2 theelepel kardemomzaadjes (alleen de zaadjes, niet de peulen)
- ongveer 6 kruidnagels
- 1 theelepel komijnzaad
- 1 theelepel kaneelpoeder
- 1 eetlepel gedroogde rozenblaadjes (Je kunt deze bij Perzische winkels of soms bij een goede theewinkel vinden.
Maak eerst je specerijenmix door alle ingrediënten, behalve de rozenblaadjes, in een specerijenblendertje of vijzel te vermalen. Schep in een klein kommetje en mix er de rozenblaadjes door. Hou apart.
Breng licht gezouten water in een klein pannetje aan de kook. Blancheer de sperzieboontjes en broccoli hier 2 minuten in. Giet uit in een zeef of vergiet en hou apart.
Verwarm de ghee in een medium pan en bak hier de uine glazig in. Voeg dan de gember en knoflook toe en bak nog 1 minuutje. Zorg ervoor dat ze niet aanbranden of te bruin worden. Draai zonodig het vuur lager.
Voeg de wortelschijfjes toe en bak op medium vuur 3 minuten. Voeg dan de courgette toe en bak nog een minuut of 2. Schep dan de garam masala in de pan en roer goed. Voeg de geblancheerde sperzieboontjes, broccoli en kokosmelk toe en verwarm nog een minuutje of 3 voor je tot slot de boerenkool erdoor roert. Breng op smaak met zout en haal van het vuur. Serveer met gekookte (zwarte) rijst, quinoa, gierst of boekweit.