My mate told me that there’s now Janu-hairy, encouraging women to let their armpit hair grow for charity. I didn’t realise, I could have raised millions by now. I can’t help thinking that all these portmanteau monthly causes just reinforce our sheep-like tendencies and take our attention away from the root of the problem. I’m not so cynical as to besmirch an individual raising money for charity, whilst having some ‘fun’; but what if people said:  ‘Let’s protest everyday of April about the shamefully corrupt government, that has money for no ferries, but not enough money for mental health facilities.’ Not very catchy, I know. 

So amongst the Batty-rants – there is a tenuous link to the food page – while I was researching what I was going to write for this issue, I came across the Guardian’s supplement ‘New Year New You’. 

It put me in a rage. Advertorial after advertorial about expensive new yoga, mindfulness and wellness. How have we got to this point? Kate Hudson being shown with her mate as normal stay-at -home parents, finding it difficult to fit in exercise around their busy parenting lives. Oh, and btw, we’ve just brought out a new range of clothes and exercise workshops, Kate runs the one in LA. What a deeply cynical _supplement, mixing well-being with unabashed entitled consumerism.

Something I can recommend that is ‘free’ to smart phone users, is the Couch to 5k running app. I did it about three years ago and have been running ever since –, so it’s not all bad. Here’s a recipe for soup;

Rasam soup was a regular on my menu. People used to come and check to see if it was on. The combination of tamarind and asafoetida make it a very different flavour, ( which for some can be an acquired taste).

This South Indian souper food (sorry), is very good for you and
in India is used for convalescence and reparation over.. It’s full of vitamins, rare minerals and antioxidants, so it’s ready to get you your glow back, while you’re discocizing. 

I couldn’t find the recipe I used to make, so I have found this one from Holy Cow! Vegan. Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes Facebook page.

Garlic Rasam

1/4 cup split pigeon peas tuvar dal
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp asafetida hing
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 moderately hot green chili pepper (e.g. like jalapeno), minced)
2 leaves sprigs of curry leaves (about 24 leaves)
8 cloves of garlic
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp coriander leaves
1/2 tbsp tamarind extract
2 medium tomatoes diced
2 heaped teaspoons  rasam powder (you can also just buy this online or at an Indian store)
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste


1. Cook the dal with turmeric in a pressure cooker or on the stovetop with 2 cups of water until it’s really soft. Use a whisk to mash up the dal up. Do not discard the stock.

2. Using a mortar and pestle, or in a food processor, crush 2 cloves of garlic, the green chili pepper, and cumin seeds to a coarse paste.

3. Crush the remaining garlic cloves slightly but let them hold their shape.

4. Heat the oil in a saucepan.

5. Add the mustard seeds and, when it sputters, add the asafetida.

6. Add the cumin/-garlic/-chili paste and, stir-fry for a few seconds.
Then add the ginger, curry leaves, coriander leaves, and crushed, whole garlic. Stir -fry for a few seconds until the garlic starts to very slightly change colour.

7. Add the tomatoes and stir-fry until they just start to turn mushy.

8. Add the tamarind extract with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add the rasam powder and continue to boil for another five minutes.

9. Add the cooked dal/lentils to the saucepan with salt to taste. Bring the rasam to a rolling boil, reduce heat to medium, and let it boil for another five minutes. If it starts to get thick, add water. Rasam should have a very watery consistency, although if you prefer it thick, you can add less water.

10. Check salt and add more if needed.

11. Serve very hot over rice or in a glass or bowl.

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