Getting Conscious about Food

THERE is the easy way, the one you take when you go to a supermarket and you pick up the ingredients you need from the shelves. Whatever the way it has been produced or sourced, whomever it comes from, you just fill your trolley with what you need for the day or the week. Easy, simple, quick.

Then, there is the other way. The one when you start thinking a bit more about the way you shop, the one where you tell yourself that you should make more conscious choices to help the food producers who work hard everyday to provide the best products with the quality and environement in mind. The way that will support local jobs and the economy.

The first and easiest way is of course the most tempting. Our crazy and busy lives don’t always give us the time we need to shop consciously and find the right producers to buy from. And to be completely honest, I’m the first one to buy from a supermarket as I live right in front of one.

However, buying consciously doesn’t always mean going to the market or the weirdest health store in the middle of nowhere. I was introduced to Conscious Food, based in Mumbai, considered as one of the leading organic food companies in India through an evening at Kristina Locke’s place. Their UK representative cooked a curry meal served with millet, one of the oldest grains in the world.

I discovered Conscious Food’s range of snacks whilst on a trip to India in 2006. I was so impressed to find healthy gluten and dairy free nibbles that tasted good that I brought them to Europe for us all to enjoy over here.

The current range includes sweet and savoury snacks such as Brown Rice Dippers, Black Pepper Millet Crackers, a healthy option to serve with dips. The Sesame Chews and the Ginger Crunch gives you the energy kick you need in the middle of the afternoon whereas the Digestive Mix is a fantastic treat after a heavy meal. It really makes you feel lighter and cleans your palate.

Kristina is now working on making a range of gluten free flours available in the UK soon.

Conscious Food aims to provide the highest quality of food in as natural a form as possible, to support the small farmer and to trade fairly to benefit the farming communities in India.

They have different projects they work on such a creating the Conscious Foundation, which will plough 10% of all their profits back into community projects in India that promote sustainable development, only using recycled paper in all their materials and obtaining organic certification.

I hardly consume millet in my cuisine as it isn’t part of my cooking habits but that discussion with Kristina was a good first step towards eating and shopping more consciously, while feeding your body with healthy ingredients.

Millet pudding – Serves 6
1 cup ground cashew nuts
¾ cup of millet flour
1 can coconut milk
1 knob of melted butter
Jaggery
10 whole raisins
2 ground cardamom pods
1 vanilla pod
10 whole cashews

In a bowl, put the ground cashew nut and the millet flour.
Mix with 1 can coconut milk and then melt jaggery to taste – start with a good knob – and poor into the bowl.
Add the knob of melted butter and the raisins, the cardamom pods, the vanilla pod and the whole cashews.
Grease a ovenproof flat bowl which needs to be 6cm deep with butter or ghee.
Place the pudding in the preheated oven (180C) and cook for 20-30 minutes until golden.
Serve with fresh mango slices or some cardamom ice cream.

4 thoughts on “Getting Conscious about Food

  1. I love jaggery too… when I have visited India, to see family, we have driven from Delhi to Roorkee, where one of my mum’s brothers and his family live… along the way are many fields of sugar cane and also the tiny, almost mediaeval little processing setups, these tiny cottage industries, all manual, where the men push the sugarcane through manual presses, and then heat and cook the juice from liquid through to jaggery. Sometimes we’ve stopped, and paid them to allow us to drink a glass of the sugarcane juice as it drips fresh out of the press or taste a lump of the fresh, still-hot jaggery!

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