Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Starting 2012 with Pure Vegetarian by Lakshmi- Indian Simmer Loves

This blog and my readers(you people!) have been one of the most important part of my life for the past almost two years. You laugh with me when I laugh, you are excited on my achievement, you are worried when my little one falls sick, and you always lend you ears when I want to talk. But for the past one year I always regretted that because of a busy and unpredictable schedule I was not a very good listener to you guys. I was not not able to respond to your emails as promptly and was not able to keep this space up and running as you would have expected me to. Then again family and some demanding food writing projects made things even busier and crazier by the leg of 2011. Some residual is still here but stepping into 2012 I promised myself to change that. So cheers to that and wishing all you extended family a Very Happy New Year!
What better way to start the new year with a post by a person who's images have the ability to take you to a different place and recipes will leave you drooling! Today I present to you Pure Vegetarian by Lakshmi. With her flawless writing, dreamy photographs, yogi lifestyle and a pure heart I promise you will love her because Indian Simmer loves Pure Vegetarian by Lakshmi!

Going Raw!
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When Prerna kindly asked me to write a guest post, I hesitated. I’m on a break from blogging for good reasons. One of them is that I saturated myself with sugar during the autumn while baking and making sweets more than necessary. By December I reached my limit of tolerance and took time to adjust and reform my diet. As I’m writing now, I’m sipping delicious green smoothie made of broccoli, spinach, avocado, sunflower seeds and simple spices. I’m going raw.
Don’t worry; it is a temporary phase of detox to balance the metabolism! It is perfect. It gives such clarity and vitality. My digestive system is relaxed and satisfied. I’m mentally alert, focused and enthusiastic. For a long time I haven’t felt physically so content. Combined with regular exercise in the fresh winter air, life couldn’t be better! Welcome New Year!

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Tell us about yourself and what you would say is your food philosophy?Cooking and relationship with food have interested me since childhood. I grew up eating home cooked meals by my mother. She is an austere person and our breakfasts, lunches and dinners reflected the mood. There was enough to eat – and it was tasty – but there was an underlining reverence that kept the act of eating on a serious side. We never indulged.

As a teenager I turned vegetarian for ethical reasons. I ate raw vegan food for many years. When I came in contact with the Vedic culture and philosophy of India, cooking, serving and eating revealed a sacred dimension unparallel to anything I had been aware of. Preparing food became one of the most important spiritual practices and an integral part of the yoga process to me. It is an easy, concrete way to approach divine through consciousness.

As a bhakti-yogi I am a servant of Krishna. Krishna is a Sanskrit name for God introduced in the ancient yoga literature. It means “all attractive”. Everything belongs to God and is godly by nature. It is a paradigm 100% opposite to materialism that is rooted in the idea of me, the living entity, possessing and controlling everything. In the Western tradition God, at best, is providing for our needs: “...please forgive our sins and give us our daily bread”. In the Eastern tradition, man is the one who owns nothing and whatever is given under his care or has any value to him, he offers back to God. It is the way to sanctify life by cultivating virtues like selflessness and humility. And it is the path and perfection of yoga, connecting with God with love and devotion.

Yoga-lifestyle is different from the secular way of living in regards of the state of mind. Externally it looks the same. There are many vegetarians in the world and we may share the same recipes, but the thoughts, feelings and motivations that drive us while cooking produce different results. In our line of discipline, we want to connect the cow who gives the milk and the plant that bears the berry, fruit or vegetable also to God. It is done via mantra, a prayer, uttered with sincerity. Whatever is accepted by God, we enjoy as prashad, mercy. It is a blissful reciprocation.

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What led you to starting a food blog?
Cooking makes me happy. It is an intimate dialogue with Krishna. It is a meditation and allows me to be who I am in the deepest sense of understanding.

I bought a camera and started to photograph what I cooked in order to share my gratitude and happiness with others. It was a surprise there are people who like the pictures. Having had posted on Flickr for a year, I felt a need for a dining room in the Cyberspace where I could better serve visitors.

Attached to Flickr and other social media there is lot of extra package: psychological hang-ups, egos and ambitions that border unhealthy traits of interaction at times. I have a constant inner-conflict of how much I want to be part of and contribute to that. A blog is naturally more peaceful venue to meet and get to know people because I can set the content and mood to correspond the values that nourish me, and hopefully others, too.

What would you say "Pure Vegetarian By Lakshmi" is all about and please share a recipe that best describes your blog?
I’ve been blogging for a short time, six months to be exact. I’m not able to define what Pure Vegetarian By Lakshmi is about better than a work in progress. It is a partial documentation and by-product of a simple, meaningful life that I live. I live to live; not to blog. Whatever I do, I aspire to be physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually present and do it as well as I can, because every moment spent in hankering, lamenting or dreaming of something else, better or more is a moment lost. Self-satisfaction and gratitude in all circumstances open unexpected opportunities even in situations that seem doomed and insignificant. Therefore I don’t go out of my way to look for exotic ingredients or fancy recipes, but utilise whatever there is at hand.

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For today’s recipe here at Indian Simmer I made raw pastry as a sweet treat. When you stay away from sugar long enough, taste buds will celebrate the natural sweetness of fresh and dried fruits! Sophisticated beauty may not be the foremost character of these sweets, but they are oozing peppiness and energy. After eating them, you feel empowered and light, as opposite to dull and heavy caused by regular sugar.

Because I had leftover filling, I made a refreshing smoothie by adding rice milk to it. What a wonderful lunch!

Raw Pastry (makes about 6-8)

2,5 dl (250 ml = 1 Cup) whole almonds (with skins)
1 dl (100 ml = 0,4 Cup) walnuts
200 g dry dates, pitted
4 tablespoons carob powder
Juice and zest of one small orange

For handling the dough:
1 dl (100 ml = 0,4 Cup) hazelnut powder

Filling:
2 bananas
1/3 pineapple
1 carrot
1 large, juicy orange

Instructions:
Mix the pastry ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Sprinkle the pastry dough with hazelnut powder for easier handling.
Line small pastry forms with the dough.
Make sweet balls from the leftover dough, rolled in carob powder.
Mix the filling ingredients in a blender.
Fill the pastries.

Smoothie:
Mix the leftover filling with enough rice milk to get a running consistency of your liking.

43 comments:

  1. Beautiful! Thanks Prerna for introducing us to Lakshmi! Loved the recipe and loved her dedication towards her "Yogi" lifestyle :) Inspired.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Grishma! And yes, Lakshmi is truly and inspiration.

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  2. What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing. The pictures are splendid, the interview interesting and the recipe intriguing.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. I'm always speechless when it comes to Lakshmi's photos. Just that.

    And that I miss you Prerna! Hope to chat with you soon.

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  4. Wot a beautiful post !! I m spell bound... Happy New year to you and Lakshmi

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  5. Thanks Prerna for introducing us to such a beautififul blog!! LOVE IT!!

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  6. The interview is super interesting! I've been following Lakshmi for few months now and I really find her way of blogging different and inspiring. Her recipes are great and healthy (as her philosophy) and the photos… woooah, I love them! Thanks both for sharing! (and happy new year! ;))

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  7. I am spell bound seeing the picts no other words...Happy New year to both of you dearies...

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  8. I love Lakshmi's blog and yours. Great to have two talented bloggers under the same space! The pictures are absolutely brilliant and never thought raw food good look and sound so beautiful!

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  9. As you rightly said, Lakshmi's blog and the pictures take you to a different world. She made the raw food look even more delicious. Inbetween, even I tried fixing green smoothie for breakfast, trust me they were tasty. Everyone should try to detox once a while. Happy new year lovely ladies.

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  10. This recipe is perfect for the diet I am doing right now (the Daniel fast) but also just wonderful philosophies in general about less sugar, etc.!

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  11. I am a huge fan of Lakshmi! Great that you shared her blog with all your readers :)

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  12. Awesome dish..I would surely love to give it a try..Thank you so much for posting it..

    Aarthi
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

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  13. Ahhh, these are so beautiful...! Lakshmi's work is pure inspiration, period. Thanks for bringing her over Prerna--a New Year treat to your readership!

    I'm on a break from blogging, but I had to comment after seeing this :)

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  14. Stunning pics Lakshmi...I so love your blog..

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  15. Happy New Year and really good to see you back Prerna.

    I run out of words and expressions when I encounter Lakshmi's work! She is the most wonderful photographer I have ever met, and her work and her recipes is as true as her pure life.. coming straight from her heart. I heart every bit of it.

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  16. These pictures are just wonderful and I'm in love with the recipe too!

    Happy New Year to both of you!

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    Replies
    1. Wish you a very Happy New Year too my friend!

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  17. I'm so thankful that Lakshmi posted this on Facebook! This is my first time visiting and I'm looking forward to exploring more.

    This is a beautiful post, as always, in every way possible. I look at Lakshmi's photos and they just give me this nice peaceful feeling.

    The pastries are lovely looking. I love the thought of making desserts with only fruits and nuts. I don't like carrots though and so I don't know if I'd like the filling. The carrot gives it a lovely color, though. :)

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  18. Such a wonderful interview with stunning photography! I can't wait to try the recipe.

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  19. I go raw every year and the natural sweetness of fruits really appeals to me more than the artificial in the face sweetness of sucrose! Lakshmi comes up with a winner as always here!

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    Replies
    1. This post and Lakshmi's interview is really teasing me to try going raw myself.

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  20. What a beautiful post and a wonderful insight into Lakshmi's background. I love her philosophy on life and she seems like such a wonderfully talented person.

    Lakshmi, your photos are just stunning and I love your blog.

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  21. Happy New Year guys! I am an admirer of Lakshmi's style, energy and philosophy. The recipe for the pastry is so unique, interesting and brimming with natural sweetness, bookmarking it! Thanks :)

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  22. Thank you for your kind comments. Raw food is a good cleanse every now and then. I recommend it to everyone, although I don't think it is a suitable diet for most of us on a permanent basis.

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  23. I am really impressed with the thought process and loved getting to know you through Prerna. Beautiful pictures, recipes and philosophy :)

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  24. I am totally in love with this post. I have always been mesmerised by Lakshmi's photos but this is possibly the first time, I have sat down and read about the rooted belief and inspiration that is the soul behind the photos... I am book marking this and thanks, Prerna for arranging such a great guest post!

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  25. What a stunning post...the photos are magical!
    Happy New Year to you both!

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  26. Great post -- we learnt a lot about Lakshmi, her beautiful & artistic approach towards foods :)

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  27. So glad you are feeling better and more revived, Lakshmi! I tend to agree that going raw permanently may not be the answer, but it is an incredibly invigorating way to re-focus and calm our bodies. My fiance and I started drinking green smoothies and juices in September of last year, and are reaping the benefits. Reducing our sugar intake has helped as well.

    I have long been an admirer of your blog but am so glad to have learned more about you and your philosophy today. Thanks Prerna for arranging!

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  28. Beautiful Post....
    Wishing you both a very Happy New Year.

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    1. Wish you a very Happy New Year too Reem!

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  29. What a beautiful post! Some of life's simple pleasures have been portrayed so well in the article, photos and vegetarian cooking..Thanks to Lakshmi and Prerna !

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  30. Known Laksmi form flickr and she's always amazed me by her shots! Prerna, how are you girl?

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    1. Hello lovely lady! Lakshmi sure is gifted to say the least.
      I am doing good, just been a little busy so took some time off from blogging. Will be back VERY soon :-)

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  31. I love Indian food! Combinations of spicy sauces, tons of onions,and raisins… just wonderful. I love this recipe and I will make it!

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  32. Hello Lakshmi,
    We love your recipes, especially when its on Pastry.
    These are so delicious.
    I have always looked at your blog for the various pictures and the way you write.Just Love it!
    You have shared some nice information about Raw Pastry in this post.
    The points you mentioned are genuine and perfect.
    The content completely describes about the topic you wanted to portray with us.
    Thanks for sharing such valuable post.

    Regards
    VentairIndia Team

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