Vegan Curry with Parsnip and Chickpea


7 oz dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, then drained
7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2-inch piece fresh root ginger, chopped
2 fresh green chilies, such as jalapenos or Serranos, seeded and finely chopped
2½ cups water
4 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp mild chili powder
2 oz cashew nuts, toasted and ground
9 oz tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 1b parsnips, cut into chunks
1 tsp ground toasted cumin seeds
juice of 1/2 to 1 lime
salt and ground black pepper


fresh cilantro leaves
1 few cashew nuts, toasted


  1. Put the chickpeas in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat so that the water boils steadily and cook for 1 to 1½ hours, or until tender. The cooking time will depend on how long the chickpeas have been stored.
  2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Set 2 tsp of the garlic aside, and place fie remainder in a food processor or blender. Add the onion, ginger and half of the chilies. Pour in 5 tbsp of the meter and process to a smooth paste.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan and cook the cumin seeds for 30 seconds. Stir in the coriander seeds, turmeric, chili powder and ground cashew nuts. Add the ginger and chili paste and cook, stirring frequently, until the water begins to evaporate. Add the tomatoes and stir-fry until the mixture begins to turn red-brown in colour.
  4. Drain the chickpeas and add to the pan with the parsnips and remaining water. Season with 1 tsp salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, stir, then simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, until the parsnips are completely tender.
  5. Thicken the liquid by boiling until the sauce is reduced. Add the toasted cumin seeds and lime juice to taste. Stir in the reserved garlic and chili, and heat through. Sprinkle with the cilantro leaves and cashew nuts. Serve hot with roti.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Vegan Cooking

Food Pairing: Chocolate and Mushrooms

Bonny Reichert . . . . .

“We save all the dried mushroom pieces – pine mushroom, hen of the woods, chanterelle – and we make a powder that we roll the chocolate in,” Cournoyer says. “Then we brush a fermented mushroom paste over the top of the rock.”

Idiosyncratic as his cooking is, Cournoyer is not the only chef to realize the powerful potential of the choco-mushroom combo. In Japan, René Redzepi’s Noma pop-up at the Mandarin Oriental capped meals with cepes dipped in cinnamon chocolate and served on a bed of moss and branches. And at the Fogo Island Inn in Joe Batt’s Arm, Nfld., chef Murray McDonald serves Veg & Dirt, which consists of assorted Fogo island pickles, a poached egg and cocoa-and-wild-mushroom “soil.”

As it turns out, both mushrooms and chocolate contain aldehydes (a compound that imparts nuttiness) and pyrazines (which enhance roasted flavours), says Bernard Lahousse, partner and science director at, a Belgium-based site devoted to exploring the chemical underpinnings of flavour combinations. This explains why the two foods, while seemingly dissimilar, work so well together. “The mushrooms also [bring out] umami in the chocolate,” further intensifying its depth of flavour, Lahousse says from his office in Bruges.

According to Vancouver pastry chef Adam Chandler, owner of the award-winning contemporary chocolate shop Beta5, the earthiness shared by cocoa and mushrooms likewise make them complementary. “There are so many different flavour profiles inherent in different types of chocolate, depending on where they come from in the world. One that has a real earthiness is from the Dominican Republic,” he says of the chocolate he uses in a truffle filled with a creamy morel ganache.

“We wanted to enhance it with the earthiness of morels,” which are among the first funghi to show up at farmers’ markets in early spring, he says.

“I love how this [pairing] plays into the history of the chocolate truffle,” Chandler adds, referring to the ganachefilled confection’s resemblance to the black mushroom it was named after.

The truffle recipe here, inspired by the choco-mushroom offerings at Beta5 and Actinolite, is an easy way to introduce yourself (and guests) to the novel pairing. Serve these chocolates at the end of Easter brunch for a sophisticated finish or bundle them up as a take-home treat. Unless there are very small children around, no one will miss Mr. Solid.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Read more at FoodPairing

Which chocolate to choose for pairing? . . . . .

In Pictures: Japanese Vegetarian Set Lunches

Vegecafe+α in Osaka

Zinc Deficiency Linked to Altered Immune System, Particularly in Older Adults

Zinc, an important mineral in human health, appears to affect how the immune system responds to stimulation, especially inflammation, research from Oregon State University shows.

Zinc deficiency could play a role in chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes that involve inflammation. Such diseases often show up in older adults, who are more at risk for zinc deficiency.

“When you take away zinc, the cells that control inflammation appear to activate and respond differently; this causes the cells to promote more inflammation,” said the lead author of the study.

Zinc is required for many biological processes, including growth and development, neurological function and immunity. It is naturally found in protein-rich foods such as meat and shellfish, with oysters among the highest in zinc content.

Approximately 12 percent of people in the U.S. do not consume enough zinc in their diets. Of those 65 and older, closer to 40 percent have an inadequate zinc intake. Older adults tend to eat fewer zinc-rich foods and their bodies don’t use or absorb zinc as well, making them very susceptible to zinc deficiency.

In the study, researchers set out to better understand the relationship between zinc deficiency and inflammation. They conducted experiments that indicated zinc deficiency induced an increase in inflammatory response in cells. The researchers were able to show, for the first time, that reducing zinc caused improper immune cell activation and dysregulation of a specific protein that affects inflammation in the cell.

Researchers also compared zinc levels in living mice, young and old. The older mice had low zinc levels that corresponded with increased chronic inflammation.

Together, the studies suggest a potential link between zinc deficiency and increased inflammation that can occur with age.

Understanding the role of zinc in the body is important to determining whether dietary guidelines for zinc need to be adjusted. The recommended daily intake of zinc for adults is 8 milligrams for women and 11 milligrams for men, regardless of age. The guidelines may need to be adjusted for older adults to ensure they are getting enough zinc, the researchers said.

There is no good clinical biomarker test to determine if people are getting enough zinc, so identifying zinc deficiency can be difficult. In addition, the body does not have much ability to store zinc, so regular intake is important. Getting too much zinc can cause other problems, including interfering with other minerals. The upper limit for zinc is 40 milligrams per day.

Source: Molecular Nutrition & Food Research

Today’s Comic