I know the English Spring is traditionally April showers and milder days, but it feels like it was particularly wet this year, and grey and drab. Plus, I’m not sure I witnessed many ‘showers’, more like thorough downpours which as a result have seen my planned seeds not yet in the soil this year. Of course there have been a few nice, sunshine filled days – but they just felt short lived.
I wondered if it was just how I felt and not actually based on fact, but then I saw this article confirming how it had seemed.
Now we’re in June, officially in Summer and our first weekend of record high temperatures were coupled with yellow weather warnings and thunderstorms!
It was only in recent years really that I realised the effect the continuously somber days had upon me. It is widely accepted that light has a massive impact on health and well-being and it’s affects are far ranging from headaches and sight issues to low mood, depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. As a result, I try to fill my home with lots of lighting to supplement the limited natural light my home receives at the best of times.
Interestingly, there is a downside to lighting, both natural and artificial. Durham University points out the paradoxical relationship we have with light. We need natural sunlight to drench our skin for vitamin D absorption and for the benefits mentioned above, yet overexposure to ultraviolet light leads to skin cancer. Furthermore, light pollution can have drastic effects upon our environment and wildlife and on our own lives as we look out of our windows at night to see streetlights, house lights and flickering TV’s competing with the stars and moonlight.
Regardless, there’s no denying that our seasons are changing and as a result we are craving sunlight in summer along with comforting stews. So this recipe, is to remind you of summer on your plate. Full of those energizing sunshine flavours of paprika, herbs and lemon coupled with really good, juicy tomatoes. There is no fish or chicken in sight here, just pure Mediterranean flavours and a slightly creamy background that is oh so delicious. This would be amazing with extra veg added for the last few minutes – think kale, broccoli, peas, mushrooms. You can of course also use rice for a more traditional paella experience.
Ingredients: Serves 4
- 400g/14 oz pasta (I used short spaghetti)
- 340g/12 oz mixed tomatoes, chopped
- 5 sundried tomatoes (not in oil), finely diced
- 1 medium red onion, finely sliced
- 4 large cloves of garlic, crushed or finely sliced
- 1 tbsp paella spice blend
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp white almond or cashew butter
- 1 tbsp vegetable stock paste (or a cube)
- zest of one lemon, finely grated
- 1.25 litres (5 cups) boiling water
Place all ingredients into a large pot over a high heat. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to medium and let the pasta cook, covered, for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the pasta is cooked and the ingredients have cooked into a sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper and more spice if desired. Serve with plenty of extra cracked black pepper over the top.
- No Cholesterol
- High in Vitamin C
- High in Iron
- High in Protein
- High in Fibre
- High in riboflavin
- High in thiamin