Continuous physical pain can be so debilitating. I’ve been suffering with a nagging back ache over the last couple of weeks that’s been waking me up at night and making it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Well, getting out is an exaggeration, it’s more like crawling out and then I’d prefer walking on all fours rather than standing up. The pain would subside during the day and I could go about my daily routine normally, including my workout which, I guess, is not doing any good for the fiery inflammation happening in my lower back.
Now the pain is 24/7 and it’s not only physical but drags me down emotionally. Some argue pain is a sign that something in our lives needs to change. Well, if it’s for change, I’ve got that covered with a mammoth size reorganization of our lives in preparation. A big-big move that comes with its never-ending to-do list. Could this pain be related to that stress, I ask myself? Is the physical pain an outlet for the internal stress? Or did I pull my back muscles lifting my to-do list?
With this grueling pain the magic spell in the kitchen is gone so for lunch I just tossed together a pilaf with a few ingredients I had on hand. Surprise, surprise, it tasted so good that I thought I’d share the recipe with you. Kale and carrots cooked with cumin and turmeric, chewy black rice and salty, crunchy grilled almonds turned out to be a winning combo. I hope this inspires you to play around in the kitchen: you can swap black rice for quinoa, red quinoa or basmati rice, or incorporate any other veggies you have in the fridge. This is a quick, healthy, flavorful combination that’s great for meatless days! Enjoy and be grateful if you are pain free! Oh, and if you have any advice on how to alleviate lower back pain, your messages would be more than welcome!
What you’ll need to serve 2 persons:
- 150g of black rice (venere nero)
- 2 cloves of garlic, cleaned and largely chopped
- 3 large stems of kale
- 2 carrots
- a good glug of olive oil
- 1 tsp of cumin
- 1 tsp of turmeric
- Himalaya salt and pepper to taste
- pepperoncino/chili pepper to taste
- a sprinkling of play
For the roasted almonds:
- 20g (about a handful) of blanched unsalted almonds
- a few drops of olive oil
- Himalaya salt
What you’ll need to do:
- Cook the black rice in a saucepan according to package instructions. Mine calls for 18 minutes of cooking. I cook it in salted water covered with a lid.
- While the rice is being cooked, prepare the kale: discard the stem, wash and spin dry then chop the leaves roughly. Clean the carrots as well and chop them.
- In a large pan heat the oil, add the chopped garlic and cook for a couple of minutes making sure not to burn them. Add the chopped kale and carrots, season with turmeric, cumin, chili, salt and pepper then cover and braise slowly for 5-10 minutes. Take off the lid and cook for 5 more minutes or until carrots are soft.
- In the meantime in a small pan heat a few drops of olive oïl, add the almonds and the salt. Toss the almonds with a wooden spatula to ensure they are thoroughly coated with the salty oil. Keep an eye on the almonds! Now is not the time to check social media! You need to continually stir the almonds as from one second to the next they can turn from brownish to burnt. Almonds are done when they are crunchy and golden brown with a nutty fragrance.
- When the rice and kale are done combine them and top with the roasted almonds. Check if more salt is needed. Drizzle with some olive oil and serve.