By Joanne Faulkner
Food and drink are at the very centre of our being. Whilst some extremely dedicated yogis are able to live without them, the majority of us cannot.
In our fast paced modern society, food can become purely functional, eaten on the run or in front of the television. We often have to “remember” to drink water. Yet, contained within all food is the grace of life which, when ingested, transforms and becomes our own. The Art of Conscious Cooking aims to bring us into connection with the grace and energy of all we eat and drink. Linking Traditional Chinese Medicine, the essence of the seasons and the energetic pathways within the body, we connect with food and drink to see how we can use them to support our whole system for balance and wellness.
A perfect recipe to nourish, comfort and calm is French Onion and Miso Soup. All the Onion family (including garlic) are great at moving phlegm, keeping things moist and creating internal warmth. The Miso, with its salty taste, is great for the Bladder/Kidney and the onset of winter.
French Onion and Miso Soup
· 25g butter
· 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
· 1.5kg onions
· 3 or 4 Bay leaves
· 2 pints miso stock (to taste) – roughly 1 tbsp fresh/paste miso per pint
Onions, obviously, are at the heart of this dish so cut them with love and care, bring out their vulnerable sweetness that makes you cry! Melt the butter and toasted sesame oil (substitute olive oil for butter if on a dairy free diet) and add the onions. Fry on a high heat for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly. Add the bay leaves and herbs, then cover and turn right down. Let them cook and sweat for about 30 minutes. Next, dissolve the miso into boiling water. When the onions are golden and soft, add the miso stock and cook on a low heat for a further 20-30 minutes until the soup has become a rich, nutty brown and the onions melt in the mouth.
There really is nothing better to bring someone into connection with the food they eat than to bake their own bread. It is really simple to do, with the right recipe, and spelt bread is the easiest one I know. As the grain has not been very refined, it is easy on the digestion and great for the large intestine.
· 500g Organic Wholewheat Spelt Flour
· 1 tsp salt
· 1 tsp fast action yeast
· 14 fl oz warm water from a recently boiled kettle
· 1 tbsp honey
· 1 tbsp olive oil
Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Dissolve the honey in the warm water and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir together well, adding the oil at the end to loosen the mixture. Grease a bread tin and pop the mixture in, leaving it to rise for half an hour before putting it into a preheated oven for 45-55 mins at 180°C.
For me, healthy eating means good food cooked with awareness and love. So, here is a Christmas Spice Cake, perfectly aromatic, sweet and light to comfort the body rather than overload it at this time of year.
Christmas Spice Cake
· 4 free range eggs (separated) plus 2 extra whites
· 125 ml vegetable oil
· 125 ml water
· 2 tbsp runny honey
· 200g dark muscovado sugar
· 75g ground almonds
· 150g plain flour
· 2 tsp baking powder
· 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
· pinch of salt
· 1 tsp ground ginger
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· ½ tsp all-spice
· ¼ tsp ground cloves
· zest of 1 orange
· 100g caster sugar
· 250g instant royal icing sugar
· juice of 1 lemon
A lot of ingredients, I know, but a doddle to make. Whisk the yolks and oil, then add the water, honey and muscovado sugar. Gently fold in the almonds, flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt, spices and zest. In another bowl, beat the eggs until soft peaks form and gradually add the caster sugar. Fold the whites into the cake mixture and pour into a greased, deep, 25cm wide cake tin. Bake for 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 180°. Let the cake cool before turning out onto a rack.
For the icing, whisk up with lemon juice until thick. Use more water if it’s too thick, or more icing sugar if too runny. Pour over the completely cool cake and enjoy.
11th Dec 2010: Art of Conscious Cooking for Kidney/Bladder Energy.
27th Dec – 2nd Jan: Residential Mindfulness Retreat led by John Doherty – Detox for the mind, body and soul – fully catered by myself (Hunky Chunk Catering).
22nd Jan 2010: Art of Conscious Cooking for the Kidney/Bladder Energy.
If you would like to book a place on a course or a 1 to 1 shiatsu session, or need catering for holistic workshops, please contact me on 0866070432 or at firstname.lastname@example.org