As the wheel turns, seasons change and time moves on. For me, Autumn is the beginning of another cycle. The fruits of our Summer energy have blossomed and been harvested. Now is the time to begin the inward journey to the stillness of Winter. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Autumn is the time of the corporeal soul, the physical body and its boundaries. In this way, it governs the lungs and large intestine. Breath is our constant physical connection to the outside world; it is processed through our lungs, and through the large intestine we release what no longer serves us. The lung and large intestine are about taking in and letting go, whilst keeping a strong healthy sense of self – loving the skin we are in.
With this in mind, this first recipe is aimed at keeping the bacteria in the large intestine healthy and active. All mushrooms are great at boosting the immune system and reducing fat and cholesterol levels in the blood. Shitake mushrooms especially are said to be “a source or interferon – a protein which appears to induce an immune response against cancer and viral diseases.” Risotto, if you haven’t cooked it before, can seem daunting, with the exactness of quantities and specific timing, but I find if I prepare all the ingredients before, and have them to hand, it is really just a question of standing, stirring and adding.
Shitake Mushroom Risotto
60g olive oil
300g Arborio rice
1 medium onion, diced
2 – 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
5 Shitake Mushrooms,
200ml Dashi broth
(To make the Dashi broth, soak the five shitake mushrooms for 30 mins in water from a recently boiled kettle. The Dashi broth and the vegetable stock, must be kept at a gentle simmer so as not to interrupt the cooking of the rice when adding.)
1200ml vegetable stock
120g parsley, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
60g Parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt half the butter and half the oil. When they are hot, add the onions and soften them on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Next, add the garlic, finely sliced shitake mushrooms and half the parsley, softly frying for another 5 minutes before adding the rice. Stir it for a few minutes so that all the grains are coated with buttery juices. Now add the Dashi broth, again stirring constantly until it has been absorbed by the rice. Do the same with the stock adding a ladle full (approx 100 ml) at a time. After 15-20 minutes, the stock should have been completely absorbed leaving a creamy sauce in which the soft rice sits. Stir in the remaining butter, oil, parsley, parmesan and lemon juice.
Perfect comfort food on an autumnal evening.
At this time of year, our immune system is really under pressure. All seasons can appear in one day, which can compromise our defences. Carrageen Moss is great at soothing and protecting the lungs. It’s an age old traditional remedy, and any food which resembles the organ its treating has to be a winner.
20g Carrageen Moss
1 pint water
Flavour of choice
Rinse the moss clean and place it in a saucepan. Let it soak in the water for 10 minutes and then bring it barely to the boil to gently simmer for about 30 minutes until the moss has dissolved. Sometimes not all the moss dissolves, so strain it and at this point add the flavour of your choice; perhaps the juice of an orange or a lemon and some honey (My kids, of course, like blackcurrant cordial). Then pour it into a mould and leave to set in the fridge.
Of course, for this time of year, I couldn’t leave without talking onions. They are a fantastic vegetable, full of sulphur, which is great for carrying toxins and heavy metals away from the body. They gently warm and move blood in the body and can decrease catarrh build up. Just think of how your mucus membranes react when you cut an onion. They get all those juices flowing.
Home Made Cough Syrup
½ onion, sliced
½ onion, whole
5-7 sprigs of fresh thyme
Pour the honey over the sliced half of the onion and thyme (in a jug) and let it sit and steep for about 20 mins. Take 1-2 tsp of this steeped honey at least 3 times a day. Discard the mixture after 2 days and hopefully you won’t have to make more as the virus will have left the body. The other half of the onion you can leave under your bed overnight. The old wives tail says it draws and holds the virus and bacteria to itself. In the morning, don’t eat it, throw it away. Have a healthy, happy passage through this transitional Autumn time; keep up that all over glow.
Joanne is a fully qualified Shiatsu Practitioner who specializes in food and diet. To book a consultation, please contact her on 0866070432. For information on whole food catering or to book a place on her one day cooking courses, email email@example.com
Cooking with Yin and Yang – September 2011
The Art of Conscious Cooking for the Lung/Large Intestine – October 2011