The Art of Conscious Cooking
by Joanne Faulkner
I’ve been looking forward to this season because I adapted a delicious recipe from Daverick Leggett’s book, Recipes for Self Healing, which I think is perfect for this time of year, served with some chewy brown rice and steamed green broccoli. During winter months, we crave long-cooked beans, hot soups and stews. They take their time to release their heat and energy into our body, giving a feeling of grounding and strength. Unless you have a greenhouse, or buy it in a bag, gone are the days of quick growing lettuce and tender leaves. These are predominantly Yin foods, they grow quickly and their energy is dispersed and used rapidly. Now, however, we need the Yang foods, which are generally condensed or small in size and take a long time to grow, such as beans, seeds, barley and millet.
Japanese Aduki Bean Stew
250g aduki beans (2 tins cooked beans)
6 shitake mushrooms
500 ml dashi broth
1 butternut squash
1 medium sweet potato
500 ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons soya sauce
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon honey
Freshly ground black pepper
Pre-soak and cook the beans with a strip of kombu until they are soft. To make dashi broth, soak the shitake mushrooms for 30 mins in water from a recently boiled kettle. Meanwhile, peel and chop the squash and sweet potato into fairly small pieces and steam until almost soft. Following soaking, finely slice the mushrooms and combine with the aduki beans, squash, sweet potato, dashi broth, vegetable stock, soya sauce and ginger. Simmer together slowly until the liquid has reduced by at least half and the flavours have condensed. Take it off the heat; add the honey and black pepper, letting them melt into the stew, and serve.
The taste for this time of year is salty, and the best way to get this flavour is sea vegetables, which are incredibly rich in the minerals that are often missing in our diet due to decline in soil quality. So, although cucumber is a naturally cooling food not usually recommended for this time of year, the purpose of the next recipe is the seaweed. Dulse in the following recipe is said to have over 200 times more iron than green leafy land vegetables. It is exceptionally high in iodine and manganese, which is great for keeping our digestive enzymes and metabolism in smooth running order.
Cucumber and Seaweed Salad
Juice of 1 freshly squeezed orange
Soak the dulse in the orange juice for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the cucumber paper thin and place between paper towels with a weight such as a breadboard on top to press out some of the fluid. Return to the seaweed, which should now be soft, take it out of the orange juice and finely chop as if it were a herb. Toss this through the pressed cucumber and serve as a fresh accompaniment to a warming vegetable curry. It’s also yummy in a chicken sandwich.
The organs linked to this seasonal time and the salty taste are the bladder and kidney. It is the spark created between the two kidneys that is said to fire our energy and will for life. So, lets be good to them. Don’t let them get too cold (so no crop tops in the snow please). One of the best foods to nourish and warm the kidneys, while at the same time assisting the expulsion of toxins from the body, is barley. At this time of year, toss it into as many soups and stews as possible. But, to use it as a medicine, make the following barley water ,which is great for any urinary infections and can also help in strengthening digestion, especially for those with candida.
2 Litres Water
To remove some of the laxative qualities of barley, dry roast it in a large, heavy-based pan for a couple of minutes, then add the water and bring to the boil. When it has reached this point, turn the heat down and allow a slow rolling simmer with the lid on for at least an hour – up to two hours if you can. Strain the barley from the water and allow it to cool. If the liquid is very thick, use it like concentrate and add water. Also, for flavour add lemon or barley malt. The liquor can be kept in the fridge for up to five days. It is possible to eat the leftover barley too. Add some nori flakes just to further nourish those kidneys which, at this time, need to rest and restore, ready for us to enter the spring for another year coming.
Joanne is a fully qualified shiatsu practitioner who specialises in acupressure and food to balance the body. To book a treatment or consultation, please contact her on 086 607 0432. For information on wholefood catering or to book a place on her one-day cooking courses, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Beehive: Mindfulness, Meditation and Contemplation Retreat – 29th December to 2nd January. Also, Conscious Cooking for the Bladder and Kidney coming in January 2012.