(Article written for the current publication of Positive Life Magazine – for past articles on food and many other amazing subjects please visit)
I’ve been looking forward to this season because I adapted a delicious recipe by Daverick Leggett – 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. The longer and slower they are cooked for the longer and slower their energy release will be, ensuring we are kept cosy and supported from the inside at this cold time of year.
Japanese Aduki Bean Stew
- Aduki Beans
- 6 Shitake Mushrooms
- 500 ml Dashi Broth
- 1 Butternut Squash
- 1 medium sweet potatoes
- 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 the soaking, slice finely the mushrooms and combine with Aduki beans, squash, sweet potato, dashi broth, soya sauce and ginger. Simmer them all together slowly until the liquid has reduced by at least half and the flavours have condensed. Take it of the heat. add the honey and black pepper letting them melt into the stew and serve.
Cucumber is a naturally cooling food but the purpose of this recipe is the seaweed. 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 minerals often missing in our diet due to decline in soil quality. 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
- 15g Dulse
- Freshly squeezed Orange Juice
- 1 Cucumber
Soak the dulse in the orange juice for ten 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 where a herb. Toss this through the pressed cucumber and serve as a fresh accompaniment to a warming vegetable curry or 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 which 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, whilst 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.
- 100g Barley
- 2 ltrs 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 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. 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 agrowing.
Joanne is a fully qualified Shiatsu Practitioner who specializes in food and balancing diet. To book a treatment and consultation please contact her on 086 607 0432. For information on whole food catering or to book a place on one day cooking courses visit www.joannefaulkner.ie or email firstname.lastname@example.org.