Its an interesting time, this transformation of winter into spring. In Chinese medicine it’s moving from Bladder/Kidney to Liver/Gall bladder. The Kidney is all about winter and hibernation, about going deep within and replenishing resources. Its element is water and as we are predominantly made up of water it is essential we don’t squander this essence but nuture and nourish it. During this hibernation we must rest, experiencing calm like a deep pool of water, not stagnant but rather retaining a fundemental unshakable stillness to managing life with effortless flow.

So here we are moving out of that season and where was my own hibernation? I remember not getting dressed on Stephens day and I know I didn’t work or have kids on the 3rd of January but the rest is a blur. Here we are entering spring and I passed winter by with a cursory wave from the window of a train which wasn’t stopping.

Its not too late though, its never too late to rest and restore. As kidney energy is the foundation for all the other elements, it is essential that we take care of it, undernourished or out of balance it can affect all the other organs. So here Im going to give a recipe that noursishes the kidney with its use of miso and seaweed but also activates and clears the liver so we are ready for the rising energy of spring.

As we enter into spring I can feel a change happening in my life, Im re evaluating where my life is going and shifting my priorities. In all ways my life is fantastic, I have a family and a job that I love. I have food on the table and heat in the house. Something that has happened though is that I have stopped painting, Ive stopped writing poetry, I’ve stopped swimming naked in the sea and Ive stopped being spontanious. Ive become super organized and very efficient. Im good at logistics; I’ve had to be as a single mum who loves to do it all. But Im not sure if the balance hasn’t become a little tipped. I find myself overly happy when (and if ever) the washbasket is empty or there is no lego on the floor. Im racing ahead always thinking of new projects to create and blogs to write. This is the energy of spring, starting, creating, regenerating, pushing through with new buds bursting. All fine and dandy if I have the winter hibernation to back it up. However if I spend too much time in the spring and liver energy I feel frustrated when things don’t just drop into place as I scheduled. The domino effect of my cunning plan for creation is stalled and I clench my fists with the frustration of misdirection. However if the kidney energy is strong, I can glide through the unpredictability and the messyness of life; adjusting to its twists and turns without loosing sight of the bigger picture, knowing that it will all be ok in the end. It’s a tricky path, this middle way. For me seeing it in terms of the Seasons & Chinese Medicine helps the mind understand, and a soup helps the body figure it out.

Hot and Sour Soup

  • 25g dried mushrooms
  • tablespoon of oil
  • splash of Rice wine
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 1 ltr Dashi broth (which is the stock from the rehydrated mushrooms)
  • 100g frozen sweetcorn
  • 1 bunch spring onion
  • Splash of fish sauce or soya sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Splash of sesame oil
  • Sprinkle of chopped and dried wakame seaweed
  • 2 handfuls of chopped Pok choi or baby spinach
  • Bunch of fresh corriander

Method – Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 litre of boiling water for approximately 20 minutes until they are soft. As they are rehydrating fry the red onion garlic, ginger and mushrooms on a medium heat until soft and the onions are transparent. Splash in the rice wine, allowing it to bubble. Chop the rehydrated mushrooms and add to the pan together with the sweetcorn and scallions, pouring over the water the mushrooms have been soaking in. Allow all ingredients to come to the boil and simmer together for 5 minutes. Finally splash in the soya sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, seaweed, spinach, corriander and take off the heat. While the greens are wilting down decant a laddlefull of the broth, dissolving the miso paste in to taste. I usually like a heaped teaspoon per litre of broth. Stir the dissolved miso back into the soup which is now cooked and ready to serve to one very hungry person or two polite people who arent very hungry. Deeply nourishing yet light and lively.

Since writing this blog earlier in the day, many people have arrived with spanners for my schedules, Scout leaders with misinformation hidden in secret facebook pages that need Tolkein style deciphering, co-parenting ex partners who mis-read and muck up holiday schedules, clients who cancel at short notice and dates that don’t show. So Im going to be drinking a bucketful of this soup and trusting that its all ok, if the kids don’t go on their hike, if I never have another date/client, something else will turn up. I know what I want and that is to live my life in joy so that’s what I’m doing. Im gonna lie in the boat for a while, just drifting downstream.