Saturday, 4 April 2009

Temple of the Soul Food

We all feel run down and need a pick up.

I have felt like this in the last few days. I recently met a friend who is newly pregnant and feeling completely exhausted and run down. Pondering my advice to her about what she should eat to perk herself up and to regain some fortitude at such a demanding time and also feeling myself in need of deep nourishment I went to the forest to collect herbs.

Well actually I went to the Farmers Market and other haunts of high provenance in London this morning.  

I had been talking to a Chinese Doctor about food and it's healing qualities and he said for my depleted kidney chi i should eat beans, especially aduki  (OK, OK, I do live in North London, this is what we do).  He told me about a dish an old monk had made him from aduki beans, barley and mushrooms.  Just hearing the name of those shiny little red beans and that combination had my heart racing. 

Straight to the health food store.  I could barely wait.   

And so I share with any of you run down soldiers out there a delightfully fortifying meal which hit the spot!
  • Half a mug of aduki beans soaked for about 6 hours
  • Half a mug of pot barley soaked for the same ideally, but not to worry if not
  • One onion chopped small
  • 10 gms of mixed dried mushrooms (or 250g fresh) soaked for 20 minutes, keep the water
  • 2 Sticks celery chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped chunky
  • Some garlic chopped
  • Bayleaf, thyme, small sprig of rosemary, some dill (but do use whatever you have or indeed would like - anything would work here).
  • Glug of olive oil
  1. Rinse the beans and barley and bring to the boil in fresh cold water, simmer for 30/40 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Saute the onion in olive oil until soft, add the celery, carrots for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the drained dried mushrooms, or add fresh ones in the step before.
  4. Add the garlic and bayleaf, thyme & rosemary, but not the delicate herbs, saute for a minute, add the drained beans, and mushroom soaking water.  Top up with some water if necessary.  You want a thick casserole consistency.
  5. Bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes.  
  6. Adjust the seasoning and add the freshly chopped dill or any other delicate herbs.
This would be delicious with rice, or jacket potato and a robust green vegetable.

This is medicine food.  You are guaranteed to feel better afterwards!!

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