by Louise Bennett
With the approach of winter our weather turns colder, darkness arrives a little earlier and we seek warmth. It is a time to nourish our soul and our body. Yin predominates in winter and it is a wonderful time to contemplate and meditate. Our body processes slow a little and we may store a bit more energy in order to be ready for the activity required when spring and summer arrive again. During winter we need to nurture our yin energies, the aroma of a winter stew invokes memories of nourishment for both the body and soul.
In East Asian Medicine the water element is associated with winter. The organs of the body that correspond with winter are the kidneys and urinary bladder and the colour of winter is black. The tastes and flavours of winter are salty and bitter which promote sinking and centring. It has been suggested that these flavours bring heat deeper into the body, leaving the skin cooler and thus more tolerant of the cooler environment. This is a bit of a conundrum, as too much salt will increase water intake and weaken the kidney and the heart energy.
To balance kidney energy during winter eat from a selection of salty foods or foods that are dark in colour such as fresh fish and salted fish, caviar, shellfish, pork, eggs, beans, seaweed and sea vegetables, soy sauce, miso, figs, blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, kale, wild rice, walnuts and black sesame seeds. Goji berries and black fungus should be included in the foundations of any winter diet.
Goji Berries Black Fungus
If you are prone to cold add cloves, fenugreek, fennel, and anise seeds, black peppercorn, ginger, cinnamon, walnuts, black beans, onion family (garlic, onions, chives, shallots and leeks), red quinoa, chicken, lamb, trout, and salmon.
Tamari – GF soy sauce
If you tend to feel the heat you might choose foods with a cooling nature that influence the kidneys such as millet, barley, tofu, string bean, black bean, black soybean, mung bean and its sprouts, kidney beans, and seaweeds.
Cooking in winter is best if it is long and slow such as a casserole in the oven or a slow cooker. Allowing food to cook slowly builds the yin energy of the food, providing easily digestible and nourishing meals.
So winter is about staying warm, nourishing our bodies, building yin and allowing ourselves time for a bit of introspection and contemplation.
Note : all the bold items illustrated are available at our clinic at 94 Willard St, Carina Heights Qld 07 3843 3555
Winter Sunshine Soup
Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford
1 cup yellow split peas Place peas and kombu in a pot with water.
2 quarts water Bring to boil. Reduce heat ans simmer 30 minutes.
1 5-inch piece kombu (seaweed) soaked Add onion, carrot, pumpkin and salt.
½ onion, cut into crescent moons Simmer until peas and vegetables are tender.
2 carrots Add miso diluted in stock and simmer 5 minutes more.
1 cup winter squash diced Serves 8.
½ cup parsley chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
Miso to taste
Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine
From Jude Blereau’s Cooking with Whole Foods
This has a few steps to it but the result is worth the effort. My child who doesn’t like pumpkin or chickpeas loved it (admittedly it was combined with mashed potato!)
|½ cup dried chickpeas (1 cup cooked)
|Pour soaked chickpeas into a sieve, rinse and drain. Put into a large pot well covered with water and cook gently for 21/2 – 4 hours. Check occasionally to remove froth or add more water.
|Olive oil for frying
700g pumpkin peeled and cubed
2 red capsicums
1 garlic bulb
2 tsp fresh thyme
|Preheat oven to 180 C. Massage olive oil over cubed pumpkin and capsicum. Place in roasting tin with the capsicum standing upright cut side down. Cook until capsicum starts to blacken a little. Put capsicum in a bowl and cover. When cool peels skins off and cut into strips. Retain any juices.
Take bulb of garlic and break apart the cloves and place on a square of baking paper. Sprinkle with olive oil and thyme or rosemary. Twist paper together and place on the tray with pumpkin and capsicum. When cloves are soft remove from oven and allow to cool, snip off tops of cloves and squeeze out puree.
2 tsp tamari
¼ tsp cumin
Pinch fennel seeds
Zest ½ lemon or preserved lemon
½ to 1 tsp grated ginger
1 garlic clove crushed
|Combine all ingredients of spice mix
|2 red onions, cut in half and roughly chopped
2-4 carrots cut on diagonal into 3cm pieces
2 orange sweet potato peeled and cubed
1 white sweet potato peeled and cube
½ cinnamon stick
2 tsp pear juice concentrate.
|Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes till clear. Add spice mix, carrots and sweet potato together with garlic puree and capsicums and any juice from capsicums. Rinse out spice mix bowl with 60ml water and add to pot. Add tomatoes, chickpeas and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook gently for 20 minutes.
Then add pumpkin and extra water if mix looks too dry. Cook for a further 40 minutes.
|Honey to taste
|May add honey if required
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with Red quinoa