Winter is all about slowing down not only our lifestyle but also our bodies. It's a time to treat our bodies to nourishing soups, stews and slow foods. It governs the water Element as we talked about in the last post. Winter rules the organs of the kidneys and bladder, the colour of the season is black, the taste is salty (think anything to do with the sea) and the sound is of a groan.
Winter is a gestational period, one of hibernation and inner replenishment before bursting forth into the beauty of spring.
It is a time to nourish our kidneys with black, salty foods. Grains, berries, seaweeds, dark coloured foods. Grains such as barley, buckwheat, black rice. Black beans, adzuki beans (they’re similar to a miniature kidney bean) black lentils. Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries. Slow foods, nourishing soups and stews, cooked with care and created to give deep nourishment and warm our bodies.
Being gluten free cuts out some of the choices so for the last Retreat held by Amanda Adey in Mount Martha, lunch was a Black Bean and Buckwheat Soup and I have to say, it’s been a weekly meal since in the Freya's Nourishment household. It was served with a seaweed salad and organic kimchi, and for dessert we had Matt’s Fruit Tart (recipe in Nourishing Treats ebook) with blackberries and rosemary.
Matt's Fruit Tart
This soup is full of flavour from the various vegetables (which can be anything you have in your fridge, the recipe is really just a guideline) and the rich homemade stock. If you are so inclined, I have been advised from Dr Abbie Cloherty from Zhong Centre an even more deeply nourishing way of having this soup would be to make a stock from black boned chicken, but I personally use vegetable stock. This is best made when you are ready to eat this as the buckwheat continues to soak up the liquid if left sitting overnight. However it does last well, you just need to top it up with more stock or water. It takes about 20 minutes to make - longer if you are making your own stock. I also love to add in snow fungus (read more about it here). Just soak it to soften then remove the core, before adding to the soup and it disappears into all the textures and takes on the flavour of the broth, but adds a boost of collagen to the soup.
Black Bean and Buckwheat Soup
- 2 cups vegetable stock (recipe below)
- 1 tin organic black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 piece of daikon, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
- Snow fungus, cored and soaked (optional)
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup buckwheat groats
- 1 tsp. chili flakes
- Chopped parsley
- Lemon juice
- Salt & pepper
- Warm oil in saucepan over medium heat
- Add mushroom and saute for 2 minutes before adding the onion, carrot daikon and sauté a further 5 minutes
- Add garlic, buckwheat and chili flakes, sauté 3 minutes more.
- Stir in the black beans, snow fungus (if using) and the vegetable stock, a bay leaf and 2 cups water. Cover and slowly bring to a boil before reducing the heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until buckwheat is tender.
- Season with salt and pepper if needed and top with chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- 1 eggplant diced
- 1 zucchini sliced
- 2 carrots, cut into pieces
- 2 sticks of celery cut into pieces
- A handful of mushrooms - a mix of brown, shiitake,
- 1 onion diced
- A handful of herbs, homegrown preferably, stalks included
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
- A 3cm piece of ginger
- 2 1/2 litres of water
- Salt and white pepper
- Saute the vegetables in the pot to release the flavours. You can use any vegetables, whatever is in season
- Once the vegetables are golden and translucent, add the herbs, spices and water
- Keep the flame on low and allow the stock to slowly come to a simmer
- Simmer lightly for 1.5 hours
- Strain the vegetables and the clear stock is ready to use