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with guests

Nourish and Flourish - medicinal mushrooms
by Sarah Horsfall, student nutritionist

Medicinal mushrooms such as Shitake, Reishi, and Maitake contain amazing health giving properties which make them a useful ingredient to have in the kitchen all year round. These mushrooms produce organic compounds that can boost your immune system, lower blood pressure and even fight cancer. You can buy a packet of Shitake or mixed, dried mushrooms in your local health food store or supermarket and use them in risottos, stews or casseroles. Another great way to enjoy Shitake Mushrooms is in this nourishing soup, packed full of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Shitake and Cabbage Soup
1 packet of dried Shitake (or mixed) Mushrooms rinsed and soaked for 20 minutes.
½ cup of green or puy lentils
1 pint of Bouillon stock or miso
1 inch stick of Kombu seaweed (optional)
1 onion chopped
3 or 4 garlic cloves crushed
A small cube of ginger, grated or finely minced
¾ lb hard vegetables chopped up small (e.g. celery, carrots, sweet potato, turmeric, leeks)
2 handfuls of any green leafy vegetable (e.g. cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, spinach, pak choi) shredded or sliced

  • Wash the lentils then boil and simmer them in the stock for 20 minutes with a stick of Kombu to make them easier to digest.
  • Chop up the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, celery, sweet potato etc. into small pieces and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes.
  • When the vegetables are just beginning to soften add the greens and leave to simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Whilst the greens are cooking, chop up the mushrooms with scissors, or leave them whole, and add them with their soak water to the soup. Stir lovingly.
  • Finally, ladle up a big bowl full, sprinkle parsley or coriander on top, slurp up the goodness and give thanks to Mother Nature for all her abundance.

  • Sarah can be contacted on tel 020 8613 0595

    Seed milk smoothies
    by Theresa Webb, 20 years experienced as a vegan raw foodist and chocalatier

    Make seed milk smoothies for breakfasts with either fruit or a combination of fruit and vegetables. They are especially rich in calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C.

    1 handful sunflower seeds (soak them overnight in water, ideally)
    1/2 pt fresh water Strain the soak water off the seeds.

  • Blend the seeds and fresh water together (ideally use a filter or VitaMix).
  • Use to mix with a museli combination of oats, seeds, slices of fruit, dried fruits or chopped nuts.
  • Green Smoothie
    1 portion of milk
    1 banana
    1 apple
    Handful of berries
    2 sticks of celery
    1/4 chunk of cucumber 2" or more
    1 handful of spinach leaves (add more, or less, as preferred).

  • Blend together all the ingredients
  • Theresa can be contacted at Kitchen Buddy and emailed here. Tel 020 8697 2755.

    Easy Elderflower champagne
    by Merlyn Peter

    Easy Elderflower champagne
    1 bowl of flowers picked on a dry day just as they have opened
    2 spoons of cider vinegar
    2 lemons squeezed with skins
    2lb white sugar
    2-3 gallons of warm water

  • For a cordial sprinkle sugar over the flower heads and leave in a bowl overnight with cloth over the top. This produces a strong scented syrup which can subsequently be used in cordials without needing to boil stems. Just add more water and sugar and reduce again.
  • For champagne place all ingredients in a large container and let stew for 2-4 days.
  • Strain through a muslin bag into demijohns with corks. When they start popping their gas levels can be gauged.
  • Decant into plastic bottles with lids and watch over 10 days for expansion.
  • Refrigerating early on will slow down the fermentation process.
  • Using small recycled bottles allows for test tasting.
  • Serve cool.
  • Natural toothpaste
    by Irma & Josep Lyn, volunteers at Solteriologic Garden, Catalonia.

    White clay (available in health-food shops)
    Tincture of propolis

  • Make a concentrated (a little water with lots of plants) infusion.
  • Leave the infusion to cool with the plants included.
  • Filter out the plants.
  • Mix in an earthenware or glass container the white clay and the concentrate of herbs until you obtain the required texture.
  • Add 2 drops of tincture of propolis.
  • Keep in small containers with lids.
  • Use freely (no need to rinse—just swallow).
  • Alternatively, use as face paint (Watch this space for almond oil recipes).

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