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  1. field mushroom



    You may well know that we go aforaging for the natural goodness of the earth as often as we can.  But.. we would never forage for mushrooms.  They are really hard to identify and can be very toxic is you choose wrongly.

    So we forage through the grocers, market stalls and supermarkets for our mushrooms.

    Believe it or not there are several kinds of mushrooms, each with their own qualities.  I don't mean the  oyster, porcilini etc I am talking about everyday mushrooms.  Some are tiny button mushrooms, closed cap mushrooms, breakfast mushrooms know as portabella, chestnut mushrooms and the rest.  I am very happy if we spot some  field mushrooms for sale.  They are the ones that look a bit neglected and raggy with a longer stalk and a flat cap that doesn't curl under like the usual  shop  mushrooms.

    These are full in flavour and it is very easy to make a pate with them without much effort at all.

    Here's how:

    I don't do quantities so prepare to have fun experimenting to find your ideal field mushroom pate.

    First add some coconut oil (or whatever you choose) to a pan and add onions softening them gently, add garlic (always with mushrooms) I keep it small but if you like garlic pile it in.  Next look around for any fresh herbs you might have or dried ones if you have to.  I add a little grated fresh ginger or powdered just a dash, the idea is not to taste it but to allow it to influence the background taste and a little chilli powder ditto.

    Now chop your mushrooms, stalks and all - if you can't find field then breakfast ones as the second best.  Fry  until the mushrooms are soft.  Depending on the mushroom there will be liquid building up.  Some mushroom are soaked in water to absorb and weigh heavier.  

    When you are happy with having a little liquid to allow you to pulverise then do so and voila you have a field mushroom pate.  Vegetable pate home made is not as firm as that you buy and is more like a spread but if it is too spready for you, you can add a few yeast flakes or grind up some walknuts into a powder and add them.

    I sometimes just break up some walnuts and add them not too soak up the liquid but because walnut seems to go very well with mushroom.

    Have fun and enjoy.

  2. 103956133_3282757051774510_385057418064270625_n

    This fantastic foxglove must be the best that it could possibly be.  It might be a freak of nature but it has produced a very impressive flower.

    As we approach the last vestiges of confinement and like a butterfly tentatively feeling its way out of its restricted cocoon we need to slowly emerge checking out the safety of the enviroment we are joining. It's like nothing we have known before. Now while our mind is less cluttered with social commitments, shopping trips to replenish a jaded wardrobe and all the other things that have been put on hold is it not time to ensure that we emerge as the bestx version of ourselves we can be? Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Keeping in contact with ourselves by continuing to relax regularly and contemplate, practise self analysis and self enquiry and develop your intuition all help with finding to true you.

    We have seen some great changes in the world due to the covid and the lock down, especially at first: climate improvements, nature blooming more than for some considerable time as it is left smog free and uncontaminated, more care and consideration for others, noticing others and especially the ones alone, generally with a few exceptions we have become a much more caring and compassionate  country.

    Let's not lose that.  Let's hang on to those feelings of self-worth, self-knowledge and self-preservation as we emerge into a much more distracting and demanding world.    Let's start to really develop all those intuitions and beliefs that keep us strong and firm in our commitments.  Let's see the unreal world that is about to attack us for what it is - a passing moment or two of distraction and unimportant nonsense that we get caught up in.

    Ways to develop reality:

    • Relax and let your mind be free - sounds easy but it's not.  Find a quiet place to relax and be at peace, undisturbed.  Lie and think of whatever comes into your head, let it pass through.  If it is disturbing or a nagging that you are wasting time try to ignore that and let it pass through.  The more you do this the better you will get but it is not something that happens overnight and it can get tedious whilst you are waiting.
    • This is a bit more difficult - next time  something disturbs you whether it is one of those oops shouldn't have said that, or a criticism, or a suspicion or basically anything that makes you feel m disturbed, uncomfortable .. then take a few moments to assess what you are experiencing i.e. in your body  is there tention or weakness, vulnerability or fear.  In your mind what are your thoughts, what do you relate them to which kind of negative reaction.  Try to allow your mind to relate to other times when you may have felt similar and just let that lay with you.
    • Reading a story, watching a film, hearing of an incident that leaves you with emotions.  Sit with the enotions, relax and let your mind do the rest.  You are aiming for your mind to take you to your personal experiences that have had that same reaction on you.  This will take an long time working one it but it is well worth the commitment if you can get a better understanding of yourself at the end.
    • For more ideas and to work with others in realising some of these freedoms enroll on our Heart and Mind course starting very soon om Zoom.  Lasts for 6 months 2 evenings per month and at half price really too good to miss.  £180 instead of £360
    • Phone for more info or simple give feedback about your experiences whilst working through some of these issues.
  3. carrot tops

    Carrots have leaves.  Whatsmore they are edible and extremely nutritious.

    Just a word of warning.  Obviously when you buy carrots from the supermarket they have usually been at the very least stored chilled, they don't last very long because of this, they are usually a lot bigger than those you get with the tops attached and yet the 'whole' carrots are more expensive.  So you can be sure your carrots will be fresher and will last longer with the greens attached.  However, un;ess you buy organic the greens are the bits above ground that get all the chemical sprays, inspect repellants etc.  So it is really best to buy organic again a little bit more expensive but if you normally throw the tops away then look at it as though you are buying two veg for one. 

    The greens taste a lot like parsely and carrot.  They are quite strong and towards bitter and perfect for including in soup, casseroles and other mixed dishes.  You get a lot of top for a carrot.  You can also cook them with other greens as a side dish.  Be sparing with them as their flavour will dominate if left to itself.

    The nutritional value of carrots is the stuff that is said to help you see in the dark and gives carrots that lovely orange colout.  Beta carotene which the body converts to Vit A (the eye vit).  So carrots are bursting full of vit A, poassium and antioxidents in the main.  As well as eye  health they are also linked to healthy blood pressure.

    So the tops have a few different qualities.  They don't have the same beta carotene but they beat the root hands down for Vit c also providing potassium, vit K and chlorophyl, so excellent for blook purification and health.

    Some ideas for using carrot tops:

    Whole carrot soup

    Make a tea infusion by adding a fwq lwaves , lemon and maple syrup

    Pesto using carrot tops instead of basic or half and half

    Merely a few ideas but when you get used to them you will find ways to include them into your menus.




  4. ginger growingWhether you know it or not ginger is something that you probably have pretty often in any ready meals, soups and sauces and sweet dishes.  It is a great way to add flavour to your dish providing you do so with subtly.

    Ginger is a herb and is usually bought in powdered form.  The root ginger, which is the thing that you might buy coated in suger crystals for travel sickness or queeziness, is the true herb and as the name suggests is a root.  If you actually grow your own ginger it is very easy and although the plant itself is a bit spindly they produce almost secretly a clump of small pretty flowers within a clump of the stalk.  There is also an ornamental Ginger plant where the flowers are more significant. 

    The difference between using powdered ginger and ginger root is as different a fresh nettle and tea bag nettle tea.  There is no comparison.

    This is an update from a short video I made showing me planting a ginger root experimentally to see how it would grow.

    Ginger is considered a must for super health for the following reasons (although a doctor should be consulted for any health condition and there are some contra indications for certain medication) :

    It is well considered to be good for any kind of sickness and for soothing the stomach and helping with digestion.  It is a calmative.

    It is often depended on to support prevention and recovery from colds.  Often taken sliced with lemon and honey or an alternative sweetener  in hot water.

    It is said to be great for the heart and for pain as it is a stimulant and so increases the metabolism.  So great for help with cholesterol too. Here the contra indication raise their head.  Any medication that is controlling or stimulating your metabolism is careully calculated and any interference is best run by the professional who precribed them.

    People with oesteoarthritis have said that ginger greatly reduces the pain.

    It can also be used topically by squeezing the oil from a chunk of the root and mixing with a little olive or almond oil or adding to a non perfumed cream.  Don't forget that the ginger is still able to enter your blood stream through your skin.

    Add a slice of ginger to your daily water for a subtle taste that is healthy

    Some of the more obvious culinary uses are - well.... ginger biscuits, gingerbread, pineapple and ginger pudding and so much more.

    So give growing ginger a go and let us know how it works out.

  5. Spinach is one of the modern power house foods.  If you ever watched Popeye you could be forgiven for checking out your biceps after eating it.  However those Popeye cartoon resulted from a decimal place in thw wrong place leading researches to find that spinach was a muscle builder.   But you know if you believe it ... well who knows!

    Back to spinach.  I live in Bury, home of the worlds famous Bury market, (or is that more hype). and I was delighted to find some spinach in little clumps with roots which is how it alwaus used to be when I was young and it was quite touch so always needed cooking.

    But nowadays most spinach comes in small tender leaves ideal for eating raw or for cooking.

    So what about the nutritional benefits?  Well spinach is one of the veg that has different benefits depending on whether it is raw or cooked.  So in fact its good to eat it both ways.

    Raw spinach inhibits to absorption of calcium and iron that unfortunately are what spinach is rich in.  So cooked would give you more benefit for those nutrients.  Raw spinach is rich in Vitamins and minerals such as folate, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium some of which are easier to absorb from raw food.

    When cooked spinach releases and makes easier the absorption of vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron.  Also cartenoids like Beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are more absorbable.

    So it really is a good idea to mix and match cook and raw.

    Cooking spinach is very easy and especially the young leaves very quickly almost melt to next to nothing so you do need a lot more when using in a recipe.  But why not throw a few leaves into the last cooking inutes of a soup, stew or in fact any dish.  

    Happy eating


  6. Yoga through a lens

    progress yoga pic

    The yoga 200 hour teacher training course is in its sixth month or about half way and its all been on Zoom so far. Admittedly it all seemed a bit strange at the beginning back in September when everyone was living this strangled covert Covid life and there we were training through a lens. It felt like speaking to somone while looking at them through a telescope. But hey the human being has this wonderfully infinite capacity to adapt and adapt we did.

    We have a weekely Zoom meeting and are well on track with the course content which is suitably 50% practice and training and 50% delving into the depths of yogic thinking. My trainees have started giving twenty minute micro teaches weekly since the start of new year as opposed to monthly on the old live course and this has been a great move as it nourishes their progress more quickly.

    The group have been asking me this week if I can add a new module on how to teach yoga on Zoom which is encouraging as three months ago they were asking me when I thought they could start coming into the studio instead of Zoom. They are now beginning to see the possible advantages of both.

    On this week's session trainees were re-positioning their device cameras before starting their practice teach so they could be seen better. They are all evolving wonderfully. It's lovely to see this adaptive progress. Discussions off the mat are also maturing and developing. You get to a place when you are so engrossed in the session you almost forget you are on camera.

    The future is looking good for yoga teacher training. Part of it might be through a lens in a hybrid delivery but I'm glad to say it's working!

    Barry Todd