Friday, May 15, 2020

Quarantine Food Diaries, Thai Vedic bodywork and, Lentil Fattoush Salad

I spent three weeks in the French Alps two years ago, cooking for a group of 65 yogi's doing an 150 hour advanced teacher training. I woke at 6:30 and walked down the mountain road, past wild thyme bushes, picking along the way, gazing upwards at snow covered mountain peaks obscured by morning cloud cover. Each day the kitchen cranked out plant based meals using local market veggies, mountain goat cheeses and warm bread baked just round around the corner from the shala.
The cooking was inspired and a collective effort, joyful and full of love. What I came away with was more than just a beautiful culinary experience but rather, because we were organized enough to work in shifts those of us who wanted to, participated in the occasional advanced teacher asana class or teaching module on anatomy, sequencing or bodywork. I jumped at the chance to learn all I could in between shifts on this bodywork technique that incorporated Thai massage, shiatsu, osteopathy and acro yoga. I paid for a full session of the work on my own body from it's founder Gwyn Williams and what I experienced was nothing short of the most simbiotic flow of practitioner and client body movement. After an hour which found me on my back, on my side, on his knees and hovering above him dangling in mid air, my entire body felt liberated in a way I had never felt before. This therapeutic massage resonated deeply with me, the only hitch was to become a Zen Thai Shiatsu practitioner meant 9 months in Australia. I am a mother of three and well, it wasn't the time, until now!! Covid has brought many of us to a screeching halt and we have had to adapt to survive. I found, another teacher, still waiting for Gwyn to go online, in the meantime, and am loving the practicum, my partner is benefitting a ton. Imagine your partner says, hey, I really have to practice my massage on someone about an hour a day, yes a daily full body massage, not bad.
Expanding my repertoire of healing touch is never a bad thing, is it?
I am a nurturer, the best thing in the world to me is having the ability to wholly take care of people, feed them, love them and heal their bodies, healing the spirit.
The weather is starting to heat up and I chose to make a twist on a Lebanese Fattoush salad.
As the temperature rises my desire for meat wanes and my tastes turn to cold salads and grilled vegetables.
This salad is still warm, but not hot, I just don't love how floury the lentils taste when they are cold, cold beans just don't do it for me, unless it's a hummus, I even serve Cannellini bean salad warm.

Fattoush and Lentil Salad
serves 4

1 cup Beluga lentils
1/2 white onion

4 small cherry tomatoes
1 small cucumber
1/4 cup (roughly) chopped feta 
1 healthy bunch mint
1 tbsp Cumin

1 Tbsp butter roasted pine nuts
Extra Virgin Olive oil, Salt and Pepper

Saute the chopped onion in olive oil. Add lentils briefly saute and then add 4 cups water or veggie stock to a boil, cover and simmer 20 min or until tender, not mushy. 
Drain, set aside.
Meanwhile, chop tomatoes, cucumber, mint, and feta, sprinkle with cumin, more olive oil and salt and pepper.
Let the lentils cool to just warm and mix with the fattoush (tomato, cucumber, mint...) 
top with a a little more mint and buttered pine nuts..

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