Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding. An old wartime favourite in a period when nothing would ever go to waste. In our bookcase, there is an old faded hardbound notebook compiled by my great-grandmother in 1936 called “Anna Lendrums Cookery Book”. She wrote the recipes in longhand using dark blue ink. They were collected from acquaintances near and far (mostly […]

Coconut Shortbread

In the 1930s, our Scottish great-grandmother collected and wrote down recipes throughout the war years in a thick, hardbound notebook. Rations made basic ingredients hard to get hold of. Inside the front cover, written in long hand and black ink it reads; “Where butter is mentioned, margarine is meant.” Today we made shortbread using coconut oil, rather […]

Spiced Banana Cake

If you’re looking out for dairy and egg-free, this cake might be up your street. It’s easy to make and bake, comes out moist, and has enough lift for a yummy texture. Gyosei mentioned she was particularly fond of it and had happily munched away too many slices by the time morning coffee break was […]

Stuffed Dates with Apricots

One of the young adults on the Young Minds retreat recently asked if there were any party snacks in the cookbook? There are few recipes that would work nicely, but not a chapter devoted to them. Which got me thinking. why not include one in Volume Two? (Yes, Volume Two could happen. Emphasis on “could” […]

Lychee Cake with Aquafaba

Funny, it was only after I’d finished the Zen River Cookbook a few years ago that more attention in the media started going towards vegan cooking, and  vegan cakes in particular. Maybe living in the Netherlands, where cows are so much part of the culture and landscape, it took a while for it to surface? […]

Chocolate Cherry Vegan Cake

After a few try-outs to make a chocolate cake sans dairy and eggs, this could be a keeper because after the morning coffee-break I found a mystery note lying on the kitchen counter that read; Later someone was surprised to hear it was egg and dairy-free as she thought those kind of cakes can sometimes […]

Chilled Sweet Sake Rice & Mint Pudding.

There were days during Ango training in Japan when there was so much okayu (rice porridge) left-over I wondered if there was anything that could be done with it? After some pondering during zazen this was one recipe I came up with that was perfect for when it was super-hot outside. To my surprise the […]

Ginger Cake

Jifu had bought a jar of stem ginger pieces in sugar syrup while shopping for the kitchen. She explained that when she was young her mother had often used it in ginger cake and it was wonderful. I was intrigued. I’d made it before using ground ginger, but it had always been a bit disappointing. […]

Green Tea Matcha Cake

On account of the Zen River – Japan connection, there is occasionally some spare green tea flying around the kitchen. The other day Ranka had found some matcha (green tea powder) and Shuho-san – who is here from Ottawara, Japan, to train and practice koan study – explained if it’s too old to drink, you could always […]

Nirvana Pudding

One of the things about zazen that never fails to amaze me is how interesting thoughts – and solutions – can arise when the mind stays open. A natural disposition ready for that ureka! moment. So this morning at Zen River, rather than making rice gruel for breakfast a colourful thought popped up saying how nice it […]