Water Melon Gazpacho

An international favorite this one was. Not just because of the taste but because the colour was blooming amazing. The August heatwave was still in full throttle so a chilled soup was most definitely in order. Sitting zazen in the sweltering heat for sesshin were participants from twelve nationalities, including quite a few members from […]

Courgette Soup

It’s summer time, it’s hot and dry, and the sky refuses to rain. All the potential storms keep missing the garden. Even our new cat is taking shelter under my desk as it’s the coolest place in the house. (Although he might still be feeling a little shy.) In spite of the heat, standing over […]

Burdock Root Soup

“Ah, monastery soup!” exclaimed Shuho-san.  It does indeed taste like soups served in Japanese training temples. The signature flavour of this recipe is burdock, a long skinny root that grows wild in Europe but has seemingly fallen out of culinary use. In the UK it is more commonly known as a fizzy beverage; Dandelion & Burdock or […]

Chorba Vegetable Soup

Always searching for different soups to serve in oryoki, I stumbled upon this one. Chorba is a lovely spiced soup that comes in infinite variations all across the Balkans, North Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. This is a vegetarian version, of course. Sadly I didn’t have any vermicelli, but […]

Beet & Apple Soup

In 1991, we vacated the Zen Center in Bar Harbor US with the intention to help Kanzeon Sangha and Genpo Roshi set up an international Zen Center in Europe. Each of us carried a large cardboard box filled with inventory and delivered it to Brussels. While waiting for the next step we, along with several other sangha members, travelled to Poland to a beautiful grand […]

Cold Melon Summer Soup

Cold Melon Summer Soup came about after having recently tasted something like this in Alicante.  Marisa and the Zen River Madrid group had invited me to join them for a couple of days and Baruc had prepared it for a late lunch. It was divine; a sort of Ajo Blanco. The recipe intrigued me, almost as much as it […]

Silk Road Lentil Soup

Tenkei just told me he almost never takes second servings in the zendo during oryoki meals, but this time he did. Apparently he wasn’t the only one either. He often says how much he loves the flavours of Middle-Eastern cuisine. This soup reminds me of one they once served in an Mediterranean restaurant in Groningen, whose menu […]

Orange, Banana & Lychee Compote

During a busy sesshin with forty people, I accidentally discovered that slicing the oranges and lychees the night before and letting them marinate with the lychee syrup and lemon juice taste even better than serving them immediately. All the flavours mingle into the yummy syrup. The bananas mingle well too, becoming soft and oozy, but don’t expect them to […]

Carrot & Apple Soup

Margaret, a sangha member from the US, drops in once a year for Rohatsu sesshin. One time, she was helping me in the kitchen as I was preparing soup for the evening meal. There were lots of carrots on the counter, but was uncertain which way the soup wanted to go. Dill, curry, red pepper, coriander? She […]