White Mushroom Soup

The one time of year I make a “white” mushroom soup always seem to fall on Christmas Eve. We serve it during the special dinner we make for the small band of merry warriors that stay at Zen River over the festive season. Funnily enough, the only reason I prepare it then is because that’s what our dad used to make every Christmas Eve while […]

Tenzo Note 3: Random Acts of Kindness

It always surprises me how much we might take for granted in this fickle life – let alone the fact we even have one! For this reason, it’s comforting to occasionally show appreciation to those who offer a crucial service that keeps this fragile society intact and flowing. For instance; the bin men. Around Christmas a few years ago we’d forgotten to wheel […]

Red Enchilada Sauce with Apricots

Amazingly versatile, incredibly easy – make buckets of it and throw it over everything!  It’s quite spicy, so choose your chillies to the degree of heat you prefer. I love it spiced with smoked chilli chipotles – if you can get a hold of them. The other great thing about this type of sauce is that the ingredients are […]

Curry in a hurry…Pumpkin Kari

At 6:30 am I sprang (or stumbled more likely) from the zendo into the kitchen to prepare breakfast, assuming we were a group of twelve. Squinting at the attendance list in the dim light, it indicated twenty-four. Everything would have to be doubled! Scrambling my thoughts together we quickly decided what would be possible to prepare within the hour before breakfast, besides […]

Tenzo Note 2

The delegation of monks, nun and lay members from Lonquan Monastery in Beijing, China, just departed Zen River for Amsterdam after a two day visit. Although their monastery has been recently restored and active for just 10 years, they carried in them the essence of Buddhism dating back almost 2,000 years, without even being aware of it. Their practice […]

Tenzo Note 1

What will the next meal be, maybe something Chinese? We’re sitting on a coach, travelling with a dozen Chinese monks in their brown robes and several lay members from Longquan temple in Beijing. The opening ceremony for the new Chinese Longquan Great Compassion temple in Utrecht took place yesterday to a lot of colourful fan-fare (even the […]

Fennel & Almond Cake

Much of our Zen practice is to see through our conditioned patterns; the patterns that tie us up in knots and confuse us; the conditioning that prevents us from being free. There are all kinds of conditioning that make us who we are and a very fascinating one is our cultural conditioning. We hardly realize how much influence […]

Gumbo with Tomato and Beans

I don’t actually know what a real gumbo tastes like, or even an unreal one for that matter. The time we ate what was considered to be the “real deal” was in Hawaii. Yes, in Hawaii, no less. Hawaii is long way from Gumbos’ Louisiana origins, but the menu said it was Gumbo, and I’d always wanted to try […]

Flap Jacks

The city of Preston is graced with probably the biggest bus station in Europe. Perhaps even in the world. The humongous concrete structure, home to 80 bus stands and several parking levels, was scheduled for demolition years ago, only to be listed as a grade II iconic monument just in the nick of time –  thanks in part to public […]