English Crumpets Revisited

When we decide to eat breakfast informally and not in the zendo, there is a happy chance for the tenzo to make crumpets. Fresh crumpets are just adorable and so much more tasty than shop-bought ones. (If you are wondering what crumpets are, they’re rather like a cross between a bread roll and a pancake.) Mine usually […]

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, […]

Five Colour Tagliatelle

Twice a year at Zen River, a junior practitioner makes the transition to a senior only after completing a traditional Soto-school rite of passage known as shuso hossen shiki. It’s held at the end of a three-month training period, or Ango. During this choreographed ceremony they must give a dharma talk on a koan in front of the sangha […]

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 […]

Black-Eyed Peas Salad with Tarragon

When the sun starts to shine warm and the blossoms begin to burst (finally! It’s been a long winter in these northern parts of the Netherlands.) salads start to take centre-stage rather than being shoved into the wintry shadows as an after-thought. This nutritious bean salad goes great with summery pasta dishes. Soy sauce and balsamic vinegar lend […]

Whole Baked Pears

Pears are one of my most favourite fruits. I love them with ginger and lemon, or poached in spiced grape juice. And when baked in the oven they are surprisingly divine. The weather has been rather cold this April, and so it felt nicer to serve something warm for breakfast. Because it was Monday morning, […]