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, […]

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 […]

Red Miso Soup

This soup echoes the days spent in training at Toshoji temple in Japan, where meals are often served on long, low, narrow tables with seven to fourteen monks and guests kneeling on either side, one big soup pot in the middle and a rice cooker perched on the tatami mat floor. The navigation skill it took to pass the soup […]

Creamy Carrot, Sweet Potato & Corn Soup

“Family Week” was a summer event that Zen River hosted for 12 years. The kids practiced how to sit zazen (meditate), chant the sutras during services and eat oryoki style meals – all mixed in with theatre plays, stage sets with costumes, painting, yoga and exercise, and a casual, fun talent show. Tenkei Roshi and […]

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 […]

Parsnip Bisque

In the late 90’s, I was once browsing a colourful recipe book called Weddings, or something like that. It might have been written by a celebrity chef named Martha Stewart, but I’m not entirely sure, and it had been lent to the Zen Center kitchen. Who knows why? Maybe there was a big wedding afoot… Amidst the curlicues and […]

Pumpkin Miso Soup

Miso is an amazing thing. It’s both versatile and healthy, being high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. We have spent quite some time in Japan over the years – at Kirigayaji, the family temple of Hojosan, our dharma great-uncle where we lived for a while, at friends temples, and in training temples – and each time, […]