It is time to shake out the cobwebs! Spring, that magical time of year that is all about growth and renewal! The birdcall is incessant as a large variety of birds seem to have taken over every bush and tree in the garden these days. They race about scaring away potential predators, pecking at their reflection in the windows and gathering food for the new life in the nests. Some days, the softest April showers provide the garden with the perfect amount of moisture. The vegetable garden is bursting with colour, greens are more green, pinks rosier the blues bluer and everything is blooming. It's a great time to throw the windows open, air the carpets, wash the curtains and rethink the clutter.
Where the recipes begin - Grown and gathered from my organic kitchen garden
Baldpate feeding from Royal Palm berries at Woodford
Spring cleaning has me dusting, polishing, emptying the cupboards and boxing up bits and pieces that we can well and do without. Rubbing beeswax on the wooden doors, brushing on a fresh coat of pastel paint here and there, oh how these simple things help to make our surroundings lighter brighter, more airy. And when all is squeaky clean and sparkly, all I want to bring in are a few bunches of fresh flowers from the garden. I have a few favourites that bloom about now. The Magnolia Grandiflora that was planted on the property by the previous owner over forty years starts blooming around April. The bees congregate in the saucer sized flowers for the pollen as the lime scented perfume wafts through the windows permeating the air with its delicious perfume. Another is a climbing rose that blooms creamy white bunches with pale pink buds. They have a soft sweet scent and are gorgeous when arranged in simple clear glass tumblers.
A year on, since the pandemic started, and we are still filled with anxiety, questions, sadness, loneliness, more and more questions, about the virus and now its vaccine. It would be a rare one among us who didn't succumb from time to time to a bit of comfort eating and perhaps a few extra glasses of a favourite brew to ease the stress of worry, feelings of isolation and fear created by the many lockdowns and quarantines. Yes, thank goodness many of us found refuge and comfort in food to help us adapt to this strange life that we have quickly tried to accept.
Now the extra weight has literally caught up around the middle and feels quite fuzzy in the head! A good spring cleaning of the body and mind is just what is needed to get ready when the world opens up. As spring urges us to declutter our homes, it couldn't be a more perfect time to do a little spring cleaning of our bodies.
A comforting spice tea made by bringing 2 cups of water to the boil. Add a cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 5 pimento berries, 2 cardamom berries and a piece of dried orange peel. Simmer for two minutes. Turn the heat off and add 2 tea bags or 2 t. tea leaves of your choice. Any black tea is good. Strain, mix with home-made almond milk almond milk (recipe for almond milk is in My Goodness! Greens cookbook) and lemon slices.
I approach cleansing and ridding the body of toxins very gently. It took awhile to build up these toxins so it is worth taking the time to safely eliminate foods from the diet, starting with processed foods, meat, poultry and fish and of course alcoholic drinks. Next I eliminate oils, processed sugar, dairy and starch. By day three or four, my diet is vegan, filled with vegetables, fruit, nuts herbs and spices. It is very important to keep hydrated throughout. By about day 5, I am having only liquids, drinking lots of water and coconut water, herbal teas, green juices and broths and I'll stay on that for 2-3 days. Then I'll gradually reverse the process by first adding back vegetables and fruits to my diet and very gradually add other food groups as my body feels the need for them.
I would like to share a recipe that I wrote for my cookbook, My Goodness! Greens, that is perfect at anytime but particularly, this time of year. It is a nutritious, yet light, wilted greens broth, filled with the goodness of ingredients like ginger, lemon grass, mushrooms and seaweed. If you are feeling a little under the weather, just want to lighten your diet for a day or two, this is the perfect start.
For more recipes inspired by my organic garden, My Goodness! Greens cookbook is available right here on our home page!
Blog content, recipes and farm photos- Donna Noble
Photography copyright - main recipe photo - Robyn Noble
Food and Prop Styling - Donna Noble
Wilted Greens Broth - My Goodness! Greens recipe - photography Robyn Noble
Wilted Greens Broth
For The Greens Broth
2 cups assorted baby greens or larger salad leaves torn into bite-sized pieces: We used
organic Tatsoi, Asian Kyona, Mustard Greens, and Swiss chard.
8 oz. udon, soba or rice noodles - optional
4 cups vegetable, beef bone or chicken broth
2 T. organic miso paste
1/2 cup small shiitake mushrooms
1 piece kombu - cut in thin ribbons
1 lemongrass stalk - slightly smashed
1 whole chilli pepper
1" fresh ginger - peeled and smashed
2 cloves garlic - peeled and smashed
1 1/2 cups organic tofu - drained and cut into cubes - optional
2 T. tamari or soy sauce or coconut aminos and extra to serve
A dash of Ume plum vinegar or juice of 1 lime
3 scallion stalks - sliced on the diagonal
A few pea shoots or sprouts
Fresh cilantro leaves and scallion for garnish
Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain, stir and set aside
Heat the broth.
Place the miso in a bowl and add about 3 T. of the hot broth and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
Bring the rest of the broth to a boil and add kombu, ginger, garlic, Tamari (or soy sauce), stalk of lemongrass, whole chilli and tofu cubes. Turn heat to medium and simmer until the tofu is cooked through about 5 minutes.
Remove the broth from the heat. Stir in the miso mixture until smooth and well combined.
Add the shiitake mushrooms and greens. Leave covered for 2 minutes to wilt slightly. Remove the ginger, chilli and lemongrass stalk.
Place a small amount of the noodles in each serving bowl. Ladle the broth into bowls. Add the pea shoots or sprouts, a squeeze of lime or dash of Ume plum vinegar and scallions.
Garnish with cilantro. Serve with a small bowl of soy sauce or tamari on the side if you wish.
Caution: This article shares my own experiences and recipes that work for my body and is not meant as a guide to wellness. It is important to check with your health care practitioner before changing your diet adding new herbs or starting any kind of detoxification or cleansing regime as it is recommended to do so only under professional supervision.