Winter is Here
Tip: Embrace the winter.
We often treat winter as the enemy. An inevitable opponent to battle, defeat and survive. But winter can be a time of peace, of quiet introspection and personal growth. Just as the trees focus their energy inwards to nourish themselves during their long winter slumber, we too can take the opportunity to slow down and spend time nourishing our mind and spirit.
Winter is the perfect time to: explore the arts and culture around your city or town, get lost in a good book, start a journal, learn a new craft like pottery, crocheting or dorset button making, give meditation a go, try your hand at writing or drawing or photography or painting, or maybe just take some time out to daydream...
Mushrooms are one of the most nutrient-packed, health-promoting foods on the planet. The delicious and versatile micro-fungi have been used medicinally around the world for thousands of years, and mushroom extracts are still used in immune-boosting herbal preparations and nutritional supplements today.
Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and are an excellent source of vitamins C, D and B- group vitamins as well minerals including potassium, magnesium, calcium and selenium.
Mushrooms produce bio-active compounds that provide health benefits including: improving nutrient absorption, lowering cholesterol, supporting liver and pancreas function to protect against diabetes, improving bone health, lowering blood pressure and strengthening immune function. In addition, mushrooms possess health-promoting properties including anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant. Eating a variety of mushroom species throughout the winter will help to protect you from cold and flu.
Recipe of the day: Mushrooms on Toast.
When it comes to mushrooms, simplicity is best.
The classic pairing of mushrooms on toast is a nutrient packed meal that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
I use a variety of mushrooms, including shiitake, oyster, king oyster, swiss brown and enoki, as the varieties have different properties and health benefits.
The addition of antimicrobial garlic and thyme together with vitamin C-rich parsley make this meal an essential, immune boosting inclusion to your winter menu.
This recipe for mushrooms on toast is just the beginning.
Add a protein such as a poached egg, grilled haloumi, tempeh or some free-range crispy bacon. Add some avocado for extra richness and satisfaction. Top with a sprinkle of chilli flakes or dukkah for some extra spice.
Of course any bread can be used here, swap out sourdough for gluten free or grain free breads to suit your requirements. For a dairy-free option, replace butter with olive oil.
300g mushrooms (mixed varieties), sliced or roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
50g grass-fed butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 thick slices of sourdough bread, toasted
Heat half the butter in a frying pan. When melted add the mushrooms, thyme and a sprinkle of salt.
When the mushrooms start to brown, add garlic and cook, stirring, for a further 4-5 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked through.
Season to taste
Add the rest of the butter and, when melted remove from heat.
Serve on toast, with the parsley sprinkled on top and any other additions you choose.