Pears Support the Lungs
Pears are cooling, and specifically affect the lungs, eliminating heat and excess mucus, relieving coughing associated with hot lungs, moistens the lungs and throat and dryness in general and quenches thirst resulting from heat conditions. Here's two recipies for poached pears, delicious and easy to digest and you can make them up to 2 days ahead and chill.
Poached Pears in Red Wine
4-6 pears peeled with stalks remaining
1 bottle red wine
225g caster sugar
1 cinnamon stick, halved
Fresh thyme sprig
1 vanilla pod halved lengthways, scrape out the seeds then cut each piece of pod into three long thin strips
Put into a large saucepan with the wine, sugar, cinnamon, thyme and pears making sure they are covered in the liquid.
Cover the pan and poach the pears over a gentle heat for 20-30 mins, The cooking time will very much depend on the ripeness of your pears – they should be tender all the way through when pierced with a cocktail stick.
Take the pears from the pan, then boil the liquid to reduce it by half so that it’s syrupy. Serve each pear with the cooled syrup, a strip of vanilla, a piece of cinnamon and a small thyme sprig.
Poached Pears in Spiced Tea
4 pears helved, peeled and cored
50g caster sugar
1 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp redcurrant or cranberry jelly
2 spiced fruit tea bags
Put the sugar, honey, jelly and tea bags into a big saucepan with 600ml water and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Lift out the pears, then turn up the heat,
boil for a few minutess until syrupy. Discard the tea bags.
Serve the pears with the warm syrup poured over and a blob of yogurt, crème fraîche or swirl of single cream.
Leafy greens are fantastic blood builders . . .
With nettles in the flowerbeds, dandelions between the flagstones and wild garlic in the woods, now time of year to get out and gather these wild fresh greens and make them into a delicious and highly nutritious soup. Chinese medicine theory highly recommended including them now because they support the yang aspect of us - that is the ascendant and expansive qualities of spring, which are both part of us, and are rising out there in nature.
The picture below shows a selection of spring greens from a my allotment, sorrel from the herb garden, nettle tops from the no-mans-land area by the water tank, and the last of the kale. But basically any combination of greens is good for soup, and of course you can always buy them from the supermarket.
Wild Spring Green Soup
Spring Green Soup Recipe
The keys to an excellent spring green soup are potato - to give it body - and good stock - to give it spirit. Note that a carrier bag is the standard measure for wild greens.
Wash half a carrier bagful of fresh-green leaves. Wear rubber gloves if your greens include nettle tops and discard anything you don't like the look of and any thick stalks.
Melt 50g butter in a large saucepan, add a chopped onion (or a dozen crow garlic bulbs if you want to be truly wild) and cook for a few minutes until softened.
Add a of litre stock a large potato and carrot peeled and cut into cubes and the greens.
Bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 15 minutes until the potato is soft.
Remove from the heat and purée the soup with an electric blender. If you like it super smooth, or if some tough stalks have got into the soup pass it through a sieve. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into warmed bowls and float a teaspoonful of creme fraiche on top. As this melts, swirl in a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil and a dash of Tabasco.
Continuing My Personal and Professional Development
I have appreciated being a participant on a two week break on a meditation retreat at Dhanakosha retreat centre on the banks of Loch Foyle at the beginning of February.
We woke up to a fall of snow on the first morning of the retreat and then witnessed a brief but heavy fall on the last day, it was quite magical.
The retreat context and the landscape provided an ideal environment to help connect more deeply to the elements - inside and out.
Meditation Retreat - February 2016
Cultivating awareness and mindfulness of the bodies energies through mediation is very much part of the traditional acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
Chinese medicine says the bodies energies are the same as those in nature so it is an important part of my personal and professional life to know these in myself and the world as fully as possible as it helps me connect to my clients to the best of my ability when practicing acupuncture here in my clinic.
Sally Lancaster is a registered acupuncturist and shiatsu practitioner and works from her home clinic Wellbeing East in Walthamstow.
Continuing My Professional Development
I was back in Southend again last weekend with friends and colleagues on a two day workshop on auricular (ear) acupuncture. Expert in the field Jim Chalmers (left) made learning fun. We were finding out more about the whole microcosm of points on the ear that correspond to specific parts of the body (see right) and how best to use them to treat physical pain, addiction, emotional issues and 'toxic scars'.
Auricular (Ear) Acupuncture
There is microcosm of points inside the ear correspond to specific parts of the body which acupuncturists use for treating pain, digestive problems, smoking cessation, weight loss, generalized stress and anxiety, and 'toxic scars'.