This weekend I woke up starving and took myself off to the farmers market where, among other delights, I bought a beautiful array of winter greens - kale, mustard leaves, tatsoi, spinach and rocket. If there's one thing I really love its that combination of greens, which creates such a wildly delicious kick of flavour. Dark greens, as we well know, also pack a punch when it comes to goodness - they're full of incredible nutrients including Vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium, iron and lots of antioxidants.
Already sitting in the fridge I had some fresh shitake mushrooms and a bowl of black beans, which I had gone to the trouble of soaking and cooking - knowing that a week's supply would be needed! Now coming to the end of that week's supply, it was time to use them up in the brunch of all brunches. This is the perfect time of year for eating black beans, as they deeply nourish the kidney energy, which needs extra looking after throughout the winter months. The kidneys are our store houses, the home of our Ki or life force energy, so we do well to nourish this organ carefully. If our kidney energy is low we become easily exhausted, the immune system can't cope and we get sick. So, the answer is eat more black beans! As for shitake mushrooms, well I just can't praise them highly enough, not only for their flavour but also for their goodness. They're packed full of vitamins and minerals, many of which are not present in vegetables. They're a great source of B Vitamins needed for a healthy immune system and brain function, they're rich in fibre, zinc, phosphorous and magnesium, they contain Vitamin C and calcium and they have an almost full spectrum of amino acids. No wonder shitakes have been used as a medicinal food across the East for over 6,000 years. Originating in China, dried shitakes were renowned for their energising powers and were used to cure anything from measles to stomach aches, headaches to bronchitis and many more illnesses. More recently, shitakes have been the subject of many scientific studies, which have shown them to have a powerful effect on blood cholesterol, thus helping to fight heart disease. They have immune boosting properties, which may contribute to the regression of cancerous tumours and viruses and they also have potent antibacterial qualities. I'd say we'd all do well to incorporate a few shitakes into our diets from time to time!!
Now for the recipe. This really was so easy to make and what a nutritious and satisfying brunch I got to enjoy! I smothered my sourdough toast with some homemade parsley and sunflower seed pesto, which just added another layer of delicousness into the equation. It also makes it that bit more filling. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
2 cups fresh shitake mushrooms sliced thin
1 cup oyster mushrooms left whole or halved
2 cups kale
2 cups mixed greens (tatsoi, rocket, mustard leaves, baby spinach)
1/2 cup cooked black beans (approx 1/2 a tin)
3 sprigs thyme leaves picked
1 tbsp sesame oil
squeeze of lemon
1 tsp shoyu
Method: Heat the sesame oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms with a sprinkle of sea salt and the thyme leaves. Saute until the mushrooms are nice and soft but don't allow them to disintegrate, you want them to keep their form. Add in half a cup of blackbeans along with the shoyu and saute for a couple more minutes. Meanwhile, blanch the kale in boiling water for a couple of minutes until tender. Drain and add to the mixed greens. Then add the whole lot into the frying pan, allowing them to semi wilt over a gentle heat. This should literally take a minute or less. To finish, squeeze over a little lemon and add more shoyu if needed.
Parsely & Sunflower Seed Pesto
1 cup parsley leaves fully packed
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt to taste
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
Method: Place all the ingredients in the blender. Whizz but leave some texture. This pesto is nicer with a little crunch.