That is what frozen water often represents to us.
We see the crystal-covered, uneven surface of the ice taking shape as the temperatures drop and the mix of cold air and sparkling sunshine are working its magic.
While the surface might be frozen, underneath it the water still flows, the fish are still swimming, the rocks on the bottom are still being shaped by the underwater currents.
There is a stillness.
A stillness which, when we sit down to listen to it, tells us to slow down, to embrace the darkness which comes in a little earlier every day, to light our candles and allow our attention to turn inwards.
There is a yearning for warming, nurturing and nourishing foods. Foods which represents the holidays and festivities already present in our calendars this very season; pumpkin, squash, (sweet) potatoes, leafy greens such as kale and green cabbage, mushrooms, apples, pears…
While I lived in The Netherlands I fell in love with one of the staple national foods available there at this time of the year – “stamppot boerenkool”, a delish kale and potato mash – even though I never mastered cooking it well.
Another one of my favorite ingredients that I eat almost daily from November till March is sweet potatoes.
I first got to know these in New Zealand in the late 80ies under the name Kumera, and I was totally sold from the first bite on. Whenever I have been able lay my hands on sweet potatos ever since I just have to have them.
Aside from its soft, sweet, soothing and warm taste the sweet potato is the staple food of the traditional Okinawa population in Japan – the population whom has been studied the most intense when it comes to longevity, diet and lifestyle.
This gentle orange, reddish or somewhat purple spud is packed with soluble fibers (great for our gut and gut flora), Vitamin A in the form of Retinol – which among other benefits keep your skin clear and glowing – , potassium (vital for the functioning of among other organs your kidneys, your heart) and calcium (we all know about calcium and bone health right ? Plus there are numerous studies linking calcium intake to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight).
On that note, I would love to share one of my all time favorite recipes ; Sweet Potato Cakes . A complete Water Element / Kindey Yin balancing snack, which I love to savor either over a cuppa with friends or down at the lake wearing mittens with a thermos in hand;
200 g cooked sweet potatoes
100 g buckwheat flour, or a mix of almond and buckwheat flour
100 g ghee
1 apple, chopped in yummy size pieces
1 tspn chopped or grated fresh ginger
a pinch of cinnamon
– if you like to make the taste even more “season” you can add a pinch of nutmeg and cardamon powder as well.
Just stir the ingredients together in a bowl.
You can use either a cupcake or muffin mold – or roll small balls, which you then flatten out to patties.
Let them bake for around 30 minutes on 200 C.