Sunday, 27 January 2013

Smoothies, tinctures, capsules and balms

Today was an interesting day.

I have managed to stay on track (okay so it's still January but I might have wandered off course) and attend the IPEN Placenta Encapsulation Training UK course today.  And I was pleasantly surprised.

Now please don't read that thinking that I was expecting to be shocked and horrified.  The pleasant surprise was the amount of information that I was able to take in, the amazingness of placentas and the dips into placental history.  What an fascinating thing!  I have long loved the placenta and today my love grew.

Four of us met in the home of Lynnea Shrief to learn about encapsulating placentas.  She did a fabulous job of getting a lot of information into us all, talking us through different rituals that involved placentas in cultures around the world.  We looked back in history and saw how the Chinese have always used placentas.  We learnt about the nutrients, placental stem cells and modern uses for placentas.  You should have been there.  So much to learn and so much more to learn.  Lynnea didn't hold back on either the benefits or the contraindications.  

We then spent much of the afternoon playing with placentas.  They had been donated for training purposes.  We were able to see the differences between the raw and steamed placentas.  I found it really relaxing to fill the capsules.  Who knew!  I can see how placental encapsulation is such a powerful thing.  It is an amazing life source and not only does it give life to the baby, but once the baby is born the placenta then nourishes the mother and one of the benefits (for most women) is the increase of in milk production... the baby is fed again.

I confess to having been sceptical about the effects of the placenta on the new mother.  Four clients, independently of each other had their placentas encapsulated and all four reported the same benefits.  My interest in them has simply grown and it is quite a natural progression for me to move into encapsulation. 

So... I am now a Placental Encapsulation Specialist and I am looking forward to seeing the effects of that mighty tree of life on my ladies.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Inspirational Networking

On Thursday 17th January I went to a You Inspire Me Community meet up.  We met in a west end vegetarian restaurant..  Those that know me will understand how difficult I will have found it.  Of course, had I seen portobello mushrooms and halloumi... well I would have been in food heaven.  There was a good array of food and many plates were piled high.  I admit to my bias and my love of meat on the plate (perhaps I should have smuggled in some sausages... hmmm.... bacon!).  Anyhoo... I digress.

You Inspire Me was set up by Corrina Gordon-Barnes, who is warm and friendly.  She laughed at my horror at the lack of meat.  The women (and men) that I met at the networking lunch were from a range of backgrounds, from the woman who sources fair trade materials and makes (what I like to call) trousers to slouch in to Authenticity Coach, Laura Ahnemann.  

Corrina Gordon-Barnes

Corrina settled us all in with lunch and then we had a brief talk by Lisa Lister about writing, blogging, getting work into magazines and the ever popular book that we are all in the middle of creating.  She was funny and down to earth and if you look at her CV... she has put in the work.  A short break (you know, bathroom, grab another drink or a plate of cheesecake... yes I went for cheesecake) and then it was time for speed networking.  We were either birds or trees (I swapped to become a tree).  The birds went from table to table, introducing themselves and talking about what they wanted from the meet up.  The trees stayed seated but had the same brief.  Talk, learn, gain, give.  There was so much to learn if you were open for it, and I would imagine that going to a networking event meant that you were open to learn.  Conflict resolutionyogasparkling conversationaccountancycoaching for Mindful Mamas and a South London IBCLC all under one roof.

Lisa Lister

There was a lot of chatter and a fabulous buzz of energy in the room.  It was an amazing afternoon.  I was filled with excitement and enthusiasm.  Not a bad start to my 2013 plan to attend workshops, courses and networking events.  I'm so enthused that I have already booked on to the 18th April event, featuring Samantha Clarke of Zukuri UnLtd.  She is one stylish individual and I loved meeting her.

Samantha Clarke

Of course this post is full of links to some of the people that I met.  Well.. it was a networking event.  I will be going along with my sister Cheryl who bakes rhum cakes and my plan is to eat some of the yummy onion rings that I missed the first time round.  Fret not, I will take mints or sip some mint tea to sweeten my breath for chatting. Now... any one have tips for smuggling in bacon?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Three mung beans, a banana and a brussel sprout

Yesterday a little calm left my life. My clients won't notice the loss, but they will be a little poorer for it.

My beautiful friend, Lady Calm, died yesterday.  

She was the one that I would call or text in a panic when I opened a client's fridge and it had the strangest foods or the least amount of food that I'd ever seen.  "Lady Calm", I'd say, "I have three mung beans, a banana and a brussel sprout.  What on earth am I going to make with that?".  You see, I can cook.  My clients appreciate the meals that I put in front of them.  They are normally good nutritious meals that help build their strength and feed their partners when they return home from work.  They are meals that allow my ladies to sleep during the day, knowing that there was one less thing to have to think about.  They are meals that show my love for my ladies and their new families and my support in the early days.  They are the meals that caused one client's husband to vow to buy an Aga if I would stay (I love Agas - I have no room for one, but in my dream home, there she is.  Centre stage!).  Sometimes however, I open the fridge and the contents or lack thereof, scare me.  Cue Lady Calm.  

I remember texting her once, "I can only find chickpeas and an onion".  "What spices can you find?" she replied.  I remember rummaging around the cupboard looking for more than salt and pepper.  There at the back was a mild curry powder, probably long forgotten.  It was hidden behind another tin of chickpeas.  "Chickpea fritters" she said.  And so that was lunch. Chickpea fritters and an incredibly happy client.  "Ooh", she said, "I would never have made these.  They are lovely!"

Another client had eggs, courgettes and onions.  Frittata.  Good hot or cold.  Another had lamb and apricots.  A lamb tagine.  Lady Calm had me making pastry out of the plain flour found in one cupboard to make a quiche and a chicken pie with the roast leftovers.  She constantly told me that I should carry a little pouch of spices because so many homes had very little.  She loved the homes that had well stocked fridges and spice racks (we both screamed with joy at the homes with drawers full of spice).  I would make my family staples, jerk chicken, a beef curry.  I would make solid family meals.  Shepherd's Pie, beef in Guinness (or red wine) casserole, a rich and creamy lasagne.  Lady Calm's Lamb Tagine is loved across London.  But of course, my ladies never knew about my secret weapon.  They had no idea that the contents of their fridge and cupboard had been text across town to my darling friend. 

We talked about writing a book, unsure whether to market it at doulas or new mums.  Some of Lady Calm's recipes made it home with me.  Lamb tagine (which it had never occurred to me to make until that day 4 years ago) is now a family favourite.  I am no longer afraid of pastry, cos I make a lovely pastry.  

This year, I will make a special batch of marmalade and I will use Lady Calm's recipe.  I will share it with you, so that if you fancy making some, you can spread it on your toast and raise your cup to Lady Calm.

Ok so first you have to sterilise the jars by boiling them in water for about 10 mins or heating them in an oven for about 7 mins.

Then take about 4-5 seville oranges (approx 500g in weight) and peel off the zest with a veg peeler. (the bit she missed: when you peel the zest off at the beginning, you cut it into fine strips and toss it into the pan that you have passed the puree mush through.) Then cut them in half and scoop out the pith and flesh, including the pips and juice into a bowl. Then puree the lot with a hand blender (or in a processor) and press it through a sieve into a heavy bottomed pan.
Then add the juice of a lemon into the pan and 1.4litres of water. Bring the pan to the boil and let simmer for about an hour until it has reduced by half. Then add 1.1kg of sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Simmer for 10 -15 mins until a teaspoon of it wrinkles when you drop it onto a cold saucer from the fridge.

Then let it cool down for about 10 mins before pouring it into jars. Voila 

This recipe makes about 3 jam jars of marmalade

My life is a little sadder today, but I will celebrate my beautiful friend.  She loved a good bottle of red and she loved good food.  So, once I am back off call, I am going to take myself to a good restaurant and buy a bloody good meal with a stonking red and I am going to remember my wonderful, vibrant,  beautiful friend.  I may have lost my secret weapon, but she will always occupy a piece of my heart.