Falling into Autumn
by Maia Bedson
Autumn 2017, Living Well Magazine
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus. Autumn is my favorite time of year and I love this evocative quote by Camus. It balances the slightly melancholic symbolism of the season, of accepting the impermanence of life and letting go, by reminding us to embrace and savour the present.
I’ve had the bonus of an extended summer holiday, due to Paul and I taking a road-trip north to visit family and friends along the Queensland and NSW coastlines. It was such a blessed time re-connecting with loved ones not seen for some time, and deepening some more casual acquaintances.
One of the highlights was seeing Paul and his best friend from university embrace each other after an absence of 35 years – a very moving, spiritual experience, that has stayed with me.
Another highlight was staying with friends in the Byron Bay area, where I, of course, made straight for the local café scene to see what innovative offerings the many creative people in this locality were producing. It was refreshing to be in a town without the big-name fast food outlets and instead, so much vibrant, organic, locally-grown plant-based food. One of my favorite raw vegan places is in the heart of Byron, and we enjoyed their fresh, cool smoothies in the rising morning heat each day. Also a new and innovative vegan restaurant that had opened recently, which presented me with an unfamiliar dilemma. We had a strong recommendation from some international friends, insisting we try their “Pulled Pork” dish. Having been so committed to my plant food romance for many decades, for health, ethical and environmental reasons, ordering a meal that used an animal meat name (albeit ‘mock’meat) was anathema to me. The ‘pork’ in this instance was actually jackfruit. Eventually we did order the meal and it was delicious, with complex, complementary flavours, but we were mystified about the establishments need to give it an animal meat name.
Interestingly, when contemplating the creation of a new recipe to share with you this season, it was not the fare from the Byron region that was my inspiration but the clothing. Hemp garments in many beautiful hues and styles were seen everywhere – being worn by dreadlocked, tattooed people and designer-chic people alike.
Hemp is such a versatile plant – I have used hemp seeds occasionally to make plant based milk, and then it occured to me that I could use the seeds in this delicious autumn salad.
Hemp seeds are a complete protein, meaning that they contain all nine essential amino acids. The half cup of hulled seeds I have used in this recipe, contain approximately 32 grams of protein, along with a high amount of fibre, omega fatty acids, Vitamins E and the B group, folic acid, magnesium and zinc. And in case you are unfamiliar with hemp uses, seeds contain no psychoactive properties unlike their marijuana cousin.
So may this season be a reminder to open to what is here rather than what has ended so that we can experience the eloquence of Emily Bronte’s vision:-
Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.
Earthy Autumn Salad with Ginger Miso Dressing
2 medium Beetroot
1 head Fennel
2 large Red Onions (also called Spanish Onions)
2 Portobello Mushrooms or 5 Button Mushrooms
Mixed Greens – I used one handful each of parsley, dill and basil, although spinach, coriander, kale or cos lettuce could also be used
½ cup hulled Hemp Seeds
1-1/2 tbs. Shiro Miso
1 medium Lemon, juiced, plus zest of half the lemon
1 clove Garlic
½ thumb-size piece of Ginger, grated
Trim the beetroot and scrub under running water – cut into small cubes and steam until tender
Lay the beetroot, single layer, on a flat tray or dish and drizzle with balsamic. Leave to absorb
Preheat oven to 200 degrees
Trim and peel the onions – slice and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for approx. 45 minutes, or until cooked
Trim the head off the fennel (the end that has the stalks and fronds) – cut in half lengthways then remove the core by cutting out a V shape
Slice the fennel, place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake until tender – approx. 30 minutes (alternatively you can leave the fennel slices raw)
Remove mushroom stalks and slice finely
Wash mixed greens, dry in a salad spinner and chop roughly
Combine all prepared vegetables in a serving dish
For the dressing: Place all ingredients into a tall beaker or jug and blend with a hand mixer (or small food processor attachment) until blended – toss the dressing through the vegetables and serve.
Therapist, Facilitator, The Gawler Cancer Foundation & Yarra Valley Living Centre
DipHol Couns, Grad DipCounsHS, Grad DipClinNut
Maia is a counsellor, meditation instructor, a practitioner of various forms of natural therapies who has worked in the area of energetic healing for over 20 years, and has worked at The Gawler Cancer Foundation since 2000. She has a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition as well as formal qualifications in plant-based nutrition, counselling and psychotherapy. Maia uses her various skills and the experience gained from her own healing to inspire and support others on their path to wholeness and has a particular interest in helping people to access their own inner wisdom.