We are what we eat – this is a simple truth. The food we eat not only builds our body cells, and affects our brain, but also influences our emotions and spirit. Only by fulfilling the basic need of nourishment can we move to further levels of being. The base is important and it needs to be strong, especially for people who like to climb high – right to the top of experience. Everything that grows needs a solid base. This makes a plate of food the ultimate tool for the magician.
The pop culture often pictures witches standing around a cauldron and stirring some truly disgusting mixtures using ingredients such as: the eye of a toad, the tail of a rat, topped with the blood of a bat. Ugghh… no wonder those witches have pale skin and warts on their noses. And if you think about the smell coming from this potion or sourcing for ingredients it makes this type of magical experience look really horrible. Well, it doesn’t have to look like that – I think it is about time to change this picture. I am a witch myself and do not want my own cauldron to contain dead animals and smell of cooked corpses. If my food can, on so many levels, affect me and those who I feed, I want to give the best I can. I want my cauldron to smell of exotic spices, to bubble with flavours and aromas. And most of all to be a nourishment for my body, mind and spirit.
We live in the age of fast food; the shelves in the shops are full of food like products made really tasty with artificial additives. They are presented in colourful packages and it is hard to resist them – sugar is the most popular drug of this era and it is used mostly by children. Companies such as Monsanto know that by controlling world food supplies they can control anything they want. This is all very scary, but not for the mighty magicians, who always see light in the dark tunnel.
Follow your sense of smell to get to the bright side and what you can taste there can blow up your taste buds. Having a privilege of living in the first world we can do anything in terms of food, the variety of ingredients is endless , the secret techniques of cooking can be learned from books, TV shows or culinary blogs. They all rise in popularity; chefs become new type of celebrities and home grown cookery alchemists battle on TV screens to satisfy a three headed beast which can be domesticated with a tasty plate of food or riled with a distasteful one. Candidates trying to get hold of the title of master chef must present a set of skills in order to change ordinary ingredients into an extraordinary plate of food. This involves studying ancient techniques but also applying modern methods such as molecular gastronomy, it also involves experimenting and mastering the skills – does it remind you of something? Well, yes – you are right cooking is like magic and magic is like cooking.
In this realm of endless possibilities and hidden dangers it is important to choose your own way and I choose to eat vegan. I believe that a statement made on such a basic level as food is very powerful. My veganism comes from the heart, which tells me that industrial farming is wrong and with the variety of food available in our 21st century western world, the suffering of animals either killed for meat or used to produce milk or eggs is not necessary. This is my personal choice and it does not lay in my nature to force my ideas and opinions on others in a radical way – I rather chose to inspire and share. The greatest surprise is that being vegan does not have to indicate a lack of anything, as replacements and alternatives can be easily found. This makes me really excited and bursts my imagination therefore I’ve mastered an art of preparing tofu cheesecakes.
Do not judge it before trying – I can challenge anyone who doubts that it is delicious – you are invited to my kitchen. You can occasionally find me cooking in lovely Bonnington Café in London, where working a 13 hour shift I find true happiness. I believe in the power of this culinary magic I perform. I am full of bliss having a chance to serve beauty, love and flavour on a plate and at the same time change the way of thinking about food, which does not need to contain corpses or body fluids.
I stand in my kitchen, my alchemical laboratory – my table is full of goodness. I start with chopping garlic, onion and chilli. I put a table spoon of coconut oil into a pan – as it melts it smells sweet and exotic – I add chopped ingredients and sweetness mixes with sharp aromas – the heat releases them slowly as I add the sour lemongrass to the mixture. The next step is to add 2 grated carrots and 2 cups of red lentils – the heat needs to be low at this stage and stirring is very important so the flavours are evenly spread. After a while a can of coconut milk makes its way to the cauldron and everything gurgles gently. Being advanced in culinary magic I do not use stock or cubes but a herbal salt only. As the final form of this magical mixture is a so called soup the adequate amount of water needs to be added. Cook it all slowly, do not rush the magic, it needs time. At the end top with fresh green coriander and when ready share with loved ones, as it works best this way. Love is the law they say, so with the power of your will place it on your plate – create an eatable magic, digest it and be fabulous.