Feeding body and soul

by | Jun 15, 2014 | Uncategorized | 14 comments

 When I feed others, I too am nourished. Yesterday I led my first ‘Pathways to Spirited Ageing’ workshop, for counsellors and therapists. How satisfying it was to spend a day in the company of others who are willing to face into the ageing process with humour, curiosity and openness.

 Here are the five kete (a Maori kit bag) of resource  (all tied to the larger ‘mother kete’ that I shared with the group. In turn, they shared their stories with me.

 Off to the farmer’s market this morning to fill my basket with organic produce: slim carrots, kohl rabi, capsicum, bok choy, pumpkin, parsnips, local honey, local almond/brazil/cashew nut butter, ginger chai syrup, rocket and pumpkin, all fresh from the earth this morning.

Together with the coconut chutney idli I bought from the Indian stall, they made up a fresh and lively lunch, which I ate in the winter sunshine.

 Other ingredients went into the shepherd’s pie that I cooked for the family tonight.
I’ve been asked for the recipe, so here it is. [Warning: I am not a recipe person; but I do have a method]

Soak 1 cup of green/blond lentils overnight

Saute chopped seasonal vegetables in oil: eg 1 onion, bunch of carrots, half a capsicum, 2 parsnips, half a kohl rabi, clove of garlic, plus a few leaves of greens (silver beet, kale, or bok choy).

Drain and simmer the soaked lentils in vegetable stock with four or five chopped tomatoes and the sautéed vegetables. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until just tender.
While the lentils and vegetables are cooking, steam fiver six potatoes or three large kumaras.
Mash with butter when cooked.
Place lentil mixture into a casserole dish and spread the mashed potato or kumara over the top.
Make ridges with a fork, and add dots of butter. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top.
Grill in the oven until top begins to brown (keep an eye on it!)

And oh dear, it was so scrumptious that we all devoured it eagerly and I forgot to take a photo of the finished pie! Here is a little jumble of leftovers, popped into a container for tomorrow’s lunch.
I hope your weekend was nourishing too, for both body and soul.


  1. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet – so pleased you’re getting so much satisfaction from sharing your positive views on ageing with other like-minded people …

    The shepherd’s pie sounds delicious .. but I like the sound of the ginger chai syrup and the coconut chutney idli … I’ll have to remember those names when I get a chance to check them out …

    Lovely veg though – and we’re getting the same here now ..

    Cheers and have a happy week ahead .. Hilary

  2. Juliet Batten

    Hilary, it was so encouraging to be with those great women. The ginger chai syrup is waiting for if I have a winter cold; guaranteed to give me a ‘hit’. The idli were delicious; I’ll be getting more next time I’m at the market. Thanks for visiting and tasting.

  3. Vicki Lane

    The aging thing is happening, will I, nil I. And I’m struggling to make some sense of it for a blog post. Perhaps I should have been at your workshop…a wonderful reason to visit NZ…

  4. Juliet Batten

    What a treat it would have been to have you there Vicki. My book ‘Spirited Ageing’ is now up on Amazon for a reasonable price, having been republished as a print-on-demand book. This will make it so much easier for my USA friends to purchase.

  5. Penny O'Neill

    “When I feed others, I too am nourished.” – oh, how very true that statement is, Juliet. I’m often my happiest feeding family and friends.
    I will need to make your shepherd’s pie. Sounds “delicious and nutritious” (a phrase our granddaughter picked up from, reputedly from me, so sayith her mom).

  6. Juliet Batten

    Penny, you have grown up with the art of feeding others, so you definitely know about the joys of this. I love the phrase ‘delicious and nutritious’ from your granddaughter. It’s so funny when they pick up our way of speaking and then say it back to us!

  7. Hotly Spiced

    I’m hoping to embrace ageing with the same thoughts. I love the sound of your shepherd’s pie. It’s a favourite winter dish of mine but I’ve never made it without mince lamb. I’d be interested in trying your vegetarian version xx

  8. Nadezda

    Your pie looks tasty Juliet!
    I love lentils as well and often put it in soup or cook as dressing for meat. The vegetables you purchased are very different of ours, I know some of them only. I think the organic food is great!

  9. Juliet Batten

    Charlie, my son was remembering how I made it for him when he was a child, and it was always made with mince. But times have changed and we’ve both stopped eating red meat. He is pleased to be able to still have shepherd’s pie. Thank you, and may you age with grace!

  10. Juliet Batten

    Nadezda, maybe the vegetables are the same, only with different names. The kumara is a sweet potato, grown by the Maori of New Zealand. We are lucky to have lots of organic food here, and I always buy it if I can.

  11. Marja

    That sounds like an exciting workshop and the food looks delicious too. Love the Maori bag with the small ones, a nice symbol. My daughter received a big one when she left school.

  12. Juliet Batten

    Marja, the workshop was great. The kete were plain when I got them, but I added feathers & other decorations. The one with brown feathers was a gift.
    What a nice present for your daughter when she left school. Thank you.


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