Beginnings, Middle and Ends

So much has happened in these last 2 months… epic travels, Queenstown adventures, cooking marathons and silent retreats. Emotionally I’ve had the highest highs, and a couple of tearful lows.

Where do any of these experiences start and end?

When I cook, that day’s meals become my entire focus… but tomorrow is another day! Where did those vegan strawberry muffins go, was it a dream?!

I woke up in the early hours this morning and lay peacefully in the warm silence of the night, recalling a fragment of this Rumi poem:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the door sill
Where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.


I really like this poem because it reminds me that every morning is an opportunity for a fresh start. I can decide what kind of day I want, and if I’m really awake, I might stop acting out old patterns and conditioning! These last 3 months have been full of new experiences – it’s been an upwards spiral of awakeness!



Although it’s a challenge, I’m always happy when people request vegan meals on retreat. It seems like such a good ethical choice. Vegan cakes and desserts continue to be an experimental adventure for me, but I was pretty happy with the outcome of these vegan strawberry muffins, which are also gluten free. They are adapted slightly from a recipe by My Darling Lemon Thyme.

Strawberry, Rhubarb & Ginger Muffins, gf, df and vegan

Heat oven to 180, line muffin tins with paper cases.

Whisk 1 + 1/3 cups ground almonds, 1 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup potato flour, pinch salt, 4 tsp gf baking powder, and 2/3 cup castor sugar.

Hull 250g strawberries, slice some for decoration and chop the rest. Finely slice 2 cups rhubarb (about 4 stalks).

Melt 1/4 cup coconut oil, and whisk it with 90ml aquafaba, 2 tsp vanilla extract, and scant 1 cup almond milk. img_2202

Chop 2 tbsp of crystalized ginger and toss into the dry ingredients, along with the chopped strawberries and rhubarb.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry, then spoon into cases and
top with a strawberry slice. Bake for 25-30 mins, until a skewer comes out clean. Let cool a while in the tins before transferring to rack. Dust with icing sugar.

Makes about 16-18



Don’t go back to sleep!




4 thoughts on “Beginnings, Middle and Ends

  1. Gaye

    Those muffins look delicious and I have most of the ingredients. But, Aquafaba? What is it and where might I find some? Thanks.


  2. Hi Gaye,
    Aquafaba is the liquid in a tin of chickpeas. Or if you are cooking your own from dried beans, it’s the cooking water. Most people tip it down the sink not knowing what a great egg replacer it is! Or if you are not vegan, you could use 2 eggs in this recipe, which makes a big batch.


  3. these sound delicious! i still haven’t tried using aquafaba yet, but i really want to (magical bean water is so interesting!). and i appreciate that you write using the lens of buddhism; i was part of a buddhist (specifically of the jodo shinshu sect) community for a while, and i find that even though i am not as involved as i used to be, the lessons still permeate through my life in small but important ways.


    1. Hi Heather! Thanks for your comments 🙂 Aquafaba really is magical – have a go at meringues, they will get you hooked on AF as a magic vegan ingredient. I made the muffins again this week using eggs (for some non-vegan guests) and actually I preferred the texture and taste of the aquafaba ones!
      I realise I haven’t read any Dōgen for some months, even though this blog started out as an exploration of his teachings…. but that’s the dharma for you, as you say, it takes you on a journey that influences your life in all kinds of ways! Have a lovely day 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s