Winter Warmers

Winter seems long in Melbourne this year…  or maybe I always get to early August & feel completely over it!

Truth be told, it really isn’t my favourite time of year and Im constantly learning ways to embrace it…

Here are a few things that have helped in my winter hibernation this year:

  • Slow down: actually do less and don’t feel bad about it.  Acknowledging that my energy levels are not the same as they are in the warmer months and not feeling bad about it, takes a bit of getting used to – but learning to be okay with simply doing less & slowing down can be quite liberating
  • Sleep well: take advantage of the long nights to rest the body & the mind
  • Meditate: this time of year can be powerful for reflection, enhancing our psychic tendencies & intuition
  • Exercise: keep the blood circulation moving to keep your body warm & the fire in your belly alive.  Its easy to slow right down & stop exercising during the colder months, but this stagnation can add to winter’s darkness & dull our digestive system too.  So why not move energy through your body by doing something you actually enjoy?  Don’t go out for a jog in the freezing cold, if that’s not your thing (in fact, that just sounds awful to me) … I personally like dancing, so I’ve been going to gigs & having a good old dance … or dancing at home can be just as much fun sometimes
  • Yoga: I’ve been hanging out with my dear friend Lori Curran – who’s a brilliant massage therapist & yoga teacher – she has been a great support while delving deep into my yin yoga practice this winter.  Yin yoga works with connective tissues & aims to increase the circulation in the joints and improve flexibility. It is a more meditative approach that cultivates awareness & inner silenceo
  • Joints, muscle & back balms: during my Winter Apothecary workshop back in May, I made a whole bunch of homemade remedies & ointments for joint & muscle aches as I have a tendency to feel the cold right in my bones during this season.  The ointments have relaxing & warming essential oils like lavender, cinnamon, rosemary & Chinese wintergreen.  If you have a tendency to developing ganglion cysts or have arthritis, keeping warm with ointments like these can really make a difference if you feel more pain during the colder months
  • Saunas, spas & hot baths: there is nothing better than the heat gained from having a full body treatment like this.  I make sure going to the Japanese Bathhouse in Collingwood is a frequent ritual to get me through the season
  • Eat & drink warm things in cold weather:  It sounds intuitive, but Im often surprised how many people complain how cold they are as they’re having a (very healthy) but very cold salad for lunch… if you’re already cold in your body & you’re eating cold food, chances are you will keep feeling pretty cold.  So instead enjoy hot soups, steam your veggies, drink warm water and have cups of tea to balance your temperature
  • Speaking of tea, here’s a favourite winter warmer my mum taught me how to make, we call it Aynar in Arabic – it’s one of those things that truly keep me warm for hours…

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Aynar Tea recipe

4 large slices of ginger

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp. aniseed

1 tsp. crushed walnut (to serve, optional)

Pour 3 cups of water into a pot, then add the ginger, cinnamon & aniseed.  Bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat (with the lid slightly open from one side).  Simmer until the water is reduced down to half of the initial amount, about 1 & 1/2 cups.  This could take up to 30-40 minutes.

Strain contents & pour tea into your favourite teacup & serve warm with crushed walnuts … or not, I actually don’t like the walnuts in there, sorry mama!

I usually get 2-3 more brews from these ingredients especially if I’m making it during the day.  For the repeat brews, instead of adding 3 cps of water to bring to a boil, I add 2 cups of water and reduce the content to 1 cup.  When working with different parts of the plant, such as roots and barks, its important to know that they can take on heat (more so than leaves & flowers for example) so you can certainly brew them more than once to get most of their benefits & not waste any goodness .  I always leave ingredients in a bit of water & cover the pot in between my brews.

I absolutely love the smell of my house as it fills with spicy ginger and sweet cinnamon notes when I make this.  The whole house feels warm.

Hang in there, spring will be on its way soon.

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Spice Trails & Trade Routes

You are invited to this special event that is part dinner, part performance & part installation.

Hosted by artist & nutritionist Rasha Tayeh, in collaboration with creative chef Shu Liu.

Imagine an ancient map as your dinner table, tracing Silk Road and other important trade routes. Explore through taste and smell a journey that shaped the development and destruction of great civilisations and in turn, the way we eat today.

Each stop along the road will deliver a special course featuring a particular herb or spice. As you take this culinary journey across the dinner table, you will be invited to tell stories of spice merchants and traders. Stories will unfold at each stop and with each course.

This intimate dinner party is at 7pm Friday 28th April 2017 at MESMA Studio (limited to 20 guests only).

$120 per person includes 5-course dinner, or $150 per person for dinner including wine.

To book your ticket please visit this link.

The participatory story telling during this curated dinner may be in various languages, with interpretations in Arabic, English & Auslan (Australian Sign Language).

Please note, the menu is vegetarian/vegan, but if you are strictly vegan or have any allergies, get in touch when you book your ticket to ensure you are catered for accordingly.

For more information contact: rasha.tayeh@gmail.com

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Rasha Tayeh is a Palestinian artist based in Melbourne; her work crosses a range of photography, film, sound and installation practices. She is also a nutritionist and researcher interested in food history, food anthropology, and the space where art and health intersect. Rasha’s work draws on themes around phenomenology, identity, feminist issues, spirituality and humans’ place in society and their natural environment. Her work has been exhibited at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne), National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), International Arts & Health Conference at the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), Alderman Gallery (Melbourne), Sustainable Living Festival (Melbourne), Transitions Film Festival (Melbourne & Adelaide), Environmental Film Festival (Melbourne), Sguardi Altrove Film Festival (Milan), Hidden Features Cinema (Edinburgh), Life Sciences Film Festival (Prague), Palestine Museum of Natural History (Bethlehem), Little Woods Gallery (Melbourne) and Footscray Community Arts Centre (Melbourne).

Shu Liu is a self-taught creative chef and owner of Shu Restaurant in Collingwood.  He’s passionate about experimenting with flavours and textures from his hometown cuisine in Sichuan.  Shu’s recipes and menu design reflect seasonal and local produce, with a focus on fusion cooking.

Spice Trails & Trade Routes

I’m feeling grateful for all that has happened the past 12 months since moving back to Melbourne… the projects, exhibitions, workshops and opportunities this year brought my way have been wonderful.  It’s good to be back, and I’m feeling excited about what 2017 has in store.

Before I take a little hiatus from online blogging and news sharing, I wanted to share something I’ll be working on this summer… a special event to welcome the new year that is part dinner, part performance and part installation.

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The working title is Spice Trails & Trade Routes…

Imagine an ancient map as your dinner table, with plates being served, or rather, travelling across this map to tell a story from the perspective of spices… maybe there will be cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, star anise, cloves, pepper, chilli, cardamon or other aromatic herbs… Following Silk Road, the Way of the Sea, the Ridge Route and other important trade routes between Asia, Europe and Africa that have shaped the way we eat today.

Each stop on the map will deliver a special course featuring a herb or spice, and so as guests take this journey across the dinner table, stories of spice merchants and traders unfold at each stop and with each course.

Stay tuned for more news on this project…

For now, enjoy your end of year break.  And may 2017 bring you all your hearts’ desires.

Rasha Tayeh © All Rights Reserved