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Warming colors of winter

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From the market….beet roots, squash, sweet potatoes, root parsley, winter apples, ginger, turmeric, galangal. Preparing nutritious plant based dishes with warming herbs and spices to keep us warm and balanced during colder days.
In the storage i discovered the embroidered cooking book again that my aunt made for me years ago. Just love it! Ready to try out new winter recipes.

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Kokogroen has moved- JOYFUL 2016 from KOKO KITCHEN in AMSTERDAM

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Last week i was enjoying my last breakfast in the garden in Manila, my most favorite place, under and between the lush green and beautiful flowers. The beginning of KOKO Groen happened all here, inspired by my learnings in Asia and the sharing with friends. Now, i am taking this to Amsterdam where i will continue and further develop the practise and knowledge of balanced nutritious plant based food preparation. Will miss the tropical life, the warm people i met, my wonderful friends there, the fresh coconuts every day and also looking forward to a new chapter and more sharing on the other side of the planet. Philippines, i will be back!?

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Today is the last day of the year. I found this beautiful poem from John O’Donohue that I would love to share:

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AT THE END OF THE YEAR
As this year draws to its end,
 We give thanks for the gifts it brought
 And how they become inlaid within
 Where neither time nor tide can touch them.
Days when beloved faces shone brighter
 With light from beyond themselves;
 And from the granite of some secret sorrow
 A stream of buried tears loosened.
We bless this year for all we learned,
 For all we loved and lost
 And for the quiet way it brought us
 Nearer to our invisible destination
Excerpts from, ‘At the End of the year’
TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US (US) / BENEDICTUS (Europe)
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A new year is coming. Looking forward to a year of inspiration, creation and craftmanship. Wishing you all a beautiful year with trust, hope, joy and love.

Inspiration

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This is not just about food. This is about what gives me inspiration to do what I do, the source that enables me to create things….whatever it is. The forest. And the forest at mount Makiling I went to yesterday is just so magnificently beautiful. Breath taking. I discovered it again. I went there half a year ago to climb to the top, a wonderful and pretty tough walk with lots and lots of leeches. This time I decided to go on my own to take some time for myself. Being in the urban jungle of Manila after coming back from Europe, I sometimes feel trapped, I can feel the busyness and the stress of the city in my system. I am aware that I have a sensitive nervous system and living in a big city is maybe not ideal. Yesterday I stayed in the lower parts of the mountain. I did not feel the need to climb a mountain or reach a top. I just wanted to be there, to walk, to move, to breath. At one moment I suddenly realized how essential it is for me to go to places like this. I think I had forgotten about it or was never so aware of it. Just simply spend a day on my own to find myself again. To take time, to look at things. Is it a need we all have but just ignore because life is taking over? The beauty, lush green all around, the trees so old and tall, the roots of the trees following the small paths and going deep down, the humidity that sits on the leaves and on my skin, the tiny river crossing the small paths, the beautiful flowers in all colours, sounds…so many different and I am not able to tell what they are. I don’t know the forest at all and a rainforest has so many more sounds and mysteries than the forests I know from Europe.

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Half way there is a small community where you can find water and snacks. Here I had my lunch…a buko juice and the inside of the coconut. And a chat with the owner who lives somewhere around.

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I passed a camp site, an open space in the forest. A place I wish to come back again to spend a night, safe in my tent, listening to the sounds.

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I went quite deep into the forest following the small paths to the mud springs. It became dark because of the storm, I could hear the thunders sometimes far and other times closer. The darkness could overwhelm me at moments…being there completely on my own and not meet anyone else on my journey. I was not sure if I was afraid. What if a snake comes…what to do? I have no idea. But there was no snake and there were no leeches so all was fine. I actually felt safe under the leaves and big trees. As if it was carrying me, giving me comfort and making me feel strong. Rooting me. And yes, at the same time I needed a bit of courage being there on my own. Being at the spring was a very special experience. This pot is formed by the volcanic heat of the inactive volcano of Mount Makiling. Arriving in this dark weather… seeing the steam coming up in between the trees behind the fence. You can not enter since the mud is extremely hot and dangerous. It felt like a sacred place.

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The forest really is a source of life. I told myself I will come here more often the coming months. To find calmness and trust that everything is fine. To get inspired.

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And now….I am going back to the kitchen…preparing the lunch for tomorrow. Comforting food, food that keeps you going, that nourishes you and leaves you satisfied.