Mindfulness is a word that perhaps only entered our vocabulary fairly recently, however, there’s a growing emphasis on weaving this concept into our daily lives.
Being mindful is the act of focussing on the here and now in order to relax the body and mind and alleviate stress. This can be done through paying attention to what you’re sensing, or feeling, within that moment. Smells, sounds and tastes can all play a role in mindfulness, and this can all come from the kitchen.
A lot of people find comfort or sanctuary from their kitchens, for lots of different reasons. Perhaps it’s the warm, comforting smell of food or perhaps it is the soothing sense of being with family and friends at the dinner table. Maybe it’s the very act of cooking itself.
We spoke to Niki Webster, owner and creator of Rebel Recipes, the vibrant vegetarian food blog and recipe archive, to hear her thoughts on being mindful in the kitchen and how she boosts her mood through time spent there.
“My kitchen is my happy place. It’s the room that I spend the most time in as it’s also my workplace. Even though I’m sometimes under lots of pressure with recipe testing for books, client work or my own content, I immediately feel more relaxed and happier when I’m in my kitchen.
Over the last year I actually haven’t had my own kitchen which has proven quite challenging, and I have really felt that absence in my life. Now I’m finally back in my own space and I’m loving and appreciating every minute I get to spend in my kitchen. Luckily the space has had a mini makeover, so I’ve had the chance to re-organise and make sure it’s the perfect working environment.
Here’s some things I love to have in my kitchen to make sure it’s a fantastic space for working and cooking in, and to boost wellbeing levels;”
This is essential so you know where everything is and to help manage stock and ingredients. It makes it much easier to plan recipes if you know what you have and haven’t got and removes a certain element of stress.
I love to have an area I can sit down with my laptop and plan, write, and work at the same time. A dedicated workstation that is separate from where I cook or relax in means I can optimise my productivity levels and keep that particular area neat and tidy.
Mindfulness is all about being present in the current moment so considering what sounds you can hear is a really helpful technique. Music can change an atmosphere in a second so I love playing my music out loud – what it is will depend on my mood.
As with music, lighting can alter a space at the flick of a switch. Cosy mood lighting with lamps can help create a warm and inviting atmosphere, whereas cooler and brighter lighting can be great for during the day when I’m at my most productive.
Because my work centres around my kitchen I usually stick to a daily kitchen routine which I find helps to keep me in the moment.
Approx. 8 servings
20 mins preparation time
30 min cook time
1 can chickpeas drained
1/2 tsp Sea salt
Pinch black pepper
3 tbsp buckwheat flour
2 tbsp olive oil
85g cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours)
1 tbsp sun dried tomato paste
1 tbsp rose harissa
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp tamari/soy
1 tsp garlic powder
150g butter beans or chickpeas drained
1/2 tsp sea salt
250g heritage tomatoes and cherry tomatoes sliced in half through the middle
Handful green olives
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch sea salt
Fennel & caper salad
1/4 fennel sliced thinly
4 heritage tomatoes sliced
2 tsp capers
3 tbsp green olives
Handful Basil leaves
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
Big pinch sea salt flakes
Blend all the filling ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth.