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Yes, finally! The launch of Danny Chu’s Shojin Ryori recipe book

I don’t usually talk about cooking on this site, and this will certainly be the start of it. As an edibles gardener, I love food of course, and when I’m visiting Dan in the rainforest, I get a chance to experiment with different recipes in his relatively spacious kitchen. I’d have to admit that I’m not quite as adventurous when I’m in Singapore, and eat out more often than not.

I also have some food allergies (including dairy, capsicum, and I suspect, gluten) which means I have an increased vested interest in the food I consume. Shojin Ryori, or zen temple cuisine, suits me well as I find it to be quite a clean diet, and I have been looking for a good cook book on this subject, since it’s somewhat of a rare treat that I get to have only when Enso Kitchen chef, Danny Chu is in town to do his seasonal sessions four times a year.

Fortunately for me and his other fans, Danny has just launched a book of Shojin Ryori recipes – Shojin Ryori, The Art of Japanese Vegetarian Cuisine. I was at his private book launch yesterday (a day after the public launch at Books Kinokuniya) and got to sample some of the food featured in the book.

P1220968P1220969I didn’t realise there was food, so I was pleasantly surprised. I wanted to eat more but I had to practice some self-restraint, I didn’t want to look too greedy. Here are the yummy morsels – Watermelon Jelly, Eggplant with Goma Dressing, and Yurine Citrus Balls.

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A zen nook


This is a must-visit each time I head back to northern NSW. Crystal Castle is a peaceful nook where one can recharge in nature, in the presence of large crystals. Like many places in the Byron shire, Crystal Castle is very conscious about their environmental footprint, where profits of the cafe are invested in sustainable projects.

Dan and I love walking in their gardens, sitting on their lawn – either beside their enormous statue of Buddha or the world peace stupa (turning the prayer wheels is a must!), and dining at their cafe, which has yummy gluten-free sweet treats. I especially love walking through their bamboo grove.


The world peace stupa was completed by the Gyuto monks in October 2012, and we were present at its opening ceremony, along with many others.


In this photo, we are seated on the grass in front of the stupa on a separate occasion… and then giving the prayer wheels a turn.


Crystal Castle is quite child friendly also.


We also love the gorgeous display of flowers, large crystals and statues, and the stunning view of surrounding mountains. Standing on the grassy patch outside the cafe, you can see houses if you look hard enough.


This place is paradise on earth and begs a visit. Before we leave, we usually pop by their cafe for at least some cake and tea, and then their shops to browse crystals and spiritual books, of which they have a nice variety.


It is just a short drive from Mullumbimby and Byron Bay, so make sure to pop by if you’re in the northern rivers area, it’s certainly worth it!