Meal planner for retreats

by Jan Hewton


Index - by clicking an item in grey you will be transported to that part of the can then use the 'top' buttons to come back to the index. Items in black are not linked (eg Bulkfood list) - use the main heading to reach these (eg Shopping)


Tenzo before Sesshin


...Bulkfood list (for about 25 people)
...Supermarket shopping list
...Health-food shop
...Morning of retreat
...Fruit/vegetable shopping list


...Head vegetable chopper
...Breakfast cook
...Lunch cook
...Supper cook




...Split pea & potato soup

...Date & orange chutney

...Spiced lentils

...Cooking rice

...Miso & tofu soup

...Chilli beans

...Pumpkin & lentil soup

...Chick-pea, egg-plant, tomato soup

...Kumera soup

...Broccoli, tofu, peanut sauce

...Chick-pea soup

...Combination curry

...Minestrone con pesto

Tenzo before Sesshin

(The Tenzo is the cook at Zen retreats)

Cook split pea & potato soup or non-dairy soup for Friday night's tea
Cook date & orange chutney
Shopping to be done at... ..
Bulkfood market
Fruit & vegetables shop
Healthfood shop
See shopping lists

Collect accumulated ice-cream containers with their lids for storage
One electric jug for teacher & two electric jugs for the back kitchen
Ensure there is a marker pen for people to name their cup
Set up back kitchen for self-serve cups of tea
Two white teapots there for the servers
Collect kitchen utensils (see utensil list)
Collect orioki gear

Organise with a few people to bake special cake/dish for the last day
Cake/dish created is to celebrate the end of the six-day Sesshin




Bulkfood list (for about 25 people)

Check existing stores before shopping
5 x 296 litre tamari
2.0 litre olive oil
1 x 375 litre chilli sauce
1.5 litre cider vinegar
110 gram Parmesan cheese
1 x 210 gram crushed ginger
2 x 500 gram peanut butter
1 x 340 gram vegemite
2 x 100 gram tea bags
2 x 200 gram coffee
1 x 500 gram honey
1 x 900 gram dates
1 x 300 gram tahini
3 x 400 gram coconut milk
3 x 1.5 kilogram tin tomato
3.1 kilo-gram tomato paste
2.0 kilo-gram pasta/spaghetti
1.6 kilo-gram red kidney beans
1.0 kilogram sunflower seeds
1.0 kilo-gram white sugar
0.5 kilo-gram cashew nuts
9.0 kilo-gram brown rice
1.8 kilo-gram chick peas
2.2 kilogram split peas
2.4 kilo-gram lentils
50 metre roll plastic wrap (NOT Gl*d wrap as we are not allowed to say this word on our site according to thier lawyers)
100 serviettes in pack
3 dish sponge
1 litre hair shampoo
6 soap

50 gram cinnamon 15 gram basil
50 gram paprika 30 gram cumin
30 gram garam marsala 25 gram marjoram
70 gram curry 25 gram oregano
30 gram coriander 10 gram bay-leaves
25 gram turmeric 30 gram mustard seed
50 gram smooth mustard 70 gram black/pepper
90 gram salt
3.0 kilo-gram rolled oatmeal
1.0 kilo-gram sunflower seed
1.0 kilo-gram coconut (medium)
0.5 kilogram banana chips
0.5 kilo-gram almond flake
0.5 kilo-gram pumpkin seed
1.0 kilo-gram sesame seed
1.0 kilo-gram sultana
0.5 kilo-gram apricot
2.0 kilo-gram peanut
0.5 kilo-gram walnut
1.0 kilo-gram raisin
1.0 kilogram dates
1.0 kilo-gram bran


Supermarket shopping list

1 x 1 kilo-gram napisan soap powder
2 x 165 gram tinned pesto
4 x 50 gram herbal teas
1 x 1 litre tomato juice
6 x 1 litre Soya milk (organic)
2 x 750 milli-litre handy Andy cleaner
1 x 900 milli-litre sunlight dish detergent
1 x 10 rubbish bags
2 x rubber gloves (regular)
1 x 14 sanitary napkins (regular)
40 toilet rolls

First aid medication .. .. ..
20 tablets paracetamol
24 tablets panadol
24 tablets aspirin
50 plasters

Health-food shop
2 x 400 gram mugi miso
2 x 85 gram sencha green tea


Morning of retreat.. .. ..
10 x 2 litre milk
8 x 1 litre yoghurt
3 x 750 gram Edam cheese
4 x 500 gram soft butter
2 x 500 gram sour cream
10 x 400 gram tofu
4 fruit loaves
4 loaves wholemeal bread

Nb. Fresh bread is bought every second day

Check number of participants
Bread rolls for first night's tea
Carob treats from health food shop


Fruit/vegetable shopping list

15 lemons
2 oranges
4 lettuce
1 pumpkin
3 eggplant
6 red onion
7 cucumber
1 cauliflower
4 broccoli heads
12 bulbs garlic
12 green peppers
8 bunches celery
5 packets sprouts
6 bundles spring onion
3-hotel size bunches parsley
1.5 kilo-gram tomatoes
3 kilo-gram bananas
10 kilo-gram potato
10 kilo-gram carrot
5 kilo-gram kumera (sweet potatoes)
3 kilo-gram pears
15 kilo-gram onion
20 gram ginger



Head vegetable chopper

Last sit before breakfast.. .. ..
Join the breakfast cook & butter fruit bread
On day 1 & 3 & 5
Join the breakfast cook & chop 2 bowls of fruit

After breakfast .. .. ..
Organise choppers to chop daily lists

Ingredients are to be kept .. .. ..
Inside laundry space
Outside laundry door
Refrigerator in back kitchen


Breakfast cook

Four trays, plus an additional tray for Ross
On these first two trays, there should be .. .. ..

1st two trays (self serve trays)
Food offering dishes large dish for the liquid
Small dish for the food
Fruit salad or stewed fruit
Buttered fruit bread, about 2 loaves per day
Leave some of bread unbuttered & cut in half

2nd two trays
Jug of milk (to be warmed if weather is cold)

Check serving requirements are available, i.e. spoons, wiping sponges
Boil the kettles & have the teapots ready within the back kitchen
Food offering, place small amount of some food into small bowls
When all is ready at 6:20am
Sound 3 claps with wooden clappers inside Zendo entrance
Check with servers
Go to the Zendo & make food offering
If you are not familiar with food offering then ask tenzo
Take seat inside the Zendo

Breakfast cook

No cooking is required for breakfast

Choppers will assist breakfast cook to chop apples for stewed apple dish

Tenzo will cook the chopped apples

Head chopper will assist breakfast cook to butter fruit bread

Collect offering bowl from alter in Zendo


Lunch cook

Start day .. .. ..
Prepare big jars of French dressing/oil/vinegar/garlic
Prepare quantities of mustard/salt/pepper/parsley

Day 1 .. .. ..
Spiced lentils/rice/salad
Date & orange chutney

Day 2 .. .. ..
Chilli beans & salad

Day..3 .. .. ..
Chick pea & egg-plant/cheese
Pasta & salad

Day 4 .. .. ..
Broccoli & tofu & peanut sauce
Rice & salad

Day..5 .. .. ..
Combination curry
Rice & salad/coleslaw

Day 6 .. .. ..
Tenzo & the lunch cook will discuss & decide food to serve

Lunch cook

4 trays, plus 1 tray for teacher
On each of the trays there should be .. .. ..
1st two trays - (self serve) salad/salad dressing
1 large bowl & 1 small bowl for each tray
Tongs for the salad
2nd two trays rice/pasta
Main dish
Tamari, plus anything else that is on the menu
Serving spoons
Wet cloth on each tray for spillage
Check all serving requirements
Label things like sour cream & special diets
Boil kettles & have teapots ready in back kitchen
Prepare food offering in small bowl
When all ready at 11.20am exactly 3 claps on wooden clappers on the veranda
Servers will come out
Bow to servers
Check trays with servers.
Collect offering bowl from alter in Zendo
Make food offering in the Zendo - if you are not familiar with this ask tenzo.
Take seat in the Zendo


Supper cook

2 trays for each row, plus 1 tray for teacher
1st tray - (self serve) buns/bread
Plain butter/peanut butter/vegemite/tahini
Bread without butter for dairy free people
Allow 2 pieces per person
Plates of cheese that the choppers prepared
Food offering dishes, 1 large & 1 small
2nd tray soup
Juice jugs
Serving spoons etc.
Boil kettles for tea
Have teapots ready in back kitchen
Collect offering bowl from alter in Zendo
When all is ready at 4.50pm exactly, sound 3 claps on wood clappers on veranda
Servers come out
Check over trays with servers
Take seat in Zendo.



Wash all the dishes & pots
Look around & ensure kitchen area is clean & tidy
Check with tenzo for rest of food before throwing any away
Wait for servers to finish their meal, then wash their dishes
Dry all the dishes & pots then put them away
Clean & wipe down .. .. .. Stove top
Sink top
Serving table
Wash chopping knives separately then put them into the third drawer
Vegetable peelers also will go into the third drawer with the knives
Put leftovers away inside the back kitchen fridge & label them
Sweep the floor
Check garbage, if bag is full, tie the full bag & put out behind laundry door
New liners are in the back kitchen cupboard
Offerings go out to the garden for the hungry birds
Always empty then clean milk & juice jugs
Find spare containers for leftovers. Put in back the kitchen.


Where all the dishes & other utensils are to be put .. .. ..

Bowls & dishes from Ross's tray get washed then put back on tray
Ross's tray is left on the table next to the sink bench

Under table .. .. ..
Plastic containers go into large carton
Cutting boards
Serving trays
Big pots

Left on table .. .. ..
Serving dishes
Peanut butter
Soy sauce



Fill the kettles
Boil kettles before each meal
Check amounts of tea/sugar/milk etc. (stored in the back kitchen)



Start day
Soak 6 cup split-peas
Soak 8 cup red kidney beans
Cook 8 cup lentils
4 cup lentils (spiced lentils)
4 cup lentils (pumpkin soup)

Day 1
Soak 9 cup chick-peas
Cook 8 cup rice (20 people)
10 cup rice (30 people)
Cook 8 cup red kidney beans
4 cup red kidney (chilli beans)
4 cup red kidney (minestrone)

Day 2
Cook 9 cup chick-peas
4 cup chick-peas (tomato soup)
5 cup chick-peas (chick-pea soup)

Day 3
Soak 5 cup split-peas

Day 4
Cook 5 cup split-peas (comb.curry)



________________ Day 1 chop _______________

Lentil dish 8 onion (chopped)
8 cloves garlic (chopped)
8 apple (diced)
2 table-spoons ginger (grated)
Salad/raita 2 onion (chopped)
5 cucumber (chopped)
6 stalks celery (chopped)
1 cup parsley/mint (chopped)
4 peppers (chopped)
Miso soup 6 onion (chopped)
1 cup spring onion (chopped)
2 cup parsley (chopped)
4 cup celery (chopped)
8 gloves garlic (chopped)
3 tofu cakes (cubed)
Cheese 28 fine slices on each small plate
________________ Day 2 chop _______________

Chilli beans 8 onion (chopped)
8 cloves garlic (chopped)
6 carrot (chopped)
10 stalks celery (chopped)
Salad into 2 bowls
Red onion (chopped)
Cucumber (chopped)
Carrot (chop/grated)
Parsley (chopped)
Celery (chopped)
Pepper (chopped)
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin soup 8 onion (chopped)
8 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 pumpkin (peeled/diced)
2 cup parsley (chopped)
Cheese 28 fine slice onto the 2 small plates

________________ Day 3 chop _______________

Chick pea & eggplant 8 cloves garlic (chopped)
8 onion (chopped)
4 cup celery (chopped)
4 cup carrot (chopped)
1 head broccoli (chopped)
3 eggplant (diced)
Salad check kitchen left-overs
Tomato (chopped)
Red onion (chopped)
Pepper (chopped)
Celery (chopped)
Cucumber (chopped)
Parsley (chopped)
Carrot (chopped)
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Kumera soup 3 kilo-gram Kumera (chopped)
2 cup celery (chopped)
2 cup parsley (chopped)
6 cup onion (chopped)
8 cloves garlic (chopped)
Cheese 28 fine slices onto 2 small plates
________________ Day 4 chop _______________

Broc/tofu & sauce 4 cup onion (chopped)
10 cloves garlic (chopped)
4 head broccoli (chopped)
2 cauliflower (chopped)
6 packets tofu (diced)
1/2 cup ginger (grated)
1 cup cashew nuts
Salad/coleslaw cabbage (sliced)
Carrot (chopped)
Cucumber (chopped)
Parsley (chopped)
Spring onion (sliced)
Red onion (sliced)
Pepper (chopped)
Tomato (chopped)
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Chick pea soup 10 cup onion (chopped)
8 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 kilo-gram Kumera (peeled/sliced)
2 parsley (chopped)
Cheese 28 fine slices on the 2 small plates

________________ Day 5 chop _______________

Split pea curry 4 onion (chopped)
3 kilo-gram potato (washed)
Salad/coleslaw cabbage (sliced)
Carrot (chopped)
Red onion (chopped)
Apple (chopped)
Tomato (chopped)
Peppers (chopped)
Parsley (chopped)
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Minestrone soup 8 cloves garlic (chopped)
6 onion (chopped)
6 carrot (chopped)
12 stalks celery (chopped)
Cheese 28 fine slices onto the small plates





Split pea & potato soup

Soak 6 cup split peas
Sauté in oil 8 onion (chopped)
8 cloves garlic (chopped)
Add 6 cup split peas (drain & save liquid)
4 tea-spoon curry powder
4 tea-spoon garam marsala
4 tea-spoon coriander
Pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Mix ingredients well
Add 12 potato (diced)
Split pea? s liquid
Extra water (if required)
3 cup celery (chopped)

Before serving
Add 2 cup parsley (chopped)

Serve soup with .. .. ..
Bread rolls
Peanut butter
Two bowls fruit.


Date & orange chutney

Add 2 oranges (peeled & chopped)
2 cup dates (chopped)
3 tea-spoon ginger (grated)
1 cup water
2/3 cup cider vinegar
3 table-spoon honey

Mix all ingredients
Bring mixture to the boil
Cook mixture until it has a chutney consistency


Spiced lentils

Sauté in oil 8 onion (chopped)
6 clove garlic (chopped)
Add 8 apple (diced)
2 table-spoon ginger (crushed)
8 table-spoon tomato paste
4 tea-spoon turmeric
4 tea-spoon cinnamon
6 tea-spoon coriander
4 cup lentils (cooked)
Pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
4 lemons juice
Cook mixture until the apples are tender
Add 800 milli-litre coconut milk
Keep spiced lentils warm until served

Raita dressing
Add 250 milli-litre yoghurt
2 tea-spoon cumin
1 lemons juice

Serve spiced lentils with .. .. ..
Rice/chutney/salad or cucumber/Raita dressing
Raita dressing


Cooking rice

Rice needs to go on at 1 hour and 5 minutes before meal
You will need to remain in the kitchen from when the rice is turned on

For 30 people 10 cup rice
17 cup water
2 tea-spoon salt

Wash rice three times in cold water
Bring the water to boil with the rice & salt inside the pot
Turn down the heat to level 2 & put the pot lid on tight
(put a folded towel over the top to trap steam as lid does not fit)
It will take 45 minute for the rice to absorb its own cooking liquid
Rice goes holey over the top when it is cooked, then turn the heat off
Let the rice just sit there until it is required for the meal

For 20 people 8 cup rice
12 cup water
1 tea-spoon salt


Miso & tofu soup

Combine & mix 400 gram miso
3 tea-spoon honey
4 cup water

Sauté in oil 6 onion (chopped)
2 table-spoon garlic (chopped)
Add & mix well miso mixture

Add 10 cup rice (cooked)
30 cup water
4 cup celery (chopped)

Bring soup to the boil
Simmer 20 minute

Add tofu (cubed)
Tamari (to taste)

Just before serving
Add 2 cup parsley (finely chopped)
1 cup spring onion (chopped)

Serve tofu soup with .. .. ..
Tamari sauce


Chilli beans

sauté in oil 8 onion (chopped)
2 table-spoon garlic (chopped)
6 carrot (chopped)
10 stalk of celery (chopped)
2 desert-spoon cumin
Add 1 kilo-gram tin tomato (chopped in pot)
10 table-spoon tomato paste
Mix ingredients together
Add 4 cup kidney beans (cooked)
Chilli sauce (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)

cover & allow to simmer on heat level 2
Simmer until beans needed for meal
Stir mixture during kinhin

Serve chilli beans with .. .. ..
Sour cream put in small bowls
Sprinkle sour cream with paprika & label bowls


Pumpkin & lentil soup

sauté in oil 8 onion (chopped)
2 table-spoon garlic (chopped)
6 tea-spoon coriander
6 tea-spoon turmeric
6 tea-spoon cumin
Add 30 cup water
1 pumpkin (chopped)
4 cup lentils (cooked)
Salt (to taste)
Tamari (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)

Cover & cook 1 hour

Just before serving soup
Add 2 cup parsley (finely chopped)


Chick-pea, egg-plant, tomato soup

Sauté in oil 8 onion (chopped)
4 table-spoon garlic (chopped)
1 head broccoli (chopped)
4 cup celery (chopped)
4 cup carrot (cubed)
3 eggplant (diced)
Add 1.5 kilo-gram tin tomato
8 table-spoon tomato paste
4 cup chick peas (cooked)
Extra liquid (as necessary)
Oregano (to taste)
Basil (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Cover & simmer on heat level 2
Stir during kinhin

just before serving
Add 1 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

Serve minestrone with .. .. ..
Parmesan cheese


Kumera soup

Sauté in oil 3 kilo-gram Kumera (chopped)
6 cup onion (chopped)
2 table-spoon garlic (chopped)
3 table-spoon curry powder

Mix soup ingredients well

Add 30 cup water
Pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)

Cover & bring soup to boil
Turn heat down & simmer soup

When Kumera is cooked
Mash Kumera to make a smooth consistency

1/2 hour before serving soup
Add 2 cup celery (chopped)

Just before serving soup
Add 2 cup parsley (chopped)


Broccoli, tofu, peanut sauce

Whisk together 2 cup peanut butter
4 cup hot water
Add 1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup Tamari

Grill in greased dish 4 cup tofu (diced)

Sauté in oil 4 cup onion (chopped)
10 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 cup ginger (finely grated)
Add & mix well 4 head broccoli (chopped)
2 cauliflower (sliced)
1 cup cashew nuts
Add grilled tofu
Peanut sauce

Serve broccoli & tofu with .. .. ..


Chick-pea soup

sauté in oil 10 cup onion (chopped)
2 table-spoon garlic (chopped)

Add 1 kilo-gram Kumera (chopped)
3 tea-spoon turmeric
6 tea-spoon paprika
3 tea-spoon basil
3 tea-spoon salt

Mix ingredients well

Add 30 cup water
5 cup chick peas (cooked)

Bring mixture to boil
Cover & simmer 1 hour

Just before serving soup
Add 2 cup parsley (chopped)


Combination curry

Sauté 4 desert-spoon olive oil
4 desert-spoon mustard seed (until they pop)
4 onion (chopped)

Add 8 table-spoon curry powder
8 table-spoon coriander
4 tea-spoon turmeric
4 tea-spoon cumin
5 tea-spoon salt

Add 3 kilo-gram potato (cooked & drained)
5 cup split peas (cooked & drained)
8 cup water
400 gram coconut milk
Split pea's drained liquid (as required)
Chilli sauce (to taste)

Stir this mixture well to prevent curry sticking to the pot's bottom
Potatoes should be soft but recognisable
Peas will form a thick sauce around the potatoes

Serve curry with .. .. ..
Date & orange chutney


Minestrone con pesto

Sauté in oil 2-tablespoon garlic (chopped)
6 onion (chopped)
6 carrot (chopped)
12 stalks celery (chopped)

Add 1 litre tomato plus juice
30 cup water
6 bay-leaves
4 tea-spoon oregano
4 tea-spoon basil
8 table-spoon tomato paste
Pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)

Cover & simmer 30 minute until carrots tender.

Add 4 cup red kidney beans (cooked)
3 cups rice (cooked)
2 165 gram pesto

Stir soup ingredients well
Serve soup while it is hot