Changing the conversation about health

Harmony in living and dying: College of Medicine hosts HILDA event – including a cookery demonstration

The College of Medicine hosted an online evening in late March, which discussed talking about finding harmony in living and dying with the HILDA project – with nutrition and integrative health cook Toral Shah offering a culinary demonstration.

The workshop, which was led by palliative care doctor Dr Eleni Tsiompanou and College of Medicine Chair Dr Michael Dixon offered advice on caring for terminally ill family or friends, as well as a practical approach to living and dying, through the positive prism of harmony, drawing on ancient wisdom traditions and modern science.

Toral shared a delicious-looking recipe, saffron kheer with pomegranate, that she told those attending was both ‘mindful to make’ and comforting for those who are living with illness to enjoy and digest.

Here’s her recipe in full:


Serves 4


80g basmati rice, soaked

1 large pinch of saffron,

@wunderworkshop 500ml organic whole milk or plant based milk

½ tsp of cardamom seeds or 4 cardamom pods, crushed

50g of sugar

For topping (optional)

150g pomegranate seeds, 100g raspberries

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp organic rosewater

Toral Shah, aka @theurbankitchen on Instagram, took attendees through how to make the dish


1. Wash the rice and leave to soak in warm water for at least 30 minutes.

2. Using a small food processor or blender, grind the rice as finely as you would like the final texture of the kheer to be. I ground mine to half the size of couscous.

3. Lightly toast the saffron for up to 1 minute in a dry pan, and then soak in 2 tbsp of boiling water. Leave for at least 5 minutes.

4. Bring the milk to the boil and then add the saffron and crushed cardamom seeds. Gently simmer, until the milk starts to thicken. You will need to keep stirring to stop in catching the bottom of the pan. This will take about 25 – 30 min.

5. Then add in the ground rice, spoon by spoon, mixing until the rice starts to absorb the liquid. Bring to a simmer, stirring regularly, for 30 – 35 min.

6. Add the sugar and cook for a further 4 – 5 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick, add a splash of milk or water. Once the rice is soft, this is ready to eat.

7. Meanwhile, if you are making the optional topping, heat the pomegranate seeds with 2 tbsp of water until they start release juice. Then add the raspberries, with a little water if needed and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 min.

8. Allow to cool and then strain the pomegranate and raspberry in a small sieve, pressing with a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Reheat the puree until thick and add the rosewater. Serve with the kheer.