Wholefood Cooking

Category: Travel

Images of Melbourne

Hello Beautiful Fresh Flowers at Babka
The winning Danish -Rhubarb and Pear from Loafers

I’ve arrived in Sydney for classes, after a wonderful week or so in Melbourne. A couple of quick images of much beauty !!! Classes were deeply rewarding for me in Melbourne, and again in Sydney-just finished the Nourishing Wisdom course.  I get to meet such amazing people and see that we are all keen to change – it’s just how to go about it. But whilst I was in Melbourne, I made it my mission to taste the best Danish’s in the Fitzroy area before class – up early for a cup of tea and Danish (yes I did have a solid egg/asparagus/greens breakfast before class!!)… my little working holiday treat. Favourites? Raspberry Danish at Babka, and most favourite the organic Loafers in North Fitzroy…

I’ll be back shortly …. Nourishing Young Children course in Sydney today, and I’m off to the market to shop for fresh produce before setting up….

The Things I Loved about the Melbourne Wine and Food Festival

A Wholly Edible Garden

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I‘ve just returned home after 2 weeks in Melbourne, honoured to be a part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. It was very, very special, and to borrow a description from the Food and Wine Team, soul enriching. Food is again making sense, providence counts, the way it’s grown counts and most of all, it’s again doing the profound thing it’s always should do – feed people, and meet the hunger for food and connection (and this I know is a borrow from Jessica Prentice – her book titled Full Moon Feast, Food and the Hunger for Connection) (and it’s a brilliant and beautiful book). To take a line from Terry Durack and his 50 Things I Learnt at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, here are the things (amongst so many) I loved.

  1. The Kogi Team – Roy Choi, Alice, Natasha and Caroline. These gorgeous people are sitting right, smack in the middle of the universal flow of all things good. They are 21st century angels just dressed a little differently. Roy loves rap, they are funky as but they cook and do what they do because they want to feed people. Take this quote (borrowed from Terry Durack) “You might think tacos are just a quick cheap snack. When you’re a Mexican labourer earning 30 cents an hour’ says Roy Choi, ‘the taco is that one moment in life when you realise the shit isn’t that bad’. And this – not a direct quote but close -“whether we like it or not, there are a large number of people who buy cheap take out, because it’s all they can afford. If we can sell them something real and delicious at the same price, then we can begin change. We can make it delicious and special, and when we are in a street, people eat together, and we can start to build and strengthen a community” This is my kind of spiritual. 
  2. Cath Claringbold – Cath is such a knowledgeable, generous and creative cook and had asked me to come over and present Master Class with her. Thank you Cath.  Cath has championed the use of the Tasmanian grown Quinoa now available, and made the most delicious quinoa pudding along the lines of rice pudding, cooking it in whey – was very, very good I can tell you. Cath is now busy helping her husband Darren Purchese and his partner Ian Burch to set up Burch & Purchase, Sweet Studio. Yum!
  3. Tasmanian Quinoa. The Damons are growing it (along with Spelt) and Mt Zero are distributing it. I haven’t used it as yet, but will get onto it – from what i see, much more of the Saponin (a natural insecticide the plant produces) is on it, so it needs a good wash in a sieve, and seems to take less time to cook – but, don’t quote me on that. They also bought along the Quinoa leaves, and wow, they taste like Quinoa – delicious in a salad! 
  4. Nigella Lawson: Now, I readily admit I have not been her biggest fan, but I am a convert. I loved that she spoke so deeply to the issue that the food we cook at home to eat and sustain us, is not the pretty, perfect food we often see on TV, magazines or restaurants. That we might have our failures, and that is fine. And, as Nigella continued and even was icing her cake, you could literally see the peoples shoulders relax – ahh (big sigh) –  the icing on their cake didn’t need to look as perfect as on MasterChef. No one was going to appear in their home and grade them. 
  5. The Violet dessert plate at Cutler and Co: Okay, they probably used a refined white sugar, but this is how I like refined white evil to be used – seductively, with restraint and an eye to allowing the true flavour to come through. Violet Sorbet, Chocolate Ganache, Sour Cherry and Clove Meringue – ooh, it was tart, the chocolate intense and a touch bitter and insanely good. 
  6. The Organic Roast Chicken and vegetables at PM 24. Phillipe Mouchel makes proper food, simple and sublimely delicious that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. He cares about the food and you. This dish is seriously good. And cheap. Truly it puts the Perth boys and girls to shame.
  7. The Jelly Boys – Bompass and Parr. Wow. Go to their website now and read about them, you will love it. I asked them how on earth they decided to become ‘jellymongers’ – ” we got drunk one night” was the answer. These young men are a really heartwarming assurance that a younger generation are taking all that science and intellect, and mixing it with great heart and tradition – creating their own new  versions of how they want to be in the world. Ask Harry about something jelly and his eyes will sparkle as he tells you about the things they build. Ask Sam and he will tell you about about the funeral convention (of sorts) they went to whilst in Melbourne to discuss funeral jelly. I ask you – how cool is that? Apparently, jelly is a traditional English food at funerals, but the convention was about the role of food at funerals. I’m so interested in this, of course it’s important – and an essential part of how we mark any big moment in our life journey, and I can’t believe I haven’t thought about it before. These boys rock. 
  8. The Edible Garden: Once again Diggers (this is where I get a lot of my seeds for my garden) set up a beautiful, abundant, wholly edible organic garden smack bang in the middle of the city. Free cooking demonstrations for all at lunch and dinner – you can see me below getting started at one, oh and the car filled with pumpkins at the top..
  9. Vassette: The most gorgeous attitude to flowers I’ve seen outside of San Francisco. Flower shop in Brunswick.
  10. But should maybe be number 1. Coffee at Market Lane Coffee. Full cream, non- homogenised organic, Victorian milk. Mmmmm. Five Senses Coffee – the Perth boys made good – smmoooth, delicious flavour…. MMmmmmmmm. Now I know that some of you reading this will remember I’ve not been drinking coffee – it does stress me out. But being in Melbourne, kind of on holiday a bit, it was wonderful.
  11. Fashion. I still love it – you can take the girl out of the fashion designer label she once had back in the 80’s, but you can’t take the love of it out of the girl. Every woman – especially those from the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Team, looked stunning. Dressed to suit their bodies and style – Melbourne women care about how they look. I did buy a Melbourne dress and plan to give it a good wearing!
  12. Rachel Allen from Ireland – such a lovely, lovely woman – I have 2 of her books, and can recommend them for good family cooking. 
At the Edible Garden Demonstration

Cath Claringold and myself – Cath is holding a Quinoa Flower!

The Damons from Tasmania

Decent Scone, Jam and Cream from my favourite Cuppa Cottage in Sandringham

My dear friend Jeanie who came down from NSW to help me throughout the festival – couldn’t have done it without her

Travels and Inspiring Times

Melbourne Wine and Food Festival

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If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been in Melbourne, and then Queensland with classes, Melbourne Wine and Food Festival, and launching my new book! I’m not going to talk to much, just give you some wonderful photo’s to show you how inspiring it all looked. Diggers built (or grew) an entire organic vegetable and fruit garden in the centre of the city. It was beautiful. Truly – beautiful, this is what a city should look like, and gracious, glorious Melbourne rose to the challenge. Mind you this was the brain child of the brilliant team at Melbourne Food and Wine, and brilliant it was. People wandered through, I and others cooked from the garden (but not as much as we could, as much of the crop grown for demonstrations were destroyed by Melbourne’s hail storm), and on lookers ate. It reminded me of Union Square Farmers Market in New York – beautiful, real, sustainable food in the heart of a city. I love this concept – using space and water to grow our food, and infusing an organic and living dynamic into a city. 

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Up till now, Australian Chefs in general, have been very slow to truly walk a sustainable and organic path – some have, but many just pay it lip service. What truly stood out for me at the Wine and Food Festival, was most of the chefs from overseas – Alex Atala, Thomasina Myers, Dave Chang – very, very top people in the world – were seriously talking organic and sustainable. It wasn’t a catch word or in thing to do (a phase) as so many Australian Chefs seem to approach it, but a very necessary, essential road to take. Alex Atala spoke about providing the native inhabitants of the Amazon an income for local and traditional foods (he buys from them for his restaurant), and thus they are less likely to sell their land for soy crops which are devastating the Amazon at an alarming rate. Thomasina Myers talked about the loss of fish stocks in the United Kingdom (something we have yet to fully see here in Australia, but are well on the way), and Dave Chang just blew my brain with his general brilliance. Then onto Brisbane to launch my book at Wray Organic – I can tell you, Queensland is very lucky to have Deborah Wray – the stores are amazing and I was lucky enough to visit each one, and meet many, many wonderful people. 

One final photo – there I was in Melbourne, in an Anglican Church Hall, in the kitchen and there in the cupboard were these beauties… now, I love pink, love old china, have hunted high and low for something like this, and there they were – just for looking, not for having, but filling my heart with joy…

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For now,  I’m onto the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program as we prepare the kitchen and program for this exciting 4 month course. You’ll be able to follow it on the website, and of course I’ll be posting some idea’s for Autumn cooking (I love Autum!).  But now, as I write, it’s  Easter Weekend,  with Mum’s 90th birthday and afternoon tea this afternoon – I am making sponge cakes with passion-fruit and banana, with a very special treat from the Organic Farmers Market on Saturday – Merri- Bee Farm Raspberries – I had 2 punnets (Bee only had 4) but being the sweetest and most delicious things I’ve ever tasted, I can understand why Nessie ate 1!!