Hello !!! Are you as busy as I am right now, finishing off jobs before Christmas (for me that is putting the new book to bed – going through last pages, checking it twice – and getting my new online tax system finished, making sure my builders are going to get the roof on my new house before Christmas to avoid delays in the new year, thank you notes)….. ? I’ve tidied up the blog a bit (but really it needs a lot more tidying up – as does my garden) and have rounded up some recipes that are 1) Christmas and 2) are great for this time of the year. Please bear in mind, some of these recipes are old (but not bad) and have not imported into the new website beautifully – and, I’m a bit better photographer than before (not a lot, but a bit!) They are still favourites.. especially the puff pastry. I’ll have a new post up next week for a easy, dairy + gluten free + vegan dessert – one of my favourites.
Till then… x jude
I’ve just arrived back home after nearly 5 weeks away on the east coast of Australia, teaching and I think a pot of simple beans are in order. This post on beans began some weeks ago, but is ending up somewhat differently to what I envisaged. It was to be a discussion on cooking beans, but now – well it’s more about being, how grounding a simple meal of beans can be and how they can remind you that simple is sometimes all we need. This is happening a lot for me lately – you will see it also reflected in the new book (due June, 2016) – elemental flavours, simple wholegrains and legumes, fundamental animal foods, simple vegetables, simple fruits – foods that are local, seasonal, ripe, and grown in great soil with great ethics. It’s the elemental that gets me, and it’s this elementality (yes it’s my made up word) that is the key. It connects you immediately to what is real and true, and what really matters in life – it takes us into our core, our heart and soul. I have been privileged in classes – especially the 4 day intensives – to see that when simple, good, organic and/or biodynamic food is around (and a lot of it) and when people are supported, something exceptional happens – they cry, they open, they connect to each other and to themselves. It is never ever just about the food, it’s always about the energy that food carries and the context in which we eat it. And good, real food ? Well that’s mighty powerful stuff, and it seems the simpler it is, the more powerful it is. There’s a lot of crazy food out there right now, and whilst it might suit the latest fad, or marketing campaign it doesn’t seem to suit many humans, or nourish on that deeper level.
But, sometimes we do have to know how to prepare that food, how to make it optimally digestible for our human tummies, especially that grounding bowl of simple beans. Beans are part of the legume family, and require a bit of attention. First up, a bit about how they grow – they are ridiculously easy to grow. In Australia, I often find organic beans impossible to cook properly (they are really old, and | or they are heat treated for entrance to Australia and thus never cook), so I try and grow what I can. This year I’ve added the Christmas Lima Bean and Bean Frost to my repertoire of Borlotti, they are easily available online from Diggers, or some wonderful person may share a seed with you (Belinda Jeffrey shared her Christmas Lima with me). But if you live in the U.S you will easily be able to access the glorious Rancho Gordo beans, which offer a huge range of young, heirloom beans.
I know you may have heard that you need to soak your beans, but when you look at the picture above you can see that when they are fresh of the bush, how moist they are (you can also see how lush the pod is, and how bright the colour when fresh, too). They don’t need soaking, as those sugars have not yet begun to convert to very long chain carbohydrates that are hard for us to digest. Once they begin to dry though, you will need to soak them. In lots of water to cover them by about 10cm, and for Borlotti, Frost and Christmas Lima, you will need to add an alkali – many people use a pinch of baking soda, but I prefer Kombu sea vegetable, with contributes minerals, and has a special enzyme that helps to break those long sugars down. A 2cm piece is plenty for 1/2 cup of beans, which when cooked will give you around 1 1/4 cups cooked beans. Leave the beans to soak for 12 – 24 hours in a warm place. Warmth is important as it will help encourage lacto fermentation, which will also help to make the bean more digestible, and help with getting rid of anti nutrients such as phytic acid. Then drain and rinse, add to a pot with fresh water or stock with the soaking kombu, or use a fresh piece. Using a bone stock will help to make them even more digestible. Cook until they are done. The time they take depends on how old they are – beans under 1 year tend to cook from 45 – 1 hour | older – around 1 – 2 hours |older still – much longer, around 2 1/2 – 3 hours. If they are not cooked by then, they most likely never will. They are ready when gentle pressure yields a creamy centre – no pebbly bits. Pebbly bits are not digestible. I hear you saying ‘but where can I get kombu, as it’s not available in Australia?’ Kombu has been banned in Australia due to high iodine levels (crazy as we are a low iodine country, but go figure) – I buy mine online here, but you can also use Wakame which is freely available, it’s good, but it’s not quite as effective. (just a caveat about kombu, it’s great, but use it in small amounts, don’t go nuts with it).
Even though the weather is warming up, I hope you find time for this simple pot of beans in a cooler moment. But, you could always simply cook them as I have just described and use them to add to a salad with a delicious dressing. It was so wonderful to meet you all people in classes, thank you for enriching my life. I’ll be back with some Christmas treats shortly…. x Jude
This is the kind of ‘a little something’ that I needed on a cold and wintery Sydney day recently.. pure comfort food. And I did indeed need a bit of comfort. I was exhausted after doing the shoot for my new book (out next year), and staying with my good friend (and fellow Whole and Natural Foods Chef) Holly Davis, who helped me, the word we used was ‘shattered’. We were completely shattered, and requiring said comfort food (plus, it was cold). It also seems that rice pudding is back in (mind you it has never really gone away in our house) – I noticed it has made an appearance in this months Delicious magazine, so it seems, we are on trend :) I actually don’t use a recipe, just throw it all in and judge from look, but the all important thing in making a rice pudding is getting the consistency right (not too runny, not too thick) so I’m giving you a recipe. It’s originally from this book (I’ve tweaked it a little) … a truly brilliant book that mum has had for years, it’s well worn and stained, and truly, has all the Australian classics – it’s well worth tracking down.
But whilst carrying on about how exhausted we were, it was a wonderful time. I call it the ‘seeing the view from the mountain’ time. That time, when you’ve worked so hard (over years and years), taken the enormous risks that you take, putting it all out there – and you finally get the chance to see the beauty of it all. To see this book, that in the beginning (and for quite some time over the past year) I couldn’t see at all where it was leading me, but I kept on following a jungle path – finally I got to see that it was beautiful, and that the whole was so much more than the sum of it’s parts. That takes one talented photographer (Cath Muscat) and stylist (Michelle Noriento), and of course a publishing team who are there for you (Murdoch Books). BUT, it also takes a friend. I’ve had a lot of lessons about what makes a true friendship this year – easy for some to talk the talk, but not walk the walk. Thank goodness, that I count Holly as a true friend. Thank goodness she knows how to make a cup of tea because we really needed it. The photo below is a screen shot of the teapot from Cath’s instagram account. It also took another hand in the kitchen, and we were loved sharing more time with Trudie Fenwick – a graduate from the 2013 Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program. We also had the opportunity to catch up with another graduate (2010) Belinda Pooley (Wholefood Canteen), another true friend and we got to meet her gorgeous new bub.
A shoot goes like this: you organise what you are going to shoot (we had 40 shots of food + chapter openers + incidentals+ pictures of me) – in 5 days. You organise the shopping list (that was Holly’s job, and no mean feat). You watch in awe as box after box of props are unloaded. You cook your ass off, because that’s a lot of shots you are doing each day. I also keep an eye on the shot so it represents me. No blue plates I say, no twine around everything I say – and in the end, there was blue, and a bit of twine, but I loved it. Loved it to bits. I love who I see this book becoming, I love that whilst I couldn’t see always what it wanted to be, my spirit did and kept me on the path. I think you will like it too. That’s Michelle s hands down there, getting the shot into shape, and below it, is the gorgeous Smeg fridge we used for a shot. Look at the colour – Panna Cotta – it says it all. I literally can’t wait for my new home and cooking studio to be built (that’s another story), but already I have my Smeg oven sorted. I’ll tell you more about that at a later date.
Before I leave and get to the recipe, I will be putting together a class program next week for August, September, October and November for Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. It will post on the website, FB and newsletter. I’d so love to meet you and I hope you can come along. In the meantime, try this out this winter weekend… serve it with any baked or stewed fruit as desired. Eat it for morning tea, snack or afternoon tea or dessert… it doesn’t matter :)
Where to start ? A thank you to you all for emailing me and saying how much you enjoy the blog when I have posted so rarely in 2013? A thank you for continuing to send me photo’s of your children smeared with food – giggling and laughing with their favourite recipe from Wholefood for Children? A thank you for the friendship and privilege that comes from knowing you trust me and have me in your homes? A thank you for welcoming the new book WHOLEFOOD BAKING with open arms? How about we just start with it all and go from there. I start each year with the best intentions of keeping a regular blog, and I didn’t do too badly until the WHOLE AND NATURAL FOODS CHEF TRAINING PROGRAM which started in August- lots of things went by the wayside! When it stopped, I stopped and have had very little desire to take any responsibility for my life whatsoever since then!! I couldn’t have made a decision if my life depended upon it !! But a little bit of going very slowly after Christmas and up to right now, has done wonders. Lets catch up shall we? And I’ve also got a really simple, delicious gluten free cornbread for you later on.
2014 was a full and wonderful year – my fourth book Wholefood Baking was released and I’m incredibly excited to share that it has just been announced as one of the Australian winners of the GOURMAND BOOK AWARDS. Oh my goodness, that hasn’t quite sunk in yet. The best part of this book though was travelling Australia with afternoon tea launches, meeting so many wonderful people (including you) and seeing the community of people returning to real food that is being built. It was wonderful also travelling Australia for Wholefood Cooking classes with THERMOMIX, a good collaboration I think :)
In August we began the 3rd intake of the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program, and this was quite the special group. Amazing, gutsy people in this group that I know are going to go on and make a difference. It’s not an easy course – it’s intense and pushes you to your limits – but, it’s there at the limits that we often discover who we really are or get to eyeball the things (most often our minds) that stop us from being all we can be. There are some photo’s I’d like to share with you from the course:
The course does not happen with the legend and wise woman that is Holly Davis. I chose this picture as I think it expresses us best – me, exhausted and unable to keep it together, Holly who as soon as I loose it is not far behind. I also have to include this photo below – seriously not the best photo of either myself or Holly (she will probably kill me for putting it up – seriously we look old and haggard). This is us completely loosing it during taste testing of final practical exams – something tasted unbelievably terrible, and Holly and I were profoundly unprofessional and just couldn’t stop laughing – every time I look at it I just crack up again.
I’ve made many speeches this year and turned 60 in November and one thing stands out for me – we are never an island, and when we become who we want to be, it is always because we are loved and supported. Interestingly I was listening to a interview with Catriona Rowntree yesterday, and she was saying that to be unconditionally loved is the most empowering thing in life (for her, it was her Nanna). I have long wanted to be the person I am now (no not the achievements, but how I feel each day – empowered, trusting, joyful, aware of this gift that is life, alive and on purpose) and for me, those that have enabled that are varied – the most important thing and person in my life (my daughter, Nessie) would at the head of the line, but family, my cousin Fran, best friend Nene, and Holly is not far behind. I think my higher self has pushed me to my limits and it’s there I found who I really am – I love most that I’ve got to this place with compromising my principles – I it’s a deeply organic sense of self worth.
Over summer I’ve had had some wonderful people to breakfast in my kitchen – for once
the eastern states are coming west – here I am with Jo Whitton
And here with Jane Grover
And, for the life of me – with my technological skills (poor) I can’t get the photo of Alexx Stuart and her son Benjamin on here.. but you can see that wonderful woman on my Instagram feed. It was such a treat to have time with these inspiring women and hear their stories.
Which brings me to Instagram – I’ve used it more than Facebook towards the end of the year because it was so easy – hence the lack of lots of photo’s on FB !!
So for this year, it’s a whole new website (should be up about March) and there will be lots of goodies for you there. I’m working on a new book, so it will be head down, not too much travel and very few CLASSES. I do have a NOURISHING WISDOM INTENSIVE happening for Perth (this one comes with a pantry pack of grains, legumes, sea vegetables and other treats). It’s a 4 day rather than a 3 day, as this is it – we have extra time to do some of the things you would like to do. You can find information for that here.
As a final note, in case you are looking for some reading? Whilst I actually didn’t end up reading a lot last year (which is a tragedy as I love reading, but was too busy most of the time) my favourites were:
- Deep Nutrition: Why your Genes Need Traditional Foods Catherine Shanahan MD and Luke Shanahan
- Cooked by Michael Pollan
The books I’ve just bought / am really looking forward to buying or being published this year:
- The Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen (love her stories)
- Whole -Grain Mornings – New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons Megan Gordon
- Emma’s book – www.mydarlinglemonthyme.com
- Michelles book – www.hugoandelsa.com
I wish you the most joyous and wonderful 2014 – may you be unconditionally loved, nourished, inspired and delighted often. I look forward to sharing more with you over the coming year – and if that is with a cup of tea and we happen to find ourselves having breakfast, morning or afternoon tea, all the better.
TOMATO AND BASIL BARLEY PIKeLETS
These have been getting a fairly good run in my kitchen of late, mostly because they are so quick to put together, are delicious and keep well. They also pack exceptionally well, and will welcome a host of added extras – goat cheese and pesto spread on top is a particularly good combination. They are a great morning tea/snack after my usual breakfast – eggs any way, with ghee and seasonal vegetables – right now that’s often zucchini, corn and kale. Coby and Zay helped me make those ones in the picture this morning – they are my neices children. Coby walked in the door and said “lets make muffins” – thinking this was too much to do (lazy on my part really) I suggested pikelets, no Coby wanted muffins, so I told him they were muffins :).
I’m a big fan of this kind of thing – in Australia we call it a pikelet, but more often than not in the U.S it will be called a drop scone. They’re so quick to wip up. I’ve used a barley flour and have a very big preference for the Four Leaf brand in Australia – it retains a good bit of bran and germ. Also in the bowl is wholemeal spelt flour and my preference is for Demeter Mills. If you give yourself a bit more planning time you can soak these overnight in the milk (see the recipe) and make the flour even more digestible. But, I love how easy spelt and barley are on the tummy, and the barley renders a low gluten end result.
Do give them a try, the barley gives them such a lovely earthy flavour. I like them served with lots of good butter. That’s it !!! Easy Peasy.
TOMATO AND BASIL BARLEY AND SPELT PIKELETS
I’ve gone down a dairy path in this recipe, but you can easily make these dairy free. If using an oat or soy milk (both would be a good choice) add 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar to it. Replace the butter with olive oil. And, at times I’ve not had an egg to use, so did the chia seed trick – 1 teaspoon ground chia seed + 45ml water, stir and leave to sit until gooey = 1 egg. They will be a little bit denser, but are fine. Store left overs in an air tight container in the fridge and heat before serving to soften them up if desired. OMG just thought how delicious drippings from organic, nitrate free bacon would be to fry these in !!! Stable and delicious, a most definite win win.
1 cup / 145 gm wholemeal spelt flour
1 cup / 110 gm barley flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
generous sprinkle of salt ( I used Herbamare)
generous grinding of black pepper
finely chopped tomato to taste
handful of fresh basil (or as much as you want)
optional grating of parmesan or pecorino cheese, but a soft goats cheese wouldn’t hurt either
1/2 cup full cream, non homegenised milk
1/2 cup cultured buttermilk or yoghurt
30 gm unsalted butter, melted
extra butter or ghee, and extra virgin olive oil for frying
Add the flours, baking powder, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl and whisk through to evening distribute. Add the tomato, basil and cheese if using and gently toss through.
Add the egg to a small mixing bowl and beat together with the milk/cultured buttermilk/yoghurt and melted butter. Add to the dry ingredients and gently fold together until just combined.
Add enough ghee and a touch of olive oil to cover the base of the frypan well. This is important, don’t skimp or your pikelets will stick. When the fat is hot but not at all smoking drop 1 tablespoonful mixture into the pan – the fat should gently sizzle. Continue to cook at a medium heat – they should take about 4 – 5 minutes each side. If the heat is too high they will burn before the inside is cooked (these are whole grain remember), if it’s too low, the pikelet will be soggy. Turn and cook on the other side for 3 – 4 minutes. You will need to top up the fat between batches, the patties absorbs them as they cook and that’s fine. This is good fat you are using.
If soaking overnight, add the flours and salt to a bowl with the milk/s. There must be some acid in this – the yoghurt or cultured milk will do the trick, but if dairy free make sure you have the apple cider vinegar in there. Cover and soak out at room temperature overnight. If you’re worried it’s too dam hot, put it in the fridge. The next morning add all other ingredients – it won’t look as liquid, don’t worry about. Don’t add any more milk.
BERRIES, BAKING AND BUTTERMILK HERB CRICKET CHICKEN
This is most likely going to be my big blog before Christmas, as things are begining to get a little hectic. During this next 2 weeks, I am trying to slow down, but also still need to get quite a few things done still – pay those bills (tick), clean my house and make some sense of the mess, write my Christmas cards, Christmas shopping and get my Christmas Cake cooked !!! It sits there on the kitchen bench soaking away in brandy and vino cotto – I will get to it – but at least all that soaking should result in a mighty fine cake. I’m sure it’s a bit like this for you too. So, too the best bit – the food. These are the weeks I really, really like to make a bit special, and make a little more effort. I like the house to be full of the smells of food baking, roasting and cooking, and without doubt, these are the smells of the 2 weeks before Christmas, all mingled with the glorious pine of the Christmas tree (it’s not up yet, we go to cut that baby down on Friday). It’s got to be a real tree for me, and we get one from the Christmas tree farm. When it’s finished, the leaves (thin as they are) get used to mulch the gardenias (or azalea’s) but when dried, also make the best kindling for the winter fire. The log is dried over summer, ready to use for firewood during winter – so nothing has gone to waste.
But shall we get onto the food?
It’s berry season here, and we often go blueberry picking at about this time. I know this is a traditional time for cookies, but these lemon and blueberry scones are so delicious and easy to make. Perfect with a cup of tea, warm out the oven for breakfast or morning tea, I find them a more substantial than cookies.
The Buttermilk Cricket Chicken? Well, we go to the evening 20/20 cricket ( a short version of the game) and I believe in taking a delicious (but easy) picnic. No packets of chips or commercial dips, or other seriously dodgy foods that I see most families eating when we are there, I want real, good food. This is the easiest thing to make, transports well, eats well and provides leftovers. What more can a woman want? (mind you, asking that question I can think of a few other things ….Santa Baby….. love that Christmas song, Eartha Kitt has the best version). I like to cook the chicken with small chunks of potato (toss them in a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and salt first) and tuck them around the chicken. The juices and fat from the chicken end up coating and baking with the potatoes. I find it’s important to cook the chicken well, that chicken juice will have the opportunity to reduce and begin to gel around the potatoes – making them even more delicious. The chicken fat will also make them extra crispy. When serving remember to scrape off all those sticky chicken juices from the tray – that gelatine will help you digest the meat. Together with a yummy green salad, you have a delicious dinner. Dessert ? That will be mini pavlova with all my left over egg whites :) Topped with creme and berries. You know how much I hate hot summer days, but those evenings – glorious, outdoors where one should be on a summer night.
I love using left over chicken in salads and sandwiches – mixed with mayonnaise and herbs – it makes a quick and exceptionally nutrient dense lunch. If I have pesto floating around (and I do !) I would add that – even more delicious.
I wish you a wonderful and joyous Christmas season – Happy Holidays!!! Thank you for sharing the year here with me, and may many blessings find there way to you. May there much joy and deliciousness in your life and at your table…………..
Flattened, Buttermilk and Herb Crispy Chicken:
This is the simplest meal to put together, and left overs are excellent for lunch. Cutting out the backbone of the chicken allows you to flatten it, and thus cook quicker. You will need to marinate this 24 hours ahead of time. If you run out of time to marinate, just omit that step – it will still be delicious, and if you want an even quicker and crispier end result, you can cut the chicken into smaller pieces.
1 organic, grass pastured chicken
500 ml buttermilk
handful fresh herbs
The Herb Mix
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, lemon thyme, thyme and sage
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Potatoes for everyone – skin on, scrubbed and roughly cut into small – medium chunks
Lay the chicken breast side down on a chopping board. Using your kitchen or poultry shears cut out the backbone (freeze for stock). Turn the chicken over and flatten. Place in dish and pour the buttermilk and fresh herbs over the chicken, ensuring the buttermilk is evenly distributed. Cover and place in the fridge for 24 hours.
Pre heat oven to 200c or 180 c if fan forced
Prepare the herb mix by mixing the herbs and lemon together. Remove the chicken and place on a baking tray (the flatter the tray the better) and roughly pat dry – make sure to leave some buttermilk on the skin especially. Gently loosen the skin from the breast and stuff 2/3 of the herb mix under the skin. Sprinkle the rest on the chicken, with a generous amount of pepper and salt. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Toss the potatoes separately in a little olive oil (and herbs if desired) and scatter on the tray, close to the chicken – even tuck some underneath the chicken. Bake until the skin is crispy and golden approx. 40 – 60 minutes, or until the juices in the thigh run clean. If you find the skin is burning rather than just becoming golden, reduce the temperature.
Remove from oven and leave to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Lemon Glazed Blueberry Scones:
1 cup / 130 gm white spelt flour or 130 gm white, all purpose wheat flour
1 cup / 145gm wholemeal spelt flour or 130 gm wholemeal wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ tablespoons rapadura sugar
grated zest of 1 small lemon
½ teaspoon baking soda
100gm very cold unsalted butter, cut into rough 1 cm pieces
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup full cream, non – homogenised milk (+ 1 – 2 tablespoons more if using wheat)
½ cup buttermilk or yoghurt (+ 1 – 2 tablespoons more if using wheat)
For Dairy and Butter free:
80 ml macadamia or almond oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup rice milk
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice – you may need more depending on the acidity of the lemon
Preparing to Bake:
Pre heat the oven to 200c or 180c if fan forced.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Put the flour, baking powder, sugar and zest in a bowl and sift in the baking soda. Mix through with a whisk to combine ingredients and break up any lumps of flour.
Add the vinegar to a cup measure, and add the milk and buttermilk. Set aside.
Cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs – some bits will be the size of a pea, this is fine. Add the blueberries and toss through to evenly distribute. Add ¾ cup of milk (the full cup if using wheat) and mix with a large spoon to just combine – take care not to over – mix as this is the main cause of heavy scones. Add the extra milk as needed, for spelt you will use just about the whole cup, for wheat you will use the whole cup and may need to add another 1 – 2 tablespoons. The mix should form into a moist, but not at all sloppy, dough. For dairy free, cut the oil into the flour as best you can, forming coarse breadcrumbs. Mix 3/4 cup of milk with the vinegar, and add as described.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Depending on wether you want a wedge or a square, cut the dough.
To make wedges pat (don’t knead) the dough to form a rough circle approx 20cm x 2.5 cm thick. You may need to lightly flour your hands. Using a sharp, floured knife, cut 12 wedges (you may well need to re flour the knife in between cuts) and place on the lined tray. You may need to use your knife to pick up the scones and don’t worry too much if they fall out of shape a bit, that is part of their charm. Alternatively, form (don’t knead) the dough into a rectangle approx 21cm x 16cm and approx 2.5cm deep. Cut 4 x 3.
Bake for 15 – 20 mins, or until golden and lightly browned and just cooked in the middle (you can break one open to check). Drizzle with the glaze and serve warm.
To make the glaze, add the ingredients to a small bowl, and mix together well – taste and adjust as needed the lemon juice as needed.
- Afternoon Tea
- Chef Training
- Core Recipes
- Dairy Free
- Gluten Free
- Grass Fed Meat
- Late Summer
- Making a Book
- Meals from my Garden
- Quick Dinner
- Ramble and Roam
- Seasonal Cooking
- Soaked Grains
- Sustainable Fish
- Wedding Cake
- Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training
- Wholefood Kitchen