Wholefood Cooking

Category: Chef Training

The Light is Changing


(with a breakfast/lunch box so I won’t starve)

My sunset kitchen last week

Finally (and with much gratitude to nature on my part) the sun is sinking, and setting earlier. The energy is descending, and even though it’s still hot (it’s just been 41, 40 and 38.9c the past 3 days), the nights are cooler and you can most definitely feel Autumn in the air. And those full moon, hot day sunsets are just breathtaking. But, whilst this is taking place my energy needs to keep up – it has been and still is, all happening here! I head off to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane this week. First stop is Melbourne for the wedding of good freinds and classes, with the cooler weather I know I’ll find there, a definite plus. I’ve even bought a cardigan and jumper !!! Whilst writing the classes, I was getting so excited – especially the Breakfast and Lunch Class for Adults and Children at School, Work and Play. I read this little quote somewhere recently that said if it was hard getting out of bed in the morning, your breakfast wasn’t delicious enough :) I can’t wait to make Poached Quinces and Vino Cotto with Goat Cheese or Labne  or the Pumpkin, Cheddar, Rosemary and Sage Gluten Free Scones – I’d most definitely get out of bed for that. Classes will be at The Green Grocer – such a gorgeous shop, and the owner Mary and I will chat ten to the dozen. Did I say how much I love Melbourne… I do. There’s still a couple of spots and you can contact Mary. I also love Essential Ingredient in Prahran (and Market Lane Coffee) and can’t wait to be back there for the To Market class.

Then, onto Sydney for Recipe Testing for the new book. Cakes, Biscuits, Pies – hard work, but I bear the burden. I’m going to post pictures on Facebook, so you can get a feel for what’s happening and how a book progresses.  Myself, Food Editor and Editor (and others) go down at approx 2.30 to pick apart or comment on what has been cooked (not by me) that morning. One has to have a robust ego, but it’s where I learn about the little things I do, that make a good end result and have not put in the recipe. I love recipe testing and it’s such an essential part of a good book. Then, I’m onto Brisbane for Nourishing Young Children class at Mondo Organics – I’m really looking forward to being there.

In the background, I am gearing up for the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program. I was at an Anti GM talk 2 weeks ago given by French scientist Gilles Eric Seralini along with other Chefs and interested people from the food industry. It is one of the first times I’ve heard such grounded scientific reasoning and response to the pro GM lobby – coming from a scientist, it counts. But the interesting part was the conversation afterwards, where it got to the issue of how we train chefs – many of the young trainees there wanted and noted they received little or no education about the goodness of the food itself, how it’s grown and how it impacts on and in a human body. I was so excited to be able to say, “but you can, this is happening in the world – here in Perth, and in New York“. We need to change everything about how we relate to food – including how we train those who work in the industry. The Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program is a part of that change and it’s incredibly inspiring to see what some of the graduates from both New York and my program are doing.

BUT, to the food. I’ve learnt not to rely on plane food – mostly, it’s not edible. This is what I am taking for the plane trip – 5 odd hours, so I need something real. I’m making an old favourite – Stuffed Butternut Pumpkin – and one from my garden none the less. I’m going to take a treat also – some Chocolate Mousse. Whilst I’m on the plane, I’ll most likely be day dreaming about this – Heidi Swanson listed it recently on her Favourites list, and I’m biting – hook, line and sinker. It’s very me, I love it, I want to live in San Francisco – but alas, not this year. I’ll have to make do with our tour there next year. For now, I’m going to savour all the deliciousness, cool weather and friendship that Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane have to offer. I look forward to seeing you there…….




I also made a quick plum crumble 


Gluten Free, Can be Dairy Free

Top with seeds for a dairy free version (they will toast up in the oven) or grated cheese if desired – even goat cheese crumbled into the mix would be delicious. Play with the vegetables as desired – some cooked lentils would be a great addition and  increase the protein, as would a sprinkle of dulse flakes or a little arame sea vegetable (reconstituted of course). Serve with steamed greens (beans and kale) for dinner, or with a salad for lunch. 

1 medium butternut pumpkin

1/2 – 3/4 cup cooked grain – hulled millet is good, I used red quinoa

1 small onion – finely chopped

1 clove garlic – finely chopped

2 stems celery – finely chopped

2 medium carrots – finely diced – but you can see I didn’t have that, so I chopped up zucchini from the garden instead

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 – 2 corn kernels, freshly cut of the cob

1 – 2 tablespoons currants

1- 2 tablespoons lightly roasted pine nuts

fresh coriander or basil – I used basil

1 – 2 teaspoons wheat free tamari

sunflower and pumpkin seeds as desired

good melting cheese as desired

Pre heat oven to 180c or 165c if fan forced.

Cut the pumpkin in half lengthways, brush with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with some fresh thyme or rosemary (not essential, but good). Bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until the flesh is soft, and I like it a little caramelised. 

Meanwhile, add a good tablespoon of that olive oil to a pan and gently saute the onion, garlic, celery and in my case zucchini until soft. After a few minutes add the cumin and stir through. You are not frying the vegetables, just cooking them through – covering with a lid will enable them to steam a little without frying. Add the corn kernels and cook for a further couple of minutes. 

Mix the cooked quinoa, vegetables, currants, pine nuts, herbs and 1 teaspoon tamari together – you can do this in the frying pan. When the pumpkin is ready and cooled a little, gently remove the bulk of the flesh from the skin – add this to the frying pan also and mix through – the pumpkin will help it all stick together.  Try to leave a little flesh on the pumpkin – it will help it to keep it’s shape. Taste and add tamari as needed.

Stuff this mixture into the pumpkin halves – there will be plenty, and any that you can’t fit in, will be good by itself. Either sprinkle with a few pumpkin and sunflower seeds, or top with cheese and bake for 15 – 30 minutes or until warm.

Amazing Women and Group Dinners

Work to Do!

One of the girls final assessments for the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program, was a Group Dinner. Divided into 2 groups, each presented (planned, developed, sourced and produced) a dinner for 45 people. Let me say, these women are amazing. Not at all girls, just simply amazing women, each and every one of them. It was a hard task, long days, lots of work (just what it’s like in the real world) but an amazing opportunity to get a feel for what’s involved. The food – well, can I tell you, it was beautiful. Truly. I’m not just saying it. Guests were invited from the students family and friends, from my mailing list, and some of the many that have helped make this program work (in that, I have been blessed). The students all worked so hard, but produced such a wonderful end result. I was so proud – of them, each and every one of them.

Since then, I have been slowly trying to get body, brain and soul together, as one, again – it’s taking it’s time, but getting there. I’m heading off tomorrow for 10 days in our beautiful South – West, which at this time of the year (or any time really) is just gorgeous. This afternoon, I plan to make a simple butter- cake to take – so for those of you bemoaning my lack of recipes on the blog, get ready. It’s a good example of adapting a classic recipe.

All in all, though an enormous amount of work, it has been a deeply rewarding experience – I have met 10 amazing women, all who will go out and in their own way, do amazing things. That I have been a part of their journey, is humbling, and deeply enriching.

Group 1 Menu
Leanne and Angie get the Rustic Ratatouille Tarts ready
Group 2 Table
Group 1 Long Table with guests arriving
Jeanie – where would we have been without my best friend coming over to help?

butter-cake-654x491.jpgThis is the kind of cake I am making – simple butter, but I’m doing a passionfruit icing. This is Sue’s (incredibly delicious) version, with lime – you can see Sue below finishing it off.


This is my version of a classic butter cake – using a white spelt, a less refined sugar, and lessof it. It’s a very good cake, and will give you a moist yet sturdy crumb, which will last well.This is the kind of cake you would have traditionally find in a tin, ready for lunches or afternoon teas. You could easily flavour the cake with finely grated orange or lemon zest.

This batter makes 1 x 22xm tin. Cut in half, this is a good depth for a child’s cake.

Also makes 9 – 12 cupcakes

Kitchen Notes:

·     You will need to asses your white spelt for this recipe. If you have a lovely white spelt with very little bran or germ it will be fine. But if it looks more like a light wholemeal, I would recommend sieving 1¼ cups first, using a fine sieve. This will catch most of the germ and bran, which you can discard. Measure your quantity from this sifted flour.

·     It is very important that the butter is soft – the consistency should be similar to that of a face cream. The main technique used to raise the cake in this recipe, is by beating air into the butter and sugar, and for this you need a soft butter – not melted, but soft.

·     I use an unrefined ‘golden’ castor sugar for this cake (In Australia, I use the Billingtons Golden Icing Sugar)  but you could also use the slightly larger unrefined ‘ golden’ raw sugar.

2 cups white spelt flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

250gm unsalted butter – softened and at room temperature

170 gm unrefined, golden castor or raw sugar

4 eggs – at room temperature

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

¼ – ½ cup whole, non – homogenised full cream milk

Pre heat oven to 170c.

Grease and line the base of a 22m cake tin.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a small bowl and set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in a medium size mixing bowl, and using electric beater, beat until pale, thick and creamy.

Add the eggs, beating well after each addition. If you find the mix begins to ‘split’ and look curdled, it is because the mix has become too cold to incorporate the eggs. A good trick is to place the mixing bowl in a little warm water for a few minutes – this will soften the butter again and allow it to take up the eggs. Add the vanilla extract and beat well.

Add the flour and ¼ cup milk, and gently beat into the mix – if using electric beaters, start them off very slowly to avoid the flour going everywhere. Beat until smooth and the flour and milk are well incorporated. Only add the extra milk if the mix is very, very heavy (this will generally be because of the presence of bran and germ from the flour).

Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 60 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before removing to a wire cooling rack 

Quick and Simple Butter Icing: Makes 2 cups

This is a classic butter icing – quick to make, and always delivers great end results. 

Again, the butter must be very, very soft, with the texture of face cream – this will enable you to get a light end result.

Kitchen Notes:

·     I like add a little lemon juice to this to balance out the sweetness – you can omit this if desired.

·     Because this icing is a butter base, it is very flexible. You can incorporate flavours as desired into this – raspberry puree, lemon, lime or orange zest, rose water  and passionfruit are all delicious.

·     You can replace the dairy milk with coconut milk if desired

125 gm unsalted butter, softened

3 cups unrefined, golden icing sugar

¼ cup milk

1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon juice

colour as desired

Place the butter, icing sugar and milk in a medium mixing bowl. Using electric beaters, begin to mix, starting on a low speed, increasing the speed as it comes together. Beat until very smooth, thick and creamy – approx 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and beat through.

More From the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Kitchen

The past few weeks since the great cake bake, has seen a lot of cooking and learning in the kitchen – a trip to Merri Bee Organic Farm, meat, fish and pasta to name a few. I know that many readers are missing a recipe, I promise I will get to that, it’s just been so busy that I thought at least I could put some pictures up here to show you what we have been doing and stay connected to you.  It’s a beautiful space, and there is some amazing food and relationships coming out of this kitchen. Angie said to me this week  ” Jude, you should call this a course on life skills”, and she is right. Kitchens are the heart of any home, or any space and food is essentially the sun and life force, shaped into a package our physical bodies can use. To cook is to nourish, in every sense of the word, but to cook for many and learn the many variables that whole and real foods throw up, to cook is also to be challenged in every area – mentally, physically, emotionally and spirtually. So what do we in our kitchen do? And you in your kitchen do when the going gets tough? We dig in, we know our work is of value, we connect ourselves to the understanding that – in the words of the poet, Kahil Gibran – our work is love made visible, we ground ourselves, take a breath and finish the cooking. We sit down at our big wooden table (which also helps to ground and earth us all, and embraces us as a group when we sit) and eat. We are invariably – almost always – restored and nourished, and though tired, live to see another day. 

Amelie, Angie and Sarah after milking at Merri Bee Organic Farm


Some freshly pulled vegetable from my home garden

The Meat Boys – Don Hancey, Vince Gareffa, Darcey Hodgkinson and Sonny de Ocampo
Nell filleting her Black Bream
Crabs !!! Yummmmmmm
Having made the Pasta (Sue is still putting hers through the machine, Bel and Angie make Ravioli
More Pasta

Cakes !!!!!

Life is Uncertain – Eat Dessert First !

Over the past few weeks the girls have been baking – wonderful, delicious cakes. We have covered a broad range – from butter and egg, to dairy free, from spelt to oat and barley, and gluten free, with our goal being a beautiful crumb and delicious flavour. We’ve used a variety of whole and less refined flours, and whole and less refined sugars and stable fats. I can tell you, there has been some great flavours wafting from the kitchen!!! I thought you’d like to see some of the end results and going’s on……


Bel infusing Cocao Nibs into Cream for Panna Cotta


Angie Icing with Passionfruit Butter Cream


The End Result


Yes, we have chocolate – Organic and Dark


Flourless, Dark and Dense Chocolate Cake


Oat and Berry Cake and Asja Decorating her cake


Cakes !!! Cakes !!!


Happy Faces, and Look At that Crumb !! Alas, yes we have to taste everything…