How is 2017 looking for you ? As I dive back into 2017, I’d love to share how mine has started with you.
Brené Brown recently posted about the 4 questions that she asks herself at the close of the year, and I have found them to be exceptionally valuable – I’d love to share them with you, as I suspect that you might find them valuable too (if you haven’t come across Brené as yet, I heartily recommend that you take a look). What do I want more of in my life?
- What do I let go of that is no longer serving me?
- What will make me feel more alive?
- At the end of every day and every year, I need to know I contributed more than I criticised. How have I contributed, and what will my life look like moving forward?
This is especially important to me as this year I begin a new cycle. It is said that the universe works on a 9 year cycle – 2016 was a 9 year, and I was also in a personal 9 year. It is a time for endings and new beginnings – it would fair to say that everywhere you looked, this was very evident and especially true in my life. My first book was published in 2006 and in the following 9 years I wrote 4 books, run 5 Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Programs, and after years of following the path less travelled, was finally in a position to buy my own simple home. I build a house and moved in May 2016, with a new book launching also. I absolutely know deep in my bones and soul that this is a cycle ended and I finished the year/s exhausted, not knowing what the path ahead looked like, or even where it lay. I did what I know works for me – rest, meditate and do the spiritual work – this time I answered Brene’s questions for myself.
What I want is more time, less struggle, more ease, less ‘I have to get through this list’, more laughter (what do you call a parrot with a raincoat on ? see below), more being present in the moment.
What is no longer serving me are some of the ways that I teach, which have huge and heavy logistical loads and my push through that wall attitude (which I grant has been a positive many a time – I wouldn’t be where I am with that push). I have been too judgmental and critical – I need to remember what I was like 20 years ago when I was early on the path. Exhaustion and fear are not serving me.
What makes me feel alive is not being exhausted, being rested, doing the spiritual work, knowing I’m on purpose and that I am living a true and honest life, being a person of high integrity and walking a true path. Being with my beautiful daughter Nessie, and sharing her moments and path is what fills my heart with such love and meaning, along with my mum and family.
I’m pretty comfortable in that I have contributed – that I have achieved what I set out to do some 25 years ago – to effect change in how we grow, produce, prepare and eat food, and that hasn’t always been easy. Other than being a mother – which is the most important thing of all to me, this is the thing I am most proud of. That I didn’t tow a line, or post a photo, or go along with a train of thought when I felt it to be untrue, but rather said clearly – the emperor is wearing no clothes – and all with great integrity.
So that has set me thinking in where I go to from here, and how I see the path ahead.
My primary driving force, as I wrote in my first book, is that we as a society understand that food is not something that simply stops us from feeling hungry. It is exactly the same as love – an elemental human need. Together they sustain and nourish us, providing fuel for our body and soul to grow and our lives to fulfil their potential. Yes we all know now it needs to be real (I’m a bit over that whole JERF thing) but what I’ve found over the years of teaching is that the so many WHY’S, WHAT’S, HOW’S AND (REALLY)? make it so hard to actually DO.
Whilst I love the path I’ve travelled, these basic foundations are what I want to get back to – the WHY and the HOW. No matter what the problems going on or intolerances that may be, the food we eat is where we always begin. It will require learning about and building strong, grounded foundations (which I write about in my new book Wholefood From the Ground Up and I also talk about them here) but the translation of the why will always require the knowing how to prepare and cook food. When you know how to cook, how thermal mass works, how equipment can influence the experience and the end result, when you know how an ingredient behaves, when you know all the basic things that I took for granted when I was growing up and was passed. on. I know you are time poor, I know the pressures, but I promise you it makes the hugest difference to know these things, and it has nothing to do with being perfect or creating the most perfect food, or taking a perfect photo of it. I’ve taught hundreds (probably thousands) over the years and I know the difference knowing these things make, I know that cooking from scratch matters and makes a huge difference, and is probably one of the most important things you can do. I also know that these days, sadly you have to know a lot more than I did say, some 40 years ago when i was just a young 20 year old, because back then there was so much less bullshit going on, and food was still real and not the total illusion that it is today. You will also have to get wise – you have to learn some good basic information so you can make informed decisions – because today there is so much of that bullshit abounding about what makes food healthy, wholesome, ethical and sustainable. I want to empower you to make these informed decisions and have many small and big victories in the kitchen. To this end I am going online (and working on implementing everything you wanted in the survey I did last year – goodness me, that was months ago!). Right now, I am working on a class program for Perth (which will include a Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program 4 week intensive in May), and am at my desk working on the online programs. I haven’t forgotten about Canberra and Melbourne, and will update you on those a bit later. The best way for you to stay up to date with me (and I with you) is to SUBSCRIBE to the newsletter. As a subscriber, you also unique access to information, events, recipes and treats.
I have been far too busy for food coaching over the last years, but love this one to one contact. You might simply want to get sorted out and see a clearer path for the year ahead – (a bit like me having someone to consult on the garden design, giving me steps for the way forward) or you might be totally stuck with understanding gluten free baking or conversion. There is so much we can do in one hour – I am opening up 6 places, and I’d love to help you with those small victories, or make things easier to understand for you. Cost is $200 and to grab a spot, just email me email@example.com
It’s at this time of the year that I try and post my favourite reads from the year – and most of these are blogs that I actually follow, so I have given you the blog address. I have to tell you though, there are very few nutrition texts or such here – I think I’m just over it all !
Violet Bakery (my most favourite baking book outside of mine :) I make the Cinnamon Scrolls from these all the time. If you haven’t got this, and love baking – get it (in Australia I think the US version, with a forward by Alice Waters is the way to go. Just remember a US cup is 240ml and US tablespoon is 15ml).
The Vanilla Bean Baking Book – I got this for Christmas, and I love it. Can’t wait to try her scone technique. Same goes for measurements above, as this is a US book.
Neighbourhood – love Hetty’s approach to vegetables, so inspiring.
The Salad Book – Belinda Jeffrey has been a friend in the kitchen over many, many years before we met and became friends in real life. I have a couple of these ear marked for the hot weather.
A Year in My Real Food Kitchen – my dear friend Emma Galloway’s new book. If you are looking for good, everyday, delicious gluten free, vegetarian food – honestly, Emma does gluten free better than anyone I know.
Our Delicious Adventure – Jane Grover is another good friend, and I loved reading about their journey around Australia (with great food thrown in).
The Kings Grave – I finally got to read about the search for King Richard 111 body – I love archaeology.
The photo at the top of this post, is the bunch of roses I picked from garden the other day – only now 5 months old, I am just so thrilled with how they are going.The 3 pink ones on the left are St Cecelia, soft yellow Windemere, the strong pink is Sister Emmanuelle, the apricot is Abraham Darby, and the red – the glorious Falstaff. I ummed and ahhhed over Falstaff (a climber), was told not to get it, but oh I just love it – if you are thinking about it, don’t let anyone talk you out of it.
The photo’s below are just a snippet of what’s been going on around here and my top 9 from intagram – love that my gorgeous Smeg Victoria stove made it in twice – you love this oven as much as I do it seems. And now I’ve time, I will do a proper post on my new kitchen shortly. There’s Constance having her bad hair day and looking slightly electrocuted (this photo always makes me laugh, she looked so shocked !) roses from my new garden and good old fashioned baking – proper muffins (not obese, fake, sugar laden muffins), the strawberry celebration cake from the new book, beautiful young Rosie with her Sweet + Sour Chocolate cake, and these glorious ‘from the Womens Weekly’ baked goodies at a country fete.
Constance showing her yoga moves, and encouraging me to get started with it again…
I ask you – how GORGEOUS is this caravan… saw it on Instagram and just love, love it. What about that stove ?
I think I should leave it there !! We need to go a little more slowly this year, a bit more step by step… I will be back shortly with a dairy free chocolate ice – cream (agar and kudzu base)… oh and the answer to the joke – Poly Unsaturated !!!
Wishing you a wonderful, grounded, peaceful new year with many joyous moments. I so look forward to seeing in and working with you this year…
THE TIES THAT BIND
If you’ve been reading my Facebook page whilst I’ve been travelling around Australia with my new book, you will recognise the many times I’ve noted I’m sitting in bed with a cup of tea…it’s generally been early in the morning, and the only time I’ve had to update things. I’m here again (in bed with a cup of tea) on a bitter cold Melbourne morning, and I am determined to get this post up. I started it back in Perth 2 weeks ago (on a week’s break back home) but just have been so full on, have not had a chance – here we go… fingers crossed… (and will do Melbourne in the next post)….
Here I am back in Perth, in the glorious early winter sunshine. It’s my week back home, after 4 weeks away in Brisbane and Sydney, before I set out again. I am finding it hard to know where to start but I’d like to tell you I have realised this. I am absurdly blessed with an embarrassment of riches. Of family, of friends, of the opportunity to do work I adore and believe in (Kahil Gibrans words ‘work is love made visible’ here ringing in my head), of love, of it all. Of flowers and colours and love and beauty and honour. I’ve met so many truly very special people, as I’ve been in Brisbane and Sydney teaching classes and launching my new book “Wholefood Baking”, and I have found that they are all been woven into this life I am living. It’s an incredibly honoured position and privilege to know that I am a part of your lives, through my books and in your kitchen – a part of your life. I am enriched beyond words. And I met so many people that said ” oh, I read your blog” and was astonished, as I’ve been so slack with my blog over the past 3 months – just trying to keep on top of organising this big trip.
But alas, I haven’t got a recipe for you here – I promise that soon I will come back from travel and organising (really read keeping it all together/juggling) and get back to recipes to help you in your everyday life, or show you what I’m doing in mine. But for now, I just wanted you to know I’m here, and to thank you, and share with you the highlights of the past few weeks:
- ROAD TRIP WITH JEANIE: Jeanie is my friend who lives in Northern New South Wales, and joined me in Brisbane to help with the launch there. The conversation went something like this ” We have to drive to Ipswich tonight (for me to do a talk) come back to Brisbane tomorrow, shop for the launch, drive then to Toowoomba (for me to do a talk), stay the night, wake up at the crack of dawn, and drive back to Brisbane and cook our asses off to get it all ready for the launch which starts at 2.30pm.” Because I had not realised how far away Ipswich and particularly Toowoomba was. But I knew we could do it, because I knew Jeanie had my back. We did bake our little asses off, but alas, I still have too much bottom for my jeans right now. As we were driving to Toowoomba, I said to Jeanie ” You know this is a lot like when we drove from Santa Fe to Taos”. ” No, nothing like it ” says Jeanie, ” Yes it is I say, a lot like it”, “No” says Jeanie” really, nothing like it”. But for me it was – a road trip with my friend Jeanie, on open roads and open skies. For all the exhaustion of those few days, it was fabulous. I loved Jeanie.
- MEETING THE BLOGGING GIRLS: There are an amazing group of young women doing some great blogging in Australia right now, many on the East Coast. It was wonderful to finally meet them face to face – The Pinkfarm Girls – Amanda and Tanya, Emma Galloway from My Darling Lemon Thyme, Nicola Garcia from The Yogic Housewife, Vanessa Teklenburg from Slow Heart Sing (love that name), Alisha from The Naughty Naturopath Mum, my good friend Jill Brown introduced me to Sneh Roy from Food Republic (which I was already checking out), and foodie Mel Kettle and I’m so looking forward to meeting Meg Thompson from My Wholefood Romance next week in Melbourne.
- NEARLY FORGOT THE NATURAL FOOD STORE VISIT: The amazing WNCTP graduate Bel Pooley (Belly), knowing I was coming to Brisbane, asked me to do a little talk at her local health/wholefood store. Me thinking it was a little traditional health food store, Belly coming to Brisbane to pick me up, a glorious drive to Forest Glen (Sunshine Coast) and realising it was a HUGE, truly brilliant store – was like being in the U.S. I also got to see another WNCTP graduate – the beautiful Danella Martin, and finally get to snuggle and cuddle Pippy Mae…..They made me so welcome, I met so many wonderful people during that morning tea. But what a store… thank you for making me so welcome…
- TAKING THERMOMIX ON THE ROAD WITH WHOLEFOOD COOKING: I’ve known Grace Mazur from the moment she bought this amazing machine into Australia and I’m loving the opportunity to talk to a broader audience about what wholesome and healthy food really is, and how they can use their Thermomix to best advantage. I’ve met so, so many lovely, wonderful people. I’ll do a whole separate post on this later as there is so much to talk about !! But can I say to Kylie’s team in Sydney, thank you for my pink Thermomix Apron and bag. Love them.
- THE FOOD, LOVE AND BREATHE SEMINAR WITH HOLLY DAVIS and DR ROSALBA COURTNEY. Let me start by saying how amazing Rosalba is, and a wealth of knowledge… I could listen to her forever. But I had missed my dear, dear friend and colleague Holly Davis as she has been in London (nursing her mother as she passed) for over a year…Holly and I created a makeshift whole food kitchen, and discussed the basics and what matters in a good kitchen. I adore working with her, we actually kind of adore each other (in a healthy way). The Sydney Meals for Everyday class were very lucky as Holly came and did the class on the Saturday there with me also – we both have a same body of knowledge, believe the same things but express them very differently. I got to stay over a night at Holly’s place by the ocean, and it was wonderful. I love Hols.
- BEING SUPPORTED BY GOOD FRIENDS: I am absolutely aware of how lucky I am to have such good, good friends – I would always start with my bestie Nene, who helped me do the Perth Launch (I love Nenie), Helen and Davin in Brisbane who always give me a home (and Helen bought me the best ever teacup mug that brews it own tea), Sonja and Brenda who own Mondo Organics and let me cause mayhem whilst I do classes there, Wray Organics who always support my work and moved me around Brisbane to visit each of their stores talking about Wholefood Baking – Deborah Wray is one gorgeous and amazing woman (Qld, you are very lucky to have Wray Organics), Karen and Matt from Honest to Goodness in Sydney who move hell and high water to do what I ask of them and more (NSW you are very lucky to have HTG), Essential Ingredient in Sydney who again, allow me to cause mayhem whilst there….WNCTP graduate Angie Cowan (Angie Gluten Free) who did an amazing, delicious and very capable job doing all the baking for the Sydney launch, and WNCTP graduate Jessica Kenny (Eating Beauty) who styled it. If I’ve missed anyone out, I will catch up in the next post….
- BEING SUPPORTED BY YOU: One thing I’ve fully realised during this trip is how much you support my work and how generously you take me into your home and kitchen. Please know how rich this makes the fabric of my life and how much it is treasured.
So, here I stop or I will never get this out… in all, I’d love to say – here is my new book,
” look what I made !!” but it wouldn’t be true, because everything in my life and the people I have met have been a part of making this. The weave and thread is organic, dyed in the colours of the earth – it’s been made of friendship, loss, hardship, joy and a life lived truly and a huge number of people that love me and are a part of my life – I’m a very very blessed woman.
CHRISTMAS DEER PONDERING THE AFTERNOON LIGHT
(otherwise known as Spelt, Almond and Maple Syrup Cookies with Pecan Mushroom Meringue and Dark Chocolate and Coconut Ganache)
At it’s practical core, this post is about a very simple and delicious biscuit / cookie – wet to dry, dairy free and could easily be nut free. It uses the delicious and wholesome sweetener maple syrup and when chocolate is included (either in the cookie or with the ganache) the coconut oil almost gives it a chocolate crackle groove. The dough can also be rolled out and stamped with your cookie cutter of choice. But, for me, the post is also about taking time out in a world that’s becoming seriously at risk of forgetting about daydreams, fun, delight, fairy dust and magic. It’s my version of a Christmas Gingerbread house.
You can make the meringues a fair way ahead of time and store them in an airtight container.
To put it together, I found a vase with straight sides and used the ganache to ‘glue’ the planks. This enabled me to put water in the vase for the greenery. Basically, if anything doesn’t work or is tricky – use the ganache to stick it together or add depth where needed.
As we draw close to the end of the what has been a busy year, I’d like to give you a great big Christmas hug – you read me, you cook from me and you invite me into your homes and lives – thank you. I happen to think the way we grow our food, prepare and eat our food (and treasure those who grow and do the cooking), and value family and friendship is at the core of being a human. Your support enables me to do the work I do – thank you. I wish you dreams come true and magic this Christmas season.The recipes below are a from the new book (Wholefood Baking), due May 2013 and are a little Christmas pressie preview for you….
Pecan Mushroom Meringues
gluten and dairy free
Oven temperature is tricky here – it will depend heavily on YOUR oven. I set my fan forced oven (which runs hot) at 130c for 30 minutes, then 100c for 10 minutes. A slower oven for a longer time frame is better than a hotter oven for shorter time. This will give you far more than you need, but they keep forever and will make it easier for you to pipe. No replacing the golden castor sugar with rapadura – they won’t work. Oh, and Golden Icing Sugar – this is a semi refined crystallised sugar – in Australia and England it is available under the Billingtons brand.
2 egg whites, at room temperature
105 g / 1/2 cup golden caster (superfine) sugar
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
25 g /1/4 cup finely ground, lightly roasted pecans
dutched cocoa powder, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 150c C OR 140 c if fan forced. and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Bring a saucepan half-filled with water to a simmer. Place the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl that can sit on the saucepan without its base touching the water. Place the bowl on over the simmering water and whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is warm. Take care not to let the bowl get too hot as the egg white will begin to cook.
Turn the egg white mix into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until very dense and shiny, about 5 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the stand and gently fold in the vanilla extract and pecans with a spatula. Scoop the meringue into a piping (icing) bag fitted with a 10cm plain nozzle. Pipe out a small tube shape, to make the stalk of a mushroom – ranging from ranging from shorter to slightly higher, but no higher than 25cm and a small circular top onto the prepared tray. I like to make different shapes and different sizes for my mushrooms. Go for it, make as many mushrooms as you like.
Bake the meringues until they firm to the touch and almost dry (you can break one open to look inside), about 30 minutes, then reduce the oven to 130 (or 110c fan forced) for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.
Use a small amount of chocolate ganache to glue the mushroom tops to the stalks. If you want to go all out, you can pipe very fine lines of ganache on the underside of the tops. Just before serving, use a sieve to dust the tops of the mushrooms with the cocoa (I use the Green and Blacks Dutched Cocoa).
Dark Chocolate and Coconut Ganache
can be dairy free is the chocolate is dairy free:
makes a generous ¾ cup
This is a dark, luscious ganache with a definite bitter edge – made all the better by using coconut milk rather than cream instead of cream. Not only is it less rich, but it allows the dark bitterness of the cocoa to come through, but it softened by the maple syrup and coconut. It’s very good. If you’d like to replace the coconut milk with cream, you can replace it with an equal amount.
I use Green and Blacks 70% Dark Chocolate, but it does have dairy. Dairy free brands include Rapunzel and Dagoba.
100gm dark bittersweet chocolate – 70% is good
140 ml coconut milk
2 – 3 teaspoons maple syrup, or to taste
Finely chop the chocolate and add to a small mixing bowl. Bring the coconut milk to a boil, and pour over the chocolate – stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
Once made, place the ganache in a small bowl and leave in a cool place (the fridge is fine) to set – this will take a few hours. Once the ganache sets, it will be a perfect spreading consistency and will keep in the fridge for 1 – 2 weeks, covered. When you need to soften it – either for spreading (if it is too hard), bring it out to come to room temperature. If it is freezing cold set the bowl in a small pot of hot water and leave it to sit for a few minutes. As it starts to soften, it will look as if it is splitting a little, but once it has all melted, you can stir it together and it will be perfect.
Almond, Coconut and Maple Syrup Biscuits
dairy free and egg free – could be nut free
makes about 50 x 4cm biscuits
This recipe can be used as a classic dairy-free and egg-free biscuit. Made with coconut oil, the result has a great crispy texture; when made as a thicker biscuit (not rolled out, but simply formed), it is still fine. The coconut oil flavour does come through but is a divine combination with maple syrup, and even better with chocolate added with hazelnuts or almonds. This is a quick, simple and easy recipe. They are also delicious with dark chocolate added or sandwiched with dairy-free Dark Chocolate and Coconut Ganache. If you’d like it nut free you could replace the chocolate with 1/2 cup cocoa nibs, ground to a coarse meal. I simply rolled the dough out and cut it into lengths of 1 1/2 – 2cm width to use as “trees”.
· Make sure the nuts are roasted first. The skin can stay on almonds, but it needs to be rubbed off the hazelnuts. Take care not to grind the nuts too fine or too coarsely.
· This is a lovely dough to roll, but it most certainly has a temperature sweet spot — neither too cold or too warm. It will come out of the fridge very firm, so leave it to relax for about 5 minutes before working with it. When the dough is very cold or if the weather is chilly, you may get a few cracks at the edges in the beginning if you roll too aggressively, so just go gently and it will become easier as the dough warms. Again, if the weather is very cold, I sometimes put my hands on it warm the fat, and thus soften the dough. If the weather is hot, the oil will melt too quickly, and you may have to put it back in the freezer to chill for a moment or two. Don’t be tempted to use any flour. To make the dough easier to handle, just pop it back in the fridge. The pastry should give a very slight resistance when rolling and needs to have some chill to hold the coconut oil. The pastry shouldn’t be at all oily.
· When making these with chocolate, ensure the nuts are absolutely cool or it may melt.
130 g /1 cup unbleached white spelt flour
145 g /1 cup wholemeal (whole-grain) spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of fine sea salt
80 g /1/2 cup almonds or hazelnuts, roasted and finely ground
100 g dark chocolate (I like 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped (optional)
125 ml /1/2 cup maple syrup
125 ml /1/2 cup coconut oil (must be liquid but not too cool or it will set)
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
Place the flours, baking powder, salt, nuts and chocolate (if using) into a bowl and whisk together to evenly distribute the ingredients and break up any lumps — the nuts, especially, can tend to stick together due to their oil content.
Place the maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract in a small bowl and whisk together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until it comes together. Divide the dough in half, roughly flatten each into a 13 cm (5 inch) disc, and place in a sealed plastic bag to chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C or 165°C if fan forced. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Roll one piece of dough at a time, between sheets of baking paper. This is a very easy dough to roll, and you won’t need extra flour (see Baking notes). As the pastry becomes bigger, it will stick to the paper. Lift the paper off and replace the paper — this breaks its seal. Gently turn the whole thing over (paper and all) and then repeat with the paper underneath; if you don’t do this, the pastry will just stick to the paper and won’t get any bigger. Roll until the pastry is about 25 cm in diameter, but it is more important that it is about 4 mm thick. Stamp out the biscuits using a 4–4.5 cm biscuit cutter, and use a palette knife to move the biscuits to the trays. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more biscuits.
If you want drop biscuits, do not chill the dough, but rather scoop 1 heaped teaspoon, roll into a ball and place on a tray. Gently press to flatten slightly.
Bake for 12–15 minutes or until golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on the trays for 5 minutes before gently moving to a wire rack. If sandwiching with a filling, wait until they are absolutely cool before doing so.
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 2 weeks. Take care not to store them in the fridge or it will harden the coconut oil and damage the texture of the biscuit.
TALES FROM MY TRAVELS and more
I have dreamed, I have most certainly rambled (often in classes I suspect) and I’ve certainly roamed. It seems like a month, but in reality only 2 weeks away for a wedding of dear friends and classes in Melbourne, onto Sydney for Recipe Testing and then Brisbane for classes. I loved shopping in Melbourne at the Prahran Markets (me, very much in love with the range of apples available) for our “To Market, To Market” class with Essential Ingredient and in all, can I tell you how much I love meeting each and every one of you at classes, in every state. Honestly, I love doing this work and find it so deeply rewarding when I see people go home and make a bowl of chicken stock, make a simple soup and have their child, who up to that point would only eat bread, eat that soup and enjoy it. Thank you to all who came to classes, thank you to those who organize them – we do meaningful work there in those classes – it’s a good and true thing.
Also a good and true thing was taking an opportunity to catch up with family and dear friends in Melbourne, and above in Qld – both Bel and Nell live in Qld and are graduates of my Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training program. My dearest friend Jeanie (who also teaches during the program) lives in Upper Cyrstal Creek on the NSW border and drove up with her daughter Violet for a reunion – after traffic jams for many (not me), we had time together – these are the moments that you remember. I know I live a blessed life.
Alas, no recipe this time round, I’ve stepped off the plane, checked out my plants (thank goodness for my daughter Nessie and wonderful neighbours Jenni and Corine) and am packing the car to head down south for the Easter holiday. It’s our family time away and this year we will be close to the sea. Sleep will be slept, books will be read, editing will not sit patiently by so that will also happen and food will be cooked and eaten. Can I suggest you might like to make the Walnut and Yoghurt Cake I posted for Easter last year – a simple and delicious cake for the cooler weather, or some Blueberry and Lemon Scones (wow, there were some amazing Moondarra Organic late season blueberries in Melbourne!!), but given you will be chilling a little, what about some Oat, Apple and Buckwheat Pancakes for breakfast?
I also thought you would like to be a little involved in the recipe testing for the new baking book – this is what confronts me at approx 2.30 each day. Myself, my food editor, editor and others head downstairs to the kitchen where others have been given your recipe to cook. You can see them there sitting on the printed recipes. They are not spiffed up, simply as is and the main thing we are looking for is that the recipe works, and the crumb (this being baking) is sound. As a whole, it went very well – a few little tweaks here and there, but nothing too drastic. The main thing to come out of the week is how important ones relationship to the oven is -as you can see, some are a little too brown – this is a result of too hot an oven. But given I have a whole section on that, we were all happy. I have a couple of cakes to just double check a thing or two on, but the tasters were happy (they tasted good) and I was happy (the crumb was good). What you can see here, clockwise from the front is the Barley Shortcrust Quince and Winter Compote Rustic Tart, Low Gluten Apple Pie, Carrot/Amaranth and Pistachio Cake (gf), Candied Hazlenut, Rhubarb and Buckwheat Cake (gf), Brown Rice Crackers (gf), Cocoa Nib Panna Cotta, Chocolate, and Blackberry Trifle (in the only container available – a bowl :) ) and Labne Tart.
After Easter I head back to Sydney for the photography, and I’ll hopefully be able to snap a few shots of the action for you. I’m also tremendously looking forward to the seminar in Sydney on Sunday 15th April with another dear and good friend Holly Davis, and Rosalba Courtney. I’m looking forward to seeing and meeting you all.
Have a wonderful and peaceful Easter break, and I’ll see you soon.
WISHED FOR AND LOVED
This idea of a ‘Wished for and Loved ‘ came to me from the gorgeous Heidi Swanson’s ‘Favourites’ that she includes once a month in her fabulous site. I’m inspired by the title Dream, Ramble and Roam and it came to me from a lady ringing in to the radio, saying that her grandmother told her how important it was to dream, ramble and roam. So that’s what we are going to do. Here’s my current wished for and loved:
- Vanilla. Please give it to me, pure and gorgeous. I like the Neilson Massey brand, and in Australia you can get it here. The organic one is more expensive, and I often use the non organic also, including the beans and the paste. I also love the Heilala, and love that you pronounce it ‘hey – la -la’. It makes me feel as if I am in Hawaii with a gardenia lei.
- I want to go here. Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic retreat in Texas. I love Texas, especially the food. I’m lusting after these sheets and how gorgeous are these.
- I need a new Reiss Enamel Rose Pink Milk Pot, but also happy for the Apple Green. I’ve literally worn mine out, but really by brewing a lemon ginger number in it, and the acid has worn down the enamel – really, not a wise thing to do! I love this product and many other places stock it. I wrote about this product here, it’s beautiful to work with. You cannot help but be happy when you cook with such gorgeous colours.
- My new apron and can I say I’m very partial also to the Rafelle tablecloth
- I love Flour Sack Tea Towels, and in Peony. I find the only way for me here in Australia to get them is here, but they are the best tea towels I know, large, dry dishes incredibly well and as they wear become light and perfect for throwing over food to protect them from flies etc.
- I’m passionately in love with Vino Cotto and in Australia you will find Maggie Beer brand the easiest to source. Also, Fig Vino Cotto – taste it and weep. I’m very much wanting to find an organic one but haven’t as yet, though I’m sure in other countries you will find one easily. This is a glorious sweetener to use with dried fruits and grain flours such as barley and oats. Maggie has some wonderful ways also to use it especially this Chocolate, Quince and Almond Tart.
- Dr Hauschka biodynamic skin care, and oversea’s here. My skin is just a very different thing when I use it.
I know from this that you may well have let you in on a secret – yes I love pink. But I like to think I don’t go overboard, and I’m certainly not a prissy pink girl in any way shape or form. And this is a place to dream, ramble or roam…. so anything is allowed, and I think it’s also important to love what you love. The heart has it’s own reason, and mine loves pink.
I’m gearing up for classes also – the kitchen is looking pretty clean, and the pantry is being stocked. I’m thrilled to be running classes in Melbourne and Sydney as well as Perth this year and you can find the class schedule here and also the upcoming Seasonal Seminar about Allergies and Gut Health with my dear friend Holly Davis here. Holly loves a good cup of tea as much as I do, so those pink spotty mugs will be put to a lot of use when she is here – woo hoo !!! I can’t wait – Holly and I have can talk each others heads off and we both love it. And that is another wished for and loved – to sit and have a cuppa with a good friend – I hope you get to enjoy such a delicious and simple pleasure over the next couple of weeks too.
- 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