Wholefood Cooking

Category: Greens

Asparagus, Kale and Barley Risotto


Hello there !!

Yes, I know – a long time between posts. I have to tell you honestly, that how much can we do ? Has this been an extraordinarily busy year for you too ? I just checked and my last blog post was in July ! I can’t tell you where that time went, but most likely into trips to the East Coast (Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast) for classes, talks and book launches. Oh my goodness. Then home finally to settle into my new house, and actually make it home (I still haven’t photo’s, but are working on that). Between settling in and unpacking, I have been down to Albany for the Food for Thought Festival, and Margaret River for classes and talks, and am now currently running a 4 week intensive – a kind of mini Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program (as I couldn’t run the full program in this crazy, busy year). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not whinging, and I love what I do, but certainly thinking that it seems that we are all being asked to just do so much more, and there is only so much more we can do. Somedays to be honest, social media is just a step to far. So, right now as the year comes to a close, and I’m super busy, I am making sure I walk in the cool, very early morning and smell the earth, listen to the birds, and connect deeply to why I do what I do,so that I can remember when you and I connected (perhaps it was on the Sunshine Coast at the book launch, or in Sydney in class, or in Perth when i saw you at the farmers market) so it doesn’t just become work, and so that I can – in all the working –  also just be me. I do hope you are taking some time for you, and sometimes, just saying no to too much.  x Jude

But for now, we did Barley, Asparagus Risotto in class the other day and it’s such a simple, easy dish that I thought you might enjoy it. Everything is in season right now, so it’s a great choice.

As the year finishes, I do have a couple of treats in – store for you.

  • For those who couldn’t get into the free The Week Before Christmas class (or aren’t in Perth),  I am running a free webinar – no date just yet, so stay tuned. It will be all about being organised with delicious food so that busy week before Christmas is so much easier, and more delicious.
  • I have 1 set of all my books (yes, including Wholefood Baking) to give away. Stay tuned for that competition shortly. You will need to be subscribed to the newsletter to be in this competition.
  • Many of you ask about Wholefood Baking, and truly it’s a crazy story. It sold out, won awards, yet Murdoch have not re printed… but I think (think) a reprint is in the works. Ebooks are available.
  • I have copies of all books (other than Wholefood Baking), ready to wrap and send to you for Christmas Presents. My elves are at the ready to wrap and post (and I will sign of course). Postage for 1 = $10.00, Postage for 2 = $15 Postage for 3 = $15, Postage for 4 = $20.00 (Australia only) All $AUD Just email me your order to jude@wholefoodcooking.com.au
  • WHOLEFOOD heal – nourish – delight  | this is my first book at a special price for you now of $30.00 (normally $50.00)
  • COMING HOME TO EAT (Wholefood for the Family) | my second book, and whilst I love all of books, this book has some of my much loved family favourites. Must cook – Mango, Cashew Chicken. Oh, and Lemon Coconut Teacake – both wonderful for summer, and easy. ($30.00 normally $40.00)
  • WHOLEFOOD FOR CHILDREN – Nourishing young children with whole and organic food  | my third book, and wonderful for anybody also with a dodgy tummy or gut as the principles are the same. This is also great family food. $45.00
  • WHOLE FOOD FROM THE GROUND UP  | my latest baby – released in June this year. I am incredibly proud of this book (well all my books) but I can tell you, this has my most up to date, wholistic information – I see a better and more whole lay of the land so to speak, with many absolutely delicious, and not difficult recipes. $40.00


Smoky Beetroot, Lentil and Millet Burgers


This recipe is a bit of an out take from my new book WHOLEFOOD From the Ground Up (which I can excitedly say, is out 1st June). It was one of the very first recipes I toyed with and it evolved on to become something else, but I wanted to see it come to realization. I do love a nice, deeply flavoured and toothsome vegetarian pattie (too many are just mushy) to put in a burger, or just as happy without. This pattie follows the path of one of my favourite principles – try and be prepared for the week, cook a pot of grain (in this case hulled millet) and cook a pot of legumes (in this case green lentils), to use in any number of ways – but here, as the smoky beetroot burger. I’m writing this up for the Easter break as I think it would make a perfect lunch, or dinner over this most wonderful break.


There are a few things I need to tell you about this recipe. These are really quite quick to throw together, especially if you have lentils already cooked. I would suggest you cook the millet (and make extra if you would like for another use) just before you need it – the warmth will make it a little stickier, which is helpful here (you will have a little left over, but it’s far easier to get the liquid ratio perfect with 1/2 cup millet, so use it for a stuffing, or a salad !). Also, the lentils need to be well cooked – once drained, it will help the whole sticking together thing if they are mashed just a little bit. In the end however, they will stay together, no matter how unlikely you think that will be – the 2 eggs will do the trick. I also absolutely recommend that you soak your millet and lentils (this will make them more digestible), but if you forget or run out of time, cooking them in a bone stock such as chicken will buffer any nutrient losses, and make digestion just that bit easier. Also – the smoked paprika. I can tell you that all smoked paprika’s are not equal. Many of them can be quite bitter, especially when you have to add a fair bit to get a good smoky flavour. I use one that is a dulce (sweet) smoked paprika, and in Perth, Western Australia this is the brand I use. And a word in regards to the miso – both shiro (white) or chickpea are fine, and in Australia I have a preference for this brand (though, to be fair it is only available in limited places, and only on the east coast), otherwise this brand.



I’ve served it here with great organic, wood fired sourdough that has been grilled, avocado, and homemade sweet chilli and sultana sauce. The greens you see there are the beetroot greens, but take note beetroot (especially the greens) are a high oxalic acid food. Heat breaks down oxalates, so I have cooked them gently in a little ghee – this way you will get all their goodies. Pile it all on the bread, slather it and it’s a hearty and delicious meal. A bit of goat curd would not go astray. And, finally if you are after a cake for the (hopefully) cooler Autumn weather over easter, can I suggest this Walnut and Yoghurt Cake. It’s an old post, so not brilliant photos, but I can guarantee, the cake is very good.

Wishing you all a restful, safe and heartfelt Easter… x jude

All photography ©Harriet Harcourt

My new book is available for pre order – in Perth, Western Australia here, Australia wide here and worldwide Book Depository here

Bone Stock and Corn Chowder

Core Recipe


Superfoods are hot topics at the moment –  yet, I think that sometimes in our distraction for the quick boost, or quick fix, it’s very easy to forget some very profound basics.

I’d like to make the case that real food grown in or raised on foods from nutrient rich soils are all super foods in their own right. Notice that I using the word as an adjective – a describing word. Run the 2 words together and it suggests a whole new category of food (one that is usually very expensive), almost a superhero food. All of these real foods, grown or raised on foods from nutrient rich soils, carry the vast store of the nutrients we require to survive and run these amazing cellular machines we call our body. Proteins, fats (even saturated), carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients are all found in abundance in real food. I think the obsession with superfoods is simply another manifestation of our fractionalised approach to food. What I’d love to see is more people eating good food (you can read in more depth about what I think makes food ‘good’ or ‘healthy’ here) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Actually, I’d love to see more people eat breakfast, lunch or dinner and not exist on snacks all day long. I’d love to see people actually stop to eat and not eat on the run or in a rush. I’d love to see people relax while they eat and perhaps have a companion to share the time with, chat and laugh a bit. I’d love to see people enjoying their food and not worrying about the fat, the carbs, the protein, the phytonutrients of it, their blood type or if it’s raw etc.  In short, I’d love to see us eat how we used to, when we had a strong food culture within Australia and we cared about the food we gave our children, and ourselves.

How about we do this instead?

  1. Buy food grown in nutrient rich soil, without synthetic pesticides and sprays. This will be called lots of different things, but organic, bio dynamic are good places to start.
  2. Cook and eat this nutrient rich food every day (and eat some raw).
  3. Keep your food as close as possible to it’s natural state – with as little that is edible taken away and as little that is inedible (additives) added back.
  4. Eat a broad range of nutrient groups each day – don’t just eat carbohydrates.

But, if I had to choose a food that I think is most super – well, firstly, I would find it hard to choose between eggs (especially the yolks), animal bones and marrow, animal fat, fish and butterfat. And then I’d say, make bone stock, don’t leave your home without knowing you have a stash in the freezer. Bone stocks have been used by just about all traditional cultures for nourishment and healing – the original nature doctor, Dr Vogel describes it’s use in Europe for healing; in New York, Chicken soup is known as Jewish Penicillin (it’s because chicken fat contains Palmitoleic Acid – a powerful immune boosting monounsaturated fat) and throughout Asia, fish stock is the restorer of Chi – life force (it’s also a rich source of iodine). This is why it’s super:

  1. Bone stock is an incredibly rich source of minerals  – especially calcium and trace elements pulled from bone, cartilage and vegetables as they cook, all in a bio – available form.
  2. Bone stock ‘spares’ protein. This means that your body can make better use of the protein it eats.
  3. Bone stocks also has the superhero gelatine – this enables food to be digested more easily and is also exceptionally healing to the gut – as is the fat (cooking your grain in a bone stock makes it so much more digestible).
  4. Bone stocks are great sources of glucosamine and chondroitin, used for healthy joints. In fact gelatine was the go to ‘superfood’ for healthy joints back in the 50’s.
  5. Bone stocks are the original frugal food, giving you a lot of nourishment (and ability to eat minimal expensive protein) for very little money.

Those ‘real’ stocks you see advertised on tv? I’ve never seen one all wibbly and wobbly from gelatine. I also find them shallow and harsh in flavour, and expensive. Bone stocks are so easy to make, simply requiring a lovely big pot – and when using bones, some acid (such as wine or vinegar) to help draw all the gelatine and minerals from the bone. You can’t muck them up and they freeze brilliantly. You can find a massive amount of information on the internet about stocks at many of the traditional food sites. If you google around you will be in undated.

I nearly forgot to tell you that this is a great time of the year to be making and liberally using chicken stock – boosting your immune system.


So, that soup above. Silky and shiny from the gelatine in the stock :) It’s a cupboard love corn chowder, using what my fridge and garden had. Oh, and did you notice I used kale ? From my notes above you might think I hate it – I don’t, I love it, but I love lots of other vegetables also. This is a wonderful way to use kale – serving it with fat (from the chicken stock) which will or help to ensure all those amazing minerals in kale are actually bio – available. And, you’ve cooked it, which breaks down the oxalic acid (kale is best cooked). Also when you look at my stock (up there in the pink jug) it’s not that golden – it was a cupboard love stock after all, but when you use chickens raised on lots of wonderful green pasture, the fat will be quite yellow, reflecting the beta-carotenes in the grass.

There’s a fabulous recipe for corn chowder in Coming Home to Eat (oooh, good news, it’s being re printed and should be available soon), but a quick version (let’s face it, that’s what we most often do). Before I start, just know you can add as much vegetable or stock as you like.  Add some ghee, chicken fat, olive or  coconut oil to the base of the pan, add diced potato (helps thicken it), I like pumpkin, leek or onion – you can see mine above, I also added a good handful of basil because I have tons. Pinch of salt. Cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then (you are developing a flavour base). Add the stock, and the corn cob (you’ve cut the corn kernels off it to add later), cook gently (don’t boil madly) until those base vegetables are cooked. Add the lighter cooking vegetables – corn kernels, zucchini and kale. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes until they are just tender, add chopped basil. Taste and season as desired – I like a bit of fish sauce. If you would like (and I did) take some of the soup out and blend it (add it back) before adding the corn, etc. It makes a thicker broth.





I warn you now, this is a longer than normal post. Settle in. But there is a yummy recipe for dinner.

As you know, I had come to a full stop – so much so that I have found it hard to get going over the past few weeks. That’s the newest addition to the family up there – Constance, exhausted after freaking out on her first day in her new home, away from her Mama. That’s pretty much what I’ve looked like too – draped on the couch (or the bed), diving deep into the nothing. But, in that nothing tiredness has begun to leave my body, I’m finding my mind beginning to work (just a bit) and my soul beginning to become excited (a little bit more each day). I’ve watched TV series I wanted to see  (Walking Dead, Treme, Newsroom) and read some fabulous books. Without doubt my favourite has been the Newsroom and I’ve fallen in love with Will Mc Avoy – I told my cousin Franni I wanted a guy like that – her answer “And yes, that is the crazy person who is easy to be attracted to but unhealthy to b with”. True. Message to self –  listen to Fran. 

Love this stove and the cup of coffee – I’ll have to go to Tartine in San Francisco for that

As my mind has cleared, lessons and understandings from the year past have been revealed and sparks of excitement are clues to where I want to go. The vision board is done and up. My understanding of the issues that trouble me in how we eat and our interpretation of healthy food have become more deeply rendered. In what was a busy but fabulous 2012, what I noticed most was that whilst a more wholesome and sustainable approach to food  (indeed even Master Chef had a ‘sustainable’ episode, and cooking schools offer a whole pick and cook approach from organic gardens) something is not quite right. Two things seem to be happening – wholesome and sustainable has become the ‘flavour’ of the month with very little understanding of what it actually means, and our approach to what is actually wholesome and healthy has become even more fractionalised than ever. This fractionalised view of food goes something like this – ” I’m very healthy because:  I only use agave/eat gluten free/ eat dairy free/eat raw/eat paleo/super foods/cacao etc. There is no context, and the thing that has rendered most deeply to me is how important context is – that and real food. If you can bear me repeating the following, I’d like my Will Mc Avoy moment ( from The Newsroom).  What makes food healthy?


  1. Wholefood is that which is closest to it’s natural state with as little that is edible removed and as little that is inedible (additives etc) added to it. It is an understanding that the whole is always far, far greater than simply the sum of nutrient parts and includes those parts we cannot see. 
  2. That it is good enough to eat: that is, synthetic pesticides, fungicides, herbicides are not compatible with any part of a human system, but are designed to interrupt and kill living systems. You are a living system. I am a big supporter of organic/bio – dynamic (and whatever it will be called in the future) farming systems. 
  3. That it should be real: that is the human body is evolved to eat a real strawberry, not a strawberry flavour made from chemicals. The body is a real thing and it does not compute with fake things – that bottle of milk might look like milk, but your body is infinitely wise and knows the difference.
  4. That it should match you – not your naturopath, dr or someone else: This is a fundamental Ayurvedic premise. Some will be fine with cold, raw food in winter or summer, others will suffer. Some do best with cooked vegetables, some with grain, some with no grain.
  5. That it should be delicious. Deliciousness, in ways i do not understand but absolutely know exist, allows food to be taken in and properly digested, absorbed and utilised by the body. Deliciousness  is a nutrient in it’s own right. Deliciousness also includes not being so stressed out (from a too busy life), that you are unable to experience deliciousness in other walks of life. One of the best nutritional readings this year has been this article – The Island Where People Forgot to Die
  6. That the food you choose should be prepared appropriately to ensure compatibility with the human body: that is low fat milk, pasteurised milk, refined oils, fractionalised foods are not understood by the body. Some foods (such as beans or grains) require special preparation methods to ensure they are understood (digestible). 
  7. That the human body requires fuel – the nutrients found in the food nature provides. On the whole you might get away with a little white flour and white sugar  (also in it’s other guises – pasta, etc) – if you have enough of the other good stuff. But, better to have less refined (more whole) flours and sweeteners.
  8. Good Gut Ecology is a fundamental pre requisite for good health.
  9. That sweetness is not a dirty word: that is, a bit of wholesome sweetness, cake or dessert in a whole and balanced diet is not going to kill you. Eating a lot of shallow, nutrient deficient, refined, additive laden food will. 

To Sum Up: It’s not generally what the food is, but how we grow it, process and prepare it that matters. The current hysteria over sugar is a perfect example. Where is the question asked ” what makes this food bad”? If that question was asked, answers would include 1: we remove every nutrient from it in the the refining process (and sell the molasses as a health supplement 2: we then concentrate it to pure bleached sucrose and eat tons of it 3: most often we eat nothing much else other than white flour (white sugar in another form). You don’t have to be too smart to work out that is never going to bode well. We then replace it with alternatives that have not had the question “what makes the thing I’m going to replace this with good?” asked (see #10).

One of my favourite readings this year has been Gumbo Tales (Finding my Place at the New Orleans Table). Now those of you who know me, know that in my heart, New Orleans is my soul home, always a part of me though I am West Australian born and bred. Obviously I loved this book. But it was much more than this, it struck me that what New Orleans has in spades is context – the food culture is strong and people are strongly tethered to it. I think this is a most important point – where there is little food culture (and it is deteriorating rapidly), we are without reference, and untethered. We are prey to extreme views. Whilst I have flirted with extremism when younger, I was always tethered to the food culture within my home when growing up. 

So let’s get to eating, right here, right now. My garden is green (with some yellow tomatoes and yellow zucchini). On Tuesday, I knew dinner would have to be green and was thinking what to do with the copious amounts of kale, silverbeet and pepetual spinach in the garden. Into my in-box popped the latest from one of the very few blogs I follow The Yellow House  with a galette of winter greens. Perfect for me to give my own twist, I had pretty much everything in the garden.




Finished and ready to add as much pesto as you like (it’s sitting there in the jar)

You can see I didn’t have quite enough filling for the pastry, so I just cut it to size and froze the bits for a small tart another day

Ready to go into the hot oven – make sure the pastry is cold. 


Whilst I’ve ready many, my other favourite books for the year were The Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler, and Meat – A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie. (a hard, but great read). As I step out into 2013, my quiet time has reinforced for me how important it is for me, to have values and integrity. Whilst I know it’s only a show, I love the value and integrity with which Alan Sorkin writes – and how he uses his craft to voice those views both in The West Wing and now The Newsroom. I hope I continue to try to voice both value and integrity in my work. Sparks of excitement for the year ahead include the new book Wholefood Baking out in May, visits to pretty much all states for afternoon tea parties (and classes and seminars ), re – doing the web site, including on line classes, the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program commencing in August and finally to give more context and help to those with intolerances and tummy issues.  In all I also plan to do a lot more marvelling at just how wonderful life and nature is in all it’s glory. I plan to spend more time within my home and kitchen over just existing in them (check out that gorgeous stove and couch on my vision board) and let’s face it when the going gets tough before we know it, that’s what happens. 

Wishing you sparks of excitement for your 2013 too…. Jude


This is my version of the recipe you will find on The Yellow House. Because I had made pesto earlier, I used that to mix in (about 2 tablespoons) – if I didn’t have it, I would have used lots of garlic, fresh basil and pecorino in the mix. Another option would be garlic chives….. chop in and use what you’ve got. This would also be fabulous with the Tofu Ricotta from Wholefood – heal, nourish, delight  spread over the base and topped with this mix.Another great option is a delicious goats chevre/curd in place of the tofu.  It will cook to a souffle consistency. I really love the cream and cheese in this and both work help buffer the oxalic acid ( predominantly neutralised and broken down by the cooking) in the silverbeet and kale. It’s delicious hot or at room temperature and freezes well. What more can we ask? 


You’ll find the pastry here. For a savoury version omit the sugar, add a pinch of salt – used 1 1/2 cups (approx 215 gm) wholemeal spelt. Basically the more butter you use, the flakier it will be – I used 130gm unsalted butter, using the Thermomix or food processor option. Add the water bit by bit. If using wheat flour, use 20g more butter and you will need a little more water also.

The Filling

good splosh of extra virgin olive oil – 1 – 2 tablespoons

2 – 3 small – medium leeks, if fat go for 2, finely sliced and well washed

Big handful of greens – you can see how much I used in the photo, but I could have handled more I think (Yellow House calls for 6 – 8 cups). As mine were very fresh – just picked – I used a small amount of the stem, finely chopped. Leafy bit I sliced approx 1 cm wide. 

2 (or go crazy and use as much as you like) cloves garlic – finely chopped

pinch sea salt and generous grinding of fresh black pepper

1/3 cup cream (or sour cream is fine)

2 tablespoons good pesto or big handful fresh basil roughly chopped

good grating of parmesan or pecorino – yellow house calls for 1/4 cup, again I used the pesto.

It’s also delicious with goat cheese / fetta studded through it

Make sure the pastry is made and chilling in the fridge before you start the filling. Add the olive oil to a medium size frying pan and add the leeks. Cook over a gentle heat for a few minutes until well wilted and melting, stirring frequently. Add the stemier parts of the silverbeet and kale, and the garlic with a pinch of salt –  toss to distribute well and cook over a medium heat until they begin to have a ‘melting’ look. Add the cut leaves in one handful at a time, tossing it through and cooking for a few minutes before adding the next – if you are using fresh basil, add that too. When they look soft and melting – about 5 minutes, add the cream and cheese and cook for a few more minutes. It should look like the picture above. If using pesto, stir that through and give it a good peppering. Leave to cool.

Pre heat the oven to 200c or 180/90 fan forced. Line a baking tray with parchment paper (a black tray will help the bottom crisp).

Roll the pastry out to a circle about 3 mm thick and place on the baking tray. Transfer the filling, trying to centre it. If you find you don’t have enough, cut the pastry – but I actually made my filling quite deep. You can see mine above. Fold the edges over and place in the freezer for 5 – 8 minutes to chill. Place into the hot oven and cook for 40 – 50 minutes. Check after 25 minutes – if it’s getting too dark you may need to reduce the oven a bit – it took a fair time, but this was because I had made the filling so deep – The Yellow House version is much shallower.  It should be bubbling when cooked. If you take it out and find the base is not quite cooked, put it back in a lower temperature. 

All Is Well


Ready to eat – my version of Red Beans and Rice

I don’t know about you, but the past few weeks have been wearing for me – finishing off a lot of classes, difficulties with the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program logistics – really, just life saying not so gently – no, don’t go this way, but rather this way. Sometimes it takes a great deal of surrender, but I have found over the years that there is always a higher reason and if I just breathe deep and become still enough, not hold on so tight to what I think is the right way, it always works out. Don’t get me wrong – I love teaching and classes, but I’m at that tired point right now but fortunately I have some space, time now to plan for program and logistics for the WNFCTP – no place to be, nothing else to plan for and it’s heaven. I’m going slow and cooking slow (and in some cases, thinking slow if the truth be told).

onion, spices and vegetables ready to go

I want to go and listen to these guys but that would mean I would need to catch a plane and head east  and right now I don’t really want to go anywhere !!! I’m so loving being at home and BEING IN MY home, feeling it’s walls and space holding me. But if I was there in Bellingen, I’d like to go also and get my goat on and who could resist going to a gallery called ” Everything That’s Beautiful Galley” – not me. I’d go, I’d spend and I’d be really wanting to get one of Jay’s glorious vegetable embroideries. Yup. But, I’m not – I’m here loving and being at my desk, at my pace, in my home. But I need soul food and nothing says that more than Red Beans and Rice. Like perfume that brings a memory to consciousness, eating this I am immediately back in the French Quarter at a funky vegetarian cafe I’ve long since forgotten the name of. Red Beans and Rice is classic New Orleans soul food – honest, nourishing, cheap, easy and above all delicious – even Michael Franti has a song about it. Traditionally made on a Monday (washing day) it just does it’s thing simmering along ready for you at the end of the day. There are hundreds of versions, my favourites include those by Bryant Terry (I can heartily recommend both his books – Vegan Soul Kitchen and the new one The Inspired Vegan). This recipe here is a variation from the original in my book Coming Home to Eat – Wholefood for the Family, but I’ve chosen to highlight it here as I think many people just might overlook it. I’ve cooked mine this week with chicken stock I had in the freezer and I would recommend this if you have any digestive issues. It is also a classic example of frugal cooking – deeply nourishing and cheap home made bone stock ensures that you can utilise more of the protein in those beans.

Your beans are cooked when they yield a soft, creamy centre to gentle pressure from your finger. The two in the front are cooked, the one at the back not at all. 

But just a word about beans – organic beans can be problematic in Australia. I’m finding that many of them (black, borlotti, pinto, kidney, cannellini, great northern, etc) don’t cook – ever. What has happened is that many of them are sourced from China – coming into Australia they must be treated in some way. Because they are organic, they are heat treated (in China). You can see in the bean above at the back that it’s not creamy in any way, certainly not cooked and if you could look up close you could just see a little band around the edge of the interior of the bean. This is where the heat has seared it. They never cook. I tend these days in Australia to go for conventional beans. I dream of growing them myself or being in San Francisco at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and buying beans from Rancho Gordo. But, until then, I’m sticking with conventional. Organic chickpeas, split peas and lentils are fine – it’s the beans that seem to be the problem. 

Go and put a pot of these beans on the stove now. If your world is busy and life is throwing up it’s challenges, if money is tight, this will reassure you that indeed, all is well. Body and soul will be nourished.


I’ve made this version using pinto beans as it’s much quicker. Chicken stock will give a slightly sweeter end result, but vegie stock will do just fine. I’ve chosen to stick to a slightly more traditional format by adding greens at the end – in this case Tuscan Black Kale. I serve with brown rice. 

1 cup raw (dried) pinto beans, soaked overnight in lots of water to cover the beans by about 3 cm

The Next Day

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon ghee

1 onion – finely diced – if I have a red onion, all the better

1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

pinch dired sage

2 fresh bay leaves

1 medium carrot cut into small dice

2 sticks celery sliced finely

2 cloves garlic finely diced/crushed

fresh chilli as desired finely sliced

freshly ground black pepper (I sometimes use a mix of black, white and pink) to taste, but generally about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon (or even more). Remember, pepper is an important part – it has taste as well as heat

pinch asafoetida (or if you have Kombu sea vegetable a 5cm strip

3 – 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

 I used 5 medium leaves Tuscan Black Kale, roughly sliced, but collard greens are the traditional ingredient

1 – 2 teaspoons wheat free tamari

1 – 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley

Add the oil and ghee to a good size stewpot ( I like a 24cm Le Creuset enamel coated cast iron). Add the onion, herbs and vegetables – saute over a very gentle heat for 10 minutes avoiding frying the onion. Add the garlic, chilli and black pepper after 5 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Drain the beans and rinse well. Add to the pot with the asafoetida (or kombu) and stock. Partly cover with the lid and increase the heat to bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 11/2 – 2 hours. Check where the beans are at – they should be just about cooked and most certainly yield a creamy centre to pressure. If they are still like pebbles, you most likely have heat treated beans or they are stunningly old. If so take a risk and put the lid back on and simmer until they are soft – if they still aren’t soft after 4 hours, I would give up. After this time, remove the lid and increase the boil to reduce the beans to a thick, saucy consistency – stirring often. You might like to mash some of them to help thicken the sauce. Before checking for taste and adding tamari and parsley, add the kale or collard greens – sprinkle them on top – I prefer not to stir them through, add the lid and over a very gentle heat, let them steam for 10 minutes or until just soft. Stir through then check for taste – adding tamari and black pepper as needed.

Other traditional ingredients for the dish include red and green capsicums, spring onions (whites and greens), ham or bacon bones or bacon drippings used for the fat. Onions, spring onions, capsicums, garlic and spices would be sauteed in the bacon drippings. 

Going Green

Hearty Winter Meals from the Vegetable Garden

I have more greens in my garden than I can handle – the winter rains (thank goodness) have made everything grow, grow, grow – honestly, I think they grow as I stand there watching them. Because my garden went in late this year (Anzac Day – 25th April), the big boys have not yet matured – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and leeks, but the greens – silverbeet, rainbow chard, Tuscan black kale,  freckles lettuce, english spinach and coriander have -they’re all grown up and are ready to party.  

Rainbow Chard” width=”480″ height=”http://wholefoodcooking.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/IMG_0590-375×500.jpg”> Rainbow Chard
If you look hard you can see the freckles lettuce (an heirloom variety), and the english spinach with the sugar snap peas beginning to climb.” width=”480″ height=”http://wholefoodcooking.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/IMG_0600-375×500.jpg”>  If you look hard you can see the freckles lettuce (an heirloom variety), and the english spinach with the sugar snap peas beginning to climb.

So what to do with this bounty? For breakfast I’m picking big, fat leaves of english spinach and folding it into an egg scramble (but would also be good with a tofu scramble – there is a recipe for that in Wholefood – heal, nourish, delight) with coriander thrown in at the last minute. The smaller leaves are going into salads (my current fave is the Beetroot, Goats Cheese salad from Coming Home to Eat, Wholefood for the Family), or tossed simply into butter to wilt with salt, pepper and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg as a side dish, or folded into the soups at the last minute – the young Tuscan black kale leaves are great for that also. But with it’s oxalic acid, silverbeet/chard is best cooked – so it’s going into   lasagne, quiche, Hunza Pie from Wholefood – heal, nourish, delight, and the silverbeet and pasta gratin from that book also (as does the english spinach and kale). I also made the yummiest ‘sausage’ rolls the other night, with cooked silverbeet (you can see it cut on the table in the picture above), drained well, chopped up and mixed with some cooked onion and mushroom, pesto (made in late summer and stored in the freezer) and ricotta. A young goats cheese (I would use the Ringwould Blanc, here in Western Australia) or if you wanted a dairy free version of this, you could use the tofu ricotta from Wholefood – heal, nourish, delight. So – lots, and lots of options!! Heidi Swanson also has a great recipe for chard (silverbeet) and white beans, in her book Super Natural Cooking, it’s simple and delicious. But, I thought we’d do this – Chard, Mushroom and Rice Bake. This is the dish I was making as I wrote my introduction to my previous book, Coming Home to Eat. I’ve been cooking it for years and it was a regular as my daughter Nessie was growing up, in one version or another.  This version sees the addition of the high protein grain, Amaranth. When served with a dessert, it makes a simple and sustaining dinner, it packs well in a lunch box, or can be gently warmed for breakfast. It keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days.

I’d love to hear about your meals from the winter garden, and whilst we are updating this blog page so we can chat freely, facebook is also a great forum. I’ll look forward to hearing about them!

A note to anonymous who asked about cocao powder – I’m going to answer that on facebook!


As a note, I really prefer to blanch my silverbeet/chard in a large pot of boiling, salted water rather than fry it in a pan – it gives a much softer texture. Place them in the pot stem first, and cook for 2 – 5 minutes, depending on how old or tough the stems are. 


Still a few tomatoes left from my farmer!! I like to do this in cast iron, this is a favourite Mario Batali one I got for $20.00 (yes you read right) in the U.S


Cooked and Yummy

Mushroom, Chard or Silverbeet, Rice Bake

You can bake this in virtually any ovenproof dish, but a loaf shaped dish makes it great for cutting. I use my favourite cast iron loaf pan, measuring 28cm x 8cm, with a depth of 4cm, taking 85 mins to cook. The fundamental rule is the deeper the dish, the longer it will take to cook.

1/4  cup medium grain brown rice

1 teaspoons amaranth.

1 teaspoon whey or lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons butter or ghee

1 onion, finely sliced

150 gm mushrooms, sliced 5mm thick and roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

300 gm Rainbow Chard or Silverbeet, any thick stem chopped off.

½ cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

250 gm ricotta cheese

2 eggs

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tomato thinly sliced

¼ cup pine nuts, roughly chopped

Add the rice, amaranth, whey and ½ cup water to a small bowl. Cover and leave to sit out on the bench (or in the fridge when the weather is warmer) over night or during the day.

Because amaranth is so fine, draining the soaking liquid really doesn’t work. Just place the entire contents – rice, amaranth and soaking water, in a small pot, cover and gently bring to the boil. Cook over low heat, making sure no steam escapes through the lid. Cook for 45 – 50 mins from the time it comes to the boil. Check at about 40 mins, and if you’re absolutely sure there’s not enough water, add a touch more. Amaranth doesn’t cook pretty – it may all look a bit stodgy, but will be fine when embraced by all the other ingredients. When cooked turn into a medium size mixing bowl.

Pre heat the oven to 180c

Add the olive oil and butter to a medium frying pan with the onion and mushrooms. Cook over a medium – high heat for approx 5 mins, stirring every now and then. The mushroom should be lightly browned and there should be no liquid in the pan. Add the garlic, and stir through, cooking for another minute. Add the mushroom mix to the grains. Add the rainbow chard and 1 tablespoon water, and cook over a gentle heat, turning a few times, until it is well wilted. Give it a squeeze with some tongs, and drain off any liquid that remains. Add the chard to the mushroom and grain mix, stirring through. Leave to cool for a few minutes before adding the parmesan, ricotta and eggs. Season with salt and pepper, and stir through well. 

Place the mixture into a baking dish, patting it down. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top and sprinkle with the pine nuts. Bake for 60 – 80 mins, or until the centre is set. It will ooze and bubble around the sides a little, this is fine, and will add to the flavour. Allow to cool a little before serving.