Wholefood Cooking

Category: Picnic

A Sensible Discussion About Sugar (and a sponge cake)

Photography by Jess Shaver | Copyright  Jude Blereau and Jess Shaver

There are an awful lot of hyped up conversations about sugar going on and sugar free is in, big time – another book, another movie, another fractionalised approach to food.  I’ve stayed out of this debate, preferring to run a conversation in my books and classes about a wholefoods and wholistic life, but after reading this great article by Jess Cox, I felt it was timely to put forward what I consider a sensible conversation about sugar. This also coincided with the passing of my dear friends Denise and Julies’ mum – Shirley –  but more about that later.

When I started out on my wholefood path some 25 years ago, I too saw things from quite a black or white perspective – I had not yet learnt that things are always far deeper and more complex than at first glance and that it is generally not what the food IS that makes it good, or wholesome and healthy, ethical or sustainable, but how we grow it, process and prepare it that is. And, the context in which we source it, eat it and the life we live. And my, but is sugar a great example of this, and of a wholefood philosophy and a wholistic lifestyle in general.

From a wholefood perspective, we could say that cane sugar juice in its natural state is a rich source of vitamins, minerals enzymes, fibers and phytonutrients, which the body requires to digest the sucrose and provide a slow release of fuel. Indeed the minerals calcium, phosphorous, chromium, magnesium, cobalt, copper, iron, zinc and manganese are absolutely essential for this process. To store over long periods and stop it from fermenting, cane juice is boiled to evaporate water and this end product is known by many names – for example Rapadura or Panela (they do the same thing, for the same reason to maple syrup and coconut palm nectar). In its traditional homes (Central and South Americas) it is consumed within the context of a whole and balanced diet  and is considered a healthful and nourishing food – this is what we should be referring to when we use the words cane sugar. But, I do understand that in most cases, when we say the word sugar, we are referring to what we know as refined sugar  – the cane juice instead is boiled under vacuum to achieve high enough temperatures for crystallisation, with all nutrients removed or at the very least with a few left in, during the refining process. It is a very different thing because of the way it has been processed and now, without the wealth of nutrients and polyphenols to aid the digestion of sucrose and slow down its release, it will hit the blood stream too quickly. I also understand very well that our bodies have not evolved to handle this, however will do it’s best – pulling nutrients from elsewhere in the body leading to depletion.

Which brings me to Shirley. One of the things that came through so clearly and strongly at the funeral of this very beautiful woman (both inside and out) when people spoke about their memories of her, was that the cake and biscuit tin was always full – made with refined white flour and sugar – and in the profound words of the CWA (Country Womens Association), ‘it’s not just about the scones and tea’. Shirley was always there, her door was always open, with a cup of tea and comfort. Somehow (according to the current fractionalised views on sugar) with this refined sugar in their diet Shirley and Ralph raised exceptional, healthy, wonderful children that contribute so much to our community. Somehow Shirley and Ralph lived full, happy and rich lives. Now I could also be talking of my mum (and indeed much of this generation now in their late 80’s and 90’s), who still makes biscuits and muffins for when people drop in, or to give to others. She uses white flour and refined white sugar. From a wholistic perspective (the one that fascinates me the most) is that I honestly don’t think that this bit of white sugar in a whole and balanced diet is evil, or cause disease, or indeed is going to kill you.  But eating a lot of refined white sugar and flour, low fat, processed vegetable oil, nutrient deficient, additive laden food in a stressful life possibly will. From this wholistic perspective, I think we are looking in all the wrong places for salvation (hello green smoothie).I think it is far more important that we focus our attention on the fundamentals which you can find here, and when these are strong and in place (as they most certainly have been and in many cases still are in our very older generations) the issue of refined white sugar diminishes. And of course the elephant in the room always is that whilst people might be ditching refined white sugar, but they are most certainly not ditching sweetness – sweetness is always about balance and context.

Personally, my choice is for less refined sweeteners, I like the flavours and nuanced sweetness they give, but when I eat my mum’s muffins I am partaking in powerful love medicine. I love rapadura sugar, but when I do want a cane sugar with less impact I will choose the semi refined (but still crystallised) sugars such as the Billingtons range, where less goodness is taken out in the beginning. I also love maple syrup, maple sugar, coconut palm sugar and brown rice syrup (but take note all brands of BRS are not equal and in Australia I choose Spiral), and of course fruit. I dislike and do not advocate products such as Agave or Xylitol – both highly refined products.

Shirley was known for and for her love of a good sponge cake and for the time she took to sit down with others. Afternoon tea is a great way to slow down on the weekend and stop, and for some to lay their burdens down. I thought you might like to make one for a weekend in the warmer spring weather. A sponge is certainly my favourite cake too –  I love it with passionfruit and banana. If a sponge is not your thing, there’s plenty more delicious options in my book Wholefood Baking (and don’t forget to check out the yummy Choc Peanut Truffles on Jess’ post. Vale Shirley.

Apple, Parsnip and Sage Fritters


It’s been a long time since I’ve been here with you, and done a blog post, lots of very good reasons for sure, but at the heart of it was a plate that was full to overflowing, and an entirely new email and web system being built, both on different platforms than before. Doing a blog in between platforms just felt a little too daunting.Totally rebuilding the website from scratch demanded that I also have a very good think why I continued to keep a blog in the new website. I loved this article on maintaining a long term blog by Heidi Swanson, and others at that time – Heidi talks about this being her practice and the commitment to that practice, and it made me query just actually what my practice was. Along with cooking, writing and photography, the blog itself was a part of her practice. It became immediately clear that for me, my blog was not an essential part of my practice – but rather teaching and writing, that formed that coreI’m not a great photographer and to be honest, I don’t want to learn too much more there – I just don’t have room in my brain for that. That room is saved for learning more about how fats – or any food really – works. I don’t have the ability to run a consistent weekly, fortnightly or monthly blog – some times I am just loaded with teaching commitments (the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training for example), and sharing my knowledge with in the books I write.

Knowing this, I settled with going ahead with the blog and that I will make it here monthly as best I can, but I knew that I also wanted to be here with you and share what is going on, life and recipe or two. But I also know that I share all those things with you in each of my books, and most certainly in the new book (May 2016) – the book is just about finished (just a few more recipes to go) and editing to commence. I’m incredibly happy with this new baby, I think you will be too. My plan is to post here monthly, and to send out a quarterly newsletter with information and cooking for the season ahead – you can subscribe to that newsletter here

For now, I’d like to give you this yummy and simple recipe, using very seasonal ingredients and to say how lovely it is to be back here with you. Right now, parsnips are being pulled and apples are being picked, and they are a glorious combination. Combined with sage and herbs, a little left over cooked grain and a couple of eggs, they make the most wonderful fritters to eat, any time of the day. I think they will be perfect for the cooler Autumn weather over the long weekend.

x Jude



Quinoa, Teff and Corn Cornbread (and a catch-up)

I know, I look brown – please don’t judge me – when you cut me, I have golden corn, green basil, red capsicum –  I’m delicious and need to be served with other things… you can see inside me down below…

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 

Jo Whitton, Quirky Cooking

And here with Jane Grover

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:

The books I’ve just bought / am really looking forward to buying or being published this year:

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.

x Jude





3 Simple and Easy Dishes To Have On Hand for Christmas



That’s my beautiful Christmas Fairy on our tree – we put it up yesterday. It was a gift from my daughter Nessie – she keeps trying to entice me with Christmas Angels/Fairies hoping to replace the one that sits atop the tree – the one she made when she was four. But nothing will ever replace that angel, but I have to say I adore this fairy. So, after goodness knows how many months, here I am. I imagine that you have given up on me, having had no blog for months. I wouldn’t blame you. For me, it’s been a very good year, and truly I have a lot to be grateful for. It’s a profound thing to see your dreams come to life – to see my books on the shelves (thrilled to see 2 of them sitting on the Book Depository top 10 for weeks), to meet you as I travelled around Australia to launch my new book Wholefood Baking –   to be a part of so many peoples lives is a deeply privileged thing. To see my dream of training a new generation and skill base in Australia with the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program realised – now in it’s third year with the program running from August through to November was deeply rewarding. But in all that, I can tell you honestly, I ran out of ability to give to the blog – right now I’m just a tad emotional, exhausted and wanting to nest. I want to bake and watch Season 4 Walking Dead, Season 4 Downton Abby, Season 6 Mad Men – you get the drift. Mostly, I think I want to be IN my home, IN the experience of my Christmas and with those I love. I want to be IN my life and let my day take me wherever without me worrying about the list of jobs to do, places to be or – the person I sometimes expect myself to be.  I want to enjoy this view of my life where I now sit – I turned 60 a couple of weeks ago, and can I say it feels very good – for the first time I’m actually IN my life, the life I wanted, in all it’s glorious imperfections. Thank you for being a part of that.

Birthday Girl, happy in my life and path

But, we do have to eat. I don’t know about you, but life gets pretty busy and I like to have quick easy things on hand in the fridge with which to make a meal. I have 3 recipes for you today and next week when the children are home I have a wholesome gingerbread house for you. But before we get into the recipes, this is what you will find being cooked and eaten in my home over the Christmas season at some point – recipes from my books. What you see in my books is very much everyday food and how we do eat at home. From my new book Wholefood Baking – Trifle, Buche de Noel, Rustic Tarts of Seasonal Fruits, Puff Pastry mini pizzettes and Danish, Barley Wheat and Rosemary Crackers, Rugelach and Christmas Crescents.  Yes I hear you – that’s all sweet stuff :) Savoury wise – I try to stock the fridge with good basics – home made mayonnaise (Wholefood for Children), the recipes you see here today, pesto, pate, organic nitrate free ham, home made chutney’s and my it pays to have pastry in the freezer (I like puff and shortcrust). Recipes I love from Coming Home to Eat, Wholefood for the Family  (my second book) include Poached Chicken with Asian Flavours, Chicken and Bread Salad, Puff Pastry Tart with Roasted Vegetables and Pesto, Market Vegetable Enchilada’s, Japanese Ginger Fish Balls with a Sweet and Sour Sauce and Bok Choy, Little Savoury Chicken Cakes, Rice Paper Rolls with a Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce (it’s a fab sauce). From Wholefood – heal, nourish, delight (my first book) Chicken Fajita’s, Berry Nice Pancakes and Eggplant Parmigiana are big favourites. I haven’t even touched Wholefood for Children!!

I’ll be back next week with the Wholesome Gingerbread… x Jude


 Gluten Free Dairy Free


This is a recipe inspired by Lorna Sass, a fabulous American wholefood writer – it’s a great way to include mineral rich sea vegetables in your diet. Arame can be a strongly flavoured sea vegetable – using the robust flavour of olives helps to balance this out. Whilst Arame is rich in iron, it is wise to keep in mind that it is non – heme iron and not absorbed the same way as the heme iron in red meat. Adding some food rich in vitamin C (here lemon juice) helps you to absorb that non heme iron. This will keep for 2 weeks in a sealed, airtight jar in the fridge and just gets better. Use good quality olives and capers – for olives I like the Mt Zero Kalamata or their little green ones. If you’d like to add fresh rosemary or thyme to the tapenade that’s lovely also.

28gm Arame

1- 2 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1 cup pitted olives

3 tablespoons capers – drained, or if packed in salt rinsed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste

sea salt to taste – consider here your capers

Put the arame in a large bowl and pour enough boiling water on it to cover it by at least 5cm. Stir through and leave for 10 – 15 mins or until it is soft. Drain well.

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process to a rough pate. Taste and adjust – a lot depends on the quality of the olives and capers – add lemon juice and sea salt as desired.


Gluten Free Dairy Free


This is a recipe developed by one of the 2013 Whole and Natural Food Chef Training students – Camille Reid. It is incredibly delicious and easy. It’s best to use the classic ox blood beetroot for this dish as they will give the best colour. Store for up to 2 weeks in a clean, air tight container in the fridge. I also prefer to use hulled tahini, which has a milder flavour – many people think the unhulled tahini will have more calcium, but this is bound in the hull with oxalic acid and not bio available.

1/4 cup small French green lentils – in Australia I like the Mt Zero

2 teaspoons why or lemon juice

2 small – medium beetroot – washed, scrubbed and chopped into rough 5cm peices

1 cup vegetable stock

2 cloves garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons hulled tahini

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste

1  1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, with extra for drizzling on top as required

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Begin the night before by covering the lentils with water, adding the whey and leaving to soak overnight.

Drain the lentils and add to a medium size saucepan with the beetroot and stock. Simmer over a medium heat until the liquid is absorbed and the beetroot and lentils are cooked – about 13 or so minutes for the lentils and until a sharp knife can easily pierce the beetroot – about 20 minutes.  Add extra stock if required. Leave to cool to room temperature.

Add the lentil and beetroot to a food processor with the remaining ingredients and blend until silky smooth. Taste and adjust flavour as required – more lemon, more salt etc.


Gluten Free


Incredibly easy to make, great for giving this is a variation on the labne recipe here1 kg of Paris Creek Yoghurt will make about 10 balls. Make sure you fold the muslin over the labne, then place a plate on top. Then place a can or something heavy to put pressure on the yoghurt, this will give you a nice thick labne, easy for rolling into balls. Covered in oil like this, they will keep for at least 2 – 3 weeks in the fridge and make a wonderful gift. How to make these? Once the labne is ready, spoon it out and gently roll into small balls, then gently roll in finely chopped herbs – you need a lot, more than you think. As they roll and take on the herbs, they become easier to manipulate. I like rosemary, lemon thyme, chives, garlic chives, marjoram, oregano and  parsley are all good –  be careful with basil as it tends to oxidise very quickly – so instead if you have basil on hand, put it in the oil to flavour that instead. Gently place the balls into the jar and cover with extra virgin olive oil. Add a couple of cloves of peeled garlic (and that basil) to flavour it. When the labne balls are all used, the oil makes a wonderful dressing as the garlic and herbs infuse it with stunning flavour.

Tamari, Garlic and Coriander Dressing (+ a rice salad)

One Good Dressing


I tend to think of managing food in a busy life from the perspective of core units. It’s a lot like having core pieces in your wardrobe – 1 good white shirt, 1 good pair of shoes, 1 good pair of pants, 1 great cardigan etc. You build a daily outfit with them and they make life easy. Good food in a busy everyday life is a lot like this. At this time of the year, one good dressing in your fridge fits the bill. I love this tamari, garlic and coriander dressing and love how it works with grain salads.

This is a recipe I’ve been making for many, many years and a staple in the salad line up at The Earth Market (my wholefood cafe, long since gone). It is an infinitely variable – “take a grain, add things to it and give it a good dressing salad”, and indeed the salad below is one of those variations. The occasion was my nieces birthday and this was her request for the salad line up at lunch. The thing about this salad is that it’s not rocket science – I used what I had on hand – namely heirloom carrots of all colours and spring onions from the garden, flat leaf parsley that has sprung up everywhere, roasted pine nuts and toasted sunflower seeds. But a word first about the jar above – I love these small preserving jars – I bought them when in the U.S a few years ago (yes, I buy cooking equipment when I travel !!) and love using them for small storage of all descriptions. I’d been planning this blog a few weeks ago and smiled when I saw Heidi Swanson using them for her dressings in this post – loved the synchronicity.  It’s a beautiful photo – I love Heidi’s photography. You can find those jars here.

But to the recipe – this is a robust dressing that works well with robust whole grains – barley and rice work particularly well. In a word, it’s easy – I hope you enjoy it.



Throw the ingredients into a bowl
Packed and ready to go



I like to use a salt reduced, wheat free tamari and prefer it’s lighter flavour. You could consider tamari to be a real food version of soy sauce. I use the Spiral brand (in Australia). I use apple juice concentrate as I love it’s subtle and earthy sweetening.


2 tablespoons / 40 ml extra virgin olive oil


2 teaspoons apple juice concentrate


3 tablespoons / 60m salt reduced tamari


2 cloves garlic crushed


2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard


2 – 3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander (cilantro)


Make the dressing either by hand or in a blender. Either add all ingredients to a blender and process well. If making by hand make sure the garlic and coriander is nice and fine –  add to a jar and shake well.




I’m a bit keen of the Bio-Dynamic Rain Fed Brown Rice, it has the most amazing flavour and of course I love the ethics behind it. Build the base of your salad with grain, and then add as many other bits as you would like. More vegetables and less grain, or more grain and less vegetables !! Make more than you need as this only gets better as it sits in the fridge for up to 2 days.


1 cup brown rice – long or medium


Add to this your choice of what’s available:


VEGETABLES – just make sure they are finely diced. If using onion, use spring or purple. If using purple make sure it is very finely diced. Nothing worse than big (and lots of) chunks of hot onion in the mouth. Colour counts also, so try to use bright colours – capsicums, corns, carrots, asparagus etc.


ADD MORE NUTRIENT DENSITY – toasted seeds or nuts, left over cooked legumes, sprouted legumes, well flavoured tempeh


ADD HERBY FRESHNESS AND FLAVOUR – go for it – sprouts, parsley, mint, fennel and lots of it.


I prefer to soak the rice overnight to make it more digestible. Place in a bowl and cover well with water. Add 1 teaspoon whey or 2 teaspoons yoghurt (kefir is fine also), or lemon juice. Leave at room temperature (yes, even if it’s hot) overnight, or for 6 hours. Strain well through a sieve and pat well with a tea towel (to soak up extra water). Place in a pot with a pinch of sea salt, add 1 3/4 cup water (or 2 cups if the rice is not soaked). Cover with a lid and bring to the boil over a gentle heat. As soon as it reaches boiling point, turn the heat down as low as possible. Cook the grain for 40 – 50 minutes. When it is ready small steam holes should be evident and when the pot is tipped on an angle, no water pools. If it does, cook for a while longer. When ready, cover well with a clean tea towel and leave to sit for 30 minutes before using.


Add to a bowl with all ingredients, as much dressing as you desire and toss together.


A Hearty Autumnal Ploughmans Lunch


I’ve promised to post the recipes from the Trust Organic Festival last Saturday – it’s taken me a few days, but here I am. The crackers have way laid me – that is the crackers I’ve been working on for the Baking book, and I have been deep into cracker land. Here’s a peek at the Barley, Wheat and Rosemary Crackers – very crisp and very yummy. That’s salt you can see dusted on top of them.


The photo up the top and below – that’s my glorious Mexican Rose vine, which seems to be undaunted by the hideously hot weather that this summer has bestowed upon us. It remains unashamed of who she is, climbs freely, and is deliciously pink. And below – that is the ceiling of my front verandah – who would not want a ceiling like that ? I certainly do want it, love it – the flowers are like pink jewels, dripping down. I will cut this back to nothing (and I mean nothing – short sticks really) in about 2 months time, and it will without fail, come to life to take over the front verandah again next summer. I am a very lucky woman. But for another photo of beautiful flowers, check out this and this. Heidi Swanson is a most gifted photographer and I wish her camera and eye could catch my Mexican Rose – I’m sure it would do it better justice than mine!


But, to the Ploughmans Lunch. Gosh I love them, my favourite way to eat – a bit of this and a bit of that. There’s going to be a few recipes – but that will make up for all the times I don’t give you any at all and I did promise to post them, but alas I didn’t take a photo – it was a mad, bad (in the sense that is was fabulous) day.  I made two versions – a meat based, and vegetarian/vegan based. The Waldorf Salad was a mix of fresh Gala apples and the inside celery greens and stems – both very finely chopped, mixed with greens available on the day. Tossed with some home made mayonnaise flavoured with just a touch of sweet curry spices, and nice and lemony. Oh, and a few roasted new season walnuts! I also served the Vegetarian Plate with a good slab of cheese – preferably goats, but on the day, we used the Over the Moon Organic Feta, but can I tell you the Lentil and Walnut Pate with Goats Cheese is a winner combination….

Meat Based:

1.     Slow Braised Shoulder Pork (Spencers Brook Farm)

2.     Waldorf Salad

3.     Apple Jelly

4.     Apple Chutney

5.     Yallingup Wood Fired Bread – grilled


1.     Lentil and Walnut Pate (Mt Zero, Victoria)

2.     Waldorf Salad

3.     Apple Jelly

4.     Apple Chutney

5.     Yallingup Wood Fired Bread – grilled


Dairy free –  gluten free – vegan 

Serves  approx 12 – 16

A simple and delicious pate, which can be served as is, or left to set so it is easy to slice. Can be frozen and keeps for approx 3 – 4 days when refrigerated.

            2/3 cup green lentils – sorted and rinsed well

            1 bay leaf

            2 cups walnuts

            1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

            1 medium purple onion – finely diced

            3/4 tablespoon dried basil

            3 teaspoons  minced garlic

            3 teaspoons mirin

            1/4 -1/2 teaspoon umeboshi paste or salt

            1 tablespoon shiro miso


Pre – Heat your oven to 180c or 165c if fan forced.

Place lentils in pot and cover with water to reach approx 2 cm above lentils. Bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer until lentils are tender, approx 30 – 45 minutes. Drain lentils and set aside.

Roast the walnuts until just aromatic – approx 10mins. Walnuts burn easily – when they are lightly browned they can be overdone.

Very gently sauté the onions, basil and garlic in oil, over a low heat approx 10 – 15 minutes until soft. You are cooking, not frying the onions.

Combine all ingredients together in food processor. Check for taste, adding more mirin, salt or miso as needed. Serve as is for a soft dip, or place into desired dish and refrigerate until cold to slice.

·      Shiro Miso helps bind and give body to this vegetarian pate. I prefer to use Spiral brand.

·      Mirin  balances the astringency of the lentils beautifully, and again I prefer Spiral brand


Gluten free / Vegan

3 – 4 medium apples – peeled, any bruised spots discarded, cut into small dice

½ cup approx raisins or sultana’s

½ medium onion, finely chopped

½ cup apple juice

½ cup approx rapadura sugar

2 – 3 teaspoons approx, fresh ginger, cut into small pieces

1 teaspoon good garam masala

½ stick cinnamon

1 cup approx apple cider vinegar

Add ingredients to a 24cm pot and gently simmer, stirring often. After approx 15 mins, check and adjust the sugar and vinegar for flavour, adding more of each as needed to get the flavour I wanted – sharp, and not too sweet.  You can add more spice as desired. 

Continue to simmer for 50 mins or until the apple has cooked, the mix has reduced and thickened. Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

* Rapadura Sugar is a whole cane sugar, where the cane juice is filtered, and the water is evaporated off at low temperature. It is rich in minerals and vitamins and considered one of the most nourishing of sweeteners. It gives the chutney the most luscious, not too sweet and rich flavour.

FRUIT JELLIES –  traditional and vegetarian

Gluten free 

You can make it with either gelatine  – which provides great nutrition, or with Agar sea vegetable, which provides a wealth of minerals. Gelatine will give a smoother textured jelly, but takes a long time to set, whereas agar will set as it cools, but has a coarser texture. I will only use a very high quality and pure gelatine – Bernard Jensen is the brand and you can get it here. When the jelly has set, turn it out and slice as desired.

Agar based jelly:

Agar dissolves best in high pectin and low acid juices. Simple juices such as Apple, Apricot, Pear, with some Strawberry or Guava are all good choices. Avoid high citrus, grape and pineapple juices. I’ve included fruits in this jelly, but you can easily leave them out, and have a simple jelled fruit juice.

Kitchen Notes:

Adding Kudzu to the jelly: will give an agar jelly a smoother texture.

Mix 1 ½ teaspoons kudzu with 1 tablespoon juice. Once the agar has dissolved, whisk this into the pot and allow to come to the boil, stirring constantly.

2 cups freshly pressed apple juice – any scum removed

1 teaspoon agar powder

Place juice into a saucepan and whisk in the agar powder. Gently bring to the boil and cook at a gentle simmer for 8 mins from the time it first came to the boil. Stir frequently with a whisk or spoon to prevent the agar from sinking to the bottom. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Pour the jelly into dish of choice. Cool slightly and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until set.

Gelatine Based Jelly:

Kitchen Notes:

You’ll need 1½ teaspoons of gelatine to set 1 cup of jelly to a wobbly consistency, which is great for young toddlers. For a firmer set jelly, increase the gelatine to 2 teaspoons per cup.

2 cups freshly pressed apple juice – any scum removed

3 teaspoons gelatine

Place juice into a saucepan and bring to a boil and immediately turn off. Add the gelatine to the hot liquid and stir through until it dissolves.

Pour the jelly into dish of choice. Cool slightly and refrigerate for 5 – 8 hours, or until set.

Pork Along the Lines of Cath Claringbold’s Pulled Pork:

Cath made an amazing pulled pork terrine for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival – this is my rough version, using the Spencers Brook Pork, shoulder neck/collar butt. I didn’t have any chicken stock, so cheated and used water, with a chicken carcass in the pot and made the stock as it cooked! 

1 pork neck/shoulder collar butt – approx 1 kg 

1 tablespoon  good quality Garam Masala (a nice fragrant one)

good sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

60 gm olive oil

2 brown onions, cut into large dice

3 cloves garlic

good splosh white wine

500 ml chicken stock

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh sage

5 gm fennel seed

Pre heat oven to 120c. If fan forced, this may need to be approx 110c

Rub the garam masala, salt and pepper over the meat. If possible, leave this to marinate overnight (if doing this, don’t use the salt, rub that on the next day).  Heat the oil in a large cast iron casserole dish, add the pork should and cook over a medium heat, turning the meat to lightly brown all sides evenly.

Remove the pork to a plate.

Lower the heat and add the onion and cook gently until browned, then add the onion and cook gently until browned then add the garlic cloves and soften them slightly (if you haven’t got chicken stock and are using a carcass, add this now so it browns with the onion.)

Add the white wine and half of the chicken stock, thyme, sage and fennel. Place the pork shoulder back in the pot, cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Leave to cook gently, basting occasionally and gradually adding the remaining wine and chicken stock throughout a 5 – 7  hour cooking period. If like me, you don’t have chicken stock, simply use water.

When the pork is ready it should pull away from the bone. 

Lift the pork shoulder carefully out of the pot and set aside to cool a little.  Leave the pork until it is cool enough to handle and then pull the meat apart into small strips. Cut off any dry outside pieces there may be.  

Place the stock and chicken carcass back on the stove and reduce over a high heat until thick and delicious – pour this over the meat.