Category: Quick Dinner
Hello there !!
Here we are with another year come around. I have to say, after the trials of 2017 (shared it seems, by just about everybody else) I’m quite happy about it. A wonderful chance to wipe the slate clean, reset ourselves and head of in the direction of where we want to go. For me ? I want a less crazy, let me live and eat a little more simply and more seasonally. And this is the vein in which we are starting out…..
If you happen to live in Australia, then you are almost bound to be over run with zucchini. Tis the season.They grow and double in size overnight, they are prolific, and they’re cheap (because there are so many of them!) and if you turn your back on them, they will take over. They are something I can grow, but also my little market garden stall is almost giving them away. Now beyond Zucchini Fritters (Wholefood for Children), Zucchini and Sultana Loaf (Wholefood for Children), stuffed zucchini and the ever brilliant Zucchini Slice (made famous by the Australian Womens Weekly, but to which I add heaps of other veggies), this bake is a super simple (meaning crazy easy and oh so quick) and wildly delicious option.If you are into raw zucchini noodles, then now is the time and place (not in the dead of winter) – now is their time to shine and zoodle like there’s no tomorrow. But, back to our bake… it’s a mish – mash of two things – Mum’s tomato pie (tomato, onion, breadcrumbs, dot butter on top) that we always had in summer with a roast, and the classic Tian of summer vegetables.
But, in truth the whole dish started when I discovered that the red onions I’d planted, and thought were not a great success, apparently got it all together and became big fat bulbs of oniony goodness. I also had a glut of tomatoes courtesy of my niece, and said zucchinis. When I cut into those onions, oh my they were just begging for a bit of heat so those sugars could caramelise up and become something quite stupendous.
So before I get to the recipe, there is one super important thing that makes the world of difference. The dish. A tian (a bit like a gratin) is all about the dish. It needs to be shallow – and classically shapes outward (this helps the juices reduce and become oh so good) you can see that clearly in the dish I used. But you need something that is going to get hot. I mean really hot. My preference is for cast iron, and failing that enamel coasted tin. What this does is caramelise the vegetables and the juices along the edges, which totally changes the flavour. So in a few words, if you can – shallow, sides flanging outwards, enamel coated tin or cast iron.
This would make a brilliant lunch with a green salad and some good cheese (goat preferably) if desired. Or perhaps a wonderful bean salad. It makes a great partner for a meat or fish main too. It begs for a glass of great reddish wine. It is totally not averse to pesto (Coming Home to Eat or Wholefood for Children), or a tapenade (I would suggest the Arame Tapenade from Wholefood From the Ground Up) – all in all it is a plant focused winner and workhorse. I hope you love it as much as I do….
I wish you a wonderful 2018, filled with good things, and if trials come along the fortitude and ability to bear them, quiet moments filled with calm and satisfaction. May there also be much joy and deliciousness at your table and in your life.
Until next time… x Jude
PS….Seasonality and what to cook with all that produce is a big theme for me this year, and a focus of my newsletter. If you’d like to join me there, I’d love to share it with you…. you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.
All these gorgeous photos ©Harriet Harcourt
This is an old recipe, from Wholefood For Family (Coming Home to Eat), but one of my favourites. I thought it time to bring it out again – it’s super quick, vegetarian, gluten and dairy free but mostly, it’s delicious. This isn’t going to be a long blog, I’m just back at home for a week after 3 weeks on the east coast launching my new book (Wholefood From The Ground Up + classes, and I’m heading back east next week for another round. So a quick delicious meal is just what the doctor ordered, with the citrus highlights brightening up a cold winter day. Give it a try, I know you will love it. All these beautiful photos are ©Harriet Harcourt
Tempeh is one of the best ways to have soy – fermentation delivers many benefits to the soy bean, making it much more digestible. It’s also delicious. And, if you are just a bit wary of soy, both my favourite brands (below) do alternative legume tempeh options. Just a couple of things in regards to tempeh. If possible buy your tempeh uncooked… this will be softer and thicker and you may well need to cut it into half to make it thinner – this is my favourite brand but it has limited availability around Australia. In Western Australia I like this brand, when i can get it. When you look at both of these products, you can see the thick white mycellium (that white fuzz that you can see) and the obvious thickness of the tempeh itself … it may be once you fry them, you may need more sauce as this kind of tempeh will absorb it. Cooked tempeh doesn’t have such an obvious mycellium (in West Australia if I can’t get the ones above, I buy the Tally Ho. And be choosy about your brand..some are shocking (Nutrasoy is one such example). The recipe below has been made with the biodynamic Tally Ho natural tempeh.
Fry your tempeh – I like coconut oil for this.
When golden, pour in the sauce
Oops, I forgot to put the ginger juice in the sauce, so I’m doing it straight into the pan
Cook until it’s a thick syrup, glazing the tempeh
How good does that look ?? !!!!
I served it with brown rice, bok choy and coriander…
OOh and a little reminder that I’m back in Brisbane for my 4 day flagship program Wholefood From The Ground Up next week (15th, 16th, 17th and 18th July) and on the Sunshine Coast for Launch and classes Meals For Everyday and Surviving the Busy Days 22nd, 23 and 24th July… there are a few spots left in all, just email me for further details if you’re interested – firstname.lastname@example.org ( I also have events coming up at Wray Organics, Avid Reader and Riverbend Books – I will be posting these on the events page of the website. I’d love to see you there… x Jude
I’ve just arrived back home after nearly 5 weeks away on the east coast of Australia, teaching and I think a pot of simple beans are in order. This post on beans began some weeks ago, but is ending up somewhat differently to what I envisaged. It was to be a discussion on cooking beans, but now – well it’s more about being, how grounding a simple meal of beans can be and how they can remind you that simple is sometimes all we need. This is happening a lot for me lately – you will see it also reflected in the new book (due June, 2016) – elemental flavours, simple wholegrains and legumes, fundamental animal foods, simple vegetables, simple fruits – foods that are local, seasonal, ripe, and grown in great soil with great ethics. It’s the elemental that gets me, and it’s this elementality (yes it’s my made up word) that is the key. It connects you immediately to what is real and true, and what really matters in life – it takes us into our core, our heart and soul. I have been privileged in classes – especially the 4 day intensives – to see that when simple, good, organic and/or biodynamic food is around (and a lot of it) and when people are supported, something exceptional happens – they cry, they open, they connect to each other and to themselves. It is never ever just about the food, it’s always about the energy that food carries and the context in which we eat it. And good, real food ? Well that’s mighty powerful stuff, and it seems the simpler it is, the more powerful it is. There’s a lot of crazy food out there right now, and whilst it might suit the latest fad, or marketing campaign it doesn’t seem to suit many humans, or nourish on that deeper level.
But, sometimes we do have to know how to prepare that food, how to make it optimally digestible for our human tummies, especially that grounding bowl of simple beans. Beans are part of the legume family, and require a bit of attention. First up, a bit about how they grow – they are ridiculously easy to grow. In Australia, I often find organic beans impossible to cook properly (they are really old, and | or they are heat treated for entrance to Australia and thus never cook), so I try and grow what I can. This year I’ve added the Christmas Lima Bean and Bean Frost to my repertoire of Borlotti, they are easily available online from Diggers, or some wonderful person may share a seed with you (Belinda Jeffrey shared her Christmas Lima with me). But if you live in the U.S you will easily be able to access the glorious Rancho Gordo beans, which offer a huge range of young, heirloom beans.
I know you may have heard that you need to soak your beans, but when you look at the picture above you can see that when they are fresh of the bush, how moist they are (you can also see how lush the pod is, and how bright the colour when fresh, too). They don’t need soaking, as those sugars have not yet begun to convert to very long chain carbohydrates that are hard for us to digest. Once they begin to dry though, you will need to soak them. In lots of water to cover them by about 10cm, and for Borlotti, Frost and Christmas Lima, you will need to add an alkali – many people use a pinch of baking soda, but I prefer Kombu sea vegetable, with contributes minerals, and has a special enzyme that helps to break those long sugars down. A 2cm piece is plenty for 1/2 cup of beans, which when cooked will give you around 1 1/4 cups cooked beans. Leave the beans to soak for 12 – 24 hours in a warm place. Warmth is important as it will help encourage lacto fermentation, which will also help to make the bean more digestible, and help with getting rid of anti nutrients such as phytic acid. Then drain and rinse, add to a pot with fresh water or stock with the soaking kombu, or use a fresh piece. Using a bone stock will help to make them even more digestible. Cook until they are done. The time they take depends on how old they are – beans under 1 year tend to cook from 45 – 1 hour | older – around 1 – 2 hours |older still – much longer, around 2 1/2 – 3 hours. If they are not cooked by then, they most likely never will. They are ready when gentle pressure yields a creamy centre – no pebbly bits. Pebbly bits are not digestible. I hear you saying ‘but where can I get kombu, as it’s not available in Australia?’ Kombu has been banned in Australia due to high iodine levels (crazy as we are a low iodine country, but go figure) – I buy mine online here, but you can also use Wakame which is freely available, it’s good, but it’s not quite as effective. (just a caveat about kombu, it’s great, but use it in small amounts, don’t go nuts with it).
Even though the weather is warming up, I hope you find time for this simple pot of beans in a cooler moment. But, you could always simply cook them as I have just described and use them to add to a salad with a delicious dressing. It was so wonderful to meet you all people in classes, thank you for enriching my life. I’ll be back with some Christmas treats shortly…. x Jude
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 core. I’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.
Finally the weather is cooling and with it the food we cook.
But, my goodness, it’s lovely to be home – and very exciting to come back to two book parcels – April it seems is the time for new book releases – My Darling Lemon Thyme by Emma Galloway, and Tasty Express by Sneh Roy (the very aptly titled Cook Republic). Incredibly exciting, I love, love receiving books and they are both beautiful. Can’t wait to take them down south with me after easter for our holiday, I am going to pour through them and start cooking! I’ve also been tempted by two from overseas – Whole Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon, and the new one by a favourite of mine, Bryant Terry – Afro Vegan (sorry, I couldn’t connect you to his website, I think it has been hacked !)
There’s not going to be a lot of talk here today, just some photo’s of what and where, and fish pie. It’s the easiest thing to make, and deeply nourishing – perfect for the cooler Autumn weather. We are having it for dinner tonight, but it would be perfect for the Easter Weekend coming up. It’s easy to digest and a great option for young children, or anyone with a dodgy digestive system or simply anyone looking for a delicious and deeply nourishing meal. If you’re looking for a cake, why not try this Apple Shortbread (oh, it would be delicious with Rhubarb and Quince too) or this delicious Walnut and Yoghurt Cake
Have a lovely Easter weekend and I’ll see you after…
Use a fish that is sustainable where you live – this will vary from place to place. I like to choose a some strong tasting oilier fish such as sea mullet, bonito or mackeral and something a little lighter – black bream, flathead or one of the snapper family is great also. If you can, buy the fish as a whole and ask the fishmonger to fillet it for you. Keep the skin on or off, it’s up to you – it will just be a textural thing in the mouth. In the picture I’ve used Spanish Mackeral (skin on) and Goldband Snapper (skin off). Please, no salmon. Unless it’s being flown in from the northern hemisphere, in Australia, this is all farmed – this is not the place to go looking for your very desirable long chain fatty acids, when we have plenty of high omega fish that are wild caught and not farmed. If you live in the northern hemisphere, and they are in season, go for it.
The recipe is incredibly loose and forgiving – basically, if vegetables have less water in them (onion or leek instead of spring onions), or more carbohydrate or cellulose such as carrot and celery, cook them first. Today, I lightly cooked some leek from the garden, finely sliced celery, fine diced carrot in good dollop of ghee and a sprinkle of sea salt. Added that to the baking dish, then sprinkled roughly chopped garlic chives and lemon thyme. And, honestly? I don’t even bother weighing the fish, I just decide how much I’d like in the dish.
2 – 3 medium potatoes, well scrubbed and cut into 2 – 3 cm dice
100 or so gm broccoli – roughly cut
sea salt to taste
1 generous tablespoon butter or ghee
1 – 2 extra tablespoons butter or ghee
2 stems spring onions, roughly chopped or 1 small onion finely diced (I used leek today)
2 tablespoons fresh herbs – lemon thyme, parsley or basil
grated zest of 1 small lemon and generous juice
Vegetables – you can read above what I used, with corn in season, that would make a lovely addition too. English Spinach and Silverbeet (Chard) can be added straight to the dish, but some of the kales might need a little cook with the root vegetables to help break down their strong cellulose structure.
4 – 6 tablespoons cultured or sour cream (be generous)
1 teaspoon seed mustard
pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
300 gm fish, checked over for bones and roughly cut into 3 cm chunks
Pre heat oven 190c
Steam the potatoes and when nearly ready, add the broccoli and cook until the broccoli is just soft. Take care not to overcook and dull the colour of the broccoli. Add 1 generous tablespoon butter, salt to taste or ghee and roughly mash. Set aside.
Choose a shallow, ovenproof dish.
Melt the remaining butter or ghee in a small saucepan and if using onion or leek, add this and cook over a gentle heat until soft. If using spring onion, just throw it in let it soften for a minute or so. Add any root vegetables to cook for a few minutes until soft, and if using kale, give that a little go in the frying pan also.
Add your vegetables of choice to the baking dish and if using English Spinach, add that now too. Top with the chunks of fish. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the lemon zest, juice, cream and mustard t0 the warm frying pan. Stir through gently – the cream will ‘melt’ and relax. Spoon the mix over the fish and vegetables (and if you have more sour cream, go ahead and use it – make sure the fish is well covered) and top with the mashed potato.
Place in the oven and cook for approx 20 mins or until the top is lightly golden and the juices are bubbling. I like to serve this with greens – I’m serving this with green beans from the garden tonight.
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?
- 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.
- Cook and eat this nutrient rich food every day (and eat some raw).
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Bone stock ‘spares’ protein. This means that your body can make better use of the protein it eats.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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