Category: Ramble and Roam
How is 2017 looking for you ? As I dive back into 2017, I’d love to share how mine has started with you.
Brené Brown recently posted about the 4 questions that she asks herself at the close of the year, and I have found them to be exceptionally valuable – I’d love to share them with you, as I suspect that you might find them valuable too (if you haven’t come across Brené as yet, I heartily recommend that you take a look). What do I want more of in my life?
- What do I let go of that is no longer serving me?
- What will make me feel more alive?
- At the end of every day and every year, I need to know I contributed more than I criticised. How have I contributed, and what will my life look like moving forward?
This is especially important to me as this year I begin a new cycle. It is said that the universe works on a 9 year cycle – 2016 was a 9 year, and I was also in a personal 9 year. It is a time for endings and new beginnings – it would fair to say that everywhere you looked, this was very evident and especially true in my life. My first book was published in 2006 and in the following 9 years I wrote 4 books, run 5 Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Programs, and after years of following the path less travelled, was finally in a position to buy my own simple home. I build a house and moved in May 2016, with a new book launching also. I absolutely know deep in my bones and soul that this is a cycle ended and I finished the year/s exhausted, not knowing what the path ahead looked like, or even where it lay. I did what I know works for me – rest, meditate and do the spiritual work – this time I answered Brene’s questions for myself.
What I want is more time, less struggle, more ease, less ‘I have to get through this list’, more laughter (what do you call a parrot with a raincoat on ? see below), more being present in the moment.
What is no longer serving me are some of the ways that I teach, which have huge and heavy logistical loads and my push through that wall attitude (which I grant has been a positive many a time – I wouldn’t be where I am with that push). I have been too judgmental and critical – I need to remember what I was like 20 years ago when I was early on the path. Exhaustion and fear are not serving me.
What makes me feel alive is not being exhausted, being rested, doing the spiritual work, knowing I’m on purpose and that I am living a true and honest life, being a person of high integrity and walking a true path. Being with my beautiful daughter Nessie, and sharing her moments and path is what fills my heart with such love and meaning, along with my mum and family.
I’m pretty comfortable in that I have contributed – that I have achieved what I set out to do some 25 years ago – to effect change in how we grow, produce, prepare and eat food, and that hasn’t always been easy. Other than being a mother – which is the most important thing of all to me, this is the thing I am most proud of. That I didn’t tow a line, or post a photo, or go along with a train of thought when I felt it to be untrue, but rather said clearly – the emperor is wearing no clothes – and all with great integrity.
So that has set me thinking in where I go to from here, and how I see the path ahead.
My primary driving force, as I wrote in my first book, is that we as a society understand that food is not something that simply stops us from feeling hungry. It is exactly the same as love – an elemental human need. Together they sustain and nourish us, providing fuel for our body and soul to grow and our lives to fulfil their potential. Yes we all know now it needs to be real (I’m a bit over that whole JERF thing) but what I’ve found over the years of teaching is that the so many WHY’S, WHAT’S, HOW’S AND (REALLY)? make it so hard to actually DO.
Whilst I love the path I’ve travelled, these basic foundations are what I want to get back to – the WHY and the HOW. No matter what the problems going on or intolerances that may be, the food we eat is where we always begin. It will require learning about and building strong, grounded foundations (which I write about in my new book Wholefood From the Ground Up and I also talk about them here) but the translation of the why will always require the knowing how to prepare and cook food. When you know how to cook, how thermal mass works, how equipment can influence the experience and the end result, when you know how an ingredient behaves, when you know all the basic things that I took for granted when I was growing up and was passed. on. I know you are time poor, I know the pressures, but I promise you it makes the hugest difference to know these things, and it has nothing to do with being perfect or creating the most perfect food, or taking a perfect photo of it. I’ve taught hundreds (probably thousands) over the years and I know the difference knowing these things make, I know that cooking from scratch matters and makes a huge difference, and is probably one of the most important things you can do. I also know that these days, sadly you have to know a lot more than I did say, some 40 years ago when i was just a young 20 year old, because back then there was so much less bullshit going on, and food was still real and not the total illusion that it is today. You will also have to get wise – you have to learn some good basic information so you can make informed decisions – because today there is so much of that bullshit abounding about what makes food healthy, wholesome, ethical and sustainable. I want to empower you to make these informed decisions and have many small and big victories in the kitchen. To this end I am going online (and working on implementing everything you wanted in the survey I did last year – goodness me, that was months ago!). Right now, I am working on a class program for Perth (which will include a Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program 4 week intensive in May), and am at my desk working on the online programs. I haven’t forgotten about Canberra and Melbourne, and will update you on those a bit later. The best way for you to stay up to date with me (and I with you) is to SUBSCRIBE to the newsletter. As a subscriber, you also unique access to information, events, recipes and treats.
I have been far too busy for food coaching over the last years, but love this one to one contact. You might simply want to get sorted out and see a clearer path for the year ahead – (a bit like me having someone to consult on the garden design, giving me steps for the way forward) or you might be totally stuck with understanding gluten free baking or conversion. There is so much we can do in one hour – I am opening up 6 places, and I’d love to help you with those small victories, or make things easier to understand for you. Cost is $200 and to grab a spot, just email me email@example.com
It’s at this time of the year that I try and post my favourite reads from the year – and most of these are blogs that I actually follow, so I have given you the blog address. I have to tell you though, there are very few nutrition texts or such here – I think I’m just over it all !
Violet Bakery (my most favourite baking book outside of mine :) I make the Cinnamon Scrolls from these all the time. If you haven’t got this, and love baking – get it (in Australia I think the US version, with a forward by Alice Waters is the way to go. Just remember a US cup is 240ml and US tablespoon is 15ml).
The Vanilla Bean Baking Book – I got this for Christmas, and I love it. Can’t wait to try her scone technique. Same goes for measurements above, as this is a US book.
Neighbourhood – love Hetty’s approach to vegetables, so inspiring.
The Salad Book – Belinda Jeffrey has been a friend in the kitchen over many, many years before we met and became friends in real life. I have a couple of these ear marked for the hot weather.
A Year in My Real Food Kitchen – my dear friend Emma Galloway’s new book. If you are looking for good, everyday, delicious gluten free, vegetarian food – honestly, Emma does gluten free better than anyone I know.
Our Delicious Adventure – Jane Grover is another good friend, and I loved reading about their journey around Australia (with great food thrown in).
The Kings Grave – I finally got to read about the search for King Richard 111 body – I love archaeology.
The photo at the top of this post, is the bunch of roses I picked from garden the other day – only now 5 months old, I am just so thrilled with how they are going.The 3 pink ones on the left are St Cecelia, soft yellow Windemere, the strong pink is Sister Emmanuelle, the apricot is Abraham Darby, and the red – the glorious Falstaff. I ummed and ahhhed over Falstaff (a climber), was told not to get it, but oh I just love it – if you are thinking about it, don’t let anyone talk you out of it.
The photo’s below are just a snippet of what’s been going on around here and my top 9 from intagram – love that my gorgeous Smeg Victoria stove made it in twice – you love this oven as much as I do it seems. And now I’ve time, I will do a proper post on my new kitchen shortly. There’s Constance having her bad hair day and looking slightly electrocuted (this photo always makes me laugh, she looked so shocked !) roses from my new garden and good old fashioned baking – proper muffins (not obese, fake, sugar laden muffins), the strawberry celebration cake from the new book, beautiful young Rosie with her Sweet + Sour Chocolate cake, and these glorious ‘from the Womens Weekly’ baked goodies at a country fete.
Constance showing her yoga moves, and encouraging me to get started with it again…
I ask you – how GORGEOUS is this caravan… saw it on Instagram and just love, love it. What about that stove ?
I think I should leave it there !! We need to go a little more slowly this year, a bit more step by step… I will be back shortly with a dairy free chocolate ice – cream (agar and kudzu base)… oh and the answer to the joke – Poly Unsaturated !!!
Wishing you a wonderful, grounded, peaceful new year with many joyous moments. I so look forward to seeing in and working with you this year…
THANK YOU TO YOU
|Bruny Island Jonquils photograph cMichelle Crawford|
I’m back home, and rather than give you a big ramble about it all, I’ll just show you. In a 2 month travel around Australia with the new book “Wholefood Baking – Wholesome Ingredients for Delicious Results”, there were so many highlights. If you are reading this and you are not here, it’s because I couldn’t fit it all in. I was worried you might not even get through all the photo’s I felt I simply HAD to put here… this is a THANK YOU to you, and flowers for you. In between all of the events below were the wonderful Thermomix classes – I have met so many people who have touched my life. I’ll do a whole one on the Thermomix classes next…
This blog takes up from when I got back to Sydney, then to Melbourne, Tasmania and Adelaide…
Launceston and Hobart….
The Country Womens Association still flourishes in Hobart… love the Tea Cosy Window.
Michelle and I
THE TIES THAT BIND
If you’ve been reading my Facebook page whilst I’ve been travelling around Australia with my new book, you will recognise the many times I’ve noted I’m sitting in bed with a cup of tea…it’s generally been early in the morning, and the only time I’ve had to update things. I’m here again (in bed with a cup of tea) on a bitter cold Melbourne morning, and I am determined to get this post up. I started it back in Perth 2 weeks ago (on a week’s break back home) but just have been so full on, have not had a chance – here we go… fingers crossed… (and will do Melbourne in the next post)….
Here I am back in Perth, in the glorious early winter sunshine. It’s my week back home, after 4 weeks away in Brisbane and Sydney, before I set out again. I am finding it hard to know where to start but I’d like to tell you I have realised this. I am absurdly blessed with an embarrassment of riches. Of family, of friends, of the opportunity to do work I adore and believe in (Kahil Gibrans words ‘work is love made visible’ here ringing in my head), of love, of it all. Of flowers and colours and love and beauty and honour. I’ve met so many truly very special people, as I’ve been in Brisbane and Sydney teaching classes and launching my new book “Wholefood Baking”, and I have found that they are all been woven into this life I am living. It’s an incredibly honoured position and privilege to know that I am a part of your lives, through my books and in your kitchen – a part of your life. I am enriched beyond words. And I met so many people that said ” oh, I read your blog” and was astonished, as I’ve been so slack with my blog over the past 3 months – just trying to keep on top of organising this big trip.
But alas, I haven’t got a recipe for you here – I promise that soon I will come back from travel and organising (really read keeping it all together/juggling) and get back to recipes to help you in your everyday life, or show you what I’m doing in mine. But for now, I just wanted you to know I’m here, and to thank you, and share with you the highlights of the past few weeks:
- ROAD TRIP WITH JEANIE: Jeanie is my friend who lives in Northern New South Wales, and joined me in Brisbane to help with the launch there. The conversation went something like this ” We have to drive to Ipswich tonight (for me to do a talk) come back to Brisbane tomorrow, shop for the launch, drive then to Toowoomba (for me to do a talk), stay the night, wake up at the crack of dawn, and drive back to Brisbane and cook our asses off to get it all ready for the launch which starts at 2.30pm.” Because I had not realised how far away Ipswich and particularly Toowoomba was. But I knew we could do it, because I knew Jeanie had my back. We did bake our little asses off, but alas, I still have too much bottom for my jeans right now. As we were driving to Toowoomba, I said to Jeanie ” You know this is a lot like when we drove from Santa Fe to Taos”. ” No, nothing like it ” says Jeanie, ” Yes it is I say, a lot like it”, “No” says Jeanie” really, nothing like it”. But for me it was – a road trip with my friend Jeanie, on open roads and open skies. For all the exhaustion of those few days, it was fabulous. I loved Jeanie.
- MEETING THE BLOGGING GIRLS: There are an amazing group of young women doing some great blogging in Australia right now, many on the East Coast. It was wonderful to finally meet them face to face – The Pinkfarm Girls – Amanda and Tanya, Emma Galloway from My Darling Lemon Thyme, Nicola Garcia from The Yogic Housewife, Vanessa Teklenburg from Slow Heart Sing (love that name), Alisha from The Naughty Naturopath Mum, my good friend Jill Brown introduced me to Sneh Roy from Food Republic (which I was already checking out), and foodie Mel Kettle and I’m so looking forward to meeting Meg Thompson from My Wholefood Romance next week in Melbourne.
- NEARLY FORGOT THE NATURAL FOOD STORE VISIT: The amazing WNCTP graduate Bel Pooley (Belly), knowing I was coming to Brisbane, asked me to do a little talk at her local health/wholefood store. Me thinking it was a little traditional health food store, Belly coming to Brisbane to pick me up, a glorious drive to Forest Glen (Sunshine Coast) and realising it was a HUGE, truly brilliant store – was like being in the U.S. I also got to see another WNCTP graduate – the beautiful Danella Martin, and finally get to snuggle and cuddle Pippy Mae…..They made me so welcome, I met so many wonderful people during that morning tea. But what a store… thank you for making me so welcome…
- TAKING THERMOMIX ON THE ROAD WITH WHOLEFOOD COOKING: I’ve known Grace Mazur from the moment she bought this amazing machine into Australia and I’m loving the opportunity to talk to a broader audience about what wholesome and healthy food really is, and how they can use their Thermomix to best advantage. I’ve met so, so many lovely, wonderful people. I’ll do a whole separate post on this later as there is so much to talk about !! But can I say to Kylie’s team in Sydney, thank you for my pink Thermomix Apron and bag. Love them.
- THE FOOD, LOVE AND BREATHE SEMINAR WITH HOLLY DAVIS and DR ROSALBA COURTNEY. Let me start by saying how amazing Rosalba is, and a wealth of knowledge… I could listen to her forever. But I had missed my dear, dear friend and colleague Holly Davis as she has been in London (nursing her mother as she passed) for over a year…Holly and I created a makeshift whole food kitchen, and discussed the basics and what matters in a good kitchen. I adore working with her, we actually kind of adore each other (in a healthy way). The Sydney Meals for Everyday class were very lucky as Holly came and did the class on the Saturday there with me also – we both have a same body of knowledge, believe the same things but express them very differently. I got to stay over a night at Holly’s place by the ocean, and it was wonderful. I love Hols.
- BEING SUPPORTED BY GOOD FRIENDS: I am absolutely aware of how lucky I am to have such good, good friends – I would always start with my bestie Nene, who helped me do the Perth Launch (I love Nenie), Helen and Davin in Brisbane who always give me a home (and Helen bought me the best ever teacup mug that brews it own tea), Sonja and Brenda who own Mondo Organics and let me cause mayhem whilst I do classes there, Wray Organics who always support my work and moved me around Brisbane to visit each of their stores talking about Wholefood Baking – Deborah Wray is one gorgeous and amazing woman (Qld, you are very lucky to have Wray Organics), Karen and Matt from Honest to Goodness in Sydney who move hell and high water to do what I ask of them and more (NSW you are very lucky to have HTG), Essential Ingredient in Sydney who again, allow me to cause mayhem whilst there….WNCTP graduate Angie Cowan (Angie Gluten Free) who did an amazing, delicious and very capable job doing all the baking for the Sydney launch, and WNCTP graduate Jessica Kenny (Eating Beauty) who styled it. If I’ve missed anyone out, I will catch up in the next post….
- BEING SUPPORTED BY YOU: One thing I’ve fully realised during this trip is how much you support my work and how generously you take me into your home and kitchen. Please know how rich this makes the fabric of my life and how much it is treasured.
So, here I stop or I will never get this out… in all, I’d love to say – here is my new book,
” look what I made !!” but it wouldn’t be true, because everything in my life and the people I have met have been a part of making this. The weave and thread is organic, dyed in the colours of the earth – it’s been made of friendship, loss, hardship, joy and a life lived truly and a huge number of people that love me and are a part of my life – I’m a very very blessed woman.
Eating is an Agricultural Act (the words of Wendell Berry) and we put it into action
After 10 very intense weeks, the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program for 2012 is coming to a close. It’s been a deeply rewarding experience for me as I see the students blossom and begin to piece everything together. As much as I teach them (as does Holly Davis and Jean Martinez and all who come into our kitchen) they teach me daily. It’s quite a blessing. But, time is short, the night is getting on and I wanted to get this up. Tomorrow is the Student Group Dinner which we are repeating on Wednesday evening also. We are booked out with friends, farmers and public coming to enjoy the dinner – an opportunity for the students to put into practice what they know and have learnt, and to experience doing so.
The photos are a mix of our trip down south to the town of Balingup, hosted by Katrina Lane from Taste of Balingup. Katrina is a woman that walks her talk and works to connect and support local farmers. Which, at the end of it all is why we go to visit the farmer, because this is what it’s all about – our weeks in the kitchen, learning what we learn all comes together at the farm. It is here it is produced – and how thankful we are for farmers that nourish the soil and provide us with real food. How thankful we are for farmers that care about the vegetable and the animal, and raise both with integrity and a view to sustainability. In the wholefood kitchen, this is where it all starts and the food choices we make support this kind of farming and nourishment.
A WEEK IN BEAUTIFUL COLOUR
This has been the month of travel – recipe testing first, then back to Sydney to photograph the new book. This is the first time I’ve been present for the photography and the first time so many shots have been taken of the finished recipef itself. My books are very much a part of me, so I wanted to be the one to do the cooking and be involved in the creative process of photography. Even though I knew it would be a mountain of work, I wanted to be there – and was a little nervous to begin with. I had asked my dear friend Jeanie to come and help me (I know when Jeanie is there we can together, cope with anything) and – there she was, above and beyond. I also asked Angie (a graduate of my Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program) and again, above and beyond. I must also note that Jean’s boyfriend Al gamely and bravely drove us around all day in Sydney before the shoot, as we shopped the rather mammoth list. Let me say right now, I couldn’t have done it without them, and when you see the shots (next May :) ), I hope you will feel and see the friendship and love reflected. This includes my truly amazing editorial team at Murdoch Books – who assembled the very talented photographer and stylist, and always have a game plan of excellence. Yes, i was very nervous to begin with, but as soon as I met Cath Muscat (photographer) and Kate Nixon (stylist), I knew all would be fine – both such talented, professional and generous women. We all worked extremely hard to get through the shots – Jean, Angie and myself baking – Angie making us amazing lunches each day to keep us going and running out for emergency errands – Kate never stopped tweaking until the shot was just right and didn’t blink when I said a couple of times – “I really don’t like it” and Cath with her eagle eye keeping on until the shot was more beautiful than I could have imagined. Even though I’m not a fan of blue, Kate showed me how beautiful it can look but also thrilled me with that glorious purply/eggplanty coloured fabric and tone above, and I am so in love with the cup and saucer below.
Our days started with a planning session and finished when the light was fading. Sydney chose to put on some stormy rain, but even in the dim and fading light at the end of the day, Cath pushed the envelope to get some glorious shots. And the recipes behaved – it was great to see both Jean and Angie just go to the recipe, and they turned out brilliantly. So fingers crossed, they should for you also.
Even though it was full on from dawn to dusk, really how lucky am I? As Kate was setting up a shoot on the second day I commented that food (the way I like and do food) is exactly the same as my days as a fashion designer. I’m doing the same thing, but with a different (and more meaningful) medium. They are both about beauty. Before it was the beauty of a fabric, a line of cut or stitching and now I work with the textures, flavours and food that nature more directly provides. But both have the deeper layers of beauty – the friendships, the tears, the colours, textures and I tell you, I consider myself blessed. I loved, loved the opportunity to work with Kate and Cath in such a professional manner, the shots are so beautiful and I hope that when you see them, you will love them too.
I know there’s no recipe here this month – 7 weeks away back and forth from East to West, just home with a desk that demands to be taken care of and the Autumn garden planted over the past 2 days. What am I eating you may well ask? While staying with Jean last week her daughter Violet and I made a killer apple pie (with this gorgeous rolling pin I bought for Violet). Right now I’ve roasted up the abundance of eggplant in the garden (fragranced with fresh basil) ready to layer with a lamb mince sort of bolognaese. I’m going to top it with a bechamel – it’s going to be a big Parmigiana/Moussaka/Lasagne kind of thing which I’m serving with a large rocket (from the garden) salad. I plan on enough for left overs tomorrow. As the oven was on, I’ve roasted up some pumpkin from the garden also, cooked a pot of quinoa for the beginnings of a salad lunch tomorrow. Hopefully by then I will have settled back into Perth time with enough brain to think what to eat. Next blog is going to be on Children and Snacks – I wanted to extend the seminar I did in Sydney with Rosalba Courtney and Holly Davis. I couldn’t answer all questions, and snacking (and foods for snacking) seemed to be a hot topic. Stay Tuned.
TALES FROM MY TRAVELS and more
I have dreamed, I have most certainly rambled (often in classes I suspect) and I’ve certainly roamed. It seems like a month, but in reality only 2 weeks away for a wedding of dear friends and classes in Melbourne, onto Sydney for Recipe Testing and then Brisbane for classes. I loved shopping in Melbourne at the Prahran Markets (me, very much in love with the range of apples available) for our “To Market, To Market” class with Essential Ingredient and in all, can I tell you how much I love meeting each and every one of you at classes, in every state. Honestly, I love doing this work and find it so deeply rewarding when I see people go home and make a bowl of chicken stock, make a simple soup and have their child, who up to that point would only eat bread, eat that soup and enjoy it. Thank you to all who came to classes, thank you to those who organize them – we do meaningful work there in those classes – it’s a good and true thing.
Also a good and true thing was taking an opportunity to catch up with family and dear friends in Melbourne, and above in Qld – both Bel and Nell live in Qld and are graduates of my Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training program. My dearest friend Jeanie (who also teaches during the program) lives in Upper Cyrstal Creek on the NSW border and drove up with her daughter Violet for a reunion – after traffic jams for many (not me), we had time together – these are the moments that you remember. I know I live a blessed life.
Alas, no recipe this time round, I’ve stepped off the plane, checked out my plants (thank goodness for my daughter Nessie and wonderful neighbours Jenni and Corine) and am packing the car to head down south for the Easter holiday. It’s our family time away and this year we will be close to the sea. Sleep will be slept, books will be read, editing will not sit patiently by so that will also happen and food will be cooked and eaten. Can I suggest you might like to make the Walnut and Yoghurt Cake I posted for Easter last year – a simple and delicious cake for the cooler weather, or some Blueberry and Lemon Scones (wow, there were some amazing Moondarra Organic late season blueberries in Melbourne!!), but given you will be chilling a little, what about some Oat, Apple and Buckwheat Pancakes for breakfast?
I also thought you would like to be a little involved in the recipe testing for the new baking book – this is what confronts me at approx 2.30 each day. Myself, my food editor, editor and others head downstairs to the kitchen where others have been given your recipe to cook. You can see them there sitting on the printed recipes. They are not spiffed up, simply as is and the main thing we are looking for is that the recipe works, and the crumb (this being baking) is sound. As a whole, it went very well – a few little tweaks here and there, but nothing too drastic. The main thing to come out of the week is how important ones relationship to the oven is -as you can see, some are a little too brown – this is a result of too hot an oven. But given I have a whole section on that, we were all happy. I have a couple of cakes to just double check a thing or two on, but the tasters were happy (they tasted good) and I was happy (the crumb was good). What you can see here, clockwise from the front is the Barley Shortcrust Quince and Winter Compote Rustic Tart, Low Gluten Apple Pie, Carrot/Amaranth and Pistachio Cake (gf), Candied Hazlenut, Rhubarb and Buckwheat Cake (gf), Brown Rice Crackers (gf), Cocoa Nib Panna Cotta, Chocolate, and Blackberry Trifle (in the only container available – a bowl :) ) and Labne Tart.
After Easter I head back to Sydney for the photography, and I’ll hopefully be able to snap a few shots of the action for you. I’m also tremendously looking forward to the seminar in Sydney on Sunday 15th April with another dear and good friend Holly Davis, and Rosalba Courtney. I’m looking forward to seeing and meeting you all.
Have a wonderful and peaceful Easter break, and I’ll see you soon.
- Afternoon Tea
- Chef Training
- Core Recipes
- Dairy Free
- Gluten Free
- Grass Fed Meat
- Late Summer
- Making a Book
- Meals from my Garden
- Quick Dinner
- Ramble and Roam
- Seasonal Cooking
- Soaked Grains
- Sustainable Fish
- Wedding Cake
- Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training
- Wholefood Kitchen