Thirty four years ago I spent nine months living in Tokyo. I consider that this has had the greatest and most lasting influence on my life, how I cook and how I treat food. I studied macrobiotic cooking in Tokyo and revelled in all aspects of their exquisite culture. Tomorrow I shall return to Japan, just in time to celebrate with millions, the first day of spring and the start of the cherry blossom season. Whilst I will be essentially on ‘holiday’ no chef is ever truly at rest; with every bite I eat, every ingredient I glimpse and each waft of a scent that wanders my way I will be looking for, what is ancient and what breaks new ground; to inspire who knows what creations to come? I have a very special interest in Japan’s many ways with fermentation and I will returning with whatever I can, to put to good use in the book I am writing on this topic.
Fair warning my Instagram followers, bountiful blossoms and drunken daikon in barrels a plenty, will be coming your way.
When I return I will be head down and into the book, except for a quick trip to teach in Perth in early May. Inspired, as I expect to be, I have included a workshop for making ferments that fit everyday life and of course, a couple of Japanese cooking classes, I am also running a two day workshop for how to cook for the intolerant at your table, this is sadly become the norm at so many tables. I have just added the details of these classes to the online booking page here. These are classes hosted by my compatriot and dear friend, Jude Blereau of Wholefood Cooking and all bookings can be made through her.
I will keep a diary whilst I travel and make note of anything I think you might just love, I hope to see you here or there anon.
I’m rushing but before I go, here is a very quick pickle recipe, that if you don’t already know, you might just love? It is celeriac season in Sydney, they are coming in as large as your head. You can cook them in many ways and they are divine but you might try this, peel them carefully (then make a cut, to create a flat area to sit it on its side, so it can’t roll) slice in thin roundish disks, sprinkle with sea salt, a little lemon zest and some pepper, rub those in and leave to sit an hour or a few, use these now flexible, crispy disks, as a wrap or as a platform or vehicle to transport a delicious topping or two.
Everyday fermentation, easy sourdough classes February 28 & a cultured dinner, in Newcastle February 26Posted: February 18, 2016
FEBRUARY 28TH HOSTED BY REAL FOOD PROJECTS
EVERYDAY FERMENTATION, INFORMATION AND BOOKINGS CLICK HERE
EASY SOURDOUGH, INFORMATION AND BOOKINGS CLICK HERE
The new year has consumed me and my focus is on writing and research, for the book I have been longing to write. This project is well underway now and my love and fascination for all things a bubble continues to grow. My friend and oh so competent creator of all good projects, Kate Walsh of Real Food Projects is hosting a range of fabulous classes, two of which I will be teaching, follow the links above. I hope to see you there and pass along what I know; to make these wonderful foods and easy option for you, everyday
Centre top row and second row lefthand images above ©SamanthaMackie other ©HollyDavis
FEBRUARY 26TH I AM CO HOSTING A LOCAL SEASONAL DINNER, SHOWCASING CULTURED FOODS AND DRINKS WITH IMBIBE WATER KEFIR AND ESTABAR
AT ESTABAR IN NEWCASTLE
FOR MORE DETAILS AND TO BOOK CALL BEC 0412 130 120 or POP INTO ESTABAR
Bec Bowie, who runs Newcastle’s charming and delectable cafe Estabar, Felicity Evans, creator of Imbibe Water Kefir range and I, have hatched a plan for a night of feasting and learning about things that taste delicious and go pop! My menu plays host to a range of delightful ferment as small accents in the meal. We will be sourcing local in season produce for the night and will be able to tell you where your dinner was grown. Felicity has chosen several of her delicious water kefir flavours, to compliment the meal and demonstrate their rightful place for regular sipping, beside the sea, in Newcastle. It promises to be a fun evening. Chat to Bec to reserve your spot, her number is above.
Evening classes on 10th and 11th are fully booked but there are places for all the rest
Author, wholefood educator, wise woman and dear friend Jude Blereau, of Wholefood Cooking and I share a long wholefood history in Australia. Jude lives and works in Perth WA and whilst, I am often in Perth to teach public classes and The Chefs Training program we run there, Jude is rarely available to come to teach in Sydney. I am thrilled to say though, that in early November we are joining forces here. We are offering a range of delicious, informative, wholesome wholefood classes and what we intend to be, an empowering seminar; to assist you in creating your every day wholefood home. We will be teaching all these ‘know how’ classes and the seminar together. While Jude offers the more nitty gritty details and nutritional science, I aim to connect you with your ‘I can do that’ intuition. We cross over in most areas but have differing passions in the kitchen. Whilst we can both answer your questions, you might go to Jude for all questions sweet and how to cater for intolerances and come to me, with your questions about lacto fermentation, sourdough, meat and fish queries.
Our aim in this program is to share with you our combined experience and nourishing wisdoms, gained over our thirty years pioneering the wholefood industry in Australia. We would like you to leave these events inspired with information and practical tools that will enable you to carve a clear and achievable wholefood path, amidst the current plethora of confusing food and dietary information. Jude and I have walked different paths to arrive at a very similar place, which, we hope gives you the opportunity to get a broader perspective on the topics we have chosen.
We share a vision, to effect change in how we as a society grow, produce, prepare and eat food. As part of this vision we run the Whole and Natural Foods Chef Training Program, a 3 month in depth program that covers, the fundamentals of nourishment, healthy and wholesome eating; including how we grow food and prepare it. The next program will be August 2016. For further details or a prospectus for this exciting program click here.
Last year was extremely full. The images in this post depict happy moments, spent here in Australia, in the UK, on my first trip to Italy and a speedy visit to Chicago. Above see, ‘Campo Di Fiori’, one of Rome’s fabulous markets which offered an abundance of screamingly fresh produce such as these zucchini flowers, while the real ‘fresh food people’ called loudly; with well earned pride. The Italian Muma on view is in fact me, shot by my sister whilst wandering cobbled paths on a medieval hillside village in Tuscany. The eggs were gathered in Ilford NSW on easter Sunday and the Western Australian sardines express the full force of their proximate sacrifice.
I spent spring and summer in the UK and was very fortunate to attend a short course ‘Exploring the Microcosmos’ at Schumacher College; part of The Dartington Hall Estate in the Transition Town of Totnes in Devon. The course was led by ecologists and scientists Dr’s Stephen Harding and Phillip Frances with Eva Bakkeslett and Sandor Katz providing the artistic and practical components of the week exploring all aspects of fermentation. After over 30 years of my own exploration of lacto fermentation, I deepened my love and understanding of beneficial bacterium and was invigorated by the many collaborations. Eva utilises fermentation through her art works and installations and encouraged us all to do the same. I ‘painted’ using an alive sourdough starter! Schumacher college is unlike anywhere I have been, it runs as a cooperative with everyone contributing to all facets of the colleges day to day running. After a few simple rituals and a thorough induction, I found myself a part of a very beautiful and harmonious whole. Everything got done, fun was had, friends were made and I felt reluctant to leave. The kitchen produces fabulous vegetarian meals to look forward to and recreate. We ere formed into small teams, with names reflecting the course topic, this was charming and very amusing when the team ‘E coli’ was put in charge of the clean up! After attending a short course, anyone is eligible to apply as a longer term volunteer; something I would leap at on my next trip to the UK. There were 1000 origami birds hanging in the great hall where everyone on campus gathers each morning, these were an installation as part of someones thesis. Some of us took the opportunity to go to one of the very few remaining authentic cider houses, where you will not find beer. “Ye Old Cider House” is in Newton Abbott in South Devon and well worth travelling to; to sample a wide range of naturally fermented ciders and fortified wines. This was somewhat of a highlight and though I drank in sips alone, my voice was raised and my legs were as jelly upon leaving.
Jude Blereau’s Whole and Natural Foods Chefs Training Program runs yearly in Perth WA. Details and applications for 2015 are available through Jude’s site, in the link above. This is a selection of images taken during our visit to Balingup last year; where we take students to meet biodynamic and organic producers on working farms. We are hosted by Katrina Lane from Taste of Balingup. The 2014 students were incredibly fortunate to participate in an event Katrina organised with Simon Bryant and Sam Ward. Both chefs generously imparted their expertise and provided extraordinary feedback to and about these women.
I continue to teach the lacto fermentation, sourdough baking, meat, fish and poultry sections of the program. I am extremely grateful to Jude for the continued opportunity to work with her in co creating a program to inspire and educate the next generation of wholefood chefs and related entrepreneurs.
The 2014 cohort were a very special group of women, committed, cohesive and hungry for everything they could learn, they will go far, look out for them. An internship is part of the WNFCTP, Buena Vista Farm in the Southern Highlands took another of our students, one is soon to spend four weeks at Matt Wilkinson’s restaurant ‘Pope Joan’ in Melbourne and a student who came to the course a primary school teacher, after her internship, is employed at The Mary Street Bakery in Highgate Perth, learning the art of commercial sourdough baking.
I will be back in Perth and in Balingup next month and I return to Mondo Organics in Brisbane, to teach two weekend workshops in May. You will find the details and booking information on my class program here.
If you or someone you know, is interested in hosting a wholefood cooking class or course at home, please check the information here
Begins Tuesday 10th February in fabulous location over Palm Beach NSW
Details about this course can be found on my classes page here be quick if you are keen.
Newsletter and new blog post coming soon….
I am about to head off to Perth, where I will be rejoining Jude Blereau and Jean Martinez for this years Whole and Natural Foods Chefs Training Program (WNFCTP) hosted by Jude and her company Wholefood Cooking. Whilst I am there, I will also be teaching a variety of Wholefood Cooking Classes beginning with a three day course Wholefoods Everyday of Your Busy Life, this course provides a solid foundation for living a wholefood life this Spring and Summer in Perth. The image above ©Sam Mackie, is a sprouted walnut and citrus rye berry salad, which featured as part of a long table lunch in Sydney, it may well make a reappearance in Perth, using Peach and Co’s wonderful sprouted grains. There are places in several of my classes, if you or someone you know in Perth might be interested, please direct them here to download a pdf of the full class program, there are also a few public events where our WNFCTP students showcase their skills and provide you a delicious wholefood breakfast or dinner.
I write recipes and information for LJHookers sustainability web site Liveability.com.au this month and for the next few posts there are recipes and information about Wholefood Condiments, starting with the basics of Culturing vegetables at home. If your not yet a home fermenter, I suspect, when you see how simple it is, you soon will be? The satisfying flavour of garlic chive with the crisp crunch of lacto fermented celery and beets, seen above, is enough to warrant learning more. Happy reading, making, eating. I’d love to hear how you go and what combinations you come up with…?
I have been back in Australia for three weeks and everywhere I go I see the rising interest in all things fermented. ‘Bacteria’ is ceasing to be a dirty word. I have been asked to write several pieces on the topic and an article I called ‘Boiling not Spoiling’ (Ferment means to boil) has just been published in the first issue of the magazine ‘Plenty, Biodynamic Living in Australia, from land to table. You could find that in retail outlets around the country, it is an enjoyable and informative read. Plenty is an initiative of Biodynamic Agriculture Australia (BAA), compiled by Editor Rachel Grisewood. I am delighted to contribute to a magazine designed to educate and demystify Biodynamics. It is heartening to see that a subject I have been discussing since 1972 and which has caused many to, perhaps, regard me as a little odd has now come to prominence.
Businesses and being built on the back of this new found ancient practice and restaurants everywhere are embracing ferments in their many and varied, scrumptious forms. I am having many discussions about whether this is a passing fad. I suspect the frenzy will slow but I truly hope that people embrace these foods for the benefits they can bring to the plethora of people suffering from compromised digestive health and immunity. They are not hard to make and it is great fun to see an ingredient transformed by the action of invisible bacteria and yeasts; better yet to better understand how to make and live with a range of cultured foods, so you can eat and drink a little with every meal; remembering that, more of a good thing is not always better! Little and often is best.
I am teaching another “Capturing Cultures” workshop, at the wonderful The Lost and Found Department on August 16th, there are a few places if you or someone you know would like to join us. Silvia Noble and her husband Peter have an extraordinary farmlet at Ingleside where they are tending bees, growing and making food and running a diverse range of fascinating workshops. Silvia also runs a great market stall at the Warriewood Farmers Market, on Fridays. The workshop runs 10.30-3.30 and provides what you will need to go home and start safely producing delicious fermented food and drinks. We also eat a delicious feast of ferments and more at the long table. Check out the details and book here
I return to Perth in late September to teach units of Jude Blereau’s in depth Whole and Natural Chefs Training Program (WNCTP). Whilst there I will also teach a range of public classes. The following link will take you to a PDF with details of all those classes and public events associated with the WNCTP, this includes booking information too. Download this Perth Class Program here
If you think you would like to come to one of these Perth classes or events book as soon as possible as they fill really fast. Thanks for your keen interest and continued bookings Perth siders.
Choosing fish by price, likely means, choosing what is plentiful, local and a more sustainable option. This makes delicious, nutritious eating, guilt free.
It is getting harder and harder to feel good about eating much at all and fish eating is rife with concerns. Here are a few simple guides for choosing the freshest fish, to feel happy about eating. When it comes to wholefoods, one of the most oft heard comments I hear is, ‘it costs so much more to eat well’ well it can and perhaps it ought but that is a topic for another day. I made eating well a priority so long ago that it is now second nature for me to buy produce at prices way over the norm. I don’t do so to show off, I do so to put my money where my mouth is and prioritise, for the sake of our future, believing that animal husbandry, ocean management and soil care are vital issues. I pay more for just about everything but not for fish. When I shop for fish I look for the freshest, locally, wild caught and cheapest options. Small fish are generally plentiful, lower on the food chain and as a result carry less toxic load. Small oily fish like these Yellow Tail, Anchovies, Sardines Mackerel and more offer greater amounts of beneficial omega 3 oils, they are quick cooking, suited cooking with stronger flavours and are absolutely delicious. For one of my favourite ways to cook these species, see my recipe on Liveability.com.au you will find a new recipe of mine here each month and so much more about living a more sustainable life at home. My most recent Autumn recipe is also well worth a look, especially if you wonder how to cook Golden nugget pumpkins with millet and chestnuts for optimum deliciousness. To find more recipes follow the link on the home page click the Guide, Recipes,DIY tab. Cecille’s blog is an eclectic offering, she describes liveability this way, ‘It’s when health, efficiency, comfort and connection to community come together to create a more liveable home.’
I am in England, bound for Devon, the River Cottage Spring Food Fair and a Week ‘Exploring the Microcosmos- New Paradigms from Microbial Communities’ at Schumacher College
This weekend is The River Cottage Food fair and Sandor Katz is presenting before he spends next week teaching with fellow fermentation revivalist and artist Eva Bakkeslett, ecologist and scientist Phillip Frans and Steven Harding. Exploring the microcosmos takes place at Scumacher College in the Transition town of Totnes. Above is a photo of Sandor in Brisbane holding my Mango young country wine, a heady brew, unlike my usual range of lacto ferments. He was on the Milkwood Permaculture Sandor Katz Australian Tour, earlier this year. I was fortunate to make many of the samples required for the Sydney leg. The tour was a resounding success and provided a massive injection of fermentation revival for Australia’s East coast.
By my great good fortune and rather a lot of cooking I find myself back in the UK and off to attend these exciting events. It is springtime and rather beautiful here. The sun and rain combine to make green unlike anything we see in Sydney. Returning to the land I grew up in for the first time since my mothers death last year, is bitter sweet and heart opening. Again I experience the nostalgia of youth and the longing for the place I have come to know as home. I expect any dual citizen will relate. It is delightful to be back and working for the wonderful folk who took me in last year. I have completed another course of evening classes in Notting Hill, I have returned to work with Elisabeth who has happily transformed from her unwell state to radiance. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing what love, friendship and dedication to holistic healing, can do to the state of a human being in crisis. I am returned too, to the most exquisite home in Chelsea where I am cooking twice a week.
I will be catering and teaching in the UK in July. July 9th I will be teaching a ‘Capturing Cultures’ hands on class at Rochelle Canteen in Arnold Circus E2. This is an excellent place to eat delicious unfussy food made from the best Britain has to offer. Margo Henderson and Mel Arnold Arnold and Henderson catering company too. If you are in need of an exciting event catered, these are your folk. I predict this to be an extremely fun evening with a delicious supper to follow the chopping and jarring of Kim Chi.
I have just a few dates available if anyone you know might like them for a class, catering or an in house chef? My UK contact number is 07437348900 This was me catering Lizzie and Marks divine wedding in February on Pittwater. 18kilos of prime Glenburnie Black Angus, free range, grass fed and grass finished beef, supplied by Grant and Laura of Feather and Bone, purveyors of truly sustainable meat. It was a pleasure to cook and by the comments and guests returning for third, a pleasure to eat too! I roasted it at 70˚C for 7 hours and here I am finishing it off on the air conditioned barbecue.
I will return to Sydney to teach sweet and savoury sourdough baking classes at The Lost and Found Department July 26 & 27 and Brisbane at Mondo Organics August 2nd & 3rd.
A bright and cosy Autumn/Winter to you in Aus, from a damp, windy, rainy, sunny, or whatever the day brings UK Spring/Summer
LOVE and JOY, both beautifully expressed here.
This is my beautiful goddaughter Tess Angophora Cullity with her new husband Lucas Maddock demonstrating love and joy. Tess’s aunt Dolly baked the most sublime fruit cake and I did it justice by making real vanilla marzipan and golden butter icing. My daughter India made the marzipan couple and we added the blooms together. This was a cake that got eaten and despite the glorious alternative offerings, many returned for more
Tess and Lucas brought their large families and friends together in the Grampian mountains, for a week of celebrations. Words escape me in describing the beauty and depth of honouring of this event. Tess’s relations include two of Sydney’s finest caterers and many fabulous foodies. Together we spent the week eating and drinking marvellously and catering a feast for 150 guests. This was a feast which will be recalled and discussed for decades to come. Joy was alive and well, this event powerfully demonstrated the value of ‘pulling out all the stops’ and going beyond the ordinary.
Apart from icing the cake I was given the supreme honour of marrying Tess and Lucas in sight of their most beloved community; I am not a celebrant, the legals were performed prior. The service was held on a bush property, between large pear trees which rained confetti petals upon us, as we spoke. It was a profound experience I will treasure a lifetime. I am catering another wedding in February in Avalon; I am currently enjoying dreaming up an equally exciting menu for 70. I am so grateful to do the work I do. Thanks to all who value that work and support me in my life’s purpose, to feed people love.
I am available to cater from early January in Sydney and in Northern NSW; which, as soon as I find one, I shall be calling ‘home’. I will continue to teach and cater in Sydney and other places around Australia. I will be back in the UK to spend time with my talented sister Jo, for work and a European Spring.
Christmas in Australia means cherry season and cherries mean pie and munching fresh, in champagne with a little mango, for drying, juice that stains, making my sourdough Christmas cake and lots and lots of sunshine. I save my cherry eating until just before the celebrations, this increases my delight in them and gets me in the mood. These beauties were purchased last week, presented in dear newspaper baskets at the Mullumbimby farmers market, I love this market, soon to be my local!
I have become a partner of this fantastic resource for living a more sustainable life at home, www.liveability.com has been founded by the LJ Hooker Sustainability team, headed by the visionary Cecille Weldon. Liveability is focused on providing the highest level of information on sustainability. Go to the red Do it yourself tab and recipes to see some more of these cherries and the Christmas cherry cacao truffles I served them with. It’s a fun site with masses of small, doable, practical solutions you can implement now. My ideas for stocking or freshening up your pantry for the season are on the site too and more to come soon.
Keep an eye out for these folk, you might find them anywhere in Australia, New Zealand or Canada, perhaps establishing a cutting edge wholefood cafe or restaurant, food writing or barracking politicians about food policy and regulations, biodynamic or organic farming, consulting on nutrition and anywhere else in the Wellbeing industry.
Above are 8 of the 13 graduates of Jude Blereau’s Natural Chefs Training Program. The photo was taken at Jeff Pow’s beautiful property Southampton Homestead near Balingup in Western Australia; during the week we spent there teaching public classes and meeting producers. Jeff is reinventing and rebuilding his biodynamic farm, after a devastating fire early this year. Western Australians can purchase his beautiful multicoloured eggs (each box comes with one of the layers feathers) at Taste of Balingup and other suppliers of local sustainable produce. His ducks should come on line in 2014.
I spent October and November teaching public classes and the sourdough baking, lacto fermentation, poultry, meat and fish units of the Natural Chefs Training Program, which is held at Don Hancey’s fabulously professional Paramount Catering Kitchen, in Perth.
I will be back in Perth from early September 2014 to continue this work. You can find out more and apply for the Natural Chefs Training 2014 prospectus here. This is an exceptionally good course, not for the squeamish or of faint heart. I am thrilled and honoured to know I am part of a program, which is developing people with a deep grounded and rounded understanding of whole foods and the wholefood industry. You will find many images of the food the students learned to make and many more; on my instagram account wholefoodee
I have a few Workshops and Classes planned for February, March and April, more to be announced soon.
For now you might like to join me and Real Food Projects at Vaucluse House on February 23rd. I will be taking a small group through a 2.5 hour, hands on class of Capturing Cultures, the colonial way, click here for more information and to book. This class includes lunch and tours of the Kitchen and Kitchen garden.
For an all day, more in-depth exploration of Capturing Cultures, including dairy curds and whey and lacto fermented vegetables and fruits join me at The Lost + Found Department on the Northern Beaches March 1st
There will be two classes, with a delicious lunch at the exquisite long table in the tented barn in-between . For more information and to book please click here
When I co founded Iku Wholefood with Willem Venter in 1985, it was to demonstrate how the use of traditional wholefood ingredients could result in inspiring and delicious meals, free from the usual reliance on nightshades, dairy foods and animal products. 28 years later with a whole lot of very hard work done by current owner Ken Israel and his staff, there are 15 Iku’s in Sydney and it is still a place to find excellent food.
When Iku began our innovative creations attracted people from far and wide. Much of my inspiration came from the months I spent studying Macrobiotic cooking and teaching English in Japan. During the past year I spent 10 months in London and my love of Japanese whole food ingredients was reinvigorated. I have created a new class to show people how many traditional Japanese ingredients can be put to use with ease and fabulous results. My cooking now includes the use of fish and other animal products and this class will include these, dairy is not a tradition Japanese food and as such will not be included. Products will be sourced through suppliers such as Spiral Foods whose integrity and monitoring I have trusted for 30 years. I ran a 3 hour class in Perth and recognised this topic requires a more in depth format. I am delighted to be offering Everyday Japanese Wholefoods this as a 6 hour workshop with lunch at the long table included, this workshop will be held at The Lost + Found Department, on March 2nd for more information and to book click here.
I have just arranged to teach at the beautiful Mondo Organics Cooking School in Brisbane. I shall be teaching a two day workshop on Lacto fermentation and Sourdough baking, click here to go direct to booking, via Mondo Organics. It seems these are incredibly popular classes. After more than 40 years of capturing cultures it seems the time is now, for sharing. Please let any Brisbane folk, you think might enjoy this weekend know. Many thanks for your continued enthusiasm and support.
If I do not see you at one of these events I do hope I will soon.
My warmest wishes for the festive season when giving to others is perhaps the greatest gift to ourselves.