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.
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
Since I returned to Australia work has taken me hither and yon. I have reacquainted myself with the splendour of this land and given thanks for being at ‘home’. I so enjoyed teaching to full houses in Darwin and found my new collaboration with Bells at Killcare a total delight, thankfully it seems that so did all attendees. I return to Bells in November for a Summer Cleanse workshop, see details here and book with Bells here.
To those wanting the Capturing Cultures classes in Sydney my apologies for a very long wait. I am teaching a Capturing Cultures class at ‘Earth Food Store’ in Gould Street at Bondi Beach on Tuesday September 17th. Earth Food Store and Food By Holly Davis are offering this as, a payment by donation class, to make it accessible to anyone keen for the information. For details and booking click here. THIS CLASS IS NOW FULLY BOOKED
From October 9th to November 18th I shall be in Perth to teach a series of cooking classes, click here for details and bookings. I go to Perth to teach: Sourdough Baking, Lacto Fermentation, Meat Cookery, Duck and Poultry and Fish Cookery; these are all units of the Natural Chef Training Program run by Jude Blereau. Next year’s program is well worth consideration if you are a hungry would-be wholefood chef, cafe owner, restaurateur, writer, nutritionist and more.
Be very quick to book, these will go like hot kim chi! The interest in lacto fermented, probiotic, cultured foods is on the rise, come and help me spread the good bugs. They will be fun and informative evenings and you get a jar of culturing vegetables to take home. All for just $55!
I am teaching in Darwin June 29 and 30. Please spread the news but if you know her, please don’t share where my daughter India might seePosted: June 4, 2013
My baby, India, turns 20 in June. Having been parted for so long we are going bush together; to celebrate our reunion and her birthday, but where remains a surprise I hope, until June 13th. This is the best time of year to visit Darwin and a long hard winter in London finds me desperate for warmer climes. French canadian Carole Baillargeon worked at Iku in the early 90’s, she left to for Darwin and established ‘Darwin Yoga Space’. Carole is keen for me to teach a few classes while I am there and so the weekend of June 29 and 30 will be dedicated to that and India will be my beautiful young assistant (I am assuming!). If you have contacts you think might benefit from coming to these classes please pass on this link, all the information is there and bookings can be made through the Yoga School http://www.darwinyogaspace.com/#/holly-davis/4576878769 I am excited to be travelling north and in such good company, there will be tales to tell and we are likely to be keeping instagram busy whilst we are there. My Instagram page is – wholefoodee
Many months have passed since last I wrote a thing, words escaped me but now I am delightfully reunited with my home and my own bed, heaven but due to various commitments, I shall not be in it for long. This post will be brief, there is much to share after 11 months in London but I am not quite up to that yet. Life is altered and life has been very kind to me I met wonderful people, ate great food and was inspired to create several new dishes I will share with you in due course.
I am fresh off the plane and catering hundreds of samples of delicious wholefood nourishment for tomorrows presentation at the Food Is Medicine day of The MINDD Foundation International Forum and Conference. Friday has sold out but if you are coming do come and say hello.
I am then off to Noosa for three weeks where I will be in house chef to a delightful couple who have invited me back after a good experience a couple of years ago. I will nip home to see Jude Blereau’s latest book launched on June 1st and then June 2nd Jude and I and Dr Rosalba Courtney are hosting another seminar at Glenaeon Steiner School in Middle Cove. Apologies for the late notice, the details are below, there are places still and bookings can be made here on Jude’s site. I will be away again for a few weeks and have not yet planned my next programme of classes. I have had many requests for my capturing culture classes, sourdough baking workshops and winter wholefoods, let me know if there is a class you would like to see on the programme? I look forward to seeing you where I do. Many thanks to those that recommended me to your UK contacts I so appreciate that you did. I had a great time working there and had to tear myself away from my family, old and new friends. Still I am thrilled to be back where my daughter lives, in this great wide sunny land where the skies go on forever.