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
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.
Summer in Australia is bejewelled with cherries. Christmas cake, upcoming classes, Christmas catering and probiotic culturesPosted: November 5, 2011
Naturally leavened Christmas cake in the making, one for tomorrows class and one for the pantry.
If you are keen and very quick, there is a place in my Sourdough baking, including cake class tomorrow November 6th. The class is being held in a private home, an intimate event with only 6 participants and lots of time to get your baking questions answered. It runs from 11-4 at Coaster retreat, access is by ferry from Palm Beach wharf, give me a call if you are interested to join us. I ran this class while in Perth last and it was a massive success. Using a natural sourdough leaven and slow fermentation ensures that the delicious sweetness of organic fruit is supported by the most digestible organic flour. My Chistmas cake gets its light, moist texture and rich flavour from the addition of Coopers stout and a little unpasteurised white miso!
The November 9th class, Quick Spring Delights; wholefood meals in 20 minutes is full to bursting. Jude Blereau was just here in Sydney, lucky us, she coined this The Little Black Dress Class!– Due to the rush of interest Michele and I have opened a new date for this same class on Wednesday November 30th from 11am-3pm, cost $125. Michele’s Balmoral address is provided after booking. Places are already being snapped up so if your interested or know someone who might be, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience.
Christmas Catering I have already taken a few bookings for Catering jobs leading up to Christmas. You might like to consider having me cook you a range of delicious wholefood canastables for stocking your festive fridge. If you are planning events prior to December 20th or during January please be in touch soon, to assist me in planning and to avoid disappointment. Here are a few ideas for the sorts of things that keep well, which I could deliver to you to make your Christmas delicious and a little easier. Beluga lentil salad with assorted mushrooms, Gravlax King fish (a more sustainable and healthier option than farmed salmon), Organic Mushroom and chicken liver pate, Organic cucumber, ginger and mint salad, Star anise and ginger roasted organic pork neck for slicing cold, Mirin and vanilla poached organic summer fruits, Gin and orange pickled organic cherries-these are fantastic with cold meats or summer fish dishes, Cultured organic red cabbage pickles, Organic Kim chi pickles, and of course an organic Chrissy cake and so much more… The price for such home delivered treats? The food costs plus $70 an hour to shop, cook and depending on your location, to deliver.
I have Probiotic cultures and cultured vegetables for sale too, these are fabulous to have on hand to prepare your digestive system for the festive times ahead and to aid recovery afterwards. I have Kombucha, dairy kefir and water kefir SCOBy’s, to give away if you come to Palm Beach or for sale when posted to you. I charge $25 for one $35 for two or more; they come with instructions for maintaing them. I also make and sell a range of cultured vegetables which make a fabulous addition to many meals, these valuable foods help to reduce sugar cravings whilst also supplying vast amounts of beneficial bacteria, vitamins and live enzymes. Red cabbage, lemon and ginger is a favourite of mine. I will post the basic recipe for making your own soon. Many people who have not been to a Capturing Cultures Class, and actually also many who have, prefer to buy these pickles; rather than make their own. The cost when collected is $25 per 750 mls glass jar or $40 per 2 litre glass jar. It isn’t difficult to make these pickles but many folk fear the B word!
Lightness of being and stunning light itself makes Spring into Summer a glorious time. Enjoy every moment…
I am moving slowly and it seems that Easter came and went too quickly and so these beautiful eggs hang before me still, to be enjoyed a few more days. I spent lots of easter cooking, not a great surprise to any who know me. I spent time cooking for us and for friends and did a wonderful catering job that challenged my ‘real’ foodiness. The menu included four dozen freshly shucked Pacific oysters, three Eastern rock lobsters; hand picked on Saturday and killed on Sunday, and three rock cod that were speared at Palm Beach in the morning and brought to me to kill. By days end I was done with death and chose to use the experience to take note of and value the life I am surrounded by. Once dispatched the lobsters were halved and cleaned the meat loosened from the tails and tarragon butter poured beneath them before they were placed to grill on the barbeque and served in the shell, there were plenty of happy noises and not a morsel to discard later and so, I think they were appreciated and did not die in vain. At home the fare was simpler cooked at low temperature for longer, which suits this season and the produce on hand.
This slow cooked Potti Morran pumpkin made a memorable and delicious meal. I stuffed it with lamb mince I cooked with quinoa and pomegranate molasses. Antonio, who features in my last post inspired the filling and he and Camilla grew the pumpkin. Look out for small dense fleshed pumpkins to fill with whatever delicious thing you can think of. I have made them with a filling similar to the Millet recipes from a previous post and mushrooms are seasonal and go wonderfully with pumpkin. It works best to rub the outside of the pumpkin with a little duck fat or ghee, cut the base so it will sit flat on a baking tray, cut off a lid and remove all the seeds. Spoon in a fairly wet, pre-cooked meat, vegetable or grain based filling, replace the lid and pour a little stock or water into the baking tray, cover loosely with foil and bake at 140C for an hour or two, depending on size. Remove the foil and continue to bake until a small sharp knife passes easily through the flesh at its thickest point. Rest a few minutes, transfer to a platter remove the lid and sprinkle with freshly shucked pomegranate and lots of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley. This is a truly Autumn offering that will help keep out the chill. Then there is the Coq au Vin recipe I promised you…
I turned Camilla’s gift of one of her much loved cockerels into my version of a Coq au Vin. The secret to delectability here is lots of good organic red wine and thyme and time and looong low slow cooking. A free ranged cockerel whose time has come, is quite a different beast to the young chooks we are used to buying. The meat is stringy and much drier and so the wine provides more than its delicious flavour, it helps to soften the sinews and ensures it does not dry out, adding lots of eshallots and sweet root vegetables also adds great texture and flavour and the addition of a litre or two of gelatinous stock ensures fabulous, easily digested nutrition. You may wonder, why eat a stringy older bird, when sweet juicy hens abound, its all about the amazing flavour and fabulous texture and making the most out of a life well lived scratching in the dirt. Since you may not have a cockerel to use, you can make this with a regular chook, reduce the cooking time to an hour and a half but none the less, keep it low and slow and serve some fresh raw fermented foods and a lightly simmered side dish to ensure there are plenty of live enzymes to aid digestion of the fats and proteins in the dish.
I’ll post a recipe for this dish…soon, in the meantime I am off to spend four days with 11 women at Seal Rocks. There will no doubt be tails to tell.
The photo’s above were taken by my much loved friend Cloudy Rhodes. Cloudy is a well recognised surfing talent and an up and coming young photographer. Clouds has a delicate yet quirky eye and many of her photos express a painterly sensibility I love. Watch her space at http://cloudyrhodes.tumblr.com We spent a lovely day shooting a range of dishes; the results will be available soon.
Oh and who is coming to class? I have a fabulous sourdough baking class coming up May 22nd in Bondi, see Bondi Programme tab to the right here. Please tell whoever you feel might like to know how to make and active leaven so that this ‘No Knead Fruit loaf’ is at their fingertips and so much more besides, naturally leavened cakes and pastry to eat with divine cultured cream and ….
Perfectly cooked fish is complimented by crisply fried kombu shreds. Cooking fish is easy when you let it dictate its needs. The fish let me know that 17 minutes was all they required and the result was delightfully juicy morsels flaked from the bones. A fish kettle is a fine investment and mine has never let me down.