comfort food

you put turmeric in your porridge?

Oat Porridge with Turmeric, Coconut Oil & Bee Pollen

Is is just too weird to have porridge with turmeric? And coconut oil? Gawd, it’s sounding like a curried breakfast, but honestly this is good stuff. We all know how fabulous turmeric is. I love it. Juicing it, grating into sandwiches and salads and yes, adding it to curries, but a couple of weeks ago when I was in Sydney, was the first time I’ve ever thought of putting it into porridge. The beautiful little organic cafe that was our Surry Hills local, when we were local, had porridge with fresh ginger on offer, so I ordered that with almond milk and cinnamon and while I waited for it to come, I patted people’s dogs and thought of all the other things I could pack into porridge. Wondering if turmeric would work, I added coconut oil too. Sometimes brains work like that right? Tenuous about one decision you go the whole hog and find yourself throwing way more than just turmeric in there. So here’s the porridge, with turmeric, coconut oil, bee pollen and 60 year old honey. I might do ginger next time too.

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Oat Porridge with Turmeric, Coconut Oil & Bee Pollen

1 cup organic rolled oats (or quinoa flakes for a GF version)

1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

1/2 tbsp organic turmeric powder

1 tbsp organic bee pollen

1 heaped tbsp virgin coconut oil

2 cups milk of your choice

organic raw honey, to taste

 

Put the oats, milk and salt into a small saucepan and cook until oats are tender. You may need to add extra milk or water depending on the kind of oats you have.

When the oats are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add the turmeric and coconut oil. Stir through and serve into bowls sprinkled with bee pollen and drizzled with honey. I always add extra cold milk to mine so I can eat it faster. Goldilocks syndrome.

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rave synchronicity

Fig & Wild Almond Clafoutis

We had a meeting for The Breakfast Rave this week. Well, there’s something a little askew about calling what we do a ‘meeting’. A meeting would suggest minute taking and schedules. There’s none of that. There’s eating amazing food together and coming up with as many ideas to make the next Rave just that little bit cooler than the last.

We all bring a plate to each meeting. I’m not sure if that was ever a written rule or something unspoken that just came along as part of the Rave when it found us, but it’s a really good thing. None of us ever know what each other will turn up with and yet it always seems to have a theme. If we had to name it, it’d be synchronicity. For sure.

In keeping with that, I’d decided on a whim to go and wildcraft some almonds from the trees on the side of the road near us. They’re really old and gnarly. Some years there’s almonds, other years not so many. I was happy to pull up to trees laden with nuts. It’s a cute spot overlooking an old church, completely out in the middle of nowhere amongst vineyards and wheat paddocks. I love it.

A decent haul of almonds and some figs from a friend’s tree and clafoutis just about made itself. The coolest thing was, although I had everything ready to go to make an almond milk custard to go with it, I ran out of time before everyone arrived. Actually that wasn’t very cool at all, but, when everyone walked in, in walked a bowl of raw caramel too and the perfect team up to fig clafoutis happened. Just like that. Rave synchronicity. Again.

 

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Fig & Wild Almond Clafoutis

 

2/3 cup organic GF flour mix

1/4 cup organic wild almond meal (make your own if you can)

3 tbsp flaxseed meal in 9 tbsp water

1/2 cup fresh organic almond milk

1/2 cup organic coconut cream

1/2 cup organic panela

1/4 tsp cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

10-12 organic figs

2 tbsp raw organic coconut oil

lemon zest from 1 organic lemon

 

Pre heat oven to 180C.

Butter a glass or pyrex flan dish with coconut oil.

Mix together the flour, almond meal, panela and spices in one bowl. In another bowl mix the coconut milk, almond milk, melted coconut oil, soaked flaxseed and lemon zest.

Cut the figs in halves and put them in the flan dish. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet and pour the batter over the figs.

Cook for 35-40 minutes until caramelised around the edges and all puffed up.

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flavour punch

Eggplant & Yellow Tomato Curry

So much of what has arrived on our plates of late has been homegrown in friends’ gardens. I know I tend to bang on about this, but it’s such an incredibly precious thing to me. If you gave me your new puppy that you just picked up, it would be on a par with how I feel about being handed brown paper bags full of hand nurtured cucumbers and tomatoes. We’re talking serious appreciation. This week eggplants arrived across the trestle at the Farmer’s Market – from the side that we are supposed to give to, there’s been a lot of receiving going on this Summer. We all get to play shops and everyone’s happy. These eggplants were the lovely long type, perfect to cut through into chunks and know they would still melt down beautifully when cooked. Add the yellow tomatoes that were on the stall behind us at this week’s market and it had to be curry.

This is such a simple recipe, but man, it packs a flavour punch. As long as the produce is great to begin with. Broken record cliches of recipe writing I know, but it makes every difference. This curry had both Damien and I sitting in silence for a minute before we started eating, nothing planned or ritualistic, we were just stopped by the gratitude of beautiful people sharing incredible food.

I’m on a plane at the moment heading to Singapore to meet my brother for an awards dinner our restaurant has been nominated for. That’s a very cool thing. And I can’t wait to hang out with my big brother for a while. The reason I mention this though is because often when we have something delicious that we’ve cooked at home and it’s had that magical something about it, I’ll say “oh, I should do this at Eat Me”. The thing is without these eggplants and these tomatoes and this purple basil, it wouldn’t be a pinch on what landed on our table this week. That’s not to say we don’t get amazing produce in Thailand, we do. But there is something above and beyond about homegrown veggies. I guess that’s why so many restaurants are creating their own produce gardens. I guess that’s why I bang on about it so much. Right, might be time to turn the rooftop at Eat Me into a garden instead of a bar. Garden bar? Serving green smoothies instead of cocktails? And just picked eggplant and yellow tomato curry. Could be a thing.

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Eggplant & Yellow Tomato Curry

serves 4

 

4-5 small organic eggplant, cut into 2 cm rounds

2 tbsp organic coconut oil

1 tsp organic turmeric, freshly grated

4 cloves

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

6 black peppercorns

2.5cm piece organic ginger, freshly grated

1/2 tsp paprika

handful of organic purple basil leaves, or fresh coriander

3 organic yellow tomatoes, and some baby toms too, roughly chopped

1 tsp Himalayan salt

juice of 1 organic lemon

 

Dry roast the cumin, coriander seeds, cloves and peppercorns in a pan until they start dancing. Remove and grind using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

Heat the coconut oil in a medium size saucepan and add the eggplant, tomatoes, ginger, turmeric and spices. Bring to the boil and then simmer, covered, until tender. This is somewhere round 15 minutes. You might need to add a bit of water to stop it sticking. When everything is cooked, remove from heat, season to taste and add the lemon juice and fresh purple basil. I added a few extra fresh tiny toms too

We ate ours with cucumber coconut raita and blackbean chapati while the sun went down. It was declared a good day.

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grape giving

Schiacciata

Shopping in supermarkets made me forget how precious food is for a while there. Growing our own food again was the best reminder. Planting something, caring for it, saving it from earwigs and rogue free range chickens, and finally harvesting it, put me firmly back into the loop of appreciating just what plants do for us. It seems a deal that’s pretty much skewed in our favour too; a little water, some horse poo and a place in the sun is exchanged for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Which brings me to the fact we’ve been eating grapes for three meals a day of late. This is the first year our vines have said ok, fair’s fair, you’ve loved us from our infancy across the last 5 years, and now here’s enough food to see you through Summer. It’s a beautiful thing. I feel like I’m in an advert for local tourism when I walk away from the row of vines with handfuls of grapes wrapped in the makeshift bucket of my t-shirt. The dialogue of thanks between me and the vine while I’m picking, is not something I can imagine getting away with in the fruit and veg section of a supermarket.

So, fresh grape juice and grapes in smoothies and bowls of fresh grapes make for easy breakfast options, then lunchtime salads of grapes and cashew cheese, walnuts and greens are a winner, but dinner can get a bit trickier. Enter schiacciata. Never has ‘squashed’ bread been so good.

We used a sneak of sourdough from our mix of baking for the Farmer’s Market for the base, but you can easily use any favourite pizza dough recipe, or even make things a bit gnarlier with some wholegrain additions. The thickness of the base can be anywhere from a focaccia size to a flat bread but because I cooked this in our sandwich grill and couldn’t get anything too thick in there, I went with more of a traditional pizza base thickness.

As a quick side note, a couple of very clever friends put the hemp food cover you can see over the dough, in my hands this week and I have to share the joy of no more plastic cling film. Hemp, beeswax, tree resin and organic cotton. Washable and reusable. How cool is that? Check out Abeego if you want more info. Ok, community service announcement over!

 

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Schiacciata

 

1 generous bunch organic red seedless grapes

fresh organic rosemary

Himalayan salt

Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Organic pizza dough

Extra flour for rolling

 

 

After you have made your base and let it go through its rising time, roll it out into 2 pizza bases on a floured board.

Place onto the grill, or onto a pizza stone if you are planning on cooking it in the oven, and press the grapes into the dough, along with the fresh rosemary sprigs.

Cook to your liking and serve seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil.

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peace, love & mung bean dhal

Baby Carrots & Mung Dhal with Coriander, Turmeric & Marigolds

There’s always something more to ponder and run through the ‘kindness test’ when it comes to food. I love that. The never ending joining of dots that helps you make your way to your own cooking style. I’m always up for an extra helping of information to add to whatever I’m eating and the latest little nugget has come in the form of ‘intent’, as in, cooking with it. We’ve all seen ‘Like Water For Chocolate’ – we know how our moods can effect what we’re cooking, but whether that’s because a ‘good’ mood has us at our most alert and we follow a series of steps with more discernment, and a ‘bad’ mood has us rushing through the process just to get it done, or it’s something entirely more ethereal than that, something we can’t really include on an ingredient list – I’m not sure. My inner hippy is shouting, “it’s LOVE!” Could be a name for it. Anyway I figured it’d be interesting to play with the idea further. When I remembered.

 

That’s part of this whole thing I think, remembering to remember to check what frame of mind you’re in, before the spoon hits the bottom of the pan, or your knife starts chopping veggies. I can imagine not everyone wants to be ‘present’ when they’re cooking because I guess not everyone loves doing it, but I found it was way easier to take note of my headspace if I started the process while I was wandering through the garden deciding what to pick. It was kind of started for me by the sheer gratitude I feel for just being able to have a garden. Growing your own food and enjoying cooking – another couple of dots joined?

 

Zen masters aside, not all of us are going to add grace to every dish we put on the table, but after reading about the concept and including this in our kitchen over the past 6 months or so, I think my inner hippy may be onto something. Maybe that amazing way-down-deep kind of nourishment isn’t just about what we can see going into the pot?

 

Alrighty then, the recipe…

 

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Baby Carrots & Mung Dhal with Coriander, Turmeric & Marigolds

 

10-12 organic baby carrots with tops

1 cup organic mung bean dhal

2 fresh organic bay leaves

3 organic cloves

2 cm piece organic fresh ginger

1 piece organic fresh turmeric root

1 big handful organic coriander leaves

1/4 cup organic hempseeds

1/4 cup organic lemon olive oil, ‘agrumato’

3-4 organic marigold flowers

sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

Cook the mung dhal in enough water to cover it completely. Add a slice of fresh ginger, the cloves and bay leaves while it simmers. It won’t take anywhere near as long as a lot of other pulses, so keep an eye on it to avoid it turning to mush. About 10 minutes should do it, or until it is just tender but still holding its shape.

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Remove from heat and then drain and remove the bay leaves, ginger and cloves. Salt to taste.

 

Cut the leafy tops off of the carrots and keep to put into the pesto. Cut the carrots in halves along their length and wash.

Heat a griddle pan and grill the carrots until tender but with a crisp centre. Salt to taste and drizzle with lemon olive oil.

 

To make the pesto, add the coriander leaves, carrot tops, fresh turmeric, fresh ginger and a good glug of lemon olive oil to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Salt to taste.

 

To assemble, spoon the mung dhal onto a plate, topped with the carrots and dobs of pesto, and sprinkle the plucked marigold petals and hempseeds over everything. Drizzle with extra lemon olive oil and season to taste.

NB. This pesto is good on almost everything from brown rice to tofu burgers, pasta and quinoa so don’t be afraid to make a big jar to keep in the fridge. The goodness of raw turmeric, ginger and coriander in every meal!

the first cauliflower

Cauliflower & Toasted Mustard Seed Soup with Macadamia Parmesan

The first cauliflower of the season arrived in our garden over the weekend. It was a little on the small side but was bound to continue shrinking if it was left to the fat green grub that was sharing it with us. Fair’s fair, he’d eaten the equivalent of a small acreage so it was our turn to make soup. Actually there were a hundred other things I imagined making with the cauliflower but the day seemed to finish before it began and soup was the only thought left. I don’t want to say it as though soup is in some way a secondary option but it’s not exactly rocket science. Either way, I love it, and as simple as it is, I’m always keen to find new ideas for blending things into a puree to dip sourdough into, so hoping the soup thing can still be helpful to other ‘meal in a bowl’ lovers. I’ve been adding macadamia parmesan to everything lately so it went on top with some rocket flowers and surprisingly the spice of the toasted mustard seeds didn’t seem out of context with the pseudo Italian theme the ‘cheese’ and rocket started. Fifteen minutes to a warm belly worked too. It has been crazy cold out here on our hill. Yep, soup and more soup. And then some watching of hungry caterpillars while you eat it. Dinner and a show. How low can lo-fi go you ask?

 

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Cauliflower & Toasted Mustard Seed Soup with Macadamia Parmesan

makes a big saucepan full

 

1 head of organic homegrown cauliflower, or similar

3 organic homegrown potatoes

1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds

1 litre organic veggie stock

2Tbsp organic coconut butter, or extra virgin olive oil

 

1/2 cup organic, raw macadamia nuts

1 Tbsp organic savoury yeast flakes

1 tsp sea salt flakes

 

fresh organic rocket flowers, if available

 

 

Roughly chop the cauliflower and potatoes and panfry for 4-5 minutes in the coconut butter until nicely browned around the edges.

Add the vegetable stock to cover and leave to simmer until the cauliflower and potato are cooked through. 

 

Toast the mustard seeds in a dry pan until they start to pop. Remove from heat and grind with a mortar and pestle into a powder. Add to the soup.

Puree the soup with a hand blender until smooth and creamy. Check seasoning and salt to taste.

 

To make the macadamia parmesan, simply blitz the nuts, yeast flakes and salt in a food processor until they pull together and resemble crumbs.

Serve the hot soup with a sprinkling of parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil and some rocket flowers if you have them.

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hoping for the best

Wood Roasted Purple Carrots with Fresh Borlotti Beans

We trialled some borlotti beans in the garden this year. Ha, listen to me, “trialled”. Like everything we plant in our veggie patch isn’t a ‘throw it to the wind and hope for the best’ kind of endeavour. Sometimes we end up with food on our plates and sometimes the runner ducks or earwigs get in first. That’s just the way things roll out here on the hill, and we’re good with that. But when we end up at the table with plates piled high from produce we have planted, tended, weeded, chatted to and finally picked, there’s always a special pause before we tuck in. A little space for the timeline that landed the seeds we planted in front of us, months on, in totally different outfits to how they went into the ground. Some kind of magic later and we’re eating bright pink beans and deep purple carrots.

How insanely beautiful is the borlotti? I haven’t really had much of a chance to get to know them in their fresh guise, more so from the can, and although they taste good either way, that stunning colour palette, both before they’re shelled and after, made me rethink this little bean. Why not make it the star of a dish rather than sending it to the corp? I’ll tell you why. Because that tricky little minx sheds its fabulous technicolour dreamcoat when it’s cooked. Oh well. Still tastes colourful.

And just in case, some gnarly purple carrots went in too. These guys wouldn’t win a beauty contest, but again, so delicious you could never hold it against them. Yummy winter fare that happily roasted away in our wood fired oven while we worked in the garden until the sun set, putting up tiny fences to keep our new clutch of chicks from eating the fennel before it even hints at being bulblike. We figure ‘hoping for the best’ works better with a bit of a barrier between what’s edible and what’s eating it.

 

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Wood Roasted Purple Carrots with Fresh Borlotti Beans

I did intend to add the purple beans from the photograph into this dish too but I ate them raw while I was cooking. It couldn’t be helped.

 

1 bunch organic heirloom purple carrots

300g organic borlotti beans

1 bunch organic marjoram

1 bunch organic lemon thyme

organic extra virgin olive oil

1 organic meyer lemon

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

 

polenta to serve

 

Wash the carrots really well. Really well. They are notorious for hiding grit in their purple skin so well worth being slightly obsessive about this step.

Cut them into bite sized chunks and put into an oven proof baking dish. Drizzle generously with olive oil and scatter stripped marjoram and lemon thyme leaves over the top. Season with sea salt and pepper and roast for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. It took longer in our woodfired oven but in a conventional oven it probably wouldn’t need much more than an hour.

 

If you can get fresh borlotti beans then you can add them to the roasting dish and drizzle with olive oil for the last 30 minutes of cooking time. If using canned then you’ll only need to heat them through so 15 minutes would be plenty. If using dried, soak and boil them, then add them for the last 15 minutes to make them a little nuttier.

 

When cooked, remove from oven and stir to bring some of the richly flavour oil from the bottom of the pan to coat the vegetables. Add extra fresh marjoram and lemon thyme, squeeze the juice of the meyer lemon over the top and serve with polenta. Hearty.

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happy campers

Chicken-less Noodle Soup

Campfires and soup just go together. And tea and campfires. And toasting sourdough over the coals. And then add in some of your favourite people in the world, a trusty swag and a lovely van called Scooby and you have a pretty good chance of an excellent camping experience. Should said company also happen to be brilliant photographers and masterful soup makers, you could all but claim an A team of guest bloggers joining you on your travels. Serendipity.

 

I saw these pics come through from our talented mates at Messagemark and Denis Smith Photography today and couldn’t help but pretty please them into sharing. Our weekend in the Flinders also proved the perfect excuse to share Damien’s ‘Chicken Noodle Soup Without The Chicken’, something I’ve been meaning to get to for an age. This is last meal territory for me, I love it. So all round a chance for me to fly the flag of thanks for clever people who just happen to be my favourite happy campers. What a yummy set of memories to add to the ever growing bank – thanks guys!

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Chicken Noodle Soup Without The Chicken

makes a generous pot full

 

500g organic udon noodles

1 organic red onion, chopped

4 organic carrots, grated

4 sticks organic celery with leaves, chopped

good handful of organic flat leaf parsley, chopped

200g organic firm tofu, cubed

2 litres organic vegetable stock

Murray River salt flakes

freshly ground black pepper

organic extra virgin olive oil

 

Heat a heavy based saucepan and brown the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the grated carrot and chopped celery and stir through, cooking for about 2 – 3 minutes before pouring in the stock. Once the stock has come to a boil, drop the noodles in and continue cooking until the noodles are al dente, about 10 – 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the cubed tofu and flat leaf parsley, check for seasoning and leave to sit for 5 minutes or so. Super easy camp cooking!

alligator gorge toasty hand caving

arrrggghh. busy!

Potato Bake with Fennel Seeds & Black Salt

Running a small business can seem really large sometimes!

Thank goodness for a garden stocked with potatoes, onions and fennel seeds, and Caroline Marie Dupont’s beautiful book ‘Enlightened Eating’. Life saving combination. And comfort food to boot… Potato bake gets healthy.

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Potato Bake with Fennel Seeds & Black Salt

completely inspired by Enlightened Eating

 

1 cup organic raw cashews

4 cups water

2 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes

1 medium organic onion

1 Tbs fennel seeds, lightly toasted

1 Tbs arrowroot powder

1 Tbs black salt flakes

1 organic bay leaf

5-6 large organic potatoes, sliced (I used red russet because that’s what I dug up!)

 

Pre heat oven to 180C.

 

Make the ‘white sauce’ by blending the cashews in a food processor until smooth. Add the water and blitz to mix. Then add the onion, fennel seeds and arrowroot, and blend one last time.

 

Pour the cashew mix into a saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon until it thickens. Remove from heat.

 

Spread a layer of sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish, then alternate the sliced potatoes and sauce until you fill the casserole, finishing with the cashew mix on top. Tuck the bay leaf under the top layer of sauce.

 

Sprinkle with black salt flakes (or any other salt you like) and a few extra fennel seeds, cover and bake for 35-40 minutes then remove the cover and continue to bake for another 30-40 minutes until golden brown and bubbling on top. The final cooking time will depend on what type of potato you use.

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favourite colour. edible green.

Lettuce, Tarragon & Chervil Soup

This time of year – when Summer is still holding hands with Autumn – is so, so lovely. The sun becomes golden rather than blazing and every night is a good night for sleeping. We had the most drenching rain here last week and today I noticed there was green peach fuzz all over the hills where the harshness of late Summer stood only a couple of days ago. It’s amazing how reassuring that first tinge of green can be, because I have to honest, in the midst of Summer’s heat there are times I can’t imagine anything growing, ever again, in the endless red dirt. But today, green.

 

I did the same thing the weather is doing but in a bowl over the weekend. That ‘neither hot enough for cold soup, nor cold enough for hot soup’ kind of thing. But definitely soup. The eternal diplomat. And finding the most beautifully fresh tarragon – really and truly French tarragon – at the Farmer’s Market only encouraged the plan. I’ve been making this lettuce and tarragon soup for what seems like ever. It changes each time I make it. That’s what soup is so good for huh?

 

I added fresh chervil this time and I think I’ll probably run with that as a new and improved future option. It sounds like a liquorice-y mouthful to have tarragon and chervil in the same bowl, and it is, but not too much so. That said, you probably need to really love tarragon and chervil to begin with for this soup to work its magic. I do. And it did. Yay for Autumn.

 

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Lettuce, Tarragon & Chervil Soup

 

1/2 large organic lettuce such as cos or iceberg (I used a mix of what the garden offered)

1 organic red onion

50 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 clove organic purple garlic

25g organic amaranth flour (or any plain unrefined flour)

750ml organic vegetable stock

20g organic tarragon

20g organic chervil

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

 

Roughly chop the lettuce, onion and garlic. 

Heat a heavy based large saucepan, add the olive oil and fry the onion for 3-4 minutes before adding the garlic and flour. Continue to stir for a minute and then gradually add the vegetable stock.

Bring to the boil and add the lettuce, tarragon and chervil. Simmer for about 15 minutes, and then using a hand blender, process until smooth. 

Season to taste and serve topped with fresh tarragon.

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