Tuesday, June 18, 2013
A few weeks ago I went out for lunch at Jamie's new restaurant in the city with a few of my friends. We'd been talking about doing it since it opened a few months ago, but trying to get a table booked any earlier than November made us think that maybe it wasn't going to happen anytime soon (I'd also heard about the 2-3 hour wait to get a table if you didn't book). On a whim we decided to risk it one extremely cold and rainy mid-week day, and to our surprise got in straight away!
The place is as awesome as I thought it would be, with signature 'Jamie-isms' everywhere you look. From the huge pasta machines that greet you at the door, to the little bread stations dotted throughout the place where (very attentive) waiters cut fresh bread for every table to nibble on as you ponder over the menu. We ordered a vegetable 'plank' to start and pretty soon after, our waiter arrived with a couple of old tins of whole-peeled tomatoes. What? A little bit later we realised what they were for as the plank was placed resting between the tins, giving us all easy access to the goodies that graced the top of the plank.
Eating out for someone like me is never overly easy. Being vegetarian is no worries. Gone are the days when bean nachos are the only thing on offer for us. Gluten-free and dairy-free? Well, we're getting there. But combine all three and things get a little trickier. For me something has to give at times like this. I'm not going to start eating meat just because I'm eating out and the side-effects of eating gluten for me is just not worth it. But with dairy, thankfully I can eat a little bit of that on occasion without too much drama. So I ate the best (truffle) risotto of my life (no joke) and finished it off with an incredibly rich chocolate pot smeared with whipped cream. All amazing yes, but it was an unassuming little root vegetable salad from the plank that I couldn't stop thinking about well after we'd left to return home, and for the weeks since.
Labels:beetroot,carrot,celeriac,chilli,coleslaw,gluten-free,lactose-free,lemon,mint,vegan,vegetarian,winter | 18 comments
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Growing up, we lived in a house on the hill overlooking the little sleepy town of Raglan, NZ. In winter there were days when the fog barely lifted it's thick blanket and our house remained shaded by the huge pine trees growing at the top of the hill. On those days the ice was set so thick on the windscreen of our old Toyota ute that mum would have to come out with a jug full of water to pour over as we sat in there waiting, all ready to go to school.
If we were lucky coming home in the afternoon we'd be greeted by the smell of food wafting out the door and along the path. Often it was freshly cooked pikelets that us kids then smeared with butter and drizzled with golden syrup or sometimes it was a bowlful of mamas vegetable soup, that had no doubt been bubbling away on the stove since lunchtime.
For dinner during the cooler months we'd feast on lentil spaghetti, mushroom stew and kumara + carrot loaf and ever so occasionally mum would go the whole-hog and make one of her killer crumbles to top it all off for dessert. It is all of these things that I think back to when I feel like eating some good old comfort food and while it is true nowadays more often than not I'll make a curry to warm myself up on a cool winters day, it will always be the food of my youth and the memories they bring, that conveys comfort to me more than anything else.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
So, the book is done.
After many months of cooking all day and editing/writing until the wee hours, I can finally say it's all done. It's funny, before I started I was under no illusion as to how much work it would involve, for most cookbooks there is a whole team of people pulling it together, the author, the photographer, the stylist etc, but with mine I was all three (I vividly remember reading Aran's words when she had finished her manuscript and her saying how there were times when she had been so stressed and busy she could barely breath). But I would never have known how full on it would be, mentally. Writing a blog post is easy, I just write. If people like it- they do, if they don't- it doesn't bother me, after all I'm not forcing anyone to read and people can always just move on if they don't like what I do, no biggy. But with a physical book, it's different or as Heidi so perfectly described "It's just an entirely different world of expectations, with all hopes tied into a single grand gesture". Naturally I wanted everything to be perfect, I am a Virgo after all. Not only do I want people to love my recipes as much as I do, but I also want them to work and my photos to shine, enticing people to want to cook. Heck, I spent so many nights stressing out about the photos, knowing exactly how I wanted them to look but just not quite knowing how to achieve it, ya know? (I had never edited photos pre-book deal, so it's been a steep learning curve let me tell you!). But now that it's all done I can say I've done the best that I can do, yes there will always be things that I will look back on and think I could have done better, but overall I'm super proud of what I have achieved and I just hope you all love it as much as I do.
As my mind played tricks on me telling me what I was doing was not good enough it was the words of Heidi and these honest words from Tara that kept me sain, reminding me that all us creatives go through it, that horrible waste-of-time, good-for-nothing self-doubt.
Just know, I spend a certain amount of time talking myself out of the trees~ Heidi Swanson
In the first few weeks of working on this book I was in such a state that I swear every time I tried to think about where to begin I had a near panic attack, it was my friend Grace who snapped me out of it after I told her about that little negative gremlin who liked to sit on my left shoulder and shout abuse at me throughout the day. "Give him the middle finger", she said. So I did, well as best as I could. Sadly I don't think we can ever get rid of those gremlins completely, but we can sure do our best to muffle their voices eh?
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Si and I grow all sorts of random things in our garden. Some 'experiments' work out, while others don't. If you were to look out in our backward right now you'd find a whole family of different-sized pots filled with tamarind trees grown from seed, chilli plants plucked out from my mother-in-laws where they had self sown, rosemary grown from trimmings picked off the side of the road and a huge grape vine that Si's grown from a cutting taken from our old next-door neighbours house, amongst many other little bits and pieces. It's kinda just how we do things round here, if we haven't tried growing something before and we can do so cheaply (or even better, for free!) we give it a shot even if we're not entirely sure what we're doing. There's really no harm in trying eh?
I've always wanted to try growing pineapples but it wasn't until we moved to Perth that it became a realistic goal, NZ weather is just a tad too cold for these babies sadly. This summer just gone after chopping the top off one of the pineapples I'd picked up at the shops I instinctively placed it upright in a shallow saucer of water, set it on the windowsill and left it for a couple of weeks until roots had grown from the bottom, before Si planted it out into a big pot of good quality potting mix. It wasn't until after it was planted that I did some reading up on the correct way to grow pineapples from tips. It turns out they don't like soggy bottoms and much prefer to be dried out before placing straight into soil. Whoops.
Since then I've planted another pineapple in the 'correct' way and am happy to say both the soggy and dry bottom ones are doing just fine! Just goes to show you can't always believe what you read online...
Monday, May 20, 2013
You know one of the things that makes me laugh the most about this whole online world thing? The fact that I can take photos of my breakfast while still in my pajamas, robe (dressing gown) and ugg-boots and no one is none the wiser! Ha. I'm sure if my neighbours ever happened to look over our fence they would think I was crazy, heck they probably already do think I'm crazy from all the fighting they hear my kids doing out in the backyard... but to see some lady standing on a chair hunched over a wooden board taking photos at 7am while still in her jimmy-jams, well that would make for one strange sight!
To make up for my complete early-morning madness yesterday, after breakfast the kids and I did what any sane person would do when the sun is shining and went for a bike ride to the park. See, totally sane and normal eh? I feel like I've not seen the sun this past month as I've been head down - tail up finishing off the book, so it was really so lovely to get out of the house and get a little vitamin D into my system.
On the way to the park, we checked in on a couple of olive trees down the road that we're lining up to raid when they're ready. We watched them all drop to the ground and waste last year so have decided that if the same is going to happen again this year, we'd better just go and ask the owners if we can help ourselves. I hate seeing perfectly good food go to waste!
Monday, May 13, 2013
This list has been piling up over the past few months and I thought before it gets to a full page long I should really share it with you all! I hope all you mums down here in the Southern Hemisphere had a beautiful mothers day yesterday. I had a great day with the kids, topped off with dinner at my mother-in-laws (always a good thing!). And a very happy Mothers Day to those of you up the top of the world celebrating yours today!
So, I've got a winner from Jude's Wholefood Baking cookbook giveaway last week.... I picked a winner using Random.org and the winner is... Justine who left the comment "I have loved Jude's recipes for years now! I'd love a copy of her new book, with a house full of health nuts to try the recipes on." Email me your details Justine -emma(at)mydarlinglemonthyme(dot)com- and I'll pop the book straight in the post for you. Congrats and thanks to all of you who entered. xx
Thursday, May 9, 2013
If you're into real, honest, wholefood then I suspect the person I am about to talk about today will come of no surprise to you at all, especially if you are from or happen to live in Australia. Jude Blereau has been one of the leading voices in wholefoods throughout Australia and the world for over 18 years, she's a natural foods chef, author of four books, food coach, cooking teacher and real food activist. Basically she's one of my food hero's! I first got in touch with Jude hoping to meet-up a few years ago when we first arrived in Perth from NZ (she's a long-time Perth local you see). Even through our emails I could tell straight away what a kind and caring soul she was. Due to the busyness of life for both her and I, two years down the track we still hadn't met up in person! Emails went backwards and forwards again recently as we made plans to finally catch up once our lives both settled down in a few months time and then Jude had a brilliant idea, inviting me to her new book launch right here in Perth!
This was a first for me going to a book launch, but I'm guessing something I should really get used to as it will be me holding them very soon myself (!). Thankfully Si was home that weekend so I could frock up and head out for a lovely afternoon tea, minus the rug-rats. Jude was everything I knew she would be, warm, bubbly, positive and encouraging. I hope she doesn't mind me saying this, and I mean this only as a compliment, but in person she reminds me of my mum. Jude, just like my own mother chose to go against the grain and carve out a healthy life for herself and her daughter in a time when most people were flipping out about buying ready-made meals and nuking them in microwave. It takes a certain strength to do such things (I know first hand, trust me!) and I admire her greatly for the choices she has made and the knowledge she is so willing to share with us all.
Labels:baking,buckwheat,cake,gluten-free,Jude Blereau,rhubarb,spring,sugar-free,sweets | 74 comments
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