Friday, August 31, 2012


Friday again. How did that happen?!

Time for a list:

I'll be baking this orange, walnut and honey cake and savouring more of The Shady Baker where I found the recipe

If you are in Melbourne this new wholefoodie haven looks worth a visit

I've been enjoying beauty that moves

For those who love a weekly meal plan, go here

Another lovely blog find My Wholefood Romance

This weekend River, Sol and I are looking forward to heading to Melbourne on Saturday to celebrate a little man's 3rd birthday (hello mama Sheri if you're reading!) and then plans...perhaps River will suggest we play basketball, or perhaps go to see Aloha Africa Drumming and Dancing Troupe performance at Southern Peninsula Arts Centre. Perhaps perhaps perhaps. Nice to have no plans. Happy weekend whatever you're up to x

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

my (wholefood) melbourne

I can't tell you if it was the Spring sunshine or the novelty of spending slow time with River and Sol in the city that made me feel so nostalgic and fond of Melbourne today but for whatever reason as I drove back to the coast I felt like I'd experienced a renewed romance with my hometown. Most visits to Melbourne are fleeting and work related; the pace, pollution and traffic usually annoy me.

This time we skipped school and were in Melbourne for a night to be with Pete while he prepared for work in the Northern Territory. I took the boys on an adventure starting at Collingwood Children's Farm, where River milked Biddy the cow and later told me, "I was scared to do it Mum but I did it anyway and I'm so glad I did." The other highlight for River and Sol was holding guinea pigs that had super soft and shiny fur and names such as Ginger, Caramel, Munchy and Nibbles. We visited the well-handled guinea pigs 3 times between feeding goats and following chickens and peacocks and marvelling at the size of Glenda the sow.

At lunchtime we headed to Friends of the Earth food co-op and cafe, just up the road on Smith Street, where you will find possibly the best value wholefood lunch outside your own kitchen. There's no menu just a choice of small or large plate, piled high with a vegan or vegetarian feast of biodynamic/organic curry, rice and salad that varies each day. Our plate featured a tomato based chickpea curry, mixed green salad, coleslaw of cabbage, carrot, daikon radish, almonds and apple, potato salad, and basmati rice with red quinoa and green puy lentils topped with a generous spoon of their signature tahini dressing. The wholesome, energising feeling that accompanies eating this style of food is something I want everyone to experience. I know though that each person is at a different place with what they like to eat, I believe so strongly though that wholefoods are the answer to good health for people and planet. And of course there is more to wholefoods than chickpeas and tahini - River and Sol were very happy to savour a piece of chocolate brownie and in the picture below you will see vegan cupcakes and other sweet treasures.

To read the story I wrote for Epicure about Beth Cameron, the inspirational wholefood mama who has managed Friends of the Earth co-op and cafe for 23 years go here

The boys did not want the day to end. They boo-hood my announcement that it was time to drive back home. I felt a bit the same way. There had not been a squabble between them, a whinge or a whine, the day had been so much fun I understood the not wanting it to end part. So we headed to Edinburgh Gardens for a play on the sprawling playground and kick of the footy where we soaked up the last of the day's sunshine and ran out the last of our city energy. After that as we were so close to Dench Bakers I couldn't resist popping in to pick up a coffee for the road. I am though now suffering a caffeine induced headache and shakiness for going beyond my limit of one cup per day. Ce la vie.

To finish, here is a list of links in no particular order of some of 'my' Melbourne old favorites...

Elwood General Store 5 Ormond Road Elwood. ph:03. 9531 9584 (my fave place for real chai)
Prahran Market
South Melbourne Market
Avenue Bookstore
Babka bakery & cafe

So many more to add. To be continued...

If you live in Melbourne or have visited, where do you like to hangout? Or if you have moved away from Melbourne, what do you miss?

ps so good to be back here at blogspot. I won't bore you with the details other than to say and I were not having fun together and one of the reasons I started blogging is because I enjoy it, so here I continue on and thank you for reading x

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Spain's hottest chocolate

Homegrown and homemade are best yes. There are though, a few imports I have a weakness for. Spain's Blanxart artisan chocolate in any form is one of them.

Since I first wrote about Blanxart, in The Age Epicure I became a fan, so when Raw Materials offered to send me Blanxart's drinking chocolate to try I said yes please!

This winter, hot chocolate made at home has been an occasional after school warming drink. I've tried a few different brands of drinking chocolate and most of them are incredibly sweet. The quality that stands out about Blanxart drinking chocolate is the beautiful velvet chocolatey-ness shines through because it is not smothered by sugar. The bitterness of the cocoa is balanced with a well considered amount of sugar but not overpowered.

If you're interested in a bit of background to the Blanxart story, they have been around since 1954 and hail from the Les Corts region in Barcelona. The company was started by a talented master chocolatier and four courageous partners. I say courageous because I really admire people who take a risk and start 'something from nothing' so to speak and see where it takes them, the master chocolatier left the security of working for other people in their cake and chocolate businesses to follow his own vision and has succeeded in creating a highly regarded brand.

In addition to their drinking chocolate, Blanxart create blocks of exquisite dark chocolate 60%, 72%, 80% and 82% cocoa content and also a milk chocolate 48%. The exquisiteness all begins with the careful selection of cocoa beans from Ecuador, Brazil and Africa, the beans are then roasted by Blanxart to ensure the perfectly balanced blend, aroma and texture is achieved.

Hot chocolate drinking days are numbered though as the sun is shining here today. I'll pretend Spring is closer than it is.      

If you live in Australia you can find Blanxart drinking chocolate in these stores:
Oasis Bakery, Murrumbeena Victoria; Alps and Amici, East Launceston Tasmania; Farmer Jack's Subiaco, Subiaco Western Australia; and Delicado, McMahons Point New South Wales.        

**Disclaimer - Thanks to Raw Materials for sending me Blanxart drinking chocolate. As with all samples that have been coming my way since I started food writing 12 years ago, some are worth writing about and sharing with readers others are not. I decided to share Blanxart here with you because I thought you'd like it! I was not paid to write this post.

Monday, August 06, 2012

what is wholefood anyway?

The word 'wholefood' conjures up a comical image for me, of a person attempting to put an apple or carrot or banana in their mouth - whole. Well, of course that is not what defines wholefood.

Wholefood is food that is unprocessed and unrefined, it is fully in tact or close to being fully in tact, as it is found in nature containing all of its naturally occurring goodness in the form of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Wholefood does not necessarily mean organically grown. All fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, fish, meat, eggs and non-homogenised dairy foods, conventionally farmed or organically grown, are wholefoods. Pete and I choose to only have organically grown food, for us and our boys, because we do not want to ingest chemicals and prefer to eat foods that have been grown in organically rich soil. Friends say, "But it is so expensive to only buy organic" to that I say, it is a question of priorities and values. Organic food is what we spend our money on over expensive haircuts, latest model cars, up to the minute fashion and so on. Sure, there are material things that I like but I am really health conscious and through Pete's environmental work I have become even more environmentally conscious and believe organic farming is best for people and planet.

For us, eating wholefoods is about more than the just foods we eat. It is a way of life, a philosophy, an attitude. We grow some of our food, the fruit and vegetables that we buy are bought at a farmgate from people we know by name, we are part of our local food co-op where we buy our grains and legumes, we have a local goats farm and cheesery we buy their cheese, we enjoy chatting to the naturopaths at our local health food shop, we do not follow a particular religion but we say a blessing with our children each night before we eat our dinner giving thanks for our food, for the people who grew it and the earth from which it came.

In the times that we live in, where many people are 'time poor' and stressed, consumption of 'convenience' foods has increased. Convenience foods are not wholefoods, they are processed to reduce the amount of cooking time required and often contain high amounts of sugar, salt and saturated fat. These foods are filling but they are not nourishing. With the increased consumption of these sorts of foods, so too has the incidence of dietary related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some forms of cancer risen.

In her cookbook WholefoodAustralian wholefood chef, cooking teacher and cookbook author Jude Blereau writes:

"Processed and refined ingredients are fundamentally, incompatible with our bodies." p.20 (Murdoch Books, Australia, 2006)

I think it is true to say the majority of people want to be healthy and happy. I think it is also true to say that the majority of people underestimate the impact of the food they eat on their physical, mental and emotional health and that the challenge for people in developed countries where there is an oversupply of processed food and powerful advertising to sell it, the challenge for people is to find and follow their own path to nutrition and wellness through the food they choose to eat.

If you are just starting out making changes to the foods you and your family eat, yay for you and welcome to this space I hope it is helpful. I believe every person's path with food is an evolving one and my aim in this space is to create a supportive community of people interested in wholefood living and health to share thoughts, experiences and tips to make the journey rich and fun.

One of the best places to start learning about wholefoods and wholefood cooking, besides online, is books. I have already mentioned Jude Blereau who had written three fantastic wholefood cookbooks with a fourth due for release next year, I highly recommend Jude's books for their excellent information from setting up a wholefood pantry to cooking techniques and of course wonderful recipes.

Possibly the most comprehensive book written on wholefoods and health is Paul Pitchford's, Healing with Wholefoods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. If you really want to delve deep on this topic seek this book out. I love the way Paul writes about wholefoods as a 'biologic remedy', this is from his website: 

"There is a near-consensus among health authorities that whole, unrefined foods represent a fundamental truth in support of individual health and well-being. The whole foods movement is a common sense approach that is quietly extending through all economies and social classes to overcome the madness resulting from highly processed, refined, genetically modified, and synthetic (non-) foods that have turned modern societies into centers of degenerative disease. At the end of the day, wholesome foods are destined to be a biologic remedy that, in concert with organic farming and plant medicine, has the capacity to heal the Earth and her peoples."

Thanks for reading. This was a lengthy one. I'll finish by inviting you to sign up for emails, leave a comment, share where you are at, or what you would like to read more of here. The Wholefood Mama community is growing and I am looking forward to writing more and hopefully converting more and more people to the wholefood, whole health way of life. Happy Monday x

Friday, August 03, 2012

friday sky

Friday. Fifteen degrees and perfect.

It's been a while since I've written a list here and being an order loving Virgo I do love a list, so here goes:

I cooked this chicken and cashew stir fry earlier in the week, a simple crowd pleasing favorite found on the uber stylish Mimi Thorisson's blog Manger. Swoon over Mimi and her rural French lifestyle. The photography alone is worth clicking for.

Keeping on the Asian food theme, this raw pad Thai dish on My New Roots sings Springtime...nearly there!

You know how it goes, one click here, one click there and you wind up somewhere on the web thinking how did I get here? Like, er, Gwyneth Paltrow's outdoor kitchen??

For some homegrown organic goodness visit Foxs Lane

Visit Amy Chaplin's gorgeous wholefood blog, Coconut & Quinoa, it's filled with enticing recipes and photography to match. Enjoy!

I hope your week was all you wanted it to be and that your weekend is even better.
See you back here next week for more wholefood goodness. Thanks for reading x

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

time out

I arrived home today from taking time out, to this sweet arrangement of Sol's rainbow shoes resting atop of Pete's big boots. While I was away, they had time together climbing sand dunes and laying amongst the clovers.

Despite all my wholefood, health loving ways, I am not great at making time for looking after me. Ouch. That was hard to confess. I tend to push myself to the edge of the line before putting my hand up and saying, "hmmm I think I need a rest". I am a task master when it comes to myself, always wanting to do more, be more, give more.

While some of you may be just at the start of your wholefood journey, slowly making changes, less takeaway food, more taking stock and so on; I am working on swallowing my own advice, to be gentle, go slow, one small bite at a time and trying to let go a little, cut myself some slack. Given, I'm nearly 40 I feel like a slow learner with this! We all have to start somewhere.

I started today with a shiatsu massage. Have you ever had one? I first had one about fifteen years ago when a neighbour friend was a shiatsu student and looking for people to practice on. That massage was an incredible experience. I slept more soundly that night, had energising vivid dreams and woke with an amazing sense of mental clarity and feeling of complete calm. I'd never had that from a massage before.

So, what is shiatsu? Shiatsu is a Japanese form of massage that works on moving the energy (life force) in the body by applying finger or palm pressure on acupressure points. It is incredibly effective for moving stuck or blocked energy helping to clear fatigue, release emotion and restore balance in body, mind and spirit.

If you are not into having a massage because you don't like the idea of being semi-naked, covered in oil and rubbed down by a stranger, shiatsu is the answer as you remain fully clothed and lay on a futon mattress on the floor.

From my first experience of shiatsu I loved it so much I began studying it at the Australian shiatsu college when I lived in Melbourne. It was just before knowing I was pregnant with River and I vividly remember one of the women in the class on the first day as we went around the circle introducing ourselves and explaining why we were there, she was very softly spoken and answered, "I've spent the last 20 years raising my three sons and now it is time to do something for me." At the time, having not had children myself, I was in my late twenties, and was really taken aback by her answer. I thought to myself "how could that happen? how could she have not done things she was interested in for 20 years? I vowed to myself then and there that when I have children I'm not going to let that happen to me. I am still going to maintain my sense of self". Ha! I laugh at my younger self now.

I am so enraptured with my sons, my husband and being a family and as my natural way of being is to do more, be more and give more I can now so easily see how my sense of self can go missing in action.

I took the first step today to restoring balance. Where are you at? Do you need to make some changes? What do you do to restore your internal harmony and take care of the 'I' in family? I'd love to hear. Oh and I can't recommend enough - have a shiatsu!
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