Catering, collaborations and classes in early 2014

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

Holly Davis Nourish Cookbook

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.


Spring offerings in Sydney and Perth and a Summer cleanse retreat

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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.

 


Exciting things afoot. Pop up classes with The Real Food Project July 10 and 16

Cultured vegetablesBe 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!

Click to BOOK@Real Food Projects


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 see

Cultured vegetablesMy 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


A brief note on things afoot and to say I have returned to sunny Sydney

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.

Seminar invite June 2013
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Christmas catering menu’s to inspire you. Expect a few recipes in my next newsletter, subscribe to receive

Watery images from the great southern land and from the cold north. Winter is represented by the element water.

Sadly, for me there will be no in-house Christmas catering appointments in beautiful Palm Beach downunder. However if you need any ideas or information for your events let me know.

I am still in England, where my mothers health has improved beyond expectation. I like to think that our loving care and my nutrient dense cooking have been the cause. I am certain these have helped but my mother is a woman of great heart and spirit with a fighting passion for life and she is loving having my sister and I ‘at hand’. So here I stay, for now.

In Britain it is the season for hunting, shooting and fishing and game is in plentiful supply. It is also time to get close to a roaring fire and spend time celebrating with friends. There is masses of fantastic produce here, which I can’t wait to utilise in my Christmas events catering.

I have recently had the great pleasure of cooking up some exquisite local produce for the most delightful people. There is nothing more fulfilling than spending the time it takes to produce beautiful food, for people who recognise what that takes and enjoy the results.

Although it is Autumn here I was asked to deliver very light, interesting food with Australian/Asian style and to ensure the diners were sated but in no fear of being overly full. I generally develop menu’s in conjunction with a clients wishes and cost according to the number catered and the menu chosen. The possibilities are endless and with wonderful winter local grass fed meats, game, seafood and produce to use  I am anticipating sumptuous events – now all there is to do is spread the word and bring on the clients!

If you have friends in London please pass this on, so that they might utilise my talents over the festive season and beyond. If I have catered for you and you have appreciated the results, your introductions and recommendations would be most appreciated.

My UK Mobile 07786922248 or holly@foodbyhollydavis.com

Here are two recent menus that may inspire you this season. If you need ideas for substitutions of seasonal produce local to you, drop me an email. All animal produce chosen is organic, free range and grass fed, and fish are line caught or sustainably fished.

Canapes

  • Crisp Kombu bows
  • Daikon and lotus root with ginger arame
  • Kohl rabbi with chilli cured sashimi
  • Seared eye fillet twists with sesame mustard oil and shiso leaves

Main

  • Whole poached hake
  • Short grain brown rice and mixed toasted seeds salad
  • Blanched mixed radish salad with arame, sprouts and a brown rice vinegar dressing
  • Wilted kale and green beans with toasted sesame seeds
  • Crisp bitter greens

Pudding

  • Pears poached in a light ginger, mirin and vanilla syrup
  • Mascarpone cream and maple sugar shards

 or

Canapés

    • Native Oysters – with umeboshi and fresh mint
    • Steamed Orkney hand dived scallop; on the shell, with yuzu and ginger juice – if you haven’t yet, subscribe (on right) to receive my newsletter and this recipe
    • Seared Tuna with shiso and fresh horseradish
    • Hot smoked guinea fowl breast with garlic chives and beets wrapped in pickled red cabbage

Main

    • Barberry duck breast with star anise, mandarin and ginger
    • Sautéed quinoa with puy lentils and tiny cut vegetables
    • Citrus fennel salad with watercress
    • Crisp bok choy with tamari dressing and toasted seeds

Pudding

  • Almond milk jelly in green tea syrup with a crisp hazelnut macaroon – if you haven’t yet, subscribe (on right) to receive my newsletter and these two recipes

Autumn not Spring? I am in London, for now. Britain’s real food offerings are really stunning.

British ‘Real Food’ is superb and it is in plentiful supply. This afternoon I will make an appearance at London’s Real Food Festival. I am excited to see what the real food markets on the South bank of the Thames will offer in the way of produce. The brief is to shop and then demonstrate in a kitchen set up under the London Eye opposite the Houses of Parliament, how grand! My sister bought this crab home from Norfolk along with a big bundle of the freshest samphire I have eaten. I love the juicy pop it makes when you bite and its definite sea saltiness. The crab was sweet and meaty and easy to get at.

As you see, I am far from Sydney Spring, away from my  ‘home’ of 31 years and here to stay in London for an unknown period. I arrived here mid summer, just before the Olympic games began.

I returned to Perth to teach Sourdough baking, lacto-fermentation, on Meat and Fish at the Whole and Natural Chefs Training Programme, which Jude Blereau of Wholefood cooking has just completed. It provides is an excellent pathway to a career in our industry and the students produced some fabulous dishes.  Sardines are a Western Australian delight and these were cooked beautifully by a student, a fantastic first go, they were speedily consumed by us all.

I have been back in London since mid August and on my return I was met by the extraordinarily uplifting Paralympic atmosphere. Suddenly I had lots more time for watching the telly!

It is incredible how fast life can change, here today with a full schedule of classes and vital things to do and then one sad phone call alters it all. My Mother is gravely ill and London is where I wish to be, while she is here to be with. Thank you to all the people who were booked into classes, catering jobs and food coaching. Your understanding and kindness have been a great support and I apologies for any disappointment my sudden departure caused you.

I am beginning to settle a little now and could work casually, a couple of days a week. A private or group class or two or personal chef work would be ideal. As it is turning into Autumn here now a personal chef, to fill the fridge and freezer, with slow cooked deliciousness must appeal to more than one household? If you know anyone who might like that service or someone looking to detox or improve their dietary habits please send them my way.

The current classes page, as you see  is all wrong and quite out of date now. I have not yet found the space to recreate it but I will as soon as possible. I will also post some of the delicious things I have been finding to eat.

I dont expect to return to Sydney for several months and so the next Australian class programme is likely to be from late January next year. I have had lots of enquiries about that programme. If you have been in touch and not yet heard back I apologise. I have been consumed by family circumstances and will contact you as soon as possible. If you like to plan ahead let me know and we can discuss details and dates. My email is the best contact for now. I have a UK mobile +44 (0) 7786922248 or email holly@foodbyhollydavis.com 


Winter, the season for inner reflection, drawing in and foods that warm to the core

Deep Water, Iford NSW ©Sarah Ducker 2012

This photo is the perfect representation of the winter months, dark, cold and mysterious. A time for bringing warmth to the core of our body to help us manage the colder weather. Any northern hemisphere reader might scoff, thinking that Australia never gets that cold. It is all relative and the 17˚C in my room today see’s me bundled up beside the heater!

I made Oden yesterday, Japan’s answer to winter warming nourishment; eaten on the icy winter streets and in bars. For those who have a copy, there is a recipe for this fabulous dish, in my cookbook Nourish. It is a very simple broth with these ingredients at least, mirin and tamari, kombu, shiitake mushrooms, daikon, carrots and tofu; all long slow simmered into a deeply delicious meal. This broth looks somewhat like the photo above, unfathomable, watery and dark.

In Chinese 5 element theory winter is a representation of the water element, dark red and black, saltiness and it is the season that requires we give attention to our water organs, the kidneys and the bladder. Cooking styles that best suit the season include long slow simmering, braising roasting sauteeing and preserving. It’s a great time for the slow cooker, the stock pot and the oven but dont forget, and I suspect you wont, we all love something sweet to eat and winter provides us some fabulous fruits. The quince above were transformed from rock hard yellow to meltingly soft, deep red sweetness by long slow simmering with only a very small amount of maple syrup. They were dense and toothsome. Top tip… just cut them in half and wait to core them after they have cooked. This makes it very easy to extract the hard core without leaving any behind and it saves the risk of a knife wound.

The recipe for these is included in my  Refresh, Restore & Nourish in Winter  4 evening or 4 day course. The course provides the fundamental skills of cooking in this season with many supportive easy winter recipes and a menu plan that offers a broad range of breakfasts, lunches dinners and snacks. I ran this course in Rozelle a couple of weeks ago and got the following fabulous feedback.

Zoe said… Thanks for a great 4 days of cooking, eating and learning. I’m just about to qualify as a Naturopath and found 4 days with you to be more valuable and useable than all the nutrition classes I’ve done! You make it real- let food be our medicine, and medicine be our food.

Gabriella offered this…”Thank you again for such a wonderful four days of learning, cooking and discussions. You left me wishing I could bring you home and tuck you away in my kitchen. The amount of knowledge you have on eating nourishing, seasonal foods and healing with whole foods is incredible and I only wished we could have had more time.

Jo wrote…  You are a warm, generous soul who was exceptionally patient, passionate and professional.  I have a coeliac husband and dairy intolerant preschooler, I have beendesperate for inspiration and ideas on how to cook easy meals that cater for everyone’s needs.  I sought information and inspiration and came away with bucket (or shall I say, jar) loads!  I felt so relaxed and happy and really nourished myself.  I think I ate better in 4 days with you than I have in months!  Your food was delicious and made me see how I can make some tasty gf and df meals.

I am running this course again, over 4 Tuesday evenings starting tomorrow, Tuesday 12th June, in Bilgola. There are a few places for the quick and keen. Send me an email asap if you want a spot. I will be running it in Melbourne at The Green Grocer in Fitzroy North, at the end of July. Please help me spread the news to Victoria. More details of this and this months Capturing Cultures classes and more can be found here

cacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacaca These crab apples, opportunistically gathered after a catering job in Bowral, were way too sour to be edible when picked but with a slow simmer, the addition of a little spice and sweetness they have become deep red ‘roadside crab apple jelly’ which will last the winter long and beyond, though I have gifted half of it to friends already!

Here’s what I did, so you can too. There is something deeply satisfying about producing food from ‘found’ ingredients.

Recipe for roadside crab apple jelly

3 kilos fruit, washed but otherwise untouched, tipped into a large stew pan

covered in cold water and brought to a gentle simmer, pop in a split vanilla bean and a couple of cinnamon quills

simmered until the apples soften, about 30-40 minutes

the fruit and liquid are poured into a colander lined with two or three layers of muslin, over a large pot. Don’t press the fruit, allow it to strain overnight

Measure the juice and add the pulp to the compost

use 500gms light muscovado sugar or raw sugar per litre

simmer the juice and sugar until the temperature reaches 105˚C at this point it will gel beautifully

contain in sterile glass jars, cool and pour a layer of liquid bees wax over the jelly to seal, lid and store until you are ready to use- i’ll give you 3 hours max…

Something new. Exploring Winter Wellness Workshop. Yoga by Gwynne Jone, food by Holly Davis

On July 15 I am teaming up with yogi Gwynne Jones, we are  offering a seasonal one day winter workshop at The Intuitive Well in Bondi Junction. For all the details see June-September classes page


Where I have been, a request and an offer; to celebrate the tawny colour, sweet flavour, crisp air and round ground fruits of Autumn


A month ago family needs sent me rushing back to London. As a result I had to postpone the March 29 Capturing Cultures class. My thanks to those of you that had booked and paid for this class for your understanding and flexibility. New dates are online now, see the May-September tab and let me know which dates suit you best.

In London I was met by blue skies, crisp air and warm loving arms. Twenty eight years in Australia, with most trips back over Christmas, caused me to forget the thrill of Springtime in the Uk. I was surprised and delighted by the effect a little sunshine has on the British public, while I layered up with cashmere, scarves, a borrowed coat and boots, London folk stripped off and got about in summer frocks and sandles and the news was of trips to the beach to enjoy the heatwave of 20˚C! I squeezed in a few fine foody experiences, the quality of food in England has changed, so much for the better. Good food, real food is on offer all over the country. Artisan producers abound and I was thrilled by some fantastic produce. I went to this fantastic winebar under the railway arches in Maltby Street, Bermondsey in London’s east end, this is a neighbourhood to visit and watch for fab food and excellent ales.

I also visited The Welbeck School Of Artisan Food on The Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire this is an extraordinarily well set up cooking school where traditional baking, cheese making and butchery are taught. I went to suggest that they might like to have me visit next year, as a guest, to teach the art of lacto fermented foods and drinks. There are also small producers on the estate making Stichelton cheese, this is similar to Stilton which comes from this area of England but Stilton is no longer produced from raw milk, Stichelton is and I can tell you it is damn fine cheese. The Welbeck brewery produces a small range of excellent ales too which are sold locally.

Now I am returned to the delights of Pittwater in Autumn, my favourite season here, where skies are brilliant blue, the water is crystaline and it seems to me now, as I gaze at the beach and many eucalypts, that everything has been outlined with a 4B pencil.

Growing Healthy Children Seminar was opened by a potent totem to remind us all how exciting life can be!

The Growing Healthy Children Seminar was declared a huge success. Over a hundred participants came to hear Dr Rosalba Courtney, Jude Blereau and me speak at Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School. It proved to be an excellent venue, albeit that the wildlife moved in on the action as we were about to get started. A beautiful green tree snake wound its way into a camera bag at the front of the room and after I asked everyone to move away, it was resptfully returned to the bush.

During the afternoon Dr Rosalba Courtney from Breath and Body Osteopathic and Natural Health Clinic discussed the fundamentals of growing a healthy child, including the difference it makes for children to have a secure parental bond, attention paid to correct breathing patterns, the immense and theraputic effect of time spent in nature and much more. Jude Blereau from Wholefood Cooking covered what, how and when to feed children, with food that will heal nourish and delight them and I expounded on the virtues of lacto fermented foods, what they are, how to include them and ‘hide’ them, some of the variations on the theme available to us and of course, I encouraged everyone to come to one of my in depth classes, to learn how to easily and safely make their own range of fermented foods. Check out latest programme on the Classes May to September page.


For those who prefer to purchase these therapeutic vitals, we had Dominic Angelucci there, to sell his just launched ‘Life In a Jar’ Organic cultured vegetables. These were offered as part of our afternoon tea and soon sold out after that. Keep an eye out for them, Feather and Bone are a stockist.

Honest to Goodness provided us with fabulous helpers and offered some of their most relevant dry goods for sale. Our heartfelt thanks To Karen and Matt for their ongoing efforts in supplying Sydney with clean wholesome foods and to Lilli, Lauren and Emma for their work on the day.

A Request and an offer
If you have not yet liked my facebook page please would you? I am out to spread news of great whole food, whole food ingredients and of course my latest wholefood cooking class program
For new FB Likes this month, I will email you a delicious recipe. Just email me your preference for pumpkin, walnuts or chestnuts, or that you like them all? I will send you back the recipe that reflects your choice.
These ingredients grow together and certainly go together deliciously. Pumpkins below, fit for several feasts, well grown by my friends Antonio and Camilla who run Olive Green Organics. Chestnuts and walnuts collected by me at the beautiful Kookatonga Nut Farm in Mt Irvine in the Blue Mountains.
Put a trip there in your diary for next March.


Live probiotic foods, simple to make lively and lovely to drink and eat

“Bacteria are not germs, but the germinators – and fabric – of all life on earth… In declaring war on them we declared war on the underlying living structure of the planet – on all life-forms we can see – on ourselves”– Stephen Harrod Buhner The Lost Language of Plants


Lacto fermented foods are extraordinary and they have the power to restore to us rude health! These live life enhancing foods and drinks foods have been a passion of mine for many years now. My interest in Macrobiotic philosophy and food led me to start fermenting things back when I was just 14 years old! That’s a good long relationship with good bugs. My first cultures were Japanese Takuan radish pickles that stank and jars of miso and then there was a dairy kefir ‘plant’ I got from my cousin Greg. He christened his S.C.O.B.Y, that’s a Symbiotic Collection Of Bacteria and Yeasts ‘Jim’ he gave me what became and still is known to me ‘son of Jim’. Along the way, there have been intense periods of regular contact and periods when son of Jim has spent time dormant, in the freezer. When I am culturing using son of Jim I get a fresh, drinking style yoghurt that provides a wide range of beneficial probiotic bacteria and yeasts and I can also use him to turn sweet coconut water into a refreshing effervescent mineral rich drink. I can use the dairy kefir product as a drink or turn it into fresh cheese and even a very delicious all raw, all food cheesecake! I now grow a range of scobys, I have a Kombucha ‘mother’ which thrives on green, black red and or white tea and raw sugar, water kefir which produces a fabulous sparkling gingery drop. With these helpers at home I always have the makings of other fermented foods, using the product itself or by utilising whey from my dairy scoby. These can be used to make, amongst many other things, digestible nutritious deliciously light pancakes, pikelets, muffins and fruit compotes and vegetable pickles and by employing their probiotic powers they can be used to turn otherwise hard to digest foods into faster cooking,digestible nourishment.
There is something quite magical about vegetable pickles where you take a fresh ingredient and turn it into what equates to medicinal food; using naught but itself and a little salt.
I am including an article I wrote for Notebook magazine it might be of interest and could encourage you to get friendly with fermented foods. This month I have 2 classes I call ‘Capturing Cultures, get the good bugs’ where these foods can be seen and tasted and you learn the what, why and how of growing them safely and inexpensively at home.
Read my article on Probiotcs, written for Notebook magazine