Moments of Joy in the Kitchen
After dancing last weekend in a 5 rhythms workshop called 'Returning to Joy'* I feel compelled to write about finding moments of joy in the kitchen. I meet people who either love cooking or actually loathe it, as well as those who feel it to be a chore.
Calcium & Macrobiotic Lunch & Tahini Caramel Balls
For those who follow my blog posts you will know I have had a break from dairy for more than a month. I actually feel my body needs a longer break and I will continue for a few more months without dairy or at least reduce it to a minimum amount. The main reasons being that my digestion seems happier and that I am more creative with my protein when not eating dairy, which I feel is important as I can get a lot more nutrients, minerals and vitamins from wholefoods and plant based foods than I can from dairy.
More and more people are wanting to eat preservative free food and I certainly don't blame them, I actually applaud them. Pre packaged foods contain all sorts of additives that shouldn't be in them. Even companies that boast 'no preservatives' will add sugar to dips, chips, pasta sauces, burgers and curry pastes, all foods that normally wouldn't have sugar in them. Then don't get me started on the addition of palm oil, that deserves a blog post all of its own.
One of the aspects of catering on retreats that I love so much is adapting food to suit people's individual dietary requirements. I love to know that everyone is going to be able to enjoy good food no matter what restrictions they have. I enjoy making them similar food to the main dishes on the menu, adjusting it in whatever way is needed. Often though when there is someone vegan on the retreat or someone with an egg allergy and I realise I have fritatta on the menu I am a bit stumped because fritatta is essentially egg.
In a few weeks I will be in Sydney running two cooking classes at the beautiful Sydney Cooking School in Neutral Bay. One class is fully booked and I have some spots left in the Sunday class. This class is called Fresh and vibrant and is based on many of the principles of raw cooking yet not entirely a raw food preparation class.
What herbs did you grow up with? Growing up in the Northern Territory to an English family, herbs were not widely used in our house. We always had mint sauce with certain meals but unfortunately more often than not it was made with dried mint. My mum did grow parsley and that was a regular in salads and as garnishes. Then when my mum discovered the delicious flavours of Italian cooking we had basil. Fresh Basil was hard to come by and we often had to resort to dried basil.
Preservative Free Cooking 3 and Burger Recipes
A few months back I wrote a blog on eating preservative free food and how it is easier than you think. Now I want to write a further blog on taking small steps. On quizzing my sister in law on what seasoning her family in Timor Leste used before Ayam seasoning (which contains MSG and many other preservatives), she told me stock cubes and before that her grandmother just used salt, lemongrass, ginger, galangal and garlic.
I have been promising this recipe to a few people for a while now and before the Mango season dries up I think I better get it to you all. This is a refreshing summer recipe. When I first made it I made it in individual bowls with big lettuce leaves, it was a very wholesome lunch. Recently though in the cooking classes here in the Byron shire we have been making it in small lettuce cups and displaying them like canape- either way they are wonderful.
The recent Uplift festival had many highlights for me and the first was listening to Vandana Shiva's talk. I had catered for Vandana Shiva the week prior to the festival and hadn't actually realised how famous or how influential she has been in the world. When catering for Vandana Shiva I instantly liked her but wasn't quite sure why. After hearing her speak I felt truly honored that I had been asked to cater for her. Vandana Shiva's work in the world has been beneficial to all of our lives and she continues to campaign for our right to eat non GMO food.
On the 18th January I am holding the first cooking class for the year. It will be in the Byron Bay Shire. It feels really good to see in the new year with an exciting new cooking class. The class will of course be vegetarian and is titled <em>Seasonal Cooking. </em>In the class we will make lots of different dishes with whatever is in season. There will be starters, main meals, salads, desserts and drinks. I will show you how to balance the meals so they have enough vegetarian protein in each dish.