Friday, September 28, 2012

Soft on yourself this Spring

I can’t believe how busy I have been for the past few months, I have barely had time to stop and smell the roses (or in my case, the flowering veggies in my patch!).

So my note to self at the end of September is to take some time for me.

Spring is the month of rejuvenation and life and energy and wonder….one should really make a conscious effort to spend some time reflecting on that and savouring it rather than rushing through it like a bull at a gate!

We so often bounce from one month to the next without really taking the time to experience the joy of each subtle change they bring.

September is a sneezy time no doubt, but is also when the air gets lighter and the breeze takes on a new lazy coolness that prickles the skin ever so slightly as it dances over you.

It is the month when you can wear beautiful skirts and wraps but still need to snuggle a little under the covers in the evening.

It is when you can spend lazy afternoons enjoying the sunshine with good friends and a chilled glass of something fizzy and revel in the new life that springs up around you and the bounty of the harvest.

So…next month I am going to be more mindful of the environment around me…take the time to notice the subtlety and indulge in the bliss that provides.

Are you?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Recipes for Springtime!

I love beetroot and think it is a real celebratory vegetable and I am always looking for new ways to cook it!

My favourite way to eat it is raw of course…just coarsely grated and tossed with some extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper and a whisper of vinocotto or rich balsamic vinegar.

I also love to pickle it. Firstly boiling it in its skin and then removing the skin once they are tender. They can then be pickled in a mixture of vinegar (I like to use verjuice too) and water (1:1), black pepper corns, bay leaves and a tbs or two of sweetness (sometimes I use sugar, other times I use a syrup like maple or agave)…they last for ages in a sealed container in the fridge soaking in this brine and are delicious served with a salad, on a cheese and nibble plate or as a sneaky treat!

I have made a few really good dips out of beetroot too. Cook the beetroot and then skin and all blitz together in a food processor (I use my vitamix) with a hint of cumin, dill and about a 1/3 of the quantity of beetroot to plain or green yoghurt… Serve with homemade flat breads and a series of other dips as a delicious mezze starter to any special springtime occasion!

The most celebratory thing to do in spring is indulge in a little sweetness and the other FAB thing to do with beetroot is to sneak it into your chocolate muffins or cakes! It adds a surprising moistness and earthy flavour that everyone loves!

I LOVE Stephanie Alexanders recipe…and have replaced the gluten based flours with gluten free and always use raw cacoa/chocolate in the recipe and replace dairy with soy or almond!


·         250g raw beetroot

·         175g plain flour

·         1 tsp baking powder

·         2 tbsp cocoa powder

·         2 free-range eggs

·         1/4 cup milk

·         60g softened butter

·         1/4 cup vegetable oil

·         1/4 cup caster sugar

·         1/2 cup soft brown sugar

·         100g best-quality dark chocolate


Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin, or drop paper cases into the holes.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Peel beetroot and grate in food processor with grating disc. Set aside and wash processor.

Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a large mixing bowl.

Lightly whisk eggs with milk.

Process butter, oil and sugars until creamy. Gradually add egg/milk mixture, alternating with flour mixture.

Tip into the large bowl and stir in beetroot. Mix well.

Spoon mixture into muffin holes. Break chocolate into 12 pieces and poke a piece into the top of each muffin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until well-risen and springy to the touch.

Cool in tin for a few minutes then turn onto a rack.
So, what are you going to do with your beetroots this spring?
Whatever it is....enjoy them, they are so good for you!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Spring is THE time to be in the garden!

You should have prepared your soil at the end of winter and be ready for planting…how exciting!

September is the time to plant your summer veg; beetroot, cucumber, eggplant, lettuces, capsicum, tomatoe, silverbeet and spuds! Don’t forget your peas and snow peas – there is nothing better than harvesting those babies on a warm summers morning – a couple of years ago I picked 5kg in one day from our bushes…oh those days!

This year I have been so busy teaching everyone else how to reconnect with traditional wisdom, that my garden work is well behind…but I am determined to get back into the garden before the month is out so I too can be sharing in the bounty of the harvest!

We are still picking leeks, beetroots, tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower from our patch – and the most exciting thing recently was harvesting our first asparagus!

Talk about delayed gratification – theses babies take 3 years to grow…so patience is definitely required, but there is nothing more exciting than harvesting your first REAL asparagus spear after it has stretched out from under the ground!

You should definitely plant some!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spring Senses

I have never really suffered with hayfever, but today, my head is foggy, my eyes are blazing itchy, I feel like someone has punched me in both eyes and cheeks and my nose won’t stop running….this is NOT a pleasant springtime!

The pollen in the air is incredible this year!

We have had 3 years of floods in January which means that the vegetation, even in the outback, is abundant and blossoming at its best.

The wilga and sandalwood trees are incredible, their tiny little flowers are so pretty, but deadly for anyone who gets hay fever!

My garden looks amazing at the moment too!

The nasturtiums have taken over and are sharing their vibrant and fragrant blooms with the birds and the bees and with us – they have such a delicious visual appeal and such a wonderful peppery sweetness that I am just so happy to have them there!

Anyway, back to the hayfever…there are some foods that are good for hay fever and  I thought you might be interested in giving them a go…I certainly am!

Top foods for hay fever

·         Onions: people often go the pharmacy to get antihistamine tablets. However antihistamine can be found naturally in food. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine found in fruits and vegetables, and is highly concentrated in onions. To get the most Quercetin as possible, remove as few as possible of the outer layer when preparing the onion.

·         Honey: there are many long time hay fever sufferers that claim that taking honey everyday helps. It's often recommended that taking a small quantity like one and a half teaspoons is the most helpful.

·         Nettle Tea: nettle tea mixed with honey is also said to reduce the mucus caused by hay fever.

·         Spicy Foods: eating more peppers and strong spices may provide natural hay fever relief as a lot of the pollen is flushed out due to the runny nose caused by spicy foods.