Feeling Thankful and a Salty Honey Pie

November 27, 2014

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset
I like people. They fascinate me. I want to hear their stories – who they are, where they come from and why they are the way they are.

I also want to know what people eat. No, really, I am genuinely interested. Tell me, if you could have anything to eat right now what would it be?…a plate of spaghetti and meatballs? I hear you. What’s your favourite toast topping?…raspberry jam, interesting. With butter? What did your grandmother make at Christmas gatherings?… jelly slice? Cool.

People and food make me happy. As do writing and cooking. It’s nice when you know what makes you happy, and you can create a life that is full of your particular brand of happy. Everyone has a different definition and realising this can take time. As a twenty-two-year-old you have four jobs: to stay up past 11pm, to drink cheap beer, to think pensively on all of life’s question and to figure out your happy. I failed at the first task, I only drank cheap beer with pizza or curry (though I could down cheap wine with embarrassing ease), and I only sometimes thought on life’s questions because honestly, how can I possibly ponder what happens when we die without going mad/stopping everything boring immediately/quit giving Optus my money because WHAT’S THE POINT?!! Instead I chose to debate in which country I would spend my summer-job cash, because travel made me happy. And I’d go and do just that, returning with a tan and one too many pairs of Thai fisherman pants (and I only bought one). That’s what you do in your twenties, you figure out what you want out of life. Or at least what you don’t want. You also learn that Thai fisherman pants don’t suit anyone.

After graduating from University I avoided getting a job that didn’t involve asking people how they wanted their coffee (which at that point felt far more natural to me than calculating feeding tube rates). Five months of skinny half strength soy flat whites later, I headed overseas with Ben and the two of us spent nine months backpacking across Europe and Asia. Travel = happy. Long train trips and airport floor slumber parties gave me plenty of time to think on what might be a more “grown up”, financially responsible form of happy. I battled with what I thought I should do with my degree versus what I really wanted to do. And then, fuck, did I even care because my brother just died and all I wanted to do was eat pasta and swim along the Sicilian coast. I told everyone that during our trip I was going to have an epiphany in Greece…I just felt it. That didn’t happen, though I did make good friends with our neighbourhood gyros maker in Athens. I’d bring him grapes and he’d give us super cheap gyros, which was life changing in its own right. And I realised things about myself on that trip. I learnt that I really did want to work with people and food. My parents had great flexibility in working for themselves and I knew wanted that too, but in what capacity I wasn’t sure. I don’t think I was quite aware of how deeply I adored food and what it would come to represent in my life until I was well into my Nutrition and Dietetics degree. I mean, it’s obvious now, I know. I have four years of food blogging as proof (and don’t even get me started on my instagram feed, pictures of food make me happier than they perhaps should). Could I combine lofty dreams with realism? Because beyond this cooking, sharing, reading, writing and eating business, I love helping people enjoy food from a health perspective. And by health I mainly mean mental health, because that’s where it starts. It hasn’t been until this past year that I’ve learnt how to merge my two loves and call it “work”. That’s a pretty cool realisation. Almost as life changing as gyros with charcoal rotisserie chicken, hot chips and mustard aioli.

After that 2009 trip paying rent became once again something to consider so I negotiated a “real” job (that payed actual money Optus would accept) while working to make my dream job, the one where I legitimately ask what people eat for breakfast, a reality. It didn’t come quickly or clearly, it took compromise and trying not to rush to the now because along the way you learn and grow and that is important. But it did come. In fact, lately I’ve realised that it’s here… those years as a studious youth who saved like a demon paid off. And while I am acutely aware that I owe much of my success (or rather, the ease of my success) to the stability of a loving home and a good education (in other words, my parents), I also have myself to thank. When I was younger and contemplating musical note tattoos in honour of my brother, I articulated my personal definition of happiness and strove towards that. Go get it, girl. I’m proud of myself.

Why am I rambling on in this self-indulgent manner? I just feel like reflecting. I’m 29 now and when I look around I see and feel a lot of happiness. My life is full of people and food and writing and cooking. And I’m thankful. It’s not all honey pies, of course. Life isn’t always sweet, it’s sometimes heartbreaking, often scary and every now and then I burn my pie crust. I still need to pay Optus and some weeks I don’t see enough clients and we eat chickpeas for dinner three nights in a row. But we’re here and for not very long, so we live out our happy as earnestly as possible, with people who listen and love, who give and challenge and push us to uncompromisingly live our happy. For them, for the gyros-making gurus and loved-ones who fill your face with smiles, I am thankful. For them, I make pie.

…..

The picture below is my piled high plate from Friendsgiving this year at Yasmeen and Jase’s house. The room was filled with beautiful people doing crazy cool things in this world. One talent we all shared? Eating.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Yasmeen and her husband, Jase, make a ridiculously perfect turkey. Their technique is a mix of instinct and butter. You can read Yasmeen’s tips here (which also involves regular basting), plus more on her recent post about this year’s Friendsgiving. Our hosts also made cornbread (seriously) and stuffing with chestnuts (!!), as well as a boozy cranberry sauce and her family’s sweet potatoes. Guests brought more stuffing and other delights like scalloped potatoes and zucchini fritters. And then there was pumpkin pie (thank goodness), a divine fruit salad with dates and some cheese and chocolate that deserved much more attention than my measly nibble (it was the end of the night and despite wearing a loose-fitting dress I. Was. Done.).

I brought a salty honey pie, my favourite “sure thing” pie. I adore fruit-filled crusts, but find my results to be anything but consistent. Fruit fluctuates whereas honey is reliable. Plus, this recipe felt “on theme” and decidedly fall-esque for this autumn-like, spring Saturday. I’ve spoken of this pie before (here and here) but thought I might share the recipe again, with an updated picture and reaffirmed applause. This time around, Joy helped me get those crimped edges just right. Please, make this pie. And thank you for reading. I’m thankful for you too.

Sorry for swearing, Nana.

Salty Honey Pie (recipe link).

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

 

Heidi xo

Put Tabasco On It

November 23, 2014

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset
We’re a pro-Tabasco household. When in doubt, put Tabasco on it. Fried rice? Sure. Eggs? Niiiice. Fish tacos? Heck yeah.

I’ve been told the green Tabasco is a bit lame. Though that’s not really the right word. I wanted to tell you I have been called a pussy for going for the mild, green Tabasco as opposed to the hot red stuff (fair call)… but was trying to be a little more genteel than that, and so I put “pussy” into a synonym generator website. Don’t do that.

The point is we favour the green chilli sauce but will accept all Tabasco offerings. It’s a new love, this Tabasco business, but it’s a sure thing. One or two bottles live permanently in our fridge door, keenly clinking as we open it, reminding us to add a little to any and all of our dishes. Though I’m yet to make Tabasco porridge. And I don’t think I will.

Continue Reading…

Nut, Seed and Oat Loaf

November 19, 2014

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset
My Dad is the bread baker in our family. After almost two years of sourdoughing with great regularity, he can now churn out a stellar loaf like it’s no big deal. My parents went on holiday last month and I was given the task of feeding Sassy, Dad’s starter culture, a task I only very slightly messed up. I am happy to report that Sassy survived and has since formed a number of stellar loaves. Apparently Sassy is pretty resilient.

Dad’s talent in the bread department remains unrivalled and you know what? I haven’t fancied rivalling him until recently. My desire to have a starter of my own, a sister for Sassy, is growing. But until then I’ll eat thick slabs of perfect sourdough, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil or a spread of butter and sea salt when visiting.

And there’s also sourdough bread alternatives, like my quick brown seeded soda rolls and this obnoxiously nutritious nut, seed and oat loaf…
Continue Reading…

Sweet Potato and Raspberry Brownies

November 15, 2014

DSC00202
These “brownies” first came to my attention from Deliciously Ella and then the paleo crew. I wasn’t sold initially, clearly. “Pfffft”, I said. “I’ll save my sweet potato for abundance bowls, thank you very much!” But then one day I had a craving for baking, along with a serendipitous sweet potato and bunch of extra sticky Medjool dates, so I got to steaming and blending and baking and eating. The preparation was incredibly simply and the eating part? Well, it was really, really tasty. Not a true brownie (look to Alice Medrich for those), but really, truly tasty.

I feel like I’m constantly handing Ben and my brother sweet potato brownies from my freezer stash because, man, the dudes love this recipe. I’ve made them quite a few times over the past four months and no matter how I tinkered with the recipe (upping the dry ingredients and cooking time, etc) they remained moist and dense and just not a brownie... In the end I decided to roll with it and accept them for the rich, sweet, gooey slab they are. Those Paleo kids did good here, and this raspberry version is my favourite yet.

Continue Reading…

Today, Bread

November 12, 2014

Processed with VSCOcam with j5 preset

Breakfast today is bread, toasted.

In my opinion, bread that is not precisely fresh will always benefit from a gentle toasting. Even if it’s the day after baking, I reach for the toaster. It’s the crisp contrast I’m after, playing with starch and moisture and heat. It’s science. It’s cool.

This loaf was baked on Saturday and it’s wonderful. Of course it is, my Dad made it. His sourdough is the stuff of dreams and has given me a new appreciation for the practice of baking and breaking bread.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Recently I have written a few articles on this topic of bread for Food for Thought, a website by Marte Marie Forsberg, which you can read here. If you’re not already aware of, and in love with, Marie’s photographs and words, you might like to check out her website and follow her on instagram. Her pictures have the ability to warmly capture brief moments that feel like a lifetime lived. Slow living – a cup of tea with friends, a walk in the country with your dog, making a pot of soup on an Autumn Sunday… she makes these moments feel rich and beautiful and important, which they are.

Continue Reading…

Porridge with Pumpkin Seed Butter

November 10, 2014

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

A small post today, folks. I just wanted to pop by to say “hello!”, to check how your weekend was…did you feel sunshine on your body and drink gin? I hope so. I also wanted to inquire as to why we are not eating more pumpkin seed butter? What is going on here? Have we not realised the deliciousness yet? Do tell.

I recently discovered pepita spread in a health food store, Mayver’s brand. The very next morning I put in on my porridge and promptly flipped out. It is DELICIOUS. Yet I am not aware of others diving in with super eager spoons. Am I missing something? I spoke with Hannah on this very topic when she visited last week (she has sure authority on all things nut butter) and we agree on the distinct lack of pumpkin seed butter love songs. I’ve heard nothing on its loveliness across the interwebs or whilst grooving down supermarket aisles. We certainly aren’t ravaging it as keenly as we do tahini or peanut butter. Why is that, friends? It’s so very very good.

Continue Reading…

Baked Falafel and My Middle Eastern-Inspired Abundance Bowl

November 7, 2014

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset
In keeping with my intention to share more of my “everyday” recipes, today I’m writing about my most favourite meal, this Middle Eastern-inspired abundance bowl. Well, I guess If I’m being truthful, my most favourite meal might be beef cheek with ricotta gnocchi, slow roasted lamb or Sicilian swordfish…but for an everyday favourite, this meal is everything. And by everything I mean nourishing, fun to eat and crazy delicious.

Why “abundance bowl”? I believe it was the lovely Sarah who coined the term. It refers to bowls that are jam-packed, positively brimming (!) abundant with goodness. This version contains falafel and spiced eggplant with a tahini sauce, so I labelled it “Middle Eastern”. Please forgive any deviation from true Middle Eastern preparations or sensibilities, the emphasis is on “inspired”, as I do not hold any real authority on the matter. But I do love me some cumin and tahini. And my hope is that this recipe does just that – inspire some wholesome comfort eating. Bowl food is perfect for Friday night couch + movie dates. With a generous glass of wine. So let’s get at it.

Continue Reading…

Roasted Chickpea and Carrot Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

November 4, 2014

DSC08858

We all have those jobs we cannot stand but have to do as they’re part of being a grown up. Some are common, like chores. I mean, I despise dusting. Ugh. Right? And what’s up with paying car registration? Then there’s those irritations that are a bit more…unique. Things that are less predictably annoying but for some reason you find them difficult or dull or draining.

As part of my job as a dietitian, I need to keep on top of nutrition science. That’s cool, except for the fact that I hate, HATE (!) reading journal articles. The content is interesting, but the format makes me zzzzzz. I just cannot keep my eyes open long enough to get past the abstract. I was clearly never destined to be a research dietitian.

So whenever I can I get Ben to read me scientific journals. And it’s hilarious, as he fumbles over words like “anaerobic” and adds such expression into the methodology section. It’s fantastic! Long drives become super educational and enjoyable. And in return for this narration, I do boring tasks and pack away the tupperware containers that, if left to Ben’s attention, would sit on the bench. For days. Dude hates putting away tupperware. This is our exchange.

Another way I say “thanks for teaching me about gut microbiota and extra virgin olive oil” is with food. Fancy salads are particular appreciated. And would you look at that, this preparation contains both fermented soybeans and extra virgin olive oil.

Continue Reading…

Butter, for Dad

November 1, 2014

DSC00411

Today is my Dad’s birthday.

Wait, didn’t we just have my brothers birthday? And mine? Correct. In fact, between my birthday on September 23rd & my brother’s birthday on October 23rd we also had my younger brother’s on the 2nd and mum’s on the 3rd. Ooof. And now it’s the first of November, the birthday of my dear, sock-loving Dad. My Dad, the eldest of six who had a paper route and played with rockets as a kid, who grew long hair and studied science then became a maths teacher (and sex education teacher, as I recently unnecessarily discovered), later a father and even later a psychologist and member of the cloud appreciation society…that guy, that weird and wonderful guy turns 60 today. And I couldn’t be prouder to be his daughter.

For a long and studious while I was distracted by books on Dad’s birthday, as the start of November always meant EXAMS. Celebrations co-existed with cramming for physiology. And Dad was cool with that, I know he was proud that I too was completing a science-based degree. But I also know he is happy this day is once again completely and utterly his. He doesn’t like to share. I won’t tell you that Mum would often make two desserts for dinner parties – one for the table, one for dad the next day… Oops, I just told you.

An inability to share desserts and sit through movies is Dad’s downfall. I’ve always loved the cinema, though I recall a few ill-fated movie dates with Dad when I was young. One time when I was about ten he said we should go, just us two. I was so excited, I got all dressed up and wore my new, long, classy black skirt for this special movie date with my sweet, fun-loving father. It was a documentary about bugs.

The next movie date we saw, wait for it, The Ring. I had nightmares.

Yeah, we don’t have a good movie track record. Though we both agree on the brilliance of Babette’s Feast. Throw in food and Dad is far more likely to give you attention. And, movies aside, we do share many interests, like this love of food. Notably, bread, campari and peanut butter. And butter. As Dad so keenly quotes, “You can never have too much butter” – from the movie Julie and Julia. Dad always said that Julia Child herself said that but I cannot find corroboration of this fact, I believe it was from the brilliant mind of Nora Ephron. Either way, it’s a philosophy my father lives by. And today, Dad, it’s true.

Continue Reading…

Cacao Overnight Oats

October 29, 2014

Tonight Ben and I are staying at my friend’s house in the city. We’re making salmon and greens and I am super excited because I just love a mid-week date. Thursday morning I’m attending a workshop on encouraging a non-dietitian approach to weight management, which should be really great. That’s what I’m all about. And then we’re meeting friends for dinner. Good things.

Initially we were going to get into the city super early today to work from Ben’s office, but after a dinner of steak with a mustard olive spread my friend gifted and an episode of Parks and Recreation, decided to hand out at home first thing. This meant a lovely, lingering morning, which I spent doing yoga videos and writing these words because I could not not share…
Firstly, Adriene is my yoga guru. I adore her and think she is tops, and although I don’t really know her I kind of feel like we’re best friends. Her videos make me move, which I’ve come to learn is essential if I want to feel awesome. Which I do. They also make me breathe and smile and laugh and twist and I, yeah, I just really love them.

Secondly, these cacao oats were bonkers good – so satisfying and outrageously rich in both flavour and nutrients. Food that ignites my happy hormones and nourishes my body is my favourite, and if you don’t have raw cacao in your pantry I urge you to go get some because it does just that. This is why I love pana chocolate. The raw nature of it means more nutrients and a “musky” flavour, as Ben described last night while I was prepping breakfast. He freakin loves the stuff. Ben then proceeded to inquire as to why we need magnesium. AH! The sweetness. He makes my heart melt.

So here we are, friends, on this fine Wednesday morning. A bowl of cacao overnight oats and a full heart. Namaste.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

Continue Reading…