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A Travelling Cook: February 2014

A Travelling Cook

A Travelling Cook: February 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Link A Long: Cate's insprirations

I was reading Pip Lincolne's Meet me at Mikes blog  and she discussed the idea that blogs are more skimmed these days than read and commented upon and people are slow to celebrate those who inspire them in blog land. I've been blogging for a few years on and off, starting in about 2006. Blogging's an interesting endeavour.

 I used to post a lot about my crafty creations, something I rarely have time to do anymore beyond making door snakes for Green Renters and bits of pieces that charm me from the internet. I don't do a full confessional kind of trajectory, I'm in the public enough through my work. I'm child free, so I'm not a mummy blogger. I'm not a design/house/architecture fetishist thought I love skimming through pics of houses, my financial status and rental life makes it akin to reading magazines (something I rarely do). I'm just me, bumbling along, with a charity we're about to wind up, a husband and a cat . I  enjoy cooking and going out and reading and I'm  planning for an overseas move and a fictional book I'm writing. I don't really fit a category.  Maybe you're a bit like this too? 

At any rate, I wanted to share a few who inspire. 

A Girl Called Jack, Jack Monroe

Jack is awesome. After experiencing severe financial hardship, she started documenting low cost nutritious recipes to help other people in similar situations. She started writting and speaking about the realities of poverty in modern Britain, becoming a spokesperson for thousands. She stands up to politicans, challenges the assumptions about the unemployed and food banks and now she has her head above water, supports the campaigns of others against poverty. She has a recipe book coming out any day now.

Definatalie, Natalie Perkins


Brilliant artist and fat activist, Natalie is someone I've had the pleasure of knowing for a few years now. She and her husband Nick even house sat for us on occasion! Natalie writes (albeit infrequently) about the realities of life with mental illness and life as an artist. I was particularly impressed when she eschewed the trappings of the fatshionista blog scene noting
" Under the guise of inclusivity, fatshion is really just encouraging the divorce between politics and embodiment; it's hamstrung by brands and in the same trap as the “straight sized” world."

Planet vegmel, assorted bloggers, Melbourne

A collection of vegan and vegetarian bloggers that are Melbourne based aggregate their blogs here to share recipes, challenges, restaurant recipes and related foodie goodness. 

Some of my favourite recipes have been Michael and Cindy's (from Where's the Beef ) vegan sausage rolls and Johanna's (from Green Gourmet Giraffe) broccoli and hazelnut burgers.



A Beautiful Mess, by Elsie and Emma

ABM is a lifestyle blog covering travelling, DIY crafts and creativity, cooking and cocktails, home life and the realities of small business America. At times the American tone makes me wince but I love the authentic voices, diversity of topics, and gorgeous pics. They're business owners, book authors, fashion and decor designers and  write a blog that millions of people, have produced a  #1 selling app and to sum up a million dollar business. Food for thought.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Seedy flapjacks

My husband is English and one of the treats he really misses in Australia are flapjacks. A slice, typically combining rolled oats, butter and golden syrup, it's sticky and sweet and it's healthy appearance belies the calorie content! I decided to bake some with some additions and replaced golden syrup with agave as I'd run out. Apologies for less than brilliant pics, really gloomy here today! 


  • 200g brown sugar ( I used a combination of raw and white sugar as I'd run out of brown)
  • 200g rolled oats
  • 200g Nuttlex
  • 1 cup flour
  • handful walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons pepita and sunflower seeds
  • 6 dried digs, diced
  • 150ml agave syrup

1. Put the butter, sugar and agave in a saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. 


2. Add the oats, flour, figs, nuts and seeds  and mix well.

3. Transfer the oat mixture to the prepared cake tin and spread to about 2cm  thick.

4. Smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. 

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges, but still slightly soft in the middle.
6. Let cool in the tin, then turn out and cut into squares.  

Mine ended up slightly burnt but more due to my dodgy oven than anything else. Really tasty, the nuts caramelise and the taste is reminiscent of toffee popcorn! 

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Food for thought

Cheap words: Amazon is good for customers, but is it good for books? by George Packer

Jack Monroe: 'I'm a lefty, liberal, lezzer cook by Tim Adams. I'm a huge fan of Jack Monroe and love her blog to bits. 

Just finished watch Top of the Lake

Also watching Casualty on You Tube (my guilty indulgence)

Not too much work after running 8 workshops over the last couple of weeks. I'm working on the plans for running a planning day for the Darebin Fruit Squad on Friday, and a couple of events I'm hosting and some workshops. Here's a couple of pics of me teaching workshops: The first one was reducing food waste through using leftovers (in this case a raw workshop) and one on container and small space gardening.


I made a really simple couple of pies on the weekend. Besides that, not so much sadly!

Things I'm liking

Cute cards with fruit and vegetable puns :

This lovely place 

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Grow your own salad sprouts without a garden

 Looking for a quick way to grow something healthy without needing a lot of space? Even if you don't have a garden, these sprouts are a great project.

Things you need:
  • Clean sterilised jars (you don't need the lid)
  • Muslin fabric
  • Rubber bands
  • Sprout seeds (you could try alfalfa, mustard, mung beans, chickpeas, peas or even radish and broccoli seeds)
  • Water
  • Bucket/sink

  1. Put a tablespoon of seeds in your jar. Add a small amount of water to cover the seeds, and top with a small piece of muslin and a rubber band. Ensure the muslin is wet. Shake jar gently and leave for 4-6 hours in a light spot. If you have a lot of bigger seeds, a tray will also work
  2. Fill your jar with a small amount of water and drain by tipping upside down and letting it leak through the muslin into a bucket. Shake the seeds gently and lie the jar on it's side. Repeat this process 2-3 times a day, ensuring that the muslin is always wet and the seeds are damp.
  3. Within 1-3 days your seeds will start to sprout. After a day:

After a week:


What I like most about them is that they are a bright vivid green, unlike the rather pale offering that you can buy at the supermarket. I've had this batch for over a week and they are still fresh and not slimy or mouldy. 

Another option is when the bigger seeds have sprouts (such as peas) you can plant them in a shallow soil and shoots will grow which can be snipped off and served in salads. These microgreens are considered highly nutritious and a great addition to many veggie dishes. 

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Edible gifts: Onion jam

It's a good friend's 40th birthday today so I decided to make him a gift pack of:

  • Sourdough bread
  • Onion jam
  • Red pepper chilli relish
  • Pumpkin jam
  • Mango and passionfruit cordial
  • Cashew fetta cheese
  • Cashew goats cheese and chives

I quite like caramelised onions and this recipe is a very popular one in my classes and incorporates my fool proof technique.

Onion Jam
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 600g of brown onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3 tablespoons of red wine/balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cold water

  1. Dice onions thinly.

  1. Heat pan to low heat. Add onions dry. This is the key. Cook them dry, stirring gently as needed so they don't stick. They should brown lightly (see below).

2. Heat olive oil & butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

3. Add Heat olive oil, butter, spices and thyme. Cook stirring occasionally on low heat for 35 mins or until golden:

4. Add sugar. Cook, stirring, for 5 mins.

5. Add vinegar & cold water, bring to the boil.

6. Reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 5 mins or until thick.

7. Store in sterilised jars. 

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Catching up with Cate picture free

Bit of a quiet albeit all over the place week this week. I had my mobile phone stolen from a cafe a couple of days ago so I haven't been able to take photos of all the yummy foods I've been making (almond milk, cashew yogurt, tempeh) in preparation for this weekend's class. Lots of fermenting which I enjoy and cooking of soy beans.

I'm also trying to sort through the zillion different gluten free flours I have to combine and make something edible. A quick (too scared to delve too deeply) peruse of the shelf in the pantry and I found:
-Wheat flours.

Will need to do some research. I was in a wholefoods store yesterday (buying Nutritional Yeast) and I saw pea and lentil flour. Curiouser and curiouser!

Still trying to cull household stuff in preparation for the move to Germany. I really should be working on my appalling language skills. I've been struggling a lot with insomnia which doesn't help my focus and concentration.

Busy working on a few different workshops and organising a Preserving the  Harvest event in March in Northcote where people can come and learn but also teach their own recipes. Will make a poster tomorrow I think. I've also got a heap of workshops over the next few weeks with the Sustainable Living Festival. Green Renters are not doing a stall this year at the Festival, like many people we speak to, we find that the 'big weekend' tends to attract the converted and it's been blisteringly hot and unpleasant the last two years which has dropped numbers. A lot of (unpaid) effort for little return.

Going for my first swimming lesson tomorrow night, a Christmas gift from my husband. I can swim, just with rather poor technique. I'm hoping it will help with my breathing and build up my stamina to swim more than a handful of laps. I enjoy swimming, quite meditative.

 Better fly, off to dinner with a friend.

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