This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
A Travelling Cook: May 2014

A Travelling Cook

A Travelling Cook: May 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014

On the mend and Food for Thought

Bit of a weird week this week. I went to see the vascular surgeon on Wednesday after seeing the specialist physio the week before. Thursday morning I got a call, I was booked in for surgery the following day! I had a bilateral fasciotomy to treat compartment syndrome. It's basically a condition where one's lower legs feel chronic pain or tightness and the only way to treat it is to cut the fascia vertically. I've tried a lot of other treatment (including six pairs of orthotics) and it's such a relief to be accurately diagnosed and treated. I won't post a link about the surgery as they all involve pictures which don't look great!


Due to my limited finances I was able to do it as day surgery which was great as I didn't have to stay overnight in hospital.  I  had a weird reaction coming out of the anaesthetic and had to be sedated. Oops. The pain is now manageable thanks to the painkillers though I have to keep the dressing on for a week. I'm actually teaching workshops everyday this week, luckily I can do it sitting down and I've got some helpers for part of the week!

 If you are in the area, come visit me at Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre between 12pm and 1:30pm next week! I'll be teaching ways a few different things:
TuesdayJam and chutney making
WednesdayLove leftovers, reduce food waste
ThursdayIntroduction to pickling
FridayContainer and small space gardening
SaturdayContainer and small space gardening
SundayJam and chutney making

Here's a few things that are holding my attention this week:
How amazing are these flowers? Hard to believe they are made out of paper!

Loving these images of children's reference books in the 1970's. 

I'm teaching a vegan roast masterclass in June as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival's June Roast series. You can find out more about it herehttp://greenrenters.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=470. I was interviewed by a journo from The Age about it earlier in the week so hopefully it'll get enough bookings to run. By the way if anyone has a good source for vital gluten flour, let me know! I've rang many health food shops and am struggling to find it IRL stores (I like to give everyone info on where to find things). 

I love the idea of visible mending but unfortunately most of my clothes are a bit too far gone by the time I get to it. I even included some works of it in an exhibition I curated a few years ago:

 Tom of Holland has some great imagery and resources that are fantastic!

Love this interview with Mirka Mora on Design Files. Such a wonderful woman.

Stephen King's Top 20 Rules for writers.

I love the good work of Defy Ventures

Laura Kemp's 9 Reasons why I love Chic Lit.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Make your own washing powder


I've taught over 50 natural cleaning workshops. Probably closer to 100. I think it's great that people want to make their homes more sustainable and avoid to use of toxic chemicals, making the space kinder to people, pets and plants to boot. If like me, you may find the $10+ costs for a container of 'enviro friendly' washing machine powder a bit prohibitive making your own is a great option. 

So, here's what I make...I get all the 'ingredients' from plain old supermarket. I don't have time to go to a co-op or health food shop for expensive products. This recipe works on front and top loaders with hot or cold water.

  • 4 cups grated pure soap (e.g. Sunlight soap) or Lux Flakes
  • 1 cup washing soda* or for a heavy wash 1 cup borax**
  • 1 teaspoon tea tree or eucalyptus oil. 
  1. Mix all ingredients together well
  2. Store in a plastic container with a lid
  3. Use 1 tablespoon per wash. I keep a small jug in the container and add the tablespoon then dissolve with hot water before adding to the washing machine. 
* Washing soda is the mineral sodium carbonate and in Australia is commonly known by the brand name "Lectric". Lectric soda comes in crystal or powdered form - the crystal is also fantastic in a bath for aching muscles.

**Borax is a naturally occurring mineral (sodium borate) but too much on your garden is toxic to plants and worms, so if you are going to use your grey water on your garden, leave out the Borax.In general, I use Borax for washing really smelly towels and sneakers as I've tried nothing else works as well. It can be added to your washing water but personally I limit it to grey water which goes on hardier non-edible pot plants or to wash the floor or my bike.
ta dah!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Point of difference: who are you?

I love the way that so many people are so different and I sometimes wonder what causes them to be different. I feel that with the rise of television, infotainment, celebrity, popular culture, sponsored bloggers and the like, we are constantly given perceptions of who we are based on what we have and what we consume. I know from running Green Renters for example, that many people have a very set idea of a) how the founder of a national charity should be and b) what a sustainability 'expert' will be like. I tend to surprise people a bit as I don't tend to fit their stereotypes. No, I don't read the Herald Sun or watch Channel 9 (considered more right wing activities), but I also don't wear clogs and Gorman sack dresses. Or thai fisherman pants. (I have actually had two pairs of clogs in the past but gave up after the buckles kept falling off).

  1. I don't drive. I'm 38 but I never learnt. I moved to the city for University and had no one to teach me. After that I couldn't afford it and/or was struggling with bipolar and driving wasn't a good idea at that time. The thought of driving makes me nervous. Some people find it astonishing that someone can be in their late 30's and never had driven. I take public transport, ride a bike and use taxis as needed.
  2. I make all my own cleaning products with the exception of dishwashing liquid. Dishwashing liquid is very hit and miss and when you make your own you tend to need far much more than when one is mass produced.
  3. I adore crime shows and crime fiction. Big fan of the work of Jimmy McGovern and Val McDermid amongst others. I studied criminology at Uni. Yes, it's all very interesting but employment requires many years of further training.
  4. I far prefer winter to summer. I find hot weather exhausting and find I always have plenty to do in winter. I also don't feel guilty being indoors cooking, reading, crafting when the sun isn't shining. I always have a internal dialogue that says one 'should' be doing things on sunny days but often I don't have the time or people to do them with.
  5. I've been self employed for six years. I work from home all of the week except for meetings, workshops and buying materials, errands, post office etc. Self employment has many merits but there are also many disadvantages. I work most weekends. I've had only one job on a Monday only in six years. No one books anything on Mondays. I couldn't do it forever. That said, I'm moving to Leipzig to work on a chic lit (romance) novel. Enforced self employment really.
  6. I enjoy crime fiction and chic lit. I am not ashamed of this.
  7. I've never been part of any sporting team. I've never followed any sporting team. I've never seen a sports game in it's entirity. I'm just not interested, I'd rather read a book-except for roller derby recently. That was fun. My husband asked if I wanted to go again. My reply "Why? I've already seen a game".
  8. I make all my own skincare. I don't make soap though, I don't need any more crafts!
  9. I don't have children or any inclination to have children. I never have. I think some people see child rearing as a rite of passage to adulthood and don't consider being childfree as a viable life choice. I think people who really want kids should have them and I feel sorry for those who are infertile. Me,  I have other things that I devote my passions to.
  10. I have a rare health condition called Idiopathic Angioedema. It's been really quiet this year which is fantastic.
  11. I don't own a telly. But we watch plenty of online shows of our choosing. At the moment I'm watching Greek. It's suitably mindless whilst doing other things like sewing. 
Do you want to join in? I love getting to know people

Labels: , , ,

Friday, May 2, 2014

I'm still here!

                                          pic from here

Sorry I'm a bit quiet at the moment. I went to see my surgeon yesterday for post-op check up . Unfortunately the first surgery has fixed one lower leg problem but has not solved the bigger problem of chronic compartment syndrome. As a consequence I need to have a double fasciotomy, which is surgery on each leg. To my knowledge it's a fairly minor surgery but requires an overnight stay in hospital. Like the majority of surgeries of the lower limb, it's considered elective. The timing financially isn't great but it would be good to get it done before my sea change.

I saw a physio today who specialises in the condition and I have been given three things to do which will prepare me for surgery:

  • Lower leg emersion as frequently as possible in ice water (to reduce the inflammation of the fascia). Sitting in a bath full of ice cubes? Not fun! 
  • A specific stretch
  • Keeping off my feet (not so easy!).

Its all a bit nerve wracking, especially as the surgery doesn't always work (because the fascia can grow back and reattach) but it's apparently more successful in severe cases like mine.

What else have I been up to?

I ran a Community Preserving day in Heidelberg. We made 6 recipes including Strawberry & Apple Jam, Tomato Kasundi and pickled Beetroot.

We've booked out overseas flights (including Mr Pablo's journey).

I've been working on a Community Leadership Program around themes of sustainability and food waste reduction since October last year, writing curriculum and training the participants. On Wednesday night three groups successfully pitched for seed funding for their projects which include a no waste cooking program for kids and grandparents; a monthly meet up for foodies in the eastern suburbs and a permaculture primary school project. I feel so proud to know them all and we'll be reporting on their progress (and helping their promotion) through Green Renters.

I've also been making loads of double door snakes for Green Renters online store. We use them at home in this cold weather and they really make a difference.

Things I've been reading:

This account (and recipes) of an edible flowers cooking workshop featured on the blog Adventures in Cooking. I often use herbs and flowers in my cordial making so I was very enchanted. 

I love this idea of a Clandestine Cake Club. I might even start one in Leipzig! 

"This Man Is About to Die Because an Alcoholic Lawyer Botched His Case", by Marc Bookman in  Mother Jones. I majored in Criminology at University (one of those interested but non-vocational course if zillions of post graduate courses are not undertaken) and I've always had an interest in miscarriages of justice. I followed the case of the West Memphis Three with a sense of absolute horror and eventual relief at their release due to the Alford plea. Whilst the Australian judicial system is far from perfect, we fortunately no longer have the death penalty. 

I'v also been doing some planning for my novel and upcoming events like our next Vegan cooking masterclass in June. I'm making rejuvelac at the moment in preparation for some cashew mozzarella balls. I like to practice my recipes before classes! 

Labels: , , , , , ,