Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Some more cool street art from the backstreets of Newtown.. I like this guy! What creative use of an old can and bottle tops. We can all only hope to be reincarnated with such style :)

Monday, October 5, 2009


I'm really in love with this vegetable at the moment. The lettuce-like leaves are surprisingly sturdy and so can be cooked. It has a strong, bitter taste that adds a lot of depth to any dish. I recently had it quickly stir fried with some chickpeas, cumin and garlic, as a side to some fish. I have also quickly grilled it, with some other vegetables such as asparagus, tomato and corn, and dressed with a simple yogurt and lemon dressing. It goes well with goats cheese and other rich creamy things too, as it's sharp flavour is a strong contrast to their richness.

I was really looking forward to drawing it too, as it has such beautiful colours and lines. It will be a nice flash of colour for my calendar, amongst the large amount of orange and green that is more common in fruit and vegies.
Even though I've drawn it in October, it's in season in May, so I'll put it in that month in the calendar.

miso easy!

My brother went to Japan recently, and brought me back a cool new contraption.. a sieve for making miso soup!

Simply place the miso paste in the sieve and then lower it down into the soup. Paddle around with the little spatula and the miso is dissolved and distributed evenly. It's so much easier and effective than just trying to stir the paste around into the soup. I always end up with one big salty spoonful at the end.
Thanks bro!

Friday, October 2, 2009


Avocadoes are beautiful at the moment, and pretty much go with everything in my opinion.
Some favourite combinations are:
- avocado with corn and blackbeans
- avocado mashed with miso! (try it.. it's great)
- avocado in a salad with tahini dressing.. incredibly creamy and indulgent
- avocado on sourdough with lemon and salt.. it's nature's butter!
- avodado with tomato and cheese

They seem to have been around for most of the year but at the moment they're extra creamy and don't seem to bruise or go off as easily. I have been mainly buying the black hass variety but saw the big round green variety in the supermarket the other day. I've had one of those off a friend's tree which was great.. but somehow don't trust those from the supermarket. They seem just a bit too big and too green!


Recently I set up a compost bin for my block of units. I was unsure of how to go about it but I did a workshop with the Watershed, which was really helpful and I came away with a free compost bin as well! It's great to see the Sydney City Council encouraging people to live sustainably with intiatives like this.
Here's how I set up my bin:

1. I put the bin on a patch of dirt so that it will attract worms, slaters and other little creatures that will help to break down the food waste. Ideally, it should be in the sun as heat helps the composting process. But if you don't have a spot in the sun (as I didn't) it's OK, the process will just take a bit longer.
2. Put down a layer of green, or carbon matter. This includes hay, paper, dried leaves, hair etc.
3. Put down a layer of brown, or nitrogen matter such as food scraps.
4. Put down another layer of carbon matter and sprinkle with water, then cover with a hessian sack, also sprinkled with water.

I've been maintaining the bin by aerating it twice a week, much easier now I have obtained a compost corkscrew! I can already see some good compost soil forming in the bin, so it must be working! Hopefully more and more people in my building will start using it. Since I've been putting my food scraps and peelings in there I've dramatically reduced my waste. I barely fill one plastic bag of garbage now. Well on my way to zero waste!
The Watershed have some other interesting workshops on that I'm keen to check out, such as Natural Cleaning, and Eating Sustainably.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kiwi fruit

These are absolutely beautiful at the moment.. not too sour or floury or sweet or watery! Just the right creamy sweet/tart goodness that we expect from a chinese goosebery. My preferred method of consumption is just digging straight in with a spoon, or they also make a luxurious addition to any fruit salad. But I recently tried juicing one with some celery and ginger and it was surprisingly good.
It was really interesting drawing all the different shades of green in the flesh of the kiwifruit, and the striations coming out from the centre. I'm pretty pleased with the result!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Corella pear

I picked up some of these for the first time last weekend. I couldn't resist their beautiful colours, and they are the perfect snacking size. They seem to have a more subtle taste than a regular green pear.. but I need to give them a chance to get soft before I form an official opinion on the taste. But it was a delight to draw their beautiful gradation of colours.. it reminded me of a sunrise, or a peachface bird for some reason..

Food for the Future Fair

I've become involved in doing the design work for the 2nd Annual Chippendale Food for the Future Fair, to be held on Saturday 24th October on Kensington street in Chippendale. It's an event that I'm very excited about, and am enjoying working on something that I really believe in.
The fair promotes buying produce from growers in the local Sydney and Hawkesbury region, and will have lots of information and workshops about living sustainably. Make a note in your diary.. and watch this space!


Brocollini first made an appearance at the farmers markets in mid August, and has been becoming increasingly abundant in the grower's stall ever since. I like cooking with it as it is a bit sweeter than normal brocolli, and seems to cook a little more quickly as well. I quite like broccoli stems.. but I would imagine if you didn't then broccolini might seem a bit unappealing.
It's just as well I like it, as I got a whole big bag of it from Yuri's sustainable produce at the Eveleigh Farmer's markets for $3!
This weekend I cooked it slowly with some leeks and butter and then baked it in a tart with some sour cream and homemade wholemeal pastry. It's also nice quickly pan fried and then tossed through pasta with oil, lemon, parmesan, anchovies and chilli. But lately I've just been loving parboiling it with some cauliflower and whatever other vegies I have, and topping it with tahini sauce.. yum!


I came across this cool arrangement of milk crates near my place recently. Could this be a new form of street art?! I like it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


These are so beautiful at the moment.. the perfect sauce for your fruit salad!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


There's a wisteria vine on the way to my train station which I've noticed has sprung to life in the most spectacular way in recent weeks. It's amazing watching nature change at such a rapid pace.. nothing says spring like this kind of sudden abundance and vivacity.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Blood orange

Blood oranges started appearing at fruit stores in late August. I bought a few organic ones at Eveleigh farmers markets and added them to my usual fresh orange juice and they added a whole other dimension of sherbet-y goodness to the flavour.

The flesh looks so impressive when you cut it.. with so many variations of colour it's just begging to be drawn. So I had a lot of fun illustrating this one, and the reds deepened as I was drawing, perhaps as a result of being exposed to oxygen. I don't know.. I"m no scientist.. I just draw it and drink it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Naisy's Naturals

I've been getting back into making natural skincare and beauty products at home lately, stuff like facemasks, and body oils with essential oils. So I thought it would be a nice present idea for all my nearest and dearest.. most of whom seem to be born in August! During the process of making things for people I evolved a brand (graphic designer that I am) called Naisy's Naturals!
Here's the label design I came up with:

And here's how some of the products looked in the end.

I used old containers that I've kept from previous beauty products and oils. It gives such a warm feeling to give people something natural, ethical and from the heart. Everyone wins!

Monday, August 31, 2009


You say pawpaw, I say papaya.. some people even call it poo poo.. Whatever name it's going by, it absolutely delicious at the moment so I really didn't mind buying a whole one to draw for my calendar. It has a beautiful melt in your mouth texture and a strong sweet flavour, especially good when combined with some passionfruit pulp and lime juice.
Paw paw aids digestion so it's a good fruit to have for dessert, although I've been loving it for breakfast with yogurt and whatever other fruit I have around.
An inside drawing to follow soon.. once I cut this baby up for brekky!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Yay, it's asparagus time again! These little spears of goodness are so satisfying to look at, standing up neatly in their bunches, ready for action. They always look vaguely unnatural too me.. too perfectly formed and almost plastic like in their smoothness and colouring.
The first thing I made with them so far is Jamie Oliver's delicious creamy asparagus soup:
Sorry for the link, I know it's cheating but his pic of the recipe is very inspiring.
Speaking of pics, I managed to do a drawing of one spear before it got swept up into my pot..

Stitches and craft show

Went along to the stitches and craft show last weekend, which was an interesting mix of inspiring and naff. We particularly enjoyed the incubator area, where most of the more contemporary crafters had their stalls. I got to see the fabrics of ink and spindle in the flesh, which was great as I have admired their stuff for quite a while.
I picked up some nice lace and a couple of decorative flowers, that I might sew onto some tops one day..

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Broad beans

I popped into Harris Farm fruit and veg today and was delighted to see broad beans on sale! Broad beans are one of my favourite things, and they have such a short season that I feel compelled to buy them whenever I see them. I love their freshness and greeness..(yes that IS a word!) Whenever I'm preparing them I can't help smelling the inside of the pod, as it just smells so fresh and clean. Mashed on toast with olive oil and salt, tossed through pasta with parmesan and lemon, or served with ocean trout as I had this evening, they are one of life's pleasures.

I made these two drawings of the broadbeans, I'm not sure which one I prefer. I might do a few more as I really want to capture the shape of the bulging pods.

A ray of hope!

I was very excited to spy cherry blossoms on sale at the eveleigh markets.. for me this is always the first sign of spring. And I'm not the only one to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. My friend Emma over at Emma Jane Illustration saw some jasmine about to bloom, and my mum has seen the first ray of light hit her kitchen window sill.. the first stage of its long journey, which extends all the way through her loungeroom by the middle of summer.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pumpkin udon noodle soup

With the beautiful, brightly fleshed pumpkins around at the moment, it's good to find as many different ways to consume them as possible! This is a recipe I've recently discovered, and am enjoying this new way of appreciating the flavour and texture of pumpkin. It combines so well with spinach and udon, and the gentle saltiness of dashi stock really brings its sweetness. It's also nice having it in a soup, but still in chunks, as opposed to the traditional pureed pumpkin soup.
Dashi stock is available from most health food stores and japanese grocery stores.

Pumpkin udon noodle soup
1. Cut half a small pumpkin into 2cm cubes. Remove the stems from two fresh shitake mushrooms and slice the caps into 3cm pieces.
2. Make 750ml dashi stock. Combine in a saucepan with 1tbs mirin, 1 tbs soy sauce and 1/2tbs sugar and bring to the boil, stirring.
3. Peel and julienne one carrot and add to the stock, and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add the pumpkin, mushrooms and 1/2 package of sliced silken tofu and cook for a further five minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender.
5. Cook half a package of udon noodles in boiling water for five minutes, drain and place in a bowl.
6. Add 1/3 bunch english spinach to the soup and then remove from heat.
7. Ladle the soup, vegetables and spinach over the noodles, and scatter with green onions.
Serves 1.

The joy of pumpkins

There are so many levels of joy to be derived from this one simple pumpkin.
1. I bought it for the princely sum of $2 from the eveleigh farmers markets, so it's fresh, cheap and chemical free!
2. It was a lovely object to have sitting on my kitchen bench until I decided what to do with it.
3. I was very pleased with the drawing I did of it..

This one I did on brown paper (recycled from some flowers I bought last week!). I tried to represent the pumpkin's green/grey dusty skin using a combination of green and blue pencils, as well as white, brown and orange pastels. Finished off with charcoal pencil.
4. I made a delicious pumpkin and spinach udon noodle soup with it.. (recipe to follow).

This pumpkin's time on earth was not wasted.. if only if it brought such happiness to little old me!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Swine flu is rife.. it's time to dose up on garlic and bolster the body with some carbs. According to my Organic Cookbook potatoes are a good source of vitamin C and B group vitamins. Organic potatoes are helpful in supporting the body's natural resistance and keeping energy levels steady. Their peel can be safely eaten, boosting fibre levels, nutrition and flavour. Waxy potatoes (such as new potatoes, Kipfler, Pink Fir Apple and Charlotte) are ideal for frying and steaming, while floury potatoes (Maris Piper, Estima, Yukon Goldare good for mashing, steaming and in soups.
This weekend I made a delicious batch of Potato, parsley and garlic soup to get those piggies on the run.

Potato, parsley and garlic soup

1. Finely chop up 750g of your preferred type of potato, 8 cloves of garlic and one onion.
2. In a large pot heat up a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter and saute the potatoes, garlic and onion for five minutes, or until the onion is soft and transparent.
3. Finely chop up most of a bunch of parsley. Add half of this to the pot, along with 1.5L vegetable stock.
4. Bring to the boil, partially cover and reduce heat to simmer for half an hour.
5. Add the remaining parsley and a cup of milk/soy milk.
6. With a hand blender, puree the soup to your desired consistency. Season to taste.
7. Serve with lots of cracked pepper and wholemeal sourdough..mmmm :)

Orchard fruits

We often think of winter fruit as being pretty boring compared to the wide variety available in summer and autumn. But perhaps we should think of it as a chance to appreciate a more subtle range of flavours. The difference between apples and pears, for example, or even between types of apples can be quite distinct.
I used to think the catchy names for apples were a bit arbitrary, and maybe even just a marketing ploy, but this year I've been enjoying trying the different types as they come and go out of their own mini-seasons. At work we've been known to get quite passionate discussing the punchy sweetness of a pink lady in contrast to yesterday's jonagold..although some fail to appreciate the virtues of such comparisons.

Things to do with orchard fruits:
* put them in a compote (e.g. rhubarb and pear compote shown here in a previous post)
* simmer briefly to soften, and then bake in a cake

* bake an apple for dessert, stuffed with walnut, brown sugar, spices and raisins. Bake in oven for half an hour, in a tray with a bit of water in it to help steam and soften it.
* slice them up into small pieces and put into your porridge when you cook it.
* juice them and have a hot spicy drink.

Reasons to buy organic orchard fruits:
* non organic apples and pears are sprayed with toxic fungacides, herbicides, insecticides and growth regulating hormones. The insecticides are a similar chemical to nerve gases.
* Although you can peel the fruit to avoid consuming these chemicals, this is the most nutritionally rich part of the fruit.
* before going on sale, the fruit is often treated with preservatives.These lengthen its shelf life, but don't preserve the nutrients within the fruit.
* the fruit is often picked before it is ripe, which also reduces it's nutritional value.

Tofu with miso sauce

The end of a challenging week and another cold winter's night called for a good dose of protein, bolstered with a hearty flavour. Glad for an excuse to fire the oven up, I made an all time winter favourite, tofu with miso sauce. Baking tofu gives it quite a different flavour and texture to steaming or stir-frying it, particularly when it's slathered with this delicious miso sauce.
The shallots also have quite a different flavour when roasted whole. While it was all baking in the oven I fried up some vegetables with some soba noodles in an impromptuyaki soba. It's important in macrobiotic cooking to try to use several different cooking methods in the one meal, to balance the energy of the meal.

Tofu with miso sauce.
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Cut firm tofu into slices about 7cm thick, and then cut these into squares.
3. Place whole shallots along the bottom of an oven dish, and arrange the tofu squares on top of the shallots, so that they are leaning on each other like dominoes.

4. In a suribachi (Japanese mortar and pestle), mortar and pestle, or just a bowl, combine two tablespoons of dark miso (my favourite is brown rice miso, but barley miso is nice too) with the juice of half a lemon, or to taste. Blend into a smooth paste. Add 1/4-1/3 cup of water and puree until smooth and creamy.
5. Spread the miso sauce over the tofu squares evenly, so that each square has some sauce on it.
6. Place oven dish in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Prepare accompanying vegetables and grains of your choice.
7. Take out of the oven and sprinkle sesame seeds and sliced shallots on top of the tofu and miso sauce and place back in the oven for a further five minutes.
8. Serve and devour! (in a balanced, macrobiotic fashion ;)

This recipe was taken from the Changing Seasons Macrobiotic Cookbook, by Aveline Kushi and Wendy Esko.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Silverbeet drawing

I finally kept some silverbeet around long enough to get to draw it, before cooking it up and eating it :)
This one I drew on plain white paper using pastels and finished off with charcoal pencil.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I love cooking with rhubarb, if only for its silly name. But also I never cease to be amazed by the way when you cook it, it magically transforms itself from a sturdy stem to mushy sticky goodness before your eyes.
This weekend while I continued on with my drawing (see post below), I baked up some Rhubarb and pear compote to have on my porridge in the mornings. Grey skies outside, gooey rhubarb bubbling away inside.. ah bliss!

Rhubarb and Pear compote

1. Peel and core three pears, and cut into thick wedges.
2. Trim and wash one bunch of rhubarb, and cut the stems into 6cm pieces.
3. Arrange the pears and rhubarb in a medium sized baking dish.
4. Pour over the juice of one orange, add a dash of vanilla essence, half a teaspoon of cinnamon (or a cinnamon quill). Add cloves etc if you wish.
5. Stir to combine and then sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar.
6. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 180 degrees for 40 minutes, or until the rhubarb has done it's magic! You'll know when it has happened by the sudden blast of sweet and sour fragrance that comes from your oven.

I like to have the compote on porridge but you can have it as a dessert with custard, yogurt or cream.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lazy winter afternoon

I spent a lovely afternoon drawing some winter vegetables, cooking and catching up on trance podcasts. All the while surrounded by the lovely fragrance of some early jonquils i picked up at the Eveleigh markets.

I drew some classic winter vegies: sweet potato, swede and tangello. I tried a new technique for these, drawing them on brown card, using pastels and charcoal pencil. I was very pleased with the result. I think having a combination of drawing styles within the calendar will give a feeling of depth to the illustrations.


Sweet Potato

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Silver your beet!

Take advantage of the shiny green and abundant silverbeet around at the moment by putting half a bunch in some Spinach and lentil soup. A good warming and balancing soup for winter, it is substantial without being heavy or creamy. I love serving it with heaps of lemon and salt!
This soup is also a delicious way to get the most nutritional benefit from the silverbeet. Although it's usually paired with cheeses such as fetta, this combination can hamper the absorption of the iron in the silverbeet, as well as the calcium in the cheese. So, although there is always room in my life for spinach and fetta, it's good to try and have some non dairy silverbeet meals as well.
I usually pre-soak my lentils overnight to make them more digestible, but it's really only necessary to soak beans larger than adzuki beans.

Spinach and lentil soup
1. Chop up one onion, four garlic cloves, three celery stalks and one medium potato.

2. Saute in olive oil with half a teaspoon of cumin for ten minutes, or until the onion is soft and transparent.
3. Add 3/4 cup uncooked lentils (pre-soaked or straight from the packet) and saute again briefly before adding one and a half litres of stock. Bring to the boil , reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer for 35-40 mins.
Skim off any foam that forms on top of the soup from the lentils.
4. While the soup is simmering, remove the stems from half a big bunch of silverbeet, and slice the leaves into long thin pieces.

5. Add the silverbeet the soup in the last ten minutes of cooking. Watch it turn bright green!

6. Once it's cooked add plenty of sea salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.
Enjoy! I enjoyed so much I forgot to take a photo of the final product in my bowl :)