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 :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Glowing orange days and bright blue nights

The seasonal changes around me continue to inspire and delight. It makes the cold so much easier to bear...

Fighting the desire to hibernate, I headed out to the Vivid Sydney festival to check out the light installations that had been placed all around Circular Quay and the Rocks. They really transformed the environment, especially the old buildings around the Rocks. I had to keep moving as it was the coldest night of the year. And trying to take photographs with gloves on produced some fairly.. "experimental" results..

I especially liked that they had people walking around with lights on them as part of the festival. If you use your imagination you can see one of them in the blue photo on the left..

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cauliflower and silverbeet.. a match made in heaven

Cauliflower and silverbeet are both in season at the moment, and it's hard to go past them for creating a delicious organic meal, especially on a cold winter's evening.
Having prime specimens of both in my kitchen, I decided to bring out their flavour with a curry.

Cauliflower and silverbeet curry
1. Saute one onion, two garlic cloves and a tablespoon of grated ginger for five minutes, or until soft.
2. Add two tablespoons of curry paste (I used rogan josh), and stir through with the onions over low heat.
3. Add half a head of cauliflower broken up into florets, one can of diced tomatoes and half a cup of water, and bring to the boil.

4. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to blend the flavours.
5. Meanwhile, remove the stems from half a bunch of silverbeet, and slice up into strips.
6. Add silverbeet to the cooking cauliflower and cover and simmer for a further 15 minutes, or until all the vegetables are cooked through.

Delicious served on brown rice!

Organic calendar - process

For my organic food calendar, I get fruit and vegetables that are in season and draw them each individually. I then scan the drawing in and will put them all together according to the month they are appropriate to, and add some graphic elements to the final page and assemble the calendar.
For example, I picked up this lovely organic cauliflower at the farmer's market on the weekend.

Here's my initial sketch of the cauliflower:

And here it is after I've added colour pencil, and finished it off with pastel and charcoal.

Flash mob!

Last week I was part of my first ever flash mob. It was to promote the re-publication of the Grug series of children's books.

We all met up in Hyde park and hung out with Grug for a while. I got my photo taken with him. He seemed to be having a great time!

I got my copy of Grug and the Rainbow signed by Ted Prior, the author.

Then we all dispersed and went to Pitt street mall. At 12.30 we all took out our Grug books and sat down and started reading them, before standing up and walking away. It seemed to grab people's attention!

It was good fun, and quite an effective exercise I think!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Healing weekend lunch

An excess of yin energy caused by over consumption of alcohol on saturday night left me feeling vague and ungrounded (otherwise known as a hangover!). I attempted to restore the balance with some yang winter vegetables, roasted to fill them with good grounding energy.

1. Cut up vegetables into compatible shapes. I used jap pumpkin*, potato, leek and red onion. Add garlic, chopped rosemary, sea salt and pepper and toss in liberal amounts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Roast at 180 degrees for one hour, or until the pumpkin is starting to caramelise.
*If the pumpkin is organic, I like to leave the skin on for extra nutrients.

2. Add a can of chickpeas and some cherry tomatoes and put back in the oven for another ten minutes. This gives the chickpeas a nice texture and makes the tomatoes nice and juicy.

3. Place in a bowl with some salad leaves and fetta cheese, and voila! You're on your way back down to earth.

Community garden

Today I went and checked out my local community garden, to take my vegie scraps to add to their compost and also enquire about helping out. It was a lovely peaceful place, especially on such a gorgeous sunny winter day!
They showed me how to use the compost, and told me what things were being grown there and how I could help out with maintaining the garden.

Here are some beetroot plants growing.. love the colour of the leaves!

Some of the garden beds were in old bedframes, creating a lovely quirky feel:

I'm definitely going to try and take my gloves and secateurs along next weekend and get my hands dirty!

organic calendar update

Here are some of the drawings I've done so far for the months of May and June. The process I've been working with is colouring with pencil, and adding shade and depth with pastel and charcoal. I'm pretty happy with it so far, I'm trying to keep the drawings fairly simple and not too polished, as I think that suits the subject matter.


Shitake mushrooms


Brussels sprouts

This is a very rough mock up of what I want each month to look like.

Around the edges I will put recipe ideas for the fruit and vegetables that are in season that month.

winter harvest

Check out some of the haul of vegies I got from the Eveleigh Farmers market this week. Boy am I going to have fun with these! Menu items I'm planning:
- spinach and lentil soup
- roast vegeable salad
- cauliflower and spinach curry

They will also provide me with a few key items in season for the month of June for my organic calendar. I will be drawing:
- fuji apples
- beurre bosc pears
- cauliflower (not shown)
- jap pumpkin
- leek
- silverbeet

Post modern graffiti

A while back, this wall had a graffiti stencil on it which, over time, wore away. Now someone has stuck up a photo of the stencil on the wall. And now I'm taking a photo of the photo of the stencil.
Woah that's pretty deep..who knew graffiti could have so many layers!

macro pasta

Macrobiotic pasta sauce is an interesting concept, given that macrobiotic food usually excludes tomatoes as they are a nightshade vegetable, and therefore stressful for the body to process.
But you can make a delicious macrobiotic alternative using grounding root vegetables such as carrot and beetroot, or pumpkin, and flavouring with herbs and miso or tamari.
I made this one based on a recipe from my macro bible, The Self Healing Cookbook. I didn't have any mushrooms, which make it more hearty.

Macrobiotic pasta sauce

1. Simmer six carrots, one beetroot, one onion and a bay leaf for 20 minutes, then puree.
2. Saute one onion, three cloves of garlic and thyme, oregano or whatever italian style herbs you have for five minutes.
3. Add a cup of sliced mushrooms and saute for ten more minutes.
4. Add pureed sauce and cover and simmer for ten more minutes to blend flavours.
5. Season with miso or tamari.
6. Add kuzu dissolved in half a cup of cold water and stir until thick and shiny.

Delicious on wholewheat pasta!