Revive the senses through feel-good food. Just do anything food-wise, no matter how small, that makes you zing: pour hot water over fresh herbs for a fragrant tea; buy a whole organic pumpkin for a kitchen table centrepiece; thank a farmer at a farmers' market; put your hands on warm earth; spot a local rosemary bush; snag some for your lamb roast or your hair (Why not? Go nuts!); and comment to share your feel-good spring snippet. If stuck for ideas, mine are yours. Let's unite in support of feel-good food and ethical food practices. Thanks to all too who supported my Spring Feel-Good Food Project. I had a blast! While my food interests are diverse, so is my food writing history (and lifestyle freelance writing and corporate writing, yada...). Please see below right and my new FoodLit Website. Yeah! Please also subscribe for occasional food-fuelled news, ventures and opportunities.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Kale Kerunch! Well, Sort Of. Day 30, 62 To Go...


Kale. Like it or not, it's good for you, it's a 'superfood' if you're into those, and it's very today. I eat it simply because it's green. 

I was pretty chuffed to see it growing alongside the footpath and at designated little alcoves in the streets of Foster recently. Obviously the local council gets it. Given it was almost past perfect and probably going to be hauled out soon, I helped myself to some. I mean it's pretty to look at, but wasting it is an environmental sin, right?

So, kale chips... good for you, a superfood and very today, but I thought I'd try them 'cos they're green.

The process: Wash, dry, and remove the stems as best you can. It's tedious, but if you don't, it's like chewing a toothpick later. Cut into handy chip-size bits. Don't expect them to be neat or uniform. Nature follows its own rules.

Spray on some good olive oil and sprinkle a little good salt or whatever. Dry in a low oven or a dehydrator. I did the latter.

The end result: when crisp, the light crunch, spruced up grassy flavour and feel-good feeling that they're good for you is pretty satisfying.

A day later: Even if you have them in a sealed jar, they quickly lose their crunch. I'm not opposed to chewing away on something for a while, so the world doesn't end. And, sure, you can pop them in again and dry them off again to re-'activate' (also very in) their perkiness, but I, my friends, have a life.

Yes, I love good food. Yes, I love experimenting, but sometimes the amount of work required outweighs the benefits.  

I'd consider them again maybe for a special occasion and, I can tell you, the people I'd be making them for would have to be pretty special, but for everyday, especially in spring when the garden seems to need you every five minutes, I might just opt for the toss-it-in-a-pot-squeeze-and-dress version and be done with it.  

Any suggestions on other easy ways to enjoy kale?

Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Rosemary On My Mind. Day 29, 63 To Go...



There's a song that goes, "I got Friday on my mind." (It's an oldie but a goodie). I, however, have no clue what day it is and have rosemary on my mind - or in my tea actually. 


Walking to the dentist today (or running as I was late), I huffed my way past a rosemary bush, snapped a small branch, ran my fingers along its oil-rich, sticky stem and sniffed it all the way to the waiting room. Without its heady fragrance sending me into sensory bliss and spurring me on, I may have otherwise collapsed into an albeit fragrant heap.


The dentist, in between contorting my mouth to unnatural shapes and sizes to better accommodate implements better suited to Land of the Giants, commented on how nice I smelled.


If I wasn't pinned to a dental chair with ridiculous goggles on, two of them diving in now, the gagging at the back of my throat because the nurse kept suctioning my tongue instead, and a fear of the whole shebang causing near paralysis, I would have given her my branch. 


When it was all over, I forgot. I was too busy getting myself out of there.


The receptionist also noticed the smell when I went to pay for the experience. I gave her the branch, we talked lamb and tea and, given she was excited about the latter, said she was going to make it when she got home from work (if you can call pouring boiling water over a herb 'making', that is). I just did the same.


It doesn't take much to share the love. The receptionist will probably remember the smell and out chat whenever she comes across rosemary from this day forward.  


As for me, I have just wiped the whole dental chair experience from my mind forever for good. The last thing I want to recall when I find rosemary, pick mine, or flavour my lamb, chicken, bread, potatoes or hot water with it is two similarly goggled faces within an inch of my nose drilling into the very implements I need to eat with.

Really!

Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

In the Words of a Jovial Greek, Maresi! Day 35, 57 To Go...


I'm trying to write this post but to be quite honest, Vasili's Garden is on (a re-run from a summer episode). Between Vasili's piano accordion and a proud Italian growing fat tomatoes, beautiful basil, persimmons, pomegranates, beans, zucchini, eggplant, cucumbers, chillis, beetroot (in summer under the shade of a fruit tree - great idea!), olives, ornamental pumpkins and more in his backyard in Rosanna, I can't take my eyes off it. 

Time passing... they're eating pickled Italian vegetables (giardiniera) on bread. Mmmm..

More time passing .... the guy's wife is sharing her recipe for curing olives (and how many versions can there be? I know one and only do one because it works.)

More time passing... They're talking about Type A and Type B avocados (huh?) and that you ideally need one of each to cross pollinate and produce a better crop. (I'd better look that one up as I have two seeds of the same variety currently with their bottom's in water preparing to sprout, or hopefully sprout).

It's over now. If you don't watch it, do.  It's honest, real, suburban, no-frills essential viewing for anyone who grows or wants to. Here's three minutes of Vasili with Effie who has a couple of top, aptly timed tomato growing tips.

As for my post, maybe later. I have avocados to research, giardiniera  to eat, and zucchini seeds to dig out in readiness for tomorrow's planting. I might even play a bit of Zorba or, given my roots, a round of Tarantella.



Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

Monday, 26 September 2016

Sweet Navel Cups. Day 27, 65 To Go.....


... that's all, and that's enough, because it's too nice a day to be inside at the computer.


Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

A Glimmer of Greatness in Frankston - Day 26, 66 To Go...


I know I have a radar for spotting anything edible (or edible soon) in the most random places and I know fig trees grow in the most random places, but the randomness of this made my otherwise-ordinary day. 

Walking over a very ordinary bridge over an equally ordinary section of Kananook Creek at Frankston beach, I spotted this little fig growing from a crack in the concrete, vertical wall edging the creek. Between the gray-ness above and murkiness below, her elegant limbs boasted several bright green spring shoots.

Hello, hello! She's even got a fig on her if you look closely. 

If she can draw sustenance and make babies from next to nothing in this stark and inhospitable environment, we, friends, can do anything.

That said, this spot at the end of Playne Street is where my family and car-loads of Italian relatives hung out on summer days when I was a kid. 

Given memories of picnic rugs piled high with food stretched under the shady trees, white singlets, long neck bottles of beer (for them, not us, unless we mixed a bit with lemonade) and bocce balls, perhaps this stoic little lady, who inherently likes a Mediterranean climate, wasn't so out of place after all.



Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

Sunday, 25 September 2016

One Hungry Hiker & Wombat Stew - Day 25, 67 To Go ...

There are lots of reasons people might miss lunch: they're dieting; they don't feel hungry; they forget to get their packed lunch from the fridge before dashing out; they lost their wallet while they were out and about; someone flogged their lunch from the office fridge; they feel sick (sad); they're too busy (sadder); or they can't afford it (saddest of all).

I recently encountered one of the most fascinating reasons someone missed lunch. You're on a hiking trip, but you stay at a caravan park rather than camp because you're a wimp. All good. You meet the group the next morning to hear this.

One of the hikers who has a hearing problem has no lunch to take on our very long hike. How long? Don't know. 5-ish hours. My ears prick up immediately because I was born to feed people.

A wombat ate it, someone said. I said huh. During the night. Huh? How? When? Why?

Because, drawn by the smell of food, the hungry roly poly wombat ate its way through his one man tent (while he was sleeping in it) and ate his lunch. 

And why did this hungry hiker sleep through the whole tent invasion episode and robbery? Because he's rather deaf and didn't hear a thing.

While I wouldn't wish deafness on anybody, if push came to shove and I had to choose between deafness (or temporary deafness at least) and the horror of a wild (well, wild-ish) beast gnawing its way through my abode and eating my food in the near vicinity of my head or feet (I couldn't bear to ask which), I'd be struggling.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, we all chipped in bits of our lunch at my suggestion. As if anyone will go hungry while I'm around. 

As for the wombat, it had me wondering about wombat stew. Is it just a book or can you eat it? Mmmm... 


Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Tucking into Caravan Park Tucker - Day 24, 68 To Go...


So I'm posting from the coastline of Wilsons Prom after a massive hike, a spring swim (too good to be true), and great, feel-good conversations along wide stretches of white sand - great conditions for building up an awesome appetite.

If you read my post from a couple of days ago, you already know dinner wasn't going to be snags in bread and something from a tin (not that there's anything wrong with that by any means; some people, sadly, are starving.)

Entree: Pumpkin soup made with chemical free pumpkin from up the South Gippy Highway. With buckwheat bread from Matisse Artisan Bakery.

Main: Organic chicken pieces marinated in garlic, herbs and home made plum sauce and sauteed until soft with veggies, mainly purple sweet potato, cooked in the juices so they're all tasty and marinated by default. Served with rice pilaf so the rice too soaks up all the juices.

Dessert: Hot chocolate with Nonna's Dunkers.

That's all. All I have to say, that is. Not all I have to eat. Tomorrow is another food-blessed day. 
 
 

Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Root Vegetables 101 - Day 23, 69 To Go...



Not a day goes by (well, almost) that I don't eat daikon radish. Most of you don't know it too well yet, but you really need to get acquainted. 

It's big, cheap as chips (or daikon sticks), easy to peel, great to munch, greater in salads, greater grated, cool in coleslaw and nowhere near as strong as regular little red radishes.

It's versatile, really good and really good for you. And it's so much easier to prepare than those pesky little red radishes. (While of course deserving of kudos for your own perky individual characteristics, you are a little fiddly and you do get a little sloppy around your leafy edges.)

A daikon takes a tenth of the time to prepare, costs a tenth of the price of red radishes, and makes ten times more.

While it can be cooked, my experience was that it lost flavour and became bland. I'm a raw fan - of this one at least, but don't let that stop you trying it cooked too. Here are more ideas.

Either way its a really good root vegetable to get into.

Lesson over. Class dismissed.

Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

Dunk and KerPlunk.... Day 22, 70 To Go....



What is it with going away - and preparing food all day long, or longer, before you go? 

While eating really well is really important to me, sometimes I wish I could simply grab a few snags, a loaf of bread, and a few cans of ... er ... I wouldn't know what - and be done with it. 

But it's not in my genes. Hence spending a good chuck of the day preparing food for a hiking trip.

I won't go into all I made. I'm too knackered. I'm also busy dunking Nonna's Biscuits into hot tea - my ultimate comfort food. I grabbed a pack while out shopping for the trip. Of course, I grabbed an extra one for the actual trip.

After all, after hiking mountains in cold, probably windy, possibly wet weather, I reckon we deserve a little Nonna love, albeit from a packet. 

They're very good in themselves, but better still for being infused with memories of childhood, home and Sunday night baking marathons finished with dunking oven-warm biscuits in a glass of cold milk - and maybe a game of KerPlunk.


Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

When They Say Don't Bring a Thing....Day 21, 71 To Go




 ... I'm not about to reach for a packet of Cadbury Favourites. A friend's birthday, a busy day and no time to shop, except for in the fridge, a seemingly endless source of goodness.

Sun-dried tomatoes from last year's crop, giardiniera (or pickled vegetables) from the Italian's next door's last year's crop, and salted, dried olives courtesy of yours truly and a generous tree on the nature strip around the corner. They not only leave them to fall to the ground, they also recently planted another tree. Woo hoo. Lucky me! 

The 'element' (to use a word that's oh so fashionable on the cooking shows - yawn) that brings it all together is Lebanese bread, known in my household as Leb bread or laffa, which technically applies to the rolled-up-around-juicy-shawarma version.

At our place, however, laffa may equally apply to Leb bread ripped straight from the pack and unceremoniously chewed, Leb bread smeared with vegemite and rolled, or lathered with Nutella and rolled, which squishes out nicely either end. Of course, that was before we discovered that Nutella's full of nasties. Sad face. Onward, it goes equally well with lightly melted Valrhona chocolate. Lather your lips around that!




Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Life's Lessons in Cabbages - Day 20, 72 To Go ....



When I first started this blog, I wondered how I was ever going to come up with 91 ideas, one for each spring day. While it's only Day 20, I realised today that it's not me coming up with the ideas. They're just springing up around me in this fab country of ours where we have access to so much good food, whether home grown, bought or foraged. It's everywhere. 

I was pretty excited to pick this little purple pearler today, all framed and pretty in her purple frills. Whoever named it red cabbage is clearly colour blind; they're purple - and you sure know it when you cook it together with other veg. Everything ends up a lovely shade of blue. Not pink.

As a first time cabbage grower, I was chuffed as ever when I threw half of it into a pot.

As a woman on a mission to clear out the shed before hard rubbish collection day tomorrow, I was mortified as ever when I burned it.

Clean shed, charcoal-ed cabbage and burnt pot later, I decided there's no point fighting it, or anything for that matter. 

It is what it is.

 Real people are much better than views measured on a line graph. Say hi and, if you like, share anything about food or garden or even what the 
high point in your day was today. 
We’re all in this together folks. 
Here’s to feeling good! 

Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Blooming Beans & Furry Fronds... Day 19, 73 To Go...





It was a busy day today, so I grabbed what I could, which was 10 minutes on the yoga mat stretched out on the grass near the garden.  She's looking pretty, huh! The garden, that is. I don't look so pretty on the yoga mat. No lululemon gear for me thanks. Just comfy clothes, the smell of grass, the warmth of sun and dreams of dishes I'll make with the broad beans and fennel. What more could a girl want? Well, there's lots, but all in good time.

So the fennel fronds are at the front. We eat those too. Just blanched (for a while if they're a little tough), drained, squeezed and pan-fried in a little olive oil, garlic and salt and see you later, I'm happy. They can take a bit of chewing, but that's good for your gums I hear. 

As for the broad beans, oh the broad beans, I could go on forever, but I won't. They're a variety called crimson flowering broad beans - and if they're not the prettiest things you'll see in a winter / early spring garden, I'll eat my words - or my broad beans, preferably sauteed in a little onion, garlic, parsley, mint, salt and water. (Some add pancetta; I don't.) Leaving a little liquid in, add some thin, cooked pasta (about an inch long) or pastina (small pasta) for some homecoming pasta e fave. Only a couple of weeks to go. Tra la la ...

For a close-up of the broad bean flowers, please see this earlier blog. My first - and if they made it to that, you know they hold a special place in my heart. It's my third year of growing them and I've been sharing the seeds amongst family and friends. 

I have a little garden project in the wings, so when I get the sales aspect of it going, I might also make them available to you too. If you want any sooner, just touch base. 
Feel free to take a moment out from your day, say hi and, if you like, share anything about food or garden or even what the high point in your day was today. 
We’re all in this together folks. 
Here’s to feeling good! 

Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

How Local Can a Local Food Tour Get? Day 18, 74 To Go...

When it comes to food tours, I've done my share - or more than my share I reckon, in Melbourne at least. There've been walking tours of Melbourne's top food spots and spicier Indian food tours. There've been food tours on two wheels (a fab cycling tour of the City of Port Phillip's top restaurants, markets, community gardens, etc) and a chauffeur driven one of the Mornington Peninsula - all in the name of material for food stories and my ever curious palate.

It's been fun. Today, though, it was a food tour of the most local kind - a tour of my kitchen, namely the fridge, freezer and pantry. The tour, which took a good chunk of the afternoon, was packed with interesting discoveries, long-forgotten ingredients, and ideas for new recipes.

It's always exciting to dig deep into the depths of your packed, er... 1500 litre fridge, which technically only feeds two, but two with a pretty wide food repertoire. I found not one jar of open jam, but several, all jammed last summer: fig jam, apricot, plum and blackberry, all local except for the blackberries, which we picked (still pretty locally) in Wantirna. Of course, the specific location isn't for sharing. I love sharing - but I'm not stupid.

While we're lucky to have access to so much good food in Australia, it's easy to take for granted what we have in our own back yard - or kitchen. Have your dug deep into yours lately? If so, found anything interesting?

As for the image, of course, it's not my fridge. For a start, it's too small, too clean and too tidy. Everything's all exposed, the banana's will go black, the tomato will lose its flavour - and the garlic looks imported! 
  
 Say hi if you like, let me know who are you and maybe share anything about food or garden or even what the high point in your day was today. 
Here’s to feel-good food and simply feeling good! 

Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Just Juice or Sitting Pretty? Day 17, 75 To Go .....


What a bonus to stumble across these this morning at a local farmers' market. Having had no brekkie to be better prepared for a big family lunch (did I mention, we're Italian?), this discovery cheered my chops no end. Fresh pressed, not cheap, but definitely cheerful, the green number won out, its hit of mint sending me spiralling into raptures. Between that, a trolley-ful of feel-good foods, a bucket-ful of sunshine, and a long, leisurely graze and chat over a three-hour lunch with family, I am blessed - and I'm going to remember that from this moment on. Any blessings you care to share? Feel free.


Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Crunch through a Bunch. Day 16, 76 To Go....

Today it was that gratifying crunch of chopping through bunched up rainbow chard and silverbeet stalks that floated my sensory boat. What can I say? It's the simple things that excite me. But if anyone else out there listens to their food, we're related.

The leaves are still soaking in the sink in the hope that the water will do some magic rather than me having to wash leaves one by one. While shop bought ones generally don't come with much dirt, bits of pea straw and the odd baby snail, home grown do, so they some extra time - and if a grain of dirt makes it to the pot, so be it. A little clean grit can only do you good.

So, it's a fry up of tastefully dressed greens and a (home grown) cos lettuce, organic avocado and walnut salad for a family function tomorrow. If you read an earlier post about the cheap organic avos from up the South Gippy Highway, you'll also know that they've now ripened. All at once. Five of them, despite my carefully staggered ripening process... So, avos it is for breakfast (on toast with mint), lunch (in a chick pea and chicory salad) and tea (don't know how yet. It's only 3 o'clock).


Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Spuds n Stuff. Day 15, 77 To Go....

  
So, day 15 and ... plenty more to go. I’m not counting down though. It’s a high point in my day and keeps me connected to what’s real in a world where the busy-ness, the running, the technology, the trends and the superficiality can overwhelm. Don’t let them. Do what you have to of course, but if it won’t matter in 5 years, it’s not worth 5 seconds of worry. Get your fun in, even a few minutes where you let go of everything. Get your connection to earth and nature today, tomorrow, on the weekend, as often as possible.


I think I'm talking to me as much as to you. I’m still nutting out the logistics of the various social media platforms when I’d rather have my hands in the dirt. So, I’ve been dashing out to the garden between profiles and passwords to re-group, re-charge and re-face the screen

I got some good dirt under my nails and found a few unexpected dutch creams. A bit more digging later this arvo and we might have ourselves a potato salad tonight (not Aussie style, but spuds dressed when warm so they soak up the good olive oil, good Murray River salt and good home-grown, home-dried oregano. Eat it warm too. None of that fridge-cold, mayo-ey potato salad for me thanks. My ancestors would chastise me from their graves in the villages in the hills of Italy. 

What dish has been passed down through the generations in your family?


Foodliterary Regards,
Julia Svoice
(Julia Hebaiter in Another Life)
FoodLit Writer, Feel-Good Food Lover & Storyteller
www.foodlit.com.au

Because Food Sans Story is Bland