Posts from — March 2013

A new leaf. 2

March 18, 2013

{Welcome to the new look Fork and Fiction.com! So nice to see you! We’d love to hear your thoughts and read your comments. Join in the conversation!}

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Kale, kale, kale. It’s ubiquitous isn’t it? Every way I turn someone is blogging about kale. I know I should eat more of it. I’ve been meaning to. It arrives in my fortnightly veggie box and then sits on my fridge shelf, overlooked in favour of glossy, almost-black eggplants or crisp, jadeite coloured bok choy. When I lived in Vancouver and frequented Capers on West Fourth Ave (now Whole Foods Market), they had a list of the most nutrient dense foods according to the aggregate nurtrient density index. Top of the list was kale. What a show-off!

I have sliced it raw into salads before but lately I’ve been most curious about kale chips. Chips, you say? Oooooh, I do love a chip. Of course I knew they wouldn’t taste like real chips but once again I was seduced by the idea / magic of transforming one thing into something else quite unlikely (like this recipe). Besides, this week’s veggie box had an abundance of kale and a recipe for kale chips. The recipe has three ingredients. Come on now, my inner critic reprimanded me, surely you can manage that?!

Well, alright then.

Kale Chips:

Kale / Cavalo Nero

Olive Oil

Salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Cut the thick ends off the kale and rip the leaf away from the central stalk. Wash and dry thoroughly with a teatowel (don’t leave damp!). Roughly chop into large bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to lightly coat the leaves. Spread leaves onto a baking tray in a single layer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake until crisp (about ten minutes)

As easy as that? Yup. I did learn some things in the process. My kale was old and tasted a little bitter, even though the texture was great and I threw on a little too much salt. I need to try it again with fresh kale and maybe experiment with a little extra flavouring, like these ideas. I’d like to see if my kids like them, as many people say kids do, and I imagine they would be good served with soup or on top of salads.

I’m glad I finally tried making something new. It seems to be the week for new tastes. Today we went to Grounds of Alexandria with the babes which, if I could subtract a portion of the maddening crowd, would be my idea of heaven. I wish I could beam you up and take you there, you would die. A beautiful, productive fruit, vegetable and herb garden, set in amongst terraces and rusting glasshouses, bench seats and cafe tables dotted all around. Everything is green and healthy and lush – basil leaves the size of my palm! There is a hand-built shed for the kids with a slide that comes out one of the windows, planter boxes full of flowers, seats made of logs, fat pavement chalk for drawing any old place they please. Even better than all that, in B1’s opinion, are the chickens and baby pig. The pig is called Kevin Bacon. Of course. Today they had an additional market stall selling fresh berries and home-made lemonade; it really is a sigh-worthy, delightful place. Well, except that everyone in Sydney agrees with me and it was Heave-ing.

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We escaped the crush by heading into the cool of neighbouring Salt Meats Cheese, to wander the warehouse aisles for pasta flour and other treasures. They have himalayan salt boards which look like thick, pink marble slabs, a cheese room, shelves and shelves of Italian pastas and cakes and biscuits. Then I found this!

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Raw chocolate. Something else I’ve been hearing a lot about. Here , at My New Roots, for example, or here at The Guardian. Am I swayed by anything with “chocolate” in the title? In the same way that the “chips” part of “kale chips” picqued my interest? Um, yes. But, to justify myself, according to people in the know raw chocolate is loaded with more antioxidants and phytonutrients than the regular stuff. I bought a heart shaped “Luvju” by Living Earth, which contains evaporated coconut nectar instead of sugar and something called “wildcrafted gubinge”. Huh? I dunno, it tasted damn good. I’m saving this bar, seasalt flavoured dark chocolate by Fine & Raw for another time (like, tonight with Downton Abbey, for example, you didn’t think I’d show a civilized amount of restraint did you?!). Don’t you think it would make the perfect writing accompaniment? With a cup of strong black tea? Perhaps an Orange Pekoe, or even Pu-erh? Oooh, the possibilities…..

So that was my week in food. A few new things to taste and experiment with. I’m still convinced I’m channelling the Northern Hemisphere spring. It’s all about new food, new adventures budding and blooming at the moment. Fork and Fiction website design by (the lovely) Tabitha Emma went live! Yippee! Fork and Fiction facebook page went live! Fork and Fiction launch week is being planned! And personally? Well, we have some news you will be hearing about very soon….

Hugs, Hannah x

In: Food, From Hannah, Markets & Food Stores

Sweet Little Something 0

March 15, 2013

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

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From Ria:

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In: From Hannah, From Ria, Sweet Little Something

…And through it… 1

March 13, 2013

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Isn’t it amazing how life mirrors life? Or sickness?

I couldn’t agree more with your last post–just getting through a bug, especially as a family, sucks. It takes the fun, the energy, the smiles, the desire to eat right out of you. But not, I’ve found, the desire to taste.

You see, we three have had terrible colds. Thank you, Daycare, for making sure our house is infected with a constant supply of germs. I’m battling the last of the worst, so thank god DH and Little e are not feeling as bad as I am. Because I feel like ass. But enough moping.

It was so interesting to read your thoughts on enjoying (or not enjoying) food when you’re sick. I’ve been lamenting this exact thing as I wander around the kitchen, seeing things that taste good, but with no interest in eating them. Or if I do have the interest, motivation kills it–why eat that cupcake, those empty calories, when it will taste as bland as everything else I ate today? It made me realise that while we may say cake, candy and other guilty pleasures are empty calories, if you truly appreciate them for their flavour (assuming there is some, other than “teeth-achingly sweet”) it’s not an empty experience. Therefore, I don’t count the calories as empty, even if nutritionally they might be. I don’t know about you, but I don’t–can’t–eat for health alone. I eat for experience and pleasure. And having a cold destroys both of those. Particularly when you risk inhaling crumbs of something because you’re forced to breathe through your mouth. Ugh.

So the other day, when I had a spare few minutes and Little e was napping on my back, I whipped up these bran muffins. They’re from this book, which I’ve raved about before. They are delicious…I’m told. Note to self: don’t bake when you have a cold. It’s too torturous.

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How colourless our world becomes when we can’t smell or taste! I find myself thinking we should treat ourselves to a comforting dinner to cheer us out of sickness-induced depression, but then realise it’s not worth the money. Toast and boxed soup it is.

Considering that they’re two of the most ancient senses, we kind of take them for granted, don’t we?

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Think a hint of cinnamon and orange zest in the muffin and a rich, sweet prune preserve on top. Apparently.

XO

Ria

In: Food, From Ria

Going through it 2

March 11, 2013

Michael’s Rosen’s “We’re going on a Bear Hunt” is one of the favourite books in our house. I love the illustrations and the rhythm. But most of all I love the sentiment – “We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it….oh no, we’ve got to go through it!” And boy have we been going through it this weekend.

We’ve been sick. The whole lot of us. It’s inspiring me to get a t-shirt printed:  “Gastro: It’s a whole lot more awesome when the entire family gets it. At the same time.” Do you think it will be a best seller?? Hmmm, I guess people don’t want to broadcast they have gastro. Or leave the house. We left the house for exactly five minutes today…woohoo!

I hate gastro. I got a terrible case of it when I was travelling around Europe with my friend in a campervan. It lasted for three weeks and I was really miserable. And skinny! And tired. I got pretty snazzy at asking to use a bathroom in the oddest of places though.

The worst part about this bout of gastro actually has nothing to do with my aches and pains. It’s seeing B2 sick. Oh, I hate it!! She’s so upset and not sleeping and her sad face breaks my heart. On top of that she is teething, just an extra little bonus for the poor mite. It’s just not fair. Kids shouldn’t have to be sick. There should be some kind of leave pass, don’t you think?

A close runner up to the-worst-part-about-this-gastro is not being able to enjoy food. I’ve put myself on the old BRAT diet, as white rice for five days straight seemed to be the only cure to my last terrible gastro. So that means nothing but bananas, rice, applesauce or toast for me. Uggghhhh. I feel so resentful. It really makes you appreciate food in a whole new way when you can’t have it, doesn’t it? I’m day-dreaming about food like it is a lover. And I distinctly remember the first food I enjoyed after I’d recovered in Europe. Chocolate Salami.

(photo credit: www.tasteinspired.wordpress.com)

I know, I know, it sounds dreadful doesn’t it? Perhaps the Portugese explanation – Chocolate Chorizo – is a little more elegant? At any rate, it is delicious. As rotten as I feel right now, just writing about it is making my mouth water. There are few meals I remember with such poignancy and they all involve a serious level of hunger preceding it. Chocolate chorizo is no exception. When I ate it I was so ready for something tastier than white rice and as soon as I spied it in a tiny, local supermarket in a town on the coast that was famous for lace (name escapes me, memory of chocolate chorizo does not) I knew it was mine to be had. It is completely meat-free, of course, it just looks like salami (cheeky!). It has a lovely brownie texture, perhaps a little firmer after being in the fridge, and stodgier, uncooked. Like a rum ball? As you slice through sweet tea biscuits show themselves in pale studs and sometimes other fruit and nuts too. It’s simple and not too sweet, surely the mark of a perfect dessert. You cut it into thick slices and then share. Or not.

After my dinner of white rice (with salt, oooh la la) I’m almost ready to head to bed. I am writing this at 8pm. On a Saturday night. Did I mention I feel resentful?! I just have to keep reminding myself of Rosen’s wisdom – sometimes there’s nothing for it but going through it. Nothing to make it better or easier, no getting over or under it, just bearing it. I’m not good at doing nothing to solve a problem, perhaps that’s what I need to learn. There is one tiny comfort though. Dreams of chocolate chorizo and memories of travels through Portugal. And resolving to try this recipe once we’re all well.

In: Food, From Hannah, Kids and Parenting

Sweet Little Something 0

March 8, 2013

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

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From Ria:

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In: From Hannah, From Ria, Sweet Little Something