Autumn not Spring? I am in London, for now. Britain’s real food offerings are really stunning.

British ‘Real Food’ is superb and it is in plentiful supply. This afternoon I will make an appearance at London’s Real Food Festival. I am excited to see what the real food markets on the South bank of the Thames will offer in the way of produce. The brief is to shop and then demonstrate in a kitchen set up under the London Eye opposite the Houses of Parliament, how grand! My sister bought this crab home from Norfolk along with a big bundle of the freshest samphire I have eaten. I love the juicy pop it makes when you bite and its definite sea saltiness. The crab was sweet and meaty and easy to get at.

As you see, I am far from Sydney Spring, away from my  ‘home’ of 31 years and here to stay in London for an unknown period. I arrived here mid summer, just before the Olympic games began.

I returned to Perth to teach Sourdough baking, lacto-fermentation, on Meat and Fish at the Whole and Natural Chefs Training Programme, which Jude Blereau of Wholefood cooking has just completed. It provides is an excellent pathway to a career in our industry and the students produced some fabulous dishes.  Sardines are a Western Australian delight and these were cooked beautifully by a student, a fantastic first go, they were speedily consumed by us all.

I have been back in London since mid August and on my return I was met by the extraordinarily uplifting Paralympic atmosphere. Suddenly I had lots more time for watching the telly!

It is incredible how fast life can change, here today with a full schedule of classes and vital things to do and then one sad phone call alters it all. My Mother is gravely ill and London is where I wish to be, while she is here to be with. Thank you to all the people who were booked into classes, catering jobs and food coaching. Your understanding and kindness have been a great support and I apologies for any disappointment my sudden departure caused you.

I am beginning to settle a little now and could work casually, a couple of days a week. A private or group class or two or personal chef work would be ideal. As it is turning into Autumn here now a personal chef, to fill the fridge and freezer, with slow cooked deliciousness must appeal to more than one household? If you know anyone who might like that service or someone looking to detox or improve their dietary habits please send them my way.

The current classes page, as you see  is all wrong and quite out of date now. I have not yet found the space to recreate it but I will as soon as possible. I will also post some of the delicious things I have been finding to eat.

I dont expect to return to Sydney for several months and so the next Australian class programme is likely to be from late January next year. I have had lots of enquiries about that programme. If you have been in touch and not yet heard back I apologise. I have been consumed by family circumstances and will contact you as soon as possible. If you like to plan ahead let me know and we can discuss details and dates. My email is the best contact for now. I have a UK mobile +44 (0) 7786922248 or email 

Winter, the season for inner reflection, drawing in and foods that warm to the core

Deep Water, Iford NSW ©Sarah Ducker 2012

This photo is the perfect representation of the winter months, dark, cold and mysterious. A time for bringing warmth to the core of our body to help us manage the colder weather. Any northern hemisphere reader might scoff, thinking that Australia never gets that cold. It is all relative and the 17˚C in my room today see’s me bundled up beside the heater!

I made Oden yesterday, Japan’s answer to winter warming nourishment; eaten on the icy winter streets and in bars. For those who have a copy, there is a recipe for this fabulous dish, in my cookbook Nourish. It is a very simple broth with these ingredients at least, mirin and tamari, kombu, shiitake mushrooms, daikon, carrots and tofu; all long slow simmered into a deeply delicious meal. This broth looks somewhat like the photo above, unfathomable, watery and dark.

In Chinese 5 element theory winter is a representation of the water element, dark red and black, saltiness and it is the season that requires we give attention to our water organs, the kidneys and the bladder. Cooking styles that best suit the season include long slow simmering, braising roasting sauteeing and preserving. It’s a great time for the slow cooker, the stock pot and the oven but dont forget, and I suspect you wont, we all love something sweet to eat and winter provides us some fabulous fruits. The quince above were transformed from rock hard yellow to meltingly soft, deep red sweetness by long slow simmering with only a very small amount of maple syrup. They were dense and toothsome. Top tip… just cut them in half and wait to core them after they have cooked. This makes it very easy to extract the hard core without leaving any behind and it saves the risk of a knife wound.

The recipe for these is included in my  Refresh, Restore & Nourish in Winter  4 evening or 4 day course. The course provides the fundamental skills of cooking in this season with many supportive easy winter recipes and a menu plan that offers a broad range of breakfasts, lunches dinners and snacks. I ran this course in Rozelle a couple of weeks ago and got the following fabulous feedback.

Zoe said… Thanks for a great 4 days of cooking, eating and learning. I’m just about to qualify as a Naturopath and found 4 days with you to be more valuable and useable than all the nutrition classes I’ve done! You make it real- let food be our medicine, and medicine be our food.

Gabriella offered this…”Thank you again for such a wonderful four days of learning, cooking and discussions. You left me wishing I could bring you home and tuck you away in my kitchen. The amount of knowledge you have on eating nourishing, seasonal foods and healing with whole foods is incredible and I only wished we could have had more time.

Jo wrote…  You are a warm, generous soul who was exceptionally patient, passionate and professional.  I have a coeliac husband and dairy intolerant preschooler, I have beendesperate for inspiration and ideas on how to cook easy meals that cater for everyone’s needs.  I sought information and inspiration and came away with bucket (or shall I say, jar) loads!  I felt so relaxed and happy and really nourished myself.  I think I ate better in 4 days with you than I have in months!  Your food was delicious and made me see how I can make some tasty gf and df meals.

I am running this course again, over 4 Tuesday evenings starting tomorrow, Tuesday 12th June, in Bilgola. There are a few places for the quick and keen. Send me an email asap if you want a spot. I will be running it in Melbourne at The Green Grocer in Fitzroy North, at the end of July. Please help me spread the news to Victoria. More details of this and this months Capturing Cultures classes and more can be found here

cacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacacaca These crab apples, opportunistically gathered after a catering job in Bowral, were way too sour to be edible when picked but with a slow simmer, the addition of a little spice and sweetness they have become deep red ‘roadside crab apple jelly’ which will last the winter long and beyond, though I have gifted half of it to friends already!

Here’s what I did, so you can too. There is something deeply satisfying about producing food from ‘found’ ingredients.

Recipe for roadside crab apple jelly

3 kilos fruit, washed but otherwise untouched, tipped into a large stew pan

covered in cold water and brought to a gentle simmer, pop in a split vanilla bean and a couple of cinnamon quills

simmered until the apples soften, about 30-40 minutes

the fruit and liquid are poured into a colander lined with two or three layers of muslin, over a large pot. Don’t press the fruit, allow it to strain overnight

Measure the juice and add the pulp to the compost

use 500gms light muscovado sugar or raw sugar per litre

simmer the juice and sugar until the temperature reaches 105˚C at this point it will gel beautifully

contain in sterile glass jars, cool and pour a layer of liquid bees wax over the jelly to seal, lid and store until you are ready to use- i’ll give you 3 hours max…

Something new. Exploring Winter Wellness Workshop. Yoga by Gwynne Jone, food by Holly Davis

On July 15 I am teaming up with yogi Gwynne Jones, we are  offering a seasonal one day winter workshop at The Intuitive Well in Bondi Junction. For all the details see June-September classes page

Where I have been, a request and an offer; to celebrate the tawny colour, sweet flavour, crisp air and round ground fruits of Autumn

A month ago family needs sent me rushing back to London. As a result I had to postpone the March 29 Capturing Cultures class. My thanks to those of you that had booked and paid for this class for your understanding and flexibility. New dates are online now, see the May-September tab and let me know which dates suit you best.

In London I was met by blue skies, crisp air and warm loving arms. Twenty eight years in Australia, with most trips back over Christmas, caused me to forget the thrill of Springtime in the Uk. I was surprised and delighted by the effect a little sunshine has on the British public, while I layered up with cashmere, scarves, a borrowed coat and boots, London folk stripped off and got about in summer frocks and sandles and the news was of trips to the beach to enjoy the heatwave of 20˚C! I squeezed in a few fine foody experiences, the quality of food in England has changed, so much for the better. Good food, real food is on offer all over the country. Artisan producers abound and I was thrilled by some fantastic produce. I went to this fantastic winebar under the railway arches in Maltby Street, Bermondsey in London’s east end, this is a neighbourhood to visit and watch for fab food and excellent ales.

I also visited The Welbeck School Of Artisan Food on The Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire this is an extraordinarily well set up cooking school where traditional baking, cheese making and butchery are taught. I went to suggest that they might like to have me visit next year, as a guest, to teach the art of lacto fermented foods and drinks. There are also small producers on the estate making Stichelton cheese, this is similar to Stilton which comes from this area of England but Stilton is no longer produced from raw milk, Stichelton is and I can tell you it is damn fine cheese. The Welbeck brewery produces a small range of excellent ales too which are sold locally.

Now I am returned to the delights of Pittwater in Autumn, my favourite season here, where skies are brilliant blue, the water is crystaline and it seems to me now, as I gaze at the beach and many eucalypts, that everything has been outlined with a 4B pencil.

Growing Healthy Children Seminar was opened by a potent totem to remind us all how exciting life can be!

The Growing Healthy Children Seminar was declared a huge success. Over a hundred participants came to hear Dr Rosalba Courtney, Jude Blereau and me speak at Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School. It proved to be an excellent venue, albeit that the wildlife moved in on the action as we were about to get started. A beautiful green tree snake wound its way into a camera bag at the front of the room and after I asked everyone to move away, it was resptfully returned to the bush.

During the afternoon Dr Rosalba Courtney from Breath and Body Osteopathic and Natural Health Clinic discussed the fundamentals of growing a healthy child, including the difference it makes for children to have a secure parental bond, attention paid to correct breathing patterns, the immense and theraputic effect of time spent in nature and much more. Jude Blereau from Wholefood Cooking covered what, how and when to feed children, with food that will heal nourish and delight them and I expounded on the virtues of lacto fermented foods, what they are, how to include them and ‘hide’ them, some of the variations on the theme available to us and of course, I encouraged everyone to come to one of my in depth classes, to learn how to easily and safely make their own range of fermented foods. Check out latest programme on the Classes May to September page.

For those who prefer to purchase these therapeutic vitals, we had Dominic Angelucci there, to sell his just launched ‘Life In a Jar’ Organic cultured vegetables. These were offered as part of our afternoon tea and soon sold out after that. Keep an eye out for them, Feather and Bone are a stockist.

Honest to Goodness provided us with fabulous helpers and offered some of their most relevant dry goods for sale. Our heartfelt thanks To Karen and Matt for their ongoing efforts in supplying Sydney with clean wholesome foods and to Lilli, Lauren and Emma for their work on the day.

A Request and an offer
If you have not yet liked my facebook page please would you? I am out to spread news of great whole food, whole food ingredients and of course my latest wholefood cooking class program
For new FB Likes this month, I will email you a delicious recipe. Just email me your preference for pumpkin, walnuts or chestnuts, or that you like them all? I will send you back the recipe that reflects your choice.
These ingredients grow together and certainly go together deliciously. Pumpkins below, fit for several feasts, well grown by my friends Antonio and Camilla who run Olive Green Organics. Chestnuts and walnuts collected by me at the beautiful Kookatonga Nut Farm in Mt Irvine in the Blue Mountains.
Put a trip there in your diary for next March.

Live probiotic foods, simple to make lively and lovely to drink and eat

“Bacteria are not germs, but the germinators – and fabric – of all life on earth… In declaring war on them we declared war on the underlying living structure of the planet – on all life-forms we can see – on ourselves”– Stephen Harrod Buhner The Lost Language of Plants

Lacto fermented foods are extraordinary and they have the power to restore to us rude health! These live life enhancing foods and drinks foods have been a passion of mine for many years now. My interest in Macrobiotic philosophy and food led me to start fermenting things back when I was just 14 years old! That’s a good long relationship with good bugs. My first cultures were Japanese Takuan radish pickles that stank and jars of miso and then there was a dairy kefir ‘plant’ I got from my cousin Greg. He christened his S.C.O.B.Y, that’s a Symbiotic Collection Of Bacteria and Yeasts ‘Jim’ he gave me what became and still is known to me ‘son of Jim’. Along the way, there have been intense periods of regular contact and periods when son of Jim has spent time dormant, in the freezer. When I am culturing using son of Jim I get a fresh, drinking style yoghurt that provides a wide range of beneficial probiotic bacteria and yeasts and I can also use him to turn sweet coconut water into a refreshing effervescent mineral rich drink. I can use the dairy kefir product as a drink or turn it into fresh cheese and even a very delicious all raw, all food cheesecake! I now grow a range of scobys, I have a Kombucha ‘mother’ which thrives on green, black red and or white tea and raw sugar, water kefir which produces a fabulous sparkling gingery drop. With these helpers at home I always have the makings of other fermented foods, using the product itself or by utilising whey from my dairy scoby. These can be used to make, amongst many other things, digestible nutritious deliciously light pancakes, pikelets, muffins and fruit compotes and vegetable pickles and by employing their probiotic powers they can be used to turn otherwise hard to digest foods into faster cooking,digestible nourishment.
There is something quite magical about vegetable pickles where you take a fresh ingredient and turn it into what equates to medicinal food; using naught but itself and a little salt.
I am including an article I wrote for Notebook magazine it might be of interest and could encourage you to get friendly with fermented foods. This month I have 2 classes I call ‘Capturing Cultures, get the good bugs’ where these foods can be seen and tasted and you learn the what, why and how of growing them safely and inexpensively at home.
Read my article on Probiotcs, written for Notebook magazine

Seminar April 15th. Growing Healthy Children with Food to Heal, Nourish and Delight

I am thrilled to be co hosting this seminar with these two extraordinary women, both are masters in their fields of expertise. The wealth of knowledge and wisdom they can bring to this topic will make the day worthy of your time. It is during school holidays we know, but this is the only time Jude is available on this trip to Sydney. Jude’s depth of understanding and her experience with wholefoods makes her one of my most favoured companions.
Rosalba is a highly respected academic, a versatile healer and a pragmatic counsellor, it was she who introduced me to the transformative research on nutrition conducted by Dr Weston Price, which has so positively affected my own work and the health of my family.
Our seminar will explore the what, when and how to feed our children today, which is the cause of much controversy and confusion, especially in regards to fat. This seminar looks at what healthy, wholesome food truly is and what foods are best to grow happy, healthy children and indeed what a happy, healthy child actually looks like!
Dr Rosalba Courtney is an osteopath, naturopath and one of the authors of “Natural Health and Healing for Children”. Rosalba brings over 30 years of experience to this subject. She is a passionate advocate for children’s health, using the fundamental elements of health; nourishing food, proper breathing and attention to proper structural development.

Whole and Natural Foods Chef, Jude Blereau is the author of “Wholefood for Children – Nourishing Young Children with Whole and Organic Foods” and with a background in Early Childhood Education, will discuss what, when and how to feed our children, including topics such as fussy eating.

As gut health is an important aspect of growing healthy children, I will bring my understanding and knowledge of gut ecology and gut health. I will talk about good bugs, and describe how you might make a start including these live, life supporting foods at home. this will include overt and covert means.
All notes and recipes will be supplied, with a delicious afternoon tea made by Jude and I, our baking is not to be missed.
Booking Details
Sunday 15th April, 2012
Time: 1.00pm – 4.30pm
(Doors open from 12.15pm)
Venue: Glenaeon Steiner School, 5A Glenroy Ave, Middle Cove (parking available down the hill and around the basketball court outside the Hall)
Price: $65.00 inc GST to buy your spot go to
*** No tickets issued – your Paypal receipt is your proof of purchase
For enquiries please email us:

New and distinct recipes and This Goes With That – why put foods together any special way?


Since you kindly, just keep coming back for more. I am developing new dishes to delight you. Classes will now offer distinct recipes, for you to grow your wholefood repertoire with each new class you attend. As ever classes feature recipes to suit the needs of omnivores, vegetarians, vegans and the gluten free. The Sourdough baking workshops are not for the gluten free.

I frequently say that ‘what grows together, goes together’ and I hold this as a valuable place to begin when creating a dish or a meal. Some foods are marriages for one another, such as the basil and tomatoes with crisp sea salt, mushrooms, leeks and thyme with a little tamari, tempeh and coconut with limes, turmeric and fish sauce, or dare I say sourdough bread and freshly churned raw butter – I dare. But never would I say, olives go with coconuts and lime leaves or tempeh loves olive oil, these are not culturally related ingredients and when I am in the kitchen they simply don’t belong in the same pot.

The ingredients to choose are one thing and then there are the food groups and how to use these to your advantage and for optimum digestion. I am not one for complicated regimes or dieting as such. The This  Goes With That class provides simple recipes and an easy to follow food combining chart that you could use in several ways. Feel lighter and more ‘alive’, look vibrant, lose a few kilos, increase your appreciation of the food you eat and find new inspiration in the kitchen and at your table.

At A healthy View in Balmoral On February 10th. I will teach you a range of quick and easy recipes and Michele Chevally Hedge will provide a wealth of nutritional advice to assist you to cleanse, while you continue to eat delicious satisfying meals. Our aim is that you will leave refreshed and ready to put things together a new.

A few places remain, we love teaching to a full house, so please come or help us spread the word.

More classes and booking details here


What cooking classes are on where and when, starting with ‘This goes with that’ in Balmoral

I have altered the information on the classes page, to make it easier to see what is on where and when as there are many choices in February and March; I’ve added another Sourdough workshop too, in Bondi March 3 & 4.

I have beautiful gift card vouchers, for anyone wishing to make a gift of classes.

First up I am teaching ‘This goes with that’ on February 10th at A Healthy View in Balmoral. This is a timely class after all that holiday feasting! Learn the what why and how of food combining, to lighten digestion and maybe, if you are so inclined,  shed a little excess weight. The food will be, as ever, delicious and nutritious with the focus on each individuals particular needs; we keep the number to 12 to ensure this is possible. All the classes I teach at Michele’s include her invaluable nutritional advice and they are also a good deal of fun. Justine is seen here tweeting the benefits, thank you Justine, I really must get tweeting myself… 

Bookings are rolling in, to join us be quick and email Michele Chevally Hedge, who also offers snappy Cooking Class Gift Vouchers; for the ones you love.

Testimonials from past participants of our classes:
Thank you Michele for having such a great day yesterday with Holly Davis cooking us A Winter Dinner Party Meal that we can easily now do in our own homes… delicious. Holly is wonderful and you are so educational … your nutritional tidbits just add the bonus that one normally doesn’t get on a cooking class. You two are quite the team and it shows” Naturopath  from Body & Soul magazine

WOW… Justine Scholfield, former Master Chef star and Lisa Guy from the most sought after health publication in Australia; two food writers and us guests… a really fun and inspiring day.” Wendy Smith, nurse, wife and mum – Mosman NSW