food

Whole Larder Love: Grow Gather Hunt Cook by Rohan Anderson. powerHouse Books (October 9, 2012).

I was very excited when I received a copy of Rohan’s book Whole Larder Love, I am a big been a fan of his blog and his food and his life philosophy. His book is lovingly put together, Rohan’s rustic cross processed style of photography is beautiful, he manages to capture the essence of the food and the love that went into growing, catching and preparing it. Rohan lives his ideals, he hunts, fishes, forages has a prolific vegie garden, he is passionate about where food comes from, and about how it is prepared for consuming. He is a pretty down-to-earth guy, he is a dad and he loves life! Here a video of a day in the life of this guy.

I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions.

Hi Rohan I love your new book and have been a blog fan and follower for ages. I am very interested in your philosophy of food. Can you explain this to our readers?

It’s a very simple approach really. My aim is to rely less on other people and corporations for my food, in doing so I reckon I’m reducing my carbon footprint significantly. In all reality I’m living a peasant life, the good life, a lifestyle that I believe is what’s needed as an alternative to the crazy busy current ‘normal’ lifestyle of desk job, long hours, extensive work travel, money stress etc. I’ve rid myself of those things, I have less money, less stuff but a happier life. It’s amazing how better life is with less.

Another major aspect of your blog, which has attracted me and countless others — the lack of perceived political correctness is very refreshing — and real. Many people appreciate this because of your love and respect of food and where it comes from. Can you talk about this?

I’m a free man, I guess I’ve always thought I was free but now I truly am. I can think for myself, I take real action in my life and I stand by my beliefs. If that’s politically incorrect then so be it. That’s the beauty of our freedom of choice! No one is force feeding us our food for example, we the individual make that choice. We also make the choice to either play on entertainment systems on a large plasma screen or we can choose to get out bush and explore nature. I used to watch a lot of television and I never seemed to have time to do things. Then I stopped and now I remind myself that I have no excuse not to do the things I can do, I have that extra few hours up my sleeve now. And there’s also an upside to not watching so much telly. I’m no longer a marketers dream viewer. Instead I’m even more syndical and untrusting of brands. I put my faith in real things, not marketed ideas.

Your photography is beautiful, it has a earthy rich quality to it that is lacking in a lot of food photography. Can you give readers some tips about photographing food and produce?

I’m massively colour blind. I denied it for years. When I was married, my wife used to joke with me about it then I had a medical and failed the eye test dismally. We had a great laugh and now I accept it. So when I process my photos I use the colours that I like. My photos usually tend towards cooler tones. And I’m not a professionally trained photographer, nor do I really consider myself to be an actual photographer. I just use the camera to capture visuals that I then use as a communication medium for the blog. The camera is a tool as important as my guns, my fly rod or a garden spade. I don’t really like talking about photography, there seems to be a lot of ‘photographers’ out there in internet land, a good deal of them appear to be wankers too. I can’t stand people comparing what brand of camera, or lens and how much they paid for it. Just take the damn photo!

The food and recipes in your book are full of flavour, colour and texture. You love to hunt, fish and forage, but one aspect that I really enjoyed was the chapter on stocking the pantry. Can you tell us a few of your favourite ways of putting food by?

At the end of summer I start to do a lot of preserving. It’s an approach that’s been used for centuries to harvest summers produce and store for the winter months when things slow down. That’s all I do really, is spend my time acquiring food for the family. I have no ‘normal’ job, my job IS food. Most people have space to grow the easiest veg of all to grow, zucchini. And if you plant a few too many plants you’ll find yourself in a glut some time in the middle of summer. That’s when I start making jars of Zuc relish. There’s a recipe in my book, which I suggest using as a base and then add to it — add chilli, add peppers, add more onion, more sugar. Do what you want to suit your tastes. In the end however, you’ll have a ripper relish to go on burgers and in winter toasties that you made from stuff you grew. Nothing beats that!

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As you may – or may not – know, I am a voracious reader. And lately I have been reading some novels that have a creative edge – you know – with a cooking or craft thread running through. Here are four books which I took away on holiday with me recently and read eagerly while looking out to sea and drinking tea.

The Book of Lost Threads by Tess Evans (Allen & Unwin June 2010).

I love reading books that are set locally and written by local authors – so Melbourne folk you might like this book too. Set in Rural Victoria in a small country town, this book is not what it seems. Full of interesting characters and sidestepping snippets, it is a bit sad sometimes but mostly lovely and surprising. About a girl looking for her father and a father who is hiding from himself. Not a love story in the usual sense – instead it is a love story between a father and daughter discovering each other and trying to help each other. And there is knitting too – yes an eccentric and sweet old lady knits tea cosies – it all fits perfectly beautifully. I sort of imagine this sort of thing when I think of old ladies knitting tea cosies – but I suspect the ones in this book are rather more practical – maybe like this one. I simply love this tea cosy - and this one too.

The Beauty of Humanity Movement: A Novelby Camilla Gibb (Penguin Press HC March 2011). Available in Australia through Allen & Unwin.

The beauty of humanity movement is named after a group of 1950′s Vietnamese artists and writers who paid the ultimate price for expressing their views. This book is stunning, set in the present time but going back and forth to the group of artists in the 1950′s who are at the heart of the story, a young woman in search of her past finds an old man trying to forget his – and their stories intertwine through the classic dish of Phở – a beef broth. Its an interesting premise and I was fascinated by the history of Vietnam, the art, the culture and ultimately the food. Phở is what brings everyone together in this story and has a story of its own – bringing together the history of Vietnam in this one dish. It is a classic street food in Vietnam as the broth needs to be lovingly tended for several hours and is therefore not so easy to make at home. If you do want to try to make it at home – I cobbled together a few recipes – as I am planning on tackling it this weekend. Making Phở at home : Phở Secrets : Phở recipe.

Cooking for Claudine: How I Cooked My Way into the Heart of a Formidable French Family by John Baxter. (Faber short books May 2011) Available in Australia through Allen & Unwin.

This latest book from Australian Expat Film Critic John Baxter is a captivating and romantic memoir. At its core it is about family and food and love, but it also explores themes of living in France and French customs as well as being welcomed into a French family (this interview is interesting). John Baxter describes how in his later years he falls in love and marries a French woman from a traditional old family and throughout the years somehow John has been given the task of preparing Christmas Dinner for the large and extended French family. Each year he goes to great lengths to impress and prepares wonderful and exotic dishes. His most recent Christmas sees him searching out ingredients from local markets and artisan food makers, while at the same time exploring his adopted country and local food customs. Wonderfully written with humour, intelligence and love. (And yes there are recipes – the final dinner included a whole suckling pig!)

Friendship Bread: A NovelContemporary Literature) by Darien Gee. Published by Ballantine Books (April 5, 2011). Available in Australia through Allen & Unwin.

Friendship bread is a bread starter that needs to be nurtured and fed for 10 days before using, then it can be divided to make four loaves. One quarter of the starter is kept and the other three quarters are packaged up and given out to friends to make their own breads. Lovely concept but can get out of hand as you might imagine – which it does in this book too. Sadness and friendship, love and loss are explored in this book – with the friendship bread bringing healing to unhappy souls and bringing together a town to help those in need. A quick read, with lots of cooking and food to feed the soul. As I didn’t have any starter passed on to me I had to find out for myself how to make it and found lots of resources on the net – the best place to start is with the book’s own website – where there is a recipe to make the starter Friendshipbreadkitchen, to make the basic bread as well as plenty of variations.

DISCLOSURE: Allen & Unwin PROVIDED WHIPUP.NET WITH REVIEW COPies OF THese BOOKs. THE AMAZON LINKs are AFFILIATE LINKs.

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homemade nutella

by kath_red on 31/12/2010

in Food

This homemade nutella recipe is inspiring me. What is inspiring you?

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Cate has a delicious and pretty looking gingerbread project

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Being an Australian s’mores are an unknown to me. In theory they sound like they could be pretty ok, crackers, chocolate and marshmallow, then add heat and eat. Nice. Link to tutorial, and for those of us that aren’t American, a definition.

Do you have a snack like s’mores that’s popular in your country? All I can think of for Australia is lamingtons, but they’re not quite as portable and make on the spotish.

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