Gosh this has been a long time coming but it’s a goodie…

I often frequent Pope Joan for a delish coffee and a natter to Rochelle, who is lucky enough to be working in the produce store Hams and Bacon. While sipping on a coffee, Rochelle INSISTED that I try a chocolate… a sugar free, raw chocolate!

Citizen Cacao is made locally. Down the road in Collingwood, by the lovely Georgie. So naturally this was going to be a new post for the blog.

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Photography by Rochelle Seator

Styling By Lee Blaylock

Meeting Georgie was a wonderful experience, much like the one tasting her chocolate…originally from NZ; Georgie has been living for the past 10 years in NYC and Brooklyn. Lucky for us Melbournians, George moved her last year to set up a food truck but “accidentally started a raw chocolate company called Citizen Cacao…. so… no truck.”

Georgie is a warm and engaging woman with a world of knowledge on raw food and especially raw chocolate. Little did I know I was in for a chocolate making lesson.

When did you first start making raw chocolate?

I learned my craft on the bad streets of Williamsburg Brooklyn, working for an artisanal chocolate company, approx. 5 years ago now!

I couldn’t believe that you could achieve those kinds of flavours and textures from THREE main ingredients : Cacao/Cacao Butter/Coconut Oil/ … and Agave/coconut nectar … my mind was blown further when I learned of the health benefits of cacao as one of nature’s BEST super foods – stuffed full of antioxidants and magnesium, not to mention anandamide (aka the Bliss Chemical).. SO GOOD!

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Can you tell us a little about raw food, what are the benefits?

It’s widely believed that eating raw food is incredibly beneficial to the body largely in relation to the natural enzymes that exist in plant-based foods. When you alter the natural state of the plant by heating it ABOVE a certain temperature (40C) – the nutritional benefit is often lost as these enzyme structures break down …however when you eat a ‘living food’ it feeds you an incredibly natural and vital meal which is gentle on your system, and jammed with all of the vitamins and minerals that most of us lack due to poor diets and food choices.

Fabulous name “Citizen Cacao” is there any back ground to this?

The name arrived via a long story, the most important part of which stems from a sincere philosophy that we all want to belong to something; we seek community, which in my opinion is a broader descriptor for Love. The word “Citizen” in Ancient Rome was used to describe someone who believed in the emancipation from the world of ‘things’. That idea resonated with me deeply, as I see how attached we are to objects and not each other. I hope that Citizen attracts people who are looking for an ‘US’ not a ‘ME’ and that they really enjoy chocolate.

 

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Photography by Rochelle Seator

Styling By Lee Blaylock

What’s next for Citizen?

I am working on my wrapping skills.. so look out for some Citizen to go…. I have some Hot Chocolate mixes on the go…. and feel as though something will end up ‘dipped’… though one can never be sure!

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Photography by Rochelle Seator

Styling By Lee Blaylock

Rochelle and I think this is only the beginning for this passionate and clever lady. We both wish you all the luck and love on your new journey in Melbs x

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Tempted to seek out Citizen? Heres a list of flavours, I recommend trying them all…hey this CHOCOLATE is actually packed full of goodness and GUILT free…how cool is that !

Coconut Blossom Sugar/Chipotle/Sea-salt/Orange Pistachio Praline TRUFFLES and Blueberry/WildRice/Peanut Butter BARS

Citizen can be found in a growing number of cafes and grocers around Melbourne:

Hams and Bacon // Pope Joan 

Tomboy Cafe 

Proud Mary Coffee

Silo

Cheerio, 323 Lennox St. Richmond, VIC

Spring Street Grocer 

Vegetable Connection

 

 

 

 

Its Feijoa season…”Hooray” all the Kiwis shout!

Autumn is feijoa season. I have seen them at the markets and at the fruit stores also…(I think Australia is finally catching on!)

I don’t think I have ever purchased feijoas from a store or market…just picked them straight from the tree, up off the ground/footpath or paid $2 into an honestly box for a huge bag on the side of the road.

Feijoas Web Photography By Brent ParkerJones 

They taste aromatic and sweet, like nothing else I’ve tasted before. When ripe, the fruit is soft to the touch, the pulp is a clear and the texture is kind of like jelly. They will ripen on the kitchen bench also. If the ‘jelly like’ pulp is brownish, it is past is best.

To be honest I haven’t ever cooked with them. “Eaten fresh is best” I say! Cut or torn in half and scooped out. YUM. I think I will have a day of making feijoa treats this weekend; I will keep you all posted.

Thanks Brent for bringing me these tasty little green beauties yesterday and photographing them for all to see.

I hope you all find a feijoa tree in your neighbourhood to raid!

Oh I forgot to say…I have had Feijoa Vodka. Delicious but be very careful!!

 

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I realise that its the end of the season…and I had planned a big post on these earthy delights but what can I say…I just LOVE figs and they taste as beautiful as they look.

Figs_WebPhotography by Rochelle Seator

Styling by Lee Blaylock

Rochelle and I picked some figs from a local fig tree and had a feast…The bread was a walnut loaf made by my good friend and neighbour Rachael Lane. (She was next door baking up a storm recipe testing)

The cheese was Holy Goat Silk and the wine a beautiful Chardonnay from Black Heart and Sparrows down the road…oh and a vanilla olive oil.

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A great little idea that takes two seconds to make… (thanks to Matt Wilkinson)

Rosemary1Photography by Rochelle Seator

fresh rosemary, roughly 4 stalks

good quality salt, roughly 3 tablespoons

olive oil, roughly 1 tablespoon

Pull rosemary leaves from the stalk, heat the oil in a frying pan until hot but not smoking…quickly add the rosemary and toss together for a few seconds…the rosemary will become crispy but still retain its bright green colour.

Drain on paper towel.

Using a mortar and pestle grind together with the salt to form…Rosemary SALT ….Yum

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Photography by Rochelle Seator

Great for an extra lift on your eggs in the morning…or your roast Lamb!

So off you go, find yourself some rosemary if you dont have any in your garden. (I’m sure the neighbours wont mind!)

Rochelle and I are heading to Myrtleford to the Butter Factory in two weeks to learn how to make butter. We are both so excited to be going on a road trip not only for the butter experience but all the other local treats I’m sure we will find along the way!

How fantastic is it that we can eat butter made right here in Victoria!

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Saucy season…

Saturday morning at Bar Idda in Brunswick – one of my favourite local restaurants to eat at by the way! a group of 9 or so tomato enthusiasts gather with Lisa and Freddy in the delight of making Passata.

Tis the season of the humble tomato – I personally love tomatoes freshly picked from the garden, sliced on crusty white bread with loads of butter, sea salt and ground pepper. YUM. But another way to make use of the seasonal tasty little gems is to make Passata. Being in season, tomatoes are at their best, sweet and juicy and also inexpensive to buy. Another plus, what a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with your family and friends.

Rochelle was lucky enough to join in and photograph the process….super simple but so satisfying.

Photography by Rochelle Seator

I asked Rochelle how the process worked… I love her explanation…

“So firstly cut the tomatoes in half and salt them leaving them over night, approx. 24 hours. Before putting them through the ma jiggy. Sterilize the bottles ??? Not sure how? Then put into bottle, cap them, then pop them into pots of boiling water to seal them completely (takes all the air out ) they also put 2 basil leaves in each bottle.  That’s about it!!”

Photography by Rochelle Seator

Styling by Lee Blaylock

So next tomato season I am going to gather all my friends together and make Passata… during which there will be many laughs and good glasses of wine to be had!

Im sure  Bar Idda will continue to have weekends of Passata making next season so keep an eye out… If you haven’t yet had the privilege of eating at Lisa and Freddy gorgeous restaurant then you must put it on the top of your list… you wont be disappointed.

Note to sterilise your bottles, wash in hot soapy water then rinse well. Place on a tray into a cold oven and turn the oven onto 110 degrees. When the oven reaches temperature leave the bottles in the oven for 10 minutes. Cool the bottles slightly before filling.

 

It has been a long time between posts…. But this one I promise is a well worth the wait!

One of my close  friends have been kindly hassling me (which is normally my job!) to continue with my blog, as they are just as passionate about the topics that I am….  As some of you know I have been extremely busy with my job as a food stylist of late, so I have teamed up with Rochelle Seator to continue to share these inspiring stories with you and continue with my blog…. Or shall I say OUR blog!

 

Passion in a Punnet….

Photography By Rochelle Seator

Moondarra Organic blueberries is owned and run by Mal Deveson and his son Joel and daughter Kate. Mal started the business more than 30 years ago, Joel now  manages the farm and his daughter Kate works the administration side of the business. Mal tells of the third generation, his granddaughter, playing on the floor of the packing room during harvest: It seems blueberries are well and truly in the veins of their family.

Mal is Passion in a Punnet! We met Mal early on a Saturday morning at the Vege out St Kilda farmers market, for a quick interview… after some three hours of engaging conversation, great storytelling and deeply interesting history lessons, we left inspired by his passion, his generosity, knowledge and honest love for this modest but punch packing little beauty of a fruit.

For 10 years now, Mal and his family have been regulars at farmers markets all over Melbourne. Kingston Farmers’ MarketCollingwood Farmers’ MarketBoroondara Farmers’ MarketGasworks Farmers’ MarketAbbotsford Farmers’ Market, as well as many local fruiters.

Despite the early hour there was an unrelenting stream of customers, Mal seems to know most of his customers by first name and has genuine interest in their well-being. This is the kind of person that Mal is; intensely and genuinely interested in the well-being of his clients. He is honestly concerned about the earth and nature and therefore supplies his clients, his friends, with the best product he possibly can-this means an organic product.

Mal’s farming philosophy begins from the soil and moves upwards. He speaks of the complete process of farming: from companion planting, mulching to understanding your microclimate, knowing and caring for soil structure, allowing the development of beneficial fungi in the soil and of matching particular blueberry varieties accordingly. All of which minimises potential environmental issues for the plants that would otherwise cause a conventional farmer to contemplate chemical solutions. Mal despairs at the conventional and industrial farming methods because he knows they are not necessary: “If you properly assess the local conditions, manage the soil, select breeds suited to their climate and problem solve with natural solutions first in mind then organic farms will not only be possible, but are in fact far more profitable and successful than conventional industrially intensive methods”. This philosophy has led Mal to breed and propagate blueberries that do particularly well in Australian conditions.

When looking at Moondarra blueberries, you are first struck by the size of the blueberries, they seem almost grape size, then secondly by the fact that these blueberries aren’t in fact blue but silvery grey due to the dusting of  “bloom” on the outside of the berries. Bloom is a highly sought after characteristic of blueberries that cultivators and growers strive for. Mals’ Moondarra Blueberries,  has Bloom in abundance.

 

Picking the blueberries at the right time is critical: Mal shows us two blueberries, one is the size of the what you and I would consider blueberries to usually be and the other is the size of a grape, bigger than any blueberry that I have ever seen.

“The small one should have been left on the bush another week or two and it’d turn up to that size, and if you eat that one it wont be fully ripe, it’ll be tart. If you leave them hanging, the starches turn to sugar, they start to sweeten up and they gain flavor. Once they’re picked they wont ripen any further.”

Mal picks about a ton of fruit a week through harvest (between November until May) and has one of the longest harvesting seasons in the industry. This is due to his careful selection of different varieties (about 20 under production totaling 8000 bushes) that ripen in a rolling season that lasts six months.

The queues at the markets speak for themselves, punters claiming that these blueberries are fresher, larger, tastier that any others available. And no wonder: Moondarra blueberries are picked straight into the punnet to minimize handling, labelled and sold to the punter within 2 to 3 days. The product is as fresh as it can possibly be, as ripe as it can possibly be and grown as well as it can possibly be! In comparison conventional commercially grown blueberries that can sit for up to 8 weeks in specially designed storage wraps before hitting the shelves of your supermarket or fruiter!

The care that Mal takes with the production of growing his blueberries is evident in the fact that the very first row of blueberry bushes Mal planted in 1978 are still in production! Some 30 years on!

Mal invited us to the farm for a blueberry tasting tour.…what a extraordinarily privileged experience! We walked around the serene setting with Mal as our tour guide and tried different varieties of the sweet, juicy goodness. We were all completely blown away with the difference in varieties. Some had perfumery undertones, subtle flavours, some more intense, different textures, some had more seeds than others, different thickness of skins, some tasting of lemonade and others of bubblegum! Incredible !

We ate so many blueberries that day we all left with blue teeth and tongues. Seriously I kid you not! Rather hilarious!

I really wanted to try and make  sugar free jam as I didn’t feel the blueberries needed to be any sweeter and I didn’t want to take away from their natural flavour, but as the pectin levels in blueberries are quite low I had to add some, but I drastically cut the sugar down and added some rice malt syrup also.

Moondarra Organic Blueberry Jam

500 g blueberries

1/2 cup rice malt syrup

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup sugar

Bring all to the boil in a saucepan , reduce the heat and cook on a gentle rolling boil for 25-20 minutes, until the soft ball stage approx. 110°C on a sugar thermometer.

Pour into a sterilised Jar and keep in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

Photography by Rochelle Seator

Recipe and Styling by Lee Blaylock

 

 

 

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I am super EXCITED to bring you this post! It is rather special and I feel honoured that Dori Ellington took the time out to chat to me about her fabulous business Makin’ Groceries a pop up organic greengrocer focusing on local and farmer direct produce.

Makin’ Groceries can be found at Marketto 40 Caroline st, South Yarra (another one of Doris brilliant ideas in collaboration with Jamie McFarlane)

I crossed the river (which I do frequently by the way!) and checked out Marketto..easy to find I just followed the trail of oranges up Toorak Rd and there it was ! I was greeted to the delightful sound of the ‘Blues Berrys’ or as Dori calls them ‘Darcy and the boys’ setting the mood with some tunes…

I loaded up with beautiful local produce.  We had an amazing feast of organic veg and Plains Paddock Lamb that night for dinner.

Unfortunately I didn’t manage to photograph the lamb that day, it was too delicious and was gobbled up very quickly! Dont worry that is not the end of that story!

 

Dori Ellington

Photography by Lee Blaylock

 

Can you tell us about your background? Has food always been a passion of yours?

I was born & raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana; so needless to say EATING has always been a massive part of my life. My grandmother, Anita Mae, was the quintessential southern cook, who taught me that eating revolves around everything… and should always be accompanied by a drink. Louisianans’ love to eat & drink and are very proud of their cuisine.

However, growing up where EATING is a tradition, oddly no one ever really talked about where the FOOD came from.  Somehow, the supply chain was forgotten in a region so intertwined with good cooking and culture. On occasion, some sweet oldie would bring around some homegrown tomatoes, but other than that, fruit & veg came from multinational supermarkets, where the produce had been shipped from all over the world.  There were no locally owned fruit & veg shops, bakeries, or butchers.

So how did fruit & veg first spark your interest? 

When I was 17, I met someone that had a beautiful lunch made with ingredients entirely from his garden.  My teenage mind could barely comprehend. Being an angsty teenager I was annoyed that I had never really thought about where food came from.  How did the fresh food get to the supermarkets? Where was it before? Who picked it? Who planted it? What did they get paid for it? Did they have enough water? Had any of their crops failed that year? How did they become a farmer? Where was the farm? Can I grow this? The questions got a bit out of control.

3 years later, in 2004, I came to Australia for a uni exchange. I immediately fell in love with the place, something about it clicked.  I studied Outdoor and Environmental Education in Bendigo. I learned heaps about outdoorsy/enviro/earth lovin’ stuff, but more than anything I learnt that I LOVED FOOD- Real food with real people behind it.  I started my first veggie patch and a fruit & veg co-op from my house.  It became a bit of an obsession & it was so much fun.

When did you come to Melbourne? How did you become a greengrocer?

I moved to Melbourne in 2007 and began working at CERES Environment Park in East Brunswick.  I was co-ordinating the Farmers Market Stall, going to all of the Melbourne Farmer’s Markets [Veg Out, Collingwood Children’s Farm, Gas Works, Abbotsford Slow Food] selling the produce from Merri Creek Market Garden, Om Mushrooms, chutneys & sauces from CERES Seven Stars and seedlings from CERES propagation.  It was hard for me to sleep on Friday nights because of all the excitement for Saturday morning.

It was when I began managing the CERES Organic Market  I realised that I was destined to be a greengrocer!  There was just so much talking about food, every step of the way.  Daily chats with growers about everything from babies to bok choy to bugs; hearing about what was going on with Queensland bananas from the lovely wholesalers; chatting to staff about different varieties of apples while we setting up tills and trestle tables before the market opened; and talking with customers about what spud was best for roasting & listening to them swap recipes.  I loved how FOOD created a community.  After almost 4 years of managing CERES Market I decided it was time for someone else to have the experience and I should move on.

 

 

What is Marketto? 

Marketto is a bi-monthly market in the courtyard of Sweet Caroline hair salon in South Yarra.  Each Marketto there is organic fruit & veg available from my stall, Makin’ Groceries alongside a variety of growers & makers; Fresh Oyster Mushrooms & grow your own kits by Fungi Culture, Honey from the Urban Beekeeper, Lamb from Plains Paddock Lamb, Cakes by Cakes by Me, Organic baby food from Peter Piper Picked, Smoothies by Bike n’ Blend, and we are soon to welcome Bundarra Berkshire Pork, Nolan’s Road Olive Oil, Shokuik Wholefoods, and TOM’s organics.

Where did this wonderful idea grow from? 

Jamie McFarlane, owner of Sweet Caroline, has been cutting my hair for a while now (and for all you northsiders out there, yes I travelled to the south side to get my haircut… totally worth it!) We immediately hit it off gossiping about people, relationships and FOOD.  He always knows where the best new foodie spots are, loves a good juice fast or raw diet, and keen to fight the supermarket duopoly!

In May this year, while I was getting a great new haircut, Jamie said he wanted to start a market in the courtyard of Sweet Caroline, to highlight all the unused urban spaces and highlight sustainable living.  We got excited for about 10 minutes, and decided to start in July.

Marketto is the love child of an enthusiastic hairdresser & a greengrocer.

 

 

 

How long has Marketto been going for?

We had our first Marketto in July! The first 2 months it was only the first Saturday of the month, but the people demanded more.  We’re now tossing up weekly for 2013….

How is it being Southside? What has been the reaction so far?

Being Southside is awesome! Everyone has been incredibly supportive and really proud to have their own local market; word of mouth has never been so powerful.  The first Saturday we opened, a lovely gentlemen went door knocking to let neighbours know there was a market on.

South Yarra is full of high density living with lots of diversity.  It’s a mixture of long time locals, uni students, extremely fit people who run the ‘tan every morning, hardcore foodies, and young families.

 

Photography by Lee Blaylock

 

The name of your vegetable stall Makin’ Groceries? What’s this story?

Makin’ Groceries is a Louisiana term, meaning ‘going to the grocery store’.  I wanted something to reflect my roots.  And it kinda describes Makin’ Groceries mission; make fresh fruit and veg more accessible to people, by supporting local farmers and decreasing the links in the food supply chain… making groceries.

Do you have any advice for people wanting to start their own business?

Just go for it, if you love what you do & you never know what maybe around the corner.  Oh, and make sure you have good people around you!

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

To keep popping up in areas that do not have fruit & veg shops near them.

Starting Thursday 8th of November,  Makin Groceries will be out the front of Berties Butcher on Swan St, Richmond.  Swan Street is a super busy shopping strip, again with no fruit & veg shops.  I’m really looking forward to collaborating with Berties Butcher.  Butchers and greengrocers are two very important trades that have been lost, and I think we can revive them.  It would also be great to get out into the suburban sprawl… but Im trying to take one step at a time.

 

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I love living in the city of Melbourne for so many reasons, in particular the farmers markets.

You don’t have to travel far to find one, so there is really no excuse not to support our local producers…

A few weeks ago I discovered Yarra Valley Caviar at the Slow Food Farmers Market on every forth Saturday of the month at the Abbotsford Convent.

Nick Gorman who was running the stall kindly gave me a run down on the business between serving other customers. (Thanks Nick!) I purchased a smoked rainbow trout and smoked salmon. Lunch was going to be delish!

I also picked up some Holy Goat Fromage Frais from the stall next door, a perfect addition to my smoked fish. It is particularly good at this time of year, as the goats have had lots of delicate spring greens to graze upon, but more on that another time….

Styling and recipe by Lee Blaylock  Photography by Brent Parker Jones

Styling by Lee Blaylock
Photography by Brent Parker Jones

 

What is the background, philosophy of Yarra Valley caviar? When was the business started?

The business started in 1992.  The philosophy is around sustainability and treating the fish humanely.

The business is one of the only fresh water aquaculture farms of its kind to take a completely natural approach to rearing, and milking, its Atlantic Salmon – refusing to use antibiotics or chemicals.

Its fish are milked entirely by hand under a natural anaesthetic of clove oil and returned to the fresh water ponds where they are reared to spawn again the following year.

In regards to its environmental policies a recent study by the Department of Primary Industries, documented that its practices have actually improved the water quality on the Rubicon River.

YVC is well known for its salmon caviar and has won many awards; can you explain the technique of the ‘milking’ of the salmon? How often is this done? What are the benefits of this technique?

The salmon are only milked once a year in May when they are naturally ready to release the eggs.  This means the eggs are plump and flawless and literally ‘pour’ out as the salmon’s stomach is stroked so there is no undue stress on the salmon.

They are lifted from the ponds, put in tubs with some clove oil which makes them sleepy, then hand-milked, and returned to recovery ponds before they go back to their own ponds again.

The benefits are happier, healthier fish and better quality caviar.

Is your intention to stay a boutique farm? Are their any major challenges of running a boutique organic farm?

The size of the farm does mean it can only produce a certain amount of product each year as it only has 16 ponds and wants to continue to ensure that the salmon are given plenty of room to move – more than any other average aquaculture farm.

Is there popular demand for local sustainable fresh and smoked fish in victoria?

We certainly find that leading chefs around the country want to use produce where they know its footprint, and consumers are increasingly demanding to understand this too.

Where asides from the local farmers markets can you purchase your products?

http://www.yarravalleycaviar.com.au/where-to-buy/retail

Is the farm open to the public to come and look and purchase your products?

It’s a working aquaculture farm so isn’t open to the public, however, we do host those in the industry and media to give valuable insights into how the farm operates.

What is on the cards for the future of YVC? 

We’re launching new product all the time, most recently a ‘first harvest’ caviar from salmon which have not been milked before and are three years old, and a premium line of rainbow trout.  We’re also looking into official organic certification, something that hasn’t been able to be achieved purely because you can’t purchase organic fish food in Australia.  We are also looking into export markets for our products.

 

Here’s what I had for lunch…Enjoy!

SMOKED RAINBOW TROUT WITH BABY BEETS AND SOFT BOILED QUAIL EGGS

1 bunch baby beets (approx. 8)

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 sprigs picked fresh thyme

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 quail eggs

1 300-400 g YVC smoked rainbow trout

2- 3 handfuls fresh picked herbs (chervil, mint and Italian parsley)

1 cup fresh peas

zest of 1 lemon plus juice

1/2 cup Holy Goat Fromage Frais

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.

Wash and peel the baby beets. Trim the stems and leaves keeping aside the small/medium sized leaves for the salad. Place in a serving bowl. Place the beets in a roasting tray with the oil and the thyme, roast covered loosely with foil for 20 mins or until tender when pierced with a knife.

Meanwhile place the quail eggs gently into a pot boiling water and cook for 2 mins for soft yolk. Cool under running water and peel, cut in half and set aside. Blanche the peas in a pot of boiling water and refresh in cold water, drain and add to the bowl.

Remove the skin from the trout and pull away the flesh from the bones, break into chunks and add to the bowl.

Add the picked herbs, lemon zest, and juice. Cut the beets in half lengthways, add to the salad and toss gently.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Arrange the quail eggs on top and serve with the Fromage Frais on the side.

Tip: Instead of using the YVC smoked rainbow trout you can replace with their smoked salmon

Recipe by Lee Blaylock

 Photographed by Brent Parker Jones

 

 

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A sneak peek at my my next story and delicious recipe!

Local smoked rainbow trout from Yarra Valley Caviar.

Purchased at Abbotsford Convent,  Slow Food Farmers Market. This market is on the fourth Saturday of every month.

Styling by Lee Blaylock
Photographed by Brent Parker Jones

 

Recipe and Styling by Lee Blaylock
Photographed by Brent Parker Jones

 

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I am a big advocate of eating locally sourced and produced food. Especially when so much love and inspiration has gone into a product, so when I met Kate Foster the lovely lady behind the 100% organic granola ‘Full of Grace’ , I naturally jumped at the chance to have a chat with her and listen to her story.

Kate started making her own granola for her family and friends in 2011 after endlessly searching for a nutritious and tasty breakfast alternative. With no satisfying success, Full of grace was born….

Kate has done some serious research into the production of her granola. FOG is 100% organic and sourced locally where possible.

The granola comes in 3 different flavours, Ginger, Berry and Arabic date, sold at Pope Joan, as well a handful of cafes located through out Melbourne and rural Victoria, plus online.

FOG is packed with nuts, seeds, grains and fruit all delicately balanced to give you a healthy yet scrumptious breakfast. Marry with some creamy organic yoghurt, fresh or poached fruit.

Styled and photographed by Lee Blaylock

Tell us a little about your background. Has food always been a passion of yours? Does it run in the family?

I grew up in the country but went to boarding school in Melbourne at the age of 15. After school, I did a GAP year in England which planted the seed for my love of travel. Following uni (I studied PR at RMIT) I worked professionally in Melbourne and then abroad in Dubai and London. It was in London that I discovered granola and when I returned to live home I couldn’t find a breakfast cereal that was healthy and delicious. I started making my own granola which led to making it for family and friends and the launch of my business, Full of Grace.

My Mum was a wonderful cook but never gave herself enough credit. She created lovely meals with so much flavour but she didn’t enjoy the process as she would rather be spending the time outside. She loved food and entertaining but gardening was always her real passion.

I have lots of passions – food, fashion, flowers, friends & family!

What are the challenges of a 100% organic market?

In Australia we are limited with organic suppliers so price is biggest issue.

I find it hard to pass on the cost of organic to the end customer so for me, I simply decreased my profit margin. It’s not exactly my greatest business decision but I was determined to sell organic granola and I didn’t want my customers paying a fortune for it.

I spent months baking and testing all different nuts & seeds and oils to come up with the best granola possible. During this time, it was amazing to note even the size/shape/colour of Organic V Non Organic products. It was quite amazing and confirmed the decision to go 100% organic. The bottom line is… you get what you pay for.

Do you have any new FOG flavours or products in the bag that you can share with us?

Full of Grace Granola Bars are in the pipeline for phase 2.

There is definitely a lack of healthy and wholesome snacks in the market, particularly for children, that aren’t full of sugar and nasty additives.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start there own artisan food product?

Take the plunge and go for it!

What are your hopes for the business in the future?

In the near future, I would like to see my products interstate but for now I am simply focusing all my energy on Melbourne and regional Victoria.

I’d also like to see Full of Grace with numerous product lines – I’ve got heaps of ideas but I’m keeping them under wraps for now so I don’t get too distracted.

When you’re not eating FOG for breakfast where is your favourite place to eat breakfast? (Its okay to have more than one!)

I’m completely bias but I love my brother’s café Pope Joan in East Brunswick – it’s my second home!

I also love the cafes that stock my granola as I’m rather selective about where I supply: Dead Man Espresso (South Melbourne), Common Galaxia (Seddon), Café Gaia (South Yarra), Friends of Mine (Richmond), Snow Pony (Balwyn), Porgie + Mr Jones (Hawthorn) plus a host of others.

I also enjoy the cafes in my local neighbourhood – we are spoilt for choice in Fitzroy!

Kate Foster Photographed by Lee Blaylock

 

I love having poached fruit in the fridge, not just for breakfast but even a sweet afternoon treat or dessert. I hadn’t poached any quince this year, which is one of my favourite fruits to poach. I love the unusual looking fruit, with its knobbly shape and gorgeous yellow hue. The poached quince goes perfectly with the ginger granola.

Styled and Photographed by Lee Blaylock

Poached quince served with FOG ginger granola

 

1 cup sugar

Juice 1 orange (approx. ½ cup)

2 ½ cups water

1 star anise

1 cinnamon stick (broken)

4-5 quinces

Place all the ingredients except the quince together in a medium-large saucepan,

Bring to the boil stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, boil for 2-3 mins, and lower heat to a simmer.

Meanwhile peel and core quince. Add the quince to the liquid and cover with baking paper.

Poach for 2 1/2 hours.

The quince will turn from a pale colour to a rich pink, filling your home with a beautiful aroma.

Leave to cool in the pot and transfer to a sealed container. The fruit will keep up to 1 week in the fridge. You can also re-use the syrup to poach more fruit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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