A New Stage …


No, it is not a Vegemite stage.  I was merely trying to brighten a photo of a loaf of bread and thought the yellow of the Vegemite jar would do the trick.  That was until I saw the photo and realised it looks like an ad for Vegemite.  Oh, well…

Back to my new stage.  I regularly go through stages. They keep life new and exciting.  My new enthusiasm is for a high-fibre diet.  I have been through a high-fibre diet phase before (I even have a cookbook called Natural Fibre Cooking) but that was many years ago when I was young and enthusiastic for all things alternative.  This stage is a result of watching the last two episodes of Catalyst.  For those who don’t know, Catalyst is a TV program on the ABC.

If you didn’t see it, I will try to summarise the two shows.  It goes like this…

New research suggests that our current eating habits could be making us sick.  In fact, our diets might be contributing to heart disease, cancer, asthma, allergies, arthritis, autism, depression, multiple sclerosis, diabetes,  etc.

Now, we’ve been hearing for years how we should be eating healthy food.  But this research explains why.  It’s all about the bacteria that live in our intestines.  It turns out we are home to many trillions of bugs.  Eat good food, you end up with good bacteria.  Eat badly and you get bad bacteria and there seems to be one main culprit – our low-fibre diet.   A lot of research is now pointing to our low-fibre diet being largely responsible for that long list of diseases.

It seems our gut bugs have an enormous influence on our health.  The show suggested that you can extend your life span by years, if not decades, with a healthy diet.

Research into a nomadic hunter-gatherer diet indicates that the people eat five to ten times more fibre than us in the West.  Our low-fibre diets, antibiotics and Western ways have left us with very low diversity in our gut bacteria.  But there is good news.  Your gut bacteria community can be altered.  I have been nibbling on nuts and seeds since I saw the shows.

And there is more…  I love this bit.  The study also reported that supplementing the diet with vinegar (yes, vinegar) can actually stop things like asthma and other inflammatory diseases.  Vinegar contains acetate which good bacteria make.  Acetate, which is very small and can get all around the body, can stop the immune system from over-reacting.  By calming the immune system, it promotes good health.  Maus and I have started on a routine of a tablespoon of natural unfiltered vinegar in water each morning.  Hooray!  I have another use for all that vinegar I have been making. :)

“Where does this all lead?”, I hear you ask.  To today’s recipe, of course.  In the circumstances, wholemeal bread with some seeds in it was called for.

I fed my starters last night but because I hadn’t decided what I was going to make, I didn’t soak any seeds or grains.  Normally, if making a loaf like this, I would soak whole linseed (flax seed) overnight.  As this hadn’t happened, I decided to grind the linseed and soak it for as long as it took to have a coffee and get the ingredients together.  Either pursue this technique or soak whole linseed (flax seed) overnight.

This recipe is based on Yoke Mardewi’s multigrain sourdough bread from her book, Wild Sourdough.


  • 70g ground linseed (flax seed) soaked in 300g of water (both the linseed and the water are used)
  • 200g wheat starter (100% hydration)
  • approximately 400g rainwater or filtered water (extra).  Hold some back and add as much as you think you need.  Flours are different so it is hard to know exactly how much you will need.
  • 400g whole meal bread flour
  • 500g bread flour
  • 4 tsp salt

I used this technique.

The shows were very interesting.  If you missed them, you can see them on the ABC website or on ABC iview.

Marinated Lamb with Carrot Tabouleh



Dinner tonight was healthy, quick and simple to make and very tasty.

The main ingredient in the salad (carrot) is chopped in a food processor so the salad takes no time to put together.  The lamb is cooked in a frying pan.  How simple is that? The recipe does call for whole spices but just use powdered spices if it is easier for you.  There will be no difference in the result. Continue reading

Rigatoni with Broccoli, Almonds and Currants


As I have mentioned previously, the Cookbook Guru has allocated this month for members to pitch for a book or books to be featured.  I have already pitched for The Food of Morocco, by Paula Wolfert, and now a pitch for someone closer to home.

If you were to ask me who my favourite cookbook writer is, I would probably say Maggie Beer.  Maggie Beer has been a significant contributor to the creation of an uniquely Australian style of cuisine. Continue reading

International Scone Week 2014


Celia, from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, has declared the second week of August International Scone Week.  So be it.

Of course, with my recent success with sourdough scones, I was determined to make them for this auspicious occasion.  I decided to vary the recipe slightly and make sour dough date scones.

Continue reading

Choc Chip Oat Bran Muffins


I am very excited about this recipe.  It opens up so many possibilities.

I was flicking through Charmaine Solomon’s Family Album which, I must say, is not a particularly inspiring cookbook, and spotted these oat bran muffins.  As I mentioned in my ‘In My Kitchen’ post, I was attracted to the recipe because I have had some oat bran in the cool room for ages and had no idea why I bought it or what to do with it. Continue reading

Chicken with dried apricots and pinenuts


Alas, I forgot the pine nuts! Oh! Well, I will remember them tonight when we have the leftovers.

This month, the Cookbook Guru has asked members to pitch for a book or books to be featured.  I have decided to pitch for The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert (a winner of the James Beard Award – the “Oscars” of the cookbook world). Continue reading