This is why I cook

Posted on May 30th, 2013

I’ve been reading Michael Pollan’s latest book: Cooked, A Natural History of Transformation. I’m transfixed. I love it. I’m sure you would too.

Photo by Hong Yi

Photo by Hong Yi

I’m learning all kinds of wonderful cookery thingerys. Like, salt any meat that’s to be braised or stewed for hours, if not days, before you cook it. Why? Salt obviously draws water out of things, so this advice can seem counter intuitive. But as the salt draws the water out it forms a salty liquid that then, after a bit, gets drawn back into the meat in a kind of osmotic vacuum effect. Thus making said meat super tender.

But reading the book has got me thinking about why I cook. Pollan points out it’s not an efficient thing to do. We can outsource cooking so much more cheaply and efficiently. So why bother? For me:

* Cooking is creative. I get into a flow of making and building and playing. I can test and try things and take risks. I build without a plan. I just start, then I add sauces and herbs and I feel my way toward the endpoint. It’s like that wisdom: like a car with its headlights on, we don’t need to be able to see our final destination at the end of the road. We just need to be able to shine our attention to the bit in front of us, and steer from there. This is the thrill of creativity…trusting that the road will lead us there…even if we can’t see it all in one.

* It’s manual. It’s hands-on. I roll my sleeves up and get out of my head. Out. Of. My. Head.

* It takes me beyond rules. I almost become recalcitrant. I refuse to check on The Google if I have the right temperature for baking almond meal cupcakes. I avoid using measuring cups and spoons. In fact, I only just bought a Read more

What if you could combine coconut and rice milk in one?

Posted on May 28th, 2013

I know a stack of you ask me about non-dairy milks that don’t contain sugar, GMOs, phytic acid or other toxins. Which is no mean feat. I struggle to recommend many* and mostly suggest you make your own nut milks (there’s a recipe in my I Quit Sugar book). And, then, from another angle, some of you tell me you find coconut milk in cooking a little rich.

Screen Shot 2013-05-24 at 5.15.03 PM

Image via Smoothie Club

Now, to all of you I can say: Coco Quench.

Husband and wife Don and Ann from Pureharvest make this stuff. They also make the rice malt syrup I use in many of my I Quit Sugar recipes and are a bunch of authentic pioneers in this area and I met them during a recent Melbourne trip.

* As an FYI, their nut and rice milks are actually GMO and fructose free (the only Australian brands on the market that are).

And just so you know, this is a sponsored post, but opinions are all my own and I researched the topic and came to these conclusions myself. You’ll find my position on sponsored posts and advertising here.

Don and Ann have been experimenting and making organic, health foods since the early 1970s from their little place outside Melbourne. They walk their talk. They love what they do. And they were able to explain to me the deal with their latest invention: a milk substitute that combines coconut and rice milks in one. Here’s how it goes:

Use as a coconut milk substitute.

Some recipes can be vastly improved by using a little coconut milk. But perhaps they’re not quite a curry. Perhaps they’re a soup or a stew. But using a mere dash of coconut milk or cream is a bugger – you’re left with the rest of the can. Coco Quench is good Read more

so, a few things are going to change around here

Posted on May 27th, 2013

I very much like change. I like growing. I like inventing stuff just to see if other people like it. And I love when things (finally) gel and flow and I can invite people onto my little canoe and we can paddle together. Because, while I’m a calcified lone ranger, I also do like sharing and being blown away by other humans and their skill and heart and uniqueness.

Zoe SW

Preamble over, let me share some friggen great news with you all. I Quit Sugar is about to unfurl in some dramatic new ways.

And first up, let me introduce you to our new General Manager, Zoe Eaton. If I could abide emoticons, I’d insert little clapping hands here. She has been on board a total of four days and has impressed us with her colourful outfits (I describe her sartorial personality as “licorice allsort” inspired), her lamb chop lunches and her geek speak. She’s been working in online and marketing for more than 10 years, previously at Turner International.

A little personal context: Zoe and I first met ten years ago when I was editing Cosmopolitan magazine. She was the senior marketing manager on the magazine and we worked together robustly (that would be a fair way to put it, hey Zoe?). We remained friends when we both left the magazine (around the same time) and get together to eat, drink red wine and share Big Ideas. We were doing this over some pulled pork only three weeks ago and she was fleshing out one of her Big Business Ideas. And it occurred to me: Zoe belongs at IQS. We both move fast. We both like change. Only 23 days later and here we are.

Please make her feel welcome!

Over the next few weeks you’ll notice a few changes around here.

* The site will be going live in a week or two. If you haven’t already, sign up to the newsletter to be Read more