Slow Food (and Paleo) Guide to Seattle

Posted on April 9th, 2014

Seattle is a slow and whole foodie playground. Let me illustrate just how so with this example: the other night at Sitka and Spruce, a Capital Hill restaurant featuring local produce, I had one of my gut aches. When I have a gut ache I generally take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in some warm water before eating. It settles things. So I tried my luck with the cashmere sweater-wearing waiter and asked if the kitchen might have some ACJ, used for cooking purposes. “I believe we ferment our own…one moment.” He promptly arrived with a mug of the stuff, along with my glass of biodynamic Burgundy. For, while not flagged in neon lights on the menu, the entire wine list is organic, natural or biodynamic.

It would all be tediously “Portlandia”, except I was in Seattle, where this kind of eating is very unpretentious.

I love this Seattle shot... Granny on her iPhone at one of the most Portlandia joints in town (Sitke and Spruce)

I love this Seattle shot… Granny on her iPhone at one of the most Portlandia joints in town (Sitke and Spruce)

Which makes things fun for someone like me. Actually it was food that brought me to Seattle – the city is regarded as the second best restaurant destination outside Manhattan, has the second largest wine industry outside California and it’s a mecca for food bloggers. Like my mates Shauna at Glutenfreegirl, Aran at CannelleVanille and my new mate Mickey at Autoimmune-Paleo. All of us have autoimmune disease, all of us connected online, all of us wanted to meet. Ergo, a jaunt to Seattle.

In addition to a bunch of other amazing wholefood nuts I met while in town, as well as the Visit Seattle team, they helped me put together this Portlandia-without-the-pretence guide. Enjoy.

Paleo eats

* Out of the Box: A Paleo food van that pops up around the place. Fantastic fare, like pork belly with cauliflower rice…you know the kind of thing. The also do meal delivery…good for hotel room service!!

50 North (University District): A wonderful American restaurant with plenty of gluten-free options; a great place for dinner. The fish and chips are excellent [I usually opt for sweet potato fries instead of regular ones - Mickey]. The lamb burger and BBQ pulled pork sandwich (without the buns) are also tasty Paleo options.

* Sea Breeze Farm (at the U-district market Saturdays and Ballard market on Sunday, year round): Every week this farm brings their best freshly butchered meats, raw dairy, and prepared goods all raised on their sustainable family farm to the market. Buy some  Porchetta for a snack as you walk the market. [They sell the best pork belly I Read more

my sugar-free strawberry and vanilla kombucha recipe

Posted on April 8th, 2014

All this kombucha experimenting has become something of a hobby. This recipe I’m sharing today kinda brings much of the tweaks together – how to make a fructose-free kombucha (using rice malt syrup), and how to pimp things up a treat, using the right quantities of essences and fruits.

Strawberry Shortcake Kombucha, recipe below

Strawberry and Vanilla Kombucha, recipe below

This combo really does work amazingly well. The strawberries will lose their colour a little, but feel free to eat them – they’re lovely and fizzy and, of course, contain very little sweetness.

Strawberry and Vanilla Kombucha

  • 3 cups plain kombucha
  • 5-6 whole strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (not essence)

After removing the SCOBY from your plain kombucha, pour into a mason jar. Add the other ingredients, leaving 2cm room at the top, screw on the lid (this second ferment must be done sealed), and let sit at room temperature for 3-4 days depending on how warm your kitchen is. I like to keep the strawberries in there, but you can choose to strain after 1-2 days and then pour into a 750ml bottle (again, leaving 2-3cm of air at the top, and seal with a lid/cap) for the remaining 2 days before placing in the fridge.  Also, you may wish to use a plastic bottle for this so you can test how fizzy it’s getting with a gentle squeeze.

Any combos you’ve been playing with? Do share…

How to let go… when you’re an A-type

Posted on April 3rd, 2014

I’m a wholly neurotic, frenetic A-class example of an A-type. If you’re an A-type too (I know a few of you follow me on this blog) you’ll be with me on this: We know we need to let go, release our grip and chill the fork out, but…it requires clever trickery.

The view over the valley at Gwinganna. (Photo by Jo Foster.)

The view over the valley at Gwinganna. (Photo by Jo Foster.)

Indeed, it’s our very A-typeness – our ability to apply clever techniques – that gets us to something approximating “letting go”, usually via our body. And this is fine. So fine.

One of my tricks when I’m due for some letting go is to force myself into lockdown. I’ve escaped to a tin shed in the forest, plunged into remote wilderness on my own for a few weeks, and disappeared to a Hare Krishna camp.  The last few days before I left Australia I was locked down in a wellness retreat (for those of you wondering, there’s only one that I recommend. I have done for a number of years, freely and with conviction – Gwinganna in the Gold Coast hinterland. Their principles are sound and their care true).

I don’t like retreats (Groups! Organized activities! Being told what to do! Touchy feelyness! Eek!). But my A-type brain knows when something has to be done about something.

In this case, that something was chronic exhaustion ahead of a six-week book tour in America and UK. I needed boundaries and bush and calm and no internet and, yes, a bit of touchy feeliness.

But none of this is my point. My point is sharing a trick for letting go I came across in a group (!) breathing exercise one Read more