21 Sep 2014

eating my greens


Reading about healthy eating is one of my favourite things. I’m always lugging home the latest library books on wholefoods, superfoods and supergrains; if a magazine about healthy living lands in the tearoom at work, I quickly snaffle it up.

I was deep in the latest testimonial about the powers of kale when — pow! — it hit me: there’s a real disconnect between what I share with you here and how I actually eat and cook.

Lately all I’ve served you is cake and pudding and boozy brownies. If you only knew me through Dig In, you might deduce that I am a sugar-hazed cake obsessive, buzzing my way from one sweet morsel to the next. But these treats are really only a small portion of what’s happening on my dinner plate and in my lunch box.

Okay, I have cake very day (sometimes twice a day). But I also have endless serves of oats, walnuts and almonds; broccoli, sweet potato and silverbeet; apples, bananas and tangelos; brown rice, quinoa and chickpeas; peas, beans and a whole rainbow of other fresh wholesome things (put like that, it sounds like I’m constantly foraging and must surely be the size of a house. I’m not).

During these cooler months, I’ve been enjoying the vibrant tomato and beetroot sauces I roasted and froze over the summertime. I’ve simmered a fabulous version of my pasta sauce, made winter-hearty with the addition of earthy lentils and deep red wine instead of white. Hmmm, so rich and chunky, so perfect atop a bowl of rigatoni and garlanded with ribbons of dark silverbeet.

My favourite new recipe this season has been Hugh F-W’s north African vegie stew. Over various iterations, it has morphed into a Spanish root vegie version, with chilli and smoked paprika (my favourite savoury spice), capsicum and sweet potato and parsnip — instead of Hugh’s cinnamon and turmeric (ugh, my least favourite), butternut and pasta. But I did keep the chickpeas and red lentils. Many years ago I used to think chickpeas were weird — something eaten joyfully (or maybe not) only by some of the scruffier, sandalwood-scented people of my uni days — but now I love these nutty little balls of goodness, especially in a stew like this.

And of course, super-chunky vegie slices appear regularly in my lunchbox, all year round:


Mmm, that was a good one.

So why am I not writing about all this? If my diet is more brown rice than brownies, why such an unbalanced chronicle?

Well, photo taking is not my greatest skill. It's a bit hit and miss, especially in cold winter light.

Or of pasta sauces, apparently:


So that holds me back from sharing some of those delicious meals with you (they were delicious, believe me, despite looking like prison slop).

Mostly I eat simple, straightforward (but never dull, not to my tastebuds) meals. Cabbage and purple sprouting broccoli are featuring heavily recently; mum and dad have a couple of old PSB plants that are having a revival and going crackers —you can stand there and watch them pop up new florets (that’s them in the first pic). That’s fine by me, especially as my veg garden is minimal right now. I love broccoli for its flavour and its antioxidants, and I love homegrown stuff even more.

But I’m certain no one needs a new stir fry recipe. But maybe — light bulb moment! — I don’t need to give you a recipe. Some of my favourite bloggers’ posts talk about food without a recipe at all (like this recent post by the Food Sage), yet I still feel satisfied by the experience and interaction.

Heck, we have our own piles of recipe books or pages torn from magazines; we don’t need to add another to the list. And I’ve said it before: I don’t necessarily want you to make my lemon delicious pudding, but be inspired to hunt out your grandmother’s favourite that’s been handed down, and make that again.

So please be assured, I do eat my greens — and sometimes it feels like I’m eating everyone else’s as well — even if I don’t tell you about it. Maybe I’ll make a better effort to. Or maybe, just like sharing a good cuppa and a crisp biscuit with a friend, it’s lovelier to tell you about the sweet treats in life.

23 comments:

  1. I am glad that you like eating healthy food, and it sounds as though just like me you don't always follow a recipe, but gather together whatever is in the pantry and garden. Lucky you to have your Dads veggie garden to forage from as well.

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    1. i am lucky, AA - especially in the lean winter months.
      and following recipes is okay the first time, but then i figure anything goes :-)

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  2. Lemon pudding you say, I have lemons, I like pudding, I'm in. Your diet sounds delicious, and just right, lots of healthy things and a treat or two as well. You've given me some good ideas, I must look for some smoked paprika, I've heard good things about it. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. you're welcome, CJ! i love smoky paprika paired with chilli flakes; i made some roast pumpkin wedges on the weekend with this and yum-o!

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  3. I think people think food bloggers who write about cake actually eat cake for breakfast and drink maple syrup but I am exactly like you! I love the variety and passion you speak about here for your savoury recipes, veggie slice looks like heaven.

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    1. cake for breakfast *shudder* i need my fibre-packed oats every morning, hannah - one of life's essentials.
      thanks for your kind words; they're a kick to focus on my savoury meals more often.

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  4. While I love your sugar laden dessert posts, I quite like this one too. But then I am a food voyer, constantly eating vicariously.
    I too am trying to blog more about what I actually eat with all the veg I grow. Sometimes it's really not that exciting and certainly not photogenic, and I often am too hungry to photo before I eat.
    BTW I'm with you on the smoked paprika. Best spice ever.

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    1. hello fellow smoky paprika lover :-) you're right - sometimes hunger gets in the way too! i can't be one of those bloggers who eats a cold dinner because they've been taking snaps.
      thanks for your encourgaign words - we'll do this together then :-)

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  5. Completely with you on this one. Anyway, I'd rather click on a blog to read about cake (with luscious photo). Most of what we eat doesn't warrant a photo and my family would mock me mercilessly if I made them wait while I arranged everything and photographed it before they could eat. I really, really don't understand bloggers that make a supper dish at 10 in the morning because that's when the light is best for their photographs. Maybe I'm just not a dedicated blogger. Because I have a life.
    Think we may eat "Granny's Lemon Pud" tonight. It worked - you inspired me :)

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    1. oh anne, thanks for your marvellous words. last night i made something yummy and i actually thought, if i wanted to take a pic of this, i'd have to make dinner in the morning! so here's a big vote for reality - real lives, as you say. thanks for the reassurance.
      and whoa, lemon pudding sweeping the world!

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  6. Amei conhecer o seu blog, já fiquei por aqui!!!Achei maravilhoso!!!Visite-me:http://algodaotaodoce.blogspot.com.br/
    Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!

    Obrigada.

    Beijos Marie.

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    1. hello marie - and welcome to dig in. i must admit i needed google translate - i don't know portugese - but thank you for your kind words and i love the pics you have collected on your blog. obrigada to you too!

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  7. Hi Elizabeth, I never thought you were a 'sugar hazed cake obsessive'. The mere fact you have such a beautiful and extensive veggie garden is testament to that. I do love the dishes you've shown us here, especially the veggie slice in the first photo with the egg base and the veggies on top. That'd make a great school lunch for my daughter and lunch for my husband who was just saying this morning he wants to start taking his lunch to work as buying it every day is becoming to expensive. Great post, thank you!

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  8. thanks for your lovely words catherine. i love a vegie slice for work-day lunches - they are a fast and convenient way to pack so much goodness into one delicious slice of yum! especially now that i'm making them in deep (fruitcake) tins - i'm really making them with lots of high layers!

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  9. I love your photographs, as always. There is inspiration in growing and cooking your vegetables, plus we are all looking for lunch-box ideas for ourselves as much as the children. Your pasta sauce looks good enough to eat :D

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    1. i agree with you about growing your own - it is much more exciting to plan a meal around what's in the garden rather than a recipe in a cookbook.
      thanks for the kind words about the photos, merryn, i really lack confidence in that side of things. and the sauce truly is good enough to eat :-)

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  10. You have convinced me, you eat extremely well! I'm like you, I'll leave the recipes to the foodie mags and plethora of wondrous cook books. Great post .. Love your writing!

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    1. ha ha, thank you frogpond :-) i'm glad i convinced you! mum asked me this week if i was eating properly (i was feeling a bit rundown), and i said i couldn't eat more properly if i tried.
      and yes, maybe less recipes here!

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  11. A lovely piece and insight into your ever so healthy diet … who would've known?? It sounds as if we are on similar health food missions these days. I look forward to reading more about yours (please do share, i never make brownies). By the way, I have Hugh F-W's new books to review … so many healthy dishes I don't know where to start. Thanks for the kind link back to my recent blog post ;-)

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    1. you're very welcome, FS. i'm a big fan of Hugh's veg every day book - it's a constant source of colourful inspriation - and i have his latest reserved at the library, so i can't wait to read your review.
      thank you also FS for the vote to share more about my every day meals.

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    2. This is the first Hugh F-W book i've owned/read. I think I have a chef-crush!

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  12. All in moderation I say (and sometimes I admit I will have more than 'moderation', for example last night when I made a lemon and thyme loaf (amazing I tell you). Life is too short to stick to quinoa only, without cake. I love your approach to eating. It's healthy, normal and sustainable. Food is there to be enjoyed! And that includes the sweet cakey stuff. I love looking at your recipes so I'm sure whatever you put out there will be delicious, whether it's stir fry or cake. Keep em coming.

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    1. oh maya i so agree with you, on everything you say! there is time for moderation - and time for abandon, especially with a freshly baked lemon and thyme loaf (mmm - sounds delicious!).
      thank you for your lovely words. and please send recipe for that lemon thyme loaf!

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