Introducing Sam from Le Pirate
I found Sam’s blog, Le Pirate, when I was living in New York. She’d written a series of posts on NYC that read like my typical weekend. She’d visited my local cheese shop, stopped by a couple of my favourite neighbourhood cafes and eaten gelati at a place that would woo me onto the L train on a hot night to sample their flavours. This girl had good taste! Turns out she’s Australian, and is currently living in Byron Bay, one of the most beautiful and bountiful regions of our country. Sam writes about food in a passionate, colourful and lyrical way that inspires me to not only cook, but to pay attention to how the food I’m serving affects my mood, my day and my outlook on life. I’m sure you’ll be inspired by her beautiful writing too.
When Amelia asked me to guest post for her blog I was touched beyond comprehension. How couldn’t I be? She writes about food in a way that just resonates with me – and with anyone who sees that good food and minimal fuss walk hand in hand.
Amelia’s approach to cooking is refreshingly straightforward. There’s nothing tricky going on. She does what every cook ought to do more – take the freshest seasonal produce available, and dress it as simply as possible. As such, creating beautiful meal becomes as effortless as throwing a ball into the air. Amelia is acutely aware that a fresh radish needs little more than a liberal dab of good butter and salt. That food is only as good as the company you share it with, or indeed the memories that you share with it. She gets that homesickness has a taste (and of course that taste is avocado and Marinated Goats Cheese smothered across sourdough) and that there’s never a bad time for a handful of fresh herbs. It’s a less is more philosophy, and I dig it.
Like Amelia, I’m currently embarking on an experiment in slower living. We (my lover and I) are currently inhabiting a house on what was once a dairy farm, tucked up in the outskirts of Byron Bay. This place – this region – lives and breathes food, which for a person like me, who lies awake consumed with the thought of what I’ll eat for breakfast, is like living in a place where every single day is Christmas.
Country life has grown on me. I have four chickens and a vegetable patch and the novelty of whipping up breakfast entirely from my garden is yet to wear off. There’s markets everywhere, all the time – once, twice, thrice a week at least. Ducking into the farmers market before work to pick up some blueberries for morning tea is a luxury that I still feel giddy about. And the produce! Don’t even start me. Who knew that eggplants came in so many colours? Or that tomatoes could bleed such a violently crimson hue? And all at my fingertips! I feel like the luckiest girl in all the world. Plus there’s dense, dark local breads, native finger limes, cheeses from cows with first names and real, salted and hand churned cultured butter. The entire local bounty is so exquisite – so ripe and fresh and lovingly crafted – that meals practically throw themselves together.
This particular dish is summer all over. A meal in a pinch. So light and fresh and deliriously simple that it seems rude to call it a real recipe at all. It’s the sort of thing you eat on the verandah on a balmy night; salty, sandy and still lazily wrapped in a beach towel. It’s all mosquito bitten ankles and ice-cream for dessert. Don’t feel restricted by the ingredients or quantities – the beauty of warm-weather cooking lies in its adaptivity – substitute whatever nuts you have on hand, play with whatever herbs you have growing and even use olive oil if you must (though don’t use canola, don’t ever use canola, unless you don’t like the person you’re cooking for). Think of this as a blank canvas for dinner. A handful of kalamata olives, a little soft feta, some sun-dried tomatoes and some top-notch bread take this cinch of a dish to a whole new level.
Raw Zucchini Pasta with Lemony Oregano Pesto
(Vegan, Gluten Free)
- 3 large zucchinis (I used a mix of green and yellow)
- 2-3 ripe tomatoes (Roma or Cherry varieties yield excellent results)
Lemony Oregano and Macadamia Pesto
- 1 bunch of fresh sweet basil
- 1 bunch of fresh oregano (save a little to top with)
- 1/2 cup of cold-pressed macadamia oil (I use Brookfarm, and not just because I’m biased)
- 1/2 cup of roasted, salted macadamias (or cashews)
- 1/4 cup of toasted pinenuts
- 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Cracked black pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic, (roasted if you like)
It seems a bit audacious to call this a recipe really.
Using a fine mandolin, or one of those fancy zucchini spiralers, grate the zucchini into long, spaghetti like strands. Set aside.
In a food processor, or blender, add a the pesto ingredients (yes, some people say there’s special orders to add it in, but who has the time for that, really? Just pop it all in, and whiz until smooth).
Toss the pesto onto the zucchini and massage it through with your hands. Necessary? Perhaps not. Fun? Yes.
Now dice up your tomatoes, and toss them atop too. Serve with whatever takes your fancy.