My Mullalyup Weekend

Ok, the dust has settled, I’ve unpacked, answered my banked-up mail, so it’s time to show you what we did over our weekend ‘down South’.

Our classes were a manageable size of 12. This is Saturday’s menu:

“Warm Foods for Cool Days


touche 1:

Famous Insults

“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend… If you have one.”

George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill.

…followed by Churchill’s riposte:

“Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second, if there is one.”

Winston Churchill


Sacrificial Calves


I’m back in Perth after my whirlwind weekend cookery retreat. I hope to share some photos with you soon, but first…

Here’s more on a serious subject, this time from the Sydney Morning Herald. At last! Some responsible journalism.

And just in case you are not a regular Kurma Blogee, this has been a much-discussed topic over the last few weeks. For more on this topic:

My interview with

Part 1

Part 2

This provoked some interesting discussions:

Dairy Life: A Vegan View, and My Response

and more…

Karma-free Cookery

That should bring you ‘up to speed’ on my stance.

Animal Bones and Sugar


Jan from Czech Republic asks:

“What is your comment on the bone char processed sugar issue

My comment: For those readers unfamiliar with what we are referring to:

In the past, a material called ‘bone char’ was used extensively to remove colour from raw cane sugar in the refining process. It is prepared by almost incinerating animal bones to leave activated carbon – a bit like making wood charcoal.

The refiners did not, and ordinarily do not use wood charcoal to do the decolourisation because (the manufactuters explain that it) is too fragile and would break up in service. It was and is only used for making white sugar. It is not part of the raw sugar manufacturing process.

Using bone char in sugar processing, in the view of vegetarians and vegans alike, is a nasty business. Luckily in many countries this does not happen anymore, and in places where it does, there are alternatives. And so, yes, I agree with the comments on the website you linked me with on the subject: If in doubt, always check with your local manufacturers.

Australian Raw Sugar:

Here in Australia, bone-char filtering for sugar is a thing of the past, luckily. And personally I always use the wonderful raw sugar commonly available here, which undergoes much less processing than nasty white sugar. Hope this helps!

Fenny the Greek

I’m still down South of Western Australia, teaching my weekend cookery course. We cooked all morning, had a banquet lunch, and I just had an Ayurvedic Head Massage. Life is tough.

No actual report yet, but… “Here’s one I prepared earlier”.

fenugreek seeds:

Carolyn from Brisbane, Australia, asks:

“If I can’t get hold of Fenugreek, is there another spice that I
could use instead to achieve a similiar result? Thanks a lot.”

My reply:

Thanks for your enquiry.

Well, the lovely warm, burnt sugar/maple/caramel flavour of fenugreek is hard to replace. Generally it is used in small amounts (apart from middle eastern hilbeh-style sauces made primarily from it), so it’s effect is subtle. There is nothing I know of that would substitute, so just leave it out.

Having said that I would suggest that a trek to the nearest Indian shop (who would 100% have it) or well-stocked asian shop (almost for sure would have it) is well worth it. Once you have some fenugreek in the cupboard, it never goes off and will serve you well. Wonderful in soups and curries and SO SO good for the stomach. And it makes wonderful healthy sprouts.

More on fenugreek…

Down South


I’m writing this report from southern Western Australia, on the brink of my Cooking Weekend at the Mullalyup Farm Lodge.

Located three hours drive south of Perth on the South West Highway between Kirup and Balingup, Mullalyup is the northern gateway to the beautiful Blackwood River region, and is best known today for its farming, working potteries and buildings listed by the National Trust.

On the map above, it’s between Bunbury and Albany.

There’s 100km winds at present, with a major storm warning for most of the region. A good time to be indoors and cooking. Hope to share a report with you as the weekend unfolds.

Radio Krishna

Radio Krishna:

I have discovered a 24-hour source of spiritual sound vibration on the internet. Radio KHQN, Utah, also know as Radio Krishna. And it emanates from the heart of Mormon Country!

Now there’s a feed installed on my desktop, and it plays in full surround-sound in my office. You can do it with a few keystrokes. There’s over 3000 individual music albums in their huge library, plus hundreds of interesting interviews, plays, educational and cultural presentations. It’s loads and loads of fun. Check it out…

Vegetarianism and Weight Loss


(Name witheld) asks: My doctor says I need to lose weight. I read being a vegetarian will help?

My reply:

Yes, being a vegetarian can help. Research has shown people following a typical vegetarian diet consume, on average, around 500 fewer calories daily than their meat-eating counterparts. Interestingly, the research showed that they actually ate more food than non-vegetarians.

This can be attributed to the fact that vegetarians’ diets are comprised mainly of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are starchy, fibre-rich foods, and are naturally low in fat. Examples of complex carbohydrates are legumes and other vegetables and grains.

Although consuming less calories will lead to weight loss, it’s also perfectly logical that some vegetarians don’t lose any weight when they eliminate meat. Eliminating meat in and of itself doesn’t necessarily lead to a calorie deficit since you replace it with other foods. This is especially true if the individual replaces meat with products like cheese or milk.

Eating the wrong types of food could actually lead to weight gain on a vegetarian diet, as with any other way-of-eating.

The trick to losing weight on a vegetarian diet – and all diets – is to plan your meals in advance, ensuring they include a good variety of fruit, vegetables and grains. And of course regular exercise is essential for an enduring weight loss regime.

Becoming a vegetarian means you will need to rethink your meals carefully. If not, you will be inclined to resort to quick, junk-style food. Not only will your weight management efforts suffer, your general wellness will wane due to poor nutrition.

Seek out recipes that incorporate boiled, steamed or sauteed vegetables. If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll want to avoid high-fat casseroles and fried veggies whenever possible. Lots of recipe ideas here.

Thanks for writing and good luck with your weight loss efforts!