FOOD: Beautiful Autumn Recipes from Celebrated Recipe Writer and Food Stylist Jody Vassallo

WHO DOESN'T LOVE A FRIEND WHO'S PASSIONATE ABOUT GOOD FOOD, CAN DESIGN AMAZING RECIPES AROUND IT AND COOK IT? 

Well that’s Taliah Lowry’s mate, celebrated foodie Jody Vassallo, whose CV of the people she’s worked with reads like a Who’s Who of culinary superstars and includes the likes of Donna Hay, Jamie Oliver and Bill Granger. She’s also an author, food writer, stylist, yoga teacher, Ayurvedic health coach (and loves stylish living) and her latest book, The Yogic Kitchen, offers a quiet argument for a food-as-medicine approach to health. It’s an approach tested over thousands of years and is based on the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda.

It’s a practice that can be seen at work in the recipes Jody’s created for this latest book, with each illustrating the power of using the right ingredients to bring balance to the digestive system and the mind, as well as joy to the tastebuds. That sounds like a win/win to us. 

We’re so grateful Jody chose to share four of the simply delicious recipes she created for the book with our Bower readers. Try them at home, or whip them up in the very stylish kitchens in The Bower Cottage or Bower House after a trip to one of Byron’s fresh-produce markets.

Now which one to try first - the nourishing pumpkin soup, roast miso chicken, flash-fried greens or the vegan choc peanut butter cake?

PS Like us, Jody’s passionate about the environment and was the power-house behind the recently released Farmer, a collection of recipes and stories from the heart of rural Australia. It was created with love by some of Australia’s best loved chefs, like Matt Moran, Maggie Beer and Stephanie Alexander, as well as farmers, families and friends in the industry, that understand the importance of the food we eat and where it comes from. It’s a book of hope and optimism and a celebration of the resilience, courage and grit of our Aussie farmers.  And all sales go to Rural Aid to help the tens of thousands of farmers affected by both the drought and the 1-in-500 year rains experienced recently in Queensland’s rural communities. Want a collection of simple, indulgent, healthy, comforting food, read stories of joy, heartbreak, community and innovation and do your bit to help? Why not jump on line and order one. Ours is on its way….

NOURISHING PUMPKIN SOUP

INGREDIENTS

1 roast pumpkin (flesh only)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced

1 onion, chopped

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup (60 g) split mung dhal

4 cups (1 litre) vegetable or chicken stock

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, toasted

1 tablespoon furikake

METHOD

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the leek and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onion and leek are soft.

Add the cinnamon, bay leaf, pumpkin, mung dhal, stock, nutritional yeast and nutmeg and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Blend and top with sesame seeds and furikake.

Serves 4


ROAST MISO CHICKEN

Here is my version of roast chicken. It is truly delicious. I use a light-coloured miso and if you can pop the miso mixture under the skin then leave the chicken on a rack in the fridge for an hour or so this will give you a lovely crisp skin.

INGREDIENTS

1.6 kg chicken

3 tablespoons ghee, melted

1 heaped tablespoon shiro miso and light miso

2 tablespoons mirin

1 tablespoon tamari

1 tablespoon ghee, for basting skin

6 baby leeks, halved

1 head garlic, halved

METHOD

Rinse the chicken under cold water; pat dry inside and out with paper towel. Place the ghee, miso, mirin and tamari into a bowl and mix until it is smooth. Gently lift and slide your hand under the breast skin to separate the skin from the flesh, then carefully rub the ghee mixture between the skin and flesh. Rub the chicken skin all over with the remaining ghee.

Put the halved baby leek and garlic into a large roasting tin. Place the chicken on the bed of leeks. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and continue to roast the chicken for

1 hour until the juices run clear when you test the thickest part of the thigh. Remove the chicken and place on a plate, cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before you carve it. The juices from

the chicken will be in the bottom of the pan and can be used to pour over the sliced chicken.

Carve the chicken and serve with the baby leeks and your choice of vegetables.

Serves 4

FLASH-FRIED GREENS WITH LEMON

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons ghee

300 g broccoli, cut into long thin wedges

1 cup (130 g) shelled edamame

1 cup (130 g) peas

200 g snow peas, trimmed

zest and juice of 2 lemons

METHOD

Heat the ghee in a wok or large deep frypan over medium–high heat, add the broccoli and a good splash of water and stir-fry for 5 minutes until the broccoli is bright green and softened.

Add the edamame, peas and snow peas and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until tender.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the lemon juice and zest and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4 as a side


VEGAN CHOC PEANUT BUTTER CAKE

Yes it’s good. Really, really good.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (100 g) almond meal

1 cup (100 g) dessicated coconut

1/2 cup (125 g) coconut sugar

1/2 cup (85 g) cacao powder

3 tablespoons buckwheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 teaspoons peanut butter or hulled tahini

1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 small bananas)

1 cup (250 ml) coconut water

TOPPING

1 ripe banana

2 tablespoons cacao

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon hulled tahini

flaked coconut, serve

maple syrup, to serve

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a heart-shaped cake tin or 22cm springform tin with baking paper.

Place the almond meal, coconut, coconut sugar, cacao, buckwheat flour, baking powder and chia seeds into a bowl and stir to combine.

Combine the peanut butter, banana and coconut water, then fold into the dry ingredients.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40–50 minutes or until a skewer comes out mostly clean when inserted in the centre. (It will be slightly moist because of the nature of the cake.)

Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the topping, place the banana, cacao, maple syrup and tahini into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

Spread over the cooled cake, top with the flaked coconut and drizzle with the maple syrup.