It lays the foundations for you, as a reader, as a particiant in my programmes, to see just where my heart lies when it comes to food.
So put the kettle on and settle in for a moment.
In 2011 I published my second cookbook. It chronicles my foray into providing food with love and sustenance for my family and friends. Over the time that this book was being developed I was delving more deeply into more nutrient dense wholefoods and, whilst I am happy to gnaw on an invention that challenges even the hardiest supporter, I don’t know about you, but most of the people I feed in my life, like to have food presented to them that is familiar, tasty, and looks great, not food that looks like a piece of cardboard with seeds stuck on, no matter how nutritionally fabulous it is for you.
So urban belly was born.
Fast forward to now. My own food choices have modified, as has my cooking…to an extent...
(there is, after all, nothing more socially isolating than a food extremist).
But the sentiments remain the same.
I have copied the preface of the book below, as I believe for my students and health coaching clients, and for you reading this, it is important for you to know where my intentions lay if you are to resonate with anything that I say. It was relevant 5 years ago (when I first started putting the book together), and despite the evolution of ideas and continued experimentation, it is a true reflection of my continued philosophy of food.
how do we feed and nourish ourselves in a world that informs us of a new diet, superfood, or nutrient almost on a daily basis? we live in a world where our senses are assaulted in overwhelming proportions, bombarded by advertising and marketing mayhem when it comes to food and how we should be eating (amongst other things!). some days it seems like we move from providing food for sustenance and renewed energy to just filling a hole.
this book is a snapshot.
it is both the culmination of what has been, and it is part of the evolving process of what is to come. it is an amalgamation of what I know, what I’ve read, what has been, what is to come, and what works. I have curated not created what lies in these pages.
I prescribe good eating practices based on BALANCE, AWARENESS AND MINDFULNESS.
there are so many cookbooks out there. beautiful books. all marketed well. all with the ubiquitous photos of platters laden with food in a stylized beach house, with matching bowls, and napkins made with the best organic cotton in the most fabulously muted shades. this is not that type of book.
this is as much about CONNECTING, NURTURING, MAINTAINING and SUSTAINING friendships with all the amazing people who have intersected my life, now spread throughout the globe, as it is about providing a book of recipes that are, to be honest, super special only because of the memories that have been, and will continue to be, created around them.
we live in a conundrum. we have less time to cook, yet our interest in food preparation has piqued, with magazines and programmes around the subject. but with the hype comes the desire, the need, or perhaps, the pressure to produce picture perfect food, nutritionally balanced, served at the right temperature every single night.
let’s all get back to basics. we need to free ourselves from the tyranny of cooking every time we put a meal on the table. the lovely Nigella Lawson says that one of the hindrances to cooking is that 'tense necked desire to impress others'…..it’s amazing how extraordinarily liberating it is when you let go of that need.
we feed our friends and family, not to give a gastronomic awakening on a Michelin level, but to delight and linger in company which needs to be nurtured, nourished, renewed and restored. not just from a hunger perspective, but from a soul perspective.
it is important to remember, cooking is not an exclusive art. if we spend our lives at the stove, then at the dishwasher stacking, then at the sink washing the stuff that wouldn’t cram into the dishwasher, then we are missing out on the joys of engaging with life………..like giving our children a cuddle, or reading, or walking, or whatever it is that makes you groove.
I am guided by yogic principles and urban belly sits under this umbrella……….nurture the soul, nurture the belly – notions that are intertwined and replaceable with each other. this doesn’t mean a plate of roasted cauliflower is the only thing that rocks my boat – sometimes there’s nothing like a chunk of chocolate brownie to pretend that all is okay in the world. sometimes it is less about the food and more about what sustains you, which can, at times, be somewhat of a paradox.
even for the cooks amongst us, the dreariness of what to serve every day is mind numbingly boring. be kind to yourselves and if all that you can manage some days is, god forbid, cheese on toast, then please, try not to serve it up with a plateful of guilt. use this book as you will. I hope it relieves the load and onus of what to cook….maybe not everyday, but some days…….and when it does, you can send a smile my way.
I encourage you to source quality produce, grow your own if you are able and are inclined. seek meat producers who care for their products from grazing to the point of sale. add variety, texture and colour onto your plates. fuel yourself up on loads of good stuff, and remember while the occasional treat might not necessarily be the best for the waistline, it will make our souls exponentially soar.
so to the practicalities. there are only three sections. firstly NOURISHMENT. in this section i encourage you to feast your eyes on the colours and bountiful variety that mother nature provides and allow the wholesomeness of these foods to enliven and infuse you with their goodness. play with different textures and drink in your plates with all of your senses. try sauces and dressings that will enhance, compliment and tantalize your taste buds. choose fish that is super fresh and still tastes of the sea – sometimes a grill and a squeeze of lemon is all that is required.
secondly, MUSCLE MATTERS is a small, but tasty section dealing with produce from the paddock. again, the better the quality, the less tampering is required. succulence, and tenderness will be evident if there has been attention paid in its rearing to how lovingly it is cooked. we are encouraged to eat smaller portions of meat – why not source the best we can?
and lastly, DELICIOUS MORSELS. having grown up with 3 big spoons of sugar in my milky tea, bowls of icecream for dessert and lollies coming out of every pocket courtesy of sweet-toothed grandparents, I like to think my palate has refined somewhat….maybe owing to the increasing girth as soon as my body hit my 20’s….or maybe as I have evolved I have taken on board the adage of quality over quantity. I truly think my body had just had enough. now, I would much rather have a spoonful of the most deliciously pure vanilla ice cream made with full fat milk from cows herded in paddocks ruminating over the lushest grass, than a big bowl of any old vanilla ice cream. it’s all about harnessing the goodness, and treating a treat as such, although this is still, at times, a work in progress. home baked goodies, fruit based desserts and chocolate all await to tempt.
if you follow recipes to the letter, ALWAYS read the recipe so you know what’s in store; always PREHEAT your oven…even if I don’t say so; you DON’T always have to sift your flour (occasionally, when pressed for time, live dangerously!) ; trust your INSTINCTS when it comes to flavour and add more or take away where needed….and when you are cooking…always add a good dose of LOVE…yes even it is the 300th time you have made spag bol…it will taste so much better, and be so much better. eat MINDFULLY.
lastly ADMIRE, SMELL and give THANKS before you eat for having the skill and the courage to make it, or for the skill and love of others that have prepared it for you….you will be nourished on so many levels.
So that's me
If you are interested about integrating nourishing practices into your schedules take a look on my website www.moorenourishing.com.au under “wellness programmes” for further information or please call or email me for more information.
with love from me to you
“I remind myself that this body is not some shabby rental, it is home” –Joshilyn Jackson