This is a ‘bird’bowl – minus the bird, in the sense that I totally stole the name from the amazing daily-evolving mixed salady bowls created by the wonderful Little Bird Organics cafe in Auckland, NZ.

While I live just approx 2,155km away from the nearest Little Bird – there are 3 in Auckland: Kingsland, Ponsomby and Britomart (which is the new central public transport hub, not a UK supermarket which is what I think it sounds and therefore I will only pronounce with a British accent) – but most of those km are over water, so alas I have to wait until I’m in NZ to be able to pop in for a birdbowl, or any of their other delicious vegan and raw-ish treats.

However, I can live vicariously through Instagram, and I suggest you do the same, until you can visit in person.

And in the meantime, I affectionately call any bowl made of of bits and bobs and salads and seeds and things a birdbowl, even if I’m missing the little bird element.

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Today’s simple 3-part birdbowl for one has:

Cauliflower/watercress/fennel salad
Make a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon, salt in the bottom of a big bowl. Thinly slice and add to the dressing a big floret of cauliflower and a big chunk of fennel bulb (mine was a big one, I used about 1/4 of the bulb). Throw in a big handful of watercress, yesterday’s version also had some thinly sliced mild onion, parsley, cucumber and avocado, all of which went well. Toss through to coat with the dressing.

Seed crackers that were too crumbly and became salad seeds sprinkle
Seed crackers are my new addiction, and so so easy, I’m making and eating them constantly. Lots of recipes around, and the ones in this bowl – as the title suggests – didn’t quite turn out right, I think a combination of not enough binding stuff and distractedly leaving them in the oven a bit too long. I will say that I added smoked almonds to this batch and they are delicious, even though half the tray is now just crumb. for the basic recipe (adjustable in many ways except overbaking!) go the Gluten-Free Vegan Girl blog here.

porkballs
organic pork mince, grated fresh garlic, fresh ground pepper, quickly formed into balls and fried until lightly golden. These are leftover from yesterday’s lunch, and drizzled in unhulled tahini and a sprinkle of paprika.

Ok so realtalk, porkballs are never going to be featured in a Little Bird birdbowl, but I feel like the beauty of a birdbowl is being able to chuck together a bunch of delicious things out of the fridge, including leftovers and organised-person pre-prepared stuff, and make it into something that nourishes and fulfills your needs quickly and easily. So try my cauliflower salad, or just bring together whatever YOU have in your fridge right now into a pretty and variety-filled satisfying bowl.

Sometimes you just want the thing that tastes the way the thing tasted when you were young.

This isn’t exactly exactly it (maybe it never will be, maybe that taste requires that cosmic balance of time and place and life outlook and delicate connections that are shifted merely by growing older and losing that particular perspective pinpoint), but this is close.

This is a good burger.

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Also, there’s these little bad boys balls.

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Which is it, and is one better than the other?

I felt like I slightly preferred ricotta with avocado on top, but both were delicious.

Although I have very strong feelings about the correct order of, say the jam and cream on a scone (it must be jam first, with a tall pillow of unsweetened cream on top!! Butter before jam optional EXCEPT when the scones are less than 5minutes old, in which case butter, because duh), I don’t mind here.

I ate them, taking a few bites in turns, scientific-like.

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Breakfast quandaries had at the delightful No. 12 Trading, Kensington, Sydney.

Tomato sauce and ketchup are arguably not quite the same thing, but you get the drift – some combination of tomatoes and spices, a thick sweet savory sauce to splodge onto a burger, garnish a sizzled sausage, and dunk a hot chip into. Why not make your own, and make it (refined) sugar free! The sweetness here comes from slow cooking the tomatoes, the warm spices, and the addition of some tart plums or apples.

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You don’t need to make an early morning trip to Flemington markets for 20kg of fresh ripe tomatoes, but it you can, I do recommend it! If you have any access to cheap bulk fresh local produce in autumn, you can make a batch of jars of tomato goodness that will store a little summer sun for the winter months ahead (for just a few dollars – going rate was about $5/10kg box last weekend).

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You also don’t need to be an expert to preserve fresh foods, it’s much easier and less scary than it seems, sterilization of jars requires boiling water and rubber-tipped tongs, clean tea towels. Asbestos fingers are handy if you have them (not a product, just fingers that are used to high temps!). I’ve sterilized my jars in the oven in the past, but I’ve been doing a combo of boiling water bath and very hot produce, tightly lidded then turned upside down to cool, which seems to get a perfect seal on the jar and keep everything happy. Follow your own favorite method, or refrigerate this sauce (make in smaller quantities).

Tomato Sauce – sugar free!

Halve approximately 7 kg fresh ripe tomatoes, sprinkle liberally with a few big pinches of salt then slow roast in a large tray in a low oven for 8 hours OR cook in a slow-cooker/crockpot for 24 hours or so. The toms can be roasted/cooked ahead if schedule requires interrupted sauce making.

Roughly chop, then in a large pot, saut̩ 6-8 (or more) garlic cloves, 1-2 large onions, 1 fennel bulb and 1 red capsicum. Add in 1/2tsp yellow mustard seeds, 3 cloves, 2tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp celery seeds, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1tsp cayenne pepper and a good grinding of black pepper (2tsp?), stir about and allow spices to become fragrant and veggies to soften. Add 2 plums (or apples) roughly chopped up, and a cup or so water, bubble away until everything is soft Р10-15mins should do it.

At this point you want to add the cooked tomatoes including any liquids, and blend the sauce, then return the blended sauce to the pot to continue cooking. You can either transfer everything to the tomatoes receptacle, then blend, in batches, in a food processor or blender, returning blended portions to the pot, or use a stick immersion blender straight in the pot. Either way, BEWARE hot liquids and high speed machinery! Caution required here.

Return blended sauce to heat, continue to cook, stirring regularly for another 10-15minutes, sauce will thicken nicely. Add 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar. Taste test for salt, spice – add more salt, pepper and cayenne if desired.

Jar that business up while piping hot. Use a variety of sizes jars – make some tiny one-meal ones for fish-and-chips on the cliffs or taking to BBQs. Store cooled and sealed jars in a cool dark spot. Refrigerate once open. Enjoy!

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I drove past the German Club in Tempe today. Slightly wistfully.

But we had bratwurst, potatoes and two types of homemade sauerkraut in the house, so no worries mate!

I’ve been making a fair amount of Labne, so have a fair amount of whey on hand, and am also right on trend by being a bit obsessed with fermenting and cultures.

Homemade sauerkraut is amazingly simple and So. Much. Better.

When I feel like I’m happy with a recipe I’ll post it, but I say just give it a go – it’s not hard!

x

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