Welcome to a new LouLou meets - the final one for 2014. Heidi first came to my attention when she liked some of my photos on Instagram a few months ago. I was immediately a fan of her feed and loved discovering her lovely blog, Apples under my Bed, which features recipes interlaced with stories from Heidi's life. It isn't just the visual element that I appreciate chez Heidi: she is also a great storyteller and evidently very passionate about food, which seems to have connected her with a diverse cooking community. After experiencing some issues with my diet this year, and discovering that staying off wheat as much as possible helps with both my weight and my physical well-being, I'm looking for more creative and exciting ways to eat as healthily as possible most of the time - Heidi's blog fits the bill and I was so happy when she agreed to be part of the series. Get comfy and let me introduce you to Heidi.
Hi Heidi, could you explain briefly the story behind your blog name?
Hi, Lou! It’s lovely to meet you and be featured on your site. My blog name comes from my habit as a young child to eat apples in bed while reading. I’d lay there at night, munching and turning pages ravenously, before disposing of the apple cores under my bed! One day my mother found the scene (luckily not too long after my habit begun) and directed me to the bin. The name just came to me one day.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in Melbourne?
I am a Dietitian who sees clients in a private practice setting outside of Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula. Our clinic has a garden and I rent the room from my parents who are psychologists. It’s a really lovely work space and I feel very lucky to get to do what I do, helping clients make healthy food and lifestyle choices, and to learn how to cook and enjoy nutritious whole foods.
How would you describe the Australian food scene? I imagine it to be really different to the European food scene, where dieting is frowned upon but health is not necessarily considered a priority.
The food scene in Melbourne is really vibrant! We have so many wonderful places to eat – from high-end dining (like Attica or Vue De Monde) to wonderful casual spots serving incredible fried chicken, souvlaki, ramen and pho. We are a country of many cultures and the food scene reflects that. One quintessential Melbourne thing is brunch! We have the best coffee and do eggs and doughnuts like no-where else in the world. We’re a talented and passionate bunch of foodies, that’s for sure. Across Australia, more and more health-centred cafes/restaurants serving raw foods and smoothies are popping up, which is great and caters to those wanting to eat less processed or more nutritious food. Just as popular are places to get good burgers (including the classic Aussie “burger with the lot”, which contains pineapple, egg, beetroot and bacon!)
The diet industry is a huge business these days. We can easily find so much information about how to be healthy and slim. What is your personal food philosophy when it comes to being healthy?
I am all about real, whole food. I eat very little overly processed or highly refined foods and always make sure I eat heaps of vegetables every day. I am a big supporter of shopping local and sustainably. I support a biodynamic farm in my area and we get a weekly vegetable box from them. In fact I recently spent 8 months farming one day a week there to further my knowledge of “farm to plate”. Getting to know your food, your producers, and not just mindlessly consuming is important to me. If you’re focusing on this practice, eating real whole foods and not wasting, then you don’t even need to think about fad diets or any of that crazy business.
What advice / encouragement would you offer to someone who is scared of getting into the kitchen and cooking?
Be fearless! If you’re just starting out (or wanting to further your skills), begin by reading recipe books like novels, taking note of techniques and the way these seasoned authors speak about food and cooking. I adore Marcella Hazan’s books and Jamie Oliver has some great ones too. Then try it yourself, with all your ingredients ready (mise en place is really helpful for stress -free cooking)! Also, I believe that the first time you try a recipe it is good to follow the instructions explicitly. The next time around you can tinker things to suit your tastes with a bit more confidence. Lastly, follow Julia Child’s advice – “In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude”.
How do you manage to keep costs low when cooking with healthier ingredients (which tend to be a bit more expensive than regular ingredients).
To start, I spend less on vegetables by supporting my local vegetable farm, which is so much cheaper (and better quality!) than buying from the stores. I then focus on legumes and grains as a base of my meals. I love whole grains like freekeh, quinoa, etc but also love pasta and rice (wild rice in particular). Fish is a favourite of mine but I try to go for smaller, sustainably sourced fish (preferably local, we have great mussels in our area) and tend to rely on anchovies and sardines for flavour and nourishment (and these are very cheap). Meat or poultry is perhaps a once a week purchase, which helps keep costs down and is in line with my environmental intention. I also make 95% of my meals instead of eating out, which is a healthy, wallet-friendly habit. Also, never underestimate the value of a fried egg to make a meal wonderful.
What culinary adventure would you like to experience in your lifetime?
I would LOVE to go to India and eat as authentically local as possible. I’ve travelled a lot, but India is a place I am yet to taste.
You have 24 hours left in Melbourne (purely hypothetical) before you move away. What would you do to say good-bye to the city?
I would wake early, as I always do, and have an awesome breakfast at one of our many amazing cafes, starting with our world-famous coffee. I’d then stroll the gardens around the city and wander the top, “Paris end” of Collins street before walking around Fitzroy and grabbing a bit to eat with friends and a gelato. Drinks would start early at one of our super cool city bars, maybe heading to a rooftop along Fitzroy and then dinner at one of our great restaurants (don’t make me choose). See? It’s all about the food.
One thing on your bucket list?
To have a house in Sicily and visit yearly to eat all the tomatoes and pasta con le sarde I can manage.
I’ve been listening to the BBC4 Desert Island Disc podcasts recently. So, in the very unlikely scenario of you being sent to a desert island, please tell us:
- the book you’d choose to take with you; Matilda, by Roald Dahl, because it was my favourite as a child and covers many themes so I feel it would keep me interested each time I read it. Though perhaps Life of Pi is a more appropriate choice.
- one luxury item; my husband
- one piece of music; one my brother wrote
- one social media application you would like to keep: Instagram, for sure.
Quick Fire questions
Favourite Parks and Rec character? How’d you know that’s my favourite show?!! Don’t make me choose. Leslie, it has to be Leslie. No, wait, what about Ron? Leslie. Oh, man, this is not a quick fire answer.
Favourite Instagram account? @rachelaliceroddy
Favourite recipe? Spaghetti alle vongole. And for every day, my middle-eastern inspired abundance bowl.
Favourite city? Sorry, have to list a few: Rome, Ortigia, NYC, Melbourne
Favourite yoga pose? Tree pose.
Favourite beauty product? Coconut oil. It’s my most favourite body moisturiser.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy the holidays and see you in 2015,