Wild Green Paleo Pie – Foraging the wilderness for food

By | Foraging, Paleo | No Comments

Did you know how easy it is to forage for wild greens near where you live? Watch my foraging video to see how much I was able to gather in less than 30 minutes. The video shows you a method that is very popular in the Mediterranean for cooking wild herbs & greens. These bitter herbs benefit greatly from braising in olive oil. The fat soluble nutrients can then be absorbed by our digestive tract and with the increased bio-availability, you get all the benefits without having to force yourself to eat a challenging salad of rough wild greens. Also, I used the braised greens to make a pan-fried wild herb Paleo pie. The recipe for the pie will be found in my upcoming cookbook, Quirkier Cooking (early 2017).

 

A Quirky Journey Podcast

Listen to My New Podcast – A Quirky Journey

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

I’ve recently joined Jo Whitton (quirkycooking.com.au) as co-host on A Quirky Journey, our podcast on which we discuss living with food allergies, healthy living, Paleo & GAPS, and many other topics. Jo and I interview many interesting people in the health space, both experts and ordinary people like us who are undergoing a journey of healing. It’s extremely exciting for me to be part of this podcast. It’s an excellent platform to really get into some great discussions with people I would not otherwise have the chance to ask questions of. Have a listen, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

A Quirky Journey is part of The Wellness Couch which has an amazing collection of podcasts and podcasters, all dealing with wellness in different facets. I encourage you to check them all out too.

 

The Caterpillar and the Butterfly

By | Advice to my daughters | 2 Comments

It is not unheard of, and not wildly strange
How a sense of self can re-arrange

Watch the caterpillar from its earliest hours
Its identity based on what it devours

This ceaseless action with every breath
Seems only stoppable by a drastic death

Though as it continues, consuming away
There arrives a stillness one ordinary day

Into the darkness an old world retreats
And out of the perfect silence a birth repeats

So from a silken womb that a previous life has spun
An awareness awakens to a newly born sun

And the caterpillar, now transformed into something new
Bathes in the nectar and the morning dew

Face your fears

What it means to face your fears

By | Advice to my daughters | No Comments

As you go through life, you will hear people use words such as bravery or courage, or phrases around the importance of facing your fears. When you hear a complex concept or idea repeatedly from an early age, you tend to assume familiarity with that idea or concept. The result is superficial knowledge; a broad-strokes level of understanding which could in fact be stopping you from truly grasping very important concepts.

In his Essay on Criticism, Alexander Pope wrote the following – way back in the year 1711:

“A little learning is a dangerous thing
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.”

I remember reading this when I was 17 years old and it has stuck with me ever since. My world view changed because in the back of my mind, I understood that I must fully immerse myself in an idea before I can truly understand it.

If we are to apply this method to a concept such as facing your fears, we must understand fully what fear is, and what it truly means to face these fears. If our understanding of fear, bravery and courage is the one we’ve formed during childhood, we risk going through life without truly ever being able to deal with fear correctly.

So, let me begin by defining fear itself, in the simplest way I can.

Fear is an emotion. Fear is unpleasant. Fear affects our body physiologically and our mind psychologically, and the sum of the two results in an altered behaviour.

When we are afraid, we tend to hide, run away or freeze.

We all experience fear, make no mistake. The concept of bravery and courage that we so often hear about is commonly mistaken for the lack of fear. This misunderstanding stems from the fatigue we have accumulated from the overuse of these nebulous words.

However, bravery and courage are not qualities of the person who lacks fear. They are, in fact, habits or patterns of behaviour. A brave person is a person who, when afraid, does not hide, run away or freeze. A brave person learns to identify the emotion of fear, and instead of being ruled by the default response mechanisms, they have the ability to sidestep them. They will say: “I am afraid. Interesting. What am I afraid of? Let’s have a look.”

Facing your fears is the first step in shattering them. Realise that you are afraid. Examine what you are afraid of. Understand it. Analyse it and break it down. Know the face of your fear. That is true courage: a habit. And like any habit, you can learn to do it. When you do, go freely and conquer your nightmares.

Changing Direction

Changing Direction

By | Advice to my daughters | 12 Comments

For some years, The Food Blog has been neglected. My own life has, during this time, had many twists and turns, and numerous highs and lows. I am now a father of two little girls, and this experience has changed me profoundly and continues to do so.

One of my major goals now is to try to be a better person every day, and to figure out how I can foster goodness in my daughters. My hope for them is to be self-empowered, intelligent, empathetic, strong, healthy, loving, kind, inquisitive, self-examining, open-minded, rich with friends, driven by accomplishment rather than money and, of course, happy.

There’s a concern in the back of my mind, which every parent has. What will happen to my children if I were to die? Who will take care of them? Who will support them? And who will mentor them on this journey?

Having left my country of birth at the age of 20, I have personally experienced a gap that otherwise would have been filled by my mother and father’s presence. I have throughout these 14 years in Australia found one friend who I can think of as having played the role of a mentor (edit: two friends, Matt being the most important of the two). Yet I have often had to rely on myself for guidance in most things, and have many times wished for there to be someone whose life experiences could enlighten me to make better decisions. I have had to find my own group of mentors in the form of books and self-inquisitiveness. Self-taught lessons have been pivotal in dictating my life’s direction, but having a mentor giving you the right advice expedites the learning experience.

This is why I am changing The Food Blog’s direction. I want my blog to be a space where I can document my entire spectrum of thought, not just the food, and also have the blog become a repository of advice for my daughters. It is my hope that through this blog, they will get to know me better; that they understand that life is a journey of constant change; and that they have a place of guidance to go back to when I’m gone.

For my readers who are food-focused, I hope you decide to come along on this journey as well. I do understand, however, that you might prefer a piece of cake over peace of mind. In that case, I bid you goodbye and wish you a good life. If you’re reading on, I thank you and will appreciate your comments as they will enrich the content of my blog and provide more human insight to those who need it. If we are to immunise our children against the empty culture they are born into, we need to start by telling the stories of everyday people like them.

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Home for the Harvest

By | writing | No Comments

In October last year, I had a major article published in Saveur magazine, entitled Home for the Harvest. This is a story of my return to Lebanon in October 2013 to help my family during the olive harvest. I have to say, this is my favourite article yet and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to write and share this story. You can read the story on the Saveur website here, or you can download a scanned version of the article  here