"Mise en place" (pronounced Meez ahn plahs) is the term used in professional kitchens for the organizing and arranging of ingredients. It translates directly from French as,
"putting in place".
I like to think it also describes the time in one's life when one must discard all things that no longer have meaning, and put in place all those pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that will eventually reveal the grand picture of a life righteously lived. For me, that time has come.
After almost a decade as a model agent in both Sydney and Los Angeles, at the age of thirty-five, I've decided to forego fashion and follow my passion - food.
I've signed up for a Culinary Arts Degree, begun assisting a boutique, organic farmer on his farm and at farmers' markets and participate in the "Farmer in the Classroom Program", teaching kindergarten and elementary school children about the importance of eating fresh fruit and vegetables and the importance of local farms.
This is my story, unfolding real-time as you scroll down. May my journey - in good times and in bad - inspire you to put your things in place.
Last night, I made a vegan Cream of Caulifower Soup, with Spigarello & Sage Puree. I wish this was taste-o-vision. This is one of the yummiest things I’ve ever made. Thanks organic Farmers’ Market produce, that’s all I have to say.
My talented, fellow-Aussie friend, Emma Leslie made her writing/ directing/ producing debut this past weekend with her short film, “Grace”. For cast & crew, I whipped up this comforting, delicious soup.
Carrot Ginger Coconut Soup
2 Cups Vegetable Broth
2 Cans 14 Fl Oz Lite Coconut Milk
1 Large Brown Onion
10 Garlic Cloves
1/2 Cup Peeled, Fresh-Chopped Ginger
2 Tsp Onion Powder
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Ginger Powder
1 Tsp Ground Coriander
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Turmeric
3/4 Tsp Chili Powder
3/4 Tblsp Chat Masala
1 Tsp Salt
Chives for Garnish
4 Tblsp Creme Fraiche
Peel carrots and chop each into several pieces. Steam in double-boiler until semi-soft, drain & set aside.
Peel and chop onion into quarters. Peel garlic cloves. In a pan on medium heat, sautée onions and garlic cloves until onions start to soften. Remove from heat.
Place all dry spices in a small bowl and mix together. Set aside.
Place carrots in blender with 1 cup of vegetable broth and purée. Pour blended soup into a medium-sized, heavy-based pot on low heat.
Place onions and garlic in blender with 1 cup of vegetable broth and purée. Pour liquid into pot with carrots.
Stir in all dry spices and mix well. Let simmer for five minutes.
Add all the coconut milk to soup and whisk in well. Let soup simmer for ten minutes.
Serve each bowl topped with 1 Tblsp of Creme Fraiche and some chopped chives.
Perfect for Autumn, I knocked up a hearty, yet light, Green Bean Casserole last night. Here is the recipe of my own devisings, a Green Bean Bacon & Bourbon Honey Mustard Casserole.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 6)
1lb Green Beans - Topped & Tailed 12oz Uncured Bacon 16 oz Pearl Onions - Peeled and Halved 8-10oz Crimini Mushrooms or Similar - Washed & Halved 5oz Panko Breadcrumbs 10 Cloves of Garlic - Peeled & Chopped 2 Cups Liquid Chicken Broth 1 1/4 Tablespoons Cornflour 2 1/2 Tablespoons Bourbon Honey Mustard (or any quality honey mustard of preference) 3/4 Cup Chopped Italian Parsley stalks 1 Cup Rough-Chopped Italian Parsley Leaves 2 Cups Grated Sharp Cheddar 1 1/2 Cups Grated Gruyère 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 1/2 Cup of Filtered Water 4 Tablespoons Butter Sea Salt Fresh-Cracked Black Pepper
Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a cast-iron skillet or other heavy-based pan, fry bacon until soft and opaque but not browned. Transfer to container lined with paper towel. When cooled enough to handle, rough-chop and set aside.
In the bacon fat (supplemented with olive oil if your bacon didn’t generate enough fat) sautee garlic, adding a little water if it begins to stick. Add onions and sautee until soft. Then remove from heat.
Grease well the bottom & sides of a 13”x10”x3” casserole dish with remaining olive oil.
Make a light layer of 1/3 of the Panko flakes across the surface area of the dish and place two table spoons of butter, equidistant on on top.
Make a layer of 2/3 of the Green Beans, 2/3 of the Mushrooms, 2/3 of the Bacon, all the parsley stalks, all the Onions and Garlic and all the Cheddar. Crack a little salt and pepper over the top.
Create a second layer with 1/3 of the Panko, the remaining Green Beans, remaining mushrooms and remaining Bacon.
In a small bowl, whisk chicken broth, cornflour and mustard together. Pour evenly over the top of the casserole.
Place in oven and cook for 40 minutes.
Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle remaining Panko, evenly over the top. Break last two table spoons of butter up over the top. Return to oven and cook twenty minutes or until Panko is a light golden-brown.
Turn oven off. Remove Casserole and sprinkle all the Gruyère evenly over the top. Return Casserole to oven for a few minutes or so until cheese has slightly melted.
Remove Casserole from oven, garnish with chopped Flat-Leaf Parsley leaves, salt and pepper and let sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.