Back to Basic’s

Mel+Sarah-Dean Raphael-9

Dean Rapheal Photography

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Sorry in advance about my vent. I just really need to write about this. 

So here it goes.

Mel and I have recently spent some time brainstorming ideas for Thymes Two and what has really got us thinking is what our Why is. What do we want to achieve, where do we want to go with it all, who do we want to connect with and who do we want to inspire. These are heavy questions that we’ve started to break down over early morning coffee and late afternoon vino. Typical us.

 Despite the fact that we’re still struggling with our why factor, we have managed to pinpoint the core of our values and actually how we’d like to live. We want to live a back to basic life. Live like our Nonna did. Consume less. Create more. Inspire more. Cook more. Cuddle more.

We also want to grow our own food. Support local designers. Collaborate with like minded people. Travel to beautiful places. Raise a beautiful family and live a beautiful life.

 Unsure of where our drive to live a basic lifestyle has stemmed from, Mel and I have slowly discovered that the older we become, the more obsessed we become with this idea.

 The idea of Basic Living.

 We are constantly striving towards a basic, local and organic approach to life. I can admit that this may sound really ‘wanky’ but we honestly mean it and we legitimately live by these principles as much as we can.

 I am now aware that this is all a direct reflection of our mum and the way she raised us along with dad of course.

 Mum has such a no fuss, minimalistic approach to living. She is the least materialistic person I know. She likes to spend her whole afternoons delving into books rather than going out shopping. She rarely buys herself new clothes and due to her sensitive stomach, she usually cooks for herself and dad rather than offer to eat out. She does however love Japanese food and the fantastic Melbourne cafes that this glorious city has to offer – like we all do! She has also recently started to make beautiful linen dresses, skirts and pants for Mel and I. I haven’t actually bought a dress or a skirt in god knows how long. When we do go out shopping, we either shop at opp shops or we spend a little more money seeking out local and honest labels.

 Mum’s lifestyle had quite an influence on our early years in life. Cooking rather than dining out, walking everyday to the park rather than driving there, spending afterschool playing for hours in our rooms, at the playground with our friends or in our garden rather than watching television and yearly visits to mum’s side of the family in Switzerland are the memories I’ve kept. Others that I keep close to my heart are those of our Nonna and Nonno spending hours in the kitchen making sauces, soups, slow cooked meats and pastas from scratch. They introduced us to the world of honest food, strong coffee and delicious wine. They were Italians after all. They cooked with ‘amore’ and that is one of the things I miss most about them. That and their endless encouragement and support. I don’t think anyone has encouraged or praised us more than our Nonnie. She was adorable.

 Anyway (wipe away tear). as the years went on, our form of friday night takeaway was home delivered sushi. I don’t think we ever asked our mum to take us to McDonalds or KFC (that came later, you know in those early teen drinking years…). Now for every family occasion we usually opt for a delicious feast at a fine dining Japanese restaurant. We all love the cuisine and it’s the kind of food that we wouldn’t normally cook at home so in my opinion the money spent is somewhat justified. As a family, and also nowadays living in Carlton with Mel, we rarely eat out, rather opting for home cooked meals prepared with local and organic ingredients.

 In terms of food, it’s quite obvious through our instagram, that we share a deep love for it, along with coffee and wine of course! With a lot of time and research, we’ve found, local, ethical and organic sellers to buy our produce from. We buy our meat, our fish and our vegetables from all separate sources and yes it takes a chunk out of our week but it is most definitely worth it. Knowing where your food comes from is the foundation of good nutrition. There is also something so special about it. When you’ve walked an hour to get to a sustainable fish monger, or carried 2 kilos of veggies in your backpack or spent your morning trekking all the way to a market to only by ‘off cuts’ of meat or bones, then you actually start to develop some what of an intimate relationship with your food. Cooking then becomes fun rather than a chore. It really is quite nice. Some say it’s a love affair.

Our basic approach to living also touches other aspects of our day-to-day including modern technology. Our (well ‘my’ – Mel is much more gifted in this area) inability to use technology is probably due to the fact that growing up we always had afterschool sport of some sort so we literally just didn’t have the time for hours and hours of television and video games. To this day, Mel and I still rent videos from the video store or borrow them from the library as 1. We don’t know how to download movies… 2. Isn’t downloading movies illegal anyway!? and 3. Borrowing movies from the library is so much more fun. Ditto with CDs! We play our DVDs on our laptops as we do not own a TV and instead of streaming music through spotify or ITunes, we have a little CD player. We’ve named it ‘The Egg’ – if that is of interest to anybody. Oh but don’t worry, we are able to use phones and love social media. Like many more like most people living in this modern society, we are slightly attached to our iPhones.

 Trying to live like our grandmothers did, we also don’t really ‘work out’. We adore yoga and have found an amazing studio literally down the road from our home so we enjoy between 3 – 5 sessions of yoga per week. This plus walking everywhere is how we currently choose to move our body. Although we grew up with sport, it was mostly gymnastics, dancing and swimming so it’s these sorts of movements we love. We no not love CrossFit, boxing, hectic gym sessions or marathon running. We do, however, certainly take our hats off to anyone who does enjoy these types exercise. Maybe in our next life we’ll have the motivation, endurance and mental strength for it. For now though, yoga and walking suits us just fine. It’s what our Nonna did too. She walked everywhere and also did weekly yoga. Again, she was adorable.

So that’s that. Basic and conscious living. Honestly just becoming aware of how we spend our time and our money and ensuring they’re in tune with our values.

 Well done. You made it to the end of my vent.

 Ciao,

 Sarah x

 

 

 

 

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Rough Parsnip Hummus

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Ingredients

– Two large organic parsnips (or three medium)

– One can of organic chickpeas

– 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (and and extra tablespoon)

– Pinch of himalayan salt

– Pinch of pepper

– One teaspoon of turmeric

– One teaspoon of cumin

– One teaspoon of tahini

– 1 cup of distilled water (this will vary on then consistency of your mash, you may need more)


Method

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius

2) Wash, peel and dice the parsnips. Then roast them in one tablespoon of olive oil for around 45 minutes (or until soft and golden)

3) Once parsnips are ready, put them aside and let them cool. Meanwhile start prepping the meal you will serve your mash with, or just chill out and do some yoga

4) When your parsnip has cooled, grab your food processor and place in the cooled parsnip pieces. Blitz them until they become a mash consistency. Add the can of chickpeas (drain them first!), water, tahini and spices. You will have to add more water if your mash is too thick and not blending properly

5) Serve on a nut and seed loaf, with falafels or topped on a salad!

Ciao! Were off to drink chai lattes and get our hair treatments, because really who likes dry hair?

x

Warm Moroccan Chicken Salad

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Ingredients (serves two for a main or three for an entree/light meal)

– One small eggplant

– Half an avocado

– One small zucchini (we used three tiny zucchini’s from our organic garden)

– Two small truss tomatoes

– Around four large leaves of kale

– Chicken breast (one or two depending on how large you want this meal to be)

– Two heaped tablespoons of greek yogurt

– Half a pomegranate

Homemade dukkah (click on link for recipe)

– Pine nuts

– A little bunch of Moroccan mint leaves

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Method

1.  Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to boil with some salt

2. Cut the chicken breast in small cubed chunks and place in water once it boils, leave chicken in for aprox  5-7 mins depending on the size of the pieces (test one piece to see whether it is still too pink inside)

3. Whilst the water is coming to a boil, wash all vegetables thoroughly and cut open the pomegranate – removing the seeds from one half only.

4. Slice the zucchini horizontally so that you have rectangular pieces around 3 cm’s long. Place zucchini under the grill with a drizzle of olive oil and pepper. Leave until it begins to brown at the edges. You could also add dried cumin before placing under the grill

5. Chargrilled eggplant: Use tongs to safely hold the eggplant on top of an open stove and keep rotating it above the flame until the skin starts to blister (be careful!). This will take some time but it will create a lovely, rich chargrilled effect.

6. Dice the tomatoes and avocado into small portions

7. PLace the kale leaves on the bottom of the plate and from here use your hands to mix all ingredients together thoroughly with a teaspoon of olive oil. Once all ingredients are on the plate, neatly place the pomegranate, dukkah and yoghurt on top.

8. Eat a moroccan feast

*If you wanted to create this into a heartier meal, try adding some couscous or freekeh. If you enjoy dates, they would also work nicely.

M + S xx

Sunday lunchin’ at the Fabulous Feast of Merit

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After having quite a miserable saturday, our weekend was definitely not off to a great start… In an attempt to lighten our dull moods today we treated ourselves to a lovely lunch at Richmond’s fabulous Feast of Merit. Boy were we overwhelmed!

Where to even begin…

We should start by acknowledging their philosophy:

‘..Being local, ethical and sustainable is part of what drives our philosophy. Feast of Merit is a social enterprise owned and run by YGAP. All of our profits help make the world a better place… Consider our food as Middle Eastern spring meets Melbourne… We deliver this with our farm to table philosophy.’

Keeping this in mind we could immediately see their approach to food through their menu options. With their menu evidently being all about providing food that is sustainable and wholesome.

Without a question we were drawn to their selection of hearty salads and choice of added protein (milawa chicken, BBQ fish or beef)

Opting for milawa chicken with a roasted root vegetable salad, we were quite literally blown away and unable to find the worlds to describe the explosion of intense flavours that made us feel so good inside.

Despite our temptations to devour Feast’s jugs of sangria, we finished our meal off with a rich long black. Just d i v i n e.

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This meal took us back to that one time in Berlin where we came across a beautiful cafe called Oliv. We enjoyed the most amazing feed of our trip, that being a chicken leg accompanied with a chickpea and feta salad. Delish!

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Anyway, about five hours ago when we were actually sitting at their wooden tables, sipping coffee out of their ceramic cups.. We were attempting to find the right words that would paint a picture of the setting for you all. So when it comes to their interior, we’ve decided that it simply reminds us of a rustic farm house.

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Keeping this short and super sweet, we would like to just say that this cafe is truly  i n s p i r a t i o n a l and all for a good cause. Definitely check out Feast of Merit. It is every cafe junkies heaven.

M + S

xo

Post Yoga breakfast feasting at ‘St Edmonds’

 

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After a night of contemplation, we finally came to a decision as to where our weekly post yoga breakfast feast would be.

Let’s paint a picture for you all..

Slouched on the couch last night with our eyes glued to the ever so popular renovation and styling series, ‘The Block’, we were tossing between the prahran cafe St Edmonds and Richmond’s Feast of Merit (Supposed to be amazing – always wanted to give it a try!).

With a combination of uni induced fatigue and natural indecisive characters, we were literally becoming stressed about this situation. Still trying to focus on ‘The Block’, we were given a sign from the universe as one of the Block contestants were being filmed sipping a latter at St Edmonds.

What are the chances? Therefore, obviously we had no choice but to venture to St Edmonds. The universe said so.

So, this morning after a 6:15 yoga class, we made our way to this industrial stele cafe, hidden behind the hustle and bustle of chapel street, just off groovy Greville Street.

As we were done with yoga by 7:15 and the cafe not opening till 7:30, we found ourselves standing outside this lovely nook, waiting for the barista and chef to wake up and serve our hungry post bellies some glorious food.

In the meantime we were able to admire the exterior and came to the realisation that the eye capturing feature of St Edmonds would have to be the large Graffiti feature wall that surrounds the entrance. It’s this colourful wall that draws your curious eyes into the cafe, but its the helpful staff and industrial interior that keeps you snugged up inside. —— A note on the staff and customers, St Edmonds seems to be quite a ‘blokey’ place to hang out. Our evidence for this statement: This morning we were the only females there…actually.

Now onto the food.

A simplistic yet interesting menu, their food really caters for everyone; Vegan, Vegetarian, Carnivore eaters and lean gym goers. They are all able to find a dish that will meet their nutritional needs and cravings.

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Although we were leaning towards their ‘Breaky Green’s‘ (Buckwheat, Kale, raw broccoli, avocado, pistachios, poached eggs and chilli), we were persuaded towards trying their new gluten free bread that supposedly “everyone is raving about.” (quoted the waiter)

Soooooo, surprise surprise we opted for poachies on GF toast with AVOCADO (…der) and smoked salmon. yum.

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Eddies is an easy-going, stylish and simply an awesome cafe that every Melbournean must try.
Go on kids, fill your bellies with eggs on toast at this perfect Prahran nook.

154 Greville Street, Prahran

M + S xx

Camden’s Cosy Cafe

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There we were, fresh off the plane, first day in London.

And what was the only question we had for our hostel’s receptionist? Did we want to know where all the big tourist sites were? Or how the underground actually works?

No, we wanted to know where are all the cafes were. Obviously.

Twenty minutes later, we found ourselves on a bus heading towards Camden Town. For all of you who are unfamiliar with London’s outer city hidden gems, Camden Town is definitely one of those “must see’s”. Not only is it home to many vintage markets and food stalls, it also has a very popular cafe culture. Thankgod!

So, completely jet lagged and ‘clogged’ (sorry about the use of this word, we just don’t know how else to describe that disgusting tummy-cramp-bloated gross feeling) from the flight, we were searching for somewhere to recover and replenish. Thankfully only after a few hundred meters, we stumbled across “M y V i l l a g e C a f e”.

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This family run eatery had an Eastern europe influence, yet also had all the characteristics that define many of Melbourne’s Fitzroy cafes. All of this awesomeness in humble Camden Town.

With a GF, vegan and raw menu, we were drowning in options.

Luckily, our decision was made for us by the ever so lovely owner, of this ever so lovely cafe. We were given the organic soy porridge and fresh mint tea. Very simple, yet delicious. The most comforting meal to devour after a 30 hour journey and definitely tummy approved!

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Naturally, the remainder of the day we spent exploring Camden’s markets, discovering a beautiful yoga studio and climbing hills. Ahh, if only we could rewind the clock…

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M + S xx

Gid – Giddd – Giddiup!

As we sit at our dining room table, sipping on a glass of pinot with the scent of a tiger lily candle drifting in the air, we’re blissfully dwelling over our beautiful morning.

The sun was shining on this comforting autumns day – the perfect scene to be strolling the streets of South Melbourne.

For locals of this area, Saturday morning means market morning. Therefore, finding a park was rather tricky…

Nevertheless, after a few rounds, we found one!

Now to breaky….we already had a cafe in mind, one that we visited way back, in the year of 2012.

To think that two years has already gone by makes you realise how quickly life just goes.

Anyway, lets not get emotional this is a breakfast post after all

So back to G i d d i u p.

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Despite the fact that this cafe is quite small, the white walls and wide windows creates a sense of space. They have kept to the theme of black and white with minimal decor, yet thats all they need as the simplicity reflects its modern character.

Everything on the menu shouts out yum, with avocado popping up on a few dishes. This automatically drew us in. We decided to opt for a deconstructed meal of poached eggs on gluten free bread (of course), with a side of avo and smoked salmon – our usual pick for when we’re craving something fresh and simple.

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It not only gave us the energy we needed after our morning run, but also made us feel  h a p p y  inside. After a tough week filled with stress chaos and confusion, this was definitely needed.

There aren’t many cafes out there that can give you that ‘feel good’ feeling, sorry guys, not sure how else to put it. This cafe literally just makes you feel good. Thats good hey?

M + S x

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269 Coventry Street South Melbourne