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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Atlantic Salmon, Roasted Vegetable, Grilled Eggplant and Charred Kale Salad

This dish was quite possibly one of the most satisfying meals we have made! (well most definitely in our top 5). It was rich in flavours and just really hit the spot. It doesn’t take much preparation so there are no excuses with this one!

We enjoyed this meal the day our mum came home from Europe. We spent the whole day chatting and catching up on the past two months. This dish with a glass of organic shiraz was the perfect end to the day

Enjoy this meal, and every other meal, with your loved ones. No one should ever eat alone

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Ingredients (Serves two as a main)

All our ingredients were organic. Try eat organic vegetables (especially leafy greens) where possible

– 1/2 a small eggplant

– 1/2 a sweet potato (or one small sweet potato)

– 2 handfuls of brussel sprouts

– 2 handfuls of curly kale (around three leaves)

– 2 wild salmon fillets

– 1/2 an avocado

– 2 tablespoons of pistachio kernels

– Sicilian olives (around six per person or how ever many you desire)

– 2 cloves of garlic

– Parsley (to garnish)

– Extra virgin olive oil

– 1 teaspoon of coconut oil

– Himalayan salt and pepper

– 1 teaspoon of ground sage


Method (you will need an oven, grill, fry pan and wok)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius

Wash all vegetables thoroughly

Roughly chop sweet potato and keep brussel sprouts whole. Place them on a tray with the garlic cloves (you can keep the cloves whole or chop them roughly)

Drizzle your vegetables with one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and salt. Massage the oil into the vegetables and place in the oven to roast for around 30-40 minutes

Once your vegetables have been in the oven for 15-20 minutes, turn on your grill and slice 1/2 the eggplant in half again, making two quarters. Make a few slits in the eggplant (not on the skin side) and massage around one tablespoon (or slightly less) of olive oil, pepper, salt and ground sage all over and in between the slits of the eggplant. Place under the grill with the skin side facing down. The eggplant will take around 15 minutes (may take longer depending on how high you put your grill on – keep your eye on them)

Check your vegetables, if you can easily place a knife through the sweet potato thats the sign that you can start your salmon fillets!

On a fry pan, place the coconut oil and wait until the pan heats up. Then place your salmon fillets with a drizzle of lemon and pepper. Salmon usually takes around 5 minutes each side, however this will depend on your frypan and how cooked you like your fish

Slice 1/2 your avocado in half again, making two quarters. We then decided to grill our avocado for a few minutes (feel free to keep your avocado fresh – grilled and fresh avocado taste quite different and can change the taste of your dish. With this in mind, grilled avocado went perfectly with this dish)

Once your fish is nearly ready (or ready), roughly chop the kale and place on a wok with a dash of water. Sauté the kale for only 3 minutes

Now you will be ready to start serving. So! First place your sautéed kale on two plates. Then top with your sweet potato and brussel sprouts. Grab your eggplant and chop into thick chunks then place on plates. Grab your avocado and either slice or leave whole and place on plates. Grab your salmon fillets and roughly chop into thick chunks… then guess what… place them on the plates

Add your olives and pistachio kernels

Garnish with some fresh parsley!

‘Creamy’ Mushroom and Poached Chicken Spelt Pasta

As we are now in Autumn.. pasta dishes are going to be enjoyed on a more regular basis, therefore we will be posting some super easy sauce and pasta combos to get rid of those boring pasta dishes that everyones used to having! This is our take on ‘Creamy’ Mushroom and Chicken Pasta.

We always try and cook with 100% organic ingredients.

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Ingredients: Serves TWO as a main

Organic Spelt Penne Pasta (around 1 cup uncooked) – We use spelt as we are able to tolerate this grain best (gluten intolerance issues… don’t ask)

Two  Organic small Chicken Breasts

Mushrooms (as many as you can get your hands on) – We used flat, button and shiitake

One Organic Broccoli head

One small Organic Zucchini

Fresh Organic Spinach (One handful)

Fresh Ricotta (3 tablespoons)

One Onion Shallot

One clove of Garlic

White Wine

Fresh Basil 

Pepper (to taste)

Himalayan Salt (to taste)

Coconut oil (one heaped teaspoon)

Method:

1) Cut up chicken breasts into small cubed pieces

2) Wash all the vegetables ‘obsessively’ well!

3) Chop up mushrooms and zucchini into quarterly pieces.

4) Break apart broccoli head and use your hands to break (‘shred’) into smaller pieces

5) Finely shop the onion, garlic and two basil leaves

6) With the coconut oil, place onion, garlic and basil onto a large deep frying pan

7) Sauté until golden and add a splash of white wine

8) Combine the mushrooms, zucchini and ‘shredded’ broccoli to the pan and salute until golden

9) Add a few more dashes of white wine and three tablespoons of ricotta

10) Mix well, turn down the heat and simmer with lid on. Keep as eye on the sauce and If you find it becomes a little dry add a few splashes of water

11) Pop two pots of water (one for the pasta and one for the chicken) on the stove and bring both to boil

12) Once pots are boiling, add the chicken and poach for around 4-6 minutes (this will vary on how large the chicken pieces are). Add the pasta to the other pot and cook for around 10 mins or less. We like our pasta ‘al dente‘ thus we leave it coking for less time.

13) Back to the sauce, add some seasoning (pepper and salt to taste).

14) Once pasta and chicken are ready, combine all to the creamy mushrooms pan and mix well.

15) Last ingredient to add is the fresh spinach

15)  Now its ready to serve! Top with some fresh basil and a little more seasoning and voila!

** Tip; Best enjoyed with a glass of red wine… Just saying

xxxxx Twins

 

Avocado twins turned 21!

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So a few weeks ago we had our turn to experience the so called ‘best night of your 20s’, our 21st birthday celebration. Yes the night was definitely one we will cherish in our memories for the rest of our lives. Everything about the night was perfect, exactly the way we had planned even to the specific itty gritty details (apart from us forgetting to buy edamame beans for extra nibbles.. oh well..)

The day of our party, Saturday the 1st of November, started off quite early. With us half asleep in our kitchen at 7am after downing avocado toast, we found ourselves chopping fruit, making our famous banana and oat cookies and prepping veggies for rice paper rolls. Yes we decided to put all the pressure on ourselves to prepare all of the finger food..We believe that if we were to pay big bucks for catering it would have not represented who we really are at heart. That being foodies who love to cook healthy food from scratch.

The early morning rush was crazy, with hands going in every direction and many near panic ‘lets cancel the party’ attacks. We guess we did this to ourselves as we absolutely wanted to make out 10:30 yoga session practice at the Australian Yoga Academy. This therefore only gave us four hours of preparation post yoga…. hence the rush…. but yoga always comes first, obviously.

Food and nibbles we decided to serve on the night went as follows:

– One massive gourmet cheese platter (all sorts of soft and hard cheeses, juicy dates, nuts, cherry tomatoes, chrisp crackers and grapes on the vine)

– Avocado and hummus dips (homemade by our fabulous mother), accompanied with organic round corn chips

– An array of raw carrot, celery, capsicum, cucumber and tomatoes

– Bocconcini and cherry tomato sticks with basal

– Bread ‘tartines’ (only Eeuropeans would understand this description) AKA toast. We had four different toppings..

                   1) Sliced avocado with oregano, pepper and lemon

                   2) Ricotta with smoked salmon and herbs

                   3) Peanut butter, sliced banana and cinnamon

                   4) Sliced fig, crumbled goats cheese, honey and cinnamon

Later in the evening we served rice paper rolls with either chicken or tofu (for the herbivores)

And finally for dessert we simply had broken up lindt chocolate (dark, milk and white), fruit kebabs and our banana and oak cookies. YUMMO.

The food was absolutely spot on and represented us entirely. It was evident people loved it as it all disappeared quite rapidly after the first gutsy person made the move to snitch the a carrot stick and dip it in hummus. After that everyone became sheep whilst realising the food was also for eating and not just for its super good looks.

And of course there is no 21st without unlimited alcohol. We served our guests with a selection of beers, wines, cider and vodka. It seemed to please everyone quite nicely.

As the night went on, the voices became louder and our excitment over the pile of gifts went from a pleasant smile and thank you to an ‘OMG THANKYOU SO MUCH I THINK IM IN LOVE WITH YOU’, then followed the drunk half bear hug slash attempt kiss on the cheek (yes there were many accidental smooches on the lips happening..)

Words from our loved ones were adorable and well spoken. With mums cute ipad notes and our best friends ‘oh god cannot believe you said that in front of my dad’ speeches.

The night went on until people became sleepy and over intoxicated…. and with us birthday girls ending up at a random house party. We had the time of our lives and hope all our loved ones did too.

Stay tuned for more recipes, design and health posts!

Love M + S xxx

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