BOOKTOBERFEST GUEST BLOG: Why I chose the chef’s life… by Alistair Wise, co-author of Sweet Envy

alistairwiseWhy did I choose the chef’s life?

This is the question that curious onlookers ask me with gusto when they hear about the long, hard hours and miniscule pay. Some chefs say that cooking seethes through their veins, a passion passed on in childhood and set to dominate their life. For me, it was not quite like this … my early years were spent diligently packing preserving jars with apricots, squeezing muslin bags full of blackcurrants, ready to be made into this year’s batch of cordial or fizz. We’d scour the neighbours’ yards for fruit that we could trade or barter, feeding our insatiable bottling addiction.

But this early fruit-bottling obsession is not why I became a chef. As I got older, I found more foods to obsess over. Fortunately for me, cooking is a broad trade, so there is plenty to get obsessed about.

I love the drama of a commercial kitchen, full of buccaneers and pirates doing battle with waiters and waitresses whilst plating beautiful, delicious morsels, prizing gold coins from the patrons’ pockets. It’s a place where anyone can fit in if you learn to do your job well. Do the job and you will be embraced, no matter what your creed.

I love the pace – whether it be a long, unraveling mise en place list, or a board full of checks. There is electricity in the air and the energy is truly palpable.

I love the smell of food – my life would be so much less vivid without it. Pastries gently feuilletting in the oven and meat wafting in the pan; the summer smell of a fridge full of tomatoes or the delightful musty scent of a quince that tells you autumn is here.

I love the feel of food – cooking is tactile, a sensory overload. Whisking whites, standing ready to pour in the steaming hot sugar to pull together the meringue into a homogeneous mass. For some chefs, cooking is an exact science and whilst I agree there’s chemistry involved, I prefer to cook organically, embrace an inexact approach and rely upon instinct and practice to guide me.

I love the kit – last but not least, I must confess, it’s the toys. It starts small with fancy knives and water stones and moves on to thermal circulators and Paco jets and lately liquid nitrogen, followed by vintage ice cream trucks and delivery vehicles. It’s pretty awesome.

It’s true to say that in the beginning I started to cook because it was a job and it was familiar. But now it’s so much more. I am not just a chef but also a mad man who gets to live food fantasies every day.


Sweet Envy is a featured title in Murdoch Books’ Booktoberfest Showcase, click here for more details

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sweet-envySweet Envy

by Alistair Wise & Teena Kearney-Wise

Tumble down the rabbit hole and into the wild and whimsical world of Fleur Wood, one of Australia’s leading fashion designers and an enthusiastic home cook.

Discover what inspires, motivates and sustains her, from flower-scented baths and tisanes to old-fashioned portraits, love-heart lockets and food with soul. Fleur shares her knowledge and passion for all things vintage and offers a window into the creative processes that drive her covetable collections.

Indulge your senses with fabulous fashion, cutting-edge style and plenty of mouth-watering recipes in this visual feast from the immensely creative and talented Fleur Wood.

Sweet Envy is a featured title in Murdoch Books’ Booktoberfest Showcase, click here for more details

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The Monday Morning Cooking Club, authors of The Feast Goes On, answer Ten Terrifying Questions

Click here to grab a copyThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

The Monday Morning Cooking Club

authors of The Feast Goes On

Ten Terrifying Questions
___________

1.To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourselves – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

We all live in Sydney, Australia but we have come from all over: Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, South Africa. And our family backgrounds are even more diverse, reflecting the Jewish community’s melting pot: Hungary, Poland, Russia via China, South Africa, England.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

When we were twelve we were all consumed with what was in our lunch boxes and pantries. Some of us were getting schnitzel on rye and really wanted Vegemite on white bread.  Some of our pantries were stocked with kosher salami, dill pickles and poppyseed cake and all we really wanted were biscuits from a packet and bought jam swiss rolls. What did we want to be? Like everybody else!

When we were eighteen we were discovering our passion for food. Learning and loving to cook, throwing our first dinner parties and searching for good food. What did we want to be? Grown up and accomplished. mmcc_slider_girlswhite

When we were thirty we were all consumed with motherhood, trying to find the time for a cup of tea and a delicious piece of cake and striving to find the right life/work balance. What did we want to be? Less sleep deprived than we were!

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

At eighteen, we were all so sure we knew more than our mothers. As we grow older and wiser, and have 18 year old daughters ourselves, we have learned the adage is true: ‘mother is always right.’

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

Growing up, more so than any one event, the continual celebrations that went on in all our homes each and every year for Jewish festivals (passover, Jewish New Year, Yom Kippur) and weekly Friday night feasts for Sabbath eve together with mothers who were committed and passionate about cooking and feeding their families.  2: On a larger scale, the immigration to Australia from countries as far and wide as Vietnam, Greece, Hungary, Russia and South Africa has given our lives in Australia a cultural and culinary diversity which has enriched our national makeup and palate. 3: The creation of our first book Monday Morning Cooking Club – the food the stories the sisterhood’. The years we spent collecting, testing and preserving family heirloom recipes filled us with a great joy, and taught us so much along the way.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?

Printed cookbooks will never be obsolete. Some of us think that there is nothing more enjoyable than taking your latest cookbook to bed and reading it cover to cover, ogling the beautiful photos and feeling the pages between your fingers.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…Click here to grab a copy

The Feast Goes On features the best loved and most delicious stories from the heart and soul of our community right across Australia. It is not a book of Jewish food per se, it’s a book of recipes from Jewish kitchens, collected from countries far and wide. The book speaks of a community drawn together by food, with intimate and moving stories of sharing and survival, love and hope, friendship and family. It is full of precious family recipes passed down from past generations through to recipes that will become instant family favourites.The book has recipes for every occasion – from every day eating to feasting, light lunches to fressing, comfort food to traditional dishes – which will nurture, nourish and inspire.

Grab a copy of The Feast Goes On here

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

To find, collect, recreate and publish all those wonderful heirloom recipes from the older generation before they are lost forever. We believe the old recipes still fit so well into our contemporary world.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?
Click here to grab a copy
As a group, without a doubt, we place our grandmothers on the highest pedestal. We look back with wonder on how they managed to nurture and feed their families the most exquisite dishes without any of today’s mod-cons; plucking chickens to produce golden roasts, pickling and preserving anything and everything to get though the winter, home baked bread made from scratch, the lightest of chiffon cakes, flaky pastries crammed with dried fruit and nuts.

9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Our goal is to create a contemporary face for Australian Jewish cuisine. One important part of this is to preserve those treasured recipes from the older generation for our generation, and from our generation for the future. The other important aspect is that we are a not-for-profit company and will continue to raise substantial funds for charity.

10.      What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Always follow your dream, don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be dissuaded by the ’NO’s’. Doors open at the most unexpected times!

Monday Morning Cooking Club, thank you for playing!

Grab a copy of The Feast Goes On here

ElBulli 2005-2011 – Every recipe from the last seven years of the world’s most creative restaurant

Click here for more details...

elBulli 2005-2011 is the catalogue raisonné of elBulli, which was widely regarded as the world’s best restaurant until its closure in 2011. Having held three Michelin stars from 1997 to 2011, and regularly voted ‘Best Restaurant in the World’ by a panel of 500 industry professionals, elBulli was at the forefront of the restaurant scene from when Ferran Adrià became sole head chef in 1987.
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T.M.Clark, Author of My Brother-But-One, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

T.M.Clark

author of My Brother-But-One

Ten Terrifying Questions

———————

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and although I spent my junior school years in boarding school and on a ranch in Zimbabwe, my Senior school years (Standard 6 – 10 or as they say in Australia – Year 8 – 12) were in a small South African town called Kokstad, which is in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains.

During my years in Zimbabwe, you could usually find me riding my horse around, exploring our ranch, usually armed and with our 2 killer dogs running near by protecting me. Yes, I grew up in a war zone so it was necessary. But I knew such freedom during that time that I have never experienced since.

At senior school I no longer had my own horse, but would ride any of my friends one whenever I could, I also played any and every sport (except swimming… I don’t like swimming, maybe because I was always taught  ‘if you can’t see the bottom don’t get in as there might be a crocodile there’ or ‘the water might have bilharzia snails in it’ – but honestly me and actually swimming in water just don’t mix…)  and I don’t ever remember being bored growing up despite living permanently in a school boarding establishment.

I used to be a reluctant reader , although I read a lot and fast, once I started to actually read. I think my poor English teachers deserve gold stars for putting up with my really bad spelling all those years – although my one English teacher Mr Hinchliff doubled as the computer teacher, and I think he was way-way before his time, in that he once told me not to worry too much about my bad spelling, as computers would fix that all one day… and he was right.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Twelve: When I was about 8 years old, a vet visited our farm when a bull gored one of our horses. He stitched up that horse and he was as good as new/ Yet that vet was so gentle and so caring with that horse, and so wanting it to live and be okay. I just knew I wanted to be a vet from then on. So I practiced  – on frogs, and removed their appendix and stitched them back up and put them back in the reservoir…I can’t say that they lived…( I know barbaric when I think back on it…)  Until when I was fifteen, I discovered that in South Africa the only Veterinary Science University at that time was in Pretoria at the Onderstepoort campus, and it was all done in Afrikaans. My Afrikaans was dismal and I knew then I would never get into that university – and never be a vet.

At eighteen I was already working to pay for my first year at university by correspondence to study for an Accounting Degree – why? Because I was good at it and it came naturally to me, but also one teacher at school had said to me I should be an accountant.  With no other direction to go – it seemed like a better place than joining the army where my aunt wanted me to be…

At thirty I just wanted to get through each day and not drop a child from sleep deprivation. Yes seriously! I was living in England, and although I had a live out au pair for our two boys while I was at work, life was hectic. I had just gone back to work to complete my last few months of my Internal Quality Auditing Certification, and then we decided to move countries – again. At thirty I could only think of getting through each week, not a career in the future, but, lucky, I had already started fiction writing, so my trajectory in life was already changing.T.M.Clark

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

At eighteen I strongly believed that I wouldn’t marry until I was at least 30 years old. And then I would adopt children, because there were so many in the world that needed homes already. Both theories blown out the water… I was married just after I turned 22 years old (and in two weeks it is our 22nd wedding anniversary!) And I had delivered two of our own children naturally, before I was thirty!

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Book : Jock of the Bushvelt – Sir James Percy FitzPatrick. I have somehow managed to hold onto my copy from when I was like 10 years old. I remember my dad reading it to me, and I loved the story. At the time I didn’t realize how much impact it had on me. But now years later I realize that now I want to write stories that inspire as well as entertain readers, and my love for an African stories goes way way back…

Music: Johnny Clegg/Juluka/Savuka  – all their music – but especially December Africa Rain. This song was one of my theme tunes for My Brother-But-One. This music touches me and makes me remember Africa, its people and the stuggles and yet the hope of those same people, and I find I write from a well deep inside – not from my head.

Painting: I am not a big art fanatic, I can’t tell a Picasso from a Van Gogh. But when I saw the round stained glass window in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, I was in awe and I can remember just staring at it feeling really tiny and insignificant. It was so hard to believe that one man could think of creating something so huge that it dominated so much of the cathedral, and yet it was so beautiful and so soothing to those who looked at it.

As a writer, I still feel like that: tiny and insignificant, but now I know that I have started to share my ‘own pieces of art’ out into the world. It will never compare to the glass window in Notre Dame, it doesn’t have to. But it will be my own small contribution to the world, through my eyes and my heart, just as the window once was to someone else.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I love sewing, and I love creating interesting clothing to wear, I don’t however want to be the next Dior designer.  I love gardening and seeing things grow, from seeds , propagating whatever, I am always giving away plants to people, creating new flower beds, yet I’m not the next Jamie Durie. But, I have always told stories.

When I was really young, I made up these characters and would tell my sisters these stories. As the years past, so did that phase in life, but it reemerged when I had my own children, and once again, I would make up bedtime stories. But it wasn’t until my husband influenced the writing down of them, that I actually thought about ‘telling stories’ for others to read. And its just grown from there.

Some of this story My Brother-But-One is based on a few real events in my life. But mostly its fictional.

True – My dad’s family’s ranches were taken in the land distribution program in Zimbabwe. Even miles away on the other side of the world, I was so effected by this immense loss and tragic event.

False – the scene depicting this in the book. I didn’t capture it as it happened exactly, I write fiction remember…

This book wanted to tell the story. If I didn’t write this story, it would drive me nuts as it would never shut up inside my head.  (No, I’m not schizophrenic or on medication for mental illness…) This story has been cooking for many years, its evolved sure, but once I was writing it, it wanted to be told, and there wasn’t much I could do to stop telling it. Even if it never got published, as long as the story was told, the characters were happy and I can move onto the next one that has been pushing to the front, waiting to be written…

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Scott Decker and Zol Ndhlovu are partners in a private game ranch in Zimbabwe. They have a friendship borne from Africa — a brotherhood that endures the generation gap — and crosses the colour barrier. Australian Ashley Twine is a thirty-something dynamic achiever and a confident businesswoman. When a gender mix-up secures her a position on a volunteer program in the Hwange National Park, Ashley gets a chance to take stock of her life and reassess her situation. But the chauvinistic Scott — who runs the operation — is adamant she isn’t cut out for the job.

After Ashley witnesses first-hand the devastation left behind by poachers, Scott finds himself torn between wanting to protect Ashley or force her to leave Africa for her own safety…and his sanity. However, nothing can prepare her for being ambushed and held captive by the psychopathic Rodney — an old enemy of Zol’s — from a war fought years ago. But now that their world has been threatened, circumstances take hold of their lives and begin to shape and change them forever.

Set against a magnificent backdrop of Africa across the decades, I explore both the challenges and the traditions between the white and black families of rural Africa.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

A feeling of hope, and acceptance that a family unit isn’t necessarily made up of the traditional 1 man + 1 women + 2 kids = perfect family. I want readers to fall in love and want to visit Africa, but, mostly for just a moment, to feel rhythm of the African rhythm in their hearts too as they read. And if the reader can somehow help stop the slaughter of the wild life because of the new love they feel, all the better!

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Jean M. Auel- The Children of the Earth Series. Her books are so real, so full of detail that you can almost feel that you are back in time in that period in history and its all tangible. Her intricate novels have captivated me for years.
Robin Hobb – All her books, but I was captivated by The Rain Wild Chronicles and her Liveship Traders Trilogy, again, it’s the details that get me, her world seems real and I lose myself in it while reading her books.

In my genre – Tony Park. Tony is an Australian who is living there six months of the year, and writing these amazing stories that pin-point exactly the pulse of Africa.  Again, his attention to details is amazing. Yet, he still has time to give to any charity that helps the people or animals in Africa. And Tony is encouraging to up coming writers, never brushing them aside. He sent me my cover quote when he was camping in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and he found he had cell coverage – that is dedication! I’m sure Nicola his wife will tell you he has fault, but to me Tony is the perfect colonial gentleman author.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

Maybe a better word for that would be ‘dreams’ because some things that happen are out of an author’s control. My dream would be to sell world rights. I would so love to see my books in the USA, England, South Africa, Russia, China and all the territories, and see translations, that must be so neat, and I would ‘dream’ of visiting each place my book was published in to see it there, as I am a gypsy at heart and love an excuse to travel! Also, I have a cousin who doesn’t read, but if my book was an audio book, he would get to hear it, so the audio rights too…

Friends of mine have had their books turned into Manga. I think it would be so cool to have your book in a manga style… perhaps its that little bit in me that loves that an adult book can have pictures in it!!!

Dreams – Oh hell lets got the whole hog – would love to see this book as a movie – sitting next to Out Of Africa, Gorillas in the Mist and e-Lollipop as a classic one day….LOL

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

2 things…

1. Just write the book that you want to, make your dream happen.

2. There are so many avenues open to authors, don’t rush at the first opportunity that comes along. Stop, think with your business head, take your time and get it right if you are publishing anything.  Writing might be your passion, but it’s your business, so treat it with professional courtesy.

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been interesting doing these questions. I thought at first glance they were not so terrifying as the six sexy ones I did with Haylee Nash at the RWA Conference in Perth in August – but I was wrong. They seriously are terrifying, but fun too!

Tina, thank you for playing.

Pick up a copy of My Brother-But-One here

Amanda Prowse, Author of A Little Love, Clover’s Child, What Have I Done and more answers Ten Terrifying Questions

a-little-loveThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Amanda Prowse

author of A Little Love, Clover’s Child, What Have I Done? and more…

Ten Terrifying Questions

———————

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in East London (for anyone that hasn’t been there, think of the glamour of the West End, the shiny lobbies of smart hotels and the plush department stores – well, where I come from was the exact opposite, grubby, poor and cramped. But we was ‘appy!) I lived there surrounded by my loud extended family until my mid teens when my life ended.

My parents uprooted me from my friends, Saturday job at Camden Market and all that I held dear and moved me to North Yorkshire – the countryside aaaagh! Where I swapped make-up for wellington boots and live gigs for farmers markets, it was bliss. I have 3 brothers to whom I am very close. My parents had me when they were in their teens and my childhood was one of noise, laughter and the sense that we were all figuring it out as we went along, which was sometimes exciting, often a little scary.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

When I was twelve I wanted to be Jennifer McCulloch, she was in my class and had big boobs and a big house, nuff said.

When I was eighteen I wanted to change the world, fight social injustice and make a difference (at 46 I still do!) I thought I would do it via journalism and raging against the machine.

At thirty I wanted to be eighteen again. amanda-prowse

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

At eighteen I genuinely believed that a movement based on ‘Niceness and Compassion’ could be so infectious that it might start the change the planet needed. ‘Enough For All’ if everyone played fair – be it with food, money, love… I now think there are some people with so much that the idea of sharing and ‘giving something up’ is so terrifying that it’s impossible. This makes me sad. (and won’t stop me trying!)

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

As a teenager I devoured music with passion, absorbing as much as I could. I still do, but am much more particular about what I listen to. It was not unusual in my teens to find me listening to Depeche Mode (Speak & Spell), Bowie (ChangesTwo) and then crying on the sofa at the magic of Etta James. One of my brothers would then punch me and tell me to snap out of it and normality would be restored.

I guess through my love of music, I learnt that what you love and what will shape you, is dependent on your mood and circumstance. It’s no different with writing – you have to keep it fluid and accessible.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I guess primarily because I am singularly useless at anything else! But also because I have a love of words, the way they look on a page, the way they can stay hovering in your mind long after that book is shut and because for me, it’s the easiest way to paint a picture.

a-little-love6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

My latest novel is called A Little Love and has been described as a fairy-tale for the modern woman – which I love! It is the story of Pru Plum – a successful baker and businesswoman who falls in love for the first time at 66.

The backdrop is the rich, indulgent world of gourmet cakes and dough and I hope sends out the message that you never know what twist or turn your life is about to take – love and adventure can strike at any time if you are brave enough to let it!

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I hope that I write tales that stimulate debate and discussion. What would you do in my heroine’s shoes? Did you approve of her choices? But mainly I hope to create stories that stop you from turning off the bedside lamp at night, no matter how early that alarm clock is set because you have to read one more chapter…

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Phew – so many! I repeatedly return to the work of Isabel Allende and I learn something new every time I re-read her novels. I love her style, characters and the sensory feast that awaits me on every page. However, as I have stated before my favourite book of all time is The Book Thief . It moved me, it changed me and I know there is a movie out now, but if I’m being honest, I’m frightened to go and see it for fear of damaging the imagery in my head. It is a perfect novel and I can only throw clichéd statements at it a rollercoaster, a page-turner, it stayed with me. All however are absolutely true.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?what-have-i-done-

My goal is simply to continue writing as I consider what I do to be an absolute privilege. I don’t deserve accolades I’m not driving an ambulance or serving my country, I simply write stories, but to earn a living by doing something I love so dearly – now that’s really something.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

I have this sign on my kitchen wall ‘Persevere – never, ever, ever give up.’ And I so I think it would be that.

It’s really tough to get your work read and I am sure that many wonderful novels never get to break through the surface. Every writer gets rejected; use that criticism and feedback as fuel and act on all the advice. Tenacity, luck and honing your craft can only help in your quest.

Also, you don’t need to be a bestseller to get an enormous amount of joy from writing – whether it’s keeping a journal or writing a letter, do what brings you joy!

Amanda, thank you for playing.

Pick up a copy of A Little Love here

REVIEW: Sugared Orange : Recipes and Stories from a Winter in Poland by Beata Zatorska

Click here for more details or to buy Sugared OrangesAnyone who loved Rose Petal Jam is going to adore this chilly sister volume about the winter foods of Poland. Sydney GP Beata Zatorska is back with more family and carefully chosen classic recipes from around her native country, lovingly collected on journeys through snow and ice. It takes a lot of love to publish a book that puts so much effort into photography (magical snowscapes by Beata’s documentary maker husband Simon Target) and superb design, creating the effect of a cherished family album.

One thoughtful and sensitive aspect of Beata’s recipe gathering is the way she’s integrated recipes from Jewish culture alongside those from Catholic homes. So you’ll find ways to cook fish for Easter and special saints days favourites alongside dishes for Chanukah celebrations.

The result is simply gorgeous to look at and a source of great inspiration when it comes to rib sticking slow cooked comfort food. Beetroot soup with wild mushroom dumplings gets my vote. Author: Beata Zatorska There’s a modesty and frugality to the ingredients, with meat used sparingly as a garnish rather than the main event, and vegetables given prominence in a culture where growing your own and going to local markets is not a fashion, it’s a way of life.

And of course, the sweet tooth factor is not forgotten. The only way you are going to enjoy a white Christmas is if you substitute sugar for snow. Orange ice cream, typically eaten in minus freezing temperatures is a pretty and refreshing option that will adapt to our climate in one scoop.

Review by Caroline Baum

Also by Beata Zatorska…

Click here for more information...Rose Petal Jam

Recipes & Stories from a Summer in Poland

Beata Zatorska recently returned to her native Poland for the first time in more than 20 years. Her base was the small mountain village in which she was raised by her grandmother, a professional chef whose homespun herbal remedies – using fresh ingredients from her own garden and made according to recipes perfected over generations – inspired in Beata the desire to become a doctor. It was a dream she would fulfill with her family’s unstinting support, ultimately establishing a general practice in Sydney.

Accompanied by her husband Simon, Beata spent the summer exploring her home country, travelling tiny roads lined with wild rose bushes, finding castles and palaces in rolling meadows and untamed forests. Beata also rediscovered her grandmother’s delicious family recipes – an extraordinary almanac of traditional Polish dishes.

Rose Petal Jam brings together more than 50 of those recipes in one delightful collection. Recipes for Beetroot-shoot Soup, delicate Pierogi (Polish ravioli), Pork with Caraway and Onion and tasty sweet treats like Apple Pancakes and, of course, Rose Petal Jam reveal the subtlety and variety of Polish cuisine.

But it is much more than a simple cookbook: Beata’s memories of growing up in the Communist Poland of the 60s and 70s intertwine with the couple’s discovery of a modern, vibrant and optimistic Poland, a member country of the European Union. Traditional paintings and poems celebrating the best of this rich culture are scattered throughout. And hundreds of photographs taken by Simon on their travels reveal an unspoiled countryside to rival the better-known rural idylls of Tuscany and Provençe, as well as the impressive architectural heritage of centuries-old cities like Warsaw, Gdan and Kraków.

Rose Petal Jam is part-memoir, part-travel narrative, part-cookbook … and altogether a charming and engaging introduction to a relatively undiscovered world and its people, culture and traditions.

Click here for more details or to buy Sugared OrangesAbout the Author

Beata Zatorska was born in Jelenia Góra, Poland. She started her medical training in Wrocław but graduated from the University of Sydney, and now works as a family doctor in Australia. Rose Petal Jam was the story of her return to Poland after 20 years away.With photography by her film maker husband Simon Target, Beata recalled summers spent in a remote village in the foothills of the Karkonosze Mountains in the care of her beloved grandmother, and the recipes she learned to cook there. Translated into German and Polish, the book has won design and print awards in many countries.

Copies available here…

Jess Ainscough, author of Make Peace With Your Plate, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

Click here for more details or to buyThe Booktopia Book Guru asks

Jess Ainscough

author of Make Peace With Your Plate

Ten Terrifying Questions

———————

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Ipswich (don’t judge me), grew up in a tiny town called Walkerston in North QLD before moving to the Sunshine Coast when I was 10. I stayed on the Sunshine Coast through the rest of primary school, all of high school and through university. After uni I moved to Sydney to start my magazine career, but this was cut short after just three years when I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and decided to move back to the Sunshine Coast. I never plan on leaving here ever again – it’s paradise!

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

12 – A journalist (apart from my brief desire to be a supermodel)

18 – A journalist

30 – I’m yet to hit the 3-0. At 28 though, I’m absolutely in love with what I do. I get to write about something I’m super passionate about every single day. It never actually feels like work.Author: Jess Ainscough

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That I needed to be trashed in order to have a fun night out.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

1. My Sweet Valley High obsession. I started reading these books in year two or three, and this sparked a life-long love affair with words.

2. Work experience at Cosmopolitan magazine while I was at uni. This was my first taste of the magazine world, and I loved everything about it – from doing the coffee run while I was on work experience to later on being able to actually write for the magazines.

3. My cancer diagnosis. Before cancer, I was working at Dolly magazine. It was an amazing life, but something even better was waiting for me. So, the universe gave me a big kick up the bum to force me onto a different path – the path I am supposed to be on.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?

Definitely not! I don’t think it matters how many tech advancements we embrace, books will always have their place. Books are a much-needed escapism from the fast-paced, tech-driven lives we lead. I’ve wanted to write a book since I was eight years old and first started reading novels. Over the years I’ve formed strong relationships with so many amazing books, and I want my words to have the privilege of being embraced in that way by someone.

6. PlClick here for more details or to buyease tell us about your latest book…

Make Peace With Your Plate is memoir and part exploration into the possibility of ditching diets and mending our torturous relationships with food. It’s about getting back to basics, eating real food, loving and accepting ourselves, and establishing a relationship with food where the love is a two-way street. We can love food that loves us back.

This book began it’s life as an e-book on my website. It sold really well and resonated with so many of my readers that I decided to pitch it to Hay House as a printed book. I entered their annual Writer’s Workshop competition and ended up winning an international publishing contract with them. This book is an extension of the original e-book, about three times as long and with a lot more depth into the topics I discuss.

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

To end factory farming. This disgusting system is cruel, inhumane and should be illegal.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

Professionally, I admire Cyndi O’Meara, best-selling author of Changing Habits Changing Lives and the woman who wrote the forward to my book. Whenever I’m about to write about something I know is going to be unpopular with the mainstream I think about Cyndi and all of the resistance she’s faced as a nutritionist who challenges mainstream norm.

Personally, I admire my mum. No one compares to her kindness, compassion and fierce determination.

9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I don’t have specific “goals”. I used to, but if there’s one thing my journey has taught me it’s that we shouldn’t sell ourselves short by setting firm goals. I have intentions that I want to collaborate with the universe on. I know that if I’m always coming from a place of service and showing up as my best every day, the rest will take care of itself.

I want to contribute to the wave we’re seeing when it comes to the way people treat themselves and their bodies. I want my life to continue to be an example of how to show up as your best self every day and get the most out of every moment. I want to give people hope, I want to be an inspiration, I want to give people permission to put themselves first, and I want to be such a champion for Mother Nature and her healing powers that we collectively put her back on the pedestal she was knocked off of when we decided we could do better than her.

 10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Read obsessively. Write consistently. Let your personality ooze through your words.

Jess, thank you for playing.

Pick up a copy of Make Peace With Your Plate here

Click here for more details or to buyMake Peace with Your Plate
Change Your Life, One Meal At A Time

By Jess Ainscough

In Make Peace With Your Plate, Jessica shares her journey from party-girl and cancer patient to healthy lifestyle ambassador. Diagnosed at 22 with a rare type of incurable cancer and told that her only option to prolong her life was to amputate her arm, Jess set about learning everything she could about alternative treatments. Six years on, following a complete change in lifestyle, diet and mindset, she is cancer-free and thriving.

Building on all that she has learned about health and wellness, Jess now shares her simple philosophy for stopping your battle with food, including:

  • Which foods you need to maintain a healthy body and a clear mind
  • How to create a healthier lifestyle, long term
  • What else, apart from food, can contribute to your wellbeing
  • Daily practices to keep you looking and feeling great.

Jessica’s honest and informative story gives you all you need to become a wellness warrior!

About the Author

Jess Ainscough is a writer, holistic health coach, and the creator of the health and wellness website, The Wellness Warrior. Via her e-books, daily blog posts, and videos, Jess’ goal is to empower people to take control of their health and show that the quality of our lives is directly linked to how we treat our body and mind. Her transformation from champagne-guzzling, Lean Cuisine-loving magazine writer to all-out nutrition nerd was made after she was diagnosed with a rare, “incurable” cancer back in 2008. Deciding she wasn’t having a bar of that “incurable” nonsense, Jess took responsibility for her condition and healed herself with two years of Gerson Therapy. Along the way, Jess developed a obsession with passing on all of her newly learnt wellness wisdom to anyone who was parked in front of her for long enough to listen.

Pick up a copy of Make Peace With Your Plate here

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