If we were to open your fridge right now what would we find?
If you see my fridge on a Sunday, you know I have just been to the markets – it’s bursting at the seams. I like to call the markets my Sunday church. Last time I bought some Tuscan kale, wombok, green papaya, avocados, asparagus, chillis, ginger, garlic, turmeric, onion, pumpkin, oyster mushrooms, sweet potato, mandarins, figs, mangosteens, thai basil, coriander, mint, tempeh and 2kg of mussels. Other things you will find are Byron Bay Superkraut – Kim Chi style, mint and ginger Kombucha, kalamata olives, marinated artichokes, capers, Bonsoy, Tofutti cream cheese (dairy free and tastes amazing), sunflower mayonnaise (egg and dairy free), flaxseed oil, homemade pickled carrot and daikon, homemade Massaman curry paste, some left over Thai pumpkin curry, and almonds and walnuts (this keeps their nutritional content for longer by keeping nuts in the fridge).
What is the last book you read?
‘You are the placebo’ by Dr Joe Dispenza
Where did you grow up as a child?
Whyalla, SA – a town of 25,000 people
What’s your worst habit?
Not cleaning up as I cook! The kitchen is upside down by the end of dinner. But to justify that, dinner would take twice as long to be on the table if I did.
Do you have a favourite time to cook?
A stormy Sunday.
What about a favourite season?
I’m in a transition period with that one. All my life I have loved summer as I love the beach, the sun, being warm and enjoying the outdoors. This is why I moved to Queensland a couple of years ago. But, although reluctantly at first, now that I have moved to Melbourne, there is something about the winter culture I enjoy too – the cosy fashion, rugging up on the couch in a blanket and slippers, and now I get to wear beanies too. But of course the best part is the warming foods like soups, congee (savoury rice pudding) and hot curries. There’s a Traditional Chinese Medicine aspect to eating warming foods in the winter, which is said to assist our health as we retreat into a more slow and inward energy,
What is the main ingredient you work with and why?
Damn it that’s such a tough question. Lately I cannot get enough of oyster mushrooms. They have such a meaty texture that goes perfectly in so many dishes. Just sauté them up with some garlic, ginger, chilli and oil and you can put them in anything. Second to that, I can never be without ginger. It takes every dish to the next level.
If we peeked in your car, what would I find?
I sold my car last year and now my partner and I share a car. He loves it looking spotless so you’ll only find a car charger in there.
Why did you start your journey in vegan living?
I have always been an environmentally conscious person (thanks dad) and love animals. I was open to eating vegetarian dishes and often cooked them. I still never thought a vegan lifestyle was something I could do, but I started investigating and came across so many studies and stories on how it can be so good for your health. I then did what many do in their early vegan days and watched ‘Earthlings’ and ‘Forks over Knives’. These were huge eye openers. Long story short, I eventually cut out any animal products from my diet, felt incredible for it and lost 18kg. One of the best decisions I have made. Three years on, studying nutrition and listening to my body I made the brave decision to incorporate some sustainably caught seafood back into my diet. So I’m still plant based most days and that is what I love most. But my philosophy is all about listening to your body and what it needs. So this is my happy medium.
Tell us your favourite ingredient to cook with?
Honestly, salt. Everyone can make their dish sing if they season it right.
And finally, what can’t you live without?
A good quality sharp knife. Cooking just isn’t the same without one.
You can find out more about Jade and try her delicious recipes at www.jadewalker.com.au