Nikki Fisher is our resident, ‘Wholefood Mama’. As a mother, freelance writer and former restaurant reviewer she’s combined her three passions to write about ‘real food’ stories that are published everywhere from Epicure, The Age Good Food Guide, Cheap Eats and now the Pantry’s very own blog. She hopes these ‘real food’ stories will inspire others to eat real food and live well.
One glimpse of Manger, the blog of Hong Kong / Parisian style queen and fabulous foodie Mimi Thorrison and you’ll understand why I am suffering a rare case of life envy. Mimi and her husband Oddur left behind city life in Paris eighteen months ago and moved their family – 6 children and 14 dogs, yes 14 – to Medoc, a peninsula on the Atlantic ocean. Surrounded by chateaux, pine forests and vineyards, Medoc is the kind of place where life slows to the pace of the seabreeze, where shopkeepers take long lunch breaks and people stop in the street to talk about their latest hunting expedition or the mushrooms they gathered in the forest.
Before life in the French countryside raising a family, Mimi worked as a journalist and now puts her research and writing skills to good use on her blog. Mimi’s words and recipes coupled with exquisite photography by Oddur who works as an art director and photographer (and most recently fulfilled his dream to breed dogs) the duo have struck upon an enchanting way to share their stories and are also collaborating on a cookbook.
Mimi says, “I wake up with a food idea every morning, whether it’s an ingredient, a feeling, a craving. I mainly cook seasonal dishes with fresh local vegetables and products chosen with my kids, I want them to understand seasons and what nature has to offer”. On her blog she writes, “I would like to imagine my children’s lives bookmarked by food memories, especially Sunday lunches. It’s a sacred moment in time where all the ingredients matter”.
Mimi’s recipes have an elegance, simplicity and authenticity to them, as does her own sense of personal style that is captured in Oddur’s portraits of Mimi that feature in the blog. Staying true to her passion for beautiful produce Mimi builds the dish around a handful of ingredients and flavours with tantalising results. Of her red cabbage, onion and walnut tart she writes, “Let’s face it, cabbage is very wholesome, but it’s the kind of vegetable that you don’t always feel like cooking, but you would like to. Last weekend, I got carried away and couldn’t resist buying a few too many vegetables. Since I have become a country girl, markets are my new playground, and to my surprise, I get more excited with seasonal fruits, vegetables and flowers than the latest Louboutins (designer shoes). I decided to slice the poor red cabbage that fell off the plate to see if it was still fresh. Wasting food upsets me, and I had to give it a last chance. As the cabbage opened, I was drawn to its inner beauty – splendid purple-red spirals everywhere, screaming for an alliance with flavours to match. That’s when I decided to make this tart. The walnuts were there, the red onions were fresh – the game was on”.
You will find Mimi’s ‘everyday’ recipes on Manger from classics like cheese and tarragon omelette, steak and béarnaise sauce, poulet au vinaigre (vinegar chicken) and braised butter endives and sweet indulgences such as chocolate mousse with salted butter caramel chunks, madeleines and Persian love cake. Mimi says butter and cream are the soul of French cooking and for her nothing is forbidden it is all about enjoying all that she loves in moderation.
The best part of country living Mimi tells me is “Feeling free like a bird and seeing life grow everywhere around you – it is most inspiring and touching. I love growing our own vegetables and beautiful flowers, especially roses. Our children can play in the garden surrounded by acres of untouched pine forests”. Living near favourite vineyards and meeting farmers and producers is a bonus, not to mention the beautiful surf beaches she says, “It’s a very fulfilling life. And our dogs are happy!”