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A Foraging Florist Making The Most Of Everyday Materials

Before she was a florist, a 16-year-old Shahn Stewart thought her destiny was to be a librarian. One work experience rejection letter later, and she turned to floristry to mix up her professional options. It was love at first sight.

That stroke of fortune was eleven years ago, and with more than a decade’s floristry experience now under her belt, the Yorta Yorta woman achieved a huge career milestone mid-way through last year: opening her own store!

Alchemy Orange is Shahn’s new floral studio located in East Brunswick, Melbourne, where she constructs bold, exciting arrangements and installations from raw, natural and foraged materials.

The Brilliant Initiative Nurturing Peace + Prosperity At Victoria's Government House – The Design Files | Australia's most popular design blog.

The first female Governor of Victoria in the position’s 163-year history was appointed in 2015. Taking up the role, Linda Dessau AC decided that she wanted to start a personal project to support women.

‘The Peace and Prosperity Kitchen Garden, (named for our State motto), is the result,’ begins the Governor. ‘Created on the same site where in the past there had been a kitchen garden, it is in itself a beautiful place, but it is really what happens in the garden that matters…’

Triple Green Broadbean Salad – The Design Files | Australia's most popular design blog.

FOODTriple Green Broadbean Salad - The Design Files | Australia's most popular design blog.



1 500g packet of frozen broad beans

1 handful of fresh snowpeas

1 handful of fresh green beans

1 handful of pine nuts, dry toasted lightly in a frypan (careful not to burn!)

1 bulb of fennel, finely sliced (ideally using a mandolin)

1 handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon chopped preserved lemon rind

100g greek feta (you can’t beat Dodoni it is so tasty!)


3 tablespoons fruity virgin olive oil

Juice of one lemon

Salt and pepper to taste


Boil a pot of water. Once boiling, add your broad beans and cook for around 5 minutes – take one out to test. Drain immediately and rinse under running cold water to stop them cooking. Set aside to cool.

Now slice your fennel. Fennel really must be sliced so finely – when it’s too thick it just doesn’t taste the same. This is why using a mandolin is really the best option, if you have one. (Use the guard, watch your fingers!)

Chop your parsley roughly. Toast your pine nuts in a hot, dry frypan – keep your eye on them, they burn easily. Rinse your preserved lemon pieces, scoop out the flesh and chop the rind finely.

Now prepare your long beans and snowpeas. Slice off each end of your beans. Snap the end off each snowpea by hand and de-string them.

By now hopefully your broad beans are somewhat cooled. You want to de-shell them, which is best done by hand. Rip the skin open with your fingernail, and squeeze out the deep green bean inside. Shell all but the tiniest beans (which can go in whole), transferring to a large mixing bowl as you go.

Add sliced fennel, parsley, pine nuts and preserved lemon to the shelled broad beans.

Bring a small pot of water to the boil. First up, cook your green beans. They need about 3 minutes max. Keep your eye on them, test one as soon as they have turned bright green. When done, pull them out of the water with tongs – you want to retain the boiling water for your snowpeas.

Now add your snowpeas to the boiling water. They take literally 10 seconds! Be very careful not to overcook. No one likes a soft snowpea. Have your colander ready in the sink, and drain as soon as they turn bright green.

NOW it’s up to you whether you add the snowpeas and green beans warm or cold to the salad. Either way is yum. Simply combine ingredients, sprinkle with crumbled feta, and slosh the olive oil and lemon in generously, adjusting according to your taste. Mix well, season with salt and pepper.

Salad ingredients.  Food styling – Lucy Feagins, photography – Eve Wilson.

Triple green broadbean salad – recipe and food styling – Lucy Feagins, photography – Eve Wilson.

Recipe and food styling – Lucy Feagins, photography – Eve Wilson.

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