As we head toward Summer, our tastes change from comfort food to lighter meals. Some appetites even seek a break from the great variety of meats we have come to regard as a staple to the daily dinner.
If you’re on the lookout for some protein-filled legume-fuelled alternatives, your fresh, vegan, dairy & salt free queries are answered!
Clara Mason from Pod Cuisine has arrived at Bondi Farmers Market with her delicious and nutritious Plant Protein Meals. We sit down with Clara to discuss her meal methodology…and end up like peas in a pod…chick peas, of course!
With Pod Cuisine, you can enjoy Adzukis cooked in an Organic mustard grown near Wagga Wagga; Salads of Puy and Beluga Lentils grown in Horsham in Victoria; Chickpeas in freshly grated Tumeric and Ginger; Chilli Cha Cha mixes roasted Chillies with an organic raw Cocoa.
I am a farmer’s daughter and grew up in Tipperary in Ireland. Pod Cuisine developed because I wanted to link the health of our environment to our own personal health hence the motif for Pod Cuisine is…eating for a healthy ecosystem.
How long have you worked as a farmer?
My upbringing on a farm made me aware of fertilizers and that the use of nitrogen to grow food is the biggest polluter in the world. It seemed to me extraordinary that our healthiest source of protein in terms of cholesterol, diabetes etc are legumes that actually feed nitrogen back into the soil. http://www.podcuisine.com.au/ecological.html
What prepared you to be a farmer?
I wanted everyone to be interested in plant protein in their diet not just vegans and vegetarians and the only way to do this was to make Pod food taste so delicious that everyone would want to include it in their diet. We did endless research on the taste of protein and the combinations of herbs and spices.
What food trends do you see for the near future?
People are better educated about the perversion of their taste buds through enhanced artificial flavouring, sugar and salt. Pod Cuisine decide to make it easy for everyone by making our plant protein meals: gluten free, dairy free, salt and sugar free.
Describe the general process you go through…
Pod Cuisine cooks everything from scratch that means the tumeric is freshly grated and ginger is freshly grated and the mustard oil we cook with is grown organically near Wagga Wagga and is higher in omega 2 than olive oil. When all the flavour comes from fresh herbs and spices people really do taste the difference.
What are some of your accomplishments as a farmer?
We make plant protein food easy to take for lunch and to have with fresh steamed vegetables for dinner. Our packaging is tamper evident and the food stays fresh in the fridge for 2 weeks (it can also be frozen)
What are some of your favourite foods?
At present I am eating mulberries as we have a tree in our garden and it is bursting with fruit so this is a joy that comes only once a year!
What are some of your favourite food stores/magazines/websites/ books?
I have instigated a Kitchen Garden Project at the Balmain Glasshouse where people learn how to grow and how to cook fresh herbs and vegetables. Much better to be able to select and recognize great produce than to read a cookbook.
What’s your favourite part about the growing/producing process?
I really like my visits to the country when a farmer holds a seed in his hand it is a wonderful moment.
How do you prepare for a morning at the Bondi Farmers market?
Make sure everything goes fresh from the kitchen.
Any funny experiences in the field or kitchen?
I do have a weekly challenge that whoever tells me a good joke gets an extra dollar off their purchases so I have built in entertainment.
What advice do you have for shoppers when buying their food?
Ask questions and take your time so you make the best decision in terms of enjoyment and health.
What do you like best about being a farmer?
Most people who buy Pod Cuisine become regular customers and overtime this has become a community.
What do you dislike about being a farmer?
When the weather is terrible it is very hard and we commit to being there even in a deluge!
What are some of your goals as a farmer?
That people really know what they are eating…we have drawings of all the different legumes we cook with…so you can see what a chickpea or lentil plant looks like.
Are you an organic farmer?
Where possible we not only ensure that our legumes are grown without fertilizer but also that they are stored properly and are not fumigated. Legumes eaten within 6 months of harvesting are higher in nutritional value.
What can you offer that other growers/farmers can’t?
We are experts on plant protein and we only cook with legumes that grow in pods.
What is the best perk in being a farmer?
You work close to the elements and you are a bridge between the soil in which food grows and what is on peoples plates at dinner time.
Besides the Bondi Farmers market – where else can readers/patrons find your products?
We are at the Orange Grove Organic markets on Saturdays and at Frenchs Forest Organic markets on Sundays
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Pod Cuisine will be serving the salad at their stall from this Saturday October 29 and will be then returning on a fortnightly basis. So stop by to (Pod)cast your eyes over their range and enjoy the taste of summer!