Today I have the exquisite joy of interviewing someone I know. We met last year after we were both chosen by SheKnows as two of their favourite ten food bloggers in Australia. I knew Charlie Louie of Hotly Spiced and immediately sent her a note but this Lizzie Moult from a website with a name that didn’t make sense (at the time), well I didn’t know her at all.
Her blog, Strayed from the Table was all about the food she ate on her travels through Southeast Asia and South America and that food was lots different from what I had on my family table. It was good to learn that Lizzie was raised in a meat and 2 veg family and has gone on to love all sorts of food.
Lizzie is a professionally trained chef who worked in restaurants around Brisbane before moving up here, about an hour by car north of Brisbane. She loves anything to do with food and now that she’s got some land to play with, she’s turning into a gourmet farmer who’s setting up shop as a producer at her first farmers market this coming Saturday. She’d like you to pray for no rain please.
Last year, Lizzie and I and quite a few other Australian food bloggers met in Adelaide for the yearly blogging conference. I can tell you when someone asked for volunteers, Lizzie’s hand was up first. She’s always ready to learn something new or perfect something old. I can still see her trying to style the food while everyone was standing around coaching.
The blog at strayedtable.com wasn’t Lizzie’s idea. It was created by her husband Roy who set out to find the best bowl of Pho in Brisbane. He went to South America and the blog went with him but once Lizzie came on board they shared the blogging responsibilities. The blog’s name comes from their kitchen table being the hub of activity in their home but they love to stray from that table and travel every chance they get.
When Roy got a job in Papua New Guinea, Lizzie took over the blog except for the rare occasion when Roy feels the call to write about food or good liquor. He has a music blog that takes up his spare time called Transient Folk.
With Roy away for weeks at a time, Lizzie got active with other Brisbane food bloggers and that helped to pass the time until Roy’s next weeks off. A fly in and fly out job is tough for the ones left behind but Lizzie seems to deal with it just fine. She’s got lots of friends, a job and the farm to keep her busy.
Last year they moved to a country property in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast. We’re not next door neighbours but we’re close enough to meet up for coffee or a play date. She came over not too long ago and we made Quiche Lorraine together.
A few weeks ago she sent me a note and invited me up to see her new guinea hens. There’s just something about watching hens peck around that is so relaxing. I’m eager to bring a chair and just sit and watch them for a while. I will sense my blood pressure decreasing. She’s very attached to her baby hens so imagine her fright when shortly after they’d moved in, a huge carpet snake moved in too and ate some of her babies. Overfull, the snake went to sleep and after being hauled away by a neighbour (while Lizzie cried over the loss), it barfed up two of the babies. Lizzie was able to save one.
Lizzie and Roy are headed to Cambodia in 2 weeks to celebrate his mother’s birthday. I can see a blog post now about “How we ate our way through Cambodia.” They’re in need of guinea sitters if anyone’s available.
When Lizzie isn’t working, cooking or farming she’s giving classes on cooking things straight from her garden. She also teaches gardening and coming up is a gig at the Queensland Garden Expo where she’ll be the compost and worm farm expert. This is one young woman who isn’t letting any grass grow under her feet unless it’s to feed an animal.
Remember the corn fritters at our Easter Monday bbq I had on the blog the other day? That was from a recipe my friend Ros found in her local paper – a recipe Lizzie had created.
When asked what comfort food she’d prepare for herself right that moment, she couldn’t decide. Then at 11pm she sent me a text that said, “Roy reminded me what I always make and it’s BBQ pork wonton noodle soup.” Now that’s a mouthful either way but not surprising when I think of Lizzie.
Several months ago Lizzie came to visit and she brought me a jar of homemade bread and butter pickles. John’s parents were due the following week and I thought the pickles would be great on days we put sandwich stuff on the table for lunch. Well. and I do mean WELL… I put some pickles in a dish, lunch started and then the phone rang. Normally I don’t let anyone interrupt meals but this was a call from my kids and there’s never a bad time for that to happen.
When I got back to the table, the pickles were gone. Yes, gone all, including what was left in the jar except 1/3 of a pickle slice, a few mustard seeds and a fraction of an onion. Yes, I ate it all and would have drunk the juice but manners prevailed. If you like bread and butter pickles, please make these. You’ll fall in love with Lizzie, I promise.
The best thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t make a million. You COULD make a million by multiplying the recipe but for John and me this is enough. Only 5 large Lebanese cucumbers to get started making your own pickles.
- 5 large Lebanese cucumbers, trimmed, cut into 5mm-thick slices
- 1 medium brown onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp salt
- 375ml (1 ½ cup) apple cider vinegar
- 215gm (1 cup) sugar
- 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- Place the cucumber, onion and salt into a bowl stirring the salt to coat the vegetables. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 2- 3 hours. Rinse the cucumber mixture in a colander and pat dry with paper towel to remove all excess water.
- In a medium to large pot place the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, bay leaves, coriander seeds, turmeric and black pepper corns. Stir for 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves over a medium heat. Add the cucumber mixture and bring to a simmer.
- Transfer the mixture into sterilised glass jars and seal, set aside for a week to develop the flavours.
- Keep jars in a cool dark place, they will last at least a year. Once opened refrigerate them.
As her garden grows and her animals increase, expect Lizzie’s blog to shift from heavily travel related posts to gardening and what to do with what you can produce in a home garden. I think it’s pretty exciting to watch her grow.