Magdalena Roze on life in Byron Bay


Magdalena Roze on life in Byron Bay

We asked Magdelena Roze about slow food, her cooking philosophy and life in Byron Bay. Here's what she had to say.

What does slow food mean to you, and is it a philosophy you think about when cooking?
I love ‘slow food’, and very much embrace it in my cooking and eating. For me this is about giving food the time to maximise its nutritional value, but also comes from laziness because a lot of slow food is actually very easy to make and has buckets of flavour! A lot of the techniques are trendy now – such as fermenting foods like krauts and sourdough, soaking nuts and grains or cooking bones to create broths, which makes them so much more nourishing, digestible and tasty – but really they’re the simple, traditional ways of preparing food that our parents and grandparents used because they made sense at the time and were much more economical.

Do you think ‘slow food’ is part of the food scene in Byron Bay?
Yes, being a farming region a lot of people grow their food or know people that do, so a lot of our lives and livelihoods revolve around it. In the past when communities were more agricultural, the idea of slow food really came from necessity, so if you had too much of a certain vegetable one season, you’d ferment or preserve it for later. If you reared your own pig or cattle, you wouldn’t waste anything – hence boiling the bones to make broth and eating offal like liver. All of these things happen to be very nourishing too. I feel like the Byron food scene embraces this way of growing and cooking food.

As we come into winter, how do you change the way you nourish yourself and those around you?
For me, there’s no such thing as bad weather if you’re prepared. I embrace winter and make the most of the opportunity to hibernate, get cosy and nurture myself and my family. Daz, [my son] Archie and I like rugging up in winter woolies and going for a walk on the beach or park – it’s so refreshing and makes that cup of tea or hot chocolate so much more warming and lovely when we get home. It’s also a really nice time to stay at home and make things like krauts, and make mistakes in the kitchen.

What are some of the things you do to stay healthy – especially when business, illness and/or the weather make it harder to stay motivated?
I try and make it sustainable so it’s a way of life. Having a well-stocked pantry with good quality grains, pasta and things like canned tomatoes makes whipping up a fresh meal quick and easy.

I also like to make things in advance and freeze slow-cooked soups and pastas for the lazy and exhausting days. I also make a turmeric remedy paste that I add to sauces or use to make golden mylk, which is amazing for colds. I don’t restrict myself and approach exercise such as walking or yoga as nourishing things to do rather than a chore. At the end of the day, it’s not about perfection or even achieving true balance (can we ever?), it's just about doing the best we can to feel good in our circumstances.

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