An interview with wholefood goddess Jude Blereau – and a giveaway

Jude pear lentil salad copy

Image from Wholefood from the ground up by Jude Blereau (Murdoch Books)

I’m absolutely, heart-burstingly excited to be able to share this interview with you today. This wonderful woman has been an inspiration and mentor to me with her expansive food knowledge and no-nonsense approach. Back when I had just started studying Naturopathy, my wonderful friend Suzie gave me a cookbook for my birthday – ‘Coming Home to Eat, Wholefood for the Family’ by Jude Blereau. I was immediately hooked, and have been a major Jude fan girl ever since. And lucky us, she has just released a new book – ‘Wholefood from the ground up’. It is her fifth masterpiece, and just quietly – it’s her favourite. To celebrate, you have the chance to win a copy of this beauty, but more on that later.

In this book, Jude talks about her nourishing wisdoms. She speaks about the importance of a whole, natural and unrefined diet, of eating proper meals over snacking, of sourcing quality ingredients, balancing cooked and raw, including quality sweetness, balancing nutrients throughout the day, and how to put all of this into the context of your life. She also proclaims deliciousness as an important nutrient in its own right – such a lovely way to illustrate the fact that food should be delicious and enjoyed with pleasure, and that this is an important part of our overall health. Oh and it is jam packed with delicious wholefood recipes, with useful and wise tips and notes sprinkled throughout.

Jude lemon cupcakes copy

Image from Wholefood from the ground up by Jude Blereau (Murdoch Books)

This book celebrates food, tradition, knowledge and respect, and is so much more than a cookbook. The recipes are, as is expected from Jude, thoughtful, educational and inspirational. The styling is gorgeous. The information is comprehensive and accessible. So without further ado, here are some thoughts from Jude.

What messsge would you most like to communicate with the new book?

I absolutely think we need to reconsider the way we are framing the discussion that is currently being held (generally on social media, but media, books, bloggers etcetera) in regards to what makes the food we eat wholesome and healthy,  and (eating wholesome and healthy) and ethical and sustainable. Right now it’s highly fractionalised and a lot of it (raw/paleo) without a shred of common sense. Nourishing wisdoms that have been handed down for eons and quite obviously have been successful have been lost, or tossed. We need to get the basics right first – then go and try and some extreme things if you need, but start with the basics (my nourishing wisdoms) – this will make extrodinary changes for the better in your life and please, eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, don’t snack all day long.

There is a really fresh, artful vibe to this new book, and the recipes are elegant and thoughtful. How does this book sit with the rest of your book family?

I adore the design. I love the clean, open look of it, the embroidered motifs, gorgeous shots. Of all the books this most represents me  –  simple, elemental, fundamental, simple beauty. If I had to choose one word of those to describe the book, it is elemental. I love that this book is bigger than the others – and to me it represents it’s authority over the others. I love them all, but this is a book I am exceptionally proud of, and represents me knowing more, having lived more, having seen more. I’m standing tall 🙂 This is the book that I wanted to write when I wrote my first book, but didn’t have the experience of life knowledge to do so. I’ve come full circle in a way.

Do you have a favourite wholefood hack to share?

For me, it’s being organised and making a plan. But, am a big plan of batch cooking, but incredibly important to not get too carried away with that and just eat from the freezer. But, being organised, having a plan makes a huge difference. It’s being willing to pay attention to how you will be nourished during the coming week and the time I give that, makes a huge time and energy saving for me then during that week. Cost wise – I always buy in season, always look for seconds (tomatoes late February/March as seconds, then into relish and bottles). I also find it incredibly wonderful to have some ‘jewellery’ around to dress up simple meals – Sweet Sultana and Chili Sauce lasts for 2 – 3 months in the fridge and will dress up a simple refried bean, salad, avo. Right now, I’m mad about the Coriander, Cumin and Honey Lime Dressing – dresses up anything. So being organized and planning, and having some jewellery around.

There are a lot of different voices these days suggesting how we should be eating. You have been a real guiding light to me and so many others with your deep food knowledge and ‘cut-through- the-crap’ message. What thoughts do you have on how best to navigate our messy food landscape?

This is so difficult for people right now, because so many of them have not experienced a live and real food culture. I think the answer to this is deeply complex which doesn’t help things. But absolutely, we must get back to some profound basics. My one message would be that there is no magic bullet – eating an imported super food will not be your answer, eating raw will not be your answer, eating paleo will not be your answer, quitting sugar will not be your answer, eating gluten free will not be your answer, eating dairy free will not be your answer IF YOUR BASICS ARE NOT ATTENDED TO FIRST, and you don’t understand WHAT you are doing, and WHY you are doing it.  I would suggest that we should attend to those basic nourishing wisdoms first, then just start cooking from scratch once again. Use Jamie Oliver, Womens Weekly – whatever – making a cake with white flour, white sugar, egg and butter is brilliant compared with what’s being bought in a packet. I would also suggest that we look to the past, where in Australia we had healthy generations – my mothers, and for many their grandparents generation. People living simple (less complicated) lives, working physically hard, eating simple, seasonal, local foods that were cooked from scratch. Forming strong family units, living in community.

If you would like to see more from Jude, please check out her amazing website Wholefood Cooking where you will find endless inspiration, information and beautiful recipes, as well as the links to her wonderful books.

To WIN a copy of Wholefood from the ground up, all you need to do is leave a comment below with a piece of advice or wisdom that you wish someone had given you earlier…it does’t have to be food related 🙂

Jude WFGU cover copy

Image and recipe from Wholefood from the ground up by Jude Blereau (Murdoch Books)

And to top it off, Jude and Murdoch Books have been kind enough to share the recipe for this amazing looking French pear salad on the cover. I love it because it feels like such a ‘grown up’ salad. It’s full of wonderful textures, and is nourishing and delicious. Jude also suggests a crumbling of good goat’s cheese as an optional extra – yum. Enjoy!

Green Lentils, Caramelised Pear and Pedro Ximenez Salad

Serves 4 as a light meal

2 pears

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

60ml Pedro Ximenez 12 month old sherry vinegar

2 tbsp Pedro Ximenez sherry

50g rocket leaves or mustard greens (or both)

300g (1 1/4 cups) cooked green lentils

45-75g hazelnuts, roasted, skins rubbed off and roughly chopped

hazelnut oil for drizzling (optional)

Cut the pears into eighths, and remove and discard the cores.

Place the olive oil, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar and the sherry in a small frying pan no larger than 20cm. This size pan will give more depth of liquid (and thus more flavour) to the pears, and contribute to less evaporation. Toss the pears through the liquid, place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning the pears every now and then. At the end of this time there should be about 2 tablespoons of liquid left in the pan. If it looks like there is more, increase the heat slightly and continue to cook until it has reduced. Remove the pears and set aside on a plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of sherry vinegar to the pan and stir – this is now your dressing. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

To put the salad together, arrange the rocket leaves on a serving platter and spoon the cooked lentils over the top.Using your fingers, gently toss together. Place the cooked pears over the lentils and scatter over the hazelnuts. Gently pour the cooled dressing over the salad, and drizzle with hazelnut oil, if using.


Thank you to Jude Blereau and Murdoch books for the use of these beautiful images, the recipe and for the wonderful giveaway! Be sure to comment below with the piece of wisdom you wish you had been told earlier to be in with a chance. The winner will be announced next Thursday 21st July. Open to Australian residents only, sorry International friends.