I adore the pine furniture, the fashion, practically everything about Ikea… so when I came across Maria from the healthy blog Scandi Foodie – the epitome of scando cool – I was hooked straight away.
A prop stylist and photographer from Sydney, Finnish born Maria also uses her talents to run the whimsical Scandi Foodie, a blog that oozes that Nordic loveliness and is home to tonnes of vibrant healthful recipes. When she’s not styling food to perfection Maria swims in Sydney’s northern beaches, prepares vegan meals for her mates and travels the world. Everyone, meet Maria:
What’s your food philosophy and how did it begin?
I grew up eating old fashioned home-cooked meals and there were no take-away joints in my home town! Whole foods were the only thing I knew about so that carried into my adult life as well. I still automatically think of cooking something myself instead of picking up take away.
Health food stores can be a confusing place! What are your essential ingredients?
You will always find some everyday basics in my shopping trolley at my favourite health food store: organic rolled oats, organic unsweetened apple sauce, a variety of organic herbal teas, organic raw nuts and dried fruit.
If you were trying to encourage a friend to eat healthier, what would you cook for them?
I always cook a vegetarian (or even better, a vegan) meal for anyone coming to my house for a meal. I think including more vegetables in your daily diet is always a good start for a healthier lifestyle.
Let’s talk sweat. What do you do to stay active?
I love dipping into the ocean pool for a morning swim and I also love long walks in the near by park. I love doing exercise outdoors (after all, I grew up doing lots of Nordic skiing back in Finland!) and I’m not a fan of crowded gyms.
Any tips on getting started in the blogging business?
Be true to yourself and your values. Be patient and persistent.
Your go-to meals and snacks when you’re travelling
I always carry fresh and dried fruit, nuts and some raw veggies when I’m travelling. A big bottle of water is also essential.
‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’
The Local Roundup – Sydney –
Best Cafe: Pure Wholefoods in Manly
Best Beach: Bilgola Beach
Best Walk: Spit Bridge to Manly. I love the beautiful views you get along the walk + you can enjoy a well-deserved lunch in one of many cafes in Manly!
Where I’d take a tourist: Palm Beach lighthouse. Too many tourists in Sydney miss out on the stunning Northern Beaches, so I always make sure to show them to friends and family that come to visit.
A recipe from Maria: Earth Bowl
- 200g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
- 100g wholegrain freekeh
- big bunch of kale
- 3 green onions
- 1 pomegranate
- 70g hazelnuts
- 50ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- pinch of salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 250g grilled firm tofu, to serve
1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put the chickpeas in a large pot with plenty of water. Bring the water to boil and leave to simmer for 45 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender.
2. In the mean while, put freekeh, along with 750ml water in a medium sized pot. Bring the water to boil and leave to simmer for about 45 minutes or until the grains are tender.
3. Roughly chop the kale and finely chop green onions. Put them in a large mixing bowl. Drain the cooked chickpeas and freekeh, add them straight on top of the kale. This will wilt and soften the kale so you won’t have to blanch it separately. Add pomegranate arils and toss well to combine.
4. Lightly toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan. Roughly chop the nuts, then mix half of the nuts with olive oil, minced garlic clove, mustard and apple cider vinegar. Season the dressing with a pinch of salt and pepper and pour into the salad.
5. Toss the salad to mix, then serve sprinkled with the rest of the hazelnuts and some grilled firm tofu.