Sydney's Surfing Chef

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sarah Glover - redefining cooking, as we know it. 

Sarah Glover carries passion for many things, but food and water rank at the top of the list. And while most of us consider those basic survival ingredients, for Sarah it's a different story, as this wild-at-heart, adventurous Aussie loves cooking and surfing - and not necessarily in that order. Sarah's out-of-the-box creativity reflects beautifully in the pure pleasure she exhibits in outdoor cooking as she hovers over an open fire.  Whether preparing a freshly caught fish or stirring a steaming pot nestled in embers, her billowy skirts hunch about her as she intuitively seasons, stirs, and serves up romantic dinners ocean-side or on dreamy tables set in the Outback.

Sarah's cooking journey started at age 16 when she graduated with a certificate in commercial cookery, at her mother's nudging.  Since then, she has run the gamut of kitchen duties, from being a waitress and a cook, to scrubbing floors and washing dishes. She now owns a cookie baking company, Bondi Bikkies, in Sydney, which funds her adventures while she and photographer friend, Luisa Brimble, work on a cookbook of Sarah's many ingenious recipes. She also collaborates with friend, Annabelle Hickson in the Daily Plenty workshops they offer at Annabelle's pecan farm in the Australian bush. When she's not cooking for family or friends, you'll likely find her surfing along the coast.

Read on for my interview with this incredible young woman who pursues life with full-hearted passion.

"My heart is exploding with gratitude for the opportunity to be here, enjoying this moment. I never want to take for granted the joy that I get to experience when I'm in God's creation."

"For me, cooking has always involved people and my heart. I love the idea of making someone something they can experience and find joy in."

Campfire cooking in the Outback.

Sarah, tell us a little bit about yourself.  I live in Bondi Beach, Sydney Australia. I am a chef, but I run a cookie company to supply my bread and butter. It's called Bondi Bikkies. This all helps support me whilst I write my cook book. I come from a long line of eccentric, crazy artists, and I think I am continuing that legacy. I am loud, a little left of centre and I like to tell a story and/or have my say.  All of which I have come to like about myself.  I don’t like conforming to someone else’s ideas so I tend to recreate them or invent my own way. 

"Some people use a shovel for dirt. Me, I use it to get my pumpkins out of the fire."

Where did you grow up?  I grew up in Tasmania and I am one of 8 kids. We range from ages 34 -11 years old, 5 boys and 3 girls.  My mum is a hero.  She is super chilled and the reason why I am doing what I do. I have fond memories of my childhood in Tasmania,  eating apricots and raspberries with fresh vanilla ice cream all summer long. 

Frying up pink eye potatoes and lamb meatballs in this campfire situation.

How did you come to love cooking and baking?  I have always loved working with my hands.  I am not academic at all so, for me, using my hands was natural.  Cooking just seemed fun and, well, I liked being tactile and making thing you could enjoy. It just made me happy.  My mum told me to follow cooking when I was 16 and I haven't really looked back.

A garnish of Parmesan for that finishing touch. 

Have you always been in your current profession?  Yes, but I have taken a little detour here and there.  I did a stint working for Quicksilver Surf Company doing visual merchandising.  (Ha, ha!) I looked after 15 stores.

"Cooking by the sea is the life for me." 

What is a hobby you have?  Surfing.  It's all I have time for (ha,ha). 

Campfire cooking essentials.

"I am inspired by people, life, nature and the arts."

"The beach is my place where I find peace in a world full of noise, hustle and craziness."

Have you had any funny experiences while cooking or learning to cook?  Yeah, I set the fire alarm off at Tafe one day and the whole building got evacuated. 

Prepping for saltwater pasta. 

Do you have a favorite quote?  Hmm, not really, but I love the Bible verse, "Do unto others as you would want done unto you."  It inspires me to be a better friend. 

"Nothing makes me happier than dinnertime by the sea on a cliff."

Are you involved in your local community?  Yeah I am.  It's been a big part of my life for 9 years.  I think its from surfing.  It's really been amazing for me.  It's opened the most amazing doors for me. 

Tailgating never looked better.

What are your goals for the next year or two?  I'm going to finish writing my book and just create. 


Berry Cream Cheese Tart

Berry Cream Cheese Tart

Sweet Short Crust
  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 125g cold butter
  • 1 large free-range egg , beaten
  • a splash of milk
  1. You can make your pastry like this by hand, or pulse it in a food processor. Sieve your flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, work the butter into the flour and sugar until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the egg and milk to the mixture and gently work it together using your hands until you have a ball of dough. Don’t over work the dough as this activates the gluten in the flour, which causes the dough to become chewy not short and flaky. 
  3. Gently form a ball with the dough and wrap in cling-film, place in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Roll the pastry between two pieces of baking paper, it will be easier to transfer to the tart tin. Ease the pastry into the tin, making sure you push it into all the sides. Trim off any excess by running a knife along the top of the pastry case, then prick the base of the case all over with a fork and pop it into the freezer for 30 minutes. 
  5. Get yourself a large square piece of grease-proof paper, scrunch it up, then unwrap it and use it to line your pastry case, pushing it right into the sides. Fill the case right up to the top with rice, and bake blind for 10 minutes in your preheated oven. Take the case out, carefully remove the rice and grease-proof paper, then return the case to the oven to cook for a further 10 minutes until it’s firm and almost biscuit-like. Leave to cool.
Cream Cheese Filling
  • 400g cream cheese (room temperature) 
  • 200g sour cream
  • 1 orange, zest off
  • 100g white sugar
  • 200g blueberries
  • 200g raspberries
  • any other fresh berry etc

Preheat your oven to 180ºC.

In a medium bowl, add the cream cheese and sour cream and beat until light and creamy. Add the orange zest and sugar and beat again until well combined. 
I like to pipe my mixture into the pre baked tart tin, but you can just pour the mixture into the tin. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until the mixture is firm to touch, cool and serve with fresh berries.

"My ideal test kitchen: an old tin oven that sits on top of the coals, an iron griddle, wood to build and burn things, and lots of yummy produce to play around with."

Lamb Meatballs 

Lamb Meatballs

  • 500g lamb mince
  • Olive Oil or grapeseed Oil
  • 2 onions, diced (1 for the meatballs mixture and 1 to add with tomato sauce) 
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • Handful of goat's feta, crumbed
  • Plain flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tin of whole cherry Italian tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a glass bowl mix the lamb mince, onion, garlic, goat's feta and plain flour, then roll the mixture into balls.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and  brown the meatballs, then pour the milk to cover the meatballs
  3. Open the tin of of whole cherry tomatoes and squish these babies on top of the meatballs
  4. Season to taste. Let it simmer and reduce some of the liquid, up to you how much sauce you want to serve it with.
  5. You can serve these with store bought pasta. Follow instructions on the packet.

You may visit Sarah's website here for more recipes and inspiration.
All photos courtesy of Luisa Brimble and used with permission by Sarah Glover.

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