Nestled in the beautiful city of Melbourne, Ashley is a self-taught cook of Gather and Feast where she posts a host of simple, low-fuss recipes on her food blog that any of us can follow for some seriously delicious (and seriously Instagram-worthy) dishes that's sure to be a crowd pleaser. A true lover of fresh produce, she definitely doesn't trade freshness for ease - so you can look forward to using natural and wholesome ingredients when you're whipping up a sumptuous spread. While we can only follow her recipes and can't taste her cooking first hand, her feature on our latest Bloesem Gazette Issue 5 sure is a feast for the eyes! Here's the rest of what went down during our little chat together..
Name an ingredient you think is the most versatile and why?
Almonds! I use them to make almond milk, sprinkle roasted almonds over salads and over fruit, in smoothies, as a gluten free flour alternative, sweet, savoury, so many things!
Wow that sure is a lot of things! What about for someone who is a first time cook, what would you recommend they try making?
A salad, you really can’t go wrong with a salad. Try a simple no-fail recipe that is delicious and will still impress your guests. Place sliced ripe tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil & sea salt onto a serving dish, and serve with fresh crusty bread, SO easy, anyone can do that!
What's a must try local dish in Melbourne?
In Melbourne, it’s all about the cafes and coffee culture. Melbourne is world renowned for having the best coffee and also brunch spots. A few of my favourite spots for coffee and brunch would be Top Paddock, Seven Seeds, Proud Mary, Barry, Kettle Black, Smith St. Alimentary, there really are so many places!
What's your go-to drink then? Is it coffee?
It's actually mineral water with lemon and lime. Simple, but delicious and refreshing.
Get together with your best friends: where and what do you eat?
If we are at home, we usually cook, my dear friend Marla makes the most amazing roast chicken and vegetables ever. She serves it with sour cream and mango chutney, it really is so good! We also eat out quite often, we have a few favourite places, like pizza from our favourites D.O.C or 400 Gradi, and then there there will usually be ice-cream involved at some point too.
And for a stay-in day.. What would be your go-to comfort food?
It would have to be a simple pasta dish, fresh pasta, fresh tomatoes, basil and goat's cheese with a generous glug of olive oil and sprinkling of sea salt, SO good.
How do you like your eggs?
Well done or hard boiled. I actually can't eat runny eggs, for me, the texture is just not ok.
What is your top tip for food styling?
Lighting is key. Less is more.
Totally agree! Any trends do you see in foodie culture right now?
For me, I have observed quite extreme food trends at the moment, really extreme health culture or the other ‘not so healthy’ extreme of burgers, doughnuts etc. I find it really fascinating.
And lastly.. Tell us your secret indulgences!
Ice-cream. I LOVE artisan ice-cream and authentic gelato. My favourite thing. (Although it’s probably not so secret!)
Does all this talk about food leave you itching to grab a bite too? Before we go off to raid the fridge.. We want to say a big thanks to Ashley again for your contribution!
Photo credits: Gather and Feast