Friday, 28 June 2013

The Family Table. Part 4. Michelle Crawford from 'Hugo & Elsa'

Welcome to this week's Family Table.

A couple of years ago when I first started writing this blog I thought about what it was that I wanted to share.
It started as a way of me sharing my food knowledge and my passion for preparing real food for our families.

More importantly though I like to think that I give people the confidence to appreciate that the magic that is the Family dining experience is NOT just about the food.
LOVE to me should always be the single most important ingredient that is shared at our family table.  Without LOVE the food and the entire dining experience is just another meal.  But with it our souls as well as our tummies are nourished.
It is with this in mind that on Fridays I will be sharing with you my new series- The Family Table- where super special guests share their family dining experiences with us.  It is a way of appreciating that there are infinite ways of dining together.
My wish is that every single one of my readers makes The Family Table part of their own family life.
While the food is what draws us to the table it should be considered but ONE of many things that are shared and indeed NOT the most important one.

I am so excited about this series and have some of my very favourite family sorts lined up to share with us their Family Table experiences over the coming weeks.

This week I am so delighted to be sharing with you a lady who I am lucky enough to call one of my friends.  She is one of the cleverest food people I know & a human of the super ace variety. 

Michelle Crawford is a very talented home cook who has turned her talents into work.  She is a food stylist and photographer and super awesome mumma of two lovely children Hugo & Elsa.
You may know her gorgeous blog of the same name or you may remember me talking about her here.

Today while you are reading this Michelle & I will happily be catching up on coffee, hugs, laughter &  shared meals while she stays with me for the weekend as we were both honoured to be named Voices of 2013 VIP bloggers and there is a Masterclass that we will both be attending along with lots of other fab Australian blogging talent.

If not make sure to go and have a good look at it here.  It was one of the very first blogs I read regularly and still do.
Over to Michelle ~

1.)Can you please share a little about how your family shares food? 
Although our meals are at shared at the table, our week night meals are in two sittings at the moment, kids at 6 then adults at 8;30pm, because Leo doesn't get home from work until then.  We make up for it by eating at least one meal together on the weekends.  I love to have a big Sunday lunch or we will have an early dinner and eat outside around the campfire fire.  

Often we have wwoofers (willing workers on organic farms) come to stay and share our meals which I love.  We get to share recipes and ideas from around the world.

2.)Do you have hard & fast eating rules?
Nope.   I can't stand battles over food with young children. No winners, just a kid who's turned off a specific food.  I'd rather lead by example, by eating a variety of food.  By the time kids get to around 10 years old, I reckon they'll join you. There's always toast for fussy eaters.

3.)Can you share with us where your cooking influences/inspiration are from?
I'm inspired by what's around me, food that we've grown ourselves or what a local friends or farmer has grown. Being in Tasmania we are very much in tune with the seasons and what we eat is driven by that.   I love that we know where 90% of our food comes from, who grew it, baked it, reared it, who killed it.   
 My cooking influences are wide and varied, and a groaning book case filled with cookbooks is testament to that.   I must say, that I'm lucky enough to work with Matthew Evans a lot and I really love his food, his philosophy and the way he cooks.  

4.) Do you have a favourite cuisine?  
Just one?  Too hard.  I’m very greedy and I've never met a cuisine I didn't like!

5.) Can you recall a super special meal or eating experience that has stayed with you forever?
Food holds so many special memories, and I can recall so many amazing meals shared with friends and family, it would be hard to pick one...Okay, how about a grilled fish sandwich bought fresh off a boat moored on the Bosphorous in Instanbul, squishy white Turkish bread, fresh lemon juice, smoky grilled fish….unforgettable! 

6.)Would you please share the recipe of your favourite family meal with us?
We love eating outside, around the campfire and try to eat outside all year round weather permitting. I love making burgers, because Elsa is vegetarian, it makes life easier so the meat eaters can have beef burgers and I might fry some haloumi for her.  

Burgers Chez Hugo and Elsa 
We go for the Neil Perry recipe for burgers - nothing added to the patty, just excellent quality mince.
  • 800 grams of coarsely minced beef 
  • 4 bacon rashers 
  • 4 slices Gruy√®re or your favourite cheese
  • 4 burger buns, halved and toasted
  • Cos lettuce leaves
  • 1 vine-ripened tomato, sliced
  • For drizzling: extra-virgin olive oil

Knead the mince with your hands until it becomes sticky and the meat binds together. Form into 4 patties. (I might make smaller ones for Hugo)

Heat a barbecue to high heat. Cook the patties, turning once, until medium-rare. We have a great fish grill thing that’s perfect for cooking burgers over the fire.

Meanwhile grill the bacon until crisp.

Top each patty with cheese, then the bacon, and cook on the barbecue until the cheese has softened.

Place each patty on a bun base, top with your favourite condiments, lettuce and tomatoes and sandwich with the bun tops. 

7.)What song would be playing at the dinner table?

No music if we're outside, just the dulcet tones of bird song and chainsaws. However, if we are inside, we’d be listening to Turnstile Junkpile Time is Running Out 

Thankyou so much for sharing your Family Table Michelle. x


  1. I love your work Ruth! So thrilled to be part of this gorgeous series! Thank you so much for asking me! xx

  2. Loving this series so much! Thanks for sharing

  3. Michelle's photos are always divine! She makes me want to move to Tasmania more than I already do!

  4. This weeks Family Table is lovely ,Thankyou Ruth For sharing with us.

  5. Cath @mybeardedpigeon28 June 2013 at 14:29


  6. Alli @ ducks on the dam28 June 2013 at 18:51

    Thankyou Ruth. If for nothing else apart from a new blog. And Michelle - hello. I've been over to your place and will be back again. That stats spike for all of your old posts - might have been me. Good luck tomorrow. Have fun. Wish I could have been there but I will be setting up a shearing shed dinner. Xxx


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