Friday, 7 June 2013

The Family Table. Pt 1. BabyMac AKA Beth Macdonald.

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.
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.

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.

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.

My first guest is Beth MacDonald from Baby Mac:
Beth's blog is all about her transition to country life after falling in love with a house that she and hubby Rob immediately knew was home.  They ditched the Inner West life of SydVegas to bring up their family in the Southern Highlands of NSW.  She likes to fold sheets and also carve her roast chicken on her very shiny floors. Despite me not being a fan of housework we are still the very best kind of mates.
Beth & I are mates in real life after meeting through the magic of Blog world.  I totes love her.  She and I love to laugh, drink coffee, swear, love music, love our families and have a ridiculous love of anything of the Pig variety of food type. I am especially grateful to her brother for moving to Melbourne so she comes to visit more often.
You may know her blog too? If not you can find it here.
You may also know of Beth's super deluxe Magazine named after her alter-ego BEVERLEY. If not skip to the app store immediately in your shiny red shoes and click away to have a squizz at it's cleverness. The latest edition includes a super gorgeous movie by Rob about Organic Farming that I LOVE.

Over to Beth ~

1.) Can you please share a little about how your family shares food? 

We are extremely lucky to eat together, as a family, almost every night of the week. The move we made to the country means that Rob and I are both working from home, which means family dinner...every night! I still pinch myself that this is the case. I feel very lucky. We eat around a table...that's my rule. It can be around the kitchen island bench, or dining table, but it HAS to be a table. No TV. Music preferred. And you have to be able to chat about your day - what you did.

2.) Do you have hard & fast eating rules?

You have to TRY stuff. You don't have to like it, but I really push the girls to try stuff. Rob can be annoying sometimes and push things he doesn't like around his plate, but I force him to eat and lead by example! Nothing is more frustrating is going to the trouble to cook something tasty and nutritious and have it pushed away. I have thrown many a tantrum over that! There also has to be something green on the plate...somewhere. A rule I picked up from my Mum.

3.) Can you share with us where your cooking influences/inspiration are from?

My Mum - 100%. She is the perfect home cook and entertainer, and she got her knowledge from her Mum. Mum ran a catering business out of our home kitchen in the 80's, then had her own cafe for a number of years and has worked in and out of the food industry all her life. She has taught me EVERYTHING I know and love about cooking - especially with love, from the heart, for the people that you love.

4.) Do you have a favourite cuisine?

I am a pig and eat and love ALL OF THE THINGS.

5.) Can you recall a super special meal or eating experience that has stayed with you forever?

Meals and food can evoke such memories and feelings don't you think? The smell of onions and garlic frying in a pan remind me of Mum cooking weekly dinners and is instant comfort to my nose. I've been lucky enough to have some seriously spicy and amazing thai food on my honeymoon on a beach with Rob. The cup of tea and toast I ate after giving birth to Daisy were the best things I think I'd EVER had. A seafood chowder and pint of Guinness in Ireland with my sister and Rob's Dad were so delicious....each good memory I have dear to my heart usually involves food. To me, food is love and happiness - all my best memories are attached to something I have I said, PIG!

6.) Would you please share the recipe of your favourite family meal with us?

  • 1 organic chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • Handful rosemary, thyme, parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Salt, pepper, butter and olive oil
Throw inside the chicken the lemon cut in half, herbs, garlic. Cut thin slices of butter and wedge under the skin of the chicken.  Rub the olive oil over the bird and season with salt & pepper. Whack into a hot oven 200 degrees for 1.5 hours.

Into a roasting pan throw in any veggies that you like - we use potato & sweet potato, red onions etc and chuck in 30 mins into the chicken cooking (needs an hour in total). In the last 10 mins I throw in a bunch of cut kale or cavolo nero to crisp up at the end.

Serve with gravy.

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

This isn't the full song...but here it is anyway. THIS is what we listened to x

Thanks Beth. xx


  1. Carolyn Turner7 June 2013 at 09:01

    I love the idea for this new series! Roast chook dinner for us tomorrow night too - it is the ultimate family meal with everyone getting their favourite bit of the bird. And it's not just the actual sharing of the meal that brings the family together, but the smell of it roasting in the oven as we sit on the couch and have the pre dinner nibbles and a chat (yep, it's only ever a weekend meal!). Food has the capacity to bring us together - the aroma, the taste - and to envelop us in the love that went into creating it. I look forward to reading more!

  2. Michelle @ Jarrah Jungle7 June 2013 at 14:24

    This is a great idea I like know what real people are making in their real kitchens every day! Eating everything is not pig like its being worldly :)

  3. Ooooh I love this! It's made me think about the way my daughter and I do food. Made me realise that just because it's "only" the two of us, doesn't make it any less special. Moreso, in fact!

  4. LOVE this. I think this is going to be my most favourite blog series yet!

  5. gorgeous Candice, special memories you are making for your daughter every. single. evening.

  6. I am going to love this new series Ruth! I'm a big BabyMac fan so what a great start. Can't wait to see who else you have up your sleeve :)

  7. GourmetGirlfriend7 June 2013 at 17:28

    I'm GLAD it has made you think about the way you 'do' food!
    And TWO absolutely IS a family! no less special at all.
    As the weeks go on with this series you and everyone else will be able to see that just like there are all ways of 'doing' food- there are also MANY myriad ways that make a family- each one as special as the next.

  8. GourmetGirlfriend7 June 2013 at 17:29

    YES! real food in real kitchen in real ways- no two ways the same. Glad you likr the idea Michelle! I am so happy to be hosting it.
    tee hee- I am SUPER wordly then- i eat absolutely everything.

  9. GourmetGirlfriend7 June 2013 at 17:29

    oh Reannon you are the sweetest ever.

  10. GourmetGirlfriend7 June 2013 at 17:30

    YAY!!! me too!

  11. GourmetGirlfriend7 June 2013 at 17:30

    YES!!! every part counts. xxxx

  12. Love the idea for your series Ruth. Beautiful sentiments. And herby roast chicken is definitely a favourite here too!

  13. What an inspirational series. We are only two but we're still a family. Cooking with love and eating together is just the best. Real food, real people and real kitchens - love it! Can't wait to see who's next!

  14. Thanks Louisa :) She enjoys helping me in the kitchen, too. When I was little I was never allowed. This girl, though? Mad skills already :D

  15. Isn't Beth awesome?! LOVE your blog and just added it to my 'MUST READ' list.

  16. Fab post and series idea Ruth! And wonderful first guest too of course ~ Beth is great. x

  17. I love this new series Ruth ,I have always been a Baby Mac fan and love how Beth does food and family,you are very lucky indeed to count her as a "real" friend.I love cooking and making healthy meals for my family probably because my Mother was not a GOOD cook still isn't to this day,she has no passion for good food and only cooks meals because her and Dad have to eat dinner ,so growing up meals were not fun or enjoyable especially her stews an casseroles yuck they were horrid in fact and when I got to the age to start working I used to ring her from work to see what we were having for dinner so I could eat something before getting home so that I did not have to eat too much dinner,and that is horrible.
    I have made it my mission in life to be a domestic goddess to cook beautiful food and enjoy it.I love cooking and Love has to go into it,food tastes so much better with love.
    My children are adults but we eat at the table always I like to set the table and share food and stories of their days ,because as they get older it is harder to connect with them on a daily basis but sitting down to eat together is a great way to do so.I am glad other people share my passion for good food and good chat at the table.I love your blog by the way as I am only new to it I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it.

  18. BabyMacBlogBeth10 June 2013 at 19:26

    Thank you So much for having me Ruthie x


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