When I first met Lara, in person, I was overcome by her sincere warmth and positivity. She’s a go-getter with wandering feet and an impeccable eye for detail. We hit it off over almond milk hot chocolate and stories of the English countryside, the rest as they say is history. Do yourself a favour and check our Lara’s incredible photography over on her Instagram @lovewalkeatsee after you read her beautiful story below.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you spend your days? How did the @lovewalkeatsee journey start?
I am a resilient optimist who believes in hugs, giggles, family & friends, food, simplicity and being kind to oneself.
Fifteen years ago I was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition that continues to take more of my sight each year. At this point in our lives, my husband and I have put exploring as an even higher priority in an effort to see as much as we can, while I can. Our longest holiday yet was a 6 ½ month sabbatical to Europe and the UK in winter 2014/2015. I decided to use Instagram as the platform to share our daily snippets with family and friends. My account name represents the way I live my life – Love my people; Walk to discover the smaller details of a place; Eat to experience it via other senses; and photography or pausing to appreciate whatever it is that I do See. In Rome we went on our very first Instameet with some people who convinced me to switch my account from private to public. From that tipping point we experienced an incredible domino effect of meeting the most interesting, kind and talented people who added such depth and affection to our travels. There is not a week that goes by where I don’t pause and ponder the special people who have come into my life through Instagram and our adventures. I feel enveloped by these communities and I love to cheer on others as they chase their goals and dreams.
What does food mean to you? What is your food philosophy?
I always enjoyed food, but it was also just a “fuel” for the body. Recently, with my husband also sharing my renewed interest, food provides a strong reference point to our travels, triggering vivid memories and interesting conversations around the stories and processes behind our meals. Food is not only a great thing to form and strengthen relationships around, or gain nutrition and joy, to me it is a way to connect intimately with a destination. We spent seven weeks in Italy, doing photography, hiking, and cooking with the freshest produce we’ve ever tasted – sometimes grown in the very land we walked through! That close connection to the origin of our sustenance and seeing the strong hands of the farmers who grew it was really precious. It also deepened my desire to seek and support the local producers wherever I am. I want these small businesses operated by passionate families to thrive!
Who/what inspires your love of travel, food and of course furry animals?
My love of long lunches and Italian food started in my teens on glorious dates with my mum! My husband is my teammate and I treasure experiencing the ordinary and extraordinary moments with him. Our partnership and the knowledge that I am losing my sight drives us to keep learning, experiencing and growing. Our ideal travel days involve walking without a set time or destination – with pit stops for good food, conversation and photography.
Oh furry animals! I just adore finding a connection with them – I stood in a field in England cuddling a chocolate brown alpaca who snuggled under my chin for the longest time. In Switzerland I bonded with the father sheep who closed his eyes in bliss whenever I massaged his head or gently pulled hay off his face. And discovering funny quirks about dogs we met in Italian towns always made me laugh. These interactions add more giggles and depth to my experience of a place.
Current food or ingredient ‘love’ OR favourite foodie destination/meal you have come across in your travels?
How do I choose? What a delightful problem to have! From the simplest to the grandest meals, they all make me giddy with contentment. Sharing chocolate in a couples’ remote cabin home in the Swiss Alps after we stumbled upon it on a long hike. Sipping rooibos tea in our South African glamping safari tent with vervet monkeys waiting for me to turn my back on them – only to steal the sugar! Walking into our favourite Rome discovery and asking the owner to make us whatever he felt like – we could taste the love in his creations. Devouring Swedish meatballs and lingonberries in Stockholm’s oldest restaurant. Any coffee shop that felt like our local while we stayed in that particular city. The degustation at Story Restaurant in London – the surprises and the stories behind the ingredients had us happily chairbound for 5 oh-too-short hours! Witnessing the hard conditions that farmers face and being so grateful for their perseverance. Picking olives in Tuscany alongside an Italian nonna with whom I shared no English but we found a common bond that left us tearful when we said goodbye a week later.
Can you share with us a special recipe? What’s the story behind it?
A few years ago my husband and I were talking about my desire to expand my cooking skills and continue to come together over food with our loved ones as life pulled us all apart in different directions. We decided that I would set out to make every single recipe in a book so that they could enjoy more feasts around our table. I chose Donna Hay’s Fast, Fresh, Simple and threw myself into the challenge. Those 163 recipes not only brought precious times but a better understanding of flavour combinations and the desired confidence boost. I definitely lean more towards savoury dishes, so the huge number of desserts was a new world for me. The perfection is in the bringing together of loved ones, not necessarily my baking!
To give it a personal touch and a different flavour pairing, I served this pudding with cardamom ice-cream, a sprinkle of cardamom seeds and some orange rind.
A tasty simple recipe if, like us, you are living nomadically and cooking in different kitchens!
I used one big dish and it didn’t set as well as it would have in four single serve bowls – oops!
Australian lemons, mandarins and navel oranges are in season in winter, so perhaps either of these fruits would take your fancy for substitution.
Baked Whole Lemon Pudding by Donna Hay
1 thin skinned lemon
1.5 cups / 330g caster sugar
0.75 cup/180ml pouring cream
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. cornflour
My optional twist: cardamom ice-cream, cardamom seeds, orange or lemon rind
Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Melt the butter. Chop the lemon into wedges and remove all the seeds. Place into the food processor with the caster sugar and blend until there are no lemon chunks and well combined. Add cream, eggs, cornflour and melted butter and process again until smooth. Grease 4 pudding bowls and pour. Bake for approximately 22 minutes until set.
You can find Lara over on Instagram and if you are keen to indulge in more of her beautiful photography – she has self-published a beautiful hard copy book full of breathtaking photos from her travels. Find it here!
*All photos by Lara Miller