belly continues with Sisters Rasela & Ilias

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madagascar beans, weevils & gemini glitter

Yes it was a wild and varied belly this one – a big thank you to Sharon Gibson, permaculture and gardening teacher, Sister Deanna our weevil warrior bellysister, & Lilith the astrogourmet goddess, for sending in all the tasty info below.


½ kg Madagascar Beans (soak for at least 12 hours)
1 medium onion
1 knob of garlic
1 small bunch of corrianda including roots
100ml fresh water
¼ cup sesame seeds
1 tbs cumin powder
½ tbs cinnamon powder
½ tsp black pepper
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp bi-carbonate soda

	1. Drain beans after soaking. The beans should be soft enough to chew raw easily
	2. Madagascar beans have a tough outer skin that needs removing. If the skins don't easily slip off after soaking, pour boiling water over them and leave for 5mins. Then the skins should pop off easily
	3. Process half the beans in a blender until they form a paste. Add the other ½ until they become a little granular
	4. Finally chop the onion and garlic and stir into the bean mix
	5. Mix all the spices together in a separate container
	6. Stir all the spices into the bean mixture- it will taste more saltly then when it is cooked because the spices are only coating the beans. Once cooked the flavours will infuse the beans-
	7. Take a large tsp of the mixture and form into balls
	8. Heat at least 6cms oil until a small piece of falafel dropped in it sizzles.
	9. Drop about 5 balls into the hot oil. It should take each batch about 3-4mins to cook. When cooked they should be still green inside with a thin brown crust
Serve with a nice sourdough bread, lettuce, tomato, fermented vegetables and Tabouli and hummus. Also popular with pita bread as a falafel roll.
 falafel mixture can be frozen for later meals


 250gm beans soaked overnight in water
80gm tahini
100ml lemon or lime juice
60ml of olive oil
½ a knob of garlic
3 tsp salt
500ml water for soaking the beans

	1. drain the soaked beans
	2. cover with fresh water and bring to the boil
	3. lower the heat and simmer the beans until able to squash them between your fingers
	4. while the beans are cooking prepare the following ingredients in order
	5. blend the garlic in olive oil until fine
	6. add the tahini and blend until smooth


Perennial vegetables are low maintenance and produce abundant crops throughout the year.
 Many are suited to the subtropics, including staples such as taro, cassava, jicama, and yams, the madagascar bean and pigeon pea, as well as perennial versions of more common vegetables.
 You will learn how to grow, harvest and then cook a feast with these valuable plants. Additional materials fee of $10.

date: 27/5/2013  time:9-3  cost: $60/ conc $48

contact: Byron community college

growing fruit trees in the subtropics

have you always dreamed of feasting under trees dripping with fruit. From small backyards to food forests we will cover soil preparation, planting, and dealing with pest and disease.
We will discuss which are the best fruit trees for this climate as well as simple strategies for
maintenance of your valuable trees.
date: 24/5/13 and 31/5/2013  time:10-4  cost:$119 conc $96
all held in an inspiring back yard in Mullumbimby


Becoming a “Weevil Warrior”: Prevention and management of weevil infestations

1. We bring weevils into the home after purchasing flour and other grains. You can help prevent entry by freezing flour, rice, and other grains you bring home for a minimum of 96 hours and ideally a week to kill any eggs.

2. Whilst it is tempting to buy bulk, only buy enough flour and grains to use in a reasonable amount of time. Bulk flour is a play land for weevils!

3. Ensure all flour, cereal, grains etc. are taken out of their original packaging and kept in well-sealed containers. Remember weevils can chew through plastic bags and other materials so store well in glass jars or other suitable sealed containers.

4. If you find you have weevils…remove all of the grains from your pantry. If they are infesting one product, they are likely elsewhere.

5. Remove all items from pantry and thoroughly inspect all items.

6. Thoroughly vacuum pantry paying careful attention to corners, cracks and crevices. Weevils are tricky and can hide in small spaces.

7. Clean the entire area thoroughly with a vinegar solution, and/or use tea tree or eucalyptus oil which both work well.

8. When placing items back in pantry, sprinkle bay leaves throughout the shelves. Weevils hate bay leaves, so the sprinkling of bay leaves helps keep them at bay! (ha ha)

9. You can also place bay leaves inside flour and grain containers, or tape them to the inside of the lids.






*Today we¹re wishing happy birthday to the Shire¹s effervescent Geminis of

the active minds and mobile mouths ­we¹re actually on the cusp today: Twin

time starts on Wednesday 22nd. Astrologers say you can always tell a

Gemini, but you can’t tell them much because they do like to chatter. But

let¹s call it networking because we love our talkative Twins who, loving a

party as they do – are definitely the multicolored umbrellas in this month’s

astrological cocktail.


Being an air sign Geminis tend to dislike over-rich food: heavy textures

swimming in butter and oil; they like their cuisine light, interesting and

up to date; constant change and variety are their spice of life – they love

the stimulating buzz of snacking on trendy nibbles while gossipping over

coffee, which is usually their favourite fuel…


So making the obligatory Byron plate to take to a Gemini birthday bash you¹d

be thinking about a stylish variety of moreish little morsels, preferably

served with some newsworthy anecdote (like it¹s so and so celebrity¹s

favourite dish, or it¹s a specialty from some other famous restaurant -

you¹re writing the script, so make it witty and if possible a bit wicked).

Airy Geminis also enjoy food with air whipped into it: souffles, mousses and

meringues, but if you¹re not confident with this technique as so many people

aren¹t, try a plate of pastizzi or little spinach filo pastries or

mini-pizzas. Or you could do spring rolls filled with minced mushroom,

water chestnut, prawns and cellophane noodles – a few different fillings,

because these people love a tasting plate, and tell them its Angelina

Jolie¹s favorite food. Not really, she apparently prefers deep fried

crickets. Or you could dip pieces of any light, creamy cheese in olive oil

then into dukkah, the North African spiced nut mix and serve them on a

platter with Russian eggs: hardboiled halves covered with mayo and black



MUSIC? Van Morrisons Bright Side Of The RoadŠ


If you¹re on sweets, something like lemon myrtle and macadamia biscotti or

else a selection of french patisserie would delight the Twins’ ultra-modern

tastebuds ­ again, make it a whole lot of small different flavors to choose

from. Or since you¹re catering to caffeine addicts, you could make



ESPRESSO GRANITA: 1 cup of cooled espresso coffee,

1/3 cup caster sugar and

2 tablespoons of Kahlua liqueur or use vanilla extract if you haven¹t got

any Kahlua handy.



Combine all ingredients, pour into a tray, cover with foil and freeze for 30

minutes. Then take it out and flake the mixture up with a fork to break up

the ice crystals starting to form. Cover and freeze for another 2-3 hours,

flaking the mix every 30 minutes until frozen. Spoon into martini glasses

and serve with whipped cream and dark chocolate shavings


DRINKS: Being social mixers themselves, Geminis also like mixed drinks so

cocktails or the idea of socializing in a cocktail lounge ambience usually

appeals. If you¹re playing their birthday mixologist or intoxicologist,

you¹ll probably like to know Gemini tastes usually run to clear and light

with a bite rather than heavily sweet and creamy – so Mojitos or Caprioscas

are a safe choice. But then I personally prefer the adventurous, and

knowing their penchant for coffee I¹d surprise my birthday Gemini with an

Espresso Martini made with equal quantities of Kahlua

and Espresso vodka with a dash of

vanilla extract. You can shake in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain , or

if you don¹t have a shaker simply combine the ingredients over ice and stir.

I take no blame for the consequences.


Fortunately our climate never gets cold enough here for another coffee

cocktail I discovered unsettlingly named the Frozen Alaskan Prostitute,

featuring equal quantities of Espresso Vodka, dark rum and Goldschlager,

which is a Swiss cinnamon  schnapps with tiny flakes of gold  floating in it.


Though I do think there could be a place at a Gemini birthday celebration

for the Glitterbomb – that¹s a single shot of Goldschläger in a glass of the

energy drink of your choice ­ it¹s also I think a rather apt description of

the Gemini personalityŠ so that¹s it for today and happy birthday










Easter with yiayia, Barbara the lamb, & Anthea's lemons & tamarillos

ready to do battle with Greek Easter eggs




We had lots of fun on belly today, in theory getting to know about the traditions of Greek Easter (Orthodox Easter was celebrated yesterday), but really being entertained and charmed by Sister Ilias’s delightful grandmother, who is possibly the oldest belly guest we’ve had so far.  I was smiling all day after that, thank you to those of you who let me know you really enjoyed listening to her taking over the show!  If you have any grandpersons, uncles aunts etc, who have food stories to tell, please do bring them to belly, accents and so on are really not a problem, just add flavour to the airwaves.  What you missed though was Ilias’s mum doing entertaining sign language at the back of the studio, especially at the memories of cleaning lots of smelly offal to make traditional Easter soup and guts-on-a-spit.

The family cooked the world’s best lamb, called Baaarbara.


We finished the show with a visit from Anthea Amore of Organic Passion Catering in Mullumbimby, who was our guest fresh reporter, picking a couple of favourite flavours for the month of May.  Thank you so much Anthea for sharing so many delicious recipes using lemons and tamarillos.  I encourage you to go to her blog, there are lots of great recipes there using locally sourced ingredients.


ANTHEA’S IN SEASON MAY – LEMONS AND TAMARILLOS – all recipes and photos by Anthea Amore





Warn off the winter bugs with this deliciously tasting infusion. It spicy and sweet and sour with the fragrant flavours of ginger and tumeric. Thanks to Sal, a Naturopath and dear friend, for introducing me to this potent concoction. I fill a large plunger (4 cup) of it and keep topping it up with hot water and more lemon juice and maple, as needed. It taste delicious and keeps the colds & flu’s at bay!


Four cup plunger:


1 inch fresh ginger, finely grated

1 inch fresh tumeric, finely grated

1 small clove garlic, finely grated

1-2 lemon, juiced

1 chilli’s, de-seeded (vary the amount of chilli depending on the heat of the chilli)

1 tbs maple syrup or honey (for those who use it) per mug full


Add all the ingredients to your plunger, except the lemon juice and maple syrup. Then allow it to infused and ‘brew’ for approximately 3-5 minutes. Then plunge! Add the lemon juice freshly squeezed and maple syrup (to your taste) to your mug or thick glass and sip.

The nicer tasting you make it, the more you’ll want to drink it. You can omit the garlic if your not sick and if you simply want to boost your immune system through the winter but the garlic is the queen of immune boosting so leave it in if you can bare it (and your friends and hubby can bear it too!).




Makes:8 cookies (approximately 90gm each)                                             


1 cup white spelt flour

3/4 cup brown rice flour

zest of 2x large lemons

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup almond or macadamia oil

1-2 tbs soya milk (or rice milk)

1 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

pinch good salt


Combine the oil & sugar together then add the remaining ingredients except for the flours.

Once thoroughly combined, sifted in the flours and fold into batter until it forms a stiff cookie dough.

Weigh into 8 balls of dough about 90 gums each. Shape into biscuits about 1.5-2cm thick.

Place on a lined babying tray and bake for 12-15 minutes on 180C or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool slightly, before carefully removing them onto a cooling rack.

Once cool, eat with a cup of tea or chai.




Makes = 12-15 squares (depends on size you cut them)




2 cups cashews or cashew butter

1 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup coconut oil

1 cup lemon juice & zest of 3 lemons

(approximately 4-5 lemons)


1/2 cup light agave syrup

1/2 cup cacao butter, shaved

1 tsp salt



2 cups cashew or macadamia’s

1/2 cup goji berries

1 cup desiccated coconut

2 cups shredded coconut

4 tbs coconut oil

4 tbs cacao butter, shaved

4 tbs light agave syrup


Process the cashews in a food processor until it begins to look like a crumbly but slightly chunky texture.

Then add the goji berries and process for a further 20-30 seconds or until goji’s begin to break down.

Add the desiccated coconut, coconut oil, cacao butter & agave syrup and process until the mix is just combined. You want it to be crumbly & have texture.

Pour into a bowl and hand mix in the shredded coconut.

Press into a tin lined with baking paper.

Chill in the fridge while you make the topping.


Making the topping


Place a stainless steel bowl over water boiling in a saucepan. Be sure to make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Add shaved cacao butter and turn the heat off. Continue with the rest of the recipe…

Blend the cashews into a butter or close enough to nut butter texture.

Add the rest of the ingredients accept the cacao butter and blend until smooth.

Then add the cacao butter and blend until just combined. Be careful not to over process as it can separate!

Pour the smooth creamy mixture onto of the base and smooth out with a palate knife.


Refrigerate overnight, then cut into squares and eat!


[Anthea gave me a taste of this slice after the show, it is absolutely delicious - zesty and refreshing and just rich enough, so you aren't sure if you are having a sweet indulgence or eating something that is good for you - quite possibly both!]




There are so many workshops and events in may that we devoted the whole bulletin to them this week.


Every year throughout the month of May, the Cancer Council encourages people all over Australia to get together in their community and host a morning tea. This year is the 20th anniversary of this very successful idea, and the Council has tried to make connecting and donating easier by proposing virtual morning teas, for those of us too time poor to go and sit down over a cuppa with our neighbours. A bit sad really, but often those dealing with disease in the family are the most time poor of all, so check out local papers & the web. You can host or attend a morning tea anytime through May or June. The website is, there is a facebook page with plenty of info and recipes, and please let the bellysisters know if you have an event coming up in the area, as to find an event through the cancer council page you pretty much need to know the name of the host.

Or call bayfm & request a community service announcement, during office hours on 6680 7999.


Sustain Northern Rivers is hosting Think Global, Eat Local in May. The campaign is all about eating local food. They would like you to contribute reviews and stories about local food places, there are prizes to be won every week including dinners at local restaurants and hampers of local goodies. Alison Drover is coming on belly next week to suggest ways we can eat more local food.

the website has a really good list of upcoming food events in the Northern Rivers, including:

Tuesday 7 May – ‘Bringing your little piece of Australia back to how it was’ workshop, Mullumbimby Community Garden

- ‘Post Harvest and storage’ Djambung Gardens

Wed 8 May ‘Composting workshop’ Caldera Farmers Market, Murwillumbah

Sat 11 May ‘Caring for native bees’, at ACE Lismore


And there’s never been a better time to learn to make cheese at home, another cheesemaking teacher is coming to visit. Lyndall Dykes, an artisan cheese maker from the Coffs Harbour area will be in Ballina on the 18, 19th & 20th of May. She’s on a mission to spread the word that really tasty gourmet cheeses don’t have to be an expensive, luxury item. Lyndall now trains hundreds of people each year, so the bellysisters look forwards to the end of plastic cheese, & some wonderful cheesy experiments once we have all mastered the basics.

Lyndall will have 3 one day workshops, on:

Saturday 18th May – Soft Cheese making

Sunday 19th May – Advanced Cheese making

Monday 20th May – Homemade Mozzarella, Pasta and Gnocchi

• For more information about cheese making workshops throughout the year or to order your copy of ‘The Cheesemaking Workshop’ book contact Lyndall on 02 6656 2335 / 0458 562 135 or visit


BUILD A CHOOK TRACTOR – with Sharon Gibson – sustainability series at Byron College

Chickens love to scratch, dig and will gobble up every weed, seed and bug and their poo makes a wonderful fertiliser. We can use Chicken tractors in our vegetable gardens to cultivate the soil and under fruit trees to weed and for pest control. Come and learn to build chook tractors at the Mullumbimby Community Garden.

Price $60.00 (Concession $48.00);   Fri, 17/05/2013 – 17/05/2013



Tuesday 21st May – 4 to 7pm, $50, Ages 15 to 24

Byron Youth Activity Centre, 1 Gilmore Crescent Byron Bay

To book a place call Steffie on 6685 7777


And if you’d rather just go and have a delicious meal, check out the pop up dinner at Burringbar, Kris & Matt’s feast

raw food & Indian inspired dishes feature

At Burringbar Hall on 19 may & 16 June, 6pm

$55 p/p byo, contact Matt 0402 235 465 or Kris 0409 456 299


Love and chocolate halva, sister T













disaster special

This was possibly just an excuse for sister Michael to play lots and lots of clips and songs from his favourite old disaster movies, but we did try to get serious from time to time.

Sister Michael is going to fill you in on what the lovely SES recommends you stash away to be ready for emergencies, and how to plan a dinner worthy of the Titanic.  I’ve got a simple little recipe below based on ‘eggs argenteuil’.  And a bit of advice and war stories from Barry and Luke of the veg/grocery store Baz n Shaz in Suffolk Park, which has coped with quite a few major floods, even though Suffolk Park is far from the most duck friendly environment in the Northern Rivers (that may have to be Billinudgel, we’d love to hear some of your stories).


AUDIO _ Barry McQueen and Luke Joyce from Baz n Shaz

barry n luke


BELLY LAB RECIPE (with help from Larousse Gastronomique) – SPUD SALAD ARGENTEUIL

by sister T



by Sister Michael

A Big thank you to the State Emergency Service and especially to the Byron Shire Local Controller, John Farley who was a special guest on our recent “Belly Disaster” show. Noel gave us some wonderful tips on handling emergencies, including these:

  • A full freezer should keep the temperature for 48 hrs (half full -24 hrs.)
  • Keep the doors closed as much as possible.
  • If, at any point, the food was above 40 degrees F. for more than 2 hrs. discard it.
  • If frozen food has partially thawed it should be eaten as soon as possible.
  • Have handy a stock of canned foods, a small fuel stove (available at camping stores) or BBQ, and a productive herb and vege garden!
  • For emergency planning visit their website at
  • The emergency number for SES is 132 500
  • To request a ‘survival pack’ call your local SES on 6684344
  • To volunteer for SES or for FloodSafe and StormSafe information call 1800201000.



We brought you some recipes and music from the last day on the Titanic and here are the luncheon menu and dinner menus‭ (‬first class‭) ‬served on‭ ‬14th April‭ ‬1912.‭ ‬On the evening of April‭ ‬14,‭ ‬1912‭ ‬.A‭ ‬number of first-class passengers on the Titanic revelled in a privately hosted feast in the first-class‭ ‬á la carte restaurant.‭ ‬At the same time in the‭ ‬first-class dining saloon other first-class passengers‭ ‬-‭ ‬some who had paid the equivalent of‭ ‬$124,000‭ ‬in today’s dollars for the ocean voyage‭ ‬-‭ ‬settled in for a sumptuous,‭ ‬if over-filling,‭ ‬ten-course extravaganza.‭ ‬Food was rich and fatty,‭ ‬and courses were accompanied with wine and liquor.‭ ‬Meanwhile,‭ ‬in the‭ ‬second-class dining saloon,‭ ‬second-class passengers ate a less elaborate but beautifully served dinner.‭ ‬And on F deck in what would be called‭ “‬steerage‭” ‬in lesser vessels,‭ ‬third-class passengers ate simply prepared,‭ ‬hearty meals served in their own spartan dining saloon.





A wonderful collection of Titanic menus can be found here


Want to plan your First Class Titanic Menu? Check it out here:


Prefer to downgrade?!!!   Go for the Second Class menu here:


These fascinating blogs tells us more about this fateful voyage:


and also here:


A video tribute to Titanic can be viewed here:




The bellysisters played you some music from the Orchestral repertoire of The Titanic Orchestrs which included

The wedding waltz:

Valse Septembre:

Alexander’s Ragtime Band:

And to finish off our Disaster special ended on a high note as we reminded our Belly listeners that there’s got to be a morning after!




An urban farmer & 2 librarians

the Lennox Head library recipe club - Katie is at the back in blue



Today on belly we went to an urban farm in Mullumbimby, the home of Sharon Gibson, abundant with enough plants to supply most of her family’s food needs, chooks, ducks & even guinea fowl. In the second hour we visited the very new Byron Bay library with Brenda Anderson, who gets to choose the books, including the cookbooks, & the Lennox Head library with Katie Brown, who has just started a recipe club & already has many great stories to tell.




Sharons garden part 1

Sharons garden – keeping ducks & other poultry

Sharons garden March – rainy weather & seasonal advice

Sharons garden March – Asian greens


For details of Sharon Gibson’s classes go to


Katie Brown – part 1

Katie Brown – part 2

Katie Brown – part 3


Brenda Anderson part 1

Brenda Anderson part 2

Brenda Anderson part 3




Preheat oven to 170C and grease and line tin.




60g butter

1/2 cup golden syrup – I have used agave and it’s nice too


Place the above in a saucepan, stir on low heat until melted


1 cup plain flour

1 tspn bicarbonate soda

1 tspn mixed spice

1 heaped tspn ground ginger

1/2 cup caster sugar

Pinch of salt


Place above in a bowl


Add 1 egg

1/2 cup milk – mix until smooth


Gradually add butter mixture

Pour into prepared tin

Bake 45-55 mins or until firm to touch

Allow to cool 5mins



1/2 cup sugar


1tblespoon grated fresh ginger


Bring to boil and simmer 5 minutes

Pour over hot cake

This makes enough for a bar tin.


Click here to go to the Richmond Tweed Library website for all events info, including the recipe club and school holidays activities




Info below is from the library site (the event is free):

Friday 5th April at 11am

Join Victoria Cosford Byron based food journalist, author and restaurant reviewer as she discusses her favourite food finds of the Northern Rivers.

Victoria lived in Italy for four years, this adventure gave birth to her first book, a ‘gastro-memoir’ entitled “Amore and Amaretti – A Tale of Love and Food In Tuscany”. Back in Australia she worked in advertising with the Italian newspaper ‘La Fiamma’ followed by the Sydney Morning Herald before throwing it all in to pursue her passion for cooking and teaching cooking.

Bookings are essential please call 66876398 to reserve your place.




(The information below comes from Southern Cross University)


The native Davidson’s plum has been a staple of the Indigenous diet in the rainforests of Queensland and northern NSW for thousands of years. Now Southern Cross University is investigating the health benefits of this Australian bush food.

The University’s Special Research Centre Southern Cross Plant Science is seekingparticipants for a new study looking at the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the Davidson’s plum (Davidsonia jerseyana), often referred to locally as the Mullumbimby plum.

The study is being conducted by Professor Stephen Myers and Dr Don Baker from the NatMed-Research Unit of Southern Cross Plant Science. Blackmores is financing the study and providing the study medication.

“Davidson’s plum has a long history of use as a food, both by Indigenous people and early settlers in Australia, and is now grown commercially for human consumption in jam, wine, ice-cream and sauces,” said Professor Myers.

“Laboratory studies have confirmed the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the plum, suggesting that it may be beneficial in stopping oxidative damage which is a major cause of cell ageing.  “We are now testing it in humans to explore this potential.”

During the study, participants will take a 100mL daily dose of an active medication for a fortnight, which is approximately equivalent to eating four Davidson’s plums per day.

The researchers are looking for people who are:

• women and men aged between 18 and 40 years

• smokers or non-smokers

• reasonably healthy

• able to travel to the University’s Lismore campus

For more information about taking part in the study, contact Shelley Robinson by calling 0419 098 018 or email


Love and chocolate covered books, sister T




Rosie, World Skills comp & Aries nibbles

On air on Byron Bay’s bayfm 99.9 on March 25, 2013


Today we have so many wonderful guests that I have cancelled most of my belly bits, so you can listen to…fabulous local Rosie Lee, who dressed up as a flying pig for one cause & is now covered in bees for another. World Skills regional winning local chefs Nadia de Jong & Joseph O’Grady . The fabulous belly astrogourmet, Lilith, with tipples & nibbles for Aries. And 2 wonderful gentlemen bellysisters, Ilias & Robert, in the belly kitchen. Ilias is learning to make delicious radio for you, & Robert has just come back from Womadelaide with some of his favourite music to share with us.





150g self raising flour

150g cornflour

250 g butter, room temp

1 vanilla bean seeds scraped

4 tbsp icing sugar sifted



60 g butter, room temp

150g icing sugar

1/2 passionfuit


Preheat oven to 160 C

Sift flour and cornflour

Cream butter, vanilla seeds and sugar in electic mixer till light and fluffy

Add flours and mix thoroughly

Place small spoonfuls on buttered tray or use piping bag with 1 cm star nozzle for swirl pattern

Bake 15 to 20 mins till golden, place on wire rack et WOILA !



cream butter, icing sugar and passionfruit till creamy

Small amount on one biscuit and top with another.


Store in airtight container




Cream 1/2 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon butter, add 2 tablespoons flour, the juice and rind of one lemon, 1 cup of milk and the beaten yolk of one egg.

Stiffly beat the egg white, fold into mixture and pour into a greased pie-dish. Place in a dish containing water and bake till browned in a moderate oven. A light cake mixture rises to the top, with a lemon curd sauce beneath.


All time fave recipe my mum used to make. Copied from her ancient old cookbook, the Woman’s Mirror Cookery Book.

My son loves it too !!




CSG  ISSUES – for lots of links and information go to the facebook page: CSGFreeByronBay

Or just look for the tent at local markets – it’s very yellow.



Today we have two upcoming local apprentice chefs Joe O Grady and Nadia de Jong who recently won the World Skills regional cooking competition and competed for the nationals placing 6th and 8th amongst strong fully qualified chefs!

They’ve studied at Wollongbar TAFE under the guidance of David Forster and Mary Allen and have blossomed into their roles as chefs in Fleurs Ballina and Harvest Newrybar.

Keep an eye out for these young talented chefs in the future

Opa!    ilias the GREEK


ASTRONIBBLES AND ASTRONIBBLES FOR ARIES – by Lilith the belly astrogourmet


Aloha Tess, today we¹re talking what kind of appetizer plate to bring to an Aries birthday celebration, and since we¹re both Aries today¹s program is all about guess who – yes, us.

Like all fire signs we like hot food, and are particularly partial to red food. But whatever you decide to birthday us with, think food with attitude: as in feisty flavors, spices, chili, Indian, Thai, and abandon bland.  Also  being Show Don¹t Tell people, despite how often you say you love us, we¹d really like to see that demonstrated by your going to a hell of a lot of trouble concocting celebration snackies to tweak our tastebuds and ignite our appetites..

Being the first sign of the zodiac Aries love the first course better than anything and would be happily satisfied with a selection of starters. Being creatures of extremes, we like both totally raw food or else food to which serious heat has been applied. So I’m putting my hand up for Individual Aries-red Roast Tomato and Bocconcini Tarts with rocket pesto, which makes tasty use of autumn produce. Because Aries are such individuals and this is a segment on finger food, we¹d like to put you to the time and trouble of making these tarts personalized, bite size and served up on a heart shaped betel leaf ­ because despite our fiery tempers we are all heart. Where to find? Betel leaves are dead easy to grow or available from the farmers markets. They’re actually a bit chewy raw, so if you think that mightn’t appeal to your particular Aries, Vietnamese sources suggest wilting them with a light grilliing, which also releases their peppery fragrance.

We¹ll cater to our raw natures in the drinkies department Tess with your personal favorite, suitable for both the alcohol-loving and alco-shunning Aries, the Virgin Mary ­ or its vastly more popular deflowered version, the Bloody Mary. The Virgin Mary, suitable for teetotallers and designated drivers simply omits vodka from the recipe, and is apparently also known in Australia as the Bloody Shame.

According to Wikipedia The Bloody Mary has been called “the world’s most complex cocktail” and barman Fernand Petiot who claimed to have invented it in 1921, described its construction thus: Cover the bottom of the shaker with four large dashes of salt, two dashes black pepper, two dashes cayenne pepper and a layer of Worcestershire sauce; then add a dash of lemon juice, cracked ice, two ounces of vodka and two ounces of thick tomato juice, shake, strain, and pour. Note no Tabasco in his original recipe.

I loved reading about the creative variations of this drink, ie. The Bloody Maria using Tequila instead of vodka, the Bloody Fairy with absinthe, Bloody Murder featuring wasabi sauce and the Bloody Hog made with Bacon Vodka  -­ who knew such a thing existed ­ all there in the wonderful world of google. My favorite has to be the Flaming, Frozen Bloody Mary, which is a frozen Bloody Mary topped with overproof rum and ignited in a ceramic mug to avoid shattered glass.  [please don't try this at home]. I won’t even mention the version garnished with a sausage, or the desperate marooned people forced to use pasta sauce.

We here in the Bay can just get creative with chili or citron vodka, a little fresh horseradish, so some oysters. So Bottoms Up and happy birthdays, Aries.





110g plain flour

Pinch of icing sugar

60g cold butter

1 egg yolk

250g cherry tomatoes

1 tub of baby bocconcini, drained

extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup fresh basil pesto

Fresh basil leaves, to garnish



 Preheat oven to 190°C.

Sift flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt into a food processor, add butter and process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and 1-2 tablespoons of cold water. Process until mixture forms a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes

 Bring pastry to room temperature, roll out on a lightly floured surface and use it to line indvidual tart pans with removable bases. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Line the pastry-lined pan with aluminium foil and fill with pastry weights or rice. Bake for 10 minutes.

 Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes in the oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

 Remove tarts from oven, remove foil and weights. Return to oven with the tomatoes on a separate baking tray for 5 minutes or until pastry is golden and tomatoes have softened slightly. Spread a little pesto over base of each tart and fill with bocconcini and tomatoes. Place in oven for 5 minutes to warm through. Serve with remaining pesto and basil leaves.




Greek cookbook : Tess Mallos

Lansdowne Press – Last print 1976


Eggs – Michel Roux

Quadrille publishing – Last print 2007


THE MUSIC today was very tasty I thought, thank you so much Sister Robert for the Womad tracks, and Rosie and Lilith for sharing some favourites too. Go here (bayfm page) for the full list and lots of videos


Love and chocolate bunnies,


Sister Tess


facebook page: CSGFreeByronBay

Kulcha Jam, apples & sourdough bread

On air on bayfm 99.9 community radio on February 18, 2013


That sounds like a good little breakfast doesn’t it?  Apples, jam and excellent bread.  We certainly had lots of tips, tricks and loving explanations about how to make sure you don’t kill your mother (as in the sourdough starter) from Rhonda, who feels like “The queen of the world” when she pulls a successful loaf out of the oven.  Thank you very much Sister Deanna for bringing Rhonda on the show.

Sister D and Sister T had a good rave about little apples…big apples, beautiful apples, all around us in their glory at the moment.  And Sister T will remember in future that it is very hard to read a song of praise for apples just after chomping on a mouthful of almonds, but you try talking about food for two hours at lunchtime without getting very very very hungry!

Kulcha Jam however is not something for your bread, it is a great place on the Byron Arts and Industry Estate, do check out the website or drop in,  Techa Beaumont has created a place that is aiming at a rich and joyous version of sustainable living, that includes creativity and inputs from many cultures.  Adam Collett turned up at Kulcha Jam one day and it quickly became a big part of his life, thank you Adam for the beautiful live song.  Food (of course of course) has always been a big part of  Techa’s vision, and a food co-op will start in May for anyone who can contribute a couple of hours a month.  The co-op will be open every Thursday, mostly providing below retail wholegrain foods and some fresh produce.

It is meat free week this week, an interesting initiative to get us all thinking about where it comes from, supported by many good Australian chefs and Voiceless, the animal rights organisation.  See here.  I just finally read Jonathan Safran Foer’s  “Eating Animals”, really excellent, on factory farming in the USA mostly, but many practices are not that different here.



Rhonda with her sourdough loaves


RHONDA’S SOURDOUGH BREAD – recipe courtesy of the fabulous Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook

405g starter – which you have nurtured for at least 1 month

765g strong bread flour

400ml water – cool boiled water

20g sea salt

Mix the starter, flour and water in a large bowl. When the mixture is combined, turn the dough on to a clean work surface and knead the ball for approximately 10 minutes. Or mix for 4 minutes on low and then 3 minutes on medium in an electric mixer with a dough hook. Cover it with cling film and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Remove the cling film, sprinkle the dough with the salt and knead by hand again for a further 20 minutes (or 1 minute low and then 7 minutes medium in electric mixer). You can test the dough’s ready by taking a small ball of the dough and stretching it out to make a window. The dough is ready for the next stage if you can stretch the dough in to a transparent window. If it tears, keep kneading.

Use a thermometer to test the temperature of the dough – if it is sitting between 25 and 27 C, it’s ready. If it is cooler, leave it to prove in a warm area until it warms up. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling film and leave it to prove in a warm spot for an hour. (The Bourke Street Bakery Cookbook suggests an ambient room temperature of 20C.

The knock back stage follows – turn the dough out onto a clean lightly floured surface and shape the dough into a simple rectangle. Fold the dough into the centre by a third at each end. Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat the folds by a third back into the centre. Place the dough back in the lightly oiled bowl and prove for a further hour in the same warm spot.

Divide the dough into two or three even portions ( depends on your preference – I like to make 2 big loaves) . Take one portion of dough and shape it into a familiar loaf shape. Repeat for the remaining two portions. You can put them in a banetton basket or a loaf tin or just on a baking tray.

Place the loaves on a lined baking tray, with the seam facing downward. Place the loaves loosely in a clean plastic bag and place the tray in the fridge for 8-12 hours.

Remove the loaves from the fridge and plastic and let them come to room temperature in a warm humid place. This could take between 1 and 4 hours, depending on the temperature of the room and the season. I put them in a closed cupboard with a big bowl of hot water. The loaves should grow by about two thirds. If you gently press a loaf and it springs back it is OK; if it doesn’t spring back it is over-proved and should be cooked straight away.

It is important to score the loaves with a razor blade before baking – this allows steam to release from the loaf without splitting or tearing through, ruining the shape of the loaf. Immediately prior to placing the loaves in the oven, spray the walls with water. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the loaves around and bake for a further 10 minutes. When the bread is baked, tap the base of the loaf – it should sound hollow.

It really helps to go to a professional sourdough class to get started– we went to the Black Pearl cooking school in Brisbane.

Also, for invaluable ideas, online demo videos and advice from other home bakers around the world, look at the Sourdough Companion website.

Good luck!




Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.   A truly wonderful line from the Song of Solomon, the most beautiful, or at least the most sensual bit of the Judeo-Christian bible.   Plenty of gorgeous tempting apples all around us right now.

Apples have almost twice as many genes as humans according to Wikipedia, which maybe explains why they come in so many colours & types,about 7 to 8 000 varieties. The first sour little apples came from the middle East at least 4000 years ago, & there are probably more myths about them than any other fruit, partly because the word apple was used for a lot of fruits in ancient times. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it will bring you love. From the Mediterranean to Scandinavia they were linked to love and fertility. In Greece, you could throw an apple at somebody to declare your love, and if the somebody caught it that meant yes please. We all know what happened when Adam said yes to Eve’s apple, and the city of Troy ended up burned to the ground when a jealous goddess wasn’t given an apple. A Nordic goddess dropped an apple on a queen’s lap, the queen had a 6 year pregnancy and gave birth to a hero. A powerful, dangerous, seductive fruit. So it’s a bit odd that a lot of us are bored with apples. Or maybe it’s just another fruit that doesn’t taste as it used to. If we can find good apples, they are also good for our health, for our circulation, lungs and memory.

For thousands of years they have been used with fatty meats and fish. Pork and apple sauce, apples & sausages, or try apple slices fried in butter with mackerel. Monsieur Larousse recommends apples with roast poultry, red cabbage, walnuts, so locally try pecans, in salads with celery, raisins, or beetroot. A lot of apples become cider, which is also good used in cooking those apple loving meats & fish, & a few apples become the beautiful liqueur Calvados, from Normandy. I often like to soak apples in a little Calvados before using them. Classic sweets include apples stuffed, covered in pastry and baked, strudel, & of course all manner of apple pies.

Apple pie is Sister Deanna’s favourite thing to bake, and that is really saying a lot.  I love a tarte tatin, the upside down apple tart.  Last night I tried it with some macadamia nuts in the shortcrust dough, which works very well.  I also cooked the apples a little in the oven before dropping the dough on top, which also worked well.  And we keep talking about apple pie but it looks like we don’t have Deanna’s recipe on the belly site yet, coming soooon.




Aspiring fracker Metgasco announced last Wednesday that it would suspend gas exploration in our area. The retreat from Doubtful Creek came among jubilation and more arrests of protesters. Meantime Dart Energy has recently acquired an exploration licence that covers a third of Tweed Shire, all in areas that have declared themselves Gasfield Free. So the battle to protect our prime food growing land continues.

And aspiring fried chicken entrepreneurs have had their proposal for a KFC franchise in the centre of Byron Bay rejected by council, following staff recommendations that car parking was insufficient. The proposal attracted 350 individual submissions, only 2 of those were pro-KFC. And resident Simon Seven, who obviously believes that one man can make a difference, organised a petition with more than 4,000 signatures opposing the fast food store. Objections included the large signage, lack of toilets, and contrast with Byron’s healthy image. Details of the “stormy” council meeting are on last Friday’s edition of the Echo online.

Last Tuesday, the NSW state government decided to allow beach based recreational fishing in our marine parks. This includes many sanctuary areas within the Cape Byron Marine Park. Fiona Maxwell, campaigner for the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said : “Allowing recreational fishing in sanctuary zones flies against the fundamental principles of marine sanctuaries being safe havens for our marine life and goes against years of scientific evidence that show they work.” Critics also say that the NSW government is misrepresenting a study into marine parks that it is using to justify the decision.

Many locals are fearing for their jobs as the Byron Bay Cookie Company attempts to trade out of trouble. It went into voluntary receivership earlier this month, reportedly owing money to suppliers, the tax office, and employees. The company’s products have been a familiar sight for many years on several airlines, and a lot of big city cafe counters. It claims to bake over 60 million cookies a year and sell in 40 countries.

And in Rome there is now a pope who cooks – Pope Francis, born in Argentina from Piemontese migrants – drinks Argentinian mate regularly and Piemontese light red grignolino, but usually cooks for himself and eats by himself, very frugal healthy food: salad, chicken without skin, fruit, but he likes espresso, and maybe occasionally the Piemonte classic bagna cauda, a warm garlic & anchovy dip, with raw veg and polenta, with the nuns.


love and chocolate covered apples, Sister T


marvellous books & a macrobiotic March



All this month on belly we are celebrating the long awaited opening of the new Byron Bay library.  Today we will have an ex- librarian in the studio, Gay Bilson, who also happens to be a legend of Australian food, as a cook, writer, literary critic & restaurateur.  Every time Gay talks she mentions books and authors with such affection that it seemed only logical to invite her back on belly to share a few with the bayfm listeners, and to encourage you to find them at your local library, or bookshop or that amazing newish tool for finding books, the internet.  She has lived surrounded by books for several decades, and has kindly sent belly the titles of just a few of the books, magazines and other publications that she has found interesting over the years.  Obviously we will not get to talk about a fraction of these on the show, and we reserve the right to wander off and discuss a different bunch of books altogether when we go to air.  But I plan to spend some of my remaining years to check  out the titles listed below.  You may want to do the same.   A good book stays with you always, even when those library fines mount up and you have to return them.

Our seasonal bellysister Alison Drover is coming on to talk about a Byron Bay Film Festival event, “Our Food, Our future Sustainable Food Forum” that is on this afternoon at 4 to 6 pm. It’s only $5 to get in and includes local nibbles & a short movie, so pop into town if you can.

Details on


And one of Japan’s most respected macrobiotic teachers and chefs, Deco Nakajima, will talk about about the Japanese tradition of ‘shindo fuji’ living in touch with the land, and share some suggestions for eating well in March.


Well, it’s time to curl up with a good book – here are just a few reading suggestions from Gay Bilson on the topic of food.   And Gay has many other interests,  some of which she shares in her own beautiful book ” Plenty– Digressions on Food” (Penguin, 2004) .  And do track down her other book “On Digestion” part of Melbourne University Publishing’s “Little Books on Big Themes” series.  There is a description in “One Continuous Picnic: A Gastronomic History of Australian Eating” by Michael Symons, of Gay in the 70s by journalist Lenore Nicklin, of Gay joining a table of politicians and journalist after their weekly extremely long lunch at Tony’s Bon Gout : ” Gay would sit and not say anything if in a bad mood, but when she did, she’d read more than anyone else”.


Ada Boni: Italian Regional Cooking

Elizabeth David: Italian Food

Elizabeth David: Spices, Salt and Aromatics in the English Kitchen (1970)

Barbara Tropp: The Modern Art of Chinese Cooking (1982)

Mrs K M Mathew’s Kerala Cooking

Jane Grigson: Charcuterie and Pork Cookery

Michel Guérard: La Cuisine Gourmande (1978)

David Thompson: Thai Food (2002) and Thai Street Food

Maddhur Jaffrey: A Taste of India

Rose Levy Beranbaum: The Cake Bible

Alan Davidson: A Kipper with my Tea

Richard Olney (with Lulu Peyraud): Lulu’s Provençal Table

Julian Barnes: The Pedant at the Table

Adam Gopnik: The Table Comes First

Michael Pollan

Simon Loftus : Pike in the Basement

Patience Gray : Honey from a Weed (Prospect Books, UK, 1986)

Richard Olney : Time Life, The Good Cook Series 1980

Hsiang Ju Lin and Tsuifeng Lin : Chinese Gastronomy (a Giniger Book pub’d in ass. w Nelson, 1969)

Ahmed Sefrioui : Fez Vu Par Sa Cuisine (J E Laurent, Rabat, 1957)

May Byron’s Jam Book (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1923)

Lilia Zaquali, Medieval Cuisine in the Islamic World, foreword by Charles Perry, translated by M B deBevoise (Univeristy of California Press, 2007)

Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: the Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, Yamuna Devi (Bala Books, USA, 1987)

Breads from the La Brea Bakery, Nancy Silverton (Villard Books (Random House), USA, 1996)

The Legendary Cuisine of Persia, Margaret Shaida (interlink, NY, 2002)

Venus in the Kitchen, or Love’s Cookery Book (by Pilaff Bey), ed. by Norman Lewis, intro by Graham Greene (Heinemann, UK, 1952)

Roast Chicken and Other Stories, Simon Hopkinson w Lindsay Bareham (Ebury Press, London, 1994)

Paula Peck, The Art of Fine Baking, USA, 1961

Jane Grigson, Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery (Michael Joseph, 1967)

Damien Pignolet, French (Lantern, Penguin, 2005))

S Alexander, The Cooks’ Companion (Viking, Penguin, 1996)

The Alice B Toklas Cookbook, 1954

Eliza Acton: Modern Cookery for Private Families (1845)


Other Publications :


Petits Propos Culinaires

The Proceedings of the Symposium of Australian Gastronomy , 1984- continuing

Saveur Magazine, USA (began in the nineties)

Richard Olney : Time Life, The Good Cook Series 1980






Rice vinegar 200ml

Water 300ml

Mirin 100ml

Salt 15g

Garlic 1 clove

Chill or capsicum 2

Grains pepper Black & white 1 teaspoon




Cucumber 1/2 (50g)

Celery 1 (50g)

Daikon 10cm (100g)

Carrot 1/2 (75g)

Cauliflower 1/2 (100g)


1. Mix A in a pot and heat over a medium flame, bring it to the boil and then turn off the heat.

2. Dice the cucumber, celery, daikon and carrot into large (1cm wide x 10cm long) slices. Cut cauliflower into smaller florets.

3. Salt the cucumber and celery, and drain and dry any excess water with cloth or paper. Quickly boil daikon, carrot, cauliflower in salty hot water and transfer them to a strainer to drain excess water.

4. Fill a clean, dry sterilised jar with the vegetables combined with the pickle mix liquid, sealing the lid. Best flavours occur after sitting the pickle for 2-3 weeks.




Tuesday March 12, 2013

At – Kulcha Jam, Byron Bay, 1 Acacia street, arts & Industry Estate

Lecture – 9.30 am to 12pm, $60

Practical macrobiotic cooking class – 12.30 to 3.30 pm, $85

Whole day $125

More info :




Greek Passion ... Mullumbimby Gardens ... Fermented Love ... Indian Pop-Ups

Gorgeous Monday to you all. I just have time for a very quick update on the show before i dissappear into the land of a Vipassana silent meditation retreat for the next 10 days.

The show today was so delicious … not only packed with yummy guests but with the food they had made and brought in to share …not just with me but for the belly’s of the subscibers who wre able to win some edible prizes.

Giveaways, sharing passionate food stories, community information and general tasty talk was on the menu as always.

We started with Ilias the Greek who took us by the hand and walked us through his Greek kitchen at home, filled with family recipes which captured his heart and his taste buds enabling him to reproduce the traditional flavours of sweet childhood into modern market delights that can be tasted around the Shire.

He’s an all round great guy and i think we will be hearing alot more from him in future shows as his eloquency and honest passion for food and radio is just what we love here in the belly kitchen … oh, and the whole station got a taste of his delicious sweet treats and we all agreed that we want him to come back real soon !!


I am attempting to write this with intermittent internet and thus my work is being lost each time it drops out. I have written wonderful ramblings about Sainttina from the Mullumbimby Community Gardens three times now already and each time the gremlins have eaten what i have written. Understandable as we all love to eat here on belly but it’s driving me bonkers.

So, to save my sanity … in a nutshell …..

Visit the Mullumbimby Community Gardens !!! Volunteers day every Tuesday. FREE FOOD and FREE LOVE in return for a bit of your time and effort.

MUST TRY !!! … some of Carla’s fermented foods from the Mullumbimby Farmers Markets on Fridays where she sells it. Ask her more about it.

POP IN and visit any of the follwing links to find out more about my Indian pop-up guests Matt and Kris who popped up at the end to talk about many things including Matt’s cycle around India and joining forces to create magic when Matt returned. They’re bringing the flavours back to YOU (and they fed me raw cake which i can’t stop thinking about !!)

Kris & Matt’s Feast –

Link to Matt’s Charity Cycle – Cycle for Brighter Futures –

Kristina’s personal catering page – Kristinas Tasty Kitchen -

…. and i’ll be back when they release me from Vipassana.

Peas and Love xoxo Sister Rasela


Local, Tasty & Happy with Helena,Sharon,Lilith & Asher

On air on Byron Bay’s Bayfm 99.9 community radio on February 18, 2013

Today on belly, we  talked with author,filmmaker & activist Helena Norberg-Hodge, who is helping to bring many interesting people to Byron Bay for the Economics of Happiness Conference in March.  We  focused on what is happening with food around the world to help us all live happier, more bountiful & sustainable lives. And we spoke with Sharon Gibson, a food gardening teacher who is helping us all to do just that as locally as possible, in our own gardens, from her Mullumbimby garden.  After 1, news,markets, the fabulous Lilith with astrotipples & astronibbles for Pisces, and Deanna brought us a very young baking bellysister, Asher Lee, who turned 9 yesterday, with his dad Ken.  Hopefully your place will be less muddy next weekend Asher, and you will have a great birthday party.  Asher would like his school to do more cooking, especially baking, not just bring in the odd banana.  Hear hear say the bellysisters.  Check out his cakes below.







This recipe is a good example of adapting a recipe to make it local and sustainable.  The polenta available in stores is a dry corn meal. Corn is generally grown in a monoculture with large inputs of fertilisers,water and oil. In fact my small packet of polenta from the store will have travelled thousands of miles to get to my door.  So I decided to try making polenta with my own home grown corn.  After a bit of trial and error here it is and it tastes great!  Replacing a packet of polenta with 6 cobs of fresh corn has cut out food miles, packaging and waste of resources for this meal with very little effort.




local olive oil

medium eggplant, diced


tomato paste

cup chopped local tomatoes

1 handful of local olives

6 tablespoons water

teaspoon Australian salt

tablespoon chopped oregano


1. Heat up the oil in a large saucepan and fry the eggplant on medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until nicely brown. Drain off as much oil as you can using a slotted spoon( You can save the oil for cooking tomorrow).

2. Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir with the eggplant. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, and oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes to get a deep flavoured sauce. Set aside.



600gms corn (about 6

approx. 2 
cups water

tablespoons butter

200gm local feta, crumbled

1/4 teaspoon salt

Black pepper


1. Remove the leaves and “silk” from each cob of corn. Use a sharp knife to cut the corn from the cob.

2. Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and cover them with the water. Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Use a slotted spoon to lift the kernels from the water and into a food processor; reserve the cooking liquid.

3. Blend the corn well adding a little of the cooking water if needed to keep it processing.

4. Now return the corn paste to the pan with half the cooking liquid and cook, while stirring continuously, on low heat for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to mashed potato consistency. Add more cooking water if needed.

5. Fold in the butter, the feta, salt and some pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.

6. Pour onto a plate and spread about 5cm thick.

Serve hot or cold with eggplant sauce mounded on top of polenta.


Sharon Gibson runs courses through Byron College’s sustainability program including:

* Accredited Permaculture Training,

* growing and cooking with perennial vegetables,

* keeping chooks,

* growing fruit tree in the subtropics,

* organic gardening and many more…

For more info or to enrol in Sharon’s Byron College courses visit

Sharon also runs 6 week “mums and bubs” permaculture classes, for more info call 0415514826




When its your birthday you so don’t want to be doing the cooking – you want other people to be putting food in front of you, so this segment’s dedicated to the infamous Byronic directive: Bring a plate…

Must say I didn’t find this easy when I arrived in Byron because I was – still am – used to cooking meals. I’ve always had some sort of bias that finger food was something my parents served in the fifties. But after being involved with so many gigs that didn’t want to hire plates, knives and forks I’ve had to give in to local custom and produce food you can pick up with your fingers and hold over a napkin.

Today we’re talking interesting nibbles and drinkies for Pisces, whose birthdays start Thursday – and we don’t mean Woolies chips n’ dips, because we want to show our birthday Pisceans some love on a plate, along with liquid libations to delight them.

Pisces quite like squishy, slippery, slithery sensuous food: oysters, seaweed, soft cheese, juicy perfumed fruits – and quite honestly I don’t think you can go past a plate of sushi. Make it yourself if you’re that sort of person, or else get the fabulous O Sushi chefs on the job. Or organize some fresh oysters and serve them in shot glasses of tequila – food and drink all in one go. Or take along a plate of Salvador Dali-watch stage melting king island double brie with halved fresh figs – nothing sexier.

What liquid refreshments might a Pisces like? Well, more than any other sign Fish need to keep their fluids up and most seem to like a little drinkie to soften the harsh edges of reality – we’re all familiar with the expression drink like a fish. They like liquid rituals, and may appreciate an exquisite bunch of chilled grapes to dip into dessert wine – a nice sticky bortrytis.

Or since they’re romantic creatures, why not try something made with the beautiful heart-colored ruby Rosella flower – Jamaican hibiscus, also known as sorrel. It grows well in Australia and used to be the basis for rosella jam. Use it fresh if you can get it, otherwise buy dried rosellas, or the pub sells them in a jar of sugar syrup ready for throwing into a glass of champagne to make it pink.

If youre starting from scratch brew up your rosellas in water with sugar added to taste – they’re a little tart; you can add ginger, lemon or a cinnamon stick if you like, but it’s perfectly fine without. For a non-alcoholic drink, cool this and serve with crushed ice and perhaps a dash of rosewater.

In the Caribbean where this popular drink comes from, for the adult version naturally they add rum. If rum doesn’t float your boat, try Campari, or the raspberry liqueur Chambord, even Curacao. As always, be creative….








Asher with one of his rainbow cakes, & a guardcat

Asher with one of his rainbow cakes, & a guardcat




























Coal Seam Gas – how will it affect the coastal and urbanised areas of Tweed, Lismore and Byron Shire? Find out at a CSG Byron Bay town meeting this Saturday 23 February at 2pm, in the Byron Sports Complex on Ewingsdale Road. This meeting is organised by local residents to inform you and recruit volunteers to survey Byron Bay. More info on the facebook page – CSGFreeBYRONBAY.

Also on Saturday February 23, a small animal market in Bangalow. Chooks, goats, ducks, guinea pigs, dogs & cats. Take them along to trade or sell. Hosted by Eden Country Store, more info and to register animals, ring 6687 1452

Dinner in an art gallery, what a great way to get two of the joys of life at once. Have a look at Art Piece Gallery in Mullumbimby. Their next dinner in the gallery, with food by La Table, is this Thursday 21st, to open the solo show ‘Lacrimosa’ by Kate Maurice.

On to less tasty news. We have been following the horse meat scandal in Europe, it is like a serial thriller, each week more fraud and dark deeds in the meat trade. Horse meat is not at all harmful to humans unless the horses had been treated with unsuitable medication, but if you buy a beef mince product you do expect the meat to be 100% cow. Now a single French firm has been found to be the source of most of the horsemeat. French authorities say that a Castelnaudary meat processor knowingly sold 750 tonnes of horse mislabelled as beef over a 6 month period. Of this, 500 tonnes was processed by another single French firm, Comigel, into 4.5 million frozen meal products, then sold to 28 companies in 13 European countries. Comigel failed to adequately test the meat or inspect paperwork. Freshly minced meat at your local butcher is looking more attractive all the time.

The ACCC, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is investigating allegations that Coles and Woolworths have bullied suppliers, requested payments in order to stock products, and improperly favoured their own home brand products.  The ACCC’s chairman Rod Sims said that grocery suppliers were initially reluctant to talk about their dealings with Woolworths and Coles. “I then promised confidentiality to suppliers and …we eventually had around 50 come forward, and… it’s fair to say we’ve got some fairly credible and consistent issues that we now believe we need to investigate in some detail.”

And finally, an idea to consider if you are putting on an event and want to feed the multitudes – crowd farming. The fabulous talk & ideas fest, TEDxSydney, dedicated to “Ideas worth Spreading” is on in May. They have asked the 2200 people attending the conference to bring something they are growing at home, or maybe forage or make preserves if they don’t have even a window box. A team of chefs will then prepare the food, biodegradable waste will be processed on site and the compost offered to the guests. TED have many interesting talks available online.


Love and chocolate covered rainbow cake, sister T



Love belly '13


Another year, another Valentine’s day, another chance to talk about love and seduction.  A couple of hours away from floods and destruction and bad news maybe.  And with a bit of love, and chocolate, all the hard stuff is easier to deal with anyway.

This year we are starting with lots of chocolate, with Sarah Wheeler from Puremelt Chocolate, then seasonal love and gratitude with Miss February, Alison Drover, and music, sweets and the love goddess herself, Aphrodite, with Ilias Katsapouikidis.  And of course music, markets, the belly bulletin including what lucky foods to eat for the Year of the Snake, and tasty courses at Byron College.


PUREMELT CHOCOLATES are available at various local markets, including the Mullumbimby farmers market every Friday.  Sarah is one of the few chocolatiers who makes her chocolate from scratch rather than from bought chocolate drops.  She uses many local ingredients and is constantly experimenting.  If you’d like to do your own experiments, she also sells chocolate making kits online, and teaches occasional classes.  Contact her here.




Herbs not only help us but heal us as well…

Fenugreek seeds: Saponins which can be found in fenugreek seeds play a role in increasing the production of testosterone, the male hormones, which, in turn, causes the raise in male libido.

Cardamom: These green wonders increase energy and relieve fatigue, and help you rock your love making process.

Clove: They heat up the body and maybe that’s what increases the hotness quotient on bed!

Fennel: Saunf, as they are called in Hindi, contain an estrogen-like substance (estirol) that turns out libido. So careful before you grab a handful of it at a restaurant after dinner.

Ginseng: It helps improve male erectile dysfunction (ED)

Saffron: There’s a reason why old Hindi films had saasumas forcing bahus to add saffron to the milk on the first night. And you thought it was just for a fair child!

Nutmeg: It’s one of the most popular natural aphrodisiacs. Research proves that nutmeg has the same effect on mating behavior as Viagra. Sprinkle some in your kheer for a dirty night!

Cloves: They boost your energy levels. They also have one of the best aromatherapy scents that help improve your sexual behaviour.

Garlic: Eating green chilies with garlic is an old (tried and tested) way of enjoying sex for a longer period. Peel off its top layers, crush cloves and then fry in butter, and your partner is ready to be a nutter!

Ginger: Garlic’s ‘g’ brother helps you tingle the ‘G’ spot with ease. It increases sex drive and stimulates sexual performance.





2 Tbsp fresh ginger, microplaned

1 Tbsp garlic, pressed

2 tsp cardamom seeds, ground

6 star anise,ground

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 tsp salt (we actually forgot to add the salt, but it hardly needed it)

1/4 tsp turmeric

8 chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin removed


1 small red onion, diced

4 bay leaves, fresh or dried

2 cinnamon sticks

2 Tbsp coriander, chopped

8 oz baby spinach (optional)

yogurt or heavy cream (optional)

Combine the ginger, garlic, cardamom, cayenne, star anise, salt and turmeric and smear the resulting paste over the chicken pieces. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Heat a few spoonfuls of oil in a large skillet with a well-fitting lid. Add the onion, chicken, bay and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and the chicken has browned, about 20 minutes.

Add a cup of water, scrape the pan bottom to deglaze it, bring to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook gently about 30 minutes, stirring once in a while. Stir in the coriander.

Remove the chicken to a platter and boil down the sauce in the pan until it thickens a bit. Toss in a pile of spinach leaves to wilt, if you like, and perhaps a half cup or so of plain yogurt or cream. Serve the greens and sauce with the chicken legs and some steamed basmati rice.





Short crust pastry

250g flour
60g sugar
180g butter


225g sugar
80g cream
70g butter

Chocolate mousse

200g couveture choc
4x eggs separated
185g cream
40g caster sugar

Chocolate ganache

165g couveture chocolate
60g cream
40g butter

Mix flour and sugar in a bowl by hand and then add the cubed chilled butter. Mix until you have a breadcrumb texture and then add 40g of chilled water and mix until combined. Roll into a disc, wrap with glad wrap and rest in the fridge for 1/2 hour

Per heat oven 190c

Roll out the pastry and line a 26cm tart shell. Rest again for half hour in fridge. Line with baking paper and weights. Bake for 20 min, remove paper and weights and bake for another 8-10 min. Cool on a rack

To make caramel combine 250g water and sugar and cook on high heat in a saucepan until a golden caramel forms. Them add the cream and sugar off the heat ( careful mix will spit ) stir to combine and pour into pastry case. Chill in the fridge to set

To make mousse melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, cool and add egg yolks stirring to combine. Whisk cream to soft peaks and set aside. Whisk egg whites to soft peaks and them add the 40g of sugar and keep whisking till combined. Fold 1/2 the egg whites on the choc mix to lighten it then the cream and then the rest of the egg whites taken care to preserve as much air as possible in the mix. Spoon over the caramel and smooth the top flush with the edges and chill.

To make ganache melt chocolate and cream in a Bain Marie and stir lovingly to avoid aerating the mix until combined and then add the butter off the heat. Clean the bottom of the bowl of any steam and cool. Then add the ganache while still fluid to top the top and smooth it with a pallette knife :^)

Rest until set and use a warm knife to cut portions

Serve it with vanilla ice cream


Or for an  exciting taste sensation:




500g milk

6x yolks

25g sugar

Pinch salt

8x drops Tabasco sauce

Small pinch cayenne pepper

300g Brie wheel from Nimbin Valley Dairy ( cut minimal crust off and slice onto thin slivers)


Heat milk in a saucepan

Whisk yolks, sugar & salt until pale yellow

When milk is just below boil add half to the yolk mix whilst whisking. Pour back into the saucepan and put on a low heat to thicken the custard whilst continually stirring the bottom with a wooden spoon until 80deg c on a thermometer.

Take off the heat, add the cheese and whisk until the cheese melts. Strain through a sieve and then pour into an ice cream maker and churn.

Enjoy this local delight as a palate cleanser, with rich desserts or eat it as is :^D





The price of a cup of tea could rise after the world’s biggest producers agreed to join forces . Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Indonesia, Malawi and Rwanda produce more than 50% of the world’s tea. They have announced the formation of the International Tea Producers’ Forum. Initially they will focus on sharing knowledge and boosting demand for tea to raise prices. Sri Lanka’s Plantations Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe, said in future they may try methods such as supply controls to increase tea prices. At the moment the global tea price is around $US2.5 a kilo, down from about $2.84 a year ago. In 1994 Sri Lanka unsuccessfully proposed a tea cartel similar to OPEC, the crude oil cartel.


Supermarket company Coles said last week that its discount milk prices are not to blame for cuts to farm gate prices for dairy farmers, at least in Victoria.

A south-west Victorian dairy farmers’ group, Farmer Power, along with south-east South Australian farmers, protested outside Warrnambool’s major supermarkets earlier this month. It is partly blaming the sale of milk at Coles and Woolworths of $1 a litre for lower dairy prices at the farm gate. However, Jim Cooper of Coles says farmers are more influenced by the global market and only 8 per cent of fresh milk produced in Victoria is sold in the state. “We understand that dairy farmers might see the milk on the shelf as the most visible sort of aspect of their business but the reality is that’s not what drives the farm gate price that they’re receiving.” he said.


Last month we mentioned that beef burgers in a UK supermarket had consumers worried after they were found to contain horsemeat. It looks like the source is one large plant in Ireland, which has now also affected the fast food chain Burger King in Europe. Small amounts of horse and pig DNA were found in Burger King beef burgers. They have now changed suppliers The Irish Silvercrest burger plant, one of the biggest in Europe, is closed for cleaning and a change in management. It appears that the meat came from one of their Polish suppliers.


CHOICE, the consumer advocacy group, is proposing reforms to simplify country of origin labelling in Australia, after a survey of its members found that 90% of respondents said country of origin labelling is unclear. “When choosing food, consumers tell us that knowing where it comes from is an important issue – second only to information on the ingredients it contains,” says CHOICE food policy advisor Angela McDougall. How important origin is varies by type of food. Respondents placed the most importance on primary produce such as meat and vegetables, followed by foods like dairy and bread. Origin was least important for highly processed foods like soft drinks and sweets.

To help shoppers, Choice is calling for labelling to be simplified to three claims:

‘Product of Australia’ and ‘Manufactured in Australia’ – claims about where the ingredients are from and where they are processed

‘Packaged in Australia’ – a basic claim to accommodate products which by law have to carry an origin declaration

Under CHOICE’s proposal, the claim ‘Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients’ would not be permitted. If manufacturers want to provide additional information, they should specify where any specific ingredient originates.


The Chinese year of the Black Female Water Snake starts today, New Years day is on Sunday February 10, and it’s time to eat those lucky foods, just in case. Uncut noodles, for represent longevity and long life. Melon, sunflower or pumpkin seeds if you’d like lots of children. Anything that looks like ancient money or gold ingots, like slices of sausage, dried apricots, cashews, dumplings or anything wrapped in leaves. Peaches will give you immortality, bananas a good education, & carrots money. Pumpkins will give you illustrious children – you have been warned. Bean sprouts bring you anything your heart desires. Whole animals & coconuts keep the family together. But stay away from white foods. You are supposed to clean the house & sweep the bad luck away. Red underpants also help apparently, especially if the snake is your birth year, to protect you & bring you luck. Kung Hei Fat Choy!


MORE COMING SOON :  Sarah’s brownies


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