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 !!
HELP HELP THE GREMLINS ARE HERE AGAIN …
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 – http://www.facebook.com/krisNmattsindianfeast
Link to Matt’s Charity Cycle – Cycle for Brighter Futures – http://www.facebook.com/MattsCharityCycle
Kristina’s personal catering page – Kristinas Tasty Kitchen - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kristinas-Tasty-Kitchen
…. and i’ll be back when they release me from Vipassana.
Peas and Love xoxo Sister Rasela
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.
RECIPE – SHARON GIBSON’S FRESH POLENTA WITH EGGPLANT SAUCE
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
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
200gm local feta, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
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 http://www.byroncollege.org.au/
Sharon also runs 6 week “mums and bubs” permaculture classes, for more info call 0415514826
LILITH – ASTROTIPPLES & ASTRONIBBLES FOR PISCES
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 LEE, JUNIOR BAKING BELLYSISTER, AND HIS CAKES
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
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.
SECRET TO A LOVE IS SPICING IT UP…. VALENTINES DAY BY MISS FEBRUARY ALISON DROVER
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.
CARDAMON, GINGER, STAR ANISE CHICKEN WITH LOCAL JASMINE FRAGRANT RICE… recipe by Alison Drover
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.
CHOCOLATE & CARAMEL TART – BY ILIAS
Short crust pastry
200g couveture choc
4x eggs separated
40g caster sugar
165g couveture chocolate
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:
NIMBIN VALLEY BRIE ICE CREAM
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
The Unexpected Guest muesli
On the show today, the tales of two Canadians & a hula queen. The first Canadian is Juniper, who made such good Canadian style granola (it was invented just South of the border you know, in New York) that her friends kept asking for more. She thought she’d make a few kilos a week to help finance her art, three years later she has a thriving organic business with fiance Adam. Adam’s no. 1 tip for anyone thinking of starting an organic food processing business is: “Don’t do what we did, plan and research and get organised”.
It was refreshing to hear that the organic certification process gives producers a lot of information and support, as well as very tight rules to follow. Did you know that a certified organic kitchen is even restricted in the types of cleaning materials they can use?
We also started a new series on favourite breakfasts – with muesli of course. Another tip from Adam is make sure you check the ingredients in what we call ‘natural’ muesli, i.e. raw mueslis, as some have quite high amounts of sugar.
If you’d like to make you own toasted muesli, or just find out the method, there is a recipe as well as a review of 159 (!) mueslis on the fabulous choice (consumer association) website here.
GRANUESLI [GRANOLA] BARS - by Juniper of The Unexpected Guest
We recently made some chocolate Granuesli bars for us to enjoy and share with visitors to the office and passers-by. They seemed to be quite a hit, I think someone actually clapped. Anyways, they are dangerously addictive and we thought it would be rude not to share.
1. 1/2 cup unsalted butter
2. 1/2 cup brown sugar (we use coconut palm sugar)
3. 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4. 500g bag of Freestyle Granuesli
5. 1/2 cup dark chocolate
6. 2/3 cup Organic peanut butter
In a medium saucepan melt the butter and sugar together over low heat, add the vanilla and Granuesli and cook for 4 minutes. In a smaller saucepan melt the chocolate and peanut butter together over low heat. Set aside to cool. Line a square baking tray with baking paper. Add 1/2 of the Granusli mixture and press down. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle remaining Granuesli mixture evenly over the chocolate layer and pop in the fridge to set
for 3 hours. Once the tray has set you can remove it from the fridge and cut
into bars. Or eat it directly from the tray. Apologies in advance if you cannot stop eating them.
Our second Canadian was Sister Deanna, who reported on her multiple North American Christmases, complete with exploding oven and surprisingly colourful language by her mother. But a woman is surely entitled to blow her top when the oven dies the day before the biggest meal of the year, and the neighbour burns her apple pie.
The very fabulous Lilith, who teaches hula and writes the stars in our local Echo and in the Sydney Morning Herald, and who has talked about food and astrology many times on belly – IS BACK, yei! Our new series is inspired by that old phrase “bring a plate”. Lilith’s party plates are bound to entice the birthday boys and girls, especially those of drinking age. Every month we will have a cocktail (and a non-alcoholic drink too), and something small and delicious to go with. And if it means we have to taste test a range of concoctions and odd liqueurs in the middle of the afternoon, so be it.
LILITH’S ASTROTIPPLES-ASTRONIBBLES: AQUARIUS
Well, here we are nattering about food again, and while it’s still party hearty season in Byron it’s of course more importantly the start of the Aquarian birthdays. When it’s your birthday you don’t want to be cooking, do you no, you want everyone else to spoil you and rightly so. So this is your big chance to use that fave Byronic phrase: Bring a plate. And a drink as well.
So don’t be the guest who plonks down the packet of chips and plastic tub of dip honor your birthday Aquarian, bring along some love on a plate, and a drink that might delight them.
As we all know by now, Aquarians are fans of the strange and curious, so you’ll want to consider some different kinds of taste sensations to surprise and tantalize the Uranian palate. For this hot weather I don’t think you can go past the cooling combination of watermelon, sheep feta and basil.
But can you do it as finger food? Why not? The melon’s sweet, the feta’s salty, the basil’s pungent, it doesn’t need seasoning. A toothpick, a cube of watermelon, a basil leaf, eh voila! Repeat till the plate’s full – what could be simpler? If the feta’s too crumbly and starts getting unaesthetic, then throw the whole thing into a dish and add a splash of olive oil.
To drink, you could continue the basil theme with Watermelon Basil Limoncello cocktails I believe you can get locally made Limocello at the farmer’s markets. Or use your imagination and some other fruit: whatever you choose, this recipe involves basil leaves, watermelon or other sweet fruit, Limoncello, citron vodka, sparkling rose and crushed ice for a cooling, unusual summer cocktail.
RECIPE: WATERMELON BASIL LIMONCELLO COCKTAIL
12 fresh basil leaves, roughly torn small
watermelon or other sweet fruit
100 mls Limoncello
100 mls citron vodka
chilled sparkling rose wine
Combine crushed fruit and basil in a small pitcher and muddle. Add Limoncello and vodka, let chill in fridge for 30 minutes so flavors can
marry. Put crushed ice in glasses, add some of the fruit mix then top with rose.
For designated drivers, underage or non alcoholic Aquarians, you might like to try a DRAGON FRUIT MOCKTAIL made with
red dragon fruit
Monin brand pomegranate syrup
Peel dragon fruit and puree in blender. Add rest of ingredients one by one and adjust to taste. Garnish with fresh mint.
Or make up your own Aquarian food fantasy
The UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers, according to their motto, has been “improving the world through engineering” for 160 years. They have turned their attention to the global food waste problem. Their recent report has attracted a lot of media attention, with claims that world food waste could be as high as 50% of all food produced. The already shocking figure of 30% that we have often discussed in the past is a minimum. They say among contributing factors there are Inefficient harvesting, inadequate local transportation and poor infrastructure in the developing world, and very limited visual and size requirements in the developed world, which result in much food being grown but not harvested, or not making it to market. And then consumers throw out much of what they buy because of excessive purchasing.
The good news, say the engineers, is that if we could only stop the waste, we have enough to feed not just the current population, but the expected increase in the near future. They recommend some engineering solutions, of course, improving harvesting, storage and transport in developing countries, and also government action in developed countries to help change our buying habits.
Good blog on food waste, which includes links to the study – www.wastedfood.com
Still in the UK, if we think England and horses we may think of Princess Anne, the hunt and Royal Ascot. Not a country where horse butchers are real common, horse meat was last sold legally there during the 2 World Wars. So the major supermarket chain Tesco was very embarassed when tests found about 30% horse meat in one of its beef burger brands. Small traces of horse DNA were also found in beef products from 3 other British and Irish companies.
In local news, there are fears that a black market in shark fins is growing after The discovery of the remains of a de-finned and decapitated shark on the beach at South Ballina last week. Shark fin can be legally sold in Australian restaurants, from imported product. According to the Australian Society for Marine Conservation, around 240,000 sharks are slaughtered daily to meet the global demand for shark fins to make soup. The fins are harvested by cutting them from live sharks, which are then tossed back into the ocean to die. Protesters are trying to have imports banned and illegal fin harvesting policed. To find out more or get involved have a look at the Facebook page of Andrew Archer, aka The Shark Guy.
And finally, good news for those of us who love a carb, no matter what time of day it is. You must know somebody who has stopped even looking at carbohydrates in the evening to try to lose weight. Last year, after finding interesting hormonal changes in Muslims who only eat in the evening during Ramadan, Israeli scientists have done a study of 78 fat policemen and women. They found that subjects who ate carbs only in the evening were actually doing better than those who ate them through the day, not just with weight loss but with their blood sugars and hormonal balance. A reasonable amount of whole grains, sourdough bread, or low GI carbs in the evening help boost the hormones that stop you feeling hungry, so you are more likely to stick with a healthy diet, and help us get a good night’s sleep.
We finished the show with a quick look at some quick You Tube videos, The Hidden Cost series.
We discussed bottled water and soft drinks, but there are many others online, good summaries. Done for the USA, but as we know many of these products/problems are much the same here.
Do try Sister T’s (well actually my old friend Helen’s) refreshing ginger alternative.
Peel and cut some fresh ginger into rough chunks. Freeze, then turn into frozen powder in a food processor, re-freeze. You can then just use a few teaspoons in cold water to make instant ginger water. A very different taste to ginger tea done with boiling water.
Love and chocolate covered hula dancers, Sister T
on air on Byron Bay’s community radio bayfm 99.9 on January 7, 2013
Jude Fanton's green mango kasundi recipe - & gardener's fingers
For the first belly of the year Sister T & a first time bellysister, sister Michael aka sister Chicken Delight went a little silly. It was a chooky, pickled, furry & feisty show. Even Miss January, Alison Drover, got political along with the delicious in season suggestions. We got into two major issues that will potentially affect our food landscape in the Northern Rivers, as in so many other places – KFC & CSG. Behind the alphabet soup, everything from our water safety, to our streetscapes and beautiful bountiful hinterland could be churned up for short term profit soon. Lots of links below to find out more. We leavened the politics with lots of great recipes, masses of tasty ideas today. Easy & fun chicken recipes to give kid & health friendly alternatives. A genuine Southern Soul food chook made a little less fattening but just as delicious by ex-Byronite African American Aussie Dwane Jones. Lovely cold fruity semifreddo, & mango ripe or green ideas. To finish, our shaggy dog story, but also our pick for the next booming market business (really truly) – dog baking – woof!
TASTY & EASY CHICKEN SUGGESTIONS – FASTER THAN TRYING TO GET A PARKING SPOT IN IN SUMMER TO GET TAKEAWAY
FRANCA’S FLATTENED CHICKEN RECIPE
Franca is my mum. I think she made this when she couldn’t be bothered cooking and/or needed to soothe her soul with a bit of vigorous bashing. Though I remember doing most of the animal cutting and bashing from an early age.
1 smallish chicken, whole, cut open at the breast, and beaten flat. It is ok to break a few bones and mush up the skin, just be careful of bone fragments if you are feeding it to very young or very fast eaters. You can use just leg and thigh pieces if you like, the breast does end up a bit dry.
fresh rosemary sprigs – lots if you like it
a few garlic cloves in their skin
olive oil, butter, salt, pepper
You really need a wide pan for this, or split the chicken between 2 pans. And a plate or flat lid or oven tray that fits in your pan.
Season the chicken, throw everything else in the pan, add the flattened chicken skin side down. Cover straight away with the plate/lid/etc, put a weight on top. This keeps the chicken flat. Cook at a medium heat, turn half way through. The cover will hold some steam in and help keep the chicken moist, if it is too moist you can finish the cooking uncovered. You want it to be very brown and with lots of bits sticking to the pan by the end.
This is a simpler version of the popular Portuguese chicken, chilli free and kid friendly. Of course you could add a chilli dipping sauce if you wish. You can also do it on a bbq between two oven trays.
Chicken Delight’s unbelievably easy Moroccan Chicken Tagine RECIPE
Chicken Delight hates following recipes, mainly because he is an Aquarian and prefers to wing it (Chicken joke!). But here is a general guide for this uber -easy dish:
You can use:
One Whole free range chicken (or pieces if you prefer)
Rice bran oil
1 can Lite Coconut cream (to keep the calories down!)
2 X white onions
1 X Spanish onion
Chermoula, Dukkah, Zatar and a general Moroccan spice mix – all available at your local farmers market. Or use your fave combo.
1 X Can organic Chic Peas
1 Red Capsicum (for colour)
1 or 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into small quarters
Whatever else you feel would be yummy!
Couscous to serve with
Sliced lemon or preserved lemon if you have some.
Method to the Madness:
Heat oil in Tagine to hot. Cube onions and add to hot pan with cut potatoes.
Dry chicken, cut into pieces and rub spices all over while humming a mindless tune and imagining you are belly dancing.
Avoid looking in the mirror at this moment
Place chicken pieces in Tagine and let sit for about 3 mins before moving (secret to having them not stick and tearing the flesh).
After 3 mins, turn the chicken to brown all over. Sprinkle with as much spice as you like. I go crazy (not a long journey!) and sprinkle everywhere (but not on the floor).
Slowly pour a little can of the lite coconut cream over the mix. Just do this until the colour starts to look slightly pale- you don’t want to weaken the spices though.
Give a quick stir to combine all the spices and place the Tagine lid on.
Cook on low for about 10 mins and check occasionally- add more coconut cream to avoid drying out and sprinkle more spice over everything, to taste. You should keep an eye on things while telling your guests about your fabulous holiday in Morocco and all the amazing adventures you had, while sipping something fresh and cool.
Prepare the cous cous- Chicken delight is too lazy to cook it properly in boiled water for 10 mins as you should (just read the packet directions), so chucks it in a saucepan and fills to a decent level with boiling water, puts a lid on it and just leaves it until serving time. You can throw in a few cut dates or sultanas to make it look like you know what you’re doing. Sometimes he even forgets to serve the cous cous but by that stage no one even notices. The next morning though, it’s looking a tad sad.
Serve with some sliced lemon or preserved lemon, yoghurt if you like it, dukkha on top. And a professional attitude. Enjoy!!!
DWONE’S SOUTHERN BAKED CHICKEN RECIPE – by Dwone Jones
750 g of the best chicken you can afford, if whole cut into 8 pieces
2 ‘stalks of escallions’, (shallots) finely chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme, finely chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp vinegar
herb/poultry seasoning – D recommends Herbamare
1 tsp sugar
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup white breadcrumbs, not brown
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
2 tbs melted margarine
Heat oven to 190 C
Mix sauce ingredients, leave to blend.
Rinse chicken in lime water, i.e. a basin of water in which you have squeezed 2 limes
put the chicken in so it is just covered.
In a blender, blend the vinegar, garlic, scallions (shallots) and thyme. Season the chicken and leave for 10 minutes.
Add the sauce and leave for 30 minutes.
Season the chicken with the dry ingredients, sugar, salt, pepper, Herbamare.
Put the chicken in a greased shallow baking tin, sprinkle on the breadcrumbs.
Bake for no more than about 1 hour but check after 40/45 minutes.
This chicken remains moist and is good hot or cold – fried chicken tends to go dry.
It is still good the next day and it is compulsory to eat it with your fingers.
Audio link – listen to Dwone talking about soul food and this recipe on bayfm a few years ago, with sister T & sister Bernadette
From memories of his grandmother’s farm to making soul food a little healthier without stripping out the soul, and the taste, it’s a lovely piece.
Dwone on healthier soul food, squirrel, chicken & those Crisco biscuits
Since as usual it takes me ages to find time to put all the show info online, sister Michael has had time to check the submission to open a KFC right in the middle of Byron Bay.
I’m sending this link to the Keep Byron Free from KFC face book where, if you are inclined, you can copy and post a submission form to Byron Shire Council try to stop it coming to Byron Bay. In their DA submission they want to remove a large tree from the street frontage of Woolies plaza to erect a large flouro KFC barrell sign. Just ugh. We don’t need this ugliness in our beautiful town! Cheers, Michael (aka Chicken Delight).
[sister T] – I think this is so ludicrous it may be one of those ambit claims, made to be shot down but allow the rest of the submission through. The effect on the streetscape was Michael’s main issue – I look forwards to a large bellysister in a chook costume waving a placard in Byron Bay. Go to the facebook site for lots more info, you don’t need to be on facebook to read the entries.
http://www.kfc.com.au/nutrition/index.asp – direct link to KFC Australia’s nutrition info. See the news tab for initiatives such as using canola oil & taking out kids’ toys – signs that putting pressure on the big boys does have an effect, even if many of us think they have a long way to go.
IN SEASON JANUARY BY MISS JANUARY ALISON DROVER
This is a particularly good tomato year so make sure you take advantage and roast them to bottle them and store away for winter months. Locally squash are good, capsicums, zucchini, eggplants, red peppers, cucumber, snake beans, chilli. It is a great time to make a cold ratatuille. Mangoes finally coming into their own and pomegranates and passionfruit. Herb wise basil, coriander, marjoram, oregano, sage, tarragon, thyme and mint, ginger and turmeric.
Wider to NSW in cooler regions we have : Apricots, raspberry, asparagus, avocado, banana, blueberry, capsicum, cherry, cucumber, eggplant, honey dew melons, lettuce, mangosteen, okra, onions, peach, peas, pineapple, plums, radish, raspberry, rock melon, squash, strawberry, tamarillo, watermelon, zucchini, zucchini flower
Seafood: Atlantic salmon, blue eye, blue swimmer crab, eel, flathead, flounder, garfish, kingfish, leather jacket, marron, mussels, ocean trout, prawns, rock lobster, scallop, snapper, squid, trevally
Alison has come up with a refreshing dessert for summer months, passionfruit semifreddo
And she is keen for us all to buy and use fair priced milk, rather than the excessively discounted milk in supermarkets that does not allow farmers to survive. And may result in higher prices in the long run anyway. She has forwarded us a link to a petition in support of dairy farmers that a campaigner called Lisa Claessen is sending to Coles. The link is here if you’d like to participate.
Semifreddo means half cold in Italian, it is half way to an ice cream and half as hard to make, you don’t need any special equipment to make it. Just a bit of whipping of lovely eggs & cream, a fruity syrup and a night in the the freezer.
PASSIONFRUIT SEMIFREDDO, RECIPE BY ALISON DROVER
8 egg yolks
250gm caster sugar
250 ml ( 1cup) passion fruit juice
scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
juice of one lime
300gm double cream
150ml pouring cream, lightly whipped
pulp of 2 passion fruit plus extra to serve
Whisk egg yolks in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (5-7 minutes). Meanwhile, stir sugar, passionfruit juice and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, then simmer until syrupy (4-5 minutes) and add to egg yolks with lime juice, whisking continuously until mixture is cold (5-6 minutes).
Combine creams in a bowl, whisk until soft peaks form. Fold into passionfruit mixture, fold in pulp, spoon into an 8cm x 22cm plastic –lined rectangular cake time, smoothing top. Don’t worry if you have a little over. Freeze overnight until firm. Slice thickly and serve with extra pulp spooned over. You can add some mangoes on the side if you have these left over.
Meantime back in the belly kitchen, sister Michael & sister Tess were in a mango mood…
COAL SEAM GAS FREE MANGO DAQUIRIS for Two! by sister Michael
A hefty pour of Bacardi Rum ~ Blend two delicious mangoes, fresh mango juice, one citrus orange and a dash of lime and a dash of Midori (optional) and ice made from pure, unfracked water. Pour into fabulous looking cocktail glasses and garnish with a ‘Lock the Gate’ recycled paper cocktail umbrella. Drink with a clear conscience.
100% MANGO SORBET – a belly lab recipe by sister Tess
This one is inspired by the way many people make banana ice cream (freeze, peel, whizz, eat)
If you have good knives & spare fingers, and too many lovely ripe mangoes, toss a few in the freezer. When frozen, peel, cut into chunks, toss into a food processor or blender – perfect fluffy sorbet.
Or do the peeling & cubing while the mango is unfrozen, then freeze etc. You know which one I did don’t you? Will try it the sensible way next time.
GREEN MANGO PICKLES
It looks like a massive mango season coming up, judging by the number of people making green mango pickles. A great way to use them, along with Thai green mango salad (same as green papaya salad, som tum, very easy & healthy & delicious).
My lovely friend Paul has a simple Sri Lankan recipe here (28.12.12 post)
I tried a treatment that I give just about any new veg I come across these days, the impatient quick cure – slice with skin on, layer mango slices with salt,sugar, lemon juice, leave a few hours or a day (taste as you go). They turned out salty but great as an accent on plain salads or fish.
And the Fantons (founders of Seedsavers) took a green mango kasundi to a party which I think was my favourite new taste of 2012 (see top photo). Jude kindly shared her recipe (I need to check that mustard seed quantity though, use your own judgement in the meantime). There are many mango kasundi recipes online, mostly done as a mustardy paste, they look great too.
GREEN MANGO KASUNDI RECIPE – by Jude Fanton
Pick mangoes very green. You are going to use the whole fruit. Test that each mango is green enough by cutting through it – if the knife goes right through the seed, good. If there is too much fibre around the seed, it is too ripe and should be made into mango salad.
For 4kg of green mangoes:
Slice each mango, seed and all, it is up to you what size. [Optional – 200 - 500g red or green chillies split nearly up to the stem]. Put into a bowl with layers of 1kg salt and keep in the sun for one to three days (we like two days).
Drain mangoes, put in a large bowl, and add these spices:
200g ginger whirled in food processor
200g tamarind paste
5 tbspns of chilli powder (or less if you used chillies above)
Optional – 20 – 50 curry leaves
1kg mustard seeds, lightly roasted and ground
[Optional, though we have not tried these: fennel seeds; turmeric – powder or fresh whirled root –, coriander and cummin powder, fenugreek seeds soaked in vinegar overnight, vinegar itself]
Mix the spices around the mango pieces.
[I do this in two to four lots cos of the spitting oil] Heat one litre of mustard oil in a deep pan and add 20 – 50 curry leaves for 30 secs. Add the mango and spice mix and stir, heating for 3 to 20 mins [I give you the widest parameters in all the recipes, seems 5 mins is good]
Meanwhile you have sterilised some jars and they are hot. Spoon the kasaundi in, making sure there are no bubbles and that there is some mustard oil on top. Seal. You’re supposed to wait a month, but that has been totally impossible and evidently unnecessary.
As a web extra on this MASSIVE post, sister Michael has a much more detailed explanation of what CFG is, and why you, a food lover, should care about this issue.
The processes of unconventional mining for gas, which includes fracking , use high pressure gas to fracture coal and rock seams deep underground, to release natural gas. Fracking involves injecting water, sand and chemical additives (including acids, salts, gelatine and enzymes) into the well under extremely high pressure, which then expands the fractures in the coal seams. As the name suggests, the gas is captive in coal seams relatively close to the surface and close to, or in contact with, underground water supplies. Those supplies are a valuable agricultural resource and a significant proportion of the state’s agricultural production is watered by bores tapping into those aquifers. The gas released from the coal beds is methane, and has about four times the impact that carbon dioxide has as a greenhouse gas. People, who live in areas attractive to the coal seam gas industry, are in imminent danger of having their livelihood and way of life destroyed . But that’s not all, fracking has the potential to cause many more serious long term problems, with the loss of valuable water and fertile land for producing food. This is a very important issue that will affect everyone, even those who don’t live in the areas of interest to the CSG companies. Unfortunately the government and mining companies can smell the money, and they are focused on large profits! We can’t afford to let them make arbitrary decisions, which could have such a drastic affect on all our futures. Once our water tables are made toxic through this mining method nothing can be done in the short term to restore water levels in affected wells. It would take many decades – perhaps even centuries – to restore pressures throughout aquifers and the pollution of the water tables would likely be permanent. Some CSG wells, in particular in Queensland, will produce tens of millions of litres of waste water each year. Much of this water is saline and, if released, has the potential to alter the temperature, acidity and chemistry of local streams and lakes, wiping out plants and animals. Even with best practices adopted, accidents still happen. In the Pilliga, for example, thousands of litres of saline water have already been released, killing trees near one CSG drilling site. The chemistry of untreated saline water can cause topsoils to break down and wash away so, in this form, it can’t be recycled for agriculture. To date, most CSG waste has been stored in ponds, but this is an unsatisfactory solution. As the water evaporates, the salts in it concentrate, forming brines. Over time, there’s a risk that the ponds will leak into underlying aquifers, or the brines will escape into the surface water during floods. Our regulatory framework is playing catch-up: creating guidelines on the fly .This isn’t inspiring confidence in the expansion of the sector, and as mistakes are made, the effects will be felt for generations.
And on Monday everything was happening locally on the anti-CSG protest front, with constant news updates of protestors arrested & chaining themselves to equipment – further info on this issue:
csgfree Byron Bay: face book: csgfreebyronbay
e-mail: csgfree firstname.lastname@example.org
Lock the Gate website: https://lockthegate.org.au/
CSGFREE northern Rivers: http://www.csgfreenorthernrivers.org/
There are updates on both these issues in the Wed 8.1.13 issue (and probably lots more to come) of the local paper, The Echo
British chef Jamie Oliver again dominated Australian non-fiction book sales, with 2 cookbooks selling more than 4 times as many copies as the number 3 on the list, the Guinness Book of Records. On the general bestseller list, he was only beaten by the trilogies of 50 Shades of Grey and the Hunger Games. So a starving Jamie being pursued through a forest by a dominatrix, as he whips up 2 minute recipes with grass & the odd ant would be an obvious winner.
Meantime scientists at Newcastle Uni in the UK has found that supermarket ready to eat meals are healthier than the recipes of the top celebrity TV chefs in Britain, including Jamie. The researchers found the recipes of the TV chefs included much more energy, protein, fat and saturated fat, and less fibre. The chefs included Nigella Lawson & a baking book, so no surprise there on fat content, but I am a bit surprised that Jamie Oliver’s recipes were also found to be quite unhealthy. The researchers however did not examine the micronutrient content or the presence of artificial preservatives, flavours, colourings, or stabilisers. The study also says no recipe from a television chef or any ready-to-cook meal met World Health Organisation guidelines on avoiding diseases caused by diet.
A wonderful mysterious corporate donor has given the Bangalow Museum and Tea Room, a volunteer organisation that runs a bunch of community and charity projects, a new chook pen and raised garden beds. And 14 workers from the company will help out with the project.
Good things happening in Mullum – Dirt Club is a series of fun educational workshops for kids running for three Wednesdays this January at the Mullumbimby Community Garden. At the workshops your children can learn about the garden and the dynamic relationships in nature that create a rich and yummy food patch.
They will learn how we coexist with the creatures in the natural world, how to nurture seedlings, conjure up fantastic compost, and of course share the abundance of the harvest from the garden.
Parents are welcome join in or just be near by. It is ok to tag team with your mates and bring a few kids in. The workshops start on Wednesday January 9 with “dirtgirl day’, get those Dirtgirl fans along, then Wednesdays January 16 and 23
It is $20 for half a day, and $30 for a whole day. If you are really keen, there are ways to get involved in exchange for free places. Ring Saintinna on 0402170846
BAKING FOR DOGS
Look for this very very pink book in your local library : Baking for your dog, by Ingeborg Pils, Parragon Publishing
Go on youtube for many many videos on baking treats/biscuits at home, I recommend the Divas can Cook video for the great voice alone.
And the Divas can Cook blogger is the one that opened my eyes to a large network of dog bakeries in the USA, it sounds like there is one in every neighbourhood – not a bad idea for a little local business.
Even if you will never in your life cook for your pet, there is an interesting article here on all the foods that could harm your dog, including some local favourites like avocado and macadamias. Just a few macas could kill your dog apparently.
love and chocolate from sister Tess, who has finally worked out why carob was invented – to put in dog food.
On air on Byron Bay’s bayfm 99.9 community radio on 31 December 2012
Happy New Year dear belly listeners. For this last show of the year I found a few juicy bits from 2012 (actually I found so many that I think I will try to fit in a few more in the coming weeks). We had party nibble suggestions from Sicily (yum) and from scientists (hmmm). And I was finally able to dedicate most of an hour to my favourite 2012 Byron Bay writers festival panel. I really wanted to bring you most of the panel discussion so you could follow the thoughts, the philosophical musings, the enthusiastic book recommendations, & the entertaining arguments. The topic (in theory) was ‘real food’, the participants Gay Bilson, Charlotte Wood, and Mungo MacCallum, chaired by Caroline Baum. If you missed any of it, the audio links are below.
PARTY FOOD/NEW YEAR NIBBLES
I just had Christmas with my mum Franca, and with Rosaria,Enzo,Anita,Francesco,Augusto & Augusto Mario and lots of dogs, a mix of Northern & Southern Italians, so a big variety of delicious dishes on the Christmas table, finishing with colourful Sicilian cassata. Of course, being Italian, as we were digesting on Christmas evening we had to start talking about what one eats for New Year, so I recorded it for you.
New Year in Sicily – audio
I have asked Rosaria, Francesco’s mum, for her pastella recipe, will pop it here when/if I get it.
2012 BYRON BAY WRITERS FESTIVAL PANEL – REAL FOOD
Just the audio for now, my brain is boiling in this weather, but there is plenty of info in the August belly archives on these talented & opinionated panellists.
real food panel at bbwf 2012 part 1 – audio
real food panel at bbwf 2012 part 2 – audio
On air on bayfm 99.9 community radio Byron Bay on 17 December 2012
Merry Christmas dear bellysisters, or happy Hannukah, or a joyous solstice, or a lovely gathering with friends and family to you.
Today the bellysisters tried to help you have a stress free celebration by focusing on some classic elements of the traditional feast that sometimes result in disaster, and by suggesting a few new things to try. We had the talented help of Gavin Hughes, head chef at the Byron at Byron resort and spa, a delightful man who is not afraid of owning up to liking a mushy carol or two. He hails from Scotland, so he knows his way around a turkey, but much prefers a relaxed, mostly cold meal that can be prepared ahead, leaving more time for family, beach cricket and sparkling wine. Miss December made a special return visit to help out with stuffing and gravy, and our baking bellysister Deanna worked her way around the different types of icing over a Christmas drink, and shared little cookies to decorate with the kids. And we wrapped up the year of the farmer with food historian Dr Adele Wessell from Southern Cross University, who talked about the Landed Histories project.
GAVIN’S COOL CHRISTMAS
“Being Scottish the weather is back to front, re summer here and snowing in Scotland as we speak. Therefore I have had to change the often heavy traditional dinner for a lighter, healthier, and in fact easier approach to Christmas lunch/ dinner. This enables us to embrace the healthier lifestyle/ climate to go out doors and often play beach cricket or just a relaxing stroll along the beach. It also important to have a stress free experience, spend more time with your family/ friends and organise as much in advance ( food) the day before. It also allows more room for sparkling wine, instead of the Scottish tradition of heavy roast dinner followed by a massive collapse to the sofa to watch a rerun of a movies watched in previous years.”
Here are a few of Gavin’s suggestions.
No 1 – cook ahead and not on the day.
On the day, just prepare salads, sliced fruit. If you do salads try things like the Italian panzanella (tomato and bread) – salads that get better when they sit around for a bit
On previous days, get plenty of local charcuterie, cheeses, prepared nibbles that can be served cold.
Make things like gravlax (more below), pickled vegetables.
Luscious soft summer berries/ strawberries/ blueberries for trifles as well as good old pavlova.
If you do decide to roast a turkey, go on the bone, not too big, rub it well with oil, maybe cover it with bacon, use a meat thermometer to make sure it is cooked inside. Maybe try local honey macadamia nuts in the stuffing.
FROM THE BELLY LAB – WHISKY GRAVLAX RECIPE by Sister T, adapted from dramming.com
Gavin Hughes mentioned that he usually makes gravlax at this time of year. He gave us a few tips on air, since there are a lot of variations on this very simple recipe. I have tried making gravlax a few times and sometimes it is a bit dry. Gavin leaves the fish to cure only 1 day instead of the usual 48 hours, then checks it and usually that is enough time. And he mentioned that he makes WHISKY gravlax as a nod to his Scottish roots. Now we love a good malt in the belly convent, so I immediately had to experiment. It’s a sign of an inspiring guest that you have to run off and cook what s/he talked about isn’t it?
I happen to have bought for the first time a lovely light but smoky malt called Ardberg, and the first recipe that comes up on a net search, a very promising website called “Dramming”, recommends that very drop for this recipe. But any good & at least a bit peaty/smoky malt should work. You don’t need much, one miniature will be enough for cure and sauce.
a fish sandwich - or whisky gravlax about to spend a day curing
WHISKY CURED FISH
original recipe here
2 evenly matched fillets of fresh salmon on the skin (or try ocean trout) – 600 to 800 g is plenty for 6-8 entree servings
1 tbs single malt whisky
30 g. raw sugar
30 g. rock salt
a few dill or fennel fronds (dill is traditional, I had fennel available and it worked fine)
Tweezer out any bones, rinse & pat dry fish.
In a porcelain or glass bowl that will fit the fish lying flat and sandwiched flesh to flesh, pour the whisky over the fish, leave for a few minutes.
Mix salt and sugar, cover fish all over the flesh, cover bottom piece with dill or fennel, pop the other piece on top, skin outmost.
Cover with plastic wrap close to the fish, then another piece over the top of the bowl (one of the few times I use plastic wrap in the kitchen, you could try baking paper and a small plate on top). Place a weight on top of the fish – I used a small plate and a bag of rice on the plate.
Refrigerate for 24 hours, swap the top & bottom piece about half way through the cure.
After 24 hours, check if the flesh looks firmer, taste for delicious light cured flavour & texture. Wipe excess salt off or leave longer.
Skin and slice the fish, keep a little cure liquid for sauce.
Adjust to taste a blend of dijon mustard, macadamia oil, lemon juice, the same whisky that went in the cure, lots of chopped fennel or dill, pepper, maybe salt, honey, a little of the cure liquid (filtered). Serve on top of the fish or in a little bowl separately.
Also goes very nicely with chargrilled carrots for the vegetarian friends.
And do check out that dramming website if you like whisky – they even have a whole whisky flavoured Christmas dinner!
MISS DECEMBER UNSTUFFS THE STUFFING & YUMS UP THE GRAVY
recipes and words by Miss December Alison Drover
Grab a box of cherries and make your own Christmas decorations this year from all your old paper even newspaper is great or wander around the garden and see what you can find to dress the home. Please leave the Christmas trees in the ground or create your own from branches or improvised items.
Bake from scratch this Christmas and focus on the process rather than elaborate menus. Real custard, gravy and stuffing from heaven rather than rushing these things take time and work on making these the best your can.
CHRISTMAS GRAVY– made in advance to save you time on the day
You basically roast some chicken wings with onions, carrots, celery (the holy trinity for flavour) with some star anise, rosemary and sage. Add flour, water, simmer and there you have it… a stress-free Christmas gravy.
• 10 chicken wings
• 2 carrots
• 2 peeled onions
• 2 celery sticks
• 2 large rosemary stalks
• 6 sage leaves
• 2 star anise
• olive oil
• 60 ml port or sherry (optional)
• optional 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
Serves: one turkey or chicken
Roughly chop the celery, carrots and onions. Put them in a roasting tray with some salt and pepper, star anise, sage leaves, rosemary and the chicken wings. If you bash the wings up a bit first the gravy’s flavour will be deeper. Add a good slug of olive oil and roast for 1 hour at 180c. Take out of the oven and put the tray over a medium heat on the hob. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of plain flour, which will thicken the gravy and soak up the fat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring all the time. Then add 2 litres of hot water, boil vigorously for 10 minutes and then simmer for 30 minutes. Add the port or sherry if using.
Pour the mixture into a sieve over a bowl and push as much as you can through the holes. Wait until it is cooled to room temperature, put it into containers or freeze bags for the freezer.
Just before you need the gravy….
Take it out of the freezer so it can defrost whilst cooking your turkey or chicken. When the bird is cooked put a carving knife in the cavity so you can lift it up so the juices run out. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons fat then pour your gravy into the roasting pan with juices. Place it on the stove and bring to the boil making sure you scrape the up all the tasty bits from the bottom of the pan. Taste and then if you like add the marmalade. Once the gravy is hot strain it into a saucepan and then return it to a low heat until you need it. Skim any fat before transferring into a jug and onto the table ready to enjoy.
STUFFING LOCAL AND SEASONED – LIMONCELLO, CINNAMON, PECAN AND SAGE
**Please note for the vegetarian option omit the bacon/pancetta
• butter about 200 grams to cook with
• 2 large leeks washed and chopped (or 2 onion chopped finely)
• chunks of sourdough torn into pieces about half a bread slice in size
• 200g pecans local
• bunch of sage leaves picked
8 sprigs of thyme – leaves removed
• 6 rashers of bacon or pancetta chopped
• 1 lemon juice and zest
• 1 tablespoon cinnamon
• Limoncello – local lemon liquor available from farmers market about ½ cup to 1 cup depending on you (if you do not want to use this you can use juice or 1 lemon and a tablespoon of honey instead.
• 1 cup currants
• salt and pepper
Soak your currants in Limocello or alternative for about 20 mins.
Fry up your leeks in a pan sweating them first so that they do not darken. Remove from the frypan and set aside. Add your chunks of bread frying them and the bacon. Once cooked add the currants, lemon zest, cinnamon, cooked leeks, sage and chopped pecans. Ensure everything is well combined and then remove from the stove ready to stuff the bird.
Hint: Lift the skin on the turkey or Give your turkey a good wipe, inside and out, with paper towels, and place it on a board, with the neck end towards you. Find the edge of the skin that’s covering the turkey’s breasts and gently peel it back. Work your fingers and then your hand under the skin, freeing it from the meat. If you’re careful you should be able to pull all the skin away from the meat, keeping it attached at the sides. Go slowly and try not to make any holes! Lift the loose skin at the neck end and spoon the stuffing between the skin and the breast, tucking the flap of skin underneath to stop anything leaking out. At the other end, starting at the side of the cavity just above the leg, use a spoon to work your way between the skin and the meat.
Gluten free version with Nimbin [if available] brown rice.
Follow the recipe above however omit the sourdough bread and instead boil up 2 cups of brown rice until the rice is about 3-4 minutes from cooked. Drain and add another teaspoon of cinnamon and mix all the above ingredients with the rice. Stuff inside the bird and cook as according to your time.
The rice version or the gluten free version can be used as a stuffing for capsicums or as a side dish for other vegetarian dishes. It is fairly rich stuffing so choose a dish that is fairly simple to complement it.
HOLIDAY BAKING WITH DEANNA
1 ½ cups flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup unsalted butter-room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 large egg beaten
Beat butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and beat.
Mix flour, salt and baking soda in separate bowl. Add to butter and sugar and mix until smooth.
Heat oven to 170 degrees
Line baking trays with baking paper
Roll out dough until 1cm thick-keep turning on floured surface so it doesn’t stick
Cut into shapes and chill in fridge on baking sheet for 15 min.
Bake in oven 8-10 minutes
2 large egg whites
2tsp lemon juice
3 cups icing sugar
Beat egg whites and lemon juice. Add sugar and beat on low until combined.
Add food colouring to separate portions and mix.
Can spread with a knife over cookies, or can put into piping bag for decorating. If you do not have piping bags or tips, can put icing into small ziplock bag and cut small tip off corner to squeeze icing through (this is what I do with my kids when they ice cookies)
Best possible news – a lot less people are dying from hunger, according to a report financed by the Gates foundation and co-ordinated by the University of Washington. Over the last 20 years, there has been a sharp fall in deaths from malnutrition & diseases like measles & tuberculosis, reflecting an improvement in sanitation, health services and access to food in the developing world. Infant mortality is also down. On the other hand, more of us are dying from rich country diseases like cancer & diabetes. Maybe the next step is for more of us to be able to choose what to eat, and help counter those diseases too.
My other bulletin item is more of a Christmas present idea – if you are into giving experiences rather than objects, have a look at the many cooking classes & eating experiences available locally, from your local cafes and restaurants to one off dinners. Maybe give someone the chance to try out vegan food for the first time with Anthea Amore, of Organic Passion.
Or go to one of the Indian pop up dinners hosted by Matt % Chris, inspired by travels through India. The next feast is scheduled for Sunday 20th of January 6pm bookings can be made by phoning: Matt- 0402 235 435 or Kris- 0429 456 299
For classes, check out Byron College, or the Bangalow Cooking School, or the Burringbar hall. Deb Allard has cheesemaking classes there in early January, & remember, blessed are the cheesemakers, & their friends.
If you know of other classes or events, send us an email on email@example.com & I will put the info online
& of course, there are lots of fabulous locally produced edible gifts, try the markets or a local shop, and cookbooks by local authors.
Love and chocolate covered elves (just start pouring from the tip of their pointy little hats – they will naturally keep their mouths and noses clear by licking), Sister Tess
or if you prefer, love & rum cream stuffed, chocolate covered panettone (it went tropical this year). The recipe is in sweets.
On air on Byron Bay’s bayfm 99.9 community radio on 10 December, 2012
Today on belly we talked about our precious bees. Leah Roland from the Bangalow Cooking School shared some honey stories & honey recipes, but in the first hour of belly we focused mostly on the essential role they play in pollination. Without them our tables would be pretty empty. Some say the world as we know it will end shortly after the last bee disappears. But this is not a gloomy belly, there are many people getting together to help the bees. We met a wonderful panel of farmers and beekeepers, found out how we can get involved, & learned lots more about our Australian native bees. Kat came from the new group Mullumbimbees, Eric Smith and James Creagh from Federal, to talk about natural beekeeping of the European honey bee. Eric is a very new beekeeper. He has found that bees like very calm people, and he enjoys their company. Actually all the guests, and Sister Cath who has several native hives, seem to love watching the bees. Frank Adcock, farmer, native bee specialist & neighbour of Sister Cath’s came from Federal. It was good to see them share knowledge, & the love of bees, together as well as with listeners. We finished the show with a walk around Heather and Hugh Armstrong’s tomato farm at Cooper Shoot, where they also have the help of little blue banded native bees. Frank says they are solitary bees, but Hugh and Heather like the work even just a few of these little creatures do. All the more reason to have plenty of native and other flowers around our homes, and feed all the different types of bees.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BEES AND BEEKEEPING
There is loads of information about beekeeping both in books and the internet, but not all may work for you. Malcolm Sanfordn& Richard Bonney in ‘Storey’s guide to keeping honey bees’, start by saying:
“Like the bees in their colony working together to survive, no individual human can succeed alone when it comes to caring for this social insect”.
So we are very lucky that the Northern Rivers is positively buzzing with beekeeping mutual help groups. They have newsletters, workshops, order hive materials as a group, get together to make hives, and of course share lots of information.
James Creagh as the beekeeping prophet
James recommends you try to see the Queen Of the Sun – Documentary about the plight of bees with some positive approaches.
Planned screening in Mullum in February 2013. Date to be announced.
Queen of the Sun is also available as a book from your local library.
T Siegel and J Betz (ed) www.clairviewbooks.com
General info about bees - http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/livestock/honey-bees/management/responsibilities/backyard
Contacts for Mullumbimbees Natural Beekeeping group - firstname.lastname@example.org
Workshop “Introduction to Natural Beekeeping ” - January 2013 Booking email@example.com
General Info about “Natural Beekeeping” - http://naturalbeekeeping.com.au/naturalbeekeeping.html
Nimbin Natural Beekeepers – firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet 1st Sunday of each month
Nimbin Natural Beekeepers - hive making work bee
Australian native bees
native bee box entrance
If you are in the Lismore/Casino area, our guest Frank Adcock is not only a farmer and native beekeeper, but a teacher.
Caring for Native Bees - Tutor Frank Adcock
The course introduces you to Australian native beekeeping and gives you the knowledge and confidence to care for your bees. You will be studying the stingless social species trigona carbonaria, a true blue Australian bee which is native to our area. These little creatures are amazing to watch as they work, they don’t sting so the honey can be harvested safely, and they are great pollinators of local fruit and nut trees. If you think you might like to give a hive a home, come along to this
when & where
Lismore Saturday 9 February,2013 and Saturday 11 May, 2013
Casino Saturday 23 February, 2013.
There are lots of photos and information about native bees on this website:
native bee box in 8 year old macadamia trees
Even for those of us who don’t intend to formally set up a native bee colony, it’s a good idea to get to know them, so we don’t mistakenly kill them thinking they are wasps. I had a chat to Kerry & Lorraine from Monty’s Strawberries at the farmers market. They decided to get some native bees this year, after seeing very few honeybees in their area. They are very happy with them, not only because the strawberries had a great season, but because their grandkids can play among the bees with no danger of getting stung. We are lucky to have several stingless bees in Eastern Australia, including the commercially used variety trigona carbonaria. Frank told us that in Brisbane, native bees are colonising water meters, not an ideal spot. But if we put a specially designed box or two in the garden for them, they will set up there in preference to odd little locations around human houses.
PLANTS FOR BEES
James Creagh and Peter Stace (who is from Jiggi near Lismore), are putting together a list of plants that bees love. The more food is available for bees, the more honey there will be for all of us, but more importantly, the more healthy productive plants, both in home gardens and local farms.
This list is a work in progress, feel free to contribute.
Alyssum, Balsam, Aster, Catmint, Cornflower, Convolvulus,
Cornflower, Cosmos, Crocus, French Marigold, Mallow, Nasturtium, Poppy,
Sunflower, Zinnia, Nasturtium , Sunflower
Fuchsia, Geranium, Hebe (Veronica), Hollyhock, Kniphophia
(Red Hot Poker), Lavender, Marjoram, Salvias, Rosemary, Thyme, Veronica, Citrus
Banksia, Bottlebrush, Calistamons, Eucalypts, Wattles,Flame Tree
Eucalypts – Most honey produced in Australia is produced from the nectar of Eucalyptus trees.
Lemon Balm, Basil, Hyssop, Lavender, Marjoram, Mint family
(Labiatae), Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savoury, Thyme, Oregano – have large numbers
of bee attracting flowers, Borage.
JAMES’S QUICK MEAD RECIPE
Mix 1 part cappings with 4 parts water.
If using honey use 1 part honey to 6 parts water.
Allow to stand overnight covered with cotton cloth.
Drain off wax next day.
Optional add juiced fruit in season e.g. Mulberries, plum, jaboticaba,ginger etc.
Allow to stand for a few days checking each day for taste. Depending on the temperature it will begin to ferment in a few days. Stir each day you check and when tasting good bottle up. The longer it ferments the more alcohol content in the mead.
LEAH’S GREEK HONEY & WALNUT BISCUITS
“Melomakarona” which happens to be a Greek Christmas Cookie
1 cup olive oil
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice and the zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup brown or white sugar
4 ½ – 5 cups self-raising flour
1 cup of walnuts coarsely ground
¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup of honey
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup chopped walnuts, extra
1. Preheat oven to 180C (or 160C for fan-forced).
2. Make syrup ahead of time so it can be cool. For the syrup, combine sugar, honey, cinnamon & water. Bring to boil for 5 mins.
3. Mix the oil, orange juice, zest, sugar, nuts, spices and flour until smooth. The dough should be soft and not sticky you may need extra flour
4. Shape biscuits into elongated egg shape (approx 30-40gram each) Place on a lined baking trays lined with baking paper. Be sure not to over crowd as the biscuit will double in size in the baking process.
5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Remove hot biscuit and place a few at a time in the cooled syrup. Allow the biscuit to drink up a little of the syrup.
Remove and place onto a cooling rack. Sprinkle top with ground up walnuts whilst still wet.
Once cooled, store in an airtight container.
Makes about 60 biscuits that keep well for a week great with a long black! Or a macchiato
Recipe by Leah Roland Bangalow Cooking School
Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish bellysisters. Hanukkah the Jewish festival of lights is on right now. It is the time to light candles, sing, give gifts, & eat food fried in oil, especially olive oil, including fried potato pancakes and jam doughnuts. Also eating cheese products is popular. Now that’s a good way to celebrate.
If you like to eat & drink with artists check out the open evening this Thursday on the Byron arts & industry estate arts trail. Lots of galleries will be open & will have nibbles,& drinks, at some places you can take food to share & enjoy the art,entertainment, film screeenings, & company. Check out local papers or www.facebook.com/byronartstrail
Francisco Smoje’s last pop up dinner of the year will be in Federal this Saturday 15 December at 7pm. Lots of lovely ripe tomatoes on the menu. BYO, $55 a head, vegetarian optios will be available, bookings essential. More info & to book:
BELLY TOMATO SAFARI
Heather & Hugh in the tomato jungle
A big thank you to Heather and Hugh Armstrong of Coopers Shoot Tomatoes for the tour of their farm and their advice on growing good tomatoes in our veggy patches.
You will find more audio from the visit in last week’s belly post.
If you only have a few minutes, listen to their top tips from 14 years of tomato growing, and their favourite ways to cook tomatoes, in this audio clip:
audio – tomato growing and cooking tips
If you have a bit more time, join Hugh, Heather and Sister T on a tour of the farm. This is a longer interview of the tour than the one I played on belly, but for copyright reasons it doesn’t have the safari music samples. I hope you enjoy your visit, it starts with a discussion of some of the animals that help out on the farm, from cows to bees.
audio – Sister Tess on belly tomato safari at Coopers Shoot Tomatoes
ox heart tomatoes
Arthur Askey – the bee song
Itzak Perlman performing Rimsky-Korsakov’s flight of the bumblebee
Jez Mead – beard of bees
Slim Harpo – I’m a king bee
Taj Mahal – Queen bee
Francois Couperin, a little mead flavoured medieval magic – tracks from Concert Royal No4 in E minor, performed by Le Rondeau de Paris
Van Morrison – Tupelo honey
Minipop – my little bee
The Rolling Stones – dead flowers – sorry it was short Hugh, we talk too much!
Love and chocolate flowers (that’s to attract the bees that make nutella), sister T
On air on Byron Bay’s Bayfm 99.9 community radio on December 3, 2012
This was a packed & delicious show as we celebrated 10 years of something that has changed so much in the food culture of this area, the farmers market in Byron Bay, with the first manager Joni Teal, the new markets president, avocado farmer & guacamole queen Kaye Shadbolt, and original stallholders Heather & Hugh Armstrong of Coopers Shoot Tomatoes. We also had Miss December’s seasonal deliciousness, & a report from the recent food tourism conference in the Barossa by Karena & Peter Wynn Moylan. Even a singing school principal!
BYRON BAY FARMERS MARKET TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY
The Byron Bay Farmers Market is 10 this month. Get thee to the market on Thursday December 6, dear bellysister, for a full range of fun from 7am – 11am:
- Hoopla Circus
- Cupcake the clown
- Celebrity guest chefs’ cooking & free samples (Clayton Donovan, Gavin Hughes, Sarah Swan, Victoria Cosford and Garden to Kitchen’s Julie & Phil)
-Special Guests (The Farmer Wants a Wife’s Natalie Gruelinzki, Justine Elliott, Simon Richardson)
- Live Music (various local artists)
- Farmers Recipe Magazine Launch is at 8am
Official presentations and cake cutting is at 10.30am.
Kaye Shadbolt. avocado farmer and the new markets committee president, was on belly and talked about how the local market scene
Kaye and Chris armed with an eski of guacamole
compares with what is happening nationally. She was involved with the market from when it was a glimmer in a few people’s minds, inspired by both a desire for a more ecologically sound food economy, and the need to support local farmers. The message that came through loud and clear from everyone who was on the show today is that we have one of the best set up markets around the country, and we should be proud of it. Kaye looked positively chuffed when she related the positive comments from people she met with her partner Chris Casagrande as they visited markets around Australia.
Kaye has been selling her ‘Nanna Kaye’ guacamole on her stall for a few years, and she is sharing the recipe with us. Thanks Kaye!
2.00 kg of ripe avocados
100ml of lemon juice
5 teaspoons of sweet chilli sauce (optional amount)
1 teaspoon of salt
Peel and remove seeds from avocados
Combine with other ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Makes about 5 x 200ml tubs.
Can be kept in fridge for 3-5 days or can be frozen.
[mmm.... I have the feeling the secret is in that chilli sauce - or maybe Kaye's avocadoes. Kaye says that this is really a recipe that you have to adapt to your own taste]
- and by popular request, Kaye has also given us her chilli sauce recipe.
CHILLI SAUCE (Kaye says these are just guidelines)
Mince fresh chilli in processor. ( I use medium strength)
Put in saucepan with enough lemon juice to make not too thick.
Lots of raw sugar – I use about 1kg for a large pot-full
Salt – about 1 tablespoon per 1kg of raw sugar.
Simmer for at least 1/2 hour
Keeps well in sterilized glass jars with metal lids, that are still hot.
( I sterilize glass jars and lids by putting on tray in oven, 100-150 for
about 1/2 hour, while chilli is cooking)
The St Finnbar’s Catholic School in Byron Bay is putting on a huge Christmas Fair this Saturday, including a ‘mini taste of Byron’ with stalls from several local restaurants:
- Fishheads’ Seafood BBQ
- Cypress Tree slow-cooked shoulder of lamb and salad and marinated grilled octopus
- The Beach Cafe’s tomato, basil and goat-cheese tarts fresh and warm straight from the oven
- Fat Belly Kaf’s saffron, mint and chilli grilled chicken with jewelled rice and pumpkin, feta and pine nuts pastries served with tzatziki and salad
- Earth n Sea’s kids pasta
Sound yum? Of course all the more traditional (and usually extremely vegan unfriendly) Christmas baked goods will be on offer too, dripping with butter and sugar!
Terra Madre Day is a worldwide celebration held every year on December 10 to reconnect communities with local food. Organized by Slow Food since 2009, each year over 1000 unique events show the diversity of our food cultures. Find an event near you or create one, big or small, wherever you are on the planet. Or just have a look at what is happening around the world, on www.slowfood.com
Nominations open for the ABC Delicious magazine awards for food producers, from earth. sea, paddock & dairy, & Outstanding Farmers’ Market – Shoppers, producers and market managers are invited to nominate their candidate for this prestigious best practice national award
Indonesia’s fresh fruit industry has sent produce to Australia for the first time, lovely mangosteens which arrived last Thursday. Previously they were unable to, mainly because of Australia’s strict quarantine rules. Banun Harpini, the Head of the Indonesian Quarantine Agency, says the company is working with hundreds of small farmers to grow and pick fruit, and ensure they meet our quarantine standards. The breakthrough is important for Indonesia which is keen to prove its food products can be of international quality. Getting produce into Australia shows that they can meet very stringent standards. Hopefully you will never cut into a beautiful shiny mangosteen and be covered in ants, as has happened to Sister T in Thailand. Fabulous fruit if you’ve never tried it, delicate and perfumed.
And there may be a breakthrough in the food labelling wars. Industry has been fighting a traffic light system, bad red, green good, but may agree to a star system similar to that on whitegoods, with more stars for better nutritional content. The Public Health Association of Australia’s Michael Moore says it is a major breakthrough. “The message will be very, very simple and straight forward. If you like, a five star system it’s very good for you,” he said. “Something that only has half a star, well sure, you’ll eat it occasionally, but it’s not a food you would choose for its nutrition value.” Negotiations will continue under the guidance of the Federal Department of Health, but industry and public health advocates hope to have an agreement on a star system ready for state and federal ministers early next year.
BELLY CHRISTMAS – recipes and words by Miss December Alison Drover
Grab a box of cherries and make your own Christmas decorations this year from all your old paper even newspaper is great or wander around the garden and see what you can find to dress the home. Please leave the Christmas trees in the ground or create your own from branches or improvised items.
Bake from scratch this Christmas and focus on the process rather than elaborate menus. Real custard, gravy and stuffing from heaven rather than rushing these things take time and work on making these the best your can.
NECTARINE, GINGER AND DATE CHUTNEY RECIPE
Chutney is a great accompaniment to Christmas. Aside from using it on the day it can be served with a tasty cheese like Parmesan or pecorino and can be added to a left over Turkey or Chicken curry a few days after the Christmas or for vegetarian dishes like frittata, roast vegetables or quiches. Chutney making is flexible however and of course you can improvise which is great depending on fruit quality and availability.
Choose fruit, which is ripe but firm
Make sure you season well and account for the fact that flavours may intensify when they settle
Adjust your support fruit i.e. dates in this instance to the amount of fruit you have and size i.e. you may have smaller nectarine sand therefore need less dates
Spice accordingly and be creative i.e. you could add coriander seeds to this recipe
Make sure you don’t fry the onion in any chutney recipe it should be sweated
Prepare your jars well – see notes
10 -15 freestone or combination of peaches & nectarines
250ml sherry vinegar
50g demerara sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 cups of dates
4 small pickling onions or 2 small brown onions
1 small 20g knob fresh ginger
Make the chutney up to a week in advance. Combine the water, sugar and vinegar together in a small saucepan. Crush the cinnamon, star anise and mustard seeds in a mortar and pestle. Add the spices to the water, vinegar and sugar. Chop dates into around 3 pieces.
Simmer very gently until the liquid is reduced by half. Strain the mixture though a fine sieve and discard the spices. Peel and slice the pickling onions in quarters. Peel and finely julienne the ginger. Add the ginger and onions to the remaining vinegar mixture in a fresh saucepan. Very gently sweat the ginger and onions together with the vinegar mix until the onions are just translucent. Remove from the heat.
Peel the nectarines and cut the flesh away from the seeds. Add the nectarine flesh and to the pot with the onion, ginger and vinegar mixture and then add dates. Stir well and simmer on a very low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Use a lid to cover the pot but continue to stir the mixture from time to time throughout the cooking period.
The end result should have the nectarine flesh broken down a little. Place the chutney into sterilized glass jars and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Sterilize all jars and lids prior to potting. One of the following methods can be used.
1.Put the jars and lids in the dishwasher and wash on the hot cycle.
2.Ensure they are completely dry prior to using.
1.Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water and dry
2.Place into an oven set to 140 degrees for 15 minutes on a tray. Turn oven to low and keep warm until ready to use.
3.Remove from the oven with tongs.
1.Set a large pot of water to boil and submerge the jars and lids in the boiling water
2.Rapid boil for 12 minutes.
3.Remove with tongs and place upside down to drain on a tea towel.
4.Ensure the jars are totally dry before potting.
Merry Christmas from Miss December! If you have any questions please email : email@example.com
[tune in to belly on 17 December for Alison's Christmas gravy and stuffing recipes, including vegetarian suggestions]
AUDIO FROM THE SHOW
If you were cooking or eating somewhere really noisy and did not catch every word, here are a few tasty bits from today’s belly.
Joni Teal on belly dec 2004 – Joni Teal was the first manager of the Byron Bay Farmers Market. This is an interview I recorded under the Butler street trees, complete with wind and passing helicopters, to celebrate and look back on the first 2 years of the market. My favourite bit is at the end, when Joni looks forwards to a day when there is a market in every town in this region, including Ballina and Murwillumbah. You got your wish Joni!
John Wilson – The Finnies Christmas Fair – Definitely our first singing school principal on belly, but hopefully not the last! Apparently John writes and performs a song for every one of the St Finbarr’s Catholic School’s events. He recorded this on the morning of the show, when we worked out that he could not get to the studio and do a live number. The least you can do is go to the fair on December 8 and try out their miniature taste of Byron event – tell him you are a belly listener and would like to hear him sing again! Thank you Monique and Denise for coming in and talking about the mini taste of Byron event you are putting on as part of the fair, it sounds delicious. And Denise for telling the listeners that Catholics invented Christmas, I am waiting for responses to that statement.
More info about the fair – https://www.facebook.com/StFinbarrsPrimarySchoolChristmasFair
SUMMERTIME IS TOMATO TIME
Just a few varieties of Coopers Shoot tomatoes
One of the best things I get to do as a belly presenter is farm visits. The best way really to see where our food comes from, but also an opportunity to get to know some really gorgeous people. Good farmers seem to love showing what they do and how they do it, proud parents all really. One of the things that farmers markets allow them to do is to retain a lot more control over their product all the way from deciding what to produce, to handing the produce into the consumer’s hands. Hugh and Heather Armstrong both have deep roots in this region, but they probably would not be farming today without the local markets. And they both obviously love what they do, in spite of the hard work. In the two sound clips below they also talk about the history of the Armstrong farms, which produced the first cream that ever went to the local butter factory, they give advice to anybody thinking about getting into the farming game and into the markets, and they laugh a lot. The background noise is the wind, which apparently is pretty hard to get away from at Coopers Shoot.
Do make sure you tune in next week for a tour of the farm, and Hugh and Heather’s top tomato growing tips. Also a subscriber giveaway for a tomato laced dinner by Francisco at the Federal Hall.
Heather & Hugh Armstrong at Coopers Shoot Tomatoes – part 1
Heather & Hugh Armstrong at Coopers Shoot Tomatoes – part 2
Heather Armstrong in her catburglar farmer outfit, with 3 colours of beet
carefully preserved bird's nest in the tomatoes
love and chocolate guacamole, sister Tess
just a slice of the Byron Bay Farmers Market
Talofa Lava, Sister Rasela swaying amongst island beats to bring you a flavoursome show full of talk and tastes to make your mouth water or even dribble a little bit.
I was lucky enough to roam free through the streets of Mullumbimby yesterday and dance amongst the delights of the music festival, which filled not only my ears but also my belly.
With each step i took i was tempted by someone to listen to or something to eat. I can’t say which i prefer. The two together always makes the perfect combination though i find … don’t you ?
Have a listen to who i came across, what they were eating/selling/cooking/enjoying but i warn you …. there is content in here to cause rumblings of the belly regions so make sure you have food at hand - Mullum festival belly bites
My next guest Sufiyo Ma Deva came in with Tantric tastings of raw chocolate she had made herself and we proceeded to experiment in the awareness of eating and its sensual pleasures. As Sufiyo gave us run down of her life and loves, i went very quiet …. perhaps this was something to do with the flow of flavours and textures that Sufiyo was supplying me with. I attempted to continue the interview but was lost in the land of luciousness each time a new raw chocolate touched my lips, so i asked Sufiyo to continue with the show until i could pull myself together for long enough and actually speak again.
Here is our tantric chat with live tastings and lipsmacking licks mixed in - http://www.mixcloud.com/rachaeltorise/tantric-food-belly-bayfm/
I was then joined by the tweedest lady in the landf Deb Allard who is becoming something of a regular on our belly shows, partly to do with the fact that she has her hardworking fingers in so many homemade pies but mostly because we just love her so much.
She popped her bonce in to tell us all about the upcoming Tweed Valley Food Festival which, if you are reading this, is unfortunately over for another year but that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t know all about it
The Tweed Foodie Fest is a sumptuous celebration of local food, bringing together the tastes, talents and producers of the region. This four day event includes the screening of a “foodie flick”, a signature dinner party, a range of cooking and food preparation workshops and local farm tours.
The festival is an experiential journey to discover Tweed’s produce and gastronomic diversity. It brings the local community and visitors together to share one of Tweed’s greatest pleasures – FOOD.
For further information about the festival please visit www.tweedfoodiefest.com.au.
Stay tunes for belly updates on when this is happening again … ’cause you know we give you the heads up on the lowdown round these parts !
To round off the whole show we joined sister Tess on Safari in the Shire … risky business this is and glad we all are that she managed to come out in one piece. I’ll let her tell the story.