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hot & cold,new & old Christmas; farm histories

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.





“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.




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



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!




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

• salt

• pepper

• 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.




**Please note for the vegetarian option omit the bacon/pancetta

Serves 10


• 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.


Vegetarian stuffing

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.








1‭ ½ ‬cups flour

‭¼ ‬tsp salt

‭½ ‬tsp baking soda

‭½ ‬cup unsalted butter-room temperature

‭½ ‬cup sugar

1‭ ‬large egg beaten

1tsp vanilla


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 & 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.



troppo panettone










bees, honey, mead, tomatoes, & more beezzz

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.





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)


General info about bees -


Contacts for Mullumbimbees Natural Beekeeping group -

Workshop “Introduction to Natural Beekeeping ” -  January 2013 Booking


General Info about “Natural Beekeeping” -

Nimbin Natural Beekeepers –

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.







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.





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.




“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

1 teaspoon

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

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:







berry tomatoes

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


Happy Birthday Byron Bay farmers market

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!




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


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.



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.

Chutney principles

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

200ml water

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.


Sterilizing Jars

Sterilize all jars and lids prior to potting. One of the following methods can be used.

Dishwasher Method: 
1.Put the jars and lids in the dishwasher and wash on the hot cycle.
2.Ensure they are completely dry prior to using.

Oven Method: 
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.

Boiling Method: 
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 :


[tune in to belly on 17 December for Alison's  Christmas gravy and stuffing recipes, including vegetarian suggestions]





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 –




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

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)

Mullum music .. Festival food .. Tantric tastings .. Safari sisters ..

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 -

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

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.




Janella & Miki, 2 tasty new bayfm voices

On air on Bayfm 99.9 community radio Byron Bay on 19 November 2012


Today we are introducing you to two wonderful new presenters for this Bayfm summer season:

Janella Purcell -  Healing Wave

Marika Sosnowski – Babel


Janella has a new cookbook out, Janella’s Wholefood Kitchen, and is sharing two recipes with listeners.



Makes 16 Leaves


1 tbsp tamarind paste

2 tbsp grated coconut palm sugar

1 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp tamari

2 tbsp dried shrimp

2 long red chillies, thinly sliced

2 cups grated carrot

4 tbsp shredded coconut

4 tbsp toasted peanuts, crushed

2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced

1⁄2 cup each of mint and coriander leaves

16 small cooked prawns, peeled and deveined 16 betel leaves


Method – Pound or blitz the tamarind paste, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, tamari and dried shrimp in a mortar and pestle or blender until smooth.

Combine the chilli, carrot, coconut, peanuts, lime leaves, mint, coriander and prawns in a bowl and pour on the tamarind dressing.

Place the betel leaves on a large plate and top with a spoonful of the prawn and coconut mixture, pull out the prawns and place on top. To eat, fold the betel leaf edges over the filling and lightly roll up.




Serves 2



1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight, then drained

1 onion, chopped 1 tsp ground cumin 1⁄2 cup chopped coriander leaves

and stems 1⁄2 cup chopped mint leaves 1 garlic clove, crushed 2 tbsp brown rice flour 1 tsp sea salt 2 tbsp rice bran oil or olive oil plus

extra for frying



2 cups grated carrot

1⁄2 cup raisins

1⁄2 cup orange juice


Green Tahini Dressing

1⁄3 cup hulled tahini (stir the tahini before using it as the oil separates)

1⁄2 cup coriander leaves 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin 1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional) juice of 2 lemons 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 tsp sea salt


To Serve : wholemeal pitta bread

Method – For the falafel, combine all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor and blitz until a thick paste forms. Keep it a little chunky. Place the mixture in the fridge while you prepare the sides.

For the salad, mix together the carrot, raisins and orange juice in a bowl. Set aside.

For the tahini, process all the ingredients in a food processor, or mix together in a bowl with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning and/or consistency using a little more water or lemon juice, if needed.

Using about 1 tablespoon for each falafel, mould the falafel mixture into football shapes with your hands. Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat and shallow- or deep-fry the falafel in batches until golden on all sides, without overcrowding your pan. (It’s up to you how much oil you use to fry them.) Drain on paper towel.

Serve the falafel on a platter with the pitta bread, salad and tahini.


on the farm

On air on bayfm 99.9 community radio Byron Bay on 12 November 2012


Today Sister Cath and Sister Di talked with two local farmers, Ian Mulligan and Pam Brook.

And they shared a couple of their favourite seasonal recipes.




Nectarines, peaches, mangoes, solana tomatoes, asparagus, sweet corn, beans




Heat a barbecue plate on medium high. Spray capsicum with oil. Cook for 10 minutes or until chard on all sides. Transfer to a cold bowl, place plastic wrap over dish and let cool for 5 mins.

Peel and remove seeds roughly chop and place into a bowl with

Olives. Whisk oil, vinegar and salt and pepper in a jug and add to salad. Sprinkle with basil.

Cook asparagus on barbecue plate for 5 minute until just tender. Cook haloumi on barbecue plate for 1-2 minutes until golden.

Transfer to serving plate, serve asparagus and haloumi with salad and a crusty baguette.

Ingredients: 3 red capsicum, olive oil cooking spray, 1 cup green olives,2 tbs virgin olive oil,1 tbs white wine vinegar, ½ cup basil leaves,3 bunches of asparagus;2x250g packets haloumi cut into 1.5 slices, crusty baguette.





Shred lime leaves finely, wash and finely chop coriander roots. Reserve coriander sprigs. Combine lime leaves coriander roots chilli and coconut milk and a ceramic dish. Add salmon fillets and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Halve cucumbers and dice; remove cheeks of mango, scoop out flesh and dice. Add mango to bowl with cucumber. Chop half the reserved coriander sprigs and add to the mango and cucumber mix.

Preheat the barbecue to high, oil the plate. Remove salmon from the marinade and cook skin side up for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Turn and cook to your liking. Serve salmon with steamed rice or quinoa, cucumber salad and a lime wedge.

Ingredients: 4 kaffir lime leaves, 1 bunch of coriander,2 long red chillies,165 ml can coconut milk,4 salmon fillets 2 Lebanese cucumbers, 1 large mango, 1 tbs vegetable oil, lime wedges and steamed rice.


Seven bellysisters improvise

On air on bayfm 99.9 community radio Byron Bay on 5 November 2011



In the grand tradition of how many people can you squeeze into a Mini, seven bellysisters seven were in the studio today for the first of our summer season bigger better bellys.

And since a studio filled with bellysisters is likely to be a pretty crazy place anyway, today’s belly was all about improvising and making do with kitchen tools and ingredients.  And we had plenty of help from our delicious listeners, who called with lots of stories of improvising with kitchen tools and ingredients, encouraged by a prizes donated by lovely Bangalow Farmers Market stallholders.

If the prize had been given to the most peculiar entry, the listener who used dental floss to get a stuck cake out of the tin would have won unanimously.  And our favourite internet suggestions were using a flat rock if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, and someone called Wharf on a fishing website who had a healthy orange juice for breakfast when camping, then poaches an egg using the empty orange half on the coals.  Genius.


LISTEN to a few of the interesting ways your neighbours have fun and improvise with food.  Sometimes because they are alone on a small boat charting the coat and living off the land, sometimes just to see if two things that look good together taste good together too.


Bangalow Farmers Market improvisers


Sister Rasela collects a few improvisers


And then we had a visit by Dr Siggy Fried, out and proud bad cook, who improvises on improvising, and believes on lashings of tomato sauce as a most effective way to fix unfortunate flavour developments in your cooking.  The bellysisters advise you to be extremely cautious when following any of Dr Siggy’s advice.  It has been known to lead to divorce, sudden loss of friends and severe intestinal discomfort.  and that’s just the entree.


Dr Siggy Fried improvises



Sister Deanna, our fabulous home baker, who always gets her dough, is continuing her ‘Easy as Pie’ series with some “random baking”.  This time  it involves delicious big bags of mulberries.  But Deanna regularly is showered with large gifts of fruit, which the giver is kinda sorta hoping will come back baked into something delicious.  So she experiments a lot, and often with fruit that she has hardly seen before.



BUTTERMILK SCONES – by Deanna Sudmals


2 ½ cups self raising flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

¼ tsp salt

40g butter-chilled and chopped into small pieces

1 ¼ cups buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 220 degrees/200 fan-forced

Mix flour and sugar in bowl, rub in butter with finger tips

Make a well in the middle of the mixture and add buttermilk. Cut the buttermilk through the mixture with a knife till comes together in a sticky soft dough.

Gently knead on a floured surface until it is smooth, but do not over-mix or the dough will be tough!

Spread dough out to 2cm thickness, and using a dough cutter (I lost mine so I used a floured glass) to cut out rounds from the dough. Carefully knead scraps together and cut as many rounds as you can out of the dough.

Place on a baking sheet covered in baking paper and brush tops with milk.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes until tops are browned

Serve with jam and cream!


MULBERRY JAM – by Deanna Sudmals


8 cups fresh mulberries

1 package of jam setter (OR 2 tsp lemon rind and 2 tablespoons lemon juice)

4 ½ cups white sugar

Wash and hull the mulberries, removing stems and leaves (a tedious process that results in purple hands-but worth it!)

Crush the fruit a bit (whole mulberries are quite large)

Cook the mulberries in a large covered pot for approx. 10 minutes on a low simmer.

Mix the jam setter with about ¼ cup sugar

Add jam setter to the mulberries and heat on a medium/high heat stirring often.

Bring to a full boil.

Add the rest of the sugar and bring the mixture back to the boil, removing “foam” from the surface

To test if thickened, take a cold metal tablespoon (I keep one in the freezer) and scoop a spoonful of jam, leaving it to cool on the spoon. If it is set then you are good to go. If not, (which happened to me) you can add more jam setter OR…what I did was add lemon juice (high in pectin) and bring back to the boil until it achieves a desired consistency.

Pour hot jam into clean, sterilized jars, and turn upside down to seal. Once cooled, turn them right side up and you will see the lid “pop down” and seal.


Recipe adapted from/inspired by




This week Miss November came to see me (and my noisy cat) in the garden, so I have a recording for you of the best fruit and vegetables of the month, followed by Alison’s recollections of some improvised but very good recipes.  I;m still not sure about using peoples’ wall hangings to make dessert though.


In season November


Alison improvises


Recipes by Miss November Fork in the Field -


ZUCCHINI AND MINT FRITTERS -  or whatever you improvise with (corn and coriander, pea and spinach…)


• 4 zucchini

• 1 egg yolk

• 1 tbsp. plain flour

• red chilli

• mint

• lemon zest

• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan


Take 4 zucchini matchstick them and then toss them with 1 egg yolk, 1 tbsp. plain flour, a deseeded red chilli, the chopped leaves from a bunch of mint, lemon zest and Parmesan; scrunch together. Whip the egg white with a pinch of salt until stiff and fold into the mixture. Shape into patties and fry.

Serve with a green salad and ideally a salsa verde sauce drizzled over or just with a squeeze of lemon.


POACHED NECTARINES in left over wine, lavender & lemon zest , with smashed toffee shards – ideally pecans or macadamias (local of course)

• 1 1/2 cups water, room temperature

• 1 cup wine rose, or whatever you have available champagne.

• 1 cup granulated sugar

• A handful of lavender

• 1 large piece of lemon zest

• 4 – 6 Nectarines, halved (I used 4)



Use firm, slightly under ripe fruits – they hold their shape well and stand less chance of disintegrating. Also the flavoured syrup compensates for the slight tartness of the under ripe fruit, balancing it out very nicely

Use a wine that has mild, clean flavours so it acts as the canvas (soaking up flavours) rather than the paint

Watch so you don’t over poach the fruits or they’ll soften incredibly


How to

Place the wine, 1 1/2 cups water and sugar in a wide bottomed saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar slightly then place the pan on the stove over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat, leaving the syrup to simmer gently.

Drop half the lavender leaves into the syrup, and then gently place the nectarine halves cut side down into the syrup. Poach for about 3 minutes and then gently turn over using a slotted spoon. Continue poaching for an additional 3 – 4 minutes, until soft (cooking time will depend on softness/ripeness of fruit). Carefully prick the cut side of the peaches to check for tenderness. The peels should be wrinkling up as well. You may cook the nectarines in two batches if all the halves will not fit in the pan at once.

Remove the nectarines s to a plate with a slotted spoon. When they are cool enough to handle, gently slide the skins off and discard. Add the rest of the herb leaves to the syrup and bring to a boil; boil until reduced by about half. Pour any juices that have collected on the plate with the nectarines into the syrup. Leave to cool to room temperature.

The nectarines can be covered with plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for several hours till ready to serve or refrigerated for at least a week.

Place 1 cup (220g) sugar and 1/4 cup (3 tablespoons) water in a saucepan or pan over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium. Without stirring, cook for 3-4 minutes until a light golden caramel. Remove from heat otherwise the caramel will darken too much. Sprinkle over nuts and then set aside for 15 minutes to cool completely. Break into shards, which can be used to garnish your nectarines or can be used on top of ice cream. (You can do this a day ahead, then store in an airtight container.)



love and chocolate covered bellysisters,

Sister T



Ilias's Greek glykoness


I am somewhat addicted to “Come  Dine with me – Greece” on SBS, partly to see what real modern, urban Greeks cook, which has little to do with our Mediterranean fantasies, partly because I just love the sound of the language.  I am picking up the most important words, like “glyko” – dessert, sweets.   Ilias Katsapouikidis is a purveyor of sweetness.  Newish to the Northern Rivers, he has already seduced many of us with his baklavas, pastelli, kourambiedes, and many other Greek sweets.  He has had an eventful journey from his Northern Greek birthplace, and this Monday he talks about his first home, his family, their cooking, his journey and of course his sweet temptations.





PASTELLI – SESAME SLICE – By Ilias Katsapouikidis


650g roasted sesame seeds
150g roasted almonds
2x orange rinds (finely grated) optional ‘adds another complementary flavour’
600g local honey

1. Heat honey in a med – large saucepan to 140-145deg c (max) then
take off the stove
2. Add sesame, almonds, orange rind to the saucepan and with a large
wooden spoon, stir (with love) to combine evenly
3. Scrape out the mixture and distribute evenly onto a large wooden
chopping board
4. Place baking paper on top of the mix and using a rolling pin, even
out the mix to about 1.5cm in height
5. Allow to cool for 10-15min max, remove the baking paper and then
slice the mix with a sharp knife into diamond shapes about 2-3cm wide
taking care to clean the knife every so often to make smooth cuts.
6. Place the pieces into an airtight container where they will keep
well for a couple of months.
7. Eat them leisurely as a treat :^)




makes 100 biscuits


1050g plain flour

10g baking powder

800g butter (softened)

265g icing sugar

12g salt

3x yolks (optional) adds a more caramel colour & flavour

130g brandy

130g toasted almonds (chopped coarsely)

250g extra icing sugar to coat cookies


1. Pre heat oven to 170deg c (conventional oven) then sift the flour

with the baking powder a few times and set aside

2. Beat softened butter, icing sugar and salt in a mixer until mixture

turns a pale yellow colour

3. Add the yolks and brandy to the butter and mix until incorporated

4. Empty the butter mixture into a large bowl and sift the

flour-baking powder into the butter mixture

5. Knead the mixture lightly by hand (with love) until just combined,

then add the almonds and knead a little more to distibute them evenly

(for light, short cookies the mix needs the least amount of kneading

possible). also the mixture needs to be just dry enough to roll the

cookies into crescent shapes by hand.

6. Pinch off small pieces of dough (about 20-25g) and roll them into

crescent shapes, carefully keeping the aeration in the biscuits and

then place on cookie trays evenly spaced.

7. Bake for 20min until the cookies just turn a pale golden colour,

then remove them from the oven to cool slightly

8. While the cookies are still warm, place a large sheet of baking

paper on a bench and sift some icing sugar evenly over the sheet, then

evenly place the biscuits onto the icing sugar.

9. Sift another even coat of icing sugar over the top of the cookies

and allow them to cool fully before placing into airtight container

where they will keep well for at least a couple of months.

10. Enjoy these with pleasure :^)


The cooler the ambient temperature, the easier it is to make these so

the butter doesn’t stick to your hands while rolling the mixture, you

could also cool and rest the mix slightly in the fridge before



Efcharisto poli


Up The Garden Path - Audio Tour of Mullumbimby's Community Gardens of Eden

We are all one ...

Talofa, Sister Rasela swaying into the studios this morning after a weekend of delightfully delicious daydreaming, deep in the natural beauty of the Shire.

Since Friday, i have awoken in the rainforests of Mullumbimby in a mudbrick castle, picked breakfast and dinner from the surrounding scenery, wandered to the tops of heighty hills, danced in the depths of Wilson’s Creek, rose with the sun from the back of a car, played on the hillsides of a Mooball orchard and am now here to present to you an hour in the Community Gardens of Eden … oh, i mean Mullumbimby.

This week we’re going for a leisurely stroll around the Mullumbimby Community Gardens with the organiser of this weekends LIVING FOOD and LIVING SOIL FESTIVAL Sainttina De Moleay.


Sainttina,the festival coordinator has been involved in creating festivals since she was 17 years old, her area of expertise is templating community workshop programs that flower into large festival events.

She was instrumental in starting up Katoomba Winter Magic Festival, South Sydney’s arts workshop festival program, The Byron Millennium Celebration and she was subsequently invited by the Sydney Olympic Games to work at the heart of the media/ dignitary/ athlete matrix known as the Medal Ceremonies, as a ceremony manager. More recently she has worked extensively with children, creating play opportunities and studying the role of play in our formative lives.

The Living Food Living Soil Festival is a visionary yet entirely practical event. To put living soil firmly in the public consciousness is to bring people literally down to earth. This area is rich with talent and authoritative voices, and the line up for the day was directed by public opinion, and the simple request ‘Who do you want to hear from”. The answer: Dave Forrest, Ellen White, Silas Long, Barrie Phee, all bringing insight, practicality and compelling public speakingto the event.

In addition as access to brilliant knowledge, the festival has been structured to be accessible to children. To create focus and interactivity that will engage, inspire and awaken through a variety of activities. Hands on, inclusive, educational and it is also serious fun with an entertainment line up including Murray Kyle, Rebecca Ireland, Gabby Bliss, The Curly Cousins, Suzy Leigh, and a tie in with Dirt Girl’s creator Cate McQuillen who has been generous with her donation of prizes.

In addition to all this will be opportunities to learn about bee keeping; how to use a scythe; reusing your burn pile clippings to make a garden bed; planting a fruit forest, or pond bed; and maximising your soil’s effectiveness in so many ways.

The Garden, which is sited at the South end of Stuart Street in Mullumbimby may be hosting the festival, but it is also an opportunity to seed ongoing projects, and water and nurture them with community participation, so it will be the opportunity to get involved with a project that will bring you richness and life.

See you there Saturday October 27th10am-4pm


When we spoke about getting together to chat about this years festival, we both thought … what better place to meet than in the gardens themselves, which is the site for the food and soil festival. I have to admit, I haven’t been to the gardens for about two years and I’ve never actually walked all the way around until now. I think it has to be one of my new favourite places in the whole of the Shire and that’s a big call seeing as there is so much natural beauty in this area … but edible natural beauty ??? mmmm that’s what we like here on belly !!

So for the next hour or so I’m going to take you on a gently guided audio tour (if you’ll be so kind as to let me) right into the heart of the gardens themselves. We’ll start not far from the front gate and work our way around clockwise, remembering that we are on island time. You need to slow down sometimes in life and take in all of what the gardens have to offer us which, as well as an abundance of food, life and vibrant edible colours, also harnesses a deeply peaceful and gentle energy that at times we both get lost in. I don’t even wear my sunglasses because i don’t want to dull any of the colours in this masterpiece i am walking through.

I invite you to stop what you are doing for the next hour and join Sainttina and myself on our Mullumbimby Communty Garden tour.  Whatever you do don’t forget your sunhat cause the sun is shining and the weather is sweet … make you wanna move … your dancing feet.

The fingerlicking guitar picking music in the background is from Tommee and it’s taken from his “In Love With Every Melody” album which contains three incredibly beautiful pieces -

To Live … To Love … To Be Loved …

… each about 20 minutes long. I have chosen “To be Loved” for the first two parts of the wander up the garden path and “To Love” for the last two parts … so ….. are you ready to join us for a relaxing informative stroll around the Mullum Community Gardens ?? Bring your belly, close your eyes, open your imagination and lets get lost in ……..

Mullumbimby’s Community Garden of Eden Tour … Part One -

I strongly suggest you hit that link above if you haven’t yet. When i played this interview live on air, i sat in the studio with my eyes closed and was transported to another world. A live world of natural beauty that acknowledges the living soil around us as a community in itself. The plants and foods that grow to nourish us and enter our bodies as energy, are joined as a part of that earthly community, as we too may be if we chose to eat the foods that are grown around us. It enables the true sense of the words that bring us into the exact present moment .. here and now.


The guitar playing in the background really moved me. It was as though Tommee was walking around beside us and some of you lovely listeners called up to ask about him. Tommee is an Indonesian, wild long haired, guitar. I say he is the guitar because it’s such a part of him i cannot differentiate. Each piece playing in the background is Tommee delicately picking and plucking, as though choosing the most beautifully ripe and luscious vegetables, fruits and flowers from the gardens with his chords and notes. I really loved making this piece, more than any of the other pieces i have ever put together. Food For All … what a beautiful sign. The openess and offerings of the gardens soon embrace you in a lovable, edible hug.

Are you ready to go further in with myself, Sainttina and Tommee … make sure you’re not getting burnt, it’s a bright bright sunshiney day !!

Garden Tour … Part Two

Joe Crow is the envy of all other Scarecrow’s ’cause word got out that he lives in THE BEST community garden in the world. He protects and watches over the gardens for the whole community, long after they have all visited and picked their food, tended their gardens, stayed, played and delayed what they were meant to be doing so that they might catch a sunset here or an early evening meal there . A Scarecrow never deserts his post, he is loyal and dedicated and alot better dressed than any other Scarecrow i’ve ever seen ! Oh, and he also asked me to remind you to LEAVE YOUR PETS AT HOME this Saturday.

As we near the twelve oclock area of the clockwise walkie talkie, we come to the end of the ‘free for all’ gardens and hover near the entrance to the ‘private allotments’. I see a huge robust line of kale smiling under the suns warmth and my mouth gives a little water at the thought of how good they would be steaming on a plate in front of me.

We head off down towards the seed saving section (try saying that with a lisp) but we stop and smell the lavender along the way. There are so many moments in this garden where i just stop and smile at the perfectness of my surroundings. I found it very moving. The first time you experience something of such great natural beauty, it usually is.

Lets now meander further along the garden path and head right through the heart of it all on our …

… Garden Tour … Part Three -

The community gardens are always looking for volunteers not just for the festival but constantly for the gardens themselves. Personally i find volunteer work some of the most rewarding in the world. You are simply there because you want to be. The rewards you reep in this particular capacity are a day in nature, in peaceful tranquility, heavenly and the best bit about it is that you get to pick a bit of heaven to take home with you for your efforts … or might i say effortlessness. Tis a great honour to work for others and provide nutrient dense, living, fresh and local as local gets, FOOD.

There’s a great amount of childrens energy here in the gardens. It’s as though there should be a home built right here as the sight of childrens clothing and shoes lay scattered amongst their play structures and slides. All we’re missing is an old rope washing line with cloth nappies floating in the fresh breeze to dry as they used to.

My eyes meet so many colours both in nature and from the arts based groups that provide the gardens with signage and direction for those that are new to its pathways. Happy, bright, positive signs is another thing you could volunteer to make if you are not much of a gardener. Or you could take a wheel barrow and gather dung from near by paddocks to be used as fertiliser. Volunteering brings such diverse opportunities and allows you to follow what your heart loves the most.

I think it’s time to wrap up the tour although i certainly don’t feel like leaving. As Sainttina heads back to appointments and organisational needs, i stay and sit as still as possible in the shaded hut that serves as a meeting place or work space and wonder just how i am going to put this experience to air and into words. I truly hope that you have managed to experience a touch of what magic i did in the gardens today. Here’s the last part of our …

Garden Tour … Part Four -

The Living Food and Living Soil Festival is being held in the gardens SATURDAY 27th October from 10.30 til about 4pm. If you would like to volunteer or have an idea you think might work at the festival or for all other enquiries you can contact Sainttina directly on – 0402 170 846.

As well as Tommee’s “In Love With Every Melody” Album i also played 2 tracks from the Kooii album – “Call Out”. I chose tracks four and five because they had the most reggae influence and considering i am about to step onto the Island of Stradbroke for a long weekend of Island Vibrations and music from them along with many other roots artists … i thought it quite appropriate.

Happy happiness, lots of love and i’ll be back next season with our everexpanding waistline of gorgeous bellysisters !!

Sister Rasela xo








I hope you learn something new each day xo


go North, go cheese

Spring is here and so is lovely rich spring milk and lots of excessively cute baby animals. Last week hungry kids of the goat kind tried to eat my trousers. And my buttons, and my shoelaces. Yes I was wearing them all at the time.


glamour goats












Belly is heading just a wee bit to the North of Byron Bay this Monday to find out about all the fab food events that are taking over Burringbar, and other deliciousness in the Tweed Shire.  Our guide is cheesemaker Debra Allard, who many of us remember fondly and miss greatly from her days with Tweed Valley Whey.  As of course we miss the ricotta and haloumi and keffir and the little camembert types and… yes stop now before it becomes too painful.  She is no longer making cheese to sell, instead she is teaching many many people how to make cheese, yoghurt, and many other good dairy things at home.

Debbie is also helping to support Burringbar Hall, one of the many beautiful old ‘School of Arts’ buildings that have managed to survive in our villages and need lots of tlc.  And there ain’t no better way to do that than to hold a whole series of great cooking classes!

This is the butter Deb brought to belly. It's ready when the solid butter separates from the liquid buttermik.

We learned how to make butter today on the show.  Buy pure cream, put it into a  jar with a nice tight lid and shake shake shake.  It is a perfectly balanced circle of life – you exercise, use up calories, then put lots of them back on when you drain off the liquid part (buttermilk, use in your baking) and spread the leftover solid butter on your bread.  You can rinse the butter in water before using the butter or just make sure you use the butter within a few days.  Debbie thinks people are learning cheese making as part of a drive to rediscover lost artisan skills, but butter making sounds like a lost home skill.   Sister Rasela remembers her grandfather making butter in his rocking chair, it was his designated job.  And Nicky (bayfm Friday morning presenter), remembers churning butter at primary school.

It certainly seems like a great way to exercise and have an instant reward.


Debbie with Annie the calf



Debra Allard has a lot of information and photos on the Cheeses Loves You Facebook page.  Have a look even if you aren’t into Facebook – but are into cheese!

Link to an article about Deb on rabbit radio ( a Gold Coast progressive (their word) online  radio station – yes I had never heard of it either, but there’s good stuff there, and 2 whole weekly food shows).

Direct link to step by step making mozzarella pictures.  Thank you for filling our fridge at bayfm with what looks just like urine specimens but apparently is hard to get liquid non-animal rennet Deb – those lucky winners of the mozzarella making magic please please pick them up soon.



stretching the mozzarella


Burringbar Hall October Cooking Classes and Food Appreciation Courses


(This course information comes from the organisers)

The Burringbar Hall is offering the ultimate experience of being able to share the artisan techniques of the experts in their field. The classes being run will use as much local produce as possible to showcase the region and applaud the efforts of the local farmers and embrace the regions Farmers Markets.  In the past the hall has run farmers feasts to showcase local produce and now it’s time to make it yourself. The classes are small and intimate so hands on learning will be essential.  The classes are also being run to showcase the beautiful Burringbar Hall which is well equipped to cater to all events, whether a small boutique cooking class or a wedding for over 100 guests. A fee for the classes is being charged to hire the hall and pay for another 2 months of insurance. Maybe we could use the money raised in October to fix the holes a resident possum has made in the pressed tin ceiling!

For bookings contact Debra Allard on 0404 812 011 or email


Faith Newham  Friday 19th October 9am – 5pm  All things bread and baking Cost $120

Faith Newham, after moving up from Melbourne over 30 years ago  ran the Whian Whian Pottery Restaurant for 20 years. Faith was a regular at Byron Farmers Markets and now is enjoying baking sourdough bread and pastries for the customers at the Lismore Organic Farmers Markets. Faith is also branching out into teaching her much sought after artisan trade from start to finish. This specialised sourdough bread is made from a natural leaven in the true traditional style.  Cost includes all ingredients, morning tea and lunch


Grayle Harlequin  Sunday October 21st 10am – 2pm  Find out how chocolate IS a health benefit! Cost $45 per person

Grayle will explain the benefits of chocolate, not just any chocolate but raw and certified organic cocoa. She has products that take chocolate right back to the raw bean itself. Many of the products being sampled on the day are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free.Grayle’s educational workshop has been created for people to participate in and learn about the energy, history, nutritional benefits and taste of real good quality chocolate.

Web site            Facebook


Debra Allard  Cheeses Loves You Cost $140

Friday 12th October 9am – 3pm and Sunday 28th October 9am – 3pm

What could be better than spending a full day making your own haloumi, whey ricotta, 30 minute mozzarella and butter in a jar?

Debra has been a Cheesemaker commercially for 4 years and is now making the best cheeses at home with small quantities of locally sourced pasteurised milk and a small wine fridge (to mature the cheese and to keep the wine cool!)  Debra teaches you the basic cheese making steps that can be used at home to make an array of cheeses that will impress friends and family. Be amazed when milk turns to curd then cheese right in front of your eyes. You will have your own work station, make your own cheeses and be able to take it all home and share with friends and family at the end of the day.  The cost includes all ingredients, morning tea and farmers market inspired lunch.

facebook .


Roberto Constanzo Saturday 27th October 10am – 2pm  Cost $120

Roberto is a delight to watch in the portable kitchen at the farmers market.  Robert and his sisters have so much experience in the kitchen having been brought up in a Sicilian family of food producers who have always value added their own home grown and local produce. Roberto has been cooking all over the world, even a two and a half year stint at the famous River Café in London. Roberto will share his vast culinary knowledge using all local produce at the Burringbar Hall.  Cost includes all ingredients and a long lunch of all the food you have cooked on the day.

Web site


Elodie Attrazic   Tuesday 30th October 10am – 3pm    French inspired High Tea Cost $120

Elodie trained and worked in restaurants for more than 10 years in her native France. Elodie is now residing in Kingscliff and a regular on Rabbit Radio sharing her knowledge of all things French.  Learn how to make an array of cakes and desserts with the expert. At the end of the day enjoy the delicious treats you have made with a high tea of local Madura teas there maybe even a glass of bubbly or two. You will also be taking home an array of goodies to share with family and friends.

Web site    Facebook



In a tree near you, if you are lucky, as many are being removed (too messy, hungry birds, purple spotted washing on the line), lovely juicy plump mulberries.  I had the most gorgeous little tarts made by Eric, a lovely new friend who’d be worth keeping around just for his pastry skills even if he was horrible.  Which he isn’t.  He baked some light small tartlets, let them cool down.  At the last minute before serving filled them with fresh goat’s curd (very easy to make at home, or buy it) mixed with creme fraiche.  Then topped them with 3-4 mulberries, whole, cooked in a little syrup I think.  I think I stopped at 3 tarts only because the plate was empty.  Of course you can use other fruit, strawberries and blueberries are great right now, and  your favourite type of pastry, but try the mix of curd and creme fraiche.  It is rich but light, and really doesn’t need sweetening – the fruit has enough sweetness.




For more learning, in two of the best food gardens I have ever visited, think about visiting Seed  Savers or the Mullumbimby community garden this weekend.

Jude & Michel Fanton bond with some funny vegetables


To celebrate International Seed Freedom Fortnight of Action, Seed Savers is holding an Open Garden Day on Sunday 21st Oct.

We shall start early as the garden is nicest then, 8am and finish early too, 3pm.  Tours every half hour (on the hour and on the half-hour) with Michel or Jude Fanton.  Demonstrations of growing and making your own curry powder/paste ingredients, perennial vegetables, seed collecting, self-seeding plants, and root crop staples.  See seven types of clumping bamboo, some with delectable shoots.  Herbal teas (we are a teabag-free zone) from the garden – lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemongrass, mint and lemon myrtle.  Chickens and mulberries as companions.  Orchard planted in themes of continent-of-origin.  All designed on Permaculture principles, to enhance ventilation, shade in summer, light in winter, nutrient cycling and water harvesting.

Cost is $5.         13 Old Bangalow Road, Byron Bay.

Love to see you here!   Best wishes, Jude Fanton


Hi Tess and Belly crew,

I’m putting on a workshop called Wild Feast a mix of eating fresh from the garden, edible weeds, wild ferments, bush tukka and herbal elixirs.

Cooking Workshop 20th – 21st October (Sat/Sun), 10am-3pm,  Mullumbimby Community Gardens

Wild Feast is a weekend cooking, eating and celebration using produce directly harvested from the garden and forest.   Andrew Carter and Bunya Halasz  share their passion for local, fresh, organic seasonal abundance and sustainable cooking techniques. Learn the art of eating in the Here and Now.  The workshop is based around harvesting then preparing two lunch-time feasts including:

• weed pie cooked in the cob oven and made from edible weeds ; • a  spicy laksa soup  and banana bell curry  featuring locally grown spices;  fermented foods like sauerkraut and Taro Poi – to increase the nutrition and digestibility of your meals.

•bush tukka chai   •delicious teas with fresh spices and tumeric – a prolifically growing *superfood* prized in medicine as an anti fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory elixir.

*Cost*- $100.00 (Concession $90.00). Additonal materials cost of $15.

Bookings –            Enquiries 02 6684 3374

Cheers, Andrew

This workshop is part of the sustainable living series put on by Byron College, which are usually really useful and good value (that’s where the bellysisters learned to compost!  A major life skill these days.)



Edible Quote “If you’re afraid of butter, as many people are nowadays, just put in cream!”       Julia Child









Club des Belugas – skip to the bip

Yusuf (Cat Stevens) – days of the old school yard

Claudia Allard – ‘stay’ – unreleased lovely song composed and sung by Claudia & recorded at her school.  Claudia is happy to share her song with you if you would like to listen to the audio link below.

Claudia Allard – ‘stay’


Caravan – from the Chocolat soundtrack

Gurrumul & Blue King Brown – Gatu Mawula revisited


love and cheese & chocolate (I tried to write chocolate coated cheese but my fingers refused)

Sister Tess




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