Tag Archives: cheese

Love belly ’13


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

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


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




Herbs not only help us but heal us as well…

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

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

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

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

Ginseng: It helps improve male erectile dysfunction (ED)

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

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

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

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

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





2 Tbsp fresh ginger, microplaned

1 Tbsp garlic, pressed

2 tsp cardamom seeds, ground

6 star anise,ground

1/2 tsp cayenne

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

1/4 tsp turmeric

8 chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin removed


1 small red onion, diced

4 bay leaves, fresh or dried

2 cinnamon sticks

2 Tbsp coriander, chopped

8 oz baby spinach (optional)

yogurt or heavy cream (optional)

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

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

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

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





Short crust pastry

250g flour
60g sugar
180g butter


225g sugar
80g cream
70g butter

Chocolate mousse

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

Chocolate ganache

165g couveture chocolate
60g cream
40g butter

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

Per heat oven 190c

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

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

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

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

Rest until set and use a warm knife to cut portions

Serve it with vanilla ice cream


Or for an  exciting taste sensation:




500g milk

6x yolks

25g sugar

Pinch salt

8x drops Tabasco sauce

Small pinch cayenne pepper

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


Heat milk in a saucepan

Whisk yolks, sugar & salt until pale yellow

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

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

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





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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


MORE COMING SOON :  Sarah’s brownies


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 drallard@bigpond.com


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 www.soulfirecocoagenesis.com            Facebook www.facebook.com/soulfirecocoagenesis


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 http://www.facebook.com/CheeseMakingClasses .


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 http://www.thenomadickitchen.com.au/


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 http://thefrenchcookup.blogspot.com.au/    Facebook http://www.facebook.com/TheFrenchCookUp



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 – www.byroncollege.org.au            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




filo & weeds

On air on bayfm 99.9 community radio Byron Bay on 17 September 2012

On belly today I welcomed back Deanna, the celebrated (drumroll) two time winner of the Mullum farmers market bake-off, who has been sharing the joys and challenges of various types of pastry doughs.  Some she was very familiar with, some, like filo today, she tried to make for the very first time the week before coming on the show.  As with puff pastry, most of us only ever use filo from a packet, so she did a recipe with each type.  But she is very happy with the result of her first time filo.  A couple of hours after telling us she would never make it again, because it turned out well but it is so much work, she went home and made number two.  And she reports that it was much better again than the first dough.  Step by step photos will get posted soon.  She bravely tried to email them last night from “a nightmare of a mess in the kitchen”…mmm, maybe not quite so easy to make.  But it is suck a lovely light way to wrap up all sorts of things, a good dough for spring I think.  And the packet stuff does work really well.

And we have a new bellysister, Sister Cath, who hopefully will be on belly lots in the summer.  She is an organic macadamia and coffee farmer from Rosebank, and used to present the bayfm program “don’t panic, it’s organic”.  She used to advise the government on matters organic, but now hopefully she will talk to and with us about all sorts of delicious belly matters.

Find out more about Cath Ford from:







mmm - not bad for the first baklava Deanna ever made - but the taste team didn't leave us one skerrick to check if it tastes as good as it looks!


Deanna went for one of the most famous dishes you can make with filo pastry, baklava.  Did you know there was a baklava procession in Istanbul, on the 15th day of Ramadan, during the Ottoman empire.  The Janissary regiments of the emperor each had the right to get 2 trays of baklava from the palace, which were then paraded in all their sweet glory back to barracks.  One way to keep the troops on your side.  According to the Oxford Companion to food it was the Turks who invented filo (shh, don’t tell your Greek friends, it’s probably as bad as the great pavlova debate with New Zealand).

Of course filo-type pastry sheets are used for many delicate dishes, sweet and savoury, from strudel to Tunisian pastilla (although brik pastry is a bit stiffer than filo, apparently made by tapping dough onto a hot plate and using the part that sticks and dries to a fine sheet.  But maybe we can just use filo and avoid 3rd degree burns).


Filo Pastry from Scratch – by Deanna Sudmals


1 1/3 cup bread and pizza flour

1/8 tsp. salt

½ cup water

2tbsp vegetable oil

½ tsp. cider vinegar

In the bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment, mix flour and salt on low speed.

In a separate bowl combine water, oil, and vinegar. Pour the water mixture slowly into the flour, still mixing on low speed. Continue until in forms a soft dough. Swap the paddle attachment for the dough hook and knead on a medium speed for 10 minutes (or 20 by hand) until have soft, silky dough.

Remove from mixer and knead on flat surface for 2 minutes, whacking it down hard several times during kneading.

Rub with vegetable oil, wrap in plastic and rest for 2 hours minimum. The longer the better

When rested, divide the dough in half, then cut each half into thirds, and then into thirds again to end up with 18 sections. Roll each piece in a ball and place on a plate covered with cling film to rest.












Roll out with a floured rolling pin until it is extremely thin (about 9” x5”) picking up the dough and reflouring the surface underneath it often. When it is as thin as you can roll it, carefully lift and stretch it with your fingers from underneath slowly and gently. When it is stretched enough to read through (if a written paper was underneath) then place on a floured baking sheet and flour between each sheet to stop them from sticking to each other.


Above recipe adapted from: korenainthekitchen.com


As well as Deanna’s brave first time experiment and report on making filo pastry, we were lucky enough today to have a contribution from Ilias the Greek, and his long line of filo/phyllo/fillo-making ancestressess.

Here is what he sent to  belly, tune in for lots more from Ilias on October 29.

Fillo tips –  Use a teaspoon of olive oil, vinegar with a pinch salt and knead the mixture (with love) till you feel a smooth dough ( the longer the better) 5min minimum and rest the dough well (covered) min 1hr.

Mum and grandma’s technique is to then to roll the dough as fine as possible with a rolling pin the diameter of a curtain rod and then proceed to stretch the thin pastry by hand over a table lined with cloth until you can read a newspaper through the fine sheet of fillo( this requires an intimate connection with the pastry via the hands to avoid tearing it).

Fillings – The regional delicacy of northern Greece( where I come from) is bougatsa it is a baked fillo wrapped spiced semolina custard that is delectable straight from the oven with light crusty pastry and smooth yummy filling. It’s sister Galaktoboureko is similar and has the addition of a citrus scented syrup poured over it and eats well either warm or cooled.

Kali oreksi from the Greek ‘bon appetit


As for sister T’s suggestion to try adding 2 teaspoons of baking powder to each kilo of flour, and using corn flour beteween layers that had at least one Greek cook growling at the radio?  Well it came from the beautiful recent cookbook “Vefa’s Kitchen”, that I, sister T, made quite a few good things from.



Deanna's spanakopita with home-made filo pastry


Spinach Feta Filo (Phyllo) Triangles (Spanakopita) – recipe Deanna Sudmals

2 bunches English spinach or 2x 250 packages frozen spinach

2 sprigs fresh dill chopped (or 1-2 tsp. dried)

1 onion, diced

4 spring onions chopped

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

200 g feta cheese, crumbled

175 g fresh ricotta

2 tbsp parmesan or pecorino

3 eggs

Good pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Packet of filo pastry (or 18 sheets homemade filo pastry)

150 g melted butter


•Chop and wash the spinach, discarding ends. Blanch in hot water.

•OR: Thaw and thoroughly drain frozen spinach, pressing down in colander to get all of the water out.

•Sauté onion and spring onions in a bit of vegetable oil until soft.

• Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and taste for seasoning. This recipe is an approximate; I taste as I go along and adjust to taste. Some people add garlic to spanakopita, but I don’t think its necessary….feel free to add if you want more of a kick.

•Preheat oven to 180 C

•Cover a baking sheet with baking paper

•Unroll the filo dough on a flat surface and cover with a dry tea towel covered by a damp tea towel on top (this will prevent dough from drying out).

•Cut the filo sheets into 3 strips and recover with tea towels

•Use a pastry brush to brush one sheet with melted butter. Place a spoonful of filling on the end of the strip and then fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, and then continue to fold up the strip in triangles.

•Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and covering with a towel until ready to bake.

•Baste triangles with butter and then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and crisp.


Alternative option:

Grease a rectangular baking pan and then spread six sheets of filo down, brushing each with melted butter before adding the next sheet. Spoon the filling over and then cover with 6 more sheets, buttering each sheet. Score the top 3 sheets with a knife. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool slightly, and then cut into squares and serve warm.

I used homemade filo dough for the spanakopita.



BAKLAVA – by Deanna Sudmals

Adapted from Korenainthekitchen.com


Deanna's beautiful baklava


½ cup each: walnuts, pistachios and almonds

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Pinch allspice

Honey syrup:

½ cup sugar

½ cup honey

½ cup water

2 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 strip lemon rind

1 tbsp. lemon juice

½ cup melted butter


Process nuts in food processor until finely chopped. Combine with sugar, cinnamon and allspice.

Lightly butter bottom of rectangular (9”x5”) baking pan. Place 5 filo sheets in bottom of pan brushing melted butter between each layer. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the filling. Layer and butter 5 more filo sheets then cover with 1/3 more of the mix. Layer/butter 5 more sheets, cover with last 1/3 of the filling and cover with 5 more filo sheets. Cut the filo into squares or triangles and brush the top with melted butter.

Bake for 90 minutes:

30 minutes at 200 C

30 minutes at 150C

30 minutes at 100C

After the first 30 minutes re-cut the baklava following the cuts already made.

While the baklava bakes, make the syrup and allow to cool.

For the syrup:

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil stirring constantly to melt the sugar. Boil for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove spices and lemon rind.

As soon as baklava is out of the oven, pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava.

Cool and enjoy!


Note by Sister T:  I learned how to make baklava at one of Leah Roland’s classes at the Bangalow Cooking School, very easy & fun if you just use the fresh ready made stuff.  You can play around with the syrup ingredients & the nut mixes (I use pecans & macadamias a lot just because they are the freshest & most local nuts here).  And you can use a standard rectangular oven tray, it fits the ready made sheets more easily.  Also you can control the amount of melted butter you use if you do it yourself, and end up with a much lighter product than the commercial ones – if that is what you want.




In the UK: A report in New Scientist suggests that ‘junk food’ is one of the causes of Alzheimer’s; it explains that some experts are renaming the disease of Alzheimer’s as ‘Type 3 Diabetes’. Excessive eating of junk food has over several decades rendered the anti-junk movement ineffective with their message of human physical deterioration now one of mental deterioration as well. In a report by Viv Groskop in the Independent she quotes “Failure by the ‘Anti Junk Food’ lobby is because junk food is the symptom of a much larger problem. Existing only as part of another vast, spreading disease: the pursuit of profit o, ever common sense, the endless expansion of the work day and the elevation of success over contentment. Ever faster lives; ever bigger debts and ever bigger bellies!

In Australian Food News a website devoted to exposing web-scams called Hoax-Slayer has revealed that there is an email currently doing the rounds purportedly sent by the supermarket chain Woolworths but this time Woollies are not to blame. The email promises you a guaranteed 50 dollar gift voucher, but the scam is designed to trick recipients into revealing sensitive personal and financial information to internet criminals.  Such surveys are becoming quite common and usually target customers of high profile companies including McDonald’s; Coca Cola and Westpac.

In CHINA: According to China’s state media outlet, Xinhua-So far this year China has detected 15,000 cases of substandard food and shut down 5,700 unlicensed businesses since the beginning of the year. Dairy products, edible oils, seasonal foods and alcoholic beverages were among the major food categories targeted by inspectors. The announcement comes just days after the country’s Ministry of Health announced the introduction of more than 200 new national food safety standards under a five year plan.

In ITALY: The Vatican’s permanent observer at the UN in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, claimed market activities such as arbitrage , which is the buying and selling of goods to exploit price differences, and the use of derivatives trading in grain supply chains, are ‘hampering the poorest and the neediest’. In a Vatican radio interview, Archbishop Tomasi said that the worsening crisis in food price volatility ‘will have social consequences’. He said ‘poor countries require not only urgent help, but also investment to change to realities of life and make them more human.” The Vatican’s moral pressure on the G20 follows widespread condemnation of giant commodities trading companies for reportedly seeing drought and the resulting global food insecurity as opportunities for profit.Chris Mahoney, Director of Agricultural products for the Glencore Group said that ‘high prices, lots of volatility, a lot of dislocation, tightness and a lot of arbitrage opportunities; made for a ‘good’ environment for the company, prompting the UN and leading aid agencies to call for a fast track reform of international regulations.

In the USA: Huffington Post reports that concept of ‘food synergy’ has made new inroads identifying so called super foods that when coupled together may give you a ‘bigger bang for your buck’ when benefiting our health in complex ways. After 10 years of research, food synergy has come a long way according to Elaine Magee author of a recent book on the subject detailing how knowledge of phytochemicals like lycopene (making tomatoes famous) or anthocyanins and pterostilbene (which have propelled blueberries into the news) suggest the following foods are better paired together.

They are Tomatoes and Avocados

Rosemary and grilled meat

Oatmeal and Orange Juice

Spinach and lemon

Broccoli and tomatoes

Apples and grapes

Turmeric and black pepper

Garlic and fish.

And of course lovely listeners incredibly delicious!

In Malaysia: Royal watchers in Asia have there eyes peeled for all details concerning Prince William and Duchess Kate. The belly bulletin has done extensive investigations into what our listeners really want to know about the Royals!

Yes! lovely listeners we can confirm that Prince William’s favourite foods are : Cottage Pie and Banana Flan.  Duchess Kate’s favourite is Sticky Toffee Pudding.

And that is the Belly Bulletin for the week of 17.09.2012, compiled by Sister Cath.



To destroy raze to the ground utterly eliminate make like Russia with Napoleon, the scorched earth way to victory…. or see as part of the great natural world, live with, go gently, use.  Well we have done a lot of damage to this area by bringing in all sorts of plants that like it just a bit too much and swamp everything else, so there is lots to be said for both sides of that argument.  So get along to lovely Whian Whian this Saturday 22 September, where Sister Cath is involved in a debate called “to weed or not to weed”.

And let us know which weeds you most like to eat – yes it is all a matter of definition, is it a weed or is it a delicious food.  There are plenty of websites to help you choose the right weeds (aka free & wild plants) to eat.  But basic rules : make sure you know what it is, & I wouldn’t pick something that has has a whole lot of traffic fumes or other nasties around it, in the air or in the ground.

Whian Whian Memorial Hall – 7pm

Whian Whian Road Whian Whian NSW 2480

Ph: (02) 6689 5488 Ph: (02) 6689 5696

Email: menere@ozemail.com.au




Lanie Lane – Ain’t Hungry

Anouar Brahim – Kerkenah

Kristi Stassinopolou – Waves

Ilios, Akoustic Odyssey

Sian Evans – The definition of

Sarah Blasko and Ajak Kwai  – Nyiir Ienqarr


EDIBLE QUOTE :  “Eating is an agricultural act”, Wendell Berry, in “What are people for?”


love and chocolate-dipped nasturtium flowers, sister T




































































voila' - only a few hours later...

belly radio show April 19,2010 – petty crime to head chef, with lamingtons


young chef Matthew McKenzie aka Outback Mattie talks about turning his life around, from a tough childhood, to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Melbourne program, to a cooking and TV career, and reveals the origin of the lamington!
Mad cook Dr Siggi Fried gives a cooking demonstration as her family demands edible food.
The bellysisters tell stories of fish fondling, paying your restaurant bills by cycling, and the ash cloud that will soon keep asparagus and pre-packed lettuce mixes off British tables

GUEST RECIPE : from Matthew

Bruschetta of Grilled Honey Seeded Mustard Haloumi Cheese with Roasted Vine Ripened Cherry Tomatoes

This is the perfect recipe for a quick afternoon snack or for those unexpected guests. It only takes 15 minutes to prepare and cook. The best bit is you get that delicious sweet & salty flavour from the haloumi cheese, & those mouth watering bursts from the cherry tomatoes.

Ingredients:  for 2 people

100gr Haloumi Cheese
1 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Seeded Mustard

12 Vine Ripened Cherry Tomatoes
1/4 Bunch of Basil

1 Loaf of Ciabatta bread
1 Garlic Clove

1 tbsp Good Olive Oil
Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. In a oven tray place your cherry tomatoes, drizzle with good olive oil, season with sea salt & cracked black pepper. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until skin starts to split away. Remove from oven.

2. Slice your haloumi cheese 1cm thick (4 pieces), spread a layer of seeded mustard, drizzle with honey. Now in a pan on a medium heat cook both sides for 1 minute until golden brown in colour.

3. Slice your ciabatta bread thinly and toast. Once toasted cut your garlic clove in half and rub the garlic clove hard against the crispy toasted bread (garlic bread).

4. To assemble the dish; tear some basil on the base of the toast, next lay the haloumi cheese, tear some more basil, finish by topping with roasted vine ripened cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of good olive oil. Enjoy!

that Matthew recommends in Brisbane and the Gold Coast:

Old Government House, Aria, Restaurant Two, or for cheaper options The Thai Bar, or Italian or Asian restaurants in the South Bank area, and Absynthe on the Gold Coast


By the Greek philosopher Diogenes the Cynic (I think he was the one who lived in a barrel) – If only it was as easy to banish hunger by rubbing the belly as it is to masturbate.


www.belly.net.au – please get in touch with the bellysisters

www.matthewmckenzie.com.au – see videos of Matthew, hear his life story, get lots of recipes


– the original lamington recipe

invented at Matthew’s restaurant, Old Government House in Brisbane – also a bit of history to settle the great lamington controversy, and the revelation that (shock horror) “the lamington was first whipped up in a hurry to disguise the staleness of the sponge”

belly 15.3.10 – kefir and fresh cheeses

TOPICS : The mighty KEFIR, the making of, health benefits, micro flora, dairy intolerances.

GUESTS : Debra Allard of Tweed Valley Farmhouse Cheeses, farmers wife, kefir/cheese lover/maker and effervescent being.

Sue’s husband Rob is a fourth generation dairy farmer, his cows graze the lush
pastures of Burringbar. As soon as the morning milking is completed Debra and Sue
pasteurise the milk and spend the day making creamy yoghurts, cottage cheese,
quark, various fetas, haloumi, labna, brie and camembert. They also make kefir
a live yeast, live bacteria health drink.

: sister Rasela


COOL KEFIR DRESSING – from sister Rasela

2 cups fresh Kefir
1 heaped Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 heaped Tbsp fresh chives
1 heaped Tbsp lemon zest, finely chopped
1 heaped Tbsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp Herbamare
1/2 tsp Xanthan gum

1. Combine all ingredients (except Xanthan Gum) and blend thoroughly.
2. Slowly add xanthan gum and continue to blend until mixture thickens.
3. Full flavour will develop after 6 to 8 hours.

GUEST RECIPES : from Debra


2 eggs
4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups SR Flour
1 & ½ cups milk
½ teaspoon Bicarb Soda
250g TVWFC Ricotta

Beat egg & sugar. Add flour alternately with the milk in which the Bicarb Soda has been dissolved. Beat the ricotta into mix and leave for 30 mins. Gently fry in a slightly buttered pan, in small batches.

Top with Tweed Valley Whey Farmhouse Bondon (Cream Cheese) and honey.   YUM!


500g grated Zucchini (about 4 large ones)
½ teaspoon ground Sea salt
1 onion, finely chopped
125g TVWFC  Haloumi, grated
1 cup roughly chopped baby spinach
2 eggs. beaten
60g (1/4 cup) plain flour
½ cup olive oil or Rice Bran Oil for frying

Put the grated zucchini in a colander, sprinkle with ground
sea salt, toss lightly and set aside for 30 minutes. Squeeze out the excess liquid
from the zucchini and pat dry with paper towels.

Put the zucchini, finely chopped onion, grated Haloumi, baby
spinach & beaten eggs in a bowl and stir until combined. Stir in the flour
and add pepper if desired.

Heat the oil in a non stick fry pan until hot and drop batter
into fry pan flattening gently with the back of the spatula. Cook until well
browned on both sides. Drain on paper towel and serve with yoghurt sauce and
lime wedges.

Yoghurt Sauce

Place 1 finely minced garlic clove, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 125g TVWFC  plain yoghurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, salt & pepper in a bowl and stir.


Tweed Valley Whey Farmhouse Cheeses (available at Byron farmers market)

p 0266771111
m 0404 812 011
e tweedcheese@bigpond.com

Also see the story at :