Tag Archives: macadamias

poetry, cabbages & cream

A big thank you to local poet Kathryn Boorman for coming into the belly kitchen today and sharing stories of living and travelling in Vietnam and Cambodia, and especially for reading her beautiful poetry.

The local poets’ group aint called Dangerously Poetic in jest – have a look at the powerful piece below – it starts with fried chicken, and ends with painful words and memories that (yet again) had Kathryn in tears when she read them.


Chuc Mung Nam Moi  – Happy New Year 2008

by Kathryn Boorman ©


Phung takes me to her family restaurant.
In the kitchen there’s a cage
crammed with scrawny chickens –
beside a bucket of feathery hot water.
For Tet, the main course is grilled chicken
squashed flat on the plate, wings in full flap
head back, beak open in a silent scream.

Across my mind, Kim Phuc runs screaming,
her arms like wings
Trang Bang in 1972
napalm has burnt off her clothes.

In Ho Chi Minh City
at the American war crimes museum,
her photo screamed from the wall.
A man with no hands offered me her book
there on the cover she ran to the camera
he took my two hundred thousand Dong
with his wrist stumps.

In 1972, we marched in protest
then in our lounge rooms, watched
stricken Vietnamese faces
in black and white-
lit up a joint-
while Kim Phuc’s skin
fell from her flesh.

Phung smiles, serves me chicken and rice.
I stare at the blind eyes above the mute beak
and bite into a wing.
It is too tough
it is
too tough.

© Kathryn Boorman 2009

[please do not use without Kathryn’s permission]


Kathryn will soon lead a tour group to meet the friends she has made in Vietnam and Cambodia.

For more information:

www.womens-holidays.com bushwisewomen@gmail.com

Kathryn will also be teaching creative writing classes through Dangerously Poetic kathrynboorman@gmail.com

www.dangerouslypoetic.com is the poetry group website, and the next event is the launch of Bev Sweeney’s poetry book, Pirouettes and Prayer. Friday 19th Sept 7pm St Martins hall, Stuart St, Mullumbimby You do not need to be a poetry writer to attend, just a poetry lover.





Lots of citrus and cabbage family members of all kinds at this time of year, and also maybe a time when we can indulge in a little cream, or the richness of macadamias.  After all,  in the depth of winter the temperature even drops below 15C!  (Just put that in to torture people who have to deal with seriously cold weather for months on end – but when you are used to the heat, even our mild winters can make us run to a hot filling dish).


This is an experiment and a compromise, trying to get the freshness of salad but not the full raw hit that can be a bit much in winter.  I love coleslaw, but seldom make it.  It is of course  great as a side dish, in sandwiches, keeps well, just as good the next day.  I’ve since made a version first cured and then dressed in a mustard/lemon vinaigrette, that one is best cured longer with less salt and sugar, as it doesn’t have the lovely richness of macadamias to balance the salt.

I had macadamias & lemons, so this is a



serves 4-6

shred half a white or savoy cabbage (probably red is fine too)
cure in a mix of sugar, salt and lemon juice (equal quantities, about 1 tbs each for half a cabbage, or a bit more),

leave for at least 30 minutes, massaging/mixing occasionally
squeeze, drain, keep a bit of liquid in case you want to add to salad

(opt) do the same  cure in a separate bowl with some thinly sliced onion

meantime make a food processor dressing of macadamias, olive or macadamia oil, mustard, lemon juice

roughly tear a few herbs, dill is great

mix, check for taste, maybe add lemon or curing liquid




This one was born from a hankering for moules a la creme, a French classic, simple mussels in a cream and herb sauce.  All the recipes call for white wine, which I just don’t drink much in winter.  And I had some lovely local creme fraiche, so I used that instead of cream.  Mussels are one of the healthiest, most sustainable types of seafood you can eat.

1 Kg mussels

2-3 tbs creme fraiche or to taste

untreated lemons – 1 or 2 depending on size – juice and zest


1/2 roughly chopped onion or 2 shallots

roughly chopped herbs eg parsley or chervil


open mussels in own juice, remove and filter liquid.

In the same pot, soften onion in butter, add lemon juice

Add mussels, some cooking water if you want more liquid, lemon zest, mix just long enough to reheat

add herbs, creme fraiche and pepper

eat with lots of good bread


love and chocolate covered cabbages,

Sister T


pumpkins,passionfruit & perfect cakes

And slices and chutneys and iced Vo-Vos and all those old fashioned things, also many new and surprising bits of show cookery and many stories of fascinating country shows and cooks and – that's how you get perfection – tips from the judges, in Liz Harfull's  "THE AUSTRALIAN BLUE RIBBON COOKBOOK".  Sister D. talks with Liz on belly today.

Yes well that was the plan, until the technology gremlins got involved, and none of my prepared recorded material agreed to play.  So the interview with Liz Harfull will be on belly on June 23, but you can find the book details and a recipe from the book, using abundant in season passionfruit, at the bottom of this post.

Please tune in next week June 9 with Sister Michael, who will play an interview with Kerrie Turner, director of the Tweed Foodie Fest, about some interesting farm tours and other food lovers' events coming up on June 13 to 15, and again later in the year.

Or check out http://www.tweedfoodiefest.com.au/


I have a whole lot of pumpkin songs that I could not play either, waiting for you to come on belly with your pumpkin ideas.  It is such a good value, versatile and great tasting veg, great in both sweet and savoury dishes.  So if you are pumpkin mad leave a comment below and come on the show.


Ronit Robaz, of Open Table Catering, who has been a very busy woman, helping feed the protesters at Bentley, and participating in the fabulous one year celebration dinner at the Kulcha Jam Food Coop, did manage to battle the Byron Bay traffic and turn up, for a very informative chat on pumpkins.  She has been cooking mountains of pumpkins at Bentley, they are also taking over her garden, so possibly in self defence she has come up with some very innovative uses. 


The recipe below is the one Ronit prepared for the Coop degustation dinner, where a bunch of chefs gave their time and talents to produce an absolutely delicious celebration of local whole foods.  There were many really creative ideas, here are a few for you to try.  And obviously everything is in season right now.


– a mildly spicy green raw soup as a starter

– green jackfruit used as a salad vegetable

– sprouting brown rice – AND using it to make a focaccia, with black olives: it was very moist in the middle and seared crisp on the outside

– serving risotto on cooked field mushrooms – Anthea used sweet potato and garlic, you could try blue cheese, or lots of fresh herbs, tomato, or anything that goes with mushrooms – even more mushrooms.

– making a macadamia (or other nut) cream, flavoured with honey and citrus, to serve on the side of a cake instead of cream – or with a crispy biscuit



1 spiralised butternut squash/pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cold pressed sesame oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
pinch salt/tamari

Combine all ingredients.
Massage all ingredients in a bowl and leave to soften.

Orange segments, cut supreme and diced in a small bowl and set aside.


1 cup macadamia nuts, soaked 20 minutes
1 & 1/2 tsp tamari
1 tbsp tahini (optional)
2 cups fermented veggies/cabbage
4 good sized shiitake mushrooms, stalks removed and sliced

1. In a food processor, grind the macadamia, tamari and tahini
2. Remove from the food processor and add fermented veggies, stirring in by hand, along with the shiitake strips

To Serve

1. Mix the macadamia mixture with the butternut squash noodles
2. Top with the orange pieces and garnish with micro greens.


During the show, we talked about a spiraliser, which is the tool you need to spiralise veggies (surprise!).  Which means to turn them into tubular strips.  Ronit said you can also use a mandolin, or julienne them by hand.
If you have to use your hands and get a lot of sap on yourself, wash your hands not the pumpkin, you will wash flavour away.
The tahini isn't in the original recipe, as it did not fit the 100 mile brief, but Ronit recommends it.
You can use other types of pumpkin.
If you don't make your own fermented veggies, buy traditionally fermented ones from a market or health food shop.  They add the acid note to the dish, and balance the richness of macadamias.
You can use almonds to replace the macadamias.
Ronit had mandarins, so she used them instead of oranges.
We are lucky enough to have fresh shiitakes here, but you might be able to substitute with dried ones, soaked.  Not sure on that one, experiment!


I've been having a mullet feast with my friend Robert, and managed to convert him to the joy of the mullet.  Still dirt cheap and far from dirty tasting, and very good for you.  And hard to overcook.  Try a simple seared fillet topped with a raw veggie salsa.

We also had a smoke fest on the bbq.  Our smoked mullet is still a work in progress, but smoked octopus is fab – best straight on the smoker so the skin gets a good hit of smoke and doesn't go mushy, as it did when we tried to marinate it.

And the smoked prawns were pretty good, both plain and after a simple oil/lemon marinade, they take a surprising amount of time to be just cooked in a hot smoking d.y.i arrangement, 15 minutes.  (a rack over equal parts rice/tea/brown sugar, wait for it to smoke before adding fish etc, in a covered barbie).  Happy experimenting.



A judge in the WA Supreme Court has ruled against a West Australian organic farmer who claimed his neighbour contaminated his farm with genetically modified canola.  Steve Marsh  alleged he lost organic certification for more than half his farm after GM canola drifted onto his land from his neighbour's property.  Mr Baxter, the neighbour, claimed he followed all regulations on buffer zones and notified his neighbours when he planted the GM canola.
The trial is believed to be the first of its kind in the world. Justice Kenneth Martin dismissed both common law causes of action against Mr Baxter –  negligence involving the breach of a duty to ensure there was no escape of GM material, and  private nuisance.  Evidence at trial was that Roundup Ready  canola swathes were harmless to animals, people and land unless the canola seed germinated in the soil and cross-fertilised.  ‘There was no evidence at the trial of any genetic transference ,’ Justice Martin said.   In 2011, eight GM canola plants were found and removed on the property and there were no others in subsequent years.
Justice Martin said there was no evidence of ‘any reasonable interference’ by Mr Baxter, who had used well-accepted harvest methodology, and he ruled Mr Baxter was  not responsible for t removal of organic certification.
Slater & Gordon lawyer Mark Walter, who represented Mr Marsh for free, said  it was a disappointing result and left non-genetically modified food farmers with no legal protection against contamination from neighbours.
Network of Concerned Farmers spokeswoman Julie Newman said farmers should never have been pitted against each other and urged the government to consider making legal changes to protect all farmers.  State and federal governments have continuously stated that the solution to any GM contamination events is common law.

Check out ABC TV's Australian Story tonight (Monday 2 June, or online) for an insight on the world of reality TV cooking shows.  Jules Allen, from Lennox Head, was a Masterchef contestant in 2013. She  is a social worker and single mother who has fostered 29 children.
ABC online reports "She is clearly a very capable woman but she says her experience as a contestant [..] left her feeling like "a basket case"."
Ms Allen says : ""I think it's fair to say most of the contestants I kept in contact with found the hardest thing was the transition back into so-called normal life. "
Despite feeling bruised by her MasterChef experience, she acknowledges the doors that it opened.  Her profile allowed her to pursue charity work, travelling to Cambodia to help abused women and children and working with Deborra-lee Furness as an ambassador for National Adoption Awareness Week.

Have a look at the Future Feeders– Growing young farmers from the ground up
The Future Feeders project is all about working to address the challenge around ageing farmers and lack of succession planning. It provides young people with opportunities in small scale farm management and ecological agricultural skills development. It helps them access land and  move into careers in sustainable food production with an emphasis on  our local food security.  It aims to gather young people committed to feeding our community to be participating owner/members of a food production co-operative.  The Future Feeders have launched a crowd funding campaign to get their project to the next level, including an educational facility to use as a base for an intern-ship program.  To find out more  go to the Future Feeders website: http://futurefeeders.weebly.com/

Finally, if you are thinking of heading away for the June long weekend, both the Mornington Peninsula and the McLaren Vale have food and wine weekends on, from the 7th to the 9th of June. Look for the McLaren Vale sea and Vines festival and the Mornington Peninsula winter wine weekend.  Then call me if you need a food or wine taster.  If you are heading to Sydney at the end of June – from  Friday, 27th – to Sunday 29th Good Food and Wine Show is on at Sydney  Olympic Park.



by Cassandra, from Liz Harfull's  "THE AUSTRALIAN BLUE RIBBON COOKBOOK", published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $39.99 out now


125 g (1/2 cup) passionfruit pulp
60 g unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten well
165 g (3/4 cup) white sugar


1. Place the butter and sugar in the top of a double boiler and heat slowly over simmering water, stirring continuously until the butter melts.

2 . Combine the passionfruit pulp with the beaten eggs. Pour them into the butter mixture, whisking constantly until it is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

3. Pour the passionfruit butter into small, hot sterilised jars and seal immediately.

Makes about 1 cup.


You must not cook the mixture over a direct heat and do not allow it to boil or it will curdle.

The butter will only become really thick when it has cooled.

Make the passionfruit butter in small quantities as it will only keep for a few weeks. Always store it in the fridge.


The butter should be smooth, with a creamy texture and the distinctive tang of passionfruit.
It must be of spreadable consistency and not too runny.

Consider straining the beaten eggs before adding them to the mixture to make sure they are well beaten and to avoid flecks of egg white in the butter.


Passionfruit butter


Love and dark chocolate pumpkin muffins (I'm sure that would work),

Sister Tess


Mullum bakeoff, vegan time & cookbooks in bed

On air on Byron Bay’s Bayfm 99.9 community radio on 31.10.11

Tara Pearson's outrageously cute fondant monkeys


Today belly was all about the Melbourne Cup of the baking world, the second annual Mullumbimby farmers market bake-off. In the studio with Sister T were Mullum and New Brighton farmers market manager, and long term delicious belly guest on all sorts of gardening and cooking topics, Judy MacDonald. And the undefeated defending champion in the sweets category, Deanna Sudmals.   I also managed to celebrate Melbourne cup with a little pony pot pie, think about going vegan for a month (mmm), and play part 2 of a series of excepts from the Byron Writers Festival on the joy of food books.  More info on all that below.  But mainly it was all about the joy of baking.  Judy tried to tell us that there was no competitiveness involved on the day, just a friendly day of community fun, but Deanna pulled out all stops in defence of her title. She found her mother’s apron at the bottom of a drawer, channelled her and set to work with fresh in season peaches, lots of other market ingredients, including macadamias (also an ingredient in last year’s winning dish), much love and the experience acquired while keeping her lucky workmates supplied with home-baked treats. Deanna says this pastry is quite an easy one to make, but if you want to make the recipe even easier, just do the peaches with the pastry as a crumble topping, and/or do individual ones in ramekins. I love adding nuts to pastry too, it gives texture and that great roasted nut taste.





225 g plain flour
1 tbsp icing sugar
Pinch of salt
115g cold butter, chopped
3-4 tbsp ice water
1 egg beaten

4 cups peaches (around 10-13 peaches) peeled and sliced
¾ cups white sugar
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

½ cup plain flour
½ cup rolled oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp salt
85 grams of unsalted butter chopped
1 cup macadamias roughly chopped

Make the Crust:
Blend the flour, butter, salt and icing sugar on pulse in food processor until it resembles fine crumbs.   Add chilled water slowly until pastry just comes together, over mixing will cause a tough pastry.  Form into a ball and flatten into a round.  Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.
Make the Filling:
Peel and slice the peaches, ( use a vegetable peeler like I did, or score the peach in an X and drop into boiling water for a few seconds to loosen the skin)
Combine the flour, sugar, and spices.  Add lemon juice and honey to peaches, and then mix in dry ingredients.  Allow to rest for half an hour.

To make the Topping:
Mix the flour, oats, sugar and salt.  Add the butter and mix with fingertips until forms moist clumps.  Add the nuts and mix.

Assembly and Baking:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Put a baking tray in the oven to heat. (pie will be placed on tray to help ensure a firm crust)
Roll out the pastry and line a 23 cm deep pie dish with pastry.  Crimp the edges.  Place in fridge to chill for half an hour.  When chilled, remove from fridge and baste inside bottom of pastry with beaten egg with a pastry brush (this helps keep the bottom firm, not soggy).  Fill the pie with the filling and sprinkle over the crumb topping.  Baste the visible crimped edges of pastry with remaining beaten egg.
Cook for ½ hour on 180 degrees (having placed on lowest shelf in oven on top of baking sheet)
After ½ hour, decrease heat to 150 and cook for a further hour until topping is bubbly.  Keep checking in last half hour to be sure not to over cook.


some winners, and judge Victoria Cosford. Deanna is the 2nd smiley person holding a certificate from the left

judges at work










Nadia de Pietramale's creative cassava cake, which draws on her Brazilian heritage

those cute monkeys on Tara Pearson's banoffee pie cupcakes, winners in the vegan/raw food category











Maurizio Viani's market pie (foreground), savoury winner

the punters' choice! Kate Durkin's vegetable and feta tart











Margaret Rose's Macadamia and chickpea patties, vegan/raw runners up

Winner in a very strong Young Cooks' field, Zane Smith's blueberry crumble cake





































Zane Smith is a Year 11 student at Mullum High, as are Young Cooks runners up Holly and Maxine with their sweet potato brownies.  Judy did not quite manage to take pictures of everything, as after the judging the public were allowed to taste the entries and they vaporised in seconds!

I am not surprised, my mouth is literally watering uploading these pictures (several minutes have passed since my last meal).  If you click on the pictures you should see a bigger version.  If you would like to pass the bellysisters any of the recipes for these gorgeous cakes pies patties and muffins, please email the bellysisters: belly(at)belly(dot)net(dot)au.  Substitute the appropriate symbols for the words in brackets (spam protection measure).

Judy MacDonald also updated us on what is going on with the shire’s market policy.  If you would like to have your say,  she recommends you start by reading the proposed policy.  Click here to download a pdf of the policy from the Byron Shire site.

And Judy is just back from Europe, where she says two striking food trends are the heirloom vegetables, especially tomatoes, and the emphasis on sustainable fish, with lots available at farmers markets.



“Eat my words, why we love food books”, was chaired by Janella Purcell, with masterchef winner Adam Liaw, restaurateur Victoria Alexander, and local food legend Belinda Jeffery, all of whom have writtten and love cookbooks. Today, the panel talks about the process of writing a cookbook, which is maybe not the peaceful process with pots pans and a notebook we may expect. First up Adam Liaw, talking about his first book, 2 Asian Kitchens. The publishing contract was part of his prize on Masterchef.

These are edited audio clips, that you should be able to listen to by just clicking.

Eat my Words Part 2a – audio clip


Eat my Words Part 2b – audio clip



You might want to try giving up horsemeat, and milk , and eggs and honey and fish and all other meats and animal products, in honour of World Vegan day tomorrow. It has been going since 1994, there will be events all over Australia next weekend, although Sydney had its veggie fest yesterday. There will be lots of talks, food of course, art, even vegan speed dating. Or for something you can do from home, why not try the 30 day vegan challenge.  This is a  link to the vegan challenge, which helps you out with a 30 day menu and lots of recipes and info.  This is  a great list of world vegan events, from the veggie pride parade in Cape Town to the festa vegana in Barcelona, the verdurada in Sao Paolo to the Ghana Veg Soc day.  Lots of great events for you and your loved one to attend, after you find each other at the vegan speed dating!  Also have a look at last week’s meditation on going vegan by the very vegan, vibrant and healthy Sister Rasela, here.



Noma chef Rene Retzepy says that “cuisine is the edible expression of a culture”.  I reckon farmers markets are the edible expression of a landscape.



For more info, video links etc on the belly music, and the music of lots of shows on bayfm, check out www.bayfm.org, and go to the individual show pages


Come on in my kitchen, Eric Clapton

Coffee flavoured kisses, Saffire, the uppity blues women

Pony pot pie, the Red Hot Poker Dots

Pouring milk out the window, Apricot Rail

Vegan baby, Trip Poppies


Love and triple chocolate shortcrust tart, Sister T