Jan 292020

Bush fire appeals

There are lots of different bush fire appeals that you can donate to if you want and there is no reason for me to highlight one over another. But two newsletter readers have written in with some specific suggestions.

Pauline Crosbie has pointed out that a group called the Organic & Regenerative Investment Co-operative is co-ordinating fundraising and other assistance to certified organic and biodynamic food producers in the affected areas.

Cath Lyons is organising for community gardens around Melbourne to contribute seeds and seedlings to community gardens in the bush fire areas. If your community garden is potentially interested in participating, contact Cath by email(tinytrowel7@gmail.com).

Ann interviews Jess Ness from Bedford Park Community Garden in Ringwood

Over the last few years, Jess Ness has become one of the more prolific local organisers of food-related events, based either in the Bedford Park Community Garden or at the adjacent Central Ringwood Community Centre. Ann Stanley recently visited the garden and interviewed Jess. Here is how Ann introduces her writeup: “Jess … leaves water bottles filled, ready for anyone to water the garden as they stroll around. This is a small thing, but it is an example of a small thing that could make a big difference. What impact could the filled water bottles have? They could make it easy for people to contribute, make people more comfortable taking some produce, cause people to look more closely at the plants, give young kids something to do and, perhaps the biggest thing, suggest to people that they are welcome … The water bottle gesture sums up Jess’s approach to her role. She sees the big picture but also has a feel about what to do at the daily detail level to bring about social and behaviour change. The length and breadth of Jess’s vision is difficult to convey in a short article but she is all about grassroots action for community education, zero waste, skill sharing, entrepreneurial opportunity and recycling.

If you want to experience the sort of thing that Jess organises at Bedford Park, you could go to the Local Sustainability Fair on Sunday, 9th February or a food waste avoidance workshop on Monday, 17th February or urban chickens 101 on Saturday, 22nd February.

Read Ann’s full interview write up.

Robin on lovage – taking stock!

Making your own stock is a sure fire way of avoiding certain ingredients such as MSG, palm oil, wheat, emulsifiers and flavour enhancers, as found in many commercial stock cubes or powders. Simply grow the culinary herb, lovage, in your kitchen garden and you will have a source of fresh herb that tastes just like stock cubes.

Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is a Southern European plant which tastes like celery. It is a tall herbaceous perennial which grows to 1-2 metres through spring, summer and autumn, and then dies down for several months over winter before springing up again with renewed vigour. It prefers shade and a deep, rich, moist soil and plenty of space. Its leaves, seeds and roots can all be used, though the root (which was chewed as a tobacco substitute) is rarely eaten these days. The seeds can be ground into a peppery spice.

In Europe, lovage is often referred to as Maggi as it so closely resembles the taste of the original stock cubes produced by Julius Maggi who founded the Maggi Company in Germany in 1897. The broad, shiny leaves plus the tall, hollow, cylindrical stems are the parts used for stock. Harvest several handfuls of leaves plus stems, simmer them in 2 litres of water for 40 minutes, then boil to reduce the liquid. When cool, set in ice cube trays or add other vegetables such as onions and carrots to produce a more flavoursome stock. You can, of course, add in any herbs such as thyme, oregano, bay leaf, savoury and marjoram to pack the flavour in. And, if you want a salty stock, add salt. To store your stock, an alternative to freezing it is to bottle it in Fowler’s vacola jars.

The stems of lovage, like the stems of its cousin Angelica archangelica, can be candied, and the stems can also be peeled and eaten raw. The leaves too can be eaten raw but have a richer, more robust flavour than celery so need to be used sparingly.

Late summer is a good time to harvest all your lovage before it begins to die down. Turn it into stock for soups, stews and casseroles to last you through the winter.

Read more of Robin Gale-Baker’s articles.

Community gardening news

The entire apricot crop at the Mernda Community Garden has been stolen. And this also happened last year! As Andrew Ogbourne, from the Pentridge Community Garden, said: “I don’t really like the tall barbed wire fence and locked gates we have around [our garden] – but [at least] we don’t have this problem“.

News about local food organisations

The monthly Vegan Market of Melbourne, held at Abbotsford Convent, has moved from the first Saturday of every month to the second Saturday.

The upcoming Home Harvest Picnic

Volunteers are needed to help with The Home Harvest Picnic on Sunday, 1st March at Edendale. There are two different volunteer roles:

If you are interested in volunteering, click on the above links and register your interest. As a volunteer, you also get a ticket to go and enjoy the picnic.

It’s not too late to register as a grower and you can bring three guests. The more growers, the bigger the celebration of home grown and local food. Register as a grower.

Finally, in December, our roving reporter Ann Stanley interviewed Pam Jenkins, Sabi Buehler and Tracey Bjorksten about the upcoming picnic. Read her write up.

‘Crowd harvest’ – herbs for Australia Day

During January, take your surplus herb plants in pots, freshly cut herbs or dried herbs to NewHope Community Care in Blackburn North. They have clients who could make use of these herbs.

Do you know?

Meera Govil asks: “Does anyone know how to dry oregano and mint so that they remain green when dry?“. Email your answers.

January resin bee action (continued)

In the last newsletter, I asked: “Are the resin bees laying the eggs the same bees as emerged only a few days’ previously or are they from a different population?

Katrina Forstner (of Buzz and Dig fame) has responded: “When the bees emerge, they are fully mature so potentially it’s the same bee coming back and cleaning out the baby poo and debris from the previous tenants which could include itself and siblings. So they are fully mature, ready to mate and begin nesting when they break the resin seal. You’d have to mark the bee if you’d want to see if it’s the same one returning, but it could also be a native bee from your garden or local area.

Katrina then went on to say: “One of the bees an entomologist thinks is visiting my drilled blocks is a brow headed resin bee (Megachile erythropyga). These bees chew up leaves and plug up the ends of the holes.” See picture right.

Thanks, Katrina!

Permablitz hero of the month: ginger

Ginger has many uses besides cooking and it’s easy to start growing your own!Read more.

Read a list of all Permablitz’s food-related heroes, with links to the full articles.

What seeds to plant in February

Here is a list (see the planting guide for more detail):

Warm season veggies


Cool season veggies

Brussels sprouts

Leafy greens

Mustard greens





In principle, you can start planting some of the brassicas (broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower) but perhaps it would be better to wait until March.

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Judy’s interview with Lachlan Shackleton-Fergus.

Proverb of the month

The apple never falls far from the tree. Meaning: children grow up to be similar to their parents. A comparable meaning to all of like father, like son, chip off the old block and (my favourite) a wild goose never laid a tame egg. The phrase appears to be of German origin, dating back to the 16th Century, but it only entered the English language in the 19th Century, when it was used by the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. Apparently, however, Emerson used the phrase to mean something else (the tug that often brings us back to our childhood home). The phrase would perhaps be better worded as the apple never lands far from the tree.

This phrase was suggested for inclusion in the newsletter by Wendy Miller. For future newsletters, she has suggested: there is something fishy going on (something isn’t as it should be); she blew him a raspberry (make a derisive or contemptuous sound with your lips); and plum job (a highly desirous job). Thanks for the suggestions, Wendy!

Read more proverbs.

Gardening quote of the month

Earth laughs in flowers” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Read more quotes.

Joke of the week

How did Reese eat her ice cream? Witherspoon.

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

How to read food labels?: Thursday, 30th January, 7-8pm; Ivanhoe Library.

What: Reading food labels and understanding them properly is a key to purchase real and nutrient-dense whole food. Do we take more sugar than the amount claimed in food labels? How can we know the amount of the salt we consumed if it is not claimed? What do we need to pay attention to the fat in food labels? What other nutrient food we could have when we crave for sugar? Presenter: Yi Zhao.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Introduction to mindful eating: Thursday, 30th January, 7-8.30pm; Heidelberg Heights.

What: Tired of overeating, dieting or both? Ready to break your eat-repent-repeat cycle? Join licensed Am I Hungry facilitator and dietitian (APD) Tess Gardiner (aka The Sustainability Dietitian) for an introduction to mindful eating. Learn how you can develop the effective thoughts and positive feelings necessary to make decisions about eating, physical activity, and self-care that support your optimal health. This inside-out approach changes thoughts and feelings first, so changes in behaviours will last.
Cost: $6.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Am I hungry? Mindful eating program (8 sessions): 8 sessions on consecutive Thursdays from 6th February to 26th March, each 7-8.30pm; Heidelberg Heights.

What: Join licensed Am I Hungry facilitator and dietitian (APD) Tess Gardiner (aka The Sustainability Dietitian) to understand mindful eating. Over the 8 sessions, you will learn: how to be in charge of your eating instead of feeling out of control; how to use hunger and satiety to guide your eating; how to eat the foods you love without overeating or guilt; how to balance eating for nourishment with eating for enjoyment; how to resolve mindless and emotional eating; how to discover joy in movement; and how to care for your body, mind, heart, and spirit.
Cost: $191 ($16 per hour).
Bookings: EventBrite.

Local Sustainability Fair (Ringwood): Sunday, 9th February, 10am-2pm; Central Ringwood Community Centre.

What: This fair is all about showcasing local businesses and community groups that support the residents to live more sustainable lives. Shopping local is both good for the environment, as you reduce the energy required to transport and often package a product, but it also bolsters our economy and supports local families. There will be market stalls, plants for sale, live music, kids activities, food vans and guest speakers. The stalls will include local community and environment groups, plus sales of handmade wares, second hand clothes, upcycled items and re-usable items. The speakers will speak on tiny homes, green homes, solar and wayapa wuurrk.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Wicking beds and worm farming: Wednesday, 12th February, 10am-midday; Rosanna.

What: Ravi will demonstrate how to convert an existing garden bed into a waterwise wicking bed and how to make fertiliser for the veggies using a worm cafe.
Cost: Gold coin donation.
Bookings: their website.

Start your own veg seedlings for Winter harvest: Saturday, 15th February, 10am-midday; Hurstbridge.

What: Starting your own seedlings from seed saves money and lets you access varieties that won’t be available at the nursery. Learn how to start seedlings of winter crops like kale, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, chard, cabbage, fennel, dill and more (the best time to get started is late summer, not autumn!). Find out what makes a good seed-raising mix and how to mix your own using homemade compost. Have a go at making soil blocks and learn the pros/cons of seed trays/modules versus soil blocks.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Beeswax wraps with Jo Massey: Saturday, 15th February, 2-4pm; Rosanna.

What: Learn how to make beeswax wraps from scratch using recycled and natural materials. Make two of your own wraps to take home. Discuss ways to keep food fresh without plastic packaging and plastic wraps, how to wash beeswax wraps, and how to refresh them when they crack.
Cost: Gold coin donation.
Bookings: their website.

Watering systems in the home garden: Sunday, 16th February, 10am-midday; Montmorency.

What: The tour will focus on the water systems around the home and will be an opportunity to share patterns and principles of water management, including rainwater, domestic wastewater and runoff. Discussion topics will include: working with rainwater cycles; greywater systems; water storage; controlling watering; using wicking beds; swales & terracing; and different approaches to delivering water to plants. The discussion will be structured around a walking tour of the garden. Visitors are welcome to bring a plate and stay for some food and discussion afterwards.
Cost: $5.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Moon Rabbit bulk-buy launch party: Saturday, 22nd February, 9.30am-2pm; Preston.

What: Low-waste cafe, Moon Rabbit, is launching a bulk-buy co-op and will be celebrating with a zero-waste party, free babyccinos and a day full of activities. The co-op will offer affordable, everyday pantry items in bulk – buy only what you need, BYO containers and avoid unnecessary packaging. The launch party will include: the debut of the community led bulk buy market (so bring your containers); a zero-waste brunch menu and free babyccinos; and workshops on how to properly store and set up a zero-waste pantry.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Lucinda’s permaculture garden: Sunday, 23rd February, 10am-midday; Hurstbridge.

What: Set on 1/3 acre block. Lucinda’s garden shows how a large and chaotic array of veggies, fruits, water plants and herbs can thrive in a small space alongside gum trees, using a combination of above-ground beds, mixed plantings and plenty of mulch. Lucinda will also talk about preserving, dehydrating, kombucha, sourdough, and the many energy efficiency improvements she has made to her 70’s home. Read more about Lucinda’s garden.
Cost: $5.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Food photography: Sunday, 23rd February, 2-5pm; Eltham.

What: This class is for food bloggers, bakers or restaurant/cafe owners. It will focus on taking great images of food using your own, or easily obtainable, equipment. It will cover such aspects as: the right equipment; the best camera settings to make your food look good; choosing the right backgrounds; lighting; basic food styling; being creative; the perils of incorrect white balance; and using software to enhance colour and presentation.
Cost: $99 ($33 per hour).
Bookings: EventBrite.

Planning your autumn garden: Tuesday, 25th February, 7-8.30pm; Coburg Library.

What: Local horticulturalist Tash van Velzen will tell you what you need to do to revive your garden after the hot summer and prepare your veggie patch for the cooler months ahead.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Double Delicious: six occurrences – Thursday 27th February (7-8.45pm), Friday 28th February (5.30-7.15pm and 8.30-10.15pm), Saturday 29th February (5.30-7.15pm and 8.30-10.15pm), and Sunday 1st March (5.30-7.15pm); Abbotsford Convent.

What: This sumptuous storytelling and culinary experience sees storyteller cooks share the secrets behind the dishes that have proved significant in their lives. Part of Asia TOPA: Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts 2020.
Cost: $85 ($51 per hour).
Bookings: TryBooking.

Behind the bar – Rob Dolan Wines: Friday, 28th February, 5.30-7.30pm; Nillumbik Cellars, Diamond Creek.

What: Rob Dolan Wines are a winery in brewery in Warrandyte South. Free to attend, free to taste, and no bookings required.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

The Great Tomato Taste Off: Saturday, 29th February, 3-5pm; Lower Plenty.

What: This annual event gives growers a chance to show off the amazing varieties of tomatoes grown locally. Local growers are invited to bring along their favourite varieties of home-grown tomatoes and put them to a taste test. Both growers and non-growers are invited to taste and compare and to cast a vote for your favourite variety for the People’s Choice Award. The winners will be announced by Banyule’s Mayor Alison Champion. Timetable: register your tomatoes at 3pm (3-4 large tomatoes or 10 minis); tastings 3.30-4.30pm; and winners announced at 5pm.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

The herbal apprentice (7 sessions): 7 consecutive Thursdays from 5th March to 16th April, each 10am-3.30pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: Presenters: The Perma Pixie and Willow Herb-nerd. You will learn essential gardening practices, techniques of germination and cultivation, harvesting, drying and storing plant material, and catalysing this material into herbal medicines.
Cost: $650 ($17 per hour).
Bookings: Humanitix.

Produce in pots: Thursday, 12th March, 6.30-9pm; Bulleen Art and Garden.

What: What you will learn: why edibles fail and what how to improve their chances of success; how to choose the right pots, potting mix, additives and mulches; and the best fruit and vegetables options for pots, and the best sustainable and organic maintenance techniques, including watering and feeding. Presented by Diana Cotter. You’ll learn how potting mix and watering work, how plants react to different situations, and how the weather affects different plants differently. There will be a practical demonstration showing how to properly prepare potting mix, plant seeds and seedlings, and maintain the potential fruits (and vegetables!) of your labour.
Cost: $55 ($22 per hour).
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Planting cool season vegetables: Saturday, 14th March, 10.30am-midday; Whittlesea Community Garden.

Cost: free.
Bookings: by phone (9716 3361) or email.

Growing and cooking with bushfoods: Saturday, 14th March, 10am-3pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: how to identify and harvest bush foods; how to grow and maintain bush foods in the home garden; and how to incorporate bush foods into everyday recipes. Presenter: Belinda Kennedy. Tour the CERES bush food gardens, learn how to identify, grow and maintain a variety of local bush foods, gain knowledge of bush foods from further afar. Learn how to incorporate bush foods into simple, tasty and nutritious meals, desserts and snacks. The group will make a bush food inspired lunch and afternoon tea – all food prepared on the day will be vegetarian and vegan friendly.
Cost: $110 ($22 per hour).
Bookings: Humanitix.

The Herb and Chilli Festival: Saturday, 14th March and Sunday, 15th March, both 10am-5pm; Wandin North.

What: A two-day festival celebrating all things related to herbs and chillis. There will be stalls, demonstrations, talks, tastings, music and dance. There will be around 80 exhibitors, including Arthurs Creek Garlic, Blossom’s Organics, Juanita’s Kitchen and PoppySmack.
Cost: $26 per adult per day (children free).
Bookings: TryBooking.

Introduction to permaculture (two sessions): Sunday, 15th March and Sunday, 22nd March, both 10am-4pm; Edendale.

What: Facilitator: Donna Livermore. Some of the topics covered will include: the ethics and design principles; energy and nutrient cycling; veggie and fruit growing systems; animals in permaculture; and energy efficient buildings. There will be examples from tiny urban gardens to suburban and rural permaculture properties showing how we can create resilient, sustainable systems that work with nature and the natural limits of our planet.
Cost: $150 ($19 per hour).
Bookings: TryBooking.

Beeswax wraps: Thursday, 19th March, 7-9pm; Park Orchards Community House.

What: This workshop will show you how easy beeswax wraps are to make for yourself or as gifts. You will need to bring along with you a piece of material 28cm by 28cm. It must be 100% cotton, non-stretch, pre-washed and free from embellishments. All other materials supplied,
Cost: $45 ($23 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Beeswax wraps: Friday, 20th March, 6-8pm; Surrey Hills Neighbourhood Centre.

What: Join Emma Grace for a Christmas-themed beeswax wraps session. Learn how to make and take home two wraps. Includes complimentary bubbles, cheese and all materials.
Cost: $65 ($33 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Healthy productive compost and worms: Sunday, 22nd March, 9.30am-12.30pm; Bulleen Art and Garden.

What: What you will learn: the importance of compost for soil health; how to fix common composting problems; and setting up and looking after a worm farm. Presented by Diana Cotter. Learn how to make great compost, the essential ingredient for a thriving and healthy garden. Look at worm farms and Bokashi as other options. They will also show you how to make a DIY worm farm using recycled products.
Cost: $50 ($17 per hour).
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Mushroom cultivation workshop: Sunday, 22nd March, 10am-1pm; Park Orchards Community House.

What: Learn how to grow mushrooms at home. Gain an overview of the fungi life cycle, the cultivation process, building a mushroom growing chamber, harvesting and storage. Includes: course materials, an oyster mushroom growing kit per person (valued $30), course notes and ongoing support.
Cost: $70 ($23 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

New events – cooking

Plant-based cooking class (vegetarian and vegan; thermomix): Tuesday, 4th February, 7.30-9pm; Kilsyth.

What: Look at easy-to-prepare, delicious and nutritious recipes that will help with longevity, weight-loss and general well-being. The recipes to the demonstrated will include: vegan cauliflower fettucine alfredo; vegan bean burgers; vegan parmesan cheese; vegan mayonnaise; pea and garden mint fritters; pulled BBQ jackfruit soft tacos; and jackfruit and mayo sandwich filling.
Cost: $21 ($14 per hour).
Bookings: EventBrite.

Street food in your thermomix: Tuesday, 18th February, 7.30-9pm; Kilsyth.

What: The recipes to the demonstrated will include: Thai bubble tea; bao buns; tacos; rice paper rolls; and satay.
Cost: $26 ($17 per hour).
Bookings: EventBrite.

Persian cooking: Sunday, 1st March, 10am-1.30pm; Park Orchards Community House.

What: Learn about the flavours of Persian cooking. Try out recipes and cooking methods while preparing a three course menu. Stay and share your freshly prepared lunch with the group. Menu: a Persian summer salad; Persian meatballs made with ground beef; rice & fragrant herbs & spices; and halva aromatic sweet dessert.
Cost: $70 ($20 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Triple cream brie cheese: Sunday, 1st March, 10am-4pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: how to make your own triple cream brie and gourmet feta cheeses; how to make ricotta cheese; and about different cheeses. Presenters: Janet Clayton and Charlene Angus from Cheeselinks.
Cost: $170 ($28 per hour).
Bookings: Humanitix.

Easy vegan in your Thermomix: Tuesday, 3rd March, 7.30-9.30pm; Chirnside Park.

What: They will be assembling a ‘burger’ with mayo, relish, ‘cheese’ all vegan all made in the thermomix. Learn about the benefits of eating plant based and expand your repertoire. Tastings on the night and you don’t need to have a thermomix to attend.
Cost: $25 ($13 per hour).
Bookings: EventBrite.

Healthy Asian cooking workshop (Japanese food): Thursday, 5th March, 7-9pm; Mill Park Library.

What: Have a go at creating healthy Japanese style dishes. Presented by OTAO Kitchen.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

The basics of pickle and preserving: Tuesday, 10th March, 7-8.30pm; Hawthorn Community House.

What: Learn to preserve seasonal produce by making pickles, relishes and sauces. These techniques are suitable for most fruit and veggies. They will make some on the night for you to taste.
Cost: $25 ($17 per hour).
Bookings: TryBooking.

Cookie making class for kids: Thursday, 12th March, 4-5pm; Kew.

What: Roll your own dough, create your cookies and decorate your own way. Free apron for every child.
Cost: $25 ($25 per hour).
Bookings: TryBooking.

Sourdough bread: Thursday, 12th March, 6.30-9pm; Park Orchards Community House.

What: Nadine will demonstrate the technique of sourdough bread making and baking. Bring a container to take home your dough to bake at home. This class is best suited to those who have some experience with bread making, however it is not essential.
Cost: $55 ($22 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Sausage making workshop: Friday, 13th March, 5.30-7.30pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: Italian, German, Polish, Hungarian – so many European cuisines have their own take on the humble sausage. Discover the secrets behind making the best-tasting gourmet sausages with the right ingredient ratio, casing and flavour combos.
Cost: $30 ($15 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Sourdough for beginners: Saturday, 14th March, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: Learn the in’s and out’s of using a starter through to artisan shaping methods, and leave understanding the skills and techniques needed to replicate the baking process at home.
Cost: $30 ($20 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Food for mind and gut: Saturday, 14th March, 10am-3pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: foods which make your brain brighter; how to incorporate brain powering foods easily into your daily diet; and foods that can build and protect your gut microbiome and clear brain fog. Presenter: Melanie Leeson, from Mettle + Grace. Learn how to create healthier versions of your old favourites. The dishes will be packed with nutritionally dense vegetables and all will be gluten and dairy free. The menu includes: vegan cream cheese; oat + mesquite crackers; beet sauerkraut; chickpea salad with orange tahini; coconut + turmeric pie; and miso puffed balls.
Cost: $110 ($22 per hour).
Bookings: Humanitix.

A Tuscan table – gnocchi making class: Saturday, 14th March, 11am-1pm; Kew.

What: Join Paul Lewis, from the Sparechair Cafe to learn about the art and origins of gnocchi making. Make your own gnocchi and then stay on for lunch. Take home a free bottle of homemade sauce.
Cost: $55 ($28 per hour).
Bookings: TryBooking.

Vietnamese cooking, music and zumba: Monday, 16th March, 10.30am-midday; Thomastown Library.

What: Celebrate Cultural Diversity Week with a demonstration of Vietnamese cooking, music and zumba with the Australian Vietnamese Women’s Association, followed by a Vietnamese traditional costume show.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Family friendly meals in your thermomix: Tuesday, 17th March, 7.30-9.30pm; Chirnside Park.

What: This workshop will focus on fresh, fast food that is nutritious and ready in minutes with minimal fuss. Tastings on the night and you don’t need to have a thermomix to attend.
Cost: $25 ($13 per hour).
Bookings: EventBrite.

Cooking for one: Thursday, 19th March, 10.30-11.30am; Coburg Library.

What: Paris Jay will show you basic skills on reading food labels and deciphering confusing marketing messages to make the best choice for you. You will learn simple ideas and tips for cooking for one person and enjoy a demonstration on how to make a nutritious meal for one, with a tasting included.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Vegan cheese making: Saturday, 21st March, 10am-4pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: how to make your own vegan cheese; and how to make vegan milks, creamy spreads and dairy-free desserts. Presenter: Nase Supplitt.
Cost: $110 ($18 per hour).
Bookings: Humanitix.

Vegetarian Vietnamese: Saturday, 21st March, 10.30am-3pm; Panton Hill.

What: Facilitated by Kelly Meredith from Under The Pickle Tree. Learn how to make your own mushroom stock powder to add depth of flavour to vegetarian dishes; how to braise tofu in a master stock to give it complexity; and how to make a vegetarian mincemeat. Menu: happy hue pancakes; Vietnamese buddha bowls; and Vietnamese dipping sauces.
Cost: $160 ($36 per hour).
Bookings: their website.

Indian cooking: Saturday, 29th March, 10am-3pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: What you will learn: Indian cooking and improved culinary skills. What you will get: an Indian feast and recipes to take home. Presenter: Aditi Daware.
Cost: $110 ($22 per hour).
Bookings: Humanitix.

Kids cooking: Tuesday, 31st March, 10am-midday; Yarra Glen.

What: Jill Bowen Hess will show you how to make savoury nibbles, slice and chocolate treats.
Cost: $20 ($10 per hour).
Bookings: their enrolment form. Enter class/workshop code ‘KC’.

Mediterranean diet: Tuesday, 31st March, 7-8.30pm; Hawthorn Community House.

What: The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the world’s healthiest diet with its abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, olive oil, yogurt, goats’ cheese, fish, poultry and small portions of meat. This cooking workshop will cover the science and health behind the Mediterranean Diet combined with a demonstration of some of the simpler authentic foods, like potato gnocchi, with a range of flavours and individual sauces. Carmel will provide adaptable recipes handed down through generations, using only the best seasonal ingredients.
Cost: $25 ($17 per hour).
Bookings: TryBooking.

Summary of upcoming events – not cooking

Over the next week
Over the next month

Summary of upcoming events – cooking

Over the next week
Over the next month

View the complete calendar of upcoming events.

Read some help on how to view the calendar selectively. For example, search for events in a given suburb or set of suburbs. Or search for events of a given type (such as markets).