Jun 052019

Need, or know of, a caterer?

A few weeks ago, Nillumbik University of the Third Age (U3A) had its AGM and everyone agreed that the finger food was exceptionally good. The caterer was First Choice Gourmet Catering, a full service catering company based in Eltham North who operate across North East Melbourne. Its owner is Emmanuel Buchanan, who can be contacted by either phone (0408 313097) or email. Read their Local Food Directory page.

That makes a total of 4 caterers in the Local Food Directory: Bomba Wood Fired Pizza (based in Eltham), Caffe Strada (Ivanhoe), First Choice Gourmet Catering (Eltham North), and My Little Country Kitchen (Kinglake West). Obviously, there a lot more caterers around and I would like to get more of them into the Directory. If you have ever had a good experience with a caterer, email me.

Love Is Coffee – a new, local coffee roaster

Love Is Coffee, from Diamond Creek, sell four different coffees at Eltham Farmers’ Market: Ethiopian, Nicaraguan, Peruvian and Timorean. The coffee can be bought as either roasted beans or as ground coffee. The coffee is roasted on the day of the market using Certified Organic, fair trade coffee beans. Read their Local Food Directory entry.

Welcome Jason and Cleone!

How long can you keep seeds?

This is the subject of Angelo Eliades’ latest article on his website.

I decided to compare Angelo’s answers with those in The Seed Savers’ Handbook. Where the answers are different, I’ve decided to be conservative and assume the shortest answer. And I’ve written up the results by adding a column to the North East Melbourne veggie planting guide (also see picture right).


Community gardening news

There are a few local community gardens that, for one reason or another, have never found their way onto our website. I’m gradually rectifying this situation. So, here are three new pages on the website: a page for a new community garden in Newton Street, Reservoir; and two pages for some venerable community gardens in Croydon and in Hawthorn.

Croydon Hawthorn Newton Street, Reservoir

That brings the total number of community gardens that have pages on our website up to nearly 50. See list and map.

Want to read more by Robin Gale-Baker?

Our very own Robin, author of the monthly veggie growing tips, has got herself a weekly gig in the Heidelberg and Diamond Valley Leaders. Most of her articles will apparently be about sustainability but two so far have been about food (see pictures right): on 1st May, she wrote about mint rust; and on 15th May, she wrote about the Macleod veggie swap.

Jon Buttery’s recommendations for gardening courses

Jon writes in: I am on a continuing journey of finding high quality, free and low cost courses to learn about gardening and related topics. These are the ones that have worked for me:

  • The introduction to horticulture courses at Edendale: 1 day a week for 9 weeks, approx cost $100. The courses are run at Edendale Farm by Justin Calverley. He is the author of The Urban Farmer and much of the course provides information on how people can undertake horticulture in an urban setting. Justin is an inspiring teacher and makes the learning extremely interesting, relevant and practical. The course runs regularly, with the next one starting on 31st July.
  • The online science of gardening course by University of Tasmania: parts 1 and 2 are each around 3-4 months; part 1 is free and part 2 costs $45. This is the first online course I ever took and I am impressed! It provides the basic scientific background to gardening (though you don’t need to know science beforehand). The course teaches the science in a readily accessible way and uses lots of Gardening Australia clips as well as some lectures. The team from the University of Tasmania is wonderful – very knowledgeable and encouraging. There are multiple choice quizzes and assignments – probably about 2 to 3 hours a week work. This complements the introduction to horticulture courses at Edendale and gives you lots of ideas of what you can do and the whys for that.
  • A Permaculture Design Certificate: 1 day a week for, say, 12 weeks at a cost of, say, $500. I had always wanted to do one and did so last year at Kinglake. The course covers not just horticulture, but also design and other sustainability related issues. I did mine with Pete the Permie, who is now offering the same course in Ringwood, starting 25th July. You learn a lot and it’s fun – you bring lunch to share and there are interesting site visits.
  • Practical learning at your local community garden: You only really learn gardening through trial and error and lots of practice (and that’s its beauty – there’s so much in it, I will never exhaust my ability to learn!). I am doing a lot of practical learning through my local community garden, St Johns Riverside in Heidelberg. I’m lucky – we have members who teach me about gardening, making compost and all manner of plant things.

Editor’s note: a few weeks ago, I wrote about the new compost teapot at St Johns Riverside. Jon tells me that the teapot now has its own Facebook page(!) where you can ask questions about compost.

Mitcham Community Meal in the news

Mitcham Community Meal featured in this week's Whitehorse Leader.

Live in Whittlesea?

This year’s Taste of Thomo Food Festival will be on Saturday, 7th September. They are looking for home growers to share their passion and knowledge of homegrown produce at the festival. If interested, contact them by phone (8376 6939) or email.

The annual Feed Melbourne appeal

The annual Feed Melbourne Appeal, re-badged as the Feed Victoria Appeal, has now started. Read about it either in the picture right or on the Feed Appeal website. There are three ways to donate:

  • Via their website.
  • By phone (1300 421041), Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.
  • By cheque (Feed Victoria Appeal, FareShare Foundation, 1-7 South Audley Street, Abbotsford, 3067).

Duang’s Tengtrirat’s new life

Some of you will remember Duang from the annual harvest feasts at Edendale (where she was the lead cook), from her catering, or from our interview with her last year. Well, a year ago, she moved to somewhere near Castlemaine. But she is still into growing food, as you will see if you read the article Duang’s Story in one of their local newsletters. I particularly like what she says about her local kangaroos: “I want to be friendly to the kangaroos, because we live in the path of the kangaroos and during the dry summer I observed how hungry and thirsty they were, so I want to grow their food so I can keep them on my property as their pathway.” Thanks for the heads up, Bev Robertson!

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

Judy’s interview with Deb and Peter Thomson.

Joke of the week

What do you call a baker with a cold? Coughee cake.

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

Wurundjeri bushfood planting bee: Saturday, 22nd June, 11am-1pm; Joe’s Market Garden, Coburg.

What: The Wurundjeri Council and Joe’s Market Garden will be planting out 100s of murnong as part of their Wurundjeri Bushfood Growing Project to grow and sell high quality bushfood, help create meaningful employment for Aboriginal people, and grow climate-appropriate crops. The day will include a smoking ceremony.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Malt master class and mid-winter feast: Saturday, 22nd June, 12.30-2.30pm; 3 Ravens Brewery, Thornbury.

What: What you will learn: taste your way through dark beers from The 3 Ravens under the expert guidance of one of their brewery team; see behind the scenes of a fully functioning craft brewery; and learn The 3 Ravens approach to dark beers. What you will get: brewery tour; sharing style feast from CookShop Rotisserie; and a guided tasting of dark beers.
Cost: $70 (includes a meal).
Bookings: their website.

Backyard chooks for families: Thursday, 11th July, 2-3pm; Edendale.

What: This workshop with farmer Raewyn is for families with children over the age of eight to learn the basics of backyard chicken keeping. It will cover the characteristics of different breeds (in order to make a selection that suits your setting and needs) as well as the housing and care of chickens. Participants will leave with the knowledge and confidence to begin keeping chickens and producing their own free-range eggs.
Cost: $10 per family.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Diabetes and diet: Tuesday, 23rd July, 7.30-9pm; Kilsyth.

What: Join their resident dietitian in this talk about diabetes. Participants will benefit by increased knowledge, awareness and understanding about diabetes. An understanding about resources and tools to help prevent type 2 diabetes or manage diabetes well, leaving you feeling confident and empowered to lead a healthy life.
Cost: $25.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Native edibles – walk, talk, taste: Saturday, 27th July, 2-4.30pm; Pascoe Vale South.

What: Presented by Karen Sutherland. There are many edible native plants that are easy to grow in urban gardens and pots. Karen’s own garden grows around 40 native edible plants and is a great place to see how they grow. You will look at how to grow lemon myrtle and her lesser known cousin cinnamon myrtle. Native pepper as well as a range of salt bushes can be grown in suburban gardens if you know what to do. Taste test a range of salt bushes, to find your favourite. Discuss a variety of native fruiting plants. You will learn which native edible plants are suitable for a suburban garden, in pots or in the ground, and how to harvest & use them to enjoy their unique flavour and aroma profiles. You will get a packet of seeds.
Cost: $55.
Bookings: their website.

Winter food forest – walk, talk, taste: Sunday, 28th July, 10am-12.30pm; Pascoe Vale South.

What: Presented by Karen Sutherland. Tour Karen’s garden, where there are a number of unusual edible plants that produce in winter, including perennial bell pepper, avocado, yacon and choko. Learn how to grow more winter edibles, from annual to perennial. You will also get a packet of seeds.
Cost: $50.

Smarter living – the story of Oz Harvest: Wednesday, 31st July, 7-9pm; Manningham Civic Centre.

What: OzHarvest collects excess food from around 3,500 commercial outlets and delivers it to around 1,300 charities supporting people in need across the country. That’s 180 tonnes of food each week.
Cost: free.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Introduction to beekeeping (6 sessions): 6 sessions, starting 1st August, 5.30-8pm; Fairfield.

What: This course is designed to show you how to make sure that your beehive is happy and healthy and will show you the important steps you need to know about what bees need and want to keep them happy. Activities will include: open and re-assemble a beehive; re-queen a honey colony; manage pest and disease within a honey bee colony; using a bee smoker; and remove a honey crop from a hive.
Cost: $220.

Intro to permaculture (two days): Saturday, 3rd August and Saturday 10th August, both 10am-3pm; CERES, Brunswick East.

What: This course is designed for both those new to permaculture and those thinking of undertaking a Permaculture Design Certificate. What you will learn: the concept of permaculture; and the principles of permaculture and associated design methods. 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: $190.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

New events – cooking

Potted chocolate flowers: Thursday, 11th July, 10-10.45am; Ringwood.

What: What you will learn: how to create your own style chocolate flower. What you will get: a gift boxed potted flower. Create your own potted flower! Create your own chocolate petals and handcraft your own chocolate flower sitting in a pot filled with chocolate soil.
Cost: $40.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Cooking master class – ‘taste of Italy’: Thursday, 11th July, 7-9pm; Gourmet Living, Templestowe.

What: Enjoy 3 tasting size courses cooked by chef Bek McMillan, from Gourmet Living, who will demonstrate step by step. All recipes are included. Menu: warm mushroom bruschetta; rigatoni arrabiata; and torte caprese.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Soups: Wednesday, 17th July, 2-3.30pm; Rosanna Library.

What: Jessie, from Leftover Lovers, will demonstrate nutritious winter soups. Use what is available for wonderful meals for one or a family.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

Cooking master class – ‘show off to your friends’: Wednesday, 17th July, 7-9pm; Gourmet Living, Templestowe.

What: Enjoy 3 tasting size courses cooked by chef Bek McMillan, from Gourmet Living, who will demonstrate step by step. All recipes are included. Menu: Tuscan tortellini soup; rosemary pork schnitzel; and caramel pannacotta.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Foolproof french macarons: Saturday, 20th July, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: These delicate patisserie cookies have a reputation for being finicky. But worry not – they will help you to get the technique down pat, from the fundamental techniques to creating flavour combinations to troubleshooting.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Profiterole basics: Saturday, 20th July, 2.15-1.45pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Box Hill South.

What: Learn the steps in making light and crisp profiteroles. Also, learn how to add crunchy sablage on top, filling them with pastry cream, and dipping them in chocolate or caramel.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Winter warmers cooking (thermomix): Tuesday, 30th July, 7.30-9pm; Kilsyth.

What: Learn how to make hearty winter meals such as soups, stews, curries in your thermomix. You will get to taste all the recipes that they cook on the night.
Cost: $21.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Knockout gnocchi: Saturday, 3rd August, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: Time to broaden your culinary expertise and meet pasta’s famous pillowy brother: gnocchi! They will show you how to make gnocchi at home through simple ingredients. From traditional potato to creamy ricotta and spinach, learn every nook and cranny that makes this classic Italian dish a favourite.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

Handmade pasta workshop: Saturday, 3rd August, midday-1.30pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

What: They will show you how to make pasta dough by hand and turn it into a variety of pasta types. They may even throw in sauce-making secrets for good measure.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: their website.

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.

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