Mar 162023

Thanks to the people who have contributed to this week’s newsletter: Ann Stanley, Beth Ciesielski, Doris Glier, James Petty, Kate Rosier, Lucinda Flynn, Lucy Richards, Lyn Richards, Pam Jenkins, Sarah Young and Virginia Solomon.

All Seasons Cooking Classes

All Seasons Cooking Classes, who are based in Croydon, make seasonal preserves & pickles, dahl mix, veggie slice mix and flavoured couscous. Each is made in small batches, with no nasties. All are vegan and most are gluten-free. Most of the dry ingredients come from Terra Madre and are Certified Organic. The aim is to help people easily create healthy, fast and tasty meals. The packaging is all either recyclable or compostable.

The owner, Sarah Young, is also an instructor at some cooking classes, for example Kitchen basics on Saturday, 1st April, 10am-1pm at the The Food School in Mount Evelyn.

Welcome Sarah!

There are now 19 makers of condiments in our Local Food Directory. If you know of any others, email us.

And the winner is …

A few weeks ago, we published an interview with Rowe Morrow and offered our readership the chance of getting a free copy of her new book The Earth Restorer’s Guide to Permaculture. The winner of the lucky draw was Stormie de Groot.

Yes you did know!

Last week, Nada Cunningham asked what was attacking her eggplants and what might be possible solutions.

James Petty and Pam Jenkins agree that the culprit is the native poroporo fruit borer (Leucinodes cordalis), whose larvae eat vegetable plants in the capscium and solanum genera.

James adds: “If there is a reddish-coloured grub inside the eggplant, then this is it. I’m not sure of defences other than a healthy population of predators. Read more.

Pam adds: “My solution is to bag the fruit or grow what I can under nets. Spraying with Dipel on a regular basis should work. Read more.

Yet more on vanilla slices

The annual Victorian Baking Show was held earlier this month in Bendigo. See the list of winners. The winner for the best vanilla slice was the North End Bakehouse in Shepparton, which is a bit too far for me to taste test.

There were some winners in other categories from North East Melbourne:

  • Luke Farrell from Bakers Delight in Camberwell placed first in the ‘Grain Loaf Condensed Square’, ‘Turkish Pide Loaf’ and ‘White French Stick’ categories, second in the ‘Sourdough Rye’, ‘White Loaf Condensed Square’ and ‘White Vienna’ categories and third in the ‘Pane Di Casa’ and ‘Wholemeal Loaf Upright’ categories.
  • Adriano Capretto from Whittlesea Bakehouse placed first in the ‘Fruit Flan’ category and second in the ‘Plain Meat Pie’ category.
  • Robert Dutton from Coles in Doncaster placed second in the ‘White Hi Top Half Married’ category and third in the ‘White Vienna’ and ‘Wholemeal Pipe Loaf’ categories.

Congratulations to Luke, Adriano and Robert.

Newsletter reader’s website of the week – Going Green Solutions

As you hopefully know, single use plastic catering ware is now banned in Victoria. So, if you need any catering ware, the obvious choice is plant-based and Certified compostable. One such supplier is newsletter reader Lucinda Flynn, via her company Going Green Solutions. They are a long time supplier of BioPak goods and all their pricing is matched with theirs including free shipping.

Read about other newsletter reader websites on our website.

Do you have a website? If so, email us and we will highlight it in a future newsletter. It doesn’t have to be about food.

Some suggestions for your reading and watching

Imperfect gardening

Lyn Richards suggests that you read this article in The Saturday Paper about imperfect gardening by autumn gardeners.

Another video from Simone

Red Egyptian walking onions.

Some newsletter reader photos

Doris Glier
Zucchini whale and calf
Virginia Solomon

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The most popular link in the last newsletter was Nillumbik Nursery’s March newsletter.

Every newsletter needs a good picture

The Listening Chamber is a painting by the surrealist Rene Magritte painted in 1953. How big do you think the apple is? Whilst it could be any size, our brain automatically thinks of it as massive because of its confined circumstances.

Magritte also painted similar green apples in a number of settings, including in front of the face of a bowler-hatted man.

See more food-related art on our website.

Word of the month – Toothsome

‘Toothsome’, meaning of palatable flavour and pleasing texture.

Read about previous words of the month.

Proverb (or phrase) of the month

As sure as eggs is eggs. Meaning: will definitely happen.

According to Wiktionary, the original phase was “as sure as eggs is eggs and not eyren“, where ‘eyren’ was the Old English (and thus southern English) plural form for ‘eggs’ and ‘eggs’ was the Old Norse (and thus northern English) plural. Perhaps surprisingly, in a victory by the Vikings over the Anglo-Saxons, ‘eggs’ became the preferred version in standard English and ‘eyren’ ceased to be. The phrase was originally a celebration and affirmation of this choice.

According to some other sources, however, the phrase is a corruption of “as sure as X is X” which, as a tautology, is obviously true.

In either case, wouldn’t “as sure as eggs are eggs” be more grammatically correct, you might ask. Well, yes, but apparently grammar doesn’t apply to sayings; for example, “who would’ve thunk it?” or “them’s the breaks“.

Finally, “as sure as eggs is eggs (aching men’s feet)” was (of course) the title of the seventh and final section of the song ‘Supper’s Ready’ by the band Genesis in 1972.

Read about more food-related proverbs.

Gardening quote of the month

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before.” by Vita Sackville.

Read more gardening quotes.

b33e661f-c100-4ebe-9ffa-847952e0da4e.jpgJoke (or pun) of the week

Submitted by Olaf Falafel: My nan recently had a hip operation, now whenever she makes me a sandwich she serves it on a roof tile with a side of rosemary fries in a miniature bucket.

Read more jokes.


Regular activities over the coming week

Farmers’ and other food markets
Food swaps
Community gardens

Not food-related but interesting

The park on park; Saturday, 29th April and Sunday, 30th April, both 10am-4.30pm; $10; Park Orchards.

Tour this ½ acre garden designed by Laurie Landscapes. There are around 14,000 plants and 70 established trees. A river cut from a section of the nearby Yarra River filled with aquatic plants and fish weaves its way through the living area, whilst two large waterscapes with turtles and fish are visible from most angles of the home. Organised by Open Gardens Victoria.

Upcoming face-to-face events – not cooking

Backyard bee keeping for beginners; Tuesday, 21st March, 7-8.30pm; free; Coburg.

Robert, from Bee Sustainable, will give participants a basic understanding of bee behaviour, establishing and managing a hive, and the items that make up a bee hive and their construction. There will be live bees and honeycomb to look at in a secure exhibition cabinet. The workshop will also cover the equipment a beekeeper needs to work with bees, key tasks in spring, honey extraction and swarm control. Organised by My Smart Garden.

Digestion – cultivating and balancing gut health; Sunday, 26th March, 10.30am-1.30pm; $150 ($50 per hour); Coburg.

You will learn the tools to understand your unique digestive capacity and ways to improve your gut health and digestive strength through the foods you eat, and more importantly, how and when you eat them. A vegetarian lunch is included. You will also receive a booklet covering how to understand your own digestion and how best to care for it plus a complimentary bio-resonance scan.

Hot composting, compost liquids and teas; Thursday, 30th March, 7-8.30pm; $35 ($24 per hour); Warrandyte.

Hot composting, liquid compost and compost tea can do radical things to your garden and the production and resilience therein. This workshop will discuss such questions as: Why don’t more people practice these technologies? Are they really time consuming? What’s the real benefit? How do you really do it to have confidence in success and get the great results? Do they really make all the difference?

Urban farm funk and ferment party; Saturday, 1st April, 3-7pm; $103 ($26 per hour); Brunswick East.

This will be an afternoon of funk and ferment with Simone Watts, chef and farmer at Barragunda Estate, and Hemi Rakei Reidy, head chef at CERES Merri Cafe. A roving menu will showcase organic produce with a focus on slow food and fermentation. There will also be local craft beers, natural wines and alcohol-free ferments plus live music.

Heart health; Sunday, 2nd April, 11am-12.30pm; free; Fitzroy North.

Dr Malcolm Mackay will discuss the role of nutrition in heart disease. Organised by Green Karma.

Victorian Whisky Festival; Sunday, 2nd April, midday-4pm; $80 ($20 per hour); Collingwood.

This is an opportunity to experience many Victorian whiskies. 12 of Victoria’s 15 whisky distilleries will be participating, namely Backwoods, Bakery Hill, Bass & Flinders, Bellarine Distillery, Chief’s Son, Gospel, Jimmy Rum, Kinglake, Morris, NED, Starward and Whisky in Isolation. The ticket price includes all whisky samples.

Formidable Vegetable + Mal Webb & Kylie Morrigan; Sunday, 9th April, 5.30-9pm; $27; Diamond Creek.

Formidable Vegetable are back to launch their new album Micro Biome. They aim to inspire folks from 5 to 95 to grow their own food, restore their own ecosystems and live a better life with funky home-scale solutions to the many problems of the world. 5.30pm -Formidable Vegetable kid’s show. 6.30pm – Mal Webb. 7.30pm – Formidable Vegetable.

Heritage apple tasting; Monday, 10th April, 2-4pm; $15; Templestowe.

Around 15 varieties will be available for tasting – mainly mid-season apples. An orchard tour is also included. All funds received go toward the maintenance and expansion of the collection. Organised by the Heritage Fruits Society.

Turning food waste into energy; Thursday, 20th April, 4-6pm; free; Coburg.

Join them to learn all how food waste can be turned into energy and liquid fertiliser using a ‘biodigester’. A biodigester is a standalone unit that transforms organic waste (food scraps) into cooking gas whilst also creating a liquid fertiliser for the garden. They will demonstrate how to use a biodigester as well how to use the cooking gas that it produces. Organised by Open Table.

Diet for good mental health; Saturday, 22nd April, 11am-12.30pm; free; Greensborough.

Larisa Freiverts will talk about how food impacts our gut health and thereby impacts our mood, depression and anxieties. Organised by Green Karma.

Turning food waste into energy; Saturday, 6th May, 10am-midday; free; Coburg.

Join us to learn all how food waste can be turned into energy and liquid fertiliser using a ‘biodigester’. A biodigester is a standalone unit that transforms organic waste (food scraps) into cooking gas whilst also creating a liquid fertiliser for the garden. They will demonstrate how to use a biodigester as well how to use the cooking gas that it produces. Organised by Open Table.

Youth world food garden – why waste it?; Saturday, 6th May, 2-5pm; free; Preston.

This workshop is for those aged 14 to 25 years old who interested to learn more about gardening, cooking, food justice and sustainability. It will focus on the food waste caused by the food system and the effects that this has on the environment. It is the sixth of six workshops being organised in partnership between the Just Food Collective and Sustain: the Australian Food Network.

Composting, worm farming and bokashi bins workshop; Monday, 8th May, 10-11.30am; free; Bayswater North.

Cultivating Community will discuss: the differences between ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ composting; how to set up a compost bin, worm farm system and Bokashi bin; and the differences between these three systems & how they can each benefit your garden.

In March
In April
Regular events

Upcoming face-to-face events – cooking

Water kefir M.O.B.; Tuesday, 28th March, 6.30-8pm; $85 ($57 per hour); Fitzroy North.

Water kefir is a much quicker lactic-acid based ferment than kombucha. In this workshop, they will demonstrate how to feed your water kefir SCOBY grains and then each attendee will flavour their own batch ready for second phase fermentation using fruits, herbs and spices they have available to you. Go home with water kefir SCOBY grains and your personally flavoured bottle of kefir. M.O.B. stands for ‘mingling over bacteria’.

Milk kefir magic; Friday, 21st April, 6.30-8.30pm; $125 ($63 per hour); Fitzroy North.

They will show you how to easily incorporate this little SCOBY into your daily routine. You will make some milk kefir and then move onto flavouring, making butter, labneh, catching the whey and then making a naturally fizzy and gut-loving soda. You’ll go home with: a milk kefir SCOBY in a jar and ready to feed when you get home; a whey soda flavoured with fresh fruit of your choice to finish fermenting at home; milk kefir cultured butter; and an illustrated recipe card.

Growing and cooking with bushfoods; Saturday, 6th May, 10am-3pm; $120 ($24 per hour); CERES.

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. Tour the CERES bush food gardens and gain knowledge of bush foods from further afar – tropical delights from the north, peppery spices form the south. During the workshop, you will 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. Presenter: Belinda Kennedy.

In March
In April
Regular classes

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