May 222019

Mitcham Community Meals

One of the things that I like about the local food activities in North East Melbourne is the way that some individuals quietly do worthy things in their community week after week. One such is Ben Frawley, from Mitcham, who organises a free community dinner every Sunday. “Each Sunday night, a different local club, business, or church group provides and serves a meal to people in the Mitcham community“. Since they started in October 2018, that’s around 25 different teams who have prepared and served a meal. A new page on our website provides photos of all these teams.

Mitcham Community Meals is actually only one of a large number of free community meals that are regularly provided across North East Melbourne. Our website: discusses 19 such meals; provides a map of where they are; and includes a calendar of when they happen.

Our visit to the FareShare kitchens

As envisioned in the 10th April newsletter, a group of us were recently given a tour of the FareShare kitchen in Abbotsford by Lucy Farmer, FareShare’s Communications Director. In case you have forgotten, FareShare rescues food that would otherwise go to waste and cooks it into free nutritious meals for people in need. In Melbourne, they cook around 1.3 million meals a year. It is a charity which relies on donations – donate now. Thanks for the tour, Lucy!

Here is a paragraph from Carol Woolcock about our visit: “How exciting it was to see into the workings of FareShare. We were shown round their commercial kitchen, where they run morning, afternoon and evening shifts each staffed by about 20 volunteers (from a pool of 1,000). On the day that we toured, they were prepping vegetables for quiches including broccoli, green capsicums and spring onions. In their pastry room, which is staffed by secondary school students in the mornings and by corporate staff in the afternoons, they produce 5,000 quiche per day which are packed five to a bag, snapped chilled and then frozen.

South Morang Farmers & Makers Market

The first market happened last Saturday and passed off very successfully. Well done, Randa Almushcab (Whittlesea Council, newsletter reader and market organiser)! Of the 48 stalls, there were actually a lot of local food and plant producers, including: Aunty T’s Homemade Goodies (Doreen), Balashi Flowers (Doreen), Bee Rescue – Heidi Honey Hurstbridge (Hurstbridge), Crepe Collective (Eltham), Healthy D’Lights (Epping), Imbue Distillery (Eltham/Research), Just Picked (Yan Yean), K&B Natives (Whittlesea), Selba Farm (Mernda), Sugarloaf Produce (Strathewen), Top Hundred Acres (Yan Yean), Turners Bakehouse Eatery (Mernda), and Zen’s Pantry (Mernda).

The market included an important innovation by Whittlesea Council that I have never seen before: returnable, re-usable cups. It worked like this: vendor Cafe Soleil served their coffee in unbreakable plastic cups. There were numerous ‘return stations’ throughout the market. People walked around the market drinking their coffee and, when finished, dropped the cup off at the nearest station. As Thomas Huxley said about Darwin’s theory of natural selection, “how extremely stupid of me not to have thought of that” – in other words, it is obviously a great idea once you know about it.

The market is on the 3rd Saturday of every month so the next market is on Saturday, 15th June.

A new cheese shop in St Andrews – The Cheese Rebels

Nina Gormley has written in: “Fantastic news for cheese lovers – St Andrews now has a cheese room! It is located in a cluster of mud-brick huts just next to the Wine Room behind A Boy Named Sue and A Local Baker St Andrews. The cheese room is run by Hajo Tanck and his wife Petra. It is open every Saturday and Sunday and enjoys particularly good trading on a Saturday morning when the St Andrews Market is on.

They stock a wide range of artisan cheeses, preserves, meat and ice-cream. Some of the goats and blue cheeses are actually made by Hajo himself! Before you make your purchasing decisions, Hajo lets you try anything which might take your fancy – you shouldn’t be time poor when visiting because it takes some time to chat and try the various cheeses.

If you have a function, you can order a cheese platter. They are also thinking of organising some cheese making workshops (send them an email to register your interest).

The Cheese Rebels has become part of my Saturday market routine and I’m particularly enjoying the vintage cheddar. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Local food producer news

Wonga Park Farmers’ Market celebrated its second birthday in April and was rewarded with an article in the Warrandyte Diary (see picture right).

Eltham/Research-based Imbue Distillery have added two gin liqueurs to their range, one infused with honey, lemon & vanilla and the other infused with honey and spices. They have also told me that you can now buy their gin in four bars in Eltham: Craft Kitchen And Bar; Jock & Eddie; Little Drop of Poison; and Platform 3095. Inspired by this, I decided to review the bar situation in Eltham. View the resulting map and list of 9 bars in Eltham. This map complements the other maps of the 27 cafes in Eltham, the 23 restaurants in Eltham, and the 33 takeaways in Eltham.

If you would like to work with me to develop a map of the eateries in your suburb, just email me.

Community gardening news

The Garden of Plenty at Diamond Valley Library in Greensborough now has a seed library: “You can borrow up to 3 packets of seeds at a time and propagate your own plants. Once you harvest your vegetables, simply save some of the seeds and return them to the library, ready for the next person.

Spring Outdoors Festival

Banyule, Manningham and Nillumbik Councils are jointly running a program of environmental events during September and October. The aim is to get people out in the warmer Spring weather to enjoy the local parks, reserves and gardens. They are looking for people to submit (preferably free) events for the program. To see the possible types of event, view/download last year’s program. Applications should include: title, date, venue, cost, how to book, a 50 word description and a photo. Email Kate Shannon.

Cost of green waste bins

I happened to see this page on the Back to Earth Initiative website giving the costs of a green waste bin in each Council area:

  • Included in the rates: Banyule, Nillumbik.
  • Included in the waste service fee: Manningham, Maroondah.
  • Once off cost: Moreland ($55).
  • Annual cost: Darebin ($53 pa), Whitehorse ($63 pa).
  • Contact the Council: Yarra Ranges.

“Included in the rates” sounds good and “annual cost” sounds bad but note these could effectively be re-worded as “mandatory” and “optional” respectively!

Which link was clicked most times in the last newsletter?

The map of public gardens in Victoria.

Joke of the week

What day do eggs hate most? Fry-day!

Read more jokes.

New events – not cooking

Telopea Mtn Permaculture Nursery potted tree sale: Saturday, 25th May, 10am-3pm; Monbulk.

What: A one day only clearance sale before the bare-rooted season starts in June. 25% of many potted trees, most of which are bigger, older and have previously fruited.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Sustainable Watsonia sustainable living initiatives open day: Sunday, 16th June, 11am-3pm; Watsonia Neighbourhood House.

What: Showcasing sustainable living initiatives and bringing the community together, Watsonia Neighbourhood House will be open for all to come and connect, share, mend, repair, discuss, reflect and be inspired. Includes a sharing table where people can bring produce/plants/quality items to share or swap. The schedule: 11am – Welcome to Country; 11.20 – knitted garment repair & skill sharing; 11.20-12.00 – green homes tour & talk; 11.20-14.00 – roving refills – BYO container cleaning product sales; 11.20-15.00: Repair cafe – bring items for fixing; 11.20-15.00 – sharing table – bring produce/plants/quality items to share or swap; 12.00-12.45: Public transport & disability; 13.00-13.45 – ‘yarning’ conversation circle; and 14.00-14.45 – “it’s not always easy being green” – inner transition.
Cost: free.
Bookings: just turn up.

Natural pest control with companion planting: Saturday, 13th July, 9.30am-12.30pm; Bulleen Art and Garden.

What: What you will learn: which plants to grow together, and which ones not to; how to solve many common garden problems naturally; and how to construct ‘plant guilds’ (groups of plants that grow much better together). Presented by Angelo Eliades. With companion planting, by knowing which plants to grow together and which ones not to, you can grow stronger, healthier and more productive plants, improve soil quality, and reduce pests and diseases in your garden. Learn which companion plants to add to your garden to solve many common garden problems naturally, and find out how to construct ‘plant guilds’ (groups of plants that grow much better together) for more abundant harvests.
Cost: $50.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Free evening talk with Joel Glanzburg: Wednesday, 17th July, 6-8.30pm; Brunswick.

What: Joel Glanzberg, a well-known permaculturalist, tracker and systems thinker visiting from the States, will give a talk on re-entering nature’s mind, authentic regenerative design, and making permaculture stronger.
Cost: free.
Bookings: their website.

New events – cooking

Introduction to Turkish cooking: Wednesday, 22nd May, 11am-1pm; Box Hill.

What: Join Arzu Yilmaz for a cooking and cultural adventure. Learn how to make four different vegetarian dishes: a lentil soup, a meze, Turkish borek and a dessert. Arzu will also talk about her experiences as an Istanbul girl and her Turkish identity.
Cost: $59.
Bookings: by phone (0403 046680).

Olive preserving workshop: Sunday, 2nd June, 10.30-11.30am; Hurstbridge.

What: Join Maria Ciavarella as she goes over several different ways of curing and preserving green and black olives, along with tastings. This workshop, organised by North East Ranges Permaculture (NERP), will take the mystery out of the process.
Cost: $30.
Bookings: TryBooking.

Ganache and truffles – let’s play!: Thursday, 20th June, 6.30-7.30pm; Eastland, Ringwood.

What: What you will learn: how to temper chocolate to create a shine and crispy snap; how to create ganache; and let your creativity shine through as you decorate your truffles. What you will get: a box of truffles that you have handcrafted; and a starter pack – apron, dipping tool, chocolate, recipes. Once you know how to temper and how to work with chocolate, your imagination will be your only limitation. They will make a ganache for the filling, revealing the small tricks that ensure a smooth outcome.
Cost: $60.
Bookings: WeTeachMe.

Cooking master class – ‘curry nights’: Friday, 5th 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: coconut cauliflower curry; quick lamb curry; and chocolate mousse.
Cost: $42.
Bookings: EventBrite.

Foolproof french macarons: Saturday, 13th July, 10-11.30am; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

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, 13th July, 12.15-1.45pm; Kitchen Warehouse, Preston.

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.

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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