Recently in Fair Ground Category

 

H2Ope for Haiti

By Ms.Gourmet on February 22, 2010 8:45 PM
After the terrifying earthquake that struck Haiti I too was left feeling overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the tragedy. Soon after the disaster I read about a first-hand account over on Jeanne's blog of a qualified Boeing 747 pilot who had flown a relief flight to Haiti after the earthquake.

Rather than 'stand idly by as others suffered' Jeanne of Cook Sister and Between Hemispheres decided to organise her efforts and resources and is currently co-ordinating H2Ope for Haiti in conjunction with BloggerAid to raise funds for Concern Worldwide. Jeanne selected Concern Worldwide because of its long track record and quick response after the quake to provide clean drinking water and water purification tablets. This non-governmental international humanitarian organisation founded in 1968 works tirelessly in an attempt to reduce and eliminate extreme poverty in the world's poorest countries.

UN Photo/Logan Abass The United Nations
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Taking Care of Hearts!

By Ms.Gourmet on February 14, 2010 12:06 AM
Rather than give you a wonderful, rich, decadent dessert this Valentines Day I wanted to share with you this inspiring TED talk that Jamie Oliver gave recently about changing the food landscape in America.

 

You say tomato, I say tadam

By Ms.Gourmet on September 14, 2009 10:19 PM
Almost six months ago we said farewell to tomatoes and began to welcome Autumn's rich bounty. Although I enjoy what the colder months have to offer I really do miss my tomatoes. During the winter months I improvise here and there with Italian tinned tomatoes and sun dried tomatoes. But you and I both know that nothing compares to a sun blushed, vine ripened tomato. Well let me qualify that, nothing compares to a Mediterranean sun blushed tomato.

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One of the first things I will do when I get to Malta this Sunday (after greeting my family of course) will be to make myself some ħobz biz zeit  with Maltese bread and some sun kissed tomatoes - simple, honest, uncomplicated peasant food at it's best!

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Yesterday we finally got around to planting our precious tomato seeds. Because I am leaving this Saturday I have left my budding seedlings in the care of my gorgeous neighbour Lanie. Upon my return home we should have enough seedlings so to ensure us a constant supply of plump, red, juicy tomatoes throughout the summer months here in Melbourne.

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What's been happening in the Agrarian Kitchen

By Ms.Gourmet on June 1, 2009 7:39 AM
Back in March I introduced you to the Agrarian Kitchen - a sustainable farm based cooking school in Tasmania. The other day I asked Séverine if she could update my readers as to what has been happening in and out of the kitchen. I suggest you go pop the kettle on and make a cup of tea as this post is a little longer than usual, but one well worth reading!

It has been five months since Rodney and I first opened the Agrarian Kitchen cooking school in Tasmania and it has been very full on for both of us.  So many things have happened that we can't believe nearly half the year has already passed us by.

The cooking classes have been a great success so far with many return guests already attending more classes.  We have had extremely positive feedback from everyone and at the end of each class Rod and I read through our guests' comments in our guestbook with utter excitement.  We just want everyone to have a great experience with us and it's always nice to read the beautiful comments left by all. It makes all our hard work worthwhile and reassures us that our dream to give people a wonderful and different experience was not a crazy idea as some first told us.

Rodney's birthday was in February and because he had never really had a proper 'birthday bash' I thought it was time for me to finally organise a big party now that we lived on our dream property and had the space to entertain as madly as we wanted.  We ended up with 45 guests from Sydney and Tasmania. Lee Christmas, our friend and butcher who raises rare breed Wessex Saddleback pigs and teaches our 'Whole Hog Masterclass' brought a lamb as a gift and our friends at the Two Metre Tall Company gave Rod a keg of their fine hand brewed ale. You can imagine how delighted all the boys were, especially those from Sydney to have a keg of fine hand brewed ale at their disposal all day and night!  Rodney and our best friend, Luke, cooked a feast and roasted the lamb in our newly built wood-fired oven. 

The delicious potato rolls that Rod and Luke made and cooked in the wood-fired oven were also a hit with our friends. Roasted potatoes and a selection of lettuces from our garden also accompanied the dinner. Baby Carrots, zucchini, beans and Rod's aioli started the day off with a bang.  We were so excited to be able to use all our own grown produce for the party. To top it all off our friend and teacher of our 'Pastry Masterclass', Alistair Wise, made Rod a Chocolate Deux Mille Feuille cake. Rod and Luke also made a strawberry mascarpone cake for the birthday cake and gorgeous rhubarb and rose petal fizz which everyone still talks about.

Photos - Luke Burgess (2009).
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Kitchen Garden Foundation

By Ms.Gourmet on April 9, 2009 8:20 AM
My parents live on a 40 acre farm in Kyneton, which is an hour drive from Melbourne. Kyneton is one of those gorgeous historic gold rush towns located on the Campaspe River. Despite living in the inner city of Melbourne my children are farmers at heart. I have my parents to thank for that because come Easter holidays, long weekends or term break the children love nothing more than to jump into their overalls, slap on a pair of gumboots and go farming with Nanna and Nunno.

From an early age Hoover and Fussy have been fortunate enough to be exposed to farm life. They understand that the meat they eat comes from a cow, pig or rabbit. They have helped my dad make kilos of homemade sausages over the years, and have also helped my mum make bread, pasta and cheese. They both boast to their friends that their veggie patch is in fact the largest and that they are friends with a herd of cows and have recently acquired (thanks to my dad) a pet alpaca called 'Big Boy'.

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Saħħa Tadam - Goodbye Tomatoes

By Ms.Gourmet on March 27, 2009 7:51 AM
Without a doubt autumn would have to be my favourite season of the year. I love that we still have sunshine and moderately warm days. I also love watching the trees change as they prepare for the inevitable cold of winter. I love long afternoon walks by the river with the children. I enjoy treading on fallen leaves and crunching them underfoot. I love how picturesque Daylesford is this time of year and try to visit at least once during the autumn months, especially when the Swiss Italian Festa is on.

The only thing I am going to really miss about summer is tomatoes as there is nothing quite like sun kissed, vine ripened tomatoes. This summer I think I had to have tomatoes every day. I adore them in salads on whole wheat crackers with cheese and I also love tomato and onion sandwiches. But most of all I like biting into a warm, juicy, ripe tomato and eating it as one would eat an apple. The kids think I'm crazy - maybe I am, crazy about tadam.

Photo - Enzo Maisano (2008).
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During the winter months I refuse to buy those apostate tomatoes that you see at the supermarket. No matter how much I am craving lush, red, juicy tomatoes I refuse to buy into the lie. Those wannabe, red round balls that have been cold stored for months are just evil imposters preying upon my waning self-control.

I rather bide my time and wait until spring, plant my seeds and watch my vines grow. My patience will be rewarded with a bountiful crop that will see us through the summer months and I will be in tomato heaven once again!
 

Pioneers at Heart

By Ms.Gourmet on March 6, 2009 7:59 PM
Last Sunday afternoon I ducked out of the house to have a moment of peace. With the March edition of Gourmet Traveller tucked under my arm I set off to a local café for an afternoon espresso and a quick flick through my magazine. Amongst all the gorgeous recipes was an article about The Agrarian Kitchen, a sustainable farm-based cooking school situated in a 19th century schoolhouse at Lachlan, forty five minutes from Hobart in Tasmania's Derwent Valley, Australia.

I was so taken by Rodney and Séverine's pioneering spirit that I decided to contact them and let them know of my intention to feature them on my blog. Rather than re-hash information I asked Séverine to explain the 'journey' in her own words so that readers would gain a personal insight into their world. Séverine was a little reluctant to do so, because she stated that 'Rodney is the writer in the family' as he used to be a food editor for Gourmet Traveller. I am so glad that I insisted that she have a go because this is what she had to say.

Photo - Amanda McLauchlan
(2009).
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Adopt an Olive Tree

By Ms.Gourmet on February 20, 2009 7:02 AM
Like most other types of farming, olive growing in recent years is becoming more and more mechanised. Yet, in the foothills of the Italian Apennines there is a small scale artisan olive grove called - Nudo that make olive oil the traditional way with great care. Hence, Nudo want to continue to farm olives in this way and would love your involvement and participation by inviting you to 'adopt' one of their trees (yes I said adopt a tree)!

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All you need is love and a little sense of adventure and you will soon be on your way to being the proud adoptive parent of your very own olive tree in Italy. Thus, once you have selected and adopted a tree the 'first thing you'll receive is an adoption certificate, to make you official, and your tree information booklet'. Over the course of the year you will receive two more packages (one in Spring and the other in Autumn) containing produce from your tree and about 50 of its neighbours.

 

Thank You Water

By Ms.Gourmet on February 10, 2009 7:38 AM
The other day I was chatting to a girlfriend and she happened to mention (quite proudly I might add) what her young nephew was up to. To cut a very long conversation short Wendy's nephew and a team of four other 19-22 year olds are the brains and heart behind the thankyou.water movement. Hence, in 2008 this group of 20 something year olds were confronted by the fact that 1. Australian's spend close to $600 million dollars on bottled water a year and that 2. close to two million people (90% of which are children) die each year due to a lack of clean drinking water.

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Rather than change the channel or tune out they decided that they would do something about it. And so, to the young team behind thankyou.water 'nothing is impossible' and so their collective passion and empathy is making certain that people in developing countries around the world are ensured their basic human right of clean drinking water. This rapidly growing movement is 'based on turning something seemingly insignificant like buying a bottle of water, into something with the potential to change the world as we know it.'

How does it work? The cost of one bottle of thankyou.water gives water to one person for at least one month as 100% of the profits go directly into funding water projects in developing countries.  Unfortunately once manufactures, distributors and retailers take their margin thankyou.water is left with a modest profit. Yet at the end of the day one bottle still equates to - one months worth of water for one person.

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So the next time you grab yourself a bottle of water choose thankyou.water instead. If your local café, school, university or place of work does not stock thankyou.water then direct them to the website so they can place an order. If one bottle can give a child clean drinking water for a month, just imagine what we can achieve if we all made the switch to thankyou.water?
 

Between the soil and the sky

By Ms.Gourmet on January 27, 2009 7:41 AM
Yesterday while I was flicking through this months delicious magazine I came across an inspiring article about Jim Denevan, chef and renowned land artist and founder of Outstanding in the Field. For the uninformed the sole purpose and mission of this inspiring collective 'is to re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food and to honour the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it'. Hence, dinner is always served 'between the soil and the sky', close to the source and next to the 'person who planted the beans, raised the lamb and shaped the cheese on your plate'.

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For ten years now this roving culinary restaurant without walls has 'set the long table at farms or gardens, on mountain tops or in sea caves, on islands or at ranches'.  Sometimes the table is set indoors in a 'beautiful refurbished barn, a cool greenhouse or a stately museum'. Despite the constant change in location the theme remains consistent - 'to honour the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table.'

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The Colour Purple

By Ms.Gourmet on January 6, 2009 1:00 AM
Some people enjoy lighting scented candles so to fill their homes with the wonderful fragrance of cardamom and fig, Genoa lemon basil or vervaine olive leaf. Others prefer to burn essential oils, whilst some enjoy the scent of cinnamon and orange or candied fruit incense from Provence. I however have always been partial to the heady scent of freshly crushed garlic sizzling in a pan of extra virgin olive oil.

I don't know what it is about the smell and aroma of garlic, but the moment I get a whiff of it my whole being begins to unwind and let go. Bizarre I know and to be honest who cares, I just know that garlic does it for me - all the time!

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A few years ago I thought I might try my hand at growing my own garlic so that we were guaranteed a constant supply. 

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