Wednesday 27 August 2008

Jells PArk Farmers Market.

Well.. on a cold and wet Melbourne day, young Joon and I headed off to the inaugural Jells Park Farmers Market. You enter from the south side of the park, via Ferntree Gully Road. The council, in its wisdom, is doing road works at the entrance at the moment, so actually finding the entrance is a bit of a nightmare, but that will be a temporary set back. We got there at 8.15, and parking was plentiful and free.

There were about 20 stall set up, and all the stall holders I spoke to were friendly and cheerful.. and knew their stuff. They were all very accommodating to me, asking to take photos and pestering them with my tricky SOLE questions!

First stop was Nar Nar Goon Fruit:


Nar Nar Goon is probably only 20 mins from Glen Waverley, and the stall had a good selection on in-season fruit, both first and second quality, and had samples for snackage.


Next stop was Jeni's Eggs.


Owner Adrian guarantees that his chooks are not de-beaked, free to roam, hormone and antibiotic free, and are fed natural grains, as well as being free to scratch around and eat natural chook tucker.


I think they're prices are excellent and definitely on par with a similar quality egg bought at the Spewpermarket! We'll be having Jeni's eggs for breakky, in fact Furry is working on that right now!

They're from Yabba North and can be contacted on 0448 328 418 or

Next stop was Cocoa Rhapsody for some NASAA certified and guaranteed Fair Trade chocolate.


All their chocolates are hand crafted in Melbourne, and their farmers market special contains 70% Mount Buffalo hazelnuts


Their web site is, or you can call Floyd Millar on 0407 290 176 or email at

Next visit was the WE LOVE CAKE flavour station (0432 588 348, email at Joon purchased their choc mud cake


and a date loaf which apparently you can heat and serve just like a pudding.

Joon was having morning tea with a friend, and I will get back to you with a review when we catch up next week.

Next stop was:


Boosey Creek Cheese is from Northern Vic, just out from Katamite, and is run by three generations of the Cameron family (sorry guys, the photo of both of you didn't turn out! Maybe next market when my hands aren't shaking with anticipation!)

Newborn calves are hand reared, and then left to the open paddock until they can be milked. All cheese are made on the family farm from the Fresian-Holstein herd


I samples the Oma's favourite, a gouda-style cheese with cumin.


But what I walked away with was a bag of Burramine Blue, the cheese that won the DIAA Victorian Dairy Product Silver medal this year!


What happened with the last batch was, that on tasting, it was found to be luscious and flavourful, but too hard.. so the Cameron's grated it up and sell it in bags for $5.00. I am planning a pork roast with sauerkraut, apple, walnut and blue cheese stuffing!

Boosy Creek Cheese is at 734 Grinter Road, Boosey, 3730, email is or call 0409 307 320.

On to The Gourmet Provider (


They provide a range of meats and cheeses from King Island, Lilydale free-range chickens, Otway free-range pork and Timboon farm bred rabbits. The couple behind the jump were just lovely and none of my pesky SOLE questions stumped them... we got talking so much, I forgot to get any of the pork, and nearly walked away without paying for my one purchase!!


What I DID buy was a Timboon farm bread, hormone-free rabbit. They come frozen, as TGP get a once a week delivery. At $14 a bunny, I want the very best, and was provided with a recipe sheet. Look out for Sauteed Rabbit with Sour Cream and Bacon next week! Poor Joon, who keeps bunnies as pets couldn't even stand to be next to me, as I made my purchase! She did however, get a slab on King Island beef for roasting, and at $20, was outstanding value.

Next stop was


Little Creek Cattle Company. I had heard much about these guys, and was chuffed to find them at the Market. They are from Coldstream, in the Yarra Valley, which is about 45 mins from Glen Waverley. I purchased a topside roast for $14! Thet are members of the Yarra Valley Regional Food Group and guarantee no hormones and no organophosphates. All meat is dry aged and they deliver to your door. You will find them at and on 0419 887 712. I did the topside roast for dinner last night, just a plain old-fashioned roast with jacket potatoes, kumara and vine tommies and it was divine! The texture of the meat was silky and tender, and the flavour was outstanding!

I was also thrilled to find The Convent Bakery from Abbotsford was there, and I bought a ciabatta. I had heard so much about the quality of their wood fired oven bread, and I wasn't disappointed! The ciabatta was dense and chewy, and will be perfect with my egg and bacon breakfast that Furry is currently conjuring up!


The last purchase was from Blue Bay Cheese, a very sharp Cheddar.. it was divine, but pricey at $9.00 for 250g

So here are my goodies!!


Next market is September 20. Mark it in your diaries and GO THERE!!!

Just incases you didn't believe me...

I told you so.

Complete with spigot for lay backs.

A cold snap...

We're nearly at the end of Winter, but an unseasonable cold snap here in Melbourne, has had me reaching for some old faves, and this Sunday past, after a jaunt to Gippsland, I felt like some old fashioned bangers and tatties.

Of course, while packing for said jaunt, I forgot the camera, but what we came home with was a Jindi brie full wheel for $21!!

The stuff they sell at Slaveway for $41,639.72 a gm, was a whole $21 a FULL ROUND!

In Rosedale, I picked up Maffra Red Cheese with Dargo walnuts, Maffra extra tasty with lemon myrtle and some local olive oil and some local white wine vinegar. Furry talked me out of the Tetsuya's truffle salt at $36 for 50g.

Into my $500 post (called so because Furry found it while we were cleaning out a friend's father's house, after he was placed in a Nursing Home, and we found $500 secreted away in it!), I put my sliced Thorpdale potatoes,some yellow capsicums from this weeks Aussie Farmer's delivery, some grated Maffra tasty, some red onions from the Yarragon Farmer's Market, mixed with sour cream, some milk and 4 eggs. I covered the top with dots of butter and some Burramine Blue, the cheese that won the DIAA Victorian Dairy Product Silver medal this year, that I picked aup at the Jells Park Farmer's market.

I like to slow cook my bangers. I got these from my local butcher.. Beef and Burgundy snags, made on the premises, from Cardinia beef. I am blessed to have a cast-iron pan, that I have used religiously for the past 23 years, and it is perfectly seasoned. A quick spray with some Canola oil, and I whack the bangers in and set the gas ring to the lowest setting. Every so often I give the pan a shake, so the bangers don't stick and voila! about 35-40 min later, perfectly browned snags! Serve with the baked tattie dish, and a good hearty red, and all is right with the world, on a cold Sunday night!

Thursday 21 August 2008

Blessed are the cheesemakers...

They shall have the earth...
What was that?
...for their possession. How blest are those...
I don't know. I was too busy talking to Big Nose.
...who hunger and thirst to see...
MAN #1:
I think it was 'Blessed are the cheesemakers.'
...right prevail.
Ahh, what's so special about the cheesemakers?
Well, obviously, this is not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.
Stickyfingers, at her blog, has a wonderful post up about the traditional consumption of raw milk, and its role in cheesemaking.

After years of extensive lobbying by the likes of Will Studd, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) have finally announced a review of domestic dairy processing standards that currently ban the production and sale of raw milk and the cheeses made with it.

Sticky says:

This opportunity to effect change may not come again for another ten years so it is vital that anyone who would like to liberate Australian Cheesemakers make a submission to FSANZ. That's you, as an individual, even if you have nothing to do with the food industry, even if you (heaven forbid) don't eat cheese. It's about the right of the consumer to choose what they consume and the support of traditional practices such as the production of raw milk cheeses and other products to ensure that they don't die out. Please, please, please?

Now, once I got over my alarm that there might even BE people who don't eat cheese, I realised that this is a unique opportunity to actually affect policy implementation at a SOLE level. I mean, all the hype over the "safety" of GM foods, and The Nanny State still thinks we need to be protected from a most basic food source in its least adulterated form??

I am of an age where I can remember drinking milk straight from the beast at various family farms, getting up early enough to be the one that literally creamed the plug of cream out of the glass bottles of UNPASTEURISED, UNHOMOGENISED milk that had been delivered by the local milkman and his Clydesdale in the wee smalls!

The FSANZ discussion paper it is available to download here.

I urge all of you, dear readers, to cut and past the following into your email and submit it. SOLE isn't just about buying your asparagus in season, it's about supporting those producers who want wider choice and access to raw products (milk and otherwise) without Big Brother dictating to them.

This blog has Stats counters. I know where you all are. Readers who don't get on to this will be hunted down and humorlessly choked with a round of imported roquefort.

Here's the email:

Send to:

Re: Proposal P1007 Primary Production & Processing Requirements for Raw Milk Products (Australia only)

I would like to register my support for an amendment to the code to bring Australia into line with other major international cheese manufacturing countries. My objections to the current standards that prohibit the production and sale of most cheese made from raw milk in Australia are as follows:

1. The purpose of the Standard is to guarantee safe cheese – however the assumption that pasteurisation as a single step will guarantee safety is not scientifically valid.

2. The single critical control point that guarantees safety for all cheese varieties is starter culture activity that creates a hostile environment to pathogens in the cheese. Starter culture activity comprises two biological components, the first is primary fermentation of milk sugar to organic acids during cheese making and the second is secondary fermentation/metabolism of organic acids, fat and protein during ripening. This principal is supported by scientific studies and accepted by all of the major cheese producing countries of the world i.e. European Union (EU), USA, and Canada.

3. The standard is anti-competitive and trade restrictive. The standard does not encourage world best practice in cheese/milk production and allows the use of milk of poor microbiological quality for cheese making.

4. The microbiological standards for cheese are overly onerous in relation to E.coli and have led to very questionable practices in domestic production. The standard is out of step with scientific studies and the microbiological standards applied in overseas countries.

5. The standard is a breach of Australia’s commitment to WTO Policy, as it cannot be justified on scientific grounds for food safety. WTO Article 5.1 requires members to 'ensure that their sanitary or phytosanitary measures are based on an assessment, as appropriate to the circumstance, of the risks to human, animal or plant life or health, taking into account risk assessment techniques developed by the relevant international organizations'. Article 5.2 states in the assessment of risks 'Members shall take into account available scientific evidence'. Article 5.4 states 'Members should, when determining the appropriate level of sanitary or phytosanitary protection, take into account the objective of minimizing trade effects'.

6. The Standard is overly prescriptive. It does not meet the Council of Australian Government (COAG) guidelines on primary production and processing standards that stipulate an objective of minimal effective regulation.

7. The standard is highly discriminatory. It provides for international exemptions such as Roquefort and Swiss cheese but denies Australian cheese makers a choice of making similar cheese from raw milk. Australian artisanal cheese makers deserve to have the opportunity to develop a significant point of difference to enable their products to survive in a competitive market.

8. Over the past two decades international artisan and farmhouse cheese production has enjoyed a significant growth in demand due to a revolution in consumer interest. Many of these cheeses are made from raw milk and are recognised as having an infinitely superior flavour and regional character when compared to similar cheeses made from pasteurised milk. However unlike their overseas counterparts Australian consumers have been denied a choice of cheeses made from raw milk.

9. There is no reason why cheese made from raw milk should represent a greater degree of risk than those produced from pasteurised milk provided recognised international guidelines are adopted in Australia.

Signed (Your name)

Address (Your address)

Wednesday 20 August 2008

Food Wastage.

- Australians are still wasting $6 billion of food each year - enough to feed the entire nation for three weeks. - Current research suggests the majority of food thrown away is fresh fruit and vegetables. - Meat, fish, bread, dairy produce, rice and pasta are all in the ‘top’ most wasted foods. - The two main reasons for food wastage is that people ‘cook or prepare too much’ or ‘don’t use food before its use-by date’. - A 2005 study by The Australia Institute estimated that food waste was costing Australians $5.3 billion per year. - The Australian 2006 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory report stated methane emissions from solid waste disposal on land were equivalent to 13.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. - According to CSIRO data, dumping a kilogram of beef wastes the 50,000 litres of water it took to produce that meat; throwing out a kilogram of white rice will waste 2,385 litres and wasting a kilogram of potatoes costs 500 litres.

“Australians throw away food because we forget about it,” says Jon Dee, environmentalist and founder of Planet Ark. “We leave it lingering in the depths of our fridges and cupboards, unused and unloved. When we do use it, we use too much and even then we don’t use the leftovers.” “It’s an approach to food that anathema to older generations. Their cooking of leftovers was the earliest form of recycling. They used up every scrap of food, because they valued it. Today that attitude has changed but it’s vital that we change it back.” “When food waste rots in landfill it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than the CO2 pouring out of your car’s exhaust,” explains Jon. “If we don’t mend our wasteful ways, we’ll be eating ourselves out of an environment that can sustainably support future generations of Australians.”

I put my hand up. I'm guilty. I throw away those too-brown bananas when I probably should make banana cake. But the equivalent of 1 bag out of 5?? And here I was feeling all holier-than-thou because at least I compost them!!! Or feed the left overs to the pups.

That's madness!! Ethically AND financially!

Statistics show Sydneysiders are the worst food waste offenders, with some bins containing nearly 50 percent food. Victorians and South Australians are throwing out approximately 40 percent and in the ACT, a November 2007 study found that homes were throwing out 4.2 kilograms of food every week – up from 3.7 kilograms in 2004.

I am going to have a good hard look at my food wastage, in the light of these CSIRO stats and report back.

What are YOU doing to minimise your food wastage?

ED TO ADD: The best suggestions of how to minimise food wastage posted here as comments, may be published on The Notebook website next month and will be eligible to win a prize!

Get commenting!

Wednesday 13 August 2008

A Veggie Serve In Every Stick!

"A Veggie Serve in every stick", the box loudly proclaims!! Surely that negates the 475mg of sodium per serve?!?!

What the hell ever happened to boiling a bit of pumpkin with some stock and pureeing it?

Ed to add: I found this in a box in the cupboard at work... I DID NOT PURCHASE IT!!

Friday 8 August 2008

pg and sticky are proud to announce....

SOLE Mama's blog and forums!

Or click the cute little widget to the right!!

It's a little project we've been working on for a while now, but we've finished BETA testing and now we're ready to unveil our little baby!

The list of suppliers is kinda specifically for Victoria, but we have included plenty of links and forum rooms for other Aussies.. and even overseas SOLE sistas and bruffers... SOLE Mama doesn't care where you live... advice on growing or sourcing the good stuff and cooking it is universal!


We'll be adding links and other information as we grow!

There's lots of stuff to read and enjoy, so get over to SOLE Mama's, join up (it's free and takes about 1 minute!)

Feel free to share the links with other SOLE-minded folks, or anyone who just wants to drop by for a cuppa!

It's not about defining SOLE, it's a place to share whatever SOLE means to you!

Drop by and help SOLE Mama and the gang get to the Heart of SOLE!

Oh, and if you'd like to help out be getting the cute little widget you see in the side bar to the right, just let me know and I'll send you the code!

Thursday 7 August 2008

A Bag of BS!

Image courtesy of Wiki.

Those of you who know me from other boards will be familiar with my nemesis...

The Brussel(s) Sprout.

I have previously described this vegetable as "The Spawn Of Satan"... and that was when I was feeling charitable. My darling friend Maz, keeps offering to cook them for me, in a way that she assures me, will convert me... Something to do with bacon and chestnuts

I am skeptical.

So, to my dilemma...

I work with the lovely Monica... who just this minute has presented my with a farkin' HUGE bag of BS.

And, sadly, they fit all the SOLE criteria.

They're in season at the mo. They were grown organically in a friend of hers' garden. Locally (up the road in Keysborough).

So now what?

I can barely look at the bag, as it brings back memories of Mater Beige and sprouts boiled for 30 mins in water with a little bicarb added (To keep the colour :roll: )

Even Fritz, my trusty childhood dachshund, wouldn't eat them if I dropped them, surreptitiously on the floor!

Dinner tonight was going to be lime glazed chicken wings, with jasmine rice.

Any suggestions for what do do with a bag of BS?

Wednesday 6 August 2008

Vale Gobbler's blog.

Your wit and irreverence will be sorely missed.

I hope it is onwards and upwards for you, my friend.

Sunday 3 August 2008

Happy First Birthday to me!

Today at 14.44 this day, one year ago, I pressed "publish" on my first blog post. Weirdly, the very first word, I ever typed as a blogger was "Furry"! It was originally designed to document the building on My Big Fat Greek Oven, as there was nothing like it that I had been able to find on the 'Net.

Since then, I've posted 165 times, documented my soul-mates tranformation from bogan boi to kitchen whizz, given my entire family of origin (highly unsatisfactory!) "internet names", changed the layout of this place three times, attended a Bloggers Banquet, hosted a Bloggers banquet, been part on an Internet meme, promoted causes that are dear to me and met some of the most amazing, opiniated, loud, funny, brilliant food obsessed people in Australia.

I've written about sex with vegetables, reviewed restaurants, and been interviewed by manistram media twice.

I've become an advocate of SOLE in the suburbs, and discovered obscure Chilean bakeries.

I've made $30 from Google and had 31,487 page views.

Personally I'd like to shout out to Sticky and Grocer, my two SOLE sistas, Possumchops for her help with vegetable sex, Vida for becoming my on-line mother, Gobbler for his inspirational writing style, Cindy and Michael for overcoming Furry's revulsion of tofu, Thanh for the laughs, Ed for NOT publishing my quote about the Mull-O-Matic, Duncan for the single most memorable food experience of my life, and far too many other people to mention.

All as a result of this funny little corner of cyber space.

Thank you dear reader, for keeping me going.. for commenting and finding me funny/annoying/inspirational/an idiot.

The next year will bring who knows what, but I promise more irreverance, more bad typos, more suburban SOLE, more than $30 on Google clicks(hopefully), more frivolity.

Basically just more P.G!

Thanks for dropping by!