Monday, December 21, 2009

Naomi's Menu

Naomi has suggested a lovely Summery and (given this is Australia) Christmassy menu for the Yam Daisy Cafe.
So aren't I clever to post it up in Christmas week!

The aim is to give an idea of the sort of meals that will be available at YamDaisy Cafes (when they exist!).

She has filled the 4 Things On The Menu criteria (See Here) as follows:

SOUP: Chicken and Vegetable Soup served with Savoury Scones flavoured with Parmesan Cheese and Herbs. Yum. Say no more!

MAIN 1: Spiral Pasta with Avocado, Ham and Chilli (Pictured).
I made this one so I could take a picture of it ~ and since it was a warm Summer day I made a salad.
It is a beautiful salad with particularly nice ham (thanks to the little Italian Supermarket up the street), cucumber from a friends garden, spring onion and basil from mine.
I charred the chillies over a flame and since my chili sensitive daughter was sharing the salad with me, I limited it's contribution to subtly flavouring the dressing - I added slivers of red bell peppers instead.
I chopped the avocado and spring onion and dressed them while I was preparing the rest, and as soon as the pasta was cooked I dressed it too. It was a very simple dressing (lemon, olive oil, thyme, pepper and a little honey - and a tiny bit of chili) and just enough to bring all the flavours together.
This was a lovely fresh meal in a bowl!

MAIN 2: Roast Chicken with Roasted Potatoes, Pumpkin, Parsnip and Onions and a beautiful Gravy.
Isn't this a favourite!

FRUIT DESSERT: Crepes with Strawberries (pictured also!)
O yes, of course I had to make this one so you could enjoy the picture! I used orange juice in the pancake recipe, very nice! The flavour does come through just enough.
But my real trick, just in case you don't know it, is to prepare the strawberries and sprinkle them with caster sugar (a teaspoon is plenty for a punnet) and sit them in the fridge for a couple of hours.
This gives time for juice to come out of the fruit and turn to syrup as it mixes with the sugar. The flavour is intensified and the strawberries are beautifully shiny.
A little cream and a sprinkle of icing sugar, and there is dessert!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Great 2009 Comfort Food Poll

I began the Comfort Food Poll after I had been talking about the YamDaisy Cafe idea for a while, and had some feedback that cheap nutritious food would not be attractive to potential customers. It sounded too much like aching jaws and boring vegetables.
Even when I talked about delicious, nutritious, local, seasonal food made from scratch on the premises....
No, said some, people want junk food.
So I came up with the idea of finding out for myself - by asking people what they want to eat when they are hungry and tired.

The Question
"You have had a hard day, you are sick, tired and hungry. The Fabulous Food Fairy says "Sit yourself down and I will make you a lovely comforting meal. What would you like?"

I asked this question in my website, on the Facebook 'Comfort Food' Page, in my Community News Sheets and I asked most people I met.
I did mean to do more publicity, my local newspaper would have published an article for me, but my health has been bad the last few months and so I wasn't able to extend the idea.

However, the 70 or so results were very interesting! I quickly saw that the range was SO wide that one dish could probably not be counted a winner. If I did count it that way, Roast Lamb would be the winner, closely followed by Chicken Soup, Vegetable Soup, Pumpkin Soup, and Macaroni Cheese.
But there were variants within, one chicken soup had noodles, another had vegetables, another had dumplings and so it went.
I have ended up putting them into broad categories which seemed to indicate the favourite types of food better.

1st PLACE:
Delicious Nourishing Soups
2nd PLACE:
Scrumptious bakes including Spanakopita and Macaroni Cheese
3rd PLACE:
Tasty Stews; Curries were a big player here
4th PLACE:
Heart Warming Pasta dishes

I had to work out what to do with pasta bakes, there were a couple of lasagnes as well as another pasta bake, so I counted them in both categories!
There was also a love for potato mash, it appeared as part of a meal over and over again.
Pies were popular, especially from British contributors, and toast soldiers with soft boiled eggs appeared too.

Most of these comfort foods came from Australia, indeed, most came from my local community around Melbourne, and they do show that the sort of comfort meals that people would ask for, are exactly the sort of food that would be served at a YamDaisy Cafe.

Ofcourse we did have someone nominate chocolate! And another would simply want pavlova... but it is truly overwhelming that most people chose delicious nutritious meals.
You can see the contributions on the Comfort Food Facebook Page
And at the Comfort Food page on the YamDaisy Website

What comforting food would you ask the Fabulous Food Fairy to make for you?

PS The Fabulous Food Fairy was drawn by Harper Jones aged 5. Thankyou Harper!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Who would be a Chef at a YamDaisy Cafe?

I am going to do a little series of posts about Chefs at the YamDaisy Cafe.
It is one of the ongoing tensions when I discuss the practicality of getting this structure to work
In this post the question is "Who would want to be a Chef at a YamDaisy Cafe"

"What a Great Start to a Career!"
This was my theory. I imagined a young chef just out of College and excited about putting his/her skills into practice. How better to do this than at the YamDaisy Cafe? A good position with the safety of the franchise structure to support! Maybe we could have a system of mentors? What a great start to a career!
"Joy, you have no idea!" said my chef friend Teri. She patiently explained about young chefs wanting to be where the bright lights are, The kitchens with kudos! The great chefs of the world, The fantastic locations.
So I was a bit nervous about it when I was speaking to someone who helped support Social Trading Initiatives. But he said:

"There is no end of burnt out chefs needing work"
Oops. (he didn't know I was going to quote him here!). And my reaction was: O dear! I think there are a few skills needed here that a burnt out chef might struggle with! The chef is not only cooking, she/he is the community interface. They have to be good with old people, young people, screaming babies, cope with people complaining about the meals, do a bit of teaching, make the place happy and successful. All the things that probably burns out cooks in the first place.

The next person I spoke to was a highly qualified and successful chef who was running a lovely little organic cafe. He had his own theory about what might be attractive at a YamDaisy Cafe:
"Good Hours!"
He had a young family and needed to be able to spend time with them. He knew there are other chefs who have done the long hours, the no-life-but-work, and needed to stop, and find a living that brought an income and time for his family.

And this shed light on the 'Burnt Out' chefs who probably had had enough of the long-hours-no-life too - and quite possibly had recovered and now might be ready to try the YamDaisy challenge!

I have honed the structure to make it workable for a chef who would like to work 10am - 6pm, or as close as possible. And if there are two chefs working together, or a chef and another worker, then surely it can all be covered in a fairly civilised way.

I would love to know what sort of person you think might be a chef at a YamDaisy Cafe!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Spring Menu

I have had a hard month health wise, and when I have tried to get the next YamDaisy Menu together I have been stymied by the vagaries of Spring! We are so lucky with the good produce available in Springtime in Melbourne, but it seemed that all the menus I have called for ingredients that were not at their best, or that were wickedly expensive!
A reminder that these are menu's suitable for the YamDaisy Cafe see website
The menu offers each days clients the choice of a soup, two main meals and a dessert. The food is local, seasonal and delicious.
In the end I have put the menus I have aside for the moment and come up with my own - after a good look around my favourite fruit and veg market. So here it is:

SOUP: Lentil and Spinach Soup with Tomato Parmesan Bread (pictured)
MAIN 1: Chicken Drumsticks with Mashed Potato and Braised Lemony Asparagus
MAIN 2: Black-eyed Bean Curry, Cauliflower and Fennel in Aromatic Oil (pictured) with Basmati Rice
FRUIT DESSERT: Cherry Fruit Salad with a Ricotta Star

SOUP: The Spinach and Lentil Soup is a French classic, very tasty and light. The Tomato Parmesan Bread is made with a richer dough, rolled out and sprinkled with a mixture of finely chopped sun dried tomatoes, chives and parmesan cheese. It is then rolled up and baked and it tastes SO good!

MAIN 1: I love these chicken drumsticks, they are marinated in a mix of yoghurt with some spices and a bit of maple surup and then roasted to tasty gorgeousness. They taste good cold as well.
The mashed potato is going to be one of the YamDaisy touchstones given what a favourite food it is! Soft and fluffy and perfectly seasoned it makes a bed on the plate and catches all those tasty drips from its accompaniments!
It is asparagus season here (so long as the nasty heat hasn't wiped it out!) and braising the asparagus with a bit of olive oil, butter, lemon zest and juice, gives it its own sauce and completes the dish.

MAIN 2: Bean Curry is a comfort food staple, and the Cauliflower and Fennel in Aromatic Oil is so easy and wonderful. Since we are in the middle of the heat wave mentioned above, it was a good one for me to make as it goes well in the Microwave - but it could cook in the oven or on top of a gentle heat! It is delicious and keeps well. Here is how I did it:

Cauliflower and Fennel in Aromatic Oil from Julie Sahni
Make a mix of
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
Heat 4 tbsp mustard or vegetable oil
Fry the spices and
1 cup of chopped spring onions (scallions) for a minute
1 small cauliflower in florets
1 1/2 cups sliced fennel bulb
Mix til everything is coated with the oil
Cook until vegetables are done (6 minutes in my microwave)
Serve garnished with coriander, fennel greens and/or mint.

FRUIT DESSERT: It is the end of Spring and just about cherry season Woohoo! So the fruit salad can have a nice proprtion of cherries, along with the other fruits that are showing their faces here. The ricotta stars are made by mixing the ricotta with an egg and a little bit of sweetening, and then baked in a tray until set, Star cookie cutters cut out the shapes to go with each dessert. A spoon of syrup flavoured with vanilla can go over the top.

What would you choose from this menu? Would you eat there, or have take away?

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Celebration of Bread, Lights and 350

Life is full of missed opportunities! Ofcourse we would be running around frantically if we tried to take advantage of them all, so I try to be philosophical and just give a friendly wave to the ones that pass me by. However, today I am making up for missing three wonderful blog opportunities from last week.
All of them are relevant to my YamDaisy Project!
The Festival of Lights
Food and Community and Celebrations go best together, and YamDaisy Cafes can be a community hub for whenever these three align! Diwali is a wonderful hopeful festival and worthy of celebration. So the candles in this picture are shining to celebrate Diwali
World Bread Day
What a food to celebrate! What a precious delicious staple this is! How proud the YamDaisy Cafes will be of the delicious breads they serve! Will they make it themselves or find a local artisan baker? Everyone deserves good bread! World Bread Day was October 16.
That is my little loaf of home made bread in the picture!
350 asked everyone to blog about this cause at the end of last week. But again I am thinking Better Late Than Never. Check out their website for more information. But basically 350 is the parts of carbon to be a safe level for us, and a good aim when fighting climate change. October 24th is the day of action so look out for what is happening near you.
I think YD Cafes will be part of the climate change solution. I believe that a cafe that cooks for 200 people a day is more efficient than fifty households cooking for 4 people each.
Also YD Cafes can support sustainable food production because that fits in with the local, seasonal food it will be using.
Don't you love a project that works on so many levels!
I will put this picture up on the 350 wall to show them my support.
Celebrations Everyone!

Monday, October 12, 2009


The YamDaisy cafe aims to provide homestyle food that everyone can afford, that is healthy, but most importantly of all, that is absolutely delicious. You can find out more about this Community Food idea at the Yamdaisy Website and especially the information about the structure of the menus on the Menu Page.
In some great feedback about the planned YamDaisy structure I was challenged about the $5 soup option.
"Why do you charge so much?
I have seen soup kitchen programs and soup can be made for about 12 cents a serve!
You will be charging too much!"

I had to think hard about this, because it is true that soups can be made very cheaply. here are some of the thoughts going around my head:
It may be a small meal, but it is a meal!
There are soups, and then there are soups!
How inflexible does this structure need to be?

So - I will expound!

How the Small Meal became the Soup Option
Thinking of the food needs of people who have disabilities, illness or who are frail, I was aware that for some people, those who are not active or who have a small appetite, a small meal is all they need. I imagined this to be a soup or a small meal such as a pasta salad or crudites and dips.
As I have developed the YamDaisy menu format I refinedthis to a soup option as the small meal every day. One reason has been the popularity of soups in the Great Comfort Food Poll '09.
This has shown what an important place a good soup has in the foods we want for comfort and nourishment.
Soups are so adaptable and various: hearty or broths, cool or hot, and every flavour under the sun!
I have also been influenced by the original 'Restaurant' set up to restore people with a beautiful soup.
And the final reason has been to provide a really clear, simple structure. It means that once there are YamDaisy Cafes, everyone knows that they can get a beautiful soup for lunch if they can get to a YD cafe.

A Soup that is worth $5
Up the road from me there is a well loved Italian Supermarket with a vibrant deli that offers soup and a roll each day for $7.50.
Compared to this a $5 soup and bread option is cheap.
YamDaisy soups will always be made with seasonal produce. But consider how soups vary. I have a soup recipe that we love that calls for zucchini, water, milk, salt and pepper and a little knob of butter. It is so simple and so inexpensive and so tasty.
But there are soups that involve much more work and should also be on the YamDaisy menu. Soups that use a glorious home made stock, that need careful attention for the texture, flavour, combinations of ingredients. Soups that cater to various dietary reqirements.
Consider also the accompaniment. A hearty bean soup may work best with a simple slice of wholegrain bread and butter, but a more simple soup may pair itself best with scones, specialty rolls, or my current favourite French Savoury Cake (if you don't know what that is: it is yum! Look here!).
YamDaisy Cafe is a Social Enterprise, but it does need to work as a good business. the work, the skill and the effort of the Chef should make the Soup Option well worth the $5.

Celebrate Flexibility!
The YamDaisy Cafes will work by their clear, dependable structue. However there is room for flexibility and the Chef could find many ways to support clients with wonderful offers because of the fact that some soups can be made so cheaply.
Takeaway: A simple soup sold for takeaway without the accompanying French Savoury Cake or whatever could be sold at a cheaper price: Maybe $5 for a litre?
Friday Special: A fabulous Friday vegetable soup could make the most of the end of the week with a bumper soup at a smaller price.
Twitter Special: IT is YamDaisy's friend and could provide all sorts of specials, offers and updates.

I love the concept of the YamDaisy Soup Option and am so appreciating the soups that come up on the guest menus. But what do you think about soup and its place on the YamDaisy Cafe menu?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jan's Menu Part 2 (or 3)

Jan's Menu for the YamDaisy Cafe is:
SOUP: Hearty Pea and Ham with Crusty Wholemeal Bread
1ST MAIN: Chickpea Curry and Rice
2ND MAIN: Lambs Fry and Bacon with steamed Potato, Carrots and Broccoli
FRUIT DESSERT: Baked Apples filled with Sultanas and Dried Apricot and served with Greek Yoghurt.

In Part 1 I nodded to the classic Pea and Ham Soup and gave a recipe for Chickpea Curry and Rice.
Then I did a Take 2 so I could show you Jan's own conception of the Chickpea Curry and Rice, so different to the first post!
And now we are down to the Lamb's Fry and Bacon and the Baked Apples

Although I am a bit of a corrupted vegetarian these days, I have been a vegetarian from the age of 14. And even before I was 14 and decided not to eat any more dear animals... I never, never, not once, was the slightest bit interested in eating any offal at all. Therefore, I have had to do a bit of looking around so that I can write something about Jan's dish of Lamb's Fry and Bacon.

In Australia and New Zealand (I understand) Lamb's Fry applies particularly to Lamb's Livers, and this is what Jan's dish is all about.

Jan told me that she and her mother liked it and explained that it was just a matter of cutting out any gristly bits and veins so you have cubes of liver. Fry this with onion and bacon, and make gravy with flour and butter that has been kneaded into a ball.

I got more information from Geoff, RIP, a great contributor on the Jamie Oliver Forums. Geoff described lamb's liver as tender and quick cooking. If it is grey, tough or grainy it is 'ruined and fit for neither man nor beast'.

Here is a link to the wonderful Maggie Beer's recipe for Lamb's Fry (the video, if you can get hold of it, will explain it even better).

Jan serves it with steamed potato, carrots and broccoli. It is such a wonderful nutritious meal. Wouldn't it be great if the YamDaisy Cafe's were a place where fabulous meals like this were made popular again? It may well remain a 'like it or hate it' dish - modern Australians are notoriously squeamish about offal (it isn't just me!). But it is great to have it an option for those who do love it, and can come to love it.

I love making a tray of these, they keep so well in the fridge, I would rarely bother to make less than half a dozen (although it is very easy to do one in the microwave!)

Core your apples; Hopefully you have an apple corer, that can twist from the top to the bottom of the apple and lift the core out. Then break off the bottom quarter of the core and use it to plug the bottom of each apple. Sit the apples in a casserole dish.

Cut up a couple of apricots finely and mix with sultanas, flaked almonds and some sunflower seeds, or chopped walnuts (or both!). You don't need much to fill the cavities!
Squish in as much filling as you can (Is there some left over? O dear, you will have to munch on it!).
Put a dab of butter on top of each (1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon full) and drizzle honey over the top.
Squeeze juice of an orange into the dish, and a bit more water so juicy syrup will be there at the end.
Bake at 180C for about 45 minutes until they are soft right through...
I cover the apples for the first 30 minutes.
Serve with a dollop of lovely creamy Greek yoghurt.

It makes me long for Winter to return again!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Take 2

This is Jan's Chickpea Curry and Steaming Rice Take Two!

Jan's Menu for the YamDaisy Cafe is:
SOUP: Hearty Pea and Ham with Crusty Wholemeal Bread
1ST MAIN: Chickpea Curry and Rice
2ND MAIN: Lambs Fry and Bacon with steamed Potato, Carrots and Broccoli
FRUIT DESSERT: Baked Apples filled with Sultanas and Dried Apricot and served with Greek Yoghurt.

Yesterday I put up a post with a Chickpea Curry recipe, but I have to admit that I knew there was more information from Jan about her idea and I couldn't find it.
Somewhere I had her Chickpea Curry recipe, and somewhere else I had the notes of a discussion we had about rice.
I did find the notes about the rice: Turmeric Rice.
O dear, I couldn't edit my post because Turmeric Rice with a Saffron Infused Chickpea Curry just is wrong!
Then Jan kindly resent me her recipe.
Instead of feeling ashamed of my disorganisation, I will celebrate with this Take 2 Blog just how wonderfully different are these two ways to serve Chickpea Curry and Rice, Enjoy!
(And the Lamb's Fry one will be coming next!)

JAN'S CHICKPEA CURRY - with help from her lovely granddaughter Melanie!
"I fried up an onion, a couple of garlic teeth, and a nice knob of fresh ginger,
added and stir fried the carrot and broccoli,
added in the red pepper,
then the precooked chickpeas,
and a bottle of chunky garden vegetable pasta sauce,
and let it simmer for 5 or 10 minutes.
I think I added some black pepper that Melanie had ground up for me too."

When I asked about rice to serve with the Chickpea Curry Jan immediately suggested Turmeric Rice, because of its beautiful colour and flavour, but also because of the nutritious properties associated with it.
Turmeric contains curcumin, a nutrient researchers are interested in for its anti inflammatory properties and the use it may be in fighting cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
As part of my Take 2 on this menu dish, I made Turmeric Rice taday, which is why there is a photo to go with the blog!
A lot of spiced rices are called Turmeric Rice, I guess because its colour is so assertive. But i chose a very simple rice to accompany the robust curry.

1 cup basmati rice, washed and drained.
1 tbsp oil (I make one teaspoon of it ghee for added deliciousness) heat in a small saucepan
1 small onion finely sliced, fry gently until transparent.
1/2 tsp of turmeric (any more can start tasting bitter) - add
Then add the drained rice and a good pinch of salt
Cover with water: (in my saucepan I cover it by about a centimetre) and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Place a clean, folded, teatowel over the top of the pan, put the lid on top and let it steam for another 10 minutes.

The rice should then be soft and a little bit glossy and glowing a gentle gold. The flavour is very subtle, the only way I can describe it is to say it has a comforting taste. Delicious, and comforting!

Eat your way to good health!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Jan's Menu

Wonderful Jan has provided a menu for the YamDaisy Cafe Project.
The YamDaisy daily menu consists of just four choices to please its customers. A soup, two mains, and a fruit based dessert. The menu is seasonal, delicious and cooked from scratch. Find more about YamDaisy menus here.
This is the last of this years Winter Menus, after all, it is Spring here now! But we have had wintry weather the last few days, so this menu would be most welcome! (And it was during Winter that Jan gave me her menu!)
SOUP: Hearty Pea and Ham with Crusty Wholemeal Bread
1ST MAIN: Chickpea Curry and Rice
2ND MAIN: Lambs Fry and Bacon with steamed Potato, Carrots and Broccoli
FRUIT DESSERT: Baked Apples filled with Sultanas and Dried Apricot and served with Greek Yoghurt.

Part One

Jan chose this because it is such a satisfying meal, it is easy to make and it reheats well for those people want it for takeaway to have later.
Pea and Ham soup is a classic, and may well be one of those dishes for a prize: Best YamDaisy Pea and Ham Soup! Imagine the battle as different chefs present the Pea and Ham Soup that stars with their customers which one gets the prize for that year!

Yum! There are so many chickpea curries, I have several favourites in my books. I have also, quite recently, discovered just how lucky we are in Australia to have beautiful large fresh chickpeas grown up by the Ord River in the Kimberleys. They are delicious and notably easier to cook. But, ofcourse, any chickpea is delicious with its comforting, nutty, satisfying flavour. The stew I made (so that I could illustrate this post!) is based on a Moroccan Recipe called "The Chicken that flew". The idea is that this is what you make if you haven't got chicken.
This is such a great dish for the YamDaisy Cafe, tasty, conforting, and full of all the norurishing things to keep people going through the day. It is a straightforward recipe for the Chef/Manager and would please most people with food restrictions.
Here is the recipe for trying at home:
150g (1 cup) of dried chickpeas, soaked
Boil in a litre of water with a pinch of crushed saffron filiments until just cooked: 35 minutes, or 8 minutes in a pressure cooker.
Add a medium onion, sliced,
500g of cubed vegetables: sweet potato, potato, carrots
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tsp of spice mix: I use Ras Al Hanout but you could use your favourite curry powder and also as much as you want. Infact, this is delicious without the extra spices.
Salt to taste.
Stir and simmer a further 15 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked (sweet corn can be addeed five minutes before the finish) and the water has evaporated to leave a lovely gravy.
Serve sprinkled with chopped coriander on steaming rice.

Part 2 of Jan's menu is coming next and will cover her final two dishes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Comfort Food, Stress and the YamDaisy Cafe

An interesting piece of research caught my eye. I have been using the idea of Comfort Food to get people thinking about the wonderful food a YamDaisy Cafe could provide. I ask: You come home tired, hungry and miserable and the Fabulous Food Fairy says "Put your feet up and I will cook you whatever you would like to eat right now". What would you ask?
And people have chosen the familiar, nostalgic and delicious foods that would comfort them.

So I was interested to read this:

It begins: Most of us can name our favorite "comfort foods" and believe that we are most prone to seek them out during times of stress and upheaval - like moving to a new town or starting (or ending!) a job. Contrary to this well-ingrained belief, this research shows the surprising result that our choices of old favorites happen at the opposite times that we predict. The data here show that when peoples' lives are characterized by high levels of change and upheaval, they are less likely to choose favorite "comfort" choices and more likely to choose new, unfamiliar products…even though they predict just the opposite! This common mis-prediction can lead to negative consequences for consumers in that it suggests people may choose the wrong timing for making positive new changes in one's life.

What could this mean for the YamDaisy Cafe? Well, I think it is all good! The YamDaisy Cafe provides the delicious nostalgic foods that are nourishing and comforting but, of course, not every ones comfort foods are the same. The menu will always be a bit of a challenge, with new dishes, unfamiliar ingredients and slightly changed versions of old favourites. This is especially true for someone coming to the YamDaisy cafe for the first time: possibly because their life is stressed, perhaps because they are new to the area.

So, they will find new and exciting food at the time of stress, and as their life settles down so the food will become more familiar and comforting.

If life gets stressed again, they can try that dish on the menu they have never been tempted by before.

The YamDaisy food is the lovely mix of familiar and comfort, and new and exciting, that life should be!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Libby's Menu Part 2

The YamDaisy Cafe idea is to serve four meals over the day. Our guest menu this week comes from Libby. In Part 1 we looked at her hearty Minestrone and the Spetsofai, a dish I hadn't heard of before.

SOUP: Minestrone with Bread and Cheese
MAIN 1: Spetsofai with Rice
MAIN 2: Cauliflower with White Sauce served with Roasted Potatoes and Parsnips and Steamed Green Beans
FRUIT DESSERT: Apple Crumble and Creamy Yoghurt

Today is all about the second main, which will be ready to serve for a late lunch, an early evening meal, or to take home and have for supper. And the Fruit Dessert, for those who feel it just isn't dinner without it.
I made Cauliflower Cheese last night, especially so I could take a photo for the blog. (The lengths I am prepared to go for your sakes readers!). I tried a recipe with a bit of a difference: in between the cauliflower and the sauce was a sprinkle of onion and bacon made by cutting one onion and two rashers of bacon into small pieces and frying them till just about crispy.
However, this was not a complete success. Both my daughter and I decided we preferred the classic version, and since that is the one Libby nominated, that is the recipe I will give.

1 medium cauliflower in florets cooked until just tender, drained, and placed in a baking dish
- I fancied big pieces of cauliflower this time, thinking the hills and valleys of the dish would be fun, and to see how it would go having each piece (or two) as a serving.
Melt 40 g butter in a saucepan
Add 40 g plain flour and stir with a wooden spoon until toasty. Giving this a bit of time really adds to the final taste. You can smell when it is nice and toasty, the colour doesn't change.
425 ml (1 3/4 cups) milk - gradually stir in, mixing each bit until it is completely smooth, so you won't have lumps. You can go quicker and quicker as it becomes more liquid. Then bring to a simmer.
Add salt and pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard (or mustard of your choice: powder works)
1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar (or similar) cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Mix this all up and then pour it over the cauliflower.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup of fresh breadcrumbs and another 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake at 180C until golden.
My recipe says 15 minutes, but I give it longer than that. As it cooks, the cheesey soft sauce melds into the cauliflower and makes it one fabulous dish. Don't hurry it! I think mine took a good half an hour.
Libby has it served with baked potatoes and parsnips, with their two different textures, and then set off with the Steamed Green Beans. Well, that is just perfect!

PS Why didn't we like the bacon and onion addition? - well, it messed up that perfect melding and added a fattiness we didn't need with the cheesey wonderfulness. But add it if you like!

Take a deep breath those of you who cannot bear to think of a crumble with additions like coconut and sunflower seeds. This is Libby's menu, and we are making it the way she likes it! Don't worry, it is delicious! Libby doesn't like rich desserts, so this one is perfect: tasty and crunchy, but (unless you eat the entire thing!) won't leave you feeling too exhausted and heavy at the end of the meal.

Place 500g Stewed Apple and 1/4 cup of sultanas, mixed, in a pie dish. Warm. (The microwave is great for this if you are doing it at home!)

Melt 50 g butter in a bowl (more microwaving!)
Add 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Mix well and spread evenly over the apple.
Drizzle 2 tbsp of honey over the top.
Bake at 180C for about half an hour until golden and smelling fantastic.
Serve with Greek Yoghurt.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Libby's Menu

This is another Melbourne based August menu for the YamDaisy Cafe. The YamDaisy cafe is structured to have only 4 dishes on the menu each day. They use seasonal, local ingredients and are made from scratch on the premises. Until a YamDaisy Cafe exists (it is still in the planning stage!) Guests are giving a menu that would suit the cafe and inspire you all!

I am going to spread this menu over a couple of posts to make it easier to read and to give it more attention. But here are all the dishes:
SOUP: Minestrone with Bread and Cheese
MAIN 1: Spetsofai with Rice
MAIN 2: Cauliflower with White Sauce served with Roasted Potatoes and Parsnips and Steamed Green Beans
FRUIT DESSERT: Apple Crumble and Creamy Yoghurt

First, pictured, is Minestrone. Classic Soup! It is one of those soups that has its own style - suiting the tastes of the people it is cooked for.
This means each YamDaisy Cafe (and surely they will all have it on the menu fairly often!) can develop its own style of Minestrone. Cooking it in large quantities, as the cafe would, means that brewing up the beans and adding in the vegetables takes on mythic qualities!
Minestrone is probably the favourite soup in our small household. I make enough to last a few days, but because we don't like pasta that has been sitting in soup too long, we cook the pasta separately. The beans vary according to what I have available: I soak and pressure cook beans, but tinned beans can work well. Today they were meant to be chickpeas, but they took longer to cook than expected and they hadn't managed to get into the first bowls! The veggies were what looked good at the veggie shop today.
I start by frying onions then garlic then carrots. No celery today so the next that went in was oregano and potato, then the stock and when the potato was partly cooked, in went chopped green beans.
After a few minutes I put in the contents of a tin of chopped tomatoes and the chopped mushrooms, corn, capsicum, and broccoli and cabbage. And the cooked beans with some of the liquor I cook them with. They just need a few minutes more.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Meanwhile I cook the pasta, drain it and place it in the soup bowls, I ladle over the thick delicious soup. It really is a meal in a bowl.
Libby's family like it almost thick enough to be a stew and they like to have hard cheese grated on top.

What? I asked. I had never heard of Spetsofai.
Libby explained that it is a Greek dish, basically sausages and peppers. When I went searching for more information I found this lovely link and yum! what a great meal to have! A simple pilaf would accompany it.

Part One of Libby's Menu - now you can go to Part 2

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Made From Scratch


This is a defining feature for the YamDaisy Cafe: the Food Project that looks to Neighbourhood Cafes that provide delicious Home Style meals. Nearly everyone needs such a cafe, and they need it to be good! And surely you would agree that the best food is made from scratch.

It is this that sets the YD Cafe apart from other low cost options and will give the customer better tasting and more nutritious food. No warmed up frozen food, no generic tins of things, no cheap cheese grated a week ago.

This is fantastic for the customers and allows people with specific dietary needs to eat there with confidence, and families who want to give their children the best food, to have the pleasure of food made from scratch they don't always have to make themselves.

But what about the chef! What about the work!

Ha! This is the whole point of the YamDaisy Cafe. We have a professional, energetic, healthy, committed cook (or two) to do all the work! Hooray!

Ofcourse, we don't want them to be burnt out! But since they are feeding a whole community (over 100 meals a day!) we will make sure they have great basic equipment, especially machines! lots of suppport, and a menu and workplace designed to make things easy. Not to mention those fresh, local, seasonal ingredients!

This is why we have the simple daily menu of only 4 dishes for the chef to make each day (soup, 2 mains and a fruit dessert).

Here is the question though.... where do we draw the line! Surely we must let the chef use preserved tomatoes! Do we expect her/him to make all their own bread? Can't they use prepared puff pastry?

For now let us say that the use of prepared food will be kept at a minimun. A minimum even smaller that the home cook generally uses. A teeny tiny minimum.

Because at YamDaisy Cafe's - they cook from SCRATCH!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Em's Menu

This is a YamDaisy Menu. Each day a YamDaisy Cafe would produce 4 delicious dishes using local, seasonal produce. The soup, 2 mains, and a fruit dessert would be cooked through the day by the chef in the small cafe kitchen. Customers can eat there or takeaway. Check the YamDaisy Menu site for more information. We ask for sample menus and this one is Em's.


SOUP: Lentil and Silverbeet Soup with Crusty Bread:
What a delicious, nourishing soup this one is! And perfect for August in Melbourne, because if there is no other fresh local vegetable available - there will be silverbeet. When I was growing up we thought silverbeet was spinach. Other people will know it as Chard, or Swiss Chard. If you don't know it, it is from the beet family, but doesn't have the big beet root! It is more robust than spinach, in texture and growing habits!
The soup recipe could use spinach, but since we are here in Melbourne... we will have silverbeet thankyou very much!
I know two basic lentil and spinach recipes. One starts with a fry of onion, garlic, celery and carrot and I think of it as the French recipe. The other is more Middle Eastern and adds spices like cumin and chilli to the onions and garlic, and finishes with a squeeze of lemon juice.
When I asked Em about her recipe she explained that she tended to add all sorts of veggies to the mix; but for this menu she was thinking to keep it simple, maybe adding some barley, because she wants it really yummy and hearty. Mmm, yummy and hearty! That is YamDaisy Food!

MAIN 1: Eggplant Pilaf with Sauteed Green Beans on the side:
Yes! That is it pictured! And I had to make this recipe so that I could take the picture! Thankyou Em! It is such a wonderful recipe. It comes originally from Greg Malouf. I am not sure how much it has changed by the time it got to me, but here is how I did it:
(of course the chef at the YamDaisy cafe will be making enough for 50 or 60, but they'll be professional and work out bigger quantities I am sure!)
2 medium eggplants cut into chunks about 2.5cm cubes. (I am very sensitive to the bitey taste in eggplants, so I put them in salted water for 20 mins, and then put them to dry). Brush them with oil (sprinkle with salt if you didn't salt them earlier) and place on a tray in a hot oven for 25 minutes or until they are softened and browned.
In the meantime, fry a chopped onion in 3 tbsps of oil until soft and golden.
Add 3 tbsps of pine nuts, and when they are starting to colour add a cup (200g) of rice and stir until it is coated with oil.
Then add two diced tomatoes and 1 1/2 tsp of sugar (I couldn't find tomatoes worth buying, so I added half a tim of diced tomatoes instead). Simmer 5 minutes.
Next in is 2 tbsp of currants, salt and pepper, a tsp of ground cinnamon and 1/2 a tsp of ground allspice (pimento). Add 350ml of water and stir gently.
Cover and simmer softly until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove the lid for a while if it needs to dry out, but hopefully it will be done perfectly if you turn it off and put a teatowel over and the lid back on top. This way the steam is soaked up, but the heat remains and it becomes fluffier.
Stir in a few tbsp of oil and chopped dil: I missed this out as mine didn't need more oil, and I didn't have dill.
Then gently mix the eggplant chunks through.
It can be served at room temperature, but we had it still steaming. The sauteed beans went with it perfectly. It was a lovely, lovely meal.
I remember thinking, when I ate it, that it would be exactly what I would want if I had been ill and my appetite was just coming back. It is a comforting, nourishing meal that is so delicious and yet has a feeling of lightness.

MAIN 2: Stirfried Vegetables and Tofu with Lemongrass and Ginger, served on Rice Noodles.
I love the way Em has thought through this menu. This main is so different to the other, and so provides a great choice for customers. Also, everything can be prepared in advance and then quickly cooked up as needed in the wok. This would give even greater flexibility as people could choose which vegetables they want included or not.

FRUIT DESSERT: Baked Stuffed Apples with Custard.
Yum, say no more! The conversation we had about this one was the issue of the custard! Em makes a cornflour based one, I use a brand of custard powder, and Teri the wonderful chef makes proper egg custard. Since the Yamdaisy Cafes rely on food cooked from scratch, we thought this could be the perfect place to have Gabriel Gate's Orange and Polenta Custard. It is delicious and easy and good for people who can't have wheat in their diet!
Orange and Polenta Custard
1 1/2 tbsp polenta, make a paste with 2 tbsp milk
Heat 1 1/2 cups of milk and then stir in the polenta paste, 1 tbsp orange zest, 1 tbsp sugar or honey and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring, and simmer for 1 minute.
The consistency is runny with the little lumps of swelled polenta.

Thanks Em for a wonderful days menu.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Vibrant Cafe

Each YamDaisy café will be a similar small café, seating about 30, aiming to sell over a hundred meals a day and making sure each one is delicious and made from scratch from local, seasonal food. Each menu will have the structure of the SOUP, 2 MAINS and a FRUIT DESSERT. Each YD Café is overseen by the YD Franchise which makes sure they are accountable to this structure. However, there is room for flexibility as these examples show. This flexibility will give vibrancy.

A YamDaisy café in Langdon, might find that most of its customers are busy professional people and quite well off (and pay the higher price) and who are used to eating a wide variety of foods so couscous, polenta, curries make the menu easy. A lot of these are vegetarian, and many are interested in organic foods, so there is always vegetarian food on the menu and the customers are understanding about food not in season being absent.
However, there are many people with chronic illness and disability here, and many old people, especially women living alone after the death of their husbands. Langdon has a strong Greek population from long before it became a yuppie suburb. The chef at the Langdon YamDaisy Cafe would be catering closely to these people who would use the café more often.
Perhaps some of the elderly Greek women would meet together once a week for a good dinner at the YD Café and then most of them would also get soup to take home that day for the evening. The chef would get to know people who are struggling and talk to them about their particular food needs, and might put their favourite meal on for their birthday. And, knowing some of those elderly Greek women, there might be some fierce arguments about the recipes and the flavours of the food!

A YamDaisy café in Drumont would have a very different community to cater for. This is the place of new cheap houses on the edge of the city and young families struggling with big mortgages and little children and insecure employment. Although young, they might be the most conservative eaters, only liking the most familiar and anglicised dishes and would need to be seduced into a meal that is mostly vegetables.
They may also be the people most used to processed food and the big junk food corporations: both parents and children battling with obesity and illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
The chef at the Drumont YamDaisy Café might need a careful menu and to build up a lot of trust before trying a ‘Moroccan Special’ or a ‘Traditional Turkish Dish’. She/He might sneak extra veggies into the pasta sauce and give playful names to dishes to help make them attractive. People with chronic illness and disabilities might be especially isolated in this area of poor public transport, limited community centres and privatised everything, so the YD café might be a real hub where those people can meet and talk while getting good meals they can afford.

A YamDaisy Café in Chumlen would be different again. This is an old poor area close to the city with lots of public housing and boarding houses. There is a new influx of refugees, especially from Africa, and a growing Indian population, plus another 40 nationalities! The YamDaisy café in Chumlen might find a complex clientele where poverty and chronic illness are the lot of almost everyone who comes to the café. The vibrant populations that do more community cooking of their own may not use the café, but people who have never learnt to cook, and who come in most days would be more common. This area may have more transient populations too. The chef here might need more of an understanding of complex social issues and have good networks with local health workers, but also find great appreciation of the delicious food that takes such a burden off the daily lives. Chumlen might need three YamDaisy cafes!

The YamDaisy Franchise will have an important role with support including nutrition ideas, debriefing, mentoring, conflict management, networking with local organisations, or whatever is needed. The Franchise can undertake important research. They can document and share the things that work, reward initiatives that work, and commiserate with those that don’t! The chefs may get a lot of support from their community, but sometimes it will be a thankless task (as most parents know,) of working to provide delicious nutritious food and getting complaints and rejections in turn. The Franchise needs to make sure the chef/managers get the appreciation and encouragement they need. It will be a vibrant franchise!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


This is a menu for the YamDaisy Cafe project. We need a soup, 2 main meals and a fruit based dessert. They need to be absolutely delicious! But also to be made from scratch on the day from local seasonal ingredients, and to avoid high cost ingredients.
It was lovely to discuss the menu with Ange, she was inspired by the article above which she had found in the newspaper and wanted to make herself, and also by her risotto recipe...

SOUP: Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Savoury Scones
These are no ordinary savoury scones! they contain cheese and olives and then the tops are glazed with milk and sprinkled with sesame seeds or dukkah. With scones like this the spices in the pumkin soup would be cumin, coriander, paprika and perhaps chopped coriander leaves to sprinkle on top.

MAIN 1: Risotto with Beetroot, Fetta cubes, and Rocket
In fact Ange couldn't pick which risotto to choose because she has so many favourites, She also loves
Chicken, Pumpkin and Walnut
Chicken, Broccoli and Pumpkin
Salami, Olives and Tomato
But the Beetroot one was always the one she talked about first. She was excited about this for the YD Cafe because she has found a way to make risotto that is easier than the standing and stirring one ladle in at a time. She could imagine the busy chef making up new batches of risotto as needed, easily, simply and so delicious.
Here is the way she does it:
Start with sautéing onions in oil.
Then add one cup of Arborio rice. Stir around until rice goes pearly.
Add five cups of stock. Bring to a gentle simmer.
Put the lid on and cook for 13 minutes. (set a timer)
Anything you are going to add needs to be added depending on how long it takes for that thing to cook.
For today's Risotto the cubes of fresh beetroot will go in at the beginning and the fetta and rocket will be stirred in at the end. Meal in a bowl.

MAIN 2: Braised Lamb with Honey, All Spice and Cinnamon
This is the recipe in print in the picture above. It came from the Age Sunday Magazine but I can't find a link, only someone twittering about how good it is!
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have it baking slowly through the afternoon. I am sure that everyone who comes in for soup or risotto at lunch, will make sure they get some lamb to take home for dinner!

FRUIT DESSERT: Toasted Apple and Walnuts with Cinnamon Syrup

This is a beautiful menu for this time of year! It is the coldest part of Winter in Melbourne and these warming tasty recipes would be perfect.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Restaurant and Home Food

Restaurant Food – Home Cooked Food

The History of Western Restaurants in two sentences!

1. The word ‘Restaurant’ comes from RESTORE for the restoring soup sold to people in the 17th century.
2. The French Revolution meant the highly trained chefs from aristocratic households were looking for new ways to make a living – they became restaurant chefs.

There is a long Chinese and Islamic tradition of bought meals, and a world history of food provision for travelers and of communal cooking traditions for villages, tribes and in towns every where.

In my community, and in modern communities all over the world, a restaurant meal has particular connotations. It is a special event, with an atmosphere and a level of service, presentation and finesse.

There are new things to try: produce, techniques, combinations you have never tried before, and maybe could never replicate at home.

It is a particular treat for those who usually cook: no preparation, no cooking and serving, no washing up!

At its best, a restaurant is a wonderful, never to be forgotten experience.

But they can let you down. You have to invest time, energy and money getting there (and getting home again) and if the service, the meal, or how well your special needs are catered for, is a disappointment, the evening can be a disaster.

Home meals, in contrast, are less formal; there is personal control over ingredients and preparation which is especially important for health needs. Favourite meals are (usually) tried and true, and the cook can educate and train growing children as she (or he) goes.

The attributes of the great home cook are similar to a restaurant manger/chef as they range from clever budgeting, inspired shopping, ingenuity, organization, psychology and prudent management, and knowing just what will please your family/clients.

In both places the aim is for great food, great atmosphere and great memories.

But for restaurants the bottom line has to be the business needs of enticing customers. At home, the bottom line is to promote and sustain a healthy family through nourishment, training and education.

O dear, home just doesn’t sound as enticing! And the Yamdaisy café is in the arena of the home cook. The food has to promote and sustain a healthy community.

And to make it worse, all the fears about bad restaurant experiences are easy to lock onto a small restaurant on a low budget using everyday ingredients: the cutting corners, losing the spark, the falling standards.

Oh YamDaisy, how will you convince?

Well, this is the challenge!

And this challenge emphasizes the importance that must be placed on the deliciousness of YamDaisy meals. It is important that the YamDaisy culture is not just about helping people who can struggle, and providing low cost meals, but about food and atmosphere that is focused on deliciousness, pleasure and heart.

There are no clear lines between restaurant meals and home meals, and YD café has to carve out its own niche. That niche is just a little way up the road from the home door.

More information about YamDaisy Cafes is at

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Claudia’s Menu

For more information on YamDaisy Menu Planning see

Claudia’s Menu

Claudia MeDeiros from Livro de Receitas has contributed this menu saying: I'm … considering 100% what you wrote on your post : " delicious, homestyle and seasonal food with cheap ingredients ... " This is exactly how I use to cook for my family, as I have to do it every single day, specially for lunch time :)

We are lucky enough to have her recipes too. And yum. I would love to see this menu at the YamDaisy Café! I had to make one of the dishes so I could put up a photo, and O life is hard sometimes! I made the vegetable casserole and the tabbouli salad and it was such a delicious meal.

Soup: RADISH TOP SOUP a Kaiser Roll would accompany this beautifully.
vegetable oil or butter
diced onion
diced potatoes
chopped radish tops
vegetable stock or water
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the onion in oil or butter until soft, add the potato and radish tops, stir until coated in oil/butter. Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer until the potato is soft, whiz in a blender until creamy, add milk to loosen, add salt and pepper to taste.

Main Dish 1: VEGETABLE CASSEROLE: with a light tabbouli salad.

1/4 c Melted butter
1/4 c Flour
2 c Milk
8 oz. Cream cheese
Cauliflower, broccoli, onion, and carrots
1/2 c Grated cheese
Melt butter, add flour and cook until bubbly. Add 2 cups milk and 8 ounces cream cheese. Cook until thick. Parboil cauliflower, broccoli, onion, and carrots. Put in a casserole dish and cover with white sauce. Sprinkle grated cheese over top of casserole. Bake at 350 until bubbly; about 30 minutes.


This is a cheap and nutritive meal.

Claudia’s Okra Recipe


30 okras , 1 white onion , 1 clove of garlic , 4 ripe tomatoes , salt , soy oil , spices at your taste .


Wash the okras well and slice them (thin slices).

Preheat a pan with half cup of soy oil and sauté the okra during 15 minutes ( it must be completely without slime ! ) , then add sliced onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes .

Add the diced tomatoes, stir.

Add the spices at your taste (you can use dried or fresh herbs). Mix them well and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Finally, add salt at your taste and cook for more 5 minutes.

Serve it with white rice and grilled chicken.

A pineapple juice is always welcome, too!

Note: Okra is low in calories and is a good source of many nutrients including vitamin B6 and C, fiber , calcium and folic acid . It is effective for the prevention of neural tube defects in developing fetuses mainly due to its high content of vitamin B6, calcium, fiber and folic acid.

P.S: You can also substitute eggplant or zucchini for okra.


2 Mangos - peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 Banana
2/3 cup Nonfat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons Honey
6 cubes Ice
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
In a blender combine mangoes, bananas, yogurt, honey, ice cubes, and vanilla extract until smooth. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Pour into individual dishes and serve.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Apple!

July the first was International Fruit Day and this years celebrated fruit is THE APPLE!
What a lovely little mainstay this fruit is! Especially for the delicious homestyle food at the YamDaisy Cafe.
Having a dessert on the menu respects those people for whom a meal without a dessert is not a meal. This is a strong tradition where I live in Melbourne Australia.
But I stipulate a fruit dessert because the integration of fruit and vegeatables into the diet is stressed to the homecooks, and the Yamdaisy Cafe aims to provide such every day meals.
But how easy it is to have a delicious fruit dessert with apples around!
Apple crumple, apple dumplings, apple charlotte, apple pie, apple strudel, apple slice...
If you ever got to the end of that list, just start pairing apple with other fruits like the classic apple and rhubarb!
And dessert is not the only place for apple! It takes its place in refreshing summer soups, in accompaniments like apple sauce, in fabulous dishes like "Heaven and Earth' where the apple is heaven alongside the earthy potatoes.
Another staple of the Yamdaisy cafe is the fruit bowl, and most of the year there will be a fresh bright apple as part of the selection!
This is the year of the apple and there is no Yamdaisy Cafe yet to serve it in! But not to worry, it's time will come!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jinie's Menu

I asked my friend Jinie to tell me what she would put on the menu at a YamDaisy Cafe.
This is important to me as I need to discover how people think and look at the concept for the food. Delicious, homestyle, seasonal food that the chef can manage throughout the day in the small kitchen with not much help!
The soup dish and one main is to be available for lunch and on through the day as long as it lasts, and the second main and fruit based dessert need to be available by mid afternoon. These meals can be take away also.

Jinie is someone who has managed on a low income for many years. Her first thought was on how to make a good meal with the cheapest ingredients. But what this made me realise is that for people on low incomes the costing is easy, think of the great meals you already cook! You can be confident they will be within the budget for the YamDaisy Cafe.

Jinie chose:

Potato and leek soup with crusty bread. Perfect for this time of year in Wintery Victoria. This is one of my favourite soups as it is so tasty and comforting.

Pasta Bake made with bolognaise sauce and with grated vegetables added. Hmm, I am confused My vegetarianism may be to blame, so I search the web and as far as I can work out, Jinies recipe is like lasagne with bolognaise sauce. This would be a great meal and easy to prepare. The sauce could be made the day before and be ready in the fridge, and dried pasta, rigatoni perhaps, would be used in this recipe. the added vegetables could be pieces of roasted root veggies. I would like to add some lightly dressed rocket leaves to the plate as their bite would complement the dish.

Veggie Slice with a side salad and sweet relish. I googled this one and discovered that most of the world thinks veggie slice is a slice of vegetarian pizza. No. It is more like a fittata, eggah or an Iranian Kuku. The most common recipe around here is the zucchini slice with about 5 eggs, lots of onion and grated zucchini and topped with cheese and baked. When Jinie makes it she adds whatever is to hand: sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, zucchini, capsicum and bacon. I would like the side salad to be soft lettuce and herbs with little extras like pine nuts and olives and the relish served in a little dish beside.

Rhubarb and Apple with creamy yoghurt. The truth is that we got sidetracked and I didn't get a fruit dessert from Jinie! But luckily (because I wanted to put a photo up) I had taken a picture of my yummy dessert last week, and this would be just lovely with Jinie's menu. I cooked the fruits separately and made the yoghurt extra creamy by draining it a little. (I would serve with the yoghurt on top I think)

So this is the first input I have for the YamDaisy menu. I would love some feedback and ofcourse I would love your ideas for a menu. Check out the menu page on my Yam Daisy Cafe website (which by the way I am updating, so any feedback on that will help me too!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Article for CSMC

This is the article I wrote for the Newsletter of the Council for Single Mothers and Their Children


Most days, for most families, it is a challenge to provide tasty nutritious meals that suit everyone. It involves budgeting, shopping, storing, menu planning, preparation, cooking, serving… all in the relentless timetable of breakfast lunch and tea, day after day after day.

When you are a single mother; if there is poverty; if chronic illness, disability and other stresses are in the mix, then things start getting impossible. The Housewife Cook needs a break.

Imagine a YamDaisy Café just up the road. Pensioners and Healthcare card holders can join up and get meals e.g. ten dollars for a two course meal. Others pay slightly higher prices. The chef who runs it is a great cook.

You could get the kids off to school and meet a friend there for lunch. You might go after school and have a family meal there - you would get home with the children fed! You could have an easy meal with your preschoolers, or pick up takeaway.

This could be fast, but not the fast food that you should only eat occasionally. The food would be made from scratch, on the premises, so your family would be getting food at least as good as what you would make yourself.

The YamDaisy Cafés would run as a franchise. We want to start with a pilot café and spread from there. Our web and Facebook sites will give the details of the concept, and your feedback is needed. Would you like to have a YamDaisy café up the road? When would you use it? What would make it work best for your family?

Please contact me

Project Manager Joy Stevenson


Ph: Business Hours (03) 9489 1596

Look out for the web launch around Easter -

YamDaisy Presents: COMFORT FOOD ‘09

Comfort Food is what you keep coming back to, all your life. So you want it to be good!

You have had a horrible day, you are sick and tired and hungry and miserable.

Then someone lovely says "Sit yourself down and I will make you a yummy comforting meal. What would you like?"

Here are some of our results:

Jan: Chicken soup, with chilli, ginger, garlic and lots of veggies, Indonesian style

Trevor: Chicken noodle soup with vegetables

Rose: Minestrone with garlic bread

Joy: Rice and Dahl

Lin: Beef madras Curry with rice and naan

Francine: Soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers

Let me know your favourite comfort food and I can add it to the list.

(Michelle Obama likes Macaroni Cheese).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

World Environment and World Oceans

The 5th of June was World Environment Day and today, the 8th, is World Oceans Day.
Two very special days and a reminder that these wonderful powerful forces, that have shaped us over eons, have such vulnerabilities and need our care and respect.
The YamDaisy Cafe has a role to play.
  • It makes the most of savings caused by community rather than household cooking. It can have systems for compost and evolve menus that avoid waste.
  • YamDaisy Cafe can have partnerships with Restaurants, Markets, Producers and Backyard Growers to make use of over supply.
  • YamDaisy cafe would respect Sustainable Fishing and use local seafood that is not endangered. This would familiarise customers with the best seafood to use and the types of meals it suits.
  • Partnerships with tertiary design and architecture institutions could result in students who design and organise the cafe fittings or refittings that make use of eco knowledge and design features that help power saving, comfort and waste reduction.
  • using local seasonal food cuts down on food miles, limiting processed food saves energy.
  • Good food results in a healthier population who can more easily do their part to help our environment.
  • Local cafes and their clients can support, instigate, advertise or promote local environmental activities and projects.
Can't wait!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Meditteranean Diet Guidelines

In my early speel about the YamDaisy idea I talked about Mediterranean Diet Guidelines and Slow Food Principles and found people querying these and saying it was negative to talk about diet and confusing because so few people know what these things are.
Having enough to explain I streamlined to talk about delicious homestyle cooking.
I am concentrating again on the Mediterranean Diet after hearing a great interview on Radio Therapy 3RRR. Catherine Itsiopoulos is a research fellow and dietitian who has studied the effect of the Mediterranean diet on people with diabetes. It made a great difference to their lives.
In the interview she said "We can't all have Greek mothers cooking for us!"
Well, step up YamDaisy cafe!!!!
Wouldn't it be easy for people to be able to get a meal that was so good for their health, at a price they could afford, AND (with exercise the other focus for improving life with Diabetes) that could involve a walk to the cafe and back. plus, they would get usede to the types of meals that they like and help their health, and the YamDaisy cafe could help with recipes and tips for when they do cook at home.
Talk about win win!

Here is some info about the Mediterranean Diet:

A recent study has once again confirmed that people who closely follow ‘the Mediterranean Diet’ live longer than other Europeans (1). So what exactly is the Mediterranean diet and how does it exert this spectacular effect.

The Mediterranean diet is not a specific diet plan or diet program but a collection of eating habits that are traditionally followed by the people of the Mediterranean region. There are at least 16 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and food habits vary between these countries according to culture, ethnic background and religion. But there are a number of characteristics common to them all…(2).

  • A high consumption of fruits, vegetables, potatoes, beans, nuts, seeds, bread and other cereals
  • Olive oil used for cooking and dressings
  • Moderate amounts of fish but little meat
  • Low to moderate amounts of full fat cheese and yogurt
  • Moderate consumption of wine, usually with meals
  • Reliance on local, seasonal, fresh produce
  • An active lifestyle

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I have had a frustratingly crook week, but there you go.
I have been imagining the YamDaisy idea as a trickle of water I have found coming out of the ground, and I want it to get all the way down to the sea. And just at the moment I can see it isn't all disappearing into the sand, it is trickling along, but there is a long way between here and the sea!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Facebook Group

Thank goodness I have a teenage daughter! She helped me start on Facebook when I wanted a presence there for YamDaisy. I began a YamDaisy Group but couldn't see how I would use it, so I changed to a YamDaisy Cafe Page, as well the Comfort Food '09 Page. I have been trotting along with them, and especially the Comfort Food Page is going well. But now I am hoping for more intereaction, I have resurrected the YamDaisy Group. There are all sorts of things that might happen there, but I have begun with the Menu Planning invitation, and I have put Comfort Food there too, where people can not only post their comfort food, but also add the recipe!
Check it out

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Menu Planning

I came up with my idea of a simple menu that would make it easy for the chef to know what she/he was doing, and easy for the customers to work out when they would choose to visit the YamDaisy cafe.
Not having any experience in this sort of thing I might have it completely wrong! But if I start with my idea, hopefully I will get feedback
Also, I am hoping that people who delight in making menus will give it a try - both novices and experienced chefs.
By writing a weekly menu for a specific month, all the ingredients of the YamDaisy Cafe are addressed: Seasonal ingredients, delicious every day meals, suitable for the local community, practical for the chef to cook in a small kitchen.
Vegetarians could provide a meatfree menu, gluten intolerant people could compose one that they could eat. Peolpe could write one that suits their cultural heritage. It could be great fun and I could add some of the menus to my website.
Maybe I could find someone to judge them from a chefs point of view?
Check out my sample menu at

Friday, May 15, 2009


MonteRosso is a lovely Italian focused Restaurant in Doncaster, and proprietors Rosie and Tony invited me to talk to them on Tuesday about YamDaisy so they could consider if there was a way for their restaurant to particpate, particularly by providing delicious affordable meals to those who are struggling.
There are so many possibilities! They are pondering now, what they might do.
We discussed the Comfort Food Project, and MonteRosso are interested in participating in a local school based project! The next step is up to me to get the lesson plans and outline complete! And then see if I can find a local school to take part.