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!