Sunday, August 28, 2011

On the radio!

How I got my first YamDaisy radio interview:

I follow 'Food Fight' on facebook. It is the food program on 3CR, the long running Melbourne community radio station.
A week ago a link went up about a US report showing how local food systems benefit local economies (see here).
I commented how YamDaisy Cafes would add to the local economy and put a link to my webpage.
Shortly after, 3CR's Food Fight added this comment: Hey Joy, I know it's short notice, but would you want to discuss YamDaisy on tomorrow's show?
And so I wrote: Ooo, I would love to!

In true Hollywood style, a planned story had fallen through, I was able to take the spot! The pod cast is up now, so you can listen to it! Thanks to Jonathan for giving me such a lovely opportunity and so much support.
Look here: Food Fight Podcast and click on the podcast for Food Fight 23.08.2011 that mentions me and my YamDaisy Cafe! 
What do you think?

I did my best!

At the end of the interview I ask people to 'like' my YamDaisy Cafe facebook page, so here is the link to make it easy for you! 
(Thanks to you who already have!)

Yours sincerely, 
almost famous!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Flying Ant Painting

The round circle of loose sand that signals an ant's nest was a feature of life growing up in Victoria. We would watch out for those ants! They bite! The vibration of walking close would bring angry bull ants out to attack us.

I was reminded of them when I visited the wonderful blog Chandler A to Z and saw this post by Therese.So evocative of my Victorian bushland, even though she is on the other side of the world, in Arizona.

But I was also reminded of something closer to home. Something I could just turn my head to look at! The picture above!

When I was teaching in the Northern Territory I met with green ants, and read about honey ants, and then I was lucky to have an insight to flying ants (termites).  I was teaching at Alekarenge, near Tennant Creek and I saw this picture being painted.

The artists who meticulously painted this picture about their country southwest of Warrego, were Fanny Walker and Sarah Holmes. The point of view is that of looking down on the landscape. They explained to me that the doughnut shapes are the ant holes. All the little lines that make up the background are the tracks of the little bird that has seen the ants beginning to come up and is busy catching and eating them.

When the women notice that they take their long wooden bowls: coolamon, those are the bar shapes in the painting. The women sit crosslegged, which makes the horseshoe shapes, and collect the ants in the coolamon, top them with hot ash, which is enough to cook them, and then winnow the ash off... and feast!

I really miss the beautiful Northern Territory, and I am so glad to have this art on my living room wall, that takes me back to such beautiful country.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mystery Box Challenge

This post might win the prize for 'blurriest photoes ever uploaded'! I don't really want to win that prize, but I had to post this story with what photos I had! Too late to go and take some better ones!

Here is my daughter and our friend cooking dinner for four. They were given the Mystery Box after school and had to come up with a main and a dessert using the ingredients within it (We are watchers of Australian Masterchef in our households!).

First we pulled the Mystery Box (read vegetable drawer) out of the fridge where we had been hiding it until it was time to start. The purple sarong was removed to reveal.......

Pumpkin, yellow pepper, beetroot, parsnip, beef mince and green beans!

They had to use at least some of these ingredients, plus whatever we had in the pantry.

We (the mums) kept well out of their way except for sneaking in to take a photo, and finding rows of lovely little meatballs sitting on the bench, all ready to go in the oven, and this wonderful scene:

Soon there was a long row of pasta hanging up to dry.

When we were called to eat we found our appetizers sitting on the table: thin rings of parsnip deep fried and sprinkled with salt. They were SO YUMMY! You will see a few of them in a little bowl in the picture below. Crisp with that parsnip sweetness and the delicious salt sparking them up! Such a yummy way to start a meal!

Next came our main course which included pumpkin ~ used in the pasta! No wonder it was such a golden colour! And beef mince used in the tasty meatballs, Green beans and yellow capsicum adding even more colour to the dish, and a simple tomato sauce to bring it all together.

(Sorry about the yellowness, I hope you can get an idea of how lovely it was, in spite of the photo!)

Now what could be dessert? What dessert could you have made that used an ingredient from this mystery box! Well, I will tell you what the girls made: Chocolate pudding with beetroot cream! Truly! They grated half a beetroot and squeezed out the juice to colour sweetened cream. It didn't taste of beetroot..... but O the colour!

It was even more gorgeous that this photo shows. Such a glorious pink!
An uploaded photo of it to facebook and had 35 comments trying to guess what it was!

What a delicious, surprising and fun evening it was! Thankyou Masterchefs!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Soup for a sick friend

I have a friend who has been battling with 'the dreaded lurgy', those colds and flu's that pounce on Melbournians all through the winter months. This one developed into bronchitis and sinusitis and just didn't seem to shift.
There isn't much I can do to help friends, but being ill myself  I know absolutely what a powerful and tricky thing help can be!
The main thing I have learned is that helping someone is a process. There is the thought, the gift, the feedback, the learning... all leading around (hopefully) to the next gift. All against a background of politeness and appreciation that just might inhibit that process.
Let me explain!

I know that having easy, delicious food on hand can be a real help when you are sick, so I offer to make soup for my friend. She assures me that her husband and daughters have been wonderful at helping to cook while she has been ill.
But I think
a) she is being polite so that I don't feel obliged to cook for her
b) the whole family is likely to feel the strain and would appreciate some help
c) my food is a good token of my care even if it isn't needed
d) and it is good opportunity to learn how I can be an even better friend another time

I plan a soup that can be put in the freezer, or will sit happily in the fridge for a few days, so it will have the best chance of being useful.
Because my friend struggles with IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome) I check up information to work out the best soup to make. The information is so contradictory, I ring my friend to check what things she needs to avoid.

I decide on my Pumpkin soup, see recipe here, with less red pepper than usual. Because of the state of my pantry I used no garlic, and channa dal (small chickpeas) instead of the split lentils. Here are the lovely ingredients!

It is a very easy recipe to make in the pressure cooker. I strained out the sweet red pepper skins because I had an idea that they are hard on the digestive system (not sure about that though). I blended it smooth and then put a container for my friend in the fridge. I had a bowlful for myself ~ to taste test ofcourse! wink! But also because I didn't want to give her too much, so she wouldn't feel so bad if she disliked it and had to chuck it out.
It tasted delicious to me, so I took the gift to my friend.

Here is the tricky bit. I know my friend appreciates my gift, and will want to let me know that. Isn't that lovely!
But for my gift to be most useful, I need to know the bad with the good. I need to know if it wasn't to her taste. If it was too salty. If it gave her stomach pains. Even if she accidentally spilt the lot and so didn't taste it at all.
I have regretted missing this part of the conversation when people have given things to me. Often the first time of trying something doesn't work: the outing is too long, the food too much, the massage too cold. You aren't ungrateful, but you need to find the trusting, respecting place to be able to have that conversation. If that space isn't there, all you can give is gracious thanks.

But I would love the gift that goes on, that grows with understanding, and becomes the most useful gift, the most practical, easy and comforting gift, and that grows a friendship alongside.

I shan't demand a truthful report on my soup! But I will have my eyes and ears open to see if my gift might be a little bit stronger, a little bit longer, than a container of soup.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

About my YamDaisy Project

When I spoke to the people at the Local Food Conversation last Sunday I focused on the local, seasonal food used in the menu at the YamDaisy Cafes (ofcourse) and this was a nice change from focussing on business, health and the delicious menu (not that I mind talking about them!).

I had a list to remind me what I wanted to say, so this post is about the list! and, hopefully, pretty much what I said in my few minutes to share.

1. Isolation, poverty, difficulties with food:
It is an awful thing that as well as coping with whatever awful chronic illness you might have, you almost always have the added burdens of greater poverty, isolation, and difficulty preparing food for yourself and your family. The YamDaisy Cafe idea helps ease these burdens for people with chronic illness, disability, or anyone struggling.
(Yes, I know there are other burdens... housing being a most serious one!)

2. An idea as big as Macca's:
When I had my idea of small local cafe's selling delicious, healthy food at prices pensioners could afford, I thought I only had to let people know, and they would say "Ofcourse!" and get my YamDaisy Cafe idea going.
But no! So I have spent 4 years working on my project with my webpage, my blog (this one!), my YamDaisy facebook page, my Comfort Food poll, and with research.
It is a big idea, I think it could be as big as Macca's! And now it is time to get a pilot cafe up and running.

3. Small menu:
The aspect of my YamDaisy Cafe that makes it different to other Cafe's - and more like mum cooking, is the  soup, 2 main meals and a fruit based dessert on the menu each day. And it is like the BEST 'mumcooking': cooked from scratch with fresh, seasonal produce.

4. Local, Seasonal Food is integral to the idea:
I have entertained the idea of doing a deal with a huge supermarket chain to get this project going, but I rejected it because the Best Practice for a mum cooking for her family has to be the use of fresh, local ingredients. Wanting good health outcomes and deliciousness - as well as convenience- making use of small local producers has to be part of the model for YamDaisy Cafes.

5. YamDaisy Cafes can be good for local producers
As a business that is committed to local ingredients the YD Cafes can be a wonderful support and generator of local produce. This could include backyard producers as well as people running larger or more specialised businesses.

I gave out my little homemade cards so people could look up my webpage and like my facebook page
NOTE: Please everyone! 'Like' my YamDaisy facebook page! It is my best indication of how much support my idea has, and at the moment it only has 27 followers (Precious people every one!)

And I had my presentation folder available for people to look at. (I am working on how to share it here).

I am so pleased to say that there was lovely feedback from people there!
The very first question was "Will there be take away?" (Yes!) Thinking of those busy nights for busy families.
And when I said that my next step was to talk to local Councillors to say if they would get behind the idea for a pilot cafe I would find the money.... And then all I would have to do is find the million dollars! Someone said "How can we help you find a million dollars!"

In the nice chatty bit of the meeting when people were milling around and eating, I had to sit down, but it was lovely that I wasn't left alone and people who came and chatted and looked through my book showed such serious support for my project and gave such good feedback.
It was great to get hear that the model would suit small local producers.I left the meeting so bouyed by the great feeling of good stuff happening and that there was a swell of support for my idea.

(So it has been a bit frustrating that it has taken a week to write this blog, sigh! But slow and steady will win the race!)

The picture above shows the display on the food swap bench last Sunday, and below is my (1st draft) business card! It's onward and upward now!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gorgeous meeting!

Because of my YamDaisy project I try to keep in touch with all the good community food things that are happening around. So through a mention in a post, that sent me to a facebook group, that put up an event ~ I ended up at Edendale Farm at Eltham on the outskirts of Melbourne for the 'Local Food Conversation'.

I'm always a bit worried going to something for the first time. Will the trip be so hard I get there exhausted? Will I have to park far away and walk long distances.... or worse, have to climb stairs?
Will I find out that the meeting wasn't what I thought it was about at all?

In this case: no, no, no and no! Hooray! Plus it was a lovely sunny morning.

We had a room full of gorgeous people involved in local food projects happening in the North East of Melbourne. It was lovely to see the diversity of people and the common themes.

This post is to let you know about all the lovely things happening around here. I am sure I will have missed out some,  but I have a good long list and I will put the best link I can find to them. Let me know if there is a better one! (And any information to add!)

I wonder if you have heard of any or all of them?

Local Food Connect: Facebook Page

Sustainable Gardening Australia: About SGA

And SGA's Pod Program: SGA PODs (Productive, Organic, Diverse, Sustainable Neighbourhood Gardening Groups)

GM Free Network Nillumbik

Transition Town Bundoora: Transition Towns

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation

Edendale Farm: Local Food Task Group

Food swaps every where and a recipe book being developed to show how to use less common produce!

O, and ofcourse....

I took my (completed!) presentation book and some little cards with web address etc on them, and I had 10 minutes to talk to the group about my project. So next post I will share what I said!