Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Of your charity, remember the prisoners during Christmas tide - and Paul Kelly tells of how to make gravy

My own recommendation is
the usual flour in the fat and add water etc. 
But there is a significant ingredient
to getting rich brown gravy every time. 
That ingredient is Parisian Essence.
Handle carefully. Not too much now. 
A few drops gives rich brown gravy -
even when you are cooking white meat like lamb or chicken.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Some food plants in my garden - late September

My peas look gorgeous in this container -
the white flowers which will soon produce peas
are most satisfying

I have quite a few broad bean plants in the ground

This mint - the plain old mint - is in a pot.
But I also have some in the ground in a place
where I hope it takes over and chases the weeds away.
Ditto for some After Dinner Mint.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Deluxe and desperate dessert - yoghurt, pears, and chocolate hazelnut sauce

Last night was a cold bleak July night in Ballarat.  I had been out for most of the day and it was too late to do the Apple Crumble I had planned for dessert. This should happen to-night.  So it was time to think outside the square or there would be no dessert at all ... and there is someone in the house who asks for it.

I have taken to the pear this winter since I substituted one night pears for apples in the Butternut, Apple & Cinnamon Soup.

What I rustled up - perhaps even invented - was a stunning close-yoour-eyes-in-rapture delight!

I had two pears and I fried them in a mixture of butter (yes, real butter!) and brown sugar. I sliced and chopped the pears into small pieces.  The butter and brown sugar melted together so I was effectively cooking the small pieces of pear in the butter & sugar mix to make a sauce.  I used Nestle's Ski Divine Vanilla Creme Yoghurt and spooned it over individual dessert bowls.  Onto this I spooned the pear, butter & sugar sauce.  Now this alone would have made a sufficient taste sensation - but there is nothing like luxury in one's desserts. 

I had in the store cupboard a bottle of Alice Langon's Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce.  It had been there for years unused.  I think I had purchased it at Simon Johnson's in Toorak.  I poured this around the circle of pear sauce.

Scrumptious! More-ish!  And the left-over of the dessert was wonderful for a Sunday morning breakfast as well.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Baking Our Blues Away - an exercise in neighbourliness and caring about and for others.


THINK of a time where life wasn't going so great.
A time where perhaps someone brought you something to take your mind off things. Perhaps that someone baked you a cake.
And maybe that offer of something to eat, with a cup of tea, promoted a conversation between you and that person.
On Monday, July 15, everyone is encouraged to take a moment and give someone they know, or a stranger, "a bit of baked or handmade love", for Baking Our Blues Away.
The event is an annual day of goodwill, now in its second year.
It does not aim to raise funds, but simply, raise the general wellbeing of others.
Daylesford baker and event founder, Michelle Symes, believes conversation has the power to change the way a person feels.
According to Beyond Blue, anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia.
On average, one in four (one in three women and one in five men) will experience anxiety at some stage in their life.
In a 12-month period, more than two million Australians experience anxiety.
"It makes people feel special because somebody's taken the time to hand-bake something."
For Michelle, the issue is close to home, having friends and family who have suffered anxiety and depression.
"My husband was diagnosed with cancer a couple years ago and developed anxiety, triggered by the news he had the illness," she said.
"We'd never been exposed to it before, so it was a bit of an eye opener."
Last year, she started the initiative to raise awareness.
"I'm a big fan of feeding others and nourishing people ... when I know someone's not happy or well, I always cook for them, so it made sense to me to bake and make that part of the initiative," she said.
More than 5600 people took part last year, all over the world.
In Indonesia, one woman had an orphanage at the end of her street.
She took chocolate cupcakes to the children in the orphanage, who had never eaten cakes before.
She then posted a photo of the children eating cake for the first time.
Children at the Indonesian orphanage
"That smile and that elation that comes from the first taste of something sweet ... it was the most special photo and was lovely to have that impact on kids who had not experienced that kind of stuff," Michelle said.
Another participant posted a photo of her husband, who was terminally ill.
"He'd had four hours of chemo that day and she'd spent the day making a sponge cake," Michelle said.
"She put a photo of him holding the sponge cake, on our Facebook feed.
"We had other people take (the initiative) to their local schools, to their teachers, and do activities with kids."
A woman left these on her neighbour's doorstep
This year, she's hoping to get 10,000 people involved.
It has taken social media by storm, being supported on Twitter by Dannii Minogue, Shane Jacobson and blue Wiggle Anthony Field, who himself suffered depression.
Michelle maintains the initiative is not about whether someone has depression or anxiety, but primarily is about goodwill.
"Sit down, have a cuppa and let people chat about how their life's going," she said.
"People don't always get that opportunity and sometimes they need to be given that before they talk.
"It makes people feel special because somebody's taken the time to hand-bake something and I think it just makes people feel valued."

Monday, June 17, 2013

Soup's on at St Peter's.

 Bread and Soup and St Peter's.
At top, is the soup simmering away while Mass is on.
Those in serving in the Sanctuary remarked on the aroma 
all through Mass!
On the left is the Creamy Carrot & Coconut Soup.
On the right is the Butternut, Apple & Cinnamon Soup.
In the middle, is my Olive Bread.
I live in Ballarat where winters are very cold and very damp.  We haven't had snow this winter but it is not unheard of.  I attend St Peter's Anglican Church in Sturt Street, Ballarat. It is Ballarat's oldest church and famous for its historic peal of bells.  Now that winter is officially here we have taken to having Bread and Soup after the 10 a.m. Mass.  Yesterday, it was my turn.  I am basically a vegetarian so I was looking for something a little different in the way of meatless soups and I came up with these two which turned out to be very popular - with some people coming back for seconds.  So let me tell you what I turned up.  You can follow the original recipes (to which I link)  to the letter, if you choose.  I tweaked mine.  

Before I tell you the links and the tweaks, let me begin by saying that the basis of any soup meat-full or meat-less is a good stock.  This is the foundation on which the soup edifice is built.  Your basic stock can then be tweaked, modified, added to for a variety of wonderful soups.  Forty-eight hours ahead of my soup-making schedule, I made a huge amount of vegetable stock.  I used vegetables at hand, bought some others veges, and even threw in a piece of broccoli which had not been used for its original intention and now was past its prime.  I stored the stock in the frig - where, of course, as all soups and stocks do, it gained even more flavour.

Tweaks here were few.  Needless to say, I multiplied quite a bit.  I roasted the carrots ahead of time to add to the flavour.  I used Coconut Cream instead of Coconut Milk.

Tweaks here were:
  • Roasting the Buttnernut Pumpkin to add to the flavour.  This is a good ingredient at the moment because Butternuts are plentiful.  They are wonderful for their sweet flavour and their tenderness - so please be gentle with them.
  • I used one decent sized Butternut but added a few more apples.
  • I used something called Dutch Cinnamon. I think it may be a little more flavourful than other Cinnamon. Anyway, it was beautiful in the soup.  After all, we do know how well apple and cinnamon go together. Now, I can assure you, it goes well with Butternuts as well.

As you can see from the photograph, I made my soup pots three-quarters full.  This was because there has been a problem in estimating numbers.  This was the third week. The first week too much had been prepared. The second week there was not enough.  The third week seems to have been just right and some people were able to come back for seconds as well..

I served this with my own bread, buttered.  I had some jars of sliced olives in the frig (they are great when you do your own pizzas) and turned my plain dough into Olive Bread. 

All in all, the whole thing was well received.  The two soups were beautiful.  When I sup on the Creamy Carrot and Coconut, I think it is the best soup ever. And then when I sup on the Butternut, Apple & Cinnamon, I think exactly the same thing. 

I highly commend these soups to Tucker Lovers.  They are different, full-bodied, flavour-full soups.  The people I prepared these for had not come across them before - so you also have the novelty value to impress people.  Happy eating!
 Next week at St Peter's
Justin is doing the soup.
It sounds wonderful.
It will be based on a chicken stock.
Come along!
All welcome! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sustainable Gardening Australia - possibilities when communities grow their own food - urban agriculture

Sustainable Gardening Australia 

invites you to join an informal gathering where participants will engage in discussion regarding:

What are the possibilities when modern communities
grow more of their own food?

 The evening will conclude with questions 
addressed by a panel including: 

Natasha Kuperman (Founder of My Home Harvest)
Cam Walker (Friends of the Earth)

Monday June 17th 2013 from 7:00-9:00 pm

Function Room, The Courthouse Hotel615 Sydney RdBrunswick

Tram, Train (Anstey Station), 

Car (Sydney Rd meter free after 6pm)

You can purchase meals and drinks at The Courthouse 
and there are lots of great eateries on Sydney Road.
Places for this free event are limited so book early, 
and please let us know if you are then unable to attend 
so we can give someone else your place. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

This week-ends markets in Victoria - 2013-04-27 and 2013-04-28

Fourth Saturday-Sunday Markets

4th Saturday
Ballarat LakesideWindmill Drive, Lake Wendouree, Ballarat9am-1pmfree2nd and 4th Saturdays, except December - 2nd Saturday only
BentleighEast Bentleigh Primary School, 90 Bignell Road, East Bentleigh8am-12.30pm$2 entry4th saturday excl. January; 
Casey-BerwickThe Old Cheese Factory, 34 Homestead Road, Berwick8am-12.30pm
Dec 20th from 4pm to 8pm
Churchill IslandChurchill Island, Phillip Island8am-1pm
Every Saturday during January - 8th, 15, 22, 29
Hume MurrayGateway Village, Lincoln Clauseway, Wodonga8am-12pm
Every 2nd Saturday from Jan 8th
Keilor EastCentreway Park, Wyong Street8am-1pm
Starts: November 24th
LancefieldCentre Plantation, High Street, Lancefield9am-1pm
3rd Saturday in December
MansfieldMansfield Primary School, Bottom Terrace. Entrance off Highette Street, Mansfield8.30am-1pm
No Market in January
MontyMontmorency Primary School 60A Rattray Road, Montmorency9am-1pmgold coinentry proceeds go to Primary School
MyrtlefordSt Paul's Anglican Church, Clyde Street, Myrtleford8am-12pm
Each Saturday - January to May; 1st/3rd Saturday - June to December
NewtownCnr Shannon Avenue and West Fyans Street Newtown Geelong8am-1pm

PrestonBell Primary School
Corner Scotia St and Oakover Rd, Preston

children free
Slow FoodAbbotsford Convent, St Heliers Road, Abbotsford8am-1pm$2Parking:$2
Taste of Gold - MonashMonash University Clayton Campus Car Park8.30am-1pm
moved from Holmesglen TAFE; no market January
TraralgonKay Street Gardens, Kay Street, Traralgon8am-1pm

TorquayTorquay Central, Bristol Road, Tourquay8.30am-1pm
every saturday
YarravilleYarraville Gardens, Cnr Hyde and Sommerville Roads, Yarraville8am-12pm

4th Sunday
Fitzroy-St KildaCorner Fitzroy St & Lakeside Drive8am-1pm

Flemington (ex Melb Showgrounds)Debney Park Secondary College,
169 Mt Alexander Road, Flemington
Every Sunday; restarts 9th January 2011; Parking $3
KinglakeIn the Shed, cnr Heidelberg/Kinglake Road and Healesvill/Kinglake Road9am-2pm
Ex Yarra Glen Railway Market
ManninghamThe Manningham Club
1 Thompsons Rd, Bulleen
gold coin donation
Mt. ElizaCnr Mt Eliza Way and Canadian Bay Road, Mount Eliza9am-1pm
No market in December
MulgraveGrounds of the Body Shop, Cnr Jacksons & Wellington Rds Mulgrave8am-1pm
Every Sunday;
YarrawongaPiper Street, Yarrawonga8.30am-12.30pm

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lemon Tea Cake - this + a pot of fair trade coffee @ home make for a marvellous informal coffee shop experience.

Are you like me and have quite a few orphans lurking in your recipe books? 
A recent comb through my personal collection of hand written recipes found an A4 sheet of paper with this recipe on it. Heaven knows where I got it from. Nothing to indicate where, when, or whom. However, it sounded pretty much OK to me and I made it up. 

Wonderful! Delicious! 
If you are thinking of opening a coffee shop, this is a must for the menu.
A warning: It can be more-ish!


1 cup SR Flour
1/2 cup caster sugar (I love that raw caster sugar)
60 gr butter
1 egg

Combine flour and sugar and rub in butter with fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add egg and mix well.

Press 2/3 of mixture in base of 20cm springform tin or flan dish.  (Mine was 26cm) Reserve 1/3 for topping.

1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice (adding a bit of grated rind turned out to be nice)
60gr butter
1 egg

Place sugar, lemon juice and butter in saucepan and heat until butter in saucepan is melted and sugar dissolved.  Lightly beat egg.  Add lemon mixture to egg and mix well and return to stove to thicken.  Cool slightly before pouring over pastry and sprinkle remaining base mix on top.  (I would advise making sure you crumble the base mix that remains into small clumps with your fingers.)

Bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees C.
Serve hot or cold. (Cold next day turned out to be even better).  Really yummy!

Alla Wolf Tasker convinces me about the sort of food obsession we really need

Am listening to/watching this:
IQ2 Debate: 

 This is a must and thoughtful watch.
I particularly enjoyed the contribution of Alla Wolf Tasker
who runs The Lake House down the road at Daylesford
I try to be an ethical consumer - have done for more than forty years.
I try to support local producers and processors and jobs.
I try to support the smaller business rather than corporatisation.
After listening to Alla, I am going to become even more quality conscious.
I am prepared to spend a little more of my limited income on quality and local.
While I am not an admirer of all things French,
I do admire the relationship there between consumer and producer.
If only Australia would.
I am including below a paper which is not connected to the above
but may be of interest to Tucker Lovers:


Monday, April 08, 2013

Buttery Butter Biscuits are easy-peasy

This morning, I was up at 6am to make some biscuits.  Now I haven't made biscuits since I can't remember when so I wanted something that was great but no fuss.  I also didn't want a cream butter and sugar type biscuit because, at that hour, I didn't want to use a noisy mixer.  I thought 'melted butter' but I don't have a recipe - at least I think I don't - for biscuits that are made with melted butter. So to the 'net and Google and up came this.


  • 125 g butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut (I didn't have any and substituted McKenzie's moist coconut flakes which worked well).
  • 1 1/2 cups of self raising flour (I use plain flour to which I add Baking Powder in the ratio of 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder to 1 cup of plain flour)
  1. Melt butter in saucepan, bring to the boil, then remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Transfer butter to a large bowl, stir in sugar, then add egg, coconut and flour and mix until ingredients are combined.
  3. Roll heaped teaspoons of mixture into balls, place onto greased oven trays, and press lightly with a fork.
  4. Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes or until golden.
  5. Allow biscuits to cool on trays for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Biscuits will keep for several days in an airtight container.
These biscuits are delicious.  I plan to try out a few variations. My thoughts are:
  • Add ginger
  • Turn into Jam Drops
  • Try adding sultanas or currants or other appropriate fruit.
  • In short, I think these ingredients and method provide a quick and easy biscuit base.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Celebrating UN World Water Day - 22 March 2013 : caring about our food, our water, our soil

March 22, 2013 is the 20th anniversary of World Water Day. In honor of this important anniversary, this week we are highlighting 7 Strategies for Reducing Water Waste. Please visit the Food Tank website each day over the next week for posts focused on innovations around water. 

Although the earth has 1.4 billion cubic kilometers of water, only 0.001 percent of that is accessible for human consumption and use. And 70 percent of water is used for agricultural purposes. In 2012, the United States experienced the most severe drought in at least 25 years which, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), affected 80 percent of agricultural land in the country. Couple that with recent droughts in other parts of the world, most notably in the African Sahel, and the urgency for action to safeguard water resources is clear.

As water supplies face mounting pressures from growing populations, climate change, and an already troubled food system, analyses of “water wealth” and “water security” are laying the groundwork for future cooperation and stability. In order to meet all municipal, agricultural, and ecological needs for water, it is crucial to develop innovative water saving systems for the future of food production.

Here are seven strategies for reducing water waste in the food system:

1. Eating Less Meat

According to Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project, it takes roughly 3,000 liters of water to meet one person’s daily dietary needs, or approximately 1 liter per calorie. The amount of water needed to produce one kilogram of red meat can range from 13,000 to 43,000 liters of water; poultry requires about 3,500 liters of water; and pork needs about 6,000 liters. Eating more meatless meals, even one or two days a week, can help conserve water resources. 

2. Using intercropping, agroforestry, and cover crops
Soil health is critical to water conservation. Diversifying farms by including cover crops, planting trees on farms, and intercropping can help keep nutrients and water in the soil, protecting plants from drought and making sure that every drop of water delivered by rainfall or irrigation can be utilized.

3. Implementing micro-irrigation
Approximately 60 percent of water used for irrigation is wasted. Drip irrigation methods can be more expensive to install, but can also be 33 percent to 40 percent more efficient, carrying water or fertilizers directly to plants’ roots. 

4Improving Rainwater Harvesting
Since the 1980s, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute, farmers in Burkina Faso have been modifying traditional planting pits known as zai, making them deeper and wider and adding organic materials. As a result, the pits retain rainwater longer, helping farmers to increase yields even in years of low rainfall.

5. Using mobile technology to save water
Santosh Ostwal is an innovator and entrepreneur in India who has developed a system that allows farmers to use mobile phones to turn their irrigation systems on and off remotely. This helps reduce the amount of water and electricity wasted on watering fields that are already saturated.

6. Planting perennial crops
Perennial crops protect the soil for a greater length of time than annual crops, which reduces water loss from runoff. According to a report from the Land Institute, "annual grain crops can lose five times as much water and 35 times as much nitrate as perennial crops."

7. Practicing Soil Conservation
Soil conservation techniques, including no-till farming, can help farmers to better utilize the water they have available. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), studies have shown that no-till techniques improve water-retention capacity and improve water use efficiency in crops.

Be sure to visit the official World Water Day website for more details about the day’s events, including activities in your community and tips for reducing your water footprint. You can also learn more about water issues from the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition, the Global Water Policy Project, Food and Water Watch, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

What do YOU think? What are the best ideas, studies, and on-the-ground innovations helping to conserve water? 

Check out some of our newsletter articles below, reply to this email or call me, and please join the conversation on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Google+, and on YouTube
All the Best,

Danielle Nierenberg
Co-Founder, Food Tank: The Food Think Tank
Please connect with us on Facebook,  Twitter, and Pinterest

Friday, March 15, 2013

Meat Free Week 18-24 March: put yum in your tum with fruit and veg!

Just want to let you know that next week is Meat Free Week 
and Sustainable Table has a free booklet for download 
that will really help you out!

Hi there,

Hold on to your broccoli stems kids, next week is officially Meat Free Week, 18 - 24th March! It's a week in which we can celebrate a culinary world sans animal flesh. "Lamb chop move aside, it's MY time to shine," (said Mr Beetroot).

In all seriousness, Meat Free Week is an opportunity to think about how much we consume. In case you're wondering, we need to think about this because as a nation, we're consuming way too much. Even the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare agrees - the latest Australian Dietary Guidelines stress that we need to halve our meat consumption immediately. The amount of meat we are eating annually - 120kg per person or 190,000 tonnes nationally - is putting pressure on our environment and our farmers. Carbon, nitrogen and methane emissions, water use and ethically-questionable intensive farming practices result.

What to do and what to cook

The good news is that contributing to a brighter future for our environment, animals and farmers isn't that hard. It simply involves eating less meat (purchased from small, local and ethical farmers) and more vegetables and stuff. By stuff we mean highly nutritious yet super cheap protein sources like beans, lentils, quinoa and other seeds and grains. 

To help you prepare and enjoy Meat Free Week, we have developed  absurdly useful FREE recipe booklet that we've designed to cover ALL your meals anfor the week. That's 21 meat free recipes at your fingertips - 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners. It's a trifecta! The booklet also includes a handy shopping list. 

Share your photos & win

Of course we have a competition! Share your photos of the meat free recipes you cook from our booklet and be in with a chance to win a copy of our award-winning book The Sustainable Table, valued at $40.  Here's what you need to know:

Take snaps of your pretty meat free dishes and share with us either on Facebook or Twitter. Be sure to tag us on Facebook using @TheSustainableTable or on Twitter using @SustainTable. At the end of the week we'll select the top 3 prettiest pics and draw a winner! Entries close COB 10pm Sunday 24th March 2013 EST.

You can fundraise for Voiceless too

Get your friends, family and workmates to sponsor you for the week and the money will go towards supporting the work of Voiceless

If you're vegetarian or vegan

You can still get involved by encouraging others around you to take up the challenge of a meat free week. Here's a few ideas.

For more information and 
to download your FREE copy of A Meat Free Week, 
visit our website here.