Money for Jam

Now I know this is an old school saying, but why is it such a foreign concept in our city? I’m referring to the Bundaberg Regional Councils recent introduction of the new fee base around just that- cooking foods from home and selling them at the markets Etc.

I did have to laugh tho as the day that the Newsmail ran the paper was the very same day I had been making guess what?- Mulberry Jam.

The concept that probably frustrates me the most is this time old process of putting time and energy into preserving foods has been around for centuries and in many lands had been considered a way of bartering for products out of season or when cash was tight. The Newsmail focused on 1 particular man or situation that highlights that Jam makers aren’t going to get rich making 25 jars of jam a month, yet why are we imposing a fee on a hobby of love?

Whilst I’m a realist and appreciate food safety and the likes, when do we actually take a minute to realise that “red tape madness” is going to kill our culinary tourism or at the very least, the observation from our passing tourists that we are surrounded by food and yet we don’t seem passionate about it?

More than happy to hear balanced view points on both sides!

The Caffeine Bug

I must admit, coffee has always been an integral part of my life,though never really wanted to admit just how much. With a recent purchase of a Nespresso “pod” machine, I have a new found love for coffee- though I think it’s more to do with how many Flavours there are available in those little pouches of punch.

Whilst only weeks old and the novelty wearing off, I still need my morning starter of a long black and for the first time in my life will actually admit to now enjoying a decaf before going to bed.

If you actually spend a few minutes to think how far the coffee world has come in just 10 years, you would realize that instant coffee is probably struggling to keep its place on the super market shelves and is being overtaken by innovation and the expansion of what I’m sure is a saturated market place of choice and machine styles.

I do however still find it amazing that you can buy a coffee machine with virtually any budget and coffee Flavours to suit.

Would love to hear your recent coffee adventures!

Cold Pressed Olive Oil

When I first met John and Mary I must say- it was an overwhelming welcome from both sides- they had the passion and belief in their products and I was soon convinced by them and then by the undoubtedly crisp Flavours from within their oils and olive products!

Back to the oil- they have recently released a cold pressed olive oil and don’t question my authority on this topic, rather- ¬†grab a large refillable bottle that you want to overflow with this honey nectar and start looking for some high quality, flavour packed recipes that will blow your mind once combined!

Whilst your there, ask about their Cholli, their tapenade and their punchy infused oils- you won’t regret it!

Local Figs

You know what’s amazing? It’s the idea behind knowing that the Bundaberg region is very fortunate to be home to not only local, but bloody brilliant fresh figs. After a recent trip to Regional Flavours in Brisbane, south bank- I was pleasantly surprised to see such plump, scented and again surprisingly out of season Figs.

And now knowing that I can buy these in my own back yard- so to speak, it’s almost impossible to get away from the family expectations of glazed fig Creme patisserie tarts.

Call into their Alloway farm and ask for a tray of their best! Tell em Bundy Pride sent you!

Making Your Valentines Special

Whether you get behind Valentines day or not, why not make some time to show your loved one with a little flair in the kitchen. It is considered by many that a way to a mans heart is through his tummy, though i must say- i have known it to be the same for woman, though you have to know what she does truly enjoy and no guessing.

With Valentines day falling on what would seem like the hottest part of the year, unfortunately it means you are probably going to be leaning towards something a bit light and to keep it regional also, why not look into a Summer Seafood dish.

The beauty of working with seafood is that there are so many menu choices that you can prepare in advance to take the bulk amount of last minute work away so you can actually enjoy your special dinner.

Why not consider the following:

Local Prawns wrapped in Prosciutto with Olive Oil Mash & Pesto Drizzle

Crispy Skin Salmon, wiltered baby Spinach, seasonal Veg and a White Wine Beurre Blanc

Home Made Pavlova with Mango & Passionfruit

The simple time saving concepts behind a menu like this is that you can essentially pre-wrap the prawns, make the pesto and then focus on the mash at Entree. The Salmon is a last minute job, while you can have all of the veg prepared in advance and then just cook as required and then the Pavlova bases themselves will need to be made that morning, while you can whip the cream and slice the fruit early too and then just build the desert once ready.

Enjoy!! and if your truly trying to impress, why not make some home made truffles

Culinary Tourism in our Region

Im sure if you ask any locals in our region “Do you enjoy living here and do you enjoy food”, they will all be more than happy to share their favourite restaurant, their preferred place to buy their fresh fruit and veg and the likes.

Well what we would like to do is to roll this all into one for not only this regions locals, but for those of you that have travelled to the Bundaberg Region and are looking for an easy, low skill, affordable experience that you can eat at the end of the day!!

Food For Fork cooking classes are offering all of the participants the opportunity to realise how much produce is actually grown in the region, we share hints and tips as to the best places to source these local ingredients and we are working in conjunction with the Bundy Pride initiative to be a part of any food launch that we have, to help showcase our region to the outside world with matching ingredients to cooking techniques, including off shore ventures for exporting. All very exciting.

For more information on Bundy Pride, check out: www.bundypride.com.au and register your interest to support it as a business and see just how much we can all benefit from working together to showcase the Bundaberg Region!!

Prawn and Chorizo Salad

This is an easy BBQ classic and I would suggest a brilliant Christmas buffet spread.
It’s very simply sliced and grilled Chorizo, BBQ prawns and good to leave the tails on and then I like serving it with a rocket and spinach salad mix and drizzle with some thyme infused olive oil from Claxton Olives and then the balance of the salad can be made up with whatever you have growing at the time in the garden.
Very quick, very easy and the spice and scent from the Chorizo is brilliant.

Bundy Sweet Potatoes

Why are people so afraid of sweet potatoes? Use them like you would regular spuds! Cooked in salads, make a creamy mash, roast them with some fresh thyme, use them in a curry or just grill them on the BBQ.

Sweet potatoes also have the very unusual ability to be used in both sweet and savory dishes, with a family favourite being sweet potato scones, sweet poato pie and just be creative and you will soon see how diverse they are truly are.

Lettuce- More than a plate filler

While for many there is only one lettuce variety in their fridge- iceberg- this is the one that Nanna puts on her sandwiches or in her salads, though we are also fortunate to have access to so many additional varieties and many grown locally at affordable prices. When your next at your green grocer, consider the idea of mignonette, coral, cos, frissee and when not allowed to grow too big, they still have that great multi purpose use without being bitter.

Summer is fast approaching and this base commodity is a must have for any BBQ, served with pizza or simply enjoyed with some lasagna.