Northern Launch of the Tassievore Challenge!

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The Tassievores were excited to partner with the Northern Suburbs Community Centre for the Northern launch of the Tassievore Eat Local Challenge.

With the support of Denise, Jane and the rest of the wonderful staff and volunteers, the launch was held amongst the Rocherlea Peace Garden. More than sixty community members and guests, including Michelle Byrne, Bryan Wightman and Mayor Albert Van Zetten enjoyed a tasty lunch using fresh seasonal produce from the community garden.

“There was a great deal of interest in the Challenge, and individuals along with the Peace Garden staff and volunteers signed up on the day to participate, said Ms Delphin, Manager of the Community Centre.

Community Development Officer and Garden Coordinator, Jane Chapman says “having the launch of the Tassievore Challenge at the Peace Garden was a great opportunity to promote local produce and the activities we run at the Centre.

“The Peace Garden has a huge range of fresh vegetables and fruits grown in the garden by our community volunteers, and the community lunches are a great opportunity to showcase the Challenge and eating locally”, says Ms Chapman.

Veggie Boxes, fruit boxes, fresh garden produce jams and relishes, and free range eggs are all available from the Centre, sourced from the garden. Volunteers are always welcome and required in the garden, and it’s a great opportunity to learn some new tips about growing your own vegies.

The Tasseivores would like to give a HUGE thank you to wonderful Neighbourhood Centre staff and volunteers for their support for the Tassievore Challenge and look forward to hearing how the community members and staff go with the Challenge.

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Summer Salads and Dips – A Merry Middle East Xmas

Nearly one month in and the Midde East Challenge is going, well rather tasty! I’m not 100% sure I’m meeting the Challenge, but I’m trying my best and enjoying some wonderful local food so surely thats what it’s all about?!

My broken Arabic and some rather wild charades with the stall holders have lead to much entertainment and laughs (mainly at my expense) while investigating the provenance of my food. To make life a bit easier (and save some embarrassment) I’ve decided to stick with basics – fresh salads, yummy dips and Falafel. Quirky Fact, Jordan recently broke the Falafel Guiness World Record with a 75kg Falafel (“Holy ChickPea: Jordan bursts Falafel Guiness World Record” http://www.greenprophet.com/2012/08/chick-pea-falafel-world-record/) – with records like these I must be on track for the Middle Eastvore Challenge!

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I’ve included some recipes below with ingredients which are currently/soon to be in season for Tassie. Or get creative and substitute with what you have available at home and enjoy a Middle East themed barbeque or Xmas lunch!

Wishing you all a Merry Xmas from the Middle East x

Tabbouleh

Finely chop 1/4 cup onion or spring onions, 2 cups fresh parsley, 1/2 cup fresh mint, 1/2 cup lemon juice and add to some Kindred Organics Quinoa (substituted for Burghul/buckwheat). Dress with 1/2 cup lemon juice, salt, 1/2 cup Tassie olive oil and garlic from the garden to tasteDSCF3009

Al Fattoush (Toasted Bread Salad)

For a fresh variation on the Tabboleh recipe above, chop some chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers and lettuce leaves from the vegie garden or farmers market. Finish off the salad by toasting some home made flat bread/pitta bread using Oatlands flour. Season well with salt, pepper, garlic and other herbs from the garden – delicious!

Al Rahib (Baba Ganooj)

Grill some eggplant (when in season) until chargrilled, wash and peel and mash. Stir in 1 chopped pepper, `1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 kg of tomatoes. Season with 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, salt to taste and garnish with a dash of Tassie Olive Oil. Serve with homemade bread and salad for a great summer lunch.

DSC_0811NOTE: Photo below is of Hummous, I ate the Baba Ganooj before remembering to take a photo!

The Middle East/Jordanvore Challenge – by the Travelling Tassievore

The Midde Eastvore/Jordanvore Challenge

Sitting on the apartment balcony late evening as the sun goes down across Amman, Jordan. The desert coloured buildings glow as the sun sets and the ‘Call to Prayer’ echoes across the valley from the mosque next door. Men hurry along the street to the Mosque for evening prayers, the smell of garlic flavoured cooking wafts in the air mingled with aromatic spiced coffee, and in the distance horns sounds from the crazy driving/traffic in the city. Grasping a mug of cardamom flavoured Arabic coffee, some flatbread and hummus and my evening is complete. After spending the days working in a refugee camp near the Syrian border, I am as ever thankful for the little things in life – and how frigging lucky we are to live in Australia.

Out of all of the countries and regions I travel to for work, the Middle East is definitely one of my favourite. The culture and street scenes, being able to wander aimlessly in the souks (markets), the novelty of having aisles of ‘scoop your own’ spices in the supermarket. Food is central to life here, fresh and delectable food, with spices and flavours that I try desperately to recreate at home. Mezze, fresh salads using crisp produce, falafel, hummus and spicy rice – the Middle East vegetarian diet is an absolute delight. And don’t get me started on the cheeses and yoghurt. Haloumi so squeaky your head aches, falafel and schwarma kebabs via some frantic sign language/charades from the Arabic only speaking man for lunch, tangy/sour yoghurt and traditional meat dishes from the Bedouin (desert). Toto we are not in Tasmania anymore, welcome to the tasty and enchanting Middle East.

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Taking the Jordanvore Challenge is pretty darn enjoyable. Most restaurants and cafes deliver so you don’t have to deal with the traffic, and the Safeway Supermarket down the road has an amazing produce section with clearly labelled ‘Produce of Jordan’ fruits and vegies, overcrowding the random ‘Bananas from Ecuador’ in the shop. Trucks piled high with produce drive around the streets with recorded Arabic male voices spruiking at high volume in a jumbled blurred angry yell. If you miss the shops the produce comes to you. This is my type of place!

I may be eight hours behind Eastern Standard time in Tassie (and 30 hours in flights/transit) but I’ll still be starting the Challenge – just on a different timezone and slightly modified. By questioning the provenance of my food, buying local, experimenting with different foods and meeting the growers/sellers – and having some fun communicating across the language barriers

Wherever you are and whatever form you decide to do for the Challenge, Good luck! And most importantly, ENJOY! This is YOUR Challenge!

Next stop for this Tassievore, attempting the Israelvore Challenge and then the Turkeyvore Challenge on R&R breaks.

Note: Kym lives in Tasmania but works as an Emergency Nutrition Advisor for a number of organisations, so spends large amounts of time on deployment overseas.

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There is no place like (the food) at home

Yes it clichéd and probably sounds a bit daggy. But as I flew back into Launceston after 24 hours in transit and close to three months (on and off) away for work, that’s the thought that went through my jetlagged little mind.  And then, where is my bed!

Unfortunately, I’d arrived too late in the weekend to catch the Farmers Market or Evandale markets – and the backup Young’s Vegie Shed was closed on Sundays. However pulling into the driveway I was super excited to see the progress in the vegie garden while I’d been away. Leafy greens nearly a metre tall (and a bit seedy), spinach and silverbeet ready for harvesting, and the ‘orchard’ blooming in flowers ready for summer. Excellent, this Tassievore Challenge is going to be easy!

First dinner home was Saag Paneer with spinach, silverbeet and fresh herbs from the garden.

Saag/Palak Paneer

  • Lightly wilt some fresh spinach/silverbeet leaves from the vegie garden in an uncovered saucepan (this maintains the green colour) with some last seasons dried chilli and garlic, once cooled blend in blender
  • Add Fenugreek and Cumin to frypan, with chopped onion and paneer (homemade using Tassie dairy products) or local Haloumi cheese
  • Once onion is translucent, add diced last season tomato from the freezer, and then stir in blended spinach, more chilli and garlic to taste
  • Stir in fresh coriander or curry leaves from the herb garden
  • Instead of basmatic rice, serve with Kindred Organics Quinoa, or homemade roti or naan bread (using Oatlands flour).

After many years of renting with various successes with vegie gardens, it is pretty exciting to come home to see the garden is surviving, and now actually feeding us! I lost track of the amount of vegie seedlings demolished by our resident peacocks and wallabies at our old rented house in Trevallyn near the Launceston gorge. Who knew that peacocks would eat brussel sprouts seedlings? Or wallabies would love, well anything we planted and tried unsuccessfully to shelter from them! We’ve still got a long way to go with making ourselves self-sufficient, but with vegies and fruit trees surviving in our own backyard, we’ve made a great start.

My successful foraging during the week continued as I eagerly eyed all the fresh Tasmanian labelled produce in the Vegie Shop – a far cry from the imported, wilted and sometimes suspicious looking produce I’d been exposed to over the previous few months. Memories of wilted $11 turnips and “fresh” produce streaked with pesticide residue rapidly faded as I jumped around excitedly like a child in a lollie shop (embarrassing but true!).

With such great local food (and drinks) available in Tassie, why would you want to live anywhere else? Bring on the start of the Eat Local Food Challenge in two weeks time!

The Tropical Island Tassievore Challenge

This Tassievore is again overseas attemping the Eat Local Food Challenge – this time in the tropical paradise of the Maldives! I can hear all of your comments now – “you are on a tropical island in the sun and the beach, how hard can it be”.

Well the Maldivevore Challenge is tough. Yes there are great tropical fruits to buy in the markets – bananas, papayas and mangos about to come into season. And a reasonable assortment of weird and wonderful vegies available in the markets (which unfortunately are not available on the menus in cafes/restaurants).  However based in Male’, the capital city island, life is crowded, chaotic and claustrophic. A population the size of Launceston jostles for living space on an island no more than 2km long and 1.5 km wide. There is no food grown on the island, and in the two weeks I’ve been here I’ve circumnavigated the island several times!

EVERYTHING is imported with the exception of fish which is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Processed foods and ready to eat meals line the supermarket walls and are becoming the norm as both parents work to survive the high cost of living in the capital. The market place is traditionally a male domain (though this is changing) and produce in the shops is largely imported of varying quality. My breakfast has been comprising Weetbix, WA UHT milk and local fruits.

The other 200 plus islands of the Maldives vary in foods available. Some are known as agriculture islands, where hydroponic lettuces and other crops are grown and sold to the resorts or for export.  Pumpkin, brinjal (eggplant), papaya, mango, banana, pineapples, coconuts and chilli are grown on many islands, depending on the soil. Many of the islands are made from coral making growing difficult, and the Boxing Day Tsunami also affected many of the islands destroying crops and fruit trees.

Not surprisingly seafood comprises the national dish called Garudiya’, a soup made from dried and smoked fish, lime, onion and chilli. A Maldivian breakfast consists of Mas Huni – a mix of tuna, onion, coconut and chili, eaten cold with roshi (unleaved bread) and tea. Snacks and short eats consist of fihunu mas (fish pieces coated with chili), gula (fried dough balls filled with fish and spices), keemia (fried fish rolls in batter) and kuli boakiba (spicy fish cakes). Not so good for a vegetarian Maldivore – I can’t wait to get back to the wonderful food in Tassie!

Garudhiya’ (Maldivian fish soup)

What you need:

250 g fresh tuna – swap this for local and sustainable fish source

1 small onion, diced

1 tbsp whole pepper corns

1 curry leaf (de-stemmed) – from your herb garden or farmers market

1 L of water

Salt to taste

How to make:    

Cut the tuna into small cubes. Pour the water into a pot. Place all the ingredients in the pot and cook until the water starts boiling. Reduce the heat and remove the scum from time to time. When the fish is cooked, turn off the heat.

Serve hot with rice*, lime and chilli. The soup can also be enjoyed as it is with a little lime juice and chopped chilli added to it. Variations to the dish include adding some fried onion and some leafy green vegetables at the end of cooking.

Serve with homemade Roti bread, (using Oatlands Tassie flour) and substitute rice* with Kindred Organics Quinoa or homeade noodles.
Read more: http://notecook.com/soup/maldivian-cuisine/#ixzz29SevhOoH

 

You can grow your own way…

With less than two months to go, and inspired by the SBS Harvest and other gardening activities, it was time to get our first Tassie Vegie Garden sorted. Old wooden onion packing crates for raised garden beds, plastic 20 gallon drums cut in half for small planters, check. Dog proof fence, check. Fleetwood Mac song blaring in my head, with words conveniently changed to suit the project, check.

As of today, we now have garlic, leeks, spring onions, onions, lettuce, silverbeet, spinach, sweet corn, potatos, asparagus, bok choy, broccoli, beetroot and an old bathtub filled with mixed herbs and spices. The tomatoes and chillis will go in when the cheeky frosts have finished up – though in Tassie you never really know when this will be.

For those contemplating a new Vegie Garden ready for the Challenge, check out the following photos I found online below for some inspiration.Post your photos of other unique Vegie Gardens you’ve found online, or your own garden to inspire Tassievores to grow their own fabulous produce, we’d love to see them!

Munching in Myanmar (Burma)

As a Nutritionist Aid Worker I spent a lot of time living and working overseas in some fairly interesting environments. Lets just say that eating local foods can always be a bit of an adventure! My backpack predominantly consists of emergency foods (dried fruit, almonds, dehydrated vegetables) to cope with just these situtations. Last year in Laos I had the ‘pleasure’ of spending my days hunting/gathering forest foods with the minority ethnic groups and then preparing such delicacies as snail and cricket soup with wild leafy greens and bamboo, fried frogs legs and barbequed skewered forest rat. Healthy and locally available? Yes. Tasty? No, I won’t be trying this recipe at home or adding it to the blog site here. As a vegetarian I’m not quite used to my food having eyes!

Fresh and local frogs from the forest

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