Saturday (25th July) saw the launch of the Nambour State School ‘Grow Local Approach’ partnership project on site at the Nambour Farmers Market after being successful in receiving Queensland Government funding and the day was celebrated with a mini Masterclass (ok, it was a little cook-up – but you have to admit Masterclass is the phrase of the month). The mini Masterclass involved some students and local celebrity chef Nathan Hoeksema (previously a chef at Jamie Oliver’s ‘Fifteen – Melbourne’, ‘Stefano’s’ and ‘Spirit House’, just to name a few of his private hall of fame).
Now, ‘Grow Local’ is about getting people involved in growing food locally, in back yards and community gardens. It’s about understanding where our food comes from and supporting local farmers, so Nathan got the kids involved in cooking up some premium local produce.
He made 3 dishes, none of which I can remember the names of (sorry, I was too busy watching the kids have fun) but I am currently trying to peddle the recipes out of him, so what this spot, I will post them online as soon as I receive them.
Anyway, it was a great day and a lot of fun. I got an absolute kick out of watching the kids get involved. At first they were a little reluctant, but once the initial shyness was gone they really got into it; putting their weight into grinding the ingredients with the mortar and pestle, chopping the herbs, there were even some pretty impressive knife skills happening there. Then they got to vote on their favourite and gave the chef a fabulous 9/10 for all of his creations (much to his relief – the critics don’t get any tougher than primary school aged children, trust me!)
Finally just to mention the various layers of the ‘Grow Local Approach’ project, which are intended to act as catalysts to increase the intake of fresh, local and nutritious foods; by changing habits and providing education to teachers, students, parents and the wider community. They include, transitioning to a Locavores tuckshop (which I am involved in on behalf of Local Harvest), establishing the school as a Seed Saving bank, Paddock to Plate classroom talks and Bush-foods education.
If you missed last weekend’s launch at the Nambour Farmers’ Markets all is not lost, there will be more. The markets will host these mini Masterclasses (well, that’s what I am calling them) fortnightly over the next few weeks, so take the kids down and get involved, at worst you will go home with some great new ideas on what to do with local produce and at best you will have a really great time!!!
Okay, I’m guilty, I have been to yet another fabulous foodie event, yes, I know, life is tough, and yes I am going to burden myself upon you all and share the details.
This time it was a Slow Food Appreciation Dinner at Pomodora’s on Coral in Maleny. Jodi and Chris Bond hosted a great night on so many levels.
For those of you who don’t know anything about slow food, slow food is an organisation founded in Italy which promotes food under the catch cry of ‘good, clean and fair’.
What does this mean? In the official words of Slow Food, it means that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.
Being passionate about local foods these values really strike a chord with me. The guest speaker for the evening was Julie Shelton who is set to launch the new Sunshine Coast Hinterland Slow Food Convivium this week, who added plenty of food for thought to our meals.
Chef Chris Bond treated us to a 6 course dinner that was just divine:
(means ‘mouth teaser’ – I ‘googled’ it and the mouth teaser in this instance was Grilled Tailor on a medallion of crushed potatoes & olives)
Organic Local Sour Dough with Avocado Oil & Balsamic
(Sour Dough baked by Julie’s husband Pat and the oil was Maleny Avocado Oil)
(I loved this, it was just a clear mushroom broth served in an espresso cup – it was served in place of a sorbet as a palate cleanser because it was such a cold night)
Slow Roasted Rib Eye of Local Buffalo served with a Pumpkin & Silverbeet Homemade Pasta Roulade and Jus
(From a buffalo grazier at Witta, Malcolm Thompson)
Trio of Desserts
(Rhubarb & Strawberry Crumble / Lemon Sponge Pudding / Buffalo Milk Ice Cream)
So mouth watering yet? It should be, it was all great.
I was surprised by the Slow Roasted Buffalo. It was roasted for an incredible 20 hours at 55°. It was served quite rare and I expected it to be really gamey in flavour, but it wasn’t. It had a really sweet taste, not unlike normal beef, but almost a little lighter in flavour still. I really enjoyed it, though it was quite a big serve for me. Having said that, it wasn’t like I left any on my plate, because that’s not polite, right?
Anyway it was a great night and I would like to applaud Pomodora’s for showcase some of our fabulous local foods. I believe they host these dinners bi-monthly, so hop onto their website and sign up to their newsletter so they can let you know when the next one is.