Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Yes we are now a podcaster so if you missed out on either of the first three programs, or you would just like to listen to them again,  you can download them here.

Interviews on podcast 4: Pete Bufo shares his recipe for Mediterranean Risoni salad as well as giving out hints on caramelising onions and discussing beer; Kevin from Bellingen Butchery completes the final in the series on meat cuts - this week is pork; Pauline Browning from the Bellingen CWA gives us the recipe for perfect scones; and May Smith talks about making fresh cheese at home.

Making Fresh Cheese

Local cheesemaker May Smith recommends Cheeselinks as a great place to get you started, and to get ongoing supplies.

For more information on today's interview please contact May Smith 0409125818

Just as wines have Protected Regional Status (ie Champagne only comes form a specific region in France, the rest of the world has sparkling wine) so do cheeses. This article is a good starting point if you want more information.

Want to know more about rennet you can try here.

There is a plethora of information out there on cheese, Protected Regional Status and rennet so while these links are great starting points, feel welcome to let your fingers to the walking to find out more.

Image from Tikachu's Kitchen

Lemonade Scones

4 C SR flour
2 small t baking powder
300 ml lemonade
300 ml cream

Preheat oven to 200C.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Add the lemonade to the cream.Add the lemonade mix to the flour. Mix with a knife until it is thick enough not to stick to your hands. Adjust the amount of flour or lemonade slighty if need be. Do not overwork the dough.

Pour onto floured board and pat out until a good 1" thick. Cut into rounds and place close together on a greased baking tray.

Bake at 200C for 15 minutes.

Recipe supplied by Pauline Browning.

Image: "Devonshire Tea ... Yum" by lynx 92003

Pork Cuts

Image from Australian Pork

Crispy Pork Belly with Caramel Vinegar

1.5 kg boned pork belly with skin
2 T sea salt
1 T olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
1/2 C firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 C red wine vinegar
1 cinnamon quill
1 C chicken stock
4 strips pared rind and juice 1 orange
1 long red chilli, seeds removed and very finely sliced

Score the pork skin in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife - or ask your butcher to do it for you. Rub salt into skin. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 220 C and drizzle a large roasting pan with oil. Wipe salt off the pork with appaer towel and dry well. Place pork in the pan, skin side down, drixxle with a little oil and season. Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce oven to 190 C and roast for another hour. Loosley cover with foil and roast for a further 30 minutes until pork is tender. Remove foil and carefully turn the meat, then return to oven for a further 20 minutes or until skin is crispy. Remove, cover loosley with foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the sugar, vinegar and spices in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase heat to medium-high and bring to the boil. Simmer over medium-low heat for 7 - 8 minutes until syrupy, then stir in stock and simmer for 5 minutes until slightly reduced. Add orange juice and rind then simmer for 15 minutes until thick and syrupy. Season to taste.

Slice the pork. Drizzle with some of the carmel vinegar and garnish with chilli.

Recipe from delicious. magazine - June 2008, page 88

What's Fresh in Bello This Week

Support your local growers and buy what is in season this week. Wherever you shop keep an eye out for local:

Bananas (regular and lady finger)
Lebanese cucmber
Potatos - red bison, sebago
Satsuma plums
Daikon radishes

Need a recipe for any of these ingredients?  Leave a comment.
Know of something we have missed? Please let us know.

List compiled with the help of bellofoodbox

Image: "Persimmon" by patchow

San Choy Bau

1 T vegetable oil
200 g veal or lean beef mince
200 g pork mince
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 t finely grated fresh ginger
230g can water chestnuts, drained, finely chopped
4 spring onions (green onions), ends trimmed, finely chopped
2  T oyster sauce
2  T soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
100 g bean sprouts
Pinch of salt
8 iceberg lettuce leaves, washed, dried

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the combined mince. Cook, stirring to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until browned. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add the water chestnuts and onions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until combined. Stir in the sauces and lime juice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until well combined and heated through. Remove from heat.

Add the bean sprouts and stir until just wilted.

Taste and season with salt, if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Place the lettuce leaves, cup-side up, on a serving platter and serve immediately with the mince mixture.

Image from eRecipeCards

Pete's Mediterranean Risoni Salad

2 medium eggplant, cut into 1 cm slices
1 packet of risoni
Fresh herbs of choice (say basil, thyme, oregano, parskley, tarragon), chopped
Kalamata olives
Red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 – 2 tomatoes, salted (see below)
1 T butter or oil
Fresh asparagus
Optional, diced fresh chilli, tabasco sauce or chilli flakes

Juice of two limes
Amount equal to the lime juice each of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Combine marinade ingredients and set aside.

Grill eggplant slices and add to marinade. Refrigerate for 4 – 5 hours.
Prepare risoni according to the directions on the packet. Once cooked, rinse in hot water and then in cold.
Mix the eggplant, risoni, herbs, olives, cabbage and tomato.
Into a moderately hot frypan melt the butter add the haloumi. Add the heavy ends of the asparagus and after a minute or two, the tops. Fry until done.
Serve the salad topped with the hot haloumi and asparagus.  Sprinkle with chilli, if using.

Recipe by Pete Bufo

Image: "aubergine" by aGONIA89

The Queens of Cooking - the CWA LAdies

The Country Women's Association of New South Wales,  a not-for-profit association formed in 1922, is part of the largest voluntary women's organisation in Australia. Members work for the welfare of all women and their families - country and city - through representation to all levels of government, fundraising events and the teaching of life skills.

The Bellingen CWA meets at 9.30 am on the first Monday of the month at 2 Chcurch Street, Bellingen. For more information on the Bellingen branch, please contact Mrs Yvonne Woods on 02 6655 1639 or check out the website.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hints and Tips - Eggs

Todays H&T is all about eggs

1. Eggs are beautifully ovoid and delicately shaded in whites and creams but despite their beauty they shouldn’t be stored on public display – they should be stored in the fridge.

2. Refrigerate eggs in the carton – the shells are porous and can absorb flavors and ordors from the kitchen – but the cartons keep them safe.

3. If you collect eggs from your own chooks, never wash them – once they have become wet they are even more porous – allowing smells and bacteria to permeate the egg. Instead, lightly brush them with some steel wool to remove and droppings, dirt or other mess.

4. When cooking, unless the recipe states otherwise, always use eggs that have been removed from the fridge and allowed to return to room temperature. It takes about 30 minutes for an egg to come to room temperature. If you are short of time – and going to use the egg straight away, you can rest it in some warm (not hot) water.

5. When beating egg whites, use a stainless steel, glass or ceramic bowl and make sure it is scrupulously clean from any residue fatty deposits. If there is any risk it might not have been washed properly, wipe out the bowl with some white vinegar on a paper cloth and allow to dry before using.

6. Don’t let beaten eggs sit while you complete other stages of a recipe – use them immediately.

7. To check the freshness of an egg drop them into a tall glass of water – the lower the air sits in the glass the fresher it is. Each egg has a small air sack and this expands the older the egg – which is why they begin to float as they age.

8. Older eggs are easier to peel than really fresh eggs.

9. When beating eggs a soft peak is achieved when you lift up the beater (after turning it off) and a peak forms and then gently falls over. A stiff peak has been achieved if the little peak stays standing up.

10. If you crack an egg and find a bit of shell has broken off, use the remaining shell as a scoop – it appears to attract any random bits whereas they run away from cutlery and fingers.

Basic egg recipes: boiled egg, fried egg, omelette, pavlova, frittata, mayonnaise, meringue, devilled eggs, egg salad, quiche, egg nests, scrambled eggs, poached eggs,  scotch eggs, French toast (eggy bread), custard, baked egg, huevos rancheros. Check out the recipe links on the left hand side for more recipe ideas or share your own recipes as a comment.

And for something completely random - if you are cooking with emu eggs, 1 emu egg is equivalent to about 9 chicken eggs :-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lamb Cuts

Lamb Shanks

3 T oil
4 lamb shanks
4 - 5 T plain flour
1 leek, halved and cut into 1cm pieces
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
440 g canned tomates
8 - 10 garlic cloves still in paper
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
1 t whole black peppercorns
1 C red wine
2 1/2 C vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 150C .

Heat oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat.

Toss shanks with flour to coat well; then shake off excess. Brown shanks, then remove from the frypan and rest in baking dish.Cook in batches if need be.

Add the leek, celery, carrot, onion, and garlic to the fry pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened, stirring as needed.

Season with the bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme and rosemary sprigs. Pour in tomatoes, wine and stock, increase heat to high, and bring to a simmer.

Season to taste and pour vegetables over lamb shanks.

Cover the baking dish tightly with foil, and place into oven. Bake until the meat is tender and falls off of the bone, 2 ½ to 3 hours.

Remove the bay leaf and herb stems before serving shanks with mashed potatoes or couscous, steamed beans and a sprinkle of parsley

You can also make this in a slow cooker - adjust cooking times as necessary.

Image from: La Tavola Marche


Yes we are now a podcaster so if you missed out on either of the first two programs, or you would just like to listen to them again,  you can download them here.

Interviews on podcast 3: bellofoodbox, Bellingen Butchery talks with us about cuts of lamb, Amber Tarling helps us set up a vegetable garden, Pete Bufo shares a vegetarian recipe.

Partnering Lamb

Whether you are roasting, grilling, barbequing or casseroling you lamb consider using some of these perefect flavor matches with it:

Garlic, Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, Oregano, Bay Leaves, Parsley, Basil, Coriander, Marjoram, Dill, Sage, Tarragon

Allspice, Paprika, Cloves, Ginger, Lemon Pepper, Curry Powder, Moroccan Spices, Chilli


It certainly isn't a comprehensive list - let us know what your favorite combinations for rubs, marinade and sprinkles are.

And the perfect mint sauce is not a bought one:
Mix about 1/2 C vinegar with about 1 1/2 t sugar until dissolved and 3 T  chopped mint.  Allow to sit for at least an hour to let the flavors develop - the longer the sitting, the more flavor.

You can adjust any of these amounts by a very large margin to taste.

Image: from Wizard Recipes - Garlic Roast Leg of Lamb

Bunya Nut Pesto

1 bunch basil
1 C bunya nuts
4 cloves garlic
1 C olive oil
1/2 C grated Paremesan (optional)
Salt and pepper
Lime juice, to taste

Boil nuts in salted water until the shells split. Carefully remove the skins with a sharp knife.Chop roughly

Roughly chop basil. Peel and roughly chop garlic.

Put all ingredients and pulse until the desired consistency is achieved.

Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Recipe supplied by Pete Bufo


bellofoodbox is built on the passion and commitment of the local community.

Their delicious, seasonal produce comes from local growers within a 160km radius of Bellingen, packed into boxes, and collected by our members.  They are working towards all people in the Bellingen Shire and surrounding areas having equitable access to affordable, fresh, healthy, local food that has been grown using sustainable agricultural practices and contributes to a fair, connected, sustainable and resilient community.

$30 small box
$50 large box
Pick up Wednesday afternoons or for $7 have it delivered to your door.

Check out the website or email info@foodbox.org.au for more information.

Moroccan Tagine

2 t vegetable oil
4 forequarter lamb chops
2 C chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 C carrots, sliced crosswise ½ cm thick
1 large green capsicum, cut into ½ cm strips
1 t ground cumin
½ t each: ground allspice, ground ginger, and turmeric
¼ t each: cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper
1 C water
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼ inch cubes
400 g can chopped tomatoes
400 g can chick peas, rinsed and drained

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Brown lamb chops. Remove and set aside. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add carrots, capsicum, spices and ½ C water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Add all remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat, 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir several times during cooking. Serve over couscous or rice.

What's Fresh In Bello this Week

Support your local growers and buy what is in season this week. Wherever you shop keep an eye out for local:

Apples - fuji 1st grade for eating, 2nds for juicing
Blueberries - coming to an end
Cucumbers - lebanese
Daikon radishes
Italian Garlic
Lettuce - fancy
Potatoes - sebago
Pumpkin - butternut, grey, jap
Salad mix
Sweet potatoes
Tomatoes - Grape, cherry
Watermelon - seeded

Need a recipe for any of these ingredients?  Leave a comment.
Know of something we have missed? Please let us know.

List compiled with the help of bellofoodbox

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hints and Tips - General

1. If your gravy looks a little bit pale try adding some soy sauce - just make sure you taste as you go along.

2. If a recipe calls for fresh herbs and you only have dried, the general rule is to use 1/3 - 1/2 of the amount of dried herbs the recipe lists for fresh herbs.

3. To refresh wilted vegetables, take off any brown bits and sprinkle with water. Wrap in a paper towel or tea towel and put in the fridge for about an hour.

4. Freeze leftover wine in icecube trays for use in casseroles and stews.

5. Store your dried herbs away from the light and heat as they will casue your herbs to lose their flavor more quickly.

6. Color code your chopping boards to minimise the chance of food poisoning. If nothing else, have a meat only board.

7. To reduce the fat in stews and casseroles drop in an icecube while it is still cooking - this will cause the fat to stick to the ice and it can be easilt removed before the ice block melts. Repeat as necessary.

8. Instead of making garlic bread, swap the garlic for your choice of herbs and spices for a different twist on an old favorite.

9. If a recipe calls for dried beans and you only have the canned variety, the general rule is to use 3 times the amount of canned beans the recipe calls for dried beans.

10. To store fresh herbs in the fridge, wrap them in damp paper towel and then in a plastic bag

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Yes we are now a podcaster so if you missed out on either of the first two programs, or you would just like to listen to them again,  you can download them here.

Interviews on podcast 1: Mayfield Farm Produce, Polly's Pantry, Northbank Community Garden and Bellingen Grower's Market

Interviews on podcast 2: Raleigh Wines, Hot Chilli Mama, Bellingen Butchery

Chocolate Kisses

85 g dark chocolate, chopped
85 g white chocolate, chopped
1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
2 C plain flour
Icing sugar, for dusting

Melt the dark and white chocolate in separate bowls and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Fold in flour. Divide mixture in half. Fold one half in with the dark chocolate and the other half with the white chocolate.

Mix thoroughly and knead until smooth. Wrap each batch separately and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 190 C.

Shape dough into teaspoon sized balls and arrange on greased baking sheets. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and then dust with icing sugar to serve.

Image: "To love with Chocolate" by Pix-pwet

Chocolate Sauce for Chocolate Sundae

3/4 cup thickened cream, at room temperature
200g good-quality dark chocolate, broken into squares
1 t vanilla extract
2 T butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

Melt chocolate pieces in large stainless steel mixing bowl (or top of double boiler) over saucepan of gently simmering water. Be sure water does not touch bottom of mixing bowl to prevent chocolate from burning. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk. Boil hot fudge for few minutes to reduce to consistency you desire. It should be quite thick and shiny. Cool slightly and serve over sundae.

Image: "Chocolate Sauce" by xXInvaderxGirXx

Chocolate Pots

2 C milk
225 g good quality chocolate, grated
6 egg yolks, beaten just until blended
1/4 t cinnamon
½ - 1 t vanilla

Prepare 6 small dessert glasses or individual souffle dishes.

Place the yolks in a large glass heatproof mixing bowl and beat lightly to blend.

Put chocolate, vanilla and milk in a small saucepan. Bring it just up to the boil over very low heat, stirring regularly.

Gradually whisk the mixture into the egg yolks, pouring the hot liquid in a very slow stream to prevent the eggs from scrambling and whisking constantly, until well blended.

Pour the custard into the glasses, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, or until firm. You can make this the day before.

Serve with extra cream and chocolate.

Image: "Chocolate" by iladora

What's Fresh in Bello This Week

Support your local growers and buy what is in season this week. Wherever you shop keep an eye out for local:

Apples - Fuji and Royal Gala
Bananas - Cavendish and Ladyfinger
Cucmbers - Lebanese
Garlic - Russian
Lettuce - frilly
Mushrooms - button and flat
Parlsey - curly
Potatoes - red skinned, Sebago
Pumpkins - butternut
Salad greens - coming to an end
Sprouts - mixed varieties eg sunflower, snow pea
Sweet potato
Tomatoes - grape, cherry

Need a recipe for any of these ingredients?  Leave a comment.
Know of something we have missed? Please let us know.

List compiled with the help of bellofoodbox

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hints and Tips

Top 10 for the week

1. Substitute self raising flour for 1/3 of the plain flour in your pastry for a flakier result (thanks to d. for this one)

2. Store mushrooms in the paper bags provided. Plastic bags make them go slimy.

3. To separate an egg crack it into your hands and yet the white slip through your fingers. Make sure you wash your hands first of course.

4. Freeze lemon juice in ice-cube trays. Each cube equals about 1 Tablespoon.

5. Use vegetable water from boiled or steamed gravy in stock and gravies.

6. Add bulgar and vegetables to your mice when making burgers - it stretched out the mix, adds sometexture and tastes great.

7. You can use the water used when making corned beef as the base for a ham and pea soup.

8. When making salad sandwiches for school lunches put the tomato in the middle to help stop the bread from going soggy.

9. If your stew is too salty cut up a potato, wrap in muslin and add to the dish. When cooked, remove and recyle - the potato will have absorbed the extra salt (thanks to Pete B for this one).

10. Save and freeze all of your uneaten bread crusts and use to make fresh breadcrumbs as needed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beef Cuts

We have started a three part series with Kevin from Bellingen Butchery looking at different cuts of meat - today we started with beef. The above picture gives you a good idea of what a carcass looks like and where the various cuts come form.

Image courtesy of AusMeat Ltd

Bellingen Butchery

You see it on tv all the time - chefs telling us to go to see our local butcher for special cuts of meat, to have our pork scored, or for real information about the food that we are buying. And you know what, you can - especially at Bellingen Butchery.

If you want to find something that suits your budget, have an inquiry about the best cooking method or just want to try something new then Bellingen Butchery is the place to go.

Just ask for Kevin.

Basic Beef Casserole

2 T olive oil
1 ½ kg diced beef chuck or blade steak
2 large onions, cut into thin wedges
2 leeks, white part only, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 sticks celery, trimmed, sliced
2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 3cm pieces
2 x 425g cans diced tomatoes
1 ¼ C beef stock

Heat 1 T oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Cook beef, in 4 batches, stirring, until browned. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining oil, onions, leeks, garlic, celery and carrots to pan. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

Return beef to pan with tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until beef is tender.

Serve with mashed potato or bread.

Barbecued Lamb with Chermoula

1 medium onion grated
2 t crushed garlic
8 T chopped flat leaved parsley
½ t ground cumin
½ t saffron
½ t harissa paste
½ C olive oil
2 T lemon juice
l/2 kg leg of lamb

To make Chermoula:
Mix onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, saffron, harissa, olive oil and lemon juice together and stand for 1 hour.

Spread chermoula mixture into both sides of lamb and marinate for at least 2 hours. Barbecue for about 3/4 hour turning frequently. Cut in thick slices across the grain and serve.

Pesto and Pasta

For the ultimate fast food, stir your pesto of choice through cooked pasta and serve with a green salad.

You can also add chicken, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, English spinach, Parmesan, cream, asparagus, bacon.... well the sky is the limit really.

Hot Chilli Mama

Angelika began cooking at a very early age and has perfected the art with her Hot Chilli Mama range of condiments ranging for the very fiery Kick Arse Chilli through to the delectable ranges of mustards and pesto.

Catch Hot Chilli Mama at the Bellingen Growers Market or call 6655 2808 for the opportunity to visit Angelika at home.

Chicken Cacciatore

8 chicken pieces
½ flour for dredging
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 T oil
400 g diced tomatoes
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1/2 green capsicum, cut into chunks
1 cup mushrooms, halved
1 1/2 - 2 C chicken stock
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Mix salt and pepper into the flour. Place chicken in flour and toss to cover. In a large frypan cook the chicken in batches in the oil until brown.

Place chicken in a large pot and add the tomatoes and stock and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms, onions and green peppers.

Season with basil and oregano.

Cover and cook for around 45 more minutes. Garnish with parsley and your ready to serve.

Eggplant Parmagiana

3 large eggplants
Olive oil
1 bottle passata
500 g mozzarella cheese, shredded
Dried breadcrumbs

Slice eggplants 1 cm thick.

Heat a heavy pan, add 1 T olive oil for each batch and begin lightly frying eggplant slices on both sides and remove and drain as you go.

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Take a casserole dish and spread some sauce on base. Sprinkle some crumbs and layer eggplant slices, sauce and cheese until the last layer is sauce with either cubes or grated mozzarella on top. Sprinkle liberally with crumbs and bake in centre of oven for at least 30 minutes. It is cooked with a skewer or knife can be inserted using no pressure. Allow to cool a little before cutting and serving.

Raleigh Vineyard and Winery

Vinny Dingle is the perfect host at Raleigh Vineyard and Winery - she not only grows the grapes but she blends the wine and knows a thing or two about both.

Raleigh Vineyard and Winery produces 7 different wines: Fox Gully Dry White, Rose, Bellarosa, Late Harvest, Riverbank Red, Sir Walter's Secret Raleigh Starboard and the Raleigh Brandy Creme.

Drop in for a wine tasting and learn a thing or two about grapes.

Bellingen Growers Market

The Bellingen Growers Market is held on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month at the Bellingen Showgrounds. The market is home to a wide range of stallholders selling everything from fruit and vegetables, meat, bread, honey, eggs, dips and relishes. You can even get a haircut while you are there.

There is great entertainment, breakfasts, coffee and juices as well as activities for the kids.

New stallholders welcome.

Polly's Pantry

Polly's Pantry provides a range of preserves to tickle the tastebuds of the most discerning foodie. A particular favorite of this blogger is the Chilli Beetroot Relish.

Perfect to include in a sandwich, as an accompaniment to a main meal or to eat with cheese.

Catch Polly at a local market near you, email her at pollywalton2010@hotmail.com or call 0429 547 738 for more information.

The Perfect Beer Batter

3/4 C self-raising flour
1/4 C cornflour
200 ml Bellingen Brewing Company Harvest Ale
2 T cold soda water

Mix the flours together into a large bowl. Gradually whisk in beer and soda water to form a thin batter. It doesn't matter if there are some little lumps. Refrigerate for one hour.

Perfect for battering fish, banana, pineapple rings and onion rings. Always dust the food to be battered with flour before dipping in the batter.

The Bellingen Brewing Company

Bellingen has it's very own brewery specializing in three unique beers - the Darkwood Ale, the Harvest Ale and the Black Pig Porter.

The Bellingen Brewing Company is perfect as a match with a range of food, or just by itself at the end of a long day. Check out the website for more details on the flavour profile of each beer.

Available at a range of outlets on the mid-north coast, if you haven't tried one yet, do yourself a favour.

Northbank Pizzas

2 C flour
3/4 C warm water
1 sachet yeast
1/2 t sugar
1 T olive oil
Vegetables of choice (such as sweet potato, broccoli, carrot, tomato, cabbage, onion), finely chopped
Herbs of choice (such as basil, thyme, oregano, parsley),
Cheese of choice (such as shredded cheddar, feta, haloumi, brie)
Tomato paste, relish or sauce

Add yeast and sugar to water and allow to activate. Add oil to flour and then add the yeast mix. Knead and allow to prove before kneading again. Divide the dough in half and roll out to desired thickness.

Swirl some tomato paste on the base. Top with vegetables, herbs and cheese.

Bake at about 220C for about 12 minutes.

Northbank Community Garden

Welcome to the Northbank Community Garden!

They are located at 100 Northbank Rd. Bellingen on a 5 acre property provided by a local landholder. The property overlooks the Bellinger River with views to the local area and is worth a  visit for that reason alone.

Northbank Community Garden is a place for community, the arts and food! They encourage sustainability, reusing and  recycling and local food production.

Established in 2008, the garden is an organic non-profit grass-roots venture. It features a large area designated as communal beds, a market garden (the profits of which help to sustain the garden), a chook run, greenhouse, a stage for entertainment and music and a communal gathering space with kitchen.

Feel welcome to visit anytime. You can harvest food as you need it - and leave a donation in the honesty box, or even donate some time to the garden and get your harvest for free.

12 hours Roast Pork Served with Apple Aioli

3 kg boned shoulder pork
2 t sea salt
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 t dried chilli flakes
1 t brown sugar
1/4 C sherry (I used semi-sweet)
1/4 C olive oil
2 granny smith apples, unpeeled, halved, sliced
1 - 3 C apple cider

Preheat oven to 240 C or 220 C fan. Score the pork skin without cutting all the way through.

Combine sea salt, garlic, chilli, sugar, sherry and oil and pound in a mortar and pestle. Rub paste over pork, pushing it between the scored fat. Place pork, skin-side up, in a large lidded casserole dish. Roast, uncovered for 20 minutes, until skin is crisp and golden. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 120 C or 100 C fan. Add apples, leeks and cider to dish. Cover with lid and return to oven for 11 hours.

Half an hour before serving, check pork, apples and leeks aren't dry. If they are, splash over a little water and then increase temperature to 240 C or 220 C fan, remove lid and cook for another 30 minutes, until pork is lightly crisped.

Carve pork and transfer to a warm platter with leeks and apples. Top with crackling and serve with Apple Aioli.

Apple Aioli
1 whole garlic bulb
200 ml mild olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
3 medium granny smith apples, unpeeled, cored
3 egg yolks
Juice 1 lemon
1 t sea salt

Slice top off garlic bulb, drizzle with a little oil and wrap in foil. Place apples in a small baking tray, add garlic and roast with pork at 120 C or 110 C fan for 45 minutes. Once apples and garlic are soft and collapsed, remove and cool.

Meanwhile whisk egg yolks, lemon juice and sea salt for 1 minute. Add oil in a thin stream, whisking quickly until emulsified. Continue whisking in oil until a thick mayonnaise forms. You can also complete this stage using a food processor.

Mash apple flesh, squeeze out garlic and stir through mayonnaise. Season to taste and serve with pork.

Recipe inspired by one found in the Australian Good Food magazine

Honey and Chilli Pork Ribs

8 Mayfield Farm free range pork spare ribs or pork rashers                        
¼ Cp sherry
½ C honey                                                    
¼ C tomato sauce
2 T soy sauce                              
1 t sweet chilli sauce
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely                                                  
1 T grated green ginger or 2 t powdered ginger
½ t Chinese five spice powder

Place spare ribs in a baking dish, combine remaining ingredients and mix well, and then pour over ribs.  Bake in a moderate oven uncovered for about 1½ hours, or until tender, basting occasionally.  Remove excess fat.  Serve with fluffy rice or mashed potato and steamed mixed vegetables.

Recipe provided by Mayfield Farm Produce

Mayfield Farm Produce

Featured on the very first program of Passionfruit and Chilli, Mayfield Farm Produce is located on the Dorrgo Plateau and is home to genuine free range pigs and cattle.

Mayfield Farm produce has also been certified by Humane Choice as a confirmation of their commitment to both the health of the animals and the environment in which they live.

Mayfield Farm also grow a range of seasonal fruit and vegetables including potatoes,pumpkins, zucchini, apples, pears and plums.

For more information click on the link.