Saturday, April 28, 2012

10 Reasons to Eat Local

I found this great post at Life Begins at 30: 10 Reasons to Eat Local and it was so fabulous I felt I needed to share it over here too. The original article has some great reference links so swing by LB@30 for more info.

1. Eating local means more for the local economy.  According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London, a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy.  When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.

2. Locally grown produce is fresher.  While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmer's market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.  This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which declines with time.

3. Local food just plain tastes better.  Ever tried a tomato that was picked within 24 hours?  'Nuff said.

4. Locally grown fruits and vegetables have longer to ripen.  Because the produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be "rugged" or to stand up to the rigors of shipping.  This means that you are going to be getting peaches so ripe that they fall apart as you eat them, figs that would have been smashed to bits if they were sold using traditional methods, and melons that were allowed to ripen until the last possible minute on the vine.

5. Eating local is better for air quality and pollution than eating organic.  In a March 2005 study by the journal Food Policy, it was found that the miles that organic food often travels to our plate creates environmental damage that outweighs the benefit of buying organic.

6. Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons.  By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.

7. Buying locally grown food is fodder for a wonderful story.  Whether it's the farmer who brings local apples to market or the baker who makes local bread, knowing part of the story about your food is such a powerful part of enjoying a meal.

8. Eating local protects us from bio-terrorism.  Food with less distance to travel from farm to plate has less susceptibility to harmful contamination. (reference)

9. Local food translates to more variety.  When a farmer is producing food that will not travel a long distance, will have a shorter shelf life, and does not have a high-yield demand, the farmer is free to try small crops of various fruits and vegetables that would probably never make it to a large supermarket.  Supermarkets are interested in selling "Name brand" fruit: Romaine Lettuce, Red Delicious Apples, Russet Potatoes.  Local producers often play with their crops from year to year, trying out Little Gem Lettuce, Senshu Apples, and Chieftain Potatoes.

10. Supporting local providers supports responsible land development.  When you buy local, you give those with local open space - farms and pastures - an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.

Image: Buy Local Stamp by jvrichardson

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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:

Beans - green
Chillies - various
Cucumbers - lebanese, heirloom
Eggplant - finger, white
Finger limes
Garlic - Russian/giant, purple, white
Jerusalem artichoke
Kiwifruit, golden
Potato - Sebago, Nicola, Red Bison
Pumpkin - Jap, Grey
Salad mix
Sweet potato

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: Banana by sunshine-hair, golden kiwis by smileykiwi, pumpkin love by Phoeebs

Monday, April 23, 2012

Podcast Passionfruit and Chilli

Missed something from one our show, you can always listen again on podcast. The first three episodes are available here.

Podcast 4 onwards are available here or check us out on iTunes - yes we are on iTunes!

We check out Number 5 a cafe that s more than just food - it is a meeting place, a community hub. And not only that, the owners have a genuine interest in the ethics of the food they serve. Sue Tomkins from Bush Tucker Shack introduces us to the unique world of Bush Tucker - while some of the flavors might be familiar, this is a genuine Australian taste experience. Pete Bufo drops by to share his recipe for a Roast Tomato Pasta bake.

Roast Tomato Pasta Bake

1 packet pasta, cooked according to directions on packet
800 g really ripe tomatoes
1 head garlic
1 onion, quartered
1 onion, diced
Oil or butter, for frying
400 g canned or cooked kidney beans
1 T tomato paste
About 1 T sugar (depending on the sweetness of the tomatoes)
Herbs of choice, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the tomatoes in half horzontally and place in a baking dish making sure you salt the bottoms and the cut edge, with the quartered onion and garlic. Cook in a moderate over for about 30 minutes.Allow to cool and blend in a food processor until the desired consistency is achieved.

Meanwhile, fry off the diced onion in a little oil or butter until translucent - don't overcook. Add the drained kidney beans. Add the tomato paste and blended tomatoes. Add the sugar and season according to taste. Cook for about 20 minutes until well combined.

Image: Pasta by karma2014

Bush Tucker Shack

You can contact Sue from the Bush Tucker Shack on Facebook or find them at the Dorrigo markets (first Saturday of the month) or the Woolgoolga markets (second Saturday of the month).

The Quarmby's are legends (says me) and if you want to find out more you can check out the Landline interview or their website. You can also follow up Mark Olive here.

Sue mentioned a recipe for Wattleseed, Chicken and Macadamia curry. Sue talked about adapting the recipe to suit her but a great starting point if you wanted to make your own is this recipe.

Hanging at Number 5

Check out Number 5's website for a complete list of all of the upcoming events or call them on 6655 0155 or drop by, try one of the fresh scones, have a meal, or a free trade coffee or even a local beer

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Podcast Passionfruit and Chilli

Missed something from one our show, you can always listen again on podcast. The first three episodes are available here.

Podcast 4 onwards are available here or check us out on iTunes - yes we are on iTunes!.

Interviews on podcast 8: Pete Bufo with a thematic surprise as well as a recipe for Gozleme; we meet Nick Young who is embarking on the life of a farmer and Amber Tarling continues to help us get our vegetable garden going


Serves 6 or 7

2 c plain flour
2 C wholemeal flour
1 1/2 C water
1/2 C olive oil

2 C silverbeat, chopped roughly
1/2 C parsley, chopped
1/2 C mint, chopped
200 g feta,crumbled
250 g ricotta,
1 C spring onions, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
Pinch nutmeg
Pepper, to taste
Squeeze lime or lemon juice, to serve

Mix dough ingredients together and knead for 10 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Mix filling ingredients together.

Roll out dough to about 30 cm x 20 cm and 2 - 4 mm thick.

Leaving a margin around the edge, pour on filling to one half of the pastry.Fold over remaining pastry, seal the edges and fry in a cast iron skillet or on the barbecue until golden on one side. Flip and repeat. Squeeze over lemon or lime juice, cut into wedges and serve immediately with a meze plate, tabouli or salad.

Recipe from Pete Bufo

Image from foodie-central

Passionfruit and Chilli Martini

1 red chilli. chopped as fine as possible
Pulp from 2 passionfruit, strained
1 t honey or sugar syrup (optional if passionfruit aren't sweet enough)
15 ml vermouth
30 ml vodka

Chop chilli as fine as possible. Add to passionfruit pulp. Add to shaker.Add vermouth and vodka and shake thoroughly. Serve.

You can watch the Youtube video here.

Image: "passionate and passionfruit" by magic-mushrooms

Young People in Agriculture

Are you looking for a career in agriculture? There are a number of paths available and Nick Young recommends a TAFE course. You can check out whats available here.

Or if you want to chat to Nick direct, call him on 0431 223 193.

If you know of other paths that are worth recommending, leave us a message so we can share the info :-)

Image: "farmer" by shadowtree

Monday, April 2, 2012

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:

Cherry guavas
Fuji apples
Jersualem artichoke
Salad mix
Spring onions
Sweet potato
Yakon (ground apple - needs to be dug and then left to sweeten)

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: "Corn" by photog-road; "Okra" by trumpetkid86; "Parlsey" by 1tera; "Red Hot Chillies" by snarayanank

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Stove Top Pizza

The oven in the new house isn't working but I had a hankering for pizza so decided to experiment on making a stop top version. Now I confess I had thought pizza earlier in  the day and it proved a happy coincidence that there was basil in the fridge so the pesto had already been made (using peanuts just for a change).

Next step: caramelizing the onions (which we learnt how to do a few weeks ago with Pete Bufo). So I chopped up three onions and cooked them for nearly an hour in a little butter over very low heat. Just perfect!

Then it was time to make the dough (3/4 C warm water mixed with 1 t of sugar and 1 sachet yeast and then combined with 2 C flour and kneaded until smooth and pliable) and add the toppings - my homemade pesto, shredded cheese, my homemade caramlized onions and sliced mushrooms. More toppings that I would normally add but I was feeling a little wild and decadent.

I researched the process for cooking on a stove top (cover the pizza with a lid or tight fitting foil and cook on low for about 15 - 20 minutes to all the toppings to cook, the cheese to melt and the base to crust (but not burn). With instructions that easy, it was worth a try.

Results: 6.5/10. Things I would change next time: make a thin crust pizza - the dough around the edges wasn't fully cooked through - although it was towards the centre of the pie; use a heavy based pan rather than my cheapie frypan; use less toppings - the flavors were great and certainly went together but there was too many big flavors for me to fully appreciate each of them (next time I shall do a pizza bianca with the caramelized onion on one half and the pesto and mushrooms on the other half); and, use half as much cheese - I generally just use a sprinkle of parmesan and I put a bit too much on this one. Not that these were big faults as such, more like tweaks ..... and a reason to cook pizza this way another time :-)