CERES Environment Park

CERES Environment Park

My happy place.

CERES Environment Park promotes sustainability through everyday living and community engagement in environmental protection.

With a big focus on education programs for all ages, CERES teaches us how to protect the environment and really enjoy and live a sustainable life.

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I spent the summer volunteering in the propagation area, where all the growing takes place. Everything is organic and completed on a minimal scale with volunteers doing the seed sowing, watering, planting, gardening and deliveries to the nursery.

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So please visit CERES (if you have not done so already) and check out their fabulous fair food home delivery service!

 

CERES Community Environment Park

Corner Roberts and Stewart streets

Brunswick East VIC 3057

If you want to volunteer, check out: http://www.ceres.org.au/about/Volunteer.html

 

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Azulejos

Almost five centuries-old, these beautifully painted, tin-glazed, ceramic tilework can be found scattered throughout Portugal and Spain. 

On a recent trip to Spain and Portugal, my sister and I were amazed by the level of detail in the azulejos, the stunning craftsmanship and intricacies of the wonderfully preserved mosaics that form such a significant part of Spanish and Portugese architecture and culture.

Used as street signs, chronicles of events in history and for ornamental purposes, these tiles are something that will forever cause me to reminisce on the many beauties of the Iberian Peninsula.

 

Disfrutar.

 

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Bisous.

Being a frittic.

I’d like to think of myself as being an up-and-coming fritter critic. A ‘frittic’ if we are getting technical. I think I have progressed from eating fritters as a hobby, to someone who is in the food critic business specialising in fritter review.

Even a friend said to me the other day that I have all the requisite talents of becoming a full-fledged frittic: a finely balanced palate, good taste in spices, solid writing skills and a mean streak.

Here is a typical scenario of my dining out experience that gives weight to my frittic self. First, I often scan the interwebs for cafes or restaurants that have fritters on the menu. I then go to the restaurant (undercover), play it cool by listening to all the options and specials of the day, but have already ordered in my head. After placing an order for fritters and some second-rate food items, I then spend the next twenty or so minutes on the edge of my seat in anticipation for the arrival those lightly fried, crumbly, gooey, flavoursome balls of goodness.

The fritters arrive! I sniff them, cut them open, inspect their insides, make attempts to guess all the ingredients and then take a big mouthful (along with some dipping sauce if provided). This is the rigorous testing phase of my work. It is quite exhausting, but that is what being a professional is all about: doing your job thoroughly, doing it well. Being tired afterwards. Doing it all again.

One of the main things that I am missing in my quest to becoming a recognised frittic is being considered a professional by my fellow peers in the food critic business. To be a professional, presumably one must at least be paid for what they do, maybe referred to as the go-to ‘frittic’ by other food critics and hopefully be then recognised and respected as a master in the fritter field. This may take some time and a lot of hard work, but I am willing to commit to it.

The following are a few of the fabulous fritters that I have attempted to create at home. Individually, the ingredients are quite simple and easy to locate in the fridge. But when these simple ingredients are combined, they make gold.

 

Enjoy some recipes!

 

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Zucchini fritter recipe here.

 

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Corn fritter recipe here.

 

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Root vegetable fritter recipe here.

 

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Eggplant and smoked mozzarella recipe here.

 

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Mixed vegetable fritter recipe here.

 

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Lightly fried corn fritter recipe here.

 

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Broccoli and parmesan fritter recipe here.

 

Here are some places in Melbourne that I owe a great deal of thanks to for their contribution to my fritter obsession and the development of my frittic profession. Merci beaucoup.

 

 

Bisous

the art of pants.

Women in pants. What a fabulous thing.

 

Historically, women wearing pants was important. It indicated a transition to the ‘working woman’ in society. Ladies participating in blue-collar work and having to wear pants to do so.

Basically, women had to step up during wartime and borrow male trousers to get shit done with all the fellas absent.

 

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On the fashion front, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel set the trés chic ‘women in pants’ scene in the 1930s. Here she is in 1916 (!) photographed wearing wide-leg, high waisted slacks. Like a boss.

 

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Politically, nothing beats a fabulous pants suit on a woman. H.R. Clinton knows what I am talking about.

The current Secretary of State has been rocking the pantsuit ever since I can remember. She has a wardrobe full of these babies, just like a superhero. fightin’ crime.

 

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SoS Pantsuit was also no stranger to the trouser crusade in her youth. I just love this photo of her.

 

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For feminism in the 1960s and 70s, ladies in trousers became a common element in the revolt against gender inequality.

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Today, most of us ladies take our trouser wearing for granted (I am totally guilty of this). The fact that we can jump out of bed and throw on a pair of slacks is still something to be grateful to our predecessors for.

Why?

 

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Because pants symbolise freedom. Let’s think about women in Malawi, where up until 1994, it was illegal for them to wear trousers. Or Sudan, where a woman was convicted to a month’s jail time in 2009 for being ‘indecently dressed’ (she was wearing trousers).

 

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So let’s appreciate the art of pants for women everywhere. 

 

 Wearing the Pants. Enjoy.

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Bisous.

‘I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells’

I have recently rediscovered my love for Dr Suess books. They communicate important (albeit hidden) messages through simple wording and quirky rhymes, and I feel like I am learning important life lessons as I get older from books that I read when I was younger.

More importantly, the pictures are big and colourful, and the wording is short and sweet. A nice break from dense, boring, pictureless documents I tend to read all day, everyday!

 I have been been picking these books up for a steal, at about 3 dollars each from the local flea market in Geneva.

Here are a few examples of books and their (probable) meaning.

Catinhat

When we are stuck inside on a rainy day, it is important to have a wild imagination and concoct elaborate fantasties with your household cat as the lead role.

This is much better than playing video games.
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You should be open to trying new things.

Persist with a strange looking and smelling dish, even if you think that it will a) be disgusting, b) poison you or c) both.
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The Heads of State of Yooks and Zooks should have engaged in a three-legged race, rather than an arms race, to work together and overcome their differences.
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This story is an example of your abilty to challenge the status quo and do things that may go against everything you are taught to be correct. Like extending the English alphabet after the letter ‘Z’. Why not?
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This was published in 1950 and appears to be the first ever usage of the word nerd.

It seems that the debut of the word nerd is more important than the overall theme, which is that you should always use your imagination (and while you’re at it, stage a coup d’état on your local zoo and set the animals free).
Yertle
If you do not have happy followers, you will not have a lasting leadership.

This book was modelled on the rise and fall of Nazi Germany under Hitler’s rule. Hitler is Yertle, the King of the Pond.
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You are much better off facing your problems than running away from them and searching for Utopia.

So thank you Dr. Suess for your guidance on LIFE. Your stories, that I initially thought were limited to only odd animals, wacky rhymes and a strange selection of food items, are actually about so much more.

Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904-1991)

Cornichons Bread and Butter de Grand-Maman Emma

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This summer I spent a week wwoofing on Ferme Bord-du-Lac just outside of Montreal and had a magical time! I spent an afternoon making pickles according to Grand-Maman Emma’s recipe… Here it is for you to try

INGREDIENTS

3.6kg green long cucumbers (10cm in length) – cut into cubes

700g Onions – en julienne 

1 Large Green Capsicum – en julienne

1 Large Red Capsicum – en julienne

‘SAUMURE’

165g salt 

THE MARINADE

4 cups white vinegar ½ tablespoon cumin

4 cups sugar   ½ teaspoon all spic

2 tablespoons Tumeric   ½ teaspoon clover

2 tablespoons mustard seeds   1 tablespoon celery seeds

BOTTLING

Sterilise all your glass jars by immerging them in boiling water for 10 minutes before you fill with the mix – It’s important to be careful you don’t touch the jars once they are sterilised or touch the mix once you’ve put them into the jars, you need to avoid contaminating once everything has been sterilised

PROCESS

·     Wash the cucumbers well under icy water. Put them into a large container and pour the salt over making sure that the cucumbers are covered with the salt. Leave for 12 hours in the fridge so that the salt can draw out some of the moisture.

Wash the cucumbers three times ensuring that you remove as much of the salt off of them as possible

In a large stock pot put all the ingredients for the marinade and bring to the boil

** This is a good time to sterilise your bottling jars so that they’re ready to go once your vegetable mix has been in the marinade.

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    Put the vegetables into the marinade in small quantities and bring to the boil. After about one minute, or when the cucumbers change colour, turn the heat off.

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Fill the jars with the vegetables alone (no liquid) leaving space from the top of the jar

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Cover the vegetables with marinade a few bottles at a time. Seal each jar as you go (careful of the heat!)

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To seal the jars put them in the stock pot covered half way up with water and bring to the boil.

……… 

Your pickles will be ready in two weeks!