Australian Paleo Meetup Groups

sunflowers

There are Paleo meet-up groups in all states of Australia. Meetup helps groups of people with shared interests plan events and facilitates off line group meetings in various localities around the world. For example, the meet-up groups may arrange local dinners, barbecues, picnics, or talks. Meetups are a great way of meeting new people and finding out about Paleo suppliers in your area.

Here is a list of the Paleo Meetup groups in Australia:

It’s free to join up.

Book review: The Great Australian Bake Off

gabo-cover

The Great Australian Bake Off is a beautifully full page illustrated book based on the TV series of the same name. It starts with invaluable baking tips from the two judges Dan Lepard and Kerry Vincent.

gabo-make-bread

Some of the recipes are illustrated with very clear step by step instructions, which includes recipes for the perfect almond tuilles, Victoria sandwich, white loaf, puff pastry, shortcrust pie and meringues.

gabo-check-cake

The book has recipes from the technical challenges and also the best of the bake offs from each TV episode. Impress your guests with chocolate and orange checkerboard cake, Maria’s jaffa tarts with orange liqueur, or Jonathan’s Ukrainian Kievsky cake.

gabo-japanese-cake

The book also includes savoury recipes, so be tempted by Brendan’s satay pork sausage rolls, or Bliss’s chicken, leek and bacon pie.

There is a great variety of recipes and the three bread recipes I tried helped me master the art of baking bread.

Highly recommended.

The Great Australian Bake-off – buy on Fishpond.

Dukkah bread

dukkah-bread

It took me a couple of goes, but I have finally mastered making bread. This recipe makes a light loaf and is flavoured with dukkah. I actually used an Australian version of dukkah called Ockkah by Herbie’s Spices, but either would work well here.

Occkah contains Hazelnut, Sesame Seed, Coriander Seed, Pistachio Nuts, Wattleseed, Cumin Seeds, Sea Salt, and Native Pepperberry. Whereas Dukkah contains Hazelnut, Sesame Seed, Coriander Seed, Pistachio Nuts, Cumin Seeds, Salt, and Black Pepper.

The resulting loaf gives a beautiful aroma and is best suited to savoury toppings, or serve simply with a drizzle of olive oil.

Dukkah bread recipe

50g packet of dukkah or Ockkah
3 1/4 cups white bread flour
7g dried yeast
2 tsps salt
2 Tbsps olive oil
300ml warm water

  1. Put the flour into a bowl and the yeast on one side and the salt on the other side. Roughly combine. Add the oil and mix until combined.
  2. Pour in 200ml of the water and the dukkah, and combine. Gradually add the rest of the water until the dough just forms a ball and no flour is left on the side of the bowl.
  3. Knead well (15-20 minutes) until the dough is stretchy. Cover and leave in a warm place until double in size – about 45 minutes.
  4. Towards the end of the rising time preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
  5. Knock back the dough and form a ball onto baking paper on a baking tray.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Thank you to Herbie’s Spices for providing a sample. 

Plants for honey bees

northey-honey

It is important to encourage bees to our gardens, so that they can help pollinate our fruit and vegetables. The best plants to grow are nectar-producing natives and flowering plants such as basil, borage, catmint, coriander, cornflowers, fennel, garlic chives, heather, hyssop, lavender (heirloom varieties), lemon balm, marigolds, mint, rosemary, scabious and sea holly, thyme.

Jerry Coleby-Williams recommends growing begonias, blue ginger, pigeon peas and salvias to encourage the native Blue Banded bees. He also says:

There’s a lot more I’d recommend, but one crop that is often overlooked is corn – for its pollen.

I’ve planted Eucalyptus tereticornis and Melaleuca leucadendron in my street for honeybees.

I use ‘Honey Flora of Qld’, by S.T. Blake & C. Roff, published by DPI Qld, ISBN 0-7242-2371-1″>0-7242-2371-1 as a standard reference book.

If you aim for a variety of different plants which flower at different times of the year, you’ll have more success with encouraging bees.

Northey Street City Farm honey

Australian Daintree tea by The Tea Centre review

daintree-tea

The Tea Centre sells two loose leaf teas that are made from Australian tea – Australian Daintree and Australian Sencha.

We decided to taste test the Australian Daintree. It’s a pleasant mild tea which has an earthy taste. Although it is a black tea it brews to a reddish brown shade.

The tea can be taken with or without milk or used to make iced tea. Some chefs even use it as an additive for smoking their fish and meat!

The tea is grown on the Cubbagudta (means rainy place) plantation, which is located in Northern Queensland, just north of Port Douglas. The tea is grown along the fringes of the Daintree rainforest. I was pleased to hear that the plantation does not use pesticides and so the tea contains no pesticide residues or tannic acid.

The plantation is a family owned and operated business and features in the AUSBUY guide as 100% Australian.

Don’t forget to add your tea leaves to compost as they make a great fertiliser.

A great everyday tea that’s Aussie made.

Australian Daintree loose leaf tea
The Tea Centre

Getting started in Australian native stingless bees

Advantages of Australian Native Stingless Bees

The advantages of native stingless bees are that they do not sting and as a result, you need less equipment. The stingless bees help to pollinate the flowers in your garden, which is essential for many fruits and vegetables.

Native bees produce amazing tasting honey but only a small amount (less than 1 kg per hive per year). It’s considered a luxury.

There is no legal requirement to register hives of native bees in Australia.

Aussie native stingless bees are available around Brisbane from the following places:

Trigona carbonaria
(Common in southern Queensland and NSW)

Vince Ashe – Crows Nest (in logs)
Phone: 07 4698 1701

Peter Davenport – Elanora (in boxes)
Phone: 07 5533 9383

Tony Goodrich – Brisbane  (in boxes)
Also supplies OATH hive boxes
Phone: 07 3878 2322
Mobile: 0449 746 970

Kin Kin Native Bees  – Chris Fuller
Boxes with mainly Trigona carbonaria for $350 pick up.
Phone: 07 5485 4454
Email: info@nativebees.com.au
Website: www.nativebees.com.au

My City Garden – The Gap
A 3 tiered hive, tin lid, 2 x honey collection pots, 2 x straps, 2 x black stoppers and approx 5000 funky little bees for $425.
Phone: 0435 226 912
Email: info@mycitygarden.com.au
Website: http://mycitygarden.com.au/category/stingless-bee-hives/

Sugarbag – Tim Heard – Brisbane
Hives in boxes for $400, with $100 delivery.
Phone: 07 3844 4914
Email: tim@sugarbag.net
Website: http://www.sugarbag.net

Don Riding – Clear Mountain (in boxes)
Phone: 07 3298 5253
Email: d.riding@bigpond.net.au
Customer to pick up hives

John Waters, Bardon (in boxes)
Phone: 07 3870 8664
Email: yodaregen@fastmail.fm

Col Webb – Brassall (in logs & boxes)
Phone: 07 3201 7083
Email: coje1122@bigpond.net.au

Russell and Janine Zabel –  Hatton Vale (in boxes)
Phone: 0404 892 139
Email: bees@zabel.com.au
Website: http://www.zabel.com.au

Recommended Native Bee Books

Further Information

  • ANBees – an active forum for discussions on all sorts of Australian native bee topics
  • Aussie Bee – Australian Native Bee Research Centre
  • Bob the Beeman – rescues and relocates colonies of Native Stingless Bees

Measuring self-sufficiency

When we first began our challenge, we wanted a fool-proof way to measure self-sufficiency. The government tells us we should be eating 2 fruits and 5 vegetables every day, but measuring ‘a serve’ can vary considerably.

I’ve found three reasonably sensible ways to measure self-sufficiency in degrees of difficulty:

Level 1 – Output from Vegetable beds

The Diggers Club claims that “in just 40 square metres you can grow 472kg of vegetables which is enough for four people”. So as there is only two of us, that would be a total of 236kg of vegetables. We would be aiming for approximately 20kg per month.

Level 2 – Average Australian consumption

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (2002) claims the average Australian consumes 92kg of fruit, 96kg of vegetables, 54kg of starch with a total of 242kg per person. We would be aiming for approximately 40kg per month.

This was our original challenge, but we have since realised that as our fruit trees are less then a year old they aren’t going to yield any where near the amounts we need, so we’ve dropped back down to level 1.

In comparison, the Chinese may eat less fruit (45kg), but eat a whopping 239kg of vegetables – for those who want to amp up the challenge. Read “The China Study” for the reasons why this could be the healthiest diet in the world.

Level 3 – Growing what you eat

You could work backwards. Jackie French recommends recording everything you eat in a year, and trying to match growing that. Another way would be to measure the (decreasing) quantity of produce that we are buying from the shops, (or the amount we can’t grow ourselves). This would take a few years of practice because you really need to perfect the art of successive sowing and preserving produce. This level is for the advanced gardeners out there.

The only problem with focusing on quantity is that quality is also a really important factor in the equation. Growing our own produce is much more affordable for us then purchasing organic.

Australian rainforest jam review

Rainforest Jam

While up on the Fraser Coast, we purchased some local nuts and a few petite jars of rainforest spreads. We tried the spreads with mini pikelets for breakfast.

Here are the results of our taste test:

Lemon Myrtle Honey (left)

This one was a thick lemon syrupy honey. We could clearly taste the tang of the Lemon Myrtle, with a base of Eucalyptus honey. One way to identify a Lemon Myrtle tree is to crush some of its leaves, and it gives off a similar lovely sweet smell of lemons!

Davidson’s Plum Jam (middle)

The labels described a “tart plum flavour, followed by a delightful tang.” We found it similar to normal plum jam and its mild taste was the most agreeable of the three. Davidson’s plum trees only grow in very limited regions of the Australian Rainforest.

Riberry Jam (Lillipilli Jam) (right)

The last one had a distinct taste that neither of us liked. The label says it is similar to “boysenberry and ginger”, so if you like these flavours perhaps this is the one for you. Riberries are only found in Australian rainforests on the east coast

If you would like to purchase and try any of these bush foods for yourself, visit Lemon Myrtle Refreshed’s website.