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. 

How to buy sustainable seafood in Australia

A nice video showing a sustainable way to catch fish in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia
According to the “Shop Ethical” guide:
Demand for seafood has doubled over the past 30 years; three-quarters of the world’s oceans are now fished right up to their limit. Often we’re eating rare or endangered ocean species without realising it. This includes shark, commonly sold as ‘flake’ in fish and chip shops; and species such as orange roughy, bluefin tuna, swordfish, and toothfish. ‘Bycatch’ – fish caught unintentionally – often sees up to 15 tonnes of discarded fish per tonne of targeted seafood.

When buying sustainable seafood you want to ask a few questions:

  1. Buy local. Ask where it’s from and if it’s imported ask for certified sustainable seafood.
  2. Consult a seafood guide. Use the the Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide or app to choose a fish that has been sustainably caught and managed. For the best choice in tuna consult the Greenpeace canned tuna guide.
  3. Look for certified products from the Marine Stewardship Council (see below).

msc1

Good swaps

If you consult your Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, you’ll want to choose fish which are ranked “Green – Better choice”, such as Australian Bonito, Bream, Luderick, mullet, tailor and whiting.

Here are some of the more popular fish with their green – better choices:

  • Calamari – choose Squid, calamari, cuttlefish and octopus 
  • Crab – Blue Swimmer (Sand) crab, Mud crab
  • Mussels – Blue Mussels, also better choice is Green Mussel imported from New Zealand
  • Salmon – Imported canned salmon, predominantly Sockeye (Red) and Pink Salmon
  • Tuna – Australian Bonito, Better choice: troll or poll and line caught Albacore Tuna and Skipjack Tuna

Seafood guides

For choosing a sustainable fish consult one of the following resources:

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

Let’s Fight for the reef

I volunteer for the Australian Marine Conservation Society who in partnership with WWF are currently involved in promoting awareness in their Fight for the Reef campaign.

The Queensland Government is fast-tracking mega port developments, dredging and dumping of millions of tonnes of seabed and rock, and encouraging a shipping superhighway.

The Australian Government is approving these developments, including the world’s biggest coal port at Abbot Point, 50 km from the Whitsunday Islands.

Fight for the Reef is working with the Australian community to protect the Reef and the $6 billion tourism industry and 60,000 jobs it supports.

It’s your Reef, but you’re going to have to fight for it.
Fight for the Reef

The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Posted for National Volunteer Week.

Taste test: Australian Daintree tea by The Tea Centre

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 fertilizer.

A great every day tea that’s Aussie made.

Australian Daintree loose leaf tea
The Tea Centre

Getting started in Australian native stingless bees

I’ve been tossing up between getting traditional bees and Australian native stingless bees. The advantages of native stingless bees are that they do not sting and therefore you need less equipment. They help pollinate the garden, essential for many fruits and vegetables. They produce amazing honey but only a small amount (less than 1 kg per hive per year).

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 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

Green and natural dogs

dash

When we brought home a cute dog from the RSPCA we didn’t know what we were in for! Dash’s two favourite activities are to dig holes in the dirt and chase lizards, which is not so great for our garden. Although, she does loves ripping up boxes and cardboard which we then put in the compost.

Dash was a stray so she was pretty boney when we got her, but now she has put on some weight and is the normal range. She eats very well and  is on a mostly raw diet from The Complete Pet Company. I’ve recently added in yoghurt for the probiotics and coconut oil.

We’ve tried a number of different dog training techniques, but found attending dog training classes with IntaDOGZ were just what we needed. I also liked the following books:

Other good places to buy dog stuff are:

Please do not use tennis balls with your dog, as the yellow fluffy surface is not good for their teeth and gums.

I’m hoping to buy a Doog dog walking belt for Christmas, since I’m getting a little tired of always finding dog bags or treat crumbs in my pockets!

Book review: Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide

amcs-seafood-guide

The Australian Marine Conservation Society has released a handy little booklet on choosing seafood wisely called ‘Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide‘. Sustainably sourced fish allow the species to repopulate and live a good life. It is a beautifully illustrated and informative guide.

Here’s a quick run down of your options:

The best choices

  • Blue swimmer crab, sand crab
  • Calamari, squid, octopus, cuttlefish
  • Mussels, blue mussels
  • Oysters, native, Sydney rock and Pacific oysters
  • Salmon
  • Sardine, pilchard
  • Trevally, black, giant, golden, bluefin and bluespotted trevally
  • Whiting, trumpeter, stout, sand, eastern school, western school, king george whiting

Think twice – heavily targeted or caught using fishing methods that damage natural habitat

  • Basa, Pacific dory, mekong catfish
  • Barramundi, barra
  • Blue-eye trevalla, blue-eye cod
  • Flathead, Bluespotted, dusky, tiger and southern sand flathead
  • Nile perch, Lake Victoria perch
  • Ocean perch, blue-eye, reef ocean perch
  • Prawns, banana, king and tiger prawns

Say no – over-fished, threatened or vulnerable

  • Atlantic salmon, Tasmanian, Smoked salmon
  • Blue Grenadier, Hoki
  • Blue Warehou, Black travally, sea bream
  • Gemfish, hake
  • Hake, Cape hake, Pacific hake, South Atlantic hake,
  • Orange roughy, deep sea perch
  • Shark, flake
  • Southern Bluefin tuna, tuna
  • Tuna, Skipjack, albacore, yellowfin tuna

You can download a free copy of the mini sustainable seafood guide (PDF) on the Sustainable Seafood website.