April 25 is Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand. This day is the anniversary of Australia’s first major army battle fought at Gallipoli by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War 1. The majority of Australians, including myself feel this is the most important national occasion of the year.

 

 

Last year I bought a cookbook that delivered what it promised. It revolutionised the way I made bread and pizzas. I was so impressed with the book I ended up purchasing all three in the series. The cookbooks I am referring to are the “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” series!  Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois co wrote and developed the hundreds of recipes they share through their “Artisan in Five “series of cookbooks. My favourite and most used book from the collection is “Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day”.  This book has shown me how to easily deliver homemade pizza, from my very own oven, fast and fresh!

Today I feel blessed as my family and I joined the local Buddhist community in a celebration of vegetarian food. The local Lingyen Mountain Temple of Berala hosted the event at our local park following the official opening of its new Guan Yin Pusa Shrine. Attendees made the short pilgrimage from the shrine at the Lingyen Mountain Temple to Coleman Park and the celebrations began

Green paw paw is not such an unusual ingredient to the Vietnamese and Thai communities in Western Sydney but I was interested to learn its native origins lie much further away in the tropical areas of America and Mexico. I stumbled across a table of bright green paw paw’s last weekend during my regular fresh food shopping at Sydney Markets. I was instantly intrigued as to how I could use it in an adventurous dish at home.

Within the pleasant former Olympic village suburb of Newington is a small strip of restaurants, one of which is Siam Kingdom. Whenever I dine at Siam Kingdom, it instantly takes me back to my Thailand trip.

 

Feeling incredibly inspired by the charismatic Mr O, tonight I had a go at the pasta challenge. During his Kitchen Talk, Jamie mentioned how quick and easy it can be to whip up a meal completely from scratch when you have the right knowledge - which is what he aims to spread through the Ministry of Food kitchens. Jamie said, by the time a pot of cold water comes to the boil on the stove top, you could whip up pasta from scratch ready to be thrown in!

Yesterday afternoon I was lucky enough to see my biggest cooking inspiration give a live presentation. That of course is the one and only Jamie Oliver. The admiration that I have towards Mr O is almost indescribable. His passion for cooking is absolutely infectious. His rustic approach to cooking demonstrates his understanding of the everyday, busy, modern family. But, although his TV shows and books are fantastic, they are not enough to change the way the western world eats. This is why he visited Australia.

Scouting Australia is an organisation which encourages the growth of young Australians through the spirit of adventure. I joined my youngest son into the local Cub Scout pack approximately a year ago. I am hoping that scouting will contribute to his development into a well mannered young person with good values and a sense of adventure. I was soon to discover how much commitment goes into a Cub Scout program each term particularly with the weekend camps.

This past weekend I have been part of a cooking team on a Cub Scout “Around the World themed camp”. While I sit at home now with my hard worked feet elevated I have only a feeling of respect for the amount of work it takes to coordinate a weekend event for a bunch of energetic 8-11 year cubs. This weekend, as always, they were very well fed however this weekend it was a special camp so the catering was bought up to a higher level!

 

With weather so beautiful this weekend it was an easy decision to pack the family into the car and head off on a relaxing drive in the country. It was also an opportune thought to include the fresh food shopping and make a day of it along the Hawkesbury Harvest Trail. With an esky in the boot we set off not knowing what gems we would find!

 

Together with my Husband and youngest son I spent this past weekend relaxing and cooking by the MacDonald River northwest of Sydney. We stayed at “Del Rio” in the picturesque riverside village of Wisemans Ferry. Locally this area is referred to as “The Forgotten Valley”. I loved this scenic part of Sydney and I really don’t think I will be forgetting about it at all.