Sustainable Living Festival Coming Up

The Sustainable Living Festival has now run with the Tropical Garden Spectacular for 2 years in The George Brown Botanic Garden. It is a great event with stalls, talks and discussion panels, music and entertainment, demonstrations and has a community and school gardens area or village. It is a beautiful setting and vibe and well worth attending.

 Last year we ran an information stall for our Kitchen Garden program at Alawa Primary school and had pasta making demonstrations. There were discussion panels about permaculture, solar drier demos and so much more, we were pretty busy to catch it all. Gianna and I did a cooking demo of banana flower salad. There was also a cook off on the main stage with local stir fry ingredients, George Negus and Leonnie Norrington versus his son Serge and myself. It was great fun and so good to have local food in the lime light. It was all so good that local food this year is going to get a bigger appearance.  This year there will be a small community style cafe as the centre piece of the community garden area, where donated cakes and fair trade coffee, tea and home-made herbal teas will be served. Twice a day tasting plates will be released from the cafe and for a donation a few lucky customers can get a tasting plate of 4 dishes made from locally grown ingredients, served on a banana leaf, complete with recipes. It is going to be delicious and I look forward to seeing you there!

For more info visit

Ps I am still on the look out for more local cooks to make delicious dishes for the tasting plates. You will be reimbursed. Email me for details! [see contact tab]

Thanks to Floyd for these great pictures of cooking in the hot spot last year:-


The Wonder of Wing Beans

Wing Beans are wonderful. They are best when small and cut accross ways are crunchy and good in salad, a little bigger and great steamed or stirfried.

I added them into this grated salad- Green pawpaw, raw pumpkin, toasted coconut shred, toasted sesame seeds, mint, lime juice, a little chili, fish sauce and palm sugar. Every fresh ingedient from the garden.

Home made Garden Ravioli

It was Gianna’s birthday at the weekend, so I made handmade ravioli, to go with delicious dishes that our great friends bought along. As always I was making it just before hand- but this added to the atmosphere, sitting at the table rolling pasta through the machine, recreating italy for Gianna, including plenty of wine. The pasta was made with eggs from the garden, and is so easy. The filling is made of local pumpkin, garden basil, pepper vine from the garden, local lemon juice, goats cheese, a couple of back yard eggs to make it set, salt and pepper. Boiled untill floating and served with basil, sweet leaf and other garden greens and generous splashes of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

I have made this with the kids at school loads and they love it- if only we had a goat.

It was dark when we got to eat it, but I made way to much filling, so we made it all over again on Sunday.

Lakeside Drive Commnity Garden

LDCG is on Lakeside Drive, on the edge of Alawa in Darwin’s Northern Suburbs. It is a great place to come together and work or hang out in the garden and learn loads about permacultre gardening. Every other weekend there is a working bee, the last one was yesterday. There are also “Bumble Bees ” which are free workshops.The last one was on the first of April, there was a composting workshop, tips on termite treatment, great childrens activities, garden bed building and I organised a local food display and tasting for the working bees…..

There is another workshop next weekend – 20th May with an irrigation workshop. Check out the website for details-

Rosella Harvest

Rosella Harvest

Rosella grows as a shrub and forms wonderful deep pink- red fruits which are tangy and can be used in salads, or to make into cordials, syrups or jam. They fruit only in May, so it is a special harvest. The leaves are also tangy and also great in salads.

It was a shame to de-fruit our one and only beautiful bush, but the time has come. From one plant so many big juicy rosellas were picked and in the end we had three times this many and more to come. We left smaller fruit on and larger ones to make seed. When it is finished we will prune it and hope it survives until next year.

Now what to make, maybe some preserved rosellas and some liqueur…

Dragonfruit Delight

Dragonfruit is the most amazing looking fruit you can find. It is actually grown on a cactus and needs to be staked up. Loads are grown at Humpty Doo and often sold at Rapid Creek Market and you can grow them in your yard from cactus cuttings. At the moment we are constructing a pole and wheel for them to run up. Our friend Georgia has had them in her garden and the flowers are amazing and only last one night, like something from wonderland dreaming. The fruits can be white or red inside. Red seems to be more desirable, as they have such an amazing colour. The flavour is subtle and fragrant and brought out with lime juice. They are wonderfull in fruit salads or just scooped out of their shellI have made some great sorbet from them.

Recipe, 2 cups water, 2 cups sugar, 3 large red dragonfruit, Juice and zest of 3 limes

Put the sugar and water in a pan and heat untill totally dissolved. Add in the lime juice and dragonfruit and blend with a stick whizzer.[hand blender]. Let cool and then put in an ice cream machine. Luckily I have access to one at the moment. If you don’t use the old school in-out freezer method..