Saturday- Cycle for your supper! (the chicken crossed the road)Day 6

Well the day started with a meeting, and then another meeting (all food and community garden related) and tempted by great fair trade coffee and cakes at the amazing Mulch Pit and Frilies I resisted untiI I got home to make this salad, it turned out be very delicious and made up on the spot- Cucumbers, pineapple, lime juice, star fruit (slightly ripe) coconut shred of course, and a little chili and I reckon that is probably about it- oh I chopped and chucked in a little pawpaw from the garden!

pineapple slad

After that, and lots saved for later and some herbal tea, I was supposed to be studying, but the lure of what else was going on in the local food challenge world incised me! I dropped off some extra cassava to Kate, who seems to be making extraordinary creations with it and cycled over to Rapid Creek, only armed with lemons- from Alawa School tree!

cycle supperSo here I joined the “cycle  for you supper” ride! Ken, Dan, Sarah, Mim and other house mates had started the journey- all on bike around Rapid Creek to collect dinner- it started with the collection of a rooster from Jack’s house on the shore (300m?) then to  Pete the Tree climbers for pumpkins- he has a great garden and right now it is a bottomless pit of incredible pumpkins…


So there is the hunter gather team for this mission! Next to a coconut palm for our essential ingredient! Don’t want to spoil Dan’s moment- but this is a dwarf coconut- on some one’s nature strip!


Next to The Mulch pit, for some great gatherings-

crazy cassava

Crazy cassava


sarah pawpawgreen pawpaw,

sugar caneSugar Cane and then to Cummin Street, to Dan’s Oasis of food, for herbs and chillies and greens. And… with its head! No action shots, but lets just say it was quite quick! A beautiful bird, but this is real food- and this really how meat is made! Not that I eat it often, but like this is better than the unknown journey!

headless chook

And what best to do with all this (after some plucking of bird, and scraping of coconut of course)

pluckinCook it all up in a camp fire below the balcony! Sweet Darwin big yards rock! And for the sauce Dan and Mim invented something amazing in the food processor- red dahkah banana, coconut milk and pulp and herb sauce- into the camp ovens

camp fire pots

And onto the fire (one veggie and one not) and what better way to wait for food on the fire- Doh (oops I did it again, amongst all this purity- one long distance beer. It was the smell of smoke- I just couldn’t help myself!

fire, chook, danWell no finished pictures- it was dark and tooo good, I am probably biased by camp oven cooking- but wow, it was delish, and the chook (the morsel I had off the wee thing) was tender. Bloody good on ya Cycle Supper team! Team work in the kitchen seen below!

dan kitchen


Fruity Fishy Friday (day 5 food challenge)

So Friday was pretty action packed (not cooking and photographing food action). I went out plant collecting on a native re-veg project I am working on in the morning and then had a radio interview about our 100 mile trial in the afternoon. I had not really prepared any food. I had a smoothie for brekkie and headed out bush early. I took boiled eggs and bananas- the snack staple of the remote tropics! No bush tucker that I could see out bush- but we were looking at sedges on the sand sheets! No photos of food either. Luckily I had collected and boiled snack eggs from our beautiful chooks who are very happy- she just moved in this picture!

eggsI popped home for a shower and ate left over fish and more bananas, ripening just in time now from our bunch! Into town for the interview, then a friend collected me to go to an art opening. There were more art openings (of friends) but I was so hungry I had to come home to get food (bananas?) no where in Darwin serves prepared local food, at the Sunday market you may get something with some local ingreients in, but it wasn’t Sunday and anyway we are going 100%. So I popped home for food, no one home, Jon was across the road having dinner with our friends. They were just serving up and it looked so good. It was local seafood and fish barbecued  with some delicious looking non local veg. I joined in and had some fish. This is a bit of fish over ride as usually I will only eat fish once a month max for ethical reasons, but I was hungry, it was ready and super yummy and beat going to our place to boil up taro!

Next though I faltered, a beautiful bottle of South Australian red, that had been bought up on the plane with a mate of our friends and had been a special a gift from their Dad- OK cut the long story- I had a glass. Shit! Well it was Friday night and everything else (except a splash of oil) has been 100 miles or less way. It was good—- and apart from home Brew (which involves far away sugar and other goodies) nothing alcoholic is made in Darwin….and another small glass, it was a magnum!

So here is not a picture of the glass of wine (it went down quickly- Thanks Busta) but the Howard sand sheets,  visited today

sand sheets

Day 4 Food Challenge- Lunch

So, Thursday, working from home again made it easier. I do eat fruit and muesli and toast, but not everyday, I often struggle to find something I fancy for brekkie anyway, so with out those bits and pieces I was not more complacent than usual. I made a tasty juice for Jon (who is painting) and I from the pink  local Grapefruits that I usually buy every week and the lemonade/ orange local citrus that I scored from the market- it was delicious and refreshing with rainwater ice. they were so juicy, for two really big cups I probably used 8 fruit..

Pink Juice I had a banana and pineapple fruit salad (sounds more flash than it was) and then lunch. This involved left over taro and plantain parcels, and some eggplant I picked in the garden.

eggplant pick 2

I grilled them up with the usual suspects of chili, lime and my naughty non local oil and some garlic chives and saw tooth coriander and added Gota Kola which is supposed to be amazing medicinally. It has a bitter flavour- but I really like it with other herbs.

eggplant dish

The salad was an impromptu thing, but it looked and tasted fresh and crisp. Sweet leaf from our yard, rose apples from Dan’s neighbour, cucumber from local growers, coconut shred from our shredding of back yard coconuts, Zinnias from the community garden (to add colour) the last of the parrot beak flowers from the market and a bit of paw paw from the gardenand a stragley bit of local mint…just limejuice and chilli with a touch of local honey as the dressing- pretty good. I love fruit salad, sweet and savoury crunch mixes.

rose apple saladThe taro parcel were great the next day, cracked pepper would have been awesome, but the banana leaf flavour had been absorbed and they weren’t bad.

Taro parcel

So all up a pretty good combo for lunch. But it is tiring stuff, prep, prep. Seriously distracted by food (easy to do)! We make mainly local based food anyway, but without the grains and flours (and bread) the prep of more than usual raw veggies (and many wet season veg need cooking) it is a bit more of a commitment – good fun though…

Thurs lunch

Day 4 Fishy dinner banana parcels

So dinner came around pretty quick and my neighbour did not manage to catch us any fish for namas (booo), so I got the local frozen barra out and defrosted and had in my mind similar flavours to how I would make namas (raw fish cooked in lime, in coconut milk)..

I cut off banana leaves and decided on one of my favourites- thai style parcels steamed fish..using the coconut milk Jon made yesterday. So you cut the fish into fillets and place in the banana leaf and then garnish with chopped chilli, lime juice, lime zest, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, saw tooth coriander and then pour over coconut milk. All the ingredients (except the fish) we have in the garden and the flavours are beautiful!!!Fish parcel ingredientsYou can soften the banana leaf (so they don’t split along viens) over a fire, in the oven or in the sun. We just had the oven, that seemed to work, but one I left in way to long and the process was sweaty, on a steamy “build down” afternoon.

fish parcel

fish parcel too

fish parcel cookedThe parcels brown off when cooked, but inside is a delicious combo of colourful treats,  I took this picture the next day when cold, as it was a bit dark. We made heaps of these. I over estimated the fish portions I think. We had it with salad from lunch and a cucumber yummy Asian salad, I would usually do it with noodles or rice- but this week they are off the menu- from too far away! …

Day 3 of the Food Challenge

Well, there was more of what there was for dinner for lets call it “brunch” again. the meals don’t really fit into a conventional style of what most people think they should be, or when they are eaten. SO I was craving a tea or even a coffee or herbe matte, basically something with caffeine. Amazing what you miss, instead of focusing on the things you do have- too used to having them all, the spoilt product of the Western world!.

So instead of craving a tea, I had rain water and a slice of lemon, herbal tea made with a concoction of found things from the garden- turmeric  lemon grass, hibiscus flower, 5 spice (coleus), thai and lemon basil and parrot beak flowers from the market and lemon. I simultaneously had a garden pawpaw and banana smoothie, and a passionfruit and some tangerines!

tea stuffI spent a while arranging my “brunch” and couldn’t even finish my bowl full, I made so much last night, great more for later!

cassava curry and drinksThe next day this actually tasted much better and the flavours had merged.

After work I was fancying more bananas later in the afternoon, but no more off our ready small bunch are quite ripe, even though I was trying- tomorrow they will be!

me and nanans

Jon prepared some more coconut for dinner possibilities

jon husks and our neighbours brought coconuts to watch the husking, but sadly they were rotten

jon coco huskMuni and Rod and Dan came round for dinner, with baskets of produce from Dan’s garden. In addition to the leftover dish, we made a Kang Kong stir fry with chili and lemon and arrow root from Dan’s place, we had a local leaves, flowers and mustard spinach salad with cucumber (arranged beautifully) and I tried to make mashed plantain and taro (from Dan’s) frittas withe egg binding, garlic chives, rocket, basil, chilli, lime juice and paste. These did not stick together so well, so Jon had the great idea of putting them in banana leaves in muffin tins and having them for lunch as there was heaps for dinner!

day 3 ingredientsAbove are the crazy array of ingredients all over the bench, taro into the “cakes” and arrow root for the stir fry. Galangal and chili for flavour!

day 3 feastDelicious spread above with herbal tea and crazy cakes to follow for lunch, I hope everyone was full enough…

taro bakes

Day one food challenge

Well luckily today was a holiday, so time for food for thought, or thought for food. I started the day by laying out the goodies for the week to feed myself and Jon. There is quite a lot of food there, maybe not too many fillers. Along the way we will swap produce with friends and also raid our garden and other gardens. I am lucky this week that it is uni break and most of my paid work is from home. Kate, also embarking on the challenge is at home some of the week, but has two kids to tend to and Muni is at work all day. They are probably way more organised than me- preparation is the key!

Herbs and spice

So above are herbs and greens for the week, turmeric  garlic chives and chilli as no dry spice come from locally. Paw paw seeds can also be used as a pepper like substance. A lot of these are from our garden and others, some from the market and tumeric from Greenies from a local grower. Below is the “staples for the week” to bulk out dishes instead of rice and grains, there is taro, cassava, breadfruit, pumpkin, and various types of crazy looking gourds, the cassava was dug up by Dan at the Mulch Pit, the rest mainly came from Rapid Creek Market…I also have some local fish in the freezer, but wouldn’t mind some fresh to make nambas, or lime cured fish with cucumber…

staple basket fruit

The fruit bowl above, a combo of local growers selling at Greenie’s or the Rapid Creek market and citrus from friends’ gardens and bananas (and heaps more to come) from ours. Below is all the produce, minus coconut items (in fridge)

all produce

So “Brunch” Usually I would have toast with avocado and cheese or fruit and muesli and yoghurt for brekkie. Well the tropical fruit is still totally on the menu and I attempted to make a coconut and banana pancake, inspired by kate. I used home made coconut milk, mashed bananas and coconut “fluff” – the centre kernel and eggs (in picture below), it didn’t stick so well so I had to use more egg so it would stick and added a dash of our Night Cliff sea salt…

close up coconut milkThe result was OK, flour is a great invention! We could make coconut flour with a mill and expertise, but for this week this will have to do, with diced pawpaw and passionfruit, lime and herbs it wasn’t too bad..

cocnut pancake fluff There is more to come! Check out Kate’s blog too, amazing stuff going on there!

Food Care Share- Coconuts the key to survival

So in view of our up and coming local food challenge week, (only eat food produced within 100 miles for the week- no exceptions!) a food care share was planned on Easter Sunday, just before our week of as much local food as possible.

Muni and I started the day at the Rapid Creek markets  in Darwin, the only place to get your local food bulk from market growers. Such a shame it requires an early Sunday! We needed bulk veggies like tarot and gourds and things to fill us!

muni at market I also had got cassava given by Dan and many herbs and extras from the garden and the coconuts, all husked by Jon after collecting from our yard and Belinda’s yard (thanks Belinda!)..


After this we went to Muni’s place to look at our wares and decide what to do with it all,muni and IWe laid it all, proud of our produce..

calender shot!The oil was our biggest factor and milk- coconuts are the answer- any islander’s staple. So Jon had husked them and I started cracking them (with the back of the machete) then scraping them, after catching the coconut water in a jug.

crackYou then squeeze the scraping once you have a bowl full and add the coconut water and make milk. From the milk you make oil, by boiling and separating.

ems coco

So we made a quick cucumber, coconut chili dish and kept scraping, then other food care people came along (about 20 with the kids) to join the fun and scraping. We sat and talked about tactics for the local food challenge and how far everyone easy taking it. Muni and Rod had even made sea salt from evaporating salt water. they tried in a solar oven, but it was to slow, so resorted to boiling. Dried Indian style spices are the biggest thing that are not from near by not to use, as well as soy sauce, of course not everyone that came along took the crazy challenge. Everyone had a go at scraping and it all ended in a wonderful food share…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It is so good when everyone comes together to share ideas about local food, just beautiful!

Roasted pawpaw salad, amazing marinated local fish by Matumba and honey and real coconut shred from him too, made with love, cucumber and banana salad with sweet leaf, pesto from the garden, roasted bread fruit, ohh the list goes on…..

photo  leafTruly inspired for the challenge ahead…