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Alfalfa House - PDF


  • pg 1
									    THIS MONTH
                               Playing with pistachios              My Shop with Rekha
                                                                                            APRIL 2009


   The sumptuous world
      of native spices                                                                  PART ONE

          ou might have noticed we                                                     end of cooking (last 15 minutes). Long
          stock a range of indigenous                                                  cooking often brings out a slightly bitter
          spices such as roasted                                                       eucalyptus flavour; the exception being
          wattleseed, mountain                                                         mountain pepperberry, which requires
          pepper, native mint and                                                      long cooking times to enhance its
lemon myrtle. And you might have                                                       flavour and mellow its heat. Always
been curious as to what to do with                                                     store spices in an airtight container, in a
them but not known what. It’s no                                                       cool dark place to preserve their aroma
surprise really; we haven’t grown up                                                   and flavour.
with them. So how could we know?
                                                             WATTLE TREE SEED PODS
Well, that’s all about to change. It’s                                                 ROASTED WATTLESEED
time we explored them and how to                                                       PLANT INFORMATION. Wattleseed (Acacia
use them in recipes. This month we         USING INDIGENOUS SPICES                     victoriae) grows in the very arid parts of
feature wattleseed and mountain            In general, as with other spices, much of   central Australia and ours is wild-
pepper; and next native mint and lemon     the flavour is lost during long cooking.    harvested by Aboriginal people in the
myrtle.                                    So, it’s best to add spices towards the     Northern Territory. Many wattles have 2

We now stock fresh fruit+veg from
Champion Organics in Mangrove
                                                     F+V                       what’s good in fruit+veg with Renata Field
                                             GRAPEFRUIT: Ruby grapefruits, juicy
                                           with a tang
                                                                                         CUCUMBER: Local FD produce – try
                                                                                       the crispy white apple variety
Mountain on the Central Coast. It’s          GUAVA: Soft and sweet inside.               CHILLIES: Local FD
delivered on Monday mornings and we’re       PERSIMMON: Perfectly ripe when soft         EGGPLANT: Now mid-season
currently receiving persimmons, lettuce,   and squishy – worth it                        GRAPES: Many, many varieties
herbs, watermelon, snake beans and                                                       FRESH HERBS: Basil, parsley, thyme,
rhubarb. For more info, see                ON THEIR WAY OUT                            sage, dill and more In the shop fridge                  CORN: Very sweet, raw or cooked             LIMES: FD, yellow ones are the ripest
                                             PASSIONFRUIT: Sweet and juicy FD            PEARS: China variety have a hard skin,
NEW ARRIVALS                                 PLUMS: Soft, sweet and squishy,           but are pearfect and juicy inside!
  APPLES: Golden delicious, jonathans,       STONE FRUIT: The last of the peaches        RHUBARB: Bake with apples
red splendours from Victoria. More soon.   and nectarines                                ROCKET: Fresh with a bite
  CUSTARD APPLES: Early season, sweet                                                    SEBAGO POTATOES: Local FD
and soft                                   WHAT’S GOOD NOW                               SQUASH: 4 varieties to try
  LEMONADES: Between a mandarin and         BEANS, SNAKE and GREEN                       WATERMELON: Sweet, juicy
a lemon, sweet and tangy                    CAPSICUM: Crispy and delicious               ZUCCHINI: Perfect right now
  If you’d like to ask me about anything, or to order in bulk, please email        FD: Farmer-Direct
  For week-to-week fruit+veg availability: go to
edible seed including the Sydney             combined. Sift the flour with soda and
Golden Wattle. Aboriginal people have        baking powder. Fold in flour alternately      Recipe
been using wattleseed for thousands of       with milk. Pour mixture into a cake tin
years as a staple but these days it’s more   and bake for approx. 1 hour at 180°C.         Potato Pancake with Mushroom
commonly used as a spice when roasted                                                      Sauté and Rocket Salad
and ground, which release its flavours.      Wattleseed Icecream                           SERVES   6
                                             SERVES8. Prep time: 20 minutes + four
HOW TO USE                                   hours freezing time. No cooking required         1 kg potatoes
   Use as a flavouring, as you would                                                          1 tsp salt
chocolate, coffee, walnut and hazelnut.        ½ litre cream                                  2 tsp mountain pepper, ground
   Add 1-2 tablespoons to bread and            4 egg whites                                   180g flour, amount may depend on
cake recipes or to pancake batter or to a      4 egg yolks                                 type of potato
cheesecake.                                    4 tbsp pure icing sugar                        Oil for frying
   Combine with lemon myrtle and               1 tbsp wattleseed
sprinkle on tofu before cooking.                                                           Potato pancake
   In cream sauces for pasta or tofu and     Whip egg whites till they form soft           Boil potatoes with skin on. Cool slightly,
it goes very well with milk products.        peaks. Set aside. Whip egg yolks and          peel and mash with salt and mountain
   In uncooked dishes, let the flavour       sugar till light and fluffy. Set aside.       pepper. Cool completely. Kneed mash
infuse overnight.                                                   Whip cream. Mix        with flour. Dough should be of a
   In desserts, it blends                                           with egg yolk and      consistency that can be rolled out. Divide
well with vanilla and                                               sugar mix and          dough into 12 balls. Roll each out into a
cinnamon.                                                           lemon myrtle.          15-20cm diameter pancake. Fry
   In savoury dishes, it                                            Gently mix in egg      pancakes on a pan with a little oil,
complements lemon                                                   whites, making sure    turning frequently. This can be done
myrtle, bush tomato or                                              you don’t beat the     hours earlier. Reheat pancakes prior to
mountain pepper.                                                    air out of the         serving.
   As a general guide,                                              whites. Pour into
use one teaspoon per                                                your choice of         Mixed mushroom sauté
500g of other ingredients MOUNTAIN PEPPER                           container and            200g mixed mushrooms
in savoury dishes, one tablespoon per        freeze till hard – four hours, depending        10g dried shiitake mushrooms
500g in desserts.                            on the size of container.                       1 small leek
   Wattleseed also makes a good                                                              1 small zucchini (100g)
caffeine-free coffee; add a teaspoon to a    MOUNTAIN PEPPER                                 100ml cream (option: use water or
cup or plunger and pour over boiling         PLANT INFORMATION Mountain pepper             stock with a little arrowroot starch or
water. Allow to stand a few minutes. The     (Tasmannia lanceolata), a small tree that     kuzu dissolved in cold water instead)
used grounds can be used again to            grows to five metres, is found in south-        1 sprig rosemary
flavour biscuits, cream, ice cream.          east NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. Both           lemon myrtle to taste, ground
                                             the leaves and berries contain a                salt to taste
Recipes                                      compound called polygodial which gives
                                             them their characteristic hot taste. Most     Soak shiitake mushrooms in enough
Banana and Wattleseed Cake                   mountain pepper is wild-harvested by          warm water to cover them. Slice leek
SERVES 12. Prep time: 20 minutes             hand, however, commercial plantations         and zucchini in 1cm slices. Break or cut
Cooking time: 1 hour                         are now emerging to meet demand.              mushrooms into desirable pieces (not too
                                                                                           small). Sauté leek and rosemary then add
  125g butter                                HOW TO USE   The heat of the pepper           zucchini. Sauté a few minutes then add
  125g rapadura sugar                        decreases with cooking time so add a          mixed mushrooms. Add shiitake and
  2 eggs                                     little just before serving if you like the    cream. Add salt and lemon myrtle.
  1 tsp vanilla essence                      taste of pepper. It has a very spicy fruity      To serve, place two folded pancakes on
  1 tbsp wattleseed                          flavour followed by a hot peppery taste.      each plate with the mixed mushroom
  4 medium sized bananas                     Sprinkle mountain pepper leaf on tofu,        sauté inside the folded pancake.
  1 tsp bicarb soda                          chicken, fish, beef, pork or lamb before      Accompany with a rocket salad tossed
  125ml milk                                 cooking, alone or in combination with         with vinaigrette.
  300g flour                                 other herbs or spices. Use in marinades,
  3 tsp baking powder                        rub onto tofu or meat or use in a dip.        NEXT MONTH: Native mint and
                                             Mountain pepper leaf goes especially          Lemon Myrtle
Beat butter and sugar until light and        well with potatoes. It goes well with
fluffy. Add eggs, beating thoroughly         most vegetables and gives a refreshing          Recipes from Kurrajong Native Foods
after each egg. Add vanilla essence,         lift to salad dressings, pasta dough,         ( and
wattleseed and bananas. Beat until just      sauce or bread.                               OzTukka (
PLEASE NOTE that any nutritional advice given in the eNews is of a general nature only and does not take into account
individual circumstances or needs. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Alfalfa House encourages readers to
seek specific advice from health professionals as needed.
Welcome to the first of a regular series on food
allergies and food intolerance.
   Each time we’ll look at a different food or
food group, including identifying ‘naturally
occurring’ chemicals responsible for adverse
reactions and we’ll suggest alternative ‘safe’
foods and ‘low-chemical’ foods. And, of
course, a recipe.
   While I’m not your ‘doctor’, I am a mum          INTOLERANCES
with five years’ personal experience – the age TAMARA KILLICK
of my food-sensitive boy. So I’ve done plenty of
necessary research and dietary experimenting. I also
welcome your feedback and encourage you to share your
experiences. Email me c/o

INTOLERANCE: SOME STATS                                             DEFINITIONS
  Most reactions to food are food intolerances                      WHEAT ALLERGY. A severe and sudden onset allergic
  Number of Australians with an allergy                             reaction to a protein component in the grain. To a very small
CHILDREN: 1 in 20                                                   number of people, contact with a wheat allergen can be fatal –
ADULTS: 1 in 100                                                    allergic shock or anaphylaxis.
  60% of allergies appear in the first year of life.
                                                                    WHEAT INTOLERANCE. Difficulty digesting gluten, a
FOOD ALLERGY OR FOOD INTOLERANCE?                                   complex protein found in wheat and other grains, including
ALLERGY                                                             rye, barley and oats. Sensitivity to gluten produces a reaction
Definition: an auto-immune response to a specific part of a food,   that is slower than an allergic reaction, with a varying degree of
usually a complex protein component.                                symptoms depending on the quantity of gluten ingested.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BODY? As if being threatened by a
toxic substance, the body’s immune system reacts to what is
                                                                    GLUTEN INTOLERANCE. A digestive system response to
                                                                    the gluten protein present in wheat and related grains. Gluten
in fact a ‘harmless’ food substance. The body goes into shock
                                                                    gives baked goods that springy bounce and also keeps bread
(anaphylaxis), ultimately leading to heart failure. For some
                                                                    from crumbling. As with wheat intolerance and depending on
people ingestion or even trace amounts of cross-
                                                                    sensitivity, some people may tolerate small amounts of gluten.
contamination from a specific allergen can be fatal if
medical treatment isn’t sought immediately.
                                                                    CELIAC DISEASE. An immune reaction to gluten, more
                                                                    specifically to gliadin – a known intestinal irritant – present in
                                                                    gluten. As with other severe allergic reactions, the body’s
                                                                    immune system responds to gluten as though it were a toxic
Definition: A chemical reaction that occurs after eating or
                                                                    substance. Put simply, the small intestine inevitably becomes
drinking some foods. Reaction to a food chemical is
                                                                    damaged and the body consequently fails to take up vital
accumulative so the symptoms may not appear until some days
                                                                    nutrients. People with celiac disease must maintain a strict
after a food is eaten. To remain free of symptoms a carefully
                                                                    gluten-free diet their entire lives.
planned, moderated diet is required.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BODY? It is not an autoimmune
response, but rather a sensitivity to chemicals present in the
                                                                    THE WHEAT WE EAT
                                                                    Wheat and other grains containing gluten are among the most
food, i.e., naturally-occurring chemicals and preservatives,        commonly-used ingredients in food preparation. They’re in
and/or artificial chemicals. Depending on the person and the        pasta, bread, flat bread, pizza base, pancakes, cakes and slices,
food ingested, symptoms can include one or more of the              biscuits, breakfast cereal, muesli snacks, savoury snacks. So the
following: hives, headaches, tiredness, irritability, and           task of avoiding gluten almost requires a degree in food science.
stomach problems. Food intolerance can also be associated           Avoiding wheat, and in particular gluten, takes a serious
with asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel           commitment to one’s health, notwithstanding a thick skin to
syndrome.                                                           deal with the social pressure.
                                             SNACKS+SWEET TREATS                           METHOD
SNEAKY WHEAT                                 Inana’s halva gems, Spiral mung bean             Place baking mix and salt into a bowl
Wheat and gluten are used in a variety       chips, Spiral rice crackers (tamari or           Beat eggs with yogurt and gradually
of foods such as sweets (caramel), sauces    Black sesame), Rice cakes, Loving Earth       fold into the dry ingredients until a soft
and condiments, beverages (beer, scotch).    raw chocolates, Kitzbars                      dough is formed
For a comprehensive A-Z list go to:                                                           Knead lightly on a lightly floured
ingredients-that-contain-gluten/             CAFÉS+RESTAURANTS                             surface (use baking mix) and roll out to
                                                                                           cover base of a 20cm round baking tin
                                             There are many cafés and restaurants in          Spread with your favourite toppings
The safest bet, even if it appears to be     Sydney that cater for people with a              Bake at 200°C for 25 minutes until
wheat-free, is to always read the            wheat allergy and/or gluten intolerance.      the base is cooked through.
ingredients on the label.                    I’ve listed a few here, but for a more
                                             extensive list go to the Celiac NSW

WHAT’S SAFE IN THE CO-OP                     website
                                                                                           FRIENDLY FOOD: FOOD FOR LIFE
GRAINS rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet,                                                     by Dr Anne R Swaine, Dr Velencia L
Andean mix (white, red, and black            The Peasants Feast                            Soutter and Dr Robert H Loblay
quinoa, amaranth), buckwheat                 121a King Street Newtown 9516 5998            An excellent resource, loaded with safe/
                                             The Razors Edge                               alternative recipes, charts, facts, info.
CEREALS puffed amaranth, puffed              129 Enmore Road Enmore 9557 5867              Available from most bookshops or from
millet, puffed brown rice, puffed quinoa,    IKU Wholefoods                                RPA’s Allergy Unit in Camperdown.
puffed buckwheat, rolled amaranth,           25a Glebe Point Road Glebe 9692 8720
                                             Dare Foods (Delicious and Responsible
rolled quinoa, rolled brown rice,
buckwheat grawnola, Alfalfa’s Own            Eating) Shop 22, Rocks Centre, Playfair       SOURCES
muesli (a blend of rolled quinoa, gluten     Street The Rocks 9251 1445 (has                  The Australian Celiac Society
free multi-puffs, shredded coconut, chia     gluten-free beer)                                The RPA Allergy
seeds, cranberries and black mission figs)                                                    Wheat Intolerance and Wheat
                                                                                           Sensitivity Deborah Manners, 2007
PASTA brown rice penne, rice-based
macaroni, quinoa/brown rice penne,           Gluten-free pizza base                           Wheat Allergy Velencia Soutter,
millet couscous                              adapted from                Anne Swain, Robert Loblay,
                                                                                           RPA Allergy Unit 2002
NOODLES Soba (100% buckwheat)                INGREDIENTS
                                                                                              Wheat allergies, intolerance and coeliac
                                                275g gluten-free flour (for a lighter      disease Melanie Hearse 2008
FLOURS amaranth flour, chickpea              dough try combing two GF flours)    
flour (besan), buckwheat flour, brown           1 tsp gluten-free baking powder               The Optimum Nutrition Bible
rice flour, soya flour, quinoa flour            pinch sea salt                             Patrick Holford, 1997
                                                1 egg (or equivalent egg replacer)            Your Gluten Free Life,
BREADS Naturis organic sourdough –              150ml natural yoghurt            
buckwheat or rice                            Alfalfa House stocks all ingredients          base/
                                                                                                     Volunteers are needed
Urban Orchard at DIY markets
The local produce
                                                                                                     to help with research (at
                                                                                                     home) as well as in-store
swap is at the                                                                                      events. If interested, please
DIY Markets (opp.                                                           email Monika ( with
Newtown                                                                     details as to when you’re available and what you'd
Station) the last                                                           like to help with. Thanks.
Saturday of the

                                                                              FREE 2009 CALENDAR
month from
Urban Orchard is
where you share
excess produce
                                                                               WITH SAMPLES+GIFTS
                                                                              Don't forget to pick up your free Alfalfa House
(fruit+veg, herbs)
                                                                              calendar next time you’re shopping or print your
from your                                                                     own from the website’s NEWS page. Each calendar
garden, and/or                                                                features a number of coupons that you can redeem
food you’ve                                                                   for free samples and gifts. During April, spend $60
gleaned from your neighbourhood. No cash, completely informal,                and receive a Loving Earth raw chocolate bar and
plenty of fun. You can even swap recipes and tips. If you’d like to           an Alfalfa surprise birthday gift.
get involved, email Renata at
                                                                                   PRINT YOUR OWN CALENDAR. GO TO
                      AN INITIATIVE OF ALFALFA HOUSE
                   MY SHOP

                                               I N T E R V I E W by TA M A R A K I L L I C K
How did you discover Alfalfa House?
I think from just living in the area.
When you’re unemployed and a student,
as I was at the time, you have free time
and walk around a lot looking for new
and interesting places and things to do.
The style of shopping appealed to me,
where you take your own jars and bags.

How long have you been a member?
Twelve or thirteen years. Maybe longer!

How often do shop at Alfalfa?
Once a week, once a fortnight. I tend to
stock up on staples like rice, pasta, nuts,

What’s your favourite Alfalfa
I like the little treats. The kinds of
things that are uncommon to
conventional shops, such as the cocoa
butter, tamari almonds, choc-coated              Have you met any interesting                  and filling up tubs.
‘anything’. Also, I like the organic rice        people or developed any
and other organic grains.                        meaningful relationships over the             What did you enjoy most about
                                                 years shopping at Alfalfa?                    volunteering?
Tell me five things you enjoy most               To be honest I can’t say I have actually      I enjoyed giving back as well as the
about shopping at Alfalfa?                       developed any ongoing friendships as          25% discount, which is generous, so it’s
1. I like that it’s small and intimate, you      such, however, it’s always nice to see        worth volunteering for. It can be very
don’t feel bombarded by bad muzak and            familiar faces at the co-op. I enjoy the      expensive to maintain an organic pantry
bright lights                                    random chats that pop up while shopping.      and fridge!
2. Taking your own packaging
3. being exposed to new foods and                Do you read the eNews?                        Is there anything new you would
ingredients                                      Yes. I love getting it in my inbox. It’s      like to see at Alfalfa?
4. because of the bulk supply you don’t          really informative and offers a different     It would be great to see a bigger range
have to buy heaps of something when              take on what you might read elsewhere.        of baby-friendly products. I think it
you only need ½ cup – so you can try it          I find the section on what’s new and          could increase Alfalfa’s market. I know
out before committing to buying large            what’s in season helpful, also the recipes    that people make eco-cloth nappies
quantities                                       are great.                                    with various unique features, such as
5. being a vego, I like that Alfalfa is a                                                      pockets. If they could put their range of
one-stop shop, things such as quinoa;            Do you volunteer at Alfalfa?                  nappies in Alfalfa it could broaden the
it’s delicious and so easy to cook               Not at the moment. It’s been about ten        market and sales. The inner west is
6. I like the seasonal aspect of it; It          years but I have volunteered in the past.     getting gentrified so by having a
forces you try different fruit and veg           I had a lot more time back then. Now          broader range of kid-friendly items it
that you may not eat. Unlike                     I’m a full-time mum and I work part-          could attract more shoppers. It would
conventional shops you’re not inundated          time, however, I’m still really committed     also be great to see the shop open
with hundreds of everything – just a             to Alfalfa. I don’t shop anywhere else for    earlier if possible. Even 10am would be
few nice things and importantly                  organic produce and I am very supportive      helpful, or even an early start a couple
seasonal produce.                                of the co-op philosophy and Alfalfa’s         of days a week. I find that by 11am it’s
(Tamara: Okay, so I asked for five things,       role in the community. I would like to        just that little bit too late in the
but I couldn’t leave the last one out.)          get involved in volunteering again if         morning to fit in with everything else
                                                 there is a job that I could do from home.     that’s going on around that time.
What are your favourite ingredients
to cook with and what do you do                  When you were volunteering what               Any final words?
with them?                                       kinds of jobs did you do?                     Go Alfalfa! It’s a great co-op that has
Broccoli, tamari, basil, tofu. I love a good     I did do a stint at the checkout but          lasted through the decades with a great
stir fry, or curry, and my daughter eats         mainly worked out in the back of the          philosophy and dedicated
broccoli any old way, which is great.            shop doing the re-stocking, cleaning                                        5
   Up close with the pistachio                           BY RENATA FIELD
       ver eaten fresh pistachios? They’re

E      such a tasty treat. Soft and subtle,
       sweet, fresh and nutty.
   I’m just back from a quick trip to the
Food Forest in South Australia, from
which Alfalfa House gets its pistachios.
The Food Forest is a permaculture
property, just north of Adelaide, and now
almost 25 years old. The farm is owned
by two inspiring permaculturists Anne-
Marie and Graham Brookman, who
happily share their wealth of knowledge
through tours, workshops, permaculture
design courses and hosting landcare
groups and wwoofers (willing workers on
organic farms).
   The Food Forest’s main crops are
pistachios and carobs, however, the farm
follows the permaculture principle of
diversity, combining orchards of stone
fruit, apples and pears, other nut                PISTACHIOS IN FULL-BLOOM
varieties as well as rare fruit varieties, a
market garden and revegetated bush.            kernel float and are removed                              IN HARVEST-MODE
   Ripe pistachios sit on trees like           for composting.
bunches of baby pink coloured flowers.            Next the nuts are spin-dried
Harvesting them is a little less delicate!     in an old washing machine,
In groups of four, we lay out two large        then put on trays in a
tarps under the trees then shake each          dehydrator for between 36-48
tree or hit the bunches with poplar poles      hours to reduce their moisture
onto the tarps. After a few trees, when        content to under 12%. The end
the tarp is usually too heavy to drag, we      result is the tastiest pistachio
empty the contents into large wooden           I’ve ever tried – they don’t
crates covered with coarse wire mesh to        need to be salted.
sift out the leaves and twigs. From there,        It was great to be involved
the tractor takes them to be processed.        in the process of making our
   Pistachios are covered with a light         food grow, and to be on a
pink, mango-smelling hull that must be         property that is an example of                        pistachio harvesting courtesy of ABC1’s
removed; the Brookmans have a dehuller         self-sufficiency in action.                           Landline special on the Brookmans
for this. The nuts are also put through a                                                            (
little bath where the ones without a             There’s more on the Food Forest and                 2208413.htm).
  Two spots on the MC                          PRICEWATCH
                                                Product                             Alfalfa House*    Health Food    Supermarket     Supermarket
There are two vacancies on the co-op’s
                                                                                     Cert. Organic           Store   Cert. Organic   Not Organic
board, known as the Management                                                                       Cert. Organic
Committee (MC). If you’d like to help
shape the direction of Alfalfa House,           Soap, personal, pure 100g                  $2.46           $3.80           $2.06         $0.82
why not join? To find out more,                 Tofu, firm, 100g                           $1.49           $1.90           $1.39         $0.99
including Directors’ Duties and the             Cheese, Edam, 100g                         $3.78           $4.20           $3.27         $2.72
minutes from the meetings, go to www.           Plums, Radiance, 100g                      $0.97           $0.80             NA          $0.30 .
                                                Earl Grey tea, loose leaf, 100g            $6.67           $7.80             NA          $2.45
If you’d like to chat to an MC member
about it, email coordinator@                   SURVEY NUMBER 7, APRIL 2009      NA: not available                        – Compiled by Jo Rose .                             *PRICES   ARE WITH THE BASIC   10%   MEMBER DISCOUNT.
                   what’sNEW                                                All that fuss

                                    WITH MONIKA BAUMANN
                                                              Setting up children’s                            not a struggle over food
                                                              healthy eating habits                               and don’t use food
New rices from Thailand
While we no longer stock Australian-grown organic
                                                              early – right from
                                                              their very first bites,    Healthy                    treats as a bribe to
                                                                                                                     get them to eat
                                                              through their                                          meals. This sets up
brown or white rice (because it is no longer grown), we
do have a number of varieties of rice in the shop, some
of which are new. And they are organic or chemical-free
and Fairtrade and grown in a country better suited to
                                                              toddler years is the
                                                              most important
                                                              thing we can do for
                                                                                         START    WITH
                                                                                              Lucy Marinelli
                                                                                                                     bad eating patterns
                                                                                                                    for life. Regulate
                                                                                                                   eating times and
                                                              their health. Because                              patterns and involve
growing rice than the driest inhabited continent on the
                                                              adolescents and adults tend                    children who are old
planet. Our white jasmine, coral, purple, and black rices
                                                              to be drawn to those foods that        enough in the preparation of
all come via Alter Eco, which only buys Fairtrade organic
                                                              featured heavily in their early        their meals. Include a range of
products. The company works directly with growers to
                                                              diets, it’s important to start them colourful foods and allow the
set up farmer co-ops and the farmers themselves decide
                                                              healthy now and keep them              kids to choose from them.
how to invest the higher prices they receive for their rice.
                                                              healthy for life. While this           Encourage self-feeding as much
   These rices are grown in Thailand, which isn’t too far
                                                              ensures their vitamin and mineral as possible. Remember that
away. The black and purple rices are new to Alfalfa while
                                                              intake is sufficient to sustain        children’s stomachs are small and
the coral rice is now back in stock, along with the
                                                              their busy lives, it also gives        ensure that they are not filling
jasmine. All are bought in bulk, thanks to the efforts of
                                                              them a better chance against           up on juice or other fluids before
various food co-ops, including Alfalfa, in persuading
                                                              eating disorders and obesity later their meals. Try not to eat too
AlterEco and the producer co-ops to offer a bulk range
                                                              in life.                               late in the evening when they
as well as the pre-pack with which they began. It’s taken
                                                                 Young children are                  simply may be too tired.
a couple of years to get there but it underscores how
                                                              considered fussy eaters. Aim
food co-ops can help reshape the food system.                                                        A quick, easy, lumpy
                                                              to keep foods and meals varied
White jasmine As its name ‘Hom Malee’ or ‘scented             and remember to introduce              custard recipe
rice’ indicates, jasmine rice develops a delicate aroma       children to foods that you             Banana custard made straight
when cooked for 15 minutes and brings out the perfume         yourself may not like. They may        from your fruit bowl is a very
of a jasmine blossom. This unique aroma is a result of        have different tastes to you and       yummy and natural alternative to
the dry, salty soil specific to the Isan plateau in Thailand. they may prefer other foods.           the highly processed, laden-
It can be used as a main dish, a side dish or, as in          Parents tend to give up after two with-sugar version you can get
Thailand, a snack and is produced by the Surin co-op.         or three times when their child        in supermarkets. Blend a small
                                                              rejects a new food, but don’t be       banana with a couple of chunks
Coral rice (Khao Deng variety) is derived from an             put off. Research shows that it        of celery. Ensure that you blend
ancient red rice grain and obtained by a natural              can in fact take up to ten             until the celery is completely
technique using traditional millstones. The polished          attempts before a food is              smooth. Mash another banana
grains acquire a coral colour and while the grains retain accepted into the diet.                    and mix it gently into the puree
all the natural richness and minerals of wholegrain red          Lumpy foods and foods               to create a more custard-like
rice, they’re lighter and easier to digest. The coral colour  with a little texture need to          consistency. I find bananas
remains when cooked for no more than 15 minutes.              be introduced early. Again,            puréed on their own can be a
                                                              research shows that introducing        little too sweet and the celery
Purple rice is of the Khao Gram variety, glutinious           more textured food later can           cuts the sweetness without
when cooked and has a delicate, sweet palate. Due to its      lead to children becoming fussy.       taking over the taste. Bananas
rich taste and aesthetic appeal, this traditional rice is     So don’t purée all those lumps         provide plenty of vitamin C,
used by local communities for feasts and celebrations. It out to achieve that ultra-smooth some of the B vitamins,
is grown exclusively in the fertile soil of the Esan          finish; just simply mash the food potassium, magnesium,
Plateau, in Thailand’s east, close to the Cambodian           with a fork or leave some soft         manganese and even the omegas
border. The purple rice is mixed white jasmine to give it     lumps in there.                        3 and 6, while celery adds
an better texture yet retaining its colour and sweet             Don’t stress that your              sodium, vitamin A, K and folate.
flavour. It’s grown without chemical fertilisers by the       child is not eating enough. If A lovely little vitamin and
Phakao Cooperative.                                           your child seems healthy and has mineral meal that tastes great
                                                              no trouble running around              too. Give it a try with those
Black rice – aka king of the golden triangle – is a rare energetically and driving you               delicious Lady Finger bananas in
heirloom wholegrain variety from Thailand’s Chian Mai         mad, then they are eating              season now.
region. It is deep black in colour, has a nutty flavour       enough! Remember too that as
with notes of pepper and a crunchy texture. It’s also         they go through their toddler          You can also introduce children
grown without chemical fertilisers.                           years, their growth rate begins to to the more exotic fruits and
MORE INFO on the farmers’ co-ops go to                        slow and this may affect how           vegetables when they are in                  much food they need.                   season such as the ultra-
                                                                 Make mealtimes enjoyable, colourful dragonfruit.
PRODUCTS/thai_rices.htm                                   7
                                               Recipes of the moment
Vanilla Sago Pudding

  2⁄   cup sago
   800ml cups coconut milk
   2⁄ cup rapadura sugar or half a cup of
                                                such as cinnamon and
agave syrup or honey                            vanilla, to make the drink
   1⁄ teaspoon salt
                                                more agreeable to European
   1 vanilla bean, split, with seeds            tastes. This beverage
scraped                                         evolved into the more
   1 egg, separated (optional)                  familiar hot chocolate we
   1⁄ teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                have today.
   Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and                                                        from the pod before removing the bean
                                                  3⁄   cup rapadura sugar
scrap the seeds from the pod. Use both              4                                           if you choose. Vanilla beans can usually
the pod and the seeds – splitting the              2 vanilla beans, sliced open                 be used several times depending on how
                                                   1⁄ cup cacao powder or unsweetened
bean exposes more of the surface of the              2                                          strenuously you’ve used them. For
bean to release a stronger flavour.             cocoa powder                                    instance, if you’ve placed a vanilla bean
   Put all ingredients in a heavy                  1 tsp cinnamon                               in a pitcher of lemonade, the bean will
                                                   1⁄ tsp cayenne powder (optional)
saucepan. Cook over low heat 15-20                   4                                          still contain a lot of flavour when the
minutes, stirring regularly. Be sure to stir       Split open the vanilla beans and             beverage is gone. Rinse and dry the bean
the bottom of the pan to prevent                scrape out the seeds. Retain the pods for       pieces after using them. If there is only
scorching. When sago pearls are slightly        use in other recipes such as the pudding.       the pod left or if you‘ve used the bean
translucent, remove pan from heat. Let             Add to remaining ingredients and             several times, let the pieces dry and
cool slightly.                                  blend for 30 seconds.                           retire them to the sugar or coffee jar as
   Whisk in egg yolk. Cool completely.             Store in an airtight container. The mix      they will exude a delicate flavour and
   When cool, beat egg white until stiff        will keep for two months. Use about 1⁄2         fragrance for some time to come. Beans
and fold in. Remove vanilla bean and            cup of the mix in hot water or to desired       that have been used once or twice can
spoon tapioca into bowls. Garnish with          strength. Add your favourite milk if            also be ground and used to add extra
fresh seasonal tropical fruits and grated       preferred.                                      flavour to icecream, biscuits and cakes.
or dessicated coconut, if desired.
                                                OPTION. For a Mocha Mix, add one                STORAGE. Vanilla beans will keep
                                                teaspoon of instant espresso powder.            indefinitely in an airtight container in a
Vanilla-infused                                                                                 cool, dark place. Don’t refrigerate them
                                                HOW TO PREP THE BEAN. To cut
hot chocolate                                   open a vanilla bean lay it flat on a
                                                                                                as they can harden and crystallise. Dry or
SERVES 2-4                                                                                      withered beans can be rehydrated in a
                                                cutting surface. Hold one end of the            warm liquid and will still contain flavour.
The Aztecs and Mayans drank ground              bean to the surface and carefully slice
cacao beans mixed with water in a               the bean open lengthwise (above right).            All past recipes are on the website.
beverage called xocoatl, or bitter water.       When separated, thousands of tiny seeds         Go to
Europeans later added sugar and spices,         are exposed. You can scrape the seeds           recipes.htm
Feed Bin
Raffle Winner
                    The co-op’s office floor needs some work. Do               Cooks River Sustainability Festival
                   you have materials (lino or masonite or similar)           SUNDAY APRIL 19, 2009
for March          you could donate or know where we can procure Three shifts 10.30am-12.30pm, 12.30-2.30pm, 2.30-4.30pm
 is Danny           them and/or can you help us with the work to      Help on a stall promoting the co-op and selling pre-packaged
Hirschfield         put flooring in place? Contact Nija 9519 3374   stock. Simple and lots of fun. If you’re interested in volunteering
CONGRATULATIONS        or email:       at any time on the day, please email Jo (

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