Harvested, Sydney

Did you know that $8-10 billion worth of edible food is wasted each year by Australian households alone? That is twice the amount of foreign aid Australia gives!

In fact:

  • Australians throw away 20% of groceries
  • Australia produces enough food for 60 million people annually, yet 2 million go hungry
  • Every day, 1 million Australian kids do not get breakfast or dinner

The list goes on.

OzHarvest is a non-profit organisation that has been rescuing surplus food meant for the bin for over 10 years and distributes it to 600 charities nationally. It is the only organisation in Australia who performs this work, and has converted over 10,780 tonnes of food destined for the landfill, into over 32,340,498 meals to date.

ozharvestToday, OzHarvest launched their pop-up cafe ‘Harvested’, which makes delicious meals out of rescued food for the public.

1431402559923Owl and myself have been supporters of OzHarvest for many a year now and were super keen to check the cafe out.
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Today’s menu consisted of:

12 May 15 MenuAt only $15, you can choose as many dishes as you like from a menu that changes daily, depending on what they have managed to rescue. Dish size depends on the number of people on your table as all dishes are made for sharing (except for soup dishes). The following dish sizes were for two (Owl and me).

House-made pide + smoked aubergine labnehHouse-made pide with smoked aubergine labneh
The pide was soft with a slight bite to it, like when you use some spelt flour. The labneh was smooth, creamy and was gloriously smokey with garlicky undertones.
Zuchinni fritters, dill sauce +herbsZucchini fritters with dill sauce and herbs
This dish stole the limelight. It was pillowy soft on the inside and lightly crunchy on the outside. It felt like eating soft-shelled crab and went beautifully with the yoghurt-dill sauce. The herb salad had crisp cucumbers, fresh mint, spring onion and parsley dressed in some sort of lemony buttery sauce that lifted the fritters beautifully. I would go back just to eat $15 worth of this dish…
Slow-cooked lamb, braised white bean + pickled radish12-hour slow-cooked lamb, braised with bean and pickled radish
This dish drew you in with its promise of warmth and comfort, and it did not disappoint. The beans were creamy and nicely balanced (not too salty like some places), and the lamb was braised to perfection. It was soft enough to portion with a butter knife and yet was distinctively and intensely flavourful. I was quite enamoured by the cute little pickled radish which added colour, texture and also cut through the rich lamb and beans beautifully.
Charred veggies, yoghurt + sesame spiceAs an after-thought, Owl and I asked for a dish of the ‘Charred veggies with yoghurt and sesame spice‘. Although very pleasant and not cooked to mush, it pretty much tasted like charred veggies with yoghurt and dukkah. I did notice the cleverly added bits of roasted kale which added to the nuttiness of the dish. The beetroot also added beautiful pink swirls to the dish, enhancing it’s visual appeal even during consumption.

By the end, both Owl and I were comfortably full and completely satisfied, which means the portion sizes were good as we are both ‘healthy eaters’ (ahem). I was half wishing that they had a dessert dish but then remembered it was $2 coffee day at Antidote and did not mind so much  😉 1431402395454

The glass-walled restaurant was sunny, relaxed and friendly; with passion exuding out of all the volunteer waiters and waitresses there. Ronni Kahn, the founder of OzHarvest, was there to greet all the guests and make sure everything ran smoothly (which it did!). Everything was just beautiful and a big kudos to everyone who made this project such a success. Keep up the good work, guys!

Harvested is only open for lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11.30am – 2.30pm. No bookings taken so hurry – they are said to be closing at the end of July 2015.

If you cannot make it, fret not. Baraka, another pop-up restaurant from the founder of Chic Pea has opened in the same place and will donate part of its proceeds to OzHarvest. It opens for dinner Thurs-Sat from 6pm. Bookings will be taken.

#harvestedMore than the novelty and delicious food, it is important that we continue to support events like this to educate, create awareness and enhance sustainability. As Jeff Sachs said, “We face, therefore, a moral crisis, not a material crisis. We face a problem not of means but of ends. As Aristotle might have said, we have the techne (the technological know-how) but not yet the phronesis (the moral wisdom) to choose survival over death. We are trapped by an indifference that ironically has been magnified by America’s exaggerated defense of liberty at the expense of virtue.”

Perhaps Australians are not too far behind.

Harvested
56 Harris Street, Pyrmont, NSW
1800 108 006

More information: SMH Good Food :: Femail :: Ozharvest

A solution to try for Spider Mites on your plants!

For the last four or so years we’ve maintained two greenhouses on our balcony – growing chilli, oregano, mint and parsley. We also used to have basil (which Spider Mites destroyed), a single coriander shoot called “Dolly Parton” – because it was heavy and flopped over and Rosemary, which never took off. Most of the plants did reasonably well until they were hit with a double whammy infestation (against the odds of being elevated on a balcony and inside a greenhouse)!

IMG_3143

The first infestation was a moth, which led to caterpillars – those fat green juicy ones like in A Bug’s Life. The caterpillars required patience and picking them off one by one to remove the infestation. Needless to say, these came back a few times as you always miss one. Once those bite mark like holes start showing, you know it’s too late and you’ve already got a family chowing down on your plants.

The second infestation, which was much harder to get rid of and literally sucked the life out of all my beloved basil plants (three separate bushes) – was due to the difficult and dreaded Spider Mite! The first Basil plant was the weakest and succumbed to the fact the Mites drained the nutrients out of its stalks. The other two were better established and lasted a little longer, but since I didn’t want to use chemicals as I wanted to eat from the plants, I resorted to meekly trimming the plants – which only delayed the inevitable. In hindsight, I should have tried the method below earlier!

My Parsley was the only plant left after the initial Spider Mite infestation so they naturally migrated onto it and started to kill it too. A few weeks back, I trimmed off all the leaves and left pretty much just the stalks – but I knew this likely wouldn’t work. So I decided with nothing to lose, I would try the combination of Garlic and Chili sprayed over the plant and surrounding greenhouse. Boy am I glad I at least tried, it worked a treat! I sprayed the area only twice in a period of a week and the Parsley seems to be Spider Mite free. I was able to pick and eat the Parsley for the first time last night since this all started a couple of months ago. It no longer has the off colour of looming death, and the leaves look nice and healthy as you can see in the pictures of the leaves below. I unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for you) did not take any pictures of the infestation/Spider Mites – but if they come back I will update this post with pictures.

parsley2 parsley3parsley4

So if you have Spider Mites – you’ll be able to see by the reddish/orange leaves and the webbing they weave on the leaves.

Try this very natural and chemical free solution!

  • 1 Chilli (preferable a hot one)
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • Boiling Water
  • A jar
  • A spray bottle

bottle Home grown chilli - helping out fellow plants

Method:

Chop and crush the Garlic, you want the garlic juice to infuse the water and likewise do the same with the Chilli – just don’t touch your face after handling it. Put them into a small Jar and pour hot water from a kettle into the jar – so you get about a cup of hot water. Leave this to sit and cool down. Once this is cool pour the water into a spray bottle that you don’t mind smelling of Garlic from now on and add water if it’s not enough to get a good spray – just don’t dilute it too much. If you don’t have enough you can just re-boil what is in the jar. Try to strain out any chunks of Garlic or Chilli when transferring to the bottle so it doesn’t clog the spray nozzle.

Use:

Spray all over the plant so it’s saturated – under the leaves and stalk and into the soil too as the Spider Mites can sometimes hide there. Spray the surrounding area if it’s enclosed or the nearby vicinity just to make sure the mites go away completely (read that as die).

Repeat this a couple of times and check your plant in a week or so.

Note: don’t keep the solution too long in the spray bottle as it’ll start to smell/rot.

Leave a comment if it ends up helping your plants at all! We’d love to hear of more victories against these little buggers.

owl

Let the Tetrad Begin!

Don’t forget tomorrow evening (April 15 2014) – the first of the four slated lunar eclipse begin. Around 17:30-18:30 AEST (or moonset) is when it will be visible…or not visible since it’s an eclipse and the moon will be darkened. If there are clear skies and you can find a good vantage points facing an Easterly/horizon aspect preferably over water, you should definitely take a look!

Visit the Sydney Observatory website for precise details on the timing of the eclipse depending on your location. Most of the Eastern Australian states will have good view of this, unfortunately not so if you’re on the West Coast of Australia. There should also be plenty of other countries that see this too with New Zealand seeing the full eclipse.

It’ll be super cool too because it’s a blood moon and there will be four of them in the series that will appear so, quite a sight and fabled event. I read somewhere that the last few significant blood moons all sat comfortably around significant Jewish holidays (Passover and Tabernacles), no matter how you cut that information it’s a little eerie or ‘coincidentally’ timed.

If you’re a photographer, these are fun to take pictures of and totally safe (unlike solar eclipses)!

Happy star and moon gazing tomorrow!

 

owl

Weekly Planner – Android app

A new app I’ve discovered on the Google Play store is “Weekly Planner” by What App! – it’s everything I’ve been looking for in a simple and clean UI. It’s a little like the stock alarm layout with it’s simplicity, but the beauty is that you can set reminders for things you do regularly (which clears a lot of space in your mind). Things that you don’t really want to have to remember week to week, or things that do you want to remember and be consistent in doing. I’ve used it mostly for reminders of my weekly chore roster, so I can free up the mental space I would have used to focus on making my routines more efficient rather than trying to remember what day I had last done something.

It’s extremely useful to prompt you with the things that work on a semi regular basis. The app allows you to choose the repetition of days and the times you want to be reminded of the task. I’ve yet to find something that works in this way, previously I had dabbled with setting up a timetable for repetitive week to week reminders but nothing had suited the purpose like I had hoped. If you combine this with a good calendar app and a to do list you should have most of your organising needs taken care of relatively well. I currently use this in conjunction with Agenda Widget, GTasks and for one off random things tasks and Wunderlist to remember any lists of things I need to achieve or do for those events/tasks. Between these 4 apps I find all my organisational needs are met, they are also all free and have minimal permission intrusions or ads.

Weekly planner is a new app in the Play store and was last updated on February 28th 2014. It’s currently sitting with between 50-100 downloads, but definitely looks to be promising. A screen shot below from the developers shows an extremely clean layout. It’s nice and simple to set up.

If you’re looking for something that will give you notifications on your android drop down bar, this is a great option to try. It’s completely free, there are no ads and the permissions looked fairly reasonable from what I could find out about them.

This app has access to these permissions:
System tools
full license to interact across users
Affects battery
prevent device from sleeping
control vibration
Your applications information
run at startup

Try it and see what you think!

owl

Jurassic Lounge – 3 weeks left!

You only have three more weeks (Tues nights) to visit Jurassic lounge it closes the 3 April 2012. Ant and I went to check it out last Tuesday and had a great time. The theme was “gangster” and “hip hop”, all round it was very entertaining and with the free drink included in the entry it was definitely worth checking out. We were pretty stoked that we had the opportunity to check out the museum at night, as well as, they awesome Wildlife Photography exhibition we usually visit each year. So even if you just go in for that, grab a free drink and browse the great photos from 2011 (they had a lot of good shots) all for $15 (drink included).

We had fun petting a diamond python, playing connect four and just enjoying the fun atmosphere. If you’re otherwise a fan of Burlesque, music or silent discos – you definitely should pop by. Doors open at 5:30pm and close at 9:30pm.

Tickets are cheaper at the door than online, so don’t miss out on a good fun night!

http://www.jurassiclounge.com/

5 Reasons the Samsung Galaxy S II beats the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Starting off the year with both the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Nexus in my hand, I thought I’d write a few thoughts on my experience and research into the ‘better’ phone. Ultimately, I believe it’ll come down to each person’s personal choice, but on some fronts you can definitely feel the difference! I’ll break it down into five areas that led me to ultimately choose the S II over the Galaxy Nexus.

Side by side comparison

Left: Galaxy Nexus, Right: Galaxy S II

1. Hardware

If you’re looking for a phone with good specifications, runs on Android and has a decent camera then you really should be looking at these two phones! In terms of hardware the S II pips the Galaxy Nexus at the post. It has a 1.2 GHz dual-core “Exynos” system on a chip (SoC) processor, as well as, 1 GB of RAM and the WVGA Super AMOLED plus 4.3″ screen. Pretty good so far, the Galaxy Nexus on the other hand runs a dual-core 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4460 processor (ARM Cortex-A9) with 1 GB of RAM and a 4.65-inch 1280×720-pixel HD Super AMOLED PenTile display. From the research I’ve done, this seems to be of slightly lower specifications than the 9 month old S II, so on this front having the S II running the better hardware made sense in the long term (though there are other arguments there with it being ‘older’ in general). The difference is not huge, but it is noticeable.

The other camera on the front differed as well between the two phones, the S II hosts a 2 mp front facing camera compared to the Galaxy Nexus with its 1.3 mp camera. For me this was a bit of a make or break feature as I tend to use the phone for a lot of face to face conversations on Skype. You can definitely notice the quality of the video and recipients of my calls have also noticed the definition and clarity is much sharper (this may not be so good if you don’t want everything on your face to show).

2. Camera

The cameras on these are different and sort of backwards, the S II has the 8 mp camera and the Galaxy Nexus the 5 mp camera, now, having worked in the past in the camera industry I know megapixels mean diddly squat generally and shouldn’t be the only aspect of a camera you should focus on. Between these phones the differences are slight and I really think this will be personal preferences on colour, saturation etc. From what I’ve seen the Galaxy Nexus supposedly does better low light shots, but this has been found by some and not by others. I chose to go with the SII 8 mp because I noticed the colours to me looked more natural generally and the clarity overall was quite good and the end of the day it’s a camera phone, it’s not suppose to replace your SLR. The S II also seemed to handle filming in HD much better probably due to the processor differences.

On a plus for the Galaxy Nexus, it is VERY snappy from switching to camera and taking a shot, so in this sense the lag free might be a clincher for you. I found it a bit annoying because it was so fast that I would take random shots by accident, but that’s just a matter of getting used to I’m sure.

* Pictures in Ant’s article about the Night Owls cinema were taken using the S II camera.

3. Weight

What’s a few grams? The S II is purported to weigh around 116g whilst the Galaxy Nexus a heavier 135g. Not exactly back breaking, but there is a difference when holding them and I’m definitely not a believer of heavier = expensive. Heavier to me just means more likely to be damaged on impact. Lighter means it has a better chance of getting away with a fall. Not that I drop my phones! I’ve read a lot of people find the S II ‘flimsy’ but I have to say, I don’t agree, perhaps again because I haven’t come from an iphone which is significantly heavier at 140g which is a substantial and noticeable difference.

Curvy form factor

4. Screen

The screen on the S II (4.3″) has a slightly green/bluish hue to it, not so on the Galaxy Nexus which was nice and fairly white. That is one plus to the Galaxy Nexus over the S II, but the Galaxy Nexus doesn’t have plus AMOLED screen the Galaxy S II hosts. The other major factor here for me was the size of the Galaxy Nexus screen at 4.65″ this is a little too big for my hands and received some jokes from Ant that I wouldn’t be able to see if a Tsunami was coming because the phone was so large. If you’re looking for a large screen then check out the Nexus, or better still check out the Galaxy Note (which isn’t as large as it seems) especially if you’re looking for a “phablet”. A colleague has one and it’s actually quite functional in size.

5. Expandable memory

If you come from an Apple phone, this probably won’t be a big deal for you. For me it wasn’t going to break the deal, but I definitely prefer having an SD card that can corrupt that I can remove and expand in size. The S II was then the logical choice because the Galaxy Nexus was only available as a 16gb model (with a newer 32gb to come). So the limitation on available memory helped to push me towards the S II.

Finally

Overall, they are both nice phones the Galaxy Nexus has a really nice curvy form factor and an interesting tapered body, but considering you can get the S II for a lot less than the Galaxy Nexus, I would be inclined to pay less and still have the better specs and have the functions I like on the phone over the aesthetics and current OS. The lure of Ice Cream Sandwich isn’t a feature I felt compelled to have right away, as usually there will ultimately be some guinea pigs required to iron out bugs. Samsung has announced it would bring ICS to the S II likely by the first quarter of 2012, which only leaves a month a bit to wait.

If you can afford the costs/wait, the S III is rumoured to be on it’s way this year and apparently in the first quarter of 2012, of course that’s just the announcement, by the time the phone actually reaches consumers it’ll be much further down the track . So if you can, perhaps sit tight and wait it out, otherwise don’t look past the S II for the right price.

This wasn’t written as a full out comparison of the two, but just a few things I think stood out as considerations in keeping one phone over the other. If there are other factors you thought were crucial write a comment and let us know!

owl

Arvana Spa – Surry Hills, Sydney

Hello folks,

Ever been to Thailand and had a massage? Do you wish you could have one again? Well now you don’t have to go all the way there to experience some luxury, sure you’re not paying in Thai Baht, but you saved on the airfare at least.

Anyways, we thought we should share this lovely spa with you if you’re in metro Sydney. We’ve now been three times and every time we walk out feeling pretty good and very relaxed. If you enjoy pampering yourself once in a while, it’s definitely worth a try. The service is very efficient and friendly and they have a room for couples, friends or pairs of any sort really, which is great for a gift/treat! The music takes you to another world the aromas lull you into a sleepy daze, while you enjoy the expertise of the Arvana masseuse! You also get tea on arrival and another on completion of your treatment, as well as, a hot towel.

If you’re savvy you can usually also find some of those group discount vouchers, generally something along the lines of $49 for 80 mins, which is pretty good! Their prices are otherwise reasonable for that special treat. Ant and I usually try to make it there at least four times a year as a little present to ourselves every quarter for some relaxation and regeneration. A great wellness treat, though you can’t claim this on any health benefits.

They are currently based on Elizabeth St but will be moving and starting on the 1 Jan 2012 you can find them at:

648 Crown St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
T:+61 2 9698 8100

Open 7 Days
from 10am to 10pm.

http://www.arvanaspa.com.au/