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.
1431395536192

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

Happy Ultimate π Day!

As you know, today is Ultimate Pi Day because, according to the American system of writing dates, it is 3.14.15 and ultimate π was technically achieved at 9:26:35. For all of us that follow the “normal” (lol) system, I think we don’t really get to celebrate it until the 3rd of January 4159 but like that’s ever gonna happen so I’ll take this one for now. Owl and I always try to celebrate pi day with some pie but Dinky Di’s was on the wrong corner from Antidote coffee so we just had pizza (also called pie in America … Yes to them everything is pie) and watched a movie. π We like to use Lebanese bread as the pizza base because it gets crunchy on the rim yet stays moist where the toppings reside. It is also not so thick as to fill you up (= >π) but strong enough not to fall apart when you pick up a slice. I ran out of Sriracha so Kewpie had to do.

Hope you all had a mathematical π day, as we did (or will have for all our American and Pacific Islander readers), and Happy Ultimate Pi Day!

p.s anyone notice they were showing the Life of Pi on TV tonight? The geeks live amongst us yet!

p.p.s missed the midnight deadline by 4 min. Darn!

Burger Project – World Square

As you all know, Neil Perry opened a burger joint next to Din Tai Fung at World Square. It offers the same 36 month grass fed Cape Grim beef (albeit the chuck and brisket cuts) and triple-cooked fries as Rockpool Bar and Grill, but with a more chill atmosphere and affordable price tag.

Nice atmosphere and quite private
Nice atmosphere and quite private

Now, I’m not going to explain the flavours in detail. There are plenty other blogs that do that; I’m just here to give you more pictures of stuff on the menu. Suffice to say I was pretty happy with the food here and I’m not sure the bad reviews on Urbanspoon were warranted. Especially considering everything was under $10.

I also did not doctor any of the images so that you have a non-biased view of what the food actually looks like. #nofilter #sorryitsblurry

Our tray of noms!
Our tray of noms!
Triple fried chips with smokey chipotle chilli sprinkles. The alternative was just +salt. These babies were perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, even the ones at the bottom of the cup! The seasoning was very tasty and not spicy.
Triple fried chips with smokey chipotle chilli sprinkles.

The alternative was just +salt. These babies were perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, even the ones at the bottom of the cup! The seasoning was very tasty and not spicy.

Spicy Chicken Burger. It is what it is. Not that spicy.
Spicy Chicken Burger. It is what it is except, not that spicy.
Such a juicy, succulent burger. Not too salty but just enough to keep you wanting moat. I love the Maccas Quarter Pounder and this sure reminds me of a tastier version. Not a fan of the raw onions, though. Why! Why raw when cooked is infinitely yummier  :(
Cheeseburger

Such a juicy, succulent burger. Not too salty but just enough to keep you wanting moat. I love the Maccas Quarter Pounder and this sure reminds me of a tastier version. Not a fan of the raw onions, though. Why! Why raw when cooked is infinitely yummier 😦

Cheese & Bacon. The Cheese^10 because, well, bacon!
Cheese & Bacon. The Cheese^10 because, well, bacon!
Crispy hot wings with classic hot sauce. You know how I kept saying all the above mentioned foods weren't spicy? This is not one of them. It definitely packed a tangy, spicy punch and I could not help nut lap up every last bit of the sauce. The skin was gloriously crispy without being oily. So crunchy that, without meaning to, crumbs fell into my burger and then into my mouth. Mmmm texture. Defs gonna try the version with szechuan pepper next time.
Crispy hot wings with classic hot sauce.

You know how I kept saying all the above mentioned foods weren’t spicy? This is not one of them. It definitely packed a tangy, spicy punch and I could not help but mop up every last bit of the sauce. The skin was gloriously crispy without being oily. So crunchy that, without meaning to, crumbs fell into my burger and then into my mouth. Mmmm texture. Defs gonna try the version with Szechuan pepper next time.

Wash it all down with a cold, creamy strawberry shake. With added malt, or course. I kept browsing the web to see if anyone had compared the normal shake with the thick shake but no luck. Nonetheless, the normal shake was still pretty thick. Someone compared it to the Shake Shack. I think it is slightly thicker, but it could have been the added malt. Very flavoursome and does not taste like fake strawberry but a blend (which is my favourite because I actually like the hot pink flavour).

Wash it all down with a cold, creamy strawberry shake. With added malt, or course. I kept browsing the web to see if anyone had compared the normal shake with the thick shake but no luck. Nonetheless, the normal shake was still pretty thick. Someone compared it to the Shake Shack. I think it is slightly thicker, but it could have been the added malt. Very flavoursome and does not taste like fake strawberry but a blend (which is my favourite because I actually like the hot pink flavour).

Impressively, the in-store menu matches the online menu perfectly (not necessarily true for many places). There was only one extra addition – the Australian Burger – but this may be due to Australia Day being a couple of days before.

I would definitely go back. The serves were just enough that you could enjoy a burger, fries and shake comfortably, and then even contemplate dessert (I wanted dessert, the other were not so keen so I got froyo elsewhere). Perhaps Aqua S for some soft serve with grilled marshmallows and fairy floss?  😀

This meal was independantly sought and paid for by the authors.

Burger Project
World Square (next to Din Tai Fung upstairs)
644 George Street, Sydney

Nana Chocs

Abuelita Hot ChocI was given this packet of Mexican hot chocolate to try from a colleague to got it from the US. I was very interested to try it since chocolate pretty much came from that continent and I’ve never tried “Mexican” hot chocolate before.

Abuelita” means “grandmother”, and was invented in Mexico in 1964, though it wasn’t until much later that Nestle acquired the brand. Its really funny how a lot of American stuff still seems so exotic to me even though we get a lot of imports now but it turns out that Abuelita is really common – a staple almost!

I made it with half hot water/half milk and, due to their Spanish influence, I thought the drink would be a lot thicker and sweeter – like the delicious, almost mind-numbingly rich ambrosia from San Churros – but it was pleasantly light. It was sweeter than the other hot chocolate from Nestle but not overpoweringly so. I thought it tasted nutty with a slight cinnamon flavour. Owl was not such a huge fan but I enjoyed it.

I probably would not buy it due to its pronounced sweetness (its a weird sweetness that a lot of American chocolate products seem to have). My favourite night cap still consists of 2 teaspoons each of Milo and Oxfam Free Trade hot chocolate, half hot water/half skim milk; quick microwave, and marshmallow on top.

Lumpin Awesome.  ❤

Drink tea for World Water Day

HandwashingHappy World Water Day, everyone!

Worldvision Australia has partnered with Chatime Australia today for World Water Day. 10% of all hot and iced teas purchased on 22 March 2014 will go towards transforming the lives of children, families, and entire communities through the precious gift of water. Now thats refreshing!  🙂 Read more here.

Cup-e diem

Who says sustainability can’t be tasty?

edible coffee cup
Morning cup – edible biscotti coffee cup
choc chip cookie milk shots
Night cap – choc chip milk shots.

Time To Fight Back

It started with milk, then bread. Predictably the battle then spread to produce, with the fruit war making headlines daily. Owl and I were becoming increasingly uncomfortable and wary of these so-called ‘great savings’ which may be great in the short term, but will no doubt ultimately cause endless grief once all competition has been wiped out and mass market monopoly rears it’s ugly head.

Besides the fear of jacked up prices, there is also the fear of Aussie farmers throwing in the trovels and calling it a day for better pay in other industries. If we set prices of commodities by the amount we earn and spend, how can we expect farmers to survive on losses and minimal wages for the sake of our own greed? We would rather buy an iPad than think twice about whether our grocery savings are driving farmers out of work. We feel good about buying fair trade items from Oxfam but forget about doing the right thing by our own countrymen.

zucchini
from Little Eco Footprints

It is time to fight back. I was going to write a whole article about this but I think this blog does it so well that I’m just going to redirect you to it (I hope you don’t mind, Tricia!). I urge you to please think about the future of produce supply in Australia and to make an educated choice when you make your grocery run. I’m not talking about buying organic, GM-free, free range etc (even though they are good too). I’m talking about Australians supporting Australians and doing justice to generations of farmers choosing to feed you as a profession. I hope you understand that it is no less noble than a doctor saving your life, or a teacher educating your kids, or a social worker caring for the needy.

A website not linked on Tricia’s site is the Aussie Farmers Direct. Don’t forget also that the Pyrmont Grower’s Markets are on this Saturday (4 Feb 2012) from 7-11am and are on every first Saturday of the month. Might see you on Saturday if you go  😉

Night Owls Kids Film Fest

The newly opened Darling Quarter at Darling Harbour is hosting two weeks of free outdoor cinema from 10 – 23 January screening 14 classic and contemporary family favourites. The fun starts at 6pm with films commencing at 6:45pm nightly.

Owl and I watched Tangled (2010) tonight after having $12 steak at Stacks (Mon-Wed). It comes with either salad or chips and is about 300g.

Steak & Salad

The steaks were a little chewy (akin to most cheap steaks) but had a nice smoky flavour to it. I recommend ordering the steaks one level below what you like e.g. medium-rare for a medium steak. Dinner only starts at 6pm but they do offer a tapas menu beforehand. Since we only had about 15 mins to go we just ordered some beautifully crisp Pumpkin Arancini, which came with a tomato salsa and fronds of baby basil. I swooped in before we took pictures. Sorry, my bad  :p

 The showground isn’t a large space but sufficient for the number of people that show up (since kids usually take only half the space one needs hehe). There are also benches and random ledges to sit on near the restaurants if grass isn’t your thing. Sound quality was very good and managed to rise above some of the rowdier bar patrons behind. Picture quality was also good. I would recommend bringing a jumper and a rug. It got pretty cold towards the evening despite the 27°C day!

Park Bench

I had been looking forward to trying the Lemon Meringue gelato and the Salted Caramel Popcorn gelato from Meno Diciotto ever since they opened so this was the perfect opportunity. The Lemon was a beautiful blend of creamy tartness; not quite sorbet but more like chilled lemon curd. Soft and slightly chewy bits of candied lemon surfaced every so often to add a nice texture to the gelato, as did the more rarely found meringue. The Popcorn tasted like Macadamia but left kernelly bits in your mouth after the gelato dissolved which I very much disliked. They also sell little bags of popcorn if you want some for the movies! Service was efficient and genuine. Again, scarfed the gelato before any pictures were taken. Oops  ><

Stacks Tavern More Seating

Steak & Chips

Here is the rest of the schedule from the Precinct website:

Wednesday 18 | Ratatouille (2007)
Thursday 19 | Sleeping Beauty (1959)
Friday 20 | Wizard of Oz (1939)
Saturday 21 | Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
Sunday 22 | Happy Feet (2006)
Monday 23 | Doctor Do Little (1965)

Oat Pancakes

The fruits make it healthy.. ahem.
The fruits make it healthy.. ahem.

Besides instilling in me a love for bacon, teaching me about poutine and other such useful things as how to pronounce ‘couch’ authentically, Caleb-the-Canadian taught me a simple pancake recipe which I have since not found cause to find another. It goes as such:

1 cup of flour
1 cup of milk
1 egg
1 pinch of salt

I forget which flour to use so I always use self-raising (it’s my just-in-case flour).

One beautiful morning, I decided that we needed some pancakes for breakfast. And not just any pancakes but oatmeal pancakes! I whipped up Caleb’s foolproof recipe, replacing half a cup of flour with half a cup of quick oats.

Make a well in the middle of the sifted flour, pour in the wet ingredients and mix in the flour a little bit at a time from the crumbling flour walls. This is to ensure you get a smooth batter. A few quick mixes after full incorporation and you’re ready to pour it in lots onto the buttered pan. I always re-butter the pan between each pancake otherwise the subsequent pancakes don’t get a crisp golden-brown exterior. Keep the heat on medium and flip the pancake when bubbles start to pop on the surface.

Voila! Stacks of comfort dripping with liquid love.  Happy New Year, guys!  🙂

NB. I actually find the original recipe 1 pancake too much for 2 people so I tend to reduce the flour and milk a bit with no negative effects.

Shepherd’s Meat Pie

I love the slow cooker Owl’s mum gave us last Christmas. With such horrible weather this week, I decided to make some pie. We don’t have a lot of time to cook so we tend to do a big cook once a week and eat it for about 5 days or so. Since puff pastry does not keep well, I used mash for the topping instead. Think of this as a hybrid meat and Shepherd’s pie.

Cheesy crust
Mmm cheesy crust take me home!

I tend to eye my measurements as supposed to actually measuring them so take the following metrics with a grain of salt  😛

Pie Innards
1 kg chuck steak
1 Tbs Soya Sauce (Kikkoman ftw. If using a chinese brand, add a bit more)
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs chinese rice wine
1.5 Tbs tomato paste
4-5 carrots
6 cloves garlic
1 cup frozen peas
2 ‘petals’ of star anise
2 dried sage leaves
1 beef stock cube
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
Half cup of water

I had about a Tbs of dried porcini mushroom lying around so I snipped it up and threw it in. Then I found some unfinished coke which also went in (~ quarter cup).

Chuck everything into the slow cooker, set it on low and then go to bed (or work).After about 8 hours, set to high and thicken with cornstarch (2-3 Tbs, mix with cold water until dissolved, pour into innards and mix thoroughly. Sauce will thicken gradually as the cornstarch cooks).

Innards
Pie Innards

Pie Hat
800g potatoes (I used washed. Don’t use waxy potatoes like Desiree or Kipfler)

 Start with room temperature water. Boil until soft then mash with milk to a smooth consistency (practise your eyeing method, lol). Place mash on Pie Innards, make pretty patterns with your fork, sprinkle on some cheese and bake it at 200°C until golden brown (~20min).

Pie is for the week
A week's worth of pie!

The innards will taste saltish until you add the mash then its just right. Makes about 8 serves.