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

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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)

Mecca Café, Ultimo, Sydney

I started drinking coffee out of necessity during my uni years but have grown to enjoy it and often cannot function without my morning cup now. Will someone please invent an alarm clock which makes you coffee? It’s Groundhog Day and Catch-22 at the same time every morning in my bedroom. Need to get up to get my caffeine but can’t get up without my caffeine. Intravenous drip plskthx.

Anyway, Owl and I were interested in checking out Mecca in Ultimo after having been voted Best Café 2011 by the SMH Café Guide. The promise of very good coffee was lure enough without it being so enticingly close to us.

Being the indecisive creature that I am, I often pick an item from the menu before I visit an eatery but despite much scouring on the internet, I could not find the menu for Mecca. Everyone mentioned the same thing: a good selection of salads, sandwiches, and your usual café array of pastries. Hmm.

We arrived at around 12pm and were surprised at how small the café was, plus it was completely packed! What little standing space they had was crowded with isolated individuals avoiding eye contact whilst waiting for their take-away. After surveying the vicinity and the menu (salads, sandwiches and 2 varieties of rather sad-looking pastries) we ordered our caps, a tuna sandwich to share, and plonked ourselves on the one communal table; shuffling the chairs a little to resemble some sort of meagre privacy.

I don’t have any pictures, although these blogs do. Some would call the décor ‘concrete chic’ but it I found it hard and cold. The surroundings rather befit the service, actually. Plus, the lack of textiles made the small enclosure rather noisy. I prefer the cosy kinds of cafes; the ones with large amounts of character. The coffees were good, to be sure, but the blend ever-so-subtly hinted at a nuttiness akin to old cigarettes which I found slightly off-putting. To each his own, I suppose.

The star of the place was definitely the tuna sandwich which contained ample amounts of leafy veggies, tomatoes, capers, tuna and mashed hard-boiled eggs. It was a tuna nicoise salad imprisoned by thinly sliced, untoasted sourdough and generously drizzled with olive oil. Half of my sandwich landed on the table much to my regret as I really could have done with more, so delicious it was!

Not being the kind of place you would linger and chat, Owl and I scooted off within half an hour of arriving. To be honest, I found the place altogether overrated and cynically mentioned to Owl the wonders of political influences and bribery. I probably would go back, but only for the sandwich, and only as one of the many avoiding eye contact and shuffling their iPods nervously.

Mecca Espresso
(02) 9280 4204
646 Harris Street, Ultimo. NSW. 2007.
Monday – Friday: 7.00am – 4.00pm
Saturday: 8.00am – 3.00pm
Sunday: Closed