Monday, August 29, 2011

Caring for their People: The Wiradjuri

The Wiradjuri are the largest indigenous nation in NSW.  The name Wiradjuri means people of the three rivers, the three rivers being the Lachlan or Kalarie, the Macquarie and the Murrum-bidgee.  Their totem or emblem is the goanna.

Culturally, the Wiradjuri are incredibly deep and spiritual people. To us white fellas, Australian indigenous folk are about as far removed from us as we are from Eskimos.  We believe in money, cars, plasma tv's and other material things: ownership if you like. The Wiradjuri see themselves as custodians of the land and their culture, not owners.  A polar opposite to our fast paced consumer oriented Western 'lifestyle'.  They have a history that goes back 40,000 years, compare that with a piddly 200 years of Ozcupation.

When I heard of the Wiradjuri Cultural Centre at Condobolin, smack bang in the middle of New South Wales, I was intrigued and wanted to know more.  So I called in on my way through town and was immediately spellbound by the building and the people.

The cultural centre is the brainchild of Percy Knight, a Wiradjuri man and former footballer from Condobolin.  The building is constructed in a ring shape, much like a ceremonial corroboree ground.  It is made out of local red earth compressed into bricks.  Timber and painted glass windows complete the picture.  But it is the centre of the building that attracts the eye.  At it's heart is an eagle perched high on a carved tree, symbolising their connection with the land, creatures and living beings, and their ancestors .  An incredibly powerful statement of Aboriginal culture.

Inside the building are training rooms and a Yarn-up space. The Yarn-up space is where Wiradjuri will discuss, develop and bounce aspects of their culture in the traditional manner.  The training rooms complete with painted murals of traditional Wiradjuri life will be a space for learning and dissemination.

A garden is being completed, with a statue of a proud Wiradjuri Warrior at it's centre.

I cannot understate the significance of this project to a proud nation of people.  All Australians of all colour, creed and race should visit and learn.

The official opening of the Wiradjuri Cultural Centre is on 27th September and will be presided over by one Kevin Rudd.

First batch of bangers!

home made, first lot

Beef and Sundried Capsicum with cracked black pepper

100% yum

Roughly, the recipe is

1.2kg of good beef, I used round beef from the local butcher
1 cup of sundried capsicum preserved in olive oil, from a jar
Cracked black pepper (not measured, just use your eye)
Sea salt

first dice the beef into chunks
then using a hand mincer, mince the beef with a coarse plate
pass the mince back through the mincer, using a funnel to fill the sausage skins. try not to leave airpockets in the snag or the skins will split
fry in olive oil and season with salt whilst frying.

Absolutely the bees knees

Friday, August 26, 2011

Zuchinni, Sweet Corn and Broccoli Pasta

This is a tasty little dish of fresh vegetables and spaghetti, made in a modern sort of way.  You can vary your ingredients if you like, but don't over crowd the dish with too many flavours, it just won't work.  Keep it simple and enjoy the result :)

2 Zuchini, sliced into 2 cm chunks
1 large corn cob
small head of green fresh broccoli cut into 4cm pieces

2 tbsp sour cream or creme freche
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper.

1/2 pack of spaghetti, cooked in boiling salted water until al dente

steam the vegetables in a steamer over boiling water. exact time depends on the size and shape of the veg, but it takes around 10minutes for the broccoli and sweet corn, and about 5 minutes for the zuchinni.  Remove the corn kernels from the cob, using a tea towel as it will be hot!

once the vegetables are steamed, place in a large frying pan with a good slug of olive oil, and cook further for 1 minute over a medium heat and add the remaining sauce ingredients.  Season well with salt and pepper.

To finish the dish, add in drained spaghetti and a little of the cooking water, like you see on the cooking shows. The water helps make the sauce.  Mix the sauce with the pasta.

Serve in pasta bowls and top with more lemon juice and grated parmesan cheese

Monday, August 22, 2011

Waste not Want Not

volunteers harvesting pumpkins
 An inspirational story of farmers giving back to the community, in this case the city.

Riverina Farmers Give Back to the City

Cooperation between the Uniting Church, the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Carrathool Shire Council and local farmers has led to the launch of Waste Not Want Not - a unique project that will deliver otherwise wasted produce from the district to the tables of hungry families throughout New South Wales and the ACT.

The humble butternut, on their way to Sydney
 With the help of Waste Not Want Not, fresh fruit and vegetables will now be saved and distributed through Foodbank NSW in Sydney to charities throughout New South Wales and the ACT.

For the past ten years there have been calls for the city to support the bush.  Now farmers are in a position to look with some hope toward the future and say, "Here's something we can do for you."

By bringing together various community groups, government organisations and individuals, Waste Not Want Not will also help build resilience and social capital in the Carrathool Community.

Where is Carrathool?  It is a shire in the western riverina, 1 hour west of Griffith centred around the town of Hillston, and the villages of Goolgowi, Carrathool, Rankin Springs and Merriwagga.
Some of the people involved in the project, at the Foodbank Warehouse in Sydney

Andy's Beef Bourgoigne

ok it's was made with claret not burgundy, but it's still beef and red wine dish.

750g Gravy Beef, Chuck steak or similar beef with sinew
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
good grind of black pepper
1/2 cup red wine (I used Blue Pyreenes Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Victoria Oz)

Marinate the beef for 2 hours.

1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrot

Olive Oil

In a heavy based pot, fry the vegetables in the olive oil for 5 minutes, until clear. Season well with salt.
Transfer to a baking dish
Fry the drained beef in oil and transfer to the baking dish
Add the beef and wine juices, reduce for a couple of minutes.
Add 1 tsp flour mixed in a little of the juice, to make a slurry, and stir for a minute, Add to the baking dish
Place in medium oven (180deg C) for 2 hours or until meat is tender.

Serve with dumplings or mashed potato.