General News

Kiama Artisan Food Festival

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

The Kiama Artisan Food Festival, to be held at the Kiama Showground and Pavilion on August 11 and 12, is an all too rare  opportunity to join in a celebration of our best local produce and cuisine. Saturday night features a 50 km dinner and on Sunday there is a market, workshops, kids cooking classes, live music and more.

The 50 km dinner is the inspiration of indigenous chef, Mark Olive, who brings the vibrant colours and earthy tastes of ancient outback food to the contemporary dining table. Award-winning caterers, Culinarius, are joining with Mark to feature the best of our fresh local produce in a three course showcase dinner with matching wines.

Mark will share with guests his approach to cooking inspired by watching his mother and aunts prepare meals and developed through training and working in acclaimed restaurants across the globe.

Sounds interesting? You’ll find more detailed information about the night and bookings at

Truffle Treat

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

There has always been a sense of the exotic surrounding truffles – a natural product held in high esteem in many European and Middle Eastern cuisines. Many of us are yet to see, smell and experience the taste of these underground marvels of nature which, in Australia, can only be harvested during the colder winter months.

We are fortunate to have a Truffiere in our own backyard and Slow Food Saddleback has organised an afternoon of exploring and experiencing the Black Perigord Truffles grown at Robertson Truffles. The afternoon includes a lunch showcasing truffles and a truffle hunt with the growers, Samantha and John, and their Lagotto Romagnolo Italian pooch, Bella. The event will last about 2 hours. 

The rich red soil, pristine environment and regular rainfall at Robertson all contribute to the quality of the truffles grown around the roots of some 375 oak trees on this 75 acre property. The Robertson truffles are larger than average size with excellent aroma, flavour and marbled texture. It’s said that fresh is the only way to really experience the mystic aroma of these ‘black diamonds’. On the truffle hunt you will experience this aroma at the source.

Date:           Saturday 28 July 2018
Time:           1:30 pm
Address:    151 McEvilly Road, Robertson
Cost:            Members $90; Non-members $110

Bookings: by Tuesday 24 July

Further information please email

Buena Vista Farm Tour

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

Regulars at Kiama Farmers Market will be aware that there has been a fair bit happening at Buena Vista Farm over the last year or so. Fiona and Adam have continued to develop their 18 acre sustainable operation and now have home grown coffee, bees, free range pigs, geese, ducks, goats and cows on the farm as well as their laying hens and meat chickens. There’s an interesting market garden and the commercial kitchen that produces the fermented goodies we enjoy at the markets.

Slow Food members and other interested folk are invited to join a guided tour of Buena Vista in early May. Adam will take us on a tour of the farm and Emmy King will show us around the market garden. After the tour we’ll get a chance to taste the home grown coffee at morning tea and chat to Adam and Emmy. The walking tour will take about an hour and a half and you’ll need to wear shoes that are suitable for walking in paddocks.

For those who haven’t been to Buena Vista, it is very aptly named -a truly beautiful location. The farm has been in Fiona’s family since 1859 when it was bought by her great-great-grandfather. Definitely worth a visit!

Venue:       Buena Vista Farm
250 Fern Street, Gerringong
When:        Tuesday 8 May 2018. Tour departs 10:00 am
Cost:            $20 members; $25 non-members
Bookings: by Friday 4 May
Attendance will be limited so early booking is advisable.

Slow Food @ Kiama Farmers Market

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

The Slow Food Saddleback team held another successful promotion as part of the Seniors Festival @ Kiama Farmers Market on 11 April.

Vicki, Celia and Carolyn ready to start cooking.

Carolyn and Celia did a sterling job, working within the vagaries of a pop-up market kitchen, to showcase the versatility of very much in-season eggplants with two cooking demonstrations. Vicki was on hand to help with the first demonstration and Rhonni played waitress. The wonderfully organised and energetic ‘Farmers Market Tricia’ had sourced the recipes and ingredients, set up the kitchen, pre-prepared the mixtures, printed off recipe sheets and hooked in to help and organise as needed.

Parmesan Crumbed Eggplant -cooked to perfection!

Both the miso glazed and the parmesan crumbed eggplants were well-received and, even though seniors were the focus of the day, it was good to see plenty of youngsters keen to try a new veggie dish and give it a stamp of approval.

With eggplants currently available from four of the market stallholders and no doubt a feature of many home veggie gardens, it’s a good time to look at new ways to use this extremely versatile and attractive vegetable. The parmesan crumb recipe in particular might be a good one for budding young chefs to try during the school holidays.

You’ll find both the recipes in the RECIPES section of this website, and we’ve added a couple of other favourites as well. The market stallholders tell us they  expect to have eggplants available for the next couple of months so if you have an eggplant recipe you would like to share (we might be needing some wintery ones soon!) we’d love you to email it to so we can share it in the RECIPES section.

Rhonni and Tricia passing round the cooked eggplant.
Chief taster Murray
Tricia prepares to serve the Nasu Dengaku

Interesting speaker

Date of the Event or Workshop: -


Slow Food Saddleback is planning some delicious and educational events for the next few months and will be featuring these on our website and on social media.

“iAccelerate – It’s Like Compost for Startups”

Omar Khalifa will talk to us about iAccelerate, University of Wollongong’s startup accelerator and incubator – now the nation’s largest.

iAccelerate is helping to create new pathways for startups to change the status quo including those with social and environmental purpose.

Omar Khalifa is the CEO of iAccelerate, and is driven by fuelling new ideas through innovation and collaboration. Omar has a passion for entrepreneurship particularly in the social enterprise and sustainability space and is driven by the possibilities that the interception of creativity and technology can deliver to innovation. Omar’s vision for iAccelerate is to create a place where artists, students from all disciplines, researchers and the community can rub shoulders and get exposed to new ideas to create sustainable businesses in the Illawarra.

Date and venue to be advised.


Special Event with Kiama Farmers Market – Save the Date

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

Slow Food Saddleback is joining with the Kiama Farmers Market to help raise much needed funds to keep the market running smoothly.

A special dinner featuring all produce from market stallholders will be held on Monday July 31 at The Siding in Gerringong. Details of the PopUP restaurant will follow very soon, but watch local social media for tickets, (we will not be doing the ticketing) so save the date.

More details will be emailed to members and subscribers soon.

The Schoolhouse Gerringong – Cheese Awards!

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

Kirsten McHugh of the Schoolhouse, Gerringong (founding member of Slow Food Saddleback)  and continued supporter of our events   has earned  Gold Medal for her Goat Curd Cheese, Silver for Crescenza, a northern Italian style soft, creamy cheese and Bronze for her fabulous Halloumi  at the Royal Easter Show. Congratulations Kirsten! 

Kirsten’s products will be available at the Kiama Farmers Market from Wednesday April 5th.

Helen Attwater, Kirsten McHugh, Trisha Ashelford at Friday nights film.
Helen Attwater, Kirsten McHugh, Trisha Ashelford at Friday nights film.

Wins for local milk, local cheeses, and a local cheesemaker

Former Saddleback founder/convivium leader Kirsten McHugh of the Schoolhouse, Gerringong, has won a gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the RAS Sydney Royal Show Cheese & Dairy awards for three cheeses from her range. Her Golden Goat cheese won Gold in the mould-ripened goat cheese class, her Italian styled soft cheese Crescenza won silver in the fresh, unflavoured cheese class and her haloumi a bronze in the haloumi class. These awards follow previous successes in the Dairy Industry Association Australia annual awards for her haloumi in 2014 (Silver) and 2015 (Silver). Kirsten, the founder and producer of Foxground Handmade Teas, has been making cows’ milk cheeses since 2013, sourced from local Gerringong milk. Since that time she has been producing an expanding range of those cows’ milk cheeses- haloumi, Mountain cheese, blue, crescenza, camembert, quark and greek-style yoghurt. Her haloumi in particular enjoys strong support in the region and in Sydney, as does her crescenza. The haloumi is especially popular – grilled and eaten without or with accompaniments such as melon, pickled cucumber or chilli jam. The crescenza is a soft, creamy cheese (nothing like Philadelphia), based on a cheese of the same name which is a part of the hallowed food culture of northern Italy. Its fresh, milky flavour can be combined with so many others, and it is a delicious aid in baking or grilling.

Kirsten extended her range in 2016, sourcing local goat milk to produce a fresh goat curd, fresh chevre rounds, a goat milk version of the crescenza, and the Golden Goat cheese for which she has now won recognition.

In this cheese-making journey, Kirsten was the first artisan cheesemaker in our immediate region. While she attended some cheesemaking courses in Australia and New Zealand, her range of cheeses is a product of her application (over many hours), her palate as well as her motivation to contribute to the food branding of our region. She does not attribute any of her spirit, or success, to her background as a lawyer!

The Schoolhouse Goat Curd is on the menu at South on Albany in Berry, and the Schoolhouse Golden Goat cheese is on the menu at the hatted Caveau in Wollongong. It is also sold at the Emporium in Berry, with others of her range. All of her cheeses are available at the Schoolhouse in Gerringong. She sells at regional and Sydney markets, including the Kiama Farmers’ Market.

It’s exciting that award-winning cheeses are being made in Saddleback territory, showcasing beautiful local milk. Saddleback is pleased to congratulate her, and to applaud her as a Slow Food archetype producer and promoter of our region and what it can, and does, offer.

Watch this space for to another smart event at The Schoolhouse coming soon.


Fair Food the Documentary

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

A large group of like minded Slow Foodies and Friends enjoyed this showing of  Fair Food the Documentary. This film highlights a growing movement of enthusiastic farmers, business people and communities trying to fix the food system in Australia. There is an alternative to supplying and/or shopping from the two major supermarkets now. This film was supported by overwhelming crowd funding support so we may see a sequel in a year or two.


After the film  a light supper was shared, with a cup of locally grown tea by Kirsten McHugh and some delicious home made treats. It was wonderful to see so many new faces at a Slow Food Saddleback event. Thanks to Celia Wade, Liz Churcher and Michael Bligh for their hard work organising this event.

Fundraiser Picnic at Jamberoo

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

Slow Food Saddleback hosted a fundraising picnic at Celia and Des’s farm in Jamberoo on Sunday 19 Feb.

Small BBQs were lit in fire places and people had delicious picnics under the trees.

The book exchange house that we are donating to the Kiama Community Garden had it’s first paint job. It will be installed the first week in March and you can swap a cookbook or gardening book when the garden is open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

The event raised money for Slow Food international as part of their appeal to help protect biodiversity around the world.

A relaxed and delicious day was had by all.

IMG_4693 IMG_4695 IMG_4697 IMG_4699

Revolve Centre – Shellharbour Recycling Centre

Hi folks.
Morgs, Anita Larkin and I were invited to help create a fixing and creating space within the newly improved REVOLVE centre at Dunmore/Shellharbour tip.
We have been dreaming, scheming, installing and painting .. and the resulting creating corner has been dubbed the Tinkerage. There are plans for workshops and fixing bees to be held there in the near future. Its similar to the Men’s Shed concept, but women are welcome too.

No pressure at all to come to the launch, the timing is a bit odd at 1-2pm this coming Monday,( and they’re asking for rsvps probably so they know how many sandwiches to make?) but it’s a pretty great place I thought you would like to know about. Think massive open-air garage sale/op-shop, with tools, building materials, fishing rods and other wotnots.

Pass this on to anyone who loves good junk and reducing wastage.

Best regards,

Mignon and Morgen


Slow Food Mildura National Conference

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

Just a little update on Slow Food Saddleback’s representation at the National Conference in Mildura.  Refer to the New Letter sent last week for details

Rayner and Gabriella, Des and Celia and Vick and Murray at the Murray River Salt beds for Stefano's picnic dinner
Rayner and Gabriella, Des and Celia and Vick and Murray at the Murray River Salt beds for Stefano’s picnic dinner
The local beer launched at the conference.
The local beer launched at the conference.
Welcome to Country by the Latje Latje,Barkindji and Kureinji nations.
Welcome to Country by the Latje Latje,Barkindji and Kureinji nations.
Celia and Vicki serving “The Pines Gelato” at Slow Food Saddleback’s stall at the Terra Madre Market.
Market talking circle topics.
The fabulous table settings at the Salt Dinner prepared by Stefano di Pieri
Tammi the Mistress Meatsmith from Jonai Farms Daylesford demonstrated her sausage making skills.
We couldn't resist this little folly. Sausages were cooked up for breakfast on the final day.
We couldn’t resist this little folly. Sausages were cooked up for breakfast on the final day.

Super Moon Event at Gerroa Beach

Date of the Event or Workshop: -


Astra taking a sneak peak

This wonderful event was dreamed up by Hellen Attwater and she did a fantastic job. Over 40 people braved the threatening weather for Slow Fish and Chips. She sourced local mullet and had it cooked at Gerringong Fish Shop.  It was delivered hot and scrumptious and was very well received on a blustery beach evening.  An assortment of salads and desserts were also served.



No matter how much howling we did we couldn’t get that MOON to peak through the cloud cover.

the gulls soon found us..
the gulls soon found us..However as we were driving home it suddenly emerged.

However as we were driving home it suddenly emerged. Even the best planned events can’t organise the moon to perform on request.

very shy super moon on this occasion
very shy super moon on this occasion

Phyco Food Co. at Kiama Good Food Market

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

On Sunday October 9th, Vicki and Celia set up shop to promote this wonderful local Seaweed product.  There was lots of interest and we sold quite a lot of product on the day. This was a good follow on from the lunch we held earlier in the year with Pia Winberg at the Old Schoolhouse, Gerringong

Phyco Food Co. will be featured on ABC Landline in coming weeks and BBC have been filming new recipes too.  Pia recently won a gold medal at the Melbourne Good Food Awards for the Phukka (Dukka) seaweed blend product. Check out

Thank  you Tricia for providing us a table at your stall.

Setting up the stall.
Setting up the stall.

AGM at Jamberoo Valley Farm

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

On Thursday October 8th a small group of members met for the first of hopefully more breakfast meetings.  The AGM was soon completed and the office bearers, Celia as Leader and Michael as Treasurer will remain for 2016/17. We have a couple of new committee members to welcome too.


Tess from Jamberoo Valley Farm provided a tasty morning tea, then gave us all a fascinating tour of the farm, pigs, chickens, ducks and fish as well as beautiful health herbs and vegetable flourish. She shared her plans for the future Agrarian Kitchen with us.

Celia and Tass
Celia and Tass

Thank You Tess for sharing your Slow Food way of life with and we look forward to sharing and supporting your ventures in the future.


Save these dates!!! details coming soon.

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

Breakfast and  Annual General Meeting Tuesday 20 Sept, 9am. Details coming soon.

Helen Attwater will be hosting an interesting lunch at Eagleview Farm Foxground.  Sunday October 16th. Invitation on its way soon!

Slow Food Saddleback Membership – You will be able to renew your membership  through Slow Food Saddleback from now on – Details coming.

Lunch at the Schoolhouse with Dr Pia Winberg

Date of the Event or Workshop: -

Earlier this month 36 members and friends were treated to a fabulous lunch created by Kirsten McHugh of the Gerringong Schoolhouse using Dr Pia Winberg’s Phyco Food Co. Seaweed products produced in the Shoalhaven. Pia uses a bi-product from the Manildra plant to grow the seaweed and explained how pre-biotic fibre and Omega 3 is very beneficial to our gut health and how gut health is instrumental  in our general health. Pia gave a very informative talk on her recent Bio Belly research and these results are in the process of being written up for publication in scientific journals.  She also talked about the research she has undertaken with the Nowra Prison inmates and the Omega 3 deficiencies she found in this study.  She has now branched out into a commercial venture marketing Phyco  Food Co.* products online The seaweed pasta was nominated at the National Food Awards in Melbourne recently.

Jack, Kirsten and Pia
The Schoolhouse at Gerringong is a great venue for this type of event.
The Schoolhouse at Gerringong is a great venue for this type of event.


Kirsten’s imaginative house made menu included Phukka* dusted grissini and crackers with Phycotein*spiced Schoolhouse Haloumi for starters, then the most delicious entree of eggplant and wakami wontons in a spiced wakami broth.  The main course consisted of a tasty nori and nettle gnocchi and served with a nori-enriched beef ragu (beef from Helen and Bernard’s Eagleview Farm at Foxground) and a crisp salad of cabbage, fennel, lemon and Australian Ulva.  Dessert was Schoolhouse Yoghurt Pannacotta with Davidson plum syrup and delicate seaweed dusted meringue. It was a very busy day for Kirsten, however she managed to introduce us to each dish.  Kirsten’s cheeses and yoghurt products are available through Greenbox each week at



It was wonderful to share this event with the orignial founders of Slow Food Saddleback, Kirsten McHugh and Jack Timbs. Oh! and I almost forgot, (kidding) Jack gave a  well researched and very entertaining introduction to Pia on the day.

Thank you Pia, Kirsten and Jack, we hope we can share another event in the near future.