Slow Food Saddleback News

Egyptian Feast

The Egyptian cooking workshop hosted by Barb and Omar Khalifa on Saturday 22 September certainly rated as a feast with more than 20 recipes prepared and enjoyed in a smorgasbord style dinner.

In designing the menu Barb had scoured her collection of Egyptian cookbooks and drawn on her mother-in-law’s expertise. There was also a recipe from Colette Rossant’s memoir Apricots on the Nile.

Omar shared and prepared some traditional recipes, including a very tasty tabbouli while Egyptian friends Amira and Emad workshopped some family favourites such as Amira’s beef goulash which is a popular lunch for their two young daughters.

Barb’s pitta bread making from scratch was a bit tricky but the bread popped to perfection. Meanwhile Julie, armed with two thermomixes, lead another workstation while ‘the boys’ did some wondrous things out near the BBQ.

Although a few ingredients were not available locally, much of the produce was sourced from the home garden and the home-bred trout dish was a real treat.

Amira’s group whipped up a special-occasion dessert and a just-in-season tray of mangoes paid tribute to Omar’s grandparents who had a mango plantation in Egypt. Mint tea and Egyptian (very similar to Turkish) coffee completed the meal.

A very enjoyable day where people were able to move from one preparation group to another and learn to appreciate Egyptian food. Barb will be sharing all the recipes on the Recipes section of this website.

Kiama dinner with Stephanie Alexander

Friends of Kiama Library are hosting a dinner with Stephanie Alexander at the Sebel on Sunday 14 October at 5:30 for a 6:00 pm start. The celebrated restaurateur, author and food educator will be in town to promote her new book The Cook’s Apprentice. Tickets at $50 a head provide a main course and glass of wine and are available through Trybooking (link from or in person at Kiama Library.

The Cook’s Apprentice is advertised as an essential teaching cookbook for the younger cook just starting out and will be available for signature and sale on the night. A perfect Christmas gift for the younger relatives! In recent years Stephanie has been best known for her Kitchen Garden Foundation which provides a program of vegetable gardening and cooking experience for 8 to 12 year old children. The program now operates in around 300 schools Australia-wide.

The event is also a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Friends of Kiama Library.

Egyptian Workshop and Dinner


Egypt has been a cultural crossroad for thousands of years, influencing and being influenced by its surrounding Mediterranean, Middle-eastern and African cuisines.

You are invited to participate in making, then eating a delicious Egyptian feast. Some dishes will seem exotic, while others will seem surprisingly familiar. There will be a range of delicious vegetarian dishes included in the mix as well as dishes for carnivores to enjoy.

Date:                        Saturday 22 September 2018
Time:                        3:00 pm sharp followed by an early evening dinner
Venue:                     The home of Barb and Omar Khalifa (near Berry)
Cost:                         Slow Food members $55, non-members $65
Bookings:               TryBooking:

Bookings will close on Tuesday 18 September to allow for catering.
Numbers are strictly limited – book early to avoid disappointment.

If you have any queries please contact us at



Viet Thai workshop a success

From the Pho Bo to the black sticky rice dessert, the Vietnamese and Thai dishes created by the five group leaders and some twenty five other Slow Fooders and friends at Saturday’s workshop (25 August) were interesting, varied, a touch spicy and very tasty. What wasn’t eaten on the day disappeared very quickly into take-away containers.

Thanks go to Slow Food stalwarts Helen, Judith, Liz, Barbara  and Carolyn for sharing their expertise as well as putting in the hours of planning and preparation that it takes to create a banquet for thirty people.

Prior to cooking the main dishes, the groups prepared red, green and yellow curry pastes, three dipping sauces and a variety of pickled vegetables. Between the soup and dessert we enjoyed Hor Mok Bla (steamed fish curry in banana leaves), Goi Cuon (rice paper rolls), Bo La Lot (beef and lemongrass in betel leaves), a chicken salad and a green papaya salad, Chu Chi Pla (a Thai fish curry), Sanjet Saenkham (another Thai curry – this time featuring vegetables and tofu) and a Thai inspired slow roasted lamb shoulder.

In line with Slow Food principles, many of the vegetables came from home gardens and, although a bit of ‘cheating’ was needed to create the Asian dishes, substitute local ingredients were suggested in many cases. For example, a green papaya salad can become a green apple, Chinese cabbage or kholrabi salad if you can’t get your hands on a green papaya.

The lunch was enjoyed with a glass of wine and the camaraderie that comes with sharing the experience of preparing and cooking the meal together. Each participant left with a ring-bound recipe folder and an enthusiasm to have a go at preparing some of the dishes.

Hint: Australian red chillies, particularly the long ones, aren’t hot but they have good colour. You can dry both short and long chillies by popping them in a 130 degree oven for a couple of hours. The idea is to retain colour and concentrate flavour, so don’t burn them!

Planning for an Egyptian-themed cooking workshop is well under way so keep an eye out for details.

Spices and pastes to taste and enjoy

The Slow Food Saddleback committee has organised another special workshop at the Gerringong Town Hall on Saturday August 25.

In this hands-on workshop you’ll learn about Vietnamese and Thai spices and pastes. We’ll either prepare from scratch or finish off pre-started dishes including starters, soups, curry pastes, pickles and dipping sauces. Then we’ll sit down with all the team to enjoy our creations. You’ll be able to spice up your late-winter cooking with take-home samples of some of the pastes you make on the day.

Numbers are limited and these workshops usually book out quickly. Bookings close on Tuesday August 21 to allow for catering.

Date:          Saturday August 25, 2018
Time:          10:30 am sharp
Venue:        Gerringong Town Hall
Members:  $58   Non-members: $70

Further information:

Kiama Artisan Food Festival

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

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

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

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


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

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!

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

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

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

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.