Join the world record cheese tasting attempt

Put it in your diary!  4pm Saturday 16 February 2019. 

The Kangaroo Valley Cheesemakers (they of the fantastic cheese-making workshops) have set themselves the challenge of putting Kangaroo Valley on the international cheesemaking map.
To do this they’re looking for volunteers to help set a new world record for the World’s Largest Cheese Tasting event.

The current record was set by Western Australia’s Margaret River Dairy Company in February this year when 560 people came together to simultaneously taste three different types of cheese.

The Kangaroo Valley cheesemakers are aiming to set a new record of 700 tasters during next year’s Kangaroo Valley Agricultural and Horticultural Show.

Sounds like lots of fun and it won’t cost you anything apart from the normal Show entry fee. The Show is always a great day out with  lots of different events and activities for young and old. To be counted as a cheese taster you’ll be required to taste three different cheeses from local cheese making companies – one hard, one semi-hard and one soft.

So put it in the diary, tell your friends and help put our local cheesemakers on the map!

You can register your interest at

AGM and Dinner at Silica

The Slow Food Saddleback AGM was held on Wednesday 17 October at Silica Restaurant in Kiama. The Office Bearers for the coming year are:
Leader: Celia Wade
Treasurer/ Ticket Secretary: Michael Blythe
Secretary: Barbara Khalifa
Committee Members: Carolyn Evans, Judith Ball, Rhonni Garven and Ros Markezic.

Slow Food Committee members Celia Wade, Barbara Khalifa, Rhonni Garven, Michael Blythe, Judith Ball and Carolyn Evans.

The meeting was followed by a delicious Celebrating Growing Locally dinner which included home grown radish, golden beetroot, red vein sorrel, silverbeet, rainbow chard, kale, shallots, leeks, cos lettuce and celery. The amazingly tender organic grass fed lamb was sourced from the Riverina and the free range chickens came from Thirlmere Poultry.  Sourced even closer to home was Pecora Dairy’s raw milk cheese.  Two very pleasant wines were selected to complement the meal. Silica restaurant is certainly doing some good things – a big thank you to the owners and staff.

Chris Bridger from Mahbrook Organics was the keynote speaker and gave a very interesting talk outlining the development of the Albion Park farm he and his brother took over some five years ago. With its rich alluvial soil and hot house igloos the farm is continuing to increase its production of certified organic vegetables.

Sweet Semolina Cake – Basbousa

From “Food Safari" by Maeve O'Meara


2½ cups coarse semolina
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup sugar
½ cup self-raising flour
200g thick yoghurt
200g unsalted butter – melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
25-30 blanched almonds
Milk if needed

1½ cups sugar
250 ml water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon rose water


Preheat oven to 190 deg. C
Mix semolina, coconut, sugar, flour, yoghurt, melted butter and vanilla in a bowl. If the mixture seems too stiff, add a little milk, but it should be fairly stiff.

Spread the the dough with your hands into a buttered 30 x 25 x 5cm baking tray. Cut it into diamond shapes pressing hard. Place an almond into the centre of each diamond. Bake for 35-40 mins until golden brown.

Meanwhile make the syrup. Place the sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 5 mins without stirring. Stir in the lemon juice and rose water, remove from heat and leave to cool. Pour the syrup over the cake while the cake is still hot.

Cool to serve. Makes 25-30 biscuits.

Lamb Meatballs with Apricot Sauce

Recipe from "Apricots on the Nile" by Colette Rossant


450g minced lamb
2 small leeks finely chopped
I tablespoon raw rice
2 eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
Salt and pepper
350 ml chicken stock
Small amount of Flour and 25g butter for frying

175 dried apricots soaked for 2 hours
10 cloves of garlic chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon olive oil
750ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper


Mix lamb with leeks, rice, eggs, olive oil, coriander, salt and pepper. Form balls the size of walnuts.
Place balls in saucepan, add chicken stock and simmer for 20 mins, adding water if necessary.
Drain and cool.
While meatballs are cooking, drain apricots, place in a blender with Garlic, coriander and olive oil and puree. Add chicken stock gradually to puree while blender is on a low speed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a saucepan and simmer for 5 mins stirring with a wooden spoon.

Roll meatballs in flour, melt butter in heavy pan and sauté the meatballs for 5-6 mins until nicely browned. Pour the sauce on the meatballs and serve.

NOTE: We’ve found the apricot sauce can sometimes be a bit too tart, so we’ve sometimes added a little honey to balance out the flavour.

Beef Goulash – Fillo Pastry

Amira's own recipe. Very tasty and perfect for kids and adults.


½ kg mince meat
1 medium onion chopped
salt and pepper
1 packet Fillo sheets
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 large egg


In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter then toss in the diced onion, stirring for 2-3 minutes until tender.

Add the mince meat, salt and pepper and cook until browned, set aside.

Brush- or spray- an oven safe dish with butter, take 1 sheets of Fillo fold in half and lay flat on your dish, then brush with butter.

Continue layering the Fillo sheets at a time and brushing them with butter until you are done with half the package.

Add the minced meat. If you want you can cook any desired vegetables with the meat for added benefits such as, celery, peas, corn, small cur green beans.... etc.

After adding the meat, continue the same process layering and brushing until you are done with the whole package.

Cut into squares, then beat an egg into the milk, then carefully pour into the dish, tilt the dish in all directions so the milk mixture will spread evenly.

Bake in a 200C pre heated oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool slightly, then serve warm. Enjoy!!!

Grilled Chicken – FirakhMashwiya

This is a favourite of Omar's Mum (Claire) from "Egyptian Cooking, A practical Guide".


A whole chicken (or chicken pieces if you prefer)
2 grated onions
5 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 tbp oregano finely chopped
1 tbp lemon juice
1 tbp oil
1/2tsp turmeric


Mix marinade ingredients together. Put chicken in marinade, spreading around to ensure good coverage.

Leave to marinate for 3 hours.

If whole chicken either cook in spit or cur chicken in half and grill allowing 20 minutes each side.

If using chicken pieces, grill in oven or on BBQ as desired, basting with marinade 2 or 3 times.

Cauliflower in Tomato Sauce – ArnabeetMaatbookh

Adapted from “Egyptian Cooking, A practical Guide”
Traditionally the cauliflower would first be battered and deep fried before being stewed in the tomato sauce. However, these days we prefer to roast the cauliflower instead of deep frying.



1 cauliflower
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

4 cloves garlic
1 chopped medium onion
A little olive oil
3 to 4 tbsp tomato puree
150ml water
3 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 200C.
Cut cauliflower into florets; toss on a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 sliced medium onion and 3 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Roast, tossing occasionally, until almost tender, 35-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce:
Heat oil in pan. Gently fry garlic in oil. Add tomato puree and water, parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

Drop roasted cauliflower into the tomato sauce and simmer for a further 20 minutes until cauliflower is very tender and the sauce is reduced and rich.

NOTE: We’ve found this recipe works very nicely with home-made tomato passata.

Egyptian-style Molokhia Soup

Molokhia is a leafy green vegetable.  If you can’t find it then you can substitute spinach, though the flavour and gelatinous texture is not the same. You can buy seeds from Green Harvest for home-grown molokhia.


1 frozen package (or 400 grams) of diced Molokhia (or 400g fresh molokhia if you can find it)
6-8 crushed garlic cloves
Chicken broth / chicken-flavoured vegetable broth
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt and then add to taste
A pinch of fresh ground black pepper
Optional, but recommended: White rice and/or toasted pita bread


Bring 4 cups of broth to a boil.
Open up your packages of Molokhia leaves as soon as your broth is about to boil.
Carefully drop each package of frozen molokhia into the boiling broth.

Bring the broth back up to a mild boil (no lid on the saucepan) and then just let it simmer. You do not want to boil this soup very hard. A low simmer is perfect. Do not be tempted to put the lid on the saucepan, or the molokhia will drop to the bottom of the pan.
Stir occasionally to really get the molokhia melted (only about 15-20 minutes).
Serve hot over crispy pita bread or white rice. Recipe serves 6.


A favourite across Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.
Omar's family recipe.


1 cup finely ground bulgur (also known as burghul = cracked wheat)
1 cup parsley leaves
3-4 spring onions
3-4 cucumbers
2-3 firm tomatoes
½ cup mint leaves
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (or a mix of lemon and lime)
1 tspn allspice
½ tspn salt
Cos lettuce leaves


The recipe starts with: “To clean the bulgur, place in metal container, cover with water and rub – the impurities will float to the top while any small stones will sink to the bottom and will be heard scratching the container when gently rocked”. I find the bulgur we buy in Australia is pretty clean, so it just requires rinsing.

Rinse bulgur several times until water remains clear.

Soak bulgur in warm water for at least 2-3 hours so that it is not crunchy, then drain well.

Chop the parsley, onion, mint and tomatoes.

Place oil, lemon/time juice, allspice and salt in a jug and mix well. Pour into a large bowl. Add the well-drained bulgur and mix well. Add in all the chopped vegetables and mix through thoroughly. Refridgerate bowl.

When ready to serve, place cos lettuce leaves around the edge of the bowl.

Traditionally tabbouli is eaten by holding a lettuce leaf as a bowl and scooping some tabbouli into it.

Baked Pearl Onions – AwirmaMashwiya

From “Egyptian Cooking, A practical Guide”


500g pearl onions


Place the unpeeled onions in an oiled baking dish. Bake in a hot oven for about 1 hour until onions are well cooked.

To eat, remove peel. The onions will be very soft and should melt in the mouth.

Cucumber Salad – SalatetKhiyar


6 small cucmbers (about 500g)
2 mild red chillies, thinly sliced
3 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
60ml white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
125ml sunflower oil
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp caster sugar
salt and black pepper


Chop off and discard the ends of the cucumbers. Slice the cucumbers at an angle so that pieces are 1cm thick and 3-4cm ling
Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl.
Gently massage the flavours into the cumbers. The flavours will be sharp and sweet, like a pickle.
Serve immediately. If not serving immediately, you may need to drain off excess liquid and adjust seasoning just prior to serving.

Egyptian Falafel – Ta’Miyya

From “A New Middle Eastern Cookbook” by Claudia Roden


225g peeled split broad beans (fava beans)
1 clove garlic chopped
25g chopped parsley
½ teaspoon cumin
Green tops of ½ bunch spring onions chopped
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
Olive oil
Toasted sesame seeds


Soak beans overnight in plenty of water.

Next day, place drained beans and garlic in a blender and puree.
Add all other ingredients except sesame seeds and pulse until ground mixture forms a dough.
Turn mixture into a bowl, wet your hands and form mixture into 5 cm balls.
Flatten balls slightly and roll in toasted sesame seeds. Place on a plate, cover and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, heat 5 cm oil in a pan to 185 deg C.

Drop a few falafel balls into the pan at a time and fry until golden brown (5-8 minutes). Drain on paper towel

Serve with tahina or stuff them into pocket bread with chopped lettuce and tahina.

NOTE: If split peeled fava beans are not available, you can substitute dried haricot beans.
In the summer bean-growing season we also make falafel with whole French beans. The beans from the garden that are slightly beyond their ‘tender best’ are great for blitzing whole in the blender (yes, peel and all) to make falafel.

Fava Beans – Fulmedames

From “Egyptian Cooking, A practical Guide”
Fava beans are also known as broad beans. Fulmedames is usually made with a small type of broad bean.


2 cups fava beans, rinsed and soaked overnight.
1 cup red lentils rinsed and soaked overnight
Salt and pepper
Ground cumin
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Garnish: optional items: Chopped parsley, small tomatoes, boiled eggs, feta cheese, banana chillies, pickles or as desired.


Drain the soaked beans and lentils and rinse again.
Place beans and lentils in a large saucepan, cover with 750 ml water and boil over high heat until frothy.
Skim the froth as it accumulates then cover the saucepan and simmer on a very low heat for 5 hours (or cook in a slow cooker) until beans are very soft and the liquid has reduced.
The Ful thickens as it cools so do not reduce liquid too much.
Add salt and pepper, a generous amount of lemon juice and cumin to taste, and drizzle liberally with olive oil on top.

Ful is often served for breakfast, but is also eaten at lunch or dinner. It is often served with pitta bread with salads, tabbouli, tahina, pickles, boiled eggs, cheese, etc

NOTE: If Fava beans are not available, dried borlotti beans make a fine substitute.

Beetroot and Lentil Bake

From “Egyptians on the Nile” by Colette Rossant


1 brown onions
3 beetroot
1 large carrot
1 small sweet potato
50ml olive oil
2 sprigs of parsley
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
250g Puy lentils (green lentils will do)
750 ml stock
100g silverbeet
Extra 50ml olive oil
Tsp lemon juice
Extra 1 tbsp chopped parsley


Pre-heat oven to 200C
Peel and chop onion. Peel and dice the root vegetables and place in a roasting pan with the onions. Drizzle with olive oil. Stir well. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.
Roast in oven for 20 minutes.
Stir lentils into roasting pan, pour over the stock.
Seal pan tightly with foil and bake for a further 45 minutes.

Meanwhile wash and shred the silverbeet.

Remove the foil and add silverbeet. Stir through and bake for another 15 minutes.

Stir in the extra olive oil, the lemon juice and the extra chopped parsley.

May be served warm, but is more often served at room temperature. Tastes great as a salad the next day.

Baba Ghanough

From “Egyptian Cooking, A practical Guide”


3 large eggplants
2-4 cloves garlic
180ml tahina paste
Juice of 3 lemons
1/2tsp ground cumin
Garnish: 2 tbp finely chopped parsley
Olive oil
A few black olives


Cook eggplants over charcoal or on gas grill until skin starts to blacken and blister.
Peel and wash the eggplants and squeeze out as much of the bitter juices as possible.

Crush the garlic cloves with salt.
Mash the eggplants with a fork, add the crushed garlic and mix to a creamy puree. Alternatively use a blender.

Add the tahina paste and lemon juice alternately, blending well between each addition.
Taste and add more salt/lemon juice/garlic/tahine as desired. Add cumin if you wish.

Pour the baba into a flat bowl/plate for serving, garnish with finely chopped parsley and black olives.

Fried Eggplant with Tahina Sauce – BetinganBilTihina

From “Egyptian Cooking, A practical Guide”


1kg large purple eggplant
Oil for frying
2 cups tahina sauce

For Tahina Sauce

1 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1 to 2 cups water (depending on how runny you’d like it)
2 tbs lemon juice
1tbs vinegar (light apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar are suitable)
½ tsp cumin
Salt to taste
Optional: 3 cloves crushed garlic
Optional 1 small grated onion
Optional finely chopped parsley


Slice eggplants lengthways about 2cms thick, spread out and sprinkle with salt. Leave to drain for at least 1 hour. Drain off the liquid and mop up any remaining liquid with paper towel. Pat dry.

Heat oil in frypan and fry the eggplant. Drain on paper towels. Allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Smear a little tahina sauce on base of baking dish. Arrange fried eggplant in the dish and cover with remaining tahina sauce.

Bake in centre of oven for about 15 minutes.

Tahina Sauce - Salatet Tihina

Add water, lemon juice, salt and vinegar to tahini paste and stir thoroughly until well blended (you can use a blender at a slow speed if you prefer).

Add any or all optional ingredients as you wish.