farm visit a very special day!

A group of Slow Food Saddleback supporters enjoyed a wonderful morning on Buena Vista Farm on 8 May. Our hosts Fiona and Adam Walmsley showed us all the animal practices and garden growth that makes this farm such a special supplier of wholesome food and fermented goodies.

Adam explains the workings of the farm
Fiona shows off some of the final product

After a wander around the farm, seeing the pigs, cattle and goats it was off to the Market Garden where Emmy King described her growing methods, introduced us to her tools and compost practices and worm farming successes. Lots of hard work and soil enhancement appears to be the secret to success. A visit to the chickens followed, and all on a sunny day. Luckily since then the area has had some much needed rain.

And then to a country morning tea, homemade scones and cakes, homegrown coffee and cheeses, honey and other treats.

So special to see an ethically inspired animal production unit, and gardens to inspire the soul!

Garden guru Emmy with some of her tools

Our thanks go to all the people who make Buena Vista so special.

The thriving veggie garden

Middle Eastern Eggplant Salad

Submitted by Rhonni.
This salad is best made before serving and keeps well in the fridge. It’s a good one if you grow the smaller variety of eggplant.


3 eggplants, cut into 3cm cubes
salt and pepper
olive oil for shallow frying
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
50g pinenuts, toasted
1 tomato, finely chopped
small clove garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 cup coriander eaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin

For the dressing
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 T sherry, red wine vinegar or verjuice
1 T olive oil


  1. Rinse or salt the eggplant if desired.
  2. Shallow fry the eggplant in batches until golden brown all over.
  3. Drain on kitchen paper.
  4. Combine the cooled eggplant with the remaining ingredients and season.
  5. For the dressing: combine the lemon, sherry and oil.

Serves 4.


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

Parmesan Crumbed Eggplant


2 large eggplant
3 eggs
1 T milk
1 clove garlic, crushed
11/2 cups grated parmesan
1 T finely chopped continental parsley
salt and pepper
olive oil


  1. Slice eggplant into 5mm thick slices.
  2. Whisk eggs and milk in a shallow bowl until well combined.
  3. In another shallow bowl mix breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic and parsley. Season and mix until well combined.
  4. Coat both sides of an eggplant slice with egg mixture then transfer to breadcrumb mix, coat both sides and set aside. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices.
  5. Heat 3-4 T olive oil in a large heavy bottom fry pan over medium-low heat. Place 4-6 slices of eggplant in the pan and cook until golden on each side (about 1-2 minutes).
  6. Transfer to plate lined with paper towel. Repeat with remaining eggplant in batches adding oil between batches as needed.
  7. Serve hot or cold.

Nasu Dengaku – Miso Glazed Eggplant


2 small eggplants
2 T vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup awase miso paste  (a mix of red and white miso paste)
2 T mirin
1 T granulated sugar
1 T sake
sesame seeds


  1. Slice eggplant in half and score inside in small squares.
  2. Add oil to pan over high heat and place eggplant skin side facing down.
  3. Cook for a few minutes until skin is  brown. Turn eggplant over and cover pan. Cook until eggplant is cooked through ( 3  to 4 minutes).
  4. Mix miso, mirin, sugar and sake in a bowl.
  5. Line a cooking tray with foil and place the eggplant on top. Brush eggplant with miso mix until all the surface is coated.
  6. Put in oven and grill for 4 minutes or until miso mix is bubbling.
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve hot.


Baba Ghanoush

Submitted by Celia. From Hopewood Health Retreat.


1 large eggplant, or small ones
2 T tahini
1 clove garlic
juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
sprigs of parsley, chopped, for garnish


  1. Heat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Prick eggplant to prevent bruising and bake in oven for 45 minutes or until flesh is soft.
  3. Cool and peel, remove as much juice as possible, then mash or blend in food processor to a puree.
  4. Add tahini and lemon juice, beat after each addition.
  5. Add cumin and blend.
  6. Taste and add more lemon juice or tahini if you like.
  7. Sprinkle with paprika and garnish with parsley.
  8. Serve with flat breads.

Eggplant and Lentil Stacks

Submitted by Rhonni. From the Taste website circa 2012.
This makes quite a large quantity but any left-over lentil mix is great on its own. Substitute feta, sheeps cheese and/or haloumi for the goats cheese.


2 large eggplants, cut crossways into twelve 1.5 cm thick slices
olive oil
2 x 400g tins brown lentils, rinsed and drained
4 shallots, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
1/2 cup semi-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 T red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
120g goats cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup shredded fresh basil
60g baby rocket leaves


  1. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Brush eggplant with olive oil. Cook eggplant in batches for 6 minutes each side or until tender and golden.
  2. Meanwhile, place the lentils, shallots and tomatoes in a bowl. Drizzle over the vinegar and half the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
  3. Place 1 eggplant slice on each serving plate. Divide half the lentil mixture among the eggplant slices and top with half the goats cheese. Sprinkle with half the basil. Continue layering with the remaining eggplant, lentil mix, goats cheese and basil, finishing with a slice of eggplant. Top with the rocket. Drizzle over the remaining olive oil to serve.

Insanely delicious!

From the Women’s Weekly Not-So-Humble Vegetables cookbook:

European folklore has it that eating eggplant skin caused insanity. We prefer the Turkish tale where the sultan fainted with pleasure upon eating a dish of tiny stuffed eggplants…proof of the allure of this seductive vegetable.

A tip from Vicki

Vicki has found this tip from Maggie Beer very handy.
Soak sliced or cubed eggplant for an hour or so in a large bowl of water. Drain well in colander, pat dry then fry, roast or barbecue with olive oil. The eggplant will not soak up as much oil during cooking.


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.


New home for Flame Tree Co-op

Thirroul’s Flame Tree Co-op officially opened their new store on Saturday 3 March.
Thanks to a crowdfunding campaign late last year which raised over $80 000 the co-op was able to celebrate eight years of trading by moving to much larger premises just across the road from the old store.

A smoking ceremony was a feature of the opening of the new co-op store.

The not-for-profit organisation has some 600 active members and the store is operated primarily by volunteers. It is now open six days a week and boasts a larger shopfront, some off-street parking, a dedicated cool room and an expanded range of products ranging from apples to flour and toilet paper to miso. Although it isn’t always possible, the co-op aims to supply local, sustainable, organic and unpackaged goods.

You’ll find Flame Tree at the southern end of the village (355 Lawrence Hargrave Drive) and more information is available from the website or on FaceBook. Opening hours are 9am to 6pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 9am to 7pm on Thursdays and 9am to 4pm on Saturdays.

Some interesting activities coming up very soon!

2018 South Coast Industry Dinner

WHAT: Fifth Annual South Coast Industry Dinner, featuring a 3 course meal and drinks package comprised of locally grown and sourced produce.
WHEN: Friday 16 March, 6pm – 11.30pm
WHERE: The Pavilion, 2 Bong Bong St Kiama
COST: $60 per person

Presented by South East Local Land Services and Kiama Council, with support from Agsafe, and featuring renowned food presenter and entertainer Lyndey Milan as special guest speaker, the dinner will bring together industry the community and government to celebrate and promote all that the South Coast has to offer.

Call Amanda Britton on 0427 102 793



A 12 week healthy cooking program for solo seniors to get into the kitchen, and out into the Community.

Learn new cooking skills, share a meal together and have fun.

Where: Kiama Anglican Church

When: Wednesday 21 March, 10am to 1pm

$5 per person per week, ingredients provided, bookings essential.

Contact Kiama Council, or 4232 0444



Goulburn Mulwaree Library presents Ben O’Donoghue Janelle Bloom Hazel Edwards John Newton Suzanne Salem Jane Lawson Phillip Stamatellis Elias Hallaj

Author Talks & Workshops Cooking Demonstrations Kids Activities International Food Markets Plus more!

Saturday 24 March

For further details go to the Goulburn Reader Writer Festival facebook page or phone Goulburn Mulwaree Library 02 4823 4435. The Reader Writer Festival will be held at the Goulburn Mulwaree Library, Civic Centre, 184-194 Bourke Street Goulburn.




-Mushroom foraging @ Belanglo State Forest in April
Please register interest for this, it will involve driving down early one Saturday/Sunday morning and meeting @ Belanglo, followed by a morning strolling around the forest searching for various mushrooms. Then will be eating them in the forest around a fire with some chilled red wine… Dates will be determined on the weather and projected mushroom “forecast”.


Bush BarBQ

The first event on the Slow Food Saddleback 2018 calendar on Sunday 11 February was an outstanding success with over $1200 being raised to support slow food initiatives in the local area.

A relaxed and convivial group of around 45 Slow Food members and friends shared a simple BBQ lunch (with a few gourmet touches) in Des and Celia’s front paddock. Thanks to Des’s hard work the paddock, already boasting a stunning view, had been transformed into a delightful picnic area complete with tables and chairs, classy dunnies and a half dozen individual fireplaces.

Farmer Des directing the BBQs

Although the fundraiser was organised as BYO food and drinks there was plenty of sharing of pre-mains, salads and sweets. In keeping with Slow Food philosophy much of the produce was either home grown or locally sourced.

A freshly-caught snapper made a delicious sashimi shared entree and Liz took her baked ricotta and goats cheese dish to a new level by making her own ricotta.  See recipe below. Those with a sweet tooth were treated to a great selection of home-baked goodies.

Still, chops and sausages on the grill won the day and Fountain tomato sauce happily shared the table  with more exotic home creations.

After a successful picnic last summer, this event was back by popular demand and is set to become an annual season opener.


450g fresh ricotta
70g  soft goats cheese or curd
20g finely grated parmesan
lemon zest
chilli flakes
extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice
tiny tomatoes

Drain ricotta overnight then blend in food processor with goats cheese and parmesan until smooth and creamy…if a little dry add some whey.
Spoon mixture into an oiled 11cm x 4.5cm springform tin and top with thyme leaves, lemon zest, a good pinch of chilli flakes and pour over some olive oil.
Place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes, checking after 10 minutes. Remove when golden on top. Cheese will have risen  but will collapse a little when removed from oven. Whilst still hot top with a little lemon juice and olive oil. Leave to cool in tin. Serve with oven-roasted tiny tomatoes scattered over the top.

Recipe can be doubled and baked in a 17cm x 7cm springform tin.