Monday, October 19, 2009

A Celebration of Bread, Lights and 350

Life is full of missed opportunities! Ofcourse we would be running around frantically if we tried to take advantage of them all, so I try to be philosophical and just give a friendly wave to the ones that pass me by. However, today I am making up for missing three wonderful blog opportunities from last week.
All of them are relevant to my YamDaisy Project!
The Festival of Lights
Food and Community and Celebrations go best together, and YamDaisy Cafes can be a community hub for whenever these three align! Diwali is a wonderful hopeful festival and worthy of celebration. So the candles in this picture are shining to celebrate Diwali
World Bread Day
What a food to celebrate! What a precious delicious staple this is! How proud the YamDaisy Cafes will be of the delicious breads they serve! Will they make it themselves or find a local artisan baker? Everyone deserves good bread! World Bread Day was October 16.
That is my little loaf of home made bread in the picture!
350 asked everyone to blog about this cause at the end of last week. But again I am thinking Better Late Than Never. Check out their website for more information. But basically 350 is the parts of carbon to be a safe level for us, and a good aim when fighting climate change. October 24th is the day of action so look out for what is happening near you.
I think YD Cafes will be part of the climate change solution. I believe that a cafe that cooks for 200 people a day is more efficient than fifty households cooking for 4 people each.
Also YD Cafes can support sustainable food production because that fits in with the local, seasonal food it will be using.
Don't you love a project that works on so many levels!
I will put this picture up on the 350 wall to show them my support.
Celebrations Everyone!

Monday, October 12, 2009


The YamDaisy cafe aims to provide homestyle food that everyone can afford, that is healthy, but most importantly of all, that is absolutely delicious. You can find out more about this Community Food idea at the Yamdaisy Website and especially the information about the structure of the menus on the Menu Page.
In some great feedback about the planned YamDaisy structure I was challenged about the $5 soup option.
"Why do you charge so much?
I have seen soup kitchen programs and soup can be made for about 12 cents a serve!
You will be charging too much!"

I had to think hard about this, because it is true that soups can be made very cheaply. here are some of the thoughts going around my head:
It may be a small meal, but it is a meal!
There are soups, and then there are soups!
How inflexible does this structure need to be?

So - I will expound!

How the Small Meal became the Soup Option
Thinking of the food needs of people who have disabilities, illness or who are frail, I was aware that for some people, those who are not active or who have a small appetite, a small meal is all they need. I imagined this to be a soup or a small meal such as a pasta salad or crudites and dips.
As I have developed the YamDaisy menu format I refinedthis to a soup option as the small meal every day. One reason has been the popularity of soups in the Great Comfort Food Poll '09.
This has shown what an important place a good soup has in the foods we want for comfort and nourishment.
Soups are so adaptable and various: hearty or broths, cool or hot, and every flavour under the sun!
I have also been influenced by the original 'Restaurant' set up to restore people with a beautiful soup.
And the final reason has been to provide a really clear, simple structure. It means that once there are YamDaisy Cafes, everyone knows that they can get a beautiful soup for lunch if they can get to a YD cafe.

A Soup that is worth $5
Up the road from me there is a well loved Italian Supermarket with a vibrant deli that offers soup and a roll each day for $7.50.
Compared to this a $5 soup and bread option is cheap.
YamDaisy soups will always be made with seasonal produce. But consider how soups vary. I have a soup recipe that we love that calls for zucchini, water, milk, salt and pepper and a little knob of butter. It is so simple and so inexpensive and so tasty.
But there are soups that involve much more work and should also be on the YamDaisy menu. Soups that use a glorious home made stock, that need careful attention for the texture, flavour, combinations of ingredients. Soups that cater to various dietary reqirements.
Consider also the accompaniment. A hearty bean soup may work best with a simple slice of wholegrain bread and butter, but a more simple soup may pair itself best with scones, specialty rolls, or my current favourite French Savoury Cake (if you don't know what that is: it is yum! Look here!).
YamDaisy Cafe is a Social Enterprise, but it does need to work as a good business. the work, the skill and the effort of the Chef should make the Soup Option well worth the $5.

Celebrate Flexibility!
The YamDaisy Cafes will work by their clear, dependable structue. However there is room for flexibility and the Chef could find many ways to support clients with wonderful offers because of the fact that some soups can be made so cheaply.
Takeaway: A simple soup sold for takeaway without the accompanying French Savoury Cake or whatever could be sold at a cheaper price: Maybe $5 for a litre?
Friday Special: A fabulous Friday vegetable soup could make the most of the end of the week with a bumper soup at a smaller price.
Twitter Special: IT is YamDaisy's friend and could provide all sorts of specials, offers and updates.

I love the concept of the YamDaisy Soup Option and am so appreciating the soups that come up on the guest menus. But what do you think about soup and its place on the YamDaisy Cafe menu?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jan's Menu Part 2 (or 3)

Jan's Menu for the YamDaisy Cafe is:
SOUP: Hearty Pea and Ham with Crusty Wholemeal Bread
1ST MAIN: Chickpea Curry and Rice
2ND MAIN: Lambs Fry and Bacon with steamed Potato, Carrots and Broccoli
FRUIT DESSERT: Baked Apples filled with Sultanas and Dried Apricot and served with Greek Yoghurt.

In Part 1 I nodded to the classic Pea and Ham Soup and gave a recipe for Chickpea Curry and Rice.
Then I did a Take 2 so I could show you Jan's own conception of the Chickpea Curry and Rice, so different to the first post!
And now we are down to the Lamb's Fry and Bacon and the Baked Apples

Although I am a bit of a corrupted vegetarian these days, I have been a vegetarian from the age of 14. And even before I was 14 and decided not to eat any more dear animals... I never, never, not once, was the slightest bit interested in eating any offal at all. Therefore, I have had to do a bit of looking around so that I can write something about Jan's dish of Lamb's Fry and Bacon.

In Australia and New Zealand (I understand) Lamb's Fry applies particularly to Lamb's Livers, and this is what Jan's dish is all about.

Jan told me that she and her mother liked it and explained that it was just a matter of cutting out any gristly bits and veins so you have cubes of liver. Fry this with onion and bacon, and make gravy with flour and butter that has been kneaded into a ball.

I got more information from Geoff, RIP, a great contributor on the Jamie Oliver Forums. Geoff described lamb's liver as tender and quick cooking. If it is grey, tough or grainy it is 'ruined and fit for neither man nor beast'.

Here is a link to the wonderful Maggie Beer's recipe for Lamb's Fry (the video, if you can get hold of it, will explain it even better).

Jan serves it with steamed potato, carrots and broccoli. It is such a wonderful nutritious meal. Wouldn't it be great if the YamDaisy Cafe's were a place where fabulous meals like this were made popular again? It may well remain a 'like it or hate it' dish - modern Australians are notoriously squeamish about offal (it isn't just me!). But it is great to have it an option for those who do love it, and can come to love it.

I love making a tray of these, they keep so well in the fridge, I would rarely bother to make less than half a dozen (although it is very easy to do one in the microwave!)

Core your apples; Hopefully you have an apple corer, that can twist from the top to the bottom of the apple and lift the core out. Then break off the bottom quarter of the core and use it to plug the bottom of each apple. Sit the apples in a casserole dish.

Cut up a couple of apricots finely and mix with sultanas, flaked almonds and some sunflower seeds, or chopped walnuts (or both!). You don't need much to fill the cavities!
Squish in as much filling as you can (Is there some left over? O dear, you will have to munch on it!).
Put a dab of butter on top of each (1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon full) and drizzle honey over the top.
Squeeze juice of an orange into the dish, and a bit more water so juicy syrup will be there at the end.
Bake at 180C for about 45 minutes until they are soft right through...
I cover the apples for the first 30 minutes.
Serve with a dollop of lovely creamy Greek yoghurt.

It makes me long for Winter to return again!