Friday, May 28, 2010

A YamDaisy Cafe in a block of flats!

Here is a flat in a block of 8 flats. Two bedrooms each. Next door is another block.  9, one bedroom flats.  Next to it is another block, and then another...  (They call them apartments or units of course. It is me who is old fashioned and daggy and likes calling them flats!)

On the other side is a bare paddock. They pulled down the house that was there and they are planning to put up 4 townhouses. On the other side of that? You guessed it, another block of 4 town houses.

You get the picture? Lots of people, few children, the tenants are young and busy in the main, but there are old people here too, people with disabilities and chronic illness.  There are small kitchens here, and not many cooks....

What a great place for a YamDaisy cafe!

It IS possible to get planning permission to turn a flat into a cafe. I have checked. It probably isn't easy! But I think it might be worth it.

Take the flat in the photo for example. These flats are quite basic, but they are well soundproofed. The flats above and beside can be protected from the noise of the cafe.
The living room and main bedroom could be opened up to form a reasonable eating area, the small, cool, second bedroom could be the store room. The kitchen is small, but what cafe kitchen isn't! So long as it is well set up, small can be good!

How convenient for everyone in the neighbourhood to be able to drop in for a meal and eat it in their community, or take it home for convenience.

There is even room in the courtyardish area for herbs to grow, or even an outside table or two.

Here are the benefits:
Convenient, delicious, affordable food
Good health outcomes
Fostering a sense of community

Before long, every big block of flats built would have a central place put aside for the YamDaisy Cafe to be!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

YamDaisy and the Budget! Fascinating!

When I was working out the viability of my YamDaisy Cafe structure I started with two different needs: affordable meals for customers, and a reasonable income for the chef/manager.

This was made trickier because the customers include the poorest people in the community.

With my housekeeping budget skills I pushed and pulled until I came up with something that I thought would work. In a housewifey way I figured that if we could get so many meals sold at so much each, and cover all the overheads we would end up with an amount for ingredients a week for ingredients. (You can look at my number crunching here. Feel free to comment!)

But then I read a chef friend talking about it a completely different way. He went from running a restaurant to working for a catering company.:
"The pricing scale was completely backwards to the way I was used to working out gross profit from a meal. In a restaurant you come up with an idea for a dish, then order in the food, cook a meal, tweak it a bit, then when it is good you cost up how much it costs to put that meal onto the plate then add 80 percent! simple... that gives you a price to charge for that dish... every one you sell ensures you that 80 percent profit!

Here I was given a capped chargeable price ... and had to make profit working backwards from that... the price was the starting point, not the finish point as it were!"

I remember Jamie Oliver complaining in a similar way under even more straightened circumstances trying to make school meals affordable, but also delicious and healthy. He talked about his usual practice of looking at wonderful ingredients and being inspired by them to cook something, rather than surveying the cheap ingredients and trying to work out something good that could be made from them!

My first thought was that family budgets are capped! The poorer you are, the more capped your budget is. The more you are stuck with the cheapest, saddest ingredients.
But the YamDaisy chef must not be like a stressed mum trying to cook good food with not enough money!

Yes, it will be topsy turvy thinking for a restaurant chef, but hopefully it will be good domestic economics for the YamDaisy Chef. There MUST be enough money to buy good, local, seasonal ingredients and to cook great, delicious meals with them. There must be room to be inspired!

This is another way the YamDaisy Chef must be like a great Mum Cook using the wonderful ingredients to hand and developing a community based menu of the best food. Not expensive, rare, food, but treasured local seasonal, loved food! .... and affordable!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rose's Autumn Menu Part 2

Look at Part 1 here

SOUP: Pumpkin Soup with a Fresh Bread Roll
MAIN 1: Macaroni Cheese and a Green Salad
MAIN 2: Chicken Caesar Salad Meal-in-a-bowl
FRUIT BASED DESSERT: Apricot Crumble and Custard

This post is a demonstration of how intentions morph as day follows day!  

As my proposed YamDaisy Cafe structure currently stands, the first two dishes are available from when the cafe opens. The next two come on as soon as possible afterward (but certainly by the time the lunch traffic starts picking up). I hope this will be a more practical way for the chef than trying to have everything going right from the start.

I talked about the Pumpkin Soup and The Macaroni Cheese dishes in the previous post, and then looked pleasurably forward to the final two dishes for this post.

Chicken Caesar Salad ~ Meal in a Bowl. As a vegetarianish person I am still not very used to chicken, but quite happy, and even excited, to be making it for this menu. My mouth still waters at the taste of the Caesar Salad dressing I made last time (see here), and I was fascinated at the idea of turning the classic salad into a chicken one, and into a particularly Autumn dish.

I found a lovely, simple recipe for roasting chicken legs Italian style and thought that would be a good start to getting nice chicken ready for the recipe. (And it sort of was!)

And I was thinking about Autumny things to be adding to the dish. Having a mum's point of view for feeding people with delicious, nourishing, home style food, I wanted to have a balanced plate with some good veggies in it. Especially since the Macaroni cheese is a bit lacking in these!

I went a googling and a thinking.... and then I saw this: 

O dear. It uses breast, not leg. It has no added vegetables. It uses a different dressing.
But isn't it just perfect?

I decided that if I was running the Cafe I would make it just like this (the dressing is SO easy!), what a treat for my customers! And I would just harangue my customers to start off with the soup to get some extra vegetables in them! (That's the sort of YamDaisy Cafe chef I would be!)

So that is how the Chicken Caesar Salad went in unexpected directions. And what do you think happened to the Apple Crumble and Custard?

Apricot Crumble and Custard
I bought the apples. I was considering the crumble: (The righteous ones have equal amounts of flour and butter as their crumble, and that is that. They would call my sort of crumble 'Apple Crunch'. Which way would I go with it this time?).

I was also considering the custard. How to have custard ready for people coming in over several hours? 
How to cater for those who like it hot, and those who prefer it cold? This was my thought:


Sweet little jugs filled with custard that people could have as warm as they like, and use as much of as they like. I was all set!

Then what should happen but the very Rose who composed this menu offered to make Apricot Crumble for dessert! Well, I wasn't going to say no! I just got her to take the photo (above!) and tell me how she made her crumble (crunch) topping:
Oats, flaked almonds, brown sugar, mixed with melted butter and sprinkled over the fruit and baked til hot and crisp. We had our custard hot!

Not what I planned, but supremely delicious! That is what is important at the YamDaisy Cafe!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Rose's Menu Part 1

This was one of the first YamDaisy menus I was given, and I have needed to wait for the seasons to roll back around to be right for it!
I asked Rose for a menu that would suit the YamDaisy Cafe that provides delicious everyday food made from scratch. When a customer comes in they find only 4 dishes to choose from! Therefore it is important that those four dishes cover a wide range of tastes and appetites.
There is always a soup, so customers know that wherever there is a YamDaisy Cafe open, there will be a fresh soup made from local, seasonal ingredients at a low price.
Then comes two mains and a fruit based dessert is the fourth dish, for those who feel that a meal just isn't a meal without one!

SOUP: Pumpkin Soup with a Fresh Bread Roll
MAIN 1: Macaroni Cheese and a Green Salad
MAIN 2: Chicken Caesar Salad Meal-in-a-bowl
FRUIT BASED DESSERT: Apple Crumble and Custard

Pumpkin Soup with a Fresh Bread Roll
There are a hundred ways to make a Pumpkin Soup, but this one is my all time favourite because of the gorgeous colour and taste the added red pepper give and the extra body from the little red lentils. It is also a supremely easy soup. And I made it up myself!
I start by putting 1/4 cup of the little salmon coloured split lentils to soak,  so they will cook really quickly.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add
1 onion chopped,
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large red pepper flesh, chopped,
(and maybe some fresh chili pepper, chopped)
Fry gently while you are chopping up about half a kilo of pumpkin in to chunks. I use Jap, a small dense sweet pumpkin, but any lovely pumpkin (or butternut) would be good.
Add the pumpkin and let it fry a bit while you rinse the 1/4 of a cup of the little salmon coloured skinned lentil you have been soaking.
Add them with a litre of vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
Simmer until the lentils and pumpkin are soft, about 20 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. When cool enough, blend til smooth.
Reheat and serve with a fresh roll and a little pat of butter!

Macaroni Cheese and a Green Salad
I think Macaroni Cheese might come up a few times in YamDaisy Menus, it is such a wonderful homey comfort food and I am discovering that there are lots of different ways to make it.
I was delighted to see this delicious version on 3 Hungry Tummies blog, 
I think it would work beautifully here. What a treat of a presentation it is! And I love that the peas are mixed in.

I imagine presenting the salad in a separate low plate to compliment the bowl of hot macaroni. I would use all the fresh greens that are growing now the heat of summer is passed: rocket, sorrel, coriander, lettuce, cress, chives ~ and then I would brighten them up with some marigold petals and maybe a couple of fine strips of juicy carrot. Just the lightest dressing!

I think if I went into the YamDaisy Cafe on the day this menu was served, I would eat my Macaroni Cheese and Salad, and then takeaway Soup and Roll to have later. But remember, you can get a 2 course meal for $10, which could be soup as a starter and the Macaroni Cheese as a main.

There are two other menu choices for this day, and I will present them in my next blog. I am looking forward to revisiting the Caesar Salad as an Autumn dish, and O yum, Apple Crumble! Jump to it here!

For more about the YamDaisy Cafe and the YamDaisy Menu check the website.
(I am updating it, it is taking me a long time!)