So its full steam ahead with The Potluck Club as we’ve been compiling and proofing recipes, chasing up submissions and sorting through photos. 24 bloggers have submitted a total of about 35 original recipes and as many photos. A huge thank you to everyone who has submitted their work to help raise money for Foodbank, in conjuction with The $35 Challenge.
This October, as part of the the City of Sydney Libraries’ ‘Lunches with bite’ series, I will be presenting a couple of talks on The $35 Challenge – one on Tuesday October 9th at the King’s Cross Library and one on Friday 12th of October at Custom’s House Library. The talks are on the week before the challenge, to get you ready-slash-psyched. Both talks are free but places are limited, so if you’re interested, follow the links to register.
I’ll also be hosting a recipe swap at the Glebe Library in November. We’re encouraging everyone to bring their favourite home recipes, cookbooks and food blog links – we’re calling it an ‘old-fashioned-meets-social-media recipe swap’. I’m both excited and phenomenally terrified, so come on down. If nothing else, it’ll be good for a laugh.
Since its been all about the e-cookbook lately, I thought it a good idea to post an actual recipe. I’ve been eating roasted cauliflower all winter as a side dish, but it also makes a fab ‘share plate’, as the kids say. Serve it with crusty bread and mediterranean dips, or maybe as a side to roast chicken or a comforting casserole.
The Potluck Club
The Potluck Club is a new ecookbook of simple, affordable recipes that anyone can cook. A fundraising initiative for The $35 Food Challenge, the ebook will be sold to raise money for Foodbank Australia. A collaboration between food bloggers and budding home chefs, we are now seeking submissions for our first issue.
- Submit 1-2 original recipes of 200-300 words and a brief 50 word bio by Tuesday September 4th 2012 to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Submit 1 high resolution photo (minimum height 1000px) per recipe and one avatar (300px square – optional).
Please note: Recipe photos will be cropped to fit our layout and cropped images will be roughly square in shape. With this in mind, please send photos with plenty of space around the food, suitable to be cropped – pre photo-shop photos are fine.
Deadline: Submissions close Tuesday September 4th.
What are we looking for?
We welcome a wide variety of recipe submissions to The Potluck Club, however the emphasis is on affordable food, so steer clear of hard to find or expensive ingredients- no truffle oil, expensive cuts of meat, isreali couscous, purslane, etc.
We would love anything that is culturally specific or that people might not know how to make (shakshouka, summmer rolls) or really on trend (peanut butter bacon maple hotcakes, easy pulled pork)…while still being relatively inexpensive.
The book will be in 3 sections:
- Share Plates and Sides
- Something Substantial
If you follow the cyclists, you’ll find a good cafe. Turns out those fixies mounted on the wall in your local trendy coffee house aren’t always just for decoration. I challenge you to find somewhere in this wide brown land more cycle friendly than our Nation’s Capital. Canberra has almost as many bike paths as there are roads and so it stands to reason there has to be more than one place to find a good macch. And so early one Canberra morning we rose with the cyclists and followed them to Farmer’s Daughter.
Farmer’s Daughter is at the Yarralumla shops, an old and well-off suburb 5 minutes west of Parliament house. Yeah, like that’s how Canberrans give directions. Anyway, It’s just after 9:00am when we arrive, so we have our pick of tables. By 9:45 the place is pretty much full and the wait is long for those who want a 10:00 or 11:00 am breakky.
The menus are on cute little clipboards and it’s one of those occasions where everything sounds enticing; enough adjectives to intrigue but not so many as to overwhelm. I consider the french toast, described as ‘soft toasted brioche slices served with fresh summer berries and lavender cream’, but I can never quite go past a savoury brunch and so I choose the fried egg bruschetta with romesco. Breakfast dishes hover around the $16 mark, so you know if it’s less than perfect I’ll be sending it back.
Sydney food bloggers suffer from the paradox of choice. We are presented with so many food choices, trends and fads that sometimes we become paralysed. We can’t decide what to have for dinner. It’s a hard life.
Last weekend, having just finished up The $35 Challenge where there was very little in the way of food choice, I was far from paralysed by this paradox. In fact, I was salivating, and not even necessarily at the variety of food offered up by the harbour city, but at the very concept of choice itself. Now. What to eat first?
I knew exactly where my first foray back into foodie-ville would take me. A week or so ago, after a tip-off from kindred blogger Inner West Foodie, I got an email from Ashfield council inviting me to its three upcoming festivals: Ashfield’s Tastes of Asia (Friday night), Haberfield’s Primavera (Saturday) and The Summer Hill Grand Food Bazaar (Sunday), all part of the Crave Sydney Food Festival. Friday I was still on The $35 Challenge and Sunday the inner-west trains weren’t running so I knew I’d be at Haberfield come Saturday. It was to be my only Crave Sydney Food Festival event, and one I’m glad I didn’t miss. Haberfield isn’t a suburb I’ve spent much time in, so I welcomed the chance for a bit of exploration. And with Ashfield Council promising 100% local stallholders (specifically, no gozlëme) I was hooked.
Day 7 of the $35 challenge and it’s time to sit back and reflect. The $35 Challenge is not just about denying yourself, and it’s not just about raising money. The most important part of The $35 Challenge is that old cliché – putting yourself in another person’s shoes. It’s about experience, and more importantly, what you learn from that experience. Here’s what have I learned.
There is power in numbers. This is the most powerful lesson I learned. There is power in numbers when we all come together and decide to make a difference. On a more practical note, there is power in numbers in terms of the size of your household. The more helping hands you have, the easier it is to get by. Also, on a per-head basis, costs go decrease when they are shared.
Don’t underestimate what you have. I mean this literally – look in your cupboards. Look in your fridge. I cannot tell you how many times this week I thought we didn’t have enough food and then managed to sort something out. I thought we were out of food for tonight’s dinner. I was a little bit nervous, it was not a great feeling. But I found veggies, eggs, rice, tofu and lemons and tonight I will cobble together another fried rice. It will be of the 2/3 veggies, 1/3 rice variety. It may not blow anyone’s mind, but it will probably be very tasty.
Don’t underestimate yourself. We’re all tired. We’re all busy. But I can’t see how we’re too busy to make a tuna sandwich. Or scrambled eggs on toast. Or a salad. Or this soup. Making do with what you have, not wasting a thing – these are old-fashioned lessons we learn through having very little. But they would still serve us well when we have more. Frugality is having a comeback. Jump on the bandwagon.
Be thankful (but not complacent). Bloody hell, the list of things I am grateful for right now would fill a book. I have a roof over my head. I can have espresso any time I want. I have privacy, freedom, dignity. When I walk down the street, I don’t need to beg for money. People don’t abuse me for being a drain on the public purse. I have an education. I have family and friends I can turn to for help. I can do something to help. I have something to contribute.
Give generously. Organisations like OzHarvest run on generosity. They run on donations of time, food and money. If you are a business with excess food going to waste, get in contact with OzHarvest. If you have a teensy bit of cash to spare, donate to OzHarvest. If you have time, volunteer. There are people not so very far from where you live who rely on these organizations. They shouldn’t have to, but they do. And until systematic change provides some kind of safety net, we need to do what we can to help.
I have to say thank you to everyone who has helped with The $35 Challenge this year. By participating, blogging, tweeting and donating, you have all made a big difference. Join me next year during anti-poverty week and we’ll do it all again.
What have you learned from The $35 Challenge?
The $35 Challenge, where we have just $35 to spend on a week’s worth of food and drink, is drawing to a close. And while it hasn’t been as hard as I thought, we are getting to the point where were actually running out of food. Or so it seems.
Eating last night’s dinner for lunch will be impossible tomorrow, because today, dinner is steak and mash. Discount rump steak that’s been sitting in the freezer for a week, waiting for this very day. The day when I can’t be arsed to chop more than a potato and some beans. But what of our tomorrow-lunch?
Day 5 of The $35 Challenge sees me a tad tired of coming home from work and having no choice but to make dinner (and tomorrows’ lunch) from scratch. Don’t get me wrong, I cook dinner at least 5 days a week but sometimes that could be just grilling a steak or making a salad. I haven’t chopped this many veggies on a regular basis since I was vegetarian.
I’ve been saving a treat for later in the week, knowing that we were going to get sick of veg-heavy meals. Maybe it wasn’t a great idea as piza is a bit labour intensive, but I sucked it up and got on with it. This meal is the ultimate in frugality- it takes one portion of pizza dough (care of The Australian Women’s Weekly) and divides it into three so-thin-you-can-cut-them-with-scissors pizzas.
We’re four days into The $35 Challenge and still going strong. The support in the blogosphere/twitterverse has been fantastic, and while we may not raise a ton of money this year, we’re definitely raising awareness of poverty.
I am planning to run the $35 Challenge every year during Anti-poverty week so hopefully it’ll just get bigger and better. If you can’t do it this week, why not next week, or the week after that? It’s never too late, drop me an email and I’ll add you to our tally. Or, if you donate to OzHarvest for the $35 Challenge, let me know.
Yesterday Emma over at Love Thy Kitchen posted an update on what she’s been eating so far. By the second day she’d spent only $8 and doesn’t feel like she’s going without, and I have to say, neither do I.
If anything my household is eating healthier than usual this week. Everything is packed with veggies, and I’m squeezing the last ounce of flavour out of every meal. My cooking is also a hell of a lot more creative. I made this salad which came out of nowhere and blew my mind. I keep forgetting just how much limitation breeds creativity.
Yesterday afternoon, in the midst of wishing I could run out and grab a coffee I got an email from Luci, a woman living on the disability pension.
Luci feeds her whole family for $100-$150 each week. All 7 of them. That’s $14-$21 per person, per week.
Sure, shared food costs may help – the cost of food for a family of 4, for example, is less per person than for a single person living alone. But $150 to feed 7 people is nothing in Australia, especially with the increase in cost of living.
As is true of so many things, Luci and her family pull it together each week through their own ingenuity. They’re not starving, although she admits that things are getting harder as food gets more expensive.
I chose this image as I doubt I’ll ever see so much fruit in our apartment ever again.
Yesterday, we grabbed the few grocery store items we needed at woolies. This was relatively stress-free as the number of things we needed was dictated by our budget – $35 x 2. At woolies we spent about $18 and this got us cottage cheese, 2 litres of milk, tinned tomatoes, 59 cent spaghetti, frozen spinach and not much else. It took all of 10 minutes and at this made me wonder if maybe extreme cost cutting is the way to go.
However, this morning at Paddy’s Market (Haymarket) was more of a trial. We only had one shopping bag with us and I had decided we needed to buy heaps of fruit because we never eat fruit so now is obviously the time to start. We spent about half our budget there and walked out with more fruit and veg than we could carry. I wondered how we’d feed ourselves on such a budget if we didn’t have a really cheap market nearby.
- Aerpress means no more shit #travelcoffee and #workcoffee
- Why I write and four ace bloggers who do it better
- The five best things I ate in London
- Shoreditch is awesome, airports are not
- I quit sugar? Do I bollocks.
- Cubao Street Food, Alexandria
- The Reformatory Caffeine Lab, Surry Hills
- Brewtown Newtown
- Stay caffeinated over Christmas
- Gumption by Coffee Alchemy, Sydney CBD
Popular posts this month…
- Amaretti – The no-fuss treat posted on November 18, 2010
- 5 tips for perfect espresso posted on November 23, 2010
- Boysenberry Banana Sorbet posted on November 26, 2010
- Rich Portuguese Custard posted on November 29, 2010
- Desert Island Potatos posted on December 3, 2010
- Sri Lankan Spinach with Coconut posted on December 10, 2010
- Mousse Chocolate and other peoples’ families posted on December 15, 2010
- The quest for Mex part 1 – Mexican Red Rice posted on December 17, 2010
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 Australia License.
Disclaimer:All opinions in this blog are mine, an everyday, real-life person. I do not accept payment for reviews and nor do I write sponsored posts. I do not endorse the content of the comments herein.