you’re looking at $5 – anti-poverty chef challenge

>Red Cross has launched a pocket-size collection of $5 recipes for families struggling to get by in Queensland, to mark Anti-Poverty Week which runs from 17 to 23 October 2010.

‘Many of the people we work with, including young families and the elderly, face times when they struggle to put a meal on the table,’ said Australian Red Cross spokesperson Anna Boyce. ‘The idea behind the $5 recipe booklet is to give a little bit of inspiration to people confronted by poverty, offering meals that can be created out of the smallest of budgets. ‘Australia-wide it is estimated around 5% of people experience times when they have no food and no money to purchase food,’ said Anna Boyce. ‘Everyone has the right to food, shelter, healthcare and the basic necessities – we work with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Australia and around the world to help improve quality of life.’

Hundreds of copies of the ‘You’re looking at $5′ recipe booklet will be given to Red Cross’ Queensland clients for Anti-Poverty Week. The booklet’s 16 recipes – which were submitted by staff, volunteers and members of the public – all cost $5 or less to make, and include Red Lentil Soup, Spicy Mexican Beans, Succotash and Deluxe Porridge. The booklet includes recipes and an introduction by former Masterchef contestant and Brisbane local Sharnee Rawson. ‘Anti-Poverty Week is a time to build public understanding about the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and in Australia. It’s also a chance to encourage research, discussion and action to tackle poverty,’ said Anna Boyce.

five memorable meals – are you in?

>At dinner a few weeks ago with Sam, Amanda and Mena, our conversation revolved around food and its significance in our lives. We recalled memorable meals with family or friends, favourite restaurants, unusual or particularly good food in far-flung places when travelling.

Our conversation sparked further thoughts in my head about how food has such a strong place in our memories, connecting us with significant events, people or moments in our lives.

So I would like you to have a think about the five (or so) most memorable meals you have had in your life, and why you think they hold such a special place in your memory. It could be a simple rustic lunch of bread and cheese on a park bench on the side of the road in France, or your first Michelin-starred dinner as a proper grown-up. It could be alone when travelling on business, or in the heart of your family at Christmas or on a birthday. It could be home-cooked, shop-bought or served in an eatery. The link is its significance to you.

I think the trick might be not to think too much about it. What are the first images (or aromas, or tastes) that go through your head when you think about this? These are probably the places to start.

I shall deliberate upon my own list this week and share with you here on this blog. In the meantime have a think about your list, then either write a post on your own blog, or a note on your Facebook page, and make sure you share a link with me so I can collate all the responses. Or email me if you wish and I can add your list to my blog.

Just jot down a few words about when and where the meal took place, who you were with (if anybody), what you ate (which can be in detail or very brief, depending on how you are remembering it) and why you think this particular event is so memorable to you. Be as brief or as lengthy as you can: it’s the stories you are telling that I am interested in.


vegetable meme

Another Outspoken Female from “Confessions of a Food Nazi” tagged me for this meme.

1. Is there a vegetable you hated as a child, but came to love as you got older?

Tomatoes, believe it or not. I couldn’t manage to eat even one slice of the very first pizza I ever ordered because I could not stomach the tomato base on it. I still can’t eat raw tomato (unless marinated in oil and garlic like a bruschetta) but I simply could not live without cooked ones in all their forms.

2. Most underrated vegetable?

Cabbage. My childhood was spent eating overcooked cabbage boiled for hours in bacon or ham water (the traditional Irish way of cooking it) and it was years before I discovered it as the versatile, delicious vegetable it is – cooked or raw.

3. Name one favourite summer vegetable dish.

Tuna Nicoise. Done the cheater’s way with tinned tuna (don’t ask me why, I just prefer it that way). With lots of black olives and new potatoes and green beans and proper cos lettuce (none of your new-fangled rocket or mesclin).

4. And one for winter?

My vegetable curry.

5. What vegetables are in your fridge and freezer right now?

None in fridge. We have been away for the weekend. Baby sweetcorn and garden peas in the freezer. Pathetic.

6. Is there a vegetable you really like but don’t make much yourself?

Pumpkin. It seems to be Australia’s national vegetable but we just don’t eat much of it in Ireland/England. I learned to make a good pumpkin soup when I was here years ago on a serious budget, but haven’t touched one since in my own kitchen. Maybe this winter will be a new beginning.