Friday, August 25, 2017

The last Compost

Yes, this is the last post in this blog.

From today, Compost is published as Diggings at

Ta for following and I hope you make the transition across.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Compost Aug 18 2017

I couldn't resist posting this pic having spent quite some time as a young thing watching Esther Williams doing her thing.

How Norway is selling out-of-date food to help tackle waste
‘ A new app, foodlist, encourages people to take photographs of food in stores coming to the end of its shelf life, to alert people that it needs to be eaten and where it can be found. A company called SNÅL frukt & grøn has popped up selling wonky vegetables, or odd coloured eggs, with a 30% discount. And the Norwegian government says they want more of this, and quickly.’

This sounds like my kind of app. I am going to try it and will report back 😊 BUT to make it work I need someone else to download the app as well so we can post to each other. Anyone up for trying it out?

Invisible Farmer
‘Invisible Farmer is the largest ever study of Australian women on the land. This three year project is funded by the Australian Research Council and involves a nation-wide partnership between rural communities, academics, government and cultural organisations.’

This looks like an excellent project. I checked out the blog and got found a blog about IIleen Macpherson, one of twelve Australians that joined Rudolf Steiner’s Experimental Circle the Goetheanum and of Demeter Farm in Dandenong which she and  Ernesto Genoni established as Australia’s first biodynamic farm

VIIth International Conference, La Via Campesina: Euskal Herria Declaration
While governments impose seed laws that ensure privatization and guarantee profits for the transnationals, we care for our peasant seeds, created, selected and improved by our ancestors. Our seeds are adapted to our lands, where we use agroecological management to produce without the need to buy agro-toxics or other external inputs. Our peasant agroecology feeds the soil with organic matter, is based on biodiversity, and conserves and recovers peasant varieties of seeds and animal breeds, using the knowledge of our peoples and our Mother Earth to feed us. Its main source is the indigenous, ancestral and popular peasant knowledge that we have accumulated for generations, day by day, through observation and constant experimentation on our lands, shared later in our exchanges from peasant to peasant and between our organizations. Our agroecology has a peasant and popular character; it does not lend itself to false solutions like “green” capitalism, carbon markets and “climate-smart” agriculture. We reject any attempt by agribusiness to co-opt agroecology.’

Wow. My rad heart leapt into my mouth when I read this,

Vegans, Vegetarians, and Now, the Reducetarian. What it is and why you’ll be hearing more about it.
 ‘Kateman coined the term when he decided to tackle the language surrounding “cheating” vegetarians or vegans – and those who occasionally “fall off the bandwagon”. The self-described card-carrying vegetarian was himself called out after accepting a piece of turkey offered while under pressure from those at the dinner table. The moment sparked a keen desire to steer the conversation towards positive discussion about reducing societal consumption of meat.’

And in more trivial news…Gad I hope I won’t be hearing more about it - the word, I mean. No quarrel with the notion of reducing intake of meat without going vegetarian or vegan, but having to label this is so…reducetarian.

City dweller avoids the supermarket for a year and lives off the land
‘The only exception to the rules were 10 ingredients which Mr Brown bought at the beginning of his challenge, including olive oil, wine, coffee, milk and a staple such as oats.’

Wimp 😊

The rise of London’s cookbook clubs
‘We're trying to encourage people to actually cook from a new cookbook, rather than see it as something pretty with pictures," she continues. "It's a hit if a reader takes three recipes into their repertoire. That's what publishers tell us," says Turner – which makes Prime's prospects look promising. That night Parle and the Dock Kitchen team will dish up five recipes from the book to what sounds like (from the satisfied noises I overhear from fellow diners) pretty unanimous praise.’

I’d like to know whether in fact this translates into people cooking from the cookbooks more. For me, doing this as a convivial act with friends in our homes would sit better.

Hundred-year-old fruitcake found in 'excellent condition' among Antarctic artefacts
‘So what do conservators do with a 100-year-old tea cake?
According to the New Zealand-based charity, there was quite of bit of work that went into treating the cake, including rust removal, chemical stabilisation and coating of the tin remnants.
"Deacidification of the tin label and some physical repair to the torn paper wrapper and tin label was also carried out," the Trust said.
After being treated the cake, along with all artefacts found, will be returned to the site.’

Ye gods! Surely SOMEONE should at least taste it first!!!

Why we fell for clean eating
‘We are once again living in an environment where ordinary food, which should be something reliable and sustaining, has come to feel noxious. Unlike the Victorians, we do not fear that our coffee is fake so much as that our entire pattern of eating may be bad for us, in ways that we can’t fully identify. One of the things that makes the new wave of wellness cookbooks so appealing is that they assure the reader that they offer a new way of eating that comes without any fear or guilt.’

I could have grabbed any of the paragraphs in Bee Wilson’s depressing analysis of the dangers, and yes, the benefits when in moderation, of ‘clean eating’. But this one it seems to me gets to the core of it – fear and guilt as driving forces in how so many people eat now.

The Quest for the Perfect Mango Knows No Borders
‘It was on the Muslim holiday of Eid that I went to Apna Pakistan to tell the owner that I was taking their Sindhri mangoes home to India. The owner, a middle-aged man in white kurta-pyjama, stood possessively beside the crates of mangoes as I examined each variety in my hands. “If it’s for India, you must take Chaunsa then. It’s the sweetest, and doesn’t grow in India.” However, the Chaunsa is indeed grown and eaten across India, especially northern areas. When I revealed this, he was astonished, much the same way I was when I first found the treasure of Pakistani mangoes. Deep in his eyes I could see that perhaps my revelation had broken his heart a teeny, tiny bit.’

A delightful article that leaves me craving to walk through an Indian bazaar in mango season – though the push to link to Partition borders on the tasteless. I have no idea what variety the tree in my front yard is that predates (premangoes?) my stewardship, and I am not the best steward, tho the possums seem to enjoy my laxity in netting the tree, but I am grateful for what I do salvage.

The sandwich that ate the world
‘In unison, the visitors bite down into the bread’s fragile outer shell. A few fire off selfies as the customary explosion of crumbs covers the table. This is how all banh mi experiences begin. The bread gives way to the paté, then homemade mayonnaise, tender ham and cold cuts of pork. Pickled carrot and daikon add sweetness, cucumber brings a cool crunch. Cilantro. Unmistakable. A dash of Maggi Sauce for depth. Every taste bud gets hit. Then comes the chili, like a short, sharp slap in the face. “Wake up sunshine,” it says. “You’re in Vietnam now.”’

A neat history of what is now a staple of Australian fast/street food, tho I have to say that the two rolls pictured in the article wouldn’t pass muster at any of my fave banh mi – talk about skimping on the filling – and pardon my pedantry but it is NOT a sandwich, it’s a giant among ROLLS!

And here’s a question – as the kebab displaced the burger and the banh mi displaced the kebab and the burger is now displacing the banh mi, will the kebab rise again or is there some other one-hand-juice-dripping-onto-your-shirt-late-at-night-after-a-few-bevvies about to hit our streets? The smashed avo on toast is never going to fit the niche.

Where's the best place to find out who your real friends are? The kitchen
‘From cooking alongside someone, you can learn whether they are reliable and trustworthy. If we can get dinner for 14 on the table together without fuss or bother I know for certain that this is someone who will get me through the more dramatic events in life. Say, a hostage situation.’

Because right now we could all do with some humour in our lives.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Compost 5th August

Hungry, poor, exploited: alarm over Australia's import of farm workers
‘Those brought to Australia are bonded to a labour hire company or employer. They are not free to leave without risking deportation, nor complain about abuses without risking the same. The “boss-man”, as many of the seasonal workers refer to their employer, has an almost-total control over workers’ lives – if and where they work, where they sleep, what they eat, how much they will be paid, and whether they can stay in the country – and many workers feel there is no authority they can practicably turn to if they are exploited or abused.’

Chains are not the only way to enslave people.

The Fair Work Commission has been running a 3 year campaign The Harvest Trail ‘to help employers and employees working on the Harvest trail to understand their rights and obligations at work.’ It will be interesting to see the results of the campaign.

Three challenges we must overcome to secure the future of food
‘Governments are the first major obstacle. In both rich and poor countries they operate in silos on issues relating to agriculture, biodiversity, water, health, demography, and other environmental considerations. These issues tend to be discussed in isolation. Governments also fail to adequately tap into expertise from civil society, business, and the science community. A similar disconnect occurs among academics: climate scientists, agronomists, ecologists, hydrologists, economists, and representatives of other fields rarely come together to propose integrated targets for sustainable food and land use systems, or pathways for achieving them.’

Reading this article led me to check where Australia stood in terms of a comprehensive future food plan. I found the National Food Plan on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources site. A report on the State of the Food System and a review of the Policy is due in 2018

Who Orders Eggs Anymore? The Future of Sydney Cafe
‘I know a place that has closed their dining room and now they just use their kitchen to do UBER eats so they don't have to pay wait staff. This is me at my darkest, where people don't go out anymore. That's horrible.’

Nicholas Jordan talks with Russell Beard, Nick Smith and Anthony Svilicich. Sadly, no-one is trending toward Sri Lankan egg hoppers with fish curry and onion sambol for brekkie.

Pineapple on pizza? The highly controversial fruit has a fascinating history in Australian cuisine
‘Her favourite recipe is the pineapple cartwheel salad in which a pineapple ring is cut in half, the two halves are stood on their edge next to one another and stuffed between the two are dessert prunes and cream cheese. "And it looks so delightful," she said.’

The image at the head of this edition of Diggings is of said salad.

The article is only the entrée. Follow the other link below to James Valentine’s podcast on Food Crimes: Pineapple for some truly wondrous Oz recipes for deploying tinned pineapple, including the essentially ockerly named chicken slops.

And for those like me with a passion for the perversely pleasurable and the pleasurably perverse  head to

Mugaritz Is Now Serving Moldy Apples
‘The dish was the result of an ongoing collaboration between the restaurant’s R&D and sommelier teams, a collaboration in which “they create the solid and the liquid part together, from the beginning, not looking for pairings, but for harmonies.” This dish in particular merges the two worlds, and represents “the beauty and the taboos surrounding fermented and rotten things.’

Tricksy, but I’m up for it being a taboo breaker from way back.

From Soil to Plate: District Exhibits at Sydney Royal Easter Show
‘TPH:  Are you a farmer up there?
Arthur:  No, I’m a burnt out farmer.  I’ve got an acre of dirt and then I’ve got another acre five minutes away.
TPH:  What do you do on your land?
Arthur:  I grow the produce for the this, for the district exhibits at the Royal Easter Show. I grow melons, pumpkins, corn, ryegrass, oats etcetera.’

A delightful interview with Arthur Johns, manager of the Northern Districts display – a 9 times winner. Like The Plant Hunter, I have remained entranced by the District displays since I was in short pants.

Watch Gordon Ramsay and James Corden Judge Meals Cooked by Toddlers and Babies
‘On MasterChef Junior Junior toddlers and actual babies are tasked with preparing dishes for Corden and Ramsay, and the results include a croissant with a toy car baked in the middle, a doughnut made of Play-Doh, and a ground beef dish that makes the late night host violently ill.’
Gordon Ramsay almost redeems himself.

Australia: where healthier diets are cheaper …
Helen Greenwood forwarded this podcast on Australian research by Dr Amanda Lee on our "topsy turvy" eating habits.

Oh, Snap! Scientists Are Turning People's Food Photos Into Recipes
‘You, too, can try out this interface, called Pic2Recipe. To use it, just upload your food photo. The computer will analyze it and retrieve a recipe from a collection of test recipes that best matches your image. It usually works pretty well, although it can miss an ingredient or two sometimes.’

Actually it usually works really really badly. I uploaded three images – one of a simple plat of roasted lamb cutlets with rosemary sprigs; another of a mix of a few ingredients but nothing special – mushrooms and olives pretty clearly pictured; and another more complicated eggplant paella where it should at least have found rice and parsley. The uploaded photos just sat there looking lost with nothing, nada happening to tell me anything about the ingredients or even a stab at a recipe.

But hey, go ahead, give it a try and tell me what you discover.