Enamel and cast iron cookware in store for warming winter comfort food from kitchen to campfire
July 23, 2021

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Chocolate Coconut Crunch Slice

Chocolate Coconut Crunch Slice

Of all the recipes at our disposal it is Chocolate Coconut Crunch Slice that our youngest asks to take back to boarding school with him. I don't know if it's the chocolate, the coconut or the crunch that appeals to him. Maybe it's the combination of all three. If you'd like to bake this classic slice for your family here is the recipe (from Peggy Johnston, Heirloom Recipes, Country Style, May 2017).

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June 10, 2021

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Michael Mobbs to launch Nundle Community Garden at winter solstice lunch

Upper Peel Landcare Group Winter Solstice Lunch and Community Garden Launch

Upper Peel Landcare Group (UPLG) will host Off-Grid Guy, Michael Mobbs, for a Winter Solstice Lunch and Library Garden Launch on Sunday, June 20th, 2021 from 11am-2pm. Environmental lawyer and sustainability writer, Michael Mobbs, will share his decades of experience of off-grid sustainable living and community food growing and recycling, as well as a hands-on ‘cool seat’ workshop making a combination bench/compost bin. Michael’s off-grid home at Chippendale, known as the ‘Sustainable House,’ was the hub for many community- based sustainability activities, including suburb-wide composting and community gardens on road verges. Nundle Community Garden is the first major project for the recently re-formed Upper Peel Landcare Group. The project is being run in partnership with Tamworth Regional Council and Tamworth Regional Landcare Association.

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June 10, 2021

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Beetroot chocolate brownies

Beetroot Chocolate Brownies, Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores

Ruby pink mounded beetroot tops emerging out of the soil are a reminder to cook with the last of the beetroot in the vegetable garden. Duncan planted rows of beetroot, knowing the success of last year's pickling and the bonus of adding pickled beetroot to winter salads. Then there's roasted beetroot soup, which is so handy to have in the fridge to warm and pack in a vacuum flask for a work lunch, or to have in a mug for afternoon team. Using the beet leaves has been a revelation. Simply wash the leaves, slice finely, stems and all, and simmer in a little diced onion and stock for a versatile side or added greens to toasties. There's now just one row left, the last planted, but we'll need to let them grow a little bigger before deciding how to use them. The recipe for Beetroot Chocolate Brownies appeals because brownies are a favourite in our house, easy to pack for school lunches, or to slice for snacks or dessert at home. Last autumn our family rediscovered Beetroot Chocolate Cake, and Beetroot Chocolate Brownies are a close cousin. Cornersmith's cookbook 'Use it All' by Alex Elliot-Howery and Jaimee Edwards has become a constant kitchen companion with an abundance of ideas for using the autumn fruit and vegetable harvest. I encourage you to try this flourless brownie recipe, with the addition of nutritious and textured grated beetroot.

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March 28, 2021

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Hanging Rock artwork celebrates 10 years of collaboration

Hanging Rock artwork celebrates 10 years of collaboration

To celebrate its 10 th anniversary Nundle Business Tourism and Marketing Group Inc (NBTMG) launched a Nundle and Hanging Rock NSW art print and postcard inspired by vintage travel posters. NBTMG Inc was formed in November 2010 for Nundle and Hanging Rock business owners and Destination Tamworth to collaboratively promote the area for tourism. The group has 25 members representing 22 businesses and organisations covering accommodation, dining, and retail. The A3 art prints are $19.95, and the postcards are $4.95, available in store and online. Income from the sale of prints and postcards will go back into the community group to fund future marketing.

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March 23, 2021

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Summer fruit and vegetable harvest

Preserving plums, Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores

We hope you've experienced the mild and wet summer we have. Miraculously there were only two days over 40 degrees, and we had the third wettest summer (355.4mm) since 1993 when records started being kept at Tamworth Airport. Living in the Peel Valley, the major catchment for Chaffey Dam, conversations continue about dam capacity, increasing from  33.3 per cent in December to 42.2 per cent at the end of February. Our thoughts are with those on the east coast who have had too much rain and damaging flooding this past week. The milder, wet summer has meant a bumper summer fruit and vegetable harvest with Fowlers bottles of plums already in the pantry and we have been eating fresh plums, compotes, crumbles and tarts since New Year. At friends' New Years Eve party guests had a choice of homegrown, homemade apricot or plum crumbles. Now that's country abundance.

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November 22, 2020

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Picking elderflower for cordial, soda and shrub

Elderflower cordial, soda and shrub, Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores

Read almost any book on foraging, seasonal cooking, or sustainable living and you will likely find recipes for elderflower cordial, syrup, or soda. From what I've read I had the impression that elders would be like blackberries, cropping up in creek beds, roadsides and paddocks. That's certainly the case in some areas, but not in our neighbourhood. In December last year I asked one of our experienced Nundle gardeners where I would find elderflowers and she said I was too late for that season, but told me where I would find them the following year. She even had an elder growing in her backyard and had made elderflower cordial for her grandchildren. I ended up buying us both bottles of elderflower cordial in the supermarket to sate my curiosity and whet my appetite for the harvest.

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November 21, 2020

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Sweet spice biscuits for a Christmas celebration

Orange and sweet spice biscuits, Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores

We may have started the week mid way through November, but our Peel Valley Landcare Group held its Christmas drinks and I was searching for Christmas biscuit recipes to bake and take along. You know when you can visualise a recipe you've seen and then spend 30 minutes searching through recipe books to find it. That was me on Monday. I found the recipe for Orange and Sweet Spice Biscuits on a promotional postcard from The Healthy Baker, tucked in the back of another recipe book. At least I could stop searching and start cooking. With the combination of sugar, mixed spice, currants, and orange zest, this recipe evokes the traditional flavour and scent of a European Christmas. It felt a little early to break out the Christmas cutters, so I opted for crinkle cutters instead. On reflection I wish I'd used stars. We need all the joy we can muster after such a disruptive year.

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November 05, 2020

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Lemon Brulee Tart, sunshine on the table

Lemon Brulee Tart, Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores

Plentiful eggs from our chickens, and lemons from Mum and Dad's tree are motivation to try this recipe from Summer on @fat_pig_farm by Matthew Evans.
It's drizzling welcome spring rain, but Lemon Brulee Tart is the sun itself in our kitchen. I am getting to know our electric oven again because we need to cut wood for the Rayburn. This mild spring means we are still using the wood stove in November, mind you after a second attempt at the tart in the wood fired oven the result from the electric oven was a little easier to control.
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August 15, 2020

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Baked Honey Cheesecake with Hickson Pecans

Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores - Baked Honey Cheesecake with Hickson Pecans

It's such a thrill to cook with ingredients that you know the provenance of, whether they are homegrown, or grown by a farming friends. So when Annabelle Hickson opened orders for her family's Hickson Pecans my fingers hit the keyboard to enter my details in rapid fire. It was exciting to receive the box of Cape Fear pecans and our family enjoyed tasting the freshest pecans we'd ever been exposed to. Duncan compared them to, "Caramel from a tree."  Gryff asked, "Are these from the woman married to the bloke with the Suzuki?" (a reference to a photograph of Annabelle and Ed Hickson with daughter Daisy on the cover of Graziher magazine). It's all about the wheels for this 11-year-old.

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June 05, 2020

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Quince and pistachio cake

Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores, Quince and pistachio cake

We didn't harvest any fruit from our quince tree this year, but when I saw their golden forms at the green grocer's I added a few to my shopping basket. My taste buds were set on baked quinces to add to porridge, but then I read Michelle Crawford's recipe for Quince and Walnut Cake and I was intrigued. Without walnuts within 60km, I substituted pistachios after consulting with my foodie neighbour Teresa. The green and russet colour of pistachios on cakes is so appealing, and this recipe calls for toasting them in icing sugar and sprinkling with salt flakes, making them deliciously crunchy and sweet. The baked quinces folded into the batter before cooking create a moist fruit cake texture, finished with everyone's favourite cream cheese icing. If you have a quince tree, know a friend with quinces to spare, or lock eyes on them when you're shopping, scoop them up and try this recipe to delight your friends, family and you. 

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