Christmas postage deadlines: Sunday Dec 8 for WA, NT, SA, TAS & remote QLD; Sunday Dec 15 for NSW, VIC and metro QLD.
November 10, 2019

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Exchange Stores in Downtown Homes

Exchange Stores in Downtown Homes

Walking our Border Collie Kelpie cross, Walt, under the alders in the paddock near our house, I admire the magnificence of the Great Dividing Range and I am reminded of the first time I visited Nundle and saw those striking mountains.

After an extraordinary drive from Tamworth, shadowing the serpentine curves of the Peel River, by the time I reached Nundle I was so in awe of the beauty of the landscape that I was thinking, “What is this place?”

Duncan and I have just passed our 20-year anniversary of living at Nundle and I still appreciate that humbling experience of living in a mountain landscape daily.

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November 10, 2019

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Bring Christmas spice scents into your kitchen

Pfeffernusse by Matthew Evans, Summer on Fat Pig Farm

If you're looking for a simple recipe to make and package for friends for homemade Christmas gifts, or to take to a gathering try making a batch of Pfeffernusse. While reading Matthew Evans 'Summer on Fat Pig Farm' I came across a recipe for Spiced biscuits, described as 'Almost like a Pfeffernusse'. This lead me on a search to find out what Pfeffernusse is and a morning of biscuit making. With ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves the mixing and baking really does bring Christmas spice scents into your kitchen. It is very satisfying rolling the smooth biscuit dough into small balls, and once cooked and cooled they had a lovely chewy texture and of course the delicious spice flavour. 

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November 08, 2019

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Sharing the #buyfromthebush love

#buyfromthebush #buyregional

Christmas has come early to the bush this year in the form of simple but effective social media campaigns, #buyfromthebush and #buyregional. This is an immediate leg up for country online retailers like ourselves, who by simply adding the hashtags #buyfromthebush and #buyregional to our social media posts, or registering on the NSW Government #buyregional online hub, are linked with potential urban customers who would like to support regional communities facing their third year of drought this Christmas.

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August 18, 2019

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Home butchering fills the freezer with lamb

Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores home butchering

Duncan has added home butchering to his skill set. After helping friends Gibbo and the Worleys butchering home grown lamb, and picking up tips like wiping the carcass with lemon and herbs, he has been butchering our own lamb for about 12 months. At first he was limited to hanging the carcass in our shed (winter only), but after buying a tall fridge he now has the flexibility of hanging a carcass at a consistent temperature and can home butcher year-round. Our knife wholesalers, Tawonga, are a source of butchering tools, a New Zealand made saw, skinner, boner, and knife.

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August 17, 2019

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Walnut and Tarwarri Lemon Syrup Cake

Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores Walnut and Tarwarri Lemon Syrup Cake

Back at the house Teree tells me to take some lemons from June's renowned prolific producing lemon tree. I remember a recipe for Walnut and Lemon Syrup Cake and give it a go, naming it Walnut and Tarwarri Lemon Syrup Cake. It involves boiling the lemons until soft for about an hour, before processing the lemons with eggs and syrup to create a batter to add to the walnut meal and bicarbonate of soda. The result is a light, gluten free, nutty textured cake, and a deliciously tangy lemon syrup with subtle undercurrents of cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. At the end of the week I tell Teree about the cake, "I'm going to miss that tree, the lemons are amazing," she says.

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August 12, 2019

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Gathering memories for Heritage Festival

Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores artefacts

In preparation for a presentation I was giving for Tamworth Regional Heritage Festival, I interviewed the last McClelland to own our shop, Tony McClelland, aged 80. Tony’s earliest memory of the old store is when he was about eight, being with his grandfather Bill McClelland dressed for work in a suit. Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores was started by William McClelland and John Odgers in the 1890s, about 40 years after gold was discovered at Hanging Rock. The partnership exchanged gold for credit at the store to purchase goods. It was a general merchants selling all the basics that people needed. Goods like potatoes, sugar, salt, onions, dates, and flour were bought in bulk and repackaged in paper bags.

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June 22, 2019

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Welcoming our Rayburn wood stove to the family

Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores Rayburn wood stove

We have been enjoying the radiating warmth and cooking heat generated by our third-hand 1950s Rayburn No.3 wood stove. It came to us, via a tractor bucket and ute tray, from our shop neighbours Gary and Marie who had cooked on it for more than 20 years. They had sourced it from a shearers' kitchen at Bundarra, more than two hours' drive away. We had been on the lookout for a second-hand wood stove for many years, having been exposed to friends' houses (the increased comfort and off-the-grid cooking) with wood stoves, and several purchases, and installations. When our neighbours were looking to sell theirs, which was in excellent working order, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
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June 21, 2019

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Parsnip and curry soup with wholegrain bread

Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores Parsnip and curry soup with wholegrain gread

As the weekend approaches I start to contemplate what I will cook with a little extra time in the kitchen and hungry boys to feed. My starting point is often the collection of recipes I've torn or bookmarked from magazines and newspapers over three decades. That is how I came to cook Parsnip and curry soup, and Wholegrain bread. The Parsnip and curry soup is an old recipe I've never tried. The Wholegrain bread recipe is a favourite I go back to time and time again. I enjoy using a rattan bread proving basket for the second rise. The basket gives the dough a uniform shape and leaves a concentric circle imprint, which remains during cooking. The result is a rustic loaf, with a light dusting of flour, that looks like it could have come out of an artisan bakery. If I don't have honey in the house I have substituted treacle for a flavour alternative. I also experiment with flours, sometimes using Wholegrain Milling's stoneground organic spelt, rye, or lightly sifted unbleached flour.

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May 09, 2019

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Introduction to Biodynamics at Glenmore House

Introduction to Biodynamics at Glenmore House
Biodynamics educator Hamish Mackay says adding two per cent organic matter to 10 per cent of the world's agricultural land would soak up the excess carbon dioxide needed to rein in climate change. Hamish, and fellow biodynamic farmer Charlie Arnott, was talking to a group of students at their Introduction to Biodynamics course at Glenmore House, owned by Larry and Mickey Robertson, near Camden, NSW. It was a bold statement that captured the group's attention and emphasised the importance of learning biodynamics basics to capture carbon, and improve soil health and water holding capacity of their gardens and farms. Other demonstrated benefits are increased plant yield, disease resistance, and nutritional value. "It's also the quickest way to create more rain," Hamish said. "The more moisture in the soil, the more water can drain in, and be transpired."
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April 14, 2019

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Sophie Hansen's 'A Basket by the Door' honours seasonal ingredients and comfort food

A Basket by the Door, Sophie Hansen, Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores

The idea for Sophie Hansen's book 'A Basket by the Door' bubbled out of her fully formed at a chance encounter with publishers Murdoch Books. Sophie had confidence in her idea and a follow-up formal proposal for the book was the easiest she'd ever written. Murdoch Books loved the concept and 18 months ago Sophie started giving form to the stories she hears in daily life about how a gift of food can give energy to a new mother, help a friend recover from an illness, or simply say, "Thank you" or "I love you." When Sophie was starting to photograph food for her book she contacted us to buy several props, including the Stanley metal lunch box above, a tiffin, and baking pan. It has been a thrill spotting them in print. 
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