See our range of Stanley vacuum bottles, mugs, and food flasks to prepare for the cooler months
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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April 05, 2019

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'A Tree in the House' Nundle book launch

A Tree in the House Nundle Book Launch Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores

This week we hosted the most beautiful gathering of women from north west NSW on our Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores verandah for the Nundle launch of 'A Tree in the House' by author, photographer and friend Annabelle Hickson. The beauty came from the patina of our 1891 building, Virginia Creeper covered verandah, and Fowlers preserving jars and enamel vessels, including jugs, mug, sugar bowl and Turkish coffee pot, filled with roses, dahlias, sedum, and wind flowers from the Tenterfield gardens of Annabelle, and Mandy Reid from White Cottage Flower Farm. We gathered every available table, chair, and bench at our shop and created spaces for conversations on our verandah, then spilled onto our neighbour Mark Delahunt's Jenkins Street Antiques and Fine China verandah, borrowing chairs from Jenkins Street Guest House. Beauty also radiated from the warmth and openness of the 40 women, who had travelled from Moree, Gunnedah, Scone, Tamworth and surrounds, and the supportive and inspiring atmosphere created by the possibility of imagination.

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March 11, 2019

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Burnt butter parsnip cake

Burnt butter parsnip cake

Our boys are obsessed with asking if I've added vegetables to cakes ("Does this have vegetables in it?" they ask of any cake, regardless of appearance). So when I saw this recipe for Burnt butter parsnip cake by Helen Goh, I just had to make it so I could say, "Yes" when they asked. I made this cake on an incredibly hot day for a gathering of people who were an incredible support to us during a difficult 2018. It is worth making Burnt butter parsnip cake for the reaction (expect curious facial expressions) when you tell friends it's parsnip cake, but mostly for the delicious nutty texture and intriguing, delicate flavour layers from aniseed powder, and currants, to grated parsnip and white chocolate icing. It gives me great pleasure to share Helen Goh's recipe. I hope you enjoy making (and eating) it as the weather cools off. Meanwhile, my goal of making Burnt butter parsnip cake from homegrown parsnips wanes as grasshoppers devour seedlings emerging in continuing 35C days. It will be back to the grocer. 

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March 11, 2019

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Joining big conversations and Waste Warriors

Companion planting marigolds and tomatoes

Within one week in February we joined some big conversations about reducing carbon emissions, from regenerative agriculture with NSW farmers Charles Massy and Colin Seis, to reducing waste with War on Waste presenter Craig Reucassel.
Charles Massy and Colin Seis presented at Tamworth Agricultural Institute on their approaches to regenerative agriculture including intensively grazing livestock to increase soil organic matter and avoid overgrazing, and planting trees and improving groundcover to increase soil water holding capacity. ... Speaking at the Waste Warriors Expo-associated 100 Mile Dinner, War on Waste presenter Craig Reucassel encouraged guests to, "Work on one change until it's a habit, then choose another."
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November 25, 2018

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Making beeswax wraps by Milkwood

Making beeswax wraps

The universe has been pushing me to make beeswax wraps. We have a bulk supply of beeswax from years ago when a friend had a honey business at Nundle, I've had two conversations giving me how-to tips from grating, to oils to mix with the beeswax, and when 'Milkwood, Real skills for down-to-earth living' arrived it had a instructions on 'Making Beeswax Wraps' (featured on their blog this week). I have been following the Milkwood blog for years and I was thrilled when Milkwood founders Kirsten Bradley and Nick Ritar announced they were writing a book. I love the chapter on Wild Food, being blackberry, apple, fig, mushroom and nettle foragers. 

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November 25, 2018

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Reversing climate change, reducing food waste

Reversing climate change, reducing food waste

Sustainable North West committee member Col Easton began the forum, 'A Mandate for Climate Change for Tamworth', with the question "What can I do in all aspects of my life to reverse climate change?" The forum, attended by more than 60 people, is the latest in Sustainable North West's community events that include Sustainability Expo, Open House, 100 Mile Dinners, and Youth Enviro Race. It aimed to share ideas with business, government, communities, and individuals about the urgency to increase action on climate change. The catalyst for the event was the book. 'Drawdown' by Paul Hawken, which brings together the expertise of 70 students and scholars from 22 countries to list 100 climate solutions with the greatest potential to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. The solutions were then peer reviewed by a 120-person Advisory Board. Ranked number three in the Project Drawdown list is Food Waste, from food rotting on farms, or spoiling during storage or transport, to retailers rejecting imperfect produce, and consumers buying too much food, throwing out food past its use-by date, or not using leftovers.
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November 21, 2018

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Christmas cake with the help of friends

Christmas cake

It was a delight to mix the dried fruit, see the cake batter coming together blending the dark brown sugar, butter, flour, eggs, and fruit. Our nine-year-old came home from school as I was mixing the batter and he gave it a stir for good luck before it was spooned into the tin. Our kitchen smelt like Christmas as the cake baked for four hours. The recipe made a high sided, dense, dark Christmas cake. Once it was cooled I followed Mickey's advice, wrapping it in baking paper, foil and a tea towel and placing it in a cupboard. I look forward to opening the cupboard door and breathing the scent of anticipation.

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November 09, 2018

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Flowers steal the Nundle Art Show

Nundle Art Show Flowers

Nundle School of Arts Hall looked more like a florists today as CWA members prepared flower arrangements to decorate the Nundle CWA Art Show. The Nundle CWA flower team of Margaret Chamberlain, Barbara Webster and Margaret Schofield collected flowers and foliage from their gardens, and laid them out on four trestle tables before creating their displays. Delivering her second boot-load of flowers and foliage for the morning Margaret Chamberlain says, "You've got to see my smokebush." She walked into the hall with an armful of roses, salvia, valerian, and oak and gleditsia foliage. The season was looking desperate until last month when Nundle had about 60mm of rain in three days, followed up with 20mm this week. "A couple of weeks ago there was nothing in the garden, not even weeds," Barbara Webster says. Thanks to the good falls Nundle School of Arts Hall is full of the delicate scent of roses, larkspurs, pittosporum, star jasmine, cottage rose, and cat mint. 
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November 07, 2018

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Salted dark chocolate layer cake

Salted dark chocolate layer cake

This Salted dark chocolate layer cake is for our friend KG who lives in Sydney and says that if she lived around the corner she would be on our doorstep every time I posted a cake shot on Instagram. Well, she was in the neighbourhood recently and I made this cake for dessert. The recipe is in October Country Style, 'Pure decadence', an excerpt from Donna Hay's cookbook Modern Baking. It's all about the super rich chocolate ganache with this cake. Unfortunately our daughter suffered the pain of watching me make the cake and then had to leave before it was served. However, our sons were very happy to have left overs in their school lunch boxes the next day.

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November 07, 2018

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Yankee Jack - The Musical, homegrown country arts

Yankee Jack the Musical
Nundle musician and mother, Toni Swain, has taken a character from Nundle's history, John Wright (aka Yankee Jack), and brought him to life in an eight-song musical, Yankee Jack - The Musical, to be performed by Nundle Public School students this month. A desire to see her son Quin perform in a musical, and a newspaper article about Yankee Jack who died as an 86-year-old Hanging Rock recluse, inspired the original work. Toni first saw The Illustrated Sydney News article, which includes the first photograph of Yankee Jack, on the wall of Nundle's Mount Misery Gold Mine Museum when she moved to Nundle 10 years ago. "I would always tell friends about this fascinating character in Nundle's history, a 12-year-old boy who travelled from London to find his fortune in the Hills of Gold, and between the ages of 18 and 24 crossed the oceans seven times and visited every continent," Toni says.
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