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Published in the Bondi View and City News.



Make Baba in Bondi

In an effort to pare back spending at the supermarket, expensive snack items like dips have been struck from my shopping list. One way to save money and have your baba ghannoush too is to take a Lebanese cooking class with Norma Dakhoul. You’ll also learn how to make fattoush, kafta and a great spicy potato appetiser called batata harre, before moving onto sweets like baglawa. All classes end with a sit-down meal too! As an extra incentive, Norma’s offering a thirty percent discount if you bring along a friend to her last winter class on Saturday 28th August.
www.normaslebanesefoods.com.au



Barbecue Breakthrough
Speaking of supermarkets, if you’re anything like me, you’re also spending a fair bit of time in those aisles reading the labels to see what’s in the products you’re buying. Bar-B Skews™ are a new and natural way to marinate meat, seafood and vegetables from the inside out while avoiding nasties like artificial colours, preservatives and flavours. Co-creator Vic Cherikoff explains: “They are also zero fat and sugar, unlike the black goo that goes onto supermarket chicken skewers. A distributor of the marinades once told me that he’d never eat his own product – he knew what goes into it. Now that’s frightening. I use my product every day.” I’ve been road testing them in my own kitchen (until it’s barbeque weather) and I’m impressed with the intensity and clarity of flavour! It particularly suits the high quality organic meat I favour because it enhances rather than dominates the meat’s natural flavour. Just watch out for the highly aromatic Hot Chilli indoors! You can get them online for under six bucks a packet in a bunch of flavours including Crushed Garlic, Paperbark Smoke, Fresh Coconut and Spanish Rosemary.
www.cherikoff.net



Ethically Tempting Tea
I also try to use the Ethical Consumer Guide when I’m making purchases. I was a little lost when it came to one of my favourite beverages, iced tea, because most of the common brands have strikes against them. Nestea comes from Nestle who have had their old boycott for irresponsible marketing leading to infant deaths in developing countries reinstated due to a perception that they are not complying with World Health Organisation Code regulations. Tetley’s is manufactured offshore and owned by the Tata Group, named on the Burma ‘Dirty List’ of companies reported to be aiding the brutal military dictatorship. Lipton’s owned by Unilever who have been criticised for animal testing. So discovering Stolen Recipe Iced Teas was a bit of a relief! They’re made from real brewed tea without any nasties, like added sugar, preservatives and artificial colour. I reckon they taste better than the other brands too! Perhaps it’s because their recipes come from the tried and true favourites of ordinary Aussies? Felicity’s Quench Blend made from peppermint and chamomile tea with lemon balm and fennel, is my current favourite for its subtle, refreshing mint taste.
www.stolenrecipe.com.au



Master Pasta
Barilla is one company that receives a tick in the Ethical Food Guide, and they make good pasta too. They’re gearing up to host Australia’s largest cooking program ever with 10,000 lucky Barilla buyers getting a free master class from a stellar line-up of professional Italian chefs! You just need to purchase two of their pastas and two of their sauces, and register online at:
www.barillaaus.com.au



Yes, Even The Wine…
After all this talk of avoiding hidden nasties, I thought I would leave you with a heads up about the 2010 Australia and New Zealand Organic Wine Show. It’s a part of the Organic Expo & Green Show at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre from the 20th-22nd August. Head on down to get the lowdown on local wines made from grapes grown without the use of potentially harmful chemical sprays, with strict limits on the use of preservatives too. I’ll be there myself finding out more about the organic labels popping up on wine lists all over town – with 150 wines entered this year, I’m sure to be tipsy!
www.organicexpo.com.au