A great sum of small things

Category Archives: Book Review

A great sum of small things
26th March, 2019

Amy Tyson reviews this practical and inspirational guide to reducing waste.

A Family Guide to Waste-Free Living plants seeds in your mind and encourages you to plant seeds in your life. Lauren and Oberon Carter’s minimalist approach to providing a waste-free family framework is deceptively abundant. All of the necessary ingredients, both practical and thought provoking, are provided. Their basic principles are presented in a supportive and non-judgemental fashion and are applicable to the suburban environment. This book will do more than get you started. It will become a household tome of comfort and inspiration.

What even is waste-free living? You might think you know something about it. You might think the benefits are glaringly obvious. As you flip through each intricately crafted page, you will witness the waste-free life experiences of this family. With exquisitely captured scenes, you are invited to peer through gorgeously framed windows. You will read their constructively framed words-from-the-heart and realise the far-reaching power of your own decisions. Even the small ones.

No corner of your life is left unexamined. Their principles can be retrofitted to any decision that needs to be made regarding waste. Issues such as the broader impact of waste and invisible waste are touched upon with just the right amount of information to encourage thought. The theme of this book is personal, though, focusing on how to bring about change in your home and life.

As you immerse yourself in the wholesome life of the Carter family, you will find more than enough carefully instructed yet malleable methods to start making waste-free decisions. You will find no strict recipes here. No rules. Except for the rules you make for yourself. And even then, you’ll find kind and understanding advice on how to find your own balance.

A contagious sense of calm comes from observing the Carters’ simple way of life. Instead of overwhelmed at the enormity of the subject, you will feel capable of revolution in your own life and of taking responsibility for your own waste, one decision at a time.

A Family Guide to Waste-Free Living by Lauren and Oberon Carter is published by Pan MacMillan RRP $34.95.

To help Blue Mountains Food Co-op members achieve their waste-free living goals, our neighbour in Ha’penny Lane, The Little Lost Bookshop is offering a 20% discount on this title for Co-op members. Just pop into the bookstore with your Co-op member card and place your order.

Brew a Batch review
17th January, 2019

Brew your own
Home brew just got a little easier with the release of Brew a Batch by Christopher Sidwa writes Maddison Pitt.

If you’re just starting to brew or want to move past the supermarket kits, Christopher Sidwa provides a very handy 101 in his book ‘Brew a Batch’.
The book starts out by explaining different beer styles, the raw ingredients that make beer and what you’ll need to brew your own batch. Christopher reminds us to keep it simple and local when it comes to home brewing.

Before you invest in expensive gear, I recommend borrowing what you can from friends or buying second hand, such as a bottle capper and reusing old glass beer bottles instead of buying new ones.

Christopher also suggests making your own fermentation bucket out of a re-purposed
plastic bucket with a lid. Don’t forget to thoroughly sanitise everything that will come into contact with your soon to be beer!

Before you start making the wort, read the instructions thoroughly so you have an idea as to what’s about to happen. Keep your ‘Brew A Batch’ book at the ready and follow through the easy to read step-by-step instructions and check in with the pictures provided. Allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy this brewing process.

A handy tip from the book; ’Magic Trick #4 – after enjoying your home brew, rinse your bottle out with water to remove the sediment, making them easier to sanitise for your next brew.’

An easy and informative read for the DIY beer enthusiast.

If you’re interested in starting your own brew, Hop and Grain Brew Store in Marrickville provide great starter kits and a wide array of hops, yeast, malts and other grains to experiment with.

Get ready to pop a frothy of your own in a few weeks time!

Brew a Batch is published by Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.

It’s a village out there!
21st November, 2018

The Village by Matt and Lentil

A book to make you “yearn for that deep connection to people and places close to you.”

What an amazing book! Set out in three parts (the village, the growing and of course the eating) it is a thorough bible for sustainable living.

The authors’ shared experience of villages really makes you yearn for that deep connection to people and places close to you.

I loved Matt and Lentil’s advice on growing including ideas about how anyone can grow, even if you’re renting or living in a flat. The eight steps to natural gardening are so interesting and detailed. Being a novice in the garden, I found it really useful to read a frank description of what they do and when.

The planting projects are really inspiring and seem like a doable place to start. The idea to focus on one thing first up is great. I’m particularly drawn to grow an abundance of tomatoes, zucchini and rocket as suggested! Easy to grow, abundant harvest? Yes! The sweet potato crates sound pretty straight forward too.

Just as I started reading The Village I happened upon a bunch of zucchini that had split open. Sure enough, zucchini pickle featured in the book. I have it stewing away in the cupboard and can’t wait to be cracking it open over Xmas. Waste not want not.

The smoothie chart in the recipe section looks so simple and useful. It’s unique, setting out all the different elements and options/quantities to be used to build a great smoothie every time.

The beautiful photographs throughout draw you into a gardeny world and you just want to go live there…or recreate it.

Really inspiring.

Review by Bec Tyson, Co-op sales assistant

Bec’s home-made zucchini pickles. Recipe from The Village by Matt and Lentil, Published by Plum, RRP $45.00, Photography by Shantanu Starick.

The Weed Forager’s Handbook
18th October, 2018

Everything you need to know about weed foraging is contained in The Weed Forager’s Handbook – A Guide to Edible and Medicinal Weeds in Australia, by Adam Grubb and Annie Raser- Rowland. A must-have addition to your sustainable living library, the handy little tome, first published in 2012 and since reprinted numerous times, will fit snugly in your jacket pocket or backpack while you scour parks and gardens for your feed of wild food.

The five well illustrated and simply explained chapters cover the topics of weed appreciation, top 20 weeds, other useful weeds, recipes and gardening with weeds, highlighting not only the usefulness of weeds as food, medicine and soil improvers but exploring the philosophy and tradition of foraging passed down from our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

This well-thumbed edition belongs to Herbalist and Co-op worker Madison. 

Authors Raser-Rowland and Grubb are also behind The Art of Frugal Hedonism, which encourages us all to enjoy more while spending less.

Read more on weeds from Horticultural Editor of ABC Organic Gardener magazine Penny Woodward here.

 

 

What’s for dinner?
12th September, 2018

How do you answer the dreaded question?

Dish up your dinner winners and you could win one of two cook books.

We’re trying to find some winning dinner ideas to share with Co-op members. You don’t have to provide whole recipes just let us know what your favourite, go-to meals are when hungry kids or partners ask “What’s for dinner?”

Send your answers to hello@bmfoodcoop.org.au with your contact details and you could win one of these two cookbooks.

Cauliflower is King  – 70 recipes to prove it by Leanne Kitchen, Murdoch Books, RRP $19.99

or

Stuffed! The art of the vegetable boat by Marlena Kur, Murdoch Books, RRP $32.99

Competition opens Tuesday September 18 and closes Friday October 12.

Milkwood – Real skills for down-to-earth living
12th September, 2018

Kick start your sustainable life with down-to-earth skills from the dynamic duo behind Milkwood permaculture.

The first book from the founders of Milkwood Permaculture, sustainability advocates Kirsten Bradley and Nick Ritar, is not only the realisation of ten years of hard-won practical know-how, it is a celebration of lifestyle. A lifestyle where time-honoured traditions of growing, cultivating, foraging and preserving food are practised with respect for the environment and enthusiasm for self-reliance.

Homemade and heartfelt, this beautiful instructional tome thoroughly explains five areas of the pair’s expertise – wild food, natural beekeeping, mushroom cultivation, tomatoes and the harvest and use of one of Australia’s least utilised resources, seaweed – providing readers with practical skills, recipes, hacks, inspiration and a glimpse into Bradley and Ritar’s own down-to-earth life.

BM Food Co-op caught up with Kirsten Bradley to find out how the book came about.

Q: You teach various courses at Milkwood Permaculture was this book a natural progression from that and what do you hope to achieve with it?

Kirsten: Yes in many ways it was, we wanted to share knowledge in a way that it can sit in your lounge-room or backyard with you, and be absorbed over time.

Q: Why did you focus on just five subjects – Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Beekeeping, Seaweed and Wild Food?

Kirsten: Well they’re ‘five of our favourite things’, so to speak, and also we didn’t want to just give a little bit of info about too many subjects, we wanted to dive in deep! So we started with five subjects that we love doing in our daily life, which are also super fascinating AND super delicious. Our next plan is to do another five subjects, and then another five…

Q: What advice would you give someone wanting to embark on a more self-sufficient life?

Kirsten: Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can! We’d recommend starting with just one small habit, and learning to do that really well. It might be keeping a worm farm, or learning to make yogurt, or learning to identify 10 local edible weeds where you live. Once you’ve got that one thing nailed, and you’re doing it regularly, in your daily life, choose one more thing. It’s amazing where you can end up.

Q: You practice what you preach – do you ever get any down time and does it ever feel too hard living a self-reliant life?

Kirsten: We don’t get a heap of down time, but on the other hand, part of our ‘weekly work’ is things like weeding, or taking the goats down the gully, or making bread. And for me, those sorts of things are what I’d want to be doing with my spare time anyway, so it works out pretty well. It can get a bit crazy in harvest season when the kitchen floor is covered in just-picked food that all needs to be bottled NOW because it’s a heatwave and otherwise it will all be mouldy by tomorrow, but still I wouldn’t have it any other way. And if you have too many pears to process, you can always share them up and down the street. It’s all good.

Q: What’s next for Milkwood – are you already planning a sequel?

Kirsten: Yes I’m bursting to write another five chapters, actually! There’s so much to share, it’s pretty exciting. And we’re so lucky to all live in a place where these skills and ideas are accessible and possible, so I do feel the best way to spend my days is sharing this knowledge so that more and more households and communities can grow and be healthy. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? x

Milkwood – Real skills for down-to-earth living by Kirsten Bradley & Nick Ritar

Murdoch Books, RRP $45

 

Grow heirloom fruit & veg
15th August, 2018

ABC Organic Gardener Essential Guide: Heirlooms

The latest edition in the ABC Organic Gardener’s Essential Guide series celebrates the incredible world of heirlooms. From 900-year-old ‘Purple Dragon’ carrots, to apples and oranges that arrived with the First Fleet, Heirlooms shows you how to grow your own and recommends the best cultivars for your patch.

Featuring content previously published in the popular magazine plus new articles by trusted horticultural writers including Penny Woodward and Justin Russell, the ‘mook’ (a cross between a book and a magazine) includes advice and tips for growing old-fashioned fruit, veg and flowers, seed-saving, raising heritage chook and pig breeds, and even the joy of scything. Heirlooms would make a welcome addition to your gardening reference library or a great gift for a green thumb.

We have two copies to giveaway. Simply email your contact details to  hello@bmfoodcoop.org.au with Heirlooms in the subject line, and a brief description or photo of any heirloom fruit or veg you’ve grown to be eligible to win.

ABC Organic Gardener Essential Guide: Heirlooms is on sale in newsagents and from ABC Centres and abc.net.au/shop and retails for $10.99.

 

BOOK REVIEW: THE OLDEST FOODS ON EARTH
17th July, 2016

The oldest foods on earth: A history of Australian native foods with recipes by John Newton

“This is a book about Australian food… It is because European Australians have hardly touched these foods for over 200 years that I am writing it” says food writer John Newton about this fascinating book. There are many “super” and also more everyday foods that are native to Australia and yet very few of us know much about them, and they can be hard to access.

 The oldest foods on earth : a history of Australian native foods with recipes

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LOCAL IS LOVELY- BOOK REVIEW BY SUSAN AMBLER
14th April, 2016

 Local is lovely: For the love of fresh seasonal food, nice farmers and their produce by Sophie Hansen.

This is a lovely book, true to its title. It is also very local to us in the Blue Mountains, and some of the farmers and producers mentioned in the book sell their produce at the Food Co-op. I loved the way that the book is set up seasonally. The four sections, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter are divided into further sections with an item of produce, recipes for savoury and sweet ways to use the produce, and then a story about their local producer.

Local is lovely

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EATING FOR YOU
16th December, 2015

Eating for You: your personal guide to mindful eating and living for health and wellbeing, by Sallyanne Pisk, nutritionist and accredited practising dietitian, is now available at the Co-op. This newly released book explains that we are all different, so no one way of eating suits everyone. Eating for You introduces 10 Principles that integrate Western science and the Eastern wisdom of mindfulness to guide you in personalising your way of eating and living. You are encouraged to know yourself, know your food and know how to introduce and live with change. Eating for You is ideal if you are interested in food, wellbeing and making changes to your way of eating for health reasons. Eating for You comes with a free copy of a workbook to support you in introducing new choices that will benefit you. Sallyanne writes a weekly blog, is on Facebook, and distributes a monthly e-publication, Nourishment, for your mind and body.

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