Two nuns formerly of Abbotsford Convent get a big interview in The Age

The Age has a big full page spread today on the Convent in general, Catherine Kovesi’s book on the history in Australia of its Sisters of the Good Shepherd, and in particular, two former nuns, Sister Monica Walsh who entered the order aged 18 in 1963 and Sister Noelene White, neither of whom these days live in nunneries or wear habits but are, nevertheless, still nuns. There have been no additions to the order in the past 20 years. It’s really worth a read; I commend it to you.

Abbotsford Convent Slow Food Farmers Market Tomorrow

Yep, it’s true, and no politicians this time. From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. See, $2 entry and $2 parking. It’s a plastic bag free zone, so bring baskets, trolleys, and bags of your own. See previous posts here and here.

The Melbourne Farmers’ Markets website’s blurb is:

“Farmers’ markets are at the heart of Slow Food. It’s not just the most direct source of fresh produce but also a genuine, accessible way for the public to find the real story on how our food is farmed.

…The market will illustrate Slow Food principles and the Victorian Farmers’ Market Association criteria and be all proceeds will be directed back into local Slow Food endorsed projects.

This is simply about Victorian farmers getting what they deserve for their efforts and consumers getting value for what they pay for…. no long cold storage, no gases, no over processed chemical laden foods and no GMOs. Just delicious, nourishing seasonal foods in an atmosphere that promotes conviviality and community.

Come and find seasonal, organic and low/no chemical fruit and vegetables, free range, rare breed and heritage meats, fish, chooks and eggs. Then there’s handmade cheeses, pasta, condiments, bread, honey, olive oil, flowers, seedlings and much, much more.”

Dates for the next 6 markets are: 23 December, 27 January, 24 March, 28 April, 26 May,  and 23 June.

Abbotsford Man wins Australia Day Award for Lentil as Anything

Shanaka Fernando (left), Lentil As Anything‘s founder, is celebrating winning the Metropolitan Local Hero Award in the Australian of the Year Awards, 2007. According to the Herald Sun, he was last year living in a tent on the Elwood foreshore. His is an interesting life. He was raised a buddhist in a wealthy Sri Lankan family and came to Australia in 1989 to study law. He founded Lentils after travellling extensively through Africa, Asia, and South America. More about him anon.

Broad beans, mussels, lemon balm and panforte

I enjoyed the market very much. There were about a million fewer people there than at the Taste of Slow festival, the entry was a more palatable $2 per person, and the stalls were a bit less chichi. It was a farmers’ market which actually had a few farmers selling stuff in a gruff kind of way. I bought these broad beans and cooked them up for lunch as directed: shelled, boiled for 5 or 6 minutes in a cup of water, with some oil, some pepper, some salt, and a chopped onion. The result was fantastic, but I cannot understand why this was a good way of cooking them. Perhaps the woman who was selling them did not think I would have the patience to “slip them out of their tough skins” as Stephanie puts it (using a typically infuriating cookbook writer’s euphemism for a task naturally more tricky than it is made to sound — the best one I recall was, in relation to an uncooked eel: “peel back the skin as if removing a glove”). I have never heard of boiling an onion. But there you go, it was glorious (though I think Stephanie’s injunction to boil them for 3 minutes is preferable), the things were as brilliantly green as could be, and I’m sure they were fresh, though it was my first foray into the world of broad beans so I wouldn’t really know.

I also got some beautiful looking mussels for lunch tomorrow, and passed up some unshucked Coffin Bay oysters caught by a mate of the mussell man.  I bought a lemon balm, a seedling of a special kind of spinach recently rediscovered in the wilds of Italy, and some very curly cress for the kitchen windowsill. I bought kipfler potatoes, bread from the Convent bakery, cheese, and some panforte made up near Shepparton which was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

Inaugural Slow Food Market at the Abbotsford Convent

I popped into the first Slow Food Market at the Convent today, arriving just in time to hear a politician give quite a short speech. It was that old Melbourne Grammarian who ended up as the Member for Broadmeadows but has never lived in the electorate, the Minister for Regional Development, the Treasurer, Mr John Brumby. Here he is having a chuckle with Maggie Maguire, the Convent’s CEO. Unbound by any code of ethics whatever, I nevertheless deleted the photograph of the treasurer flanked brilliantly by a toddler because the bastard blinked and looked kind of goofy. So you know now you’re reading a quality broadsheet. Continue reading “Inaugural Slow Food Market at the Abbotsford Convent”

New Yarra River Flickr Group

There is a long list of Flickr groups about things Melbourne here (including Abbotsford, Collingwood Children’s Farm, Abbotsford Convent, Richmond, Fitzroy, Kew, Fitzroy North, Collingwood, etc.).

Someone has set up a Yarra River group. Here it is.

This photo is by Alan Lam. His photos are stunning. I am noticing a lot of talk about something with the acronym “HDR” in relation to photos that are a bit more stunning than usual. I’m working on working out what that is exactly.

Abbotsford Convent gets a wrap in The Australian; goes on tv; gets a history book

It’s true what The Oz says, it was a stroke of genius to get Kenny to open the newly renovated toilet block at the Abbotsford Convent. The handy summary of things Abbotsford Convent is here, really worth a read. I learnt with interest that the pictured massive oak tree was planted in 1857 and is known as the Separation Tree. It is as old as the state of Victoria, being planted to celebrate the secession from New South Wales. That makes it just shy of 150 years old. (The Age’s version is here, the Herald Sun’s here).
Meanwhile, an article from The Age highlights a new show, Tripping Over, which was filmed in part at the Convent.

And a book has been published on the history of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti. Authored by Catherine Kovesi, historian, author and senior lecturer at Melbourne University (pictured), its title is Pitch Your Tents on Distant Shores. Friends of the Abbotsford Convent can get a pre-publication special (save $15) for $55 (plus $10 postage unless you pick it up from the Convent): call Kate on 9419 5773 like today or tomorrow. The offer has already officially expired.
And here’s The Age’s review of the Convent version of Lentil as Anything.