I’m tired. Between my job that allows me to continue eating and my blogging, social media, housework, shopping, helping to care for John’s dad and other commitments, I wanted to fit in the Real Food Festival. Yesterday was the first day of the festival in Maleny.
Real Food is a peoples’ food festival as it’s all about families and local produce and products and it’s a great way to connect with people who are producing wonderful, local food. This is the third year of the festival and I was so pleased to be a part of it.
Yesterday was election day and today Australia has a new prime minister, Tony Abbott. For those not in Australia, voting is mandatory here. Everyone must cast a vote or pay a fine as it ensures that everyone participates in democracy. Because of voting, there weren’t as many people as I thought I remembered from last year.
Starting at 8am, I did two volunteer shifts and then went around visiting all the people I knew and then set about making new friends of local producers.
My first job was on one of the gates near the camel rides. (You’d love a camel ride, right?) One little girl about 6 came through the gate holding her nose.
I started to talk to her and she couldn’t talk because she refused to open her mouth except to breathe. “She can’t stand the smell of camels,” her mother whispered. I assured her that she couldn’t smell them at all at the hay bale maze for kids.
None of us working the gate could smell the camels at all so either the little girl was pinocchio with a real nose or the rest of us were too darned old.
At 11am I went to the main gate and stood for another 3 hours giving out show bags. By the time 2pm rolled around, I was ready to sit down but no, there were people to see, products to check out and no time for sitting. I was also starving.
I’d gotten up at 5am to get my daily work done so I could spend the day playing and left here with just enough time to get up the mountain. I got there in time to do my job so I went from 5am to 2pm with a bottle of water.
As soon as I was free I headed for Burma in Ya Belly. Yes, Burmese food. I got a sausage on top of a quinoa and pumpkin salady sort of stuff but it wasn’t crunchy. It was cold and it was delicious until I bit into the hottest pepper I have ever tasted. I felt like my eyes were shooting flames. I thought about licking the grass or a light pole – anything to cool my tongue down. That will teach me to eat without looking. Did I photograph it? No, I inhaled it – hot pepper and all.
Then I caught up with Chris Klaas my food photographer friend, blogging friend Lizzie Moult, Iris from How To Cook, Martin Duncan from Freestyle Tout and Freestyle Escape, Anne Marie from Sticky Beak Foods, the Thermomix consultants, Paul and Genevieve from Spun Fairy Floss and Peter Wolfe who taught the nose to tail pig class several months ago.
AND.. I met Yvonne Ellis of Irish Brick Cake fame. In the flesh! I saw the sign for Baranbali Farm and said, “Are you Yvonne?”
She looked at me with that look that said, “Oh god, should I remember you?” I said, “I’m Maureen Shaw.” She grinned from ear to ear and said, “It’s not really an Irish Brick Cake. It’s Irish because I’m from Ireland and it’s a brick because I usually put it in the refrigerator and it is as heavy and hard as a brick when it comes out.” So there you have it.
I’m keeping the name Irish Brick Cake and perhaps we’ll create a legend. I told Yvonne that people around the world are loving her cake.
She told me she has heaps of other things we might be interested in but NOT her juicy cake. I’m dying to know what that is but I don’t think it will happen. We are all wondering what juicy cake is, aren’t we? I have no clue but it’s very moist and apparently delicious as another woman at her stand said it was better than brick cake. Perhaps if we all chant she’ll relent and share.
Today the weather was beautiful 26/78 degrees and not a cloud in the sky and the festival was packed! Perfect weather for wearing a wide brimmed hat but I was giving a presentation about food writing/food blogging at 2:30 and I didn’t want hat hair. Vain, I know.
I first watched Chef Laurent Vancam make a croquembouche like a real Parisian would make it. Amazing. He made this in about 15 minutes.
Laurent is from France and trained as a chef there and worked around Europe before finding his way to Sydney and set up a catering company where he fed the high and mighty. After several years he and his wife needed a change and they moved to the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast and set up another award winning wedding catering company.
He saw that children were eating school food filled with colorings, preservatives and refined flours and when the opportunity arose for him to take over the school meals, he removed the junk and began serving real food. He took the kids’ favourite recipes and put them into a brand new cookbook.
There is so much more I want to share with you but a. I’m exhausted and b. you’d be sick of reading one post. I’ll cook something for you tomorrow with the leftover pork that I bought today from Baranbali Farm. John and his dad ate crackling tonight like there was no tomorrow AND I bought an extra package of pork skin to crackle tomorrow. They’ll love me.
Coming up will be cinnamon creamed honey, Kidaman Beef, Maleny Cheese, Hinterland Feijoas – I would go on but as I said, I’m exhausted. I’ve missed you!
Glamorous Glutton says
I’m sure you can persuade her to bake the juice cake and, or part with the recipe!? Sound like a great day but i’m not surprised you were tired. GG
Helene D'souza says
Maybe Laurent would like to check out the Indian school food here and enhance it to the better. Much needed from what I hear!
I understand the little girl who doesn’t like the smell of camels. They do stink! ^_^
Again I wished I was living in your neighborhood, the festival sounded like lots of fun. Is there a video of you talking at the festival? =P
Just reading about your day tired me…but it is so nice of you to participate and be a part of this fun festival. Kudos to you for juggling everything and having fun with it. The festival sounds like a lot of fun.
The food sounds great too, and that croquembouche looks so good, what? 15 minutes…NO WAY…that is so good, well then again he is a pro..I took so long, burnt a finger to make that once…
Sounds like really fun festival to be apart of. Perfect weather too, I kind of like the idea of voting being mandatory maybe in the US we wouldn’t have the problem of voter fraud, but it does seem like a bit of an oxymoron.
Juicy Cake! Juicy Cake! Juicy Cake! We want Juicy Cake! 🙂 Sounds like a terrific day. I was thinking of you the other day when we went mixer shopping. Our KitchenAid of 30+ years is in the process of dying, so we’re in the market for a new one. The current batch of KitchenAids have quite mixed reviews, so we’re not interested. Anyway, Kenwoods are now starting to be sold in the US, and they have what looks like a Thermomix clone. I know you love yours. I don’t think we’re going to go that route – we’ll probably buy the Cuisinart, which is a Kenwood clone – but I’m tempted.
She’s adamant, she’s not sharing juicy cake. Sorry about your mixer. I use my KitchenAid for the balloon whisk and with the flat blade for breaking up slow cooked meat but the rest is in the Thermomix. I tried one of the clones before I bought my Thermomix. I ended up sending it back because it wasn’t very sturdy and buttons didn’t work on day one. Maybe they’ve improved since then. It was well over a year ago.
It sounds like an amazingly busy day. All that time standing would have had me tossing back pain pills like popcorn. I love the idea of fining people who don’t vote. Democracy is everyone’s responsibility to uphold. I hope to hear more about the talk you gave.
Looks like it was a fun festival!
This gave me a laugh all the way through! I love festivals and fairs like this! Thanks so much for the laugh…I needed it! 😀
LOL Caroline, it wasn’t supposed to be funny 🙂 I know what you mean about festivals around food though!
Lizzy (Good Things) says
Maureen, wow, you have been busy! We have missed you too. This event sounds delicious… something that Peter and I simply must come up for… gives us the chance to see you and John too! How about that croquembouche! Yum!
You can never have or go to too many food festivals!!!
Sally Hookey says
Oh Maureen I can so understand your exhaustion! We love this festival as its all our local and represents us and real food, but it was also the weekend of my father-in-laws 80th birthday in Kingaroy. Family does comes above food in the priority list, so we also squeezed in an overnight visit to see Willy and celebrated his 80th in style! Sunday we came back early and I think the festival vibe and the community of our neighbouring stall holders kept us going til closing time then we fell in a heap and shoved everything in the old farm utes in a most un-like-us mess! Happily we had a wonderful weekend and can’t wait til year! Thanks for dropping by, Sally and Peter, Hinterland Feijoas.
I want to share your feijoa goodness with my readers. I think many will not have ever eaten a feijoa or seen one growing.
Lisa the Gourmet Wog says
I just had a visual of you licking grass and it was hilarious! Sorry to laugh at your expense, I really do know how bad really hot chilli can be xx
It was a shocker. You know how you can’t spit anything out on the ground when there are 40 people hanging around? I had to boil inside until it went away. I went looking for ice cream or panna cotta. 🙂 The burn quit before I had to buy anything.
Lisa the Gourmet Wog says
I just had a visual of you licking grass and it was hilarious!! Sorry to laugh at your expense, I really do know how bad really hot chilli can be xo
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
Wow what a day! I so wish I could have gone. Next year! Yes please to the juicy cake recipe!
Yes and you should speak next year, Claire or do a cooking presentation 🙂 Bring the bub LOL
The Café Sucre Farine says
Wow, you have been busy Maureen. I’m tired just reading all this! The food festival sounds like so much fun though, I’m glad you got to squeeze it in, despite the chili!
I’m having a lot of fun though, Chris. It keeps me young(er). 🙂
Hotly Spiced says
I’m exhausted just reading this. I can’t believe you were up at 5am to start your day and then made roast pork for dinner – I would have served up toasted sandwiches or screamed for takeaway. I wonder what everyone would have thought if they did see you licking a pole – maybe you would have got an early mark! xx
LOL We bought a beautiful pork roast from Baranbali Farm and Rob said as we walked away, “You’re cooking crackling tonight?” I saw the gleam in his eye and said, “Of course!” I fell into bed. The crackling WAS amazing. Much better than what I get at the supermarket.
it must be a very busy and happy day… thanks for sharing those wonderful shots.
Thanks so much for coming by and leaving a nice comment!
InTolerant Chef says
What a great – but very busy- day for you Maureen! My mum was hospitalized over just biting into a chilli once, it was tested and classified as “rogue”! She was in for two days!
It’s a good thing I didn’t know this then. I would have gone to the first aid tent. 🙂 I’m such a wimp.
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
You definitely have been busy Maureen! And hehe that’s great to learn about how the Irish Brick cake name came about-it sounds about perfect! 😀
Yvonne was really sweet. She’s got her hands full with a big family and a big farm and selling meat too.
I was thinking of you yesterday, I hope it all went well for you!! I am also of the opinion that you are Wonder Woman. If I went from 5am to 2pm without food, everyone would know about it – I can’t help it either, I just have no capacity to fast and it sends me a bit crazy if I try. And then to come home and cook dinner? Seriously. Wonder Woman 😀
If you saw the look on that little man’s face when he saw the pork roast, you’d have cooked it too. 🙂 It’s 10:30pm and I’m off to bed!
I would have been down on my knees and licking the grass!! Do you get the chilli hiccups too? Great photos Maureen and super impressed you were up at 5am and volunteering too as well as presenting and cooking dinner. I was tired just reading about it all!!
LOL It’s what you do when you want to keep good festivals in your area. 🙂
Fabulous Maureen. It seems there is never enough time. So lovely for you to bump into all those people. Thats whats so good about the Sunshine coast. You are a very good person to have around with your amazing energy. I enjoyed reading about your day x
Perfect way to spend Election Day, I reckon! Hanging out with friends, making new ones, riding camels, and eating food so spicy that you wanted to lick a light pole! 🙂
Alex van de Velde says
How did I miss you!! I easily did 15 laps of the festival on Saturday and I was expecting to bump into you. I must be going blind!
I was there on gate 3 (by the camels) for 3 hours and then I was at gate 2 (the one in the middle near the pavillion) and then I was at Chris Klaas’s photography, I heard you were there from Anne Marie but I didn’t see you either 🙂 It was a lovely festival. Next time you come up this way let me know and I’ll cook dinner for you two!
What a wonderful market day. I can only imagine the effort involved to make it happen. I love chilli, the more the better … but in flavour, not necessarily heat. Your story is well written and an absolute pleasure to read, you have made my day 😀 I hope you have a restful and relaxing one today 😀
What?!? You get fined if you don’t vote? I wish that was true here. Maybe we would elect someone worthwhile, but then I guess that would require someone worthwhile to run. It does sound like you need to slow down my dear! I know it all is a lot of fun and helps you pay the bills, but don’t wear yourself out. Of course the real food festival would be hard to turn down. It looks like fun!
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
This sounds like a very enjoyable way to enjoy election day! With so much busy-ness about these days, such food events are even more important I think.
What do camels even smell like anyway? Like horses, but stronger I would imagine, no? Looks like fantastic fun Maureen – I’d love to go to something like this. We had a “kind of” food festival a while back, but not really in the same way. They don’t often have things to promote local producers and the like here 🙁
All animals in a confined space smell like poo. 🙂
Jocelyn @ BruCrew Life says
Whew, you had a busy time! Gotta love festivals though!! All that amazing food..mmmmm!
I love food festivals and watching people demo fancy restaurant style food. My food is good but you won’t find potatoes cooked in hay and then mashed at my house. 🙂
Kim | a little lunch says
Maureen, I’m so sorry to laugh at your expense, but when you wrote that you thought about licking the grass — or a light pole — after biting into that pepper, I almost busted a gut. This sounds like a fun festival and I hope you’ll expound more on your presentation. (If you already did, forgive me… I’m just getting caught up on blog reading.) I also like Australia’s way of doing things re: voting.
I thought I was busy…but you are crazy busy 🙂 And I really don’t know how you do and manage it all and still stay sane! I think I’m already cuckcoo hahaha
I love food events and would love love love to go to this event the food and atmosphere is awesome!
Mary Frances says
Whew!! You have been busy!! Would love to know about that juicy cake!
Me too! She’s not sharing.
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