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!