a little bit of silliness....click on the picture to create a fly for it to eat....

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Flightpath Festival...

a huge, great big thank you to Katie at Leichhardt Council for organising such a great day...and for letting me be a part of it.  You have helped me on my way to KOTO Katie and I am very appreciative.

Total raised so far...

From what I can tell...(I forgot to count the float before I started painting today...doh!)  the total raised so far is $1,332.55.  Only $3,667.45 to go!

Flightpath Festival...

The day was sunny and bright, the music was loud, the drinks cold...but where oh where were the children?  For the first hour of the festival I painted one enthusiastic adult...oh no...not another Fair Day debacle.  But as a woman said to me on her way past the stall..(I must have looked very dejected)..."It will get better...you'll see."  Thankfully, she was right...first there was a little girl who wanted a dolphin..then a delightful wee person who wanted to scare his daddy and be a vampire...then a bunny, then another dolphin, then a princess...a spider...then I couldn't draw breath.  It was full on....I barely had time to think.  
The kids were all great...a little wriggly sometimes but great...and only one parent stiffed me by getting her little girl Coco painted then telling me she only had a $50!  Who comes to a community stall with a $50...she promised to get some change from her in laws but I don't think I saw her again...ah well, it was only the one...and she was compensated for by the generosity of the others.  Thanks to all the parents who understoood that artistic skill sometimes has to be sacrificed for speed when painting very little people with short attention spans. 


Friday, March 26, 2010

Special offer...

I've decided to further publicise my wonderful cooking classes that once a month - starting in April - one lucky follower of this blog will win a free one on one cooking class!  I will come to your home and we will have a lesson devised as a unique one off just for you.  This prize can only be won once by each follower, so join up now and be in to win!


I've just discovered that people have left comments on this blog!  Oh my goodness...I am such a dinosaur...I didn't even realise that they could!  So let me please appologise for my tardiness in not responding sooner.  I will endeavor to check much more closely in future. 

More ideas...

I sent out an eamil today to several schools in the area.  Since my face painting seems to go over well with the kids I meet at festivals I've decided to take it a step further and offer a birthday party package...1 hour of my time, all paints, hair decorations (if required), fun and frivolity for only $50.  What a bargain.  I can also offer kids cooking classes as the birthday activity, and even the birthday cake.  Imagine the peace and quiet of a kitchen full of little ones concentrating on perfecting their cupcake decorating skills, or their pizza making talents...then they get to eat what they have produced!  Magic.  Let me know what you think...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Flightpath Festival on Sunday...

I'm all geared up...new paints..a large bottle of barrier cream... some funky pipe cleaners for hair embellishments...what else could you need.  The weather has been gorgeous here so fingers crossed for Sunday.  Come on down to Callan Park and have some fun while helping me get to Vietnam.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

So I was feeling inadequate....

then I went online to surf for some fundraising hits...I found this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRFoQrRTeYs  I had a little laugh and a little cry and now I feel much, much better.  Take a look when ever you think your life involves too many lemons and you just don't have time to make lemonade.

The journey...

When I decided to go to Vietnam I gave a lot of thought to how I was going to raise the money. I talked to friends who offered great advice, not all of it legal or appropriate, but good none the less. I checked out sites on the web that offered ideas and inspiration. Unfortunatley I can't raise money under the banner of KOTO as any funds raised in their name in this country have to be sent directly to them. Most of the hints and tips on the websites were aimed at registered charities, or those operating for registered charities. I can't run raffles, well, not legally. People who donate can't claim a tax rebate so there's no incentive there. Any money I raise can be classified as income as far as the tax department is concerned, I need to be scrupulous about logging 'gifts' received to avoid this. I've tried contacting Rotary, Lions and Probus with no response...I think a personal contact in those organisations may be more successful. So it's down to face-painting, cooking classes, selling home made doggie treats and whatever I can save from my part-time work. Any ideas people? I've sent off info packs to the local papers with no response just yet, but I live in hope...I'm open to any sensible suggestion.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Leo's blog...

Speaking of blogs out there, the SBS newsletter has highlighted a delightful blog by a young man who obviously has a great palate and a real passion for good food. The surprising thing about Leo is that he's only 8 years old! Have a look at his restaurant reviews...he's a clever wee chap. Leo's Feast is the name of his blog.

Total raised so far....

From facepainting at Mardi Gras Fairday, the ongoing sale of doggie treats (thanks to Caroline at rozelle markets) and my savings...total so far....$1087.55c.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

this blogging lark is not as easy as it sounds...

I've just been checking out some of the incredibly professional looking blogs out there, wow! It makes me feel quite inadequate, but I'm in this to learn, so if you do chance across this blog please, please, please let me know what I can do to improve things. The following site is a fount of useful information, when I have a quiet day I will log on and take notes...

Flightpath Festival...


Great news...

Leichhardt Council is putting Flightpath Festival on Sunday 29th March in the gorgeous grounds of Callan Park. It's on from 12noon to 6pm and the wonderful woman organising it is allowing me to set up as a facepainter right next to the petting farm. If I can't use my skills as a chef I will use whatever I have to raise money. Come along, bring your children for a great day of food, beverages, music and fun...and facepainting of course. I will take and post photos...watch this space.

Monday, March 15, 2010

A couple of great recipes you might enjoy

Lemon yoghurt cake
Preheat oven to 170c 8in tin, line w baking paper

200g butter
200g castor sugar
2 eggs
250gm plain flour
¾ c thread coconut
1.5tspn baking powder
1 c yoghurt (peach or passionfruit is nice but any flavour will do)
1 lvl tsp baking soda
1 c lemon curd

Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy, add eggs slowly – beat well in between.
Sift flour and baking powder and add thread coconut. Warm yoghurt and add baking soda, do this in a decent size bowl as it will bubble up. Add ½ flour mix then ½ yog mix (stirring gently to combine in between), then remaining 1/2s. finish with the lemon curd.
Bake, don’t open door of oven for first 25mins, this cake may sink if you do. Cook for 35 – 45 mins or till golden brown (or till a paring knife comes out clean)
Do press test first, if the cake springs back when pressed test with the knife, if it doesn’t just cook a little longer.

Lemon curd
100g sugar
100g butter
100g lemon juice

Melt in bain marie (bowl over boiling water)
When melted add 3 whisked eggs, stir with whisk till combined, cook till thickened.
Pass through a sieve, then add finely chopped lemon zest if desired, bottle and keep refrigerated.

Savoury muffins
Preheat oven 180c

2.5c SR Flour
2 lvl tspn baking powder
2 c grated cheese
1 lvl tspn basil, oregano and paprika
1.5c milk
1 large egg

Sift flour and bp, add cheese and herbs, whisk milk and egg in a jug, stir into dry ingredients, mix quickly – don’t overmix! Add flavours as required, cooked chopped pumpkin, zucchini, peppers, onion, spinach, fetta etc.,
Makes 12 standard for 20mins or 6 texan muffins for 30mins (times are approximate, test with sharp knife to see if cooked)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Class suggestions...

Windows Live Hotmail: "Class suggestions;
Perfect pastry...pate sucre, pate brisee and perfect products from each.
Choux, choux train...puffs both sweet and savoury.
Sourdough bread...take home a mature starter and the know how to produce your own lovely loaf.
Decadent desserts...wicked desserts, fabulous garnishes and a little bit of bling when plating up.
Cheats desserts...yummy desserts that are ready for the table within record time...and they still look great."

So here's the thing....

I'm a mature aged student, very mature, 51 this year. I'm studying towards a BA/BEd to eventually join the ranks of the state school teachers here in NSW. I'll be teaching English and Drama, which dosn't seem to have much to do with cooking I know. I am actually a chef who loved specialising in pastry, for the past three or so years I've been teaching in private colleges in Sydney. Yes, those private colleges which you read about in the paper. Some have been closed down because the people that owned them did something scurrilous finacially, one got closed down because it was woefully inadequate (I like to think my complaints to the Department of Education and Training helped), and the most recent closed down because as far as we can tell it just wasn't making enough money for the overseas group who bought it. It was a frustrating, gutwrenching but ultimately edifying experience. Teaching students who had no interest in the subject, and who made no bones about letting me know that was a challenge. In the beginning I answered that challenge the way I would teach in the kitchen...loudly and emphatically. Over the years I was made to see that these students were not actually apprentice chefs who needed to learn how to cook, but customers who needed to learn enough to achieve a qualification that would allow them to become Australian residents. Thankfully there would inevitably be one or two students who preserved ones faith in the system, who actually did want to learn. Those students became the reason for persisting in a relatively thankless job, them and of course the pay...much better rates than for slaving over a hot stove. Through it all I discovered that despite the situation I had an aptitude for teaching. I remember a tutor of mine when I went to Canterbury College back in '94 telling me that I should consider teaching. I thought she was mad, I was scarcely halfway through my two year course...I wasn't even qualified let alone good enough to teach. Strangely enough she was right, it's not about being the best chef in the world, it's about being able to explain a concept in simple enough terms that another person can pick it up and run with it. The best teachers are often surpassed in skills by their students...I live to hear that my students have achieved more than I ever did.
Last year I started getting involved with taking classes for the general public. Initially through a cupcake shop that I had done some recipe development for prior to it's opening. The facilities were not the best but I managed to make the classes interesting enough and fun enough that the feedback was pretty positive.
Which leads me to the reason for this blog...my trip to Vietnam in November. I've been accepted to go to KOTO Hanoi which is a hospitality school for street kids. Take a look at the website to see the wonderful things that have been happening there . My desire for involvement stems from a professional development trip to Vietnam my mate Jo Stratfold and I took two years ago. We took several cooking classes in different parts of the country. Whilst in Hanoi we took the opportunity to visit KOTO. I had carried about 20kg worth of books, clothing, kitchen equipment and general stuff donated by my friends and colleagues for the students of KOTO. Our dinner booking gave us a chance to deliver this and also see the magic at work. The food was good, the service excellent and after the meal I approached the kitchen. I asked a young man to point out his teacher so we could congratulate him and his class. "No teacher" replied the young man, the students were working unsupervised. Jo and I could scarcely believe our eyes and ears, had we left a class unwatched like this chaos would have ensued! I was entranced. Over the years I have followed the KOTO website with the idea of returning some day. So this is the year...no more excuses...no more procrastination...I'm going in November.
The only thing is how to raise the money...this dear readers is where you come in...I'm offering cooking classes - natch - in your own home or mine. From only $50 per person with a minimum of 5 people. The classes can be tailored to suit you or you can choose from a list of ideas I have drafted. I bring the ingredients, my enthusiasm and years of experience. Together we create our own little bit of culinary magic.