Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog

A blog about Iyengar yoga, organic food, and cooking.

Miles the emu

Miles_baby Photo by Andrea Hylands

As you know, I am a kangaroo advocate, and several of these wonderful creatures seek refuge on my property from the local shooters. But who knew the word was spreading through the emu population that I love all animals and not just kangas.

One of our guests, Andrea*, popped outside early one morning in June to take photos. Standing with the camera glued to her eye, she was astonished to see an emu loom large in the picture frame. She snapped off a couple of frames and then came inside to tell me.

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The return of the dancing brolgas to our Western plains wetlands By Jane Gibb

Brolgas

Brolgas once danced on the wetlands of Western Victoria. But agriculturalists drained the swamps to open land for farming decades ago. As the wetlands were lost, so were the enormous flocks of brolgas and other migratory and local birds that once graced our western plains.

Now, a community-driven project is underway to remediate Walker Swamp, seven kilometres north of Dunkeld on the Wannon River. It's a remarkable story of our community's determination to rebuild the wetlands, for so long a lost and misunderstood local treasure.

A big task gets community support

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Kookaburras nest in our old gum tree By Jane Gibb

P819195_20181224-050501_1 Classic kookaburra sitting

Down in the lower northern end of our retreat is a very old gum tree, probably 400 years old, according to local environmentalists! It's rare to see such an old gum tree away from the banks of the rivers, so she's a tough old girl.

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Awesome Tofu Burgers

Tofu-Burgers-with-chutney

One of the great things about this recipe is that you get to feel the texture by hand shaping the burgers. Over time I seem to have developed a little ritual when forming the burgers. Place a large tablespoon of the mix into your hands and press gently between cupped hands, slowly pass from hand to hand taking a moment to pause and reflect. 

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Beat the winter chill with my spicy chickpea soup

Beat the winter chill with my spicy chickpea soup

By Jane Gibb

Nothing beats a hearty soup in winter for dinner or lunch.  My spicy chickpea is very simple to cook and it will keep you deliciously full.

You might be surprised to learn that Australia is the second largest producer of chickpeas in the world. So you are guaranteed to find local Aussie produce for this dish.

Chickpeas are good for us and tasty as well. They are a great source of protein and dietary fibre. They are a good source of manganese and iron – both essential for healthy bodies. Plus they have low GI – great for stabilising blood sugar levels. Chickpeas get the healthy heart tick as they lower bad cholesterol.

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What the carrot crisis taught us: How to preserve an oversupply of vegetables

What the carrot crisis taught us: How to preserve an oversupply of vegetables

By Jane Gibb

There was a carrot crisis earlier this year at Griffins Hill Yoga Retreat. Clara, our resident Cardigan corgi, joined us for an overnight holiday in Melbourne, which meant she was absent from her vegetable garden minding duties.

Of course the wallabies, as smart as they are, took full advantage of the unguarded garden. In just one night they ate all the greens from the carrots. By this stage the carrots were almost fully developed so we had no choice but to harvest them. Bucket loads of carrotsClara goes on holiday were gathered and washed by Mayuka the diligent WWOOFer (willing worker on an organic farm).

The question was: what do we do with all these carrots?

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The tomatoes are telling me something

The tomatoes are telling me something

 

By Jane Gibb

Tomatoes are the base ingredient for dishes from many different cultures including my favourite – Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.

Here at Griffins Hill Yoga Retreat, we grow a large crop of tomatoes each summer, bottle them and store them in our cellar for winter use.

Tomatoes grown in organic soil have noticeably superior flavour to those grown in glasshouses. They are even better still if you grow your own – the shorter the distance from the garden to the table, the more flavoursome your tomatoes will be.

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My five favourite kitchen implements

My five favourite kitchen implements

By Jane Gibb

 

Do you have kitchen implements you can’t live without? As a cook and a food lover I spend much of my time in the kitchen. My kitchen implements can be my best friend. Quite frankly I’m a little attached. 

 

The best utensils and equipment make cooking a joy. Personally, I love an artisan’s touch. So I search out implements that are the best in quality and design or handmade, where possible, locally produced and made with a ‘green consciousness’ in mind.

 

Here are my five favourites:

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How to spend less time getting your 10 serves of veggies every day

How to spend less time getting your 10 serves of veggies every day

By Jane Gibb

 

Ten serves, you ask? Yes, the rule of thumb on vegetables is changing. According to recent research by the Harvard School of Public Health, the indicators now suggest that we need to consume around nine serves (we just rounded it up for convenience) of fruit and veggies a day, with more veggies than fruit. (There’s a growing body of research to suggest that one piece of fruit a day is better for us than more). All up, that’s about five cups of veggies.

Of course, the question is how? 

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organic food ontario are the best choice for everybody, doesn't matter
Friday, 23 January 2015 18:43
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Dealing with an apricot glut: Why bottling apricots is worth the effort

Dealing with an apricot glut: Why bottling apricots is worth the effort
By Jane Gibb I love finding the first beautiful orange-coloured apricots that appear in my garden each December for a very brief period. Apricots have been cultivated for thousands of years and are thought to have originated in Armenia, the mountainous country bordered by Turkey on the one side and Georgia on the other. The delicate flavour of apricots is intensified by cooking them, which makes them an ideal fruit for squirrelling away in bottles. I remember as a child watching my parents lugging boxes of apricots into our family home, on a farm in foothills of the Victorian Alps, near Mansfield, marking the beginning of the bottling season. It was an exciting time as our kitchen filled with the scrumptious perfume of the stewing fruit, and my mouth was already watering at the thought of eating preserved apricots with my breakfast or after dinner with a dollop of cream or ice cream. At...
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Hi Jane I have never preserved anything before (my parents did) but I am going to give it a go, as i LOVE apricots & ho... Read More
Sunday, 26 January 2014 15:28
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Healthy kangaroos at Griffins Hill Retreat

Healthy kangaroos at Griffins Hill Retreat
0 0 1 325 1857 Griffins Hill Retreat 15 4 2178 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-AU JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The good thing about gardening is that there is always next year to try again – that’s how I felt after last summer, one of the most challenging I’ve face in term of crop production here in my organic kitchen garden. In January, Dunkeld was listed as the driest place in Victoria, which is amazing when you think if the usual contenders like the wind-blown Malley Wimmera region. Basically there was no meaningful rain between September 2012 and June 2013 – typically we would have had a good soaking month or so of rain in that time, with a nice downpour in January to quell the dust. This year,...
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