Ugly Apple Cake …

OK so that’s obviously not the real name of this cake, but a post by David Lebovitz happened to arrive in my Inbox the same week as the first June Bellingen Growers Market, and seeing as it’s apple season, it all seemed a bit serendipitous.

The Bellingen Growers Market is held at the showgrounds on the second and fourth Saturday of each month, and it’s a small, eclectic mix of bric-a-brac, plants, books, second-hand clothes and of course most importantly home-made, home-grown and mostly organic  or spray-free seasonal food.  The fruit and veggies are not the perfect, polished specimens you find at the big supermarkets (you know, the kind that have been in storage for months – maybe even since last season!)  They are more often than not, distinctly ugly …

Of course, it’s what’s on the inside that counts, so I picked four knobbly, pock-marked red varieties, one of which was so crisp and tasty that didn’t even make it into the cake. Luckily I bought extra, but I need to go back to the next market as I don’t remember which variety it was.  Anyway the recipe is straightforward so just follow the link

The only change I made to the recipe was to substitute Frangelico for the dark rum (to save buying yet another bottle of alcohol) and to drizzle some lemon icing over the top (because I just happened to have half a lemon to use up).

The result was unanimously declared to be delicious… eat fresh, eat local and eat ugly fruit!

Icy delights …

Hiding in a historic and quirky building in the main street of Bellingen is this treasure.  Our very own gelato shop ..

Come on in ...
Come on in …

Recently “our” gelato makers scooped the pool at the Sydney Royal Agricultural Show, winning over twenty medals. Their Chocolate Jaffa (orange) won Champion Gelato, and Stewed Plum with Cinnamon & Clove won Champion Sorbet. The winning flavours were entered by their only other outlet, located in the Sydney suburb of Rozelle.

Pina Colada, Watermelon & Mint, Pistacchio & Rose, Roast Macadamia & Honey and Thai Coconut with Pandan & Palm Sugar are some of the more exotic winning entries.

Bellingen Gelato recycles, composts and uses plant based containers. So in the spirit of loyalty, and on account of the hot weather, I feel obliged to work my way through the freezer display.

Thankfully, the shop is in total lockdown at night !!

Thankfully shut

Crazy Day colour …

The last few weeks have been drizzly and dull – sort of what you’d expect as we approach the middle of winter.  So Crazy Day was just the tonic that Bellingen needed.

What’s Crazy Day you ask ?

Well, on the third Saturday of June, Bellingen traders offer crazy discounts and set up stalls in the main street …

Nigel from Sweet Bellingen
Nigel from Sweet Bellingen

And as Crazy Day coincides with the monthly community market, talented people come out of hibernation to sell their creations …

A gaggle of women friends from Goosey Goosey set up their stall to sell their quality hand-made art and crafts …

Of course, nobody goes thirsty … there’s even pedal powered organic sugar cane juice on offer, and it tastes a whole lot better than it looks!

There was an abundance of delicious (and mostly healthy) locally produced food.

The crowds came from near and far, the sun shone all morning, the children  were entertained with camel rides and a bouncing castle, and a fabulous day was had by all.

World’s biggest bower bird …

The local rubbish tip is not the place you would normally expect to go bird spotting. And of course, we don’t call them rubbish tips any more, they are “Waste Management Centres”.  Many have re-cycle or re-use shops attached.  Ours used to be called The Eco House but it has been re-named in honour of the fabulous sculpture now standing at the entrance.

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The sculpture which stands several metres high was created by local “found” artist Nick Warfield over three months, and is surrounded by blue objects, like a giant bower bird “nest”.  Nest being the wrong word, because it’s really just a place for the male Satin Bower Bird to show off and to hopefully impress a female.  These are the same birds that featured in my Mango War posting.

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The bower bird was commissioned by the local council to celebrate the re-opening of the shop after some months of mysterious closure. (There are rumours of rubbish corruption!)  So our re-use shop is now called The Bower House.

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Unfortunately, it still contains mostly junk, but if you scrounge around the occasional treasure can sometimes be found.