Food Skills Expert

Monday, May 30, 2011

What's News in Food...from Launceston and Hobart, Tasmania and back to Parkdale, Melbourne

Parkdale, Melbourne - Friday 15th July
Enjoyed a delicious French luncheon with Julie and Alison at another world's best secret at Ficelle Restaurant- 2 courses entree and mains for $15-95! As an example, I enjoyed the snails in a creamy tomato, wild mushroom and mustard seeds followed by home made gnocchi with mushrooms and chicken accompanied by a Yarra Valley Rose - we all enjoyed coffee after.
So 2- course luncheon for three ladies including wine and coffee for under $90-00. Hats off to chef and owner - Thierry Lelivre!
Where is it? 196 Como Pde West Parkdale, 3195 p. 9587 4422

Tasmania Culinary Treats (5th- 9th July, 2011)
On a recent sojourn to Tasmania, Jan and I were delighted to explore the culinary delights of the local fresh food, beer and wine produce. Minimal food miles here and the quality of the fresh food produce is second to none!
Paltry offerings, however, when we arrived 6-30am Tuesday in Devonport on the Spirit of Tasmania  led us (of all places) to McDonalds - seemingly the only place in town with an inviting hub-bub and the promise of something warm. I had always pooh-poohed the idea of McDs but my son Alexander had always recommended the Bacon and Egg Mc Muffin, which was surprisingly good. A fresh muffin, freshly cooked egg and real bacon accompanied with a strong, flavousome, cafe au lait, Jan and I were set for the day- and for under $10-00 for two.
So have a re-think next time you're in Devonport, Melbourne Tullamarine, Paris CdG or Amsterdam Schiphol, NY JFK - you can be guaranteed of a sustaining, economical and reliable breakfast!

The offerings certainly improved from there - culinary treats awaited in Launceston, a pretty town on the mouth of the Tamar River on the north coast of Tasmania: a town that prides itself on local quality food and wine (beer and cider) produce.
At the end of the Cataract Gorge, Jan and I enjoyed a fine evening meal at The Gorge Restaurant (Phone 6331 3330) - 3 delicious courses for $41.90

Jan enjoyed Caramelised Smoked Quail with Hazelnut and Orange Salad with Raspberry Dressing, Ocean Trout with Shitake Ragout, Prosciutto and a Red Wine Vinegarette for mains and followed by Duo of Brulee served with Almond Bread and Double Cream.
I enjoyed a delicious Creamy Seafood Chowder, Venison Shank served with Parsnip and Roasted Garlic Mash and followed by Flourless Banana Pudding with Rich Toffee Sauce.
This was accompanied by a local Pinot Noir - of which Tasmania is famous!
A brisk 15 minute walk home along the Cataract Gorge certainly helped to minimise those extra kJs!

and from Hobart...
not exactly about food but no visit to Hobart is complete without a visit to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), an incredible surreal journey that will take you from Egyptian mummies to the Porsche Carrera Fat Car.  

As a handmaiden entombed in her Pharaoh's tomb in another time and place, it was painstakingly chilling to pick my way across the 8 hopscotch white marble stones surmounted on an inky black limpid pool to reach the Coffin and Mummy's tomb of Pausiris - the mood was set to recreate a darkened sombre Mummy's tomb with the drip drip of water and Andres Serrano's (of Piss Christ fame) The Morgue as a stark backdrop.  My recommendation - do not attemp if you are in any way claustrophobic!

You could describe the inspirational MONA as Salvadore Dali's Pubol Castle meets British Museum.

And finally, Salamanca place on a chilly Saturday morning - great Farmer's Market food with fresh, fresh produce...

That's Jan standing against the fresh fruit and vegetable stalls - note the Dutch tri-kleurige flag!

Note: original purple carrots

Famous Tasmanian Apples - Royal Galas

Ashbolt Farm Produce really appealed to me with its Elderberry Concentrate, Olive oils Cordials.  I enjoyed a warming Elderberry Tea served with ginger and lemon - am still enjoying it at home after purchasing a sample of the supplies after returning home to Melbourne on a chilly Sunday morning.
Tonight I plan to use the Black Elderberry Concerntrate to baste a roast beef topside for dinner...

To be sung to the tune of Abba's 'Thank you for the music'

Thank you for the food skills, the food I’m making
Thanks for all the joy I’m creating
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without good food, what would we be?
So I say thank you for the food skills
For giving it to me.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Food and Nutrition Gurus

Read more at;

This easy-to-navigate site provides some useful top food and nutrition tips from Australian dietitians associated with Health Management  It is user friendly and provides consumers with food information they really want to know. Thank you .....

Academic Mentor

Professor Tony Worsley is Sandra's Academic mentor and PhD Supervisor
Position Chair in Behavioural Nutrition 
Area School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences 
Phone +61 3 924 46743 
Campus Burwood 

Tony Worsley is Professor of Public Health Nutrition in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences. His background is in psychology, particularly health psychology and behavioural epidemiology. He has held prior appointments at the University of Adelaide where he was Professor of Public Health, the CSIRO Division of Human Nutrition (Head of the Food Policy Research Unit), the Australian National University’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, and Otago University (New Zealand) where he was Professor in Social Nutrition. Between 2000 and 2004 he was a Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) Scientific Fellow. He has wide experience in the evaluation of public health nutrition programs, and in the promotion and maintenance of behaviour change. His current research involves several overlapping areas including: behavioural and nutritional epidemiology, studies of products at the food-drug interface, food and nutrition policy research; health and nutrition promotion. He has published widely in scientific and professional journals. He is a co-author of the Body Owner’s Manual, and The Food System.

Academic Advocates for Home Economics
Professor Martin Caraher
Title: Reader in Food and Health Policy
Room: C310
Tel: +44 (0)20 7040 4161

Martin is Reader in food and health policy at the dept of Health Management and Food Policy at City University. He originally trained as an environmental health officer in Dublin. After working in the north west of Ireland he developed an interest in the public health and health promotion aspects of the work. He completed his masters and doctorate in London, since 1990 he has been working with Prof Tim Lang on aspects of food policy.
He has worked extensively on issues related to food poverty, cooking skills, local sustainable food supplies, the role of markets and co-ops in promoting health, farmers markets, food deserts & food access, retail concentration and globalisation.
He is a regular and well-regarded key note speaker and conference presenter at home economics conferences throughout the world.

Sandra and Martin at the Home Economics Institute of Australia's Conference Dinner held in Darwin, Australia in July 2009

Home Economists working as Academics

Dr Janet Reynolds
Her background in home economics includes teaching and working as  a consultant to the governments of Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Sri Lanka in setting up home economics and lecturing at Queensland University of Technology.  A Principal Executive Officer with Education Queensland, Jan has a Masters in Education Studies and her PhD focused on school based nutrition education.
A Fellow of HEIA Jan has held positions of President, Treasurer and Convenor of the Education Standing Committee. Recently, Jan has edited the book Nutrition the Inside Story worked with Xyris Software to manage the revision of Food Choices and written the HEIA's position paper: Home Economics Education and the Australian Curriculum.

Dr Donna Pendergast

Professor Donna Pendergast has an active research profile.  She has recently conducted research in the following areas:  middle years education; middle schooling; early years  education; school and policy reform and evaluation; Year 7 into secondary; resilience; generational theory ; Y and Z generations and pedagogy; teacher efficacy; family and consumer sciences research; home economics philosophy; cyberbullying; mentoring; evaluation of professional development processes; food literacy; gifted and talented students.
She has published widely, including her edited book "Teaching Middle Years" which has been selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. This year her book "The Millennial Adolescent" that focuses on teaching Y Generation students was released. Donna conducts professional development for teachers.
Read more about what Donna has to say about Food literacy and the links with childhood obesity

Academic bloggers

Dr Johannes Brug recently visited the International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity Conference held in Melbourne, June 13-18th June. Read more about Johannes' views on the conference and latest nutrition research at

My Favourite Home Economists
James McIntosh is a really switched on home economist who shares my philosophy on food skills. He's a firm believer that anyone can cook a great family dinner costing less than AUS$10 using everyday groceries.
He shared this marvellous quip with me (and several hundred others..) but it's a great line that sums up our home economics expertise and I would like to share it with you

"You wouldn't call an engineer a mechanic, why would you call a home economist a cook?"

In my interview with James for my first PhD study he shared the following ...

..On kitchen gadgets and troubleshooting

...and if you teach kids how to cook using gadgets such as portable electric grills you are teaching kids how to reheat not to cook. You also need to teach students about kitchen gadgets and appliances- for example teach them that a food processor is not an appropriate equipment to make a sponge because the air inlet is small. And troubleshooting- so that consumers know why their pastry is tough because they have added too much water, or they have over whipped their egg whites . And I try and talk about it in a very funky way but applied to everyday life.

On practice and motivation
...if food is taught as an enjoyable thing then practice will come. Practice is essential- you can do well the first time but you can do better the next time. It’s like learning to drive – practice brings speed, competence and ongoing motivation.

Did you know that you can buy James' Whisk App for $5-99 via I-Tunes? I love the "shake your I-Pad or I-Phone" to come up with a recipe idea for that exact time of the day.
So if you're running out of ideas and want to solve the "What shall we have for dinner?" then this App is for you!! Visit

Jay Deagon

Is a home economist undertaking a PhD with Dr Donna Pendergast at Griffiths University.
Jay has created a great web site that aims to connect home economists from around the world.
I love Jay's 'About The Research' philosophy.
I do recommend you to visit this site and consider joining up to share the joy and latest research in home economics!!
And thank you to James McIntosh for connecting us.

Fred - the WEBER BBQ Meister

Visit my brother-in-law's wiki web site at (you can translate it from Dutch into English using Google Translator) and find out all there is to know about cooking on the Weber!!
Here is a photo of Fred's delicious wares taken when we were on our holiday in Limburg in May 2008..

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Food Book

The Food Book is co-authored by me and two inspiring home economics educators - Leanne Compton and Anne Prescott.

Sandra and Lea at The Food Book launch

This great new book is an award-winning food skills and recipe book designed to take young people from school to home and beyond....
The food skills section in the book was based on my PhD research.


and download a flyer

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Latest publication

So what are the essential food skills required by young people (and food skills students) to live healthy independent lives?
Here is the summarised version but you can read the whole article if you click on the links below!

Fifty-one food experts (home economics educators, chefs, dietitians, nutritionists, homemakers and independent young people, community health workers) were interviewed  to determine what these food skills are.
The top twelve essential food skills are
ü  Consumer knowledge, information and skills
ü  Hygiene and Safety knowledge and skills
ü  Meal knowledge and skills
ü  Nutritional Health knowledge
ü  Cookery Methods knowledge
ü  Equipment knowledge
ü  Food exposure knowledge
ü  Seasonal Produce knowledge
ü  Troubleshooting knowledge
ü  Sources information
ü  Terminology information
ü  Skills acquisition

Here is the link to the Abstract in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour
Please email me for the full text article (PDF) or visit for the Word version