Newsletter April

Helen HamiltonThanks Liz for inviting me to introduce the Larder’s April Newsletter. It is full of interesting reading & we all appreciate your effort in putting it together for our Larder family.

This month we have an interesting interview with Richard who has now taken over & developed three verge gardens in Fletcher Street. These gardens are beautiful & full of herbs & veges that we use in the kitchen every week. Richard has returned to Sydney for several months & we want to keep the gardens flourishing while he is away. If you are interested in being part of the team that will replace him let me know….. if lots of people do a little it will work out well….. so far Roger is watering on Thursday mornings & I’m weeding/watering/planting as needed.

With the start of Autumn we were the recipients of lots of produce from the Autumn Festival at the Steiner School Ewingsdale. I was treated to beautiful music & poetry at their school assembly & presented with donations from students & their families. Several senior students spoke to me later & offered to help in the kitchen over the holidays.

Sadly for us we are also losing Rhonda this month as she is heading overseas indefinitely. Thank you doesn’t seem enough. Without Rhonda’s commitment & hard work over the past 2 1/2 years Liberation Larder would have folded. There have been many times when it has just been Rhonda & myself…. thankfully not lately !!!! SO…. we are having a party, you are invited on Tuesday, 14 May from 5pm to my home at 53 Carlyle Street, Byron Bay (just down from the Top Shop). There will be an RSVP with details in the kitchen just let us know you are coming & what you can bring.

Also this month life in the kitchen will get a little easier. We plan to have a new range hood installed in the kitchen thanks to funding from the Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF) & our builder Ben Jolliffe. We hope it will take a lot of heat out of the kitchen (good one Helen! Ed)  Also we have received a Snap Freezer from the Crystal Castle & I’m working to get it operational soon.

Liberation Larder is a great team & I thank you for being a part of it.

Helen Hamilton

PS Last night I was invited to a networking function at the Byron Luxury Apartments 59 Shirley Street by Brett Fowler. During the course of his welcome speech he pledged $1000 to Liberation Larder from his company. There was a woman there from Common Ground who was taking photos & doing a story on the evening if you would like to know more. HH


The next Volunteers meeting will be held on WEDNESDAY, June 5 at 5.00 pm at the Larder kitchen at the Fletcher Street entrance of the Community Centre.


Yes that’s right folks – the event you have been waiting for. Your opportunity to muck in, buzz around and generally help spruce up the Larder. All it will take is some cleaning substances (provided) and some labour (that’s where you come in). We really need 4-6 volunteers to step up for about 2 hrs. Come on don’t be shy. Think how good you will feel looking in admiration at our shiny Larder.

When: Wednesday, 15 May 10am



Cost: Entry is FREE

Please contact Cath by phone or text on 0409 547850 or at Larder on Monday or Thurs.


You are invited to attend a farewell party for Rhonda on Tuesday, 14 May from 5.00 pm at the home of our President, Helen Hamilton at 53 Carlyle Street, Byron Bay. This will be a BYO occasion with everyone asked to bring either a plate (finger food or salad) or meat for a BBQ.  As well as a farewell to Rhonda it is a chance for all of us to spend some time getting to know each other.

RSVP (with food offering!) to Liz Swain ( by 10 May, 2013.


It’s only thirty-five more sleeps until Rhonda leaves Byron Bay and Liberation Larder to travel to Europe. She is counting the days. Not because she doesn’t love beautiful Byron Bay but because she hasn’t been to Europe before and is excited about seeing, for the first time, places whose origins stretch back thousands of years.

RhondaRhonda has been one of the longest serving volunteers at Liberation Larder where she started working soon after she came to live here in 2011.  Coming from Melbourne where she had been working in hospitality for the years since she left school, she decided to explore new horizons and ended up in Byron Bay.

She took a full-time job at Fig Tree restaurant (where she still works) but found that she had some time to devote to a basic need that she has always had to help other people. This led to her working at several community organizations including The Cottage and the Byron Bay Dive Centre where she works as a volunteer at the diving site around Julian Rocks. Soon she discovered Liberation Larder and, as well as becoming treasurer of the organization she is one of the most knowledgeable and important co-ordinators in the kitchen.

Her pro-active approach to the life of the community led to an invitation to become a candidate for the council elections as a member of the Greens team last year.

On her way to Europe she will stop over in Kuala Lumpur where she will meet up with members of her family before travelling on to her first European destination – Munich. She has a ten day job in Munich organized for her by a friend already there. From there she plans go to UK where she hopes to work for a year or so.

We will miss Rhonda’s enthusiastic and energetic presence around Liberation Larder.  And she will miss her friends at the Larder too. Maybe she will return to us when she has finished exploring the rest of the world.

Good luck Rhonda and thank you for your part in keeping Liberation Larder functioning as efficiently as it does. Bon Voyage!


A new feature of the Newsletter will be a favourite recipe. Cec (one of our chefs) took some persuading to give up this recipe! Diane says “people have been asking for it for years!” So, thanks to Cec for this – and yes, I have tried it and it IS delicious.

If you have a favourite recipe that you are prepared to share please send it to the editor.


500g chicken thigh fillets
2 large red chillies
1/2 large red capsicum
1/2 bunch coriander
2 cloves garlic (through garlic crusher)
salt and pepper
Peanut or vegetable oil for frying


  • roughly chop the chicken, chilli, capsicum and coriander
  • place all ingredients (except oil) in a bowl and mix
  • place ingredients in a food processor and process
  • form mixture into burger size patties and coat with bread crumbs (no flour or egg wash)
  • in a pan add the oil and shallow fry till golden brown


  • don’t over process the mixture – it is good to have bits of chicken through it
  • when you form the patties dampen your hands with a little water to stop mixture sticking to hands
  • These Chicken Cakes are great for a light lunch with a salad or in a baguette with some soy mayonnaise and sweet chilli sauce

Bon  Appetit  CY




This morning I am making membrilo, a quince paste that sets hard enough to slice and keeps for ever. It is marvellous when eaten with aged manchego (a hard, Spanish sheep’s milk cheese), and it’s possible to write about making membrilo while making it because it takes a long time to reduce. Very occasional stirring then frequent stirring over a low flame is necessary. I like making food that allows you to do other things at the same time- clean the windows, write about cookery, think about connections.

Because I am not long home after three weeks in China, much of that time spent in the north, west of Xian, west of Baoji, country devoted to crops which equate to the agriculture of what used to be the Golden Crescent, and which includes wheat, stone fruit, walnuts, peanuts, Sichuan pepper, wild honey, and Hawthorn, and because we bought food from many markets, I have made a connection between my bubbling (and increasingly dangerous) local quince paste (made using a gift from a friend who has a De Vranha quince growing on her property near Rosebank) and the rolled strap of Hawthorn berry paste we purchased in the Muslim ghetto in Xian, China’s ancient capital.

We visited quite a few villages, communities left behind by China’s love affair with concrete and iron. One village, idyllic if you didn’t look around you, or listen, is wedged between 3 powerful railway lines with goods trains speeding past all the time. Another is close to a new highway being built and the dust from industry covers the leaves of the few magnificent native peonies that take pride of place in small domestic compounds.

Friends who live in China have formed an organisation called the Village People Project. VPP builds bath houses in villages as a social enterprise project, which is to say that VPP will in the long run turn over the bath houses to the villagers who will run them. The purpose of these visits was to talk to these villagers, and also to any doctors who live in the villages (these doctors, all women, are not qualified in the Western sense but play a pivotal role in the health of the peasants).

Bath houses you ask, and ask why? None of the houses in these villages have bathrooms and the people do not wash their entire body in the way we do. WHO studies have shown that the incidence of urinary tract infection is high in the women. VPP wanted to help villagers: their individual income is less than $A500 per year. They didn’t push the idea of bath houses onto the people but asked villagers what they, outsiders, could do to improve quality of life. A bath house in each village was the outcome, although so far there are only some five villages involved. VPP would like the initiative to spread like wildfire.

Most of the houses in these tiny villages are mud brick with tiled roof. The single village toilet is the ancient composting kind- a hole in the earth. The design of the bath house for each village is the same: a round building with a boiler in a structure to one side (this area of China is covered with snow in the winter). There is the equivalent of a common room for social gathering in half of the building and the other half is divided into a male and female area, with four showerheads in each. The villagers pay to use the showers (an average of 3-5 rmb, about fifty cents Australian although less in terms of the local currency), and VPP subsidises the elderly and schoolchildren. Don’t think of once a day. Once a month, or best, once every two weeks is the average use.

In two of the villages the people who run the bath houses cooked for us. The meal was the same each time: a large bowl of wheat noodles in a savoury broth, with some greens, spices, onion and leek. A jar of the ubiquitous chilli paste was always offered, gritty, not too hot, delicious. Chillies were drying under many of the eves of the houses, and in a market in Xian we loved the stalls where the dried chillies were pounded or minced by a simple machine. I brought a packet of seeds from these chillies home and when they are harvested I shall make an equivalent of quite possibly the best snack food in the world: these medium-sized chillies stuffed with sticky rice, cut into lengths, and deep-fried with peanuts (there seems to be no allergies connected to peanuts in this part of the world).

Back to the membrilo, with a cloth over the hand that holds the wooden ladle and an old towel on the floor in front of the stove to protect the timber from the spitting, scalding bubbles.

First tend your garden  …

the enchanting and unique story of Richard, our Gardener

artIn November, 2012, Richard Turner became Liberation Larder’s gardener extraodinaire.  From an idle patch of land outside the Larder, Richard has created a cook’s garden of wonders  – herbs, shrubs and greens of all description – from pepper rocket to parsley, pineapples to peanuts. Whatever our chefs need or wish for, it is there for the taking! From seeds and seedlings gifted to the Larder from the Byron Herb Farm and various other sources, Richard has watched over and tended the plants until today, on gazing at the garden, one is gob-smacked by the maturity of not one, but three thriving veggie patches that have been developed in a short six months and in the middle of this boisterous and busy township of Byron Bay.

This garden is symbolic of Richard Turner’s life as a freewheeling entrepreneur – to make the most of every opportunity that presents itself, undaunted, courageously.

Richard’s previous experience of gardening was in his own backyard, but when offered a chance to do something creative and imaginative with a weed-covered strip of land in an urban street he grabbed it enthusiastically.

This is Richard – the man with a power of imagination and audacity that takes one’s breath away.

After leaving school at seventeen he took a job in London – his home town- as a photographer’s assistant, learning the art and skills of photography while he worked.  But his dream was to get to Australia . He believed Australia to be the place of the future. He decided to make it his future. So, when he had saved some money he went to Australia House in the Strand where he applied to come to Australia as a “ten-pound-pom”.  His application was approved and at the age of twenty-two, alone, without friends or family he boarded a plane bound for Australia.  This was 1964 – Robert Menzies was PM, Viscount Lord De L’Isle was Governor-General.  He must have thought he’d brought the old world with him!
He arrived in Sydney. As a photographer who had been earning ten pounds a week in London he needed to get a job – and urgently. He found one in an advertising agency, met his future wife, and settled, for a minute, to a life in Sydney.  He took his then girlfriend on a trip back to England.  Perhaps he wanted to be sure that he had made the right decision those few years earlier? But the challenge and charm of Australia soon lured him back and he and his now wife returned to Sydney.  Richard’s curiosity about Australia – this big, sparsely occupied country – had to be satisfied so he and Rae started travelling again. They bought a Combi van and spent the following two years exploring and working in different parts of Australia. They ended up in Adelaide. This was to be the start of a new chapter in Richard’s life.

In 1974, he was accepted as a student in the South Australian School of Art where he was to study for three years. His field of interest was film and video but there being no discrete department for his admired courses of study, he was assigned to the Sculpture department! There was no set curriculum. But this was no impediment!  In Richard-style, he “wrote his own syllabus”. He loved it! He could do whatever he liked. While there he made prize-winning short movies. This led to his employment as a lecturer at the same institution for three years. During that time he was commissioned to make a documentary about sculpture in Australia. His work was featured on a Four Corners programme in 1977.

In 1980 he stopped teaching. He set up his own Repro-graphic and design studio specializing in the production of advertising material. His studio attracted major clients including a rock and roll magazine. He sold his studio in 1984 and went to live in Japan.

While he was living and working in Japan his wife was employed as a “foreign expert” (at the same time as Kevin Rudd was an Australian diplomat in China) at a university in China. Life became another adventure of holidaying and touring in these countries.  He has been in and out of Japan at least eighteen times.  It is nothing for Richard to travel from Japan to LA for a few days to take photos of a friend’s wedding!

Richard and Rae recently retired from their hectic and exciting life and have come to live (for as long as it pleases them!) in Byron Bay where they have bought a house. They were drawn here partly because his wife was born in Lismore. They also have a house in Sydney which they are about to sell. So, sadly for Liberation Larder, they will be returning to Sydney in mid-April.

“But we will return” Richard hastily adds! He likes the weather and the relaxed life-style. He is a cyclist (with twelve bicycles to choose from!). He had a bicycle repair business in Sydney. Byron’s level terrain suits him well. For real exercise, he rides up to the Lighthouse on his purpose made titanium mountain bike.

I put a few standard questions to Richard.

“How did you discover Liberation Larder?”

My wife and I attended the Bangalow Food Fair last year and as we walked past the Liberation Larder stall we were approached by Rhonda.  It was she who told us about the work done by the Larder. I was hooked!

Who would you like to sit next to on a long plane trip?

Stephen Fry. He is so erudite and funny.

Who would you not like to sit next to?

Tony Abbott. We would have nothing to talk about. His mind is closed.

Richard’s current project is to develop an anti-drone protection shield!  … ? Ask him!

Who knows where they will go next.  But we know that we want you to come back Richard. We, as well as the gardens, need you and your inspirational presence.

“Life is what happens when you are making other plans!” John Lennon

This is Richard’s life!

It Couldn’t Be Done Edgar A. Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it”;
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

Reader’s contributions welcomed