A most excellent lecture…

…and indeed it will be.  Details for my food lecture – Diet and Identity: the rise of Veganism – are now online if you’re interested in booking a ticket to this event on Wednesday 18 April at the Sofitel.  I have a number of friends and family who are vegan, and while I’ve always considered it at the more extreme end of the diet spectrum, as someone who tries to eat more vegetarian food these days, I can definitely understand why people choose vegan for ethical reasons.

Enjoying a team lunch!
Image via Bold Thinking Series website

On the panel will be two of La Trobe’s academics, high profile food presenter Dr Joanna McMillan and psychologist and vegan Dr Matt Ruby.  Joining them will be Mo Wyse from inner north vegan bar and eatery Smith & Daughters as well as food writer Richard Cornish who has written a book called, My Year Without Meat.  Timely too in that the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has just opened and on the flip side if you are a carnivore, I believe Sideshow Burgers in Rosanna will shortly be opening.

Joanna blue top
Dr Joanna McMillan image via Bold Thinking Series website

Lots on this weekend including the award-winning Banyule Festival – Twilight Sounds live music concert tomorrow night at Sills Bend in the Warringal Parklands and the Kids Arty Farty Fest and Grand Parade on Sunday morning.  The Ivanhoe Makers Market at the Livingstone Centre is on tomorrow while the Wild About Melbourne pop up makers market is on Sunday at the Thornbury Bowl Club.  Bundoora Homestead Art Centre also has not one but two contemporary art exhibition openings for We and Accession on tomorrow afternoon.  I’ll be back next week with more including a new local profile, as it’s been a while!

The Ladies__160
Mo Wyse image via Bold Thinking Series

 

To us

We celebrated our wedding anniversary this past weekend and while places like Attica and Brae are still on my fine dining wishlist, Mr Rosanna actually chose somewhere local for us to celebrate this time around.

No 72

He took me to Mercers Restaurant in Eltham, which has been there for what seems like forever, and a place we nearly collaborated with when I was the publicist for the Light Factory Gallery for a Melbourne Food and Wine Festival food/art event that unfortunately never got off the ground.IMG_5774

Mercers is housed in an old weatherboard cottage and has a timeless, if not trendy, feel about it.  The food was excellent.  There is a degustation menu and you can choose from a two course or three course set menu – with two courses being the minimum if you eat there.IMG_5773

Mr R opted for the smoked salmon while I had the pea soup with prawns.  For mains, Mr R went the Middle Eastern-style slow cooked lamb shoulder while I had the barramundi fillet with scallops and mushrooms.  Although we barely had room, we also shared a dessert plate for two which was probably the only hit and miss – the lemon meringue and chocolate souffle were the picks of the bunch.  Having said that, the entrees and mains were something really special, beautifully presented and delicious and on par with anything I’ve eaten at fine dining establishments in the city.  There were lots of what looked like well heeled Eltham locals eating and the service, warm and attentive.  I can see why it’s so popular with nearby residents.IMG_5777

IMG_5775

We stopped in briefly at the Brougham Street Bazaar right next to the former Light Factory Gallery (and now Second Home Eltham cafe) on Brougham Street, which is always delightful.  I found a vintage bamboo tea caddy which is now holding my jasmine and oo long teas at home.  I hope you too had a wonderful weekend.IMG_5778

Let the festivals begin

While the cooler weather may put a dampener on things – the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival all start in the next week.  A couple of my work colleagues take improvisation or ‘improv’ classes on a regular basis and I’m looking forward to seeing one of them in action at the Comedy Festival.

640x300-main
Immerse Your Senses image via Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show

There are also a number of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival events that all sound interesting including the Coburg Food Race and Sagra al Veneto (at Bulleen’s Veneto Club turning 50 this year) starting this Friday 31 March while the Master Hellenic Cooking (Hellenic Republic Kew), High Tea at the State Library and A Day At The Club (Merricote pops up at Thornbury Bowls with 70s menu classics) events taking place on 1 and 2 April also sound great.

sfx175351
Image via Ticketek

There’s also a related La Trobe 50th Anniversary event The culinary journey of Greek Australians dinner taking place at Elryos in Camberwell on Monday 3 April, featuring Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos, Head of School of Allied Health and author of The Mediterranean Diet cookbook who will also be speaking at one of my Bold Thinking Series scheduled later this year.  If I wasn’t going out this weekend I would have booked into this one!

I’ll be back with more later this week.  Stay dry…

elyros-2-300x200
Image via 50years.latrobe
the-mediterranean-diet-cookbook
Image via Booktopia

Moving and shaking

The past 10 days seem to have gone by in a flash!  Events season is well and truly upon us as well as this Indian summer that we seem to be having.  La Trobe University turned 5o on Wednesday, which was also International Women’s Day, and I was lucky enough to spend my night at the Hyllus Maris Memorial Lecture which was largely an all-female event save for Isaiah Firebrace’s performance at the end.  Indigenous writer Dr Anita Heiss gave the keynote address on Education being the key to a better life, and was also very funny – she could have been a comedian as well referring to VIPs in the audience as ‘very Indigenous people’!  For me, the highlight was the Indigenous Academic procession into the Union Theatre heralded by a lone didgeridoo player, I had tears in my eyes both when the academics in full gowns entered and when they left – the significance of such an achievement as one of the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in this country, was incredibly moving.

dr-anita-heiss-300x200
Dr Anita Heiss image via 5oyears.latrobe

I spent last Monday night with my fellow Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board member and Chair Valentina Maxwell-Tansley presenting to Darebin Council at Preston Town Hall in the hope that they may increase funding at the Homestead.  Council has a difficult job in determining how monies get allocated across the community but Darebin itself is a very creative municipality which values the social, cultural and economic contribution a visual arts asset such as the Homestead makes so I was very grateful to have been given air time to state our case.  Stay tuned for the result.

c6zfzyxvuaao6vd
Nathaniel Andrew & Isaiah Firebrace image via La Trobe University Twitter

Valentina has also been run off her own feet organising A Weekend in the Gardens event at the Botanic Gardens which kicks off from 4 pm today with John Farnham, Boy & Bear and Icehouse playing at three different concerts.  She’s been working with the same group of people who run the A Day on the Green winery concerts and there will be thousands attending each of the concerts for the first time at the Gardens this weekend.

f4b75d9b-c94e-4162-a6a5-e375154640a4_237031_custom
A Weekend in the Gardens image via Ticketmaster

The Melbourne Moomba Festival 2017 starts today and it’s a beautiful weekend to be in the city if you’re staying in Melbourne this Labour Day weekend.  Closer to home, the Heide Makers Market is also on tomorrow and if I didn’t have other things to do, I’d be attending this one.  Have a great long weekend and I’ll be back soon as there are stacks of events being held locally over the next couple of weeks as well as the launch of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.