Author Archives: gracienumber1

All that Jazz at MJF!

The iconic Merimbula Jazz Festival kicks off next Friday 8 June and some great bands and performers from Canberra are on the program. Here’s a taste of who you can find when you’re down there.

Love a bit of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, or Tommy Dorsey? You can reminisce about the Swing Era and get your toes tapping to the following Canberra Big Bands.

ConneXion Big Band—directed by Sally Greenaway and with some of Canberra’s top musos and vocalists, ConneXion’s repertoire goes from the 40s and Glenn  Miller through to the 80s and James Bond. You can find ConneXion at the Auditorium Club Sapphire at 5pm 9 June.

traXion Big Band—together for over 10 years traXion plays a range of swing from Count Basie to modern and movie themes. traXion are at the Auditorium at 9pm 9 June, and the RSL at 4pm on 10 June.

In Full Swing—formed in 1991, In Full Swing starts in the big band era of the 30s and 40s through to contemporary funk, rock, and smooth jazz. In Full Swing will be swinging at the RSL at 6pm 9 June, and again at 5pm on Sunday 10 June.

Blamey Street Big Band—directed by Canberra vocalist and classical pianist Leisa Keen, Blamey Street plays music from all eras with a particular fondness for the 1930s. Former musical directors include Ian McLean and Derrick Brassington, and vocalists Tony Haley, Rachel Thorne and Annette Sloan. Blamey Street will be at the RSL at 2pm on 9 June, and the Auditorium at 1pm on 10 June.

traXion Big Band. Image courtesy traXion

If you’re into the more intimate music of small combos, duos or trios, check out In2Deep with vocalist Rachel Thorne and pianist/composer Mike Dooley. Covering jazz standards and original swing and soul composed by Dooley, this brilliant duo received a standing ovation at MJF last year. In2Deep will also launch their new album, A Good Man is Hard to Find, at MJF. You can find this one good man (and woman) at the Auditorium at 8pm on Saturday 9 June, and the Sapphire Room at 2pm Sunday 10 June which also includes their CD launch.

In2Deep. Courtesy In2Deep

And now for something completely different … if you want to hear a full choir perform jazz and swing, get over to the Auditorium at 7pm on Saturday, or the Sapphire Room at 3pm Sunday and have a listen to Rhythm Syndicate. This group has been performing around the Canberra region for almost 30 years, and at Merimbula for 14 years. If you can’t catch their Sapphire Club gigs, they will also performing some gospel—with a twist—at the Ecumenical Jazz Service at St Joseph’s Catholic Church at 11.30am on Sunday.

Rhythm Syndicate at the High Court Canberra with soprano Louise Page

Merimbula Jazz Festival is now in its 38th year and gets bigger every year! The Festival also includes the Jazz Dance on Thursday 7 June, the Jazz Hatters Party (formerly the picnic) on Monday 11 June, the Street Parade on Saturday morning, and the Jazz Quest for young (under 25) upcoming musicians at the Lakeview Hotel on Saturday evening.

For more information and full Festival program visit their website or Facebook page.

Find Merimbula accommodation here.

In Full Swing at Merimbula. Courtesy In Full Swing


Pies and Pinots in the Southern Highlands!

What’s better than a home-made pie to warm you up in winter? A trip to the Southern Highlands Pie Time –that’s what! Pie Time 2018 is a celebration of pies throughout the Southern Highlands and includes pie themed activities, tours, events, festivals, and competitions during the month of June.

Pie Time 4

Competition time. Image

One of the great highlights of the month is the Pie Competition from 13 – 15 June, and this year, for the first time will include bakers from the Canberra region.  ACT bakers include Shane Hughes from SomeBakers in Fyshwick, who as well as pies also does great scrolls and the tastiest sausage rolls! Wayne Sewell from Uncle Juan’s Bakehouse will be competing with vegetarian, pork and fennel, and Thai chicken pies as well as their standard beef, lamb, and sausage rolls. Uncle Juan’s is based in Bowral but is a regular at the Capital Region Farmers Market on Saturday morning. Local Highlands’ pie makers include Polly’s Pies, Robertson Pie Shop, Stones Patisserie, and Gumnut Patisserie. You can also indulge in cooking classes from the experts!

Thai chick and green curry pie

Thai chicken and green curry pie

And if the pies alone aren’t enough to tempt you, you can mix your pies with Pinot! A number of cool climate wineries are on board with some fantastic cellar door offers. Cherry Tree Hill Wines, at Sutton Forest, have partnered with Southern Rise Bakery and are offering a mouth-watering Beef and Burgundy Pie matched with a glass of Pinot Noir for only $15. Or you can take a Kombi or Jeep for a Pinot and Pie Discovery Tour to Artemis Wines for pie and pinot, then on to Gumnut Patisserie for dessert, and finish with a trip to Eden Brewery for a tasting session … all for only $130. To book contact Kombi Capers.


Sweet cherry pie with ice-cream

On the other hand you can truly indulge yourself with a 2018 Pie and Pinot Dinner hosted by Eschalot Restaurant with seven courses (that’s right—seven courses!) of various pies, matched with pinots from Cuttaway Hill Wines, and Tractorless Vineyard. This amazing degustation is only $150 and is on 2 June. Bookings are essential. Tractorless Vineyard is also hosting a Pie Bonfire on 9 June with a lighting of the fire at 5pm. You can join in the family fun by pre-ordering your degustation pie pack of four mini pies and four pinots for only $20, or a tasty burger for only $10.

beef and burg pie

Beef and Burgundy pie

If pies and pinots don’t take your fancy there are heaps of other family events to check out including:

Pie Fest at the Bong Bong Picnic Racecourse—showcasing market stalls, pie cooking demonstrations, children’s activities, family fun and loads more. On 23 and 24 June.

Dine with a Pie—for the entire month of June right across the Southern Highlands at hotels, cafés, restaurants, and cellar doors.

Pie Tours—right through June showcasing the region’s best pie outlets, at various locations with various forms of transport such as Kombis, army jeeps and troop carriers, Trikes, mini buses, taxis, limousines, and even push bikes.

Cooking Classes—explore the world of savoury and sweet pies with guest cooks Lisa and Norma McGill on Saturday 16 June. Heatherbrae’s Pies will also hold classes—check the Pie Time website for more information.

Paddock to Plate—visit the farm that makes the pies and indulge in a paddock to plate experience.

Pie & Beers—Southern Highlands Brewing and Taphouse grow their own hops at Sutton Forest and have developed crafted beers which are now available at the Taphouse in Moss Vale with some great offers during Pie Time. For every litre of Godfather Porter sold during June they will donate $1 to Cure Cancer Australia. Eden Brewery located in Mittagong has teamed up with awarded winning pie makers, Gumnut Patisserie, to create the Eden Pie consisting of their Eden Black Beer and Gumnut beef and pastry available on the menu throughout Pie Time.

Pie time 1

Pie Time Pies. Image from

For more information on all Pie Time events during June visit

Perfect Pomegranates

Here at LFW we’ve recently become enamoured with a somewhat overlooked fruit—the pomegranate! As a child I remember eating pomegranates—imported from the Mediterranean—during the northern hemisphere summer, but here in Australia they can be a rare find, even in the summertime. The pomegranate was thought to originate in Iran (formerly Persia), and through Pakistan and northern India, and quickly spread to other areas in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and central and south Asia.

pomegranate 1

The pomegranate is a really interesting fruit … a pain (and not to mention messy) to get the arils out, but worth it in the end. So if you’ve often looked at a pomegranate and thought what on earth do I do with that?; here’s your answer …

Once you have your pomegranate, cut it into quarters and you’ll see all the bright red arils—they’re not seeds by the way—the seed is inside the aril, both of which are edible. The white/yellow pith surrounding the aril is very bitter and you need to remove the aril from the pith before consuming. Open up the quarters and gently push out the arils with your thumb, discarding all the pith and hard outer skin. You’re best doing this over a large bowl as it can be messy, but you will end up with bowl of lovely red, juicy arils.

Then what? Well, here are just a few ideas, but first … do a taste test. The arils can be sweet or sour depending on the ripeness of the fruit, which is hard to tell until you’ve tasted the aril. Most of these recipes call for sweet or very lightly tart arils, so if the arils are very sour it’s best to use them in juices or salads with sweet fruits.

Smashed Avocado on Toast—how simple is this … GF bread, ½ an avo, and sprinkle with pomegranate arils.Avocado and pomegranate on toast

orange and pomegranate juice


Breakfast Bowl—healthy and colourful … nectarine, kiwi fruit, GF muesli, natural Greek yoghurt, and pomegranate (see featured image).

Juice—add 1 cup of pomegranate arils to your apple and carrot juice, or apple and beets, or orange juice—you can ring the changes with colour by using standard navel oranges, or lovely red blood oranges.


Or something completely different:

Pomegranate and Beetroot soup (serves 2-3)

What you need: 1 tablsp extra-virgin oil, ½ onion finely chopped, 2 large carrots diced, 1 large parsnip thinly sliced, 800ml vegetable stock, 2 cooked fresh beetroot diced (not tinned beetroot in vinegar)—you can buy ready-cooked beetroot in most large supermarkets, ½ teasp ground coriander, 2 teasp fresh dill finely chopped, natural yoghurt, and the arils of one pomegranate.

beet pomegranate soup

What you do: heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the carrot, onion and parsnip until soft, then add the coriander and cook for a further two minutes. Add the beetroot and stock and bring to the boil then simmer for 20 mins. Add 1 teasp of dill and simmer for a further five minutes. Allow to cool. Extract the juice from the pomegranate arils—you don’t want the seeds inside the aril, just the juice. You can do this using a lemon squeezer—we did say pomegranates were messy; then add to the soup to taste—somewhere between three and four tablespoons. Blend well using an upright or stick blender. Serve warm sprinkled with the remaining chopped dill, a swirl of yoghurt, and crusty bread.

Lamb with Pomegranate Glaze

What you need: 3 cups pomegranate juice (see above recipe for extracting juice from the arils), 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teasp fresh oregano very finely chopped, 2 cloves minced garlic, and either a leg or rack of lamb for roasting, or lamb chops or steaks to grill or BBQ.


What you do: place pomegranate juice and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir constantly until it turns to a thick syrup—about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm by placing the pan in a container of hot water. Mix together the finely chopped oregano and minced garlic to make a paste and spread over the lamb, then brush lightly with the syrup saving some for later. Cook the lamb to your preference and allow to rest. Mix the remaining syrup with the pan juices to make a gravy/sauce, pour over lamb and serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

Zilpah tart goes Corporate

She’s known for her bright, colourful prints created digitally from photos she takes in Canberra and surrounds. So what’s the deal behind the corporate range in solid blacks, navy blues and royal blues just launched by local fashion designer Yumi Morrissey?

ZT Corp 1

Zilpah tart’s new corporate line in black, navy, and royal blue.

“A friend asked me to make her favourite Zilpah tart print dress in plain navy for work,” says Yumi. “She loves the style, shape and ease-of-wear of the Balloons dress she bought from me but works in a conservative office and thought a solid colour would be more appropriate. She discussed it with other female friends who agreed so I seized the opportunity to design a new corporate range for professional women.” And the range began attracting attention the moment it popped up on Zilpah tart’s website and social media platforms.

Yumi is staying true to her aesthetic—dresses that look fabulous; are flattering to the female silhouette and are comfortable. She’s also using the quality polyester jersey fabric so popular in her other collections because it doesn’t crease or crinkle or need ironing. It washes easily, dries quickly and is fabulous for those who travel.

ZT Corp 3 Heidi

Heidi in royal blue

This isn’t the first time Yumi has made the smart move of responding direct to customer suggestions. She took a limited number of orders for the black diamond dress she made to wear to FASHFEST 2017, when launching her spring/summer Garden Paradise collection on the catwalk. When she ran out of that fabric, she sourced a sparkly forest green fabric in Sydney. “The runs were limited but customers thought they were perfect for Christmas and the party season,” says Yumi.

The initial line-up of Zilpah tart’s new corporate range features four styles, each named after one of the women who encouraged Yumi to ‘go for it’—Ash, Heidi, Penne and Sarah. “They also modelled the dresses for me in the photo shoot, which was really fun,” says Yumi. “I chose the four styles because they’re best sellers for Zilpah tart, and all four are made specifically for work, but they can easily take you to after-work drinks or events or special occasions.”

Each style is available in black, navy and royal blue. Yumi has designed two V-neck lines, shapes she knows her customers like, and has included two variations for the bottom of the dresses; a full skirt and a more A-line shape.

She plans to monitor sales of the new corporate range and add additional styles over time. She’ll also change the colours to reflect the change of seasons.

ZT FF 2017 Doug Hall Studio Vitae

Yumi in Zilpah tart black diamond dress at Fashfest 2017. Photo by Doug Hall Studio Vitae

The corporate range is sold through the Gungahlin Collective and Zilpah tart’s website. Yumi is also hoping to also sell it out of the Design A Space, Manchester Lane, Melbourne, where she already stocks many of her colourful prints. “Let’s face it, Melbourne loves a bit of black,” she says, “and with my colourful patterns, I’ll be looking to sell in Sydney and Queensland starting this year.”

While sales of the corporate range continue, Yumi has been busy. She’s just come back from a fabric buying trip and is now busy designing her autumn/winter 2018 collection, which will feature coats made from black wool (with her bright prints as lining for added interest), dresses out of wool jersey and skirts out of a cotton satin.

ZT Corp 2

V-neck styles in navy blue

The new corporate range starts at $160, with four part-payments available through Afterpay on

Lighten up your Life!—Enlighten Festival 2018

Canberra’s 16 night spectacular, Enlighten Festival, is now in its seventh year and the 2018 upcoming event will be bigger and better than ever!

Presented by Singapore Airlines, Enlighten 2018 kicks off on Friday 2 March at the National Library of Australia with a Switch On by one very lucky member of the public chosen through an ActewAGL competition. Switch On will be the first chance to see the capital’s major and iconic architectural attractions, including the National Gallery of Australia, National Portrait Gallery, Museum of Australian Democracy, Questacon, and Australian Parliament House, transformed into a myriad of colour, shapes and images projected onto the buildings.

Enlighten Parliament House

Enlighten Parliament House

This is the second year ActewAGL has partnered with Enlighten, and the first year the event has spread out from the parliamentary triangle to include events at the Australian National University (ANU) and Braddon. ANU events will include food, drink, entertainment, and spectacular light displays where you can fly through projections of the solar system, and join a walking trail passing all the main displays.

The bustling Braddon Noodle Markets offer an EPICurean journey through Asia with dumplings, Pad Thai, sambals, and noodles, plus gourmet desserts. This is a delight on the senses with free entry, and dog-friendly cafés.

Noodle market 1

Asian delight at the Noodle Markets

But wait … there’s more! Enlighten 2018 also includes music with Symphony in the Park on 11 March, where you can kick back in Commonwealth Park and watch the sun go down to music from the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and Killer Queen—get ready to rock Stage 88 with We are the Champions!

Canberra Day on 12 March will offer live bands and heaps of fun for the kids throughout the day, or you can float across the lake with the Canberra Balloon Spectacular when more than 30 hot air balloons will take to the skies between 10 – 18 March, and Enlighten Festival will close on 17 March with the iconic SKYFIRE lighting up the shores of Lake Burley Griffin with fireworks and fun at 8.30pm.

Enlighten Balloons

Balloon Spectacular

The official Enlighten Festival Switch On takes place at 8pm on 2 March on the steps of the National Library, but you can shake your tail feather to Sounds of the Sixties with some 60s music, plus a kids’ disco, and art and crafts from 6.30pm.

Steamed Dumplings at the Noodle Market

Canberra Enlighten Festival will run from 2 – 18 March through the parliamentary triangle, city centre, and ANU. For more information visit

Cool Coleslaw!

Let’s not beat about the bush here … I hate shop bought coleslaw. There, done. Supermarket coleslaw—and the one from a fairly well known fast food chicken outlet, which I won’t mention—swamped in mayonnaise and sweetened to death, is just not for me. Coupled with the fact that we have a lactose-free person in the household—which means no mayo or sour cream in sight—we haven’t had coleslaw in the house for years. Until now!

Coleslaw 1

I don’t know why I didn’t come up with something earlier, but making chicken burgers the other night, and over the basic salad of lettuce and whatever else, it dawned on me that you really don’t need mayo or cream to make coleslaw. So … here’s our light and tangy, and super-easy, version of coleslaw, and it’s vegan!

Cool Coleslaw—serves 6 as a side dish

What you need: ¼ small savoy cabbage finely shredded, ¼ small red cabbage finely shredded, 1 medium carrot grated, finely chopped green ends of a couple shallots (spring onions) optional.

Dressing: the dressing is based on a simple French vinaigrette with a twist.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (fresh is best), 1 small garlic clove crushed, and 1 good teaspoon of Dijon mustard.

salmon burger with coleslaw

Super healthy salmon burger with  vegan coleslaw

What you do: toss all the veggies together in a bowl and set aside. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together (using a mini whisk) until well blended and pour over the veggies. Toss well. This will give you a light coating of dressing on the coleslaw; if you prefer your coleslaw wetter just add more of the dressing.

If you don’t want to make your own dressing just buy a classic French dressing and add the garlic and mustard, but be careful as most dressings contain sugar and salt—sometimes in ridiculously high quantities.

And check out our healthy burger recipes at Burgers are Back! in the Food & Wine tab.


Yummy chicken burger with vegan coleslaw and salad

Summer 2017 ChinWag out now!

ACT Rescue and Foster summer issue of ChinWag is available now. Our cover pic for this issue is Toast. Toast was one of nine six-week old puppies dumped in a cardboard box outside West Queanbeyan Vet Hospital. Toast and seven of her siblings (one puppy being adopted by a vet nurse) came into ARF care and have now all found loving forever homes.

In this issue read about K9 Officer Chase. Rescued from a local pound by the Australian Federal Police, Chase was dux of his class and is now a K9 Officer with the AFP. Check out how to look for ticks on your dog, and get yourself a plan for your pet should an emergency arise.

Read about Loukanikos; Greece’s ‘Riot Dog’ who marched with protestors and walked with the community during the Greek economic crisis.  And find out who our local heroes are and why, including some of our wonderful local vets who give their time to help pets of the homeless in Pets in the Park.

Summer 2017

Download your copy now from ACT Rescue and Foster. If you would like to help or donate to ARF please contact