In 2013 I spent a year working with students in Warrawong Highschool’s Living Classroom permaculture garden – which still runs right next door to the farm. It was there that I first met Jaycob Miller as a 14-year-old. The living classroom program is centred around outdoor education, and learning through doing things, and it has been particularly successful at engaging students who don’t get on well in a classroom environment. Jaycob was one of these students who, for whatever reason, preferred to be outside with a tool in his hand rather than inside with a pen in his hand. Although he had… let’s say a bit of a wild energy at that age, it always struck me how naturally competent he was with the tools, how quickly he picked things up, and how well he could solve complex problems when he put his mind to it. He’s also incredibly trustworthy; what you see is what you get, and he will let you know what he thinks about any situation.
Seven years since we first met, Jaycob is now a central player in the weekly operations at the Green Connect Farm as one of our senior farm hands and our leading delivery driver. Ever wondered how the fruit we buy from the organic markets get to us? Jaycob heads up to Sydney at 3am every Wednesday morning to pick it up! Then on Thursday, he drops off 100+ boxes throughout the Illawarra. He also leads the ground maintenance at the farm and helps to mentor some of our youth work experience participants. It hasn’t been an easy road for Jaycob, he’s
worked his way up from work experience, to junior casual work, to permanent employment. It’s awesome having these living examples of hard work paying off to help inspire young people who are joining our programs. It’s also nice to see how the experiences young people have had in the Warrawong High School’s Living Classroom are leading to positive outcomes throughout our community.
Green Connect Farm Manager
Don’t miss our back-by-popular-demand webinar this Saturday July 18: “Backyard Chickens” $30pp
If you have ever wanted to turn your backyard into a free-range chicken run then this workshop is for you! Jacqui will explain and demonstrate how chickens can be more than a daily supply of healthy protein-packed eggs. As the hardest working members of your gardening team, chickens can help process food scraps into compost, control pests and diseases, prepare veggie beds and fertilise your plants when effectively integrated into your garden systems.
What’s that in my box: Bay leaves are very well known for adding flavour to soups. Sauces, & stews. They can be kept for a long time if they are dried and can be used whole or in powder form. The main benefit of using these leaves in your cooking is that they add extra flavour without raising sodium, fat, or calorie levels in your meal!
Peruvian Chicken Soup
1 Bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup minced red capsicum
450 gram chicken breast
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 1/2 cups 1/4-inch cubed potatoes
1/2 cup short grain brown rice
1/2 cup frozen peas
Juice from 1 lime
1 cup packed coriander leaves, plus more for garnish (optional)
1 tablespoon chilli, minced
1/3 cup minced scallions, plus more for garnish (optional)
2 cloves garlic
Fresh lime wedges, for garnish (optional)
In a large pot with a heavy bottom over medium heat, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add onion and capsicum, cooking for 6-8 minutes, until onions are translucent, then remove from heat and transfer to bowl. In the pot, heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, then add chicken breast. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, just to sear. Add onion mixture, 3 cups chicken broth, potatoes, rice, peas, lime juice, cumin, bay leaf and salt. While the soup is cooking, in a blender, combine coriander, chilli, scallions, garlic and remaining 1 cup chicken broth. Pulse until well combined and semi-smooth, adding more chicken broth if needed. Bring soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 35 minutes, until chicken is cooked and just before rice is done.
Remove chicken and using two forks, carefully shred chicken. Add it back to the pot along with coriander mixture for another 5-10 minutes.
Add blended mixture to pot and stir until well combined. Garnish with coriander, limes and scallions and serve.
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cornflour
2 sheets frozen/chilled puff pastry
1 egg beaten for egg wash
powdered (icing) sugar, to serve
To make apple filling
Peel, core and chop apples into smallish pieces. Add apples to a frying pan along with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and place on medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted and all ingredients are combined and beginning to bubble. Turn down the heat to a low simmer and cook the apples for 8-10 minutes until just tender. Mix cornflour with 2 teaspoons water. Use this mixture to thicken the apples. If too thick add a spoonful or two of water. Transfer apple filling to a plate to cool.
To assemble Apple Turnovers
Preheat oven to 200°C and line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. If frozen, defrost puff pastry until pliable according to instructions on the packet. Ensure the pastry is about 25cm x 25cm. You might need to roll it out slightly. Cut each sheet of pastry into 4 equal squares. Divide apple filling over half of each square. Brush half of the edge of each square lightly with egg wash. Fold pastry over apples encasing the filling and press the edges well to seal. Transfer finished pastries to lined baking tray. With scissors or a knife cut three slits in the top of each assembled pastry. Brush tops with egg wash. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Cool on wire