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In The Tiffin Box IV

There’s never a dull moment at TIFFIN HQ. The past few weeks have been very busy between extra travel with work, preparation for the renovation and Good Food Month events. The busier things get, the more I feel the need to write and cook as a creative outlet. Here’s a few things that would have otherwise slipped through to the keeper.

Robert MacPherson at QAGOMA
The Qld Gallery of Modern Art has a wonderful piece by Robert MacPherson that is on display on an almost full time basis. It’s called ‘Mayfair (Swamp Rats’), dedicated to the fishermen who live in the swamps around the mouth of the Brisbane River. Made from masonite, it’s a recreation of the types of scruffy handwritten signs you see as you drive along highways and byways throughout Australia. I love it’s wit and re-visit it often.

Harvest Swamp Rats MacPherson

Mayfair: Swamp Rats – R. MacPherson

I was therefore delighted to learn that QAGOMA is having a free Macpherson retrospective. There are many pieces from his ‘Mayfair’ series, mostly relating to food, full of humour and fun. Two enormous pieces each cover a 3 story wall, one with over 2000 illustrations as well as clever instructions about how paintings should be installed. ‘Hang between a rock and a hard place’. If you live in Brisbane or are visiting, why not spend an hour or two having a laugh with an artist who knows how to enjoy himself?

Robert MacPherson Mayfair Series

Robert MacPherson Mayfair Series

Robert MacPherson at QAGOMA
Cultural Precinct
South Brisbane  4101
until 18 October 2015

Coppa Spuntino
Never ones to let a lack of grungy laneways stand in their way, Brisbane has been busy creating modern laneway spaces as buildings continue to be re-developed across the CBD. Last week I visited Coppa Spuntino, a cool little bar in the city in what I believe was once the NAB loading dock. The menu is classic Italian offering charcuterie, cheeses and some interesting mains including swordfish, spatchcock and gnocchi. I however, was there for an aperitivo. The wine list is extensive and almost entirely Italian so I put my trust in the barman to recommend a bolder style red. He came up trumps with a glass of 2013 Matane Negromaro from Puglia. A big red using the almost black Negromaro grape, it was soft on tannins with a long finish. Certainly good value at $10 a glass. Simple pizzettas of tomato and boccocini, straight from the wood fired oven were finished with fresh basil leaves and served to the table on wooden chopping boards. The perfect after work snack or spuntino to share with friends, you’ll definitely need some serviettes for these slices. For a Thursday evening, there was a decent crowd but not overly crowded like some of the other bars on this block. I’m happy that in a few very short weeks, this bar will become my after work local, being less than a block from our new office.

Coppa Spuntino trio

Coppa Spuntino
4/88 Creek St
Brisbane  Qld  4000

Click to add a blog post for Coppa Spuntino on Zomato

Going Palm Oil Free
Regular readers would know that we are trying to move to a palm oil free household. Palm oil is an ingredient in almost every item we purchase from the shelves. Since I have been writing about this topic, I have learned a lot about how manufacturers try to conceal their use of palm oil by calling it vegetable oil or saying it isn’t palm oil but a palm oil derivative (so, palm oil). This is clearly meant to deceive and Australia’s weak labelling laws allow this to happen. Some manufacturers have come on board and removed palm oil from their products (Arnotts, Aldi Chocolate) but it’s generally a minefield in the supermarket.

Palm Oil Investigations AppHappily, Palm Oil Investigations (POI) have released an app that can be downloaded for free from the app store. Download it onto your phone and then use it to scan products in the supermarket. The app will tell you if it’s palm oil free or suggest an alternative. If the product you scan isn’t on the app, they ask you to take some photos of it and email them with the photos so it can be added to the app.

Get onto it!


8 comments… add one
  • Joanne T Ferguson August 4, 2015, 7:49 pm

    What a great post Fiona that am glad some things did not slip through the cracks! I love how you are passionate about your palm oil products. I spent a vast time in the Borneo Rainforest, have 5 orangutans, so see the overall picture and why the Malaysian government makes the choices they do re planting and harvesting versus saving the entire rainforest! I could so go for a slice of the above pizza right now!

    • Fiona Ryan August 8, 2015, 9:31 am

      For me it’s more about how deceptive companies are in their labelling practices. Palm oil is cheap but they know that consumers would pressure them to use sustainable palm oil. If Arnotts can do it, so can the rest!

  • Miss Food Fairy August 5, 2015, 8:06 am

    You have been busy Fiona! Love your info about palm oil – can’t wait to try the app. Thank you for keeping us aware of palm oil. I didn’t even realise what products have palm oil in them 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan August 8, 2015, 9:10 am

      I’m glad I could bring it to your attention. The app has a long way to go but I have found it useful, particularly as manufacturers chop and change their ingredients so regularly.

  • Jan Rhoades August 5, 2015, 3:11 pm

    Great post. Moving back into the fast lane I see. Where to this time?

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime August 6, 2015, 5:57 pm

    I must read up more about palm oil as you have made me very aware of this Fiona 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan August 8, 2015, 9:02 am

      I’m glad I’ve prompted an interest. Palm Oil Investigations is a great site to start with. Not over the top and radical – just the facts.

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