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In The Tiffin Box IX

It’s been a while so here’s a round up of the what’s happening in TIFFIN’s wider world and a head’s up on things that would have other got away.

The Art of Skins Exhibition
The State Library of Qld has opened a new exhibition, The Art Of Skins, tracing the traditional practice of possum skin cloak making. The exhibition tells the story of possum cloaks and their important role in indigenous culture; the decline in cloak making over the centuries and the drivers behind this; and, the revitalising of practices and creation of new cloaks for the community. The focal point of the exhibition are six new possum skin cloaks, highly decorated with ochre and burnishing. They were collaboratively designed and created by Aboriginal community members. Recognising that these days, possums are a protected species in Australia, the skins used in the cloaks were ethically sourced from NZ, where possums are an introduced (feral) species. Several short videos by contributors, talking about the importance of possum cloaks to community as well as discussing the process for creating the new cloaks, make this an interesting way to learn more about Queensland’s rich indigenous culture.

Ashley & Tait McGregor creating the Brisbane Community Cloak, 2016

Ashley & Tait McGregor creating the Brisbane Community Cloak, 2016, Brisbane,Qld. Photo by Carol McGregor.

The Art of Skins Exhibition forms part of SLQ’s wider program ‘Belonging and Queensland Identity’, about what contributes to making us who we are. Like all exhibitions at the State Library, it is free to visit.

Art of Skins
State Library of Qld
South Brisbane Cultural Precinct
Daily until 20th Nov 2016

Lychee Lounge
I remember hearing about a hot new bar opening in West End called the Lychee Lounge. Beautiful decor and fabulous cocktails. It seemed like this was only a couple of year ago but in fact, the Lychee Lounge has been shaking those Bostons for 16 years. I was recently invited* to a soiree to try some new tastes and re-visit some old faves on the menu.

The venue is styled in an Asian theme with satins, florals and bamboo. There are intimate spaces and subdued lighting and a mural by street artist Drapl is a focal point. It’s opium den meets street fighter chic. The Asian theme extends to the cocktails with perennial menu items such as my favourite, the Thailander (white run, coconut, lime ginger beer & chilli). New additions included my choice of a Plum, Cherry & Jasmine Sour with two styles of pisco and cherry liqueur. Sharp and a little smoky, there was a sweet hit with the addition of a dark morello cherry. It was finished all too quickly. The most popular cocktail is another menu regular – The Pavlova with vodka, tropical fruits and citrus juice and whole meringue nest floated on top. There was a constant stream of these being delivered to tables throughout the night. Too sweet for me in a cocktail but there is most definitely a market our there.

selection of cocktails and artwork at Lychee Lounge, West End

It’s certainly great to turn up to a bar where the staff know the menu and are able to make the cocktails without looking up the ingredient list or, even worse, Googling. Many ingredients used are made in-house, giving a bespoke touch to the drinks such as cashew (instead of the typical almond) Orgeat, Szechuan agave and green tea jasmine tea syrup. Most cocktails run between $15 – $20 (on the cheap side these days) and for those simply looking for a glass of wine or craft beer, there’s a large range available.

The Lychee Lounge is the place to start or finish an evening, when you’re either gearing up for a night on the town or looking to chill out with a nightcap before you head home. Conveniently located a few steps away from a high volume 199 bus stop, on the night we visited, I could see people stopping in for a cheeky drink. What luck to be able to do that on your way home!

* TIFFIN enjoyed a selection of cocktails as a media guest of Kick Push PR & Lychee Lounge

Lychee Lounge
2/92 Boundary St
West End  Qld  4101

Lychee Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Going Palm Oil Free
For quite a while I have been writing about our efforts to go palm oil free in the pantry and to reduce palm oil products in other parts of our lives. Over time I have noticed that sourcing palm oil free foods has become somewhat easier. Where once there were virtually all savoury biscuits or crackers contained palm oil, many now contain alternatives and state so clearly on the box. You still need to be vigilant but there has been a definite improvement.

Tube of Dr Bronner Lip BalmAs far as skin and body care, that’s a whole different story. Palm oil and its many secretive chemical cloaks are all-pervasive. For a long time I have been researching alternatives to the moisturisers, lip balms, soaps an shampoos that we use. My preference is to use products with no palm oil at all rather than worrying about just how sustainable or reliable the certification is. Talk about challenging!

I will write in greater detail about this in a future post but in the mean time I will let you know that I have finally found a lip balm that ticks all of the boxes. I could simply put some coconut oil in a small pot to carry around however it’s unlikely that Mr Tiffin would embrace this mode of balm delivery (‘sticky fingers’). I’m also not a huge fan of the coconut scent. Dr Bronner’s Organic Lip Balm is widely available online or from David Jones. It is made from avocado oil, jojoba oil and organic beeswax and is comparable in price to most on the market. It does include Tocopherol however this is from small scale organic palm oil farms in Ghana that receive a Fair Trade premium. No rainforests have been cleared to grow these palms. So it’s goodbye Avon and Natio and hello Dr Bronner.

For more on why we should be looking to remove palm oil from our lives and give rain forests, primates and local communities a fighting chance – visit Palm Oil Investigations – What’s wrong with palm oil?

Finally, if your home or near a radio at 8pm this Thursday, June 30th, I’ll on local radio 612 ABC. I’ll be joining two other panelists, on ‘Eat The Week’ where we talk about what’s going on in the world, news, current affairs and of course, food.

6 comments… add one
  • Sam June 28, 2016, 7:32 pm

    I have enjoyed a Thailander or two on my way home. They are very good.

    • Fiona Ryan June 30, 2016, 11:33 am

      It seemed particularly ‘fizzy’ but I really enjoyed it and would go back!

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime June 29, 2016, 2:08 pm

    I seldom use Lip balm and probably have enough to last me a life time. I use chapstix and I’ve never read the ingredients. Off to do that!

    • Fiona Ryan June 30, 2016, 11:39 am

      We use it a lot (which is funny considering we live in a subtropical climate). I still have a few to get through before we move fully onto Dr B. I bet chapstix had palm oil in it as almost all of them do. Dr B wouldn’t be available in SA so you can only do as much as you can Tandy and I know since I have been writing about this you are more aware of it as an issue and that’s a start!

  • Sherry m June 29, 2016, 4:27 pm

    Yes it’s very hard to keep away from palm oil as it goes under so many different names and guises. I read about an app that you could use to scan every item in a supermarket to check if palm oil free. Not sure if it ever came about tho.

    • Fiona Ryan June 30, 2016, 11:36 am

      Palm oil is simply in everything. It’s insidious. Yep – the app is definitely available. It is growing every day but of course relies on people such as you and I to scan products and then, if they are not on the list, to send a photo and barcode so they can update the app. Here’s a link to the front page of POI with a link to the app on it. http://www.palmoilinvestigations.org/ Their facebook page is very good so it’s worth a like.

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