About Bellingen Seedsavers

We are a group of like-minded growers of edible and useful heritage plant varieties in the Bellingen area of northeast New South Wales, Australia.

Our climate varies from frost-free coastal areas to inland river valleys and highlands with frosts. Bellingen has an average annual rainfall of 1507ml.

Sunday 27 May 2012

Leela’s Autumn Recipes

Leela’s Sweet Pumpkin Pie (featured at Brierfield)

2 cups plain flour
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup butter
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup of ice water, approx

Blend the first 4 ingredients in a food processor until crumbly. Slowly, add enough of the ice water whilst running until mix starts to pull together. Scoop out and use a rolling pin on a floured board to shape into a sheet of pastry. Make a shell in a greased, shallow pie dish.


2 cups of slow-roasted pumpkin mash
½ cup raw sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese
¼ cup of soy or milk
3 eggs
½ cup macadamia pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp of powdered galangal (or ginger)

Mix the above ingredients and pour into the uncooked shell. Bake at 180 degrees approx. 1hr.  Cool before serving; flavours will improve over the next few hours.

Leela’s Black Sticky Rice (featured at Thora)  

The black rice took well over an hour to cook and might be tricky to find – you could try a white rice substitute.

600ml of milk and/or soy milk
½ cup black rice, rinsed in cold water
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cardamom
1/3 cup of sultanas
1/3 cup of walnuts (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup of coconut milk
1 ½ tsp of vanilla extract

Bring the milk to simmer in a large pot and add the next six ingredients. Simmer until rice is tender – stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add more milk if necessary. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix in ½ a cup of the hot rice. Add back to the rice pot and stir over medium heat until thickened. Spoon into a shallow dish and bring to room temperature before serving. I recommend tasting along the way to tinker with the flavours!

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Snapshot: Harvest available May 6, 2012

This post is to highlight the edibles we can harvest during Autumn in Bellingen, NSW, Australia. We have not yet had a frost and many subtropicals are still growing despite the cooler nights.

Autumn, May 6, 2012 Perigee Moon

Sweet Basil

The Tumeric will soon die down.

Bamboo shoots



Dino Kale or Cavolo Nero
Mouse Melon vine

Warrigal Greens


Pumpkin varieties



Custard Apple

Wing Bean





Rosella (Australian hybrid)

Yam Bean climbing Macadamia Tree

Sweet Leaf

Kang Kong & Variegated Water Parsley (Oenanthe Javanica)

Brazilian Spinach

Red Amaranth with green Egyptian Spinach

Golden Brugmansia flower with Bunchosia (Peanut Butter Fruit)  fruit below

Perennial Capsicum

Mushroom Plant (Rungia klossii)
Large Leaf Rocket

West Indian Gherkin

Red Russian Kale Seedlings

Yellow Guava, seeded by birds, very lemony

Yam Bean (The bean itself is poisonous. We eat the yam)

Sword Bean

Jak Fruit

Australian Sweet Lime

Saturday 5 May 2012

Recipes to highlight our autumn harvest.


Recipes to highlight our autumn harvest.

 Linda's Sweet Potato Cornbread

900g sweet potato – boiled and mashed (to yield 2 cups)
125g butter
4 eggs lightly beaten
¼ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon bicarb of soda
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup plain yoghurt
2 cups fine polenta

Preheat oven to 180’ – butter a 20cm square cake tin.
Pure sweet potato in a mixer or food processor with all ingredients except yoghurt and polenta.
Stir in Yoghurt and polenta and pour into prepared tin.
Bake for45 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool a little before turning out and cutting into squares.

Note:  Pumpkin can be substituted for sweet potato.  Finely diced chilli can also be added for a different flavour.

This Gramma Pie disappeared off the plate before I could photograph the whole cake.

Linda's Gramma Pie

2 cups (300g) plain flour
250g softened butter
½ cup icing sugar
1 egg plus 1 yolk – beaten lightly
Combine flour and icing sugar, rub in butter.  Stir in egg mix until well combined. 
Gently knead pastry on a floured surface and press into a flat disc.  Wrap pastry and refrigerate for an hour. 
On a lightly floured surface roll our pastry until large enough to fit a 28cm flan tin – trim edges.

¾ cup sultanas – if desired soak in your favourite liquor overnight
1kg Gramma – boiled, drained well, and mashed
60g butter
2 egg yolks
½ cup raw sugar
½ cup plain flour
1 tablespoon lemon rind
½ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Combine all ingredients, pour into pastry case.  Bake at 200’ for 55 minutes or until golden brown.

 'Australian Sweet Lime' Cake

 These are not native limes but an Australian bred lime. They are sweet and refreshing to eat like an orange. Use the Mandarin Cake recipe elsewhere in the blog and substitute the limes.

Lime Cake using Australian Bush Limes.

This cake was topped with Tahitian Lime slices and syrup, to cut the sweetness a little. Carol added cinnamon quills to the syrup.

Susan, Em and Sahara's garden

Here is Susan's description of what we were to expect:

"We built a passive solar house made from local timber and recycled materials and moved in a just over year ago. There was nothing here but a hill/paddock. We factored in a permaculture design making best use of the sustainable practices in terms of water management, septic system choices, solar power and planting. Our dream was to combine beauty and function, to try and be as sustainable as we can within reason and to teach our child the full cycle of growth."

From the access road the garden is mostly hidden. Click on a pic to see the slideplay.

 We gathered on the spacious front lawn and the extensive deck. Herbs were planted in small plots around the house, handy for the kitchen.

The table was quickly loaded.


 Susan's produce filled the central bowl.

The compost bins were sited in the vegetable garden near the fowl yard.

Susan found it necessary to edge each vegetable bed after heavy rain washed the topsoil off the terrace.

Orange Cosmos added colour and attracted bees and other beneficial insects to the garden.

The stand alone outdoor sink was handily placed near the chooks and potting shed.

Seedsavers gathered to watch John and Allan demonstrate the making of Preparation 500, a biodynamic supplement.


A small amount of biodynamic preparation is vigorously swirled in the water for an hour before being sprinkled on the garden with a brush. Seedsavers are interested in many approaches to to increasing soil fertility and food production.


 Irene watches her organisation come to fruition.

 Artichokes thrive in our climate.

A young guava grows with fennel and yellow cosmos.

A young banana thrives with red flowering amaranthus.

Susan is hoping this young vanilla bean will thrive in this sheltered, sunny  position and survive the coming winter.


These young pullets did not mind the visitors. Some chickens were allowed to free range outside the fenced vegetable garden.

 Paw Paw growing in a herb bed near the house.

Cherry tomatoes love growing up through a wire tunnel.

A passionfruit spreads behind a bank of raspberries.

The fruit were large, juicy and ripe for picking.

One observer wondered what all the excitement was about.

Small hot chilis will keep this small family well supplied.

This bed of young carrots will produce a bumper crop.

A bed of greens with a sage plant

The seed table was a busy with collectors gathering dwarf Persimmon, sprouting Saba nuts, large white guava and candlenut. There were also hot chilis, Melastoma affine, Chinese Celery, Cosmos, Red Russian Kale seedlings and Mother of Herb cuttings.

Note the information sheets designed to share the details of the seeds.

Graham shared his years of knowledge.

Recipes based on the harvest of this month, limes and pumpkin, will be posted soon.

Susan and Em have certainly achieved their goal of combining beauty and food production. What a memorable house and garden!

P.S. Michael and Jodi added a healthy baby boy to their garden while we were gathering. Congratulations.


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