Leeton Chinese takeaway

There are three Chinese restaurants on the main street in Leeton, so I thought it'd be interesting to compare and contrast their meals

Our takeaway order included sweet and sour pork, as well as chicken with cashews from each.

These two dishes seemed a good choice as one is something of a standard, while the other offered scope for interpretation.

Prices varied, from $31 to $38 for both dishes.

Before starting our meals, I weighed each package and was surprised to find that the cheapest meal was also the largest.

The cheapest restaurant was most popular with my kids, while the most expensive restaurant was characterised by complex flavours. (Particularly the sweet and sour had a distinct citrus flavour, while the chicken had a richness that reminded me of oyster sauce.)

The compare and contrast exercise was a satisfying activity for my family.

We all really enjoyed the roasted cashews, with that ingredient providing a distinct comparison in its presentation in each meal.

Each restaurant offers a distinct value proposition and I think that speaks to the ability of three Chinese restaurants to operate within a kilometre or so of each other.

Talk about Fivebough

There was a good crowd to hear about Fivebough Wetlands today

Due to social-distancing we could only have 20 attending and they had to be volunteers at the Leeton Community Op Shop.

Max O'Sullivan from the Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists and Kathy Tenison from Murrumbidgee Landcare joined me to discuss the various functions of the Wetlands.

My introduction involved time travel as we discussed the formation of Brobenah Hills more than 400 million years ago and their role in delivering the water that collects on the gray clay at Fivebough.

I outlined some of how the First Nations managed the landscape for around 40,000 years and identified the roles of totems, including those now shown in the Wiradjuri Garden at Fivebough.

Max shared his enthusiasm for bird-watching and detailed the migratory birds that travel from Siberia to Leeton each year -- it really seems incredible the parents leave the chicks to hatch and they find their way here as soon as they can fly!

Kathy outlined educational activities and brought a kind of show-bag for those attending with bird guides and a calendar with beautiful photographs.

The talk about Fivebough was part of the exhibition displayed in the Shop's windows this month and aimed to give their volunteers a background briefing on the Wetlands to share with customers.

Many expressed their plans to visit the site after hearing the talk and were keen to know there are now public toilets on site, as well as improved walking tracks.

While spring is a time when a number of birds arrive, there's usually always a variety of species to observe.

Fivebough at the Heart of Leeton is supported by Create NSW’s Country Arts Support Program, a devolved funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and Western Riverina Arts on behalf of the NSW Government.

Better bread with science

Some months ago my son asked me to help him develop a science project

We looked over the suggested experiments and I gravitated towards those involving yeast.

We discussed ideas, he discussed them with his high school science teacher, and we settled on cooking multiple loaves of bread using different flours.

I liked the idea because using a bread machine would remove many of the variables.

It's now the second day of the school holidays and we've cooked almost half of the bread required for the report.

I'd assumed that hemp powder wasn't going to work and, although it required additional water, it seems it was too heavy to rise.

I've eaten some of it and it's okay with Vegemite, although very filling.

The big surprise just now was the result using supermarket's brand plain flour.

It's the cheapest flour we'll try and yet the result is comparable to the more expensive baker's flour, which contains higher-protein flour and also bi-carb.

The loaf is almost an extra-large size, despite being a large-size recipe.

In comparison, the Wallaby bakers flour didn't rise as high, but I guess the density is a sign of the protein content because it's definitely chewier and has a thicker crust.

Our final experiment is a blend of spelt and quinoa flours, which tasted great but didn't rise much more than the hemp powder. It was a lot tastier though.

Whitton scar

Our Riverina

A series of online videos produced with the Leeton Art Society explore the relationships between local artists and their landscapes

“I have a theory that being based in regional Australia gives artists distinct connections to their environments,” explained project coordinator Jason Richardson. “Each of the four Leeton Shire artists had landscape artworks to discuss and it was interesting to learn how their art-making had changed the way they see our region.”

Three-time Paniz Prize winner Lynne McQuillan discussed her love of the Murrumbidgee River, as well as the Impressionistic style that lends itself to representations of light falling through the River Red Gum forests on the banks.

Lifelong Murrami resident Dorothy Roddy outlined the inspiring landscape and the variations she can watch from sunrise to sunset.

Vita Vitelli shared her memories of her Father Frank Bruno Snr, living and working on the farm on Toorak Road, now Toorak Wines; and explaining how  picking up a paintbrush changed her outlook.

While longtime Leeton Art Society member Glenn Saddler reflected on the perspective he gained while studying and how it motivated him to become involved in creating opportunities for artistic expression when he returned home.

The videos will make the artists accessible to a wide audience but the original proposal was to run a series of exhibitions across the region.

“The Our Riverina project has adapted to the uncertainty we’ve all experienced in 2020, as well as the requirement for social-distancing. We’re hoping an exhibition planned for early 2021 will still go ahead,” said Mr Richardson.

“Viewing art is an opportunity to look at something through the eyes of another, so I hope that people will enjoy getting a fresh perspective on local scenes and learning something about a handful of the talented Leeton Shire artists.”

“I mention in my curator talk video that the environment has been a collaborator in my audiovisual works, so I was keen to learn how other Leeton Shire artists reflected our region. It proved to be a stimulating conversation topic as each shared details of connections to the countryside and how art had enriched their life.”

“Each was keen to see more people try art and discover the benefits for themselves and I appreciate the Leeton Art Society for providing opportunities for self-expression and supporting local art initiatives.”

The videos will be shared on the Leeton Art Society’s Facebook page during July, see www.facebook.com/leetonartsocietyinc

Our Riverina is supported by Create NSW’s Country Arts Support Program, a devolved funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and Western Riverina Arts on behalf of the NSW Government.