ABC Radio Canberra with Lish Fejer, chatting to Cooking Circles

by ABC Radio Broadcaster, Lish Feyer

Lish speaks to Lyn in the Currie Crescent kitchen

5 years ago Heidi Lipson starting Cooking Circles in Canberra.

She had the idea when she was living and working in Timor Leste. Looking for a way to connect with her host family she found the best place to start was in the kitchen chopping, shopping, cooking and chatting about food, family, stories and histories. From that came a connection to the community and people. When she returned to Canberra she started Cooking Circles as a way of bringing people together through the simple act of cooking and sharing a meal together.

Making two kinds of Enchiladas 

ABC Canberra Field Reporter Lish Fejer followed her nose to the Currie Crescent Community Centre to find the hall and tiny little kitchen buzzing with industry – people cutting capsicum, crumbling feta, stirring sauces, washing dishes, laying tables, welcoming people, pinning on name tags and having a good time. It was like a big family lunch get together with everyone lending a hand.

Lish Feyer checks out Currie Crescent’s compost system and the garden.
Tryphena and Heidi speak to the Currie Crescent network, and Heidi’s toddler Hugo seeks out a high-five. 

Listen to the audio here or copy and paste the following link into your browser

More from Karalyn @ Food Plant Solutions: Think Global, Act Local

Interview by Anna White

Trainees at the community training about uses for local plants and foods in Vietnam.

Recently I chatted with Karalyn Hingston. Karalyn is the Executive Officer and only paid employee of Food Plant Solutions – a small organisation which is achieving great things on a shoestring budget both at an international level and in Australia. I found it inspiring to learn of a small Australian organisation achieving positive outcomes and punching well above its weight. Cooking Circles chatted with her last year and here she gives an update on the organisations’ international development projects.

Continue reading “More from Karalyn @ Food Plant Solutions: Think Global, Act Local”

Served with Doses of Love

Cooking Circles volunteer Anna White sat down with Sunita and Sanjay of Daana. Here’s a little of that conversation!

Sunita and Sanjay Kumar, who run Daana restaurant in Curtin describe themselves as chefs and social entrepreneurs.

Sunita and Sanjay originally started their first restaurant in Canberra at the Westside Container Village.  They specialised in Indian street food from this venue and it was a big hit.

Daana opened in September 2016.  It was recently awarded 2017 Best New Restaurant ACT by the Restaurant and

Catering Association Savour Awards.  The cuisine is predominantly South Indian and Coastal Indian.  South Indian cooking is based around rice,lentils, and stews.  Dishes such as dosa (a lentil and rice crêpe), idli (steamed lentil rice cakes), sambar (spicy lentil and vegetable stew) rasam (tomato, tamarind, and lentil soup)are all from the South.

Image: Sunita teaching a network of Cooking Circles members how to make Dosa at their Daana restaurant.  Continue reading “Served with Doses of Love”

A chat with Narelle Happ

Cooking Circles volunteer Anna White spoke to Narelle Happ about her passion for bush tucker, gardening, and community.

Narelle Happ is well known to Cooking Circles after running some workshops in Canberra on bush tucker.

Narelle studied permaculture, horticulture and landscape design. She is a permaculture teacher and works as a landscape designer for Sydney Wildflower Nursery, a native a specialist nursery.  She also works as an educator in seed raising, garden design, citrus fruit, pruning, permaculture, composting and worm farming.

Continue reading “A chat with Narelle Happ”

Yellow Ladybugs and Cooking Circles: Empowering Autistic Girls

By Jeanette Purkis

This article was originally published on Jeanette Purkis’ blog, and is available at You can read all about Jeanette and find all her musings at

I spent this afternoon at a Cooking Circles event with Yellow Ladybugs – two organisations which are in Canberra and whose work I really value.

Continue reading “Yellow Ladybugs and Cooking Circles: Empowering Autistic Girls”

Join Cooking Circles’ cooking class!

I’ll be sharing the best of the best recipes from Cooking Circles at Lake Night Learning in Belconne, ACT. Commencing Wednesday 18th October and running for 6 weeks, you’ll be taken on a global tour with seasonal ingredients from our Canberra region.

Venue: Lake Ginninderra College, Belconnen

When: Wednesdays from 18th October, 6.30PM-8.30PM

Cost: $220 + $15 per week

There are a few spots left – contact Lake Night Learning ASAP to lock in your spot! The course program is available online.


Recipes from travels in Timor Leste


by Ana Guterres

Ingrts.; 1 whole Snapper or Salmon optional, 1/2 of ginger, 1 Garlic clove, 1 whole Onion, 1/2 stick of Lemon grass, 2 bunch of Basil leaves, 1 whole lime, 2 tbsp of Soy souce, 3 or 4 lime or L2083_1069644750711_2599_nemon leaves, 1 teaspoon Salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder or 1/2 cubed fresh turmeric, 1 bunch challot choped, fresh sliced chilli optional, 2 tbsp olive oil and banana leaves or ALFOIL

Continue reading “Recipes from travels in Timor Leste”

Apples & Plastics this World Environment Day

I am determined to break my fixation with plastic bags and plastic stuff. That statistic I heard somewhere. sometime last year might be vague in context but has been wedged deep in my brain ever since – every piece of plastic ever produced still exists in some form. A lot of plastic, right?

If plastic were not a man(woman)made material then having something stick around for generations would be a good thing. But the only materials and objects that should become permanent pieces of our natural surrounds should, I think, be natural.

Continue reading “Apples & Plastics this World Environment Day”

Create bush tucker meals this Reconciliation Week

Book your Bush Tucker Cooking Circle Lunch now

Join Cooking Circles learn which native Bush Tucker plants you can grow and cook with. Learn how to harvest from native plants for using in savoury and sweet dishes, in drinks and baking. Taste testing and detailed notes included. We will then cook with some of the many ingredients and enjoy a native Bush Tucker lunch together

Narelle Happ is a garden designer and horticulturist who specialises in native garden and permaculture design.

She has over a decade of experience and is passionate about creating ‘living’ spaces which are nurturing, productive and sustainable.

Garden styles range from natural bushland, rainforest, cottage or formal. Permaculture designs include garden layouts for food production and sustainability. Designs that extend to engage and educate communities and schools by creating kitchen gardens and living classrooms.

A new year and a welcome

The first newsletter for the year is out, and it’s full of cooking and community goodness.

It’s great to be back and seeing in a new year, slowly. I’m still moving at a Carribean pace, and thinking fondly and what has been a magical wedding and honeymoon over December and January. Magical truly is the word! But on with the show….

Cooking Circles has started the year by organising a fun workshop with local Canberra restaurant, Pod Food. On a whim I contacted Sam of Pod Food via social media late last year, after Circles volunteer Michele ran a packed restaurant event with Taste of Bangladesh in Manuka. Sam’s idea of an outdoor paella gathering at their restaurant on a summer night sold Michele and I, and the workshop sold out in under a week. Our paella sess will go ahead this Wednesday with 30 women from many different walks of life.

Continue reading “A new year and a welcome”