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It’s back to school for many children – one of the challenges is to provide healthy, tasty, easy-to-prepare lunches that are suitable for the warmer weather.

Sandwiches are often a typical choice for school lunches, but this doesn’t mean it has to be a boring choice. There are lots of different types of breads to select from – consider using baguettes, lavash and tortillas (there are a range of different bread options on p. 71 of The Food Book). Fillings for sandwiches are up to your imagination.
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January 26 is Australia Day – a public holiday that commemorates the establishment of the first settlement at Port Jackson in 1788. The settlement was later named Sydney after British Home Secretary, Lord Sydney, who was responsible for the colony. There are no hard and fast rules about how to celebrate Australia Day, but generally it is seen as an opportunity for Australians to come together to celebrate their country and culture, and we typically include  food in our celebrations.

Lamb is synonymous with Australia Day –the anticipated spruiking by Sam Kekovich about how we should consume lamb on Australia Day took an unexpected twist this year when he reminded us through song the song I’m A Barbie Girl. Check out the range of lamb recipes mentioned in the September post for meal ideas.

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Bananas are definitely back on the shopping list as their prices have finally come down. The high prices were due to the devastation that Cyclone Yasi caused to banana crops in Queensland last year. It has been quite a while since bananas prices were this low, so it’s the perfect time to include them on your menu, not only because bananas are inexpensive at the moment but because they are a versatile ingredient in a range of sweet and savoury dishes, adding richness and texture.

Add some sliced banana to a fresh fruit salad – they offer a distinctive texture when compared to other fruits. Try the Simple Fruit Salad on p. 126 The Food Book or make up your own recipe with your favourite fruits – you can’t go wrong.

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You cannot beat beetroot in winter – it is in season now so it means it great a buy, as it is not only nutritious and but also economical. Beetroot is very versatile as you eat it raw, hot or cold.  Try beetroot in a dip (check out the recipe Roasted beetroot and garlic dip on p. 176 of The Food Book), grated in, or cooked as, a salad, or served up as roasted wedges.

Try making beetroot chips for a great snack using two peeled and thinly sliced beetroots, some olive oil and salt to taste.  Place baking paper on a baking tray and spray or brush with olive oil. Place the beetroot slices on the baking paper and spray, or drizzle with, some more oil. Bake at 100oC for 35 minutes and then turn chips over and bake for a further 40 minutes. Remove the crispy chips from oven and sprinkle with some salt and cool slightly.

Yum – a delicious, nutritious snack!

In Leanne’s second post on The Food Book Blog, she discusses her interest in food and nutrition, and explains why The Food Book is the future of Australian food education.

The Food Book author Leanne Compton with a student in a Home Ec classroom

Leanne in the classroom

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In Leanne’s first post on The Food Book Blog, she answers questions about her food philosophy, recounts memories from her high school Home Economics classroom, and discusses the relevance of food education for Gen Ys. She also gives us a unique insight into her role as The Food Book author.

Author Leanne Compton

Leanne Compton

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