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Biggest Morning Tea

It has been a difficult time for all of us, but it’s especially hard for people with cancer. We had a Biggest Morning Tea planned for next week with the Kings of the Kitchen, our men's cooking program to raise funds for the Cancer Council. Due to current restrictions, we've had to put our plans on hold, but our Gallery windows are decorated to mark the day.

Read on for some delicious recipes for a morning tea at home and also find out what our Kings of the Kitchen will be making when they're back in the kitchen.  

National Volunteer Week

This week is National Volunteer Week and we would like to say a big THANK YOU to all our volunteers who generously contribute their time and make the Centre what it is.

Our volunteers help with a huge range of things at the Centre, including gardening, exhibitions, fabric dyeing, making craft packs, program support and much more.

If you would like to volunteer with us once things are back to normal let us know at

We had some fun decorating our hands for a virtual wave to our volunteers – my daughter's take on smiling faces (one featuring a moustache) is pictured.

Stuff Do To At Home

Tjanpi weaving

Looking for a new creative challenge? Try Tjanpi weaving. 

Tjanpi artists use native grasses to make spectacular contemporary fibre art, weaving beautiful baskets and sculptures and displaying endless creativity and inventiveness.

Originally developing from the traditional practice of making manguri rings, working with fibre in this way has become a fundamental part of Central and Western desert culture. 

Tjanpi embodies the energies and rhythms of Country, culture and community. The shared stories, skills and experiences of this wide-reaching network of mothers, daughters, aunties, sisters and grandmothers form the bloodline of the desert weaving phenomenon and have fuelled Tjanpi’s rich history of collaborative practice. 

Grab a learn to weave kit and download how-to instructions from Tjanpi Desert Weavers. 


Tjanpi Desert Weavers is a social enterprise of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yakunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council, working with women in the remote Central and Western desert regions who earn an income from contemporary fibre art. Tjanpi (meaning grass in Pitjantjatjara language) represents over 400 Anangu/Yarnangu women artists from 26 remote communities on the NPY lands. 

Learn to Crochet

Similar to the pattern we did last week, this pattern is a flower granny square and will help consolidate your stitch techniques. As a bonus, the video demonstrates how to weave in your ends in as you crochet. 

As you've crocheted more squares, you may have noticed that they aren't always exactly the same shape when finished. In coming weeks we'll show you how to block your work; blocking will 'square up' your work to give it a more uniform look.


NGV Virtual Exhibitions

The National Gallery of Victoria are offering virtual tours of a number of exhibitions.

The Crossing Lines exhibition is available via virtual tour and features the work of Keith Haring and Jean- Michel Basquiat, two of the most influential artists of the late 20th century. HARING BASQUIAT 

You can also take a tour of Marking Time: Indigenous Art From The NGV, which explores the imagery, signs and text used in Indigenous Australia. MARKING TIME  

Watercolour Dinosaurs

Learn how to create fun watercolour pictures of a triceratops and a T-Rex that will beguile all age groups. The tutorial includes a traceable pattern, but Emma Lefebvre also demonstrates a method for creating the dinosaurs' outline for those wishing to draw free-hand or use the technique to draw other animals.


For the History Buffs 

Altona Homestead Becomes A Holiday Resort

In 1920 Altona Homestead's key purpose changed dramatically when Altona Beach Estates Limited of Sydney sold the property to Cuming Smith and Company, a fertiliser company operating in Footscray.

Cuming Smith and Company renamed the property “Sickleholme”, after their trading emblem the sickle and the grounds became the site of their workers holiday housing.

The Homestead was used for this purpose from 1920 until about 1935.

Twenty disused tramway cars were installed in two rows near the Esplanade frontage to house groups in pairs of cars, one being for sleeping and the other for cooking and living in. This holiday destination was very popular with the workers for around six months each year, with workers coming down from the factory by horse drawn wagon.

Apart from the large central room, which was used by the holidaying workers as a meeting and dance room, the entire homestead was used primarily by the resident caretaker.
Thanks to the folks at Altona-Laverton Historical Society for sharing their history knowledge with us for this newsletter. 

Garden Gurus Tips

DIY Cold Frame

Temperatures have certainly dropped over the past couple of weeks and for many vegetables the soil temperatures will soon be too cold to get much growth until the weather starts to warm up.

Now is a perfect time to work on other projects in the garden and one project you might like to try is building a cold frame.

Essentially a box with an angled glass lid, a cold frame situated in a northerly aspect will give plants plenty of sun, while protecting them from frosts and keeping them warmer for longer once the sun goes down. They are perfect for those who don't have the space for a mini greenhouse or poly tunnel, but are keen to start their summer veggies from seed in early spring.

There are a multitude of ways to build a cold frame and they can be used to house seedling trays or to grow crops in. The link below is for a cold frame made using bricks, but a google search will provide designs and tutorials for building them with a variety of other materials.


Free Resources for Home Based Living with Milkwood

Permaculture group Milkwood have a range of free resources aimed at teaching people how to do more things at home.

Learn how to make apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut and fermented drinks; how to grow microgreens and great garlic; forage for seed weed; and lots more. 

They also provide a link to 184 wartime recipes – those of you curious about what our cuisine may have looked like in the 1940's will enjoy checking it out! 


Kings of the Kitchen's Biggest Morning Tea

We asked the Kings of the Kitchen what they had planned to bake for the Biggest Morning Tea next Thursday. 

Now we know what we would have been eating, we're already planning next year's!

On the menu (we hope) will be: double chocolate brownies from Nick, berry custard tartlets and other goodies from David, and 'little Dutch pancakes' otherwise know as profiteroles from Noel.

If you're looking for recipes for your own Biggest Morning Tea, our Manager, Kim, has provided some inspiration below.

Biggest Morning Tea Recipes

When making a morning tea for a small ISO group, you are going to think this is too much food but you’ll find so many of these recipes freeze so well that you will be able to enjoy this one occasion many times over! 

Work flow is critical for these occasions – I’m a list writer and love the process of thinking about what I am going to make, working out what can be done ahead of time and then programming my time on the day to finish preparation with enough time for me to get ready to enjoy the event.  

Another tip is not to tell anyone what the menu is, so if you get behind in your preparations, just drop something off the menu. And of course, you can pick and choose what to have from this menu. I come from a long line of over caterers and love providing variety to our events so this menu is too long for the average morning tea. I couldn’t think of what NOT to include!! 

This is a morning tea menu with a bit of a breakfast/brunch feel to it and loads of balance between sweet and savoury – you don’t want your guests being too overloaded with sugar!  


  • Homemade granola, berries and yoghurt 
  • French toast sticks with maple syrup 
  • Mini bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon 
  • Mini savoury muffins 
  • Petite Vanilla scones (recipe in last week’s newsletter) 
  • Irish Potato Bites 
  • Pumpkin bread with spice butter 

Homemade granola 

  • 3 cups oats 
  • ½ melted coconut oil 
  • ½ cup maple syrup 
  • 1 cup of pecans 
  • 1 cup of walnuts 
  • (add any other nuts or dried fruit you like) 

Mix all ingredients together and put onto lined baking trays. Bake at 160C for 60 minutes – swapping trays over halfway through. Cool completely before storing. Not stirring the mix means you will get lovely large lumps of crunchy goodness! Store in an airtight container – can be made up to a week before you need it (but don’t eat it all before your morning tea!) 

French Toast Sticks  

  • 1 packet of sliced brioche bread (cut into fingers and left out overnight to dry out) 
  • 2 eggs 
  • ¼ cup milk 
  • ¼ cup caster sugar 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon 

Mix eggs, milk and salt together in a bowl. In another flat bowl or plate, mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Put butter in pan to heat over medium heat. Roll the sticks of brioche into the egg mix, shake off excess and place in the pan – don’t overcrowd them. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Once done, roll immediately in the cinnamon sugar and transfer to a serving plate. Serve with warmed maple syrup.  

A loaf of brioche will make a large amount, you can make what you need and freeze the bread in portions to use later. 


Irish Potato Bites 

  • 20 small potatoes  
  • ¼ cup finely grated cheddar 
  • 1 tablespoon butter 
  • ½ finely chopped, cooked bacon (you could minced beef, cooked sausage or just chives) 

Boil potatoes until they are just cooked, drain and wait for them to cool a little. Then cut them in half and take a very small slice from the bottom of each half so they stand up. Scoop out the inside of each and put the shells on to a lined baking tray. Mix potato with butter, cheese, bacon (or what you are using), season with pepper and a little salt, and scoop that mixture back into the potato shells. Bake in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes. Can be served warm or room temperature with sour cream, if you like. Adjust this recipe for the number of guests you are having or freeze the filled potato shells and when ready to eat, defrost for 2 hours and then bake as usual. 


Mini bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon 

These mini bagels are great. Cut them in half and toast them. Spread cream cheese on each half, top with strips of smoked salmon, garnish with mini capers and fresh chives. Leave as they are to serve or cut into smaller pieces. 

Pumpkin Bread (like banana bread and so good) 

  • 2 cups plain flour 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon bi-carb soda 
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder 
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger 
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 120 grams melted butter 
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar 
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (tinned or cooked, mashed pumpkin) 
  • ¼ cup sour cream 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a loaf tin with parchment paper, then grease with cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg and salt. 

In a separate bowl, whisk melted butter, sugar, pumpkin puree, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just combined. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. 

This loaf can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Cut into thick slices when cold, freeze or store in the fridge. When ready to serve, toast the slices (your everyday toaster should be able to do this) until warm, cut in half and serve with any spread you like. Great with a ‘spiced’ butter (butter mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and a little icing sugar to make a sweet spread) 


Mini savoury muffins 

  • 2 grated zucchinis 
  • 1 onion finely chopped 
  • 3 bacon rashers 
  • 1 cup grated cheese 
  • 1 cup self raising flour 
  • ½ cup vegetable oil 
  • 2 eggs 

Mix all ingredients except flour, mix and add flour until just combined. Put into greased mini muffin tins (or use large ones), bake at 180C for 15 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature with a chutney or relish of your choice. 

I hope you have fun with your Biggest Morning Tea menu – however big or small you make it. It is all about the cause and raising funds to help the Cancer Council with research, support and prevention of cancer. 

If you are able to make a donation to the Cancer Council in support of cancer research, you can do so HERE


Keeping the Kids Entertained

Ice Dyeing

Most of us would have heard of tie-dyeing, but have you heard of ice dyeing? It produces very similar effects to tie-dyeing, but doesn't require heating, all that's required is ice from your freezer and Dylon hand dye, together with a couple of other items you probably have on hand.

This is a super fun way for kids to create their own wearable masterpiece. 


Exquisite Corpse Drawing Game

There are a couple of different versions of this game, but whichever you choose, it is an hour's worth of fun for the kids as they channel the weird and wonderful.

It can also be played with multiple people drawing one (or more) of the three pictures before passing it on for another contribution. This has the added benefit of the big reveal once the drawings are complete.

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