When the team at Australian charity and aid agency World Vision cooked up its latest campaign, they came up with an unusual idea: a famine-fighting recipe book.
The organisation approached top cooks and chefs from around Australia and the world – including Neil Perry, Maggie Beer and Marco Pierre White – and asked them to share recipes for a digital compilation.
The brief for the recipes was simple: a meal that could feed a family of four for $14 or less (roughly the same amount a family in Kenya spends on groceries each week).
The aim of Hunger Bites, which can be downloaded for free, is to provide affordable recipes for Australian families while raising awareness of the global child hunger crisis and encouraging home cooks to support World Vision's appeal.
"We want this book to provide some food for thought about how everyday Australians can help to avert this crisis," the organisation's chief executive officer, Daniel Wordsworth, says.
Chef Neil Perry, who sponsors a child with World Vision and who recently set up his own community meal program Hope Delivery, says it's challenging to draw Australians' attention to global issues during a pandemic.
"We've got our own problems in Australia, so it's more difficult to generate the awareness that there are places in the world that really need a helping hand from countries like ours," he says.
"But the reality is there are many people here who can afford to do something, whether sponsoring a child, or donating, or talking to others about the reality of famine overseas."
Luke Nguyen's beef wok-tossed with wild betel leaf and lemongrass
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 lemongrass stem, white part only, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 2 chillies, finely diced, plus extra to garnish
- 300g lean beef, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 15 betel leaves, roughly sliced (from Asian grocers, substitute for perilla leaves or shiso leaves if unavailable)
- coriander sprigs, to garnish
- Add the oil and lemongrass to a smoking-hot frypan or wok.
- Cook for 5-10 seconds, or until fragrant, then add the garlic and chilli.
- Now add the beef and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
- Season with the fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar, add the betel leaves and stir-fry for a further minute.
- Transfer to a plate and garnish with the coriander and extra chilli. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
Source: The Food of Vietnam, Hardie Grant. Photography: Alan Benson
Vegetarian fried rice makes a quick and healthy supper. Photo: Hetty McKinnon
Hetty McKinnon's egg, pea and ginger fried rice
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- vegetable or other neutral oil
- 2.5cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 740g (4 cups) cooked brown or white rice (or a combination), preferably chilled in the fridge overnight
- 1 tbsp tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
- 310g (2 cups) frozen peas
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- sea salt and white pepper
- Season the egg with a good pinch of sea salt. In a hot wok or large frypan, heat 1 tbsp of oil for just a few seconds, then pour in the beaten egg. Cook over medium-high heat for 10-15 seconds, allowing the bottom to set slightly, then turn the egg with a stainless-steel spatula until just set.
- Break up the egg slightly, then remove from the wok or pan and set aside.
- Heat another big drizzle of oil in the wok or pan, add the ginger and fry for 20 seconds to flavour the pan. Add the rice, breaking it up with the spatula, and fry for about 2 minutes.
- Next, add the tamari or soy sauce, peas and a few big pinches of sea salt and toss well. Continue to stir-fry for 4-5 minutes until the peas are cooked, then add the egg and mix well. Cook for another minute or so until everything is heated through. Add a few turns of white pepper. Taste and season with a little more salt if needed.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir through the sliced shallots. Serve immediately.
Note Substitute peas for diced carrot or corn if preferred. To make this dish vegan, omit the egg.
Source: To Asia, With Love by Hetty McKinnon, Plum, RRP $39.99. Photography: Hetty McKinnon
This simple oven bake can be made with fridge and pantry staples. Photo: Supplied
Dominique Rizzo's nonna's pasta al forno with pork and pea ragu and cheesy bechamel
- 500g pork mince
- 500g frozen peas
- 150g grated cheese
- 600ml full-cream milk
- 2 x 400g diced canned tomatoes with basil, onion and garlic
- 500g penne pasta
- 4 tbsp flour
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional).
- Heat a non-stick pan over a moderate temperature and cook the pork mince until done, drain off the juices into a separate saucepan and set aside.
- Add the two cans of diced peeled tomatoes to the pork mince. Half fill one tin with water and add this to the pork and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Bring the pork ragu to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile whisk 4 tbsp of plain flour into the milk and add this into the saucepan with the pork juices. Stir over a moderate heat until the mixture thickens to the consistency of custard, season with salt and pepper and stir through half the grated cheese. Set the bechamel aside.
- Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the side of the pack. Drain and mix the pasta with ¾ of the pork ragu sauce, add peas and half the bechamel sauce.
- Pour the pasta mix into a baking dish and top with the remaining sauce, bechamel and grated cheese. Bake the pasta for 20 minutes or until the cheese is golden and melted.