Monday, 13 August 2012

The benefits of Instagram

The instagram app is available on ios and Android #free

(if you are not sure what Instagram is all about, or need some extra ideas read this post first)

Link to view our Instagram page on a PC here: 

Instagram is a photo sharing site app available on smart phones. Here is the link to the itunes store to download instagram for FREE and the link to the Android googleplay store can be found here.

This year we established both a twitter account and instagram account. 
We encourage you to follow us at:



Perhaps you have heard about Instagram and not really sure what all the fuss is about?

 Instagram 101:
  • allows you to share photos with your followers 
  • you can make your account public or private
  • people can "like" an image or leave a comment
  • you can follow other instagram users and hashtags
  • hashtags are a way of grouping topics or subjects together eg #foodpresentation, #curries, #foodtech, #glutenfree. When you select a hashtag, instagram will display all the photos "tagged" with that hashtag.


  • great way to glimpse into the world of followers or areas that interest you via # hashtags

  • uses filters to enhance the look of your image                        (see some student examples here)
  • use other apps such as snapseed, picsay (android) or coloursplash to edit your image prior to uploading to instagram. Assists students food photography skills, developing creative skills and an eye for detail, perspective, tone and clarity amongst others.
Taken by @foodatoakhill
  • effective way to provide a visual message to others. You can also take a screenshot of a note or use apps such as Versagram on ios or Textcutie on Android 

  • record of adventures and experiences that can be shared eg parents, relatives far and near.
  • can be used as photo prompts for story writing, source of discussion starters and to provide direction or interest in a certain topic.
  • could be used to keep track of progress (gardens, sport skills, science experiments)

How do you use Instagram in your learning space?  We encourage any school across the world or homeschoolers to share their learning journey with us by adding your instagram account in the comment section below. 

Have you seen our instagram challenge? Read about it here.

Instagram challenge

#foodat challenge

Are you up for a challenge? Have you read about the benefits of instagram here and would like to have a go?

We are @foodatoakhill and we encourage your school to set up an account and share your learning journey with your community, us and the world.

  1. Ask your teachers to set up an instagram account starting with @foodat......    and insert your school name at the end eg @foodatmarian (the first school to jump on board! Great initiative guys!) @foodatstmarks @foodatgleeson How to set up an account? Easy. INSTALL the FREE app from itunes (click here for link)  or google play (click here for ANDROID link). You cannot do this on a PC, however you can link your account to ink361 to view on a PC (see our link above @foodatoakhill or here)  If you are unsure how to sign up, see these Simple steps by wikihow. 
  2. Upload your school logo onto the profile pic and complete the bio. You can link the account with a school twitter or facebook page by configuring this in settings. You need to select this sharing option each time you post a photo.  If you do not have a twitter account etc, just leave that section blank.
  3. Comment below with the instagram account name so others can follow.
  4. Post your first photo by pressing the middle camera icon. Camera again to take a photo and two squares to choose an image from your library. Select "choose" (to add photo), then a select a filter. The best way to learn is to experiment. Play. It is fun! 
  5. If you are not happy with the photo, press the X on the top RHS.  Have another go. Once posted, you can also delete an image by pressing the three little dots under the image (RHS)
  6. Interact by liking and commenting on photos from Food technology classes around the world.
  7. You can use hashtags such as #foodat #foodtech #homeec #homeeconomics #food #foodphotography #foodpresentation #instafood to tag your photos to these photofeeds.
  8. Follow other schools using the comment back below.
Go on!  Get on board. Give it a go.  Share your instagram account with your class, mates, parents, extended family...and the rest of the world!  #unitedbyfood

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, 

 but by the moments that take our breath away

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Social networks and mobile technology

Image by Taylor S
 This term we are studying core strand 2: Food Quality. This unit of the syllabus investigates hygienic food handling, safe storage of food, food presentation, sensory characteristics of food as well as the functional properties of food. How does one safely handle a protein product or store a perishable food item? For how long? What is the difference between use-by-dates and best before dates? How do certain factors such as oxygen, temperature and acidity affect food? Does effective food presentation appeal to you? What is effective food preparation?  The answers to these and many more questions are investigated throughout the term.
Image by Jacob B

Using Jacob's image we applied Aquarell on Autopainter ap

Image by Mrs James
Mobile technology has increasingly become part of our daily lives; especially for youth. They live and interact in a densely connected world.  These online connections are occurring more and more via mobile devices. Experiences are captured in a photo and shared instantly on Facebook, tumbler or instagram in a blink of an eyelid. There has been negative views regarding social networking in the media, which can often overshadow the positive elements of these communities.  Immersing yourself in these worlds one can find a great sense of belonging and affirmation. It is a place to reflect and start conversations. For some, it offers a haven from challenging face to face relationships. One can obtain an avatar and experiment with a person they hope to one day become. For others, opportunities exist to foster hobbies and interests. Gaining support and guidance from a wide variety of friends can be very beneficial. Feedback is timely and immediate. Of course, our youth must be supported in developing their digital identity and it is pleasing to see more schools taking an active and more importantly, proactive position towards digital education!  The majority of kids are good at heart and will give things a go; if they see value in it.

Social networking, used in education is where the kids want to be. 
They are already there socially, 
so let's embrace it!

Image by Mrs James

Image by Julian S
Image by Jordan S
Using a photo sharing app such as Instagram, enables the user to tap into other peoples worlds. It also allows others to tap into ours.  This sense of connection is wonderful! Instagram blends beautifully, the world of sharing photos with the world of appreciation.  Photographers have always had a eye for that special moment, accompanied with just the right angle to elicit certain emotions and memories.  Using instagram allows the student to start thinking about the way in which they view the world. As others "like" and "comment" on their image they begin to gain confidence and experiment with the world of imagery.  We are using Instagram to capture the world of food.  Food photography is a major player in communicating messages to the consumer.  From the image on a product trying to gain attention on a supermarket shelf to the stunning dish on the cover of a gourmet food magazine that intices you to want more!  Over the next few weeks Year 11 Food Technology will be dabbling in food styling and photography as we learn about the functions and properties of food.  We are posting all our images on our instagram account "foodatoakhill" We have a twitter handle by the same name @foodatoakhill If you like an image or could offer the student photographer advice, please do!  The students are enjoying this exercise and love feedback and encouragement ;)

Image by Mrs James
Instagram is available as an app on the ipad, iphone AND android devices. On a mac, you can view via INKSTAGRAM (some pics spaces are filled with advertisements, but not intrusive) Click here for our instgram food via inkstagram. At this stage, you cannot view Instagram on your PC. 

We are using other mobile apps such as Snapseed, Frame magicCamera+ and photoforge2.  Snapseed is the most expensive at just over $5, the others are 0.99cents (Australian dollars).  There are other free apps to use such as Adobe photoshop express

(Other images will be posted in gallery over the course of the term-click on the tab above)

Next post:
Using QR codes to link students to information -at their fingertips, anytime; anywhere!

Enjoy the world of food! What are your favourite apps?  What food would you like to see us photograph? Any tips or advice would be great!  if you are food photographer or stylist and would love to share your expertise with our students, please get in touch!

Post comment:
Thank you for all the people that have viewed our blog and an extra HUGE thanks to those that take the time to "comment feedback" -so good to see!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Egg Cookery

Image by @7mrsjames
Give Heston's lemon tart a whirl! Great tips and works a treat. I decided to make this Saturday afternoon with my kids at home and would love to showcase to my Year 11's next term
(we are currently on Easter Holidays: April 2012)

For recipe click here: Heston's Lemon Tart recipe

Image by @7mrsjames
This recipe is a fantastic way to start a conversation around Egg functionality, in particular as a  structural ingredient. Eggs are so versatile. In this recipe eggs serve the purpose of a thickening agent and a coagulative agent. The thickening of the protein is called coagulation. Within the pastry the eggs purpose is to BIND. You could also create a meringue using egg whites = aeration = a yummy lemon meringue pie to share!

Free range eggs Image by @7mrsjames
Eggs have three main functions:

1.  Emulsification
2. Aeration 
3. Coagulation

The students will blog about the role of protein in denaturation, coagulation, gelation, foaming and browning early next term. 

Image by @7rmsjames

Eggs Benedict:

Instagram photo by @7mrsjames Cafe 5 Melbourne
Photo by @7rmsjames

Photo by @7mrsjames Random Act of cake event Binding function in cupcakes

Emulsification (Mayonnaise) by @7mrsjames

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Ever seen purple carrots?

Purple Carrots in a local supermarket chain Sydney by Mrs James

We are so conditioned to the fact that carrots are orange; or are they? Did you know that the original carrot was actually purple?  Carrots belong to the species Daucus carota and wild carrot is quite different from the domestic carrot most of us use today. Carrots are said to have originated about 5000 years ago near Afganistan, as either a purple or orange variety. The Dutch have been credited with developing the sweeter and soft orange carrot over years of horticulture experimentation.

The Age newspaper presented this article in 2010 "Purple carrots the next superfood" -click here to view by Kelsey Munro. It states Lindsay Brown (Professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Southern Queensland) has found the origina lPersian purple carrots to be high in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. There are 28 times more anthocyanins in purple carrots than in their orange cousions. Here is another article titled 

Move over spinach: Purple carrots are the new 'supervegetable' 

The image above is a packet of purple carrots from the Three brothers property in Tasmania. They state "Carrots originated in ancient Persia, then spread slowly across the Middle East, Africa and western Europe. Carrots were originally yellow, white, red and purple until Dutch growers bred an orange variety in the 17th century – it was said to honour William of Orange."

Some recipes to try (original orange and purple juice-high in antioxidants!) from the Tasmanian growers three brothers website.

Other recipes:

Purple Spuds and Kale grown in Blue Mountains by Viviene Tuckerman

I do wonder how they sourced the original varietal seeds?  Have purple carrots been growing in other regions and so continued to exist? If they were phased out, were original seeds found? How? Where?  Anyone know or can shed some light on the redevelopment of purple carrots?

On the recommendation of Jess Melkman, a fellow Sydney educator I am hoping to purchase the Edible History of Humanity, for our department over the holidays.


Thursday, 1 March 2012


What a great title "Wonderopolis"

I came across this great site last night due to a leap year information search. The links to their site below are food "wonderings" however they have a wide variety of other topics.

They have handy general knowledge posts on many "wonderings" such as:
I wonder what that is?  Take a look at this interesting site and continue learning!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Tasting: Kangaroo and Quinoa

Mr 2 with kangaroo by @7mrsjames
Kangaroo with Joey in pouch @7mrsjames

I guess you have all heard of Kangaroo.  They are one of Australia's native animals, along with the Koala, Kookaburra, Possum and the wallaby.  They are also used as a food source, just the same as other animals such as the cow, sheep and chicken.  Indigenous Australians knew the value of this sustainable source of meat.  Kangaroos were readily available and a brilliant source of iron, protein and zinc. Today, kangaroos are farmed and harvested to produce a variety of kangaroo products.

There are so many nutritional advantages, I am surprised it is not as widely accepted as other meats. True, kangaroos are cute and we have grown up with TV shows like "Skippy the bush Kangaroo"!

Kangaroo meat is:

  • extremely lean (therefore cook quickly on high heat, serve medium rare otherwise it overcooks=very tough)
  • contains less than 2% fat (low in saturated fat)
  • contains the richest source of CLA (Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) are polyunsaturated fatty acids)
  • high in protein, iron and zinc
  • low in cholesterol
  • good source of omega 3 fats
  • contributes B group vitamins to the diet

This week my Year 11 Food Technology class tried kangaroo rissoles and kangaroo steak (one marinated in plum sauce and the other we seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon myrtle).   We all had a taste of both styles and I was pleasantly surprised (and proud) that the students gave it a go. Only 2 students had tried Kangaroo before.  There were a few legitimate questions and conversation surrounding eating kangaroo prior to the tasting.  I enjoyed sharing this experience with the students.

Comments included:

"It was tender", "It was fairly rich",  "I could tell the difference between beef and kangaroo" "It tastes the same as ordinary meat", "I actually like it!".

The majority preferred the kangaroo rissoles. They were pre-made and fairly tasty, a bit too much salt for my liking :) My family enjoy the plum marinated kangaroo steaks with salad, vegetable mash, egg and cous cous.  However, after recalling how good Quinoa tastes I will certainly remember to make this versatile seed a regular dish. I am used to serving Quinoa as a cold summer salad. It was delicious served warm with thyme and lemon, as an accompaniment to the kangaroo.

The following You tube/pronounce by   allows you to hear the correct pronunciation: QUINOA  "KEEN-WA"

Quinoa is:
  • a gluten free grain-like staple (it is actually a seed)
  • high in protein (great for vegetarians) a complete protein!
  • rich in fibre
  • low cholesterol
  • contains more iron than any other grain
  • can be used as a savoury or sweet dish, adaptable seed.

Quinoa growing by Emily Barney under the attribution-non commercial license
Quinoa by edibleoffice under the attribution-noncommercial-sharealike license

Click here for a recipe presented on Better homes and gardens (quinoa with chicken kebabs)

The kangaroo was the most popular tasting.  Comments regarding the quinoa included: "tastes good" "not as bad as I thought" "was sort of crunchy, like the texture of caviar-a pop sensation in your mouth"
"I could eat this".

We are now studying the effects of Multicultural immigration to the Australian cuisine- this could prove extra tasty!  Stay tuned...

If you are stopping by, the students would love to hear some of your own experiences and thoughts re the topics presented on our blog.  Student guest blogging should occur next week. Are you a student or educator? Say G'DAY!  We are enjoying watching visitors from New York, Philadelphia, Sliema Malta, Sweden, France, Germany, Malaysia, Canada and India.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Staple foods

 "Potato production" photo by soilscience available under the attribution licence
This week we will be exploring staple foods.  What is the prime importance of Staple foods?  Do staple foods change over time, culture and access to technologies?  What are the staple foods in your area? If you could comment below and state your global location and top 3-5 staple foods.
Steamed rice with spicey chicken and vege mix by HasinHayder under the attribution licence

I started this Collaborative google map also if you prefer to contribute that way. All you need to do is:

  1. Follow link
  2. Sign into google account (sign in top RHS screen)
  3. Select edit (it is a public link) and then you will see a coloured drop pin on the top of the google map. Drag that pin to your country and a comment box will appear. Easy!
Click here to see our collaborative google map in greater detail.

Thanks @arjana from Croatia for the being the first contributor and Mr Gosselin  (from Texas) our second!  Please help our Australian students understanding of Staple foods by responding with a comment on this blog post or drop pin on map!

View Staple foods of our world in a larger map

If you click on the drop pins you can view the country selected and staple foods of that region. 

Thanks muchly!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Aboriginal food-our native cuisine

30 second video on Aboriginal food by Ourdreamings

The video below is of Chef Mark Olive, the first ever Aboriginal TV chef.

Click here to read: German crew filming chef Mark Olive in Australia (article)

The term "aborigine" refers to the original inhabitants or natives of the land.  Aborigines are also based in Canada, Taiwan, Philippines and America. 

Australian Aboriginals have lived on this land for over 50,000 years. They have a deep spiritual connection to their country.

"The Aboriginal occupation of Australia exceeds 1200 human generations compared with a maximum of 8 generations of European occupation."  
Government of South Australia 2000 - 2012

Prior to European colonisation of Australia, Aboriginal people were hunters and gathers. They were nomadic (moving from place to place to forage for food). The indigenous used shells, bone and rock to make tools to source food. String, cord and hair were woven into nets, baskets, mats and fishing lines. Nets were also used to trap animals. Throwing sticks (or boomerangs) would mame prey in order to make it easier to catch. Not all throwing sticks were designed to return. Grinding stones would grind seeds or grains into flour.

As foods were gathered according to their availability and what was in season, the native diet was varied and nutritionally balanced.  Exercise was at a high!  Excessive foods were not eaten except for feasts.

Fruit, manna, honey, lizards, snakes, kangaroo, witchetty grubs, roots, yams, grass seeds were all sourced for food.
A range of Kangaroo products currently sold in national supermarkets
Kangaroo burgers are sold in supermarkets nationally in 2012
The indigenous did not farm the land, plant or harvest crops or herd animals.  Food was selected purely for nutritional purposes so as to sustain energy and life.  Preservation was very limited.  Local knowledge of which plants were edible, palatable, or delicious, harvest and preparation methods were passed down by word of mouth to the next generation. They did not boil water or make jams and preserves. They didn't trade. Foods eaten were dependant on the season.  The skills of the hunter were VITAL to the survival of the tribe. Men hunted in groups. A 'walkabout" implies aimless wandering but it was anything but! It has been estimated the Aboriginal people would spend between 1/4 to 1/3 of their day gathering food. Everything was done for the group.

Even though Gov Macquarie tried to teach the natives to farm, they were not used to this a way of life. 

It has been reported that 90% of Aboriginal people perished during 1788 and 1900 due to introduced disease, violence and fights with new settlers and loss of land, which was their main source of food.

Native Australian herbs currently sold at supermarkets within Australia
Below are two videos presented by  Brenda McBride, an Aboriginal lady from the Kamilaroi language group.  These short videos are apart of a group of documentaries called "Through our eyes". On location, Brenda shares stories of how the Aboriginal people sourced their food.

Let's crowd source. What additional information about Aboriginal food prior to British colonisation, can you share?


Sunday, 5 February 2012

You are what you eat

Have you ever heard this saying?  You are what you eat.  What do you think it is alluding to?  Being a senior student in your final year/s of traditional schooling has the potential to be the best years of your learning journey, as you form great relationships, learn life long skills and make the transition from teenager to young adult. This time is a busy one so it is integral to set positive eating habits.
Check out the article below by clicking on the link. It was published on 5th February 2012 in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Click here to read the newspaper article
 "Low GI diet bears fruit in classroom"

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

An exciting start to the year!

Photo by Mrs James

G'day! Welcome back to a year of learning and fun. Food is a major part of our world and it is wonderful that you have chosen to learn more about it! Together, we will develop our knowledge of each other and the world of Food Technology. Let's start by sharing why you have chosen to study the FOOD TECHNOLOGY preliminary course. Use the comment section below to post your response.