I actually heard Nancy talking to Genevieve Jacobs on the local radio before I met her. She was being interviewed as part of the @666Canberra “Walter Burley Griff-phone” series and was being asked all sorts of foodie-related questions by the ABC presenter.
Nancy runs the well-regarded Foodlovers Shop at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets. Her shop specialises in specialty gourmet food products that taste as good as they look. Nancy and her team hand make over five hundred gourmet food products. Their self-labelled range includes savoury sauces, mustards, dressings, chutneys and relishes and sweet dessert sauces, jams, jellies and marmalades.
Being based in the Belconnen Fresh Food Market allows them to source fresh ingredients from local suppliers. Nancy and her team purchase, chop, cook and bottle all our products on site. In addition to FoodLovers products, they also stock a huge range of gourmet food products from many of our favourite Australian foodie icons – Maggie Beer, Peter Watson, Charmaine Solomon just to name a few.
So it was fitting that we had our interview in one of the Belconnen Market’s own restaurants: Tee’s Trading House, which serves great authentic Asian food with a smile. I enjoyed a great-tasting Laksa while Nancy had some delicious chicken noodle soup.
Recently Nancy added to her stockline after a personal request for Mustard Apricots from none other than Maggie Beer! Now there’s an endorsement that any foodie can admire!
And if you can’t quite make out what Maggie Beer is using, here’s a photo of Nancy with one of her many proud creations.
So Nancy, who are you? I am who I am. My name is Nancy Harrison – to my two daughters, I am Mum. To my friends I am Fancy Nance, and to others I am the woman that makes food like their grandmothers used to! I have been a teacher of kindergarten children, a youth group leader, an avid Unionist. I have been a public servant (a procurement and contracting specialist no less!). Most recently I was known as the Coffee Lady when I established and ran Coffee’s On Coffee Cart outside the Discount Pharmacy in Macquarie and at Kings Swim School in Macgregor.
I currently own FoodLovers at Belconnen Fresh Food Markets and spend most of my days in front of the stove cooking up jams, pickles and chutneys, sauces and dressings in the old-fashioned way and without any additives – just the way Nanna used to make them. There are about 500 different products that we make, which also includes the baking of Anzac biscuits, Melting Moments, fruit loaves, almond bread and meringues.
Of course, I try to source as much as I can locally. Most of our quinces, cumquats, lemons and Seville oranges are grown on local trees and are picked especially for us while they are in season. I would like to expand this a little, but need to be careful about provenance etc. It is getting really difficult to find fruit and vege commercially (eg frozen, dried or tinned) that is grown in Australia. The only way I know how to ascertain if it is grown in Australia is to go and pick it myself, and I don’t really have the time to do that!
I am trying to find a balance so that we bake some gluten free products too. Most of what is in the bottles is gluten free – it is not thickened and I don’t use anything that may have allergens lurking. I spend some of my week playing with recipes so that I can develop special diet foods that are readily available. We are very tuned into allergies because I am allergic (and anaphylactic) to many foods including seafood, pork, eggplant and mango…
Age? I am in my 50th year.
Where do you live? Currently in Page (for 8 years) but am about to move to a new unit in Macquarie.
Have you ever blogged about food? Ha! I have never BLOGGED. I wouldn’t know how to! <Nancy does however do many amazing cooking demonstrations and is full of helpful advice for her customers!>
Other hobbies? My job is my hobby. I just love cooking and being around food. I love making others happy by providing them with good, nutritious, wholesome goodness! I love helping people create imaginative and interesting things to eat from what they have available to them..
I am a volunteer for TEDx Canberra this year, which keeps me out of trouble – I am the Food Experience Manager, which means I organise the food for the day for the 650+ attendees. It’s a challenge, but good fun at the same time!
Apple or Android? Android – only because I didn’t know what a good thing Apple was all those years ago when I should have stuck with them!
Car/bus/bike? I own a car, but am hoping we will bike much more when we move.
Favourite TV show? t stay awake long after I am home usually. However, I have become a bit obsessed with Game of Thrones (a friend loaned me the DVDs), Miss Fisher and I really love anything Australian.
Favourite devices? Devices??? What does that mean? <Yes, she does have a great sense of humour> In the kitchen, I couldn’t do without my jut-jut (stick blender) – been the best investment I have ever made! I also have an amazing food processor which juices citrus in a snap! I love it!
Can we take a peek at your home screen? My home computer screen save is a beautiful photo I took in the Bunya Mountains in Queensland – a huge blue and black butterfly landed just in front of me and I couldn’t help but take a photo of it!
Most-used app? Probably Facebook. Basecamp? Not sure.
Favourite social media? Facebook – it’s the only one I really know how to use to any effect!
What’s the first thing online you check each morning? My emails – usually have links to Facebook and Basecamp.
What do you worry about at night? If I am awake – I worry about the lack of sleep! Lately its been about the house and all the stuff that goes with that – mortgage and insurance etc. Sometimes it’s FoodLovers and how we can get more people to visit – there’s been a marked drop-off since the budget was announced.
Most exciting recent news? Have you heard – I am buying a house! I guess there was also the talk with Genevieve Jacobs on 666 Canberra the other morning. I am going to my school reunion on the long weekend as well. It’s in Bundaberg. Haven’t been ‘home’ for more than 30 years, so it will definitely be interesting.
Ideal career? I am living my ideal career – I have done lots of things in my life, but what I am doing now is just wonderful!
Recent book you recommend? I have a huge personal library (which is going to be culled during the moving process). I bought lots of children’s books over the years that I was training and teaching in Canberra primary schools…most of them are Australian authors who have much to offer adults as well. My favourite author is John Marsden – he wrote the Tomorrow When the War Began trilogy in seven parts! My kinda bloke really!
Recent online video you laughed at? A TEDTalk from Texas – a builder who designs homes from scrap was describing how he uses hens eggs and nuts as decoration for his houses – how using what everyone else has in their foyer in a bathroom or a toilet is much more interesting…very funny talk!
I listened to Sting speak on line at TED in March 2014 – I think it may have been in Vancouver. He was saying how when he forgot his roots – back in the ship-building town he grew up in – he couldn’t write anymore. Once he returned to his roots, he found he could write again and has written some amazing songs since then – Dead Man’s Boots…I will never hear SOS (Message in a Bottle) and not think of his TEDTalk!
Favourite food? Like I said to Genevieve the other day – there is nothing like baked beans on toast for me – it takes me back to my childhood I think.
However, I love a good roast with crispy, creamy potatoes.
And for lunch, any time – Chicken Noodle Soup (or if I make it – Vitamin C Soup) – a Vietnamese inspired soup with thick rice noodles, bok choy (and any other green veges I have in the fridge) and a rich chicken stock that has been steeped with ginger, lemongrass and coriander. My almost 10 year old loves it!
and here’s a slightly better photo of the tasty lunch we enjoyed together at Tee’s Trading House 🙂
I really enjoyed reading this great post from a fellow Canberran about the wonderful things that may lie just around the corner…
It reminded me of all the (often random) unplanned adventures I’ve had in life and all the wonderful surprises we can experience if we put our fears of the unknown to one side, at least temporarily.
As a very new blogger it also impressed me how much relatively young writers (through their blogs) can show wisdom beyond their years. We should always listen to people who have constructive and considered ideas to share.
Have a read and I hope you also enjoy it.
My wife, five daughters and I recently joined @James_Tew and his three daughters for brunch at the Ha Ha Bar at Emu Bank in Belconnen. Although my wife had been there previously for drinks with friends this was our first meal there and we were pleasantly surprised. The small façade facing the car park opens up to a larger eating area and impressive deck overlooking Lake Ginninderra.
Although they weren’t set up for kids we had no trouble ordering them meals. I ordered an eggs benedict ($16 with extra bacon) and my wife ordered a big brekky ($18) and shared some with me and the little ones.
I immediately tested the consistency of the eggs and they were appropriately runny. I’m not an expert on eggs benedict but it tasted great and I would recommend it again.
James ordered himself a very attractive breakfast pizza – I might try that next time!
We had some delicious coffee as well and enjoyed watching all the girls devour their specially-made pancakes and enjoy their orange juice. This meal was more expensive than my normal fare however its important to occasionally take out the family for a special treat in a new environment and give the young ones a chance to make new friends and get out of their comfort zone. We had a great time and we will definitely be back. TWO #Canberra beanies.
One of the best things about the Ha Ha Bar was its proximity to one of our favourite kids’ playgrounds at John Knight memorial Park. The girls had a great time and we all got to enjoy a sunny Sunday afternoon watching the kids socialise and play.
We’re looking forward to return soon to the Ha Ha Bar and trying the rest of the menus, and if I can wrangle some baby-sitters, the cocktails as well!
…and we’ll visit the Lake Ginninderra ducks again too
If you just read my previous re-post from James Tew’s blog http://raising3daughters.com/haha-bar/ you will know that as well as being a social media gun he’s an unfulfilled foodie! (which gives me an idea for another post – “what is a foodie?” – stay tuned for that one). James has recently burst onto the #CBR twitter scene after being sent to Canberra by the Navy from Perth. And Perth’s loss is our gain. Last Sunday I had the pleasure of enjoying a great brunch with him and his lovely family (wife Christine and three delightful daughters) at the Ha Ha Bar in Belconnen, where Christine works. We had a lot to talk about.
Who are you James? Well where do I start? I’m a Dad to three daughters, a husband to a function manager, an Australian Defence Force Officer, an online content manager at Tweet Canberra, social media coach, blogger, university student and an amateur bbq’er. I love social media, I love how I can connect to anyone and everyone at the same time. I specialise in Twitter and blogging and have been known to run a few workshops on those topics here in Canberra. I started Tweet Canberra on the 18th of Jan 2014 and I’ve taken it close to 1,000 followers (as of the beginning of March). It’s going from strength to strength but the general idea is that it connects the Canberra community on Twitter. I’ve seen a lot of support for Tweet Canberra, it’s solved lots of problems for people and has created a lot of value in this short period of time.
Age? 25 (26 next week)
Where do you live? Dunlop, Canberra.
How long have you been blogging? 2 years. My primary blog (raising3daughters.com) is coming up on 1 year but my personal blog (jamestew.me) where I talk about social media is going on two years. It’s under going some re-development at the moment, to make it mobile friendly and content rich.
Other hobbies? I’ve got three kids, they are fair non existent. I like reading, golf and barbecuing
Apple or Android? Real men have android. I was a Apple fan boy for many year, I still use a MacBook Pro but my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 runs my busy life.
Car/Bus/Bike? My bike has a flat tire and I haven’t fixed it so car. Plus I can’t put three girls on the handlebars.
Favourite TV show? At the moment I have a couple: Last man Standing (I see myself as Tim Allen in 20 years), House of Cards, Arrow, The Crazy ones, The Tomorrow People and I’ve just started watching Q and A
Favourite Device? My new MacBook Pro and Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Can we take a peek at your home screen? I like to keep it clean and minimal.
Most used app? Hootsuite followed closely by Gmail
Favourite Social Media? Twitter hands down. They don’t use an algorithm to tell me what I like to see (cough Facebook cough)
What’s the first thing online you check each morning? I open three tabs in chrome (they stay open all day) Gmail, Calendar and Hootsuite.
What do you worry about at night? I wonder what ungodly time my kids will wake up tomorrow…
Most exciting recent news? The Rum Bar is doing buy 1 get 1 free drinks for Tweet Canberra followers
Ideal Career? Social Media adviser/social media coach/blogger/public speaker/stay at home dad so I can all of them whilst spending more time with my girls.
Recent Book you recommend? The war of Art by Steven Pressfield
Recent online video you laughed at? Robin Williams is the star of the Crazy ones and in episode 7 of season one he takes on an advertising account for Australian Tourism. Needless to say he gets frustrated and does this http://youtu.be/v0NTYlR3Fhw
Favourite Food? I am a sucker for tapas but I love slow roast meat on a webber!
James is a great guy to follow if you want to keep up to date with news and happenings in Canberra. @TweetCanberra or if you want to share some daddy blogging or ideas @James_Tew. His blog is very impressive for a blogging newbie like me (it has all the bells and whistles I aspire to understand and utilise) raising3daughters.com