Friday, October 17, 2014

Australian Foods

In Australia there are lots and lots of Australian icons to enjoy. You'll find these on the supermarket shelves.

1) Vegemite
Vegemite has been around for about 80 years. Its got that very salty taste but put this with cheese and its great as a jaffle. It's very addictive for those that love salt.
Image courtesy of
2) Tim tams
It is one hundred years old and is still a favourite with the Aussie. These are the chocolate biscuits filled with chocolate cream and coated with Chocolate. Yum
Tim tams courtesy of

3) Seafood
We love all sorts of seafoods such as mussels, clams etc.

4) The South Melbourne Market dim sim
This has been around for a very long time. This is the classic Asian dim sim which was invented in the early gold rush years. Stuffed with meat and cabbage this is a classic Australian favorite. You can have it steamed or fried;

5) Meat pies and sausage rolls
These are your four and twenty pies which are a favorite for the football goers in winter
Image courtesy of
6) Milo
Image from
Like Ovaltine this chcocolate drink is a favourite. You can have it hot or cold.

7) Pavalova
This is a meringue based dessert which is enjoyed by everyone at BBQ's or picnics. It is always topped with fruit and very sweet. You can buy the base at Coles and Woolworths (or Thomas Dux) and do it yourself

8) Lamington
Another one of our favourites. This is a cake coated in chocolate and coconut shavings. You can make this Aussie icon yourself.

9) ANZAC Biscuits
We love to make these and there is a Youtube video on making them here. It is a sweet, oat like biscuit.

Share housing some advice

 As students it is important to live in a good house and with the right people. Students often want share housing which is close to uni as it is cheaper. But not all share housing experience turned out as great as ours. Here are some tips to make sure that you get along with everyone and that you don't have a bad experience.

You'd be living in the same house for quite some time, say about a year or two.

One such sharehouse. Image courtesy of Google.
Make sure you have a nice landlord/landlady
You have to pay to them every month so it is a good idea to make sure that you can have a good relationship with them.

Maybe if they are friendly enough and willing, invite them out for a coffee.

Be clean, tidy and responsible.

No one likes to live with someone who is messy and parties really loudly. Your landlady/landlord will not like this. Its is your responsibility to pay on time and if you can't, tell your landlord.

Most houses will have a cleaning roster of some sort and your name will be on it for some of the tasks.

Some houses will have a kitty (in the form of a piggy/money bank) for which you have to contribute for essentials like milk, cleaning things and toilet paper. Do contribute your fair share if you can.

Some house will have shared meals and others might not. It is worth asking this at the start of your tenancy. And please do not steal your flatmates food as it is not nice. One of our Indian friends has had his food stolen a couple of times and he was not happy.


If you do not your flatmates will find it a living hell. And so will you. You'll fight all the time and it will impact on your study. You will not want to come home.

Interview your potential flatmates.

Make sure you know who you are living with and what sort of characteristics they have. You don't want to live with a murderer.

Nor do you want to live with a partygoer. Or with someone who steals food.

Have you had any bad experiences with flatmates? Or do you have any tips that you'd like to share?

How to save costs on your electricity and gas bill.

RNIS was at the latest Saving money seminar by the City of Melbourne and so they have some tips on saving on your bill.

As students you need to use electricity. But did you know that the more you use, the more you spend in bills? For the lucky some where bills are included the rent you don't need to worry about paying for it. But for those that need to pay then read on.
The money that you can save. Image courtesy of RMIT Newintstudents

In Winter we use a lot of heating. But did you know that you only need the heater to be on a comfortable 18C-20C? If you have it too high, it is not good for your body. In fact you could gain a lot more weight this way as not a lot of energy or fat is being used during that time. Also if it is too high and you go out you could catch a cold as your body is not used to the cold.

However to even save more money you should seal all the gaps whenever you can. We will have another section to talk about sealing the gaps in the house.
Leaving the electricity on all the time can leave you with a very high bill

They bring in a lot of sunshine if placed correctly. From the north in summer it is about 80% of heat that goes in, so you'll want some sort of shade. In winter you'd lose about 49% of heat especially in the winter.

Other things
Don't leave appliances on for too long as that will waste electricity. Also turn off everything before you go to bed or leave the house. A TV left on for ten hours will set you back by about $120 extra.

Wash your clothes in a cold cycle. A warm cycle will use more energy will set you back about $155 extra in energy bills per year

In winter dry your clothes indoors as a clothes dryer will set you back by $155 per year.

Don't have too fridges at home as they use up about $640 worth of energy. Instead just have one big one in which everyone uses.

The Welcome Dinner Project

RNIS was invited by the City of Melbourne to take part in this event

The Welcome Dinner Project has just launched with a potluck dinner last Saturday. Here many people gathered and enjoyed a meal.

The Project was founded by Joining the Dots and Beyond Welcome groups, groups which aim to assist new International students to find their feet. Beyond Welcome is about home cooked meals in Aussie homes and it started in Sydney a few years back.
Welcoming us in

BBQ Skewers

Joining the Dots are looking at doing events in November until the middle of next year where they are going to be visiting Melbourne workplaces.

There were a lot of home cooked and some store bought dishes. There were a few vegetarian ones and everyone had to explain what their dish is and what ingredients are in it. In a way that is good as some people can't eat certain things

Then we all met with different people and it was good meeting with everyone from different countries who are all students.

Many thanks to City of Melbourne for the invite.

5 easy ways to use tuna

In Australia tuna is about $1-$2 per can at the supermarket. Here we talk about some ways with this humble ingredient.

1) Tuna sandwich
A nice and easy lunch for uni. Here you just use one can of tuna and just bread.

2) Tuna bake
This recipe and picture is from
Tuna pasta bake
Tuna bake courtesy of Mark O Meara on

  • Method
  1. Step 1
    Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Lightly grease an 8 cup-capacity ovenproof dish. Cook pasta in a medium saucepan of boiling, salted water, following packet directions, until tender. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pan.
  2. Step 2
    Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until bubbling. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in milk until combined. Return to heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Season with pepper.
  3. Step 3
    Add to pasta with tuna and reserved cooking liquid. Toss to combine. Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden. Serve.
3) Tuna and potato croquettes
This is a really simple lunch idea which you can take to uni. You can do a big batch on Sunday and freeze them. 

4) Tuna and egg salad (or you can just do plain tuna for uni)
Simply hardboil one egg and peel. Wash the lettuce. Chop the lettuce and the egg and pour in the tuna and you are all good to go.

5) Fried rice with tuna instead of ham
Here you can use last nights leftovers and leftover rice to make a quick and easy fried rice dish which takes about 20 mins to cook and prepare.

Now you don't need to buy two minute noodles when you have this humble ingredient to whip up some simple meals.
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