I felt we needed a wooden planter box to adorn the outside of my son's bedroom window. But how do you make a planter box from scratch without tools and skills? I posted a request on Timebank and had a reply within a few days. Robert - a Timebank member for a year - offered to come over, help with the design, advise on what materials to get, and teach the kids and myself a few skills along the way. Everything happened very smoothly. Thankfully Robert had a week off work between jobs - Tuesday: Design drawings, Wednesday: sawing the pieces of wood to the right size, Thursday: assembly.
The result: a beautiful sturdy planter box, new skills learned, happy kids! See pics below. A big Thank You to Robert for his initiative, patience and great teaching skills!
One of our most recent additions to Taranaki Timebank - chef Pierre from Switzerland - offered his time to show us how to make a genuine genoise! Together with Brittany he thought up a way of inviting Timebank members along for a baking demonstration. All they needed to host the event was a suitable space that would offer professional standard cooking equipment and an oven that would be up to scratch with Pierre’s requirements.
This is where Helen from Cook Learn Love entered the stage! Helen hosts cooking classes for adults and kids in a newly established community hub called the Open Space on Devon Street. Timebank arranged a few meetings between Pierre and Helen to discuss how to best go about a cake baking demonstration. Ingredient lists and recipes were fine tuned, baking utensils shortlisted - while Timebank got the word out to advertise our first community baking get together of this sort!
On the day of the event, Pierre and our Timebank coordinators met at the Open Space to test bake our first communal chocolate genoise. All went smoothly - until Anja mistook the elaborately prepared aniseed infused syrup for a soaking pot that needed rinsing! Thankfully, Pierre just took a deep breath and whipped up another portion of syrup and the day was saved.
With everything that needed preparing prepared for the event we were ready to welcome our guests. The group turned out to be a perfect size and mix of around a dozen budding bakers, all ready to learn from Pierre the secrets to making a beautiful spongy chocolate cake. Our host was great at explaining the process step-by-step, and even though the presentation genoise wouldn’t rise quite enough, we could luckily fall back on the cake base prepared earlier in the day, glaze it with a beautiful chocolate ganache and - most importantly - find time to enjoy a deliciously light and chocolatey cake. Merci beaucoup, Pierre!
For those of you who want to make their own Chocolate Genoise here's Pierre's recipe:
120g caster sugar
90 g plain flour, mixed with a pinch of salt
30g good quality cocoa powder
40g butter, melted/clarified
150g full fat cream
150g good quality chocolate buttons (42% chocolate)
Grease and line a ca. 20cm diameter round cake dish.
Heat up oven to 170-180°C fan assisted heat or top/bottom heat.
In a bowl mix plain flour, salt and cocoa together. Set aside.
For the Zabaglione (you will need a heat resistant hot and a bowl that fits inside the pot): Over a medium flame/hot element heat water in a pot. Fill metal/heat resistant glass bowl with eggs and sugar. Insert bowl into pot with water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the hot water. With a large whisk mix the eggs and sugar together, making sure you scrape mix off the sides so eggs don’t set. Spin bowl slowly while whisking the mixture. Do NOT stop whisking! And keep mixing for about 10 minutes, remembering to do the ribbon (lifting up movement to check the texture). At the end of this process the mix should have doubled in volume and temperature should have reached about 45°C. Remove from heat and keep whisking until mixture has cooled down. For extra flavouring you can add vanilla, allspice, etc. to the mix.
Using a spatula, gently fold cocoa/flour/salt mix to zabaglione. Gently fold in warm clarified butter (to achieve a nice mix, start by taking 1/5 of zabaglione and mix into butter, once mixed add back into zabaglione mix).
Put cake into oven (centre height) and bake for about 25 minutes.
Once cake is finished take out of oven and let it cool down.
While cake is cooling down prepare the chocolate ganache as follows:
Over a medium flame/element heat up cream in a pot. When hot (about 80°C = inserting finger will hurt!) add chocolate buttons and stir gently until chocolate is fully melted and you have a smooth chocolate-cream mixture. Turn heat off.
When cake has cooled down slice in half lengthwise using a long sharp knife. (This is optional and only if you want to insert a filling into your cake. Filling ideas: spice syrup, apricot jam, whipped cream...whatever takes your fancy!).
Check chocolate ganache has cooled down enough for a good texture. Spread ganache over top and sides of the genoise. Decorate with icing sugar, flowers, or any beautiful décor that comes your way!
And thank you for everyone who came along and helped make our first community baking event a successful trial run - we’ll be organising more of these little Timebank workshops in the future, so if you are keen on teaching your fellow Nakians (is that a word??) how to cook, bake, whip up a feast get in touch!
I have been acting as a guardian angel for Shirley Smith, a resident at Jean Sandel Retirement Home here in New Plymouth since the beginning of the year. When I took this on I had recently had a major change in my own life and subsequently removed my offers to give myself time to adjust to this change. However, as I feel that the philosophy of time bank is so fantastic I wanted to continue my participation in some form.
Initially I thought it would be simply managing the ‘computer’ aspects, such as reading the emails, setting up the connections regarding Shirley’s offers and requests. It has become so much more than that. Shirley and I have forged a great friendship, and I visit with her on a regular basis. Being a Guardian Angel has turned out to be very satisfying on a personal level. So, if you are considering becoming a Guardian Angel, I say go for it!
Regardless of how Angelic you think you are or are not 😉
Shirley had a request for assistance in putting her memoirs of when she lived up the Mokau River together on Timebank. This sounded very interesting so I have been working with Shirley on these. During this time, we had a lovely day visiting the Mokau Museum with another time banker. Along with enjoying the museum itself, we came away with a few more photos to include in the memoirs. The staff at the museum were genuinely interested and very helpful. We have utilised other timebanker’s talents in putting the memoirs together, such has digitising Shirley’s photos and proofing the memoirs, I have a response to assistance to research and apply for funding, as we have nearly completed the memoirs this is the next step, securing funding to have the memoirs published.
We have had people take up requests to drive Shirley to Drs appointments which has worked well. What we would like would be for others to take up Shirley’s offers. Shirley is a talented artist and musician. She has offered to teach shell work, painting and the piano. If you are at all interested please go onto Timebank and take a look at what Shirley offers.
Once again, if becoming a Guardian Angel is something you have contemplated don’t hesitate as I believe you will find it as satisfying as I have.
If you find an area that you are passionate about, or if you have one that is not yet listed, please get in touch to get started. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The next market is on the 4th of June at Ngmoutu Beach. It's our biggest market of the year, and we are currently asking Timebank members, new and old, to help with the set up, take down and assistance with helping new members sign up during the event. It's from 10-3. I will be there to set up our gazebo at 9 and will be there for the duration of the event until about 3:30. Any time used to help with the market will be given as Timebank hours.
Newstart Community Gardens will be holding an open day in either June or July and may be on the Sustainable Backyards Trail. If you haven't heard of it, the gardens are part of the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Saxton road in Vogeltown. It is managed by one of our Timebankers and I used to volunteer there with my son every Friday. All food harvested is delivered weekly to Cook Street and Glen Park ave. They currently need help weeding and harvesting, and a working bee is a way to get everyone together once a month. Date for the next one is to TBD, and if you are interested in volunteering on a consistent basis, please let me know. Timebank hours are awarded for any volunteering at the gardens.
Access Radio hosts our weekly show, It's About Time. I typically coordinate with our two hosts, Bernie and Trix, although we are looking for more interviewees and interviewers to be featured. We talk about Timebank, what's going on in the community, and ideas or ways to get involved. It's very casual and a lot of fun. Access Radio is a great asset to our community, and they have done wonders in promoting Timebank over the last year.
Elderly outreach is ongoing. Every Friday at 10am, Michelle Bent, from Access radio hosts residents from the Jean Sandel retirement village and volunteers who like to provide companionship. You can receive hours for attending as well as a cup of tea or coffee and some good conversations. Please let me know if you are interested, and I will put you in touch with Michelle for the next one.
In terms of Disaster Relief, the Red Cross has joined our Timebank as an organisation, and we support their initiatives. Some of our timebank members collect donations during designated fundraisers for example, and they may receive hours for their time volunteering.
Timebank has partnered with the Taranaki Environmental Education Trust which currently is in the development phase of the Community Reuse and Recylce Centre on Colson Rd.
Website and Social Media
We are looking for people to write reviews, invite friends to like the Facebook page, start a group discussion, and/or write a blog for a newsletter or our new website, www.taranakitimebank.nz. This helps increase our reach and engage our audience, so it goes in line with the Radio Show.
Just as a side note, for anyone who volunteers for the sake of volunteering please feel free to donate your timebank hours to our Community Chest. The Community Chest is then used to support charitable organisations that may require volunteers. Please email me the hours, and I will make the updates so you receive the certificate via email.
“Billets needed 21-22 March”