Monday, March 19, 2012

Still standing!

Still here! And still enjoying my food... just been somewhat waylaid by that thing called life.

Stay tuned for more indulgent food goodies! :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The winner takes all (the honey!!).

Yes, you are looking at a winner. A sweet, sticky, gooey winner... Intrigued?

Thanks to the wonderful woman who is theHoney Lady, I was the lucky winner of an amazing honey pack!! You see before you 3 jars of pure, raw honey... one Orange Blossom, one Chai flavoured and a medicinal Tumeric blend. I first stumbled across Honey Lady close on 2 years ago at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market. And with her infectious passion for her bees and her product, Ms HL won me over. In that time I have sampled a wide range of the honey's available (yes, there is a difference between honeys!). The flavoured ones are especially a treat; Cinnamon was my favourite, but today it was abruptly usurped by the Chai. Eating Honey Lady honeys is just like eating liquid candy... with a spoon. Really, what more could you ask for? And the best part is, RAW HONEY IS GOOD FOR YOU!! It's not been heat treated, so it retains all the goodies that the bees work so labouriously to put in. In fact I don't think we appreciate just how hard these little gals and guys work!! The next time you see a wee honey bee buzzing around your garden, take a minute to appreciate it's labour intensive life. And also give thanks that people like the Honey Lady exist to extol the benefits of raw honey!

Our little sojourn to the markets today also yielded (among other nommy goodies) the most amazing zucchini fritters I have had the pleasure of consuming.

Served here with a salad of cucumber & Thomy mayonaise (I TOLD you! This condiment is KING in our house!) and a few grape tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh basil. I bought these from Bubble'N'Sqeak. Cute name, and cute little fritters! I admit, when I saw them, they made me do that 'squee' noise that is normally reserved for cute furry LOLcats and roly poly puppies. At $8.80 for 6, it seemed like a damn good deal for a lazy Sunday lunch. And they certainly didn't fail to disappoint!

The Boo insisted she have her handy work in food styling broadcast on the interwebz as well. The arrangement of basil leaves on her fritter is her interpretation of a flower.

Bubble'N'Squeak also specialise gift boxes of local goodies, tapas treasures and great ideas on food presentation. (Personally I love the idea of using an old metal trophy plate.)

After a day of fantastic food headiness, I'm quite exhausted... maybe just a few Taronga Orchard coffee flavoured almonds....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Land of the Long Weekend

What I love about Australia is our capacity to embrace the long weekend. We dig it. And the best part is that most of our long weekends are in the warmer part of the year, so that you don't have to write-off that 'extra Sunday' as a miserable, wet, teeth-chattering, freezingly frigid day. (So do you get the distinct impression now that I'm a summer person??)

This time of year is rife with these long weekends. Any excuse for one really. This time around it was the extra day for those of us to nurse the end of year hang-over... which I am proud to say I was not suffering from!! (See my last post: I had a very quiet transition from 2011 to 2012, thank you very much!) As such, The Wife and I were very much eager to try The Boatshed. This little gem is tucked away on the rocky shore of Hallett Cove Beach. I must admit my knowledge of the building and area is limited, however it looks to literally have been an old boatshed. The transformation into a cosy cafe-cum-restaurant is very impressive. There is al fresco dining, however as there were only a few umbrellas to stave off the radiating heat of the midday sun we chose to sit inside. It was unfortunate that the day was tipping the thermostat at 40 degrees celcius - and the airconditioner didn't seem to be able to keep up. However a cold beer and (possibly could've been colder) white wine helped to keep the creeping heat-rash at bay. I do feel that the addition of a shade sail or two would help to encourage customers to sit outside and take in some of the amazing sea-breeze that still managed to make itself apparent on such a blisteringly hot day. Regardless, the view of the coast is enough to cool you (along with that cooling beverage of course!).
The Wife was feeling that a health-giving salad was in order, and went for a roasted vegetable salad with cubes of fried haloumi cheese (the squeaky cheese!). The only criticism that The Wife had for this salad, was the slight overuse of olive oil. Although, she wasn't complaining... but could see this being a turn-off for those with more delicate constitutions.
The lure and aroma of the wood-fired pizzas were just too much for me to bare, and I decided to go for their margarita.
I'm a bit of an aficiendo when it comes to margarita pizzas... I'll gladly pass on any pizza which has more than 4 toppings. I think that the idea of the pizza has been basterised by modern cuisine - tandoori chicken pizzas INDEED! I'm pleased to say that at The Boatshed, the margarita is pretty darn close to perfection. Cheese and tomato which mingles well, set off by a hint of basil. The only downfall would be the heavy handedness again of some olive oil. But this can be forgiven by the taste explosion one receives when they bite into the gooey goodness.

There were many other delights on the menu that we are keen to try, and will be trying our best to return soon and sample these.

I'll finish off my post by showing off my simple yet effective dessert that I whipped up this evening. It sounds like it should rot the teeth in your head the minute you bite into it, however it works on some crazy sugar-infused level. It's a recipe that I found somewhere some years ago.... where I cannot remember. But it works incredibly well!

Dollop good quality whipped cream into some bought meringue nests.
Top with a swirl of Pashmak - Persian fairy floss (I went for strawberry flavoured).
Add half a strawberry, and voila! Instant fancy looking dessert!

Actually, it looks like some sort of Kawaii fascinator. What with the crazy weirdness of the fairy floss - which resembles some sort of creepy doll hair. But what delicious doll hair!! :O

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 - awesomic it.

By now I think most of the world has entered 2012. I hope that yours was as pleasant as mine.

Before I descend into writing about the evening, I will just make special mention of New Years Eve Day. The Wife, The Boo and I braved the blistering heat to travel 2 hours north and visit the matriach of my maternal family, and one of the driving forces behind my love of food and cooking - my Oma. She migrated to Australia with her husband and 3 children (including my mother) from Germany in the early 1950s. They epitomised the very meaning of 'self-sufficiency' - living on a farm and growing / milking / slaughtering a majority of what they ate. Money was scarce, but they enjoyed their lives and I have been incredibly blessed to have a lot of this passion for and knowledge of the simple pleasures of living off the land passed down to me. Anyway, I digress - on our way through to the small town of Blyth where my Oma lives, we stopped at Clare. Clare, for those of you who are unaware, is a wine and foodie gem. The Clare Valley is well known for it's vineyards, and specifically it's reisling wines (which I unfortunately just can't bring myself to overly enjoy). This day I was specifically excited at the prospect of dropping into Wild Saffron which is known for it's gourmet eats, great coffee and local produce for sale. My main aim was to grab a bit of the latter to take home for later nomming sessions. I was severely disappointed though when we entered and found that access to most of the produce is hindered by tables and chairs, and therefore the people who are sitting at these tables and on these chairs. Aside from asking these poor people to move, it was almost nigh impossible to get to the alluring jars of pickles and preserves. And so, we left empty handed. So note to Wild Saffron, please make your stock more accessible!!! I'm sure that not only the punters, but the local producers will thank you!!

Once home though, we spent the early part of the evening with my parents where we shared a casual dinner of vegetable fritatta, pork and chicken dumplings and garlic bread - yep, we were mixin' and matchin' it up in the food stakes. BOOYEAH! We then watched the 9pm Sydney fireworks via the wonderful world of television, scared ourselves stupid with My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, before getting home at the reasonably respectable hour of 10pm. The Wife and The Boo retired to bed, while I sat up to see 2012 in with a glass of bourbon on the rocks and The Theme to S-Express:

I can't think of a more random, yet totally satisfying way to welcome a new year.

And already, my year is looking awesomic*! I fried us up a load of pancakes this morning for breakfast, served with maple syrup and mixed berries. Had a refreshing swim in the ocean (for those playing in the Northern Hemisphere, it is currently sitting at around the 40 degree C mark today), and then cobbled together a pretty fab salad - if I do say so myself!
It was just a mixture of 2 small tins of tuna, a tin of mixed beans, 1/3 cucumber, 1/2 punnet of grape tomatoes which have been halved and some beans from my mother's garden. However it was the dressing that made this salad a bit on the spesh side...

Anita's 'On The Spesh Side' Dressing
Juice from 1/2 lime
2 generous dessertspoons of whole-egg mayonaise (we are Thomy mayonaise loyalists in this house!)
2-3 anchovy fillets chopped finely
Large pinch of dried dill
Large pinch of Sunaami Salt (An addictive mix of seaweed, horseradish and dill with sea salt. Check out the range at Green Farmhouse.)

Put everything together into a bowl and mix/whisk. (Note: when entrusting the mixing process with a 4 year old, ensure this bowl is large and preferably non-breakable so as to counteract over-enthusiastic mixing.)

I'm by no means the best recipe writer, as most of what I cook comes from knowledge of what goes together. I find it hard to write down what I do to make food taste reasonably edible - enough so it ellicits satisfied food noises from my willing guinea pigs. Perhaps I'll work at that over the coming year... yes, my sole resolution is to write down my recipes while I cook.

So, 2012... what amazing culinary delights will you descend upon me? My tastebuds await!

*Awesomic - the made up word I made up. My goal is to get this word to go viral. Use it, abuse it and spread it thick like my Oma spreads her butter ("OMG! It's as thick as CHEESE!").)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Apart from my previous philosophical rantings about my life direction, I've fallen woefully behind in updating this blog! And, like a large percentage of people, I am going to blame 'this time of year'. For me it's been a combination of the crazy at work, and the crazy that is my studies (in horticulture). Plus hitting on a pretty fab idea to make a (possible) living... but I'll divulge all that at a later date!

Have I been eating out much the past few weeks? Well, the answer to that is both yes, and no. I have at lunch time (HELLO CENTRAL MARKETS FOOD COURT!!!) and a smattering of times for the evening meal in the usual haunts. This does include the most favourite of favourite comfortably cheap(ish) eat haunts, The Seacliff Beach Hotel. I am pretty lucky to be able to call this place 'my local'... and when you see the view, you'll understand why I bold-type lucky...

If I was ever to compile a list of the most picturesque pubs in the world, this place would be vying for a spot in the top 10. Even in winter, it's divine sitting inside, by the window, watching the dark clouds become one with the tempestuous ocean. The only thing that possibly could ruin the atmosphere of this divine place is the fact that the local Surf Life Saving Club have plonked a hideous shipping container smack-bang in the middle of the view! And no, painting it with a mural which looks as if it would be more at home on the wall of a high school gymnasium does not endear it to the diner who wishes to gaze upon the infinity of the oceanic horizon. If it must be there (and I believe this may have to do with providing temporary storage until the club has been refurbished) why not have some local artist produce a pseudo-Turner seascape?

Anyway... I digress.

Not withstanding it's current view-fail, The Seacliff is pretty tops when it comes to fairly decent gastro-pub fare. There are the usual offerings of an Australian pub such as The Parmi (Parmigiana), Schnitty (Schnitzel) and Sul N Pippa Skweed (Salt n Pepper Squid). But then they throw in a few interesting ones like Green Chicken Curry, Pork Belly and Pasta Bosciola (which tries so hard to be a good, solid pasta dish but just lacks that little bit in flavour). One item off the menu you MUST try however, is their towering Beach Burger! As all good monsterous burgers should be, this one is chock full of patty, salad, egg and beetroot... all secured together with a skewer. The fries they serve are decent, and don't have that 'frozen' taint that so many eateries can't seem to escape (unless they make their own). The one dish I will have to steer you clear of however, is the pie. Look, it may have changed since I last had it (mid-winter), but back then it was a sort of Four-And-Twenty affair with a crust that could repel bullets. The meat was a gelatinous gravied mess of snouts, tails and other unmentionables. A definite disappointment.

Having said that though, the price is right with most fare sitting around the $15-$25 mark. And the wine list is hardly disappointing (hello D'Arrenberg Olive Grove Chardonnay!). The decor in the main dining room does border on the slighly tacky with a carpet that is dating fast, flat-screen TVs silently spewing out their radioactive commercial glare and a Keno screen constantly ticking over in the corner (let's keep that sort of stuff in the bar, hm?). You also get the occasional ne'er do well who wanders through the dining room blearily looking for the front bar. But the view... it's worth all that just for that perfect (bar the current shipping container!) view of the sun slowly sinking into the sea* ....

The infamous Beach Burger... film noir style. With a 'schnitty', chips and mushroom gravy, lurking deviously in the background.

*Yes I know it doesn't literally sink, but let me have the artistic license to finish on a poetic note.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

So What If....

So what if one Monday morning you woke up and realised that you really were tired of your day job. And I don’t mean the usual Monday morning malaise that comes with the weekend come-down. The feeling of wanting to drown oneself in the cup of English Breakfast tea staring blandly back at you. I’m talking about the sudden realised that you are getting nowhere fast. You’ve known it for a while, been half-heartedly planning ‘The Great Escape’ by ways and means both fair and foul. But this particular morning it’s like the lilghbulb of life has appeared and ‘AH-HA!’... by jove you’ve finally got it!

This so happened to me this morning. Not in some dramatic way that had me calling my boss, telling her to stick my job and burning my suit-skirt and stilettos, and giving all my unused bus passes away to passing senior citizens. Instead it crept up sneakily, and cracked me over the head while I sat on the train surrounded by the mass of miserable weekday commuters. It certainly made me drop what I was reading, pick up my phone and make hasty notes, that now manifest themselves as this blog entry.

So what to do?? Where to go from here?

I can’t pretend to not be slightly jealous of The Wife, as ‘she have skillz’(in the words of the kids and incarcerated rap artists). She is a consummate textile artist with a business that is taking off and very set career goals. But myself... I have skerricks of dreams and visions that flit in and out of my consciousness. Dreams such as spending my days sitting at a sun drenched desk, writing down my thoughts and ideas on food and living – to impress my views, professionally, upon the world. Tending to herb and ‘Native Noms’ bushfood business, which will bring the simple pleasures of fragrant greenery to the masses. Milking my very own cow.... (Yes. You heard me right!) Life as it is meant to be lived - enjoying every moment, living every minute as I see fit... and eating some really kick-arse food while I'm at it!

What happens next?... Watch this space!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Something that really does NOT impress me is over-complicated culinary WANK. That fussy food that is so (f)artfully arranged on the inner 5cm diameter of a dinner plate the size of Bert Newtons head.

for those of you who aren't au fait with Australian Z-Grade celebrities...
(note, head is so large it doesn't even fit in the frame.)

And foam. Foam is my other pet hate. Herein known as spittle. I've also heard it referred to as 'air'. Such a stroke of genius to decide, "We need to raise more revnue in this establishment... Hey! Let's get the kitchen hand to hock a loogie onto the side of the plate!" Voila! An excuse to lob an extra $20 onto every item on the menu. The saddest part about all of this is that there are actually even sadder people who will cough up the bucks (pardon the pun!) for the opportunity to be a part of this absurd gourmet charade. It's almost as bad as British cook Heston Blumenthal, and his ongoing 'quest' for perfect food. Interesting to watch, but (at the risk of sounding over-sentimental) I think that the point of food is that it is the basic, simple, fresh ingredients that maketh a meal... not wether its molecular structure has been amended to a point that it should, by laboratory standards, taste 'perfect'.

It does give me this awesome idea for a restaurant though. Or... sorry... a gastronomic venture. Basically, instead of serving food, people are served 'tastes'. They sit at the table, and are presented with a menu. From this they select a range of dishes that they feel they would like to sample. They are then given some sort of hose like contraption with a nozzle on the end which they place in their mouth. Like a hookah pipe, the 'diner' sucks in a puff of flavoured air which in essence is their 'meal'. Sort of like a culinary fart.

I think it would be a go-er.