Entries from September 2008 ↓

Outwitting the vegetable averse child

I have a strange variety of child. He is unceasingly articulate, disarmingly good at reading and bright in very many ways, although, admittedly, not in mathematics. For this last I blame his parents, who both have PhDs in the humanities. My child is also uncommonly tall, with shining hair, white teeth and peachy skin and is actually quite good at sport, despite his parental burdens.

I am not biased, all this is true, being recounted simply for the purpose of remarking upon how children manage to grow themselves up without much in the way of nutrition. For my child achieves all these miracles without meat, unless it comes in the form of a sausage or chicken drumstick. He was once offered a deluxe cut of wagyu beef, cooked just for him, and rejected it. He doesn’t like fruit either, at least not much. He manages bananas and loves stone fruit and watermelon and a nice pink lady apple, but rejects most other things, including strawberries.

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Really, it’s springtime

Spring “officially” starts in Australia on 1 September, apparently because the colonial soldiers were so desperately hot in their woollen jackets they couldn’t bear to wait until the vernal equinox, when it was properly Spring, to be allowed to wear their hot weather uniforms. It’s never really seemed right to me, so I’ve always waited until the equinox on 22 September to begin the new season.

Early Spring’s not that fancy if you pretend it’s three weeks earlier than it actually is. As Cath wrote at the beginning of the month at The Canberra Cook, even the real early spring was still pretty grim pickins if you were growing your own food. Because I mostly shop at Choku Bai Jo, I mostly eat fairly local and fairly seasonal food. I haven’t eaten a tomato (except for some cherry tomatoes) for months and months and months. But we’re inching closer, and now the Spring foods I’ve been missing are starting to appear.

All of a sudden the shops are full of asparagus and strawberries. The early bearing Camarosa strawberries that CBJ has for $3.50 aside, all the strawberries I’ve had have been pretty pale imitations of a ripe strawberry. Not to mention harbingers of the endtimes, which are fast approaching {⇐ Evidence}

We planted some asparagus crowns last year, and looky! Unfortunately that picture shows our entire asparagus crop for this year, thanks to the chickens. But what a spear!

I don’t much like that skinny asparagus that some people fancy, as I find they can be stringy. So when I saw nice big bunches of fat asparagus at 3 for $5 last week, I pounced.
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Kirsty Presents: Spamalicious

I have long been fascinated with the sponsored links in the spam folder of my gmail account. I wonder about the day that the online equivalent of junk mail was christened spam.  What was Hormel Foods’ reaction?  After all, the irritation caused by an avalanche of unsolicited email offering snake oil remedies for s*xual satisfaction and instant riches is hardly a response any profit-minded company would want associated with their product.  Surely?

The nomination must, however, have been a double-edged sword, especially with the introduction of spam filters and folders which opened the way for a dedicated advertising opportunity via email accounts, many of whose owners might visit them several times in one day. Every now and again, I check the spam folder of my gmail account, just to assure myself that no genuine emails have been caught by its filter, and not once have I seen any product other than SPAM® recipes advertised above the list of unread messages.

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Introducing Georgina

After more than 15 years of living in inner city Sydney, Georgina has returned to the NSW Mid North Coast of her youth accompanied by her travelling companion and her young son. She started working as a freelance information architect up there, but was quickly snaffled up by a local institution looking to make its web presence less incomprehensible to the punters.

Georgina has just bought her first house. It’s close to the beach and has room for many more bookshelves than it’s possible to fit into a Newtown terrace. She blogs at Stack, where this piece first appeared, at Sarsaparilla, and has also blogged for Larvatus Prodeo.

Georgina presents: I like

chinese header

I think I’ve mentioned it before but if I haven’t: I really miss Chinese food. Country Chinese just doesn’t cut it. It’s ok once in a while, like when I’m feeling nostalgic for the food I ate at Chinese restaurants as a child: the sweet and sour that looked radioactive, ‘combination’ chow mein, beef and black bean, lazy susans, back pages of menus that listed ‘Australian’ meals of steaks and chips. They probably knew what they were doing. Not everyone would embrace the food. There would invariably be someone who turned up their nose at the bright red sauces and the battered pieces of goodness-knows-what, not for reasons of taste but to demand something with which their palate was familiar. As kids we used to wonder why you would turn your nose up at Chinese. You would have to be mad.

Some adults went too far in the opposite direction, wearing their imitation cheongsams in an embarrassing attempt to…do I don’t know what. Fit in? Send them up? When in Rome? Who knows. Whatever they were doing seemed denigrating and small.

dash porkAs kids a big treat for us was to go to the food halls in Chinatown when we visited relatives in Sydney.Usually we would end up eating from the “all you can cram on a plate” buffets because it was all so good and we didn’t want to miss anything. And probably because it was food like that we were used to in the country. And then there was the bbq pork. Dad used to buy a kilo or so and we’d sit in the back of the Kombi, Mum doling it out on pieces of paper. We’d demand more and guzzle and fight until it was gone and we’d be at Hornsby on our way back up the coast. Our parting gift from Sydney.
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housekeeping

I’ve done a bit of fiddling about with the site while Harry’s been conducting his one man “Shock and Awe” Rolling Thunder campaign. (Yes, that’s what he called it.)

Firstly, the shiny new “Site Contributors” page which links to each author’s posts here and to other sites where their writing appears.

Secondly, the recipe index has been upgraded and now features … an index of recipes.

Finally, I’ve installed comment quicktags. This means you don’t have to know any html to style your comment, even though html is easy and will come in handy from time to time. Click the chevron button above the comment box and a row of quicktags appears, and click it again to get Even More. Probably too many in fact, but there you go. You’re welcome to have a play with them in the comments here.

Harry presents: Impressing the Hot Interior Designer Marinara

(This post is the final in a series which begins here and continues here and here.)

On Friday I visited my delightfully mad aunt who totally rocks. It was my turn to cook, so I brought the ingredients for the second version of a Italian seafood dish with which to impress the Hot Interior Designer.

My aunt is an avid cook and generally awesome woman for whom I acted as chauffeur and butler on a two week driving holiday/seafood odyssey into Victoria last October.

We discussed many recipes on the way including many she disparaged.
Aunt: I mean, look at this! Fennel and Rocket Salad!? Easy! And yet there’s a recipe for it.
Nephew: Yes, it’s hardly Fennel and Rocket science.

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Harry presents: Vivid Dream Lasagne

(This post is part three of a series which begins here and continues here.)

(Note: very rich, and you will have really vivid dreams that night.)
(Note 2: I tried this initially as a cannelloni, but stuffing the bastards is too annoying, but if you have OCD it will work fine.)

This recipe emerged from a misguided attempt to make two styles of mushroom-and-nut pasta. Forest-nymphs were involved in the plan, but the pasta making was a complete failure and there was no preying-on-the-earth-children for me. After trialling the salvaged remains I took the best bits of both to make one Ultimate Dish.

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