Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Home grown


Rhubarb leaf. Harmless uningested!

Giant Lemon.

Old apples.

...put to good use with rhubarb and a bit of lemon rind.

Deliciously ugly.

New (for me)

So, I have at last discovered poached eggs. For the first time ever last weekend in Hardware Lane, in one of approximately 3 cafes that were open on a Sunday, I tried Eggs Benedict. (Just in time for my discovery of the masterful delivery of Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock . Well, really I should say Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, but Cumberbatch does pull it off in such a way. As does Martin Freeman, as Watson.)

Anyway. So then I had to make Eggs Benedict, didn't I? (Well, I only wanted one egg. So Egg Benedict.) Except it was Florentine. But I thought of Benedict anyway.
We had spinach in the garden, and hollandaise in the fridge, and I obtained some muffins.
My problem with poaching eggs has been that they go to the bottom, get stuck, and then the yolk breaks and leaks all the way to the plate! But apparently I wasn't using enough water.
Practice will make perfect.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vicious as a sponge.

So, I'm still bubbling around in existence. Been busy with uni and other commitments, including singing in various ensembles around the town.

And this morning I somehow found myself ingesting a quarter of a sponge cake. With blueberries. And cream, of course. It's soft, naturally, and meringue-like, this sponge. The first I've made away from home, and the first to this recipe of Maggie's that my mum has had great success with in the past. And it's gluten-free.
I won't lie. While I was assembling the line-up of ingredients, I was thinking about how people say sponges are hard, and they really aren't. But then I opened the oven door too early and it was a bit of a flop.
Not to worry. A blueberries-and-cream sandwich isn't going to be unpopular, even if it doesn't rise as far as you wanted.
Make sure you put the sugar in with the egg whites at the start, if you make this. I forgot to do so, and it might have helped. I had intended to make it for a group of people that includes a coeliac, and so I was ultra particular about getting things that had no chance of gluten in them. This led me to buy 'Pure Cream' instead of thickened, which is my usual default for whipping cream. What a revelation! It whips really fast. And it's so runny to begin with. I recommend trying it sometime, because it's interesting. Maybe sad that this is the case, but all the same..
Would go nicely with a cup of tea.

Because I'm at it, now, I'd like to share with you some thoughts about people and cakes:
People can often be grouped by what kinds of cakes they prefer in terms mainly of texture. And sweetness, perhaps. And I may offend. I don't mean to, but neither am I aiming for particular political correctness. In fact if your opinion differs, please comment- I'd love a second or third opinion. Which group/s are you in?

Light, fluffy cakes: People whose mums make these sort of cakes. Often descended from CWA schools. Includes sponge fans and pav fans. If you are one of these, please also like whipped cream. (Real, not fake.) If you are one of these and do not like cream, chances are you don't mind packet mix. I'm sorry for you, but get out.

Fruitcake: People also tend to be categorical about whether or not they like fruit cake. For some it's an acquired taste. I acquired it at some point over the last 7 years. One can prefer fruit cake groggy and dense (see next point), or lighter.. in which case, you might like sultana cake without liking fruit cake so much. Or you may like neither. That's ok.

Dense cakes: YAY. This is me. Flourless cakes are here, anything involving nut meal (dacquoise not included - that's under "light, fluffy." May not like it too sweet, but texture is important.. and when it comes to chocolate, fans hereof prefer mudcake to fluffy Sara Lee "chocolate" cake. Dense cake lovers like chocolatey chocolate cakes, not brown fluff pretending to be chocolate.

Cheesecake: Cheesecake lovers often tend to categorically love all things chocolate. Sometimes they place high importance on the icing of other cakes (maybe this comes from a childhood of shop-bought things where the cake tasted/felt like plastic and the icing was the only part to have any taste?) I am not really a cheesecake person and don't really understand it. Are you also more likely to enjoy chocolate croissants? What about doughnuts?

Chocolate cakes: Nobody dislikes all chocolate cake. Chocolate cake really deserves another section of its own, about how people like theirs. Then again, chocolate cake preferences probably fit quite nicely into the above 4 categories. Yes, chocolate fruit cake does exist. It is delicious.

Icing lovers: See cheesecake. If this is you, try not to be offended. Also: to marzipan or not to marzipan? I suspect that often, true dense-cake lovers like marzipan. Maybe. Certainly stollen fans do.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A good orange cake

Problem is, I didn't use a recipe, nor measuring cups, spoons... and my camera is on holiday!

Anyway, friends approve. So here is what I did.

~60g butter
~2/3 cup sugar (raw is good)
Rind of 1 orange, or 1/2 a giant orange
~2/3 cup plain yoghurt
~2 tbsp oil
~50g almond meal
2 eggs
pinch ground ginger
~1/2 cup SR flour
~1/3 cup plain flour

Cream butter, sugar and rind.
Mix in the wet stuff and almond meal, combining well (no little bits of egg).
Fold in flour.
Bake 20+ minutes depending on your tin. In a moderate oven.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Study company

When you're sitting at a desk all day reading and analysing stuff, and occasionally writing, it's nice to have something keep you company. I like a bit of music now and then - preferably not things that you've performed or studied, because then you focus on that instead - and of course, a hot-water-based beverage.

It's better to stick to one coffee and/or one or two cups of tea a day, because that feels better than more. But I still want a hot drink. One day I just put cinnamon in boiling water. It was good - simple, and better than many herbal 'teas,' or 'infusions' as the French more honestly call them.

And then there was a ripe pear. Overripe for my taste: soft. 
Apple green tea
The best fruit tea/infusion ever:

Cut off some juicy pear over a cup (you don't want to miss the juice that will drip out) and pour hot water over it. Sprinkle cinnamon over if you like. Put the pear aside for later.
Leave until drinkable temperature, and stir if you want the pear to come through sooner.

And you get to eat the fruit at the bottom :)

Also excellent with green tea, especially if you like green tea weak and can therefore get two cups or more out of a green tea bag.
Apple is good too.
Also, cinnamon and orange peel.. what else could you do?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Days like this

I'm sure that at least some of the people reading this blog would know what I'm talking about.

Food, eating, problem, thinking. Exercising perhaps.. and just consuming a bit less.

Fine for many, many people in the world.

For many others, less so.

If someone ever recovers from an 'eating disorder,' which at its core is less about eating than other, maybe more vital things inside - the kind that make life worth living -
If total recovery is possible, what does it look like?

I'm writing to say, if you ever eat two normal lunches' worth of lunch or dinners' worth of dinner and then feel guilty, and then feel guilty for feeling guilty because you're meant to be over that, and because it's indulging yourself in a weird torment, and you consider then eating more (as if that would help)
it will pass. Don't overcompensate. There are better ways to spend the day.

And there are so many people doing exactly the same thing, right now. Let them do the worry. You just get on with life; it will forgive us all if we let it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A good holiday. 2: Indonesia

We went to Bali, Lembongan and Java.
The coffee is good everywhere, although at Lembongan they also had Nescafé. As the kids say these days, fail.
Java had the best pisang goreng. As I mentioned in a previous post, their bananas taste brightly coloured - in fact, they look brightly coloured - and are almost sour.Indonesia has tiny bananas!
We had fresh guava juice.. my life is changed for the better. I also discovered manggis (mangosteen). Wow.

My favourite place was this little village in Java.They farm cassava and corn, among other things. I didn't know until we went there that tapioca is made from cassava! We saw how they make cassava crackers (like prawn crackers). It's a highly manual, labour-intensive process.This is the bank, apparently. Why aren't Australian bankers as cute?That lady with the basket of cassava isn't wearing shoes.

It was nice to be somewhere people don't have Internet. Or running water, I think.. -to wash her hands, our host got the water from a well.
One of my best holidays in a while. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lazy bakey cakey

So. I collected 3.6 smallish (for Australian) bananas to sit on the table.

Made a chocolate cake using two of my housemate's eggs. That she bought from the supermarket. Chook eggs. And some of her cream for the icing (about 2tbsp worth, because it was a ganache that I wanted to set but not be straight chocolate that would fall off when you try to eat it). And a college neighbour's loaf tin.

The 3.6 bananas were now the perfect spottiness.

What would you do?
I know you can freeze peeled bananas, but they're sort of weird when you thaw them. All the water comes out and they look, well, strange.

I wasn't going to steal any more eggs - in fact, didn't really want to use them because they are evil cage eggs.

The solution, of course, was to make another cake: marvellous, amazing, incredible eggless banana bread, courtesy of Archana's Kitchen.

Deliciously ugly.

It's not quite like anything else. Quite dense, strong/bright sort of flavour, slightly chewy crust with a slight sticky date flavour. Excellent warm. Probably not for the faint-hearted sponge lovers (don't get me wrong, I like a good sponge) or those who don't like banana.
Actually, what I mean by calling it a 'bright' flavour is that it's got character to it, a bit of bite. Bold flavour, that's the word. It reminds me thus of pisang goreng in Java, where the bananas are sweet and a little bit sour, like a still-firm mango.

So recipe for eggless bananana bread, based on Archana's:
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar of some description (I used raw)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (~60g)
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1 cup yoghurt (I used milk mixed with vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup rough-chopped nuts, seeds, or weapons of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (I had none :( )
You know what to do! Mix it all together
Combine melted butter with sugar, mix till smooth.
Add the sloppy ingredients (banana, yoghurt, vanilla), mix around a bit.
Add the other stuff and mix through, trying not to overmix unless you feel like a rubbery cake.)and bake in a prepared vessel at 180C/350F until cooked. Depending on the tin, probably 35-50 minutes or so. Be aware that it's quite moist, so will leave evidence of itself on any testing implement, but not huge amounts of thickened batter.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A good holiday. 1: Spainelaide

A good holiday is what I just had, and in it, I hardly touched a computer. So.

I first went home to Melbs. No photos there.. in fact, I had hardly any time there because we spent most of it in the country with my grandparents, who are STILL getting older (which may well be better than the alternative? But it's sad when any brain decides to go a bit funny and confuse itself).

But then, I went to Adelaide and met some amazing people. Extreme nerds, most of them, in one way or another. Mainly all in the same way, heartily including myself.
Did you know that Adelaide has SUPER pelicans? They are enormous!
I stayed with a half-Spanish family, which reminded me more than anything ever has of France. The mum and daughter have the same first name - the daughter reckons being at their house is just like being in Spain - and we ate Spanish food.Paella!
Apparently in Spain, they fight for the bits of toasted/burnt rice on the bottom of the pan. Not everyone likes them... mmm, a very enjoyable experience. We had some nice wine too, but the best part was sitting around the table feeling like part of a large Spanish family.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

emergency post

With 2500 words due on Monday, and a sister arriving in town in 53 minutes, and a full day tomorrow, there has never been a better time to blog.

1. Vegetables and simplicity. Beauty.
Eating college food is teaching me to appreciate what I can get. Tonight, said sister arriving, I'll be eating with her, but thought I'd have a few vegies in the meantime (it's a nice chance to have a study break and socialise with people too).
Shredded iceberg lettuce, steamed baby peas and carrot (just boiled carrot discs) with pepper and a small squirt of salad dressing. I don't know what is in the dressing, if anything, other than white vinegar, oil and salt. But this was delici.
And pieces of capsicum with grated carrot to go with some desecrated coleslaw like the tiny hacked up coleslaw you get from the supermarket. Not bad.

2. Pizza Capers tonight! They're pretty unique. If you're not from Brisbane, and you find yourself there one night with nothing to eat, and you want something takeaway, find a Pizza Capers.

3. Rant.
New sign up in the college kitchen:
MEAT IS FOR MEAT EATERS ONLY. Vegetarians please stick to your vegetarian option. Thank you one & all, College Kitchen.

Replacing old sign:
Vegetarian food is for vegetarian's only. Please keep to your meat choices. Thanks one & all.
(Yes, that comma was on the sign.)

I'm going to complain. I mainly stick to the vegetarian food at college, partly for environmental reasons, partly for health (meat 2 times a day x 7 days a week isn't good for anyone) and partly because it's not as bad as the meat most of the time. Sometimes it's awful. Like when they give you the same stir-fry for lunch, dinner and lunch, and then dinner is deep fried frozen vegie burgers. And the stir-fry isn't even good.

Mind you, it is a pain when you find out there was felafel for lunch, and now it's all gone because everyone wants felafel because it's amazing. The moral of the story, however, is not 'Eat only vegetarian options' or 'Eat only meat options' but 'Make more felafel.'

Now.. how much can I write in the next 15 minutes?

P.S. Latest creation, using up things in the flat, was surprisingly very very good.

80g butter
1/3 cup raw sugar (creamed with butter)
1 egg (the other one was cracked :( )
1/3 apple, grated (because the sugar ran out... pink lady was what I used)
tbsp honey (all I had)
2 carrots, grated (it was meant to be some sort of carrot cake)
1/4 cup almond meal :)
1 1/3 cup SR flour
shake of mixed spice
2 shakes ground ginger
handful of sultanas
some milk (as much as it takes to get a cake batter consistency)
walnuts on top

Bake as long as it takes to do the dishes. Or until it looks done and doesn't leave itself on the knife, or skewer if you're lucky. Texture is divine, especially when hot.

Actually inspired by the first time they made muffins at Graduate House breakfast.

This is my 61st post. If you're interested. I was surprised there were so many.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

time for another ode to something particularly good

O Calci-plus, how I love thee.
Finest coffee makest ye
Slightly sweet, and roasted nutty
Rich, creamy luxury.

O Calci-plus! why dost thou go
in price most high to 3.0?
And yet thou knowest, as I know
To buy my prized one, I'll still go.

O Calci-plus, they laugh at us,
the dairy-drinking think it's suss,
so know not what they miss, or thus
the pleasures of my Calci-plus.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

still going... phase?

I'm getting bored of sugar.
Why is it in everything I make?
Why is it in everything I eat?

Am I getting tired of baking?
I love, love, love the smell of things in the oven.
But eating it just seems dull. Everything seems a bit the same.

Am I getting bored with cake? and biscuits?
Yes. I'm afraid the answer is yes. Only eating it for the guilt addiction.

How long will this last?

Maybe I just need to make a tart.

No - to make wonderful salads. And savoury things with spices.

The thing is, lately I feel more like myself. Happier. This is good.

I care less about food. I'm only obsessing now out of habit, and academic-like interest.. not because I want to eat it. I've even gone off yoghurt - it was making me feel a bit strange.

So, world, what's going on?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

she bringeth good tidings to Brisbane

Not only is the Messiah being played on at least 22 sets of speakers around Brisbane, and to be sung/played in extremely fine concert at St John's Cathedral on Ann St at 7:30pm this coming Saturday the 29th of June, *ahem* but..

Thanks to a friend of a friend, I've discovered Sol Breads in Toowong. An organic sourdough place. This is real bread! In Melbourne I always wished we had a bakery near us that made decent bread. There were a couple of chains, and that was it. To get better stuff, I didn't know of anywhere closer than.. well, I guess I could have gone to the deli. I like Phillippa's.

Anyway, Sol is more expensive than your average supermarket bread, but also highly superior. I paid $6.50 for a very decent fruit loaf, which is cheaper than at the Bean Scene (quite a different sort of bread), my choice source of fruit bread, which probably merits a post of its own, and I'll take some photos.

Sol is also a cafe (yay), with sandwiches and cakes and such. Coffee, of course. All looks good. And did I mention, it's tiny. Like an overgrown cupboard. Made me feel very cool going in there, though also means you can't escape the notice of the shopkeepers, and I thus felt compelled to buy something. It's probably a clever design in that way.
I have no regrets.

8/23-29 High St, Toowong

Friday, May 21, 2010

the Word

I've been doing a subject at uni about the development of the English language - the history and the spread of it.

Apart from admiration for the language, and horror at its ability to dominate/kill other languages - and it's not survival of the fittest language, by the way, but survival of the culture with the most force in any place who says 'Now I am King of your country' and sticks by it long enough -

Actually I'm writing out of appreciation for fine things English, which undeniably exist.

Handel's Messiah, namely.
Fittingly with the history of English, Handel was German. But he sort of became English. Very representative.

(was the company of the preachers, great was the company of the preachers, of the preachers.)

I here express my fervent admiration for other things British:

Toast and marmalade
Tea (English/Irish Breakfast, Earl Grey)
Tea (the event, as in afternoon tea, Devonshire tea..)
Scones!! With jam and cream. Ohhhhh.
Crumpets, with butter and honey

A willingness to try Vegemite and keep eating it. No other culture would do that.

And, of course, Harry Potter. And Shakespeare, and Keats, but this isn't meant to be an exhaustive list.

And the culture that among many things, good and bad, is responsible for this.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I'm reading this book at the moment. Because I love his writing.It has reminded me of a conviction I had already - not to eat meat if ever in America, because it's not safe, if for nothing else. And because it's not real meat.
I'm not an angry vegan, and decidedly not an activist. I am undecided on many things, however.
Generally, it seems like humans are omnivores.
I am sure that in Australia most people eat more meat than we need.

I don't know what farming constitutes these days, though. In Australia.
I do know that every time I read about vegetarianism, farming etc., I remember seeing my Grandad and two of my uncles, all sheep farmers, race to kill and gut three sheep. And I know what kind of lives those animals got, and for me it would have been a bit boring, but for a sheep it might have been all right. They just ate all day.
I've ridden my bike through a few areas of Victoria and seen cows all over the place. And smelt them, when I couldn't see them. Moo.
But when we drive past Hazeldene's chicken farm in NW Victoria, I never see any birds. Hm.

For me, the issue is excess versus balance. In consuming, in waste. In exercise and thinking about food, being fat or skinny. In expecting to eat meat and eggs three meals a day. Or never, and why. In information overload. Do we need milk, or do we not? Who do I believe?

Added: Some writing from Choice. I found this pretty good.
Chicken farming in Australia
'Free range'

And particularly this one, for those who really want eggs and are prepared to pay a bit more and buy a few less.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Home made.

When I grow up, if there is a world by then, I am having chooks.
Not giving birth to chooks.
But if I live in Australia, or somewhere people have yards, if yards exist by then, I want a couple of chookens.

Just had the most amazing egg for breakfast, from my aunt & uncle's chooks on their farm in country Victoria.
I don't even eat eggs for breakfast.
I'd forgotten how to eat a soft boiled egg, and cracked it on the edge of the plate. Then I remembered you can scoop it out with a spoon, like we used to have eggy-in-an-egg-cup.

The egg broke open and the yolk ran all over the toast, and I was standing there dumb. The white was so white! and so fine..
there was mustard on the toast, but I couldn't see it anymore.
A little bit of fetta, salt and pepper.

This must be why people order eggs.
Think I'll keep this experience for home.

Monday, March 29, 2010

settling slowly, and bananacakesuccess

We don't have these trees in Melbourne.

Having changed location this year, it's taking a little while to get settled in. Moving creates different kinds of crises, and incurs cake-making.

And I have finally DONE IT, made a banana cake that really pleased me. (It's not really the first time, but as I haven't followed an exact recipe for banana cake in a while..)

Banana cake as it should be:
Because an anonymous flatmate (I don't know who) felt the love to cover it.

After one day, this is how it should look:
This is how I know it wasn't just me. It is good. This is the word of the Melbourne flat.

While I didn't have the book in front of me, I did use a recipe that comes from a book. I'm sure the lady who put it in there won't mind me sharing.

BANANA CAKE from the Boort Fiesta Cook Book
3 overripe bananas, mashed
60g butter
1 cup sugar (this is too sweet for me, I use 2/3 cup)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda, dissolved in 2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (ish)
1 1/2 cups flour
handful of sultanas and walnuts

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add egg, beat til smooth.
Add everything else. Make sure it's all mixed together, without beating the life out of it.
Bake at 180 C for about 50 minutes, depending on your oven and the tin you're using.
At home (yes, it's a Mum recipe) we use a biggish loaf tin. Here I used the only tin I have, which is in fact not mine or even a resident in my flat, but is a borrowed tin. It's round. It was a HUGE SUCCESS.
I didn't have walnuts, but this meant I got to use up some cashews/pepitas/sunflower seeds that weren't going to get eaten. Toasted them in the preheating oven and chucked them in at the end. Yum!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

culinary prototypes

Continuing with the nostalgic theme and eating a Golden Delicious, which used to be my favourite kind of apple, it became clear that "apple" now first evokes the image of a Pink Lady - a miniscule of a second before just meaning any apple, which to me is a Jonathan, Granny Smith, Akane, Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious, or (hopefully not) Red Delicious... all those fruits that are sweet with varying bite/sourness, crunch, colour outside on a thin skin, whiteish flesh.

Of course, then there is cooked apple, which for me means Granny Smith, and which is green when it's cooked. (It's an appropriate name if you consider that for many, Granny Smiths are purely for cooking, and have that wonderful grandmotherliness of apple crumble, apple cake/slice, apple sponge, etc. or just stewed apple. Mmm.)

Further in this linguistic vein, did you know that 'apple' just used to mean fruit? And then at some stage.. I think it was due to the Norman conquest and the French introduction of the word 'fruit' (not sure what happened with 'pomme') that then the meaning of 'apple' narrowed to refer only to that particular fruit we now know as the apple.

Apples go with cream. It's approaching that season.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Food Love

Apparently I am a nostalgic person. I love being nostalgic, and also happen to have a good memory for food.

I was just eating half a banana muffin (wholemeal and homemade, of course) practicing restraint, after an unrestrained few days that were really quite excessive. I ate two teaspoons of ice cream with the muffin and it was delicious, which brought me to thinking nostalgically.

The ice cream I bought when I wanted my college apartment to feel like home: Bulla Vanilla, 4 litres. It should last a while, depending who comes over.
We always used to buy the same ice cream, Peters Original and it was the Best. Then they 'improved' the recipe, so now it's Original with New Improved Recipe. Hm. New Improved recipe tastes and feels like marshmallow, sweet, gooey and empty. I seem to recall my dad reading out that the first two ingredients were sugar and water, then milk, or something like that.
So now we always buy Bulla ice cream. It's not for any amazing culinary sophistication. It just tastes like ice cream.

Lamingtons. Grandma makes them. Also in this category:
Sponge cakes, sponge kisses, jelly cakes, fruit cake (Christmas, weddings, and big birthdays), sultana cake, apricot jam, pav.

Apple cake/slice from Nanna, and cassata
Corned beef, sigh. I've never liked it much.

Marmalade!! I love marmalade.
Nanna always has marmalade on toast for breakfast, with a cup of tea, and I always think of her when I have it. I also can't help thinking of Mum, who makes THE grapefruit marmalade of the world.

Speaking of citrus, the whole-orange syrup cake from Women's Weekly Cakes and Slices cookbook has high sentimental value for me. The two boys I love most in the world have both made it on separate occasions: my brother, who made it first, and a non-family member, who has made it enough times in quick succession to make up for not having made it first.

Yo-yo biscuits and ANZACs always make me think of Mum.
As do cheese and chutney hot sandwiches. Made traditionally at our house with Colby and Rosella fruit chutney (known originally as cheese and children's chutney).
Also, I always think of Mum when I make a pavlova. We always hide a little layer of banana under the cream, and strawberries normally go on top.

And, not with any necessarily personal association...
Vegemite (derr). Is not vegemite on toast such an Aussie comfort food?
I have had fantastic palmiers with Vegemite and parmesan, too. Don't knock it until you try it. And in fact, I'm pretty sure these will always remind me of the friend who has made them twice recently.

Patty cakes. Vanilla. Choc chips optional. The best are made by my sister. They are what a cupcake should be.

I could go on for a long time. Potato flan... lemon slice... Blue Castello... you know.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

It's raining again

Dear world,
Please forgive the incoherence of this post.

I've moved interstate for the year. It rains a lot here at the moment.
I've worn a jumper once in the last month.
My enthusiasm for food has changed over the last while. Perhaps my attitude has become healthier? Maybe it hasn't changed at all. But the food fascination is definitely of a nature I'm happier with.

Anyway, while I still love food, I've been enjoying it over the summer in simple ways. Often nostalgically.

With the arrival of autumn, I felt a strong desire to make this apple and date cake from such a lovely honest blog.
I don't peel the apples, and I reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup and omitted the topping, and it is dense sweet meltingness - as much as you could want. Next time I'll try 2/3 or even 1/2 cup of sugar.
It is a wonderful cake. Perfect with cream or not-too-sweet vanilla icecream.

Meanwhile, I think the most exciting role of food for me at the moment is with a bunch of friends around.
Even if it is a giant, ugly, delicious pot of non-authentic curry.
It's supPOSEd to be green. It was extremely yum.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

more from december: bakery tour no. 2

Well! Guess what I forgot to mention before going on holiday in December.

Early in the month, it was a very wet day for a walking bakery tour, but we'd already postponed so many times that it HAD to run. So I brought my car, and the 5 of us ventured (..rolled) across to Fitzroy, its north, and Collingwood.

Stop no. 1 was the French Lettuce, Nicholson St. I can't vouch for all the vanilla slices in Melbourne - probably have only tried three or four in my life, but this was very good. Better than Louttit Bay's? I can't say, but on par. It was about $5, slightly more expensive than LB, and served with a raspberry coulis that it was really better without. Delicious, anyhow.
Apparently their quiche was excellent. The pastries all looked appealing.

Next stop was Nicholson St Baker, up in eastern Brunswick. We were also looking for Inferno Cakes next door, which turned out to be upstairs because it was the same shop.
I didn't get many photos, but we tried a vanilla cupcake with lemon icing that was heated up, which was buttery, smooth and not too fluffy - divine!! and there was a date and caramel slice that I thought was pretty standard. Also a decent sausage roll, I think.
Then we drove around in circles for ages making wrong turns, parked off Smith St and crossed Alexandra Pde to get back to Sainsbury's. Hooray for the little green man! *eeooooobupbupbupbupbupbupbupbupbup*
It was worth the trip. Not for M.M's chicken pie, which was perfect other than being too heavy on the pepper, or for the reportedly average coffee, but for my loaf of Norwegian Rye. There it is in its little bag down there.
I had this with pesto, marinated fetta and cherry tomatoes about a year ago at Doctor Java, fell head over heels, and then like a shy fool, left. But the next time I was there having coffee, I plucked up the nerve to ask what the bread was and have since then been on a mission to Sainsbury's.
This with avocado makes me a happy toast eater. I had some for lunch at home the next day. The rest of the loaf went into the freezer, where I expected to find it on return from Brisbane. Not so! Mum and Dad had polished it all off.
The portuguese tarts are apparently famous and delicious. Next time I'll have to sample one.
En route down Smith to Gertrude St, we passed a couple of nice-looking bakery cafes. We stopped for a late lunch for some of the party at Upper Crust, 206 Smith, where we found a chicken sandwich that by all accounts of its eater hit the spot.
I wished I'd had room for something from Melissa, but you can't eat everything.
And last on the list: Fatto a Mano, on Gertrude St, just off Smith - a couple of doors up from Birdman Eating.
I can't wait to come back here for lunch!
This time we came for $3 (thievery!!) brownie, on recommendation from my sister. Very generous, and not bad at all.
I wouldn't come here for the atmosphere, by the way. It reminds me of a fish and chip chop à la eclectic Fitzroy. But the people running it are lovely and the food honest and good.

Finally, about the same time - the day before heading off to Bris - raspberry yoghurt cake, chez moi. Recipe courtesy of Clotilde at C & Z, the blog that made me want to food blog. She actually has a recipe up for a raspberry yoghurt cake but I just used the plain one and chucked in about 250g of raspberries. And then cream cheese icing with a fair dose of lemon juice.
My sister said this was the best cake she had ever had!