Friday, October 12, 2018

Eggs, glorious eggs

We've just spent two weeks feeding our friends' chickens while they were out of town. We've actually had a reciprocal arrangement (they feed our critter/s while we're away, and vice versa) for about 15 years now.


One of the bonuses of visiting chickens, of course, is that you get to steal their eggs while they're not looking. (Tee hee.) The four chickens have produced an average of three eggs per day so it's been a very eggy fortnight. Tonight I'm making a cheese soufflé. Of course, there are heaps of other things you can do with eggs too! Thanks, chickies ;-)

Brekkie ideas
Eggs benedict
Bombay toast

Lunch ideas
Cheese soufflé
Corn muffins
Pumpkin scones
Lemon butter
Hard boiled eggs

Dinner ideas
Shakshuka
Zucchini, basil and feta fritters
Bacon and egg pie
Spanish omelette

Dessert ideas
Lemon meringue pie
Chocolate cheesecake
Crème brûlée
Orange and almond muffins
Portuguese tarts
Caramel pavlova

... and of course
Wattalapam (this blog's most popular recipe of all time)

Monday, September 24, 2018

Keep eating strawberries! (Please.)

The recent rash of strawberry sabotage in Australia is incredibly sad. It is heart-breaking to see mountains of perfect fruit being trashed because people are too afraid to buy it. I've found myself buying more strawberries than usual, in the hope my purchases will support the beleaguered growers.

Here's an ice cream recipe you can make without a fancy ice cream maker! Some others are here and here.

250 grams fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon gelatine (or 1 gelatine 'leaf') *
1.5 cups cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water

Slice strawberries and sprinkle with sugar. Place in the fridge for one hour or until the juice runs from the strawberries. Soak the gelatine in cold water and drain the strawberry juice into this. Stand bowl over hot water and stir until gelatine dissolves. Add strawberries. Chill until starting to set. Whip cream, fold strawberry mixture into cream, and freeze until firm. Allow to soften for a few minutes before eating.

* gelatine [gelatin] is an animal product so not suitable for vegetarians. You could switch it for agar-agar for a vego option (though I'm not sure what quantity to recommend ... a very small amount would probably work).

Brekkie @ Concrete Jungle

Andrew and I took a whirlwind trip to Sydney over the weekend to catch up with his sister and go to an exhibition. We stayed near Central Station so sought out local cafes for Sunday brekkie options. Concrete Jungle, at 58 Kensington Street Chippendale, was excellent!

He had:


Smashed avocado on toast with coconut
feta, black sesame and a poached egg

while she had:


Eggs Benedict on a Smoking Gun bagel with
kale and house-smoked salmon

Delish. The coffee was great too.

I spent about ten years (1992 to 2002) working in about a two-kilometre radius of Central Station and it was fun to take a walk around and see how things had changed. The area has definitely gentrified over the past twenty years! Here are some scenes spotted near the cafe:






Oh, and we enjoyed the exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum too. It was called Reigning Men and showcased men's fashions from 1715 to 2015! Here are a few pics ...






Sunday, September 16, 2018

Fancy-pants rice crackles

The lovely people at The Minimalist Vegan recently posted a recipe for a three-ingredient puffed rice slice. It's my turn to take dessert to our friends' place tonight and as their kids recently gave a big thumbs down to my besan laddu (apparently they don't like cardamom? inconceivable!) I figured I'd take something chocolate-y this time. My version of Maša's slice is vegetarian rather than vegan and I adjusted her proportions to use equal volumes of chocolate and puffed rice. Here's what I did:


  • Melted 2 cups of Belgian dark chocolate buttons with 2 tablespoons of cream (by microwaving for 2 minutes on medium in a large Pyrex jug)
  • Stirred 2 cups of puffed rice into the chocolate mixture
  • Squished it into a silicone cake mould
  • Refrigerated for a couple of hours.


The uncut mixture


Some of the finished cakes

If I make it again I'll probably use more cream so it's easier to slice and doesn't shatter so much. Still! Very yummy. We think the munchkins will approve. It's a little like an upmarket version of the traditional NZ (and Australian) kids' birthday party treat chocolate crackles.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Obrigada barak, Timor-Leste

It was a privilege to visit Timor-Leste and I'm incredibly grateful to the study tour organisers and everyone we met in our travels. It was truly an eye-opening and heart-warming trip. It was comforting to see so much positivity, peace and forgiveness in a country that has suffered so much over the years.

Here are a few more pics from the trip that didn't fit into previous posts ...



Cristo Rei (some of the tour group climbed about 600 steps up a hill
to reach this statue ... twice! Good exercise in a tropical country)


View of Dili from Dare


The cake Xanana Gusmão organised to celebrate a tour participant's birthday!!



More pics at sunset at Cristo Rei


Farewell, lovely Timor

Obrigada barak / thank you very much!

Timorese food. Nom nom!

Timorese food is a marvellous melding of southeast Asian and Portuguese flavours. So delicious! The country also has some fantastic fresh fruit and vegetables. I've come home inspired and eager to try cooking many of the dishes we tried. The delights included ...


Fresh coconut (with bamboo straw!) at the Australian Ambassador's residence



More local goodies at the Ambassador's dinner party


A wonderful vego lunch spread at the Alola Foundation


Plantain, sweet potato, cassava, tomatoes, chillies and
hot, sweet black coffee at Belola School


Mee goreng and pizza at Black Rock Restaurant



(Ahem) weird combinations from the breakfast bar at Novo Turismo Hotel, Dili


Fabulous flavours at Agora Food Studio





Delicious dinners at Kirsty's home


Fried breadfruit! 


... and banana juice. Really ;-)

Next post ... the wrap.

Travels to Balibo and Baucau

While our Timor tour began and ended in Dili, the nation's capital, the group also travelled to Balibo (near the Indonesian border in the west) and Baucau (to the east of Dili). While neither place is, theoretically, very far from Dili the roads range from bumpy to precarious so it takes a long time to get from A to B.

In Balibo the group visited 'Australia House', associated with five Australian journalists who were killed in 1975 in the lead up to the Indonesian invasion. The house is now a community facility and small museum.


We stayed at the elegant Balibo Fort Hotel:





It was interesting to see traditional dwellings, subsistence agriculture and all manner of free-ranging critters:






A couple of days after returning from Balibo we set off in the opposite direction. On the way to Bacuau we went snorkelling at K41 (pragmatically named as it is 41 km from Dili). It was magnificent. It was wonderful to get to meet the reef fishes of Timor, as well as the people ;-)


In Baucau, which is Timor-Leste's second-largest city, we admired relics from the Portuguese colonial era (the town reminded me of Melaka, Malaysia) and stayed at Pousada de Baucau, another elegant building reminiscent of times gone by.




Next post ... Timorese food. Well, obviously ;-)