Saturday, June 30, 2012

The great lasagne debate....(and frustrations with my local supermarket..)

I generally am inspired to make lasagne once a year, usually in march. This year, I did not make it. Generally what happens is that I get all inspired to make the lasagne - then we eat it, I am reminded how bloated I always feel after eating it and the remaining portions are then sent to freezer purgatory, where they are never eaten because I can't stomach the thought of being all bloated, and Food Critic Andrew doesn't eat leftovers. 

 When Food Critic Andrew bought this up this evening I thought long and hard but I've decided to give it a miss this year..... I've actually eaten lasagne a couple of times while out and I think I've had my fill for the year. 

But onto my rant of choice. My local supermarket (one of the big two) has a magazine which currently features peking duck. It is on the cover, and there are products (heavily advertised, mind you) is some sort of peking duck kit and has the pancakes and hoisin sauce all there. Since we are in a rural area I though I might give these a try since we cannot get peking duck anywhere around here....

Of course they don't stock it...despite it being heavily advertised....and I can't believe I waited so long for the staff to consult with each other and finally work it out.....FAR TOO EXOTIC FOR THIS PART OF THE WORLD! *sigh* You can tell I have the winter irrits, huh?

Monday, June 25, 2012

light and fluffy pancakes...

On the weekend I made some pancakes - using the old trusty recipe but found them kind of flat and boring.I think making Bill Granger's ricotta hotcakes forever and then going back to plain pancakes sort of kills the love a bit... Anyway ricotta is off the menu for the moment but I've been doing some research into making some awesome fluffy pancakes and have come across this recipe. They look pretty awesome! I might try making some for dessert sometime this week to give them a go. I suppose it is probably the baking powder that makes the difference - perhaps really I should just try adding baking powder to my regular recipe..stay tuned....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Closing the urban/country divide.

I have noticed that there is such a huge disconnect between the consumer and producer - city people sometimes don't understand where the milk/food comes from. Logically, we all know that milk comes from cows, fruit and vegetables from the earth, meat comes from animals etc. but at 7.45 on a Tuesday morning, that thought doesn't come so easily when you are ordering a latte and ham and cheese croissant. 

I grew up on a banana farm myself, and have lived in cities (Brisbane, London, Sydney) and now find myself now in rural Victoria. I work in the dairy industry and of course I write about food so this issue is particularly close to my heart.  

With that in mind, blogger "Talking Fairleigh" (another South-East Queenslander! yay!) has put the challenge out to every cafe in Australia to carry rural newspapers in their business so that their patrons can start to understand that where their food/drink comes from is not just an abstract concept but a living, breathing close by place - and part of the same community - whether they are visible or not. Check out her article here:

As she says: "the benefits to rural Australians of having more urban people with a greater understanding of where their food and fibre comes from, of the people and communities who produce it, and the conditions under which they produce it, could be extraordinary!"

If you're a cafe owner, I challenge you to stock a rural periodical. If you are a cafe patron, you should challenge your local coffee shop. Tell them, twitter, FB or email them the link and lets get this happening! 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cupboard love....(and a confession..)

I don't know whether it is my new found love of all things savoury but I seem to have developed an overflowing pantry! Time to use up some of those more um..obscure ingredients. The thing about trying new recipes is that you often might only use something once, then you find what is left months later and have to figure out something to do with it! So of course you need to buy more obscure ingredients...and the cycle continues. We went through a brief phase of trying out vegetarian meals. For better or worse, I guess, we've fallen back into our carnivorous ways. Case in point:  I have had though, a tin of Sanitarium nutmeat in the cupboard; and no ideas what to do with it. I decided to see if I could get away with putting it into a lamb pot pie and see if there's any taste difference.  It  didn't work. Despite spending about 40 minutes trying to disguise the overpowering nutty flavour - and smell. When Food Critic Andrew put the first forkful in his mouth he immediately spat it out and declared that it had some terrible "chemically type "taste. I vehemently denied that I could taste anything different and kept on calmly eating. I'm sure it's healthy, but that stuff is gross! There was no way I could disguise the taste any further without drowning the entire meal in Tabasco. In fact, I'm not even sure that would do the trick. I'll never, ever buy it again. I think I'll just leave that secret between myself and the blogosphere. I did actually make quite a lot of cupboard space in my quest to get rid of the "nutty" flavour though - I went through several different ingredients trying to find the"right" thing.

Last night I made up a Queen of Puddings from the SBS website (and the latest Feast Magazine). My friend Sandy had recently had some issues with SBS' recipes - they don't seem to be tested very well, so I was interested to see how this turned out. I don't think this recipe was tested. It claimed that you needed 750ml of milk, but the pudding turned out way "wetter" that it should. The base was practically swimming. Wiki does say that the base should be firm - but there is no way the mixture as suggested in Feast would ever set. 
It is delicious though - you can't really go too far wrong with meringue, jam and sugar! I place far too much faith in recipes and too little in my own gut instinct that was telling me it wasn't right. 

I will try with 500ml milk next time; perhaps when Guest Editor Shirley visits in a couple of weeks.