Thursday, August 31, 2006


The significant eater started moving a few of his things in last night.

This is the first thing he bought over.

Hmmm that peppermint tea I had this morning was delicious!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

spring fling

Au revoir coffee,

How I have been relishing our recent reacquaintance each morning. I had been away for a while. I claimed you made me feel not quite right. I blamed you for that frisson of nervousness tingling through me. That may have been so, but I still loved you.

Once more I am to take a break from our relationship. Spring is almost upon us. It is the season to cleanse and revitalise. Tomorrow I will arise without your companionship. I will have my last fishy-fleshed meal for a week or so. I will have no alcohol (the grog is more a relative than a love affair, so please don't be jealous). On the weekend I will ‘fast’ on fruit and water. How fun that will be! To savour each crunchy mouthful of an apple or feel the sweet tang of kiwi on my tongue. By Monday salads will join the menu, then steamed vegetables and by the end of the week various morsels of vegetarian protein.

Then maybe my dear friend, in a week or two, we can have a date once more.

Til we meet again



Saturday, August 26, 2006

wine appreciation

The Incoherent Blogger:

A Thai feast supreme
Taste explosion, good friends, wine
How I ache today!

Thai Classic - Nicholson St, North Carlton
A gathering of good friends to celebrate being alive for another year - all my favourite foods, from the best local Thai restaurant

(photos token - too much frivolity to focus)

The menu

Lemon prawns “Thai style” – raw, marinated in chilli, lemon, garlic, fish sauce – a challenge for even the hardiest chilli eater, but worth the pain

(we'd almost finished them, but Anne Marie thoughtfully arranged the last one)

Fish cakes

Spring rolls – vegetarian and prawn

Paw paw salads
Beancurd and ginger stiry fry
Whole snapper – deep fried with curry (2 versions)
Whole Trout – steamed with spices
Seafood curry ‘custard’
Stir fried greens
Bean shoots and tofu
Seafood stir fry
Pad Thai – vegetarian and prawn
Thai style prawns (with a lot of fire!)
Red curry duck with lychees

There was more…only by that point in the evening my experience was of great flavours, laughter and…Tasmanian champagne, Pinot Grigio from the Mornington Peninsula, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (rather a number of different bottles)

The chef presented us with a couple of very pretty fruit platters

(No the melon ball didn't come like this, someone thoughtfully replaced on the plate when I grabbed my camera!)

Followed by a change of venue – frangelico with fresh limes (from the garden) and ice, orange peel in dark chocolate, dried fruit, Turkish delight, paneforte…and who knows what else. Some singing to that Martha Wainwright classic (you know the one), some tarnishing of ones own reputation and much appreciation of the new chairs.

Labels: , ,

Friday, August 25, 2006

dish of the year

Cerviche at Arintji.

No picture - so you will get 1,000 words instead :)

Imagine a small, white ovoid bowl. At the bottom is a rectangle of green banana leaf.

In the bowl sits slices of kingfish. Narrower strips than sashimi.

This delicately flavoured fish has been marinated in coconut milk, slices of unexpectedly firey red chilli and fine slivers of lime leaves. I'm guessing there's lime juice in there too.

The mouthful is sweet, creamy, tangy and if you chance upon the chilli - explosive.

So good - we finished the meal with a second serve!


Monday, August 21, 2006

The Significant Eater

In another venue I muse from time to time about what to call my “significant other”. He’s not a ‘boyfriend’ (a ridiculous term for any man once they reach the age of wearing long trousers), we may or may not live together but whatever our connection it is not about forsaking all others. I often give him the moniker “the not-boyfriend”, while he prefers polyamorous lover.

Here in the world of food all that doesn’t matter. He may be my significant other, but in the kitchen he is my Significant Eater. The one exposed most to my culinary dalliances, and me to his.

I am divided on the equal joys of solo cooking and providing for others. The first allows more experimentation and fewer restrictions. The latter provides feedback and collaboration. Both have their merits. But cooking for your Significant Eater is also about meshing 2 or more peoples likes and dislikes, allergies, intolerances and general pickiness. My SE, being a Gemini, brings a world of unpredictability into to the provision of food. Is this going to be an over the top with lashings of grog type meal, or is it a Food Nazi of a whole different ilk who will sit at the table?

My food fanaticism is consistent. I err on the side of good health, with a little antioxidant rich chocolate and wine for spice. My body doesn’t tolerate most dairy products and for reasons more historical than anything else, I don’t eat meat other than seafood. I detest peas and capsicum – but that’s just a relationship between my mind and tastebuds.

Some days my SE puts my healthy diet to shame, he goes the whole hog and one ups me. Sometimes the food combining enthusiast sits down to sup and out comes a whole other set of culinary rules. On such a day proteins and carbohydrates must not mix. If I am cooking, the request comes for “carbs and veggies” or “protein and veg”. Along with this is the expectation the food is unadulterated with cooked oil and nothing refined will be on the plate.

This weekend, it was the food combining twin that settled into a couple of days of renovating. I’d much prefer to cook than paint (and to be fair, so would he). I’d got it wrong and stocked up on comfort food, not salad. So a bit like the Iron Chef, I took my challenge and ad libbed as best I could.

A tale of 2 salads

Protein and Vegetables

It’s Friday night and this is the plea from the SE who is getting over a nasty flu. With more time a bean rich soup would have hit the spot. Fortunately spring is in the air and salad season is back. The limited protein choices in the pantry include – beans, tofu, eggs or canned fish.

Iron Chef – this is your challenge, in the absence of leafy greens create a salad with tinned salmon that is delicious and nutritious. Your time starts now!

Put some water on to boil and search fridge for vegetables suitable for blanching. In this case it was cauliflower cut into florets and zucchini. Toss into boiling water for a minute or 2. Drain and refresh in iced water.

Find some vegetables suitable to eat raw. Carrots – cut into matchsticks and spring onions finely sliced.

Combine all ingredients and good quality, canned red salmon with a lot of lemon juice and just a dash of olive oil. Season surreptitiously with freshly ground sea salt and pepper.

The dish was delicious. Lots of al dente cauliflower for bulk. Chopped parsley and capers would have been a tasty addition.

Carbohydrates and Vegetables
Carbs in this case was a choice of brown rice or steamed potatoes. I love spuds but find the steamed variety a little bland without lashings of salted butter to sex them up a bit. So this was - Iron Chef brown rice challenge!

Cook brown rice by absorption method, allowing additional time to cool. Blanch the remaining cauliflower.

Rice has a subtle flavour, brown has an additional nuttiness that can be played up with some toasted sesame seed. Technically heating seeds and nuts is not the greatest thing to do health wise – but it tastes good, so dry roast some seeds in a fry pan, shaking constantly so they don’t burn.

Painstakingly de-stone a large handful of olives. It was a labour of love as all I had were tiny wild olives and some only marginally larger Lingurian. Gently press down with the flat blade of a knife to squeeze out the little stone.

Combine the salad dressing so the olives can marinade in it while the rice cooks and cools. Today's dressing - lemon juice, olive oil, lots of crushed garlic, finely chopped organic lemon peel and a touch of Dijon mustard.

Find any remaining raw vegetables to add – spring onions, Lebanese cucumber and a couple of tomatoes, all quite finely diced.

Combine before eating. Season if desired. For non-food combining folk – some tuna tastes great with this!

Result: The resident chef passed both challenges and the Significant Eater did a great job painting the corridor.

Go visit the The Reluctant Housewife for other entries in the Summer Salad Recipes Event (even for us upside down folk who are yet to embrace summer :)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Impulse purchases

Welcome to spring in delightful Melbourne!

There is something about the sun coming out that makes us go a little ga-ga and loosen the purse strings.

It began innocently enough with a “bugger it!” moment at the market this morning when I thought blow the expense, I’ll buy some bananas at $12/kilo*. I was reading Nigel Slater’s “Toast” about bananas and custard last night and it must have seeped into my subconscious. Not that I am a huge custard fiend being a soy girl, but still if I get the urge I can lovingly stir the egg, soy milk and vanilla over a double boiler for hours like I used to.

Next it was an afternoon stroll down Brunswick Street and time to bite the bullet and put a deposit on some chairs for my new dining table. I went for this little beauty from Thonet

x 6 – which adds up to a heck of a lot of bananas.

I was in a kind of daze when I went into Simon Johnson and came out empty handed due the sensation of my credit card still throbbing from its recent work out. But I have to admit browsing at SJ is a foodies equivalent to perusing a little tasteful porn – it leaves you a bit feverish, whether you buy any or not.

Back on the Street of many Eateries the delicious smell of Babka’s lured me in for a rare sweet fix – a glistening slice of tarte tartin to go.

Sugared up and ready to face the world, all further forays today will be with my wallet left firmly at home.

* the old post-cyclone banana shortage strikes again

Labels: ,

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Avena sativa

Breakfast has always been one of my favourite meals – but let’s be honest, choosing between breakfast, lunch and dinner is a bit like picking your favourite child. I love them all!

About 70% of the time, oats are the key ingredient. They are perfect little “nerve pills” to help you start the day in a state of calm. But this little grain is so frequently misunderstood or misrepresented.

What do I mean? Chew on hard toasted muesli, with shards of indigestible, baked fibre coated in oil and sugar and you might give your jaw a great workout, but you aren’t doing your gut or nutrition levels any favour. Likewise the poor, raw oat, splashed with milk is as appealing as chaff.

Oats crave moisture. Not only does it soften the grain into a succulent mouthful, but it releases all the vitamins and minerals which are otherwise bound up by phytates. It is no act of chance that the Scots slowly cooked their oats to make a salty porridge, on a cold Highland morning. Nor the invention of muesli, as a mixture of oats and fruit, soaked over night in buttermilk.

For years I’d make up my own batches of muesli. In a large container I’d shake together a generous portion of oats combined with chopped nuts, seeds and dried fruit. I’d soak it in soy milk, to be greeted in the morning with a greyish concoction spiced with nuts and fruit.

However, I’ve gone a bit minimalist here at Chez Food Nazi. With so much fresh fruit, it seemed a waste to load myself up with the dried variety. I also found (thanks to a little ‘silent reflux’) that the nuts would start me coughing. So my latest ‘muesli’, is a changeable feast of sorts, sans nuts, with fruit of the day. Here’s this mornings delight.

Bircher-style soaked oats

1 large handful of rolled oats
a few dried cranberries (just because it’s my latest sweet treat)
Soy milk (or apple juice, rice milk, oat milk or even cow juice)

Soak in a covered bowl overnight, or if you have an hour to spare between waking and eating, just do it in the morning.

Before serving – grate half an apple and slice a golden kiwi*. Stir through and eat.

* Choose your favourite seasonal fruit, just 1 or 2 is enough. Passionfruit and mango in summer, fresh berries, peaches…

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, August 11, 2006

A return to the days of the Empire

It’s been almost 6 months since I sat in the sun at a bay side café and ate the stuff that helped build the British Empire. Back then I swore I’d make it soon. Finally on a less than balmy, Melbourne night I decided this was time for Kedgeree. Though more of a breakfast or brunch dish, who’d turn down smoked fish and rice for dinner?

In usual Food Nazi style the version I created is a synthesis of reading half a dozen recipes, looking in the fridge and adapting to what I had on hand. Some recipes totally omit the Indian element, leaving out the spice. Rarely do you see any with lentils, which the original Kedgeree supposedly had. Some had cream and chicken stock. None feature vegetables, beyond the odd onion. I had no parsley, which universally appears along with rice and smoked fish – so my twist has some crunchy green beans for colour and veggie goodness.

Kedgeree with a twist

(Quantities are approximate – serves 2 as a main or 4 as part of a spread for brunch)
1 cup long grain rice
1-2 eggs, hard boiled
butter – a large knob
a dash of vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 small red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon garam marsala
a handful of green beans, topped and tailed (optional)
1 medium smoked trout, picked over for bones and shredded or chopped in chunks
salt, to taste

garnish – spring onions, chives or parsley
wedges of lemon to serve

To begin, cook the rice by the absorption method. This way you have nice dry fluffy rice otherwise the dish will be gluggy.

Boil the eggs. Set aside to cool in cold water.

Add the butter/oil to a large pan. Be generous. Fry off the onion til transparent. Add chilli, garlic and garam marsala. Now throw in the beans. I cooked these for a few minutes, then put a lid on the pan with the heat off while I finished cooking the rice and prepared the fish.

Return the pan to the heat. Start adding in the cooked rice. You may need a little more butter, as this carries the spices through the bland rice. Season to taste with sea salt (pepper too if you skipped the chilli). Stir through the flaked fish. Add chopped hard boiled eggs and garnishes.

Eat warm.

Verdict – totally addictive!

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, August 10, 2006

aural nourishment #2

It's that time again.

Been streaming "Eat it", or just tuning in for a slice of independent, commercial-free Melbourne radio? With a decidedly Food Nazi theme this year it is Radiothon time at RRR. This year they are serving up a healthy dollop of Free Range Radio. So feed your karma and subscribe.

(This year they have a special internet listener prize for out of town subscribers too).


Tuesday, August 08, 2006


We had a Seachange weekend. A couple of winter nights in a friend’s holiday house by the sea, not far from Melbourne.

I last visited Barwon Heads when it was a sleepy, salt aired hamlet. I stayed at a cottage part owned by an artist. I remember a sunlit kitchen with open wooden shelves filled with beautiful, old crockery. Of the town there was the op shop* at the back of the Anglican church, a fish and chip outlet, local grocery store and very little else.

But all that has changed. Barwon Heads has been born again as the town that spawned Laura and Diver Dan. Even though it’s years since the drama last aired, the real estate prices remain inflated and the place is ten times the size it once was.

So with a main street awash with cafes – we set off to eat our way through breakfast, lunch and dinner, albeit in the off season, in this new old town.

The Pod was cosy. The sun peaked out enough for some to sup in the front courtyard. With a natural therapies clinic out the back (one of three I found in this 1 block main street) there was an obligatory cashew nut vegan delight on the lunch menu – but it was breakfast we sought. Coffee – average. The long black too watery and the short black I dubbed “shrill”. Mushrooms on toast, ok. Poached egg and sides, more than passable.

Lunch at Barwon Orange. It looked and felt right. Warm, friendly and not too big. With wood fired pizzas and a plethora of local produce, it’s not surprising they had won a regional food award. Lunch was delightful. A sassy waitress, tender calamari salad, a veggie pizza and a delicious Bellarine Peninsula pinot. I thought the pizza looked a little anaemic, certainly not a crunchy base but the boy pronounced it aok.

Another lunch down the road in Torquay. Catching some Monday sun. The coast certainly seems a fecund place, with pregnant bellies and babes in prams aplenty. Even the waitress was comfortably in her second trimester. Moby, on the Esplanade had a roaring fire inside and wooden tables out overlooking the reserve and the beach. A simple menu consisting mainly of things in or on Turkish bread. I took the hippy option and choose the marinated tofu on the aforementioned toasted bread, nice pickles and sauces. The tuna sandwich was also good. Modest serves. Fresh juices. Relaxed but efficient service. This was the perfect solar charged last bite of the coast before heading back to the city.

We didn’t score so well with dinners. Being seduced by the fire at the house, but not prepared to cook we took a break from the warmth and nipped down the road to the pub. I can’t remember what was originally there all those years ago, put the local has morphed into a massive complex – bands, pokies and a huge, anonymous dinning room. Well set up for families, but lacking any real character. I lingered over the large menu desperate to find something other than fish and chips to eat. Vegetarian options were cheesy and uninteresting. Against my better judgement I went for the seafood “Thai Green Curry” – not a dish you see traditionally served with poppadums, but none the less 5 minutes after ordering the dish it arrived topped with 2 barely cooked specimens slick with oil. Nor would I think okra a typical Thai vegetable, but those couple of chunks of green summed up the veggie content and so I guess beggars can’t be choosers. It was an inoffensive, quite edible meal (except the poppadums which I ditched) – the seafood (some kind of white fish, scallops, mussels and prawns) was generous but the serve of rice strangely small. The boy’s kangaroo – 3 large fillets on rice and some kind of red cabbage concoction seemed to satisfy him. But the fire called so we didn’t linger.

Dessert – crumpets (care of the local IGA supermarket) with lashings of butter and honey. Now that’s what I call living!

The lunch at Barwon Orange was so good we coveted the dinner menu and earmarked it for our last night. In the evening the place seemed a little sombre and the staff decidedly younger. Both of my choices were either unavailable or altered. I ended up with what was originally red emperor, changed to “blue eye” and on arrival I strongly suspect was imported barramundi (sadly, when eating beside the sea to have fish farmed in the dubious waters of another country). I did a bad job of menu reading as I found the large pieces of prosciutto hiding under the salad came as a big surprise, unfortunately for a non meat eater you don’t expect slices of dead pig under your fish. (I checked the website later for the full description, but like so many establishments have an out of date menu on the site). Sadly, dinner though better than the pub, didn’t have the edge of the initial lunch. Though I’d still give it another try. It was a quiet enough night to ask to take the meal at our own pace. Sitting on a shared entrée of fresh dips (better than average), a beer and a bottle of pinot for an hour before deciding on mains. It’s also safe to take your caeliac friends too with gluten free pizza bases available and other safe choices well marked on the menu.

We are marking our return on the calendar. Summer time and surfing lessons. But we might pack the esky for a longer stay, go fishing and crank up the barbie.

* The op shop has also grown but remains the most authentic part of the town. Real bargains. Real sweet old women offering the kids lollies. Obligatory old clothing smelling of moth balls. Unfortunately no jams or chutneys at this time of year, but fresh lemons going for a song.


Newer Posts Older Posts

Awarded by Kitchenetta
Obligatory copyright bit: (c)2004-2010 Another Outspoken Female. All rights reserved. No content on this website including, but not limited to, text and photography may be reproduced without prior explicit written consent from the copyright holder.

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe with Bloglines
Australian Food Bloggers Ring
list >> random >> join
Site Ring from Bravenet