Thursday, January 31, 2008

money's too tight for steak

this has been truely shitty week. too much work, not enough folk and me to work it out.

came home tonight and had a big fat steak, cooked on my new bbq

have been very good but tonight tucked into my old friend queen vic. there was very little left in the bottle

which is a good thing, coz tomorrow i get to see arcade fire. too excitement.

Monday, January 28, 2008


just checked - the dishes are still there

sticky keys

i am getting grease all over my keyboard!

several years ago my brother got a big bbq from one of those hire places for a party - the kind you see at sausage sizzles. they forgot to ask for it back and we neglected to return it, so it wasn't actually stealing. if they'd asked we would have happily taken it back! but anyway, now the bbq is mine. and in honour of australia day i had fran and fiona around for a bbq, indian style.

i've been looking for an excuse to cook mutabak, which i saw on the cook and the chef. needless to say there isn't a photo of mine on here, because they look nothing like the ones on this site. i was worried about not being able to get the dough thin enough, but sitting the balls in oil makes them really easy to roll out. also makes your kitchen table really, really oily. but they look great in the bowl, the photo doesn't show it well, but it looks like they're in a pond of golden mirrors.

had a lovely time making dahl, and kebabs (tandoori chicken and coriander lamb) and sauces for the kebabs and aloo parantha. enough food to feed a small army. these are the kebabs i had left after we had eaten and i'd given both fran and fiona some to take home. so i will be having left overs for dinner every night this week. and i have a thai curry in the fridge left over from friday night, and dumpling filling! i should also try to have some fruit and vegetables along the way (other than garlic, onion and ginger that is).

I should have taken a photo of everything on the table, because i was really pleased with the way it turned out, but we were eating outside and there just wasn't enough light. anyway now i am eating the last of the murtabak and hoping the dishes will have done themselves by the time i'm done!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

cup cake farewell

it's fair to say i'm a little tired at the moment. it's been a busy week. yesterday was the last day in the office for the best boss in the world. like the little wall flower she is, she didn't even think that we might give her a farewell. so tuesday night i stayed up and baked cupcakes. many, many cupcakes.

the successes were mixed. the cakes themselves were fine. i used JC's chocolate one, and nigella's vanilla. after getting home from work and feeding the cats I set about whipping up 12 dozen. needless to say the sink quickly filled with egg shells and the floor took on the same feeling the one at the exter has (sticky) after i broke a bag of sugar and it sprayed everywhere. but the cakes were cooling and i made myself some jiaozi to level out the emense amount of sugar and fat i had consumed through all of that bowl licking....

the icing proceeded nicely. i did a white chocolate and sour cream one, and cream cheese one from nigella (she's a bit of a cupcake fan herself) and sprinkled with chocolate sprinkles or sugar stars, depending on the icing. for the vanilla ones, and the ones that i was writing on i wanted a chocolate icing, so i made ganache. would it set. i think not. at midnight i had it in the freezer. exhausted and just wanting sleep i loaded it up with icing sugar in the hope that this would thicken it. no, again failure. so this icing was very runny and took away form the effect a bit, but the photos make it look like it was all ok. and the boss was happy and surprised and got some lovely flowers too.

aside from the ganache episode it really was lots and lots of fun. am thinking of joining in the cupcake hero events. january is coffee, and i probably don't have time, but if the february challenge is to my taste i might give it a go. am already thinking of fantastic things i could put in them.....

Sunday, January 20, 2008


this is my new favourite website, which i was introduced through a teacher's online community at work. lots of excellent things and i am wasting far too much time that i could be outside with the trees and the birds and the faeries trawling through it. There is even a pie one, even though it is an american sweet pie, rather than a good, ol' fashioned aussie meat pie. but this one is 'modular' 20-sided pie. i guess the challenge is to work out if i can do this with a savoury pie. i guess you could use a pizza style pie. father is on his way home from egypt where they make a pizza like thing, called a fatir, which is a fillo style based covered with either savoury or sweet fillings and is just delicious. then again i could just make a regular fatir and not waste time making 20 triangular pie trays.

the cupcake trials went very well yesterday. put a peanut butter filling in one, as suggested by cupcakerehab, and it turned out very well indeed. peanut butter is not normally one on my things, but the thick, sensual texture of the paste around the indulgent gooiness of the cake (i used jc's recipe) is just divine. i'll take some pictures of the final ones next week and upload if they work well. am going to try a few variations, but am a bit short on time, so this might have to be a project that goes a couple of weeks!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

more links than one post can stand

i'm not really a baker. i like to cook. baking always involves having the right amount of the right things, which requires a degree of organisation that just doesn't come naturally to me. having said that i'm trying cupcakes this weekend. i was just going to go with nigella (who seems to have no small number of recipes herself) but one link from JC has taken me all over the web. there really are lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of blogs about cupcakes. although now i'm thinking about home made vanilla lemonade. but i should concentrate on the cakes. JC has given me her recipe, and a lovely looking ganache icing mix, so i'm going to have a practice run tonight. But I've just seen a photo which is making me think about pizza with pesto and roasted red peppers. i have a pepper in the fridge that's past it's prime that i could roast and i have the fixings for dough. all i need now is a jar or pesto and some cheese.....

but right now i'm stuck at home, while i wait for my new outdoor setting to be delivered. i have evil plans for the australia day long weekend.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

eggplant parmigiana

tonight i tried something new with an old eggplant that was in the vegetable tray, looking a little the worse for wear. egged, crumbed and then baked i lay slices on a bed of tomato salsa, topped with mozzarella and parmesan and baked. served on a spaghetti coated in the same sauce it was actually quite lovely. a nice veggi alternative to a parmi schnitter. particularly served with a good, crisp salad.

unfortunately now i want cake. real bad. i have a pannetone in the spare kitchen, and i'm wondering what to do with it. i should wait until the weekend and make a bread and butter pudding, but right now i'm thinking of toasted slices, thickly butter!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


was doing a bit of a surf before i logged off and i found this. brilliant

buyao fang weijing

i have been trying to load a Chinese font on my machine tonight, but the microsoft website won't give me any options for vista. ggggrrrrrr... if it had worked, i could have written buyao fang weijing in characters. What it means is I don't want any MSG.

I had dinner tonight at my favourite chinese restaurant. unfortunately the food made me feel really sick: stomach pains, sweating and a quick rush to the loo. my friend says they're symptoms of a MSG reaction. i hope not. i used to be able to eat what ever i wanted without any of this sort of palaver. and this place does the most divine dumplings. i will have to practice - buyao fang weijing! a can't give up my fried shandung fried dumplings! and their duck with golden mushroom sauce. oh, so good.

on a totally different note, this is a photo i took while re-arranging my newly painted house. they're little marzipan nuns, that were made by a friend to go on a cake for a surprise birthday. i love nuns. a lot. almost as much as i love cats. and pandas. and orangutans. and fried shandung dumplings. anyway, i've kept the nuns, they're about three years old now, and grace the top of my tv. i like to rearrange them, so they always have someone new to talk to. don't say i don't know how to enjoy myself....

Sunday, January 13, 2008

paint spatters

if any one ever tells you that painting your house is easy - they're liars. however the results of three weeks work, in the stinking australian heat can be found here.

tonight i made loukamades, or Greek honey puffs. the batter was easy to make, but getting them cooked on the inside, but not burnt on the outside proved difficult. needless to say these ones were disasters (although they look ok). will have to keep trying.

Friday, January 11, 2008


best boss in the world came round tonight. say no more

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


i found out today that my boss is leaving home. she's great. anyone out there want to employ me???

everyone has one book in them

for me it's my great australian pie book. or maybe it will just be a bakery book. when i was on the Great Victorian Bike Ride last november, poor JC and unsuspecting brian were dragged into endless bakeries in search of the perfect pie. on this ride, the bakery at Foster was the hands down winner. Maffra was pretty good to, but there are some dodgy, dodgy bakeries around. one day, when i'm independently wealthy i will just travel the country/world, writing my book and getting fatter and fatter on pies. you can see some of the pictures, as well as many others including my wonderful pandas in louguantai in central china, on the slideshow below, or by laughing at my flickr site directly.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

tea for three

ok, it was tea for four. JC, me and our bikes. this is a photo of my bike tom. isn't he handsome? the four of us headed into china town for tea at dumpling king. could there be anything more divine that jiaozi, particularly if they're fried pork ones. the fat of the dumpling filling, with the cabbage and the the garlic, added to the velvety smoothness of the fried skins. dumpling king isn't my favourite venue for the dumplings themselves, that joy goes to the good people at Mandarin House, the home-made chili sauce here is just to die for! they do great tea too, in little thermos flasks on the table, just like you get in china.

but i have made a vow that i will not spend too much time tied to the computer tonight, and that i will go and read my book, so i had better not get started or once again it will be midnight before i know it

Monday, January 7, 2008

fruits of others' labours

tonight i had dinner at AandK's. A's daughter always says 'god it's great being italian'. and she's right. their house is always so effortless and un-pretentious and warm. Dinner was simple, with fruit and coffee to follow. the fruit was from their own garden and so full of flavour. i’m really, really, really not a big fan of summer – really. but summer fruit is just so delicious: peaches, apricots, plums. mmmmmmmmm......peaches.

and i got a big bag to take home with me.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

a tentative start

Whilst searching the web today for recipes for my friend Lainie’s son’s christening I came across so many wonderful blogs, full of cakes, and potato bread and so many other fantastic things. So I was inspired to bring boring history girl (that’s me!) to the masses.

Since then I’ve been to Henley Beach to witness beautiful, young Greek boys diving for the cross and a year’s good luck at the Blessing of the Waters, painted my bedroom (here’s hoping the second coat comes good), watched India loose the test in the dying minutes and realised I won’t be going to Sydney to see Arcade Fire. This last event seems to have removed all creativity from my miniscule brain space. I hope this gets more interesting......