Tuesday, 31 July 2007


I've been a little concerned about to what extent I'm infringing copyright by posting semi-tweaked recipes here. Not at all it turns out! It seems that copyright when applied to recipes does not cover lists of ingredients or even method, but only the creativity with which these are described. So, if you put it in your own words, you're ok! Of course, it's still good manners to acknowledge the source, and I don't want to rip anyone off, but I'm really glad about this, because this blog is turning out to be quite a useful resource (to me at least) : I keep coming back here when I want to remake a recipe (or I've lost it) because it's so helpful to refer to my own experiences of coooking something.

While looking all this up, I read an article where the author (a food writer) said that he'd always found restaurant chefs to be (on the whole) extraordinarily willing to share their recipes. I've got a few favourite dishes around the place that I LOVE and I've been dreading the thought of how much I'll miss them when I go overseas. Maybe this will give me the guts to try asking for the recipes...

Monday, 30 July 2007

making birthday earrings.

Over the weekend I made some earrings for my friend Sasha's birthday. She asked for brown ones, and I found it surprisingly difficult, especially considering I love brown as a colour.

The middle ones are a total Margie bunchie rip-off (thanks Mag!). I haven't made earrings for so long I had a hard time getting any inspiration. The ones on the right I made with the extra beads - I think I'll give Sash both.

I hope she likes them! (Update: She did like them! And they looked much better on which is good!)

The green ones I made to match my new spiky green ring (top)!

They are displayed on my new-to-me yellow teapot. It's SO cute. My neighbour gave it to me when she had to move into a nursing home. It's even pre-crazy cracked. Call me crazy, but I LOVE crazy cracking. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Friday, 27 July 2007


Dragged myself away from the French Grammar, and finished this one (11am-1am Saturday) before I had time to list it in the sidebar and take it down again. Here it is for archival purposes.

Very good (thank God!), but I'm not talking about it because 1. If you haven't read it yet, I don't want to spoil anything and 2. If you're interested, you'll probably read it yourself asap.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

talking out of her...um...

To skinny jeans or not to skinny jeans?

It is a complex problem; to wit, it is twofold:

1. I have been endowed with a derriere of reasonable largess, unhappily augmented by my love of milky taro tea, raspberry weiss bars, and broadly, icecream.

2. Although I'm not usually one to mindlessly follow trends, these skinny jeans have been around for a while now, and I'm beginning to feel positively frumpy in my fcuk bootcuts (which, by the way, continue to develop holes in unmentionable places).

Now I appreciate the sentiment that "fat bottomed girls make the rockin' world go 'round", but to start with, Freddie Mercury was gay, so can he really be considered the authority on this particular topic? Secondly, what if he's right, but the skinny jeans emphasise the negative rather than the positive, and I accidentally make the rockin' world spin the wrong way? Or could I affect the tides with my somewhat full moon? I'm not sure I'm ready to be responsible for these kinds of disasters.

The problems of our time, yes, they are large indeed.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

seriously considering buying a camera that focusses properly.

Proceeds of the weekend jaunt to Melbourne:

Melbourne or New York? Purple lit trees on Collins St.

Street Art/Graffito.

One of these things is not like the others... pink birds, Collins St.

My camera has inbuilt sparklers!

Handmaking Langzhou noodles, Noodle Kindom, Russell St.

$15 Cafe Vue Lunch Box. Value ticks for quality and presentation, if not quantity.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

hungry and no dinner for hours yet!

While I was in Melbourne, Tom's housemate made this Chicken Tikka Masala from Jamie Oliver's 'Jamie's Dinners' cookbook. It was very tasty, and I'm tempted to try it myself.

I mentioned how much I love the Broad Beans with Chinese Chutney from Ying Chow (and Silk), but I forgot to mention that there's a recipe for it here. The recipe's by Simon Bryant who, working down the street, should know what the original tastes like. The first time I made it I was a little disappointed that it didn't taste exactly like the Ying Chow version, but a week later I did a side by side taste-test (nerd!) and it turned out that the home-made one actually tasted better. I've read somewhere that the Ying Chow one has 2 types of soy sauce in it (Bryant's has none), so that might be worth experimenting with, and nb. that 'broad beans' here actually means soy beans - use frozen edamame. In Adelaide, the ingredients should be easy to find, but I had trouble finding Chinese pickled cabbage and the right spicy tofu in Melbourne, although you can substitute without too many dramas.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


The other day my brother made the most amazing spaghetti bolognese. He seems to have taken something from the Emily school of cooking, because he shares my approach of 'chuck random stuff in until it tastes good'. In addition to the usual ingredients (onion, garlic, mince, tomato sauce), he added bacon, dried oregano, a little Beerenberg tomato sauce and a little Paul Newman pasta sauce, and a stubby of beer. It was really really good - possibly the best bolognese I've ever had.

Monday, 16 July 2007

a nosy neighbour.

I meant to scan it for y'all, but it beat me to the recycling.

Last week we got a little note through the letterbox informing us that our street now has its very own brothel. Yee-haw!

Should I be worried about this? I am a little I suppose, but I'm more worried by the pimps, drug dealers and politicians it is likely to attract. Oh and idiots:

The 'author' mis-spelled our street name, advised us to ring crimestoppers, and signed him/herself 'a concerned citizen'.

Yes, seriously.

The neighbourhood? It has apparently gone.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

making new rules.

I have been reading back over this blog, and a lot of the entries are long, wordy and dull.

New rules:
1. No gigantic posts about cooking going wrong. Bo-ring.
2. More pictures! Better pictures!
3. Less posts? (Try to create quality bottleneck).
4. WRITE LESS. Why is it that I struggled to get essays up to the required length, but can rabbit on about nothing for EVER? Like right now, for example?
5. Do more interesting stuff - ergo., better content.
6. Stop writing as if my nanna was reading.

Friday, 13 July 2007

reading English and listening French - bien sur!

Wow, these reviews are really demonstrating how slack I've gotten about listening to new music - I received So Frenchy So Chic for my birthday in April!

This double cd is the 'soundtrack' to the (Australian?) French film festival, but I'm not sure if the tracks come from the films, or if it's just a chance to capitalise on the momentum of French culture making an appearance in the media.

Even though I've been listening to this cd a lot, I can't really pick out and comment on the songs individually - everything is French (and by extension mostly in French), and therefore I don't know any of the artists, and can't pick out the song titles by ear.

Overall though I've really been enjoying it. Most of the songs are folky acoustic numbers, with perhaps a jazzy twist - is this really what French music all sounds like, or has the compilation been put together with our cliches in mind? Either way, they're on the whole very good. The fact that it's mostly in French has both its upsides and its downsides for me. I can't sing along as I usually do, but then I can't accidentally break into song on the bus either, and it makes good non-distracting background music. I think hearing the French accent is beneficial for my own tongue, and more and more frequently I hear a word or phrase that I recognise and I want to go and shout out the window "HE JUST SAID 'JE SUIS UN BON ACTEUR' . THAT MEANS 'I'M A GOOD ACTOR'. I UNDERSTAND! PLEASE GIVE ME A PAT ON THE BACK!". Ocassionally a song is in (or partly in) English, and then for a split second, the fact that I understand it all implicitly makes me think I've suddently become fluent in French, before I realise what's going on. But helpfully, most of the tracks are slow enough that the words are at least clearly distinguishable, even if I don't know what they mean.

As someone who's been learning French, I've been finding it quite worthwhile, to hear more of the language in an enjoyable way. It's also a nice relaxing, easy to listen to cd which would make great background music; however, if you like really energetic, engaging music that you can sing along to (and you don't speak French), this perhaps is not for you.

These little books are so cute, I can't believe I haven't bought more. This one has four separate pieces in it by George Orwell, all of which are quite different. The title piece, 'Why I Write' is also the first, and quite short. It's pretty much what it sounds like - a short discussion of what compelled George Orwell to write, from his earliest memories to why he continuted to make it his profession. He also makes a few more general comments about why he believes all writers write, which are quite interesting.

The second (and largest) piece 'The Lion and the Unicorn', written in 1939 I think, starts off as a description of why England is the way it is - warm beer, stiff upper lip, respect for the rules - and how that is different to other places and peoples. It is very interesting now to see what has changed and what has remained the same in the 60 odd years since he wrote it. The piece then morphs into an argument for why England must become a Socialist country if the Allies are to win the war! His argument is very compelling, but obviously the premise is false, so from an historical perspective, it's an interesting read.

The third (and shortest) piece is a description of the author (non-fiction, presumably) seeing a man hanged in Burma. The last piece, 'Politics and the English Langugage' is a critique of the downfall of the written word. I was worried at first, assuming it to be a diatribe against the 'watering down of the big-E English by everyday langugage' (the same arguments that are going around now about text speak etc), but instead I found it most fascinating. I was totally wrong about it - Orwell argues that political (and academic) writing is becoming too convolued, abstract and bland. He describes the style becoming popular (standard academic writing these days), and picks apart a number of examples he finds. He argues that writing in this style not only confuses the reader (a useful tool in politics), but is also lazy and easier than taking the time to clarify your thoughts and articuate them in a simple and elegant manner. He continues by giving 6 rules for improving one's writing - here are the five that I remember:

1. Never use a foreign or technical word when a simple everyday one will do
2. Use your own metaphors and turns of phrase - not those already in circulation
3. If you can cut out a word, cut it out
4. Use the active rather than the passive voice where possible
5. Never use a long word when a short one will do

I really liked this last piece, which rang very true for me, as I spend my days trying to understand convoluted academic writing, usually assuming that I'm the dumb one for having trouble with it. It was great to read Orwell's discussion, because I've experienced so much of what he writes about, and having it laid out so clearly will also hopefully help me improve my own writing. It is a worry, however, that things seem to have gotten worse since he wrote this in the 40s. It's a cliche, but I wish they'd make every first year read this article!

Overall, I found these short works really fascinating, even though they're non fiction (again!) which is usually not my thing. They're short, interesting topics, and unsurprisingly, Orwell's writing is clear and precise and enjoyable to read. Thank God!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

wearing new shoes!

My new shoes! Hurrah, because I really needed them too. My regular every day work shoes had really had it, and the big holes let in water.

I recently saw last season's version of these (exactly the same, without the side cutout) at the Camper shop in Melbourne, but they didn't have my size, and couldn't get it in. But hooray for technology, because they're still making a similar style this season, and I bought them online and had them sent via Elsie in America since Camper won't ship to Australia. Thanks Els!

I just love how beautiful and soft the leather is, and how the shape is slightly organic and interesting, but they're still plain enough for everyday, and how they're a bit feminine and delicate but strong enough for regular consistent use. And actual foot-shaped!

I have high hopes of them being really comfy too. They fit perfectly, and at the moment the only hurty bit is the top of the heel where the leather is reinforced and a bit stiffer. Hopefully it will soften up, but for the moment the tough strips seem to be doing their job.

All in all, I am extremely happy with them!

As excited as I am about this cross-ocean shipping system though, it did bring up a few questions. When I found that they shipped to America but not Australia, I assumed it was because they had a warehouse/distributor in the U.S. Not so - according to my tracking, my shoes were made in Morocco, and went via Spain, Belgium, and England before arriving in America. Why then, do Camper not ship directly to Australia? How much oil did it take to ship my shoes such a long way round? Why were they still cheaper (including shipping) than if I'd bought last season's shoes (the rest of the world's leftovers I assume) in Melbourne? Why were the shoes so expensive since they're being made cheaply in Morocco, rather than by craftsmen in Spain as I thought? Hmmm. I find it a bit frustrating when overseas companies give us a raw deal because we're relatively small and far away. It might've worked 10 years ago, but now that there's the internet, we can figure it out and it's kind of insulting to assume we won't!

Still - happy pretty shoes! I guess I'm just lucky I have the internet, and good friends in (latitudinally) high places!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

happily compartmentalising.

My new spice tin - discovered at the Indian cooking class I went to on Sunday. The teacher had one just like this, and I found this one at the Indian grocer on Market St in the city for $22! In here I've got (clockwise from left) turmeric, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, curry powder, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and garam marsala in the centre. On the left is the tray that sits inside above the spices, itself sitting in the upside down lid to the whole container. On it I'm keeping cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods and nutmeg. I think I will buy one more and hopefully that will be enough space to have done with the nightmare basket of spice bottles and packets in the pantry. Woohoo! So organised and happy!

The cooking class itself was quite a lot of fun! It was taken by Promila Gupta, an Indian nutritionist by training and ex-restaurant owner who seems to be grabbing life by the ears now that her kids are grown up - she's also the president of the Indian Association here and a whole heap else besides. Her approach kind of demonstrated the basic structure of a curry rather than giving exact recipes - I quite liked it because it seemed kind of controlled slap-dash which is how I prefer to cook (by feel rather than measurement), but within a clear set of constraints. And everything tasted great! She said most of the classes she takes are when people get together a group of 10 and then they can choose the dishes they'd like to learn. It sounds pretty tempting to me - I'm dying to know how to get that saag paneer right!

At the class, I learnt the secret to great raita: black salt (actually a mauve-ish colour). It really does make the raita taste more like the restaurant variety. Unfortunatly it's one of those ingredients that stinks on its own, and once you know what the undiluted stuff smells like, you may have trouble with the dish itself as well.

We learnt 10 different dishes, and last night I tried two - a Pea Pulao (Indian fried rice), and a chicken and mushroom curry. Here are the recipes, which are not exactly as we were given them, but rather how I made them, and they were yum-o!

Pea Pulao
1 cup of basmati rice
1 onion
1 -2ish cups of frozen peas
1 carrot, cut thinly into rounds
2 bay leaves,
1 inch cinnamon stick
6 green cardamom pods
6 cloves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 teaspoons Bombay Biryani Marsala (in a box from the Indian grocer)
salt and garam marsala to taste

1. Chop the onion finely, and chop the carrot.
2. Fry the onion in a little oil until brown.
3. Add the cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom and cloves, fry a minute more.
4. Add the rice and stir and fry for a minute, coating well with the oil already in the pan.
5. Add the peas, carrot, Bombay Biryani Marsala, turmeric, a little salt, and 2 cups of water. Stir well and bring to the boil.
6. When boiling, cover and gently cook until the water is absorbed.
7. When ready season with a little garam marsala if desired (1/2 a teaspoon at a time), and adjust the salt if necessary.

Notes: If you wanted to make more or less you could just adjust the rice and water amounts and nothing else. The water just needs to be double the amount of rice you use. (This is true to a point, I think you could double the rice before you'd need to adjust the other stuff). I'm not sure the turmeric was necessary - I think there's turmeric in the BBM so if you don't have it I think it would be ok, but it does make it a pretty yellow colour. Lest you be tempted - don't substitute the BBM for garam marsala. We tried this and it was a nasty brown failure. Track down the right stuff - it should be easy enough to find in the Indian grocer, and pretty cheap too.

Chicken and Mushroom Curry
2 chicken breasts, chopped into chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tub of tomato paste
1 small handful of finely chopped coriander
5-10 button mushrooms, cleaned and halved
2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt (approx)
garam marsala
chilli powder

1. Fry the chicken and set aside.
2. Fry the onion and ginger until brown and add the cumin seeds and fry a little longer.
3. Add the tomato paste and most of the coriander leaves.
4. Add the chicken and mushroom and mix, and cook until the chicken is thoroughly reheated and the mushrooms are cooked. If the sauce is too 'dry' add the yoghurt - more or less depending.
5. Add in garam marsala to taste (1/2 teaspoon at a time), and salt and chilli powder. Garnish with the remaining coriander.

Notes: You could use a tin of tomatoes or fresh tomatoes instead of the tomato paste. As this will be 'wetter', you may need to simmer it for a while until it thickens before adding the chicken, and you may not need the yoghurt. Alternatively, you could use cream or coconut milk instead of the yoghurt. My teacher said that you can add almond or cashew meal and/or spinach if you'd like.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

remembering and cataloguing.

A few eateries I've frequented in the last few months and have forgotten to mention:

Post Deng Cafe, Little Bourke St, Melbourne
We went with Molly and Dave upon his recommendation, when we couldn't get into the place he recommended more. I loved it. They serve Szechuan food, which I don't really know anything about, but I can tell say that more of it tasted like stuff I ate in China than anywhere else I've tried. We had 4 dishes - a chicken, a beef, a tofu and an eggplant, plus an entree of dumplings and a cucumber dish. I can't remember what they were unfortunately, but I do remember that they were all good, and I especially liked the eggplant which was really soft and almost creamy and had a dressing that tasted a little like a balsamic reduction but probably was nothing of the sort. The beef was the 'Szechuan Beef' which apparently tasted nothing like Szechuan Beef should, but rather like Beef in Black Bean Sauce. I'm not sure if they mixed up our order or what, but it tasted good so it didn't really bother me. None of the dishes were overly oily, and the good selection of vegetable dishes didn't mean that I didn't leave feeling heavy and greasy. I seem to recall the bill came to about $20 each (no drinks), which I thought was pretty decent for the wide selection of great food, but considering slightly tacky and dated decor, I don't think they could charge more.

Melt Pizzeria, King William Rd, Hyde Park, Greater Adelaide
We went here for my birthday after I'd heard so much about it. I was a bit disappointed to be honest. It's pretty of cool inside, but quite cramped and dark, especially seeing as it appears to double as a bar for trendy Unley-ites having Friday night post-work drinks. Although the pizzas were gourmet and pretty good blah blah blah, they still seemed kind of pricey to me, possibly because Melt seems to be positioning itself as a kind of three course fine dining establishment, which I just find kind of weird when it's pizza. Although Melt has a bigger menu, I'd recommend to the Good Life instead, which has better pizzas cheaper, in as good a setting but without being as overtly trendy.

South Yarra, Greater Melbourne
Tom wanted me to try this place because they serve their coffee a little cooler than usual so as not to scald the milk. Thank God for that - I just don't understand why people want their coffee hotter than they can drink it? That being said the coffees were good, but not spectacularly out of the ordinary. We went for breakfast, and I had a bowl of porridge, while Tom had some black sticky rice with coconut milk. Both were very nice, but I think I was craving the T-bar's porridge which mine didn't quite live up to. There were lots of other options on the menu that looked really appetizing too, which I'd like to try. It's a pretty cool place - it kind of seems like it's built in an old shed, but it's got some funky decor which makes it all work, and it caters to a wide range of people (there were lots of kids near us). The day that we went was really cold and windy, which meant that the location right by the river wasn't such a plus, but on a nice day I imagine it would be lovely. Reasonably priced. Oh and look, they have a website.

Maya, Market St, off Gouger St, Adelaide
This Indian place has been there for ages, but I'd never tried it before until I accidentally ended up there with a few vegetarian friends. I had the Saag Paneer, and I think it possibly topped Beyond India's which was hitherto my favourite. We also had naan, raita, rice, pappadums etc all of which were decent. Apparently Maya specialises in dosas (filled Indian flour pancakes) which I negelcted to try so maybe next time. The bill (including a soft drink each) came to somewhere between $20 and $25 each, which makes it not the cheapest Indian around, but still competitive. Maya also has an amazing 'deli' counter with a huge range of Indian sweets to take home, as well as a few things like paneer which are handy if you can't be bothered making it yourself.

Silk, Rundle St, Adelaide
This is apparently the new(ish) venture for the chefs of Adelaide favourites T-Chow and Ying Chow, which is not really that surpring since a lot of the menu is similar (or in some cases the same). The dishes are a little more refined, (and a little tamer), but the atmosphere is significantly nicer too. I always go for the broad beans with chinese chutney, which is a Ying Chow dish, and I should branch out I suppose but I do so like it. The 'fungus' (mushroom) dishes look awesome though and I don't think I've seen anyone not enjoy their meal. We went most recently for dinner, and for a main with a beer/wine each plus rice and tea, we paid between $20 and $25 each. Lunch is a bargain though, as they have a deal where you get a choice from a reduced range of mains with rice, plus a glass of house wine for $10. Silk always seems a little empty, which I find really sad considering it's significantly better than most of the places along Rundle St these days.

Burger It, O'Connell St, North Adelaide
This gourmet burger joint seems to have become my local by the disappearance of all other burger places nearby. Burger It makes great gourmet burgers with organic ingredients, MSA beef, free range chicken etc etc. It also uses lots trendy ingredients (eg. pear, sage tapenade), and makes its own sauces (aioli, plum, satay etc). They have a couple of good vegetarian options, and can make them vegan, as well as the traditional (and more trendy versions of) beef burgers, chicken burgers and a fish burger. I like the chicken one with the brie and pear the most, and they have good shakes, although I'm not in love with their skinny too salty chips. Because of all the gourmet and the trendy, it is kind of expensive (most burgers alone at around the $10 mark), but you do get what you pay for. I used to find the decor a little sterile, but it's much warmer now that they've changed the colour scheme from purple and blue to brown and mustard, although it still feels more suited to take-away than eating-in.

Thea, Gawler Place, Adelaide
I've been meaning to include this for so long, but it feels a little redundant since I've probably dragged everyone reading this blog there at some point. It's Taiwanese vegetarian food, which in this case is quite plain and wholesome. I like the curry rice the best by a mile though - root vegetables in a spicy, nutty sauce on a bed of rice, topped with lettuce and some 'crispy plum potato' - and it's the perfect dish for a cold wintry day like today. Want! They also have a small range of snacks (I like the Pandan Lotus Buns), but where they really excell is the drinks. If you want a non-alcoholic beverage, what can you get beyond a soft drink, or at best a freshly squeezed juice? Thea serves flavoured teas, which are better than they sound. The fruity ones taste like natural juices blended with tea (mango, grenadine, passionfruit) while the milk based ones are often more unusual flavours like taro, lavender and almond. They also have 'snow bubble' drinks which are more like a frothy fruit flavoured milkshake. They are served either hot or cold in tall glasses and you can choose to have bubble tea tapioca 'pearls' if you want. They're all good - I've never had a bad one, although the almond may not be for you if you don't like marzipan - but my favourites are the grenadine green tea, the milky taro tea, and the honey lemon drink which is often just what the doctor ordered. A curry rice and small tea will cost about $11, and they're only open for weekday lunch, excepting dinner on Fridays.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

getting what she paid for.

I hadn't heard of Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern (have I been living under a rock, or has it not made it to Oz?), an innovative literary journal edited by Dave Eggers. I found this best of in Melbourne, and the price was right ($5), so I bought it.

I loved Dave Eggers' 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' (well, actually, I hated it the first time I read it, and loved it the second time), and kind of liked 'You Shall Know Our Velocity' (but I've only read it the once), and then lost track, so it all looked quite promising. When I did a little 'research' on McSweeney's it sounded awesome - a literary journal which tries to outdo itself with each edition. The fifth edition, for example, had 3 different covers and 4 different dustjackets, while the sixth came with a cd by They Might Be Giants of songs to accompany the stories. In the beginning McSweeney's only accepted articles that had been rejected by other journals, and since then it's published a lot of the bright young things. It sounds so cool I'm still kind of considering subscribing.

But I'm afraid 'The Best of McSweeney's' was kind of disappointing. There was only one piece of fiction that I really enjoyed - John Hodgman's 'Fire: The Next Sharp Stick?'- a story about the discovery of fire, written in the voice of a modern day inventor trying to hawk his wares to big business. I also enjoyed the book's two non fiction pieces - Zev Borow's 'Haole Go Home!: Small Gestures from the Hawaiian Secessionist Movement' , and Gary Greenberg's 'In The Kingdom of the Unabomber'. Most of the pieces were decent, but on the whole, I didn't find any of them particularly inspiring, clever, well-written, innovative, or any of the other things I was hoping for. Is one great piece and a couple of interesting ones enough to balance out a whole book? Can I say it was bad when bits of it were really quite good, or should I say it was quite good, when bits of it were really quite forgettable? I don't know. I guess I got my money's worth, but if you want to read it, I recommend you borrow my copy (which by the way, looks exactly like the one pictured here, except the cover is blue and yellow, not purple and yellow).

Monday, 2 July 2007

mixing and matching.

The weekly weekend bake-off write-up. It was a pretty mixed bag on Saturday: I made Beijing Dumplings from the Guo Yue book, rotkraut (red sauerkraut...kind of) from Heidi, plus my favourite Philip Johnson fennel salad, and some seriously buttery mashed potatoes. It was a pretty crazy dinner, but actually it all went together quite well.

The dumplings required a big trip to the Asian grocer. I came home with about 5 bottles of new sauces, but now that I have them, I should be able to make the dumplings again with minimal ingredients available locally (pork, bok choy, spring onions, eggs). They were pretty time consuming to make, but not difficult at all (although my wrapping technique leaves a little to be desired) and tasted convincingly like other Chinese pork dumplings I've had around the place (Mandarin House, Camy's...). Next time I will consider putting less garlic in the dipping sauce. I think it would taste the same with less, but would not leave me stinking for days. The recipe made a heap though - it said it would make 100 dumplings which I didn't believe. And it did. And unfortunately, they're not so good reheated. Oh well!

The rotkraut was good, although I guesstimated the sugar when all the tablespoons were in the dishwasher, and I think I was a little heavy handed. I think it would taste better a little sour-er, but on the whole it was a pretty (ha! pretty!) good substitute for regular sauerkraut which seems a little crazy to make (as far as I can tell: cabbage+ salt+squish+cellar). From 1/2 a red cabbage, I ended up with about 4 small family sized servings, 3 of which have been frozen for future roasts.

The fennel salad was great as always, and especially good since fennel is so cheap at the moment (it's so fresh tasting it always seems like it should be a Summer vegetable). I imagine the recipe is under copyright, so I probably shouldn't list it here, but suffice to say it contains sliced fennel and finely sliced red onion, with a dressing of lemon juice and wholegrain mustard, and a little olive oil, and garnished with chives. I don't bother measuring anything anymore, so you can probably guess it pretty accurately from that.

The potato was good - I know how much butter mashed potatoes want. A lot is not enough!

As you can see, I overcatered again. I realised about half way though that 4 very large dishes, is probably too much for five people (one of whom had had his wisdom teeth out that morning).

I also made scones on Sunday morning, using this recipe from the CWA. They worked out really well, but fyi: 750g of flour is not equal to 6 cups. I went with the weighed measure but kept everything the same (except I didn't use quite that much milk), and they were fine. Scones seem to be the ultimate in assumed knowledge though. I think you really need to learn to make them from your Nanna. This recipe seemed a bit lacking in detail about method, and when I asked Mum, she said 'Oh, scones are pretty hard to stuff up'. But then when I mentioned kneading it was 'NO! DON'T KNEAD! YOU WILL GET ROCK CAKES!'. Hard to stuff up, eh?!