Tag Archives: Ingredients

Product Review: CoYo Coconut Yoghurt

I don’t know what is wrong with me at the moment, but I seem to be getting tireder and tireder (and last night’s exceedingly vivid nightmares did not help), and every few days this flicks over into being ill and virusy again.  I’m not enjoying it.  And it’s doubly annoying, because I’m doing all this virtuous walking for the GCC walking challenge so I should be getting healthier, not more miserable!

Combine this with an internet speed that is currently working in geological time, and one doesn’t get too many blog posts happening.  Sorry about that.  I will try to do better, once I can upload pictures without it taking all evening.

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Anyway.  I was pottering around the Radical Grocery Store yesterday, looking, as it happens, for coconut oil and coconut sugar, when I discovered that they had coconut yoghurt, something I’ve heard of, but have never tasted.  Naturally, I had to give it a try.  Which meant that I then that this 100% coconut-themed shopping basket, but these are the risks one must sometimes take.

The yoghurt I bought was CoYo, and I have to say, it’s rather gorgeous. Continue reading

Of Indulgences

I’ve been sick for three weeks now.  It’s getting very frustrating, especially as I’m not sick enough to stay home from work, but of course, going into work does tend to make it worse… And then I get depressed about the whole thing and wonder, quietly, if this is the start of some terrible chronic illness that will be with me for life.  Which is completely paranoid, but I’ve found that viruses of all kinds tend to lower the spirits and encourage negative thinking.

I have therefore declared a policy this week of Indulgence, which is another way of saying that I have been mildly irresponsible with my discretionary spending (calling it ‘indiscretionary spending’ might be more apt), and have booked myself not just into a chocolate lollipop-making course but also into one on making croissants, puff pastry and brioche during my next bout of annual leave.  And if that wasn’t indulgent enough, I also bought the Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot‘s kit for making the MasterChef Lolly Bag Cake, which I plan to make next weekend, assuming this bloody cough goes away.  And assuming I can assemble the equipment (does anyone have a blowtorch I can borrow?).

lollycake

And if *that* wasn’t indulgent enough, I went to the Slow Food Market today and bought hardly any vegetables at all, because I was too busy buying all the joyous and wicked culinary delights that the farmers’ market has to offer.

market

But do you know what the best bit is?  Well, of course you don’t, because everything about this policy is the best bit, except for the part about my bank account, but we will gloss over that part, because it’s nearly tax time, and I did have a little paid singing work this week, and these things will cover a multitude of gratuitous culinary expenses.  Or so I am firmly telling myself.

Anyway, the *other* best bit is that the universe and several lovely people in it have apparently also decided that it is Indulge Catherine month (hooray!).  I ordered freeze-dried fruit from TasteBom, and it arrived with a bonus packet of smoked salt and the most gorgeous, plump vanilla beans I’ve ever seen – turns out I was the 200th customer.

vanilla

I entered Oxfam’s GROW challenge, and won a Curry Hamper.  There is more excitement associated with this, but it will have to wait until I am on my feet again.

hamper

And I came home from work last night to discover that my local romance bookshop had sent me a book and a little coffee sachet, so that I could curl up with a book and a hot drink over the weekend.  (Thanks, Mirna!  It was just what the doctor should have ordered!)

book

I’m feeling very lucky, right now.

truffle

But I’m also feeling like someone who ought to be in bed.  So you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for a proper view of my farmers’ market loot, I’m afraid.  My focus this weekend is on getting rid of this fell disease… and I’m going to try not to feel guilty about my lack of blogging while I do so!

Instead, I will feel guilty for being the sort of cat-mother who, finding a cat in her curry hamper, thoughtfully starts stacking the curry ingredients in around her, so that she can photographed said cat. ... yeah, that's a total lie.  I don't feel guilty about this at all.

Instead, I will feel guilty for being the sort of person who, on finding a cat in her curry hamper, helpfully starts stacking the curry ingredients in around said cat, for photography purposes.
… yeah, that’s a total lie. I don’t feel guilty about doing that at all.

Adventures with Ingredients: Kadaifi Pastry, Sweet Cheese, and Kunafa bi Jibin

sideI’m on leave at the moment, and also engaged in a terrifying cookbook cull, which is causing me to madly read as many cookbooks as possible in order to feel less guilty about my terrible cookbook habit (it has, at least, reduced from the 3-book-a-week habit I had in the late 90s, but it’s still pretty severe, not least because I’ve graduated from little tiny Women’s Weekly cookbooks to more expensive and exotic tomes.

One of these is The Arab Table, by May Bsisu.  It’s a book that fascinates me and also fills me with fear – every single recipe seems to go for pages and is *unspeakably* complicated.  The idea of cooking a full meal from this book is terrifying.  (The recipes are all very traditional, and, to be fair, their length is largely due to Bsisu’s conscientious descriptions of exactly how to do things.)

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Adventures with Ingredients: La Latteria and Gewürzhaus

I had the day off today, which meant it was a day to go exploring interesting food shops!  After I went to that cheesemaking workshop, my father mentioned that his grandfathers both used to make cheese (and that, in fact, Nonna used to make ricotta) and that one of his grandfathers was the village cheesemaker.  He mentioned a kind of special mozzarella which has a knob of fresh butter in the middle, which sounded fascinating enough that I asked my cheesemaking tutor about it… and she said “Oh yes, that’s called ‘Burrino’, and there’s a shop in Carlton called La Latteria which makes it…”

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Speculating on dried cherries

I saw a punnet of dried cherries at the Middle Eastern grocery store near me the other day.  Never having had dried cherries before, I thought I’d give them a try, especially as the owner of the store waxed positively enthusiastic about them as soon as I looked in their direction.  Enthusiasm isn’t one of that particular store owner’s great skills (he was rather dour the first few times I went there, and it took him about two years to decide that I was harmlessly eccentric, rather than alarmingly odd, but he now actually smiles when he sees me coming, possibly because he knows he is about to be entertained by the spectacle of me dancing around the shop admiring the wares and babbling very rapidly about fruitcake, or maybe just acting like one), so I figured they must be pretty good.  I bought them, brought them home and forgot about them.

I really shouldn’t have.  I was in the mood for random cake a few days ago, and decided that what my chocolate and orange loaf cake really needed was some random dried cherries in it.  I opened the punnet and ate one – oh my.  They are amazing – like all the best things you ever loved about cherries rolled into little, sweet bundles.  Lovely in a chocolate cake, but also wonderful plain.  They sing of black forest cake (they must be black cherries – nothing else could have that depth of flavour) and choc-chip and cherry cookies and chicken stuffed with rice and fruit and nuts, and sour cherry sauce for lamb, and almond nougat, and goodness knows what else.  I need to find the perfect showcase for them, because they deserve it. They’d be lovely in those gluten free chocolate and raspberry brownies – swap out the raspberry jam for cherry jam and the raspberries for these, and wow.  But wonderfully as they go with chocolate, I want to find something where they get to be the star of the show.  They deserve it.

I’ll be going back to that shop tomorrow to buy another couple of punnets, because I think I’m addicted.  A lunchbox adorned with roasted almonds and dried cherries as a mid-afternoon snack could be no less than glorious.  But I need to find them the perfect vehicle…

Truffles again, and a little gloat

I have cooked my first truffle!  Or rather, I have prepared my first truffle – I didn’t actually cook it.  I shaved thin slices off it for my meal and put the rest of it in a container full of arborio rice to infuse.  In a day or two, I’ll put it into some eggs.  I still have evil plans for chocolate mousse, because having tasted truffle in mousse, I now find its flavour a bit chocolatey (though mostly I would describe the flavour as pongy).  I don’t know what I’ll infuse after that.

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Adventures with ingredients – Casa Iberica!

Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 3.29.57 AMI think I have mentioned elsewhere that I live in the Moreland region, an area which has always had a pretty big immigrant population – mostly Italian, Greek and Turkish, but with a fair scattering of people from India, North Africa and the Middle East.   But before this post goes off on a tangent about how much I love my little corner of Melbourne and the fact that it’s so friendly and vibrant and you can hear half a dozen languages spoken on any street corner and how this makes me happy in so many ways, I’ll attempt to get back to my point, which is that this is a fantastic area in which to shop for any ingredients used in the Mediterranean, Middle-East or North Africa.  It is not, however, a particularly good place to shop for ingredients for Latin-American cuisine, which is why, after reading yet another American cookbook which calls for ingredients I’ve yet to see in Australia (their supermarkets are clearly very different from ours), I asked my lovely Mexican friend at work if she had any idea where I could find chipotle peppers in adobo.

My friend immediately directed me to Casa Iberica, a family-run business in the Latin Quarter of Fitzroy, which specialises in foods from all over Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. It really has everything – sausages and cheeses and tapas, breads and portuguese tarts and tortillas, biscuits, cakes and fruit pastes (imported from around the world or made in Australia to traditional recipes), pickles, sauces, dried and tinned beans and fish, olive oils, vinegars, jams, sauces, spice mixes, and countless varieties of dried chillis, as well as the powdered kind.  And cookbooks.  And paella pans and other essential bits of kitchenware.

Oh yes, and they also have chipotle in adobo.  Seriously, if you live in Melbourne and haven’t been to this shop, you should go and have a look at their website right now – I’ll wait.

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