Tag Archives: shameless bragging

Travel Post: Back in Mainz, and a Feast

Saturday was a massive cooking day.  A couple of years ago, A showed her friend R my cooking blog, and he started following it.  When he heard I was visiting, he asked if I could come to his house and make a feast. (This is a little less opportunistic than it sounds – he volunteered himself, his wife K and my friend A as kitchen hands and bought all the ingredients. And provided all the wine and other drinks.)

This sounded like fun, so I said yes, and he got very excited and started inviting his friends to a feast cooked by ‘a famous Australian food blogger’, at which point I started feeling a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to live up to the hype.

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Before we left for Dresden, A and I started to plan a menu, and R promised to order us a chicken from a local farmer.  A had told me that the farmer’s chickens are always huge, so I had planned to stuff it with rice and fruit and nuts and serve it with lots of different vegetable accompaniments, which I felt would be ample for the 6-7 people likely to be in attendance.

I relayed this to R, who immediately texted back ‘are you sure there will be enough food?’

Oh, R.  You read this blog.  You should know better.

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Show Off Post: Hamlet!

Squeezing in one last post before I go, in between madly writing about tiny political parties and finishing my last Paris story before I actually go there…

As I think I mentioned earlier, I recently turned 40, and also Shakespeare recently turned 400 years of deceased, and since these events were a mere week apart, I thought I would take the opportunity to get our reading group together again after a long hiatus and read the last Shakespeare play left to us – Hamlet!

I apologise in advance for these photos – the timing meant that we did our reading in the late afternoon / early evening, and so the light was not auspicious for recording all the food.  But I do want to keep some record of the event, so here goes…

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Recipe: Vegan Cheeseburger Cupcakes

This is the time of year when bloggers do their retrospectives, but I don’t feel like doing a blog retrospective for 2015.  For one thing, I did hardly any blogging, and barely kept up with reading other blogs.  For another, the end of 2015 was made absolutely horrible for us by the disappearance of our beloved cat, Mystery.  She slipped out on the evening of December 22nd, and has not been seen since.  We’ve letterboxed and doorknocked and rung vets and visited shelters, but to no avail, and at this stage, we hold out little hope.  It’s been a painful and distressing way to end an exhausting year, and it’s very hard to look ahead and come up with plans, resolutions, or even hopes for 2016 at this point – because right now we are all too aware that life is uncertain and cannot truly be planned for.

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So no perspectives from me, just a remarkably silly recipe, inspired by Rosanna Pansino’s Nerdy Nummies Cookbook.  She has a very fun recipe for a cupcake that looks like a cheeseburger, with a brownie patty, coconut lettuce, and buttercream piped to resemble cheese, tomatoes.

It’s very cute, but it also looked terribly sweet.  Also, I was cooking in part for Steph, so I needed a vegan recipe, and frankly, I found the idea of a vegan cheeseburger cupcake absolutely hilarious and thus irresistible, so off I went.

To avoid the excessive use of buttercream, I decided it would be more fun to give the burger a fruity sort of theme. Mango fruit leather strips make an excellent (and truly revolting-looking) substitute for plastic cheese, jam makes a fine substitute for tomato sauce, and tinned plums replace the beetroot that is a necessity in any Aussie hamburger. Mint leaves made a delicious substitute for lettuce, and at that point, you’re done.

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Quick Gloaty Post

So, if you have seven people around at your house on New Year’s Eve, you need seven desserts, right?

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Of course you do.  For the curious, the desserts were champagne and raspberry jelly, vegetarian panna cotta, vegan coconut, lemon and passionfruit cakes, vegan strawberry, coconut and white chocolate cakes, peppermint creams, fruit salad and chocolate bread.  We also had pannetone and meringues, but they didn’t actually get opened.  It’s possible that I overcatered.

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Also, we seem to have reached new heights of illegal fireworkery in Coburg this year.  The rather professional-looking trio setting off fireworks on their roof were actually extremely good.  The boys in their late teens or early twenties setting off an undirected artillery barrage of fireworks in their hands in the middle of the railway intersection were somewhat scary.  And seeing my rather shy neighbour and her early-teen daughter sneaking guiltily past the house after setting off random fireworks around the corner was… something.

But leftover chocolate bread and fruit salad was a truly delicious (and almost healthy) breakfast with which to start off the New Year.  Happy 2014, everyone!

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Industrious Catherine Post

I’m gearing up for a big week, with either choir practice or singing lessons every evening, work every day until Wednesday, and at least one Easter service every day between Thursday and Sunday.

Today has therefore been a day for cooking things that need to be cooked (hello, raspberries) and organising food for the week.  Mostly, though, it’s been about baking, so this is my little gloaty post about all the goodies in my kitchen…

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2012 in Review (because all the cool kids are doing it)

I’m a bit late on this bandwagon, largely because I went into one of my baking frenzies yesterday, inspired by my recent acquisition of Sugar and Spice, by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra, and my subsequent compulsion to make everything in the book, even though I’m not really in a sweets mood and currently have no scientists to feed things to. Anyway, several hours of baking later, I can tell you that chickpea fudge is actually really gorgeous (and a bit like halva, really), egg candy is slightly, but only slightly, less weird than it sounds, that Scotch Tablet is very sweet, but good with dried figs and glacé ginger stirred into it, and that brownies are still best with dried cherries in them.  And that I want to make Paneer so that I can make Indian Mango Milk Sweets.  Why yes, I will be reviewing this book in the near future.

Anyway.  One advantage of being late off the mark is that one can peruse the blogs of one’s acquaintance, see what they are doing about end of year posts, and then pick something that looks pleasing and not too difficult.  Not surprisingly, Hannah’s formula at Wayfaring Chocolate appeals to me (perhaps it’s the shared fixation with sweets?), so herewith, a month-by-month gallery of my favourite recipes for 2012.

Happy New Year – may your 2013 be as full of sweetness as my kitchen currently is!

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So much confectionery…

I’m still taking orders for jellies this week, so act now, before it’s too late!  I’ve been very diligent this weekend, and should be able to start filling orders for people on Tuesday.  As a reminder, the prices are:

$15 – Luxury Fruit (raspberry, passionfruit, lime)
$12 – Citrus (blood orange, lemon and grapefruit – my secret favourite combo)
$12 – Christmas Spice (cinnamon apple, grapefruit with ginger, spiced orange)
$10 – Agar jellies in a petri dish (wide variety of flavours, each more ridiculous than the last – see below)

Actually, every dish will have an assortment, but the blue curaçao ones were my test batch.

Also, I want more people to order my agar jellies, because they are adorable, amusing, and slightly insane.  Just like me… (sorry, I’m channeling my inner Lydia Bennet, apparently)

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A couple of menu posts…

I’m out practically every night at present, so in lieu of actually useful content, here, have a few menu plans…

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Slow Cooker Gloat

I was going to call this post ‘Quick Slow Cooker Gloat’, but that seemed a little open to confusion.  Tempting, though.

Is there anything more conducive to a feeling of smug virtue and general comfort and satisfaction than the knowledge that one has the next day’s dinner under control, that it is, as we speak, simmering in the slow cooker overnight, ready to sit in the fridge all day tomorrow for the flavours to develop, and be excellent when I get back from singing practice tomorrow evening?

I doubt it.  I very much doubt it.

I am therefore going to take my insufferably smug and virtuous self off to bed, so that I am in a fit state to work tomorrow, and enjoy my venison and wild mushroom stew tomorrow evening,

Show-Off Post: Imbolc Wedding Cake for Rhiannon and Reed

So, earlier this year, my friend Rhiannon emailed me and asked me if I’d be willing to do her wedding cake and maybe cater her wedding.  “A lot of my friends have allergies,” she warned me, “So of course I thought of you…”.

You may possibly have noticed that I love baking and that yes, baking around allergies is something I do quite a bit of. So I got very, very excited and jumped up and down a few times and said Yes, yes, yes I would LOVE to make your wedding cake and cater your wedding!

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