Here we go, in loosely interpreted categories and no particular order, and as always I’m linking up with Celia for IMK,
The Book Shelf
I don’t buy too many cookbooks these days (pretty much banned if they aren’t gifted or won) but could not pass up this perfect condition used copy of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day when I stumbled across it during my trip to Adelaide at the end of April.
A few months back I discovered this little gem at my Mother-in-Law’s house. It belonged to her mum and as no one had even opened it for years she insisted I take it home. I do so love vintage cookbooks and this one — from 1931 — is a classic.
Created by the Women’s Association of the Presbyterian Church it’s peppered with a few full page ads (presumably to pay for the cost of producing a book) for utensils, coffee and butter — but my favourite ones are found with a different tag-line on the top and bottom of each page…
Inglis Pure Soluble Cocoa is apparently, amongst other things, “The ideal food beverage”, “Rich in palatable flavour”, “Will please your palate”, “For growing children”, and “Ah — that’s good!”. Don’t even get me started on all the features of Mary Gold Essences!
The recipes assume the user has basic skills and a bit of cooking common sense. No “large bowl” this and “for x number of minutes” that, but instead instructions such as “as much flour as will make it into a stiff dough” and “bake in a hot oven”. It would no doubt give many people heart palpitations but is quite a bit closer to how I learned to cook (and how I write most of my recipes when they don’t make it on here!).
There have been all sorts of apples around here lately but these ones are new varieties* in Australia. The Greenstar version is sweeter than a traditional green-skinned apple but retains that slightly tart edge. A high vitamin C content keeps them from browning (although I haven’t personally put them to the test for any longer than it takes me to eat one).
You know that creative distraction gene that pops up every now and then? I claim it’s inherited from my mother and when little packages that look like this show up all I can do is giggle. Classic.
It’s a good thing I like papaw and papaya because there were a ton of both leftover from a project. I hate waste so in addition to sending the client home with a bag and pawing a few off on the neighbours, good portion of the leftover fruit was tucked into various corners of my fridge. Through the wonders of Instagram I was able to give the rest away to happy Instafriends.
In other news my Blackened Salmon Reuben was one of two winners in the Huon recipe contest!
We had Easter lunch with some friends. I took a cheese platter and some Not Cross – Hot Cross Buns — I came home with limes and kaffir limes from trees in their backyard. Nice. Did you know limes turn yellow when they are ripe? Yep, really, but the flesh inside is still green!
A few months back I was asked if I wanted to try* a juice cleanse. A few weeks back I did. I’ll share more about the experience but there was lots of this for three days:
When a group of food bloggers get together for afternoon tea there’s bound to be a full table. There is also bound to be cheese and this was a wheel of brie that had been popped into the oven for a while. Baked brie = instant fondue. Magic. I took cookies.
Came home with just a few goodies* from my trip to Adelaide for Words to Go and Tasting Australia. These were my favourites although I must admit I was terribly disappointed that somehow my welcome bag was missing a jar of the salt from the Mushroom Man.
Ball Jars have only recently become available in Australia (at Big W if you are wondering although I have heard they can be found at other places too) and a very helpful staff member spent an inordinate amount of time one recent evening moving boxes in the stock room to dig out these for me.
Then I did this with them — stay tuned…
Remember that dairy-fest gift bag from last month? The cheese came with us for the aforementioned Easter feast, the butter went into the freezer and the creme fraiche sat in the fridge staring at me. The one day I decided to spread it on toast, and I promptly died and went to heaven.
Creme fraiche is cream that has been cultured and soured. A good one will still be a bit sweet and, as I learned by chance, melts into a puddle of heaven when used to top hot bread. Thank me later.
Also, if you live in Australia and have never experienced Pepe Saya’s products go find some immediately. His passion is inspiring and his products absolutely top quality (no this is not sponsored).
Pitango has just launched single serve soup pouches targeted to the lunch crowd and they were lovely enough to send* me a few. Pitango have a pretty clean ingredient list and they were one of the few packaged brands I was buying back when I worked in an office.
The large bags are great for two at dinner but can be a bit clunky to seal up (hello bulldog clips) if you only wanted one bowl. If you are not a make it at home kind of person these make perfect sense. As a side note, if you are a strict vegetarian make sure to double check the ingredients — this one looks veggie but contains fish sauce.
Remember the huge jar of Heilala Vanilla Paste I bought last month? Well I’m now the rather pleased owner of a make-your-own-extract kit* and a little bottle of Pure Vanilla Extract. I really must do a post about Heilala at some stage as their products are not only of an insane high quality, but the ethos of the New Zealand-based company are excellent.
To make vanilla extract you simply place slit beans into alcohol and let them sit for a few months. When I posted this pic I asked for suggestions on where I can get cheap vodka and a couple people replied that because Heilala is such high quality I should use good vodka.
If you are planning to make Vanilla Vodka to drink, yes it is a good idea to get good vodka; if you are making extract for cooking all you need is food-grade high-proof alcohol. Really.
If I was in the US I’d find some scary-strong cheap-as-chips grain alcohol and use that. Luckily someone else helpfully noted that Aldi has cheap vodka (who knew) so I’ll be heading there this week.
Sometimes you know why a baking fail has occurred, other times it is a complete mystery. Case in point, these buns. I used a no-fail recipe, changing up only the add-ins and a few of the flavours, but the dough was all wrong. It wasn’t elastic and wouldn’t hold shape and baked up with the most awful crumb. I never throw anything out and this was thrown out.
I tried the recipe again a few days later with a new bag of flour and what would you know but they came out perfectly. I’m convinced the flour I had in my unbleached white jar was in fact white spelt and as I tried to use it like regular it all went wrong. We’ll never know, but after three subsequent batches of perfect buns I’m blaming my ingredients for this fail.
“I do not think it means what you think it means” was my reaction to this drink description at a local cafe.
Let’s put aside the unnecessary use of the ellipsis (…) before the exclamation point and the incorrect addition of a fourth dot; we’ll look past the random insertion of capital letters; I’ll not even touch on the glut of twitch-inducing grammar through the rest of the menu. But I couldn’t keep silent about the “anti-biotics”.
For starters it is antibiotics — one word, no dash — but more importantly your Super Smoothie is most certainly not packed with them.
I gently mentioned to the owner (a grumpy bugger at the best of times) that is should probably be antioxidants and was told emphatically that, “we had a nutritionist put this together for us, so it has to be right.”
I didn’t go on to point out that the nutritionist may be able to create smoothie blends but they probably didn’t pass 3rd grade English. In other news I ordered tea.
Props and plates and processors oh my (aka #oppshopobsession)
I’ve been back making more backdrops and this time it is with the $5 bargain crate of tiles from last month.
I glued them to an MDF off-cut and then grouted it with a pastry scraper — would you expect anything less?
Here’s the finished tile backdrop in a shot for a client project I was working on (you can get one of the recipes here). The MDF has warped a bit so I’ll probably try to use something a bit less prone to bending next time…
And another, because I’m a bit addicted. It’s cheaper than shoes.
That’s all folks
Make sure to pop over to check out the other IMK posts — there is always great stuff.
* Asterisked items were gifted to me in accordance with my editorial policy. Nothing here is a paid sponsorship. All opinions are fully my own. Supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus. Beam me up Scotty.