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Snadra

eG Foodblog: Snadra (2010) - Cows to the bridge!

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Weather Report: 21C (~70F), but it feels warmer. Rainy and sticky.

Hello from the Antipodes! Welcome to my very first food blog – it’s an honour to be able to participate. I hope you’ll have fun and maybe help me out a bit too with some of my own cooking issues and queries.

Why the title? Well, when I wait for my train in the mornings I look across the platform to the cows in the paddock on the other side, and when I get to my desk about 1.5 hours later I see the harbour out to the heads and bits of the bridge (pure bonus that it nearly works as a pseudo Star Trek reference). But more than that, it reflects the journey we make every day from the market gardens surrounding our suburb to our jobs where we both have access to some amazing food – I have had the opportunity to eat at a number of excellent restaurants in the city, and my husband has easy access to great Asian and Lebanese food near his work.

A bit about me and my household... I’m a former Canadian living with my Aussie husband, Gerg, in a house on a fairly large block in the outer Northwest suburbs of Sydney. We have no kids, but share our space with a greying Kelpie named Willow, who snatches treats and oddments of meat out of the air with the most satisfied crocodile-like snap of jaws you have ever heard, and a recently arrived Tonkinese named Winston, but called Monster due to his ongoing obsession with climbing on things and knocking them down. The mess a Monster-powered flying pot of sour cream can make is rather spectacular, as I discovered only yesterday. How grateful am I to be living in a sub-tropical climate instead of the frozen North? Well, when Pam tells me Winnipeg has had 50cm of snow this past week, very! Although slightly wistful too: I miss the definite changes of the seasons, the blanketing silence of snow, the sparkle of hoar frost on the pines. On the other hand, there is nothing quite so sweet as the scent of orange blossoms wafting through the kitchen windows on a warm September morning.

We are fairly adventurous eaters (excluding my unchanging dislike for shellfish), but I am not all that adventurous a cook, especially when compared to the wonders I see being created on eGullet on a daily basis! The German and French-Canadian flavours I grew up with are a definite influence, although I’m always working to expand my horizons; my husband is keen to avoid some of the more ‘traditional’ foods he ate growing up in an Anglo-Aussie household (tripe in white sauce usually comes up for a special mention). Sorry to say I don’t cook as much as I would like, and my small but growing cookbook collection tends to be treated more like a reading resource than a cooking one. In part this is because I’m interested in the social and historical aspects of food as much as the eating. Actually, if you have any particular books on social/historical aspects of food I’d love to hear from you! Always looking to overfill the bookshelves.

We grow a few things in our small garden beds. The (delicious!) artichokes in the teaser picture are actually from last year – they’ve since been replaced with a few blueberry bushes, and I’m hoping that Willow does her job and keeps the birds away. The bed with lettuces is now planted out with rhubarb, which you will probably see cooked in some way later this week as they’re getting a little dense again. We had an orange tree when we moved in, but it died a few years ago – now we rely on the three in the front yard across the street to send their scent to us. There is an apricot tree, but we have found it impossible to control the fruit fly and in ten years have not had any useable fruit from it. Plans are afoot to harvest some of its branches for smoking in the Weber we got a few weeks ago. There are two mulberry trees as well, but the birds tend to beat us to them. We would like to grow more, but between our work schedules and my university study the garden always gets away from us a little too easily. I leave work early next year to finish off my degree, and maybe then I will be able to grow a few things from my hopeful basket of seeds. And also cook more. And one day, when we live on our own little property, I see a smokehouse....

I haven’t made any particular plans about what we will have this week. In fact, the shopping still needs to happen tonight, as all we have for veg is a bag of carrots and a quarter cabbage. On the radar for dinner tonight are spaghetti with tinned tuna, lemon, parsley and fresh tomatoes or maybe the fried egg, chilli and garlicky yoghurt dish from the Skye Gyngell cookbook I picked up at a sale last week.

I’m really looking forward to sharing our week with you! A few more posts, plus pictures, to come as the day goes on.

Snadra.

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Just to clear up a mystery...

These are actually macadamias from a tree in the backyard. We have some dehusked ones in a bowl in the house; unfortunately their rotundness and size makes them a common Monster target. You have no idea the noise those things make rolling across the floor.

Macadamias.jpg

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Really looking forward to hearing about all your ingredients and adventures. It's always hard for me to believe that when it's November here you're getting toward the end of Spring and beginning of Summer there.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Well, thanks very much Fat Guy!

ETA: After a few years the seasonal discord goes in the other direction too. It's odd to think of a warm July and cold January.

For breakfast this morning it was coffee and a few slices of watermelon before I left home. Normally I would have a more substantial breakfast when I get to work, but things were a bit mad this morning.

Breakfast 29 Nov.jpg

Ahh, the light's so lousy at 6am, ain't it?

This is a melon I picked up last week at a fruit shop and had sitting out (it's since all been cut up and put in the fridge). It was more refreshing than sweet, which suits me fine when it comes to watermelon, but it wasn't super flavourful. At any rate, it's a good size for a small household, especially when only one of us eats it. I had a few slices for breakfast, then chunked up a few more to have at work later.

I ended up getting lunch quite late but the japanese place next door still had some gyoza, and I picked up 8, followed by the watermelon. No picture unfortunately - I was too hungry!

It's still wet and drizzly outside, although thankfully cooling down, so I ate lunch at my desk instead of in the gardens. Current book: One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson. The bit I read had the perfect food quote too: "Julia believed no outing was worth its while unless it ended up with tea and cake."

Does anyone else share their lunch with a book?


Edited by Snadra (log)

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Wow. Head rush. Watermelon in the run-up to Christmas.

In my narrow-vision, blinders-on view, I forget that for our compatriots in the Southern Hemisphere, this is prime fruit/fresh veg season. Even for those of us on the US West Coast, if we want to do the "eat local" thing, melons, rhubarb and such are long since gone......

This should be fun. Those artichokes were GORGEOUS by the way, as is the wisteria.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Looking forward to reading your blog fellow Aussie :biggrin:


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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As a former Winnipegger in Australia, I'm enjoying your insights and looking forward to more.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Wow. Head rush. Watermelon in the run-up to Christmas.

In my narrow-vision, blinders-on view, I forget that for our compatriots in the Southern Hemisphere, this is prime fruit/fresh veg season. Even for those of us on the US West Coast, if we want to do the "eat local" thing, melons, rhubarb and such are long since gone......

This should be fun. Those artichokes were GORGEOUS by the way, as is the wisteria.

Well, if you're liking the fruit I may have a treat for you tomorrow.

Thanks for your kind words about the photos. When I bought the seeds I didn't realise they were purple, but they really are quite photogenic, aren't they? For the three years or so we grew them we always made sure to let one or two go to seed, because they are spectacular when they're in full bloom. The wisteria is just losing its flower now, but the jacarandas are still quite spectacular, and a lot of wattle is still in flower. I love this time of year.

By the way, I've been meaning to say how much I like your name. Pierogies are one of my favourite foods.

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Looking forward to reading your blog fellow Aussie :biggrin:

I'm even a proper Aussie now! Just be sure to correct me when I get it wrong, would ya? Especially since I forsee a complaint or two about the major grocery chains in my near future. :hmmm:

As a former Winnipegger in Australia, I'm enjoying your insights and looking forward to more.

Ooh, Winnipeg! Glad to see there's a fellow escapee from Coldnorth. We got married in Edmonton in the 90s and passed through there on the first stage of our honeymoon, and it was a really pretty town. I'd had no idea. We made a point of stopping off to see Louis Riel House too, especially as I'd missed out on Margaret Laurence House :sad:. Do you miss any particular foods or ways of eating from the prairies?

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So, we straggled in the door at around 8pm tonight, having stopped off on the way home for groceries, and we were absolutely starving! The eggs vs pasta question being settled in favour of pasta, I filled the kettle and set it to boil as soon as we walked in the door. Even with the unloading, putting away and faffing about with the camera we managed to be filling our faces by 8.30.

The ingredients, well, some of them anyway.

Ingredients.JPG

In this picture are the pasta (the last of the Garofalo capellini I picked up at Dijon Foods a little while ago), some rocket, thyme, parsley, sage (where’s the rosemary, durnnit!), a chilli and the homemade preserved lemons I made with the bounty from my mother-in-law’s tree in August (and they turned out - hoorah!). What’s not in it are the olive oil, tuna and tomatoes. Yeah, we’ll try harder next time. I’m more a ‘where the heck did I put that?’ and ‘I need 5kg of what?’ sort of cook, to be honest.

The tuna and 1/8th of a preserved lemon went into the bowl, and we added the quartered tomatoes, a mix of yellow, red and green, and roughly chopped the herbs, except for the sage leaves which were briefly crisped in olive oil. That’s not something I’ve ever done before, actually – and I just picked up the sage on a whim at the shops tonight. In a last minute decision I threw the sliced chilli into the oil as well, then used that oil to dress the pasta, along with a little of the cooking water. The sage leaves were maybe a bit too much, but the fried chillies worked really well with the preserved lemon flavour. I’ve started being a lot bolder with the use and mixing of herbs since reading Georgian Feast by Darra Goldstein, and it pays off in dishes like this one, giving them a bold, fresh flavour. I would do this again, with or without the tuna, and probably leave the sage out, or mix it fresh with the rest of the herbs.

Dinner 1.JPG

Then I made a pan of cocoa brownies from epicurious. I've been making thse since the recipe came out, and I've adapted it slightly: 150 grams of butter, 280 grams of sugar (regular or caster) and 60 grams of cocoa. I've also changed the procedure slightly, using the microwave to melt the butter with the cocoa to a smooth mixture before adding in the sugar. Delicious and fudgy, with a nice crust on the top. We ate a couple, but the rest are going in the freezer to be brought out later in the week.

Brownie.JPG

And now for bed!

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Looking forward to the week....and I can mourn my lack of fresh local veggies and fruit while I read all about yours!


Edited by kayb (log)

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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G'day mate. (Do you really say that to each other?) Looking forward to reading about your week down under. I'm surprised you find any time to cook at all with your schedule. What do you do for three hours while traveling every day. (We in Canada would actually write 'travelling'. What about Australians?)

BTW, Margaret Laurence lived for some years in Lakefield and I did get to know her a bit. Lovely woman. I do have a couple of funny Margaret Laurence stories which I can PM you some time.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

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How grateful am I to be living in a sub-tropical climate instead of the frozen North? Well, when Pam tells me Winnipeg has had 50cm of snow this past week, very!

As it continues to snow today (another 8-10cm expected) I'll happily live vicariously through you this week.

Just to clear up a mystery...

These are actually macadamias from a tree in the backyard. We have some dehusked ones in a bowl in the house;

Do you have a tool for husking/shelling the macadamias? I remember visiting the Macadamia Castle (no shame in that :wink: ) and they had big contraptions for shelling them. Is it easily done at home?

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Looking forward to the week....and I can mourn my lack of fresh local veggies and fruit while I read all about yours!

So, if I were to maybe cook some asparagus for you tonight...? :wink:

Although I warn you, there will probably be chicken breasts involved. There were some marked down last night and I never can resist a discount.

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G'day mate. (Do you really say that to each other?) Looking forward to reading about your week down under. I'm surprised you find any time to cook at all with your schedule. What do you do for three hours while traveling every day. (We in Canada would actually write 'travelling'. What about Australians?)

BTW, Margaret Laurence lived for some years in Lakefield and I did get to know her a bit. Lovely woman. I do have a couple of funny Margaret Laurence stories which I can PM you some time.

Hiya Darienne! G'day right back at you. Although some would have you believe Aussies don't say g'day mate, I have been non-ironically g'day'd on many ocassions!

How do I cook with my schedule? Well, not as much or as well as I'd like, that's for sure. With Uni over for the year things have eased up for me a lot, so not only do I have more time to cook on the weekend, I also feel like cooking more than just quick fixes and study crutches aids snacks. Of course, none of that changes the length of my regular work days, but it makes me feel better about the world! I do a bit on weekends, usually picking a dish to try out, or something I love (like perogies) that take a while to make and give the bonus of some extra meals in the freezer (frozen perogies = dinner in 15 minutes).

But the truth is I have to cook. Gerg generally gets home after I do anyway, and we have few decent takeaway choices or restaurants in our area. Once you've had one tasteless 'charcoal chook' accompanied by chips that have less flavour than the paper they come in you've had enough for all time... And sometimes I do less cooking than assembling anyway: German-style Abendbrot is a fantastic way to eat when you're pressed for time, as is pre-cooked cold meat and salad. The day I discovered Tatra Delicatessen in Parramatta and its fantastic array of polish cured meats is a fond, fond memory!

As far as what I do while travelling, why I read of course! That's what public transport is for, isn't it? I ocassionally try to eat on the train, but I've had too many incidents with crumbs, spilt drinks and sticky fingers. And I read eGullet a bit too, now that I've got an iPhone.

Now, about those Margaret Laurence stories.... :rolleyes:

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Just to clear up a mystery...

These are actually macadamias from a tree in the backyard. We have some dehusked ones in a bowl in the house;

Do you have a tool for husking/shelling the macadamias? I remember visiting the Macadamia Castle (no shame in that :wink: ) and they had big contraptions for shelling them. Is it easily done at home?

No shame at all in being a tourist! I highly recommend visiting the Buderim Ginger Factory and The Big Pineapple myself; a visit to the ginger factory is something your nostrils will never forget. :laugh:

Once the husks have dried we usually pry them off with a screw driver. To shell the nuts themselves, which are tough little things, we use a BONK. It works great, although it's a bit more time consuming than a regular nutcracker (which don't work on macadamias anyway unless you have super strong hands).

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Looking forward to the week....and I can mourn my lack of fresh local veggies and fruit while I read all about yours!

So, if I were to maybe cook some asparagus for you tonight...? :wink:

Ohhhh.....you're hitting my weak spot. (One of several!)


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Good on ya, Snadra. Crikey I love macadamias -- the older the recipe the better.

I'm grateful you prompted me to look up my own Antipodes, way off in the Great Bite.

Margaret Laurence is a National Treasure.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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No shame at all in being a tourist! I highly recommend visiting the Buderim Ginger Factory and The Big Pineapple myself;

I made it to the Big Banana but missed the Big Pineapple! :sad: But I do remember that some of the pineapple I had in Australia were the best I've ever had. Ever. I loved walking through the markets, finding fruits and veg we don't get here -- or really, really good versions of those we do. Do you have any good markets in your area?

Once the husks have dried we usually pry them off with a screw driver. To shell the nuts themselves, which are tough little things, we use a BONK.

Love it.

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I loved walking through the markets, finding fruits and veg we don't get here -- or really, really good versions of those we do. Do you have any good markets in your area?

The honest truth is I don't get out to the markets all that often. My two biggest issues are time (either there's some assignment staring me in the face on market day or I've been desperate for a sleep-in) and cost. Things can get really pricey! When my mother was out last year we bought some corn, a few tomatoes and an eggplant and spent $40 ("Is food always this expensive in Sydney?"). Combine all that with a dislike of crowds, and, well...

There are very good markets all around Sydney, and we even manage some out west at Castle Hill and Penrith. I've been to the one at Castle Hill a few times, and at the now defunct Rouse Hill a few more, although that one was pretty disappointing, with more manufacturered goods than fresh food. There is also Parklea Markets but I haven't gone there in years partly because it involves getting past stalls selling all manner of rubbish and partly because when I was there the quality and price were not all that exciting. Things may well have changed in the meantime.

On the otherhand, when I can get out there on a Sunday (and I hope to do so this Sunday and share it with you), the Nashdale stall at the Windsor Mall Market is always worth visiting. Their quality and freshness is unparalled (once day they had just dug the potatoes out of snow-covered fields) and they always have something slightly different on offer. Too bad they're almost the only food vendors there - it's really a craft market.

But that's all frou-frou stuff. The REAL Sydney Markets is the market at Flemington, which sees about 2.5m tonnes of produce sold annually. It is open to the public - a friend bought her wedding flowers from the flower market and did her own arrangements - and on the weekends the lineups are amazing.

In a future post I plan on talking a little about issues surrounding fresh produce in Sydney.

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Ah, macadamias, the king of nuts. How much do they go for down there, since Australia is the largest producer of them?

Though a friend of mine who just visited thought everything was quite expensive, relative to the US, with kebabs on the street going for $12 (USD is currently almost at parity with AUD).

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In a future post I plan on talking a little about issues surrounding fresh produce in Sydney.

I live in a different part of Sydney; really looking forward to your take on this.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Good on ya, Snadra. Crikey I love macadamias -- the older the recipe the better.I'm grateful you prompted me to look up my own Antipodes, way off in the Great Bite.Margaret Laurence is a National Treasure.

Although I suspect the sealife may be more ferocious, eh? :raz: I never like macadamias much, but when we collect the ones off our tree I tend to feel differently. Maybe it's the freshness, or maybe it's just headology.

Ah, macadamias, the king of nuts. How much do they go for down there, since Australia is the largest producer of them?Though a friend of mine who just visited thought everything was quite expensive, relative to the US, with kebabs on the street going for $12 (USD is currently almost at parity with AUD).

I wasn't sure, so I looked it up on the Woolworths site. The cheapest are around $28/kg, and the most expensive are over $56/kg. I suspect I could find good ones for less, with a little digging around, but that gives you a rough idea.

The A$/US$ parity is a huge temptation for me at the moment - books, kitchen equipment and knick knacks are all calling out to me - but the shipping costs are keeping a bit of a lid on it, and my bookshelves and cabinets are grateful. However, I'd be balking at $12 for a kebab as well! I pay around $6-10 for my takeaway lunches, and I work in the CBD.

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In a future post I plan on talking a little about issues surrounding fresh produce in Sydney.

I live in a different part of Sydney; really looking forward to your take on this.

Boy, I hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew here! I dabbled about this afternoon putting some words together and had trouble staying on-topic. But give me a day or so and I might be coherent for a few paragraphs at least. My feeling is that the food/produce issues in the west of Sydney are related to social class issues, but it's hard to talk about class issues in Australia and that's not my field anyway, so I'm keen to avoid talking like an eejit on the subject.

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Weather Report: Still about 21C (~70F). Drizzly and sticky. meh.

So, for breakfast this morning Gerg had his usual:

Gerg Breakfast.jpg

A bowl of cheerios. He alternates between this and the Dick Smith branch 'bush foods' cereal.

I feel off all day if I have cereal for breakfast, so instead I had:

Snadra Breakfast.jpg

Half a mango (that's a special call out to Pierogi), hard rye bread and two boiled eggs that were still cooking when this was groggily taken (hey, it was 6am). I love this rye bread - it's full of fibre, has only a few ingredients and a long shelf life and tastes excellent, although the texture is sometimes too crumbley (psst: it's from Aldi). The mango is a Calypso we picked up at Woolies last night, and it really needed an extra day or two, as it was a bit tart. The other mangoes they had available were R2E2 and Kensington. I think I may have to do a side-by-side comparison later this week :biggrin:. My husband's grandfather, who spent quite a bit of time in Queensland during WWII, was always scathing about mangoes saying they called them goat trees up there because only the goats ate them.

My iPhone picture of lunch didn't really turn out (big surprise there), but it was a roasted vegetable and goat cheese panini from Bacco. Delicious, but a bit large and I ended up not eating the watermelon I brought because I was just too full. I'll have it for morning tea tomorrow. Reading material: Why, the Sydney Morning Herald Good Living supplement, of course! Nice to see them perpetuate the idea you should wash your poultry...

And now dinner! Not as spectacular as the dinner thread, but delicious all the same. We had parmesan chicken from Nigel Slater's 30 minute meals. We walked in the door at 7.45 and were eating by 8.45. Not quite 30 minutes :hmmm:, but then the recipe starts with chopped parsely and grated parmesan.

I cut each breast into 3 strips then lightly pounded them (oh, that's a lie! I whacked them and I enjoyed it!) then dipped in beaten egg then a mix of breadcrumbs, parsley and parmesan. They were grilled (aka broiled) for about 5-6 minutes per side.

Waiting to grill.jpg

I use this pan instead of the grillpan that came with the oven because it seems easier to clean.

There's a dressing to go with it: dijon, capers, more parsley, anchovies, lemon juice and olive oil. I had no lemons, so used a lime instead - they were local and cheaper than the imported lemons. Served with asparagus for me (there you go kayb!), and snowpeas for Gerg. Nicely piquant, although I went a little heavy on the mustard (what, measure amounts? nah!).

Chicken & Asparagus Dinner.jpg

The leftovers should be tasty in a sandwich.

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