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haresfur

eG Foodblog: haresfur (2011) - not exactly bush tucker

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G'day!

My name is Evan but you know me as haresfur. I'm an FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) transplant to Bendigo Australia. Bendigo is a Victorian era gold rush town in the State of Victoria, southeastern Australia. It is a "Rural City" - quite the oxymoron, about 150 km from Melbourne. The population is about 110,000, which is I think the 3rd largest city in Victoria. That gives you an idea of how sparsely populated it is once you get out of the Melbourne area.

I'll keep the blog focused on food but context is important to me, particularly as I discover a new culture. First, I'd like to recognize and thank the traditional owners of the land, the Dja Dja Wurrung people.

Bendigo is a "City in the Forest" but the box-ironbark and mallee Eucalyptus across the street from me were looking rather sad when I arrived after 13 years of drought. Record rainfall in the last year has seen an amazing renewal in the undergrowth. The wattle in the teaser picture was happy last spring. Anyone know if all wattle seeds are edible or just some species?

The gold rush starting in 1851 saw an influx of people including a substantial number of Chinese, some of whom came by way of the California gold rush. Many never left and I was told the town helped look after the single aging miners and now the Bendigo Chinese Association is a major supporter of health services. Easter is the time when the only Imperial Dragon in the southern hemisphere Sun Loong wakes to take part in the parade. He's hard to wake up so the day before Easter, the Lion Dancers and drums make a lot of noise followed by 100,000 fire crackers. As Anna N noted the Chinese population is well integrated and the greater community takes part in the lion teams, Chinese pipe band, and dragon teams. It takes a lot of people to carry 100 m of dragon. I encourage you to visit the Golden Dragon Museum website to learn more.

Well enough of that. Bendigo is 17 hours ahead of the west coast of N America so many of you will be seeing this a day early. I'm a bit intimidated by the level of culinary expertise and passion here but I'll try to show a bit of my food life and have you explore the area with me.

So my day started with a wet nose shoved into my face at 4:00 AM. It was a legitimate demand for food from the young Dalmatian, Spock (a rescue that came with name Spot, but I couldn't deal with that). He and the old Dalmatian, Misty, missed supper after having chicken frames for tea because he was asleep and Misty could lose some weight. The cats got tuna and I had Anzac biscuits and orange juice.

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Wattle's feeding station:

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Pinot's feeding station (I could use the counter space but have to keep the cat food away from the pups).

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Better kitchen pictures later.

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Looking forward to the blog. Anzac biscuits trigger a memory for me of a beautiful tin I got from my sis (in Sydney since '87) with parrots on it and some sort of dry slightly sweet crackers. Is the memory correct?

Also love the handle on the mug shown. Is it a custom item? I can not stand drinking tea or coffee from thin cups with thin handles

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Aha! I was thinking last night in bed (What? Who doesn't go to bed thinking about food, food forums, and eGullet?? :raz: ) that "haresfur's another Aussie, could be him.." and here you are!

Moving straight to Bendigo from overseas is intriguing! Understand entirely if it's too personal a question, but why Bendigo? Anyway, looking forward to this muchly, alot of the food media in Aus. is too centric to the bigger cities so will be great to get a regional perspective.

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I'm looking forward to learning more about what is like to live in a smaller city in Australia and especially through the eyes of someone "FOB".

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Ditto, am looking forward to this very much too... you also have some great wineries close so I'll be interested to see if any of them pop up later on... Bendigo is a beautiful city.

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Thank you for sharing your week with us Haresfur, I so look forward to reading about your daily food habits and adventures- and I DO wonder about your pets- did you adopt them all in Bendigo or have they come along with you for the adventure?

PS: show us the interior of your refrigerator and freezer, please!

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Can't wait to see what you have to share with us this week! Did you make the ANZAC biscuits yourself or are they store bought? And if you don't mind me asking, where are you originally from?

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...Bendigo is 17 hours ahead of the west coast of N America so many of you will be seeing this a day early. I'm a bit intimidated by the level of culinary expertise and passion here but I'll try to show a bit of my food life and have you explore the area with me.

Greetings, Evan, and thanks for blogging! Many of us have enjoyed your posts and learned a lot from you, so the culinary intimidation factor works both ways. I'm looking forward to getting to know your part of the world.

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Looking forward to the blog. Anzac biscuits trigger a memory for me of a beautiful tin I got from my sis (in Sydney since '87) with parrots on it and some sort of dry slightly sweet crackers. Is the memory correct?

Also love the handle on the mug shown. Is it a custom item. I can not stand drinking tea or coffee from thin cups with thin handles

Anzac biscuits have their origin (at least by that name) with World War I when they were sent to the Australia and New Zealand Corps soldiers. They were made from rolled oats, coconut, etc. so they would keep well for the journey. I haven't tried making them yet but they are really good. Anzac Day is very close to Easter this year but I haven't seen any tins yet - just the packages. I need a tin for my office because we have quite a mouse infestation this autumn.

ETA: Oh yeah, the mug: Thanks for the compliment, I made it. I put a fair bit of thought into the handles and I think they are pretty comfortable when I get them right.


Edited by haresfur (log)

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After crawling back to bed, getting up and starting the blog, I decided I needed some sustenance before heading out for the day. I'm not much of a breakfast person but I'd been awake for long enough to handle my version of one of my father's breakfasts: fried spaghetti. It's called that, no matter what pasta I find left over in the fridge. This time it was green fettuccine. Here it is part way through cooking - apparently I didn't get the finished product.

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My father made it pretty plain - fry the pasta to crispy in butter and scramble in some egg. I use olive oil and tend to doctor it up, depending on my whim. This time I used oregano, garlic, and dried chilies with lake salt and pepper put on at the end. I try to fold the eggs in fairly gently as they cook so I get bigger bits. I found some bacon at the back of the fridge and it didn't kill me yesterday so it went in, too.

I'll get to the day's activities in a bit but after I got home I sent the dogs outside with a chicken frame each and made some Darjeeling tea.

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The tea pot is from an unknown Minnesota potter - I picked it up at Warren MacKenzie's studio and is a classic Mingei-sota style of wood fire. It pours well but is rather hard to fill because of the lack of clearance between the handle and lid. Still, I think it is really sweet and I decided to pick up pots that spoke to me rather than having to get one of Warren's. The mug is from a friend in Bellingham Washington, Michael McDowell. If you think you will be needing a cremation urn sometime soon, be sure to check him out :raz: . The plate and sugar bowl are random.

The Jaffa Cakes were at the perfect point of starting to go stale to give them a little tooth.

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Moving straight to Bendigo from overseas is intriguing! Understand entirely if it's too personal a question, but why Bendigo? Anyway, looking forward to this muchly, alot of the food media in Aus. is too centric to the bigger cities so will be great to get a regional perspective.

Why Bendigo, indeed? Well it's pretty close to Horsham :wink:. About 10 months before I came over, Eileen took a position in Horsham - an even smaller agricultural town, about half way between Melbourne and Adelaide. We were going to do the ultra-long distance thing for a while but this job came up and, what the heck... It is also easier to get a work visa for a rural area. I was hoping we were going to get to see Horsham this week but I don't think that is going to work out because Eileen is doing a lot of travel. Too bad because I had a craving for a visit to Horsham Masala.

Thank you for sharing your week with us Haresfur, I so look forward to reading about your daily food habits and adventures- and I DO wonder about your pets- did you adopt them all in Bendigo or have they come along with you for the adventure?

PS: show us the interior of your refrigerator and freezer, please!

Misty and Pinot came over when I did. Pinot has finally forgiven us for the month in quarantine. Yes, it cost lots of money. Wattle and Spock adopted us here. They are all rescues.

Can't wait to see what you have to share with us this week! Did you make the ANZAC biscuits yourself or are they store bought? And if you don't mind me asking, where are you originally from?

Biscuits were from the store but now I'm getting inspired to try to make my own. I grew up in Winnipeg (Hi Pam!) and ended up in the eastern Washington State for 16 years after bouncing around for a while. Maybe we'll pop open a bottle of Washington wine this week (yeah, bringing wine to Australia is like coals to Newcastle).

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As I mentioned, Bendigo was a major gold mining town and there are old workings everywhere. The park across the street from me is littered with crushed quartz and I often see "fossickers" out with their metal detectors looking for gold. Luckily the trend heads a couple of houses to the east and there are no old shafts mapped under my place (touch wood). But today we are going...

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First I swung by work for some photos when no one was around but I'll time-shift those to a work day. Then I stopped in the city centre for some coffee at T'Hooft Cafe, where they roast their own.

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Just pretend there is nothing odd about a caravan in a cafe... Actually it is explained on the all-knowing internet. One of the pleasant surprises about Oz was that you can get pretty good coffee in even the small towns.

You can't read the sign on the healthy-eating Vibrant Garden next door, but I'm amused by their slogan, "Catering to Intolerance".

Then I headed south to Harricourt where the apple harvest is starting. I picked up some Galas and Johnnies at a stand run by 5th generation growers. The Pink Ladies won't be ready until May because of the cool wet weather. I'm amazed at the investment in shade cloth that also protects against hail.

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Then a stop by Bress biodynamic (whatever the heck that is) winery. They were baking rolls in a wood oven for the lunch people. I didn't care too much for the wine but they also make a "Normandy" style cider and the dry was decent.

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But for cider, I was really heading for the more English style at Henry's of Harricourt. Quite the characters. I passed on the still cider for now but bought a bottle of the fizzy traditional cider apple/pink lady mix and a couple of bottles of Perry.

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The Duck & Bull is lovely. Not a fan of the Original--it's too sweet--but that Duck & Bull is my all time and forever favourite.

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On the way home from Harricourt, I made a stop at Aldi. I didn't want to ask permission so I just snapped some quick photos with my phone so the quality isn't best.

Many jars of simmer sauce for the lazy. I buy the Butter Chicken. Depending on my mood you may see it in action.

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Assorted tuna flavours like lime & cracked pepper, tomato & caper, mango chili...

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Frozen Yum Cha assortment are ok but I ended up getting mini-spring rolls for the even lazier nights.

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Porcini noodles.

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Some of the haul at home.

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And tell me what is it with coin-deposit on the shopping trolleys in Australia? If someone really wants one, would a dollar stop them? :huh:

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The Food Fossicker's guide said that the Eaglehawk IGA, of all places, has their own smokehouse, so I had to check it out on the way home. I decided to pass on the eel but bought some trout.

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Finally figured out what your avatar shows - but out of curiosity - why 'haresfur'?

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Very cool first day, Evan. Anxious to learn more!

Thanks! It's been fun so far. I think things will slow down when I get back to work.

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What's a chicken frame?

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Finally figured out what your avatar shows - but out of curiosity - why 'haresfur'?

The avatar is actually the top to a tea warmer I made. Haresfur is a kind of Temmoku pottery glaze, originally from the Song Dynasty in China. It was just a handle that I adopted for the internet because it is lovely glaze. The tea warmer is Temmoku but without the streaky haresfur effect. The rabbit design is based on a Celtic or pre-Celtic drawing I saw in a book.

I haven't done much pottery for the last few years but I'm trying to get back into it. Still haven't wired my kiln yet but I've started doing a little terra cotta.

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I'm looking forward to seeing more! Have you come across any foods that are considered dead normal there, but that strike you as distinctly alien?

. . . .

Then a stop by Bress biodynamic (whatever the heck that is) winery.

. . . .

'Biodynamic' is used in roughty the same way as 'organic', in many places.

. . . .

And tell me what is it with coin-deposit on the shopping trolleys in Australia? If someone really wants one, would a dollar stop them? :huh:

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. . . .

That (supposedly) is to discourage the lazy from leaving the trolleys in the parking lot, after unloading their groceries into their cars, rather than prevent theft (it's a pretty common system in the EU, too), since trolleys in the parking lot get damaged, and can cause accidents.

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^^^

In the UK I think it's also to discourage teenagers from running off with the trolleys and leaving them in strange places - for some reason this seems to be an irresistable urge that trolleys inspire...

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Oh yeah, dinner. I made another one of my Dad's favourites, chicken marsala. Sorry, no cooking pictures. When I cook, I tend to go a bit manic and totally forgot the camera. I'd say my cooking style is bastardized versions of everyone's cuisine. Um, let's call it "fusion" :rolleyes:.

The marsala recipe wasn't handed down - I had to wing it and figure out to myself the key is a heavy hand with the bottle. But it's dead easy. Cube up some chicken, coat in flour, salt & pepper. Brown in olive oil remove from the pan and add a chopped onion and sliced mushrooms. When the onion is translucent and the mushrooms soft, add the chicken back in and pour in about half a bottle of Marsala. Simmer until the sauce thickens. I served it over the porcini noodles. I would have thrown a shallot or two in with the onion if I had any. I ate it with steamed broccoli that just had a little lemon juice squeezed over it. Too easy.

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Sad state of affairs: I forgot to make myself a cocktail. Booze will never lead me down the road to heck at this rate. I'll try to do better tomorrow.

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Yay!!!! I'm excited for this week. :smile:

I've always wanted to learn how to make pottery.

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What's a chicken frame?

That was a new one on me, too. It's the bits left over when the butcher takes the meat off. The dogs have been put on a semi- "Biologically Appropriate Raw Food" (BARF) diet. Don't ask me, I just do what I'm told. But for the price of the frames from Woolworths, they could be eating drumsticks. I guess there's a shop in Horsham where they are much less expensive but we haven't found one in Bendigo yet.

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Raw chicken?

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk

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