Wednesday 24 December 2008


it's Xmas, I'm stressed. Furry lost his job, money's tight.. pretty much typical Xmas cheer going on in the House of Fur and Purple Love. We're off to Chez Fur on Xmas night, so let me take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support over the past 12 months, and wish you all the merriest of festivus's, however it is that you celebrate.

Anyhoo.. with all of the above going on, I do tend to cut corners... too much to do and too little time. You know the scenario?? I know the knife is blunt, but I am too busy to take that extra 5 mins to sharpen it... that sort of thing. So the other night, my unemployed bum of a husband (he secretly loves it when I call him that!) was cooking me dinner. I must admit, this coming home to a clean house, and dinner already prepped is rather beguiling. I could do this whole house-husband thing, if it weren't for the fact I'm a Nurse and earn crap money.

But walking through the door, yelling "Hi honey, I'm home", to be greeted with a glass of wine and moreish smells from the kitchen..... yeah, I could totally get used to it.

Anyway, I digress... the other night Furry was cooking steak and salad. And we had about a zillion things to do (last minute pressie buying, wrapping, packing).. so in a fit of pique, I muscled my way into the kitchen to hurry things along.

Now... I have a pan. A very sexy pan. It is my favouritest pan in the whole world. It is made by a company called "Chef's Toolbox".. My sexy pan has this name, chef's toolbox, embossed on its handles.

Now, Furry had been frying steak in this pan. The Malliard reaction evidence was there in front of me. But what do you suppose my thought process might have been??

Newp. Whatever you're thinking, you're wrong.

My mind said "Of for F's sake, hurry up, we've got too much to do to be stuffing around with letting the bloody steak rest.. here... let me."

And with that I grabbed the pan.

By the handle.

Which had been frying steak.

And proceeded to sear my thumb to aforementioned handle.

Which, if you've been concentrating, is embossed.

With words.

Yes, dear reader, I am now the proud owner of a fetching BRAND on the ball of my thumb. Clearly, in the perfect world, the word "tool" would be permanently etched. Given that that's exactly the word used to describe someone who grabs a hot frypan handle without a mitt. It would be the Universe's way of permanently reminding me of my folly.

But nooooo....

I get "oolbo".. or when you turn said thumb around to look at it, "odloo"

I hope it's not permanent. "tool" I could have lived with. But "odloo"?

**heavy sigh**

I'm going to warn you, that a few lines further down is a picture. Close this post now, if you have a weak stomach.

Friday 19 December 2008

Menu for Hope 08

Today Menu for Hope launches. By joining in you can help in a small way to help end hunger in the third world and win prizes at the same time.

After raising nearly $100,000 last year food blogger Pim Tchamuanvivit has again chosen to support the UN World Food Programme school lunch program in Lesotho.

How can you help?

All you need to do is buy a US$10 raffle ticket for prizes at First Giving or arrange for a prize to be donated and blog about it or ask the help of a friendly blogger to blog about it (I’m happy to help out). You can read more about offering prizes here. Logos to use are here.

Donation Instructions:
1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at Chez Pim or at Tomato.
2. Go to the donation site at First Giving and make a donation.
3. Each US$10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code.
For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for AP01 and 3 tickets for AP02. Please write 2xAP01, 3xAP02
4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.
5. Please allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

Once again Furry and I are offering A weekend at Chez Fur

As part of the Menu for Hope campaign, we have donated a weekend for 2 at Chez Fur. As you will know, dear reader, this is our beloved holiday house, down at Dromana on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula.

The prize consists of 2 nights for 2 people. You will have access to our famous wood-fired outdoor oven!

The house itself, is walking distance from Dromana beach. Take a stroll along the pier at sunset. Have brekkie at Jett, book a lunch date at Salix, grab a haggis burger at The Flash Duck, or head up into the hinterland and check out Darling Park Winery. Explore the wonderful food world of the Mornington Peninsula and you'll see why Furry and I love it so much!!

If you're expecting resort-style accomodation, this ain't it. This is our family owned holiday house, complete with trashy novels and jigsaws with one piece missing!!

The house is open plan style, with warm polished floor boards and semi-matching furniture. It is spotlessly clean and a bottle of local wine will be chillin in the fridge for you. Your bedroom is furnished Asian style, with a futon and gorgeous antique Chinese altar doors on the walls. The bathroom is semi-painted!

The kitchen comprises of a stand alone Eurolec chef's quality oven and the world's dodgiest bench tops.

It's a bit like pg and Furry, and the MP itself, stunningly beautiful in parts, and a work-in-progess in others!!

It's a bit of an anomaly, but it IS a fabulous, central place from which to explore the MP.

The house is yours alone, if you want it. Or Furry and pg are happy to host you. Furry will have you in stitches with his raconteur wit, and pg will cook pretty much anything you heart desires.

Weather permitting, Furry will take you fishing on The Butt, and show you our secret Gummy Shark spots. On return, pg will have a local tapas platter waiting for you, and the wood-fired oven ready to cook your schnapper in!!

If this sounds like your ideal weekend get-away, go.. get bidding!!!!!

Prize code is: AP16

Thursday 18 December 2008

Just to clear something up.

Furry PostSecret card from 6/20/07. Per PostSecret's copyright, an image may be used with a link to the PostSecret website.

I was recently involved in a conversation where someone intimated that my use of the word "Furry" was "kinky".

I was a little confused about this, as it is simply the nickname, on line and in RL for my husband. I mean everyone.. EVERYONE calls him Furry.

So I was a bit confused about why this was deemed as kinky.

Ahh, but the world has become a more enlightened, if not some how less mystical place, thanks to Wikki and Google.

Imagine my suprise to find that "furry" is a widely used term for people who identify as or with furry animals... They even have a whole Wikki about this sub culture.

The word furry has several meanings, dependent on the context in which it is used. Predominantly, it means "consisting of or resembling fur".[1] It also pertains to an interest in anthropomorphic animals and/or mythological or imaginary creatures which possess human or superhuman capabilities. The plural form of furry in all its contexts is furs or furries; the subjects of furry interest are also known as furries.

Now, far be it from me to question another person's right to be in touch with their inner fursona, but... and it's a big but.....

Apparently some people within this subculture are sexually gratified/aroused by the wearing of their fur suits.. or have suits specially **ahem** modified to perform..... oh never mind, you get the idea. These people are apparently known within the Furry culture as "furverts"

WikiFur says
"The Furry Dictionary lists furvert as "One who enjoys furry erotica", a defintion provided by Barry Gold in October 2000.

And no, I am not making this up. You read that right.



So, remembering that my mother reads this, I give to you the reason I call my husband Furry.

Because the first time I ran my hands up his back, I stopped and gleefully said "oh, you're furry!!!".. and he stopped, looked at me nervously and said "yes, does it disgust you?".. where by my answer was to drag him into my boudoir and... yes.. that's right Mum, we played Scrabble.

Anyhow.. I happen to like my men with body hair... and he's got it.. in spades.. Thus, he's "Furry".

So for any of you dear readers that thought that somehow my husband either a) likes to dress up as Sly Racoon, and have me paddle him a-la repressed English boarding school styles, while he yells "I've been a naughty little poodle!!


b) has a penchant for watching "Basil, the Great Mouse Detective" while wearing his nipple-less latex chicken suit,

I assure you this is not the case. And for further reference, as someone who avoids pop culture, should I make any passing reference to something like this in the future, please fill me in. IN private.

God, please don't tell me that "pg" is a subversive MPRPG leet term for someone who fantasizes about being showered with other people toenail clippings........

OH, and on a final note, while again reiterating my complete respect for anyone who identifies as a member of this or any other sub-group, I offer this advice.





"plushie images".


Tuesday 16 December 2008


There's a trendy new one coined every day, or so it seems. Road rage is SOOOO last millennium.. the latest too-have disease is Phone rage. Wanting to reach through the receiver and rip the jugular out of the pillock on the other end, wanting to tell you all about the benefits of their new mobile phone plan.


What about ADHAD?

No, not the REAL disorder related to hyperactivity.. I mean Advertising Heightened Audio Disorder. The syndrome by which you just KNOW that ads are markedly louder than the preceding programme, but are unable to prove it.


Nothing to do with ovaries.. it's People Chatting out of Setting.. a disorder daily put up with by receptionists and check-out chicks everywhere, by which the sufferers actually thing you MEAN it when you ask "so, how's your day?", and proceed to tell you. In excruciating detail.

I discovered this weekend I am afflicted by the most heinous of these new syndromes.

Tolerance Intolerance.

As you might remember, dear reader, I have given up the smokes.. 8 weeks now and counting. My desire to bite the heads off live toddlers a-la Ozzy is waning. I no longer stalk smokers around my local shops, madly sniffing their wake like a scent hound... or a crazed middle-aged psychic reading their aura.

BUT.. I am still a little needy. A little snappy, if you will. A little quick to anger. To bridle.

And it's Xmas. My most un-loved holiday of the year. And I recently took a nasty fall and am dealing with a fractured rib.

So while traipsing around The Glen, looking for presents for people I don't actually like, spending money on things that I wouldn't personally be caught dead with, dealing with my desire to furtively lick the neck of the not-particularly attractive older male smoker in front of me, I decided that I am most definitely a suffer of Tolerance Intolerance.

I don't wish good will to all men. I am more likely to wish you "Happy Eugenics, and thanks for removing yourself from the gene pool". Silent Night? I don't think so, Bubka.. You ever tried living on a main road in "Drunken Idiot leaves Xmas Party at 4am and thinks he's Fangio" season?

Away in a Manger? If only, but Furry got retrenched last Friday, so it will be more like "Away in the Lounge Room" for OUR holiday this year.

We Three Kings From Orient Are, in our house, We three Gift Vouchers from K-mart Are.

Bah Humbug.

So when you ring me/email me/ send me a holiday card, and I reply like Doberman with 'roid rage, please remember.. it's not me. I am just suffering an acute and seasonal form of Tolerance Intolerance.

And depending on the lag between the festive bunting coming down and the East Eggs going up, it could be a few months before my syndrome is under control.

Tuesday 9 December 2008

A shameless plug for sponsorship.

Look, it's for a good cause, ok..

Youngest son has recently started playing Rugby League and Union for the Craigieburn Phoenix. It's a small, grass roots club with ties to the local constabulary. It also has a netball and a basketball team. It's a fabulous, family-oriented club, and we're looking for sponsorship. We've got some uniforms for next year, but our First Aid box needs some supplies, and we need some sports bags for transport of sporting goods.

The BBQ, which travels to every game, and supplies all our players, families and opponents with burgers, snags and onions, is also pretty bloody dodgy

Craigieburn Phoenix.

Phenix \Phe"nix\, n.; pl. {Phenixes}. [L. phoenix, Gr. foi^nix.]
[Written also {phoenix}.]
1. (Gr. Myth.) A bird fabled to exist single, to be consumed
by fire by its own act, and to rise again from its ashes.
Hence, an emblem of immortality.

On May 19 2008 a dream was manifested into the realm of reality.

A desire to have our own rugby league club in Craigieburn was born.

Contact was made on 21 May 2008 with Victorian Rugby League with a view to entering teams in the Junior VRL competition for 2009.

Hume City Council were approached to obtain an oval for home games and training purposes on 20 May 2008.

A request for a quote from Kombat to supply uniforms was sent on May 21 2008.

A meeting was held on 25 May 2008 to gauge parent and player support, over 30 people attended, an adhoc comittee of one - Steven Tapatu - was nominated to take our RLC to the next level.

A second meeting will be held in June/July 2008, details will be posted at a later date.

Sponsorship letters are in the pipeline.

Applications for funding from the Hume City Council for 2009 are being readied for submission, closing date 31 May 2008.

The Phoenix was chosen because it is a symbol of courage, perseverance and immortality, attributes we will endeavour to bestow upon our members through, discipline, cooperation, teamwork and positive thinking.

I look forward to seeing you and your child in the near future.

Steven Tapatu


As you can see from the above photo, we really ARE starting out from scratch, so any donations of either money or goods would be most heartfelt. While the odd $10 is always put to good use, we're looking for businesses in the Cragieburn area (Come on 7/Eleven or Craigieburn Sportsman's Club... HINT... HINT....) to provide ongoing support and sponsorship.

We're not looking for a corporate stadium(yet), just a hand with the expenses associated with setting up a grass-roots sports club.

Individual donations can be made via Paypal to

or sponsorship queries can be made to Steven at

I know, under the current economic conditions, it might seem hard, but every little bit helps, and please feel free to pass this on to any business you might feel could give us a helping hand.

Monday 8 December 2008

So, Ya wanna be a star??

This email arrived the other day, and I thought I'd share it with all of you aspiring Sir Gordon's!!

Hi there!
I am a casting director for the TV industry and I run a company called “A Cast of Thousands”. We have just been briefed on a dream show for a foodie to cast, Masterchef. Below is some information about the show. I am trying to reach out to Australia’s foodie community to get the word out to find the best amateur cooks in the country. I am hoping that you may know of friends who may be interested in the opportunity. It is also OK for you to post this on your blog if you wish.
The search is on to find Australia’s first true MasterChef. Network Ten wants every kitchen wannabe from amateur chefs to budding foodies to toss their chef’s hat in the ring…each hoping to become…Australia’s next super Chef.
A real life drama will play out as the contestant’s kitchen courage is put to the ultimate test. From the lows of failure to the highs of success, our cast of characters will be catapulted from starters to mains then desserts and back again.


To apply, go to


Thanks for your time


Graeme de Vallance

A Cast of Thousands

Screen Australia, 101 Eaton Road, Lindfield, NSW. 2070

p +61 2 9416 2951 | m +61 0411 494 040

Wednesday 3 December 2008

SOLE Butcher.

Kerrie Road Butchers
6 Kerrie Rd
Glen Waverley, VIC 3150
(03) 9802 0857

I often rave about my local butcher. When I first started shopping SOLE, he was the first person I approached with my tentative "Where is this stuff actually from?" questions. Instead of withering my budding SOLE shoots, he enthusiastically answered me, and gave me the confidence to delve deeper, and become more confident in approaching my providers. And it recently occurred to me, that I talk about him a lot, but I've never given him a shout out. I've reviewed spices from interstate, olive oil from overseas, but never given my humble, local butcher a shout out.

All snags made on the premises

And here's the thing. A few people who've gone to John, as a result of reading this blog, get back to me surprised that it's so "normal". I don't quite know how to respond to that. Maybe any butcher associated with me should have Nag Champa burning, statues of Amateratsu in the window, Baba Yaga flavoured sausages and wrap their roasts in Feminist coloured paper.

And here's the thing. In offering to take some snaps and do this post for the guys, I realised how absolutely bloody normal the place is. It's a bog standard suburban butcher shop. There is nothing overtly SOLE (whatever that means) about it.

It's the questions that you have to ask, that unlocks this unprepossessing shop's SOLE.

All the beef and lamb are sourced from Cardinia, the chooks from the Mornington Pen. They stock free range chooks and eggs from Lilydale, and their pork comes from Hastings. They smoke all their own small goods on the premises, make their own snags (we're having the chicken and asparagus tonight), corn their own beef. They do a sensational range of boerwors sausages and biltong (dried jerky, South African style). They stock the ubiquitous marinated chicken wings and schnitzels, but their standard T-bone is some of the best beef eating around.

All pretty bog standard stuff. The difference with the guys at Kerrie Road, is that they have realised that "We travel all over Victoria to bring you the best!" ISN'T necessarily the answer the punters today want to hear.

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Roasted beetroot, garlic and cumin dip.

The last of the root vegetables are slowly fading out of season, so I thought it might be a good time to really showcase the last of these Winter wonders. This weekend past, I had to opportunity of catching up with the very delightful Gottie and Bluenose from SOLE Mama's. Bluey has a bit of a rep for coming up with these outstanding cocktail mixes, known to all as Magic Potions, and this time was no different. We were met at the door with a glass of bubbly tinted with a mix of raspberries, Cointreau or Grand Marnier and lemon juice. If I ever work out how to get the damn pics of my new phone, I'll post them.

I was asked to bring some dips, so I went with a couple of classics (Hommus and Tzatiki... home made the sloooooow way) and something a bit out-of-the-ordinary, Roasted Beetroot dip. This dip is a zillion times easier, tastier and more vibrant than anything you're likely to get at the shops, and the end result is a deep earthy, almost musky flavour that reminds me of the smell of the air after a Summer thunderstorm . Don't bother trying it with anything other than fresh, whole beetroots.

pg's Roasted Beetroot, Garlic and Cumin dip.

pan roast a one and a half teaspoons of cumin seeds in a non-stick pan for 30-45 seconds, or until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Cut the top and bottom off a fresh beetroot. Discard. Chop beet into quarters and place on baking tray. Bake at 180-200C for 30 mins.

At the 30 min mark, take a whole head of garlic, slice about 1/2cm off the top, exposing all the individual cloves. Bung on the oven tray with the beetroot and roast a further 15-20 mins until beet is tender.

Let the beet cool slightly and then peel. Use rubber gloves to handle the beet, or you'll look like you've been axe murdering pigs.

Whack the peeled beets and 1 teaspoon of roasted cumin seeds in a blender, or use a stick blender. Squeeze the roasted cloves of garlic in and pulse until combined.

When cool, add a tub of sour cream and stir through.

Serve, garnished with remaining cumin seeds and lavosh.

Tuesday 25 November 2008

You Saucey Minx!!

My love of rubs and spice blends is well documented. I am a rub-o-holic. At last count I owned 30+ vials of spice blends, most bought at gourmet stores and markets, some of which I have created on my own. And when Furry and I were packing to go on our recent holiday, I was tempted to pack some.

When Furry and I holiday, we pack differently to most holiday makers. We take 2 suitcases. One has our clothes, togs, sarongs, thongs, maybe a good casual dress or two for going out, a pile of dodgy holiday reading.. stuff like that.

The second suitcase houses a wok, a bamboo steamer, a non-stick pan, a non stick saucepan, a cast iron fry pan, 2 cook's knives, a cleaver and various essentials like flour, rice flour, herbs and spices, up to 3 types of rice and a few assorted gow gee wrappers.

Can never be too careful, is our motto.

Our reasoning is that if you're going away somewhere for only a week, there's no point buying sushi rice for the one night you might feel like cooking it, arborio for the single risotto, 2 tablespoons of rice flour for a crispy battered fish, etc.

And god forbid that we have a hankering for Furry Balls in a small town whose supermarket doesn't stock won ton wrappers!!

The spice blends are good when that freshly caught fish just screams Sri-Lankan fish curry. I mean who is going to go out and buy the individual sachets of turmeric and asafoedita in Merimbula??

So this holiday I packed home made Greek, Italian, Indian and Mexican blends, my sea salt, black pepper and oregano rub, some store bought z'aatar and rasa al hanout, some sumac and a few other assorted bits and pieces.

So imagine my sheer joy to find The Saucy Spice Company selling its wares at Eden Whale Festival Market!!

The first thing that catches your eye is the packaging. Simple. Bold. Bright. Like a barracuda with ADHD, I can't resist anything bright and purple. Their stall is row upon row of little paper bags, all purple or pink or yellow or orange, all in line like little soldiers! Each package contains about 50g of spice mic, and a simple recipe instruction leaflet.

Each sachet contains only herbs and spices, no preservatives, fillers or other nasties.

I picked up a Creamy Seafood Chowder, a Seafood Laksa, a dhal and spinach soup mix, a Jamaican Jerk for chicken and an Afghani Lamb.

So far I have only used the chowder, but was very VERY impressed with the simple instructions, the depth of flavour and the authenticity of the mix. The Chowder mix was a combination of coriander, fennel, ginger, nutmeg, cardamon, cinnamon, black pepper, garlic, onion, chili, turmeric and parsley. Each pack costs about $4.50, and my chowder pack made 5 litres of soup!!

They have hundreds of different spice blends, from the ubiquitous Butter Chicken to a Mulligatawny blend, a spicy braised rabbit to a South African Boerewors mix for meatloaf or patties. They even have an Egyptian fish blend, flavoured with honey!!!

They sell on line, as well as in markets throughout the South Coast (NSW), and are based in Pambula, or contact Nick Bamford on 02 6495 7818. It's a small, family-owned company and while it imports many of its ingredients, uses locally grown or Aussie owned stock where it can.

If you're looking for spice blends that aren't full of filler, and "anti-clumping" agents, and want to support a small, local Aussie business providing a superior quality product, drop by their web site.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Noodle-y goodness

It's weird, the weather in Melbourne, at this time of year. Last Friday started out with torrential thunderstorms... poor Stella Bella Bottom Smeller and Mrs Peaches did their best jelly-dog routine. There's nothing like being woken by a clap of thunder AND a quivering dog's snout in your ear, both within milliseconds of each other, to REALLY start the day with a smile.

By the end of the day, we'd cycled through having the heater running, to nearly passing out with humidity, all the way across the spectrum into having the cooler on.

I mean, just what do you cook in weather like that??

I opted for noodles. Quick, easy... not too much time at the stove, easy to eat.. not to heavy in the stomach. Perfect on all counts.

I had a packet of rice sticks left over from last night's Yakatori Beef Salad, and a random bag of cooked and peeled prawns, so here's what I did.:

400g lean chicken mince
400g cooked and peeled prawns
2 green onions, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2cm piece fresh ginger (10g), grated
¼ teaspoon five-spice powder (or a mix of ground Szechuan pepper and star anise)
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh coriander
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh Thai basil
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Heat the sesame oil till smoking, add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook until softened, Add the mince and spices, and cook off until the mince is cooked thru. Add yourHoisin and fish sauces, and the prawns . Cook for 2 mins or until the prawns are heated through and add your herbs.

Cook rice sticks as per the instructions (takes about 4 mins). Drain thoroughly and add to pan. Toss a few times to combine, adding a slurp of soy if it starts to stick. (This is not a slurpy noodle dish, the end result should be quite dry)

Plate up and top with crushed peanuts or sesame seeds, and some spring onion greenery.

Monday 17 November 2008

Yakatori Beef Salad.

I was always under the impression that Yakatori (Yakitori)Chicken was a misnomer. Either the Yaka (i) or the Tori bit meaning "chicken", and the other bit "sauce". So Yakatori chicken would be like saying "Hamburger burger".

I always thought tori meant gateway, so what would I know. A quick Google search doesn't throw much light on the subject, either.

So I've refrained from calling this marinade Yakatori, and usually refer to it as my Japanese sake marinade, but it is, as you will see, the classic Yakatori. It works equally well with chicken, pork or beef, and with Summer almost here, it is an easy and classic staple to have, for those up-and-coming Summer barbies. Here's my take on it.

Get some serious steaks. Spend some money. These New York Cut Sirloins were from Kerrie Road Butcher, 6 Kerrie Rd, Glen Waverley, VIC 3150, (03) 9802 0857, my oft-touted local butcher, who sources his beasts from Cardinia. They were $26 for 2, but well worth the price.

You want a good fat marbling for this dish, and you want the steaks thick. The end result should be thick strips of beef, Malliard-ed to within an inch of their lives, and yet red and moist in the centre.

You're not going to get that with a minute steak, so suck it up, sell something on eBay, and buy the best steaks you can afford.

My original idea was to serve these on a sizzle platter (I know, how very 70's fondue of me!) with mirin rice and some spring onion curls, but the best laid plans and all of that. Furry decided to invite another couple down to Chez Fur for dinner. So I had to make my 2 steaks eek out for 4 people.

Voila, enter, pg's Yakatori steak salad!!

Yakatori marinade:

1/2 cup Japanese soy sauce
1/2 cup sake
1/2 cup mirin
3 tablespoons raw sugar
3/4 inch knob of ginger, cut into 3 bits
3 cloves organic garlic, smashed.

(Note: Furry nearly went mental at the per kg price of organic garlic... $42.95 per kg. One luscious little head, however, only came to $2.00!)

Combine all ingredients int a small, heavy-based saucepan and boil, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved, Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the sauce is thick and syrupy. Remove from heat, fish out the ginger and garlic bits and allow to cool.

**Cheats note: if you want to use a thickening agent on your sauce, use arrowroot, not cornflour.

Once cooled, pour 3/4's of the marinade over your steak/chicken/pork and leave for at least 1 hour. You can set aside some marinade as a dipping sauce, for later, if you wish.

I marinated the steaks overnight BTW.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a roiling boil and chuck in one packet of rice noodles. This was just what I happened to have at hand. You could just as easily use hokkien, glass, cellophane or mung bean noodles. Cook according to instructions. Drain well and refresh under cold running water. return to the pan, and add the reserved marinade, some chopped spring onions and some sesame seeds.

Heat a fry pan until blazing and fry or BBQ the steaks for 4 mins per side, turning only once. Set aside and allow to rest for 10 mins before slicing into strips.

While the steak rests, make up a salad of whatever the hell you have in the fridge.

To plate, add a handful of noodles, tip with a handful of mixed lettuce, some halved baby tomatoes, some julienned cukes and artfully arrange the warm beef strips over the top. Sprinkle with a few more sesame seeds and scoff.

Apart from the marinading, you can have this dish all ready to go in about 15 mins!!

Thursday 13 November 2008

No more badger's bum breath!!!

Yup, it's now nearly 3 weeks since I last inhaled. And it's been bloody hard. Both Furry and I started on the Champix nearly 4 weeks ago. The idea is that you smoke "normally" for the first 7-14 days, and then pick a day to give up. What we found is that once we started on the pills, we became much more aware of our smoking. And for myself, in particular, I realised just how many of my smokes were habitual.

Got to work, opened the practice, turned on the computer, unlocked the filing cabinet?

Yup, time to REWARD myself with a fag.

Finished an hectic patient session, taken 40 phone calls, replied to 12 idiot emails??

Yup, time to REWARD myself with a fag.

Not killed that 45th "We're not selling you anything, we're just dong a survey" unsolicited phone call??

Yup, I DESERVE a fag.

It was only when I stated really identifying nicotine cravings from perceived rewards, that I realised just how much I was relying on ciggies to break up my day.

And one of the things I have noticed over the last nearly three weeks, is that I have so much more time on my hands!!!

But the really amazing thing is my sense of smell and taste. Even when I was smoking 30+ ciggies a day, I had a pretty amazing sense of smell and taste, and yes, I heard all the hype about your sense of smell returning, but I really didn't believe it. But last night, my wonderful next door neighbour was cooking up a storm, and I thought I was going to swoon from the sheer overpowering goodness that wafted into my house on the wind! My house and office smell so much nicer, my clothes fresher, and food tastes so much better!

Also, I am apparently MUCH nicer to kiss now that I don't have morning breath like a badger's bum.

There are still times when I find myself getting up from my office and heading out to have a "weather check", without even knowing it, but it's about 3 months before the new habit of NOT smoking becomes really ingrained.

So that's my final say on it. I am bloody proud of myself for doing it. I still "crave" a fag several times a day, but I am not going to give in. And I am not going to turn into one of those fundie rabid anti-smokers, either. But if you drop by either CFdM or the House of Fur and Purple love over the next 3 months, please leave the fags in the car.

Monday 10 November 2008

I am an oyster snob.

We all know a noisy noise annoys an oyster. Ok. maybe YOU don't, but I have been waiting for MONTHS to use that.

Ok.. moving right along.


Oysters. Up until this past holiday, I thought they were preety much like wine, or art. All the nuance was in the eye... or in this case, the mouth of the beholder. Or the eater.


Recently, on our trip to Merim-Bueller, we got to taste a whole range of the local seafood. Which included the local oysters. I can guarantee these were as fresh as you are ever likely to get, as we saw them harvested and shucked directly in front of us.

And sadly, I was expecting ambrosia and all I got was "Meh" **insert Jewish Bubbu shoulder shrug**

Really, the damn things didn't taste any different from the oysters I get at my suppliers back in Melbourne.

They were nice, don't get me wrong, and cheap.. $10 a doz, but they sadly left me totally underwhelmed. After the Bruny Bay oysters I tasted at last years Slow Food Fest, the difference was palpable. Rather than plump, succulent morsels bursting with briney goodness, these were just flat. Flat as in not plump in shape, or flavour. Rather than a bold whack-in-the-face taste of the sea, this was a flat, pale imitation.

A real disappointment.

However, the region's seafood rep redeemed itself with the local Eden mussels, which I had served at The Aquarium Wharf Restaurant, in Merimbula. The reverse of the above. I had seen them at the Fisherman's co-op in Eden for $11 a kg, which was rather pricey when I can get Melbourne mussels for $2 a kg in season.

Newp. These mussels are larger and fuller flavoured than my local ones. While the Merimbula oysters were flat, these mussels were plump and luscious. More so than any other mussel I've ever tried. The Wharf Restaurant served them steamed in an Asian "soup" of Tiger beer, coconut milk, galangal, coriander and chilli. This dish was a first place tie for Best Lunch of the Tour, along with the open steak sandwich at Rockpool (at the Merimbula Bowls Club!).

Not only was the food outstanding, the view from the wharf restaurant was spectacular! Our waitress was teeling us that the previous week, they'd had whales frolicking just off the restaurant, but alas, none graced us with their presence that day.

Friday 7 November 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Merimbula. I thought it was God's waiting room. And to a certain extent, it is. One of the most amazing meals we had was at Rockpool... not the shi shi pooh pooh Sydnet one... Rockpool cafe, at the Merimbula Bowls Club! As in white hats, gentle clapping and Volvos kinda bowls club. In town, we were stunned by Cantina, at the top of Market Street, (02 6945 1085, 56 Market Street, Merimbula). We went there for breakfast on several occasions. Their Flamenco eggs (above) were a generous ramekin filled with eggs, chorizo, capsicum, local bacon and cheese, served with door-stop pieces of whole grain bread.

Free range poached eggs, organic spinach and tommies on whole meal.

My fave. Local Eden sardines, pesto-crumbed, served on whole meal toast with tomato/capsicum/bacon salsa.

And Furry's fave, the big breakfast. Home cooked baked beans. These were slow cooked with a ham hock, and light years away from anything you can get in cans.

The big breakky also came with the most amazing locally smoked bacon, marinated mushies, a bush pepper and tomato sausage, a pork breakky sausage, and a potato roesti.

Seriously fantastic local food, served fabulously well, with great friendly staff, excellent Byron Bay coffee.

Without doubt, the best breakky of the tour.

Stand by for the Bad and the Ugly.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Reason 19,614 why you SHOULDN'T buy crap.

UPDATE!!!! (23.10.08)

A couple of things. Firstly, I just received a call from the lovely Ria, from 7 Eleven. And yes, she apologised for the situation, particularly in my not having received a call before. Here's the thing. Because I reported the issue as a "past its use-by"complaint, it was dealt with as a stock rotation issue. And here's where I buggered up. As the luscious and canny Vida says in the comments section of this post, the youghurt was NOT a month past its use by. That big date in the photo? That's the date the product was packed. The youghurts use-by date was actually 09.10.08, the date it was purchased. So the youghurt wasn't out of warranty (just). I still reckon it's a bit bloody confusing, but I admit, I had my facts wrong.

It was however, still mouldy, so Ria will now be investigating the issue as a production problem.

I was offered a sincere apology (Did the lovely Ria know of my prediliction for a Scottish accent?? *le swoon**), some compo (err... not in the form of any foodstuffs, BTW!), and all is right in pg's little world.

And the funny thing?

Ria didn't follow up because of the original complaint. She followed up because "someone" alerted her to this post. ;)

Just more fuel for my permanent encampment on the Grassy Knoll **insert slighty nervous of Big Brother icon**

Ok, it's no justification, but I'm going to try anyway.

Life has been crazy busy. Crazy busy like I haven't had a day off in 26 weeks busy. Busy like sitting in the driveway, in the car, in tears, not wanting to come to work busy.

Hence that lack of posts over the past month. It's been the end of a very long and grueling professional crisis. That unfortunately spilled over into my real life. And affected my time and desire to blog.

So, it's all coming to an end soon, and Furry and I will FINALLY have some time off. In which we're going to recharge, fall in love again.. with food and life and each other. And hopefully, I will return from my 2 weeks in Merimbula with photos and blog posts galore.

So, to heart of this post.

With all the above going on, Furry has been shouldering most of the cooking at The House of Fur and Purple Love. And despite him conjuring up some AWESOME food, I just haven't had the wherewithal to photograph anything and plan posts. It also translates to a complete lack of interest in food. And believe me, when that happens to me, I am sick. Very VERY sick. So early on Thurday 9th Oct, I had once again forgotten lunch and decided to drop by a 7-Eleven and pick up something.

Berry yoghurt. Doesn't look too bad, does it? Sorta healthy. Better than a pie, right? Or one of their sammies that was probably put together some time last Millennium?

Newp. Wrong. None of the above. I purchase it, drive to the office, whack it in the fridge, get it out at lunch time and notice:

The use by date.

Check my dates again. I purchased this yoghurt at 7.25 on 9th Oct. That means it was exactly ONE MONTH past its use-by date. And see that weird looking discoloration on the right hand side??

Yup, you guessed it. Despite the seal being intact, THIS is what greeted me in my lunch.

Now, as well as being stressed at work and giving up smoking, I've got me a useless frickin' mouldy lunch, that has stunk out my office with the vilest odour you can imagine.

So I call 7-Eleven head office and complain. Someone tells me that someone else will get back to me. The day wears on, and no phone call. So I ring the local city council, who come and take offending yoghurt away, promise to look into the issue and get back to me.

And maybe cause I am currently a pre-menstrual, nicotene-deprived middle aged woman prone to ranting, but here's the thing.

AS OF TODAY, Tuesday 21st Oct, NO-ONE HAS.

I recieved one call on the Friday after this incident, where someone with an inteligible accent, from 7Eleven rang and took my name, my number, and where I bought the yoghurt. (The 7Eleven at 792-806 Heatherton Road Springvale 03 9562 3123, if anyone is interested). But no apology, no offer of a refund... NOTHING!!!

Not so much as a "By your leave". And no feed back from the Council, either.

But here's the thing that pisses me off. Not only were 7Eleven selling goods outside their use by date, not one single person from that organisation has apologised.

I'm not interested in a refund, I want someone to say "Oh, I am terribly sorry that happened, Ms Hall, and we've discovered a glitch in the store's checking of stock, and it has now been fixed. Thank you so much for bringing it to our attention"

And WHY does that make me feel so pissy? (apart from the stress and the nicotene withdrawl)?


Cos I find myself saying "In my day........." and wondering when basic human courtesy slipped away.

Cos I wold like to believe that a tub of youghurt ONE MONTH past its use by date is a once-off thing, and an honest mistake, but I find myself muttering into my twin sets, that it was more likely a grab for a fast buck ("Hell, no-one will notice, and it's still sealed, she'll be ok, mate!")

Cos of ALL the things I DON'T need right at this minute, is to feel like a GRUMPY OLD WOMAN.

And when a tub of, albeit it, mouldy youghurt makes me feel more righteous than Germaine Greer on Day 3, with a chocolate jones, then I KNOW it's time to get some down time.

Bah Humbug.

pg will be away from Fri 24th Oct to Mon 10th Nov. She will attempt not to bite the heads of small children, should they act like screaming gibbons in her presence, for the duration of her holiday. She will also attempt to "go to her happy place" should she encounter any Green P Plate drivers in Supra's with Remus exhausts, blaring out ooonce ooonce music, during the drive.

Thursday 2 October 2008

Mezze recipes


1 packet grape leaves
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
750g lean ground beef (or lamb)
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup feta (crumbled)
1 lemon (zest)
1 bunch of green onions (sliced)
1/4 cup dill (chopped)
1/4 cup mint (chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
* chicken stock
2 eggs
1 lemon (juice)

1. Separate the grape leaves and place them in a large bowl.
2. Cover the grape leaves in boiling water and let soak for 20 minutes.
3. Drain the water and rinse the leaves a few times.
4. Heat the oil in a pan.
5. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
6. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
7. Mix the onions, garlic, ground beef, rice, tomato puree, feta, lemon zest, green onions, dill, mint salt and pepper in a large bowl.
8. Place a grape leaf on a flat surface with the vein side up.
9. Place a tablespoon of filling in the middle of the leaf and fold the sides over the filling and roll the leaf up. Repeat until all of the filling is used up.
10. Place stuffed grape leaves into a baking dish in layers and just cover with chicken stock.
11. Bake in a175C oven for about 1 hour.
12. Whisk the eggs in bowl over a small pan of simmering water until frothy, about 3 minutes.
13. Slowly pour in the lemon juice while whisking.
14. Add some of the liquid from the baking dish and continue whisking until it thickens.
15. Mix most of the avgolemeno sauce into the dish with the dolmades reserving some for garnish.
16. Serve the dolmades garnished with the reserved avgolemeno sauce and some chopped dill and or mint.

(Courtesy of my old mate, Dimple Dots, in Canadia (sic))

Pide recipe:

Mix 250g of Self Raising flour and 200g of natural yoghurt. knead until elastic. Place in a bowl, cover and allow to sit for 30 mins.

Divide into rounds, roll out until 3-4mm thick and dry fry in a cast iron pan, or on a BBQ grill.

Ginger glazed shallots:

500g shallots, peeled and left whole.

Bring a pot of water to the boil, Turn off as soon as it hits boiling point and throw your shallots in. Leave for 4-5 mins, drain and run under cold water to refresh. Allow to drain well.

In a wok, bring 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil to smoking point. Add the shallots, Fry for 3 mins, or until golden.

Add a grated 2inch knob of ginger and 4 tablespoons of honey. Continue tossing in wok for another minute or so, until shallots are glazed with thickened mixture.

Allow to cool to room temp before serving.

Roasted Lemon Potatoes:

8 med Coliban potatoes (approx) halved
I cup water
Half cup olive oil
Half cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbs oregano
Salt and pepper to flavour

(I also add a clove of garlic, minced and some paprika for colour)

Preheat oven to 220c
Add all ingredients to potatoes and mix well
Bake approx 45-50 min (turn potatoes over half way through)
Add more water if needed

Tuesday 30 September 2008

My Big Fat Greek Dinner Party.

Pesky real life keeps getting in the way of important things, like blogging and 'Net surfing in general, so for all of you that asked, or provided suggestions, here is a pictorial of last weeks Big Fat Greek Dinner Party. Contrary to many suggestions, I DID go for a Greek theme, with a twist.

King island lamb stuffed with fetta, anchovies and semi dried tomatoes, on a bed of mint, rosemary and lemons, with kumara and pesto-stuffed vine tommies.

Ginger glazed shallots cooling.

blanched green beans with balsamic glaze and toasted almond flakes.

home made dolmades, ginger-glazed shallots, various mezzes, feta and home made pide in the background.

Before photos of pear, caramelized onion, fresh thyme and blue cheese tart.

After photo.

Friday 19 September 2008

Hey Rocky, watch me pull a wabbit out of my pan!

Joint a rabbit. Add a litre of veal stock, some bay leaves and some chats. Place pan in the dying embers of a wood-fired oven overnight. "Fridge the next day. When you get home, removed chats and bunny bits and warm gravy on the stove top, making sure to get off all the lovely crunchy caramelized bits on the bottom

Add a container of sour cream and some bacon bits. Add bunny back and chats back to pan to warm through, and serve.

I have to say, that despite the rabbit falling off the bone, it was very dry. My intent was to long slow braise it, yet I obviously overdid it. The potatoes, however, were INSANE! More proof of the maxim, "everything goes better with bacon... and sour cream"!!

Monday 15 September 2008

Cup Cake Crazy!

Trends. I don't like them. I've never been one to jump on the bandwagon... despite what my SOLE detractors say. **insert evil grin icon**. This has always served me well. The dolphin tattoo I so desperately wanted on my shoulder blade, at 16 is a good example. And yes, I know.. tatts on chicks are all de rigeur these days, but I remind you of my age. An Eastern Suburbs private school "gel" did NOT have tatts of dolphins, or anything else, back in 1981. And I will be eternally grateful to Smear, or Pronger, or whatever the kindly middle-aged ex biker tattooist that I approached that Summer, for telling me "don't ever get no tatts on ya bod that ya can't imaging being 98 and in a old people's home with."

Notwithstanding his advice, I DID get a slave chain tattooed over my hip whilst working for a feminist collective, in my 20's. The irony did not escape me.

So, to trends. I do not own any faux label handbags, designer cookware, and have never been to Kuta Beach. I have never skied (although I feel I'd do the apres bit very well), never been to a tanning salon or had a facial.

And I am rather chuffed about that in a middle-aged, aging lefty, hippy pagan kind of way.

Oh, and I was pagan LONG before "Charmed" and Fiona Horne, too.

So, to cup cakes.

They are everything I loathe about food. Trendy, American, fake, overhyped, overdecorated, overdone, overblown, sugary, girly and POPULAR.


The Grumpy Old Woman in me gets all "reach for the automatic weapon and find the nearest clock tower" whenever I hear about Crabapple Cup Cake Queen, or read yet another nauseating ode to cup cakes on Chowhound. If I never seen another cup cake on Tastespotting, I will die a happy, albeit it still grumpy, old woman.

EXCEPT.... 2 of my favourite people recently converged along the cup cake ley line. My Mum and my online mum.

It was Mater Beige's 70th birthday this past weekend. And I wanted to make this first big mile stone birthday without our beloved Hobbit, something REALLY special. And cup cakes are RIGHT up Mater Beige's alley.... for pretty much all the reasons I hate them.

And my darling online Mum, Vida, from Class Cup Cakes makes them!

So with righteous Nag Champa-scented lefty chakra Universal Dharma, I ordered the cheesiest, showiest cup cakes I could get my hands on, from Vida, for Mater Beiges birthday.

And here's the thing......


Seriously WonderFull!! Forget the stale Betty Croker mix with icing made from "icing sugar mix" and water.. these things are HEAVENLY.... I suspect that it's bacuse Vida makes them with such love and passion, but these little morsels are PERFECT!!

And what makes them so glorious is THE RATIO!!!... The ratio of icing to cake to mouthful is SPOT ON!!. No more too-much-cake-in-too-big-a-piece-with-not-enough-cream-cheese.

These cup cakes are DA BOMB! 2 perfect bites, each one with the Golden Mean, 1:1.618, the veritable Fibonacci sequence of icing and cake.

I am not so far gone, as to call it frosting yet, but I fear I have started on a slippery slope of trendosity, that may soon see me sporting a faux Chanel handbag and sipping a soy latte in Maling Road. But I fear, if Vida's cupcakes involved, I might gladly sell my soul, get a butterfly tattooed on my ankle and start having my eyebrows waxed.

I LOVE your blog!!

I have recently been tagged in this meme/award by two different sources. The first was Tammy from Girls Wear Blue Too blog, and more recently by The Awakened Heart over at The Divine Feminine blog.

Firstly MASS apologies to Tammy,.... beat me, whip me, call me trash, because pesky real life got in the way of me responding to your nomination. I grovel and beseech you to forgive me, and you can blame it all on Mater Beige's 70th birthday party, which I hosted this weekend. Hell, I am all for jumping on the patriarchal paradigm of blaming my Mum!!!

And TAH, Namaste and brightest blessings on you for reminding me of this honour. Cos that's what it is. When your peers tell you that you've done well, that you've impressed them, it's the Universe's way of letting you know that the path you're on is the right one.

Which then lead me to thinking... to whom do I pass this honour on to? Do I sycophantishly give it to bloggers that I percieve are "better" than me.. cos guys, it really is about loving you blog.. but the cynic in me probabaly thinks that Pim and Choc and Zucc, and Stone Soup get about 912 of these a week.

So here's what I am going to do. Now that the stress of the past few months is beginning to wane, and Mum's birthday is over, SOLE Mama's is up and running and I actually have more time, I am going to spend this week lurking around NEW blogs.. looking up NEW people, broadening my horizons and will pass the award on to new and exciting blogs that catch my eye.

Cos we're sprunging into Spring, and the time for the new is here.

Thanks again guys, and thanks for reminding me that even though this blog sometimes feels like an albatross, it's where I need to be headed. Thanks for reminding me that The Cycle has turned and the Dark of Winter is behind me. As surely as Demeter hears Persephone return, Winter will fall away and once more ideas and rants and tirades and silliness will bloom!

Onwards and upwards!

ED: Ok, My first award goes to Zoe at Progressive Dinner Party. Fun, sassy, irreverent, smart.. what's not to like. But she gets the first of these award for including the following line, in a recipe about Marinara:

That night I dreamt of a man who sacrificed his two unicorns and his soul to Bill Clinton, but I guess there are better ways to advertise that I have a loose concept of reality.

Wednesday 10 September 2008

An Ode to Duck Fat

image from /

Had we but world enough, and time,
Every dish would be made of thine!
We would sit down and think which way
To cook with thou, everyest day.
In the 'fridge, by the home made pesto's side
Shouldst there I find you.
Your vegetable love should grow
Vaster than braising, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
The sheen you givest to a red-wine glaze;
Two hundred to you and lemon zest,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, Duck Fat, you deserve this state,
Nor would I cook at slower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Hungry children hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of fast foodie-ty.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
in a Macca's chain, ne'er shall sound
Your oleaginous song: then worms shall try
That long preserved confit,
And your quaint flavour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust:
KFC's fine and private place,
But Subway, I think, do not you, embrace.

Now therefore, while the oleaginous hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy salivating tongue transpires
At every pore with wood-fired ovens' fires,
Now let us sautee while we may,
And we'll get to use our Le Creuset ,
Rather at once our Chats devour
Than languish in the slow-cooker's power.
Let us roll all our Rosemary and all
Our Maldon Sea Salt up into one ball,
And tear your pleasures with rough strife
Forgetting what you'll do to our cholesterol, for life:
Thus, though we bought you for a hefty price,
you'll go SO well with Arborio rice!

Apologies to Andrew Marvell.