Tuesday 31 March 2009

Dobby, the House Elf

"This, sir?" said Dobby, plucking at the pillowcase. "'Tis a mark of the house-elf's enslavement, sir. Dobby can only be freed if his masters present him with clothes, sir. The family is careful not to pass Dobby even a sock, sir, for then he would be free to leave their house forever."

This morning, as I left The House of Fur and Purple Love, my husband, Furry, was doing the washing up.

In the nude.

For those of you who know him, you may well imagine this. For those of you that don't, imagine a portly, middle aged man, pretty much covered in body hair, standing at our sink, whistling tunelessly.

Now Furry often finds himself nude. He is well known for his streak at the Turrumburry Races, and even poor Auntie Linnie has had her eyes soiled, as she jogs past our house in the early morning, to see Furry standing in our picture window, rubbing his eyes and his "nethers" and farting, but to see him standing at the sink, nekkid bottie wobbling as he scrubbed last nights pots, gave me pause.

When I remarked upon his nude status he replied in best Lancashire accent "T' Missus, she's a dragon. Won't give me clothes to ware, keeps me chained at sink. Nary a stitch t'cover m'arse and work all day long scroobin' it is"

Please, dear reader, I beseech you. PLEASE FIND FURRY A JOB, HE'S DRIVING ME MAD!

In other news, with Furry's unemployment about to hit the 4month mark, and no prospects on the horizon, we're falling back on old frugal recipes to save some dosh. This weekend past, we made Mr Chang's Wombok salad.

Baby Bok Choy Crunchy Noodle Salad



1 bunch Baby Bok Choy
6 Green onions (spring onions) chopped 10mm lengths
100g packet Changs Crunchy Noodles (flat noodle)
100g chopped roasted cashew nuts


¼ cup white vinegar
2 tablesp soy sauce light
2 tsp Changs sesame oil
2 tsp Changs fish sauce
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup castor sugar

Remove individual bok choy stalk with leaves and wash well. Shred diagonally in slices 5-8cm wide. Place bok choy in serving bowl, add chopped green onions, and toss. Just before serving, pour over dressing, add nuts and noodles, toss well to combine.

To make dressing, combine all ingredients in bowl and whisk.

From www.changs.com.au.

And I had a bit left over, undressed (much like Furry) and some extra noodles. I quickly stir fried the cabbage/pine nut/spring onions. Added some chicken thigh pieces fried off in sesame oil in another pan. Add the salad dressing and a heaped tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter. Cook over high heat until peanut butter has melted, serve immediately on rice, and top with crunchy noodles.

A most excellent way to use up leftovers that otherwise would have been tossed.

Thursday 26 March 2009

Balnarring Market

Balnarring Racecourse, Coolart Road, Balnarring, Melway ref. 163 H9

Balnarring Market, sister craft market of the famous Red Hill Market, has only one more week left, this Market Season. Balnarring Market runs from Nov to April every year, at Balnarring Racecourse. The ROTARY BALNARRING RACECOURSE CRAFT, ART & FRESH PRODUCE MARKET is a Community Project of the Rotary Club of Hastings Western Port. All profits go back into community projects and includes projects for youth, aged care,the disadvantaged and the local CFA Brigades. Support local markets and you are supporting the local communities.

Markets are held every 3rd Saturday from November to April, from 8am to 1pm.

Balnarring Market is probably one of the most picturesque markets in Melbourne, the stalls are set out between the Manna gums, and Kookaburra's laugh at you as you shop. Last week, we purchased 2 blueberry trees for the garden (stand-by for 2 years and there'll be some berries), partook of a most awesome vegetarian crepe for breakkie, picked up all the fruit and veg we needed for a weekend for $10 and came home with an awesome geko sculpture for the front of Chez Fur.

Next Market (the last one for the season) is on April 11th.

See you there!

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Sunday Sundae.

Further more to my series on wonderful things to do on the Mornington Peninsula, I bring you the Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, a Mornington Peninsula institution. The kids can pick (and eat on the sly) while Mums and Dads sit back and enjoy a coffee... or in this case a FREAKIN" huge sundae. I had the Knickerbocker Glory, while Furry had a couple of Uber-Strawberries dipped in white chocolate, and Mme Mouse had the scones and jam platter.

They also sell an amazing array of strawberry products such as wine and freeze-dried strawbs. The kitzchy gft shoppe stocks various fondue sets, strawberry soap and incense, but at the end of the day, you're there for the sundaes!!

The Sunny Ridge property was purchased by Pietro and Rosa Gallace in 1964. Originally an apple and cherry farming area, it wasn't until 1968 that strawberries were first grown.

One of the couple's sons, Mick fell in love with the fruit and in 1975 it had become the dominant crop on the farm, which is now run by Mick and his wife Anne.

Currently the largest strawberry producer in Australia, Sunny Ridge now spans 350 acres of land with properties in Main Ridge and Boneo. The property now grows strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, and avocados.

Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm

Cnr Shands Rd & Mornington-Flinders

Main Ridge, Victoria, Australia 3928
Ph: +613 5989 4500

Monday 16 March 2009

Keema Korma?

It's our new obsession, Keema curries. After Furry's heart attack, he bought himself a Women's Weekly low fat cook book, and we've been wanting to try this Keema recipe for a while. And, as is our want, we took the basic WW recipe, ran it past our mates at Chowhound, Goggled for a few other variations and then made OUR version of it. The original recipe called for lamb stock, none of which I had on hand, and a quick search revealed that lamb stock is not readily available in shops. I was totally unaware that Keema is a style of curry. It's basically minced meat, some spices and vegetables, peas being pretty standard in a Keema. So effectively you can have a Keema Korma, a Keema Vindaloo, a Keema Karma, if you so chose! We had some excellent quality beef mince, courtesy of our local butcher, and some fresh peas from the Farmer's market, some chats from Toolangi and a hankering for something a bit diferent. Keema or Kheema is a Pakistani curry, and the "Keema" refers to the fact that the meat is minced. So, you could have a goat keema, a beef keema.. a chicken or a pork keema.
4 tblsp oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp grated, fresh ginger
2 potatoes, cut into 1 cm cubes
1/4 cup (60ml) water
750gms minced beef or lamb or pork
1/4 tsp each : ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground cardamom, ground turmeric
2 tblsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup shelled peas
1 tomato, chopped
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Saute onions until golden brown. Add garlic and ginger, saute for 2 minutes.
Add potatoes and water. Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
Add minced meat, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, turmeric, coriander, chilli powder and cumin. Stir over heat until water has evaporated.
Add peas and cook until curry is dry, stirring constantly.
Add chopped tomato just before serving.
Garnish with fresh coriander and fried shallots and serve over rice.
(pssst... left overs make great fillings for the toasted sanga maker, the next day!)

Friday 13 March 2009

Labour Day Weekend

.. So aptly named! Cos it was 17 years ago I spent the weekend giving birth to my very own Lima Bean!!! But, apart from a stunning high tea for his birthday (at which I forgot to take my camera), it was also a weekend of long, lazy mornings, and good food. So, here is the first in a series of half-a-dozen or so posts about my favourite place in the world, Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula

Flame tree in flower at Heronswood

We are blessed to have our holiday house, Chez Fur, so close to one of the Mornington Peninsula's greatest offering, Heronswood

Heronswood Dromana

Heronswood, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

105 Latrobe Parade
Dromana VIC 3936
Phone: 03 5984 7321
Fax: 03 5981 4298
Email: info@diggers.com.au
Website: Heronswood Dromana

Heronswood at Dromana on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula is a fabulous garden and the home of Diggers Seeds Club. You can spend hours just browsing around here, relaxing and looking at the view, the garden layout and rare and unusual plants. Its garden is a living catalogue of all the evergreen fruits and vegetables described in the catalogues and books. It is home to over 50 sub-tropical fruits integrated within flower borders.

At Heronswood there are five separate vegetable gardens and it is within these gardens The Diggers have rescued the best heirloom vegetables. The garden has extensive plantings of flowers, including perennial borders, dry climate and cottage, annual gardens.

Much of the delicious food grown in the garden is served in the wonderful slow food café so not only can you see all the wonderful and rare foods growing but you can taste them too.

Specialises in rare vegetables, flowers and fruits. The Heronswood garden is moving towards drought tolerant species and low water use, so it should be an inspiration for all gardeners. Plan your visit around a meal (with produce sourced from the garden) in the the award winning Heronswood Cafe - a great place to rendezvous with friends.

From VisitVinyards.com.au

Unfortunately, it being a long weekend, we couldn't get in for lunch, so we headed off to Trims, one of the loveliest, and relatively unknown gems on the MP.

Trim`s Of McCrae
691-695 Nepean Hwy
(03) 5986 1669
(Directly opposite the McCrae Lighthouse)

One of the reasons I love Trims, is that you can pretty much always get a table, their sandwiches and baguettes are INSANELY good and INSANELY cheap, and they also stock a wet chai. It's made by a local lady, and the staff at Trims guard the secret of their supplier very VERY closely. Forget the crap powdered stuff that most people use as the ubiquitous "chai latte", and try this stuff. The spices are all hand ground and bleded, and mixed with organic honey. The result is am amazingly heady blend of floral and spice notes. Furry had a BLT, I had a lean lamb burger, Mme Mouse had a tuna salad on a bagguette, with an orange juice, a wet chai and a Zabaglione-flavoured hot chocolate, it was less than $60!!

Thursday 12 March 2009

Not so arsey...

Ok.. a week and a bit into this Big Green Smoothie thing, and I have to confess... They don't all taste like arse. After a bit of trial and error, I have managed to find a couple of combinations that are actually very nice.

I think I went into this a bit gung-ho (who?? ME??!!). The key is to gradually up the green component. So I went back to basics with cos/romaine and watermelon

And It is really good!! You can't taste the lettuce, so it's pretty much a fruit-flavoured smoothie... that happens to be lurid green!!

Well whizzed, it's got a consistency of V-8..

Next, I bought a cheap blender, and I take my veggies and fruit to work, and I am replacing lunch with a smoothie.

Another winning combo was cos/romaine, grape and apricot. I find the fibre of the lettuce really fills you up, it's cheap and it's quick. I've also been adding a knob of ginger for kick.

And while it's probably nicer on the palate to eat all the different ingredients separately, I (for one) am highly unlikely to sit down to a lunch of a whole head of iceberg, an apple and 2 bananas.

But, my star-sign must clearly have Taste in retrograde right now, because on Sat night I had Mater Beige, Uncle Maximus, Auntie Linnie, Em and Stew over for dinner. I thought I'd do something a bit different, and cook Mater B's fave veggie.. the much maligned Brussels sprout. I've blogged about them, I've searched Chowhound for recipes to make these damn things palatable, and finally I went for the culinary concept of ETGBWB. (Every thing goes better with bacon)

Newp. Roasted in duck fat and bacon, until just caramelized, these things STILL taste like arse. Ask Em. She agrees.

Tuesday 3 March 2009

you know that Pearl Jam song???

ohohohohohohoohohoh I'M STILL ALIVE, heyyyyyyy

Well just call me Eddie Freakin' Vedder, ok?

So, yes.. yet another post about my weight and weight loss.

leave now if you're bored.

Here's the thing.

I've been bemoaning my 15kg of lard since Ex-Mousse, and while I have changed a few things in my diet and increased my exercise a little, I really haven't seen much change in my weight.

And it's a little disheartening.

So, I've been listening to on-line friends talking up the benefits of eating raw food.

Don't panic, I'm not about to get all vegan on you, and I am pretty clear that my predilections lie in the "dead things on plates, with sauce" department, but I am willing to give anything a red hot go at the moment.

So I thought I'd give the Big Green Smoothie Challenge a go.

What is this, I hear you ask, fascinatedly?

It's the idea that we don't get nearly enough of the nutrients in green cellulose plants, and by turning them into a smoothie, and adding fruit, we can become healthier.

My luscious friend Lucy over at Rawkin' ("Goodbye Beer, Hello Broccoli!") has an awesome video on her site that explains more.

So off I toddled to my local organic grocer, and bought a bit of pretty much whatever took my fancy.

Did a handful of spinach, a stick of rainbow chard, some apricots, some blackberries, a yellow peach, a banana and some mango.

Tasted pretty much like arse.

Added another banana.

Tasted like thickened banana flavoured arse.

Going to try it AGAIN tonight with cos/romaine.

Cos it looked like end-stage ENT cancer mucous and tasted pretty much like you'd imagine blended spinach and banana would taste.

Like arse.

with blackberry pits in it.

So, once again, call me Eddie Vedder. ok?

Furry's agreed to do it with me.

For a fortnight.

Yippee... A fortnight of arse flavoured infected sinus coloured smoothies.