Saturday 30 April 2011

Needful things

I'm not a particularly aquisitous person. I like beautiful things, but I don't often have a need to own them. I'm in the UK right at the mo (as evidenced by my STUNNING pic of The Crescent in Bath, above), so maybe the post shouldn't be 'needful' so much as 'meaningful things'

I was in Oxford the other day. At the Ashmolean. And with all the hooplah here over yesterday's Royal Wedding, the place was almost deserted.

I spent a full half hour alone with the Stradivarius's 'Messiah' (and if you have to Google that, you're an idiot who's parents clearly didn't love them enough to educate them properly and when my Revolution comes, you will be retrospectively aborted based on my drive-by eugenics programme, where stupid people will be dealt with al la 'Soylent Green')

**the irony that some people who read this will, in fact, google some of the above, simply out of envy and spite does not escape me**

Anyway, I digress.

I got the most delectable look from a docent, when I lay on the floor of the pre-Raphelites room, and just allowed tears to pour down my cheeks, all the while feeling just a little like Millais' Ophelia.

I saw a real kore (and silently thanked Miss Passmore for the finest classical education I could ask for)

Anyway, the point is, at no time did I actually wish to OWN any of these things. The mere fact that they exist in this world, and I have seen them with my own eyes is enough.

The fact that I didn't have to share the experience with anyone, let alone gormless American tourists or snotty public school children, was the gilding on the pre-raph frame.

**side note.I DID come across a gormless American couple in the Fauves Gallery, the woman declaring loudly I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE BIGGER. YOU KNOW, LIKE WE SAW IT ON THE TELEVISION'**


So, finally, to the point of the post.

When I relocated to PNG, I wrote a maudlin, rambling post on what I'd decided to keep and what I chose to throw away. Read it here if you are so inclined.

What I did choose to keep.after 45 years, those things I chose? They were MY needful things. Some were beautiful, some were practical.

And some were both.

And even further, some were priceless.

 And some, no matter how heavily insured they were, can NEVER be replaced.

You'd think a container filled with cups and saucers and glass bowls and vases.. well, you'd be a twat if you thought that you'd get it from Melbourne to Lae with no breakages.

So then, please tell me , oh moving company, WHY the only two items to be damaged, were my two most beloved, favourite NEEDFUL, irreplaceable things in the whole world?


My great-grandmother's marble pastry slab, used by 4 generations of women in my family, the slab on which I created my own wedding cake, the slab on which I knead the bread to make banana and nutella bread for my beautiful (step) daughter, the slab on which I taught my son to make chocolate cornets and pastry, and how to test the temperature of caramel, the slab I told the Herald Sun Food interview that 'In a fire, I'd rescue my slab before my children... and they know this and are perfectly alright with it'


Yup.You guessed it.


And the other thing those useless arse-wad, douchenozzle oxygen thieving ANKLES destroyed?

Two wrought iron table lamps given to me, bought for me,... CHOSEN for me by my beloved hobbit.

If you'd lined up every single one of my needful things, and picked the three I'd die for, well, the movers got 2 of them.


Friday 15 April 2011

kaukau chips

Take a meduim sized taro (kaukau) and chop it into meduim batons. War gloves, or the taro will make your hands itch like made.

Take one can of bully beef, or corned beef, (I used Ox and Palm) and smoosh it together with 2 eggs, some corn flour, some  chopped shallots until it form a slurry. Add the batons of taro and mix gently.

Deep fry tablespoons of the mix in vegetable oil until the taro batons are crispy and the batter is cooked through.

Sprinkle with salt and serve on a plaintain leaf.

PG is heading to BrisVegas for a few days, so hopefully the next few posts will be about mainlining icecream, pho and mushrooms.

Stand by.

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Once upon a time

 There was a poor lonely, unloved little compoud in Lae. Frankly, it was as boring as bat shit.

 It envied all the other compounds, with their lush tropical trees, rambutan vines, soursop trees and fragrant frangipanis

 All IT had was buxus hedge,9ft steel fences and razor wire.

 Until one day, along came crazy dim-dim mari wit buai gras bilong het.

 And her crazy Ninjah Puppeh, Bubbles the Glorious

 Crazy white lady started an orchid wall

 And had banana envy, of her neighbours garden

 So after a few false starts, and a feeble attempt by her nemesis the flowa boi, she managed to make all cat-piss-smelling buxus disappear and planted bebi shuga vines and lemon grass

 And pineapples. And rambutan vines, and vanilla vines

 And a small orphan pikinini called Abraham worked out pretty quickly that she was a sucker for a sob story and a pai of big sad eyes, and used to bring her flowa for her haus.

 And her orchid wall bloomed, just like she did.

And her greatest hope was that, one day, she'd be able to feed all her compound wantoks from their very own garden.

Monday 4 April 2011


Yesterday was Sunday, pretty much now my weekly "Get out of Dodge" day. This week saw me invited to a friends village. Bantu village is about an hour and a half away, in the Ramu Valley.

Once we got there, the village took me for  walk. It was truly on of the most majical experiences of my life, and photos will follow, but because this is a food blog, I'll just keep it on topic for a change!

So, here I am walking through the jungles of PNG, and I mention to the Hed Boss Man that I like to eat.

Quick as a wink, Peter... all 3ft tall and 4 years old of him, shimmies up the nearest tree...
See, this is what I mean by "no concept of organic" here. Of course there are commercial farming processes up here, but 100% of the fruit and veg you buy at the local markets are harvested and grown like in the photo. Self-seeded in the jungle surrounding a village, and harvested by hand, by pikininis.

and brings me a soursop, If you look closely at the pic, you can still see the sugar ants crawling all over it!
Now , I'd never tried a soursop. I've seen them at the markets, but didn't know what they were. 

They are delicious, a cross between a custard apple and a pineapple. Research at the National University of Colombia also suggests the soursop has strong potential anti-cancer treatment, which is kinda awesome, and SO much tastier than chemo.


I've saved the seeds, sacked the gardener, and I'm going to plant them in my little garden. Hopefully in a few months, I'll have some soursops of my own

The round-up on the bacon

Looked like bacon.
Felt like bacon.
Tasted like fatty, salty, burnt toast.


Got me another wodge of pork belly yesterday, with a better fat to meat ratio. Going to try a 3 day salt and herb dry cure, and source some hardwood chips, and only smoke it for 1/2 an hour.

Stand by.

Friday 1 April 2011

This little piggie....

went into my makeshift smoker about an hour ago.

I am absolutely of the opinion that a life without bacon is not worth living.  I am seriously considering marketing some of those silicone bracelets like those fatuous smug "I have an invisible friend in the sky to watches everything I do and judges it" nutters wear. Instead of WWJD. I'd have EGBWB. (Everything Goes Better with Bacon). Maybe a book. "Thursdays with Bacon".. a "tail" of life, love and loss based on the wisdom of cured piggy goodness. If they can have The Tao of Pooh, why not the Bhagavad-Gita of Babe.

Given my odd predilection for order and ritual, it's probably why I'm not Jewish. Well, the bacon thing and also kosher wine is crap.

But I digress.

The fact that 99% of my cooking utensils are in a shipping container somewhere in the Arafura Sea, AND the fact that I now live on a tropical island with no traditional smoking wood is a mere trifle.

A piffle, if you will.

I haz teh interwebz.

So, after finding out about boar taint, cold smoking vee  hot smoking, I've settled on the very delectable EssJayEff's tea smoking mix.

You can read

Because I want a long slow smoke, I've doubled the quantities. I lined a dodgy wok I picked up for $10 with about eight layers of foil, added the smoke mix..

 I also picked up a pizza tray, Have NO idea how or what pizza is made up here, as I haven't had one yet but this is a non-stick round tray with holes in it. It's a perfect fit on the wok, and will allow  a good flow of smoke over the soon-to-be-bacon.

I then used another pot and inverted it as the lid. It fits perfectly! It's been on the smallest gas jet, on low for about an hour now, and I'm just beginning to smell something akin to burnt toast. I will resist the urge to take a peek, and let you all know how it goes.


Ok, after much twitter discussion, I put the smoker over the biggest gas ring and cranked up the heat. This is because I took a peek and the meat was steaming, but there was no smoke. After about 5 mins on high, yes, there is indeed smoke!!

In fact,it smelled like burning toast! I panicked a bit. Burning toast flavoured bacon is NOT on my agenda, but I am assured by essjayeff that this is normal.

I couldn't resist the urge to peek and man, it looks and smells unbelievable!!! I took the opportunity to add a few slivers of cassia bark,just to sweeten it a bit.

So it's now back on the small burner, on low and it's smoking away happily. 

Dude, I'm making BACON!!!