Thursday, 6 February 2014

Kitchen Resolutions

And so we find ourselves properly in the swing of 2014.  Here in Australia we begin the year with terrifying heatwaves, politically incorrect clothing, boozy barbecues and the love-it-or-hate-it Hottest 100 playlist.
No contest - we're a country that knows how to burn things and party hard.

Many of us also start the year with hearts full of good intentions and minds backed by steely resolve.  I will.  I shall.  I must.  This year, I became one of them.  Because it's my year, dammit... and I don't just mean it in an aspirational Jerry-McGuire-ish fashion either.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

KThxBai 2013

No Christmas post - the reindeer has left the building.  No Birthday post - that should have been in early October.

It's not because I don't love writing.  It's not because I've stopped eating.  It's just... 2013 was a rollercoaster.  The kind that has you scrabbling in your seat, screaming in the wind and shaking afterwards, looking for a trashcan to heave your stomach contents into.
Some parts were amazingly great, others not so.  Some days were white Negronis, laughter and kind company.  Some days were espressos in succession, rounded out with a menthol cigarette and a raggedy soul.

From photoseries "Be A Woman" by Hanna Seweryn

But it's all learning though, isn't it?  And there was a lot of that.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

The Buffet Cart At Century's End

During the my placement for the final year of my journalism degree, I stole food - regularly.
It was the end of 1999 segueing into 2000 and my journalism placement was with a national news organisation in Malaysia.  My father knew the Managing Editor and nepotism opens a lot of doors.
It was also where the family home was and I was still a citizen at the time, even though we'd all held permanent residency in Australia since the late 80's.

Press events were often held at smart hotels (the Hyatt was the best) and there was always a buffet. Danishes, curry puffs, eclairs, croquembouches, miniature fruit tarts and tiny sandwiches were just... there. People just ATE.  Malaysia is food crazy, and there's no better way to entice the local press than with a generous spread.

Friday, 23 August 2013

The No-Brainer

You've got one.  I've got one.
In fact, between us we might just have a few.
If we sat down to chat about it (over a cup of tea and some fresh scones) we'd tally 'em up, realising that we've probably had more than just one or two.
That one in your old neighbourhood.
The other one near that place you used to work.
Another where you used to hang with the old crew from high school/college/illegal street-racing.

Food replicators - the key to digestive democracy? /image from 

It's the saving grace on a Friday night - the answer which benignly presents itself when we are blessed/cursed by dear friends as The Person Who Chooses The Restaurant.

Like Batman appearing when Gotham flicks on the Batsignal , the No-Brainer Dining Establishment is a proper superhero.  The gastronomic version of the Little Black Dress, it is versatile, interesting (but not too strange) and totally reliable.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

The Practical Applications Of Forensic Eating

Sunlight fills the restaurant.  It's one of those days that give hope for the potential spring to come; bright, crisp and sunny.  It is still necessary to don extra layers (we Melbournians are very fond of cardigans and blazers) yet cheerful enough feel the sun's warmth on your face, your nose, the tops of your ears.

Lunch is near it's end and today and I have dined solo.  It is not a heavy meal - a slice of pig's head terrine accompanied by good bread and a host of small pickled items - cornichons, walnuts, piccalilli and some type of onion relish.  

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Simple Cakes For Complex Times

Ch-ch-change.  Scary, no?  Economies churn, technology overruns, we change jobs and cars, we acquire new smartphones, pets and even the occasional child.  And don't even get me started on hair!
Mine went from auburn to pillar-box red and is now black/purple - ombre shades of Maleficent.

In the midst of madness, we find sanctuary in small things.  Now, I use the word 'small' with some hesitation - 'small' does not infer meaninglessness or unimportance.  Ever had your favourite tinned soup disappoint you with a "New, Improved Recipe!" or favourite nail polish discontinued?
Sure, it's technically a small matter... but it still feels big.  That kind of stuff stays with you.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Quick And Dirty Cake Post

There's been quite a bit of upheaval going on here at Casa De Panda (yes, Panda is my nickname, or Miss Panda if you're feelin' all curtsy-ish and formal).  The Supreme Overlord Of All He Surveys aka Manic The Cat got ill and died quite suddenly, and frankly I've been quite exhausted and unwell too.
All my food intolerance seem to have acted up and I am currently surviving on rice, natto, scrambled eggs and black tea.  I could kid myself and say I'm on a detox regime, but the truth is far more depressingly monastic.  Tea is wonderful, but what would be even more wonderful would be a creamy hot chocolate laced with Baileys and cream.

So this post is just mainly photos of cakes I baked last month.  While I've provided links for the recipe and icing for the tres leches cake, I absolutely promise I'll provide the recipe for the Alladin Sane-iced gâteau aux noisettes in my next post.  As for the black forest cake - it tasted delicious, but the recipe for it is quite temperamental and needs quite a bit of tweaking.
May I suggest we just enjoy it with our eyes?

Tres leches cake for Miss Izbit's 1st Birthday.