Monday, May 18, 2015

This week's compost



Had a splendid time doing brekkies for choristers over the weekend at Stroud. Found the triffic Two Men and a Pumpkin Farmgate which runs on Saturdays at Stroud Road (no, that’s NOT a road in Stroud but the next town up toward Gloucester so named, I think , cause that’s where the railway station is for the area). Loved the produce I grabbed for our last brekkie, a sample of which is my pic for this week. I mean, how fab to find somewhere away from the Big Smoke that grows turmeric, lemon grass, and – wonder of wonders – arrowroot!. Check out their FB page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Two-Men-and-a-Pumpkin-Farmgate-Roadside-Stall/220948054776161?fref=ts and you can check out Limestone Permaculture, one of the two men at https://www.facebook.com/LimestonePermaculture

Week of Tastes
The indefatigable Helen Campbell is again running the Week of Tastes this year and needs taste presenters for some schools who want to be involved. They can be chef, baker, pastry, cheesemaker, providore, etc as long as they work with a quality product. There are Sydney schools and regional NSW schools. Allons! Below is a list that she would love to fill so if you have any suggestions, please get in touché avec ella (or something Francais like that J The numbers after the names are how many presenters I need. I myself have put my hand up to bring spice knowledge to the darlings of Darlington. I did it a couple of years ago and it was triff J

1.      Boggabri (halfway between Narrabri and Gunnedah).. 1
2.      Booligal (80 km north Hay)… 1
3.      Cudgen ( just near Kingscliff)…1
4.      Dubbo West..2
5.      Junee North… 1
6.      Kentlyn (near Campbelltown)… 1
7.      Kinchela (between Kempsey and South West Rocks)… 2
8.      Medlow (Taylors Arm, 40 km from Macksville)…. 1
9.      Niangala (75 km from Tamworth, 75 km from Walcha)…. 1
10.  Chisholm ( just east of Maitland) I think I have Morpeth Bakery for this.
11.  Tuntable Creek (just out of Nimbin) … 1
12.  Wellington (50km SE of Dubbo)….  2
13.  Wilcannia… 1

And within Sydney:
1.      Bligh Park – 8 classes, so I will need 4 people! Just near Windsor
2.      Lalor Park (Blacktown)… 2
3.      Kingsgrove… 1
4.      Parramatta West… 2
5.      Wheelers Heights… 2
6.      Allambie Heights… 1
7.      Mount Pritchard (near Liverpool) … 3
8.      Padstow… 2
9.      Werrington County (Penrith) … 2

Helen can be contacted via Helen Campbell [hcampbel@ihug.com.au]

Why recipe less cooking is the next big thing
Everyone’s grandma did it, and now chefs are encouraging a new generation to do it. They want you to cook without a recipe.’

Except they don’t. The links to the pot roast and the soup will take you to pages where  - surprise surprise – you get narratives that tell you what to use and how to use them. Now call me pedantic, but that’s a recipe as far as I’m concerned. Sure, it doesn’t have ingredient in a list with specific quantities – except in the pot roast not-a-recipe you do get told how much of a couple of things you need. But as we know quantifying like this is a relatively recent approach developed to fill a very specific need. Interestingly most of the comments are very much along the lines of OFFS and some are hilarious: I particularly liked ‘Didn't Nostradamus have people cooking without recipes as one of the signs of the end of the world?’.



An Illustrated Field Guide to Modern Day Foodies (from Colin Sheringham)


It being US I don’t get all the references but I recognise several local varieties of the species.

How can we get street food back onto the streets ?
‘The principle that, in order to thrive, street-food traders need to work together to attract a crowd, is well established. Any romantic notion foodies may once have had about seeing lone food vans operating across our cities, offering a cheap, colourful alternative to the high street, remains a distant dream. Instead, the scene is all about collective action.’

I think this article misses the real obstacles entirely as to why street food will never have the presence in Australia that people romanticise for it and those are hygiene legislation driven by fear of litigation and fanned by cultural and class prejudices.



Saturday, May 2, 2015

This week's compost






The olives above are from a tree in Greenwich that Cherry Ripe alerted me to. Her friend Helen was selling up and moving north and there was a small window of opp before the new owners took over. Heavens knows what they thought when they arrived and found no olives on a tree that days before was all bright green and purple with fruit. I've given away bagfuls and put up a good couple of kilos for myself. I use a method passed to me by Maria Kelly who got it from a long line of Kytherian picklers, If you are interested you can find it at http://www.buthkuddeh.com.au/index.php?pageid=3355  - look for Pickling Olives in the drop down. I love the recipe because it depends heavily on the makers discretion as to when to move from leeching to brining and when to then move from brining to putting up.

This Morbid Artist Serve Her Cake with a Side of Death
The macabre and beautiful work of Annabel de Vetten.

http://munchies.vice.com/articles/this-morbid-artist-serves-her-cake-with-a-side-of-death

The Diet Myth
‘Drawing on the latest science and his own research team's pioneering work, Professor Tim Spector explores the hidden world of the microbiome and demystifies the common misconceptions about fat, calories, vitamins and nutrients. Only by understanding how our own microbes interact with our bodies can we overcome our confusion about modern diets and nutrition to regain the correct balance of our ancestors.’

I love my biome, even if I am not entirely sure what’s in there. So I am pleased to draw your attention to this book, courtesy of Helen Greenwood.

WTF – NMTF
‘The UK’s only national body for market and street traders, events retailers and mobile caterers – with FREE liabilities insurance!’

Sorry, but I couldn’t resist the acronympun. Came across the National Market Traders Federation  - NMTF – in the UK. It’s been around for 100 years in Yorkshire apparently begun by a bunch of traders not impressed by a leaking market hall roof and the high charge for using railway station cloakrooms. What’s the Oz equivalent and does it include street traders and ‘mobile caterers’?


Netflix reaches peak food porn in Chef’s Table
‘Of course, one of the biggest problems the series faces is that there are really only a handful of celebrity chef narratives, and most of them go like this: a tortured genius who trained hard in classic techniques uses that basic technique to break out and carve their own voice. The conflict comes from the establishment, which is, at first, outraged by the young upstart’s disrespect for the cuisine. Nobody comes to their restaurant at first, but eventually the chef is given the recognition they deserve. Heard that one before?’

Not as far as I am aware all that common a narrative, actually.  This piece by Ben Neutze is a tad try-hard-iconoclastic- which I guess befits its medium – Crikey. John Newtown argues for a more reasoned consideration of what Dan Barber of Blue Hill gets shafted with.

I’d be tempted to watch the series except Optus refuses to package Netflix for me as an existing customer of theirs who doesn’t have a landline with them despite that I have a mobile, tv and broadband with them – don’t ask.


You say yarwar I say beetroot
From Colin Sheringham:

‘The Yawar potato hails from the Andes and has burgundy skin and a deep red flesh - hence its name, a Quecha word meaning blood.’

Love to see it hit the markets here and be served to the unwary diner by one of the ‘celebrity chefs’ Ben Neutze disparages. Gees, they won’t even have to push the envelope in describing it.



French toast: The pudding of 2015?
‘But the winner of this modern-day toastathon has to be the Bone Daddies Shackfuyu version. Or – to give it its full name – the “kinako french toast with Matcha soft serve”: a dish that attracts comments positively overflowing with hyperbole’.

Okay, listen up you shackofloozies – much around all you like with French toast, but TOUCH blancmange and I will come gunning fer yer! And French toast isn’t even French anyway – quel surprise!



Friday, April 24, 2015

This Week's Compost

A friend found and lent me the Wellbeing Food edition of 2009, edited by the erstwhile John Newton. In his editorial, John writes, as others have similarly in other instances:

 

‘We’re so distant from instinctively understanding what to eat and when to eat it that , for many, food is a problem to be solved, not a pleasure to be enjoyed.’

 

This set me wondering, has anyone done historical work on when, why and for whom this disjuncture can be said to have first occurred and tracked the forces through which it became increasingly true for more and more sectors of society? I am probably not phrasing the question well, but for example, did you average feudal lord instinctively know what to eat and when to eat it, or did he depend on what his peasants grew? Did alienation of land lead to alienation of knowledge? Did all those rural workers who moved into the cities as industrialisation proceeded undergo some kind of memory malfunction that they passed on to their progeny?

 

I’d be interested in your thoughts or directions to where I might turn to get some insight on this.

 

Cooking with sea water – is it the best way to season food?

‘The secret, says, Joaquín Baeza, who won Spain’s “Chef of the Year” contest in 2014, is that there’s no table salt added at all. Instead, he cooked the rice in a diluted seawater solution. It’s a tradition that has been practised in coastal villages for centuries, and espoused, particularly for seafood, by big-name Spanish chefs such as Ferran Adrià and Quique Dacosta.’

 

Anyone spotted an Oz restaurant trending on this? I must admit that oysters fresh shucked and slurped with that salt water and slightly metallic tang are vastly preferable to oysters any other way.  And the salt water cheese I once made was excellent. Haven’t knowingly eaten anything else cooked in seawater, but I am certainly up for a taste test, and on more than a potato.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2015/apr/21/cooking-with-seawater-season-food-spain-la-sal-perfecta?CMP=ema_632

 

 

TEDxSydney – Rebellious Food Program

Food rules can be subtle, strict, considered or unconscious – and we’ve all got them. We acquire food preferences in childhood, add limits as we grapple with our nutrition, make financial decisions about what we can afford to eat, and adjust our approach to food to reflect our political and ethical beliefs.... Well, it means that things might get a little uncomfortable for anyone not accustomed to entomophagy (i.e. the practice of eating bugs). Also included under the umbrella of 'forgotten' or 'rebellious' foods are lesser-known parts of animals, things generally considered to be pests, and party foods that we all loved as kids (but have since eliminated from our diets along with other kinds of sugary carbs).’

 

I can’t make it  well, I couldn’t afford the TEDx fee anyway – but I would love to hear how it goes.

 

http://tedxsydney.com/site/item.cfm?item=5E2430230CA547F5DAE6A54DE0F83944

 

 

Heshani and family cook Sri Lankan

This lovely family emailed me and asked me if they could use my grandmother’s recipes for some of their home cookery videos. I said it would be fine if they said where the recipes came from and linked to my online version of Ada’s recipe book. I love their videos. :) This is the first from Ada’s cookbook.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFyUMNIKiOc

 

 

The quiet revolution: sustainable food movement flourishes in suburban backyards

In one of those ooogy booogy coincidences on the same day this story was in the Sydney Morning Herald mentioning a couple who have made  ‘a stored heat cooker’ ie. a modern version of a hay cooker that I have been fascinated by for some time, using recycled polystyrene, a mate of mine posted on Facebook that he had 8 sheets of polystyrene insulation to offload for free – I was too late to take up the offer L But I did find a site which details how to make one and will be scouring the streets for cast offs during the next Council clean up.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/the-quiet-revolution-sustainable-food-movement-flourishes-in-suburban-backyards-20150417-1mdsmj.html

 

http://www.underthechokotree.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=272:a-new-stored-heat-haybox-cooker&catid=36:cooking&Itemid=54

 

Grocery Store Wars

Don’t know how you will go with opening this link – but it’s worth trying J

 

https://www.facebook.com/DavidAvocadoWolfe/videos/vb.102515706511/10152692602336512/?type=2&theater

 

Robot Chef

New Scientist 18 April 2015 reports:

‘A robot chef can rustle up a crab bisque, seemingly on its own. The system, created by London-based Moley Robotics, tracked a former MasterChef-winner’s hands in 3D as he prepared a dish. Two robotic hands then recreated every move in a specially designed kitchen. The firm hopes to have a commercial version in two years’.

 

But then, I thought all those contestants on MasterChef were emotobots anyway?

 

And then by chance Colin Sheringham sent me this which again I hope you can open (I am technically dumbo on how to get a vid url from someone’s FB page if it isn’t clearly youtubed or such).

 

https://www.facebook.com/prejithprabhakaran/videos/738204232931464/

 

Food thinking

‘Bikes, phones, clothes all get old, but food leaves enough room for constant reinterpretation. This doesn’t come from scratch, but is nurtured through media transforming cooks into celebrities and food into cult. Food is the new status symbol and it's replacing the old ones and is changing the consumers' mindset.’ 

 

Thanks also to Colin for linking me to this site. The ideas won’t be particularly fresh to anyone immersed in foodways, but the images are not predictable nor are the snippets from people interviewed, and the approach to food writing on the net is exciting, breaking away from the blog or essay.

 

http://www.food-thinking.com/

 

 

Paul van Reyk

253 Trafalgar St.

Petersham 2049

PO Box 221

Petersham 2049

Ph: 0419 435 418

Email: pvanreyk@optusnet.com.au

www.paulvanreyk.com.au

 

‘"You must never lose your beautiful sense of outraged injustice. alright? Keep it informed and challenge it, but never lose it."

 

First Dog on the Moon

 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

This Week's Compost




This week's header pic is of my mates Tanya and Saul at the first firing up of Saul's new barbecue structure. It had been raining and Tanya and Saul thought that it would  be good to have some kind of cover over the fire for the night so people could sit around it. Saul headed back to his house and three hours later returned with what I immediately christened the Little House on the Barbie. Saul's a blacksmith who has done fit outs for places like the Bourke Street Bakery premise in Marrickville. He does things like the Barbie House off the top of his head. What you can't see is that under the roof is square metal frame that holds it up; the minute I saw it I thought - smoking, as did Saul, So I put a grill over the frame and we whacked some sausages on and six hours later we had excellent quick smoked sausages. There are also chains which you can just see dangling down in the middle that we will use next time for hanging a sop or stew pot. Our next project will be an earth oven dug into the side of the hill around to the right of the big rock you can see.

Queered by quinces
That got you in, didn’t it. Well, nothing salacious to follow. Just a question: why no matter what I do do my quinces NEVER go red when I poach them?

More on Cornish Pasties in Oz
Barbara Santich writes: The Australian version of pasties includes pumpkin - or trombone; that’s the distinguishing feature. At McLaren Vale a bakery advertises ‘Butternut pasties’.

Alison Vincent contributes this:
The biggest Cornish pasty celebration is here in Oz
And there is an interesting paper about the Cornish pasty in Michigan in the proceedings of the Oxford symposium 2000, Food and the memory ( passionate for the pasty, Leslie Cory Shoemaker).
What I don't know is whether Wicken, Pearson et al did have recipes for Cornish pasties.
Perhaps Charmaine or Jacqui knows the answer?

I could find nothing in Wicken via Muskett.

Why Vertical Farming Could Be On The Verge Of A Revolution - And What's Keeping It Down

‘What’s holding many farms back is the struggle to simultaneously increase their yield-per-square-foot and decrease the cost of production -- particularly the cost of powering round-the-clock lights, which is high... Harper also questions whether consumers will embrace produce grown in such an unusual and unfamiliar way. “People are incredibly sceptical of science and technology in food and are scared of it,” Harper said. “How do we talk about that? Will people accept or understand it, and ultimately will they buy it?”


 Show of the Week; Rachel Khoo’s Cosmopolitan Cook and Poh & Co
In the end what these shows offer is escape from death cults and murder and politicians dedicated to the art and craft of deception and blame. Along with handy hints about clarifying butter and keeping fish cakes in the freezer they offer respite.’

Larissa Dubecki in reviewing the new seasons of two tv cookery shows in The Guide, Sydney Morning Herald, March 20, 2015.

It’s a tad overstated, I reckon, and I’m not convinced that this is such a recent phenomenon as she suggests. Nor am I convinced by Delia Smith’s declaration as reported in this review that ‘her TV career was over as the genre has inextricably shifted from education to entertainment’. What was Graham Kerr and Bernard King, and even, let’s be honest, Ian Parminter if not entertainment? I never saw Julia Child’s show so I have no idea how much less hers was about entertainment than education either. There is more I think in Dubecki’s other assertion that ‘..it no longer cuts the mustard to offer mere cooking skills. The new wave of food stars must offer their lives’. Though again I wonder from when we can date this happening. Any suggestions?



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Smell of Democracy Part 2

This came to my attention after I had done the earlier posting.


Then this happened:

‘Last week The (un) Australian published an article which asserted certain facts about The Australian Greens party. At the time we took the decision to publish, we were of the view that the name of the website, the description of the website contained in the “About” section and the tone of the article was such that a  reasonable person would infer that the article was satirical.
Regrettably a large readership took the article at face value and initiated an online campaign against The Greens just days out from the NSW state election.
As a result of this campaign, legal proceedings have been initiated against The (un) Australian alleging deliberate misinformation published by us had an adverse affect on results of the state election.’


The site has now stopped publishing.

I seriously doubt that it had much of an impact on the Green vote. I suspect that anyone who was part of the online campaign would have had it in for the ‘feral Greens’ in the first place. However, I will keep an open mind and watch for and report developments.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Smell of Democracy:The Australian Election Day Sausage Sizzle




My mate Felix posted the following on his Facebook page on the morning of the NSW State Election in March 2015:

Remember, before you vote tomorrow, think first * ....
* oh..and find a good sausage sizzle....’

What a very Australian suggestion, I thought. As you can vote at any polling booth you like, casting an absentee vote if the booth is not in your electorate, it seems entirely reasonable to make the best of what many see as a chore, compulsorily voting, particularly when you don’t want to vote for any of the candidates on offer, by using it as an excuse for indulging in what Barbara Santich rightly points out, is an Australian ‘simple culinary classic’, a sausage sizzle.[i] As one friend put it in response to a Facebook callout from, me intrigued with whether others were similarly minded as Felix:

We, as a family, were Very Disappointed to find that our local high school had not embraced the opportunity to cash in on a dedicated audience for sausos, bacon egg rolls or even biscuits, slices & cup cakes (as they did for the last Fed elections).  Without the anticipation of homemade treats, sausage fat, onions & plastic bottles of tomato, BBQ or sweet mustard sauce, the voting experience was soulless, flat and dull, and the school grounds desolate and characterless. Duty done.’

Sausage Sizzle Darlington Primary School.
Photo courtesy of Fred Oberg
What is this sizzle thing? Here’s is Santich’s description:

‘The sausage sizzle is a uniquely Australia variant of the barbecue and almost by definition a public event – no one would ever invite friends to  sausage sizzle at home, even if the identical foods are cooked and eaten. It can be set up anywhere, from the beach to the supermarket car park, to feed large numbers of people cheaply, free from the annoyance of smoke.  The ingredients and equipment are absolutely basic; a large hotplate, typically gas heated, plus a vast supply of sausages, sliced onions, sliced white bread, and unlimited tomato sauce. Offering mustard, barbecue sauce and other nods to gastronomic fashion is considered to lift the status, but only by a notch... And like any simple culinary classic, it lends itself to countless variations – even soy sausages fit the standard formula.[ii]

The particularity of its public persona is that the Aussie sausage sizzle is most often used for fundraising for community or charitable projects. Churches have always been big on it to raise funds but also to welcome new parishioners and inveigle the locals into the churchyard if not the church. Schools have incorporated it into their fetes, P & C mums and dads taking revenge for cuts to education spending as they char the skins of several kilos of fat pale pink blobs donated by the local butcher. And what Saturday shopper has not been assailed by the smell of caramelising onions and the hiss of sausage fat as it hits the briquettes outside Bunnings.

Just when the sizzle became such a fixture of the Australian culinary landscape is unclear. While putting a sausage or other piece of barbecued meat and blackened onions between slices of carelessly buttered bread and dousing it with a sweetened sauce has been a long-standing favourite of the backyard barbecue Santich suggests that the term sausage sizzle, and, I venture by extension the event itself, ‘seems to have come into prominence around 1980.’[iii] Their association with polling days may have come at the same time or perhaps a little later. Another friend posted:  

I've been doing polling booths for the greens for nearly 20 years now and l reckon they've really taken off on election days in the last 10.’

Santich suggested that the connection is an extension of the practice of running cake stalls at polling booths.

       Cake Stall at Darlington Primary School.
Photo courtesy of Fred Oberg
‘Once upon a time, before we were born, and before we were old enough to observe, women had time (and will) to make cakes, biscuits, jams, etc for worthy causes. Today the worthy causes start by buying the cheapest sausages, sliced white [bread] and tomato sauce from the nearest supermarket.’[iv]

Whatever its beginnings the sizzle has become an integral part of election day, so much so that
Queenslander Grant Castner set up the Election Sausage Sizzle Site in 2010.[v] Some 323 were registered with his site by 8am on polling day stretching along the East coast from Ballina, near the Queensland border in the north, to Pambula, just shy of the Victorian border to the south, and as far West as Goolgowi, around 650 kilometres west of Sydney.

The function of the election sizzle remains raising money for charities, not for political parties as perhaps might be expected.

‘Hoxton Park High School, a sausage Sizzle and coffee bar run by the students, to raise money to "trendy up" the school’s student run cafe, where they love to "extract money from the teachers”.[vi]

 I did postal vote in Bellingen before I came to Sydney. I'm staying in Pyrmont and my hostess just went to vote up the road. She said the sausage sizzle was to raise funds for the local Men's Shed.’[vii]

Not every polling booth has a sizzle.

' I vote at the Masonic Hall. There is no sausage, no food of any kind and no water.'[viii]

At Marrickville Town Hall where I vote, electors are similarly maltreated. This year, for the first time in my 25 years of voting here, the church around the corner took advantage of this and held a sausage sizzle on a grander scale, throwing in a cake/coffee/tea stall, a DJ, and a jumping castle. Directions to it helpfully were chalked on the footpath from the Town Hall to the churchyard.

But where there is a sizzle, its popularity is attested to by the disappointed late voters.

‘Nothing left by the time I went to vote!’[ix]

‘Well, no sign of the sizzle at Belmore South PS at 3:30, though they'd left their sign up, which drew me in. Not good.’[x]

‘As to the sausage sizzle - you obviously need to get there early. At 2pm all you could get was the last three bits of sausage, two bacon and egg rolls and one bacon only roll AND you had to pay $4 each for them! And this is in an electorate that voted for the Greens - middle class aspiration in spades!!’[xi]

That last comment points to the growing sophistication of Santich’s ‘simple culinary classic’. The humble cake stalls remain - though none of my correspondents commented on whether here too the offerings are increasingly sophisticated.

‘Great site to find a sausage sizzle on Election Day next weekend. If you are in The Shire, come on down to Sylvania Heights Public School. Cast a vote, enjoy a sausage sanga or bacon and egg roll, wash it down with a cappuccino, then head off home with a plant and a homemade cake.’[xii]
 
‘We always vote at Erko Public. Their menu changes through the day, they had pancakes and brekkie rolls, then the classic sangas etc through lunch, cake and lemonade stalls, even Erko Love t-shirts.’[xiii]

Perhaps the clearest indication of the cementing of the place of the election sausage sizzle in the Australian culinary landscape, however, is captured by this respondent to my call out:

‘MKR hero Colin Fassnidge manned the BBQ at Malabar Public. It'd be interesting to know how the voters ranked the sausage sangers /10. ‘[xiv]

Fassnidge Instagrammed a picture of himself tonging said sausages.

Equally, the enshrining of the sausage sizzle as part of the Australian political landscape is captured by Australia Street Infants School in Newtown promoting its sizzle with a sign that declared:

‘The Smell of Democracy. Eat a sausage on State Election Day and support your local school’

Australia Street Infants School.
 Photo by Paul van Reyk


[i]Santich, Barbara Bold Palates. Australia’s Gastronomic Heritage. Wakefield Press, Kent Town, South Australia, 2012 p146 - 149
[ii] Santich 2012
[iii] Santich 2012
[iv] Barbara Santich in a personal communication with Paul van Reyk 30th May 2015
[vi] Respondent to the author’s Facebook call out for experiences on the day
[vii] Respondent to the author’s Facebook call out for experiences on the day
[viii] Respondent to the author’s Facebook call out for experiences on the day
[ix] Respondent to the author’s Facebook call out for experiences on the day
[x] Andrew Brownlee posting in snagvotes on Faceboook, an adjunct to the Election Sausage Sizzle site
[xi] Respondent to the author’s Facebook call out for experiences on the day
[xii] Todd Brunton posting in snagvotes on Faceboook
[xiii] Respondent to the author’s Facebook call out for experiences on the day
[xiv] MKR – My Kitchen Rules, a highly popular cooking competition program on Australian television. Dublin born Australian celebrity chef Fassnidge was in his third year as one of the judges in 2015.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

This Week's Compost




The Election Day Sausage Sizzle
Having been alerted to this phenomenon by two Facebook friends of mine, I wondered what the experience of you foodways aficionados is of these events. I vote at the Town Hall and there is no sausage sizzle on the pavement outside, but the church just around the corner was putting one on, jumping castle, DJ and all, with chalked signs on the footpath directing people to it – tho I suspect most custom was from the congregation and not voters fanging for a sanger. [See pic above] It’s becoming bigger than Ben Hur it would seem. The Sydney Morning Herald ran an article about the event at Erskineville Primaryhttp://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.smh.com.au%2Fnsw%2Fnsw-state-election-2015%2Fnsw-election-2015-sausage-sizzle-the-best-part-of-election-day-20150328-1m9syg.html&h=aAQFAuOkO. That article mentions the Election Sausage Sizzle site, established by ‘Queensland IT expert Grant Castner  in 2010. Some 323 were registered with his site by 8am Saturday 27h March. And it isn’t just your P & C mums and dads who are into it. Helen Campbell reports that this year Colin Fassnidge was doing his bit at Malabar Primary School. My son Raj even discovered this site http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.electionsausagesizzle.com.au%2F2015-nsw-election-sausage-sizzle-map%2F&h=WAQFnRFtG

All contributions to the discussion, hopefully to be turned into a blog post/article are welcome. When did you first notice them? Who runs the one’s you know of or indeed have just eaten at (it being voting day in NSW as I write this). Barbara Santich has a nifty write up of charity sausage sizzles in Bold Palates, which the election day ones clearly derive from. Pics also welcome J

Cornish Pasties
Jacqui Newling contributed the following:
Charmaine O’Brien's 'plain food' paper  cited this week by USA's food history doyenne (vale Karen Hess) Rachel Laudan  http://www.rachellaudan.com/blog - on 'traditional' Cornish Pasties, nice to see Australia included in the discussion). Maybe worth extending the Cornish Pastie issue locally - my memory of them, fostered from Adelaide upbringing means has to be shortcrust pastry, submarine style with pastry joined in a ruffle along the top (none of this folded half moon or triangle business) and feature characteristic white pepper flavour, dominating the minced meat, alarmingly uniformly diced turnip, potatoes and carrot, (and maybe peas, added gratuitously for colour ??) needless to say, few have lived up to expectations in past decades.

This coincided with an article in Petit Propos Culinaire 102 from Peter Bears ‘The Pasties of Cornwall and the Cornish Pasty’ which was a critique of the EEC ruling that only Cornwall could sell said object of pastry crimped and folded over meat and veg as authentically named, where in Bears debunks the notion that this kind of pasty is at all indigenous to Cornwall – part of a general critique on this rush to get commercial gain from having a food item declared thus. Bears presents a strong argument that the Cornish pasty had bugger all meat in it to begin with until other regions in the UK whacked meat in, and that the pasty anyway is of considerable provenance centuries back from outside Cornwall.

But, to Jacqui’s observation – I’m interested in what others of you reckon a Cornish pasty looks like and features. Is there a typically Australian variation on it?

Pointless Convenience Foods Contd.
From Barbara Santich: Kraft ready-made pancakes – square! They didn’t last long (flash in the pan, one might say ...).

Not just for stews: re-inventing the slow cooker
‘All these authors love slow cookers for their obvious pros: cheap to buy and run, fast prep, and hardly any washing up. Plus, practicality needn’t come at the expense of flavour if you follow basic rules.’

How cheap can a slow cooker be to run compared to doing a casserole or baking a cake the usual way?


Nourish Talks
St Canice’s Rooftop Kitchen Garden is starting a series of talks from 16 April 6.30pm. The Rooftop Kitchen Garden was begun by  Rob Caslick, who runs a weekly organic soup kitchen as part of the parish’s outreach for local people in need. The kitchen is situated below the offices of Jesuit Refugee Service in Rushcutters Bay. I have been following the development of the project and am excited to go and see how it is going. You can read about the Garden at http://www.jrs.org.au/growing-rooftops/.