Monday, June 22, 2015

This Week's Compospt

Had the opportunity to watch the entire 6 eps of Chefs’ Table via Netflix. The stand out for me was Francis Mallman, who I have never heard about, but who convinced me that a frozen island in the middle of Patagonia is where I need to go and eat. No fiddly fuddly micro leaves and petals in mini splodges in mid plate. Nah. My fondest image is of Mallman crucifying the carcasses of three beeves and sticking them in the snow in front of a roaring fire. Or it may also be several chooks suspended by strings from a sapling dome smoking. Or even the brilliance of a smashed Andean pumpkin that has emerged out of the Argentinean version of a hangi. The others all come across as, dare I say it, prissy; the exception here being Massimo Bottura and maybe that’s my prejudice for his food over the others, but he had less bullshit and agonising and needing to psychpatholigise than the others. I think basically I am sick to death of chefs who keep yakking on about how their food has to be an expression of themselves versus actually being about conviviality and sustenance.

The other series I have delighted in of late is Heston Blumenthal’s In Search of Perfection on SBS on Fridays. I have to admit to a total soft spot for all the series I have seen of Heston’s because of their combination of erudition, humour, and inventiveness.

I’m also enjoying Susan Parham’s new book Food and Urbanism. The Convivial City and a Sustainable Future. In her words ‘This book  explores the complex ways that food and cities interconnect through urbanism: the study of the art of building cities.’ It’s a survey of the changes in the spatial positioning of growing, marketing, cooking and consuming food working out from the kitchen table to the food region reaching as far back as written records and archaeological digs will take her focusing mainly on European, US and Australian studies (Jean Duruz it’s lovely to see you cited every several pages J ) but including material from Asia where it is available. She’s excellent on tracking the shifts toward and away from and then back toward small scale arrangements, and again the informal to the formal and back to the informal again, and the forces that have driven the changes. I’ve just finished her look at Food’s Outdoor Room, meaning markets in their many forms including and I am walking with her now through The Gastronomic Townscape of food precincts and eat streets. It’s already has me looking at the spaces I move through on my daily feeding differently; a whole new dimension to the term foodways for me to explore.

What climate change will do to your loaf of bread
‘AgFace leader Glenn Fitzgerald said the effect of high carbon dioxide  on grains is complex. On the one hand, it makes plants such as wheat and canola grow faster and produce greater yields but, on the other hand, they contain less protein. Elevated carbon dioxide also alters the ratio of different types of proteins in wheat, which, in the case of bread, affects the elasticity of dough and how well a loaf rises.

Give me protein and elasticity over high yield anytime.

Smashed avo anyone?: Five Australian creations taking the world by storm
Can you guess which other  ones?

‘Try to describe Australian cuisine to a visitor and you’re likely to struggle a little. But there are some dishes that as a nation we recognise as quintessentially Australian – and they’ve started to pop up on menus from Brixton to Brooklyn.’

Let the debates begin on which is or is not Australian – Dr Newton I turn first to thee.

Burger wars: the battle of the beef patties
‘Among the new entrants to the market are Grill'd​, Mary's, Chur Burger Express, Burger Project, Burger Edge, Burger Shed, Ribs & Burgers, Burger Bro? and Melbourne's Brother Burgers. That doesn't include the numerous pubs that offer their own versions as a drawcard. Giving the sector even more power is that these are run by an array of top chefs, including Neil Perry, Luke Powell (ex-Tetsuya's) and Warren Turnbull, among many others. Property agents say the backing of these top-shelf foodies has meant they know all about the real estate business and have exact locations in mind... Other operators such as The Pantry and Trunk Diner have created high-quality burgers that provide customers with a premium experience within a casual dining offering. ’
Give me a thick bun with lashings of butter, grilled onions, a good everyday mince pattie, some slices of canned beetroot and a leaf or two of iceberg lettuce that I can carry away in a greaseproof paper wrap and eat one hand while I walk or sit with mates in the park...but save me from a ‘premium experience within a casual dining offering’ at a price that will compete with my mortgage.
The pic this week is of a beef brisket bun from The Counter in Audley Street, Petersham

The 4 Ways People Rationalise Eating Meat
And in more news from the meat eat front, Helen sent me this.

‘This combination — eating meat while being opposed, in principle, to the acts that are required for meat-eating to take place — suggests that omnivores come up with psychological ways to justify their dietary habits.’

In case you wonder, I fit firmly into the fourth rationale – ‘it’s nice’.

Stop Romanticising Your Grandparents’ Food
‘In short, Laudan has delivered an evocative corrective to the culinary romanticism that pervades our farmers markets and farm-to-table culinary temples. Yet her "plea for culinary modernism" contains its own gaping blind spot. If Laudan's "culinary Luddites" feast on tales of an imaginary prelapsarian food past, she herself presents a gauzy and romanticized view of industrialized food.

A short critique of Rachel Laudan’s Plea for Culinary Modernism (see Compost May 30 at my blog

In praise of fast food
‘Of course, all of this is in sharp contrast to the brutalist fast-food culture that has risen up since Ray Krok wed standardized burger-and-fries production to the post-war expansion of car ownership. But the corporatized vision of fast food, as embodied by global powerhouses McDonald’s and Yum Foods, represents a mere tick of the clock in the long and mostly proud history of fast food.’

I think we have to find some other term for most of what Philpott talks about here, and what Laudan also talks about. A meat pie from a bakery shop is not fast food as far as I am concerned nor is a good snag sanger from at the footy nor a bowl of pho whipped up in a road side stall in Hanoi nor a naan with mutton curry on some dusty road in Gujarat. Street food doesn’t fit across the whole of these examples either. Convenience food would be a good term if it also were not so debased now.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

This Week's Compost

Trawling through some photos of a Hong Kong trip for a friend I came across this one of steamed sweet buns. Yes, I ate one and lived.

This Guy is Crocheting Food Hats and It’s Awesome
Toothsome, I would have said J

Wicked fat
‘I’m a historian and I don’t predict the future, but historians will say that in an area like this, it’s not likely that any current state of affairs will persist forever. When it comes to present-day views of fat, of cholesterol, of fiber, of sodium, etc., it’s only prudent to expect change. The historian knows that views of food and eating have always been subject to change, and the historian is hard-pressed to see why such change should cease.’

A follow up to last Compost’s article about culinary modernism and religion via Helen Greenwood.

Smog meringues
In any case, our hope is that the meringues will serve as a kind of “Trojan treat,” creating a visceral experience of disgust and fear that prompts a much larger conversation about the aesthetics and politics of urban air pollution, as well as its health and environmental effects. Eat at your own risk!’

I love this – quirky, technically clever as, and a terrifically direct way to raise the issue of air pollution particularly with the growth in outside dining. I wonder what Sydney smog meringues would taste like?

The inefficiency of local food
Forsaking comparative advantage in agriculture by localizing means it will take more inputs to grow a given quantity of food, including more land and more chemicals—all of which come at a cost of carbon emissions.’

I’ve read other articles on this pointing out that some food grows best and most sustainably in particular conditions and hence geographies. I am not an unthinking supporter of the food miles concept in that regard. I like my access for example to tropical fruit that will not grow in Sydney except in hothouses potentially massively inefficiently created power and landwise. In this as in other areas of foodways all is down to the negotiations and compromises we make to live within some ethical and healthful framework while also working to change the systemic failings where we can.

A culinary modernist reader: Volume One: Opening salvos
And continuing the discussion on culinary modernism Colin alerted me to this site which looks worth engaging with.

It’s raining lamb chips and pizza: the problem with sending food into space
‘There has been a cloud-bound can of Coors Light, a curry-house lamb chop sent into orbit by a novelist, a congealing pizza flung into the sky by an NYC electronic band, and a burger from a London delivery business that hoped to publicise its ability to deliver a meal by firing it in the opposite direction to all human life. Plus, there was a brewery that decided to create an imperial stout by shooting yeast into space.’

Yep, just what we need, a whole new class of space junk(food).

The naked chef? Chimpanzees can ‘cook’ and prefer cooked food  - study
‘A study found that chimpanzees prefer the taste of cooked food, can defer gratification while waiting for it and even choose to hoard raw vegetables if they know they will have the chance to cook them later on. The findings suggest that our earliest ancestors may have developed a taste for roast vegetables and grilled meat earlier than previously thought, potentially shifting the timeline for one of the critical transitions in human history.’

MasterChimp – bring it on!!! Notice I did not make a terrible joke about the apes in the kitchens around hipster cafes.

Drinking an ethical cup of coffee; how easy is it?
Fairtrade Foundation standards do not regulate wages if a smallholder employs less than a “significant number” of workers, which is generally interpreted to mean 20. If they employ fewer than 20, they aren’t even required to pay the legal minimum wage. This controversy is important, firstly because it shows how far we have come. Fairtrade is now firmly established on our supermarket shelves - a huge achievement not only for the organisation but also for the campaign groups that started the label in the late 1980s. If Fairtrade was only accrediting niche ethical products, the story wouldn’t have had the media pick up that it has. Secondly, it will ultimately help Fairtrade improve what they do. A statement at the time said, “We welcome this focus on the low wages that persist among too many agricultural workers, particularly those who carry out informal work and who are very hard to reach.”

It occurred to me on reading this that I have seen little discussion about the integral role of the informal economy in countries like PNG and how this intersects with calls for minimum wages.  That is, can the informal economy which currently provides some income for a large proportion of those able and willing to work continue if the push for minimum wages extends into small scale, episodic or seasonal work within it. Has anyone come across any material on this issue?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

This Week's Compost

I Wish I Could Sell You a $200 Wooden Spoon
‘I want Ariele Alasko's discipline. I want her world. And I want the kind of life, the financial confidence, the guts, that it takes to make a $200 spoon.’

Me...not so much. I have some lovely wooden spoons that I like using they are pictured above on a marble slab. All of them I am pretty sure were hand crafted. All of them are functional and I am not afraid to use them, their beauty notwithstanding. None of them cost $200.

A Plea for Culinary Modernism
‘The (Culinary) Luddites’ fable of disaster, of a fall from grace, smacks more of wishful thinking than of digging through archives. It gains credence not from scholarship but from evocative dichotomies: fresh and natural versus processed and preserved; local versus global; slow versus fast: artisanal and traditional versus urban and industrial; healthful versus contaminated and fatty. History shows, I believe, that the Luddites have things back to front.’

I like much of the myth busting and grounding in this article but I also think the some of the arguments misrepresent the positions of those who undoubtedly would fall into the author’s Culinary Luddite camp  - Michael Pollan for one, Alice Waters, and, often, me. I don’t think outside of the raw foodists anyone is advocating for not processing grains, vegetables, fruit, or meat, nor for preserving them – smoked, dried, cured, jarred, canned or otherwise. I don’t have any absolute objection to industrial practices for processing or preserving. I do have objections to purely market driven practices that put crap in food to make it taste sweeter, or fattier, or dumb down food knowledge under the guise of convenience. Equally I have concerns for industrial practices that are dangerous to mental and physical well being of those engaged in them and that do not pay fair wages, and I find it curious from that perspetive that this article is in Jacobin which describes itself as ‘a leading voice of the American Left, offering a socialist perspective on politics, economics and culture’ and at no point examines the labour issue in current industrial and commercial foodways.

What Master Chef teaches us about food and the food industry
So while MasterChef might teach us a lot about food and food trends, it also glosses over some of the harsher realities of the industry that produces this food. The unsociable work hours, the bullying, the heat – this is not part of the culinary cultural capital that we learn from MasterChef.
MasterChef offers contestants and viewers a taste of the cooking techniques and presentation style of the restaurant industry, and presents these to us in ways that make them seem both aspirational and desirable.
This has given MasterChef the ratings boost it so desperately needed, but it has done this without engaging with the realities of the industry that the show is essentially promoting.’
But was Master Chef even remotely intended to ground anyone in the reality of the industry? Or does anyone watch it with that intention? Of course not. It’s a vanity show, not a reality show despite the name for its genre.
Fair Food
‘A collaboration between the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA) and food publishers and facilitators The Field Institute, Fair Food documents the people pioneering new approaches to food production and distribution. Watch the trailer.’

Darn, I again am going to miss a showing of this Aussie doco, but maybe you can get along.

Local government and public place gardening – imposing limitations?
‘When we consider community food production in our cities, one particular area in desperate need of reform in local government is its anti-democratic approach to dealing with complaints. Two cases I know of involved people making footpath gardens. What happened was that one person on the street complained and council decided that, on the basis of this single complaint rather that the large number who signed a petition to retain the garden, the gardens had to go. This was a unilateral decision by council that ignored due process in negotiating disagreements among citizens. Citizens saw it as profoundly unfair.’
We set up our footpath garden – not a full on vegie patch but a mix of herbs and citrus and non-edible plants – at the time that Marrickville Council had no policy on this. Happily their position was as long as we kept reasonable footpath access for pedestrians they had no worries. Now they do have an enabling policy. No-one in the street has ever complained – in fact, I have had people dobbed in to me by neighbours for nicking the parsley J

France to force big supermarkets to give unsold food to charities
‘French supermarkets will be banned from throwing away or destroying unsold food and must instead donate it to charities or for animal feed, under a law set to crack down on food waste... Supermarkets will be barred from deliberately spoiling unsold food so it cannot be eaten. Those with a footprint of 4,305 sq ft (400 sq m) or more will have to sign contracts with charities by July next year or face penalties including fines of up to €75,000 (£53,000) or two years in jail.’

Supermarkets do what! Do they in Aus does anyone know? And while I applaud the proposal I worry about the impact on Les Fregans Francais L

Kitchen gadget review: The Garlic Zoom a leprechaun’s Perspex stagecoach
According to the packaging, Garlic Zoom was created by “David A Holcombe, Famous Inventor”. The words are self-undermining, but I like the attitude. It is what an eight-year-old would write on his pencil case. In fact, with big green wheels and mini blades that resemble ninja throwing stars, the Garlic Zoom does feel a bit child-designed.’

I am thoroughly enjoying this series. And if using this stagecoach gets kids started off helping in the kitchen, I’m for it J [He says, not wanting to admit that playing while prepping would be just peachy by him, too].

The Lexicon of Sustainability
A site I have just come across that looks worth the exploring. I have dipped into the Lexicon of Food and the Food List.

Ethical eating: the plants (and animals) are watching us
‘Think of the scene in the 1999 movie Notting Hill in which William, played by Hugh Grant, has dinner with Keziah, a self-described frutarian, who believes that fruits and vegetables have feelings, and so will only eat things that have spontaneously fallen off the vine. “So these carrots…?” ventures William. “Have been murdered,” responds Keziah.’
And of course we know that mandrake screams as it is pulled from the ground. The discussion being had in various places about what constitutes intelligence does raise fascinating new insights into how plnts interact with all aspects of their environment includinf humans, but I still think most cabbbages are dumb as. Ta all the same to Colin for this article.

The new religion: How the emphasis on ‘clean eating’ has created a moral hierarchy
‘She argues that the rise in food movements has coincided with a decline of religion in society, with many people seeking familiar values such as purity, ethics, goodness. But these movements also tend to encourage behaviours that have steered a generation away from religion: Judgment, self-righteousness, an us-versus-them mentality. And, she adds, many seek a fulfilment that cannot be satisfied with food.’

Another from Colin. I think it’s a pretty long bow that’s being drawn here, and, dare I say it, it’s typical Stateside with its obsession with religion. The decline in religion I suspect if historically charted would show bugger all relationship to the rise of vegetarianism, veganism or any other foodism. Which is not to say the food restrictions have not been used as religious distinction, but as Colin said in his email to me, what would Mary Douglas think about this.

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 and you can check out Limestone Permaculture, one of the two men at

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 []

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  - 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.

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.

‘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.



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.



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.



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.


Grocery Store Wars

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


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).


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.



Paul van Reyk

253 Trafalgar St.

Petersham 2049

PO Box 221

Petersham 2049

Ph: 0419 435 418



‘"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 ‘ 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?