Sunday, March 7, 2010

Is a Lazarus analogy too much?

Probably. I have returned from a long study/general life sabbatical from my etsy (and thus the blogosphere!) at I thought I'd try to reawaken the blog.

I'm selling some pretty lush artifacts now, as well as original pieces. I've got some ancient Roman beads strung into necklaces, and some Neolithic arrowheads I intend to frame and put up for sale. Still working on listing everything. Aiming for the grand 100 items, eventually! I've heard it's a pretty mystical number on etsy. I'm not quite 10% there...

Here are some pictures from my new-look shop! The first three have ancient Roman beads and a ring.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In which I am not Rocky, and The Ruby Pear appears

I have fenced myself dramatically into a corner! I'm currently involved in a study montage to the Rocky theme tune. It is taxing, but uplifting. Just joking. It's unadulterated hell. I have three major essays to research and write by Friday. So, I didn't post a recipe last Saturday. It's still coming! I'm pretending these two things are linked, but really I just forgot about the recipe. (I think I just blew my own pretense.)

How I came to be in this academic mire, I refuse to say. But it involved dragons.

Now, pluggage! Have you heard of The Ruby Pear? It's Rachael's beautiful new boutique up in Launceston. She had an interview in The Examiner last Saturday. She was kind enough to ask to stock a few of my products, which I'm naturally very happy about! I sent up a few scarves and bits of jewellery, and am furiously working on more. She has so much stuff from such talented designers there, I'm pleased as punch to be included. There are lovely photos to browse on her blog, with examples of all her wares. So, if you're in Launnie, check it out in Wellington Street!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ah, university...

you kill me with your books.

I unearthed a small stash of old vlogs of mine. Judging by the study matter, this one's about 10 months old. But the sentiment is TIMELESS. It is ETERNAL.

I don't actually lisp and stutter every time I say 'chess.' It was a freak accident.

FOODZOR - Bean Tacos

Yesterday was Mother's Day - I think she had a lovely day, except that I had been captured by pirates on Saturday, and only made my daring escape today. Which is, incidentally, why my Saturday recipe is two days late.

So! Tacos! With beans in them.

You will need:
750g can of kidney beans
1 onion
1 small capsicum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of chilli powder
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon of tomato paste

taco shells

I'm getting fancy with the pictures...

OK, so dice the onion (ow my eyes) and crush the garlic, and fry together in a splash of olive oil for two or so minutes. Dice the capsicum, and add it. Add the seasonings now, let them fry together for a bit. When the capsicum's beginning to give up (and wouldn't you?), stir in the tomato paste. Drain the beans, and add them. Splash water in if it's getting too dry. Stir it all thoroughly and let the beans warm their toes. When they're hot, mash them roughly. Mwa ha! Vent the day's frustrations. Most cathartic. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. This should be frankly savoury and delicious, and is also very good for nachos.

Man, I love easy food. The pirates adored how quickly I whipped this up for them. Even with my hands bound with strips of grisly old rags. And with the toppings, it's very good for keeping scurvy at bay! Heat the taco shells in the oven according to the directions on the packet (unless you make your own - if anyone does, I'd love to hear how it's done..). Grate the cheese, dice the avocado and tomato. Shred the lettuce, or not.

Bob's your uncle, as they say. (Why? Also: who is Larry and why is he so happy?)

And this is me and the kitchen reflected in the window, with town lights in the distance. And a tree. Deep!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

FOODLULZ - Satay Stir Fry, and Do Oysters Feel Pain?

Yesterday was Saturday. A mild, clement day. The gentle autumnal breeze tenderly ran its fingers through the falling leaves. Suddenly, the rustling quietness of the day was pierced by a fell cry. It was like the crash of an ant's knees on the ground as it throws itself down to beg for mercy from the giant with the magnifying glass over its head. That, mixed with the voice of Fran Drescher. The gremlins were attacking.

They tied me up me with a boa constrictor and carried me to their grim fortress in the mountain. There they held me hostage, offering me nothing but brioche and lattes for sustenance. My cat had to make out a cheque for $46.90 to get me back. She assured me it wouldn't bounce, but she's quite bad at money-related dealings. I don't know what I'll do if it bounces. Do gremlins tend to accept PayPal for ransoms?

Anyway, that is why my Saturday recipe is a day late.

STIR-FRY! YUM! With three hidden controversies, and a tangent validating peanut butter.

You will need:
Various vegetables - my favourites to use are
Snow peas
Broccoli (this presents the first controversy. Broccoli is an unloved vegetable, but in this recipe, it absorbs the sauce in its bushy head and becomes very tasty indeed.)
Spring onion

Ketjap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce. Widely available here, don't know about elsewhere.)
Sweet chilli sauce (controversy two - one L or two?)
Peanut butter (preferably the freshly ground stuff you get at health food shops, but from the shelf is fine)
Oyster sauce (controversy three - to be explored below.)
Garlic - two cloves
Rice or dried noodles

Tofu cut into small cubes and fried is also nice. Add it with the mushrooms if you use it.

Slice all your vegetables. In a frying pan or wok, heat a little canola oil. Crush the garlic and fry briefly. Add the hard vegetables - carrot, capsicum, broccoli etc. Anything that takes a bit longer to cook. Splash in some water, and simmer for a few minutes. Add a large spoonful of peanut butter.

(Note on the peanut butter, because I'm aware it may seem strange: this dish is Indonesian inspired. Ground peanuts are frequently used in Indonesian cookery - gado gado springs to mind. When ground, the peanuts form a smooth paste. Our peanut butter is simply made of this paste combined with oil, salt and sugar, which is why peanut butter makes a perfectly functional alternative to ground peanuts.)

With the peanut butter, add several tablespoons of ketjap manis and a splash each of sweet chilli and oyster sauce.

This bring me to controversy three. Oyster sauce for a vegetarian! I'm a vegetarian for ethical reasons: basically, I don't want to eat something that may have suffered, I don't want to support an industry which may cause suffering, and I don't want to support an industry which is so damaging to the environment (Google this if you're interested in the environmental aspect, which is not as often explored as the cruelty aspect, or read some people's thoughts here or here).

So - do oysters feel pain? I have researched this somewhat, and opinion seems to be divided. The most convincing argument I read is that while oysters do have a pain reflex, they lack the consciousness with which to experience pain. Therefore, no, they don't. So I use oyster sauce (which has a fractional amount of actual oyster in it, anyway) when cooking for others as well as for me, but not when it's just me. I am always interested in opinions on this, though, to help me expand my own.

Dun dun! Add the rest of the vegetables, and more water if necessary. Turn the heat to very low and add the cashews, stirring briskly so they don't catch. Cover and let it simmer, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken and reduce. Taste it. Adjust the sauces and peanut butter - it should be very savoury. Is it lush? It should be, by now.

In the meantime, cook the rice according to the directions. If you're using noodles, they usually only take a few moments, so wait til the stir fry (wait - is this a new controversy? Should stir-fry have a hyphen or not?) is ready before cooking them.

I used rice, which takes a while. So, as you do, I made an apple house!

I wanted to make a little person out of apple peel and put it inside, but the door fell off. :(

And the food!

For some reason, we had apple pie for dessert! Just peel about seven small cooking apples and simmer them in a splash of water and a few teaspoons of sugar. When they go soft, remove from the heat and drain the liquid off. Line a pie tin with a sheet of puff pastry, pile the apples in and seal them in with another sheet of pastry. Bake at 220 degrees celsius for about half an hour. Serve with runny cream and icing sugar. Totally vile. And by vile I mean really delicious. Superfluously delicious!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Basic pizza recipe time! This is how I've always made it. Had it tonight and it was tolerably lush.

This recipe will spawn two very good-sized pizzas. I have to wade through leftovers now when I open the fridge.

Did you know if you Google "waders" you get naked chicks? (Presumably, therefore, if you Google "naked chicks" you get fishermen in waders. Ah, symmetry.)

3 1/2 cups of plain flour
1 1/2 cups of water
2 heaped teaspoons of yeast
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt

Tomato base:
800g tin of tomatoes (or thereabouts) (or the equivalent of fresh tomatoes if you're fancy)
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
sprigs of parsley
springs of fresh oregano, or a teaspoon of dried
large tablespoon tomato paste
bay leaf
brown sugar

sun-dried tomatoes
parmesan (grated)
cheddar or mozzarella (also grated)
other nice stuff. Use your imagination (which is probably not grated)

Make the crust! Mix the dough ingredients together. Don't bother with putting the yeast in warm water with sugar or anything - just chuck it all artlessly together. Knead it on a lightly floured surface until it's smooth - about ten minutes. If you get sore elbows, take your mind off them by making rude shapes out of the dough for a while. You know you're never too old to fashion a kneaded knob. Or a pair of bready balls. Etc.

Splash a tiny bit of oil in a bowl for the dough to rise in, covered with a tea towel. Put it in a warm place for about an hour (until it's doubled in size).

You can use a bread machine to knead and rise (raise?) it if you have particularly dainty elbows. I definitely didn't use one and then pretend I hadn't for the purposes of the blog; I would never make a mockery of truth and goodness by taking the short cut then callously instructing you to knead.

Oh, it's only pizza dough. Stick it in the machine if you have one. Get some perspective.

(Are these the warning signs of a nervous breakdown?)

While it's rising, make the sauce.

Yep, that's sauce, all right. Dice the onions, crush the garlic and chop the herbs very finely. Sautee them together til the onion's transparent. Add the tomato paste. Add everything else. Simmer, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust. Take it off the heat. Around this point, preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

You can also use pesto instead of this tomato sauce - this too is acceptably delicious. Very nice with mushrooms.


Separate your dough into two halves. Lightly oil two baking trays. Spread the dough with your greedy little fingers to fill the tray in a thin layer. Spread with the tomato sauce. Heap on your chosen toppings. Cheese last. Bake for about half an hour, or until the cheese is golden and the base is cooked.

Watch some Boosh. Stronger than a moose!


In related news, I just found a bit of onion in my hair.

In unrelated news, meet my new nemeses!

I just lost a filling to one of these minty monsters!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

FOODZILLA - Stuffed Mushroom Pancakes

Saturday is supposed to be the day I post recipes, but I didn't have time yesterday. So, just before the Thought Police come and take me away, I thought I'd post it today.

Now, this recipe is for pancakes filled with a tasty mushroomy mixture.

For the pancakes:
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 cup of plain flour
2 eggs

For the filling:
250g of mushrooms (any variety - but brown is best. Just squint 'til the undeniably white mushrooms in the pictures look brown)
Two large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup cooking sherry
two tablespoons of cream
one tablespoon of cornflour
150ml of water
250ml of veggie stock, or 1-2 veggie stock cubes dissolved in water
small amount of flour
1 bunch of spring onions
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
2-3 fresh sage leaves, or a teaspoon of dried sage

I got daunted at the thought of taking a photo of all that, so instead I give you a small ingredient delegation:

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celsius. (Fan forced.)

Firstly, make your pancakes. Whisk up the flour, milk and eggs.

Hmm, eggy! Whisk it better than that. Ladle small amounts of the mixture at a time into a hot greased frying pan. You should make nine or 10 from - make them very thin - as thin as you can! Think Calista Flockhart. (Not that she would eat these. She might stop being 2-D.)

Mm, blurry pancakes! Pile them up, separating them with baking paper. Set them aside. Explain you still love them etc.

Now, in a saucepan, saute in olive oil the spring onion and garlic. Add the sage and walnuts and fry a bit. Add the flour. Turn down the heat somewhat.

Add the spinach leaves and put the lid on the saucepan for a few minutes to let them wilt. Add the mushrooms: stir. Add the sherry. Discreetly swig from the bottle. It is not very nice.

Now, in a bowl, mix the water, cornflour and cream. Pour this interesting slurry into the mushroom mixture. As it cooks, it will thicken. Nice! After it has thickened somewhat, add the vegetable stock. Boil a little, then simmer - you want to reduce the liquid. (Jedi mind trick: you WANT to reduce the liquid.) The sauce should be quite thick. Taste it and adjust accordingly. Use salt and pepper if you must.

This takes a while to simmer down, so I was at a loss. Therefore, I whipped up a quick art installation in the kitchen. I call it "Dreams." (Either that or "Broken Ascension.")

Don't be intimidated. Let it speak to you.

After the art appreciation, and the sauce has thickened, place 1/10th of the filling in the middle of each pancake and fold it up around. Put them in a baking dish, folded side down. Sprinkle with a bit of grated parmesan if the mood grabs you. Bake them for about half an hour, until they're hot and golden.

And check it out! Proper wine!

Serve with a simple salad.

My mother described that photo as 'positively obscene.' I maintain that food is gross.

The Thought Police are here. Must convey my innocence with interpretive dance.