Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Sunday, December 17, 2006

David Jones and Dreams

If Miss Eagle were to dream of food, it would not be of sugar plums but David Jones Food Hall.
The preferred placed would be DJ's Food Hall in Market Street, Sydney.
Miss Eagle paid it a Christmas visit yesterday and wanted to let her readers in on the day dreams too.

The Greengrocery has all that is good, wholesome & absolutely luscious.

The confectionery from Australia and Europe is mouth watering.

Like the Koalas below - in a ganache to roll around one's mouth.

And if you plan on seeing that Queensland-boy-made-good George Miller's wonderful animation based on birds of our southern climes, Happy Feet, well why not mark the occasion with these delightful penguins - ganache, once more - and sweeten your happiness.

But choc-a-holics should look no further than the cakes below.

Skip the fruit cake and get down and muddy with these delights.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Food labelling: inadequate and deceptive

As far as Miss Eagle is concerned, one of the flaws of the inexact science of Economics is the supposition in the Theory of the Firm that the consumer has perfect choice. To Miss Eagle, it is a clear example that most theoretical economists are men who don't go shopping.
This is one consumer who is far from having perfect choice. Perhaps the buyers for retail firms come close to having perfect choice, but this consumer is dependent on making her choice from what retailers put on their shelves and when I am not able to get what I want, I know that the Theory of the Firm has failed to work once again. This is why I take labelling seriously. Miss Eagle is a label reader from way back. She also likes to have a bit of a handle on the companies - both retail and wholesale - who supply her food. Sometimes getting this information is not difficult or strenuous; sometimes it is nigh impossible. This is why Miss Eagle is most concerned about this week's news about labelling: inadequate and sometimes bordering on the deceptive. One thing that the consumer has to jack up on is the weasel words in our food promotion. Organic - can the consumer know or prove that this is a genuine claim. Should consumers be expected to pay a premium for organic food, particularly imported organic food from the USA that sits in cans and jars on the shelves of my supermarket. Natural - This is the word that drives Miss Eagle nuts. What does natural mean? The dictionary gives the following definition:
adjective 1 existing in or derived from nature; not made, caused by, or processed by humankind. 2 in accordance with nature; normal or to be expected: a natural death. 3 born with a particular skill or quality: a natural leader. 4 relaxed and unaffected. 5 (of a parent or child)related by blood. 6 archaic illegitimate. 7 Music (of a note) not sharpened or flattened.
Definition #1 seems to be the one to focus on in relation to food.
When advertising uses the word 'natural' what is the worth of the word. Miss Eagle suggests it has no value whatsoever. Everything we have on this planet has existed in or is derived from nature. Where else did it come from? Outer space? "Not made, caused by, or processed by humankind". Well, everything we have comes from God but how much comes to our table without being processed in some form by humankind? Most farmers use some type - organic or inorganic - of pesticide or herbicide. Then there are the industrial processes to which a lot of our food is subjected. There is human intervention at a variety of levels in our food chain, food processing, and food distribution. How can any marketer then use the word natural with honesty, clarity and exactitude?
Wholesome - How do we know? We don't know when the fruit and vegetables were picked. We seldom know where what we eat has come from, how far it has travelled, and how long it took to get to our table. What do we really know about nutrient content of our food when it gets to us? Can we take industrial processing of food for granted?
As consumers, we have allowed industrial methods of food processing and food distribution to enter our food production without much questioning. Basically, we like to purchase inexpensive food and we expect it to taste good, and we - at least in modern western industrial societies - expect the food to be available in the here and now, in season and out of season.
These factors are not the paramount ones we should be seeking when we are constructing a healthy and nutritious diet.
This is why labelling is so important: whether it is on fresh food or processed food; whether it is the unpackaged food purchased at a deli counter or the fresh food and vege purchased at farmers' and produce markets.
Consumers need to be savvy, demanding, and thoughtful of where their food comes from.
Take a look at food production in Australia. Be aware of how farmers are being squeezed by retail pricing and production costs and inputs. Be aware of how far agriculture and horticulture has retreated in this country and how we have allowed imports - even from the northern hemisphere - to invade our country and our food chain. And above all, let us all - producers and consumers - be aware of the ethics of food production and food consumption and the pressures both sides of the food chain place on humane standards. Why should animals suffer because of our demands for cheap, unseasonal, constant production?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Knox Farmers Market

Miss Eagle is ambivalent about Farmers Markets.
Since Farmers Markets arrived on the scene in their current form in the late 90s, they have had a great impact. Farmers Markets provide an outlet direct to the public for growers and producers - particularly for those growers and producers with new products and innovative ways of doing things.
But what does that mean for better food and ethical eating? A lot of the food is still reliant on the slaughter of animals. Organic meat is still slaughtered flesh.
And if your expectation is that all food/products will be organic: 't'aint necessarily so. Some is, some isn't. But the intent is there to provide high quality food, reasonably priced (not necessarily cheaper), to the consumer in a direct relationship with the grower/producer.
This intent is probably the best thing about Farmers Markets - if, and only if, it helps both the consumer and the grower/producer to ask questions about their food/products.
Miss Eagle likes the direct involvement. One of the problems with modern food production is that consumers in general haven't a clue about how their food is produced and how it comes to their plates. Karl Marx highlighted the alienation of workers from the means of production. Modern food production highlights the alienation of consumers from the production of their sustenance.
Even at a Farmers Market the consumer still needs to be aware and questioning. Take the opportunity to have a conversation with those selling you your food. Your conversation could lead to better and healthier food for all of us.
Boronia Rotary Club organises the Knox Farmers Market at Wantirna Primary School, Melbourne. The next market is on 16 December.

The Knox Farmers Market was formerly at St Joseph's in Boronia Road. The new venue means everything is well laid out and last Saturday was a beautiful sunny and cloudless day after a week of extremely cold and unseasonal weather.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Apples, Raisins, and Rolled Oats

Miss Eagle's favourite breakfast at the moment is an Apple and Raisin Porridge cooked up in Soy Milk with, when cooked, a little sugar and some more Soy Milk. Miss Eagle doesn't get too rapt in breakfast cereals (although winter has always found her well into the Uncle Toby's Rolled Oats) - but this one is worth a comment. It is scrumptious!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Spicy Peanut & Vege Noodles

This is yummy. It is based on the recipe for Spicy Peanut Soup in Vegan Cooking for Health. The recipe is below followed by Miss Eagle's adjustments.
Ingredients - Serves 6
30ml/2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed (Miss E loves garlic - she used 5)
5ml/1 tsp mild chilli powder (Miss E isn't big on chilli. Use to taste)
2 red peppers, seeded and finely chopped. (Miss E used one large capsicum)
225g/8 oz red carrots (Miss E used one medium carrot)
225g/8 oz potatoes, peeled and cubed (Miss E used 3 kipler potatoes, unpeeled, cubed)
3 celery sticks, sliced
900ml/1 1/2 pints vegetable stock
90ml/6 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (Miss E used more than the 90ml)
115g/ 4oz cup sweetcorn (Miss E skipped this because it doesn't agree with her)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Roughly chopped unsalted roasted peanuts, to garnish. (Miss E used extra unsalted peanuts crushed - in a plastic bag - with a rolling pin in the soup itself for extra crunch)
1. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion and grlic for about three minutes. Add the chilli powder and cook for a further 1 minute.
2. Add the peppers, carrots, potatoes and celery to the pan. Stir well, then cook for a further 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in the stock, peanut butter, and sweetcorn until combined.
4. Season well. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Adjust the seasoning before serving and sprinkle with the chopped roasted peanuts, to garnish.
Miss Eagle decided that this looked so wonderful as a sauce that she added rice stick noodles to the pot and cooked until noodles were tender. This is a great and tasty comfort food.

My life: it is a'changing

Food from Oz has been silent for nearly four months. Something happened in August which has taken quite a bit of thinking about - including thinking about where Food from Oz fits. In August, Miss Eagle went to the desert. See more about it on To the Desert (linked on the sidebar). Miss Eagle was visiting a sheep station when she came across a situation which struck her, shocked her to the core of her being. Why this should have been so, Miss Eagle doesn't know. Miss Eagle has worked in a meatworks and continued to eat meat. Miss Eagle is not naive in regard to the realities of agriculture and raising animals for food. About ten years ago, she was even vegetarian for a period as a response to the inhumane inclusion of animal products in feed for herbivores. The current situation, however, struck deeper, penetrated spiritually. This was the line in the sand. Enough was enough. The word that came out of this was "Respect". Miss Eagle, when she returned home, blogged the word and it was met with another word "Ahimsa". Miss Eagle remembered this word. Miss Eagle is a scholar of religion and she knew what ahimsa meant. Again, for some strange reason, this had not connected with the original event and the emergence of the word "Respect". Now it all sunk in. It all came together. And issues of respect kept coming into her life and consciousness. Firstly, there was the elimination of all animal flesh with the exception of food from the sea. The exception was because of certain health necessities but Miss Eagle is keeping a watching brief and - if it is possible - seafood will be eliminated too. Miss Eagle has taken care for some time with the species of fish eaten and the quantities because of the stripping of our oceans and poor fishery practices. Secondly, Miss Eagle is endeavouring - with mixed success - to eliminate eggs and dairy products from the menu. Difficulties here are finding a reasonable and palatable substitute for cheese and the needs of others in Miss Eagle's life. It is early days though and Miss Eagle is reasonably hopeful of sorting out this situation. So why has Miss Eagle not edited her blog to take into account this new respect for ALL life. For two reasons: firstly, in a time when people are generally ignorant of their food - where it comes from, its history, how to prepare it - Food from Oz has tried to address this situation in a traditional manner. This general principle will continue with the provision of cooking tips and recipes. Miss Eagle is learning herself - although off an extensive base - and would welcome input of an instructive and constructive nature from others walking the same path. Secondly, it is good to remember from where once has come. That is one of the values of a blog - one can return to former thoughts and consider how much has changed on the way to the present. So, dear Reader, Miss Eagle hopes you will bear with her. It would be nice to have you on the journey too.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Brigid's Butcher's Blarney

Brigid's Butcher's Blarney
The weather here is Melbourne miserable. It has been damp and icy cold and as Miss Eagle looks out the office window the usual view of the Dandenong Ranges National Park is obscured by fog - or is it ground level cloud? So the evening repast calls for something simple, nourishing and nurturing. Hence, Brigid's Butcher's Blarney. Any good thick snag will do. These ones the butcher calls Irish Sausages. Why, Miss Eagle is not sure. Because they are pork, have a shamrock in them - or is it all indistinguishable blarney? Now quantities are not given here. Sort yourself out according to taste and quantity required. Use any thick sausages (thin ones aren't so good in this dish) and cook them in the manner described here. They don't have to be cooked through - but brown them well. Remove them from the pan. Saute onions and garlic. Make a gravy by adding flour to the oil and sausage drippings and then water. Because this is simple and relaxed, we are using froz veg - so choose your favourite (Miss Eagle's fav had cauliflower, carrot and peas) and add to the gravy along with some diced potato. But the thing that distinguishes the flavour is the addition of baked beans in tomato sauce. Now there are all sorts of varieties of baked beans on the supermarket shelf - but just choose the old fashioned sort in tomato sauce. No cheese. Add salt and pepper and, if you are going gourmet, any suitable spices you fancy. Simmer gently until the sausages along with the potatoes and veges are cooked through and tender and the gravy is nicely thickened. Keep your eye on it and add water if necessary. Serve, curl up before a blazing fire or a warming gas duct and enjoy!
This is not so posh nosh - but it doesn't take much dosh!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The beloved Granny Smith

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After stipulating Granny Smiths for the Apple Crumble in the previous post, Miss Eagle thought a post about the Granny Smith would be in order. The Granny Smith is truly Food from Oz par excellence.

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However, perhaps the most famous use of a Granny Smith is as the apple used in the logo for Apple Records, the record label, founded in 1968 as a division of Apple Corps Ltd. by The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. A few years ago, Miss Eagle lived in the Sydney suburb of Macquarie Park just a stone's throw from Eastwood, in the local authority area of Ryde, where Maria Smith died in 9 March 1870. Her apple never became a commercial variety in her lifetime but continued to be cultivated by local orchardists. It was exhibited as 'Smith's seedling' in the 1890 Castle Hill Agricultural and Horticultural Show. In the 1891 show 'Granny Smith's seedlings' took out the prize for cooking apples. By 1892 many growers were exhibiting 'Granny Smith's'. In 1895 Albert H. Benson, Fruit Expert for the NSW Department of Agriculture, named 'Granny Smith's Seedling' as a suitable variety for export. He also initiated the first large scale cultivation of the apple at the Government Experimental Station in Bathurst. Maria Smith - our famous Granny Smith - was buried in St. Anne's Cemetery, Ryde. The lovely old church at what is locally known as Top Ryde is a familiar landmark to northern suburbs residents. Her husband died six years later. Their headstone still stands in the churchyard.

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The residents are rather proud of their connection with Granny Smith and each year the Granny Smith Festival is held at Eastwood, this year on Saturday 21 October 2006.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Apple Crumble

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Individual Apple Crumbles from Queen of Tarts, Belgrave

Fifty years ago, Miss Eagle was a twelve year old schoolgirl attending St Mary's Convent School in Bowen at the northern end of the Whitsundays in North Queensland. Every two weeks, on a Thursday, Miss Eagle - along with the other girls in her Grade 7 class - would go to Bowen State School for domestic science classes. How did those nuns ever let us go - no prayers, no writing AMDG at the top of our exercise books. If Miss Eagle's memory serves her correctly, the very first thing we cooked was Apple Crumble. Miss Eagle notes that Apple Crumble, along with all sorts of fruit crumbles, are enjoying a revival in smart coffee shops in Melbourne. They are made as slices or individual puddings and have a biscuit pastry base: biscuit pastry in this case meaning a base made of crushed biscuits and melted shortening pressed into a pan with the filling then placed on top. The base is uncooked and, because of the shortening, it sets firmly in the refrigerator.

(the domestic science class recipe)
Ingredients: 6 cooking apples; 2 tabs sugar; 1/4 cup water; 3 cloves; 1/2 lemon; 1 oz. coconut; 3 oz. flour; pinch of salt; 2oz brown sugar; 1 oz butter; butter for top.
Method: Peel, core and slice apples into saucepan. Add water and cloves and bring to the boil. Cook till transparent (not pulpy). Remove cloves, add white sugar and lemon juice. Sift flour and salt into bow. Add brown sugar mix. Rub butter into dry ingredients until mixture is like sand. Add coconut. Place apples in a greased pie dish and sprinkle pastry mixture over. Place small quantities of butter on top. Bake till golden.
Miss Eagle's Notes
  • Granny Smith's are the apples to use
  • The coconut is dessicated coconut - that fine shredded coconut.
  • If you are attempting the coffee shop model of Apple Crumble, because of the biscuit base - which should be about a quarter of an inch thick - you can use less fruit.
  • Luscious served with boiled custard or thick or whipped cream.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Divining colander

A colander is an underrated implement - although, in these days of custom kitchens and up-market appliances, decorator colanders are appearing all over like this Alessi/Stark design pictured above. Colanders are often seen as only for draining things like pasta, rice, and vegetables but another use is to line one with buttered brown paper, fill with cake mixture, and use the result as a skirt for a Dolly Varden cake as my mother once did for a childhood birthday cake.
One of my favourite poets, Rosemary Dobson, has a poem in the latest Australian Book Review on the subject:

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A condiment for a continent?

Something new Miss Eagle found on the supermarket shelf.
Not only is it made in Australia,
it carries the first part of Australia's original European name,

Friday, June 23, 2006

Treat your cucumber nicely

Think about the last time you saw a cucumber served and ready to eat. Perhaps you prepared it yourself. Perhaps it was served by someone else. Miss Eagle and her neighbour, Vanessa, were discussing this the other day. V was visiting The Trad Pad and we were looking at this blog and discussing traditional food and V brought up the subject of the cucumber. We were of like mind. You see, so often cucumber is seen sliced up with its green skin on or the green skin is peeled and the cucumber sliced as is. How absolutely boring and unattractive. V's mother does it just like Miss Eagle's mother and as Miss Eagle does it herself. So we decided we had to be related - because how many others do this? Let's know of your experience with a cucumber! The simple way to an attractive sliced cucumber is to peel the cucumber. Take a fork and run it down the cucumber all the way around. Then slice. Hey presto! For a minute or two's trouble, one is presented with an attractive deckle-edged cucumber.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

No beating, no pricking..please.

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In Miss Eagle's family home, there were two cookery crimes. One was beating meat with a mallet or a rolling pin with the aim of tenderizing it. The other was pricking sausages prior to cooking in the belief that this would prevent sausage meat oozing from its skin. You see, dear Reader, Miss Eagle's father was not only a great cook - as was her mother - but he was a trade-qualified butcher in the early part of the 20th century when the training was quite extensive. On beating steak to tenderize it

Jack O'Carroll, Miss Eagle's father, believed that no amount of beating could make a tough steak tender. In fact, one of the effects of beating steak was to expel the juices from the steak which tenderized it during the cooking process. How to get a tender steak:

  1. Choose a cut of steak appropriate to the cooking process. For instance, topside and round steaks are not grilling steaks. A corner piece of topside makes a very good roast. Sliced topside and round steak are best cooked slowly in casseroles, stews, and curries. Similarly, one would not bother to use Scotch or Rib Fillet or Eye Fillet in a casserole. These cuts are best suited to grilling or pan frying (dry frying). Rump Steak is quite versatile. It is a superb grilling steak. As a whole rump, it can be a beautiful roast. Sliced, it can go well in a casserole. However, rump is usually more expensive than topside or round so one would not bother using such a cut in a casserole when a less expensive cut would do as well.
  2. Understand how to cook meat. Understand the cuts of beef. In this day and age, there is a great demand for lean beef. Fat marbled through beef is what contributes to its tenderness. The way a side of beef is hung by a butcher and the length of time it is aged contributes to its tenderness. Miss Eagle, as her father and grandfather (a livestock auctioneer) before her, has a preference for beef from Poll Shorthorn cattle. Indeed, Miss Eagle believes the beast should not have to walk far to eat and its food should be unstinted lush green grass. Such a beast produces beef that is not red but purple with creamy specks of fat marbled through it. Now that is tender beef.

On pricking a sausage to prevent it oozing

  1. In these modern times, sausage casings can vary from the natural product to the synthetic. Again, the secret is to learn about sausages. Know what a quality sausage is. And you can't go past a German butcher to teach you. Miss Eagle's paternal grandmother always had a German butcher hovering in the background.
  2. Learn how to cook a sausage. Pricking sausages does not prevent oozing if your sausage is cooked incorrectly or the casing of poor quality.
  3. To cook a sausage properly and well, pour a small quantity of Extra Virgin Olive Oil across the base of a heavy frying pan. Place the sausages in the pan. Turn them to coat them in oil. Then place them on the hotplate or burner and turn on the heat. Yes, start cooking the sausages cold and turn up the heat slowly and gently. Heat is applied slowly and gently so that the sausages adjust slowly to the cooking process. Only when the sausages have plumped up gently in this way can the heat be turned up further to complete the browning and cooking process. In this way, you will have a fat, juicy sausage which does not pop its skin.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Banana in Coconut

Banana in Coconut is a favourite nibble of Miss Eagle. It is like a lolly or a sweetmeat it is so lovely. She serves it with curries as a sambal or accompaniment. In fact, this is one of the reasons why Miss Eagle loves to serve curries at parties. She loves the line-up: the curries, the sambals, the breads, the chutneys. Anyway, the Banana in Coconut is quite simple. Cut the banana diagonally into nice slices, dip in lemon juice (this prevents the bananas turning brown), roll in dessicated coconut. Smack your lips with satisfaction!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Patrick and The Butterfly Cakes

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Our friend Parick turned up at the jollities at The Trad Pad yesterday with a tray of butterfly cakes. Butterfly cakes are made from Fairy Cakes by cutting the top off the cake, cutting that slice in half, topping the cake with cream, placing the pieces of cake in the cream like wings. In addition, Patrick has used some Strawberry Jam and you can top the lot with powdered icing sugar. Scrumptious!

Pane e cioccolata : Bread and chocolate

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Pane e cioccolata : Bread and chocolate

Much jollity at The Trad Pad on Sunday. Piece de resistance was the Bread and Chocolate Pudding from Steve Manfredi's recipe. If you are looking for a pudd that is great hot or cold; is lush and luxurious and yet traditional - then this is it. It is a bread pudding with the bread smothered in cream, mixed with a wonderful egg mixture, and laced with chocolate. It is served with a chocolate sauce which is to die for - and the easiest chocolate sauce ever. Refer to this chocolate sauce frequently because, being so easy, you will use it with everything.

Here is the recipe:

Warm bread and chocolate pudding

Moisten 400g of bread (crusts cut off, chopped in small pieces) in a bowl with 300ml of cream. Roast 100g of blanched almonds until they're golden and roughly chop them. Beat 2 egg yolks with 50g of vanilla sugar until pale. Whisk 2 egg whites with 50g of vanilla sugar to form stiff peaks. Add the almonds to the bread, along with the grated rind of an orange, the egg yolks and egg whites, and 80g of chopped dark chocolate. Butter six ramekins (or one pudding bowl) and spoon the mixture in. Bake in a preheated 160C oven for 40 minutes. Serve warm with chocolate sauce.

Chocolate sauce

Heat 250ml of single cream in a small saucepan. Roughly chop 300g of good chocolate and place in a bowl. When the cream is just about to boil, take it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for 30 seconds so the chocolate melts, then mix it well with a fork or a small whisk until it becomes smooth and shiny. The chocolate sauce is now ready to be used. Any leftover sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator and can be remelted carefully by bringing a pot of water to the boil, putting the bowl containing the chocolate over the pot and slowly melting it. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not sit in the boiling water.

Miss Eagle's notes: Because we had a large number of guests, Miss Eagle didn't use ramekins. Instead she made a double mixture and baked it in a huge dish. She did not include the almonds since we are not all that keen on them at The Trad Pad. Next time, to make it more luxurious and tasty, Miss Eagle will add a liqueur. Go to the link and you will find suggestions for what liqueur you might use. Miss Eagle served the pudd warm but went back for seconds when it was cold - and, if anything, it was even better.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Beef Olives

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When Miss Eagle was but an eaglet and doing Domestic Science classes in Grades 7 and 8, one of the earliest items in the repertoire was Beef Olives. This was the time when the Sunday Roast and Three Veg reigned supreme. The height of culinary achievement in the Australian home at that time was the baked dinner. Now Beef Olives is a way of doing a simple baked dinner - a baked dinner on a budget, a baked dinner that did not take as long as the Sunday joint, a baked dinner simplified. In this day and age, it is even simpler to do. The Kitchen Whizz/Food Processor takes care of the seasoning/stuffing. A convection oven - or even a microwave - can speed up the cooking time. Here is Miss Schauer's classic recipe.

Lay out flat 1 1/2lb of topside, badebone, or round steak, cut thin. Beat with a wet rolling pin to soften fibre. Cut steak into square pieces 4 in. x 4 in. Spread with a dessertspoon of minced bacon and shredded carrot, and dessertspoon of minced onion with a pinc of saslt and pepper. Cover smoothly with a thin layer of stuffing, made by soaking a cup of fresh breadcrumbs and a tablespoon of finely-cut parsley, seasoned with pepper and salt, mixed together with 2 tablespoons hot milk. Roll round carefully (neatly). tie in middle and ends with twine or fine string. Brown quicky in pan, in a little hot fat, all over. Place in casserole, pie-dish, or thick saucepan. Cover closely. Cook slowly about 2 hours in oven or on top of stove. Remove rolls, place on hot meat-dish. Arrange a tablespoon of hot cooked green pease between the rolls, showing on top of rolls, or a 4 in. slice of cooked carrot. Pour a teaspoon of melted margarine over vegetables. Garnish side with sliced tomato, with a touch of shredded lettuce on each and shredded lettue at end of dish.
NOTE:- The stuffing may be placed on one half of the steak, the other half folded over to form a sandwich. Prepare, cook and serve as above.
Fibre of meat may be softened by probing surface with edge of thin saucer, or end of rolling pin before stuffing and rolling.
Miss Eagle's Notes: After removing the Olives from the frying pan after browning, Miss Eagle makes a nice brown gravy (remember NO GRAVOX) using a little Parisian Essence to darken the gravy if necessary. The gravy can have additional liquid so it is rather thin. Pour the gravy over the Olives in the casserole dish and place in oven. The gravy will reduce and thicken. Keep an eye on the gravy so that it doesn't simmer away. Because of the gravy, Miss Eagle likes mashed potatoes with her Olives, along with some cauliflower and minted peas.

Biscuit dough

This is Miss Eagle's favourite biscuit dough. It is scrumptious.
These were cut into leaf shapes for World Environment Day
Ingredients: 2 1/4 cups plain flour; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1 cup caster sugar; 1 cup softened butter; 1 egg; 2 teaspoons vanilla; 2 tablespoons sugar for sprinkling
Method: Combine all ingredients except the last. Blend well. Chill for easier handling. Roll out on floured surface, half at a time, to 1/8" thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool
Note: Wrapped in plastic or clingfilm this dough will keep in the fridge. You can freeze it, too. This means it is great for making ahead, say mixing on the weekend and then baking fresh in a few minutes during the week.

Monday, June 12, 2006

On the menu 2: Oxtail Stew

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Oxtail Stew is highly nutritious: meat, bones, and vegetables.

Once upon a time, an oxtail was bought whole - so that the purchased would get the large thick bones from the top of the tail and the fine, thinner ones from the bottom of the tail. Now this can still happen if you have the good fortune to use a good, old fashioned butcher. But if you are used to purchasing your meat at the supermarket all wrapped and stacked, then I need to explain this. Because what can happen with the pre-packaged oxtail is that you may not get the whole tail. This is what happened to Miss Eagle as she purchased her oxtail at Woolworths one weekend when the good old fashioned butcher was closed and the butcher in the shopping mall tried to sell her a pickled ox-tail - whatever that may be. Miss Eagle picked up a pack labelled "Tail" not "Oxtail" and thought it was awfully small. There should be more to it than this. And the bones were small. Miss Eagle looked again and there was another pack on the shelf with the large bones in it - so Miss Eagle had to purchase two packs to make one oxtail. The modern handling of beef!

The picture above shows the whole oxtail lying on a bed of vegetables. Mushrooms were added later. You can, if you wish, throw the oxtail and your choice of vegetables into a big pot and cover with water and salt and simmer away until ready. However, Miss Eagle prefers the following method.

Take a baking pan and layer your vegetables. The very first to go in is Cabbage, sliced and laid across the pan. Other vegetables are, Carrots, sliced into rings, Celery, chopped finely, a few Celery Tops, Onions, Potato, Mushrooms, and Garlic. On top of this place the Oxtail so that it looks like the photograph. Bake in a low oven (about 105 degrees Celsius) for about an hour. If the oxtail is very fatty, the fat will go to the bottom of the pan and can be drained off. Keep an eye on the baking, you don't want the vegetables to catch. Then, add your choice of herbs, don't forget the salt, and put in a large pot and bring to the simmer on the top of the stove. If you have a large cassoulet pot, this could be done in the oven. Now Miss Eagle needs to tell you that she considers Oxtail Stew a two-day event. This is to do the ever so slow cooking on Day 1. Then next day drain off any fat that has solidified on top of the stew before re-heating, thickening the stew with a paste of Plain Flour and water, and serving. With slow cooking food, it is - more often than not - better on Day 2 when you will find a greater enhancement of flavours. When your Oxtail comes to table the meat should be falling off the bone. Now this is beautiful served just with a sourdough bread and butter. However, there are two enhancements that can be made either alone or together. Give the Oxtail a hint of Central Europe by adding sour cream and stirring well in to blend about ten to fifteen minutes prior to serving. The other is to take your favourite scone recipe (see Miss Eagle's Scone Fest recipes) and do one of two things. If you are finishing the stew on your stovetop break off the dough and roll into balls (a bit of parsley is just the thing in these dumplings) place on top of stew and put a lid on top. These will cook in ten to fifteen minutes. Needless to say you do not have to serve bread with this. If you are finishing the stew in the oven, cut out the scones as usual and put on top of the stew. Do not put the lid on the pot. The scone topping will be moist underneath and brown on top and will cook in ten to fifteen minutes if you turn the oven up a little. Bon appetit! Scrumptious!

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

The season for soup

Miss Eagle walked in to Her Upper Gully Woolies yesterday afternoon and, on entering, the fruit & veg department came up against a display which said (without being written in large letters) PEA SOUP. There were ham hocks and packs of soup veges and packs of peas and lentils. Miss Eagle could not resist and Pea Soup was, before too long, on the menu and in the tummy. Here's how.
Ingredients: 2 Ham Hocks, 2 large onions, garlic to taste (Miss E. loves heaps), 1 large carrot, 2 cups of dried green peas, 2 cups of diced celery, 12 cups of water.
Method: Put the Ham Hocks, onions, garlic, and water in a big pot and bring to a simmer. Leave to simmer for about an hour. Remove hocks and remove the skin/rind and dispose. Remove the meat from the bone and cut into bite sized pieces. Return to the water. Miss E. also puts the bare bones back to get the most out of them, but you don't have to. Add the remaining vegetables. Cook for another 45 minutes. Peas should be a little mushy but with whole cooked peas still visible and in shape.
Miss Eagle serves her soup, as you can see from the photograph, over a slice of Phillipa's bread. In this case, her Campagnard Bloomer. Phillipa's bread is arguably the best bread in the whole of Melbourne and here, in the outer south-east, we are privileged to be able to purchase Phillipa's product off the shelf at the local Maxi supermarket here in Upper Gully.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Furi knives

Could someone in the blogosphere please provide me with some information?
Yesterday when Miss Eagle was shopping, she went into a kitchen shop in search of a knife. Her beloved butcher's knife of many decades has gone missing. Thin air. Herself has no idea of what makes a decent culinary knife. So when in a suburban shopping mall and a kitchen shop ahead, Miss Eagle decided to give them a try. There she found a large plastic knife block with four knives and a hand written sign explaining that they were Furi knives reduced from approx $150 to approx $90. The catch was that it should have been a five knife set. The smallest knife was missing. Now my sister, The Director, had been waxing lyrical about the Furi knife just last weekend on a visit from Brisbane. So, for further and better information, Miss Eagle went to the 'net. Miss Eagle could not find anything that looks like her knives. All the images were of those all in one blade & handle in stainless steel jobs. As you can see, Miss Eagle's knives have a black composition handle with grey trim. They have Qu on them with the u having the little dots above the verticals. In addition, the price of the all in one stainless steel jobs bore no relation to the price, even before discount, of the knives Miss Eagle purchased. The former were in the stratosphere, the latter in reasonability.
So the question before you, dear Reader, is what have I purchased? A knock off? A superceded model? Haven't used them yet - but they appear to be quality knives. Please help. Remember: curiousity killed the cat but information brought it back.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Feather Pudding is No. 1

To-day, June 1, marks the official beginning of winter. This is the ideal time for pudds: steamed puddings. Miss Eagle's yummiest favouritest is Miss Schauer's Feather Pudding - 1 with lashings of custard. Yes, there is a Feather Pudding -2 but Miss Eagle has never got past No. 1 because it is wonderful. It has been particularly wonderful this week with the liberal use of Bette Connop's Blood Plum Jam.
Cream 1/4lb butter with same quantity of sugar, add 2 well-beaten eggs (white and yolks beaten separately), 6oz self-raising flour, 1/2 cup milk. Flavour with vanilla. Cover bottom of basin with raspberry jam or golden syrup. Place mixture on. Steam 2 hours quickly. Serve with a suitable sauce.
Cream 4oz butter and 2 tablespoons of syrup together, add 1/2 cup milk with 1/4 teaspoon bi-carb. soda mixed in it. Then add 1 1/2 cups well-sieved self-raising flour. Steam for 2 hours, and serve with a syrup sauce.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The party's over....

The party's over. Normality is beginning to resume after visitors have gone to the airport; empty bottles have gone into the bin; the left-overs have stocked the fridge for the week ahead. Now, with the new job and all, a new blogging routine has to be established. Stay tuned. Thank you to those who have emailed or posted. Blessings and bliss Miss Eagle

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Miss Eagle Regrets and Life Takes Over

Dear Reader, Miss Eagle wishes to inform you that she is taking Leave of Absence. She hopes to resume normal service in about ten days times. Real Life is invading the Quiet Life. Visitors are on the horizon with accompanying preparations prior to arrival and various jollities on arrival. In amongst this are your Miss E's birthday celebrations (26 is reprising) and Herself's best friend is being farewelled to live in England. As well, the coffers are getting a top up with a six month contract of employment - so nine to five time slots with train rides before and after will become the order of the day. Miss Eagle is happy to receive email from the sidebar and will be dropping by the sites and her Feeddemon so she will not be incommunicado altogether. Yours bloggingly, Miss Eagle

Thursday, May 18, 2006

On the menu 1: Saucy Seafood & Lemon Pudding

Saucy Seafood
This dish is for those who love shellfish. As the nights get cooler in the Southern Hemisphere, it is a cosy main course. It is a variation on Brie Mussels, provided by Clarice over at Storybook Woods. And while you are there, have a look at Clarice's take on How to roast a chicken. Very interesting and very creative.
SAUCY SEAFOOD 3 bacon rashers with rind removed 1 leek - or replace it with 2 onions Fresh garlic. Mis Eagle loves heaps. 1kg shellfish - this comprised green mussel meat, green prawns, and scallops, debearded
1 cup dry white wine (or water but wine is better) 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard 1 ( around 8-ounce) brie, very cold, rind removed and cut into pieces

In a large pan fry bacon and set aside crisped bacon. Drain off most fat. Keep 1 tablespoon and add oil. Sautee leeks/onions until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, 1/2 the parsley, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the shellfish, wine, and cream, and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, about 5 minutes. You will know when the shellfish is cooked when the green prawns turn red. Remove from the heat. Discard bay leaf. Stir in Dijon. Add cheese, crumbled bacon, rest of parsley. Pour into a large, deep serving bowl. Serve immediately with hot French bread for dipping and lemon wedges.

And for dessert, straight from Miss Schauer and The Schauer Australian Cookery Book is something quite old-fashioned, Lemon Pudding.

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Grease pie-dish. Butter bread, cut in dice, put 3 layers at bottom of pie-dish. Melt 2oz. of butter in a saucepan, add the juice of 2 lemons and the rind of 1, add 1 cup sugar, small cup water, the yolks of 2 eggs, beat well. Put into oven to set, then place meringue on top, sprinkle with pink sugar.

Miss Eagle's Notes: Yum yum. Luscious. However, would suggest an extra white for the meringue. Felt it spread a bit thin. An extra yolk into the mix would go well.


Bowl and beater should be cool and dry. When separating whites from yolks, there must be no skerrick of yolk polluting the whites. Unless Miss Eagle is doing large quantities, she prefers to use her favourite rotary beaters (see previous post). Beat whites until stiff (they will be a soft-ish sort of stiff) and then add caster sugar a dessertspoon at a time to taste. The adding of the sugar slowly and beating well in before each addition gives the stiffness to the meringue. All sugar should be beaten well in so that no grain can be detected. After placing on pie, return to oven which is very low and leave meringue to set and brown slightly.

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Take about 2 tablespoons of sugar and add about two drops of red food colouring or cochineal. Mix in with a spoon. Colouring should be used very sparingly to give the sugar its pale pink colour. A little goes a long way. If you don't use the full amount, the rest can be stored in a jar for use next time.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Great Aussie Scone Fest - Lemonade Scones - 4

Kelvin should be pleased. Thanks to The Old Foodie who has come up with the recipe. Miss Eagle is indebted to both of them. She had never heard of Lemonade Scones. She has baked them and Miss Eagle and Herself have taste-tested them. The conclusion? They are the best ever. Such light dough and they rose quite a treat. And Eve's Gooseberry & Plum Jam was just the thing. Please note the Australia scone cutter. Miss Eagle thought you, dear Reader, might get bored with round scones. Here are the ingredients. The Old Foodie did not include a method. But if you need clear instructions, please go the same way as for Buttermilk Scones.
2 cups SR flour
pinch salt
1 dessertspoon sugar
2/3 cup lemonade
1 cup cream.
Note: Miss Eagle had to add a little extra flour. This could be to do with the absorbency of the flour. As Miss Eagle has mentioned before, flour varies in its rates of absorbency.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Great Aussie Scone Fest Mystery

Dear Reader, your help is needed. The Old Foodie has left a comment, informing Miss Eagle of a difficulty.

Well Miss Eagle, I thought I had found the perfect contribution in a book called "The Australasian Cookery Book .. specially written and compiled for the requirements of Australian and New Zealand Homes" (is about 1910 vintage). The recipe is for Pineapple Scones. "these are made in the same way as banana scones, using grated pineapple insted of the banana."Only minor issue is that there is not a banana scone recipe in the book. Looks like I'll have to experiment, but will be on holiday 12-29th so it might be belated!

Does anyone, anywhere in the world, have a recipe - preferably circa 1910, but any will do - for Banana Scones?

Lord preserve us

My local parish church is St Thom's and every few months they have a street stall at the Maxi Supermarket at Upper Ferntree Gully. It is something and is organised by the indefatigible fundraiser in chief, Gwen Brideson. Three tables. One table was burdened with beautiful knits and crafts. A second table groaned with delights from the kitchen. The third had the piece-de-resistance, the raffle of Rosemary Sendin's Mother's Day cake. Miss Eagle made a valiant effort to win this, purchasing quite a few tickets. But the winner was Iola Tilley - without whom St Thom's would probably fall down - who has more counts towards motherhood than Miss Eagle. But Miss Eagle always heads for the preserves. This time - with a vision of all those scones to be baked and tested for the Great Aussie Scone Fest - your author was even more focussed than usual. Miss Eagle does not bother to make her favourite Plum Jam anymore. Bett Connop's is a delight and this time it was made from Blood Plums. The other purchases all came from the kitchen of the elegant Eve Nielsen and, as you will see Dear Reader, her jams and chutneys are elegant as well. Six jars of Eve's produce came back to The Trad Pad: Apple and Sage Chutney; Nectarine and Peach Chutney; Lemon and Fennel Jelly; Fig and Ginger Jam; Gooseberry and Plum Jelly; and Blackberry Jam.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Great Aussie Scone Fest - Buttermilk & Ginger - 3

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Dear Reader, you may not be able to tell the difference, but in the photo above the scones on the left are Buttermilk Scones and the scones on the right are Ginger Scones.

Miss Eagle has been busy baking some of Miss Schauer's scone recipes. Now Miss Eagle has never baked one of Miss Schauer's scone recipes. She has another favourite which she always does in the kitchen whizz. But more of that for another post. Ms Robyn, please take note. Miss Eagle thinks the scones you may have been dreaming about are the Buttermilk Scones - and they are the easiest scones Miss Eagle has ever made.

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Sift together into a mixing bowl 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon bi-carb soda, 1 level teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mix to a dough with about 1 cup of buttermilk. Quickly roll out to 1/2 in. thickness, cut with knife or cutter into shapes desired and bake in a good hot oven 10 to 15 minutes. May be baked on a girdle. Serve butter or with whipped cream and favourite jam, as black currant jam.

Note: These are so easy. Miss Eagle mixed them in the trusty Kenwood Chef with the dough hook. There is no butter to rub into the flour etc. Just put the ingredients in and mix with the buttermilk. The result is a lovely soft dough. When making any form of pastry or batter, it should be recognised that the amount of fluid is, in reality, a guide. More may need to added because all flour is not equal. Absorbency of flour varies. When adding extra fluid, add small amounts with caution so that you don't overdo it, dear Reader. This quantity of dough made six scones when cut with a round scone cutter measuring 6.5 cm ( 2 1/2") in diameter.


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Rub into 1/2 lb self-raising flour 1 large tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, add 1/2 teaspoon sugar and a pinch of salt. Work into a scone dough with the yolk of an egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of black treacle and a good half cup of milk. Turn on to floured board, knead very lightly, press out, cut with round cutter, brush over with a little of the milk and egg that it was mixed with. Place on hot greased tin and bake in quick oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Roll in clean cloth till cold.

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Note: This recipe makes six scones with enough left over for a little knobby ball not big enough for the cutter (for size of cutter see above). The ginger flavour is very subtle so if you would like a stronger flavour you, dear Reader, will have to experiment with adding a little more. Miss Eagle had no treacle and there was none on the shelves at her local Maxi supermarket. She substituted Golden Syrup. Treacle would provide a stronger flavour. Eve Neilsen's Fig and Ginger Jam was the perfect match for these scones.