Animals Australia: the voice for animals

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

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year - and please rejig the menu

Photo: The Age
I have long felt that Phillippa Grogan was a woman after my own heart. I regard as one of the great luxuries of life the ability to walk into my local supermarket at Upper Gully and purchase Phillippa's breads and other assorted goodies. Now, I feel like she has been looking over my shoulder as I blog.
In M Magazine which accompanies The Sunday Age here in Melbourne, there was an article yesterday titled The Plates of 2008. The article holds predictions from "people who should know" about what lies ahead. Here's what Phillipa had to say: In 2008, retro sweets will come to the party, too. Look out for hedgehog, rumballs, lamingtons and bread-and-butter pudding, either made traditionally or spun with a contemporary twist. Older cakes will surge, too. "I think you'll see tea cakes with cinnamon and apple slices on top, that kind of thing," says Phillipa Grogan of Phillippa's Bakery. She has also been making carrot jam - "it's a post-war thing, born out of a lack of ingredients" - and chocolate ripple cake. Grogan thinks nibbling on old-school treats reminds people of childhood. "It takes them back into that place when they didn't have worries or responsibilities," she says. "You can smell a cake cooking you're right back when you're nine years old. It's amazingly seductive." And why would Miss Eagle think, for even a minute, that Phillippa has been looking over her shoulder. Here's the evidence:
  1. Over here at The Trad Pad, Miss Eagle bemoaned the predictability of what is on offer in Melbourne at cake and coffee time and called for some good brains to rejig the menu.
  2. Back in June I was waxing lyrical about Australian teacakes here and here .

One doesn't have too look too far on this blog to find a variety of bread-and-butter type puddings. As for the lamington, this blog specialises in making it known far and wide because of its dedication to the work of the inventor of the lamington, Miss Amy Schauer. Now where are my recipes for hedgehog and rumballs. Coming up!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Magic Pudding

  • Behind every successful man, there is a good woman. Tony Bilson is one of Australia's top chefs. The Christmas Pudding recipe is below is from Tony Bilson's mother. It was published in The Sydney Morning Herald's Good Living of Nov 23-Nov 29 1999. A reader with a l-o-n-g memory reminded The SMH that it had once published such a recipe many years before and, please, could they reprint it. Miss E has done this pudd - and it is a corker. Is it because it has stout - and the rum? Miss E being an expatriate Queenslander always uses Bundy Rum. The stout, of course, is Guinness. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Evelyn Bilson’s Christmas Pudding
    Ingredients (serves 12)
  • 1½ cups suet
  • ¾ cup plain flour
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 4 cups soft breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4½ cups mixed fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants, figs)
  • 1/3 cup mixed peel
  • ½ cup stout
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp marmalade
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 fresh tart apple, grated
  • 4 tbps rum or cognac
  • ¼ plain flour, sifted.
  • Rub suet into the flour and add remaining dry ingredients.
  • Mix well.
  • Add stout, stir in eggs and add marmalade.
  • Add lemon zest, juice and apple and finally the rum or cognac.
  • Let stand in a cool place overnight for the flavours to amalgamate.
  • Take a wet pudding cloth (use a 75cm square of unbleached calico) and wring it out.
  • Sprinkle liberally with the extra flour and place the pudding on top. This helps give the pudding a better skin.
  • Gather corners and sides of the cloth around the pudding and pull tightly to give it a good, round shape.
  • Tie tightly with string about 2.5cm above the top of the pudding to allow for expansion.
  • Steam pudding in a bowl sitting in boiling water in a large saucepan for 4 hours and then hang it in the pantry for at least 2 weeks, until Christmas.
  • The pudding must not touch anything.
  • In hot weather, it is better to store it in the refrigerator.
    Brandy Sauce
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup brandy or cognac
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • Have ready a pot of simmering water.
  • Mix yolks, orange juice and sugar in a stainless-steel bowl and whisk over simmering water until doubled in bulk and falling off the whisk in a stream or ribbon.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in brandy, then melted butter.
  • Serve warm with the pudding.
    Serving the Pudd
  • Steam pudding in a large saucepan for a further 2 hours,
  • remove cloth and
  • transfer to a serving dish.
  • Bring to table, pour over warmed brandy
  • and ignite immediately.
  • Serve with brandy sauce.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Water, water everywhere in the Outer East.

The previous post was talking about our lack of water and water restrictions. Clearly, a day is a long time in weather and climate. This afternoon, there was no shortage of water in the Outer Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Huge downpours this afternoon and flash flooding all over the place. For the first time in three years, the creek in front of our house is full and flowing: flowing fast, in fact.

Water, edibles and the elderly in the vege patch

Here is some of Miss Eagle's vege patch & pots.

Water is at a premium in Australia - and Victoria is no exception.

This morning we got a very welcome drop of rain.

But water is an issue with veges.

We are warned that there will some food shortages this summer along with higher prices for fruit and vegetables.

So it makes a lot of sense to grow your own.

You can eliminate the chemicals. Go organic. Plant permaculture.

And get a lot of pleasure and good nutrition all at the same time.

But water is an issue and Marika Wagner wants us to join her in lobbying the government about our needs. Marika knows what she is talking about. She works at the marvellous Bulleen Art and Garden here in Melbourne.

Marika says:

Produce gardens provide us with the very fruit, vegetables and herbs we eat, and many of us have worked hard to create these gardens with much of our own time and money.

It's understood that keeping higher water use ornamental gardens and lawns can be seen as luxury items in times of water shortage, but forcing us to let our produce gardens become unproductive and/or die is an outrage. Only being able to water on two pre-specified days of the week is not the most efficient way to keep a garden alive and productive and can lead to stressed and unproductive plants, defeating the purpose of this type of garden. Produce gardens should be allowed efficient, mindful watering, when required.

Education to efficient water use, is the key to saving water for Victoria, not forcing gardens to dwindle & perhaps perish.

To be able to grow our own food:- 1) Saves water for Victoria, according to a study done by David Holmgren, co-founder of ‘Permaculture’, (Holmgren Design Services), efficient backyard growers can use only one fifth of the water compared to commercial growers per $ value of produce.

2) Saves up to 25% of greenhouse gases by eliminating ‘food miles’, this means our fruit and vegetables don’t use excess energies of ; being machine harvested, transported to sorting sheds, stored in cool rooms, transported to market, then to supermarket, lit up by fluorescent lights and then transported again to homes to be then stored again in the fridge, whilst losing vitality and freshness along the way.

3) Reduces the overall Australia wide use of biocides like herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. This is because home produce gardens are naturally quite biodiverse, therefore resilient, and easy to apply natural pest control methods to.

4) Brings people and families together outdoors to gain healthy organic produce, fresh air, exercise and an awareness to our connection with nature.I believe that it is our right to grow and monitor our own fresh, healthy, chemical free food in our backyards. I am asking for an exemption from current water restrictions or for introduction of more appropriate water rules for our important produce gardens.

So, dear Reader, please pop across here and sign Marika's petition. And then, when you have done that, please let all your friends know and get them to sign too. Let's make Tim Holding and the Victorian Labor Government sit up and take notice. Otherwise, civil disobedience?

Miss E also supports Kevin Walsh's idea for a new E level of restriction: for the elderly and edibles. How sensible.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How sweet it Wisconsin!

Sometimes, blogging reminds me of the penfriends I used to have as a child. We learn something of one another's country and way of life through friendship. Recently, I have accidentally landed in Wisconsin because Jeanna of Wisconsin Candy Dish dropped in and we got talking by email. Now I have my doubts about whether Jeanna is one of Madison, Wisconsin's upstanding citizens. You see Jeanna is naughty. Her blog has been promoting bad habits since 2006 - and I think I have got caught up in them - in the most thoroughly enjoyable way of course.
All over candy - or what we in the Land of Oz would call lollies.
Jeanna has sent me the most wonderful package. And I have been brushing up on Wisconsin's geography over at Wikipedia: and the geography sounds absolutely gorgeous and right up my street - except I'll steer clear in the dead of winter, thank you very much.
So. Jeanna's parcel arrived yesterday.
Above on the left is the box of goodies before unpacking. On the right is the unpacked goodies.
Will you get a load of that T-shirt. It's from that great football team that even Miss Eagle had heard of, the Green Bay Packers. I've got a Packers shirt. (Miss Eagle jumping up and down joyfully.) Whoda thunk it! Thank you Jeanna. It's a treasure!.

Above is a collage of goodies. A musical bottle opener beloved of Badger fans (I gather that there are a variety of college sports played under the Badger title); a copy of The Onion, a satirical newspaper which did amuse Miss E (the headlines are so interesting following Oz's longest election in history - or so it seems); more sweets and the cutest battery operated tea-candles with the teeniest batteries! But the piece-de-resistance was these. Stupid Miss E did not comprehend what a cow pie could be when Jeanna talked of them. Open up the cellophane packet and you can see, can't you dear Reader, why this gorgeous cake-cum-chocolate coated biscuit is called a Cow Pie. And then there is the Badger Claw. Miss Eagle and Herself voted them both yummo. AQIS (Australia's quarantine service) had been in for a peek but there was no evidence they had taken anything - just a couple of brochures.

Jeanna, the Tim Tams and assorted goodies should be in the good hands of Australia Post to-morrow.

Thank you so much. Your gift has given a great deal of pleasure and will continue to do so for quite a while. And thank you for the opportunity, through blogging friendship, to get to know beautiful Wisconsin.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dressing the salad with mayonnaise

The season of salads is upon us. This Boiled Salad Dressing, which Miss Amy Schauer in The Schauer Australian Cookery Book subtitles (Useful Dressing), was a regular menu item in Miss Eagle's household as she was growing up. Phyllis, Miss E's mother, made an excellent Potato Salad and this was the secret. No need for bottled mayonnaise from a nameless factory in a who-knows-where place. Make your own - quickly, simply, cheaply.
Dissolve 1 level tablespoon butter in a saucepan over fire. Remove from fire, blend in smoothly 1 tablespoon flour; add small cup milk, return to fire, stir all the time until it boils. Add a level teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, a pinch of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon mixed mustard, the yolk of an egg. Place again over fire just to cook egg, stir with a wooden spoon, add slowly 2 tablespoons vinegar.
Simple really!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

These Chocolate Peppermint Drops are lovely morsels. They have a touch of glam which makes them at home on any occasion. The recipe is from the Carnation Cookbook lent to me by Gina. The drops are more a batter than a dough - which could mean other possibilities.
I have included the Vanilla Icing from the book. I used my usual butter icing for which I have no precise recipe. Cream butter and icing sugar, add vanilla or other flavouring, add milk (or juice). Then its a matter of varying that for desired consistency and/or flavour.
I left out the nuts. I am not a big nut fan. And I decided that if the icing had a peppermint flavour then it should be coloured green. So the biscuits are topped with green butter icing and chocolate sprinkles. I think they would look at home as Christmas Fare. Let me know what you think. And please let me know if you work any interesting variations.
Ingredients · 1 ¼ cups plain flour · ¼ teaspoon salt · ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda · 125g butter or margarine · ¾ cup castor sugar · 1 egg · 1 teaspoon vanilla essence · 60 g cooking chocolate, melted · ½ cup Carnation Evaporated Milk · ½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc) Method · Sift flour, salt and soda together · Cream butter or margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla until light and fluggy · Add chocolate, mix well. · Add dry ingredients alternatively with evaporated milk and mix well. · Lastly, fold in nuts. · Drop teaspoonfuls of mixture on to an ungreased baking sheet 5cm apart. · Bake in a moderately hot over 190 degrees Celsius for 8-10 minutes. · Cool on wire rack. · Decorate with peppermint flavoured Vanilla Butter Icing
Ingredients · 2 ½ cups sifted icing sugar · 40 grams (2 tablespoons) butter or margarine · ¼ cup Carnation Evaporated Milk · ¼ teaspoon vanilla essence Method · Combine sugar with butter/marg, milk, vanilla, beating until smooth and creamy Variations · PEPPERMINT CHIP: Lastly fold in ¼ cup crushed peppermint candy bar · ORANGE: Lastly fold in grated rind of 1 orange · LEMON: Lastly fold in granted rind of 1 lemon · COFFEE: Combine 1-2 tablespoons inst coffee with i/sugar, continue as directed.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Enslaved by chocolate: addiction or exploitation?

OK, dear Reader, time to experiment with the old adage that the pen is mightier than the sword. Dust off those ethical thoughts. Chocolate and the child slaves who produce it is the issue. For more extensive information, please go here and here.
You might, dear Reader, like to start with the following:
Cadbury Consumer Services, PO Box 200, Ringwood VIC 3134
Feedback link is here.
Are you interested, dear Reader, in doing a factory tour with Miss Eagle during which we can ask the question on the premises about where Cadbury's cocoa comes from and what they are doing about the exploitation of children? Currently, it would appear that their website is concerned only with obesity in children. But there are children involved in the chocolate process who will never grow fat - even though they might never go out to play!
Consumer Services Department, GPO Box 4320, Sydney NSW 2001
You can email Nestle from here.
As you would be aware, dear Reader, Nestle has been the focus in the past for the promotion of breast milk substitutes in Africa. You will find them expounding their corporate philosophy of Good Food, Good Life here. A portion of Nestle's website is devoted to a discussion about coffee. You might like, in your correspondence, to ask them about their attitude to Fair Trade coffee. There is no mention of that on their site.
Mars Australia, Wodonga (Australian Headquarters), Petcare Place, Wodonga Vic 3690
Snackfood/Mars, PO Box 633, Ballarat VIC 3353 - Ballarat Ring Rd 3350
You can email Mars from here.
On the Mars site, there is this section, The 5 Principles. Mmmm....
  • Quality: this segment says : "The consumer is the boss". So, dear Reader, use your consumer power to tell Mars who is the boss and that you do not want your love of chocolate to hold other human beings to ransom.
  • Responsibility: Mars said it recruits ethical people. Challenge them to put their ethics on show in relation to child labour and child slavery.
  • Mutuality: Mars says its "actions should never be at the expense, economic or otherwise, of others with whom we work". Now Miss Eagle understands that the child slaves are not direct employees of Mars but they are stakeholders in the industry nonetheless. Without companies such as Mars there might not be a cocoa industry to be exploitative. So Mars needs to put its actions in the ethical framework of how do we expect all children to live and enjoy life.
  • Efficiency: Here Mars talks about its pursuit of "the least possible cost". To the child slaves there is a very high cost - loss of childhood development, loss of education. The least possible financial cost should not require the exploitation of sentient beings or the despoliation of the planet.
  • Freedom: Mars claims for itself "We need freedom to shape our future: we need profit to remain free." Well, guess what! So do African children. Enslavement - even if it is the only hope for survival in an environment of despairing poverty - does not provide freedom and does not bring any profit to the people so that they can remain free of exploitative practices. The Christian adage of doing unto others as you would have done unto you needs to be extended by Mars to the poverty stricken people caught up in the cocoa economy to provide luxury goods for those with great economic freedom.

And then there is the industry body to contact, too:

Confectionery Manufacturers of Australasia

Confectionery Manufacturers of Australasia,PO Box 1307 (Level 2, 689 Burke Rd),Camberwell VIC 3124

Email Confectionery Manufacturers of Australasia (CMA) at

When you have completed this task, dear Reader, you might like to keep Miss Eagle informed.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Cooking catch-up

November has dawned - well, three days ago - and we'll see if Miss Eagle can do any better at posting than she has done in recent times. August was illness, September was recovery, and October was - well, dear Reader, you can see for yourself what I've been up to if you pop over here.

So, let's do some food catch up. Above, was my contribution to the blogging lunch described here.

Those rolls on the left are a vegetarian substitute for sausage rolls and they go just as well dipped in tomato sauce.

Vegetarian Rolls

Dear Reader, you can sort yourself out on quantities. I used:

  • 1x425 g tin of chick peas, drained
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • Grated cheese
  • Fresh herbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • Sesame seeds

I blended the first five ingredients in the food processor. I put spoonfuls of the mixture in a strip along the length of the pastry sheet. Rolled it over, brushed the edges with milk to stick them together, cut down the sheet, cut up the roll and placed on a baking dish and continued like this until the two sheets were used up. Then I brushed all the little rolls with milk and sprinkled sesame seed on top. I did have some of the mixture left over. That was beautiful for breakfast the next day tossed in the pan with a fried egg.

Fruit and Cheese Skewers

You, dear Reader, don't require a recipe for these. You can see what goes into them, how they are done. I used a Colby Cheese. Colby is a mild cheese that suits a broad range of tastes. Coming as it does in a block, it is easy to cube for the skewers. As for the fruit, it is your choice. I used water, rock and honeydew melons and pineapple. But strawberries would be a great inclusion.

We are now getting into the rhythm of the deliveries from Aussie Farmers Direct. Our milk comes from the Western District and is processed and packed by the historic Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, which sits on the Great Ocean Road at Allansford. Our fruit and veges (see pictures above) arrive every Wednesday.

They are first class and, because they are so fresh and of such high quality, they keep very well. This is an important factor in a household comprising two single people. Herself optimistically signed up for the Family Pack and not the Two Person Pack. So each Thursday, I am getting into the habit of sorting, storing and planning. If we can manage to get through a Family Pack of fruit and veges a week rather than pick up the odd piece as we go, then there'll be roses in the cheeks of this household!

Our free range eggs come early in the week - and, in case we are not using them up quickly enough, a quiche goes on the menu along with a fresh salad. However, what you see pictured above is the Lazy Cook's Quiche. I figured if one can have small bread cases for savouries, why not large ones? So here is the Lazy Cook's Quiche:

Lazy Cook's Quiche

Bread Case: dip sufficient slices of bread in milk to line your pie dish. (My dish is large.) Ensure that slices abut and/or overlap so that the plate is covered. You will need to trim slices for the edge and, if necessary, to cover abutting corners. When placing the bread around the edges put the crust uppermost because this gives a nice crunchy crust when it is baked.

Filling: I used fresh asparagus, onions, diced potato, peas, fresh herbs, 4 eggs beaten with Carnation Evaporated Milk, salt. Quantities will vary according to the size of the pie plate and the vegetables you have available.

Bake in a slow oven (somewhere around 150 degrees to 170 degrees) on a low shelf. When the filling is set cover with grated cheese. Continue to bake until the cheese is golden brown. I usually turn off the oven when the cheese is melted right across the quiche but is not yet brown. I then leave the quiche in the oven. It continues to cook and can be left until it is the right temperature for serving. Allowing about 45 minutes to an hour for cooking is best so that the egg mixture is set and the vegetables are cooked through but not overdone. Quite more-ish!

I have taken the laziness and bread casing a step further with an Apple and Pear Tart. The bread casing was done as described for the quiche, apples and pears were cored and sliced thinly (four pears and five small Granny Smith's), the juice of an orange sprinkled over them, along with three dessertspoons of brown sugar. Again baked at 150-170 degrees. A low temperature is needed to allow the fruit to cook through. The fruit is piled on because as the fruit cooks and loses its liquid, it sinks down. This was a vote-winner.

As I write this, Melbourne has received soaking rain for the past eighteen hours. It is wonderful and most welcome. I worked very hard to get the vege garden in and planted because there is a local wisdom which says that, to have tomatoes for Christmas, they have to be planted by Melbourne Cup Day. My plants have been in for just over a week and now, with the rain, all that is needed is some moderate weather for them to take off - I hope and pray. Tomatoes for Christmas? We'll see.

And now for the piece-de-resistance.

Cappuccino Cake


  • 250 g pack of butter, softened
  • 250 g light soft brown sugar plus 2-3 tablespoons
  • 300 g self-raising flour
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 50 g walnuts, toasted and finely chopped (food processor is easiest), optional
  • 200 ml very strong coffee (made fresh or with instant), cooled. (You are using Fair Trade coffee, aren't you, dear Reader?)


  • 500 g tub mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons light soft brown sugar
  • Cocoa powder or drinking chocolate, to decorate


  • Heat oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/ 160 degrees convection
  • Butter 2x20cm sandwich tins
  • Line the bottoms with greaseproof paper.
  • Beat butter and sugar together with electric beaters until pale and creamy.
  • Add the flour and eggs in one go
  • Keep beating until evenly mixed.
  • Fold in the walnuts (if used) and half of the coffee.
  • Spoon the mix into the prepared tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and well risen.
  • Leave the cakes in their tins for 5 mins before turning onto a wire rack.
  • Sweeten the remaining coffee with the extra sugar and sprinkle 4 tablespoons over the sponges.
  • Leave to cool completely.
  • While the cakes cool, make the frosting.
  • Tip the mascarpone into a large bowl and beat in the sugar and remaining coffee until smooth and creamy.
  • Use about half of the frosting to sandwich the sponges together then, using a palette or cutlery knife, spread the rest of the frosting over the top of the cake.
  • Decorate with a dusting of cocoa powder or drinking chocolate.

This recipe is from Jane Hornby and is published in the BBC's Good Food magazine of May 2006.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Kath and Kim: tunnelling through

It is nearly ready! Melbourne's latest Freeway - the Mitcham to Frankston or the Scoresby as it is often known. It is only ten minutes from Upper Gully and Miss Eagle will probably love its convenience. Shame on me - as I remember the beautiful farmland it subsumed - including a place with miniature ponies.
Herself can be a clever drawers at times and - as soon as she heard the announcement - she had the names: Kath and Kim.
I don't think the names are worth entering because you see, dear Reader, there are guidelines. And, after a read of those, it seems that Kath and Kim may not cut the mustard.
But that, dear Reader, should not really matter. The tunnels can have a flash, guide-line meeting name for the toffs. But for the rest of us we know that, just as at Fountain Gate in south-east Melbourne, Kath and Kim are stars so their names can become through common and widespread usage the names for the stars of convenience in private transport in south-east Melbourne.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket,

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Aussie Farmers Direct

Herself has signed us up. First delivery is yet to arrive. Someone knocked at the door - and it seems like a great way to support our farmers. You see in Australia our grocery retailing is in the hands of a duopoly - Woolworths and Coles. There are independents - an Australia wide one IGA and locally there is Maxi. Here at The Trad Pad, Maxi is our preferred grocery retailer but we do shop at Woolworths when it suits - for very good specials or a particular product. You see we don't want to give most of our grocery dollar to supporting the market dominance of Woolworths - not only in groceries but in hotels, liquor retailing, and poker machines. What do you think, dear Reader, when you see the Roll Back poster in Woolworths proudly boasting that they are rolling back prices? Miss Eagle thinks there are two possibilities:
  1. This is untrue - and prices are not rolling back i.e. when are they rolling back to? - are they rolling back on every item or only some items?
  2. This is true - but how is the rolling back being done and at whose expense? Stories persist of farmers being squeezed; of farmers being flooded with paperwork as Woolworths imposes their auditing procedures upon them. And what about employees - are their wages and working hours and intensity of work being squeezed too? Are suppliers being forced to cut and cut their prices to get shelf space to put their products up front?

Miss Eagle suspects that the answer to each question is in the affirmative. Woolworths are progressively introducing their trendy looking house brand, Select. Some stories are around that Select is gradually taking shelf space away from other wholesalers. In other words, Woolworths are not giving existing suppliers a fair deal. Dear Reader, if you are not already taking time to check the labels on all the products that go into your shopping basket - please do so from now on. To whom are you transferring the power of your grocery dollar vote? Towards Australian business and employment or to foreign businesses who do not pay their employees well, who do not meet appropriate environmental standards? If you think this is exaggerated, Woolworths had to answer questions recently about Select brand toilet paper which had its source in unsustainable forest harvesting.

As a consumer, dear Reader, are you prepared to be relieved of what power you might have and give the decision-making to large corporations to make decisions in their own interests which, in the end, may not be in your best interests?

So, here at The Trad Pad, we are willing to give Aussie Farmers Direct a go.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

A heart for French Provincial

Let me put it on the record. Here at The Trad Pad we love things French Provincial. This means that Herself and Miss Eagle take a regular fix by visiting Provincial Home Living at Nunawading on a regular basis. Now, what I would really love to purchase there is their large bookcase, the one with the ladder. Ho, hum. Not on the financial or space agenda here at The Trad Pad. But, I usually walk away with a tidbit or two. Herself had to have a bird cage (only ornamental birds at The Trad Pad) and a pair of golden mesh food covers. Miss Eagle came away with a set of three heart-shaped biscuit cutters in their own metal case, some new tea-towels, and three little white hens with which something interesting needs to be done. As you can see below, as if I needed another biscuit cutter. So, I had to bake something that would justify a graduate set of hearts. Using the small and large cutters, I made biscuit pairs with pink icing in the middle and on top and multi-coloured cachous. Won't make them too often because the icing makes them s-o-o sweet. You virtually have to eat them like cakes by slicing them up into smaller pieces! But the biscuit pastry is lovely and the recipe is below. Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups of butter or margarine
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 4 cups of plain/all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder


  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius or 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Thoroughly cream butter and sugar
  • Add egg, milk, vanilla and almond extract
  • Beat well
  • Stir together flour and baking powder
  • Gradually add the creamed mixture, mixing to make a smooth dough.
  • Roll out
  • Cut into shapes
  • Bake for 6 to 8 minutes
  • Cool on rack
  • Ice

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Paradise, Cinnamon, Crunch and Apple Crumble

I'm here, back, arrived. Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated - in spite of my illness, Herself's illness, and general busy-ness and Spring fever which can be seen over at The Trad Pad. Just popped in to tell you about something I did differently for dessert recently. Instead of the usual topping on the Apple Crumble, this packet of Made and Owned in Australia (and isn't that Paradise), Paradise Cinnamon Crunch got crumbled up, sprinkled over the apples, and dotted with butter. Miss Eagle thought it was absolutely scrumptious and highly commends it. Herself said is was "all right" but preferred the traditional topping.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Muriel Robertson, Robert Borlund's mother, is hereby declared by Miss Eagle as Mother of the Year. Greater love has no mother than that she fly half-way across the world to her son's bed of pain with a packet of Tim Tams. Television reports show a distinguished elderly woman from Perth with an English accent and say that she has turned up in Thailand with Tim Tams.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A step up to a start-up: social enterprise catering

Clockwise from top left:
1 & 2: AfriTas Restaurant, Hobart; 3 La Cocina, San Francisco; 4 Smart Cuisine, Clayton; 5 & 6 Sorghum Sisters, Carlton
Reading about La Cocina in San Francisco has stimulated this post. How many women and men who are interested in food and who are good cooks have not dreamed about a restaurant or a coffee shop? Somewhere between few and none is Miss Eagle's guess. For immigrant women for whom English is not their first language, who have limited or no resources, and risk social isolation, one of their exits could be the communal commercial kitchen.
Refugee organisations have assisted in this regard in Australia. African immigrants and refugees put their energies into AfriTas in Hobart in a very systematic operation which has had great success.
But Miss Eagle would like to know more. Where are there other social enterprises such as these operating in communal commercial kitchens? Are there business incubator enterprises such as La Cocina operating in Australia for women who are not immigrants or refugees who may want to consider starting up a food enterprise? How easy and how cheap is it to rent a commercial kitchen - say in Melbourne or Sydney - for a short period (say one day per week)?
In a world that appears dominated by celebrity chefs, can we explore together, dear Reader, the world of the start-up?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Jam Drops - from thumbprints or fingerprints

Woof Nanny recently posted on what she referred to as an American Classic - the thumbprint cookie. I knew immediately what she meant and the photograph confirmed it. Because, after all, it is an Australian Classic - the Jam Drop. And the recipe I am about to give is from that other Aussie Classic, Amy Schauer, in my family's cooking bible: The Schauer Australian Cookery Book.
Cream 4oz butter and 4oz sugar to a cream, add 2 well-beaten eggs, beat well in. Add 6oz sieved flour and 6oz cornflour, 1 level teaspoon of cream tartar, 1/2 teaspoon crush bi-carb. soda. Mix well through, roll into small balls with the fingers, and make a smal well in the centre of each with the finger-tips; in this put 1/2 teaspoon of raspberry or apricot jam, and place on cold floured tray. Bake in quick oven 10 to 15 minutes until a golden brown.
Miss Eagle's Notes
  • I prefer a little less cornflour and use 8 oz plain flour and 4 oz cornflour
  • I place the biscuits on a greased and floured tray
  • A quick oven is a hot oven - so about 200 or 220 degrees Celsius - and keep any eye on them
A must for the biscuit barrel or cookie jar

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Apple Puddings

Come, dear Reader, and let's grapple with an apple. My father told my mother that he married her because of her mother's Apple Pie. There is nothing quite like an Apple Pie to win the heart of a traditional male. It never fails. But one needs some variation and Miss Eagle is always on the look-out for dishes that meet the same criteria as the Apple Pie. These two recipes, the Boiled or Baked Apple Pudding (I steamed mine) and the Bread and Butter Apple Meringue Pudding, meet the criteria:

  • traditional qualities
  • plain
  • substantial and filling
  • full of flavour


From The Schauer Australian Cookery Book

Well grease a pudding basin with butter substitute. Coat well with brown sugar. Line basin with suet or short dripping crust. Fill basin 3 parts full with peeled, cored and thickly sliced apples. Mince 2 pieces of candied peel. Spread over apples with a grating of nutmeg. Cover with 1/2 cup of sultanas or currants and large tablespoon of butter substitute in small pieces. Cover closely with pastry lid pinching wet edges together well. Cook for 2 hours in slow oven or steam 3 hours.

When turned out has a nice brown crust and is delicious eating.

Miss Eagle's Notes

  • There is nothing quite like suet or dripping as the fat component in a shortcrust pastry. Suet is particularly good in boiled puddings such as the Christmas Pudd in a cloth. However, I am no longer prepared to kill animals for this purpose and use butter or a substitute.
  • The pastry I used was 6oz Plain Flour; 1 tablespoon of butter; 1 dessertspoon of lemon juice; salt; water.
  • When stretching the pastry in and across the steamer, I put some of the apples in the base of the steamer to hold the pastry in place. I then stretched the pastry into place across the steamer. The apples, sultanas and candied peel (read mixed peel), were then added. I used all the apples I had and the steamer was probably more than three parts full. I then put the pastry lid on and tucked the pastry above the apples on the sides of the steamer in and around in a pinched edge.
  • As the apples cook, they sink and this is responsible for the wrinkly look of the pudding.


The basic format for this is the Bread and Butter Custard which itself is based on the traditional Baked Custard. Back in Miss Eagle's early life when imperial measure was all the go, Baked Custard was made with 1 pint of milk, 2 eggs, 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar, and a capful of vanilla. These are the proportions I still use. Bread and Butter Custard is made by adding 2 slices of buttered bread cut into quarters. Queen Pudding is a further variation on the Baked Custard in that the eggs are separated and the whites whipped into a meringue with caster sugar. The Baked Custard when cooled is spread with jam and then topped with meringue and baked in a slow oven to lightly brown.

So to this variation. The dish in which I baked the Pudding is quite large. I used lots of apples - about 8 to 10 Granny Smith's although they were not large. Layer the apples with buttered bread cut into quarters sprinkling brown sugar and sultanas between as you go. I used 5 eggs, separated. Beat the yolks and milk together with vanilla. Fill to the brim. Sprinkle with grated nutmeg. Place Pudding dish in a baking dish of water and bake in a slow oven. When Pudding is baked and cool, spread with jam and cover with meringue made from the whites of the 5 eggs and caster sugar. Bake in a very slow oven until cooked and coloured. Absolutely scrumptious!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Watermelon surprises : Lychee mysteries

Over at Jugalbandi the A Fruit A Month Round-up is up. The focus is Watermelon. I have to tell you, dear Reader, that I will be surprised if you are not suprised by what is there - and it is there in quality and quantity. Whoda thunk of a constructive use for watermelon rind? Would you use a watermelon as a vase? And did you know about square watermelons because I certainly did not?

A Fruit A Month is the brainchild of Maheswari at Beyond the Usual.

This month, A Fruit A Month has the hospitality of Sig over at Live to Eat. The fruit is lychee and Sig has kicked us off with some wonderfully scrumptious recipes. Oh dear! A culinary stretch exercise once again!

Touring the suburbs of my life

Whew! I've made it back. Began to wonder. Where does the time go? How life does intervene in the life of a blogger? There was a UFO to be finished. There was crafting to be done. There were shops to be visited. Housework to be done. You see my sister, The Director, was visiting - although briefly - from Brisbane. Then of course the visiting itself. Fitted in quite a bit in 24 hours. For the crucial eating bits, I forgot to bring the camera. How could I have done that? Miss Eagle forgetting her camera? Well it happened.
We commenced at Brown's Bakery in lovely Maling Road as a preliminary to a window-shopping stroll which turned into a bit of expenditure on the part of The Director. Along with my hot chocolate and her latte, we had cupcakes. Brown's will have to keep trying. They are not up to Crabapple Cupcake standard. The violent electric blue of the cupcake decor is not very appealing. So the verdict is nice - but keep trying.
Then it was off for the stroll. We detoured ever so slightly into that beautiful by-way, Theatre Place. Now I can't recall the name of this establishment but if, on entering Theatre Place, dear Reader, you steer to the right and go down to the end you will come to a little shop which is part eatery, part homewares. This is where The Director purchased these for me:
These are oven mitts which will withstand temperatures of 300 degrees Celsius. I look forward to a burn free future and being able to withdraw hot, heavy baking dishes with much greater dexterity and confidence than previously. Thank you, dear Director.
Then there was the charming Ring of Roses where The Director found some lovely gifts to take back to Brisbane.
This was followed by dinner at Box Hill. On the corner of Station Street and Whitehorse Road stands an amazing edifice. It has large red double doors. And above the large red doors is a huge poster portrait of Chiang Kai-shek. For quite a while, Miss Eagle has wondered what it all meant. Was this a beachhead for Taiwan in downtown Box Hill? Is factional politics alive and well among the Chinese community of the eastern suburbs of Melbourne? And what on earth did Chiang Kai-shek have to do with Chinese cuisine? And was the food any good?
On Friday night, we walked through the red doors under the portrait of Chiang and had the last two questions answered for us. The restaurant is devoted to Chiang and there are large images and explanations around the restaurant. Miss E is familiar with this history. The part she has always been fascinated with has been the history of Madame Chiang. You see, dear Reader, Madame Chiang (Soong May-Ling) is one of the three legendary Soong Sisters. It is said that one married money (Ai-Ling), one married power (May-Ling), and one married China (Ching-Ling). The residence of Sun Yat Sen and Ching-Ling in Shanghai is said to be the most harmonious house in terms of Feng Shui.
The Post-Chiang restaurant celebrates the cuisine of Zhejiang Province in mainlaind China. Chiang was a native of Zhejiang and maintained a preference for the cuisine. We were three: The Director, Miss Eagle, and herself. And I think it safe to say that we, too, now have a preference for the cuisine of Zhejiang. We had prawns in a stir-fry and Beijing duck (they wrap the duck in pancakes at the table for you). Be-yoot-i-ful. Best Beijing duck ever. The restaurant is licensed so no need for BYO. The tablecloths are crisp and white, the waiting staff are subtle and constant. The decor is great. The prices are reasonable. If you want cheap Chinese chow, this is not for you. But, for a dash of Chinese elegance and excellent, well-served and presented food and value for money, then the Post-Chiang fills the bill. I'm dreaming of Yum-Cha now. Anyone else want to come?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Orange Watermelon Jam and Dessert

Miss Eagle has been a bit how's ya father over the last week so my entry for A Fruit a Month is being posted past the due date but here it is anyway. The nominated fruit is watermelon. What do you do with watermelon? My favourite thing is to do them in lovely round balls either on their own or with honeydew and rock melon balls. But an A Fruit a Month entry seemed to require something more. So research was required. Out came the recipe books and this one, a Family Circle book titled Jams, Pickles & Chutneys - hit the jackpot. This Watermelon based entry is actually two recipes. One of the lovely things about this book is that each recipe for a jam or a pickle or a chutney is accompanied by a a recipe for what you can do with the jam or pickle or chutney. So this recipe for Orange Watermelon Jam is accompanied by a recipe for a delightful and yummy dessert. So here they are:

Orange Watermelon Jam


  • 1 large ripe watermelon (remove rind and sees)
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 1.5 kg oranges
  • 1 cup of water


  • Slice watermelon into slivers and measure to make about 1kg of pulp.
  • Place in a large bowl with 2 cups of sugar and let stand for 2-3 hours.
  • Peel and see enough oranges to make 1kg.
  • Slice oranges thinly and set aside.
  • Remove white pitch from 2 of the orange peelings
  • Cut the rind into thin strips and reserve
  • Put watermelon mixture into a heavy based saucepan or boiler.
  • Heat to boiling, then simmer, stirring frequently, approx. 50 minutes
  • In another large heavy saucepan, dissolve remaining 2 cups of sugar in water.
  • Add sliced oranges and reserved strips of rind.
  • Heat to boiling, reduce hear and simmer, stirring frequently for 45-50 minutes.
  • When both jams have almost thickened to desired consistency, add watermelon jam to orange jam
  • Simmer until thickened.
  • Remove from heat and stand 5 minutes.
  • Pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal. When cool, label and date.

Luscious Orange Watermelon Dessert

(pictured above)


  • 600 ml plain yoghurt
  • 200 ml Orange Watermelon Jam
  • 2 tablespoons of gelatine
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons of orange rind
  • 300ml thickened cream


  • Combine yoghurt with jam.
  • Dissolve gelatine in orange juice.
  • Heat juice and gelatine in microwave to dissolve.
  • Add to combined yoghurt mixture with grated orange rind
  • Allow to partially set
  • Whip cream and fold through.
  • Spoon into glass serving dishes.
  • Chill to set.
  • Serve with chilled watermelon slices and orange segments.