Animals Australia: the voice for animals

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

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.

Monday, July 23, 2007

From Devil's Food to Trifle Heaven

Miss Eagle is mad at her oven. Now I know when you hear this, dear Reader, the old adage that a poor workwoman blames her tools will come to your mind. But this oven is not the best one. That prize went to a convection gas oven in the home in the shadow of the World Heritage Rainforest which I sold a couple of years ago when I moved to Melbourne. Herself says my dud chocolate cake was all my own fault because I did make a side trip to the computer while the baking process was on. Anyway, I set out to make the above - Devil's Food Cake - which I have been making for more than three decades with great success each and every time. I have a tiny collection of Carnation Milk recipes in three-fold brochure form in my recipe book. They were picked up for free from the supermarket. The Devil's Food Cake recipe is in this collection. When Gina heard about this, she said she possessed a Carnation Cookbook and she has lent it to me for research purposes. On Page 136, there is the recipe from my brochure. Unfortunately, they didn't take a picture so you will have to make do with mine.
This is the best chocolate cake ever in the whole history of the whole world. It is a moist cake. It is rich but not as rich and heavy as a mud cake.
Here is the recipe.
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • 1 cup Carnation Evaporated Milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Plain Flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/4 cups of castor sugar
  • 140 grams of butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence


  1. Grease 2 deep 20cm cake pans and line the base with paper.
  2. Add vinegar to evaporated milk to sour it.
  3. Sift flour, salt, cocoa, soda and sugar together.
  4. Pour in melted butter or margarine and 1/2 cup of soured evaporated milk
  5. Beat well for 2 minutes
  6. Add remaining ingredients and beat a further 2 minutes
  7. Pour into prepared pans and bake in a moderate oven 180 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes
  8. Allow cakes to cool slightly before removing from pans.
  9. Spread frosting or whipped cream between, and frosting on top.
So here I was with a dud - but it became something luxurious and wonderful. Miss Eagle calles it Trifle Heaven. I chopped up the cakes into 2.5cm (1 inch) chunks. I mixed in chocolate custard. And then I chopped up the chocolate pictured below - Heaven: white raspberry creme. This is/was absolutely gorgeous. Herself and I have disgustingly tucked into this with a relish. I figure that if you want a quick luxury desert this assemblage is for you. You could buy any ordinary old chocolate cake - but the better the cake, the better the dessert and the best will be this moist Devil's Food Cake. The different chocolate flavours and the raspberry creme make this trifle every so heavenly.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Val's Tea & Coffee Meme

Over at Val's, she has a coffee or tea meme. It's taken some days but here is my response. Please let me know, dear Reader, if you do it too.
What's your preference - coffee or tea?
Coffee, mostly. But I have a thing for tea-based chai.
I am not a tea drinker like everyone else in the family. My mother said that the reason for this was because, as the first child, I was brought up perfectly. In other words, unlike my sister who came along six years later, I was not drinking black tea out of my father's sauce at eighteen months old.
Instant or Brewed?
Either - on the proviso that neither is cheap and nasty. Cheap coffee should not be drunk by anybody. On the other hand, prior to leaving Sydney nearly six years ago, I worked next door to the Sydney Stock Exchange. The most expensive cup of coffee at The Bourse, the coffee shop there, was $12.50. Coffee has now become like wine with some people airing their knowledge on which side of the mountain the coffee grew on.
How do you take it?
Milk and no sugar, perhaps, if its instant. But prefer long or short black.
Do you have a favorite cup?
See picture above for the current favourite. It is a mix - in true shabby chic style - with a coffee cup from a set belonging to Herself mixed with an Indian bone china saucer belonging to moi. Always have to have a saucer!
How many will you enjoy during a normal day?
Two or three on a good day - but often don't have any.
Does it matter if you don't start the day with a coffee/tea?
But I'll let you in on a secret, dear Reaer. I have, since adolescence, been a consumer of diet cola. In the last few years, during which I have had bouts of severe ill health, my consumption has strayed into litres per day. Diet Coke or Pepsi Max have become my preferred method of caffeine ingestion. I am now in the process of trying to eliminate it - but while I can go days without either, it is difficult to get through a whole week without. When I am drinking these, I don't drink tea, coffee or chai. My health is better at the moment but - and this is my excuse/reason - there have been times when I don't know how I would have got through without that taste tingle or the caffeine surge.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Woolworths, Grog and Complaints

Well, dear Reader, it took a while. They didn't meet their own standard. Was beginning to think I'd never hear from them. But lo and behold they called. What on earth am I rabbiting on about I hear you ask?
You may recall my post Woolworths, Safeway, Liquor and Fuel - but not food which was posted on Friday, 8 June 2007. Woolworths pride themselves on having a seven-day response in replying to customers. Answering my complaint took them two days short of six weeks. Ah, well, better late than dead on time, eh!
Anyway, the call came from John McInnes who is in charge of buying for the liquor stores. As I expected, John didn't see my point. You might recall the issue was a promotion prior to the Queen's Birthday long week-end where, if you were to buy $60 worth of liquor from their liquor shop, you would get an 8c a litre discount on fuel (twice the usual 4c a litre discount when you produce your cash register docket for purchasing more than $30). My argument was the link between alcohol and driving and putting a value on alcohol which food did not attract.
John tried to claim that they did not target anybody in particular with the promotion. I explained to him that this was not true. He had in fact targetted two groups of people: those who drove and those who drank alcohol. A mum buying food for her family of six and didn't drink had no chance of getting 8c a litre off her fuel.
John didn't seem to be able to see the problem that alcohol was for all of us. He told me that following this nation-wide promotion, out of two and a half million customers he had received only eleven complaints apart from mine and they were all from the Northern Territory. Funny that, Miss E said, I'm an old Territorian. Perhaps we are a bit more conscious of grog issues than other people? I lived in the only town that had the pubs shut by Aboriginal people - Tennant Creek. Read all about in Grog War by Alexis Wright, this year's Miles Franklin Award winner.
Back to explaining community responsibility re alcohol consumption. For instance, we all pay taxes for the hospitals and these have a high rate of alcohol related admissions. In fact, when one considers the links between violence and alcohol and road trauma and alcohol, alcohol is a community problem. So there was more conversation in this regard which didn't bring about one ounce of regret or remorse from John. Youth drinking? Parental problem. Miss E said that when they stabbed someone or killed someone on the road it was a community problem, a problem for all of us.
I explained to him that what I would like from him was for him to say that he would never link alcohol and driving again or give preference to alcohol over food again. He said he couldn't say that. Suprised? Are you kidding? But I did suggest something else to him.
I suggested that he enable food purchasers to have access to an 8c a litre discount on fuel for purchases over $60. I suggested that such a promotion be held the week before the First Sunday of Advent. Brief reference to an election and what's-his-name's threat/promise on food pricing should he become Prime Minister.
Wouldn't that be good? Just when you're buying the fruit for the cake and the pudd and associated Christmas jollies. Just when you're about to set off on hols. with the kids and all the camping gear.
I said if he didn't know when the First Sunday of Advent was he should buy a calendar and learn - and I did a deviation to say that chocolate chips do not belong in Hot Cross Buns and and that Hot Cross Buns should not be on sale before we had even got to Epiphany. Didn't bother to ask if he understood what Epiphany was. All that will have to be the subject of a separate complaint. (Poor pun warning: Should I wait for an epiphany from Woolworths?)
Poor John. He's to do with liquor and not food...but he said he could bring it up because he is on the team that discusses this. Mmm.
Perhaps if I make a complaint about the keeping of Christian festivals now and go over my request for the 8c a litre discount in late November....mmm...letter to the CEO do you think?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Snow snapping cold

Can I have what he's having?

John So, Lord Mayor of Melbourne in a traditional Wurundjeri possum-skin cloak (Jiawei Shen, 2005 Archibald Prize Finalist)

In south-eastern Australia, where winters can be very cold, Aboriginal people kept warm with possum-skin cloaks. Check out this ancient craft here. After a life-time in tropical and sub-tropical climes, Miss Eagle still feels the cold in Melbourne even though this is her third winter here. So she could really, truly do with a possum skin cloak.

Forest Glade Cottage, Olinda : St Matthew's Anglican Church, Mount Dandenong

Will this be what it will be like up the road in The Dandenongs this afternoon? Last night, here at Upper Gully, it was like sleeping in a wind tunnel. Cocooned from wind with an electric blanket, a doona, a minky, a Rose and a FootFoot maybe - but oh the howling, noisy wind.

A little while ago it started to rain.

The Age carries this story. They are calling it a cold snap! What do they think we have been having for the last ten days! A fortnight ago from last Friday this was the scene as I breakfasted beside Lake Wendouree. My weekend in Ballarat was oh-so-cold. But here is the picture in The Age to-day just a short step away from my breakfast place:


Monday, July 16, 2007

The salt of the earth

Some people like to tell us that salt is a white poison. They tell us of its effect on blood pressure. They tell us of the advantages of eliminating salt from our diet. But Miss Eagle has not parted with her salt cellar yet. It contains iodised salt, of course. Tess over at Anchors and Masts brought much to mind when she did this beautiful post on salt. You see, dear Reader, Miss Eagle grew up in Bowen at the northern end of the beautiful Whitsundays where Baz Luhrmann has been filming his latest movie, Australia, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. When Miss E left school at the ripe old age of 15, her first job was as a clerk-typist at the Bowen Salt Co., the reference for the mural above. The Bowen Salt Works is one of the first sights that tourists see when they enter Bowen. Great paddocks of sea water baking in the sun evaporating slowly into salt. In the Christian tradition, disciples are referred to by Jesus as the salt of the earth. He said that if the salt loses its taste, it very saltiness, how can it ever be restored and how shall food be salted. In a speedily changing world, Miss E wonders if a lot of saltiness has been lost, leaving us with parts of modern life which are completely vapid, tasteless.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tabling: Ancient Prayers and Blessings

I am indebted to Following the Ancient Paths for bringing to prominence the ancient prayers of the Jewish tradition - particularly those that relate to blessings before meals and after meals. Truly beautiful.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Eating with our eyes

Over at Sylvia's place, she has mentioned in her comments about how she believes that we eat with our eyes. I am sure that most, if not all, of us would agree. However, it reminded me of a story from the long, long ago. My sister, The Director, was going out with a sophisticated and well-known man about town. But he was a plain eater. In a restaurant one night, his steak came decorated with capsicum to look like a cockscomb as well as some other culinary artistry. Man about town called the waiter back and said:
My compliments to the chef, but please get him to remove the guck.
Off went the waiter who was back rather promptly with the untouched plate:
Compliments of the chef, sir, but he wishes to say he believes we eat with our eyes.
Man about town replied:
Compliments to the chef, and tell him he's cooking for Helen Keller.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Pumpkin and Lemon Grass Scones

This post is for Teresa over at Honeycomb:
an American who loves scones and, in fact,
prefers them to what Americans call biscuits.
These are from the Boatshed in Ballarat.
They are Pumpkin & Lemongrass Scones.
The tip from The Boatshed is that when it comes to the Lemongrass
don't use too little and don't use too much.

The Boatshed at Ballarat: a beacon in bleak Ballarat

There comes a time in the life of a blogger when life has to be lived...not just blogged about. There have been a number of things that Miss Eagle has been involved in since her last appearance here. Prime among them was attending a conference in Ballarat and doing the tourist thing before and after. Miss Eagle, a relative newcomer to Victoria, had never been to Ballarat. So she went up pre-conference to do Sovereign Hill, the Eureka Centre and the Fine Art Gallery. After the conference, she did the Great Tourist Road home through The Grampians and via The Great Ocean Road.

The Boatshed, Windouree Parade, Ballarat


Formal Section

Verandah with sails

Views Lake Windouree filling after being bone dry from the drought Wildlife feed Don't know whether The Begonia Princess floated on the Lake prior to the drought.

It sure looks like she will have difficulty getting out of the mud.

And this was breakfast. Wonderful.

All in all, The Boatshed was the place to be on a bleak Ballarat winter day.

Warm surroundings and warmed by the tucker.

Well worth another visit, methinks!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A table and a couple of chairs...happiness

In a comment on this post, Val said that she thought tabling was Miss Eagle's forte. Below is something from the much beloved Michael Leunig. He seems to think tabling is rather important, too.