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.