Animals Australia: the voice for animals

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

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Optimizing towards simplicity - with Funghi e Pane

The optimization of the domestic portfolio has been deemed a success. Quite a lot of stuff marched out the back gate yesterday. One couple took quite a bit of our good stuff and left quite a few hundred bucks behind. Some stuff we let go for nothing. Other stuff went dirt cheap to a good home. Our thirteen year old miniature fox terrier, FootFoot, enjoyed himself immensely. Some of his friends - who lavish pats upon him as they walk past - dropped by. He made some new friends. One woman, in particular, he seemed to be falling in love with. Turned out she was a dog trainer! The result is that cupboard space has been freed up. A little less to dust and maintain and store. But oh, dear Reader, with what is left over plus the stuff we just didn't get a chance to put out because we were so busy, there is enough to do it again another day. Divest, divest, divest is the motto. The aim - simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. And, our neighbour Betty came over with these....

...wild mushrooms.

A friend, she told us, had given them to her. He picks them wild in his paddock. She had a warning though. They had to be eaten to-day. If they couldn't all be eaten, then throw the rest away because on no account were they to be eaten the next day.

So lunch was funghi on lovely Italian bread, toasted, which Miss E purchased in North Carlton ten days ago and which is still wonderfully fresh. Scrumptious, simple and just the thing after a busy morning running a garage sale.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The domestic porfolio is being optimized. There has been some downsizing since Herself and Miss Eagle took up housekeeping together two and a half years ago but there is still far too much so further divestment is to take place next Saturday, April 28, at a garage sale. Don't wish to publish address details but if you are to be in the vicinity of Ferntree Gully next Saturday between 9am and 1pm email Miss E ahead of time for the details at miss.eagle@yahoodotcomdotau. Portfolio contents include:
  • Leadlight kitchen cabinet
  • Art - original art including Aboriginal Art - and Pictures
  • Couches
  • China
  • Furniture
  • Children's stuff including a lovel set of four old nursery rhyme pictures - just dreamy in the shabby chic nursery and wooden toys
  • Leaf blower/vaccuum
  • Garden pots and planters
  • Matchbox (and other brands) cars

This list is open-ended and there will be all sorts of interesting stuff.

Sponge cake - aerated with the new spatula

To celebrate having a spatula once more (see post below), Miss Eagle made this traditional sponge cake.


  • 4 eggs
  • 6 ounces or 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 5 1/4 ounces or 1 1/4 cups of SR Flour
  • 4 tablespoons hot water in which is melted 1 teaspoon butter


  • Beat eggs until thick and creamy
  • Add caster sugar gradually, 1 dessertspoon at a time, until sugar is dissolved
  • Fold in flour. A flexible spatula is great for doing this because it folds in the air easily which is important in aerating the sponge so it will rise nicely.
  • Lastly, fold in the hot water in which the butter has been melted.
  • Bake in a moderately hot oven (about 200 degrees) until done.
  • The sponge is done when a light finger touch to the cake has the cake bouncing back
  • Cool before sandwiching and decorating with Vienna Cream

Vienna Cream


  • 250 grams butter, soft Icing mixture. (Do not use Pure Icing Sugar)
  • Vanilla essence
  • Milk


  • Cream butter
  • Gradually add icing mixture. This is a matter of judgment but you will need at least 250 grams
  • Add a capful of vanilla essence
  • Gradually and sparingly add a little milk
  • The whole should be white, creamy, thick yet spreadable
  • Judgment needs to be used. If it is too buttery, add more sugar. If you have added too much icing mixture, add more butter. If you have added a little too much milk, add more icing mixture
  • Sandwich cakes together with cream.
  • Your favourite jam can be spread before sandwiching with Vienna Cream.
  • Spread Vienna Cream on top and decorate as desired.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A flippin' good time ahead

Miss Eagle has been thrilled and much cheered, dear Reader, to receive a wonderful parcel from Lee-ann at Pear Tree Cottage! The story of the parcel began with perfidy of Herself who surreptitiously chucked out this wonderful implement which had been in use for forty years flipping pikelets and pancakes and folding air and flour in lovely light sponge cakes. Miss E was unable to locate a replacement spatula. They are not in kitchen shops or the kitchen section of supermarkets. Searches of opp shops in eastern Melbourne had not turned one up. Lee-ann, the opp shop aficionado, to the rescue all the way from country Victoria. Not only was there a spatula there was a set complete with long blade spatula, a masher, and an egg lifter. All in Miss E's old school tie colours! And don't they go well with Miss E's collection of T.G. Green's Cornish Blue. Now Lee-ann does not stint. Along with the spatula set came a beautiful card (standing), and - to help in the restoration of Miss E's health (she has been a sick old bird for quite a while) - the March 2007 edition of Romantic Homes, a favourite at The Trad Pad. The magazine came with its own tea-dipped tag. Lee-Ann is clearly a romantic herself.
Thank you Lee-Ann you - and your blog - are a blessing.
Miss Eagle wishes you and your Dearly Beloved well since you have had poor health experiences lately yourselves.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Rainbow Lorikeets were partying and enjoying their food as Miss Eagle stepped it out en route to her local patisserie this Sunny Sunday morning.

The patisserie is the Arena Boys Bakehouse at Shop 4, 70 Glenfern Road, Upper Ferntree Gully.
Phone 9758 0022

The Arena Boys bring a mix of Italian delicacies to an Aussie mix of pies, rolls, and vanilla slices as well as a wide range of breads and bread rolls.

The bikkies stand

Mousse for dessert?

Pies, pasties and sausage rolls - a wide variety of flavours

Miss Eagle's Sunday morning purchase.

Two ciabatta rolls; two cannoli; and two rum baba. One each for Miss E and Herself. We were not impressed by the rum baba but the ciabatta and cannoli went down the hatch very nicely, thank you. The Arena Boys are quite an asset to this neck of the woods. Upper Gully's bakehouses are Woolworths and Bakers Delight so you can see what Miss E means.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ice Cream Mousse

This is a luscious dessert whether you take the ice cream option or choose to turn it into a mousse. This recipe has been tucked away in Miss E's recipe collection for nigh on forty years. Miss Eagle has a small collection of Carnation Milk recipes. These are in three fold brochures and are practical, tasty and scrumptious. This recipe can also be made the 'green' way. Don't bother with an electric beater. Now Miss Eagle has no great empathy with the whisk.

Miss Eagle prefers to use one of these: a rotary beater. So, if you don't own one, add it to your arsenal of must-have kitchen utensils by popping down to your nearest opp shop and beginning your search for one. Rotary beaters can be purchased at your local grocery chain but the quality is not as good as that found in these old stagers. Don't buy a beater with the handle on the side. Buy a completely upright model.

To the recipe:
  • 1 level teaspoon gelatine
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 oz. butter
  • 1 2/3 cups (14 1/2 oz. can) Carnation Evaporated Milk, chilled overnight
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 banana
  • 1 passionfruit


  • Set refrigerator control for freezing ice-cream. (Miss E has left this in for historic authenticity)
  • Place the gelatine and water in a saucepan and allow to stand for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir over a low heat until dissolved.
  • Add the butter and allow to melt.
  • Cool
  • Whipped the chilled Carnation Milk until thick.
  • Add the sugar and whip until dissolved.
  • Then add the juice of the orange and lemon and whip until thick.
  • Beat in the cooked gelatine mixture.
  • Stir in the mashed banana and passionfruit pulp.
  • Pour into trays and freeze.
  • Makes 2 trays. (These were the two ice-cream trays that came with the fridge.)


To convert the above recipe into a yummy, yummy mousse multiply the gelatine, water and butter by three. The additional gelatine is because this dessert will not be frozen but only chilled in the fridge. The additional gelatine is used to set the mousse and to keep it light and fluffy and scrumptious.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tupperware and a Drag Queen. But, oh, the Decor!

Over at The QueerPenguin, Sam has got himself into Tupperware. The hostess with the mostest for this mushroom-quiche-and-champagne event was Portia Turbo, a drag queen. Sam got bewitched, entranced and enthused and has purchased two hundred bucks worth of Tupperware.
Miss Eagle, dear Reader, finds this an absolute hoot! Tupperware and drag queens! The latest hot and gay thing to do! LOL, Roll, LOL, Roll, LOL, Roll. In spite of only living two blocks away from a huge Tupperware distribution facility discreetly laid out in a landscape of white standard roses, Miss E has never been a big fan of Tupperware. In fact, she has only managed - in her long existence - two Tupperware parties. At one of them, many decades ago, she purchased this item.

Miss E thought this a good idea at the time for the honey and jam etc on the breakfast table (long before Rachel Ashwell taught us to do better). This item turned out to be a b-i-g nuisance in the pantry cupboard. It took up space. It was difficult to accommodate other items around it. Miss Eagle thinks she should have taken a clue from her friend Heather who had a cupboard specially built to accommodate all her Tupperware!

Miss Eagle is not the biggest fan of plastics except in certain limited situations. She prefers glass. The pantry is full of large glass jars for the flour, sugar, rice, etc. Small glass jars for the herbs and in between ones for the caster sugar and the lentils, etc. She rarely buys new. It is clear that everyone does not share Miss E's passion for glass in the pantry cupboard because she has picked up glass jars not only in opp shops but when left out for the taking when people shift houses.

But there are times when plastic is desirable - for storing left-overs in the fridge; taking lunch to work and so on. Miss E's favourite bit of plastic is Australian engineered, Australian made. These are the Decor products and its distribution centre - sans landscaping - is only a suburb away!

Miss E always recalls what her mother used to say about party-plan products that were not available through retail outlets. Phyllis always used to say "If these products are so good, why can't they be sold off the shelf where they have to compete against other products." Now, Phyllis was no market rationalist. Just very practical and full of the wisdom of good, old-fashioned common sense. So, yes, why can't party plan products compete? When you ask yourself that question, you might be surprised by the answer.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hey, Pistou - THE Vegetable Broth

The sick girl that has been Miss Eagle for weeks on end, forever and ever, amen may have turned a corner to-day. (Hugs and blessings please to keep the feeling!) May try to put in an appearance at work to-morrow and hope my job is still there and that they recognise the person who comes to sit in that particular playpen. What passes as food for an invalid these days? This is probably the most superb dish - the queen of all broths. Miss Eagle accessed it this wonderful Pistou over at the ABC courtesy of that superb and ethusiastic foodie, Ian Parmenter.
Pistou - The great French provincial soup
Chef: Ian Parmenter
The French call this a soup. They are being unduly modest.
Pistou is a supercharged gastronomic scene-stealer. It is a triumph not just because it is a great vegetable soup, but because it’s served with the mixture which gives it its name, a delicious sauce of basil, garlic, egg yolk and olive oil. It is within reach of those of us who are able to acquire fresh basil. For the rest of you - I’m deeply sorry. If you plan to serve it as an entree, you’ll only need a very light main course, perhaps a grilled sardine on a lettuce leaf.
The soup: 2 large onions, sliced in rings; 2 leeks, sliced in rings; 2 carrots, grated; 2 sticks celery, chopped; 2 large potatoes cut into small cubes; 200 gms fresh green beans chopped into bite sized lengths; 200 gms dried beans (haricot, kidney, etc); 5 or 6 cloves garlic crushed; 2 Tbsp olive oil (preferably extra virgin); 200 gms cooked macaroni.
The pistou sauce: 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped; 1 cup chopped fresh basil; 1 egg yolk; 1/2 cup olive oil.
To serve: 100 gms grated gruyere or emmental
To make the soup:
The day before, soak the dried beans in cold water. In a heavy saucepan or stockpot put the 2 Tbsp olive oil. Gently cook the onions, leeks, carrot and celery for five minutes. Add soaked dried beans, green beans, potato pieces and garlic. Cover with water and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Just before serving, season to taste and stir in the macaroni.
To make the Pistou Sauce:
Pound the fresh basil and garlic in a mortar - or blend. Add the egg yolk. Gradually stir in the olive oil, starting a few drops at a time - as you would for mayonnaise. The mixture should thicken. The pistou sauce will go brown if exposed for a long time to air. It sort of rusts. This is not a problem, except that it can look unsightly. The solutions are either to put it in an airtight jar and cover with a thin layer of olive oil or to make up the sauce immediately before serving. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for several days though because it contains raw egg yolk. I prefer to make it up as I need it.
To serve:
Put a small dollop of sauce in each bowl, sprinkle in a little grated cheese, pour on a good amount of soup and get everyone to wait a full two minutes, savouring the wonderful aroma, before stirring the mixture up well and eating with tremendous enthusiasm.
Truly, this is one of the world’s great dishes! This recipe featured by Carole Whitelock

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Alimentary, my dear Reader

Miss Eagle has been thinking about the food and literature thread. Miss E loves a good word and a good story as much as good food and good wine. From Michael Hettich comes this poem:
The Chef
I can't help gleaming
as I marvel at the oysters
I gathered this morning
from the airport, for you—
because they are the muscle
of the ocean, the flavor
of tide, the life
inside my own body
and yours. Taste
with your whole mouth,
taste beyond yourself,
swallow the muck
of this brief eternity
and fill your body
with luck, and pleasure!
There is no other world.
—for David Bracha
This was discovered, dear Reader, by your correspondent in a journal of food and literature called Alimentum. The title is a Latin word meaning nourishment. So, for those in southern Australia, as the nights get chilly and the hoped for rains come and staying home with the ducted heating seems desirable feed your soul with the comfort food of fine food-related writing.

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The Miseries

Bear with Miss Eagle, dear Reader. Your correspondent has been ill for many, many weeks. This has included a stay in hospital (pop over to The Trad Pad for more about that). Blogging has been a battle and cooking has been almost non-existent which explains why Easter recipes have not figured. Tried the traditional hot cross bun recipe. The HCBs didn't get crosses and didn't get glazed but the one I did swallow tasted great. Now Miss E is having wonders about all those left over buns. Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding???...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stream of consciousness stew

In The New Yorker, Adam Gopnik regales us with real food from fictional recipes. His survey of food, recipes, cooking takes us from Trollope, through Proust, to J.D. Salinger and Ian Fleming. Kurt Vonnegut and Nora Ephron are included. Gunter Grass and The Flounder are emphasised. Robert B. Parker's Spenser mysteries get a starring role. But the full explication of Gopnik's theme and thesis is through Ian McEwan's bouillabaisse recipe in Saturday - more properly known as Henry Perowne's Fish Stew. Gopnik highlights the difficulty with using cooking as the stock for the stream-of-consciousness stew. Method by method he points out the impossibility of preparing the ingredients for the bouillabaisse while giving deep thought to the events leading up to the Iraq War. Former backgrounds for stream-of-consciousness writing such as walking and driving are quite appropriate. But cooking. Actually, wandering off into a lengthy, rational, and literary stream-of-consciousness is just not possible. See what you think, dear Reader. And to help you decide you might like to try Henry's fish stew:
Henry Perowne's Fish Stew
From Ian McEwan's novel Saturday with revisions by the author.
Note: Where quantities are not stated, trust your instincts or desires.
Into a stockpot of boiling water (a litre or more), put the bones of three skates (or other boned fish) with heads intact. If you have no obliging local fishmonger, use a pound or more of white fish.
Add a dozen or so mussels to the stock. Simmer for twenty five minutes.
Meanwhile, strip and chop three onions, and eight fat cloves of garlic. Soften over a low heat in a casserole with a lot of olive oil.
When they've melted sufficiently, add:
  • a couple of crushed red chillies,
  • a pinch of saffron,
  • some bay leaves,
  • orange-peel gratings,
  • oregano,
  • 5 anchovy fillets,
  • 2 cans of peeled tomatoes.
When these have blended together in the heat, add a quarter bottle of white wine. Then strain off the stock and add to the casserole.
Simmer the mix for twenty minutes.
Rinse and/or scrub the clams and remaining mussels and place in a bowl. Cut the monkfish tails into chunks and place in a separate bowl. Wash the tiger prawns and add to the monkfish bowl. Keep both bowls refrigerated until ready to cook.
Just before dinner, reheat the casserole.
Simmer the clams, monkfish, mussels and prawns in the casserole for ten minutes.
Eat the stew with brown bread, or garlic bread, salad and a hearty red wine.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Essaying into the kitchen: or Jekyll and fried?

The endpapers show a 1922 design by the painter George Sheringham called 'Clusters of stylised fruits, flowers and shell motifs', a domestic design with a hint both of the pastoral and the abstract.
As you understand, dear Reader, your Miss Eagle loves traditional food - traditional food done well. This is why she has to direct you to read to-day's article in The Age by Australia's wonderful and well-regarded, Stephanie Alexander.
Our Steph is talking about a book by Lady Jekyll, published in 1922, titled Kitchen Essays. Some of you will be familiar with the work of her sister-in-law, the great gardener Gertrude Jekyll. Agnes Jekyll's father, William Graham, was a patron of the Pre-Raphaelites of whom Miss Eagle is very fond. Stephanie has published for us some of the recipes. So, if you are looking for recipes for Orange Jumbles; Sand Cake; and Winter Cake please go here.