Animals Australia: the voice for animals

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

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.