Won’t you go, a sloppy joe

Sorry, Australian cultural reference there. An old ad campaign from here in the 70s – Won’t you go a Chiko Roll. (Picture young bronzed Aussies gallivanting about the beach eating about 5000 kilojoules of deep fried – who ever knew what was in them). A popular deep fried takeaway food item available from every milk bar during that era they were sort of like a massive spring roll and the ends were delicious and crunchy but the centre was full of some dubious mix that included cabbage and other soggy things that burnt the shit out of your chin if they dropped onto it.

Anyway back to the sloppy joe. What’s the go with them? We don’t eat them here but I look at a lot of cooking sites and they show up all the time. As far as I can tell they’re mince on a roll and they always look kind of, well sloppy and messy and hard to eat and I can’t see the appeal of them. So what’s the story behind the sloppy joe? Where did the idea originate, does everyone in the USA really eat them, is there an occasion where you especially eat them and how the hell exactly do you eat them?

don’t judge a book by it’s cover

So they say, however the cover of this new cook book is not going to entice me to buy it.

Even though the pony tail here does belong to the chef who wrote the book, there’s just something wrong about associating hair with food. Especially when it’s laying on top of the tea towel like that. Is he going to go and wipe my plate clean with that cloth now?

cooking

Deep fried mac and cheese

We don’t really eat mac and cheese here in Australia. Well I don’t and no one else I know does and you don’t see it often in recipe books or magazines so we don’t eat it seriously, not like you guys in the USA seem to. Maybe it’s because we don’t have that yellow cheese here, maybe that’s the secret to a good mac.

However I’m open to new ideas so when I saw a recipe for brie mac and cheese I thought I’d make it. Well it wasn’t very nice and I ended up with bucket loads of it. I don’t eat or cook a lot of pasta so maybe it was the fault of the cook that it was a bit bland but I wasn’t prepared to throw away so much food the next day so I had to decide how to make it more interesting. Having had three kids I knew from experience that a surefire way to get something eaten is to either wrap it in puff pastry and bake it or crumb it and deep fry it so I rolled the mass into balls, double crumbed them then deep-fried them and they were pretty damn good I must say. I still had a lot of the original mix to throw away though – my eaters draw the line at third night leftovers.

brie mac and cheese balls

Finding bagels in Oz

We don’t have bagels in Australia – not real ones anyway. You can buy something called a bagel from Coles that’s really just a bread roll that’s split in the middle and Woolworth have some gigantic prepackaged blueberry ones that are an alarming purple colour and make the fridge smell like an unpacked school lunchbox on a Sunday afternoon.

I’ve never seen them in a bakery though, not even when I was living in Sydney and I don’t live in a small town now but I’ve not spotted one here either and this hasn’t been a massive problem for me; I have made it this far in life without needing bagels.

My daughter however just spent six weeks in the USA, two of those weeks being in New York, where she developed a taste for them. She always has been a lover of breads so was impressed to find shops there dedicated solely to bagels but has unimpressed with the lack of them since arriving home. So I decided to make her some and after scouring the internet for recipes I sort of combined a couple that suited me and a few hours later voila!

Not bad for a first attempt, they seemed to pass the chewy test which I believe is important and something to do with boiling time.  I had smoked salmon and avocado on mine but I’m thinking blueberry tomorrow.

bagels

Eating out

I have a lot of rules regarding what I eat.

I don’t eat red meat at all, I eat a bit of chicken as long as I know it’s free range, I only eat eggs from a lady who has rescued cage chooks on her farm and I’ll eat salmon or prawns if I know they haven’t been swimming in shit or farmed in a tank full of antibiotics.

So usually I just stick to vegetarian options, especially when I eat out because who knows where they source their food from and even after years of doing so, I’m still surprised by the lack of vegetarian options on menus, I mean it’s not as if it’s some new crazy fad going on. A lot of places seem to think that the vegetarian option needs to be full of cheese and I don’t eat much cheese (no particular reason – just don’t like dairy) so I’ll often end up picking a salad with a serve of chips and that’s fine.

And yes I know if I went to Thai or Indian or other Asian places there are more vegetarian options but sometimes I just don’t feel like that and it shouldn’t have to be that way.

Last night we went out and I decided to go with the pasta with a mediterranean sauce and I’d have to say it’s probably the worst effort at satisfying a vegetarian tooth that I’ve ever seen.

pasta

Basically it was a packet of pasta with a bit of bottled sauce – it had one bit of broccoli, 3 bits of zucchini and a couple of sun-dried tomatoes (which is what I picked out of that dent on the right). Basically it was a waste of food and a waste of money.

Unlike my dinner the night before that I made myself that looked delicious, tasted delicious and was not hard at all to put together. Just a bit of pastry filled with some spinach and fetta with a egg nestled in the middle.

It’s not that hard people – even a tiny bit of effort would be appreciated, you don’t even have to make your own pastry.

eggs

Easter eggs

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Sunny side up. Because it sure is hot and sunny here. I wish you people on the other side of the world would stop messing about with this snowing in spring rubbish because its holding up our autumn. Have been having to sleep with the air con on at night so hot and humid.

Portion distortion Martha style

Here in Australia we don’t have Martha Stewart so I really don’t know anything about her but I’m pretty sure she’s not a large lady and quite frankly that amazes me because I’ve cooked a couple of recipes from her website over the past month and the portion servings are enormous. I mean those 4 – 6 people are not going to leave the table hungry let me assure you. The first dish I cooked was a pasta ravioli bake and I didn’t have a baking dish large enough to hold the mixture, tonight I’m doing a chicken chilli and same problem, no saucepan big enough to cook it in. Portion distortion is going off, no wonder people are a bit podgy.

Impossible to judge though with recipes I find. Sometimes you cook something that says it’s going to feed six and you all end up with about a matchbox full.

I’m glad summer is here and we can get started on salads because it really is too hot to be eating chilli anyway. Well it’s not technically summer, it’s spring but it’s bloody hot today and I think tomorrow might actually be my first swim of the season in the ocean baths – 31 Celsius and only a month into spring.

Birthday pavlova

Well whadaya know. My white jeans went and shrunk themselves while they were sitting in the wardrobe over winter.

Damn. And I wanted to wear them to a wedding in a few weeks but I guess that idea needs to be rehashed.

Mind you I’ve been working out like a demon since I got this smart TV – do you know how many workouts are out there on youtube? This morning I felt like Bette Midler in that movie where she was held ransom in the room with the exercise bike and lost all that weight.

I don’t hold out much hope for the white jeans though while there’s this sort of thing sitting in the fridge; Lizzies birthday pav. Double layer, cream, chocolate and strawberries middle and top. It’s meant to have three layers but I only had two trays so it’s more enormous than usual but damn it tasted good.