I’m sure there have been worse ideas

but after having tasted Vegemite chocolate yesterday I’m hard pressed to think of them.

I think it’s something people will either love or hate. I bit off half a square and then spat it out so I’m in the hate camp, my husband would have eaten the whole block (if I hadn’t of thrown it in the bin).

Now I don’t like Vegemite but even so I just wasn’t expecting it to be so Vegemitey. I thought they put on the pack that it was Vegemite but inside it was really going to be gooey sweetness like salted caramel or something but it was like chocolate with runny Vegemite in it. I was definitely wishing I’d bought the new pretzel one instead.

Cadbury-vegemite

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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?

Snap!!

Funny how sometimes you haven’t seen someone for years and then you see them every couple of days for a week or so. Or you’ve never heard of something but then once you have you see or hear it popping up everywhere.

Well, a couple of days ago Leendadll mentioned Irish Nachos and I’d never heard of them before and then I met my daughter for lunch yesterday and snap! there they were on the menu.

Now I don’t know what California nachos are – I always just thought nachos were nachos, I didn’t realise there was a range. By the way, what makes a bit of chicken buffaloed – never known that either.

nachos

Junk Food Junkie – it’s all about the chips

What’s your biggest junk food weakness? Tell us all about it in its sugary, salty, glory.

For me it’s all about hot chips. Not fries – chips. Fries are what you get at McDonald’s or KFC or other places like that and they’re just little worms and scraps that are usually either too soft or too crispy. Chips come from a fish and chip shop, or a corner takeaway or from the kiosk at the beach. They’re thick and actually have potato in the middle and they come in a cardboard cone and they’re good with just a bit of salt. My daughters like to cover theirs in tomato sauce or gravy, gravy is ok but you have to be in the mood and it has to be good gravy – not tinned stuff.

These ones came from Nobbys Beach kiosk and had a bit too much salt and a few too crunchy but they did the job. I had some really good ones a few weeks ago from Bar Beach Kiosk – they were really chunky, lots of potato.

hot chips

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

forgetting your brains

and don’t forget we have to go back for my brains

That was the last sentence of an email from Mum yesterday.

The week before christmas we met at a local pub for lunch. It was a pretty dodgy place but it was close to where she’d been shopping and not far from my place. Most people I know wouldn’t go there but they’re probably a bit snobbish and we’re both country girls so used to a bit of rough and tumble when it comes to Pubs. It’d been in the news the week prior because there was a riot there and when we arrived there was a group of young guys sitting in the car park drinking out of bottles in brown paper bags and there was this huge bull mastiff or something sitting under a table in the beer garden chewing on a bone. Okay then, I thought, not the kind of place you wear your best dress.

But the bistro was fine and the staff were great and Mum decided that she’d have the liver – or lambs fry as they politely call it in restaurants. She enjoyed it and when I went to pay she told me to tell the chef that it (and the gravy with it) was very good. I grew up on a sheep farm where we killed our own so my mother knows her offal and I ate my fair share of it over my younger years. When Dad killed a sheep we’d all stand there with bowls ready to collect all the bits and pieces.

So I got to talking to the waitress about offal; my mothers love of it and the waitresses dislike of dealing with it. She was telling me that she used to work somewhere and one of her jobs was boiling and peeling brains and how she couldn’t stand the smell of them.

We’d left and were walking to the cars when the girl ran out to us and said that Chef said next time we were coming in to ring him the day before and he’d get some brains in and cook them specially for Mum. So that was pretty cool of him.

Now she’s like a zombie at the thought of a brain feast.

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