Saturday, September 29, 2012

Waterside Inn

Croc at Sunset

Wow! This time last year we were off to Darwin! Our trip to the Northern Territory gave me a different food perspective, not an eating experience, but an interesting insight into some Bush tucker tricks employed by the native indigenous Australians. On our river cruises along crocodile infested water, it was surprising to hear about the variety of foods that were available in the river and on the banks, in addition to the crocs themselves.

Melaleuca Paperbark Trees
After catching the barramundi that are prolific in the Kakadu waters, the Melaleuca, paper bark was used to wrap the fish and give it distinctive flavours. One of the most interesting aspects was that different trees would give off different flavours - thus the indigenous people could have their choice of "seasonings."

Pandanus Tree
There were a few other anecdotes that sparked my interest: Pandanus, another edible waterside offering, provided fruit and leaves to wrap and scent food, as well as weave into baskets. The plentiful lotus flowers and lily pads around the river systems were popular, as seeds and roots could both be eaten.

Finally (or rather the last thing that sticks in my brain!), an alternative fishing method was to grind up the mangrove leaves into a poison to float in the water. The stunned fish floated to the surface and the indigenous people could collect them much easier!

As I reflect now a year on, from the comfort of my living room, with my fridge and spice rack a few metres away, and a supermarket across the road, it's fascinating to transport myself to another world where food stuffs come from the earth and ingenious methods are employed to enhance basic meals.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Liqueur Coffee Sauce

When I saw this months hop "Feeling Saucy" hosted by The Kitchen Crusader I leafed through my new Michel Roux "Sauces" for inspiration and whilst not exactly in the book, chose a liqueur coffee sauce. I figured a vanilla pannacotta would be an excellent base for any sauce and thought when I'd come to my final decision that I would create an affogato pannacotta dessert, with the pannacotta instead of the ice cream and quite a runny sauce that would be excellent over ice cream or cake as well as the pannacotta.

Liqueur Coffee Sauce

100ml Golden Syrup
120ml Strong Coffee
50g Butter
100ml Cream
2 tablespoons Kahlua
  • Melt the golden syrup with the coffee;
  • When the syrup has melted, add the butter and stir in until melted and glossy;
  • Add in the cream and reduce slightly on a low heat;
  • Finally add the Kahlua;
  • Drizzle over pannacotta (or ice cream).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Convenience foodie!

I have been to a few restaurants recently but for some reason today I wasn't inspired to blog about my eating out experiences. I am going to turn to something closer to home. Since we got our iPad about a year ago, we have been managing our weekly menus with an app called Paprika. I haven't been paid or sponsored in any way to write this but is one of the most fabulous apps.

As you may know, I am an avid menu planner. We have more variety and less waste by planning for the week. Up until this year I used a diary to note down our dishes and write the shopping list. Now all I need is the phone and/or the iPad. I can either read through my magazines and add in a note manually which page to go to, or search for recipes an build my virtual recipe collection from many websites where you can save straight into the app with one touch of a button. Ultimate convenience - with the menu designing, not with the food itself!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mountain Range

Grilled Chicken Skewers
This weekend we went camping out in the Watagan Mountain Range, to try out a few new purchases of ours. The first was our new Jeep "Nancy," a fun 4WD soft top, which we were keen to try on a quick weekend away to see how much she holds. The second was our new camping stove (or range!) which we'd purchased at the camping show earlier this year but hadn't used it yet. Our previous camping cooking appliance was a fabulous "Fire and Ice" BBQ/Esky combo which served us so well for many years. Last year in Darwin whilst camping though, we experienced the convenience and compactness of the gas camping stoves and decided to upgrade. We got ourselves a fabulous Colemans 3 Burner range.
Veg, potatoes and patties (for the kids)

We are known for our gourmet camping menus and this one was no different. We started off with some honey soy chicken skewers. Normally on the BBQ it would take about 20 mins to warm up and then about 30 mins to cook chicken but these were cooked through in about 15 mins. Our main was sirloin steaks with veg stir fry and potatoes. Again the stove did a great job. We had the grill plate over half for the steaks and used a fry pan for the stir fry on one of the other burners. What a great dinner to christen the stove for many more excursions to come!
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