Happy Ultimate π Day!

As you know, today is Ultimate Pi Day because, according to the American system of writing dates, it is 3.14.15 and ultimate π was technically achieved at 9:26:35. For all of us that follow the “normal” (lol) system, I think we don’t really get to celebrate it until the 3rd of January 4159 but like that’s ever gonna happen so I’ll take this one for now. Owl and I always try to celebrate pi day with some pie but Dinky Di’s was on the wrong corner from Antidote coffee so we just had pizza (also called pie in America … Yes to them everything is pie) and watched a movie. π We like to use Lebanese bread as the pizza base because it gets crunchy on the rim yet stays moist where the toppings reside. It is also not so thick as to fill you up (= >π) but strong enough not to fall apart when you pick up a slice. I ran out of Sriracha so Kewpie had to do.

Hope you all had a mathematical π day, as we did (or will have for all our American and Pacific Islander readers), and Happy Ultimate Pi Day!

p.s anyone notice they were showing the Life of Pi on TV tonight? The geeks live amongst us yet!

p.p.s missed the midnight deadline by 4 min. Darn!

A solution to try for Spider Mites on your plants!

For the last four or so years we’ve maintained two greenhouses on our balcony – growing chilli, oregano, mint and parsley. We also used to have basil (which Spider Mites destroyed), a single coriander shoot called “Dolly Parton” – because it was heavy and flopped over and Rosemary, which never took off. Most of the plants did reasonably well until they were hit with a double whammy infestation (against the odds of being elevated on a balcony and inside a greenhouse)!

IMG_3143

The first infestation was a moth, which led to caterpillars – those fat green juicy ones like in A Bug’s Life. The caterpillars required patience and picking them off one by one to remove the infestation. Needless to say, these came back a few times as you always miss one. Once those bite mark like holes start showing, you know it’s too late and you’ve already got a family chowing down on your plants.

The second infestation, which was much harder to get rid of and literally sucked the life out of all my beloved basil plants (three separate bushes) – was due to the difficult and dreaded Spider Mite! The first Basil plant was the weakest and succumbed to the fact the Mites drained the nutrients out of its stalks. The other two were better established and lasted a little longer, but since I didn’t want to use chemicals as I wanted to eat from the plants, I resorted to meekly trimming the plants – which only delayed the inevitable. In hindsight, I should have tried the method below earlier!

My Parsley was the only plant left after the initial Spider Mite infestation so they naturally migrated onto it and started to kill it too. A few weeks back, I trimmed off all the leaves and left pretty much just the stalks – but I knew this likely wouldn’t work. So I decided with nothing to lose, I would try the combination of Garlic and Chili sprayed over the plant and surrounding greenhouse. Boy am I glad I at least tried, it worked a treat! I sprayed the area only twice in a period of a week and the Parsley seems to be Spider Mite free. I was able to pick and eat the Parsley for the first time last night since this all started a couple of months ago. It no longer has the off colour of looming death, and the leaves look nice and healthy as you can see in the pictures of the leaves below. I unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for you) did not take any pictures of the infestation/Spider Mites – but if they come back I will update this post with pictures.

parsley2 parsley3parsley4

So if you have Spider Mites – you’ll be able to see by the reddish/orange leaves and the webbing they weave on the leaves.

Try this very natural and chemical free solution!

  • 1 Chilli (preferable a hot one)
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • Boiling Water
  • A jar
  • A spray bottle

bottle Home grown chilli - helping out fellow plants

Method:

Chop and crush the Garlic, you want the garlic juice to infuse the water and likewise do the same with the Chilli – just don’t touch your face after handling it. Put them into a small Jar and pour hot water from a kettle into the jar – so you get about a cup of hot water. Leave this to sit and cool down. Once this is cool pour the water into a spray bottle that you don’t mind smelling of Garlic from now on and add water if it’s not enough to get a good spray – just don’t dilute it too much. If you don’t have enough you can just re-boil what is in the jar. Try to strain out any chunks of Garlic or Chilli when transferring to the bottle so it doesn’t clog the spray nozzle.

Use:

Spray all over the plant so it’s saturated – under the leaves and stalk and into the soil too as the Spider Mites can sometimes hide there. Spray the surrounding area if it’s enclosed or the nearby vicinity just to make sure the mites go away completely (read that as die).

Repeat this a couple of times and check your plant in a week or so.

Note: don’t keep the solution too long in the spray bottle as it’ll start to smell/rot.

Leave a comment if it ends up helping your plants at all! We’d love to hear of more victories against these little buggers.

owl

Burger Project – World Square

As you all know, Neil Perry opened a burger joint next to Din Tai Fung at World Square. It offers the same 36 month grass fed Cape Grim beef (albeit the chuck and brisket cuts) and triple-cooked fries as Rockpool Bar and Grill, but with a more chill atmosphere and affordable price tag.

Nice atmosphere and quite private

Nice atmosphere and quite private

Now, I’m not going to explain the flavours in detail. There are plenty other blogs that do that; I’m just here to give you more pictures of stuff on the menu. Suffice to say I was pretty happy with the food here and I’m not sure the bad reviews on Urbanspoon were warranted. Especially considering everything was under $10.

I also did not doctor any of the images so that you have a non-biased view of what the food actually looks like. #nofilter #sorryitsblurry

Our tray of noms!

Our tray of noms!

Triple fried chips with smokey chipotle chilli sprinkles. The alternative was just +salt. These babies were perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, even the ones at the bottom of the cup! The seasoning was very tasty and not spicy.

Triple fried chips with smokey chipotle chilli sprinkles.

The alternative was just +salt. These babies were perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, even the ones at the bottom of the cup! The seasoning was very tasty and not spicy.

Spicy Chicken Burger. It is what it is. Not that spicy.

Spicy Chicken Burger. It is what it is except, not that spicy.

Such a juicy, succulent burger. Not too salty but just enough to keep you wanting moat. I love the Maccas Quarter Pounder and this sure reminds me of a tastier version. Not a fan of the raw onions, though. Why! Why raw when cooked is infinitely yummier  :(

Cheeseburger

Such a juicy, succulent burger. Not too salty but just enough to keep you wanting moat. I love the Maccas Quarter Pounder and this sure reminds me of a tastier version. Not a fan of the raw onions, though. Why! Why raw when cooked is infinitely yummier 😦

Cheese & Bacon. The Cheese^10 because, well, bacon!

Cheese & Bacon. The Cheese^10 because, well, bacon!

Crispy hot wings with classic hot sauce. You know how I kept saying all the above mentioned foods weren't spicy? This is not one of them. It definitely packed a tangy, spicy punch and I could not help nut lap up every last bit of the sauce. The skin was gloriously crispy without being oily. So crunchy that, without meaning to, crumbs fell into my burger and then into my mouth. Mmmm texture. Defs gonna try the version with szechuan pepper next time.

Crispy hot wings with classic hot sauce.

You know how I kept saying all the above mentioned foods weren’t spicy? This is not one of them. It definitely packed a tangy, spicy punch and I could not help but mop up every last bit of the sauce. The skin was gloriously crispy without being oily. So crunchy that, without meaning to, crumbs fell into my burger and then into my mouth. Mmmm texture. Defs gonna try the version with Szechuan pepper next time.

Wash it all down with a cold, creamy strawberry shake. With added malt, or course. I kept browsing the web to see if anyone had compared the normal shake with the thick shake but no luck. Nonetheless, the normal shake was still pretty thick. Someone compared it to the Shake Shack. I think it is slightly thicker, but it could have been the added malt. Very flavoursome and does not taste like fake strawberry but a blend (which is my favourite because I actually like the hot pink flavour).

Wash it all down with a cold, creamy strawberry shake. With added malt, or course. I kept browsing the web to see if anyone had compared the normal shake with the thick shake but no luck. Nonetheless, the normal shake was still pretty thick. Someone compared it to the Shake Shack. I think it is slightly thicker, but it could have been the added malt. Very flavoursome and does not taste like fake strawberry but a blend (which is my favourite because I actually like the hot pink flavour).

Impressively, the in-store menu matches the online menu perfectly (not necessarily true for many places). There was only one extra addition – the Australian Burger – but this may be due to Australia Day being a couple of days before.

I would definitely go back. The serves were just enough that you could enjoy a burger, fries and shake comfortably, and then even contemplate dessert (I wanted dessert, the other were not so keen so I got froyo elsewhere). Perhaps Aqua S for some soft serve with grilled marshmallows and fairy floss?  😀

This meal was independantly sought and paid for by the authors.

Burger Project
World Square (next to Din Tai Fung upstairs)
644 George Street, Sydney

Summer is for festivals

I read two wordFlying pigs today that made my heart stop.

Bacon. Festival.

Bacon festival!!!

Yes, I know bacon stopped trending and, yes, I know it is no longer the cover child of foodie fascists fashionistas. But it’s just so darn tasty! Bacon is a flavour that pervades even the ficklest heart and has made all manners of breakfast (and other mealtime) foods infinitely better.

From the 9th of February 2015, Cuckoo Callay at Newtown will be upping the bacon ante with amazing dishes like ‘What a Croque of Bacon’ (bacon, basil and vintage cheddar croquettes served with bourbon bacon, pea puree and two poached eggs) and ‘Ya Bacon Me Crazy’ (buttermilk waffles with house-made bacon, caramel and cinnamon ice cream, Black Forest Smokehouse maple bacon, maple syrup and chocolate coated bourbon bacon). They even have bacon drinks!

Best of all, the bacon is from Black Forest Smokehouse, which means that Australian farmers get a cut of this sweet deal.

Lard, have mercy on my soul!

menu

Note: Ant does not work for CC and does not get anything for this write-up but how can one resist such an amazing place which even features a little doggie menu? #hearts

Cuckoo Callay

Newtown Train Station, 324a King Street, Newtown, New South Wales 2042
Tel: +61 (02) 9557 7006
Monday – Wednesday: 6:00 am – 4:00 pm
Thursday – Friday: 6:00 am – 9:30 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am – 9:30 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Drink tea for World Water Day

HandwashingHappy World Water Day, everyone!

Worldvision Australia has partnered with Chatime Australia today for World Water Day. 10% of all hot and iced teas purchased on 22 March 2014 will go towards transforming the lives of children, families, and entire communities through the precious gift of water. Now thats refreshing!  🙂 Read more here.

Snag Stand, Sydney

“A gourmet hot-dog stand? Now that’s worth having a look,” I mused. So it was a fateful day where Owl and I trekked up to Westfield in the city to try Snag Stand’s food. I had spent about an hour the night before agonising between The famous Reuben Sandwich ($13.50) from Reuben & Moore, the Hand-crafted Chilli Crab Burger from Charlie & Co.’s ($18), and Snag Stand’s ‘haute dogs’ (as they put it).

When I finally decided on SS, it took me another hour to decide between the Pork & Fennel (w/ sautéed tri-colour capsicum, balsamic glaze & shaved parmesan on a toasted brioche roll; $9.90), the Toulouse(w/ sautéed onions, rosemary mushrooms and truffle aioli on a toasted brioche roll; $10.90) or the African Boerewors option which isn’t on their menu anymore. I slept on it and emerged fully convinced that the Pork & Fennel was the way to go, and I was not disappointed. Aside from the gloriously smoky capsicum and complementary combo of the balsamic and pork, that particular hot dog was the ‘Special of the Day’ – which meant it was a dollar off at $8.90. Score!

yum!

Owl decided on the Spicy Spanish Chorizo (w/ semi sun-dried tomatoes, chipotle aioli, baby rocket, and shredded Spanish goat’s cheese on a brioche roll; $9.90). I thought that it would be too salty but we were pleasantly surprised to find that everything amalgamated well, leaving a slight tingle of spice and a satisfying savoury aftertaste. The chips were crunchy and, again, not too salty although I did regret not getting a $1 dipping sauce to go with them – the Spiracha Mayo appealed to my love for chilli.

I love the sturdy little cartons the food came in, adding to the whole ‘hot-dog stand’ feel. Fare with flare is how I would describe this unassuming place. Next time I have a hot dog craving, I wouldn’t mind checking out Stitch Bar which has hot dogs, curly fries and ice-cream sandwiches to boot! Heaven…

Snag Stand
Level 5, Westfield Sydney Food Court
Cnr Market and Castlereagh St
NSW Sydney Australia 2000