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.

Chinese Herbal Soup – Strength/Blood Tonic

I have been feeling run down and tired lately so I decided to make some herbal soup in our newly acquired crockpot to help replenish vigour and promote blood/haemoglobin production.

Herbs:

Astralagus – Huang Qi
Codonopsis (Dange Shen) or Ginseng
Dioscorea – Shan Yao
Polygonatum/Solomon’s Seal – Huang Jing
Red Dates/Jujubes – Da Zao
Lotus Seed
Longan (dried or fresh; remove pip)
Black Fungus/Cloud Ear Fungus
Dried goji berries/wolfberries

 

Herbs

Amount of herbs I used. From top left clockwise: Solomon's Seal, Astralagus, Diascorea, Liquorice Root, Goji Berries, Dried Longans, Black Fungus, Lotus Seeds and Red Dates.

4 whole cloves of garlic
About a 3cm knob of ginger – peeled and sliced

Other Ingredients:

1 whole small chicken (skin peeled off)
½ head of celery – chopped
5 carrots (depends on the size – they’ve been pretty small at Coles lately) – chopped

Method:

  1. Place the whole chicken in a large pot, fill with cold/tepid water and bring to a boil.
  2. After boiling for about 10-15 mins, chuck away the water and wash the chicken under cold water. This is to remove as much fat/oil from the chicken as possible. You can peel the chicken skin at this step as well if you haven’t peeled it before boiling.
  3. Place chicken in the crockpot with all the herbs, fill with hot water and bring to a boil. After that, bring it down to a simmer and let it simmer for as long as you like. I’ve heard 5 hours is a good amount of time.
  4. In the last hour or so of your self appointed simmering time, add the carrots and celery and bring to a boil.

 

Soup!

Soup! After 1 week it made my toenails pink 🙂

Tips:

  1. Important: do NOT boil/simmer the herbs in a metal pot. Only use ceramic or clay as the metal will react with some herbs. You can parboil the chicken in a metal pot, but not Step 3 onwards.
  2. You can use chicken pieces if peeling is not your thing. Chicken bones make the stock tastier but not necessary.
  3. Drink the soup as soon as possible for maximum benefit. Everything can be eaten except for the Astralagus as it is too fibrousy.
  4. Keep the lid on when boiling/simmering to retain certain medicinal properties.
  5. Black chicken is less fatty than normal chicken so that is preferable. I saw it for AUD$15/kg at the butcher’s in Market City, Chinatown and decided that the AUD$5/kg Coles variety is good enough for me  :p
  6. Make sure you heat the soup thoroughly post refrigeration to prevent salmonellosis. The entire portion of soup must reach a minimum of 60°C for 60 seconds to ensure safe consumption.

I’m sorry I haven’t posted quantities of herbs as this is my first time and I suppose its trial and error to find a good combination. I like herby soups having grown up with Bah Ku Teh so stronger is better for me, but other people might prefer it to be subtle so it is really up to you. Generally you can’t really taste the herbs since the soup is quite sweet and tasty.

Medicinal properties of the herbs will be posted separately since I hate long posts (don’t you?  :p ).

Enjoy!

A Taste For Green Tangerines – Barbara Bisco

A Saucy Romp through the Rainforest

This book is subtitled ‘A Saucy Romp through the Rainforest’. On first glance I thought it was about food adventures in a rainforest; a revelation about using local plants, herbs and possibly insects as part of a meal interwoven with the usual drama that came along with a fictional novel. After reading the book, however, it became clear to me that ‘saucy’ was just a politically correct way of saying ‘raunchy’.

It depicts the adventures of an English anthropologist accepting her first real job studying the Dayak people over in the rainforests of Borneo with a rainforest conservation company. While the sauciness of her story is rife yet tastefully unremarkable, notable points of this book lie in the rich descriptions of the Dayak culture and its capacity to make you think about the pros and cons of mining and logging; and the socio economic versus conservation impacts of the two. This book is also unashamedly anti-government, probably with the aim of raising awareness of the amount of corruption going on in Indonesia particularly within the conservation (or lack thereof) context. However, having said that, Bisco also gives us insight into how locals might view this laxity in laws and why they might not be as supportive of conversation as some of us.

I can’t believe I’ve made the book sound like an essay on culture and conservation. It really isn’t. Most of it is about the anthropologist and her friends, a mystery at the campsite, lots of drama, lots of sauce and enough character development to keep you interested.

I’m not one to give the storyline away while writing a review. I hate reading the synopsis of a movie before I watch it – it’s too much like reading notes of the Great Gatsby at English class and writing an entire essay of it without having actually read the book. So I’m going to just rate the readability and other such aspects of the book and leave it at that.

Readability: 3/5

I’d read this over sleeping on a train (* * * )
Good for sitting on the loo (* * * *)
Something to read to help you fall asleep (* * *)
It’s like trying to read foreign language signs when you’re busting to go to the bathroom (*)

Thinkability: 4/5
Keepability: 1/5

– ant –