Thursday, 26 February 2009


Scattered around inner Melbourne are these reminders of times past....

Drinking troughs for horses. I've never seen a horse drink from one & this one was on a six lane road, so not really anywhere to tie up your horse for a drink.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Australian Finger Lime Ice Cream

In my previous post I asked what was it?

Its actually an Australian native, a Finger Lime.
It has an interesting characteristic, which is the juice vesicles are fairly tough, meaning that they retain their shape without bursting. Obviously if you apply enough pressure, they will burst & the juice will run out. But why attempt to juice one of these fairly small limes? They are about the size of your finger, so juicing them in the usual fashion would be a challenge.
I prefer to use them where you'd like the tang of lime but not the wet soppiness of the juice. I've previously served a traditional Russian potato pancake topped with sour cream, caviar and lime. The shape of these lime vesicles makes them look like little beads of caviar and biting into them releases an explosion of lime flavour.

There are a few different varieties available (Australian Finger Lime company has a few listed), but I have only ever seen the green variety for sale.

Today I thought I'd try something a bit different, using the lime in an ice cream. My reasoning being that the lime vesicles would hold their shape & juice within the ice cream. I was hoping to achieve a creamy smoothness of the ice cream & then bursts of the sour-tangy lime.
So I made a fairly standard vanilla creme anglaise (recipe here)and churned it in the ice cream machine.
I added the lime vesicles to the mixture just before pouring into the container.
End result? Vanilla & Lime Ice Cream.

Thursday, 12 February 2009


No, its not a surprise from the cat.
This happens to be a native Australian fruit. Any guesses as to what it it?

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Paper Chef #37

This month the paper chef dished up some interesting ingredients complements of Terry from Taste Adventures.
Three random ingredients from the list:
liver (calves liver to be precise);
and her choice of: chestnuts
The mind went into overdrive. What to do?!? How to combine them into a dish & hopefully eatable.
First up we had to get the ingredients. So off to the market we went, and suffered... Saturday turned out to be the hottest day on record in Melbourne hitting a top of 46.4c. This was a seriously hot day. If you have been following the news then you will know of the tragic bush fires that occurred. Luckily none of my family or friends were in the areas that were affected.
Back to the PC. And calves livers. 6 butchers later not a calves liver to be found. Time to invoke the substitute clause - chicken livers. All other ingredients were found easily. And then to decide what to make....
In the end I decided to make a ravioli dish, stuffed with liver, chestnut & Parmesan, and a oregano butter sauce.
200g cleaned liver
100g chopped chestnuts
1/4 medium onion finely chopped
20g grated Parmesan
1/4tsp fine orange rind
1/2tsp salt
1/4tsp ground black pepper
1/4tsp dried oregano
40g butter
Fresh pasta sheets (recipe
1 tbls roughly chopped fresh oregano
1/4tsp fresh thyme
30ml Brandy (optional)
Grated Parmesan to finish

Melt 10g of the butter in a fry pan and add the onion, dried oregano & orange rind
When the onion is soft add the livers and quickly brown - do not over cook!
Remove from the heat and place in a bowl to cool slightly
Roughly chop the livers and return to the bowl
Add the Parmesan and chestnuts and combine thoroughly
Spoon about a heaped tsp onto the pasta sheets and create your ravioli.
When ready to cook the ravioli, melt the remaining butter in a pan. While the butter is melting cook the ravioli in boiling salted water.
Add the fresh oregano and thyme to the melted butter and allow to fry slightly.
At this point you can add the warmed brandy & flame it
Drain the ravioli, add to the melted butter and toss.
Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


No this is not a left over photo from last Autumn (or Fall).
This is today, February 4th. One month of summer to go.
After the hot weather that we had last week (4 days over 40c) and the 2nd driest January on record (0.8mm of rain for the month) it looks like the European type deciduous trees have gone into shock & dropped their leaves very very early. 2 weeks ago these trees were a very healthy green enjoying the summer growing season with not a fallen leaf to be seen, but now these trees on our street are suffering. Will they survive? I hope so..
Autumn? No. Global warming? Maybe.
All I know is that the weather patterns are changing and we will have to adapt.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

White Salt, Pink Salt?

Yes, it's salt.
Yes, it's pink.

This pink salt comes from inland Australia. Its produced naturally from evaporated ground water that is high in mineral content & the colour comes from a salt tolerant algae which secretes carotene. We've started using this pink salt in our cooking & it does make a difference. Its not as harsh as your normal table salt and has a more delicate flavour.

And its also good for the environment by helping to reduce the salinity of the inland waterways.