Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Australian food emojis

Tuesday, 4 June, 2019

A quick survey shows no fewer than 10 different emoji for specific items of Japanese cuisine (as of 2019’s Emoji 12.0 list). Which is fine, but clearly other cuisines are under-represented.

So I propose they add emojis for:

  • Chicken parma
  • Chiko roll
  • Fairy bread
  • Hamburger with beetroot
  • Lamington
  • Meat pie*
  • Musk sticks
  • Pavlova
  • Vanilla slice
  • Vegemite

* There is a pie emoji, but most people seem to interpret it as a sweet pie, and the glyph is actually a slice of sweet dessert pie on some platforms, including Google Android and Twitter. Which is clearly unacceptable and un-Australian.

Gin tasting

Thursday, 28 September, 2017

With a couple of bottles of gin running low, I restocked with another couple of different brands. I realised I then had four different types of gin on hand – enough to do a taste and comparison test! So I recruited my wife to help me do a blind test. She poured a scant finger of each into four different glasses, and labelled them 1 to 4, without me knowing which was which. Then after I tasted them all, she revealed which was which. Here are my notes.

Procedure: I began with the aromas. I took a few sniffs of each glass, taking time to breathe clear air in between the different samples. After writing aroma notes, I took a sip of each gin, neat. In between each one I sipped water to clear the palate. Gin by itself is very strong, but it’s a good way to get the full effect of the flavours. After trying each one neat a couple of times, I added a small amount of soda (about 1:1 with the gin) to each and repeated the tastings. Finally, I added a good amount of soda to each, reducing it to about a 1:3 ratio – roughly what I’d normally mix for drinking. I didn’t use tonic, because (a) I think it would mask the flavours of the gin and (b) I normally use soda as my mixer because I don’t like the added sweetness of tonic.


Hunter Valley trip

Wednesday, 31 December, 2014

On the spur of the moment, my wife and I decide to take an overnight driving trip to the Hunter Valley, 100km north of Sydney. We left on Monday, 29 December, and drove up the quick way, using the freeway until the Cessnock turnoff, where we cut inland to the valley. We stopped for lunch at Tatler winery, which has a cafe that serves tapas-like lunches. We had some duck liver pate with lots of trimmings, and goat’s cheese tarts, which was plenty for two people to share.

Goat's cheese tarts

We drove around various places, stopping at Handmade in the Hunter markets at Kevin Sobel’s winery, browsing around the stalls there. I bought some chilli sauce from the Hot Chilli Woman.

Ranking: Nuts

Monday, 16 June, 2014

In a new, perhaps to be semi-regular, feature on this blog, I shall post my rankings of various things in two or more categories! To start with, nuts!

In increasing order of crunchiness: Chestnuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, coconuts, peanuts, macadamias, brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts.

In increasing order of yumminess: Brazil nuts, coconuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, pecans, chestnuts, peanuts, macadamias, cashews.

In increasing order of how often I cook/prepare food with them in: Brazil nuts, chestnuts, macadamias, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts, coconuts (cakes), peanuts (curries, satay), cashews (stir fries, curries), walnuts (cakes, and pizza toppings), almonds (I mix some in my home-made muesli every week).

Tiramisu without coffee

Tuesday, 27 August, 2013

For years and years and years I have wanted to try tiramisu, because it always looks so good when I see it in restaurants and cafes. But I do not have caffeine, and from what I remember of coffee flavoured things when I was a child, I really hate the flavour of coffee too – so I have never tried tiramisu.

I mentioned this to my wife the other day, when we were in a restaurant and I saw on the menu: orange “tiramisu”. I figured the quotes around “tiramisu” were to indicate that this was a tiramisu-inspired dessert, made with orange flavours, and so probably without coffee. I thought this would be awesome, because I might finally get to taste tiramisu for the first time. Being extra careful, I asked the waiter if the “tiramisu” dessert had any coffee in it. Alas, she replied that it did in fact contain coffee. So I didn’t order it.

Undaunted, my wife decided to find a recipe for tiramisu without coffee, and to make it for me. Here’s a simple one we found, and a more complex one. We’ll try the simple one first and see what I think of it.

Ice cream prices

Saturday, 24 August, 2013

236/365 Ben & Jerry'sThe first time I travelled to the USA, I tried Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and instantly fell in love. I’d never had ice cream so delicious as that before.

When I got home, I lamented the fact that Ben & Jerry’s was an American company, and they didn’t sell their ice cream here in Australia. Over the years I made a few more trips to the US, and each time I gorged myself on Ben & Jerry’s while over there. In 2009 I travelled to the UK and found some over there, and again sated my desire for this heavenly concoction.

Then a couple of years ago, Ben & Jerry’s began appearing here in Sydney. At first I was delighted, but the delight quickly melted away as I realised an awful fact. Because it’s imported from the US, it’s horrendously, ridiculously, stupidly expensive. It is so outrageously expensive that I refuse to buy it.

Here is a photo of some I took in my local supermarket. $11.99 for 458 mL. That works out to $26.18 a litre. (Aside: that’s about 17 times the cost of petrol!!)

And here is a photo of some Australian made Bulla ice cream, which is a good quality ice cream in your standard flavours of vanilla, chocolate, and Neapolitan. Nothing fancy, but a good solid ice cream if you just want some vanilla. It normally costs $10.29 for 4 litres, or $2.57 a litre. Less than 1/10 the price of Ben & Jerry’s! And today it was on special, for $2.12 a litre, less than 1/12 the price of Ben & Jerry’s.

(The generic supermarket brand ice cream next to the Bulla cost only $1 a litre – 1/26 the price of Ben & Jerry’s – but honestly I wouldn’t deign to eat that. You really can taste the difference.)

So. As much as I love Ben & Jerry’s, and despite the fact that it’s now sold here, the only time I ever eat it is when I’m in another country. I had my last serve when I was in San Francisco for a conference in February. I’m hoping to attend the same conference again next February. For more reasons than one.


Thursday, 11 April, 2013

So, I’ve noticed lots of people at my work drink coffee. Some drink tea, some cola. I’ve also noticed that a lot of people who drink these things (coffee particularly) make various offhand comments about how they really need a coffee to get going, or to be alert or productive.

So, some questions for people who regularly have coffee or other caffeine-containing drinks:

  • If your work banned coffee, tea, cola, and any other caffeine, do you think you would be less productive?
  • If your work banned coffee, tea, cola, and any other caffeine, do you think the workplace as a whole would be less productive?
  • Do you think people who don’t take caffeine are less productive than people who do?
  • If yes, do you think it would be reasonable for an employer to want to choose between two otherwise equally qualified candidates on the basis of whether or not they drink caffeine, on the assumption that the caffeine-drinker will be more productive?

You may have figured out that I don’t take caffeine. I actually kind of wonder: Am I less productive at work than I would be otherwise because of this?

Fish & Chips & Riesling

Friday, 18 January, 2013

Friday night, dinner out. We went to Garfish at Crows Nest, a really good seafood place about 15 minutes walk away. The weather was really hot (new record all-time high temperature for Sydney at 45.8°C), so I opted for the beach feel with the simple fish & chips from the menu that includes a lot more fancy stuff than that. It’s really good fish & chips. And the wine was Brindabella Hills 2011 Riesling, from the Canberra wine district. Really nice, lemony, a bit of residual bubble, and a bare hint of the usual riesling stoniness. It went really well with the fish on a hot night.

18/365 Fish & Chips & Riesling

El Karim

Friday, 11 January, 2013

My wife and I usually go out for dinner on Friday nights. Tonight we went to El Karim, our favourite Lebanese restaurant. These are the felafels. Delicious as usual! You can see (most of) the rest of the dinner if you wish. (That one omits the fried halloumi, which we’d polished off already.)

11/365 Felafels at El Karim

Breakfast cereal

Sunday, 6 January, 2013

Grocery shopping day, and I took a camera along. While collecting some breakfast cereal, I was inspired to take a panorama of six stitched photos along the full length of the breakfast cereal aisle. This is every pre-boxed breakfast cereal in my local supermarket, except for the mueslis, which are in a different aisle, near the “health food” section. You might want to view this one big or very big.

6/365 Breakfast cereal aisle

Notice the cereals start with the unhealthy, sugary stuff on the left – Milo, Froot Loops, Coco Pops, Frosties (and the fact that Nutri Grain is leftmost just goes to show how it’s not the “healthy” cereal it’s marketed as) – progressing through the ever-popular whole wheat cereals – Vita Brits, Weet Bix, etc – on to the “muesli-light” style cereals with grains and dried fruits, and finally on to the cereals loaded with bran on the far right.

I also notice that this looks a hell of a lot healthier than the over-the-top sugar-laden marshmallow/chocolate breakfast cereal I’ve seen in American supermarkets. I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I went into an American supermarket and looked at the breakfast cereals there. Frosties and the aforementioned Nutri Grain are probably the worst offenders in Australian supermarkets.