What you looking at?

what you looking at


Exhibition at work..edible dye..made in Belgium (looked much more attractive than this hashed last second phone cam photo...I was cooking for over 100 dammit)
The caviar looks great, likewise the scallops.


I am sure someone at Thai customs ate a row of my uni.


2007 UNI

The quality was nothing like last years. BULLSHIT.



Rotten mutha fucken truffles that's what!

While Thaksin was kissing the ground at the airport someone left my truffles outside at the airport on a hot Bangkok day.
Not all was lost another 80 grams arrived later in the day...shiny stinky little bastards they were too...YUM.

Food scientists are hardcore.

Carl Zimmer is a freelance science journalist, who in his spare time, collects pics of science tattoos. Thankfully, food scientists represent with the above tatt of glucose and the below tattoo of my unofficial molecule of choice, capsaicin.

Name the top five nations seeking wagyu on the web.

Just as a small response to Hock's forthcoming menu, the nations that search for "wagyu" the most on Google (via Google Trends) are, to my surprise:

1. Hong Kong
2. Australia
3. Singapore
4. Chile
5. New Zealand

By city:

1. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
2. Sydney, Australia
3. Brisbane, Australia
4. Singapore, Singapore
5. Melbourne, Australia
6. Santiago, Chile
7. Adelaide, Australia
8. Perth, Australia
9. New York, NY, USA
10. Amsterdam, Netherlands

This only really begs more questions:

a. Why is wagyu beef bigger in Chile than in the US? I've got to start following Chilean food trends. Even when you factor in the US use of the term kobe beef, Chile comes out ahead. Plug in almost any other meat to the search, or cut of meat, and the USA comes out in front. Why not wagyu or Kobe beef?

b. How did Australians and New Zealanders become so wagyu-obsessed? When you take into account population, New Zealand would rocket to the top of the list.

c. Adelaide?

Teaser..photos to come.

On its way to my little kitchen.....

3.5 kg Hokkaido Diver Scallops
13 kg Australian Wagyu Beef Tenderloin (Grade 9+)
1 Tray Australian Organic Peaches
3 trays Hokkaido Uni
100 pcs Kumamoto Oysters
150 gm Black Truffles
500 gm Ossetra Caviar
Dash Foie Gras
Pinch Soft shell crab
soft choc

choc knot

This cool parlour trick has been around for a while but none the less is fun to try out for yourself.

Thanks to Alex, Aki and Alex

Latte Art

Todays "BUZZ" on Latte Art reminded me that....

I once got kicked out of a cafe for asking them to just goddamned hurry up with my coffee and stop messing around with making stupid swirly picture things with the foam

I was told I couldn't have my coffee and that I wasn't welcome back....all because I'd apparently insulted the barrister's artistic sensibilities

I don't know, call me crazy but its a coffee, not art and he was a cafe worker not an artist

Turns out I'm just a grinch who hates latte art....or maybe I should just send "latte art" into the folks at "stuff white people like"

Anyway, it doesn't matter much any more cause I don't really drink lattes, I'm sick of paying $3.5 for a fucking cup of coffee.

Anyway....here's another food song. It's Nana singing "Black Coffee"

The Anthropology of Food

Found! For the high-brow among you, the website The Anthropology of Food blog, written in English and French because, why wouldn't it be?

Welcome Anthropology of food, the webjournal dedicated to the social sciences of food. Anthropology of food is an open access bilingual academic journal in French and English. Since 1999, this journal is produced and published by a network of European academic researchers sharing a common intellectual interest in the social science of food

For the Love of Mango Sticky Rice

It may come as no great surprise to know that the Thai food in Canberra sucks.

Amongst the worst is Lemongrass in Civic which I had the displeasure of having to dine at last Friday. The "larb" was just watery minced beef with no herbs, the "pad thai" (I didn't order it) was sickly sweet and the "curry" well....anyway
The restaurant was packed....full of white Australians seemingly enjoying their "Thai food"

So, on Sunday I cooked a fairly disastrous Thai meal out of sheer desperation. It still wasn't as bad as Lemongrass. I did what I normally do in Thailand, same pastes, same ingredients but it just didn't even come close flavour wise. I put it down to ingredients. They just don't taste the same here.

Anyway, my most pined for Thai dish is at the moment is mango sticky rice. You can't get a good version here because you really need fresh coconuts.

Photo: Stolen Courtesy of Google Images

but anyway, as I sit in my lonely little room in Canberra, head down bum up....on my ipod came Ohio Players Sweet Sticky Thing

and, well, I wanna go home

Whitebait or Speedbait? Jury to decide.

From the amazing newspaper that is the NZ Herald.

A chef will give evidence in a High Court trial in Christchurch New Zealand to support the crown's view that when alleged drug dealers were talking about the ingredients for whitebait patties, they were really discussing preparing methamphetmine for sale.

Two months of telephone tapping, interception of text messages, and surveillance under the police's Operation Dolmio has led to five people being on trial on charges of conspiracy to supply the class A drug.
The phone intercepts include the surprise query by one accused dealer asking how much "flour and sugar" to use for whitebait patties.

Another of the alleged conspirators tells him to use one egg and 8g of whitebait for 10 patties.
Crown prosecutor Anne Toohey today told Justice John Fogarty and the jury that the chef would be called to give evidence of the effectiveness of that recipe.

In fact, she said, the discussion was about "cutting" pure methamphetamine with dextrose to reduce its purity ready for sale.
All five accused have denied their involvement in a conspiracy to source the drug from two men in Auckland, transport it to Christchurch through an inter-island truck driver who was making regular trips, and cut it and retail it in Christchurch.
Miss Toohey said the telephone intercepts would be played to the jury and they would be shown the text messages exchanged. The conspirators often used slang terms, street names, or their own code words for the drugs.
"A drugs expert will tell you about the various types of names that are typically used for the drugs here. At the end of the day, it is a matter for you to decide what they were talking about."

Phil introduced me to the HBO series The Wire
a while back making this pretty believable.

You have to break a few eggs to make a White Bait Omelette
Photo: Kings Fish Market.co.nz

The Underground

Subterranean farm in Tokyo (of course, where else)

A response to the Global Food Prices Crisis: Sustainable family farming can feed the world
Thursday, 14 February 2008
(Rome, 14 February 2008) Consumers around the world have seen the prices of staple food dramatically increasing over the past months, creating extreme hardship especially for the poorest communities. Over a year, wheat has doubled in price, maize is nearly 50% higher than a year ago. However, there is no crisis of production. Statistics show that cereals' production has never been as high as in 2007 (1).

Prices are increasing because part of production is now diverted into agrofuels, global food reserves are at their lowest in 25 years due to the de-regulation of markets by the WTO, and extreme weather has effected crops in some exporting countries such as Australia. But prices also increase because financial companies speculate over people's food as they anticipate that agriculture prices will keep rising in the near future. Food production, processing and distribution falls increasingly under the grip of transnational companies monopolising the markets.

The tragedy of industrial agrofuels: they feed cars and not people

Agrofuels (fuels produced from plants, agriculture and forestry) are presented as an answer to the peak in production of oil and global warming alike. However, many scientists and institutions now recognise that their energy benefits will be very limited and that their environmental and social impact will be extremely negative. However, the whole business world is rushing into that new market that is directly competing with people food's needs. The Indian government is talking of planting 14 millions hectares of land with Jatropha, the Inter-American Development Bank says that Brazil has 120 million hectares that could be cultivated with agrofuel crops, and an agrofuel lobby is speaking of 379 million hectares being available in 15 African countries (2). Current demand for corn in order to produce ethanol already represents 10% of the world consumption, pushing up world prices.

Industrial agrofuels are an economic, social and environmental nonsense. Their development should be halted and agricultural production should focus on food as a priority.

All farmers do not benefit from higher prices

Record world food prices hit consumers, and contrary to what can be expected, they do not benefit all producers. Stock breeders are in a crisis due to the rise in feed prices, cereal producers are facing sharp rises in fertiliser's prices and landless farmers and agricultural workers cannot afford to buy food. Farmers sell their produce at an extremely low price compared to what consumers pay. The Spanish coordination of farmers and stock breeders (COAG) calculated that consumers in Spain pay up to 600% more than what the food producer gets for his/her production.

The first to benefit from higher agricultural prices are the agro-industry and large retailers because they increase food prices much more than they should. Will food prices decrease when agricultural prices go down again? Large companies are able to stock large quantities of food and release them when the markets prices are high.

Small farmers and consumers need fair and stable prices, not the current high volatility. Small farmers cannot produce if prices are too low, as has often been the case in the last decades. They therefore need market regulations, the opposite of the WTO policies.

Agriculture trade “liberalisation” leads to crisis

The current crisis reveals that agricultural trade “liberalisation” leads to hunger and poverty.

Countries have become extremely dependant on global markets. In 1992, Indonesian farmers produced enough soya to supply the domestic market. Soya-based tofu and 'tempeh' are an important part of the daily diet throughout the archipelago. Following the neo-liberal doctrine, the country opened its borders to food imports, allowing cheap US soya to flood the market. This destroyed national production. Today, 60% of the soya consumed in Indonesia is imported. Record prices for US soya last January led to a national crisis when the price of 'tempeh' and tofu (the « meat of the poor ») doubled in a few weeks. The same scenario applies to many countries, for example for corn production in Mexico.

Deregulation and privatisation of safeguard mechanisms are also contributing to the current crisis. National food reserves have been privatised and are now run like transnational companies. They act as speculators instead of protecting farmers and consumers. Likewise, guaranteed prize mechanisms are being dismantled all over the world as part of the neo-liberal policies package, exposing farmers and consumers to extreme price volatility.

Time for Food Sovereignty!

Due to the expected growth of world population until 2050 and the need to face climate change, the world will have to produce more food in the years to come. Farmers are able to meet that challenge as they have done in the past. Indeed, the world population doubled in the past 50 years but farmers have increased cereal production even faster.

Via Campesina believes that in order to protect livelihoods, jobs, people's health and the environment, food has to remain in the hands of small scale sustainable farmers and cannot be left under the control of large agribusiness companies or supermarket chains. GMOs and industrial agriculture will not provide healthy food and will further deteriorate the environment. For example, the new “Green Revolution” pushed by AGRA in Africa (new seeds, fertilizers and irrigation at large scale) will not solve the food crisis. It will deepen it. On the other hand, recent research shows that small organic farms are at least as productive as conventional farms, some estimates even suggest that global food production could even increase by as much as 50% with organic agriculture (3).

To avoid a major food crisis, governments and public institutions have to adopt specific policies aimed at protecting the production of the most important energy in the world: food!

Governments have to develop, promote and protect local production in order to be less dependent on world food prices. This implies the right for any country or union to control food imports and the duty to stop any form of food dumping.

They also have to set up (or to maintain) supply management mechanisms such as buffer stocks and guaranteed floor prices to create stable conditions for producers.

According to Henry Saragih, general coordinator of Via Campesina and leader of the Indonesian Peasant's Union, « farmers need land to produce food for their own community and for their country. The time has come to implement genuine agrarian reforms to allow family farmers to feed the world. ».

Ibrahim Coulibaly, president of the National Coordination of Peasant's organisation in Mali said: «Facing extreme rises in food prices, our government has agreed with the farmers organisations' demand to develop and protect local food markets instead of increasing imports. Increasing food imports will only make us more dependent on the brutal fluctuations of the world market ».

Via Campesina believes that the solution to the current food price crisis lies in food sovereignty. Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and the right of their governments to define the food and agriculture policies of their countries, without damaging agriculture of other countries. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations. Food sovereignty prioritises local and national economies and markets and empowers peasant and family farmer-driven agriculture and food production.

For more information and to interview world farmers leaders in Rome:
Via Campesina delegation in Rome: +393487276117
e-mail : viacampesina@viacampesina.org

(1) Les Chambres d'Agriculture - France: http://paris.apca.chambagri.fr/
(2) Grain: www.grain.org
(3) “Shattering Myths: Can sustainable agriculture feed the world?”: www.foodfirst.org
The first commercial dog food was introduced in England about 1860. James Spratt, an electrician from Ohio, was in London selling lightning rods when he saw miserable street dogs ganged up along the piers waiting to being tossed mouldy hardtack biscuits and scraps of rotten food.

This was a very old type of feeding called "trencher feeding" that had existed in the U.K. since before there were dinner plates. A "trencher" was a flat piece of bread once commonly used as a plate or underneath a rough wooden plate. Food was served on this bread and the bread and the table scraps (along with spoiled food and boiled knuckle bones) were then "tossed to the dogs."

Spratt decided he could do better than bread and hard-tack biscuits, and he came up with a biscuit, shaped like a bone, made of wheat, vegetables, beetroot and beef blood. Spratt's dog food company thrived, and around 1890 he took it to the U.S. where it became "Spratt's Patent Limited" which eventually diversified into other feed stocks (such as fish food) as well as veterinary medicines.

In the 1950s Spratt's became part of General Mills, and in 1960 it was bought by "Spillers" dog food company (a UK subsidiary of Purina which is owned by General Mills). Today Spillers makes "Bonio" bone-shaped biscuits which are very similar to those once manufactured by James Spratt.

Other dog food companies sprang up, many with paid endorsements from veterinarians who shilled for them just as veterinarians shill for Hill's "Science Diet" today. Right from the beginning pet food manufacturers discouraged their clients from supplementing with anything but food out of the box. A culture of dependence was being forged.

In 1907, F.H. Bennett introduced Milkbone dog biscuits as a complete dog food and a direct competitor to Spratt. Milkbone and Spratt's Dogs Food and Cake dominated pet food manufacturing until the 1920's when canned dog food was first introduced by Ken-L-Ration.

Canned horsemeat was cheap after World War I as huge numbers of horses and mules were being replaced by cars and tractors. The growth in canned dog food really shot up in the 1930s, and by 1941, canned dog food represented 91% of the dog food market in the U.S.

Canned dog food fell out of favor (and supply) during World War II when a shortage of tin made canning difficult and expensive, and as the horse surplus dried up. By 1946, dry dog food was king once again, and it has remained so to this day.

The production of enormous bags of "kibbled" dog foods began in earnest in 1957 when the Purina company began marketing extruded dry dog "chow" through grocery store chains. Purina followed on with cat chow in 1962. Today most grocery stores in the U.S. devote more shelf space to canned and kibbled dog food than they do to breakfast cereal or baby food.

Ralston Purina created the soft-moist pet food category in 1971, and this category now includes such foods as Purina ONE and Pro Plan.

The rise in kibbled dog food in the U.S. seems to coincide with a rise in canine skin problems arising from canine allergies to corn, wheat and perhaps other additives to dry dog food such as preservatives, coloring, and stabilizers.

Pervception is not necessarily reality, of course. In fact, not all canine allergies are due to food. At the same that pet owners were switching to bagged dog food, they were also washing their dogs more (causing dry skin) and bringing them indoors where they came in contact with carpet cleaners, laundry soaps, room fresheners, and a host of other chemicals.

In addition, the aggressive line-breeding of dogs to create new types (almost all of which were created between 1850 and 1930), served to concentrate genetic defects in certain lines of dogs -- including genetic predispositions to skin allergies.

If you think your dog may have a food allergy, the only true test is to switch foods. This is a process, however, not an event. It may take several weeks on a new diet for a dog's skin condition to improve, so it's best to start an "elimination diet" right at the beginning. This can be as simple as feeding your dog table scraps for a few weeks (no salt, no bread) which will increase variety in the diet. Once your dog's skins problems have abated, introduce a new type of food and watch for any recurrence of skin problems.

Price, quality of food and skin allergies are not closely related. Dogs can be allergic to very high-quality ingredients. In fact, the most common food allergy in dogs is an allergy to beef! Whatever food you use, I recommend that all bagged foods be bought from supermarkets or other venues with high-volume sales so that they remain fresh as long as possible.

Above all, be wary of food fads, which are always more about the human than the dog. Your goal should be a balanced diet, a dog that has healthy stools, no allergies, sound teeth, and is on the thin side.

A great deal of what you read on bulletin boards and list-servs about dog food is nonsense. Today's pet food companies and executives are not going to risk their brands, reputations and personal credibility by knowingly putting horrific ingredients in dog food.

Remember, we are talking about companies that are producing 12 million pounds of food an hour (a real number). This food has to look and taste the same every time that it is produced, which requires a great deal of regimentation, paperwork, inspection and quality control. Dog food companies are not using road kill for ingredients (as some hysterics have claimed), but entire train loads of cheap and readily available corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, soy and beef parts, as well as breathtaking amounts of lamb, chicken and "meal" made from ground up beef, chicken, lamb and turkey (including bones). To this mixture are added vitamins and various additives for color (to please you) and preservatives (because people prefer to buy dog food in big bags that will last several weeks).

For most dogs, bagged kibble supplemented with vegetables and a few special scraps from the kitchen (a few scrambled eggs, a bit of sausage, a few carrots) works fine. Most dogs do not have skin problems of any kind, and most canine skin problems are not food related. I prefer kibbled dog food over semi-soft because I think it is better for the dog's teeth, and because the high heat of the extruding process sterlizes the ingredients, while the dryness of the product discourages spoilage.


And another link on different dog breeds to protect your herd

In Praise of Blandness

One of the things about living in a really boring and bland place, like Canberra, is that it makes even the smallest curiosity or unusual event seem like the most amazing thing ever

Its like when you've been living somewhere with truly dire food (like researching in dirt poor Cambodian villages) and the first thing that you put in your mouth after you emerge from the blandness is like the biggest revelation of your life, or at least it seems that way anyway. I distinctly remember a bowl of chain store airport noodles I had in Singapore, from a flight from Cambodia. It seemed like the most amazing bowl of noodles I have ever eaten, but really they were airport noodles

Well, Canberra's Multicultural Festival seems like the most amazing thing to ever happen in Canberra.

From this small, ugly, bland wee town full of bureaucrats, academics and army officials, once a year the town square is filled with Australia's purportedly huge immigrant population and bought to life with silly costumes, national dances and street foods of the world. It's all a bit much for everyone and most people just wonder around stuffing things in their mouth and staring. Others, like me, wonder where all these people usually hide out with their yummy snacks and the under fives ask 'why can't people dress like this everyday?'


Unfortunately my phone camera ran out of batteries as I tried to document all the nations and even those struggling for nationhood parked out under the city council's standard issue white tents.



There were Sudanese, PNGers, Tongans drinking kava


Bosnians cooking sausages, far too many Chinese and Thai stalls, and Ethopian stalls, the Dutch Pancakes were a hit as were the Salvadorean hot tamales and pupusas.





Fudge people even came, although I very much doubt the authenticity of their proclaimed ethnicity.


Noticeably absent was a Khmer stall and a Burmese stall, I'm sure a huge number of African states and definitely large numbers of South American nations were not represented but all in all I was amazed that Canberra managed to pull that much diversity out of the hat. There were even Kuwaites and Iraqis

There were four stages where aboriginal groups, bollywood dancers and Maori people sang and danced.

The Maori group made me homesick. They sung all the songs I learnt at primary school.

I watched the Bulgarians torture the crowds with traditional Bulgarian love songs for a while and then wandered off to check out the Russians making blinis and some amazing looking Sri Lankans eggs.


Kaffee Klatsch

Soy milk, a bit of sugar, a cigarette and maybe - just maybe - grapefruit juice - may enhance the drug-like effects of your 3pm cup of joe.

And while you're at it, you cigarette-smoking health fiend, bear in mind that evil black brew may actually help prevent Alzheimers and Parkinsons.

(note: Kaffee Klatsch is a German term for when people get together in a coffee shop for a nitter-natter)

Excerpt from article:
Play to caffeine's strengths.

Caffeine's effects can be maximized or minimized depending on what else is in your system at the time.

The beneficial effects of caffeine may be most pronounced in conjunction with sugar. For example, one factor analytic study has shown caffeine-glucose cocktails provide benefits to cognition not seen with either alone.

Some flavonoids (such as soy) may act in the same way as caffeine - i.e., through adenosine receptor antagonism - in particular galangin, genistein, and hispidol. Evidence showing that markers of caffeine metabolism are slowed by flavonoids might suggest that ingestion of flavonoids would enhance the effects of caffeine - some studies show grapefruit juice might keep caffeine levels in the bloodstream high for longer, though others have found no such effect.

Similarly, nicotine may speed the metabolism of caffeine.

More on the science of caffeine.

2nd Ave Deli is back! (On 33rd St)

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Excellent news! Whether it's as good as the original seems to be down for debate, but maybe that's half the fun.
I have high hopes. The old one, in my opinion, kicked Katz's ass.

The Second Avenue Deli we visited is about half the size of the East Village original, which lasted from 1954 to early 2006, when it was done in by rising rents.

A nephew of the original owner is in charge, and he’s made changes, but not too many.

He’s added smoked fish appetizers. On every table sits a free bowl of gribenes, chicken skin fried in chicken fat. In the past you had to ask for it. Now you just have to atone for it.

The restaurant remains kosher, unlike Katz’s and the Carnegie, and still prides itself on cooking as well as sandwich making, a vanity supported by the meaty kreplach and the chicken soup, brimming with fresh dill, that I had at a later lunch.

But Ed, Nora, Laura and I focused instead on the foods that each of us associated most closely with the Second Avenue Deli.

“It had a great hot dog,” Nora said of its East Village incarnation, “with a major skin thing happening, and a burst of juicy meat inside.”

She had a dreamy look. When the waiter swung by, she asked: “What’s the hot dog situation?”

The waiter said flatly, “We have them.”

She pressed for details.

“It’s not skinless,” he said, “so it gives a nice crackle.”

Her eyes widened. “This is very exciting!” she said. “You’re saying the right words! You’re singing the song!”

After two bites of it, she judged the texture ideal, the seasoning less so. “I’m looking for more garlic,” she said. “I’m looking for more, more, more courage in this hot dog.”

The brisket was a bigger hit, especially with me and even more so with Ed, who homed in on its transcendent virtue.

“I happen to like fatty delicatessen,” he said as he bit into the fatty, messy sandwich, which he washed down with Cel-Ray soda. He had made a bib of his napkin, and wore it over his blue dress shirt and gold-striped tie.

“I will order the fattiest pastrami they make,” he said of his approach to deli food, and I nodded. I saw Nora and Laura nodding too. On this we agreed: life was too short to go any other route.

Our pastrami — on rye — turned out to be plenty fatty. It was borscht red. It glistened.

The machine-carved meat was also stacked very tall, which troubled Nora.

“One of the reasons I like Barney Greengrass so much is that they don’t overload the sandwich like this,” she said. “This is veering into Carnegie country.”

“I grew up poor,” said Ed. “I like overloading.”

“See how many schools of thought there are when it comes to delicatessen?” Nora said. “It’s like a religion, and it has sects.”

Ed, the most deeply rooted New Yorker among us, said that at the Second Avenue Deli, “I feel very much at home.”

“I walk out,” he said, “and I feel warm, no matter how cold it is.”

Second Avenue Deli


162 East 33rd Street.; (212) 689-9000.

RECOMMENDED DISHES Matzo brei, coleslaw, potato salad, chicken soup, blintzes, pastrami on rye, brisket on rye, roast turkey sandwich, kreplach, rugelach.
MC Hammer the food blogger....

Masta Killa the vegan...

now Coolio the celeb chef

Rap stars take on the food industry, will Jay-Z now become a grain merchant mogul or buy out Woolworths?

Raw foodophiles Pt.2: Ani Phyo

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Above: one of the slightly less narcissistic photos of Ani Phyo.

Here's a confession: the experience at Zerwirk in the post below was not my first encounter with raw food.

There's something entertaining about eating food like 'ketchup' that comes in inverted commas, although I'm not such a fan of the crazy letters, used to label items like Mylk or Cheeze.

As far as I know there's no scientific basis for any of this stuff - studies I've seen on for instance the healthfulness of garlic referring to its use in traditional diets cite its effectiveness both cooked and raw.
Still, I'm of the opinion that any recipes that help me to consume more vegetables are probably good (especially thinking back on that Guardian article about how fruits are almost devoid of nutrition).
And desserts that are made from nuts, seeds and fruit are probably a good distraction from unhealthier stuff too. No matter how much I might try to deny it to myself, I do like to snack on sweetish things every now & then.

I don't like to buy into a hippy lifestyle though, which is why it was nice to see the weird world of rawfood presented along with designer chairs and German coolness at Zerwirk/Saf -

But in most instances you'll find this oeuvre is more likely to packaged a la the slightly insane hyper-hippie narcissistic Portland version in the cookbook 'Ani's Rawfood Kitchen' which I bought in Toronto out of curiosity and to expand my salad repertoire.

The book is filled with pictures of Ani on the beach, wearing sunglasses, drinking from Thai baby coconuts etc.

So far I've tried a few things from this cookbook: the raw Asian greens salad is excellent (bok choi is really nice & juicy, and good with the sesame seeds, avocado, basil leaves etc). The raw pumpkin pie was...interesting... and made a good & strangely salty/crunchy sweet snack for quite a few days from its safe haven in the fridge. The raw 'ketchup' made from pureed sun dried tomatoes & a fresh tomato, a few dates, garlic and lots of olive oil was very good too, again nothing like ketchup, but excellent with grilled chicken (oops...bending the rules a bit there..!)

Sometimes recently at home, if Erik is making rice, I'll make 'rice' instead: made from processed pieces of raw butternut squash, pounded walnuts, coriander & cumin powder, seasalt and dried cranberries. This obviously doesn't taste anything like rice but makes a tasty, crunchy, soapy-tasting vehicle for moist foods like a miso-vege saute or a japanese curry.

The only failure has been these coconut 'breakfast cakes' made from ground flax seeds and coconut oil, served with 'butter' made from coconut oil and white miso..... this combo - although the saltiness and richness was interesting and the 'butter' was sort of buttery at least upon every second mouthful - the rich saltinesss made my stomach curdle a bit and it was too crumbly to give an illusion of anything close to a pancake.

I was surprised to read at the link here that Ani is not a 100% raw fanatic, and will dabble in soup or tofu (shock!). But this increased my respect for her, since in the cookbook she sure does some across as a fanatic. For example Ani's poor ridgeback dog named Kanga is fed only on pureed seeds and was taught to bite down on tomatoes, though i'd bet she probably catches and eats rats and small cats when Ani is not looking.

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Here is Ani demonstrating (in a Keanu-tinged accent) how to make 'American apple pie': the most 'deliciousest' pie for, like, moms and children! As you'll see, she represents a pretty different face to raw food than the more sophisticated techno-endorsed Chad at Zerwirk. Still, in the end, most of her recipes are actually tasty, and always interesting to try out.

Here is an easy recipe for 'lemon pudding' from Ani, which I make quite often as a high-fat but low-guilt dessert. I add a lot more lemon juice than she suggests.

Lemon Pudding
Adapted from Ani's Raw Food Kitchen
Serves one.

Half cup of almonds (ideally soaked overnight to activate enzymes, then rinsed thoroughly and refridgerated until needed)
1/2 cup water
Juice of one lemon
3-4 fresh dates chopped
Optional: 1/2 tbsp psyllium powder (I've never used this thickening fibre powder but it could be a good addition)

Blend until smooth. (You may need to double the recipe or add a touch more water to blend properly without it all going up the sides of the container).

Serve on its own or with chopped fresh or dehydrated fruit. (apparently dehydrated still equates to raw...go figure)

I just had some with preserved organic sour cherries from a jar, and a sprinkling of dehydrated germinated golden spelt (dinkel) which added a nice crunch.

I know...........I'm a creep.
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In Munich a week or so ago, my boss Many Ameri and his wife Anne Siemens took me to dinner. I guess everybody knows by now that I'm into weird healthy stuff as a kind of part-time hobby (working on an event 5 years ago Many, amongst others, learned the hard way not to drink from my water bottle 'cause it would normally be infused with Kyolic garlic drops, a habit I have regrettably not managed to sustain). But the place they took me to, although a serendipitous choice, was not chosen just for me, but is rather an established favourite of theirs. Located close to the former location of Many's office, the Zerwirk restaurant was where Many (an avowed non-gym-goer) would eat a vegan Ayurvedic lunch (with separated carbs and proteins) each day as a lead up to their wedding in the Austrian mountains last year.

This Zerwirk place, with the cute pink logo of a leaping deer, was vegan, but the Saf restaurant recently got made over a little bit with a nod to current 'raw food' fads. The chef Chad Sarno looks amazingly German, especially his glasses (pic below), and has achieved what seems to be a gold standard for vegan chefs worldwide: the honour of cooking for Woody Harrelson. (Harrelson's personal raw food chef Renee Underkoffler also endorsed the cookbooks from Fresh in Toronto).

Chef Chad:

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But the really serendipitous thing about the Zerwirk is that it used to be a place where deer were slaughtered and hung up to be drained of their blood, back in the day.
This you would never guess, from the beige & white palette and adroitly lit interior which reminded me of the airy spaces where Jiyugaoka-loving OLs and indian-cotton-wearing media hipsters would eat in Tokyo.

Toytown Germany says "It was originally built in 1264 as a bathhouse and is the second-oldest building in Munich as well as one of the oldest secular buildings in Bavaria. It's also been a Falcon house, a brewery, a game store (as in venison and wild boar), and most recently a theater."

The building houses not only a club on the middle floor (where DJs like Florian Keller and Jay Scarlett play or live acts like the excellent Fujiya & Miyagi), but also a deli on the ground floor, and the restaurant up top, and at times, we're told, also houses a vegan 'literary salon'. That is so Munich! (Note: all opinions of the author are based on an average of 72 hours spent in Munich over the last 2 years).

Apparently the guy who founded this place, Michi Kern, was a member of German techno DJ Sven Vath's posse from back in the day - he organised house parties at legendary places like Ultraschall back in the early nineties - and now he also owns a yoga studio. Anne told me that she attended a class by him the other day and he was actually quite good.

In fact, (exclusive techno gossip for Gut Feelings) many of Germany's top techno DJs, who live a life that is far from puritan, take sabbatical health retreats at one very expensive Ayurvedic health spa where a friend of mine has been known to go due to back problems. In between drinking morning cups of refined ghee, taking enemas or getting massage therapy, he bumps into people like Roman Fluegel of Alterego and renowned party animals Ali & Basti of Tiefschwarz.

Also, there is a rumour that the guys at Kompakt records here in Cologne have a private sushi chef, and the 'kaiser' of Kompakt (Wolfgang Voigt, architect of minimal techno) is a known devotee of private Iyengar yoga tuition.

So techno, healthfood & yoga seem to go hand in hand in the vaterland, even if it's sometimes of the executive chic 'binge & purge' variety.

But I digress.

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The food at Saf gets mostly rave reviews from international vegan website Happy Cow, though obviously it is a little bit on the expensive side. My raw food sushi platter was about 18 euros and came with maybe eight small pieces of 'sushi' formed from small chips of raw parsnip and carrot instead of rice, moulded and wrapped with untoasted nori and other vegetable accoutrements (wild mushroom, 'miso-sambal', avocado, arame-cucumber saland garnish) and some pickled pink ginger which I'm not sure counts as raw.

I had a nice glass of organic pinot nero, and really enjoyed the food - as stated I am a healthfood hobbyist. I must say there's a fascination with this rawfood stuff in how it often mimics other foods: like our starter of a raw caprese salad, with half-dried tomato and rocket/rucola layered with slices of 'cheese' made from macadamia nuts, and garlic oil.

In regular vegan & vegetarian cuisine I've more often found it to be less than profitable when they try to mimic regular foods - it always seemed counter-intuitive to be making vegan macaroni cheese when there were so many delicious meals that could be made that celebrated tofu & vegetables themselves rather than sadly mimicking junkfood.

However in rawfood cuisine this mimickry becomes so abstract that it is intensely fascinating (for me at least!! And I know I'm a bit sad!).
Because there are no refined carbohyrates involved - no flour or rice since that would necessitate cooking - the textures are very different to what you're used to - sweetnesses are accented with surprising use of natural sea salt - raw vegetables contribute a different sort of crunch - and a 'cheese' made from macadamias is rolled on your tongue and meditated upon and given kudos for the surprised acknowledgement of a certain 'cheesey' vibe.
I imagine - though I've never eaten sous-vide cooking - the abstraction of flavours here could draw a parallel.

It also reminds me of being a kid and making 'mixtures' in the kitchen of milk & wine-cooler or magic potions from all kinds of mud and twigs in the back yard. Rawfood is too weird to be regarded as simply a boring facsimile of regular stuff like sushi.

On the non-raw tip, Anne's tempura shiitake mushrooms and fried polenta with sage with truffle-garlic oil and parsley-oil were delicious - the mushrooms perfectly cooked whole and very meaty/juicy. Many's ayurvedic platter was probably the best value: although it cost 23 euros, it came with lots of little tasting things in divided segments including some really delicious stuff that they didn't like so I ate all of it: a gelatinous cake thing made of god knows what and a sweetish brown paste tasting of dried fruits and ayurvedic spices. Yum. That too reminded me of something that you would likely be served up in some healthy healing designer cafe in Tokyo called Mangosteen (or something similar) and probably with a range of medicinal Korean liqueurs.

The chocolate mousse dessert we shared was yummy: it didn't taste like soy though I imagine that's what it was made from; it was studded with bits of pineapple and nuts and drizzled with an opaque coconut syrup. Decadent but not too sweet.

A place like Saf satisfies one of my main restaurant criteria: that the food be labour-intensive or artful enough that it would require quite a lot of effort to recreate at home. Rawfood is quite simple and not huge in portions, but to assemble and process and blend all the components is very labour-intensive.

There, have I been effusive enough??

Although you'd have to be - very literally - a nutter to eat rawfood fulltime, it's an extremely fun diversion now and then.

Eggs - This is Your Life

After my Egg Man post, I decided to surf the tide of shit, and youtube search for egg related videos

And my gosh, what an enormous tide. Among my favs I found the ever loveable swedish chef from the muppets, eggs singing about loneliness, gordon ramsey videos, green eggs and ham nostalgia and this clip...sesame street's "eggs this is your life"

I know it's a lame and sentimental (and not evenly remotely close to the truth of egg production) but surfing youtube is the only thing that's stopping me from wanting to pour coffee all over my computer right now.

If you've had a similar day, join me in the tide of shit.

Two New Books

First up the more easily digested:

'A Short History of the American Stomach' by Frederick Kaufman

"A Short History of the American Stomach" is a history of extremes. In Kaufman's version, there isn't a lot of middle ground. When we're not furiously trying to shed pounds, we're gorging ourselves. In one of his more amusing sections, he looks at the phenomenon of extreme eating. "Professional gurgitators," those champion hot-dog eaters you read about every summer, come from a fine, if bloated, lineage; extreme eating is a classic American folk tradition. This voraciousness, frowned on in polite company, symbolizes the bounty of fish, flesh and fowl that the settlers consumed as they settled America. Kaufman evokes those colorful backwoods characters "who devoured alligators and rattlesnakes and blood." The American appetite is perhaps key to our westward expansion, "for America was a vast digestive force that understood the entire continent -- if not the world -- as its manifest dinner."

Main Course of extremely stodgy text to chew on:

'The Future Control of Food: A Guide to International Negotiations and Rules on Intellectual Property, Biodiversity and Food Security' by Geoff Tansey and Tasmin Rajotte

This book is the first wide-ranging guide to the key issues of intellectual property and ownership, genetics, biodiversity and food security. Proceeding from an introduction and overview of the issues, comprehensive chapters cover negotiations and instruments in the World Trade Organization, Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants and various other international bodies. The final part discusses the responses of civil society groups to the changing global rules, how these changes affect the direction of research and development, the nature of global negotiation processes and various alternative futures.

Egg Man

I'm all excited about my newly invented egg dish; my new take on eggs florentine without the fatty guilt.


Take one slice of bread and toast (I like rye)
smear with vegemite
add pile of blanched spinach
top with a poached egg
and drizzle over Japanese sesame salad dressing


Although it pales in comparison to Hock's recent egg creation below


I still reckon it's pretty good if you like vegemite that is, you could of course always skip the vegemite, but trust me it goes well with eggs

anyway this is for Hock - the egg man

stay tuned for my student flat adventures with a can of baked beans, pesto and alfalfa sprouts


Photo: Try African Food Blog

For some time now I've had not an insignificant obsession with African food, or I think it might be more correct to say Ethopian food....Although I'm sure that Africa as an enormous and diverse continent has a great many varied dishes, for some reason Ethiopians have managed to globally define perceptions of "african food". My first introduction to Ethopian was in Melbourne on Fitzroy St. Thus "african food" for me means injera bread and special tibs and that's about the sum of it. I'm pretty keen on the bread and the stews and since then I've tended to hunt down African or rather Ethopian restaurants where ever possible.

When I went to Rome I went and had African or rather Ethopian food

In Bangkok my fav place was Abbasyniya cafe which has since closed leaving a gap in the bangkok afican food market

I recently tried a restaurant here in Canberra simply named Ethopian Food

So, if like me your knowledge of African food could use a major upgrade subscribe to this excellent new blog and be enlightened


After the delightful staff meal the rest of the food turned out pretty well tonight.





Sea Bass



Gimmy some

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