Drying Chimayo


The chimayo variety of chile grows a very convenient natural hook (which can be augmented with the twisty tie things from bread bags).

Our guajillo chiles (not pictured) are smaller - they only grew to the size of a lipstick.
I guess the harvest of one window sill plant will be about enough for four bowls of tortilla soup.
Luckily, the local Asian import supermarket began to stock a wide range of dried chiles in steroid-fueled sizes: ancho, pasilla, arbol, you name it.

Next year's home-growing project : fingernail-sized tomatillos?

At Home With...


My friend Y's brother is one of Germany's top michelin-starred chefs, and Y took these pics of their dinner together last week. I can't mention either of them by name, because the man has a PR department who might come and murder me in my sleep – so you'll just have to take my word for it, natch.

On the menu: wagyu steaks with poached egg, truffle, spinach puree, capsicum-bratkartoffeln and champagne. Plus salmon with caviar and creme fraiche from France, doled out on a nice gingham tablecloth.
The dining table (not pictured) featured sparkly foil scattered around & bottles of vintage champagne (more booze than food, Y said).






Newsflash: Coco is Ko-Real


I'm posting this on behalf of Gut Feelings contributor Coco Solid (pictured) who's just jetted off from the land of the long white cloud: read below and watch this space for further culinary updates from NZ's first lady of rap in South Korea!

Oh god the 'gut feelings' element of Korea is making the whole administrative horror to get here totally worthwhile. The food! Good god. The pop junk food expert gangsta in me is as appeased as the intrepid culinary thespian. Lotteria prawn burgers (my fuckin FAV), kimchi in every radishy soaked cabbage form and familymarts corner-stores for days. Last night I went to a raw fish restaurant where I had every single seafood in every single way ever. Jellyfish noodles, frozen tuna cakes and eel dessert were the only thing I went wae gook over and declined, but otherwise my Korean workmates met their very Maori match. There were caviar rice balls served like scoops of ice cream in a sushi seaweed cone shape, big sardines with a crunchy shell, sashimi of every pale shade, mussels with mustard and pumpkin served in honey.... everything here tastes great. A bowl of noodles the other night had me thinking "oh well you can't win em all" but then after adding sesame oil and a bunch of spicey and pickled condiments I found out you could. When could noodles be juicy?

I have yet to bomb the sprawling and steaming skewer stand downstairs from my work, but I am coming for you my pretty. Even the crummy airplane food served a better Bulgogi than I've had in some decent joints back home and a club sandwich I had at the bus station took me to a whole new place - don't you love non-western interpretations done better? Eggs, mustard, bacon and pickle are now gonna be in every toastie I make half-drunk. No more faux-camping laziness. I feel like I'm just getting started, so lets keep those scales exclusively for the kaimoana I swill, I'm off to eat some sesame bean-sprouts and Pocari Sweat lol - Asia I'm back!

This is how I roll.

Rotisserie Turkey
4.2 kilos of turkey on the rotisserie for 3 hours at 150oC. I probably should have trussed the thighs.
taai popje

This Taai Popje traveled all around the world in order to have me bite its head off. My sister bought it in a Dutch store in NZ and sent it to me in Germany. The chewy, not-too-sweet coriander-infused Dutch gingerbread is quite different to the more biscuit-like German lebkuchen (also delicious). It melts to a pleasantly sticky-gluggy consistency in your mouth.

wulf's handcut spätzle noodles

There aren't many traditional German dishes that can make me seriously salivate just by looking at a (crap phone-cam) photo of them. Maybe it's my cheese-loving Dutch blood, but our boxing day meal of Swabian Kässpätzle (with vinegary potato-cucumber salad for added carbs) inspired absolute devotion in me. It's a treat I'd definitely recommend to anyone who's skeptical of German cuisine.

Our workmate Wulf comes from the Swabian-speaking area of Baden-Württemberg, where this is a traditional dish. He and his girlfriend Dagmar made the noodle dough and chopped it freestyle off a board in thin strips into the boiling water. Then they baked it in a glass casserole dish coated in a not-too-greasy mix of emmentaler and aged british cheddar cheese, topped with very thin strips of toasted onion.

If angels in heaven eat mac 'n' cheese, I am sure it tastes exactly like this.
Here is a recipe - just swap in your favourite type of cheese.

For dessert Wulf served us delectable baked apples stuffed with real marzipan (different to the stiff white stuff on wedding cakes), topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of rum.
If I was in the market for a heart attack, I'd eat this menu for a month. It could be a nice way to go.


I am a kitsch-hound and a christmas aficionado, but I do have standards. There's only one Christmas market in the world for me, and it's the Market of Angels on Neumarkt square.

The market by the cathedral is too fake and touristy. The market on Rudolfplatz is too trashy (they sell mobile phones and young hoodlums ride a carousel that includes a motorbike and a police car). The market at Stadtgarten is polite and bourgeois, a haunt of Cologne's liberal elite, where everyone seems to wear brown.
But the market on Neumarkt is just right.

I can't imagine going to these places to buy souvenirs - but to drink two hot mulled glühwein under twinkling star lanterns in the trees is something I actually look forward to all year.

Importantly, the christmas market on Neumarkt also has yummy things to eat. For example, egg-spiked potato pancakes with applesauce. Or the stall selling crispy skinned flame-grilled salmon (nailed to boards over a fire), which drips its grease into soft white rolls smeared with creme fraiche and a lettuce leaf (see pictures above and below).
Our pescatarian friend Celia, visiting from Australia with her winking Irish boyfriend Dave, was quite a fan of these.


Another treat from the Neumarkt christmas market is the Flammkuchen (everything delicious here seems to be born of the flames).

From the Alsace region, similar to a pizza, the brownish sourdough base comes hot from the oven – topped with creme fraiche, little specks of bacon (check the pun: speck means bacon in German) and thin strips of onion. You can alternatively choose a less traditional, but still satisfying, mix of vegetables and salty grilled cheese. This is a market that (unusually) caters well to vegetarians.


It is always tragic when the Christmas markets close for the season, leaving behind a quiet grey snow slush in the absence of twinkles. The stone angels are chained up on trucks on Christmas eve, with a poignant smell of aniseed candies floating on the air. life is all about goodbyes and new beginnings. In this case, a new beginning of me not eating deep fried 'reibekuchen' potato pancakes with apple sauce every other day (until next christmas of course)
delicious chicken

Is it that our olive oil reserves get depleted in the six months following Barcelona's Sónar festival in June? Whatever the reason, me & Erik seem to have established a tradition of eating Spanish food at Christmas. All thanks to Anya von Bremzen's cookbook 'The New Spanish Table', which, with a little exploration, yields many bangers (don't be put off by a few clangers - like the cloying almond soup and the too-bready tuna empanada).

Above is the Pollo con Frutos Y Frutas Secas from a recipe she cites by Ferran Adrià (excerpted from his Cooking at Home book). Roast a free range chicken (or use rotisserie if you like). Then cut into pieces and warm with a reduced sauce made of sautéed dried fruits (including sour cherries), citrus peel, pine nuts, cinnamon & tawny port. So delicious!

Cinnamon-infused meats are my main carnivorous buzz right now - from Lebanese or Syrian kibbeh to Mexican baked chicken a la Veracruzana
. Adrià's chicken should definitely be in the cinnamon hall of fame.

johanna soup

Roasted squash soup with saffron ice cream & crispy basil leaf


On Christmas eve me & Erik watched the Australian classic Picnic at Hanging Rock, while chowing down on salty Canary Island-style boiled potatoes with a cumin-chile-paprika-parsley-garlic mojo sauce, tofu salad, and the zorongollo 'salad' above.
It's made by roasting red pepper (roast a green one too if you have it), and marinating with grated tomato (winter supermarket tomato worked fine), thinly sliced white onion, aged sherry vinegar, salt and olive oil. Sprinkled with finely chopped garlic when serving.
Adding a sneaky can of smoked mackerel to your zorongollo comes highly recommended.

Serve with haunting pan flutes, girls in cultish white frocks, and sinister rock formations.

Sausages & Snow

munich office

As a seasonal post, I'm throwing up some photos from a visit to our Munich office last week. Sausages and snow have a certain charm.

Below, a poster for an exhibition in Munich over the holiday period.


at munich office

My bosses' weber grill languishing in the snow: you can tell there is a general reverence for meat around here


A hot plate on which Many simmers lamb stew to go with his famous crispy persian rice. Just offscreen, a carton of Hornig Bio Pfefferminztee teabags - the best mint tea I've tasted. Buy it if you can.

munich office

Ubiquitous Red Bull fridge. There are also at least two crates of apple juice at all times.


Nearby: Lonely but polite dog waiting outside the organic supermarket.

snowy pup

Maybe he is hoping for some kind stranger to gift him 'leberkäse' (literally 'liver cheese'), that very southern (Bavarian & Austrian) snack. A soft spam-pink meat loaf with an inviting crust, eaten sliced & warm, I like it best with hot mustard on a whole grain roll. On this trip I sampled a tasty rendition from the little shop that also sells the best pretzels, for one euro twenty cents.

Seven Seals: The Can has been Opened


Spokane karaoke-killing DJ/psyche-boogie frontman/producer James Pants has just released his new cult-inspired LP 'Seven Seals' on Stones Throw. It's definitely one of my albums of the year, packed with new wave despondency, Pharrell-like synth shards and old-fashioned broken disco. Two of my fave tunes on the album have a slight food twist: titled 'I Live Inside An Egg', and 'A Chip In The Hand'. Mystic Pizza should've sounded like this.

Pants' mom supposedly made him the cultish cupcakes above - but judging from the instructional James Pants curry video below, I have a sneakish suspicion of who really baketh the spiderweb cakes around thither.

Quote of the Day

Within popular agro-food debates, agro-food products are either maligned as artificial, large-scale, industrial, exploitative, environmentally destructive and bad for one’s health, or celebrated as natural and organic, local, artisanal, socially and environmentally responsible and seasonal. Likewise trade structures for agro-products suffer blatant oversimplification. Conventional trade is deemed global, hegemonic, disembedding, and fraught with commodity fetishism that conceals true social relations of production and trade, while alternative trade or local trade is conflated with quality, safety, equality, fairness, provenance and de-commoditisation. The degree to which most people in their everyday lives are confronted with such sharply opposing choices is questionable, as Gudeman (2001: 12) points out, most of us use different modes within an economy daily, buying some products from a supermarket and others from local traders or farmers, and further still growing some produce ourselves or receiving products through networks of reciprocity and gifts. Although this is not to discount the experiences of those living at the extreme ends of agro-food systems – the purported food deserts of industrial suburbia or autarchic farming communities eking out a living in remote hinterlands - it is perhaps mainly for arguments sake that the tyranny of these extremes are presented to emphasise specific ideological positions within agro-industrialisation debates. For the majority, however multiplicity and ‘impurity is the rule’ in procuring daily sustenance (Callon in Morgan et al, 2006: 18)

Who? Moi!! Submission date coming soon!!

TK!'s gay stalker.


Sitting in my inbox today an email from a dearest friend who joined me at this lunch a ways back.

Subject: TK!

I will send you photos of Thanksgiving, let me zip them up in a file. We brined the turkey for about 48 hours, including a bottle of white wine. It was the most moist and flavorful turkey we have had. Great!

Guess what??!! I flew from Indiana to San Francisco today and I am with John and Art now. I had to change plans in Chicago and get on the 777 to SF. While waiting to board the plane I saw this guy and knew right away who it was:

Thomas Keller! I was ready to go up and say hello and then they started boarding the plane and he was gone. Got to SF and met John and pointed out Thomas to him. He was looking for his driver but they guy was not there so he went to Starbucks to get something. We went to baggage claim and there was the driver with a sign for Thomas Keller. We told the driver where he was at Starbucks. Cool! I like him.



Hock's Cider Success

Hock made his very own cider from cheap-ass Aldi pear and apple juice and fresh pear and apple juice. It's F&%king YUMMY!!

If you come and visit us in January you can have some.


There's also an excellent pale ale (half Asian zested), a crisp larger and some stout (currently being brewed)

Drunken summer here we come

Via Boing Boing

Tactical Nuclear Penguin

Brew Dog Beer

Manaqish Fusion


I caught the train to Paris last weekend to visit friends, and was struck again by the decadent approach Parisians have to food. We visited the Saturday morning market on the Avenue de President Wilson in Paris (next to the Palais de Tokyo gallery), where produce was laid out in Bacchanalian abundance. Cheeses, gleaming charcuterie, and piles of wild mushrooms, lobsters and sea urchins.
Avenue de President Wilson, by the way, sounds like the title of a Serge Gainsbourg song.
But Paris has more to offer than traditional fatty cheeses and rabbit terrine.

The most appealing thing to eat on that chilly morning was something labeled as "galette traditionelle Libanaise": the Lebanese breakfast flatbread, manaqish, a cousin of the Australian delight known as meat pizza.

I enjoyed my "galette" smeared with za'atar (mix of wild thyme, sesame and olive oil) - the flavour was breath-fresheningly good. But the winner was my friend's gruyere cheese manaqish - a perfect blend of indulgent Paris luxury and Lebanese flatbread science.


Core Principles of the Archimedes Turkey Theory

Thanks to Andy for this.

Quote of the Day

I ran feasibility tests on chickens....Concept: cook the bird from the inside-out. Bone the bird, replace the leg bones with aluminum tubes, stuff the carcass with aluminum foil (heats quickly, maintains structure), and pump hot oil through the tubes to cook the inside of the thigh quickly.

The French Culinary Institute blog

Found and circulated by Hock to his nearest and dearest

teeth cracking fish

I am in distress, because I was eating this crispy deep-fried dried fish in the mountain... the white thing in the middle...

... and my premolar split in half. Ouch!

I hurried down the mountain and made an appointment with a dentist.

I am cursing myself for having brought the evil dried fish to my mountain host family myself.

I bought these at Aor Tor Kor Farmers Market in Bangkok.

... and it was deep fried crispy with the rice bran oil I brought.

Now I will have to pay for the dentist bill. Aaaagghhh.

Earlier this year I also cracked my molar while eating sticky rice in the mountain.

My life is pretty much about cracking my teeth while traveling.

German bread did it too, twice.

Miss Piggy


Pork products are big in Germany - all the way from iconic pork-snout-gelatine-infused gummy bears (and mango monkeys), to 'knackig' (snappable) wieners preserved in glass jars, down to the rendered fat infused with roasted onion that is lovingly smeared on good fresh bread.

For our part, we have found frequent use lately for pork fat in a range of Mexican recipes (e.g. mixed with black beans to spread on crispy tostadas) or in our home-made sichuan hotpots.

This brand is non-organic, so we shouldn't buy it, ...but who can resist the cute piggy image on the package?


Pictorial evidence of our last pigfat-kissed Tostada feast: fried corn tortillas topped with crispy tofu, avocado, coriander, beans, parmesan, and raw bok choi chopped &dressed with light creme fraiche whipped with two tablespoons of green habanero hot sauce. To avoid a big mess, consume in dainty unpiggylike nibbles.


Save Our Bread

Radio NZ hosts Andrew Whitley, well-spoken baker and founder of the Real Bread Campaign in the UK.

Gluten intolerance....it's not all in your head


Gourd Almighty


Usually we're away in autumn, for work. So I have come to associate this season with the twilight gusts of wind, rivers of shoppers and twinkling nightlife of larger cities. But this year, for the first time, we've spent most of Autumn (minus a couple of weekends away) at home in Cologne.

Here are a few of the seasonal rituals we've enjoyed:


Federweisser: young wine. Like a nice cider or soda, with a slightly vomitty fermented edge. It's a must!
(Nobody I know drinks it with onion tart, so its rumoured 'tempest in the stomach' effect might be a regional thing).

pumpkin jam

Making pumpkin jam.

Turns out jam-making is as easy as pie (...not that pie is really a walk in the park).

I used a ratio of 3:1 pumpkin to apple (two small hokkaido pumpkins and a small bag of apples), and a ratio of 3:1 fruit/veg to brown sugar.
Just boil it up with a bit of lemon and cinnamon, & simmer for about 40 minutes. Add up to 4 teaspoons of agar agar towards the end if you like a jellyish consistency.
You can test the consistency by daubing some onto a plate that's been chilled in the fridge.

Wanted to recreate the delicious pumpkin jam which you can buy from the Viktuellien market in Munich, but will have to experiment further to get that sloppy, pleasantly stringy consistency. I'll also reduce the amount of apples (for a stronger pumpkin flavour) and the amount of agar agar. Maybe I'll add some mango puree to up the babyfood consistency.

This jam is very enjoyable on toast with frischkäse (the less gummy German version of cream cheese) and extra cinnamon.

It's a nice treat to have your own home-made condiments to nibble on, on chilly days. Have also really been enjoying my extra-spicy version of these Dank St pickles, with strong 'nusskäse' cheese.

Home-made tastes good when you're housebound.


Spaghetti squash. We were introduced to this by my Canadian brother-in-law (late to the game, I know). We like to split in in half, scoop out the innards, then daub with butter, grated ginger, honey and olive oil and bake in a hot oven.

Or use its delicate shell to make dorky halloween photos to send to your nieces and nephews.


Quote of the Day

I do fusion. Ghetto fusion. I don't use the proper names for things when I talk about cooking. It's not that I can't speak properly, it's because I want to do that. So there we go. I am the Ghetto Gourmet, and my style of cooking is ghetto fusion. Instead of saying African-American and Asian, I say Blasian. Instead of saying urban and Italian, I say Ghettalian.

From an Interview with Coolio in the kitchen..... Coolio, the Tracy Jordan of cooking
And really its not by choice. I love eating out. But Canberra is a different story. Bar a handful of places there is really no point eating out here. Almost all restaurants here are over priced and poor quality.

So our new hobby is recreating restaurant experiences at home. Something not hard when your husband is a chef.

The other night....Maytel's and Hock's Izakaya


including...umeboshi and chervil grilled chicken breast...this was super easy to make, just thinly slice chicken breast...dip in shoyu and grill. When just cooked dab mushed umeboshi on and sprinkle with chervil


mustard pickle rice...also very easy...fry minced pickled mustard in a little oil. Add rice, fry a little longer and season with some scant drops of soy.

fried eggplant in dashi sauce..soak kombu and dashi in soy sauce. Fry eggplant and when soft dip in dashi and serve

Potatos and shitake in foil....put parboiled potato in some foil with some shitake and a few drops of soy...bake and then season with pepper and chili flakes

Next up...Casa del Hock et Maytel's paella

For this I basically followed SBS's Food Safari advice and wah -la




Brasserie Hock et Maytel

Saffron Risotto with spinach and pan-seared snapper with capers

H&M Trattoria

Fish with a herby crust, oysters and salad

So far its been a good learning experience. I can now also cook excellent Indian takeaways. But really in any decent city, one shouldn't have to.

Traveling Tea

I like Rooibos tea.

It's a great any-time-of-the-day caffeine-free flavorful beverage that is rich in mineral.

After I ran out of the stock I bought in Malawi, in Thailand I could only find the ridiculously overpriced ones in Tops supermarket, so I stocked up when I was in Germany last year.

After I ran out of it, I met a Zambian NGO worker based in Thailand, who brought me a couple of boxes from his business trip to South Africa.

After I ran out it and the kind Zambian friend left Thailand, in the health food section of Watson's drugstore, I found Rooibos tea bags on sale, so I grabbed several boxes.

It has traveled quite a distance...

Sourced from South Africa, blended in Germany, packed in New Zealand, and here I am I bought it in Thailand.

So much of the food miles but at least it weights very little.

I Wish I Had Japanese Mother

Nasi Kerabu

Last weekend I hosted my friend Amrita's birthday party. Just eight people, seafood and drinks.

Amrita bought the centre piece of the party Nasi Kerabu

Despite her partner's comments that it looked like a Bangladeshi flood, full of rice, sticks, leaves and fish, it was not at all a disaster. Nevertheless we all liked the analogy so much it has now been renamed Bangladesh Disaster Rice.


Nasi kerabu bottom left

Blogger Templates by Blog Forum