Advice for Melbournians and Adelaidians

I know it is searing hot, and the transports systems aren't working, there are rolling black outs and bush fires are raging as if you had entered the firey bowels of hell itself

But look on the bright side, 45 degrees is the perfect temperature for salmon mi-cuit, so Hock informs me. Simply vacuum pack a salmon fillet with some flavourings and place it on your hot tin roof.

Within 14 minutes or so, it should be delicately cooked just so, almost like sashimi but with more flavour and tenderness

Here is a recipe

When life hands you 45 degree Celsius weather, make salmon mi-cuit.

Gratuitous wd -50 pictures

Things have been rather quiet on the old blog lately so here are some gratuitous photos of our dinner we had last October at WD-50

View and appreciate. Think of it like art, if it has to be explained you just don't get it.













Link Time

Again, we've reached what I consider critical mass for a link post

Doh! Doner kebabs contain 'shocking' levels of fat, salt and even pork

From pork barrels to pig farming, Cambodia's emerging pig baron

Like I've said all along I'm not pregnant, just fat

300 beers before you die, you just wish you wrote the book

Just to confirm, the oceans are screwed

Vegan debates cont...Indigenous foods website, documenting ethno-ecological approaches to eating

Canberra's Unsung Soup Hero

I spent Australia Day today at the National Portrait Gallery in celebration of a good friend Ma Khin Mar Mar Kyi who was nominated as an Unsung Hero of Australia for all her tireless work in human rights, humanitarian relief, women and child trafficking issues and Burmese freedom. Ma is a force of nature no doubt, she is the only Burmese PhD student in Australia, she is warm, friendly, sweet and smart despite some unspeakable trauma's she has experienced in her life. It was wonderful to see Ma and pass on the pickled tea leaves from Mae Hong Son to her on her special day, thanks Austin

The special screening of Ma's video portrait was accompained by another Unsung Hero and force of nature the Soup Lady of Canberra, Stasia Dabrowski

Stasia Dabrowski was born in the southern mountains of Poland in 1926. During the occupation of Poland in WWII her family's lives were devastated — she lost everything and was driven into forced labour. After WWII she worked as a nurse and matron before moving to Australia with her husband and young family.

As her qualifications were not recognised in Australia she did voluntary house cleaning and emergency services for the Red Cross, looking after the bedridden and needy. She started cooking and providing essentials for the needy in the late 1970s, the start of the Soup Kitchen.

You can watch her video portrait here.

It's so adorable and wonderful I was almost convinced by the end that soup can save the world. Almost

See, they try to look nice for you once a year! Happy Chinese New Year!

Michel Bras Banana Allowance

Bras bristled at being pressed into the locavore mold. “Look,” he said, “if we ate only what comes from the Aubrac, we’d have nothing but potatoes, pork and cabbage.” He called his famed devotion to local herbs “caricature. It’s only part of what we do.

Thank you to Michael who pointed this out .

Giraffe is Kosher

I know this may be old hat to some of our Jewish big game hunting audience, but both giraffe meat and giraffe milk were declared kosher in 2008. From the aptly named Tim Butcher in the Telegraph:

"Indeed, the giraffe is kosher for eating," Rabbi Shlomo Mahfoud, who accompanied the researchers in their work, said.

"The giraffe has all the signs of a ritually pure animal, and the milk that forms curds strengthened that."

Now all I need is a tall dairy.

Fire is all around you in a kicthen and after a few years of cooking you start to feel comfortable with being constantly burnt in your work space.

When something catches on fire in a kitchen most of the time you are pretty nonchalant about it.

Today we had a refresher course on fire safety at the work place. "Thai style" of course, which usually means a ton of fun.


I think from the photos below it is easy to work out who are the cooks. Who seem to have a "thing" for fire and have seen many a young apprentice chef throw water into a wok filled with burning oil.

And those who are office workers who wish that they really didn't have to work around people who like to set things on fire.














Thanks to the Bangkok Fire Department for an entertaing few hours.

They seemed to enjoy themselves too. Once the realized that they had met a group of people who love fire nearly as much as they do.

I can't say I learnt much other than you can actually light a gas tank directly, which seems like fun.

The Heimlich Manoeuvre

I was reading the guardian food blog again today, my new favourite food blog (can you tell I am in Canberra alone trying to finish my thesis?) and I was reminded by this article on the Heimlich Manoeuvre about Eddie Izzard's comedic sketch on it. It's an oldie but a goodie

I tried to find some stats on the number of people who die each year from choking on food but all I discovered is that in Britain

"People who live in Morpeth and St Albans East are more likely to die of food choking than in other parts of the country"

and that in Salt Lake Valley 2800 people, mostly children, die from choking per year.

Be careful out there folks

Would you, could you....

Eat this....?


Introducing the edible doormouse

It may be the cutest thing you've ever seen but I reckon you would if you were starving...

But I could never fathom why Paul Prudhome bothered
Guardian reviews budget food lines and feels sorry for poor people

Fat for fuel, liposuction for climate change?

Is vegetarianism the answer to global warming, one journalist thinks yes, I want more than op-eds

Shopping and why you end up buying crap you don't want or need.

Camel milk ice cream and my current favourite photo

The methamphetamine cookie trade between China and NZ

Global Hunger Index - See Who's Not Eating

Source IFPRI


Do you love rice?

As the mouse loves rice?

Yes well so apparently do most people.

But do you really really love it? Do you love it so much that you want to write, speak and debate all aspects of it and submit your writing about rice to a journalism contest that celebrates rice?

If you answered yes then keep reading, if you answered no then hush up and eat a hamburger.

The “Save Our Rice Campaign” is founded on these Five Pillars of Rice Wisdom:– Rice Culture, Community Wisdom, Biodiversity Based Ecological Agriculture, Safe Food and Food Sovereignty.

The Five Pillars of Rice Wisdom

Rice Culture
Rice is life to the people of Asia. It is central to the Asian way of life; its culture, spirituality, traditions and norms, especially for the grassroots. To protect rice means to preserve the rich cultural and spiritual heritage that is rice.

Community Wisdom
Community Wisdom is the wealth of farmer-based knowledge of biodiversity-based ecological rice cultivation and seed conservation which has accumulated through generations of farming. This pillar recognizes farmers as scientists, conservationists, breeders and innovators in their own right.

Biodiversity-Based Ecological Agriculture is agriculture in harmony with the environment and the community. It involves the protection of traditional rice varieties and ecosystems where biodiversity is protected and agricultural methods are ecologically sound and safe.

"Safe Rice"
Safe Food means rice as food safe to produce, handle and consume. This necessitates the rejection of the use of hazardous substances such as pesticides and risky technologies such as genetic engineering.

Food Sovereignty
Food Sovereignty ensures the rights of people and communities to decide on food and agricultural policies; to adequate, culturally appropriate and safe food; to land and productive resources; to sustainable production and livelihoods; and to gender justice. This pillar therefore challenges policies, processes and structures that threaten these rights.

The Asia Pacific Rice Journalist Award will be presented to writers in the Asia Pacific region who effectively educate the public on the role of rice in cultures, economies and communities/societies in the region. The articles should use the Five Pillars of Rice Wisdom as the guiding principles. They should reflect any or all of the following aims: instilling an appreciation of the rice heritage of Asia; raising public awareness of the issues on and threats to rice; highlighting the role of small farmers and women in rice; strengthening the people's resolve and action to save rice; and encouraging a stronger role for youth in rice.

"Youth in rice"....i bet you'd never really thought about that now had you.

anyways more details here

Thai Food

Do you love Thai food?

Yes well so apparently do most people.

But do you really really love it? Do you love it so much that you want to write, speak and debate all aspects of it at a university conference?

If you answered yes then keep reading, if you answered no then hush up and go order some more pad thai

Institute of Thai Studies, Chulalongkorn University


The Empowering Network for International Thai Studies Project (ENITS)

with support from the Thailand Research Fund (TRF)

are pleased to invite abstract for consideration for presenting in the international conference on Thai Studies:

“Thai Food Heritage: Local to Global” 4-6 August 2009, The Tawana Bangkok Hotel (tentative), Bangkok, Thailand

Panel Discussions on:
Food and Discourse
Food and Folk
Food and Medicine
Food and Tourism

Submission of abstract:
Please send an abstract of not more than 250 words in .doc format to Dr. Suppakorn Disatapundhu at “”.
Deadline for submission is 31 March 2009.
Authors will be notified of the committee’s decision by April 15th.
*Paper presented at the conference will be disseminated on the ENITS website.

Online Registration:
May 2009
The registration fees of 3,000 THB (1,500 THB for students) are required to all presenters and participants.

For more information:

Food Quotes of the Day

I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully

President George Bush, Saginaw, Michigan, 29 September, 2000


I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family

Greater Nashua, N.H., Jan. 27, 2000


Bye bye Bush

Another Food Ranter

More on The American Stomach

Staff Meal

There are two main categories of restaurant in Sieam Reap, ones that cater to tourists and their predilictions for sushi and Irish pubs and all other manner of highly inappropriate food themes for a Southeast Asian township located inland, and the other is the growing number of stalls, stands, restaurants and noodle carts selling to Siem Reap's rapidly emerging middle class of tourism workers.

We dined at two of these places whilst in SR with the Khmer chefs that Hock used to work with. One for lunch for with staff who had the day off, and one in the evening with the other lot of staff who had the evening off.

Lunch was held at a restaurant located on the outskirts of Siem Reap near the new Apsara Authority's head quarters and near a big field where there is a night market where a lot of families gather in the evening to eat and meet.

The restaurant is a rustic affair, with small bamboo open air huts set up as private dining rooms. Despite its rustic appearances the clientele is decidedly upscale Khmer with land cruisers and women in tight jeans and sparkling jewellery tippy toeing across the sandy earth towards their pre-booked dining hut.

We had beef intestine with kaffir and lemongrass. This was boiled and cold, chewy and not very nice.

Beef with accompanying vegetable and herbs



Chicken stir fried with lemongrass

and samlour machou chaloot prey (wild boar sour soup)

Plus lashings of sugary drinks and angkor beer


Since we left a number of the staff had had babies. Really really cute babies.

There were about 12 people present and the total bill came to much more than I expected. $70 US. I think this must have been either on account of the wild boar or that the price was bumped up due to the presence of barangs (foreigners)

The other place we ate was a Khmer owned pizza restaurant, called Red Pizza. The restaurant is owned by a former waiter at Hock's old work. During the last land price boom in Cambodia, he sold his land on the outskirts of Phnom Penh and made a tidy fortune. With the help of the chefs, he established a pizza restaurant replete with kids play area which is mainly patronised by local Khmers, especially tourism workers who have a newly acquired taste for bread and cheese. Red Pizza also has a pizza truck which sells pizza at the night market near the Apsara Authority


Plus the sell burgers


Play area

With KFC planning their first outlet in Siem Reap soon and Pizza Company from Thailand already in operation, Red Pizza seems to be holding its ground. The price was much more reasonable than the lunch restaurant, which was somewhat confusing given that the ingredients for pizza are mainly imported, but I wouldn't want to read too much into this from these two single occasions.

Hidden Stinky Treasure Salad


I’m not too down with mould – the stuff on French cheeses sometimes looks a lot like strains I’ve encountered at the back of fridges or at the bottom of shower curtains. By comparison, the blue streaks in gorgonzola look positively clinical –an astringent shade of mould, like toilet cleaner, blurred at the edges as if with a paint brush. Not festering, wet and splotchy.

I’m quite into fermented beans and some fermented fish products though, so I wouldn’t say I’m against partially decomposed food. I’ve grown to enjoy the whole melted rounds of goat’s cheese that come atop salads in Germany: the same cheese that I used to think tasted like vomit due to the pungency and lingering acidity in the back of the throat.

The taste for super-funky foodstuffs seems to be something that can be cultivated, rather like the moulds themselves. Maybe my taste buds are simply dimming. Maybe at 70 I’ll be eating bowls of candied dried fish sprinkled with fermented natto-beans for breakfast, like cereal.

But I am still challenged by the small cheese shop in the centre of town that specialises in French cheeses, with that sock-like smell that wafts out when you pass the front door, and the multi-coloured, botanical garden of moulds in the window.

When we were in Barcelona in November, I found that Spanish cheeses suit my timid yet adventurous palate very well. There are lots of raw milk and goat’s milk cheeses in Spain, and a lot of interesting textures, from the curd-like pliancy of the breast-shaped Tetilla, to chewy and crumbly aged caciocavallo or manchego. The Cabrales blue cheese is not as intense as some cheese writers make out, its enicillium cabralensis spores cultivated in humid caves.

I had read of one Spanish food commentator’s favourite cheese being Torta di Casar, a ewe’s milk cheese only 7% of which is exported abroad. I bought one from the cheese section of the supermarket under El Corte Ingles for 17 euros. The rind was nut brown and in its centre lichen-like white splotches were starting to form with, even more disturbingly, moist rust-coloured edges. I imagine the centre as being semi-liquid and fetid smelling.

So I did not eat it in Barcelona, instead wrapping it well and carrying it home to Germany in my hand luggage, to share with some friends who I knew enjoyed the whiffier side of life. We thought to serve it with crackers, but worrying that this would be too intense, decided instead to serve it in the manner of a delicious salad we’d eaten at Barcelona’s Bar Mut (picture above).

There, a smear of melted goat’s cheese (torta di cabra) spread on the plate lurked at the bottom of a refreshing salad of spinach, warmed walnuts, cherry tomatoes and fresh figs, balancing out the pungent cheese perfectly. It was very enjoyable to dig out little bits of hidden cheese with each forkful of leaves.

The improvised home version turned out to be just as good as Bar Mut’s rendition. I highly recommend using this ‘hidden smelly treasure’ salad technique next time you have a ripe cheese you aren’t sure what to do with.

The Torta di Casar was not liquid inside as I had expected, though very soft, so we softened it further under the grill for just a few seconds. The taste was funky enough to make a good counterpoint with the salad, to which we added a honey-lemon dressing and dried figs in place of fresh.

This was not a scary cheese, despite its florid casing: nutty and smooth with a round pungent flavour, almost reminiscent of fish sauce. As everybody finished their salads and began digging into the cheese with spoons and spreading it on crackers, I realised that Torta di Casar is best eaten by itself. Let me rephrase that: it is best eaten by oneself.

Muttering that they should not fill themselves up on cheese before I served the soup, I whisked the last crumbs of cheese away. It's hard to imagine coveting a Vieux Boulogne so, but who knows? As my age ripens, hopefully my hang ups will soften like ewe's milk curds in a warm, dark place.


Good things: tetilla cheese with 'bacalao' cod products and dark beer.

Chocolate beer

Malt, hops and cocoa nibs: now on sale from the Sapporo Brewery online store. It's like a Belgian nightmare.

Don't Fuck with Miss Wong

One of my favourite movie lines of all time is "don't fuck with the wongs", a nice variant of which is "don't fuck with the Hmongs". I would like to now introduce a new addition to this phraseology - Cambodian edition 2009 - "don't fuck with Miss Wong"

Miss Wong is the latest and might I add coolest new addition to Siem Reap's night scene. Located down a small quiet laneway, across from the Silk Garden and taking inspiration from 1920s Shanghai the small, intimate and classy bar is dressed to the nines as any petite flower girl of "Shanghai Grand" would be. Draped in deep red with, gold pagoda ceiling, every nook and cranny contains unique and elaborate objet d'art, lamps and paintings.




Even the ashtrays are fabulous. New York Times reporters, of outstanding taste agree... as do all but a few curmudgeonly passé expats


Miss Wong's cocktails are more than worthy of the decor with many of the ingredients made from fresh tropical fruits and home made vodka infusions


Miss Wong's proprietor is Dean Williams, ex-radio host and ex-Auckland NZ personality/ boy about town. He dropped by in Cambodia in our final days in the country in 2006 and liked it so much he decided to stay.


If you're a kiwi pop in and say "hullo"

Miss Wong
The Opposite Laneway to the "Passage" on the opposite side of Pub Street
Siem Reap, Cambodia

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