"Even my toast has to move with the times"

Phil's mouthful this week brings us musings on why everyone hates the new vegemite product

Over the weekend, Kraft announced the results of its attempt to generate a new name for its new Vegemite with spreadable cheese product: iSnack 2.0. It sent Australians with an internet connection into alternate paroxysms of disbelief and pure schadenfreude. Ruth Brown from Crikey neatly summarises the initial tsunami of contempt:
...folks from every conceivable community and sub-culture were united by their shared hatred of the name: skiers hated it, club kids hated it, Mac fanboys hated it, footy fans hated it, homosexuals hated it, foodies hated it, gamers hated it, body-builders hated it, the British Army hated it, highschool students hated it, mums hated it, stock traders hated it, and Delta Goodrem fans hated it.

its so hated in fact it spawned this.....

although I'm half suspicious that this may have been created by Kraft itself in an effort to avert the PR disaster and inject some self-deprecating humour into the furore...fuhrer furore....ha ha ha...ummmmm nup

thnx milosh

The Australian Palate?

sorry I haven't blogged for a while. I don't really know who I am apologising to exactly and whoever you are I'm sure that you'll think apologies unnecessary

nevertheless....I am moved today to alert you to this outrage in the Sydney Morning Herald...

Wake up, Sydney, and smell the lemongrass. Do you know what's under your collective nose? Anyone who has lived away from this city for any time suffers withdrawal symptoms for Thai chicken curry, deep-fried snapper with sweet chilli sauce, pad thai noodles or Thai beef salad, whether from Longrain, Chat Thai, Spice I Am, Sailor's Thai or (insert your favourite local Thai here). Even Sydneysiders who have moved to Thailand suffer post-Sydney-Thai-fabulousness syndrome.

Slap hand to forehead...pad Thai???? sweet chilli sauce.....ugh

This particular piece of dribble was written about Sailor's Thai which I had the displeasure of eating at some years ago. I made the further blunder of taking some Thai relatives there who are in the restaurant business in Thailand. I was embarrassed by the food and humiliated by the price, $300 for four people.

It was flavourless, bland, and fussy.....the bill was like rubbing salt in an open wound.

Sydney Thai food as good as Thailand...give me a fucking break....only if you spent your 2 week holiday in Thailand eating in shitty tourist stalls and being completely over charged.....maybe you went to Phuket...maybe you got in a fight....maybe you were drunk most of the time....or maybe you have the palate of a garbage disposal

Stir-fried ears and boiled teeth soup - instructional fairytale

In case you haven't seen this, please do click play. It's one of my favourite actors, John Turturro (chameleon-like supporting actor in a whole lotta Spike Lee and Coen Brothers movies) narrating Italo Calvino's version of a traditional fairy tale, The False Grandmother.

Album cover of the week

pigeon sandwich

Photo by my mate Mina von Sneakerberg.

Oh-so German Buttermilk-Coconut-Date Cake

coconut buttermilk cake

Over the last month or two I have taken time out from my afterwork curriculum to practice being a little bit more German. It's difficult to say what prompted this. For a long time I felt that I ended up in this country by accident rather than choice. For a few years, I felt comfortable as a citizen of no-place. But something seems to have shifted. I don't feel like I'll ever want to become German per se, but I finally feel at home enough that I allow myself a certain adopted pride for some of those quaint, old-fashioned customs... like making baked apples stuffed with rosehips, marzipan and hazelnuts, or autumn flower arrangements that include tiny crab apples.

After four years of living in Cologne, I've finally committed to my bicycle as a means of daily transport - using a 2nd hand foldable '50s klapprad to traverse the terrifyingly fast bicycle lanes and negotiate traffic (preferably with Erik alongside me as bikecoach).

In order to make my work-permit stick like glue, I recently participated in a nine-day state-subsidised integration course. I was hoping to be schooled in sausage varieties, but instead bonded with Phillipino, Jamaican, Dominican Republican and Kurdish classmates over parliamentary processes and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

At the start of the first day of our integration course, the tutor, a nice Turkish man named Herr Kaygisiz, asked us what we thought was typically German. Naturally, the first things that sprang to my mind were beer & cake.

Although I never drank beer before moving to Germany, I now enjoy a daily schwarzbier or pils. Unfortunately I don't like the local brew Kölsch so much.

Cake is a bit more difficult. Although my friends might deny it, cake still plays an integral or even iconic role in the lives of young Germans. Our pals love to spend an occasional Sunday eating cake, drinking coffee and gossiping the afternoon away. Below is a picture of Carmen's birthday tea-break - a symphony of cake.

carmen birthday

For my own part, I would usually rather eat a sandwich. Although I admire many German cakes - rustic, not too sweet, using yeasted bases and seasonal fruit like zwetschgen plums, or copious poppyseeds or light quark cheesecake formulas - I am not a committed cake fan. Manufactum has one apple, walnut & poppyseed cake that I especially love (in photo below, with a crust of poppyseeds like purple volcanic sand). But I have never felt the need to bake a German cake.

poppyseed apple walnut cake

I bake very rarely, and when I do it tends to be things like strawberry-lavender muffins, sweet potato pie, or blueberry-molasses cake, from Canadian or American books and websites. This is my habit generally when cooking - to make food I can't buy around the corner from my house. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, but of course going against the local culinary grain is also a way of satisfying nostalgia and creating a bubble in which to feel at home when you live abroad.

So for my birthday in early August, we made a nostalgic yum cha homage lunch: steamed buns, scallop shiu-mai, chinese broccoli and black sesame dumplings all made from scratch (to my chagrin it turned out Erik is much more talented at dumpling construction than me). It was a perfect lazy Sunday. And the German birthday cake that Ina brought along turned out to be the perfect dessert to follow this meal. A coconut-date cake, it was very light, fluffy and moist - so moist it was almost juicy in texture, rather than crumbly and cakey, and exactly as I like it: not too sweet.

Although I am quite keen to experiment with poppyseed-streaked muffins, if there is any cake that might start me on a path of German baking, I think it will be this delightful coconut-buttermilk-date cake.


3 eggs
1 & 1/4 cups raw sugar (or more, to taste)
2 cups buttermilk
4 cups flour
22 g, 5.25 tsp or 1 & 1/2 packets of German baking powder (supposedly American/UK baking powder is 'double-acting', so you might use less than this recipe calls for - perhaps 4 teaspoons)
2 cups dessicated coconut
1/2 cup sugar (or more, to taste)
1/2 cup chopped dried dates
400 ml cream (or two 'becher' pottles)

Mix the first five ingredients together and pour into a greased pan. Mix the coconut, sugar and dates together and spread over the top. Bake for around 30 minutes at 140 degrees.
As soon as you remove it from the oven, pour 400 ml cream over top and let cool.

You could try it with beer I guess, but we enjoyed it with a 2008 Rheinhesser Grauer Burgunder (a dry Pinot Grigio). The cake-baker is pictured with her family below.

chef ina yum cha


Following hot on the heels of their last dope music video for Turtle Pizza Cadillacs,

Here is the brand new music vid release from our dear friends Bobbi Sox and Coco Solid (who is an occasional Gut Feelings contributor), aka PARALLEL DANCE ENSEMBLE (a Denmark/New Zealand coproduction). Look out for a crunchy sweet sour creamy album from them in the near future.

Last weekend Coco had lunch with the Black Panthers' minister of culture Emory Douglas - I'm looking forward to hearing about that particular meal.

I'm re-blogging her recipe for disco rap sconez, which, says Coco, are "SO awesome slash CABBAGE!"

I have an awesome fool-proof recipe for scones, which I will now rename sconez so yous don't tease me but they are so sweetheart I have to share. If you got someone to impress, half an hour and $5 this is you man.

1 300ml bottle of cream
1 can of 7up
4 cups of flour
Dash of salt

Put it together. Cut it in squares and bake it for 15 minutes at 250 degrees...I mean degreez. Me and my baby sister Claire baked these today being broke babe buddies and watching movies. Note the jam and leftover whipped cream on the side, plus a fistful of raisins were thrown in (pimp I was def pushing the $9 mark).

My food photography needs work but trust me these rule. Oh my god when did I turn 60 in the 60's.

Check her scone photo porn and buhloon crème brulée mindstate reflections at http://www.jessicoco.blogspot.com/

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