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

Fried Chicken Ubiquity - Finger Lickin' Good

Super Baozi vs Sushi Man

Super Baozi vs Sushi man from sun haipeng on Vimeo.

Just add this to the list of food attacking each other videos.

Canberra Summer

It was freezing...and now it is sweltering.

Yesterday it was 33 degrees. Today 33 degrees.

Although we've been barbecuing since September in our new back courtyard this weekend we're ramping it up with paella and bloody mary's



Past BBQ Dishes have included chickens (below), pork, satay, seafood and lamb shwarma

Brined Chicken

One we made earlier

Pork belly slow smoked 5 hours

Brewing beer

If we were any other nationality we would have opened our courtyard for business by now to make extra cash on the side

Period Tables of...




Order yours now.

(I found these windows open on my computer after Hock had been surfing the web on my laptop)

At last...

I've been arguing this point at Friday drinks for a while now. And finally a brave American rancher has been boldly published in the NYT.

So what is the real story of meat’s connection to global warming? Answering the question requires examining the individual greenhouse gases involved: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides.

Carbon dioxide makes up the majority of agriculture-related greenhouse emissions. In American farming, most carbon dioxide emissions come from fuel burned to operate vehicles and equipment. World agricultural carbon emissions, on the other hand, result primarily from the clearing of woods for crop growing and livestock grazing. During the 1990s, tropical deforestation in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Sudan and other developing countries caused 15 percent to 35 percent of annual global fossil fuel emissions.

Much Brazilian deforestation is connected to soybean cultivation. As much as 70 percent of areas newly cleared for agriculture in Mato Grosso State in Brazil is being used to grow soybeans. Over half of Brazil’s soy harvest is controlled by a handful of international agribusiness companies, which ship it all over the world for animal feed and food products, causing emissions in the process.

Be wary kids of any flat world opinion that tells you that there is only one good way to live. It should always be predicated on..."it depends"

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