Oh Christmas Broccoli

Happy post Halloween

They look more like slime to me than pumpkins.

Black slime.

Hello Kitty's universal appeal is impressive.

Measuring Chickens' Emotional Wellbeing

Happiness is an elusive concept, it brings about ideas of ecstasy, contentment, delight but also health and strength, pouvoir and puissance ... a state of mind and body that is precarious and contingent. How to give form and substance to an idea that is otherwise difficult to conceive? What is happiness for a chicken? What is it like to be a chicken today? Free-range certification offers a powerful interpretation of animals' happiness in the context of farming, and it does so by providing a particular translation of the `natural' in the domesticated environment of farming. But it also offers a specific definition of materiality, in the form of the body of the animal, presented as an expression of her/his quality of life in the juiciness and other organoleptic qualities of her/his flesh or eggs. In this paper, I present the results of an on-farm assessment of the welfare of free-range chickens in the UK, carried out by adopting the Welfare Quality protocol. This is a new evaluation of the on-farm welfare of animals that encompasses many aspects of animals' lives, including animals' negative and positive emotions. It suggests that animals' `happiness' can be measured and can become part of an overall score of welfare, but it also addresses the complexities of the interpretation of the emotional states of animals. I propose that this case contributes to the debate on `material politics' and the invention of animals' happiness can be seen as a political technique that affects human ^ non-human
animal relations.

Miele M, 2011, "The taste of happiness: free-range chicken" Environment and Planning A 43(9) 2076 – 2090

It reminds me of the Posh Nosh episode. I can't help but feel that we've gotten our priorities all wrong.

In Swenglish

Iron Chef of Iron Chefs

"we should try one michelin star place while we are here" I said unpacking my suitcase in our tiny hotel room in Paris

Hock proceeds to rattle of a litany of choices and possibilities together with a description of the chef's culinary style as well as stating the impossibility of getting a booking at almost all but Joel Rubuchon's which does not take bookings.

"Ok well what is the number of the first one?" Arpege?" He quotes the number telling me there is no way we will get a table for lunch at the last minute.

I call. They have a table. Tomorrow 1 pm. Hock goes into a quiet stupor. His eye lids flutter while the reality settles. He blushes.















Quote of the Day

"I've taken the liberty of ordering us some tofu, some mushrooms and some duck tongues," said the western woman sitting across from me. "Do you trust me to keep ordering, or is there anything in particular you might like?" I looked at her thinking, "You whore!"

From David Sedaris's recent trip to China


Food Song of the Day

R. Stevie Moore - Popeye Song (live 2010) from robert moore on Vimeo.

Saw this erratic hero of lo-fi perform last night at the King Georg pub. The Pop Eye song was probably the highlight, but unfortunately this bad quality video doesn't include the bit where he whispered menacingly "olive oil (VIRGIN...) on spinach, tastes so great (FROZEN...)"

How To Cook

Talented young Montreal beatmaker Lunice Fermin Pierre II is a ball of fun on stage, mixing up hyphy and club bangers with cuts and spicy b-boy pantomimes.

In this clip he teaches the crowd how to do the Cooking Dance with some loose-jointed soup & burger techniques. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Dream Sponge

dream sponge

dream sponge

dream sponge

I've already documented my devotion to heavenly Japanese sponge cakes. I didn't think it could get any better - but it just did.

We had colleagues (or should I say 'alcoholleagues') visit from Japan, and they brought with them a bottle of sake and this wonderful alcohol-infused sponge as souvenirs. How could the sponge retain that dense, yet very fine and soft melt-in-your-mouth texture while stored indefinitely in foil, stewing in its own tipsy juices?

The taste was, like any good castella: lovely, light and a little eggy, with only a yeasty hint of methylated spirits from the booze.
(Note: I think the soaking alcohol may have been shochu, but would love if Nalika can provide insight here).

Each square of this palm-sized cake really packed a punch. I wish there was a way to mail-order it from Japan.

dream sponge

dream sponge

Zero gravity breakfast.

BSS | Breakfast Interrupted from Bruton Stroube Studios on Vimeo.

Measuring Everything

And that's just the environment....what about the social....so the question here is gotta be, how can and should a label symbolise a guarantee of complex environmental and social systems?

I'm not so sure it can or should?

David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee from David Lynch on Vimeo.

Via Thus Bakes Zarathustra

Suntory commercials

... in response to the recent disaster in Japan.

Kudos for Suntory for having put such cute things together in a very short amount of time, without even mentioning their beverage products.

Ue wo muite arukou (or better known as Sukiyaki song outside Japan) ver.D 60 secs

Miagete goran yoru no hoshi wo ver. B 60 secs

Pedal to the Mett, ill.

The German chapter of Sneaker Freaker magazine got together with our local burger joint Beef Brothers recently to make this sneaker-shaped mett cake.

With a greater than usual array of garnishes, this particular hunk of raw pork mince actually looks kind of kicking.

Quotes of the Day - "Panini-themed edge"

For a man like me that really likes his meat, there are few things better than pig for breakfast.

This is particularly true when the pig is roasted pork shoulder, pressed in a Panini with chipotle sauce and coriander and toasted to perfection, otherwise known as the Cuban from Lonsdale Street Roasters.


There is an extensive range of panini here, spelled out on a charming blackboard with magnetic letters and a specials board to the side. ...Roasters also do dessert and a few other small and interesting things (muesli among them). And well there’s the main feature: the coffee. Served in those stylish old school brown cups, it’s rich, the milk isn’t overdone, and it’s sublime perfection really - so rare in this town. It’s got to be the best in the city. Or among the best. Harvest and Tonic are excellent too. But I’m going to say Roasters has an edge. A panini-themed edge at that


I've been quiet on the blog front. Hock's been leaving the commentary to others while he focuses on improving the overall sandwich situation of Canberra in his first business venture.

Nice bites


Time to pay tribute to some of the everyday quick bites that are available in this neck of the woods.

Above is the livid pink meat loaf known as 'leberkäse' (literally 'livercheese'). They make the best version of it in southern Germany and Austria. If you can find a bakery or truckstop who'll serve a warm crusty slice of it on a wholegrain bun (ideally with hot mustard instead of the sweet stuff), you'll be in junkfood heaven.


Sauerkraut comes into its own as a side-dish, obviously. But at 25 cents per 100g from the biomarkt delicatessen counter, it could be the healthiest and best value snack ever. And it's good on american-style hotdogs, a worthy late-night indulgence (see photo below).
Yes, I was scared of canned hotdogs in the beginning too.

no comment


Sauerkraut has other uses. Like this sourdough bread (from a recipe in Backen Was Allen Schmeckt), which I could eat all day. It's a crunchy-crusted, densely crumbed and moist bread with lots of tang and toastiness. Ingredients include ground caraway and sauerkraut juice, which you can buy bottled at the biomarkt.


A kiwi friend tipped me off to this wasabi-sharp beetroot, sunflower seed and horseradish spread. Apparently it's good on pretzels.

I'm a fan of most foods that come in crazy colours. I also like this spread's red hat logo (the brand name is Zwergenwiese, or 'Dwarf meadows').


'Stuff on bread' is the proverbial German snack. Here is one of my favourite 'stuff on bread' combos. The paté-type spread known as leberwurst, beloved by children, together with electric violet french mustard, with fruity notes of bottom-of-the-wine-bottle-sediment. Sooo good.
This leberwurst is 'Baron Beitzelsche's house-slaughtered' variety, from Manufactum handmade goods emporium.

Revenge of the Mettigel


Our workmate Elke celebrated her birthday last week. As a treat for all the omnivores at the office, she created an iconic 70s German party centrepiece - the 'mettigel', a hedehog made of raw minced pork.

The mettigel is something of an urban legend, and most of my workmates claimed never to have seen one "in the flesh". But here it was, in front of our eyes, all pink and glistening and terrifying.

If I had ever encountered one of these as a kid, I'm sure I would have had recurring nightmares. It's easy to imagine that thing creeping up the stairs and chasing children from their beds, leaving a slimy trail on the banister, shedding pretzel sticks in the thick shag carpet.

If you have the stomach for it, the TV skit below shows unemployed Herbert serving a mettigel as appetiser, main course and dessert to Uta the vegetarian and Klaus the architect.
"If she has a weak stomach, she should have said so. Then I would have used the fresh eggs."

Mettigel - MyVideo


Following in the footsteps of Posh Nosh....Colin was raised nearby

Sad Food Songs of the Day

In honour of Broadcast's incandescent Trish Keenan, here are two almost-food-related songs: Lunch Hour Pops (above) and Before We Begin (below), in which she advises throwing salt over your shoulder.
RIP Trish.

The Tyranny of Christmas

photo 3


My Photo_3


Courtesy of Hock at Xmas NZ '10 after one very worthwhile trip to Portland, Oregon and Podnah's Pit...Thanks Andy for helping to make our Xmas even yummier
work of art

Potato salad to Germans is a blank canvas to project their identity on. There are regional varieties, but every household has their own favourite recipe, and home-made potato salad is as a rule more delicious than the stuff you'll find at restaurants here.

The potatoes are almost always cut into slices - not the parboiled chunks that seem to characterise potato salad in english-speaking countries.
Some regions of Germany favour the use of mayonnaise. Similar to Japanese potato salad, or the Spanish 'ensaladilla rusa', it's more of a mélange, so it's often hard to tell where the potato ends and the mayo begins. I prefer the vinegar-based recipes, which really show off the savory waxy yellow German potato.

Though naming this stuff 'salad' is a bit misleading ('cold starch dish' might be more honest), potato salad can be a refreshing counterpart to meat or cheese dishes. Our workmate Wulf does an excellent vinegary potato salad with cucumber slices, to accompany his Käsespätzle, baked cheese noodles. The salad and the noodles are both specialties of the Swabia region.

But my favourite potato salad might just be our friend Andreas' spin on a potato salad recipe from Baden-Württemberg (pictured). He made it for a party at an art curator's office on New Year's eve in Berlin, and it was a great way to start the year, after viewing chaotic fireworks from a rooftop above a McDonalds on Alexanderplatz.

Little fat-free bacon specks add a toasty flavour to the mellow acidity of the vinegar-dressed potatoes, dill adds its herbal punch, and Andreas' addition of gherkin adds a little extra crunch & acidity. It really is a work of art.

like it says

(Adapt this recipe according to taste...e.g. vary the herbs, the vinegar, leave out the bacon or the gherkin, etc).

1 kg waxy potatoes
6 tbsp wine vinegar
1/8 litre of hot beef broth (from a stock cube)
1 red onion
125g finely chopped bacon without the rind/fat
Salt & Pepper
Pinch sugar
1/2 bunch of parsley dill & chives (Andreas just used dill)
A few gherkins.

Scrub potatoes and add to covered pot of boiling water. cook 30 min. Drain, rinse under cold water and peel off the skins. Cut into slices while still warm, add to a bowl and put the bowl in a warm water bath. Mix with the vinegar and stock/broth.
Finely dice the onion and add to the bowl.
Finely dice the bacon, heat the oil in a pan and sauté the bacon until golden. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Pour this over the potatoes and mix carefully.
Let the salad bowl sit in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. (Andreas skipped this step)

Wash your herbs, dry them and finely chop along with the pickled gherkins. Add to the salad and serve.

Serve with smoke machine, flashing lights, gin, Britney Spears 'Toxic' and Prince 'U got the look' (optional).


Ichi Roku Taruto

Inspired by kinakoJam's entry, a little googling of 一六タルト (Ichi[1] Roku[6] Taruto) has brought me some wonders...

Apparently, it has become one of the "yuru chara" ('loose' mascot character) of Ehime prefecture in Shikoku region.

Like castella, it it supposedly inspired by the Portuguese upon their arrival to Nagasaki port in the 17th century.

The name taruto comes from torta/tarte, and it has been localized by adding red bean jam with a hint of yuzu, famous citrus from Shikoku.

It goes out on the street...

And it even goes to take HIV exam with other yuru chara's.

Amazing Japan.

Itami Juzo used to appear on the TV commercial series - he went to high school in Matsuyama, where this cake is famous.

Kakizome & 一六タルト


I enjoy learning kanji, in a masochistic kind of way, but lately I am starting to wonder if I'll ever graduate from, say, reading the ingredients on the back of instant egg soup packets. There are just so many kanji to learn, and so few spare hours in the day. No surprise, then, that I botched my New Year's calligraphy attempt at Mamecha café in Berlin last week.
Maybe it's just a challenge that I'm not meant to overcome in this lifetime.

I feel similarly about sponge cake.
Particularly castella, the very soft yet densely-crumbed Japanese sponge derived from a Spanish or Portuguese recipe in Nagasaki quite a few centuries ago. There are many recipes I'm willing to attack in the name of creative reconstruction, but castella is not one of them. There just wouldn't be any point in creating a cake that was anything less than pristine and box-fresh.

I've been doing Japanese night classes lately, and tonight our teacher served up pieces of an Ichi Roku Taruto cake that she'd bought when visiting her parents over new years. The rolled sponge was like a next level castella.
Flavoured with yuzu citrus and rolled with azuki bean paste, its unearthly uniform perfection was like a fleeting dream: the essence of everything beautiful that we will never quite find the time for.

yummy Japan

I can't help getting sucked into Muji on my few but every visit to Tokyo.

And can't stop worshiping bouncy udon with the just-right garnish and dipping sauce.

It's a texture-pleasure.

I am not sure why sanuki-style udon is not winning the world recognition, yet, like sushi. I gobbled sushi too but didn't dare taking pictures when I was sat at the counter facing the serious sushi man. If I had blond hair, maybe I would have felt foreign enough to do so...

Take away lessons include:

1. Don't forget the herring.
2. Bass drum = partytime.

Digestive Songs of the Day

Afternoon tea: The Kinks from Brian Jones on Vimeo.

"Sore was I from the crack of an enemy's hose,
And the horrible sound of tomato

Soup and puree
Don't get left behind ...

So I stood with a knot in my stomach,
And I gazed at that terrible sight
Of two youngsters concealed in a barrel,
Sucking monkberry moon delight"

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