Archive for the ‘fads & fashions’ Category

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My favourite Marthians

May 30, 2009

marthaIt’s like some kind of schlock horror movie – shallow, nauseating, but so thrillingly ghastly you can’t help peeking through your fingers at it.

I’m referring, of course, to the The Martha Blog – up close & personal with the jail bird herself, Martha Stewart.

Check out “A dinner party at my house” especially for the simple, elegant table setting. Hooboy – gotta love those thirteen centrepieces and you just can never get enough ceramic birds and miniature tin buckets of Irish moss on a dining table in my opinion.

And then there’s “Betsy, my stable manager” described almost as lovingly as “my adorable French bulldogs, Francesca and Sharkey!” Read the rest of this entry ?

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Christian Lander in Newtown

May 28, 2009

landerDespite my admiration for Christian Lander and his Stuff White People Like I somehow failed to see him at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, even when he was appearing at the New Theatre, about five blocks from my house.

Luckily, that appearance is now available on Slow TV. It’s a two-parter; the first part is quite entertaining but largely about his astronomical 12-month rise to fame and the celebrities who now love him, which he’s very starry-eyed about so it gets a bit tedious.

But the second half, which I’m linking to here, is sharp and funny, like the work itself. 

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Cry me a river

May 17, 2009

onion gogglesSenor and I are having an argument about whether I should purchase a pair of these exceptionally snazzy onion goggles.

My view, of course, is yes! Although since our earlier discussion on the topic I have to say Hamish and Jamie were both right, and while I still bawl each time, practice is making – well, marginally better. My dice are neater and the chilling and sharpest knife does make a difference. But still, I can definitely see myself in these.

Senor, however, has been rolling his eyes. I’m used to that. Then, warming to the topic, he quite seriously suggested a scuba mask, because then “at least you can use it for snorkelling as well”.

Please. I can just see myself welcoming the guests at the front door with one of those on my head, I replied. At which S looked for a minute from this picture to me and back again, incredulous, and said, “Are you telling me you’re concerned about what they’re going to look like?”

I still think they’re funky.

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the White Man cometh

March 27, 2009

swplAt the Sydney Writers’ Festival program launch last night (where incidentally their catering sponsor The Roo Brothers gave away jars of chilli jam and some pretty good oyster knives – but I do believe our shucking instructions are better than theirs) I was very excited to hear that the Stuff White People Like man himself, Christian Lander, is coming out for the festival. I first mentioned him here, in a post about farmer’s markets.

Anyhoo -goody! I shall be there to listen and laugh, in all my bourgeois banality.

The full SWF program will be in the SMH paper and online tomorrow, I think. And as Sean is delivering 40,000 copies of the actual brochure to bookshops and libraries next week, we will be a pair of walking, talking SWF programs by next Friday – if you want to know anything about it just ask!

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Your mother’s kitchen gear you wish you had

March 25, 2009

frypanIn a beachside holiday house recently I had the pleasure of using this rather spesh Sunbeam electric frypan – the kitchen was small, there were three of us cooking at once, and I needed to cook split peas. This sunshiny baby emerged from the cupboard and became my new best friend. Quite a flash version too, with very good thermostat and a half-lid-opening arrangement. It reminded me of my mum, who through the seventies seemed to cook everything in an electric frypan, from roast lamb to cheesy puffs.

Last year, reminded by a newspaper article of the joys of the CrockPot, I bought a slow cooker – the modern version – and now can’t wait for winter to get it humming again for curries, soup, casseroles and shanky brothy things (even caramelised onions in it once which worked amazingly well).

The other mainstay of my mother’s late 70s kitchen, apart from some dubious cork tileage and a lot of mushroom-coloured Laminex, was a Kenwood Chef mixer-cum-blender with forty thousand attachments, which weighed a ton. Not to mention the various trusty toasted sandwich makers that sealed the edges of the baked-bean sanger in a most excellently crispy way. But there was also the appliance cemetery, if I recall correctly, where all the useless Mother’s Day gifts were swiftly interred, such as the electric knife sharpener – and that most irrelevant of gadgets, the electric can opener, to name a couple.

Was it just my dad, or were all fathers obsessed with electrical kitchen gifts for their beloved wives in the 70s? What was the most useless gadget your mother ever had? And which ones do you still yearn for, even now?

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In praise of salt

March 19, 2009

saltHave you noticed how, if you cook a meal for folks who like eating but aren’t as obsessed with cooking as One is, that they often rave about the incredible flavours you produce? I realised early in my cooking career that this has sadly little to do with how amazing the fish/snags/bombe alaska really is, and more to do with the fact that the said dish is seasoned. i.e., contains salt (and my second love, pepper).

I am frankly astonished at the number of people who don’t cook with salt at home but always find restaurant food and food at cooky friends’  houses delicious. It’s SALT, people. Delicious, crunchy, subtle or serious – it’s salt that underlines every bit of good cooking I’ve ever done.

I’ve been discussing with my chick pea empress friend Steph (the best all-round cook I know) the whole salt-scare issue. We are both firmly of the view that unless you have high blood pressure – when it really does matter that you cut down on salt – then one should go for one’s life on the salty goodness. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Give me a freakin break dept.

March 13, 2009

kidcookAs a schoolfriend’s mother used to say when exasperated, JesusMaryandJoseph, I wish I was in heaven.

This article from the excellent Slate magazine had me retching over my breakfast. Apparently, in the States, there is a new food fad – small children as restaurant critics, chefs and food columnists. The New York freakin Times Magazine, for God’s sake,

has pledged one-quarter of its monthly food real estate to the kitchen exploits of a 4-year-old, Dexter Wells, who just happens to be the firstborn of the newspaper’s food editor, Pete Wells. Read the rest of this entry ?