Monthly Archives: February 2015

Monday Lifelines

From “The lingo dictionary of favourite Australian words and phrases”. For my future overseas visitors…

short of: Used to describe someone or something that is ‘not all there’ as in a shingle short, a button short, a few bricks short of a load, a few sheep short of a paddock, a couple of alps short of a range, a few bites short of a bickie (biscuits), a few bangers (sausages) short of a barbie (barbecue), a couple of lamingtons short of a CWA (Country Women’s Association) meeting, a few sandwiches short of a picnic or a few Tim Tams short of a packet.

graveyard chompers: false teeth

dangle the Dunlops: to lower the landing gear of a plane

in the pudding club: said of someone who is pregnant


Talking to a few friends yesterday, we were all bemoaning this hot and humid weather and thinking about stews and hearty food. And in defiance of the temperature, one was making chilli con carne and one was cooking pork meatballs in tomato sauce. So with chicken in my fridge needed to be cooked, I joined the trend and made this FRAGRANT TURKISH CHICKEN WITH STAR ANISE AND CHILLI. I found the recipe last year in the West Australian newspaper. It will serve 8. And it was so nice to eat a winter meal in summer with a glass of red…!

3 tbsp olive oil
2 free-range chickens, cut into pieces (I used 6 chicken thighs with the bone in)
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 star anise
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 × 440g can diced tomatoes
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
1 red capsicum, cut into strips
1 green capsicum, cut into strips
1 yellow capsicum, cut into strips
1 big green chilli, finely chopped
12 dessert figs, sliced
2 tbsp bourghal/ burgul (cracked wheat)
sea salt to taste
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped for garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a big pot. Add the chicken pieces and brown slightly. Remove from the pot. Add the onion, garlic, star anise, cumin and cinnamon, and cook for a few minutes until onion softens. Return the chicken pieces to the pot, combining well with spice mixture. Pour over pomegranate molasses. Next add canned and cherry tomatoes and chicken stock. Simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Then add the remaining  ingredients (capsicums, chilli, figs and bourghal) and simmer for another 30 minutes. Season to taste. Extra stock can be added as needed. Garnish with parsley.
  3. Eat!

As you can see, it’s very easy to make! I only put 3 star anise, the taste can be quite overwhelming. I assumed the dessert figs were dried figs. You can put more chilli in it if you like it spicy; that one green chilli was not strong at all.  I ate it with rice. Yum yum!


Tuesday Lifelines

From “Foolish words” by Laura Ward.

I have not the smallest molecule of faith in aerial navigation other than ballooning.
Lord Kelvin, Victorian physicist and President of the Royal Society, 1896

Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.
Dr Dionysus Lardner, Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at University College, London

Relativity is the moronic brainchild of a mental colic. Voodoo nonsense.
George Francis Gillette, in 1929. Gillette was an advocate of the “back-screwing theory of gravity”


I never cook anything really special for breakfast but this recipe for BREKKY BARS looked appealing. It’s from a series of little booklets from (the Breakfast one).
Super easy to make, keeps well in a plastic container for a few days, freezes well and is yummy with plum jam!
Makes 18 pieces.

115g (3/4 cup) self-raising flour
65g (1 cup) shredded coconut
100g (1/2 cup firmly packed) brown sugar
80g (1/2 cup) pepitas
80g (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
65g (1/3 cup) sultanas
55g (1/3 cup) chopped dried apricots
185ml (3/4 cup) low-fat milk
1 egg


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan forced. Grease a 3cm-depp, 17cm × 27cm (base measurement) slice pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at long ends.
  2. Combine flour, coconut, sugar, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sultanas and apricots in a bowl. Whisk milk and egg together in a jug. Add to flour mixture. Mix to combine.
  3. Spoon the mixture into prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 18 pieces.
  4. Eat!

I found it easier to just weigh all the ingredients. And I think you could probably add some nuts or choc chips for a more decadent version.

Dinners in New Zealand.

The last kitchen. Fox Glacier.
Lam burger, salad greens, beetroot chutney, aïoli with kumara wedges.
Whitestone cheese platter: Windsor Blue, Livingstone Gold, aged Airedale and Totara Tasty with plum chutney, pesto and venison salami.
Panfried blue cod with steamed vegetables in a mild spiced turmeric, saffron, coriander and coconut curry over basmati rice topped with sautéed prawns.

Bistro Gentil. Wanaka.
Saumon des Alpes: cured Mt Cook Alpine salmon, citrus, lemon gel, puffed salmon skin, squid ink mayonnaise, fennel.
Spécial Cardrona: 56° Cardrona lamb rump, potato purée, broccolini, glazed onions, cranberry, sherry jus.

fishbone. Queenstown.
Littleneck clams, stir-fried with XO sauce.
Pan-seared Hake fillet with sweet corn and broad bean risotto, baby Cos and pickled onion salad, tarragon vinaigrette.

Plato. Dunedin.
Pig’s head terrine with toasted ciabatta and house chutneys.
Slow braised chicken leg, stuffed with salmon mousse, creamed sautéed greens, harissa butter, pan jus.
Raspberry coconut cake with crème anglaise and vanilla ice cream.

Lone Star. Dunedin.
Burrito Ranchero: Spicy shredded chicken mixed with jalapenos, fresh herbs and sundried tomatoes; topped with grilled cheese, BBQ sauce, salsa and sour cream. Served with chilli rice and L.S. coleslaw.

Pescatore. Christchurch.
Oysters, caper water, kelp soil, lemon powder.
Poached Little River beef: Angus fillet, peppered oxtail, morels, sourdough purée.

Dag Deals of the week


It’s been a while! But you probably wanted/ needed to recover from the Xmas deluge of Dag Deals of the week! So, starting again with a double this week: Valentine’s and an early Easter teaser…
Pick of the week: Holistic Select Grain Free Dry dog food. Helloy! Holistic food for a dog?
But it’s also hard to go without a Valentine’s animated gorilla! I think I need one…