Thursday, January 12, 2017

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner

so it's been about 6 years. it's great that we have that sort of relationship where we might not see each other for 6 years and then just carry on like we'd never lost touch...

i bought a box again this week. it really has been that long. it's great to have a supply of fruit and veg in the house that forces proper thought about food rather than reactionary/impulse purchases. i'm looking forward to getting back into it.

i'm not really here to talk about that though. you see, after a lifetime at the LRO i moved to another one that is less large. it's also located in the CBD - really about 500m from where my old office was.

a couple of months ago a new installation/momument was opened pretty much outside my office window. it looks a bit like a playground swing set with some coloured metallic boxes behind it. it's prominent and interesting. i went to have a look. i've been a little haunted since.

Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were the first people executed by hanging, publicly, in Melbourne. These two Tasmanian indigenous men were brought over to Melbourne with three women (Truganini, Pyterruner and Planobeena) to help 'civilise' the local population by the Protectorate of Aborigines. things didn't go to plan. depending on the account, these people were bloodthirsty outlaws, or, responding to years of abuse and maybe genocide and so waged a campaign against European settlement.

the details aren't mine to tell - you can do the googling yourself. people died on both sides and there was a court case. Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were sentenced to death despite the best efforts of lawyers representing them and substantive concerns about the jurisdiction - if aboriginals weren't people under the constitution then did british law apply to them? in any case they were publicly hanged on 20 Jan 1842 on a spot very near the memorial. reports in the newspapers suggested that about a quarter of melbourne's population turned out in their finest to watch.

the most recent commercial to make us eat lamb is challenging. it starts with some indigenous people on a beach talking about barbecues and inviting people over. the french arrive, then the british and germans and then everyone else including boat people and float people. i like it but it's a complete fabrication (it's a commercial so it's allowed to be) and, if it was my family who had been slaughtered by what can only be described as an invading force i'd be angry and saddened in equal measure. europeans weren't invited, we didn't offer cheese or beer. we invaded. there's just not another word for it.

it was war. there were atrocities that demonstrate the worst of human behaviour. why should we all celebrate the day that the war started? it's grotesque. it lacks any empathy. it's hard to conceive of a more insensitive way to try and celebrate what is great about this place.

i didn't do it, and as best i know none of my family were here at the time. i'm sorry that it happened. i'm disturbed that i didn't know anything about it until a couple of months ago. i've read more about this period in our history from a range of sources. i'm not stupid enough to call it research, but it's opened my eyes. i want you to do the same. i don't care if you don't end up in the same place i have, but if you have an opinion make sure it's an educated one. the 'someone else's shoes' trick is helpful here. suspend disbelief while i tell you a story... 3.47pm on Thursday 12 January, the Andromedans arrived at Princes Pier - it's where ships dock so it seems like to right place. they are clearly from an advanced civilisation (what with their jetpacks and stuff). initially it seems like there here just to have a look around, but over time there are indications that this is not the case. 

by april, 60% of the people you know have disappeared - either murdered on the street or moved to a camp (or settlement or station). another 30% have developed andromedan flu and won't make it. for some reason, you're still here. you're forced to work on the machinery that allows the andromedans to harvest whatever it is they came for. you're one of the 10% of the population that they need. 

"We're all Andromedan, stop complaining!" that's what they tell you on 12 January 2027. they've been  here for 10 years, and continue to celebrate the day they arrived. It's not something you can do. you're not Andromedan and nothing will ever make you think or feel that way. being asked to keep quiet or forget about it is a complete denial of who you are and where you are from...

there's a ceremony at the memorial to tunnerminnerwait and maulboyheenner at 12noon on 20 January. i'll cross the road and stand with them.

Monday, July 30, 2012

am i missing something?

chances are that i am, but here we go anyway.

the olympics are weird and a bit silly. i realised this yesterday afternoon watching a strangely dressed woman barely move on the back of a horse whose hair was did and who seemed to be prancing strangely as a result. i realised it this morning when the fact the we didn't win an expected gold seemed to have caused national outrage, and said swimmers were dragged in front of cameras to explain why they lost.


why does it even matter? what are we missing that we take it as such a heartfelt loss? it's nice that people can ride horses and swim quickly, but there are other nice things too.

there will be calls for more funding so that we can ride and swim faster than other countries. why though? so that those individuals that receive the funding get an individual gold medal and individual sponsorship deals that give even more money to the individuals.

as a disclaimer, i don't generally like sport, so this no doubt clouds my perception. i'm also sure that this isn't medal envy...

wouldn't it just be better if we focussed on giving it a 'red hot go', and giving it a 'red hot go' in other areas of human endeavour (you know, those things beyond sport).


ps apologies for this non-food post. the author felt it necessary.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

cauliflower soup with burnt butter and pomegranate

i know, right? sounds good. it is (not blowing my own trumpet here...never been that flexible, nyuk nyuk).

here is a photo...

there was some serendipity happening here.

i ordered an extra boxiflower (box cauliflower) and an extra half turned up in the box. the half got roasted and added to a bigger roast vege salad with buckwheat, quinoa and mint. the whole one got souped! simply, an onion and clove of garlic browned off, cauliflower fried for a little bit, some stock added and blended up. nothing more. on it's own it was really tasty and sweetly cauliflowerish.

about a year ago, i had lunch with some colleagues at loam restaurant in drysdale. without a doubt one of the most memorable meals i'll ever have. one of the things that stuck in my palette-memory was the burnt butter that was served with the bread. it was, reportedly, some browned butter mixed in with normal butter. yep, it tasted it good as it sounds - caramelly, toasty, nutty and buttery (der). "one day, i shall try this at home for it cannot be difficult" i thought to myself. yesterday i made an attempt and it worked perfectly. i bought some fancy butter and 'burnt' about 40% of it, then took it off the heat and added the unmelted 60% and let the whole thing melt. whisk while cooling the bottom of the bowl over some cold water. eventually it will set and be light and delicious.

last night, after doing all of this, i decided to add some of the complex and delicious burnt butter to the simple and delicious cauliflower soup. SYNERGY (i.e. bigger than the some of its parts)! today i chucked in a couple of pomegranate bits leftover from last night's salad. MOAR SYNERGY! an occasional pop of tartness to the sweet and nutty soup...sated.

anyway, how have you been?


Saturday, March 17, 2012

box hysteria

so quite deliberately I haven't ever mentioned that my boxes come from ceres. this not for any reason other than this blog wasn't ever an advertising space. it matters now because of one story in a melbourne weekend newspaper about land contamination and the ban on sale of food grown at ceres hq in brunswick.

you see, not much of the story was true, and when given all the facts it seems they didn't get in the way of a good story. ceres fair food people explain it here.

why do I believe ceres, with a clear vested interest, over this melbourne paper? cos I've dealt with the same paper over some stuff, and the same thing happened. they got a good story, which was untrue and backed up by cold hard evidence (which was provided), but they ran with it anyway. sound familiar? oh and there's also the independent tests that identified the problem areas (which were not used for commercial purposes).

who cares? lots of people. ceres does good things in lots of areas, and has been damaged by the article. most of you who read this know this stuff already, but i thought it worth writing down in case some one gets here by google.

i continue to get my box, and it continues to give me top quality local seasonal produce in a way that is good for producers, the environment and me. one article, based on misinformation, won't stop that.



p.s. happy new year. normal transmission (i.e. probably not much) will resume shortly.

Saturday, October 22, 2011



you might remember me from posts like 'exploding kidneys' or 'the potato solution' (still a good name for a court-procedural thriller). well i'm still here, i just haven't been talking to you. i've still been getting boxes, although things got a bit boring over winter, so i stopped for a while.

anyway, i boxed up this week and got leek, broc, cauli, mushies, oranges, tangelos, box choy, asparagus, apples, coriander, kiwi fruit. quite a nice spread.

today i went for a stroll at lunch time and happened upon an asian grocery. this generally means that i will buy things that i don't need nor will ever use. bulgogi marinade anyone? how about yuzu tea but in paste form? what about some salt-flavoured lollies? you get my drift.

but, on occasion, the products align. i bought some okonomi sauce and some kewpie mayonnaise. can you guess where this heading...?

boxonomiyaki!!! (really okonomiyaki, of course, with largely box ingredients).

found a simple recipe (they all are really - the degree of difficulty comes with extra like bonito flakes, nori or red pickled ginger and i had none of these).

here is a picture...

...couldnt have been easier. slice finely some cabbage, some mushrooms, add some corn kernels, spring onion and probably anything else you would like (seafood, bacon, other veges). 'okonomi' apparently means 'as you like', so go for it kids! add your veges to a batter made with 150g flour, 150mL water and an egg. fry in a little oil on one side till crispy and then flip and repeat (although at some point you will need to decide it is cooked, and remove it from the pan). some of the recipes called for tenkasu (tempura bits!) but i added deep fried shallots instead.

nest time, i'll add even more veges. i thought there was a lot in there, but there was space for more in the finished product. here is a picture for reference...

yes, it does look like a bowl of sick.

once cooked, squirt (the okonomiyaki) with okonomi sauce and some mayo, sprinkle some more spring onion on top and enjoy! very easy japanese version of bubble and squeak!



Sunday, July 24, 2011

chin chin 2

so i kind of accidentally ended up at chin chin for lunch today with the italian speaking anonymous contributor. it was delicious. when you go, for there is no if, you are required to order the kingfish sashimi and the son-in-law eggs. the rest is up to you...

a clear winner for best food of the year so far.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

chin chin...

was really very good. some of the best food of the year without question. but you've heard all that before. if you like the idea of getting together with some mates, picking at very nice asian food and drinking some original cocktails, you should get there.

the real reason for the post is to share a recipe (well, as close to a recipe as you get here). work has been off the scale - hell fortnight is over as of yesterday. i managed, between crises, talks, training and complaining, to order a box. it's been a while cos i've been jetting around the country a bit lately, and so box ordering gets patchy.

anyway, the recipe...this week's box had some massive spring onions in it (to be honest, i'm not certain that they weren't smallish leeks). a dish on relatively high rotation during the warmer months is inspired by a side-recipe in the cook's companion. stephanie describes a spring onions sauce that she puts over white-cooked chicken, often on boxing day.

the idea is to finely slice a fair number of spring onions, add a little finely chopped or grated ginger and/or garlic. then, heat up some peanut oil until it is almost ablaze. really. you want it smoking hot. when it gets there you pour it over the spring onions - there will be spitting and sizzling, but the spring onions cook a bit, and release some umami. to up this, you then add a splash or two of light soy sauce, a bit of chinese rice wine and maybe half a teaspoon of sesame oil. stir it all together.

for me, this gets pureed over some shredded/slices poached chicken boobs (i make a fake master stock to do the poaching) and some finely sliced snow peas or green beans. when eating it can, not surprisingly, get a bit oily, so i often make a quick 'salickle' (cross between a salad and a pickle - actually that doesn't really work does it now that it is written down...) with cucumber/carrot/daikon. i only had box carrots but this was fine.

the whole thing is served with steamed rice, and looks like this...

it is actually much more appetising than it looks, and could easily be vegetarianised (it would be great with either fried or fresh chunks of tofu). this was one of those rare moments for me where it was exactly what i wanted...plenty of 'frunch' (fresh/crunch - i am tired), and very tasty. after not cooking anything for myself for about a week, it was a nice change.

chat soon