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Showing posts from April, 2014

Using a phone while driving 'safer' - motoring body. (In fact, why not upload a few photos to Facebook along the way?)

Welcome to the future of driving with the RACV Connected Vehicle app began the mailout, predictably beginning with a cliché. Welcome to the future of ... fishing? abseiling? home brewing? race walking? The app, the mailout explained, made your driving experience safer , more convenient and enjoyable . (My emphasis.) How can using a phone while you are driving be safer? The mailout did not specify. The app, it went on, provides you with personalised access to the information you need to enhance your total driving experience . Notice in that line at least five words marketers drop into their sentences - in any order - to sell you something completely useless. The app's Eco Drive function lets you get rated on your driving behaviour and compare your performance with other members ; while its My Trips feature lets you geo-tag your photos and upload (them) to Facebook . Look out, here comes a hairpin bend! Tag it! Upload it! You can check the weather (if it is not obvio

Spicy rice updated: cardomom included.

That's the simple name for what the recipe specifies as lentils and rice with fried onions. Doesn't sound great, tastes amazing. Even the children eat it. Its simplicity and ease of preparation means it is on high rotation here, like a Rolling Stones hit on 3XY in 1967. Lentils and rice with fried onions. You'll need: One cup each of red lentils and long grain rice, two large onions, 2½ tablespoons ghee, 2 teaspoons salt, ¼ teaspoon each ground black pepper, ground cloves, ground cardomom, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg and 3½ cups boiling water . Wash the lentils, removing any that float. Drain thoroughly. Melt ghee in a heavy pan that has a lid. Slice onions into thin rounds and fry until golden brown, stirring. Remove half the onions and set aside. Add lentils and rice to pan and stir for a minute or two to coat in the hot ghee. Add water and spices, stir well, bring to boil, add the salt, stir again. Turn down to a very low simmer, place the lid on the

Hit the spice shop.

I never met a spice I didn't like, and I especially enjoy throwing as many in one dish as possible. The following recipe is the most tantalisingly fragrant dish I have ever cooked and always results in people (family members, guests, passing neighbours, small children, etc) demanding some, even if they profess to dislike curry. All the spices are freely available along the Sydney Road Little India strip. Fragrant curried chicken breast. In a food processor, blitz four cloves of garlic, a large peeled knob of ginger, five whole dried red chillies, an inch of cinnamon (or a teaspoon of powdered), five cardamom pods, five cloves, a teaspoon each of black peppercorns and cumin seeds, and half a cup of vinegar until it resembles a relatively smooth paste. Meanwhile, fry two finely chopped onions in ghee or oil or some of each until soft. Then add a can of diced tomatoes and a teaspoon of salt. Cook a few minutes, stirring. Add the paste and a teaspoon of sugar. Saute a few minute

Red is the colour ....

Well, actually she doesn't wear a lot of red. I'm talking about food. (What is that song?*) Red capsicum prices have come down from the stratosphere so let's cook some. Pasta with swordfish and capsicum. Swordfish is a robust, tasty, magnificent fish that holds together when cooked, making it suitable for barbecuing, etc. According to some, it is also endangered, so get it while you can. (That last comment shocks some of my politically correct friends just like sacrilege would have shocked the middle classes fifty or sixty years ago, proving that eco-obsession has filled the need for religion in an increasingly atheist society). Slice the fish into three quarter inch cubes and marinate it in lemon juice and a dash of balsamic vinegar. Meanwhile, roast a red capsicum, peel it and cut it into strips. Cook some tomato fettucine (I use La Triestina, made locally - in Brunswick). Sear the fish in a heavy pan, cook a minute or so longer, and add it to the drained pa

Little red footballs: the last of the summer tomatoes.

It was the first day of the second month of autumn and it reached 35 degrees. I hadn't counted, but the tomatoes must have got into the thousands; which makes growing them, especially cherry ones (slightly oval, like miniature Sherrins), worthwhile despite having to fiddle about with stakes, pinch out lower branches, and tie up vines with old stockings etc. It's not that much work if you have the time. My tomato growing rules: plenty of compost and good soil but no tomato dust and no pesticides. Plant basil and other herbs around them and they’ll keep most bugs away. Most of the tomatoes came straight off the vine and onto the table or into the pot, but I ripened some on the front window sill. Several of this year’s vines were taller than me and, late in summer, were still sending out tendrils in all directions, like a besieged Dustin Fletcher on a bad day. And now I was down to the last few dozen red orbs. I thought I’d send them out with a bang: one of summer’s great dis