Fish & Chips

By | Australia, Chips, Fish, Flake, Potato cake, Sauvignon blanc, Shark | 3 Comments
There are lots of things I love about Australia and one is Aussie fish and chips. Growing up I ate fish and chips about once a month – a  rare take out meal in our family. We drove to the local shop where they cooked the battered fish and hand cut potatoes in bubbling beef tallow – delicious memories. So, when I was back in Melbourne, my mother and I went to pick up dinner and let me relive my childhood. 

 As we pulled up I realized I’d forgotten the wonderful graphics these store have…….

This image is painted right onto the store window (my flash is giving the eyes their surreal glow). Yes it’s a shark. As they have no bones they make great deep-fried fish fillets that we call flake. The graphics continue inside on the menu board.

The menu has expanded. since I was a child, and now includes a grilled fish option but why?  A fish and chip shop is all about frying.
I stayed true –  fried fish, chips and a potato cake  – a disk of potato battered and fried. But you have chips Jennifer! Yes, but a potato cake has its own unique texture and I’ve never seen them else where. There was a choice of 11 different fish, 11- I’m lucky to find 2 in Toronto. We chose flathead a sweet  fish that’d been hastily added to board so we knew it was very fresh.

We drove home with that wonderful aroma of food fried in clean fat filling the car. We ate them with a lemon wedge, picked from the tree on our way through the back door, my mother’s homemade pickled onions and a chilled Aussie sauvignon. Who says you can’t recapture the past? You can improve on it – I never enjoyed my fish and chips with a glass of wine as a child.

Finally Delicious Corn

By | Australia, corn, Japanese restaurants | 2 Comments

It has taken the Japanese to make me love corn. I don’t like corn on or off the cob and this summer in Toronto I just watched while my husband and friends delighted in gnawing it off the cob. Well here in chilly Melbourne in a Japanese restaurant Izakaya  Den  I had sweet corn kaki age – kernels of corn held together by a tempura batter, then deep fried and served with green tea salt. Fabulous.

Here and gone?

By | Australia, Melbourne, Oddbits, summer, Vegetarian, Winter | One Comment

A photo of what I’ve been eating. No I haven’ turned vegetarian it’s just the salads look prettier than the grilled sausages.

This is hello and goodbye. The manuscript for my next book  ODDBITS went to the publisher this week and I leave for Australia on Saturday. I hope to post from down under and describe what I discover and even make use of my twitter account so watch this space. And anyone complaining about this hot humid summer remember that winter is just around the corner. Enjoy sweating while you can I’m off with my winter coat, long underwear and gloves to wintery Melbourne.
Au revoir et bientôt.

Victorian Bushfires

By | ABC, Australia, Bushfires, Victoria | 2 Comments

I talked to my mother on Friday evening it was Saturday morning in Melbourne. She said the day was going to be hot again but nothing worse than the week of over 40C weather they’d just endured. Well, last Saturday turned into one of the most horrific days in the history of the state, as bush fires wiped out towns, destroyed property and killed people in their homes or cars as they tried to escape. To get some idea of the devastation take a look at the photos and short videos on The Age site. I have been constantly listening to the ABC (Australia’s national radio) to keep up with the news. These are the worst bush fires in history and over 166 people have died with more expected to succumb to their burns. The extreme heat and high winds combined to create a terrifying firestorm and fires that traveled at breakneck speed across tinder dry countryside. The devastation is unbelievable with some towns completely wiped off the map.
While most of the news is grim, there are moments of joy when people believed dead are discovered alive. Also encouraging is the outpouring of help from Australians all over the country, donating everything from food, clothing and money to blood. It is important to remember that those fighting the fires with the CFA (Country Fire Authority) are all volunteers who risk their lives to do their job. Aussie humour surfaces even at these most tragic moments as a man interviewed said, “yesterday I was worrying about how to pay my mortgage, well I don’t have to worry about that today”. His words make you realize just how important it is to appreciate life and loved ones and to forget those petty daily trifles that all too often consume us.