All posts filed under: Food

French Women Don’t Get Fat – A Retrospective

Here is a scary fact for you – it has been over eleven years since the original publication of French Women Don’t Get Fat in Australia. When published in 2005, the book heralded a new wave of French lifestyle advice that dominated so much of women’s literature. Even now, we can still hear its echo. I have often since mused on the subject of French dining habits and sought to apply their reputed habits to my own way of living. I was 23 when I first picked up my copy in a burst of youthful enthusiasm. If you’re previously unaware, the book advocated a joyful appreciation of food and asked us to see the cheap, tasteless slop we often consume for what it is. As someone who blew far too much of her meager pay cheque on cheese and artisanal bread, this idea made perfect sense. There was of course a hitch… portion control. From what I could gather at the time, there was an assertion that if the food we ate was of a higher quality, we …

Brownie Pudding Biscuits

Not quite a Brownie. Not quite chocolate pudding. These chocolatey biscuits bridge the gap between the fudgy wonder of chocolate desserts and the portable dunk-ability of biscuits. I based them on a chocolate slice I enjoy containing sweetened condensed milk. It gives them a chewiness and richness that replicates the texture of a brownie. I wanted this in a biscuit because I always make such a mess of cutting slices, but mostly because there is something a little more refined about a biscuit. Make no mistake however, while biscuits generally may be refined – these biscuits taste like Grace Kelly back-up dancing in a Beyonce video. Alrighty. Now I’ve built them up, here they are… Brownie Pudding Biscuits Makes 24 Ingredients 1 ¼ cup self-raising flour ½ cup desiccated coconut ½ cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons cocoa 125g melted butter 200g sweetened condensed milk 150 mixed chocolate buttons Method 1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C. 2. Add all ingredients except chocolate buttons together in a bowl and mix until incorporated. 3. Stir through chocolate buttons. 4. Roll heaped …

A New Culinary Adversary? If The Choux Fits

I have a new culinary nemesis. As you might have gathered, it’s Choux pastry. On the last visit to my family home in Warrnambool, my mother (a cook) offered to demonstrate Choux. I was pretty pleased. It’s ended the “food dream” of many a fresh-faced Masterchef Australia contestant. It’s fiddly and requires some serious elbow grease, but useful for so many things in pastry-making. It’s essentially a matter of melting together butter, water and milk, then adding flour to make a roux. When the mix is cooleds somewhat, you add eggs and stir like a woman possessed. When baked, the moisture in the mixture expands as it evaporates, thus creating the hollow inside which is used to create a whole family of pastries, including eclairs, croquembouche and gougères. The process sounds simple. My mother made it look simple. With her supervision it was simple. At home on my own… not so god-damn simple. Two batches and a minor melt-down later, I am licking my wounds and swearing vengeance. I do not like to be beaten …

Fresh Stuff at the Little Bird Cafe

The site of the old Bibo Cafe in Ballarat has been given a fresh beginning with the launch of the Little Bird Cafe. Since opening in Dec 2014, the co-owners Jill Bingham and Susan Anderson have brightened the space with a lighter, airer colour scheme, while retaining much of it’s prior retro charm. The menu is brief, but includes some interesting highlights. My lunch sitting comprised of a tasty Bahn Mai pork belly roll with a generous amount of fresh herbs and a sharp, sweet chilli sauce. The pork was very rich, however the salad cut through most of that. Naturally my husband and I couldn’t leave without trying the Mac and Cheese Croquettes. They were, as one would hope – light and cheesy with a crunchy crumb. Gooey in the middle. I could definitely order a large plate of them… and scoff them by myself… on the couch… in my pajamas. The breakfast menu looks promising too, with house-made sweet and savoury crumpets. If you haven’t had a fresh crumpet before, you really don’t what …