Archive for month: October, 2010

Frozen Vs Homemade Mashed Potato

20 Oct
October 20, 2010

Did you know that you can buy frozen mashed potato? I didn’t before last weekend, and I must admit when I first found out I was actually in disbelief. Why the hell would you bother buying frozen mashed potato? I was completely amazed by this discovery.

My initial reaction was, yup here is another product on the market to supposedly make the working woman/man’s life easier, one that to be honest we really don’t need. But seriously, how hard is it to make mashed potatoes? How much time do you actually save? Are you sacrificing taste?

I put a comment on my Facebook status and this drew a few comments, there were also a few comments on a friend’s profile regarding the same thing (that is actually how I found about this stuff). I Google frozen mashed potatoes to see what I could find out. Various chat boards were filled with comments along the lines of buy “X” or “Y” brand, “they taste great” and “saves me form peeling and mashing potatoes”. Read more →


Daring Cook’s Challenge, October – Stuffed Grape Leaves

18 Oct
October 18, 2010

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

I had bought a jar of vine leaves a couple of months prior to the challenge. They sat there on top of the deli counter pleading for me to buy them. They knew I had never played with their type before and they beckoned for me to take them home and get all experimental on their grape leaf behinds.

So I did. I took them home and in the cupboard they sat, and sat, and then sat some more. I am hopeless with impulse deli purchases, I just can’t help myself most of the time. That jar of vine leaves would still be sitting there if it wasn’t for Lori and her great challenge. Talk about the perfect challenge, thanks Lori.

As there are only the three of us and the jar contained ample leaves, I decided to give two recipes a go.
I made grape leaves stuffed with ground meat and rice with apricot tamarind sauce. This recipe was the one that was provided by Lori which was adapted from Aromas of Aleppo by Poopa Sweck and Michael Cohen. Read more →

Unagi – aka Eel

15 Oct
October 15, 2010

Unagi is a delicacy in Japan, and an expensive one too. Unagi is loved for it’s flavour and apparently it also is said to have stamina giving properties. This is why it is traditionally eaten on the “Day of the Ox”, which falls during the hottest part of summer. as it will provide you with the umpf you need to get through the rest of the year.


I was discussing with the Fuminator how lucky I was to be in Tokyo in summer (even though it was a stinking hot 34?C on the previous day). Why was I lucky? Summer equals unagi in Japan. I had expressed that I had hoped to enjoy unagi no kaba- yaki (grilled eel) before heading back to Sydney.

Well low and behold, guess what turned up in my bento box for our lunch break during our day long of discussions at HQ. Unagi no kaba-yaki!!!

I will admit they were the biggest pieces of eel I have ever been presented with, they were massive.  I am use to the small portions of grilled eel you find on top of sushi or even plated in restaurants.  I haven’t seen anything like this in Sydney, or elsewhere actually.  The largest piece above is 20cm long.

It was explained to me that there are three grades for unagi.

Pine (matsu ? ) – the most expensive and sought after unagi
Bamboo (take ?) – medium grade
Plum (ume ? ) – least expensive and lower grade (but still expensive & delicious)

The Fuminator, with much pride, advised me that my unagi was indeed matsu unagi. What a lucky girl was I.

Sara xxx

Oktoberfest – German Austrian Club

03 Oct
October 3, 2010

Saturday (2nd October) morning, Mac, Josh and I headed out to Fairfield Showgrounds to attend Oktoberfest.  I didn’t have breakfast as after reading all that was to be devoured I was going to stuff myself silly.  I have never actually been to an Oktoberfest before.  I am not a beer drinker, I was in this for the food.

Fairfield is a million miles away from where I live and I just don’t go out that way.  Which is a shame in one way as it is right next door to Cabramatta, and that is one place I do wish I got to more often.

We rock up to Fairfield Showground, the place for the Oktoberfest festivities (I was lead to believe via the German Austrian Club’s website) to find markets happening.  I sped through those markets at hyper speed in search of pork knuckles, bratwurst, potato pancakes, gingerbread, assuming that the Oktoberfest would be at the other end.  I was wrong.

It was not being held at the showgrounds this year, they had cancelled it.  Mac started talking to a nice couple selling strawberries and they told him that it was actually being held at the German Austrian Club at Cabramatta.

We bought some strawberries, had a wander through the markets, I pulled out my trusty iPhone and we were on our way to the German Austrian Club.O1
The Club is quite cute and reminds me of a ski chalet.  We arrived just after 1pm the opening time for Oktoberfest and already there was quite a few people there.

Entry is $12 per person unless you are a member.  There is continuous entertainment and a German band was playing when we were there.O6
First thing I made my way over to was a small area to the side of the large hall which was selling German groceries and gingerbread hearts.  It was quite funny reading the translations of the German writing on the hearts.  I chose a large heart for $12 which read something along the lines of “kiss me continuously”, it comes with some ribbon tied on it so you can wear it around your neck, hehehe.  I chose not to wear it.
)26O20Next stop for Josh and I, to get in to the spirit of the festivities, was to pick up  some fun hats.  Josh went for a Jack Sparrow hat, complete with dreadlocks and I went for a green hat with feather.  Mac chose not to participate in our antics, though I did get him to try on the beer goggles and glowing Viking hat.
O31With hats on heads we decided to sit out in the beer garden out front near where the food was.  Main reason was it was packed inside due to weather.
O30 )25 The boys had a beer stein (500ml) of beer for $16, you get to keep the stein and refills are $8.  As mentioned previously I don’t drink beer so it was Riesling in a plastic cup for me.
O26The line for food was massive, seriously long.  I jumped in line while Mac went and got me my wine.  20 minutes later, one Riesling down, we were about half way up the line.  All in all it took just over 40 minutes to get served.  We took turns in the line :) O24The line with about 30 minutes still to go in waiting

We weren’t bothered, everyone was in great spirits, chatting and all wanting to have a good time.  Was a very friendly happy vibe actually.
)27 The line with 15 minutes to go
O15I decided to have wiener schnitzel and salads $20.
O14Mac went for the smoked pork knuckle, served with a dumpling and sauerkraut $20.O16Josh had chicken schnitzel served and salads $20.
O33I also ordered some spatzel and bratkantoffel, $4 each.

The schnitzels were really great.  Very tender and moist on the inside, crisp on the outside.  The potato salad served with it had a nice tang and the cabbage salad I can best describe as a cold crunchy sauerkraut.

The smoked pork knuckle was massive, dumpling not that impressive in texture or taste, sauerkraut was spot on.  You could have baked pork knuckle, which would have had that drool worthy crackling, but sadly when we eventually were able to place orders we would have had to wait another 3o minutes and decided not to.
O18The food was all kept in bain-maries and it was instant service when you eventually got to the head of the line.

The meals were very large and very filling.  We got a takeaway box and filled it with our left overs for Sally, a true doggy bag.
O22Josh wanted dessert and went for the black forest cake.  I just had to have a mouthful (or two, maybe three).
The club members running the event were all very inviting and friendly.  I think they really just wanted to share Oktoberfest and for people to enjoy their club..    O3We had a fun time, had some drinks, had some laughs and left with extremely full bellies.
Oktoberfest at the German Austrian Club is happening all this long weekend.


German Austrian Club
3-75 Curtin Street
Cabramatta NSW 2166

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