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anglia manual plates

I’ve actually managed to combine my two favourite things in the world – food and outdated repair manuals. It started with seeing one of the many excellent plates of santos; the later purchase of a second-hand manual for this car; and the Spice designer also does plates with kid’s artworks.

Scanned into photoshop, contrasted, magic wanded, cut pasted,layered, opacitied, resized and then tidied up a bit. It gets printed onto special paper which is stuck onto a plate then fired and here they are.

If anyone’s got a spare copy of the 1918 Gray’s Anatomy or a manual for Hino ZM 312E, let me know.

hello old friend

I bought this Polaroid 690 maybe 10 years at a second hand camera store in Shinjuku for about ¥20,000. It folds down neatly into small booklet that hangs nattily over the shoulder. Reopening in another thing and I’ve forgotten how a few times and have been left looking like a monkey with a puzzle box. Polaroids in a way we’re a kind of precursor to photography as social activity that flickr is now. You could take one along to a party and document it as you went along. One version of polaroid film allowed you to draw in coloured pencil on it. Other than that they had their own special colour cast, were more boho than slide film, and you could chastise people for shaking them to get them to develop more quickly. Like teddy, it got stuffed in the cupboard when my first digital camera come along and there it sat until Saffy talked me in to getting a cartridge of film from KMart. (You should also check out the amazing Viv collection.)

[Polaroid SLR 690 which everyone respects – I’ve got to have a General Research 690 Case]

Oh yeah the risotto, it’s magnificent. Make a risotto as per usual with finely chopped onion and clove of garlic base with chicken stock. Meanwhile, take a couple of italian sausages brown them and the add a finely sliced fennel bulb (reserve a tablespoon of leaves for the end) and allow to gently sautee with the sausages. When the sausages are cooked, slice them and then return the slices to the pan and sautee a little longer. Add to the risotto at the finish along with the fennel leaves and a little butter. Stir through well, add some parmesan, season and serve. Really very good, should have cracked a bottle of wine with it. No pics though.

Polaroid of my (phwoarr) brekky at Sayers in Leederville. Good it was. Surprisingly nice depth of field in the photo, no?

sayers breakfast



This was given to me by Carita’s mum. I’ve only met her once but she was lovely enough to remember that I loved her crock pots and thought that I might like this. I did and I do. It’s got a heap of nifty attachments but my fave is the meat grinder, all I need is a sausage attachment and I’m set.
Which just makes me think… at this time of year it may seem like you’re being stuffed into a chute, torn apart in an auger and stuffed through small holes but there’s a lot of love out there this time of year, and if you’re lucky, you might just make some sausages.
And on that Christmas thought, whether you’re having a big family do, a bottle of booze at the beach or on the sofa, or just trying to get that office lady your co-workers set you up with off to a love hotel before the last train, have a lovely one. Thanks to all those who have called in here over the year – it’s been a pleasure. I’ve made and kept some lovely friends over the year (and ahmm I’ll be writing over the holidays) thanks t’ blogging and thanks also for your support for my move into the world of tree-based publishing.
Cheers all

happy birthday to me

Well yeah it was my birthday weekend. I’d tried for birthday week of celebration to get make all sorts of unreasonable demands but no such luck. I am a birthday princess.

Saturday was spent making a cassoulet for a surprise birthday party for a friend. It’s not technically difficult but it does require your attention for the good part of an afternoon. The finished product is the combination of six different manifestations of pork and a duck. It’s pork and bean casserole but then The Crucible is about witches ‘n stuff. Fabulous middle of winter party food for a party of 20 and you get to find out what a pureed half a kilo of so pork fat and skin and 15 garlic cloves looks like. Here’s an explanatory flowchart I made two years ago which kind of makes sense.

cassoulet map

Sunday was my birthday and I decided that people could bring an intrument along and mess about. The garage was dutifully tidied and after a slow nervous start it all became magnificent. Quality playing but I think putting the cello through a wah wah pedal via a big muff (no not that) to a Fender Bassman was particularly inspired. So impressive I didn’t get to play the opening bit of Iron Man for several hours. Total instruments were two electric guitars, two acoustic guitars, one bass, a cello, those little hand cymbal things, a shakey basket thing, maraccas, a tamborine, a didgeridoo and a harmonica. I’ll have to make this a regular thing at Maison Floreat, there’s much to be said for this eating, drinking, music thing.

Oh food – I spent most of the time faffing around in the kitchen making steamed pork ribs, pork belly, san choi bow, and fried rice vowing that I wouldn’t mess about in the kitchen so much next time. Helpful hint – don’t defrost packets of dumplings before you need them.

A good swag of pressies, apparently I’m a discerning alcoholic and foodie. Somebody was asking before about ceramic knives. I got one from Toni and they do look like some kind of ‘safety knife’ for special little cooks but they are facking sharp and my lacksadaisical attitude meant trimming a bit of nail and skin off my index finger. Bottles of stuff to go in the ‘save for nice’ department, objet d’art, flip flops, and bric a brac, a handmade beanie from Kate which you’ll no doubt be seeing, and a late arrival in the handmade department from Crafty (you should check it out)

37. Friends, they age with you.

In other news

ice cream maker

I’m a hip shaker
A heart breaker
I’m a motherfucking killer
with an ice-cream maker.
crock pot

As we all learnt from Great Expectations; it is not the pot that makes it crock. Nevertheless I have to say I couldn’t care less if this particular one had donkey poo potage in it, it just does it for me on many levels. I hope you like it too.

It doesn’t, in fact, have donkey poo potage in it but a very tasty lamb curry that I helped make amongst others for a lunch on Sunday. It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe but I don’t have it here, I could however point you to this Beef Vindaloo recipe, which turned out quite well.

I’d also tell you about the Mexican food that I made for a party on Friday night but I’m busy. Busy busy. Whistling sound in my head busy. Just quickly though, pop a few roasted beef bone offcuts in your chili con carne and add a bit of mandarin peel and juice (supposed to be orange but I didn’t have any at hand so next best thing, no harm done at all).

Been messing around with the Spice Mag homepage. Movable Type has been an adventure, think Ikea furniture with parts of the instructions saying “no instructions for the handles yet but perhaps you’d like to find out at the Ikea forum, perhaps they can help you”. Anyway you can take a look here so you can say you saw it when it looked all dodgy like, but you’re not saying that now because I’m busy remember so now I’m just accepting “wows” (unless it strangely links off to a Ukranian lingerie site or something so I can fix that). A few more days then it’s in the hammock, eating figs, and drinking moselle from the cask. Busy.

Captain Jim's Rhubarb Chutney

Bought this eye-catching locally made chutney in a fruit and veg shop in Toodyay over the weekend and I’m ashamed to say it was a kitsch purchase. Marketing has made Captain Jim’s as feasible as Captain Pete’s Arrr Me Hearties Fish Bits. I’m actually so jaded these days that I’d be suspicious of Jeff of Product Development’s Cheaply Flavoured Leftover Carb Bits or Mamma Maria Not Only Has Never Worked Here She’s Got Nothing To Do With This Pasta Sauce Pasta Sauce as some kind of reverse marketing ploy. Can’t even do aspirant any more and the less said about the British Raj range of overpriced curry pastes the better. I think I’m down to Hey! Spunky Guy Have You been Working Out? Organic Sound of Cowbell Goose Fat in the all that could appeal to me stakes.

Joy. Captain Jim is real. The site is here, have a look at the Background and you’ll see him about 50 years on. It’s a delight. The chutney is really good too. Not at all like the rhubarb in desserts, softly piquant. Just went on a chicken and sweet potato yoghurt and tomato curry. Sadly, good luck finding it in supermarkets.


Leica Digilux Zoom

This is the real star of the show – the Leica Digilux Zoom . Bought it just before the end of the 20th century, I’ve elise to thank for my new found love of it by confounding my hope a while back that I needed to immediately go out and buy a D100. The Leica mainly hangs around on top of my Manfrotto tripod waiting to interrupt the serving of most meals around here. With a cute dimple on the front, it still takes a mean photo. My only beef with it is no flash mount. What do we learn from this – spend a bit up front and enjoy at your leisure. Curious to know what you other folks are packing.

Why can’t you see my face, well that’s because I have no nose.

Three blog faves with old trusty: Rauchenfelser Steinbier; Bauernfrühstück mit Gewürzgurken; Barret’s Bread



I’ve been meaning to do a wok post since David Tiley bought a flash Titanium one. I’m sure he was being modest but I was concerned his fridge emptying approach wasn’t on par with the high quality mix of his blog.

A bit of general didacticism on wok cooking from tonight’s meal (and of course those who already know this will enjoy the opportunity to have their knowledge validated).


Stir fries should be over in a few minutes so everything has to be ready to go.

The base is ginger (peeled gently with a teaspoon-see santos) and chopped; garlic -crushed; spring onions – whites only, sliced.

Fried Tofu: boiling hot water poured over it to remove the oil and sliced.

Chinese Veges: stalks separated from leaves and both chopped in halves or thirds.

Egg Noodles: left to sit for a minute or so in boiling water.

Condiments: soy and oyster sauce. A teaspoon Toubanjan spicy bean paste can be added at the start with the base ingredients.

Wok: heat to smoking and then add the oil and up to almost smoking again. It’s got to be hot or it’s a sautee.


Toss in the base ingredients, stir and toss for 30 seconds, add the tofu and keep stirring for 20 seconds, add a splash of soy, and the add the stems. Continue stirring for another 30 seconds (the stems should look warm). Toss in the noodles, stir until warm, add a tablespoon of oyster sauce and stir it in adding the leaves. When they’ve softened slightly, serve. If the stems are hot and crunchy, you’ve done well. If not, try again.

Any other advice gladly taken.

Gear: Big cast iron thing from an asian supermarket with a bandage wrapped around one of the handles to allow grabbing.


What you see above is the Le Creuset Moroccan Tagine. It was a wedding present to two friends for reasons of it being a very cool looking thing and low likelihood of them already having one. As knives are bad luck, finding well established 30 somethings a wedding present is no easy task. Since I liked it† there was a bit of vicarious pleasure to offset the sadness of having to give it away. They were nice enough to invite me to its christening so how could I refuse.††

Tagines are functional to boot, slow cooking, the water rises to the top and cools and then falls back into the dish. You can of course appreciate how this would be important in a desert area. As an added bonus, the very top doesn’t get hot so you can lift it off with bare hands (yes I tried).

Dinner was greatly enjoyed to the fill with a beef and a chicken casserole (forgot to get the official names) and couscous. Worked through a few bottles of Samson Budweisers (round the corner from Budvar); a bottle of 2001 Howard Park Leston Shiraz; and the, must be the zeitgeist that someone else had brought along a couple of bottles of Skuttlebutt Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot .

Finished the evening with cognac and a nasty battle with two engineers in that masterful game of changing conditions, friction and gravity – Jenga.

†something about the tagine that I can’t quit put my finger on

††though due to a scheduling clash I’m now down for 6 dozen fundraising Caramello Koalas to help the fight the forces of darkness.

Suspect Device

No, not the cover photo of my new novel RUC & IUDs, a gripping fast-paced tale of forbidden cross-denominational love in Northern Island.

It is, rather, evidence of research done a couple of months ago after I worked out there are very good reasons for serving beer in glasses way back here in May. Like any late convert, when a friend offered me the latest Guiness in a bottle, I demanded a glass. “No” he said, “it doesn’t need one”. He was right, so we smashed open the bottle top have a look at the widget inside, took a photo with his camera. The photo came a few weeks ago.

I’m going to be a bit a priori (read lazy) about this and offer the following explanation. The widget creates a tunnel in the flow to the mouth allow the flavour to breathe and open up, just as happens in a glass. I went on to imagine that the wings create a hydrodynamic effect like a turbine. But then considered the less exciting, but more important function of preventing the widget becoming lodged in the throat.

A walking swill-bowl?!

The Curiosities of Ale and Beer by John Bickerdyke

“A drunkard is the annoyance of modesty, the spoil of civility, his own shame, his children’s curse, his neighbour’s scoff, the alehouse man’s benefactor, the devil’s drudge, a walking swill-bowl, the picture of a beast, and monster of a man” – a Mr.Dod 16th(?)C

A 16th Century quote in a 20th Century edition of a 19th Century book by a man whose name seems suspiciously unlikely. Found it at Mainly Books and giving it to a good friend to whom I have a lifelong debt for ramming a car with another car into the side of his house when we were neighbours. He’ll get it right after I’ve done a bit more scanning and found the incantation which brings Kalgoorlie Bitter back from the grave. sed non incorpore…

I did wish I had a burnt orange Crockpot and an XB Falcon but that’s life.

A big cheers to umami for doing the hard work on Reader’s Funky Appliance Fiesta (rFAFi)

Apropos: a plug for Gadget Lounge.

Cognito ergo pod

Having popped out not long before man first stepped on the moon, I am 35 today. 35 – never had a truffle, never poached a whole salmon, never roasted a goat – but who cares I now have an iPod. An iPOD! did you hear that, an iPod, oh hello Mr. Tree did you know it can hold 5000 songs, Good Morning Mrs. Bird – look it can organise songs by genre…

I’m the luckiest boy in the world…oh no.