The Annual* Pantry Clean Out

Clean Pantry

So today has been the annual* pantry clean out – not only to clean the shelves and reorganise things, but also a great opportunity to identify all the unusual ingredients I couldn’t help but buy, but have not managed to incorporate into my diet on a regular basis (or, in some cases, ever!) I decided to make a list of them, and then try and tick them off, by finding dishes that I can make with them – ideally on a regular basis. So, in order of pulling them out of the pantry, here’s my list of ingredients I’d like to cook with or consume this year, cos I already have them. Please feel free to suggest things I can try out!

red quinoa: recipe
glutinous rice: recipe
glutinous rice flour
tapioca starch
pomegranate molasses
candlenuts: recipe

Spider on the Rose

saffron
tamarind
nutmeg (whole)
dried procini mushrooms
chana dal (+ yellow split peas)
Oregon trail sourdough bread starter
chickpea flour
dried kidney beans
Ginjinha (Portuguese cherry liqueur)
pandan leaves
Panko bread crumbs: recipe
wonton wrappers

Also,  check out this spider who was living amongst the Rose! No sure where he is now. I took the photo,  left the bottle on the kitchen bench, and he was gone by the time I came back to dust off the bottle…

*I say annual, but it’s the first time I remember doing it, although to be fair we’ve only lived here for about 15 months. Anyway, lets be optimistic and call it annual.

MasterChef and Social Media

Perhaps I just wasn’t paying attention last year,  but contestants from Season Two of Masterchef Australia seem to be much more prominent on social media than those from Season One – twitter in particular.  (Indeed, the only contestant from Season One I’ve seen on twitter is Poh Ling Yeow and Poh’s twitter account is as depressing, as her ABC show is divine).

Few contestants seem to have been tweeting before the show – with Marion Grasby and Adam Liaw are exceptions.  The most activity seems to have been in the last week, which is not surprising,  given that the Final was last Sunday when, presumably, all further embargoes were listed.  Content, particularly on the new websites is fairly light and I’ll be interested in seeing  who manages to sustain interest and activity over the next few months.

Here’s a round up of the on-line presences of Australia’s Top 24 Amateur Cooks from 2010*.  I’m finding the difference in twitter accounts particularly interesting – there seems to be a whole microcosm of twitter just in these contestants.

Adam Liaw tweets at @adamliaw, follows 50 people, and has 1300 followers. As previously mentioned, Adam was one of the few contestants who tweeted before the program and his final tweet before, presumably, leaving to participate in Masterche is quite sweet. Adam has resumed tweeting since yesterday (28th July) and will hopefully continue now that he has a new iPhone. (EDIT 3/08/10:  Adam has a blog at : http://adamliaw.com/ Like his twitter account, it looks to have been active before Masterchef,  though again just coming out of a long hiatus.)

Callum Hann tweets at @Callum_Hann (follows 2, 204 followers).  Callum has yet to tweet, but I can’t help but feel intrigued about the two tweeters he’s currently following: @Dymocksbooks and @HootSuite.  Go figure.

(EDIT 1/08/09:  Callum now has a new online presence: tweets at @callumskitchen (following 6, followers 345), which he looks to have started about 2 days ago. Also is an associated blog: http://callumskitchen.com/ in a festive green (no real content yet,  but lets give him a couple of weeks to settle.  Presumably the @Callum_Hamm twitter account is a fake…)

Claire Winton Burn doesn’t tweet,  but has been actively promoting on Facebook since Sunday and her website certainly looks lovely. Her blog is not yet active, but she has a mailing list to join (no mail outs yet tho). Her latest (and only) article on quinces does suggest she will be a very good food writer, however.

Jimmy Seervai tweets at @Jimmy_Masterchef (following 54, followers 703) and has a website at http://www.jimmysspicekitchen.com.au/ Jimmy’s only been tweeting for a week, but he seems keen and I’m certainly looking forward to trying his Chai Brulee (assuming it sets this time). His website is slick, but suffers from a background picture that took an interminable length of time to download at low internet speeds (at work, don’t ask) and a few spelling mistakes. I’d probably prefer something a little less designed but that had easy and obvious places to comment and follow an RSS feed.  His Sunday Roast Lamb does, however, look delish.

Courtney Roulston is not yet on my radar.

Alvin Quah launched his website very soon after he left the show,  which I thought was a great move.  However it’s not been updated in over 2 weeks now,  which kinda loses momentum (to be fair,  he has been selling iPhones with Adam – he might be busy). His blog entries so far have been content free, and he currently  a single recipe for his drunken and bruised (which I am looking forward to trying).  I want to LOVE what Alvin does,  so I’m hoping for more content soon.

Aaron Harvie has protected his tweets (following 49, followers 235), but seems willing enough to allow people to see them if you request access (he did for me).  Is it worth it? Lets just say Aaron rarely gets close to his 140 character limit.  His tweets are short, obscure and probably most charitably considered a form of performance art.  No sign of his line of sauces, but his facebook site has more activity (could do with a name change though). (EDIT 03/08/10:  Arron has started a tumblr blog: http://foodthatrocks.tumblr.com/  So far it includes one recipe and more performance art)

Jonathan Daddia started tweeting strongly (following 899, followers 890), but, like Alvin, has dropped off in the last 2 weeks. His website still  documents his (former?) life as business consultant, though there’s a small note saying an update will come. Perhaps his new restaurant is keeping him busy.

Marion Grasby is possibly the only contestant to be food blogging before the Masterchef competion.  Her twitter account is: @hostesshedonist (following 499, followers 1341) and her blog is: http://www.hedonistichostess.com.au/ Happily, after no tweets for almost 9 months, Marion appears to have started tweeting again (like, yesterday).  I hope her blog (not updated since last August) will be back in action soon too, as it has some lovely food writing and some great recipes.

Peter Kritikides has a twitter account set up at @PeteKrita (following 75, followers 369).  He’s using it sporadically but it seems to be for a bit of social interaction, rather than promotion.

Joanne Zalm’s twitter account (@joanneazalm, following 27, followers 65) also seems to be set up for social interaction rather than promotion.  And, er, commenting on UFC.

Matthew Caldicott tweets at @mattcaldi (following 51, followers 318) and has a website at http://www.makesyouscreamforicecream.com/ Matt’s blog is an old school blogspot account.  His blog shows promise as a casual food blog (if some ‘homestyle’ photography); from his tweets it looks like he’s trying to get old-school commercial restaurant experience to rather than leverage for fame.

Sharnee Rawson is tweeting at @Sharnee_R (following 87, followers 232)  and like Matt has set up a blogspot account: http://sharneerawson.blogspot.com/ (with an unforutately busy background).  It’s only been going three days, but there’s a good mix of topics so far.

Skye Craig has twitter (following 49, followers 604), facebook and a website, and is using them all fairly heavily to promote he new dessert business, Wild Sugar.  Like Jimmy, Skye is leveraging herself pretty effectively and her desserts do look delicious

Jake Bujayer has set up a website to promote his seafood market stall, which sounds like it’s going great guns.  It’s a pretty static website, however,  so I’m not sure we should expect much more interaction from Jake in the future.

And the rest? Perhaps not making the top 15 has shamed them,  but I  haven’t found much (any) evidence of the rest of the Masterchef contestants (Fiona Inglis, Carrie Johnston, Philip Vakosl, Daniel Aulsebrook, Dominic Corrigan, Adele Fragnitiol, Kate Nugara, Devon Headland, Sarah Carmichael) on the web. More news as it come to hand….

Finally, a special shout out to to Matt Preston (@MattsCravat, following 67, followers 13,955).  Matt has been an entertaining tweeter during the  competition and I think the fact that his total followers is greater than the sum of all the Masterchef finalists demonstrates his effectiveness and appeal.

* Do you have an update or further info?  Let me know in the comments!!

The Kylie Kwong Drinking Game

Kylie Kwong’s My China is currently screening on ABC on a Friday night. It’s better than most things on at 8pm and I’ve watched at least the last three episodes.

Now, I’d love any show that regularly features dumplings and it has been good to see bits of China that I visited myself 10 years ago.  However,  I do find Kylie a bit odd. Can she speak Chinese?  She almost always uses English, but has no obvious translator when people speak to her. Her penchant for the same flavourings in almost every dish she creates (ginger, garlic, soy sauce, chinese cooking wine, sugar, sesame oil and spring onions) is making me wonder whether they can be as authentic as she claims (surely Chinese cooking has more variety than this!?) Finally, there’s her adjectives, which is where the drinking comes in to it. If you were to down a shot every time Kylie says beautiful, you would be quite legless in less than half the episode (last week she said it 19 times, this week 17 only). You could also include extra shots for absolutely, delicious, and amazing(ly), though these occur much less frequently.

(I did think that this would be the first Kylie Kwong drinking game to be suggested, but it looks like it’s not 🙂

Cash and Carry: A Magical Fairytale Land

Have you ever looked in the fridge and wished that you had more food? Say, for example, a 25L bucket of mayonnaise? Or 3L of fine quality french mustard?

No?

Actually neither had I – that is until I visited the hallowed halls of Cash and Carry WA!

Cash and Carry is a wholesale food store, with stores in Canning Vale, Balcatta and Bunbury. However,  while they do have the giant (seriously) 25 L tubs of mayonnaise and such, they also have aisle and aisles of normal sized groceries and most at prices cheaper than what you would pay in the supermarket.*

No veges, but they had a small but quality section of meat, a huge selection of frozen foods and, i think, very good value prices on washing powder and the like.

Now, normally you need some sort of card or membership to be able to shop at Cash and Carry.  I’m not sure of the details. However, if you are an RAC member, you can use your RAC card to get in too.  This is how I got in and, indeed, how I found out about it.

We managed to spend 2 hours in the store (it *is* Bunnings Warehouse scale), and about $200. The largest scale I went was a 2.5 kg jar of polish sauerkraut for my father, though I was seriously swayed by the 3kg mustard (I went for 2 normal size jars in the end.)

I am almost certain we’ll be back before Christmas to stock up – they had a pretty good selection of Christmas paraphernalia – not to mention a giant cool room full of hams.  The experience has also left me with the serious desire to do some large scale catering so I can buy some of the ridiculous sized tins. I need to have a party!!!

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*Though you do need to be careful here.  I reckon that things on special in the supermarket are probably cheaper – and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the idea that it’s all so cheap that it’s practically free, as you throw item after item in the trolley