General chat mid August – with Bobi

(Over to Bobi, with thanks – Juz)

The last general chat has gotten a bit long and, in honour of Zhee’s triumphant march towards culinary famedom, I thought we should talk all things food.

A caveat before I start: I have limited cooking ability, and was raised on porridge, backyard chooks, golden syrup dumplings and rice pudding (warm belly and just yum) but it does colour my viewing habits. No croquembuches for me.

I should have inherited baking skills as my grandmothers were members of the CWA, and prize-winning sponge makers – proper sponges, not these artificial, tasteless things that you get at the supermarket – but sadly not.

I love cookbooks. I buy and read them like I used to buy and read magazines but the only cookbook I actually use is Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute cookbook. It is dog eared, wined and floured. I couldn’t give this book away. My family would starve to death.

My favourite website is Cake Wrecks (old fashioned I know). It gives me minutes of pleasure. I enjoy it because these people are professionals. I know.

Something to aspire to.

My favourite tv show is The Great British Bake-off. It broke my heart when the presenters and judges moved on. Masterchef take note. I am anticipating death by a thousand small disappointments. Maybe if Channel 10 revamped, rejigged and rebranded, and pretended that it was an entirely new show., MC could continue successfully. They should pay me for this advice.

I do like the spin-offs of Poh and Justine (although Poh should do something about that nervous laugh. It’s almost like a tic.). Their shows have variety, and guests, and I almost feel that I could cook some of the dishes – unlike Nigella and Maggie Beer. They are very same-ish: over-hyped, over-blown and over-done.

I couldn’t finish without giving the Americans some credit. I enjoy Spencer’s Big 30 (SBS) immensely. He is chatty and energetic, and he is not ambitious on my behalf. There was bubble and squeak today, and granola with strawberries and yoghurt, and cheese croissants in case you thought it was all too easy.

Of course, there is always Nailed It (Netflix) for pure pleasure. This is absolutely mandatory viewing in my house with the girls. Apart from the fun of it all, it’s important that they learn that it doesn’t always have to be perfect. And the judges are fabulous … worth every cent they are paid.

– Bobi



    • Summer seems to be over here as well. Don’t mind that. I’d rather have rain and 20 degrees than 40 degrees and shitty humidity. 😉 Poor Daisy though who is in France again and suffering from our bad weather.

      • It’s such a strange concept to us, Zhee, for it to be so hot and for no one to have aircon. But then we don’t live in apartments that are hundreds of years old

  1. GBBO is still my fave cooking show, even with Mary, Mel and Sue gone. Noel is a good host, Sandy is fine (I prefer her on QI) and the woman judge is not great but bearable.

  2. I don’t really watch many cooking shows at all, to be honest. I only tuned in to MKR all those years ago because everyone else was watching. I imagine that’s how trashy reality TV shows get popular in the first place.

    I like eating food, but I don’t think I have all that much, in the way of skill, in terms of making it.

    The back half of the year, I find I don’t watch a lot of TV. “Survivor” is on, and even that is wearing a bit thin, although I’m absolutely looking forward to the new Australian “Amazing Race” on soon (even though I’m iffy on Beau Ryan as the host). With “Bachelor”, the novelty’s already worn off, it’s just the same batch of botoxed bogans as every year, with obvious producer-plants and contrived storylines. Watching the “Unpacked” recap segments on Facebook is just as entertaining, and they only cost you about 5 minutes of your day. Maybe I’m getting grumpier in my old age?

    I bought the “Endgame” DVD last week, and I’ve watched it twice, so far. I’m not sure there’s many movies I want to see, between now and next year. Nothing’s coming out that interests me. Although I’ve discovered how to record and store things, on my Foxtel box, so I’m amassing quite a digital collection of movies that I didn’t watch at the cinema, but can now enjoy at my leisure.

    I don’t have many adventures planned at the moment (despite all the cool things I got to do between, say, April and July. I hit August and it all just grinded to a halt), although this week, there’s definitely a couple of places I want to go and have something nice to eat for lunch. Like I said, I’m good at eating food, heh.

  3. Watched ‘Simply Italian ‘ on SBS last week. Some very good recipes and will tweak my beef ragout recipe after watching the famous Italian cook’s Anna’s version.
    Liking ‘The Chefs Line’ on SBS
    Making my own Gluten free bread this week as it’s way too expensive in the supermarket.
    Enjoying ‘Anne with an E” on Netflix. Well cast and well acted/produced.
    Another cold week in Melbourne this week.

      • My mother is gluten-free as well. Initially, that’s what they thought was wrong me with me, a couple of years ago, but I’ve been eating wheat my whole life and have never had any issues with it.

        • My dad wasn’t diagnosed until his 50s. They think the gene “triggered” after he had a brain aneurysm. Apparently that can happen if your body is stressed by a medical event

        • Since my mid 50s, I haven’t been able to eat too much bread. It feels like it turns to home made glue in my stomach.

          • I can’t have multi-grain, anymore, but wholemeal does the trick for me. And white bread, while nutritionally-poor, is helpful for a tender stomach.

      • Juz , I buy the Gluten free bread mix in a box at Safeway. It is $3.50 when on special. Good recipe and turns out perfect. Tried the ALDI version. Very disappointed and won’t buy again.

    • I love the Chef’s Line: love the judges and love the concept.
      I will follow up on Simply Italian. I lived for 6 months in Rome and 10 years in Leichhardt. Italian food is the best.
      I have spent many an hour trying to convert people to home-made gnocchi.

  4. My current favourite is Kid’s Baking Championship.The kids are a bit American-style precocious, but very talented for their ages, and often funny and cute too. Love Duff Goldman, and Valerie whatshername is fun to watch.

  5. Bobi, I like Spencer’s Big 30, too. I think he fudges a little on the 30 minutes, though, since he often after an ad break says “while you were away, I did this and this and this.”, but that’s a quibble. Poh’s Kitchen is pretty good, except that she starts raving about the guest chef’s dish almost before she’s tasted it. A bite goes in her mouth and she’s in raptures before the food has had two seconds to hit her taste buds.

    I’m a good cook but a shit baker. Some day before I die, I will make some scones that rise and are fluffy. Some day.

    • Good luck, Von.

      Several of my aunties would make scones on a wood stove , Adelaide Hills style, 1960’s. No sob stories, no Nonnas, no “dreams” or racks of cookbooks. No tears.

    • The Ladies of the FNQ CWA tried to teach me how to cook scones. No matter what I did there was still some “Kindly Meant” comment.
      In the end I decided that the main ingredient was to treat the dough lightly ( and don’t forget the salt). The less I kneaded it, the happier they were.
      I just in case you are wondering, jam then cream,

      • My MIL gave the best advice – never go near scones with anything but your hands. Barely mix it, don’t ever knead, just lightly pat down to no less than an inch, then cut the circles.

        And, of course jam then cream (my rule, not the MIL’s).

    • I’m a good scone maker, or at least I am told. I use sponge flour (if I can find it), or a good quality flour, but I dont sift and am really quick and rough when I make them. I cut squares with a knife, not circles. They are rough but good. Then I use that French blueberry conserve (I can’t think of the name) and cream.

      I want to have a go at making baba au rum and budino when I get home.

      • I’m a good scone maker, or at least I am told. I use sponge flour (if I can find it), or a good quality flour, but I dont sift and am really quick and rough when I make them. I cut squares with a knife, not circles. They are rough but good. Then I use that French blueberry conserve (I can’t think of the name) and cream.

        I want to have a go at making baba au rum and budino when I get home. When I say rough, I mean that I don’t do much to it.

        • I am a decent convert to making scones using lemonade for the sugar component and cream for the dairy. No rubbing in butter to flour required

          • Guys, thanks for the scones hints, even though I may be a bit more confused now :).

            I think I overwork the dough, but haven’t tried again since figuring that out.

            I just put butter on scones. And, sometimes, *sotto voce* peanut butter.

    • So the Catholic Church are still sticking up for this maggot. Makes me very glad I gave that lot the heave ho when I was 17.

  6. By and large, I’m a Lazy Chef so I stick to things I know, and if I do use a recipe, I look for things that are easy, then I try and make it easier.

    In Florence we went to a restaurant called Cuculia. The best food I have ever tasted and the best restauraunt experience. First we are given bread fresh from the oven and a free soup (which probably wasn’t called soup). If you have fb, check out Cuculia. Then ignore the fancy presentation and know that it tasted insanely good. What I liked to was that they weren’t up themselves. Waiters and chef were so nice, humble and friendly.

    Maybe Zhee can visit.

  7. So, they are doing a 4th Matrix movie. I was like:…
    Because the movies the Wachowski Sisters did after the first Matrix were any good. I mean. Jupiter Ascending. Speedracer. Matrix 3. 🙂
    On the other hand, more time to look at Keanu!

    • I feel bad about “Speed Racer”, because that is probably one of my favourite movies of all time, but audiences really didn’t care for it much.

  8. We have been searching online for formal dresses (our girl is up to year 12 exit time) and all my ads here are now for Junior House of Trash. Honestly, can’t you get a dress that does NOT make you look like a Bachie reject?
    Luckily she is quite keen on something simple. . . so I may be able to get back to MY kind of ads, which are all about holidays, home wares or realestate I can’t afford. All of which I am happy to click for Juz’s benefit.
    This is the current front runner

    • I like the dress but not the colour. Pretty, simple, flattering and a little bit interesting.
      Does she know that she will spend the next 40 years of her life in black (didn’t we all)? She will look back with regret.
      Can you persuade her?

    • I had a look at the mango shop and the first thing that struck me that I want to take all those models to the local all-you-can-eat at the RSL! So ill looking.

    • We have also started talking about “the dress”. Fortunately DD doesn’t like too much flesh showing, so I have faith in her choosing. When we needed a bridesmaid dress last year, we had success in a small local bridal shop, with a strapless dress. It was too long, so we cut off a hem and used the fabric to make shoestring straps. Otherwise she wouldn’t have worn it. There is a possibility she might wear that again, but doesn’t want to discuss it until Trials are over.

      She also doesn’t like heels (beyond a centimetre or two) so the dress has to match that.

  9. My formals were 88 and 90 so you can imagine the style of dresses we wore.
    Meanwhile, in cooking show news I have just tuned in to UK MasterChef Professionals and they are doing a skills test of prepping a whole woodcook, feathers and all. It has confounded most of them.

      • I am rubbish u less it’s an easy multiple of 100. I am much better at the letters but I don’t know how they do it in the studio with all the carry on

    • We have competition in the family to get both the number and word, and usually someone gets the number, but not always in the time limit. We often write down the ones we can’t get and keep trying later, but there are some that seem unsolvable.

      As an aside, DH has always believed he is the stereotype of the practical kid who left school after Yr 10, and yet his mental arithmetic and word skills are amazing. I wish he hadn’t been labelled like that as a teen, as it just wasn’t true. In fact, he wanted to do Home Ec but was refused as a male, but he would have been a talented chef.

  10. If you didn’t see Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds on ABC tonight, try to make time to watch it. It’s an excellent show, very funny at times, and made me almost cry other times. I thought it was a one-off, but it seems to be a series.

    I don’t much like kids, except for the ones I know, but none of these were obnoxious little assholes. As for old people, I am an old people, so maybe empathised with them more. It’s still well worth a view.

    • That’s funny. I love kids. I am like those dog lovers that want to pat every dog.
      When I see a child I always want to smile and talk to them. Make them laugh.
      Even the naughty ones. I’m a kid lover. Now I’m a dog lover too because I miss Harry and Maggie.

    • I have trouble with things to do with old people’s homes. I upsets me. I think it’s disgraceful that they even exist.
      Our parents spend 20 years raising us and, as a reward, we tuck them away in places that are under resourced, where there is little to do, and where they are ill fed.
      I get that if they are sick or have Alzheimer’s, then it’s appropriate, but perhaps then we should call them hospitals – and resource them accordingly.
      See how my mind goes?

    • I watched this show. Very enlightening. Geriatric depression is not talked about a lot. I thought the statistics would be higher.
      Loved the painting exercise. Will be interesting to see next weeks program.

  11. Woop woop, GBBO started again! 🙂

    And I still so glad I am not working anymore, because Blizzard launched the World of Warcraft Classic server. I just do not know why people want that again.^^ But there you go, nostalgia or whatever it is.^^
    Launches are always stupidly busy and stressful and now especially after so many people have left.

    • I will have to get my hands on some episodes! Zhee, have you bought your toolkit for culinary school? Ages ago I did a few months part time at TAFE here (which is a trade school), studying cookery, and still have all my whisks, knives etc

      • Nope, not yet. I already have a lot of stuff. What I am planning to get though are knives for left handed people and they are unfortunately more expensive than the regular knives.

        • I knew those, Dave, as well as scissors and can openers, but had never thought of serrated knives.

          How about left-handed toothbrushes? Hairbrushes? I had very painful RSI in my right hand some time ago and needed to use my left hand mostly. It’s really hard to get your brain to adjust to using your less dominant hand! Well, it was for me.

          • Toothbrushes are fine. 🙂 Scissors can be a problem very often. And yes, it is a problem with serrated knives. And they are perfect for cake cutting and carving. They are on the wrong side for me and it often happens that the knives then get stuck in the cake and I more than often cut myself.
            Also, ladles… often they have a side to pour the sauce easier, for me, it is on the wrong side.^^
            What is funny though in my family, I am the only female leftie. The other lefties are my cousin and my dad and my Opa was a leftie as well.

  12. I’m a big fan of Michael Parkinson, so of course I watched “Parky” last night. Even as an ad for his farewell tour of Australia, it was interesting to see bits of his interviews and hear him talk about his career. Richard Wilkins, whom I’m not a fan of, did a reasonable interview.

    I looked up ticket prices for his Perth show, 10 October. Although I haven’t been to a live show in years and years, the best seats are $152 + $9 fees, which I guess is reasonable. Plenty of the best seats, centre in front of the stage, were available last night but today are sold out, left-centre has one seat remaining today, and right-centre has 10. I wasn’t the only one who watched the show last night :).

    I was a little stunned at the opening of the tv show. Parky was doing a bit, without make-up; and there was this frail-looking old man. He’s 84, so it should not have been a surprise, and of course he hasn’t been on tv for a long time, but I felt sad.

    I love that old man and hope I can budget to see his show. And I hope he is around for a long time still.

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