Alternative careers in Campsie

First day in we walked up the road to Campsie town centre and were pleased to see one or two buildings offering the possibility of an alternative career in Sydney.



A few hundred yards along we came across an indoor fruit and veg market almost as good as K & N in Birkenhead. Five rows of deep shelving stretching back into a long room each rack given over to a particular type of fruit or veg which in turn gave rise to a great block of bright colour.There was nothing different or that unusual in there apart from lemon grass almost 18 inches along and and apples stained pink with Chinese lettering.

Further along we came across shop windows filled with deep red duck and chicken hanging over trays of tripe and duck heads, jelly fish and what looked like the various innards of pig. In Between the shops there were restaurants from every corner of South East Asia, Malayasian,Vietnamese and Chinese with some of the Chinese places selling brilliantly white buns.


Above all this the tops of some of the shop fronts could have come from Birkenhead.




We may need a bigger pond

I need to spend some time reading up on the life development of a frog.

Two weeks ago there were half a dozen of them in the pond. They were no more than an inch or so long and if I made too much noise or came too close they disappeared under the water.

This Friday they all seem to have grown by another inch or so and although they might skedaddle if I get too close they are soon back again, basking on the surface of the water, and getting up close and personal with each other and the water is taking on a porridge like consistency thick with spawn. If next years brood is as successful there will not be room for them all.

It must be something to do with the weather which was just about warm enough for us to have lunch outside. I was even tempted to light a BBQ but was quickly told there was too much packing to do for that.

So lunch was using up most of the remaining veg in the house including two fat beetroot. They were peeled and went through a grater together with some carrots, an apple and half a bulb of celery. Some chopped parsley was mixed in along with olive oil, sherry vinegar and salt and pepper and a dozen raisins for sweetness. We had this with burgers the recipe for which is worth repeating.

Bread crumbs were made. As they were ground ever finer I tipped in a whole red chilli, a clove of garlic, some spring onion and a good handful of green herbs. This all came out as a thick green bread crumbed mulch which I mixed with my hands into a pound of mince together with more salt and pepper, a dash of Tabasco and a dash of Sriracha sauce.

They were very good burgers.

Stuffing a chicken with garlic

I saw somewhere this morning that today is meant to be the first day of Spring. That could be right. The garden is about to burst into colour. A few daffodils are out already if they have been able to get some sun and a half dozen bluebells are giving colour in the woody shade under the orange lobelia. Rather to my surprise there are a few tulips that have come up from the bulbs I planted last year amongst the apple trees.It appears that more than I thought managed to survive the greed and ravages of the squirrels.

Last night we ate the second of the five chickens I bought to stock up with from The Farmer’s Market. It was the biggest and I stuffed it with garlic.

There is something very satisfying in stuffing a chicken under its skin. It is a question of using your fingers to push their way up carefully easing the skin away from the meat to create a pocket into which the stuffing can be stuffed. It is dirty work but once the stuffing is in their it can forced into the odd corner by smoothing over the skin. This has the added bonus of allowing some of the flavour to be rubbed off onto the skin.

The stuffing was a mixture of garlic, coriander and saffron courtesy of the first Moro cookbook.

The garlic was soften in simmering milk. A couple of tablespoons of the hot milk was but in a bowl with an extravagant amount of saffron. It quickly took on a beautifully dep yellow colour. Once the garlic was soft it was taken out of the milk and allowed to cool. Then each of the cloves was squeezed out into the bowl with the milk and saffron. Ground cumin was tipped in along with some chopped coriander and olives oil. The gloves were crushed with a fork and it was all mixed together.

A frog chorus

Spring must be here.Walking out into the garden the sun was out and there was a particular brightness in the air.

Yesterday afternoon when I had walked out into the garden there was a noticeable plopping as I got close to the pond but no sign of what might have been responsible as I got close enough to see.

I was more circumspect with my approach this afternoon and was rewarded first with the low burping sound of frogs in rut and then with the sight of them heads up through the weed. I think one of them might have been a toad, it was thicker and more robust than the others.

Some of the frogs had an obese look about them as they hung on the surface. They were less bothered by my approach and I assume they were females about to release their spawn. Hopefully by next weekend the pond will slick with spawn.

This evening we have had our last chicken. I furtled under the skin of its breast to stuff it with garlic, butter and herbs and then left it to roast. It was particularly good with roast potatoes and carrots boiled with honey.

And in the meantime the first of the bluebells had come out.