Review: TARDIS Tea Pot and Biscuit Jar.

26 09 2012

So, here’s a quick review of my TARDIS Tea Pot and Biscuit jar.

The Products are made of ceramic, and come from Zeon (UK)

Well, I liked what I saw straight away.

I had the mugs before and liked the fact that they felt heavy and solid, and maybe I like that because I’m a bloke.

However the teapot had a fragility about it, so I’m a little nervous about handling it, the sides don’t look all that thick, But it’s not too thin, it should be fine really, and isn’t china supposed to be like that?

Questions had been raised about how well it would pour, but I can assure you that it doesn’t spill and pours quite well.

I noticed a small scratch in the lid, which I was a little annoyed about, but that could have happened at any time from manufacture to shipping, and as Mum would say “I wouldn’t stop a horse to look at it” call it “character lines”? yeah, I think so.

The Biscuit Jar was smaller than I had imagined, but was absolutely huge on the inside! oh come on, I had to say it.

Actually it was smaller than I thought it would be, but during testing proved to be large enough, even for my larger home made bikkies, so the verdict here is there will be plenty of room for your Tim Tams.

It felt a fraction more solid than the teapot too.

There’s a nice tight seal on the lid, so the cockroaches are definitely going hungry, and it should keep the air out too.

Popcultcha had been waiting for orders from the UK for months, but they sent out their orders on the very day they arrived, they took photos of staff packing them up for delivery and posted them to their Facebook page.

My orders arrived a day after they posted their packages, which was great!

The boxes were well packed and as delicate as the contents were, everything was in very good order.

I’m very pleased, I think any #doctorwho fan would love to have these,
so a big thumbs up!

And well done to the people at @Popcultcha too!



A little pudding thing

24 08 2012

I saw this very nice recipe for what was supposed to be a bikkie but sort of turned out like a little pudding instead, but that didn’t matter, it was completely delicious.

Now I’ve tried these three minute cup cake things in the microwave before, and the results have been terrible, so my expectations were very low, but instead I was delighted.

I’m going to Ozzie-fy the recipe here so that it makes sense, although it wasn’t hard, and give you a few extra suggestions.

You need:

Two Tablespoons of Butter (The original said unsalted, but please!)
One and a half Tablespoons of Sugar (US = Granulated)
One and a half Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
Five Tablespoons of Plain Flour (US = All Purpose)
One Beaten Bum Nut (or Egg)
A few drops of Vanilla Essence (Use the real stuff, please!)
A quarter of a teaspoon of baking powder (Not Bicarbonate!)
Pinch of salt (So why did the original ask for unsalted butter? Skip this)
One snack pack of sultanas (I like fruit)
A Dessert spoon of Choc Bits

Sift the flour into a bowl and add everything except the egg

Beat the egg and add it to the dry stuff.

Mix everything together till it’s nice and smooth.

Pour into ramekins.

Bung it in the Microwave for two minutes on high.
(You may have to adjust this for your microwave)

I used a ramekin but found the mixture bubbled up and over in the microwave,
So use two, and share one with a friend or save it for later.

Here’s a converter for Australian/US Food, which was useful

And here’s a link to the original page, with photos.


Little black boys

19 08 2012

This post is probably going to annoy some of you, but I hope you understand its context… it is pretty racist.

There was a bizarre meme in our family which began with my Grandmother, as far as I can tell.

My Gran had died before my birth in 1965, and I understand that She married her Husband in 1900,
She grew up in a gold mining area near Ballarat, Education was very limited and of course She had God pushed into her from an early age.

My Gran, as far as I can tell, was a good Woman, although apparently fairly strict, but wasn’t always the most logical person.

Before I go further, I have wondered if she had been exposed to the same sort of education as myself, would she have said particular things? I think she would have been a different, and better person.

Anyway, She used to say this thing, which became a meme in our family, and whenever it was said, it was done in a kind of sarcastic way, recalling my Grandmother and her odd ways.

Eyebrows were raised, heads would shake, there’d be these rye smiles and a chuckle.

Whenever a new pot was bought into the house, a bottle, a jug, a new set of mugs, anything which could hold liquid, the meme would be uttered.

“Make sure you wash that first, a little black boy might’ve peed in it!”

Are you shocked? I totally agree if you are, it’s quite awful.

Mum used to wonder why the pee of a little black boy might be worse than the pee of anyone else, and why anyone would have peed on, or in, these containers at the point of their manufacture anyway?

Where did the phrase originate? Someone must’ve told my Gran, and I wonder by who and when?

And I wonder now, whether my Gran wasn’t the only one to utter those words, have you heard of it before?

On a side note, My gran also used to say “Don’t stand on that cold floor with your bare feet, the cold will go straight to your kidneys” Well we always thought that was odd, but years later I studied Chinese medicine and found, in that, the belief is a meridian line to your kidneys ends in your feet, and that standing on a cold floor is indeed bad for your kidneys (at least in Chinese medicine).

There were a lot of Chinese around gold fields, and herbalists… So the saying came from there.

I hadn’t thought about our mysterious little black boy, whoever he was, for quite some time.

However, I bought a nice green bowl today at Coles for when I have Thai Takeaway, and yes Gran, I washed the bowl thoroughly and raised an eyebrow in your memory.


Wolfies Bikkies

14 07 2012

I have been making these biscuits which are from the recipe on the side of the Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, They used to have another name, but it was changed to Rocky Crunch Cakes… It doesn’t appear to be on the boxes anymore so I was very careful about keeping the last recipe, and not throwing it out as usual.

You may call theses Wolfies Bikkies as I have tinkered with the recipe a bit, and they’re delicious.

I find these are very good for breakfast, even one is quite filling.

Also, I find I can’t come at anything milky in the mornings, so cereal is out… but this is a way to have cereal without the milk, I usually have it with my coffee (which has just a little bit of milk in it).

So the Ingredients are:

110 grams of butter – For those without scales, it’s roughly half a cup.

1/2 a cup of sugar

1 3/4 of a cup of plain flour, sifted – I just use a large strainer.

A cup of goodies (Not Graham, Bill and Tim)

1 1/2 cups of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes

2 teaspoons of baking powder (Not Bi-Carb) – I say this out of frightful experience, yuck!

1/2 a cup of milk

Microwave the butter in a cup on a very low setting for a minute or two, just to soften it up, you’ll need to stir it into the mixture, so the softer it is, the better.

Now, The goodies can be anything you like, fruit, nuts, choc bits, anything that comes up to just under a cup, and I have found the best things to get are the fruit snack boxes which are for putting in a kids lunchbox, they’re normally sold in six or eight… I get “Sultanas and Apricots” and “Sutanas and Apples” and use two of the first and one of the latter… then I throw in a handful of choc bits… you could use pine nuts or something else, but try to stick with the healthy stuff.

Mix all the ingredients EXCEPT the cornflakes together till it looks really well mixed together. The reason I suggest leaving the cornflakes out is because as you mix them, they break, until all you have are cornflake crumbs.

Once the mixture looks well combined, then add half a cup of flakes and gently fold them into the mixture (which is going to be pretty firm, but that’s ok), then add another half, fold those in, and then the final half.

Then cover a baking tray in baking paper, and get a real tablespoon, we have a very old one and I think a friend of mine, who does cook, was amazed to see an actual tablespoon, they are kind of unusual these days, and spoon the mixture onto the paper… you may need to work it off the spoon with a teaspoon.

If you do it right, you should have from about six to eight lumps of goo on your baking tray.

Now the thing is with bikkies (Aussie slang for Biscuits) is that they can burn easily, so you put them on a fairly low-ish heat, 150c is about enough (300F). What you want to get in your mind is that you’re not cooking/baking these, you’re drying them out, this idea stopped me from burning mine.

Then set the timer for about 30 minutes, though it may take a little longer, that’s ok, nice and slow.

If they look *slightly* golden on the top, they’re done, don’t push it… the underside can burn and the top can look as though it isn’t ready… nice… and… slow.

The best way to know if they’re done is to hang around the kitchen, if you suddenly smell something nice, they’re done.

(I use the nose when making pies too, it works).

Get them out of the oven and allow them to sit, they will come out of the oven hot and soft, but they harden as they cool, remember that!

Once they are cool (If they’re still there), wrap them in something air tight or pop them in the bikkie jar.

I hope you like them.


Chicken Poi

14 05 2012

There’s a certain kind of Aussie accent which causes people to say words like Pie as Poi… So yes, it’s Pie.

I have been under pressure from at least one of my Twitter followers to release he recipe for the Poi, after uploading photos of it here and there.

It’s a bit fiddly, but I can make it on one day in the week and slice it up into about six parts and that means I get quite a few meals out of it, which is very handy if you’re single and in a bit of a rush most of the time, it’s also a lot nicer than pre-packaged food.

You should note that there was an original recipe which I started with, which is available on the Burkes Backyard website, under “Fact Sheets” (Be warned “Burkes Backyard” is two things online, an Aussie TV show (Correct) or a pr0n site (avoid)). BUT I modified it because I’m a lazy bastard and I don’t want to roll my own pastry or fry my own chicken.

So, Here’s what you’ll need.

A baking tray, a good sized one that you could do a nice roast in. (now everything I list is *roughly* not *exactly*… have a fiddle around with things and you’ll be fine.

Baking Paper.

Pampas ready rolled puff pastry, I generally have some left over so I wrap up some sausages and cook those in the oven.

Campbells stock, or your own… about 2 cups worth.

Flour… It should be plain, but I had self raising, it won’t kill you if you use the wrong sort.

Butter, Yes, actual butter… not margarine, that’s shit.

One whole roasted chook, Yes you could cook your own chook, I don’t care… Americans, Chook is Aussie slang for Chicken. This chook should preferably be stuffed, with stuffing.

Vegetables… Anything will do, I use a collection of corn, peas, broccolini, carrots, celery… fresh or frozen, nobody cares. use whatever you’ve got.

Sesame seeds for the top of the pastry.

Line your baking dish with baking paper, then line the dish with pastry, join it up as best you can with not much overlap, but leave an inch or two hanging over the pan.

Stick this as it is into the oven to cook… a little… it will puff up… yes you can use other types of pastry, I just use this, it might be wrong but I don’t care. there are apparently little stones that you can use to weigh down pastry so it behaves, or uncooked rice, I think… But I don’t bother… just watch it so it doesn’t puff all over the place, remove it from the oven if it does.

Get a saucepan and put the stock into it, add about two tablespoons of flour… A friend was surprised once when he cooked here and asked for a tablespoon and expected a plastic measuring thing… I handed him an ancient, metal, table spoon.

Add a knob of butter and stir.

A tip from my Mum is this, when you make custard you stir and stir, making sure that the spoon is scraping anything off the bottom, or you’ll get lumps. Well the same is true for this so DO NOT stop stirring for anything. The moment you stop… LUMPS.

Not that it really matters, but still.

When it looks a bit like condensed soup, it’d done… remove it from the heat.

Right, pull the dish out of the oven, the pastry should be more or less cooked, sort of.

Take your  fresh and frozen veggies and dump about half a cup of each INTO the sauce you just made, and give it a good stir up so that it’s all combined.

Get the chook and begin doing the most terrible things to it’s body, put bits of meat evenly on the bottom of the pie, then cover with the sauce… save the bones for the cat (and save a bit of meat for the dog… don’t give chicken bones to dogs unless you want a hefty vet bill).

Use the skin and the stuffing, The stuffing saves you from having to muck around with herbs and spices. and the skin may have marinade or something on it… so use all of it.

Then cover the pie with the remaining sheets of pastry, brush with some milk, and sprinkle poppy seeds on top.

Bake at about 180c until it looks done… 30mins?

Then take it out and serve.

Credit to Deb for showing me that I could use a whole roast chicken if I wanted to, rather than fry up chicken pieces myself… and also to use baking paper instead of greasing the pan, which cut down on a lot of washing.

Wolfie! (Hoping I haven’t forgotten something, but I think that’s it)

Time for soup.

29 04 2012

It’s getting colder in Melbourne as winter draws closer, and the tummy of the average domesticated Werewolf begins to crave his Mothers soup, which is a standard in our family.

It’s a cheap and filling meal and wonderful for anyone who may be on a tight budget.

The other great thing is that everything you add to it, is to taste, that is, you can add or leave out whatever you like and the recipe shouldn’t go wrong… although I have a story about that.

Firstly, find the largest pot you have, I have a pressure cooker pot… the ring broke on the lid so I can’t pressure cook it (it takes a lot less time if you can) but I can simmer it just the same.

Add a combination of water and stock, probably less stock than water, and some salt… no more than a flat teaspoon. (If you don’t have stock then you can just use water, it’s all we used for years and the soup was fine… the reason I use stock is that I tend to leave an ingredient out)

(about 4 litres of liquid)

And you’ll need soup mix, this is a basic requirement for this soup, you must have this, You use about half a pack (a pack which fits nicely in two hands)

Please don’t panic about me not mentioning how much *exactly* should be used, as none of that matters, you will get used to how much you need and vary the ingredients yourself.

Put the heat on and simmer it, when it’s bubbling it should be a lazy sort of bubbling, not too fast! just barely bubbling, ok?

Now choose about three of the following, at least, or the lot… play with it, experiment, you can’t really go wrong… kind of… 😉 about a cup of each should do.

Potato, Carrot, Parsnip, Onion, Peas, Green Beans, Corn, Celery, Parsley, Leek, Bok Choy…

Pasta is ok too.

Now Mum always used a lamb shank, and what we always did was ate the soup, and the family dog would get the shank (Although Dad often had his eyes on it), But I tend to feel that sometimes a shank has hardly any taste, and it adds fat too the soup, so why bother adding it?  Therefore I have taken to using stock, which I buy in a packet from the supermarket… I also don’t like Onion much, and find that there’s enough flavour in the stock to skip the onion too.

I have taken to using broccolini too, which is something Mum never used (she hated corn too) but be careful when using broccoli from the garden, all I wish to say is inspect it, carefully… and wash it like mad.

Put a lid on (make sure the pot cannot be grabbed by a toddler) and let it bubble for two hours or so, at least until the soup mix is tender.

If it’s going well then the soup should develop a thickened look to the liquid.

On a cold night it’s fine to keep the soup on the stove overnight, and re-heat the next day for lunch or tea… You may find that it has turned to jelly overnight, it might spook some of you soup virgins, but all that it means is that everything has gone perfectly right… when you heat it, it will turn back into liquid.

If you still have some soup left, you can put it in the fridge, but don’t keep it much more than two days. or you could decide to freeze it, and microwave portions of it over the next week or so.

Or you may find that you eat it all in two nights, a family of three can do that fairly easily.

Now I did say that you can’t ruin the soup, However here’s My Sisters unfortunate story.

My Sister, Janice (Jan-eece), Could never make the soup taste like Mums, and she never understood why. While hers was perfectly edible, it always had a strange taste which was ok, but wasn’t “right”.

One day, many years ago, (70’s/80’s) She stood next to Mum and made the soup and it still turned out wrong.

Now the sad part.

I was talking to Jan on the phone one day, she had cancer, this was just a few years ago, and she didn’t have long to live.

And we were discussing Mums soup.

“I do everything Mum does and I still can’t get it right” She said (I’d heard this many times over the years) and then I mentioned that I make the soup. “I bet you can’t make it like Mum does” She said… “I do, it’s exactly like Mums”.

“It can’t be” She replied

“Well it is” I said.

“Well what do you add?…. Peas?” “Yes”

“Carrots” “Yes”

and the list went on, “Salt and Pepper?”…. “Salt” I said.

“Mum always used salt and pepper” She said.

“No Jan, Mum only ever used salt, and so do I”

It had become apparent what had happened, Jan had thought that salt and pepper simply went together and Mum hadn’t observed the error, or thought that a bit of pepper couldn’t hurt.

We were both stumped, after all those years we had found the tiny error which caused such a huge difference in flavour.

So remember… no pepper, unless of course you find that you like the flavour.

And one final thing, when you serve the soup, shake a little worcestershire sauce into it, it just adds a bit of kick.



* Give the dog a bowl of (cooled) soup, it will feed them too.

* If you use a shank, remove it *before* allowing the soup to cool, and wrap it up and put it into the fridge or give it to the dog, don’t allow the soup to cool with the shank in it.

* If you’ve used a shank, fat will form on the top as the soup goes cold, and you can easily lift this off, which I would advise.

A warming winter soup.

Hate Science?

25 02 2012

Hate science, and deny everything scientific?

Ok, Do this for me.

Switch off the computer you’re using, if you hate science, you shouldn’t be using a machine made by scientists, Then go into your lounge-room and get rid of your television, your DVD player, and your game consoles… all of which were developed from scientific ideas.

Don’t forget your mobile phone, mp3 player, radio and even the phone wired to your wall… you won’t want any of these.

Then go to your cupboard and throw away all your canned food, yes, your beer too, your instant coffee and whatever else you may find in there.

Then throw out your microwave and your fridge, both function on disgusting scientific principles, so you won’t be wanting those.

Then disconnect yourself from the power grid because, oh yes, more of that awful science.

Then leave your house because, oh no… the wood and the paint and oh dear, geeze that science stuff is everywhere isn’t it?

Get into your car… oh wait… sorry… um, put your shoes…. oh wait… remove all your clothing and walk to a cave and just try to survive there… I’m afraid you won’t be seeing a doctor anymore either, as medicine is completely science based.

No, you can’t take matches for a fire, sorry.

Now tell me…

Would you tell your doctor he’s lying after finding a tumour in your body with a CT scanner?

Would you expect  milk to go off after a day in your fridge because refrigeration is clearly a lie?

You know full well that all of the above works, so how can you deny science and embrace religion…

and somehow manage to feel that climate change is a lie?