Category Archives: Things

Soup of the day

Soup of the day


Worst. Soup. Ever.

Easter eggs

Easter eggs

Happy Easter! Here are some Easter eggs I made – hard-boiled eggs, decorated with crayons and coloured with food dye. I made these purely for my own entertainment. They weren’t a ‘fun activity to do with the kids’. (Cause I don’t have any, or associate with many of them. Also, as a kid I thought these Easter eggs were lame – seriously, hard-boiled eggs, that’s it? Meh.) I didn’t even share them with anyone or take them anywhere. I just decorated my own hard-boiled eggs so that I could enjoy looking at them for the few seconds before I peeled them and ate them. Yep. There’s really not a lot more to say about it than that.

Awesome sauce

Tabasco chipotle sauce

People bandy about the term awesome sauce all to readily these days. It’s a pity, really, because it cheapens the term. And it makes it harder to convey just how awesome the Tabasco chipotle sauce is. It’s the definitive sauce. It wins. It doesn’t come in the standard Tabasco bottle, you know, the little one. It only comes in the big bottle, which makes sense; if someone gave you a small bottle of this sauce it would be almost like they gave you nothing. It would be a tease. It would be an insult. This is the kind of sauce you want to slather, not delicately sprinkle, over food. And you want to know that if you need more, there’s more there. Actually, come to think of it, it should only be sold in a twin pack, so you always know there’s more… No, wait, it should be pumped to your house through a chipotle Tabasco sauce tap right next to the water tap… instead of the water tap… no, scratch that, water, while not chipotle Tabasco sauce, does have its own merits.

The photo above didn’t capture the halo that is usually around the bottle. And it’s hard to express the immense sense of well-being that comes from having a full, unopened bottle in your hand. The possibilities! Everything becomes a vessel for sauce. You start planning meals based on what you can put the sauce on. Apparently, people even put it in their coffee.

Anyway, the point is, if you see this sauce, buy it. According to legend, it’s ‘the pride and joy of Paul McIlhenny, president of McIlhenny Company’, the makers of Tabasco sauce (and other things, apparently). He used to only share it with family, and now he’s given it to the world. What a dude.

In the interest of full disclosure, I purchased this bottle myself, and I do not represent the sauce industry or work for the McIhenny Company. But I totes would – they could pay me in sauce and I’d be happy.

On grapefruit…


Recently, I found myself in possession of a grapefruit. Not a lovely pink or ruby red grapefruit, mind you, a regular ol’ yellow grapefruit. It must be tough being a yellow grapefruit these days, living in the shadow of your pink and ruby red cousins. Needless to say, I wasn’t particularly enthused by the grapefruit. Had there been gin in the house I may have been more enthused, given that my favourite way to have grapefruit is in a gin and tonic with a splash of Campari. But, my lack of enthusiasm was trumped by my hatred of wasting food, so I set about finding a way to use the grapefruit. I guess, at this point, it could have occurred to me to just eat it, but I’m really not a massive fruit fan. And why does such an ordinary tasting fruit have to be so comically large? Grapefruit are all like ‘Yeah, I’m bitter, but there’s HEAPS of me’. I don’t know… do they want to be eaten or not?

Grapefruit cake

If I can’t combine fruit with alcohol to make it palatable, I usually try to find a way to bake it. And this is what I did with the grapefruit. Remember my lemon yoghurt syrup cake disaster (of course you do, I know how religiously you follow this blog!)? Well, I swapped the lemon for grapefruit. Revolutionary, I know. Swapping one citrus for another has NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE. Until now… It’s probably a bit early on in the life of this blog to start rehashing recipes, but I can’t think of anything else to write about this turned out so well I thought I’d put it up. Anyway, I’m not reposting the recipe because I didn’t really change it, I just used a bigger pan, which I greased AND lined with paper, and I put grapefruit zest and a couple of tablespoons of grapefruit juice in the cake mixture, and grapefruit juice and some orange peel in the syrup, because I’d used all the grapefruit rind by that stage. The cake is actually really nice with the grapefruit, the vast amount of sugar cancels out the bitterness, and it goes splendidly with a cup of tea and a hangover. Obviously, it would be even better with a pink or ruby red grapefruit.

Grapefruit cake and tea


Well, this is an exciting development:


It doesn’t look like there’s mush-room in there!

I bought this mushroom growing kit two weeks ago, so it’s pretty exciting to see some mushrooms coming through. I feel an immense sense of achievement, even though I didn’t really do anything – the mushrooms really did all the work. Yesterday morning these mushrooms were tiny, and today, bam!, full-sized, all grown up and ready to be eaten. Apparently mushrooms can double their size in 24 hours. 24 hours! That is crazy. I wonder how big they’ll get if I leave them… I could end up in a situation like this:

I don’t know, they seem like a bunch of fun-guys to me.

Yep. I went there. People wish they were this funny.

On avocados…


Cutting an avocado in half to find the inside like this makes me happy. It’s a small joy in my life.

Here’s a true fact: once, my grandfather accused my mum of not being good at picking avocados, and she swears that since then she’s been cursed to only pick bad ones. I think this is pretty unfair – she taught me how to pick an avocado and I seem to have a pretty good hit rate. So, the lesson is, beware the power of accusing someone of not being good at picking avocados. Not sure if this extends to all fruits, so be careful. It could, however, also be a powerful tool for smiting your enemies. Or, if not smiting, slightly inconveniencing them. I guess you could cope with a lifetime of brown stringy avocados, but really, what kind of a life would that be? Sub-optimal.

Here’s another one: I once made a birthday card for a friend who loved avocados that said ‘Avocado on your birthday’. Get it? Like, ‘Have a card-o on your birthday’. Because it was a birthday card. They didn’t get it, or they didn’t think it was funny, I can’t remember which, but it was probably a combination of both. I would like to point out that I was about 10 years old.

That’s all I have to say about avocados. For now…

Tiny pineapple with coconut pikelets

Tiny pineapple

My dad gave me this tiny pineapple for my birthday. It’s from the pineapple plant I gave him a while ago. Look how small it is – you could fit it in your pocket!

No, really, look how small it is:

Tiny pineapple with strawberry

It’s the same size as a strawberry! Hi-larious.

Dad suggested I put it on the blog, so here it is. I figured I should actually do something with it, other than put it next to a strawberry and giggle to myself. So, what does one do with a tiny pineapple? There aren’t too many options. I decided something pina colada adjacent would be good. And something quick. To my mind, the coconut pikelets were a stroke of genius. I’m sure I’m not the first person to have the idea, but I was particularly proud because they came out pretty well and I just used ingredients I had in the pantry. It always feels like an achievement when I make something that tastes good and I don’t have to leave the house for ingredients. (I’d like to say this is where the inspiration for the name Paddington pantry came from, but, sadly, I’m not that clever.)

Coconut pikelets
Serves 2

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 tbs caster sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 egg
25 g unsalted butter, melted

Caramelised pineapple
One tiny pineapple, skin cut off, halved
25 g unsalted butter
2 tsp brown sugar

Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk. Add the coconut milk, egg and the butter and whisk until combined. If it’s a little bit thick, add more coconut milk, or add a bit of water.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. I usually spray it with a little bit of oil too, mostly because I don’t trust non-stick pans to actually be non-stick.

Cook pikelet-sized spoonfuls of batter for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown.

Meanwhile, for the caramelised pineapple, heat butter and brown sugar over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the pineapple and cook on both sides until brown.

We had the pikelets with yoghurt, mint leaves and strawberry jam. I did the food styling (I use the term loosely) for this one:

Tiny pineapple and coconut pikelet - my styling 

While my boyfriend did this:

Tiny pineapple and coconut pikelet - Mr Gaunt's styling

I will hereby be handing over the food styling and photography for this blog to him. In my defence, his looks better because he used my homemade strawberry jam…



Whenever I find an ant in the sugar it makes me think of Scarface. I bet this ant (Anty Montana? Tony Montanta?) is having the time of its life at the moment, but it will soon become paranoid and alienate all its friends. This can only end in tears. And violence.

Salt scrub

Salt scrub in jar

Last winter, I bought some salt body scrub at the West End markets. My skin is a big sook and doesn’t cope with dry weather (or cold, hot, or wet weather for that matter – I’m not quite sure what environment I’m really built for, but I suspect it’s indoors), but the scrub made it feel great. When it ran out, I bought a fancy beauty spa version of it from Mecca Cosmetica and I was also given a L’Occitane version for my birthday. Both of these were were really good too.

This year I was worried I wouldn’t have any (like, actually worried about this in the way someone might worry about something important), because of my limited finances. But after a bit of a look around the internets, I found a few recipes. I didn’t exactly follow any of them, but I did learn that the key (well, only) ingredients of salt scrub are salt and oil, and decided I could probably manage making it myself. When I did, I felt equal parts impressed with my resourcefulness and embarrassed that I’d bought it in the first place.

Salt scrub

Jar – I’ve found that one with a plastic lid or one of those latch-type lids is best
Fine salt – not the iodised stuff
Grapeseed oil – apparently you can also use almond oil, which I decided would be too expensive, or olive oil, but this can be a bit ‘oily’, whatever that means…
Essential oil – you can use whatever takes your fancy – I recommend rosemary

Combine the oil and salt and add a few drops of the essential oil. To avoid making too much of a mess, I suggest filling the jar about two thirds full of salt and then adding a bit of oil at a time and mixing with a knife until combined. You can then add more salt if it looks a bit oily. When it’s finished, it will form a kind of clumpy mixture, like this:

Salt scrub

Stir through a few drops of the essential oil, and that’s it.

To use it, rub about half a teaspoon of the scrub all over dry hands for about 10 seconds. Wash it off with warm water and dry your hands thoroughly. They should feel moisturised but not oily. You can also use it on your arms and legs, but be careful about how oily the floor gets when you do this. And it makes a nice gift. I mean, who wouldn’t be stoked to be given a Vegemite jar full of salt and oil?

Fettuccine wound

fettucini wound

Have you ever cut yourself with pasta? I have. It wasn’t cooked pasta, which I hope makes it marginally less silly. I’m cooking pasta for dinner tonight. Perhaps I should wear safety gloves…