Opinion Australia

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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Missing in action?

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Perhaps not so much “missing in action”, as “missing because of in-action”.

What am I talking about? Well I went to my diet specialist to have a chat and see if we can do something about my total inability to control my eating.Β  You might remember I lost 40+ kilos just before Xmas, I did make a big fuss of it after all πŸ™‚ Well *since* Xmas I’ve managed to put nearly all of it back on again!

Ok I have a few excuses… huge number of people to feed over Xmas with the associated temptations… then breaking my toe and being inactive for 6 weeks or so… then coming down with the flu twice… not to mention collapsing with back/hip pains several times… but whatever the excuses, the result has been *bloat*.

The specialists recommendation were in three parts.

1. Back to the diet and exercise… obviously
2. See a specialist about a lap band operation… which I’ll be doing tomorrow afternoon.
3. Get off the Internet… well get off my backside and away from the computer which amounts to the same thing.

Well, ‘1‘ and ‘2‘ can be done simply enough… but in order for them to work… I have to implement ‘3‘. While I spend all day sitting by a computer chatting, reading and the like I’m not moving and not moving. If I’m not moving, I’m not burning calories – and especially not if I’m scarfing down whatever I can find in the cupboard while I’m (not) doing it.

The clear answer is to get off my substantial backside and move around more, preferably out of the house and away from the temptation of the kitchen/larder/fridge – during the day especially!!

The general upshot of this is that I’m letting you know in advance that the blog will only be updated intermittently for a while. I’m assuming I’ll be here in the evenings a couple of times a week but I’m not promising. If I do, I’ll post whatever I can find worth commenting on. If not… well… I won’t! πŸ˜€

So for now… I’m off.

Written by welshdog

August 27, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Posted in Food, Gripes, Health

Surely it can't just be me?

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Have a look at this pasta sauce lid. Tell me if you notice anything a little ‘odd’ about it.

Latina Pasta Sauce lid

Not obvious yet?

Ok… have a look at the wording two lines under the ‘Fresh Sauce’ bit. See it now?

I’ll write it out so it’s clearer…


Maybe it’s just me but that makes absolutely *no* sense to me whatever. I’m all for product warnings in places where inadvertent and/or unexpected damage or trauma may be caused by something but I just can’t imagine a situation where anyone would expect to heat something and *not* expect it to get hot?? Otherwise why on earth would they be heating it?

Am I that far off line that I’m the only one who thinks this is bizarre??

Written by welshdog

May 30, 2008 at 9:14 am

Vege Chips.

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We’ve got a product here called Vege Chips. I assume the same or similar products are on sale around the world and all would be carrying the same implications of ‘health’ and ‘wellbeing’ resulting from eating them.

The selling points on the pack are that these things are Gluten Free, and contain 40% less fat than regular chips (crisps). However they are also far more complex than your average ‘chip/crisp’.

Looking at the back of the Vege Chips packet you see the ingredients listed as Cassava, Tapioca flour and starch, Sunflower Oil, Sesame Seeds, Vegetables (Chinese Cabbage, Garlic, Shallot Leaves), Cane Sugar, Sea Salt, Natural Herbs, Spices and Spice extracts, Dextrose (made from Tapioca), Food Acid (330).

On the back of the potato chips packet you see listed as ingredients, potatoes, vegetable, salt.

Potato chips/crisps are sliced, cooked in oil and sprinkled with salt. That’s it. Bearing in mind the processing that the ingredients in the Vege Chips have to undergo before they are firm enough to retain their shape, which one is really the healthier option?

Is it worth it for a reduction in oil and fat levels? I don’t know. The Vege Chips contain far less saturated fats it’s true but the percentages are a little less than accurate as the packet of potato chips shows a total of 32% fats (total) where the Vege Chips shows 20% (total).

Basically it seems ‘yer pays yer money and takes yer choice’. Best bet might be to just eat neither!! πŸ˜€

Written by welshdog

May 21, 2008 at 8:36 am

Posted in Food

Tagged with , , , ,

Rhubarb Crumble

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The daughter in the UK was asking the other day about Rhubarb Crumble and how best to make it. I love ‘crumbles’. They are so simple to make but such a sweet treat and useful for cooking all sorts of fruits.

The traditional apple’ is a favourite, but for me so are blackberry and apple, and rhubarb. In fact I even plonked two plants in the garden this year so that *next* year we’ll have a plentiful supply ‘home grown’! πŸ™‚

Recipes? Method? There are hundreds of them… many with quirky little regional variations handed down from mother to daughter… or in this case to son. In its simplest form tho, the basics tho are as follows.


  • Note: Preheat the oven to 180Β°C (400ΒΊF?)
  • Roughly 1 kilo rhubarb stalks (enough for 4-5 cups of chopped rhubarb)
  • 1Β½ cups of light brown sugar (or white if you’ve nothing else)
  • 125g / 4 oz. butter cut into Β½ inch squares
  • 3/4 cup of white flour


  • Chop *all* of leaf of stalks (they are poisonous)
  • Wash stalks and cut into approx 1 inch chunks.
  • gently rub butter and flour together until it looks like breadcrumbs
  • Pile rhubarb in pie dish. Cover with crumble mixture.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the crumble is browned and crispy.

Nice at room temperature, or chilled a bit… but *best* hot… with a dollop of ice cream!! πŸ˜€

It’s a bit harder to make crumbles with firmer fruit (like apples) which usually need a little stewing to soften them before the ‘cooking’ part but otherwise the method is pretty simply for all fruits. Enjoy.

Written by welshdog

May 16, 2008 at 7:32 am

Posted in Food

Tagged with ,

Pea soup!

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Ahh… pea soup! Oi… get your mind out of the gutter… that *wasn’t* an instruction!! I’m sitting here surrounded by the aroma of boiling ham hocks with those subtle underlying hints of bay leaf, parsley, thyme and pepper… it’s quite gorgeous.

On the weekend we were in Woolworth’s and I saw a couple of hocks sitting on the Deli counter so bought them along with a couple of packets of split peas. Ok I’d have preferred those ‘whole’ peas known here as ‘Blue Boilers’ but you can’t buy what you can’t find on sale. I’ll have to look in other places in future, but for now, the split peas will do.

Up on the counter facing the pan in which the hocks are bubbling away gently is a glass bowl inside which, and looking swell, are the peas with their bright green skins glistening in their water, all fresh faced and eager to please. Peas please? Hmmm.

The hocks will simmer for an hour or three and then tomorrow they’ll be flayed and have their meat hacked and chopped and stored in the fridge until the peas are ready. The remaining bones will go to the dogs. Not sure if boiled ham bones are actually good for dogs, but they love them so we hope for the best.

Lastly the stock and peas will join forces in a pan and simmer gently for a couple of hours along with adequate seasoning of course, and when they are ready… in goes the chopped ham.

Ready to serve? Nearly. A dollop, or to be polite a spoonful, of sour cream, a sprinkle of paprika and maybe a small sprig of parsley for effect… and we’re done.

Instead of the sour cream etc, some people prefer a slight squeeze of lemon or lime juice, each to their own.

I’m happy without.

I just love home made pea soup. I’ve said as much in here several times in the past… and I hope to do so many times more in the future! Perhaps I *do* need that book on British cooking after all. πŸ™‚

Written by welshdog

May 13, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Posted in Food

Tagged with , , ,

Dinner tonight.

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Dead simple food can be a real treat.

Fresh Swordfish steak, smeared with tomato paste, smothered with parmesan, black pepper and a little salt; baked in a hot oven for 10 minutes or so, then finished by searing under a hot grill ’til the cheese bubbles and browns.

Serve with steamed broccoli and French beans with some Tartare Sauce.

Dead simple food, but dead nice… and yes… a real treat!

The youngest and I came home really late from the skating rink, but luckily the wife is a good cook! πŸ™‚

Written by welshdog

May 12, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Food

Tagged with ,

Home at last.

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It’s been a very long day but we’re home at last. Too late to work on the site, too tired to spit. Well fed after the leg of lamb… but so tired I just need to sleep. πŸ™‚

Did I mention the leg weighed 3.5 kilos? Only cost $3.99 a kilo too. Good value we thought… tho for a ‘lamb’ to have a leg that weight probably means it was really hogget… but what the heck. It really tasted ok and just fell off the bone!!

I’m off to bed… I’ll have a go at the site tomorrow… I’m *sure* I’ll be ok by then!! πŸ˜€

Written by welshdog

March 31, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Posted in Food, General Ramblings

Tomorrow is another day!

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Well if ever a truism was true… I suppose that one is! πŸ™‚

The wife is currently on her feet and meandering around the house. Still in pain but at least more mobile than she has been most of the day. We live in hope. Maybe she should have a nice hot bath later filled with salts and suds and just let herself relax in the water. Sounds good to me… and as the tub is way big enough for two, maybe I’ll pour myself a large glass of butterscotch schnapps and join her!

As for the food? The ham is cooked and I’ve ‘tested it’ several times today… and damn nice it is too!! I didn’t glaze it with anything exceptional, in fact just the essential cloves and a few spoonfuls of demerara sugar. The turkey was ‘plain cooked too’ since it’s going to be eaten cold with salad.

The kids have had a good day as far as I can tell. The ‘egg hunt’ went off well as it always does. The Easter Bunny left them masses of eggs and they spent an hour or two this morning hunting around the house until they were satisfied all were found. Even so I’ll bet there are one or two that will turn up in the coming months. Last year we even found one as Halloween approached! So engrossed were they in the search… that they totally forgot to look next to their beds and there were loud screams of delight when they finally realised that there were a couple of large eggs there for them. πŸ˜€

So. The wife is currently playing the piano, one child is watchingΒ  a Mr. Bean movie, the other is playing some game on the computer. The dogs are asleep, Snoopy across my feet… where he belongs… and Kit under a desk making those little noises so reminiscent of a two stroke… which is what *she* does best. Even allowing for the wife’s back pains… it’s been a really nice family holiday so far.

One day left – I wonder if I’ll manage to get to get into the garage to start clearing up? πŸ˜€

Written by welshdog

March 23, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Posted in Food

Tea hee!!

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Boiler Repaired!! I’m sure you’ll all be relieved to learn I ‘repaired’ the water boiler. Only took a couple of minutes… turned out the ‘fill’ tube had a crack in it so all I needed to do was invert it and screw it back together. It took more time to clean the scale off the screws etc. than to do the rest of the job… but that was all it was. Simple really.

Anyway, now we can drink tea etc without that ‘awful hassle’ of filling up the kettle (joke). Actually… because it’s so big and there are so few of us using it now, we don’t really need that amount of constant boiling water… so probably won’t use it until the oldies come back over. But at least it’s fixed. One less job to do. πŸ™‚

Written by welshdog

March 23, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Food

Stir-fry… mmmm.

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Following The Phantom’s lead regarding stir-fries… sorta… I thought we’d have one tonight. Nipped out, bought some stuff and off we went.

Chicken breast, broccolini, mushrooms, baby bok choy, mushrooms, carrots, baby corn, snow peas, garlic, ginger and coriander… cooked (not in the order listed) with walnut oil, honey and some Kikkoman Teriyaki sauce. It wasn’t too bad… with a quite acceptable range of textures and flavours.

Of course it could have been better… always can. For example, it would have been better if I’d remembered the red onion… erk… and better yet if I’d made the sauce! I know it takes just a few minutes, but I don’t have any mirin on hand and sake doesn’t last long here!

Either way I liked it. Had we all been less hungry I’d have taken a photo or two… sorry. πŸ˜€

Written by welshdog

March 12, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Food