Allsorts

"A slang term designating the drippings of glasses in saloons, collected and sold at half price to drinkers who are not overly particular." Urban Dictionary

"a mixture, especially a mixture of liquorice sweets" Dictionary.com


Yes it's Sunday and time for one of those odds and ends pieces. It's amazing how many words and phrases there are that sort of mean the same thing. So far I don't think I have repeated myself on the title of this kind of post.


The first definition above is American and comes from A Dictionary of Americanisms published in 1902. And strictly speaking it's not quite my title because the word is split into the two words which make up the Liquorice one.


A long time ago I did a post on liquorice allsorts so I won't repeat myself even if we have all forgotten it. So what have we got this time?

My attempt at Ixta Belfrage's Plaice with green and yellow tomatoes.


Here it is, together with the oven chips that I made. My tomatoes were red and mini yellow ones. And probably not of the best quality I have to say. I'm sure the taste would have been amped up more if the tomatoes had been those gorgeous ox-heart tomatoes you get in France and Italy. And the fish was whiting not plaice - well this is Australia. Overall I think I would only give it 3 stars - better tomatoes may well have amped it up to 4. And I didn't use chilli but instead used mini capsicums. But crisp escapes me. I can never get oven chips to be crisp. Tasty but not crisp. And the sliced capsicums didn't crisp up either, which they were supposed to. I don't know what I do wrong. Maybe the butter should have been hotter? And too much salt. I was good and applied salt when told. Next time I won't. And I had to use coriander too instead of the basil and oregano that were recommended. Sort of OK and definitely quick and easy, but not wow.


The best pizzeria in the Asia/Pacific region is in Melbourne

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Newsletter announced last week that the 48h Pizza e Gnocchi Bar is the best pizzeria in the the Asia/Pacific. Second were the Chinese at Bottega in Beijing. The restaurant has two venues in South Yarra and also in Elsternwick. The name denotes the 48 hours it takes for the dough to prove. This was the first year that the two regions of Asia and Oceania were combined and there is pretty hefty competition from all over the region. I Mean we're including foodie destinations like Tokyo and Singapore here, not to mention Bangkok, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Although, that said, 48h Pizza e Gnocchi Bar won the Oceania competition last year so there is obviously consistency. I think the owner is Michelle Circhirillo, who, with a name like that, obviously at least has Italian heritage. Whoever is responsible anyway - well done. They now go on to the world championships in Italy later in the year. And Australia - Melbourne even - has won that competition too, but not this particular pizzeria. That honour went to 400 Gradi. But just to show that these things are always a really subjective thing, I also found that another Australian chef - an immigrant from India at that - with the wonderful name of Gagan Bhatnagar - won the prize in another competition for the best pizza in Australia.

He also came 13th in that World Championship in Parma, Italy last year. Why didn't the people at $48h Pizza e Gnocchi Bar win the best Australian pizza prize one asks? Well maybe it's just that it's a different category - they won for best pizzeria not best pizza after all - or maybe it's different judges with different taste buds and preferences. Maybe it's a completely different competition. Who knows, but you've got to say it makes you proud doesn't it? And you could actually have a rather nice excursion to try the best pizza because Gagan Bhatnagar cooks at Ms. Peacock - the restaurant at the Eynesbury Homestead an hour from Melbourne. So take a pizza trip into the country.


What all this does show though is that you don't have to be Italian to cook good pizza. I'm not Italian, and I don't cook good pizza by the way. Ok pizza but not superb pizza. And I wonder do you get chosen to compete in these contests or do you put yourself forward?


Next are a couple of items from the latest Coles Magazine which might sound as if I'm advertising for Coles, which I'm not. I just thought they were interesting - not just for what they were but also for why they choose to publicise these particular things. There are three:


Overripe bananas

You probably know by now that bananas are one of the top three wasted foods in Australia. So at the bottom of one of the pages in the magazine there is a little bit of quiet advertising along the lines of 'look how good Coles is at combatting waste' which tells you that bananas that would otherwise go to landfill are used by Coles to make their home brand banana muffins and banana bread. Well done Coles really. They also point you to a whole lot of recipes for how to use up your own overripe bananas. More than banana muffins and banana bread. And I have done this before too. So yes it's self-serving stuff that is designed to make them look good - but well done anyway. I'm guessing some go to Second Bite as well - probably to make muffins and banana bread.


Coffee capsules

A while back Aldi had a scheme to recycle coffee capsules for their Expressi coffee machines, but it failed and was withdrawn. Now it seems Coles has come up with the answer - a compostable coffee capsule - with the coffee sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified producers on top of that. More points towards their credibility as environment savers. It seems they are the first supermarket to do this, although Grinders also has a compostable coffee pod. It's able to be used in those expensive Nespresso machines, but don't know about the Aldi ones. It's part of Coles' stated aim:


"to have all its Own Brand product packaging 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025."


Now that has to be good doesn't it? Although doubtless somebody will find the downside. And I don't count people doing the wrong thing and not composting them as the downside.


Happy gut bread

This one I'm not so sure about because this is more a case of jumping on to the 'health food', probiotic, human biome bandwagon. We probably all know of the importance of the bacteria in our gut, and this new produce is just latching on to all of those things.


The big thing it is pushing here is BARLEYmax which is:


"A wholegrain developed by CSIRO has superior health benefits that can help combat cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer."


The ad caught my eye because of the use of the word 'gut' which David is always banging on about - with good reason of course, although he does bang on about it a bit much. Anyway - interesting. An example of a supermarket reacting to demand and also a bit to health concerns. You will find it with all the other sliced bread in the store, so maybe those who do actually need to worry about their guts will actually buy it.


Fromage fort

Still on the 'waste not want not/environmentally friendly' tack the latest edition of delicious. had this rather gorgeously photographed version of fromage fort - 'strong cheese' - which is a way of using up all of those little bits of cheese you've got in your fridge. The delicious. recipe which comes from Ellie and Sam Studd is not online as yet but is really simple - like all of the recipes for fromage fort that you will find online. Fundamentally you put all your bits of cheese into a food processor and blend them with (for 250g) cheese, 1/4 cup dessert wine until smooth. Warm some garlic - they say 2 sliced cloves in a tablespoon of oil with some thyme sprigs and serve with artistically sliced and toasted sourdough. I have always meant to try this because we often have a heap of little bits of cheese in our cheese drawer in the fridge. It's an old French recipe and you will find two more versions from Jacques Pépin and David Lebovitz amongst many others online. Give it a go next time you are having some friends over for a drink and a nibble.

The only note of caution I found was to go easy on the blue cheese as it tends to dominate, and to include some soft cheeses to make it creamy.


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