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"a small piece or amount of something, especially one that is left over after the greater part has been used." Oxford Languages

It's Sunday - day of rest supposedly. And very possibly the politicians are resting today. I'm sure they are tired anyway. But I'm not going to 'do' the election today. Suffice to say that the resulting mix in the parliament, may indeed be a bit scrappy, and that the discarding of some and the retention of others is haphazard and not necessarily bearing any relation to quality at all. Let's hope that this collection of scraps will to be as variable in quality. Still that's life isn't it? Some good, some bad. Hopefully what follows are merely scraps in terms of smallness, not in terms of quality. Besides you would be amazed at what you could make from that little selection above for example.

Smoked water - I have been hanging on to this one for a while now, not sure whether there is enough for a whole post or whether it's just a scrap. Well obviously I have decided it's a scrap. And it's not the same as liquid smoke, which you can buy in your local supermarket. I don't think you will find this in your local supermarket, maybe not even in Australia, because it's very niche and quite expensive. It was developed for Heston Blumenthal, by The Anglesey Sea Salt Company in Wales because:

"Chef Blumenthal had been struggling with a risotto dish that was underwhelming without liquid smoke and overwhelming with it. He wanted to find a way to create a smoked flavour that was consistent and dynamic enough to infuse various dishes with."

And it has been a hit with the cognoscenti. The process is, of course, secret, but is believed to be a bit like distilling and involves oak wood chips. The finished product is called Halen Môn, which could be Welsh I guess and its makers say that it:

"adds either a background savouriness or an intense edge of bonfire depending on how much is added."

The Tasmanian Tonic Company has something called Smoked eucalyptus tonic water syrup, which is probably not at all the same thing, but nobody else seems to be making smoked water which is also interesting if it's such a gourmet wonder product. It was voted the most innovative food product when it came out. Lennox Hastie has a recipe for making your own - fundamentally heating some water over smoking oak chips I think. A poor man's version? Probably more appealing to Aussie barbecuers.

Baked ribollita from Yotam Ottolenghi

Ribollita is a Tuscan is a bean and bread stew. Stews are runny but this is a layered dish that Ottolenghi says more resembles a kind of bread pudding. I think it would be crunchy rather than runny and it also involves kale - of course - chilli and vinegar. Looks nice. I might try it sometime soon, although he also has another bread and butter kind of pudding involving kale, that I'm also thinking about. No doubt the Italians would turn in their graves, but I doubt that Ottolenghi cares about that.

Fitting for a post on scraps though as this is fundamentally a dish for using up leftovers in a very tasty way.


This particular scrap demonstrates how out of the foodie loop I am, as this apparent world-wine sensation was invented way back in 2013, by a French pastry chef called Dominique Ansel in New York's SoHo district. What is it - well it's in the name isn't it? It's a cross between a croissant - layers of puff pastry and custard cream, which is ultimately deep fried like a donut. He applied fo a patent and got it, but that hasn't stopped imitations, including from Krispy Kreme getting into the vibe, with imitations with other weird names - here in Melbourne Adrian Zumbo has donuts for example. Eventually he published the recipe - it takes three days - don't even think about it.

Since the days of the original version there have been many variations - some of which are shown in this 5 year celebration box. He now has branches of his shop in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo.

Interesting isn't it that you can build a mini empire with just one original recipe. Well I guess that's what many companies have done - HP sauce, Kellogg's cornflakes, Tabasco ... So why not do it with a croissant?

Do you have a melon baller?

Or perhaps more pertinently do you ever use it? In it's current edition of its Fresh Ideas Magazine, Woolworths, in it's double page spread of retro inspired stuff, featured melon ballers, suggesting that you can do more than make balls of melon with it, although it didn't mention that even melon balls can be used in a variety of different ways - not the least of which is to freeze the balls and then drop them into drinks - as shown below. Pretty - although if you didn't drink it fasting they would probably just go a bit soggy in the liquid. But yes, you can also scoop the seeds out of all sorts of fruit and vegetables - they demonstrated tomatoes and I agree that it would be very useful for the cherry tomatoes shown here, but honestly a teaspoon does that job just as well. Scoop out a bit from cupcake dough and fill it with jam or something before baking to produce a surprise filling. Make you small biscuits all the same size by using scoops of biscuit dough, make tiny meatballs, and, of course - truffles.

A couple of different scones

I don't often watch foodie programs - they are not approved of and I have only limited time to grab one and therefore they are often times when there is nothing to watch. Anyway the other day I caught a tiny bit of an old Cook and the Chef in which Simon Bryant made some wattle seed scones. Alas the recipe is not online, but I guess it was just scones with wattle seeds. I only saw the bit where the dough was cut into scones, so I have no idea what went into them. However I did find a recipe on the delicious. website from Nornie Bero, which is probably different but they did look good. Hers are on the right here, and Simon Bryant's are on the left. Simon went for a savoury dip into olive oil for his, although Nornie Beno has used lemon myrtle jam for a sweet taste to hers.

Anyway worth a try one day but where do you get the wattle seed? Well from the wattle tree in your garden I guess - you can't get them in the supermarket. Well be careful. Apparently there are over 700 species of wattle and most of the seeds are poisonous - so probably better to find some on the net somewhere. Maybe a gourmet supermarket or a health food shop? It did say Acacia floribunda and Acacia decurrent were alright and I think we have both in our garden, but I'm still not game to try - like the mushrooms.

And in one of life's little coincidences, the next day when I opened the Woolworths Fresh Magazine - there was a little lesson on making lemonade scones with some slightly unusual flavours - two of which are shown here - one flavoured with orange allspice and dried fruit, and the other with frozen raspberries and apples. I can't find this particular recipe online but there are, of course, many, so just take your pick.

Spice blends

As I lay in bed wondering what to cook for dinner tonight, I thought I would make a beef dish with rice using what I remembered as a jar of a Greg Malouf spice blend called Cumin spice blend. So when I got up, I got the meat out of the freezer and went off for a walk. When I came back I thought to get the jar of spice from the pantry. But it's not there. After rifling through the shelves I decided it must have been the Cajun spice mix that I saw. Well I could have used that, but no, I decided to make the Cumin spice mix anyway, even though my original intent had been to use up yet another little used jar in the pantry. (Now I have two). So I made it - I even roasted the spices. I only made half the quantity though - there was a lot.

Now what to do with it? I thought there might be a recipe in the book, but very annoyingly, and he is not alone in this, there was the recipe for the blend but with no reference to what you could use it for. I laboriously pored through the book but only found a recipe for beans with tomatoes. Why do they do this? Should I actually be pleased because they have given me a spice blend and then more or less told me to go invent something to do with it? I'll choose to be flattered I think and do something with tomatoes (tinned), onions and some leftover cannelloni beans I think. Maybe I should experiment with making my own spice blend some time. The problem is I just don't think I would know where to start. So maybe I should just experiment with what to do with this particular blend - cumin, coriander, black pepper, paprika and ginger.

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