"TITBIT - a choice morsel of food; a small and particularly interesting item of gossip or information."
I have book group here tonight, so I suppose I'm a bit pushed for time. And, of course, uninspired. My mind is on other things, so here are some titbits.
Spiced melon with prosciutto, mint and basil - I'm beginning with this one as it seems to fit the definition with respect to food. And I am currently planning on doing this for tonight. Though I might chicken out of it if I am running out of time. It's from the October Coles Magazine and Curtis Stone and consists of small squares of melon, tossed in olive oil, chilli, lime juice, lime salt, basil and mint, topped with prosciutto, and sprinkled with more lime salt and herbs. Worth a try I think. A choice morsel. Simple yet different.
How to buy prosciutto - The above recipe requires prosciutto - just three slices. So first of all I checked out the packaged prosciutto - and there was some on a special - packets of Australian made prosciutto for $6.00 - a bargain thought I in comparison to the real stuff which costs (in packets) around $70.00 or $80.00 a kilo. This was pretty horrendous and moreover there was more than I wanted, and so I wandered over to the deli, where the real thing - in larger slices, is selling for a mere $45 a kilo. The lady cut me three slices - $1.50. It's a no brainer that most of us don't notice. The supermarkets just entice you with a low sounding price for virtually nothing, but more than you want.
Coles is reorganising again - so still on Coles
Every now and then supermarkets, as we all know, reorganise their shelves to bamboozle you and get you to walk around the store in a different way so that you find new things to buy. Well my local Coles store has set up a small section to, I think, make everything look fresher and greener and more market like. Well I can only imagine it's some idea like that, because, I'm guessing this is going to be a bit of a nightmare for the staff restocking everything. Admittedly I think all of those lettuces are also still in their normal positions, but there's not much room for any of them here. The shelf will need constant restocking. After all empty shelves are not a good thing. There also seems to be less room for all of their herbs - which are to the right of this section - and I thought, although I didn't really check thoroughly, a smaller selection of herbs. I will keep an eye on this. I suspect this is more eye candy than practical. On the eye candy front though it's certainly green and fresh looking - and asparagus by the kilo rather than in tiny bundles. Asparagus soup?
Cooking hamburger onions
I caught a bit of Adam Liaw's Cook Up last night, in which he made a hamburger. The thing about it was the way he cooked the onions. Like this. Whilst the first side was cooking he put the sliced onions on top the uncooked side and then turned the whole thing over so that the onions cooked with the burger. I had never thought of doing that. I always cook the onions separately. So next time I have hamburger I'm going to try this. Will they cook enough I wonder? In America I was hugely disappointed with their hamburgers because they didn't cook the onions. You have to cook the onions.
Vada Pav - an Indian kind of hamburger.
"This vegan street food classic from the streets of Mumbai is a carb-lovers dream. Spiced mashed potato is dipped in a batter and deep-fried until crisp, before being placed inside a roll spread with tamarind chutney. The ghati masala sprinkled over the top is optional, but adds a burst of toasty, fiery flavours to the sandwich."
Says the Great British Chefs website - the chef in this instance being Rohit Ghai. I believe there is also a green chutney and a coriander chutney. I put it aside as a potential oddment because it looked so unhealthy, almost obscene, but then I guess it's a bit like a chip butty, so perhaps it does deserve a space on the Great British Chefs website. Interesting that the blurb on the site should stress the vegan nature of the dish. In times gone by this wouldn't have happened. Maybe they would have said vegetarian, maybe not. And why do you have to stress the vegan anyway? It's pretty obvious that it is if you read the recipe. Anyway it is indeed a top Mumbai street food.
According to the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Newsletter this is the next big drink for picnics. And picnics, because of people limitations in homes, are about to be a big thing here in Melbourne. Well they probably already are, although not today - it's been raining all day.
So what is Piquette? Well it's a sort of cousin to Pét-Nat which I wrote about some time ago. It is made:
"by taking the skins and pulp of grapes that have been pressed for wine, rehydrating them with water, adding a small amount of sugar and leaving the mix to ferment. It’s been around since at least the 19th century, and was known to be a popular drink for the vineyard workers of the day in France – cheap, easy and quick to produce." Clare Adey - Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Newsletter
Leftovers. What does it taste like? Well not really wine-like apparently:
"Many piquettes’ tasting notes seem more reminiscent of, say, wild-fermented beer than traditional sparkling wine, with words like “tart”, “fruity”, “acidic”, “savoury” and “light” being common among them. You get some of the flavour from the original wine but the result is a softly sparkling, more delicate drop." Clare Adey - Melbourne Food and Wine Newsletter
Victorian winemakers are hoeing into this with abandon so keep a look out. It's comparatively low in alcohol and refreshing, and made from all kinds of grapes.
The death of avocado and Brussels sprouts?
These are two things I picked up from last week's Guardian Newsletter. So they are a British thing and not necessarily Australian.
The avocado first. There is apparently beginning to be a backlash against the avocado on environmental and ethical grounds, because:
"they have an enormous carbon footprint for a fruit, require up to 320 litres of water each to grow and 'are in such global demand they are becoming unaffordable for people indigenous to the areas they are grown in'." Thomasina Miers
Interestingly there was a footnote to the article which stated:
"a reference in the text to one avocado needing 320 litres of water to grow is an extreme and specific example, but not typical."
I should also point out that in Britain it seems that the majority of their avocados come from Mexico. Here in Australia - I looked it up - I think our avocado farmers are rather more environmentally aware. And as we all know from the news they are not bothering to pick many of this year's bumper crop because they have no pickers. Well the cynical would probably say it would make the avocados too cheap, but the truth probably lies somewhere in between. Anyway it's yet another demonstration of how food today is not just something you buy and eat, there are all manner of political, economic, ethical, environmental issues to look at. Everything you eat has a problem it seems to me. Apparently these socially aware chefs are using alternatives to make guacamole - peas, fava beans, zucchini were some, but I think it's a challenge for them. I don't see avocados disappearing here. But who knows.
As for the despised Brussels sprout which in recent times has become cool again, again in England it is losing clout because Gen Z hate them. This was really just a fun piece in The Guardian mocking Gen-Z, Christmas food, and Brussels sprouts in response to a survey from Tesco that found that nearly three quarters of Gen-Z - people aged between 18 and 24 - hate them. Well lots of people have always hated them, until in the last few years they became trendy - roasted, raw in salads, and stir-fried. I'm sure there were lots of other ways to cook them as well. Nevertheless they are not a vegetable that is found in vast quantities in your supermarket is it? They are always stored in a relatively modest spot and never seem to be really cheap. Personally I like them, and would eat them at Christmas if they were in season then.
The food share box in Woolworths
Every time I exit Woolworths I notice this Food Share box. Although I don't remember our local version being quite as flashy. Every time I feel huge guilt because I really would like to donate at least one item for those in need. It would be no big deal for me. But every time I forget, and I'm not going to go back inside to get something to put into it.
Obviously I either have to make a huge effort to remember to do this, buy a little extra to donate, or maybe it would be better for Woolworths to place it just before the checkout, so that you can still dash back to the shelves for something. Somewhere prominent inside anyway. It's pretty useless where it is I think except for the dedicated charity givers. I don't think Coles has one, although I know, that like Woolworths they themselves donate to organisations such as Second Bite, and Food Bank.
Not sure that last qualifies as a titbit, but I think the rest do.