In the Universal Pipeline

I’m being a bit ‘pro-active’ and setting plans in place for some world cookery touring/teaching in 2006. I’ve starting correspondence with my contacts in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Croatia, Finland and Estonia, letting them know that I’m available to come and set up cookery workshops.

After planting all the idea seeds I will see which ones sprout into real events. So far there is some positive response. Next comes the painstaking assembly of an itinerary, loads of ‘back-and-forth-ing’ via letter, and vast amounts of fine-tuning.


I enjoy the challenge of a world-tour. Maybe it’s my Capricorn Dragon nature. Anyway, from past experience I know that there is just time separating the conception and the actual birth of the ideas into real tangible events.

In the background to my vigorous planning, I always keep firmly fixed in my mind that whilst ‘man is the architect of his own fortune’, I also must never forget that, ‘man proposes, God disposes’, and the interesting axiom, ‘first deserve then desire’. With all these ideas of universal balance firmly embraced, I will proceed forward, and leave the final results in the hands of the Supreme Planmaker.

A Trip to the Border Ranges

I’ve been getting in touch with my primeaval side. Yesterday I visited the Border Ranges National Park (31,683 hectares), a World Heritage listed rainforest park on the rim of a vast and ancient volcano, that adjoins Lamington National Park in Queensland.

border ranges 2:

It stretches 85 kilometres from east to west. Together with the McPherson Ranges, the Springbrook Plateau and the Nightcap National Park, Border Ranges National Park forms part of the caldera of the Mount Warning shield volcano, the largest caldera in the southern hemisphere. That’s Mount Warning below – a very mystical place. Turn the picture on its side to see a giant face.

mount warning:

Border Ranges National Park appeals to naturalists, birdwatchers and geologists as well as bushwalkers with its spectacular views, pristine rainforests, waterfalls plunging into deep gorges, sparkling creeks, steep scarps and rugged ridges.

ranges 1:

It feels good to touch Mother Earth.

Footloose and Fancy Free

This may boggle your mind. You may like to try it more times to see if you can outsmart your foot. But you probably won’t.

1. While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles with it.

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number 6: in the air with your right hand.


Your foot will change direction.

Can you beat it? Apparently a small number of persons can. Are you one of the lucky ones?

New Leaf

My first Cookery Class in famous Murwillumbah was held at the New Leaf Cafe in the town’s main street. Gary the owner, himself a seasoned chef, was happy to let me use his kitchen facilities and at the same time participate in our culinary learning exchange.


We chose a menu of my Kitchen Favourites:

Soft, Cashew-studded South-Indian Steamed Semolina Breads (Rawa Idli)

Spicy Hot-and-Sour Toor-dal Soup (Sambar)

Quick & Easy Fresh Coconut Chutney

Iranian Saffron-scented Spicy Rice with Saffron (Pollou)

Creamed Spinach with Fresh Curd Cheese (Palak Panir)

Griddle-Baked Bread (Chapati)

Hot, Sweet & Spicy Tomato Chutney

Succulent Milk Fudge Balls in Rose-scented Syrup (Gulab Jamuns)

Our kitchen stalwarts were a pleasure to work with.

Chapati ladies:

This was Dimitra’s first ever chapati, half-cooked first on a cast-iron pan…


…then finished off over a naked flame till it puffed like a balloon.

puff the magic chapati:

I’ll be laying low until my final two classes next weekend. Then back to Perth.

Hot Under the Collar?

Are you feverish at the thought that you may have missed the previous five months of diary entries for this blog?

There’s only enough space for 20 entries at a time on this side of the page. To read ‘back issues’, go to the calendar on the top right (or bottom) of this page and click on earlier October dates, or further back to September dates.

Feeling the Heat:

And then, to travel even further back in time, click on ‘August’, ‘July”‘ etc, scroll down, and click on any date after June 2.

That should bring the temperature down.

Where the *bleep* is Kurma?

It’s nice to feel wanted. A number of regular Kurma bloggers wrote concerned letters wondering whether I have sailed off the edge of the earth.

Well, I’m actually on the road, in Australia’s Northern New South Wales at the moment, doing classes here and there. This photo of the beautiful hills and mountains of Murwillumbah, with the mystical Mount Warning shrouded in mist, was taken from the garden of one of my hosts. To give you some sense of perspective in this lush green vista, those little brown specks are a herd of Jersey milking cows.

murwillumbah: ,

Without phone connections it has been hard if not impossible to maintain my daily blog. It makes me a little uneasy to think of just how much we are totally dependent on phone lines for most correspondence these days; and country Australia is sometimes less than perfect in these regards. For instance, my host at the moment has waited many days for the famous Telstra to connect the phone, but still the line is stone dead. So thanks for your patience.

Defeating Flatulence

Sam Stewart from Australia’s Gold Coast writes:

“What is it about beans that cause so much gas? What can be done to make them less volatile”

My reply:

Though beans are nutitionally excellent, they have the unfortunate side effect of causing the formation of gas in the lower digestive tract. This digestive dilemma can be mollified by adopting some or all of the following practices:

Discard the soaking water prior to cooking

Some nutrition (in the form of minerals) is lost, but you are getting rid of up to 80% of the oligosaccharides that cause flatulence. The standard way is to soak the raw, unsoaked beans in cold water overnight (in a cool place to avoid fermentation) then drain them, throw away the soak water and cook in fresh water.

Some cooks suggest that an even better way to remove the oligosaccharides is to bring the unsoaked beans to a boil for 3 minutes, remove from the heat, cover, and allow to soak for 4 hours, then drain and cook in fresh water.

it's a blast:

Cook the beans thoroughly

You should be able to easily mash the cooked beans with a fork. Thorough cooking softens starch and fibers, making digestion more efficient, the main reason why refried beans are easier on the digestive system than whole beans.

Give your body time to adjust

If you don’t eat beans often, your body never fully adapts to the extra work required to digest the complex sugars in beans. Beginning with small amounts, try eating beans at least 3 times a week while gradually increasing quantity.

Choose beans that are easier to digest

A general rule is that the sweeter the bean, the easier it is to digest. Adzuki, Anasazi, Black-eyed Peas, Lentils, and Mung beans top the list. The most difficult beans to digest include Navy, Limas, and whole cooked Soybeans.

Cook beans with a bay leaf, cumin, epazote, or kombu

Certain herbs have gas-reducing properties, with epazote being one of the most effective. Add 2 teaspoons dry or 6 fresh leaves to a pot of beans before cooking. Kombu sea vegetable also works well and has the added advantage of replenishing some of the minerals lost in soaking. Add a two-inch strip per one cup of dried beans during cooking. A couple of bay leaves simmered with cooked beans is also excellent. Asafetida, ginger and cumin are also excellent additions later in the cooking process, when the beans are seasoned, to counter the oligosaccharides.

Avoid beans that are cooked with added sweeteners, or come in a can.

Some people who easily digest most freshly cooked beans have trouble with canned or sweetened beans due to the way they are prepared and due to added carbohydrates. The famous baked beans are navy beans (hard to digest for a start) that have been cooked without discarding the soaking water AND with extra sweetener added – a very explosive combination.

Click here for more on the status of flatus.

The Cows of Bungay Bungay

Annette Greenhalgh, who runs the cookery school at which I taught, also owns one of the biggest dairy herds in the area. There are 700 Holstein Fresian cows milked every day at ‘Bungay Bungay’ (Aboriginal for ‘midday’). Seventy percent (70%) of dairy cows in Australia are Holstein Fresians.

mother cow:

The present property ‘Bungay Bungay’, is a small part of the first township settlement of the same name that was originally established in Wingham in 1841.

Bungay Bungay:

The welcome rain bucketed down as we took a little tour of the dairy at milking time.

ready for milking:

Although not the richest of milk-givers (cream per litre) this variety of cow yields a higher amount of milk per head.

cows a'milkin':

The milk ended up in huge vats all frothy and creamy.

thick and creamy:

Now it’s time for me to wander to new pastures. I’m off to Northern NSW to visit friends in Murwillumbah and host a couple of – wait for it – cooking classes. So what else is new?

I may be offline for a few days. If so, feel free to graze through my website to your heart’s content.