Blog Baby!

number 5:

Blog Baby has come of age! As well as the day I head to Melbourne for my weekend of La Trobe University cooking classes, today is my Blog Birthday!! I started ye olde blogge exactly 5 years ago today, in Melbourne.

In fact, here it is again…

“May 28, 2005. Welcome to my new web log (Blog). I’m in Melbourne at present, doing my twice-a-year Australia-wide teaching thang, and doing a bit of chilling out between teaching venues.

Since this is only day one of my Blogging life (I’m a veritable Blog Baby), I should slip in a few great photos of the early part of this tour, all taken by my good friend Radha Caran, who kindly drove me to all my country Victorian venues.

We started with a small, intimate class at Holmesglen Tafe in Moorabbin. A highlight of the day was the fabulous laksa, shown here in all its glory.

Love that laksa!:

But my favourite was the succulent eggplant, red pepper, tomato, kalamata olive and capers dip from Sicily called Caponata. It was drizzled with some lovely organic Australian olive oil, strewn with fresh basil leaves and scooped up with crisp-toasted ciabatta bread. Heaven!


Next was a home cooking class near Ballarat. In this picture, the milk is just about to be transformed into panir cheese.

Ballarat Home Class:

Lunch was a work of art. That’s hot and sizzling haloumi steaks on top of toasted pine-nuts, roasted red peppers and green salad leaves, on top of crusty bread, alongside scrambled panir, savoury pancakes with avocado salsa, and poories.

Ballarat Luncheon:

Next stop was Wangaratta, affectionately called the “Wang”. My class with 56 ecstatically enthusiastic “Wang-ites” at Goulburn Ovens Tafe was a real hit. Here’s a few fired-up attendees doing a bit of mis-en-place.

Wangaratta mis-en-place:

But wait…there’s more. Lunchtime was a real blast, with waiters and table service. You can see they were all really having fun – and that’s only one table out of two! Could this be the world’s longest vegetarian dinner table?


A great day is never complete without a book signing. I sold my entire load of books, and even had some orders for more. (Check the date – Ed.)


Next day I cooked a special lunch with the year 12 girls at Methodist Ladies College in Kew. It was a regular event for the girls, where each time a Celebrity Chef gets to cook a fabulous meal with the budding chefettes for 50 special guests. Notable on the VIP table were Ian Parmenter of ABC TV cooking fame, and the well known and well-loved Elizabeth Chong. They congratulated me on the meal. Elizabeth graciously drove me home.

That night I flew to Sydney, where I taught a Vegetarian Barbecue class in Glebe the next morning and a great home class in Gerringong, near Nowra the day after. Boy was I wiped out!

I took a well-appreciated rest with my parents in Sydney, visited my daughter and grandson, and laid low for the next cooking wave.

Canberra’s Cooking Co-ordinates in Belconnen was next stop. The chirpy upbeat Saturday morning crowd thoroughly enjoyed the menu:

Soft Cashew-Studded South-Indian Steamed Semolina Breads (Rawa Idli,
Spicy Hot-and-Sour Toor-dal Soup (Sambar),
Fresh Coconut Chutney,
Persian Gulf Curry of Roasted Potato, Cauliflower Tomato and Panir Cheese,
Fresh Basmati Rice,
Udaipur Spicy Stuffed Potato Triangles, (Samosas)
Hot, Sweet & Sour Eggplant Pickles,
North Indian Carrot Halava.

I returned to Sydney that night, and next day did one last sydney gig, a laid back dinner party in the home of Jude, a seasoned chef in her own right, with her lovely friends. A fantastic end to a busy jaunt in NSW!

That brought me to a very chilly Tasmania. Hobart was a grand success! I taught another edge-of-seat class at Drysdale Tafe on Collins Street. A big ‘thank-you’ to all the staff there for their warmth and hospitality!

Panir Galore: Here's a gigantic block of fresh panir cheese that we made at Drysdale Tafe.

Here’s the menu I shared with my very enthusiastic Hobart groupies:

Moroccan Bean & Vegetable Soup (Harira),
Pan-warmed Wheat Turnovers Stuffed with Cream Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes (Quesadillas),
Israeli Warm Salad of Roasted Pumpkin, Spinach and Zhoug,
Mock Fried Crab Cakes with Spicy Thai Peanut & Cucumber Relish,
Moist and Savoury Vegetable-studded Semolina Pudding, (Upma)
Tex-Mex Corn Salsa,
Epiphany Doughnuts in Lemon-scented Rosewater & Orange-Blossom Syrup.

Pictured above is a massive piece of homemade cheese (panir) that found it’s way, all golden brown and succulently deep-fried, into the Moroccan Harira.”

Wow! say’s I. Nothing much has changed in 5 years.

Posted by Kurma on 28/5/10; 4:51:02 AM

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