I fear that Canberra, much like Sydney, is in serious danger of burning through its allocation of milk crates. Not because of the popularity of milk, but rather because they serve as seating for the crop of on-trend cafés popping up in old (but not in a retro way) shopfronts all over town. I love/hate this trend for numerous reasons. Milk crates are fine to sit on (with cushioning); they serve as a signal to customers, ‘take this coffee joint seriously’. But while they look incidental, in an ‘oh we were just SO BUSY making GROUNDBREAKING espresso we forgot to buy chairs!’ kind of a way, they are entirely deliberate. This is why there’s a countrywide shortage. I assume.
Red Brick espresso is no exception. Milk crates are scattered plentifully out the front of this Curtin café, and they’ve taken it to another level with the accompanying tables, made of bread crates. I hope there’s not a delivery guy out Fyshwick way somewhere going broke for lack of crates.
We stand at the counter for a while waiting to order, staff seem a little harried so we wait as they hand out the takeaways. We order coffee and seat ourselves in the unmistakeably Canberran, light-filled and cleverly renovated space, which, as we’re in the southside of Canberra, could’ve been anything in a past life- a house, a pharmacy, or a sex shop – all roads lead to rectangular brick structures. The guys behind the espresso machine look like they know what’s what – they roast their own coffee here, and are well and truly the third wave.
Like many of you who are in the midst of summer right now, I haven’t been cooking much of late. However, I have been getting back into smoothies come breakky time, so I thought I’d share some tips on how to take a glass of blended fruit and milk to something close to perfection.
1. Make your smoothie mostly fruit
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, as someone who isn’t a big fan of fruit unless somebody else has cut it up for me and garnished it with lashings of whipped cream, this is a sure fire way to get a big serve of multiple fruits in one go, without losing out on fibre as you do when juicing. Secondly, because milk isn’t the main ingredient, those who are lactose sensitive/intolerant or like to avoid dairy won’t be missing out – you can sub in juice, soy milk, soy yogurt, almond or rice milk, even coconut milk, as long as you chill it first.
2. Fill the glass, not the beaker/blender/food processor
In the past, I was forever getting the quantities (or the ratio of ingredients) wrong when it came to smoothies. I’d whack a bunch of ingredients in the beaker for my stick blender, blend away like mad, topple the lot into my glass and find I’d made too much/not enough/it was too watery. These days, I just fill as many glasses with fruit as needed, top with yogurt or ice cream, and fill to the brim with milk. Pour the glass/es into the blender and viola! The perfect size.
3. Freeze your fruit
This will give you a thickshake or melted ice cream consistency, making the smoothie feel treat-like rather than medicinal. It also means you can save your fruit before it goes strange by chopping, portioning and freezing it ready for smoothies. Your smoothie will be cold, delicious, and so thick you could eat it with a spoon. In fact, if you pop it in the freezer for half an hour you could even serve it as dessert.
4. Use 4 fruits or less
In the smoothie pictured, I have fresh mango, half a frozen banana, frozen strawberry pieces and the pulp of two passionfruit. I’ve noticed keeping things to 4 fruits or less gives a cleaner taste. Also, one of the strongest flavours in the smoothie is banana, which makes sense because bananas are one of the sweetest fruits you can buy, so I never put in more than half a banana unless I want that to be the only flavour. The worst smoothies I’ve had don’t taste like anything in particular because there are so many kinds of fruit in there that no one flavour stands out. So whatever your fave fruit is, go heavy on that.
5. Use a straw
Ok, so this is just a personal preference of mine, but doesn’t life just feel that much more luxurious when you’re sipping your drink through a straw? I’m not saying you’ll feel like you’re on a northern Brazillian beach or anything, but a straw can’t hurt. Hell, why not chuck in a cocktail umbrella for good measure.
What’s your fave smoothie recipe?
This week, I will donate the money I would’ve wasted on eating my way out of boredom to Foodbank. This week, my household will donate $449. Add $70 to that and you get the amount on money we spent on food the week before. And not only that, that is $100 MORE than we donated last year.
I just want to say a massive thankyou to everyone who blogged, tweeted, commented and participated in the $35 Challenge this year. The Challenge is all about raising money, raising awareness, and raising hope that perhaps, some day soon, there won’t be so many Australians for whom the next meal will be from a charity, serverely nutrionally deficient or no meal at all.
Should you ever find yourself at that weird halfway point between Central and Redfern stations, here’s two cute little coffee spots for you to check out. Maybe you’ve got some time to kill before some post-drinking yum cha? Well then perk yourself up at either (or both) of these.
3 food bloggers, 3 cafes, 3 great macchs
Food blogging is one area of my life where I can honestly say I find myself perpetually delighted, and that’s mostly down to the people I meet. Food bloggers want to meet you. They want to eat with you. They want to show you around. So that’s how it came to be that on the morning after the eat fest that was Eat Drink Blog 2012, Hayes of Adeladie food blog The Chopping Board (who wasn’t even at the conference) and Sarah (who was) went on a coffee crawl with Perth blogger Ai-Ling (who doesn’t even drink coffee) and I (who most definitely does). We hit three cafés in less than three hours and thoroughly enjoyed every microgram of caffeine imparted on us by this ‘city of churches’.
in which I respectfully disagree
At the third annual Eat Drink Blog conference this year, blogger Tammi Jonas and chef Simon Bryant ran a panel discussion on local and seasonal food which quickly became a discussion of food ethics. Controversially, both agreed that they would not refuse a meal served to them by their host, even if it clashed with their principles.
I want to briefly examine the line of argument that says if someone serves you up a platter of something you can’t stomach or have an objection to, it is more disrespectful not to eat it than to eat it. Please note I mean no disrespect to either Tammi Jonas or Simon Bryant. The decisions they choose to make regarding food are up to them.
Saturday October 6th, 2012
Sydney is a town that loves to eat out, we’re obsessed with where the new/hip/hot/solid/awesome/novel place is. But amazing food and great service are not the only ingredients that make up a great meal. All too often there’s one very important element missing – true hospitality. And that’s where Mi Casa Su Casa comes in, a shift towards a different kind of dining – eating in.
Mi Casa Su Casa is a speakeasy-style/in home restaurant run by Georgia peach SarahKate with the help of her husband, Andy, aiming to bring a little bit of southern hospitality to Sydney. The restaurant runs a couple of times a month and seats ten guests, the idea being to bring people together to share a meal and get to know each other. Although underground dinners, twEATups and so forth are all the rage these days, it’s one of the first true in-home restaurants in Sydney.
Because The $35 Challenge is based on my own experience, I’d always assumed, without realising it, that it was for people ‘just like me’, whatever that means. But what overwhelms me now is the vast spectrum of people living in poverty. People I’d never even considered- international students, refugees, those living in remote areas. And the list of people at risk of poverty is even more overwhelming – single parents, the unemployed, those who are single and of working age, women over 65, women generally. These are groups who face a unique set of challenges on top of living in poverty.
Last week, I visited Vincentian House, an inner-Sydney crisis accommodation centre run by the St Vincent de Paul Society. The reason for the visit was twofold – I would get to meet the team and see the centre, and we would discuss a way that I could possibly contribute with some kind of resource based on The $35 Challenge. The thinking was that if I could live so frugally, I may have something of value to offer their clients.
A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by the lovely Carrie Soderberg for ABC online. You can read her article here.
I want to thank Carrie and the ABC for the article, and also a big thanks to Foodbank CEO John Webster and Anti-Poverty Week National Liaison Officer with Katheine McCallum for their supportive comments.
At the heart of it, we food bloggers are food lovers. We all started blogging for different reasons, but the reason we keep going is for the love of food. But it’s important to remember that there are some Australians who aren’t so lucky. Some for whom their next meal will be a struggle, not a celebration. Some for whom ‘bringing a plate’ is a near impossibility. That’s why a bunch of us bloggers came together to release The Potluck Club, an e-cookbook with all proceeds going to Foodbank, Australia’s largest food relief organisation.
The book retails for just $5.95 and comes in both mobile device-friendly portrait and a pc/printer-friendly landscape formats. You get both when you purchase the book. But more importantly, each copy sold will fund a dozen meals for those in need.
Today I just want to take a moment to thank all the bloggers who have donated their work and their time so that Elise, Amy and I could put together a 50 page e-cookbook of fantastic recipes. We each brought what we could to the table; a recipe, a photo or two and after seven whirlwind weeks from start to finish, it’s done. So thank you.
Keep in touch!
By PDGACO gaballaloans.co.uk
Popular posts this month…
- 3 great hole-in-the-wall CBD Cafes posted on April 13, 2012
- Review – Philips Saeco Intelia posted on January 10, 2012
- Café Review – The Grounds of Alexandria posted on April 4, 2012
- Kosher Whole Orange Cake posted on July 5, 2011
- Lau’s Ultimate Corn Fritters and the four fritter truths posted on March 1, 2013
- Eggplant Parma and Family Recipes
- Pigeonhole Gatherings
- On Healthy Eating – 5 tips from a food blogger
- The National Multicultural Festival 2013, Canberra
- Black Coffee Revolution – Get Brewing!
- Lau’s Ultimate Corn Fritters and the four fritter truths
- Café Review – Naked Espresso, Melbourne CBD
- Black Coffee Revolution – Aeropress
- Café Review – Excelsior Jones, Ashfield
- Black Coffee Revolution – Cold Drip
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 Australia License.
Disclaimer:All opinions in this blog are mine, an everyday, real-life person. I do not claim to be an expert on anything. I do not accept payment for reviews and nor do I write sponsored posts. From time to time I give away products and experiences to my readers, all competitions have completely arbitrary rules, all decisions are final and all prizes awarded as I see fit.