The Occasional Epicure

Occasional updates on my eating and cooking adventures...

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Occasional Gardener!

I've decided to establish a herb patch in my back yard. I hate paying $2.50 for a bunch of herbs at Woolies, only to have most of them wilt within a couple of days.

So far I have (from the front of this photo) flat-leaf parsley, sweet basil, coriander, Greek basil, chives and Thai basil. Guess what my favourite herb is? Basil!

After I planted these herbs, it rained in Brisbane for a week so I am a very happy little gardener.

The next thing going in will be chillies. I'm going to try growing those from seed, so there won't be any hot photo opportunities for a little while yet...

Kuranda Candy Kitchen

Recently I was lucky enough to find myself in quaint Kuranda, north Queensland for a day. The town is most famous for its markets, but my favourite place was the Kuranda Candy Kitchen. I smelled a sweet and delicious aroma and followed my nose to a little tiny shop where I found Ross and Judy making some wedding candy for a couple who were evidently called Jack and Shae...

Watching the candy being made was pretty amazing. Ross and Judy turned a big pile of sugary stuff into tiny candies that said Jack ♥ Shae in the middle!

Here's how it happened...

Mixing up the red and yellow sugary gooey stuff.

Stretching the mixture over big hooks - this made the finished product more shiny.

Forming the words - the letters of the happy couple's names were made out of red strips of candy, and yellow strips were used as spacers around and between the letters. That's one of the names on the left-hand side of this photo.

The names and the heart were assembled into this big log and another layer of yellow candy was rolled around the outside. The brown workbench appeared to be made of leather and had a gas barbecue underneath that kept the candy warm and pliable.

A layer of red candy was rolled around the outside of the big candy log and then Ross and Judy pulled the candy at one end to make it smaller. It was amazing! I had expected that some kind of machine did this part of the process.

Here's the candy getting really thin!

This is how it ended up. Judy whacked the candy "rope" with a metal spatula every so often to cut it into these lengths, which she then chopped into pieces about 1cm long to finish off the process.

Alas! I didn't take a photo of the finished product, but I did buy some Fruit Rock, which is made in the same way...

It's so cute! My favourites are the passionfruit and kiwifruit.

If you're lucky enough to be visiting Kuranda, I'd highly recommend dropping in to the Candy Kitchen. And to Jack and Shae, best wishes - I hope your wedding went/goes well and that you have a lifetime of happiness together! :)

Friday, June 03, 2005

Desperately Seeking Saucepan...advice

With the mid-year sales having started this week, and a couple of generous gift vouchers burning a hole in my pocket, I've decided it's time to invest in some proper saucepans. But the range availabe in your average deparment store is a bit mind boggling! If I'm going to spend lots of money, I want to make sure I'm buying the right thing.

So I thought I'd put the question out there - I'll gratefully accept anyone and everyone's advice about which saucepans (and frying pans, etc) to buy or avoid...

Thanks in anticipation! :)