Friday, March 25, 2011


After much conversing with several online friends from Australia I decided to take the plunge and try Vegemite, which I thought was available at my local Wegmans but I was wrong.  So I picked up a jar of Marmite, only to be told that I was not allowed to compare it to Vegemite as it was the equivalent of cheese in a can.  :)

I've posted pics below and, while you don't actually see me consuming the Marmite, know that nobody sees me that early in the morning with my hair in a towel.

This is me, as taken by my son Mark, actively engaged in the Vegemite v. Marmite conversation.  

Lightly buttered white wheat toast, tea, and the Marmite.

The actual Marmite as knifed from the jar, it has the texture of honey and smells exactly like bouillon.

Thinly spread upon the bread as it's not jam or butter.

My big old bite.

As with all my photos, I just use my digital camera as I like the way home food looks as is, without special lighting or circumstances, which means that sometimes things are blurry but you get what I'm talking about.

The verdict:  I like this stuff.  A lot.  It's especially good on a lightly toasted and buttered sesame bagel.  Funnily enough, I think it tastes better when eaten with tea or a glass of juice rather than coffee.  It really smells like a salty, slightly beefy bouillon, and, spread thinly through the butter, it's salty like anchovies but not fishy.  I really can't describe it except to say that I am hooked.

It was pointed out to me that I can buy proper Vegemite here, however, I am to studiously avoid this particular version.  Amazon also sells Vegemite through various marketplace sellers.

Go forth and try it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

We're having rigatoni for lunch, with a red sauce.  Here is a little green for you, courtesy of my ever-exploding garden.

Upgraded cilantro; parlsey; Eva Purple Ball toms; and Striped Cavern toms to new containers

Jimmy Nardello pep; chervil; Bloody Butcher tom and Genovese basil in new pots

This is a Genovese basil I planted last winter, which has flourished nicely

New containers in their natural habitat (the sunroom).  The top center is some kind of tom but I forgot to label it.

Top left is Little Fingers eggplant; top right is Chadwick's Rodan lettuce.

Top and middle left are Lincoln pea plants; bottom is Debarao toms; middle is Tonodoes des Conores toms; bottom middle is Riesenstraube toms; upper right Dwarf Greek and Sweet Thai basil; lower right Santa Fe Grande and Serrano peps

Considering I started this project a month ago, I've seen amazing progress.  On average I planted 3 of each seed and I've seen a good return for my effort.  I still have to get the radishes, bunching onions, and several peppers started but there is still plenty of time.  The Lincoln pea plants continue to amaze me and seem to grow every day.  I used some skewers to stake them for now but they will most definitely need new pots sooner rather than later.

Has anyone else been impatient and started their garden indoors already?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tangled Noodle: Cracking the Shell: Balut Revealed

Some of you who watch food or travel tv may have heard of balut from the likes of Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern. Often it is presented as not so much a food but, rather, as something to be consumed in an attempt to make the person appear brave and dangerous. "Hey, look at me! Look at what I'm eating!" I often find this type of food tv rather irritating as I believe it's mildly insulting to the particular culture that is the topic of the show.

That being said, please check out this excellent post about balut written by Tangled Noodle. She has given a rather delicate subject the respect it deserves, a far cry from how it is usually presented.

Tangled Noodle: Cracking the Shell: Balut Revealed

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Little green things

I planted my first batch of seeds on February 15th and one subsequent batch on the 20th or thereabouts. Today is March 5th and there has been progress, very good progress, if you don't include me upending one or two cups freshly sown seeds.

Upper: Sweet Thai basil (l), Greek dwarf basil (r)
Lower: Bloody Butcher tomato (top), Genovese basil (bottom) 

Little fingers eggplant (l), Jimmy Nardello peppers (r)

Thessoloniki tomatoes

Debarao toms (lower left), Striped Cavern toms (upper left)
Lincoln peas (big green plants in middle), Chervil (above peas)
Eva Purple Ball toms (yellow cup), Cilantro (orange cup)
Parsley (cup at bottom right)
Serrano peps (square container, upper right)

I'm really pleased with how everything has grown thus far and I must say that the Miracle Gro organic potting soil is superior to the little peatlets I usually start with.  Far less expensive, too.  The other containers have oregano, Mexican mint marigold, and Riesenstraube and Tonodose des Conores toms.  I think there's some peppers in one of the square salads as well but I forgot to mark it so we'll see.

I've also started some Chadwick's Ronan lettuce but that's just a box of soil right now and you don't need a photo to know what that looks like.  Once I empty out the container of spinach I'm going to try some radishes.  The Radish Saxa II are supposed to yield in 30 days and I'm intrigued to see if I can do that indoors.  I am going to have to separate the pea plants and give them good, solid containers sooner rather than later.  I've never grown them before and I'm very excited to see what/if I can harvest anything from them this year.