Sunday, June 04, 2006

Gastropod Sunday

I went back to the green grocer I frequent to source some okra as per ThirdCat’s request in the comments on my last Gastropod post, but I think the okra that looked so promising then hasn’t fared too well in the intervening week or so since. I suspect it’s even the same okra, especially if the brown bits and general sponginess were any indication of its age. So, I’m sad to inform you, The Okra Show will be postponed until another day.

Meanwhile, let me share this comic in The Weekend Australian Magazine. You’ve probably already seen it:

Would life be worth living without jam, strawberry or any other kind? The thought of strawberry jam has me humming that Michelle Shocked tune of the same name:

Saturday morning found me itchin’
To get on over to my gran’ma’s kitchen
(What you gonna do honey?)
The sweetest little berries was cookin’ up, right
And then we put ‘em in a cannin’ jar and seal ‘em up tight

We were makin’ jam
(What kind?)
(Strawberry jam, that’s what kind.)
(Oh, the good kind)
Yeah, if you want the best jam,
You got make your own.

We have Smockers, Welches, Knotsberry Farm
But a little home-made jam, never did a body no harm.
A little local motion is all we really need,
To close down these corporate jam factories.

We’ll be makin’ jam
Strawberry jam, mmm hmm.
If you want the best jam,
You got make your own.
(Make that jam, Doc, show ‘em how it’s done)

(Banjo and fiddle)


We have a little revolution, sweepin’ the land
Now what’s more, everybody’s makin’ home made jam,
So won’t you call your friends up on the telephone,
You invite ‘em on over, you make some jam of your own.

You’ll be making jam
Strawberry jam.
If you want the best jam,
You got make your own.

(Go on Jerry, let the jelly roll!)


(Jerry’s makin’ jam)


(That’s Mark O’Connor, he likes jam)

(Oh yeah, that’s as sweet as strawberry jam)

(Uh Huh)

Saturday morning found me itchin’
To get on over to my gran’ma’s kitchen
Where the sweetest little berries were cookin’ up, right
And then we put ‘em in a cannin’ jar and seal ‘em up tight

We was makin’ jam
Strawberry jam
If you want the best jam,
You got make your own.

Oh, one more time! (Repeat last verse. Throw in a few hearty yeahs. Maybe a yee-haw!)

I’m not such a great jam maker, not like Ampersand Duck’s Best Beloved seems to be. I think my last serious attempt was a couple of years ago when I tried to turn a handful of cumquats into jam by dividing the recipe I had by sixteenths, or some such ridiculous equation. Small quantities of jam don’t seem to work. Then there’s the possibility that I was making it in the middle of the night because I was so angry with someone I couldn’t sleep. A friend suggested to me that I’d made a jam so horrible because it was infused with all the emotions I had while making it, a bit like the character in Like Water for Chocolate. Well, it was true, the jam was better put out with the garbage that consumed by anyone.

Note to self: don’t abandon the searing hot grill pan while making pita crisps to go and write a blog post. The neighbours may call the fire brigade. And you’ll end up with pita ashes:

In case you feel cheated by no actual food in this post, allow me to extol the virtues of fennel:This is not such a hot specimen, but since that’s my fridge it’s been in for a week, I have only myself to blame.

My sister likes baked fennel or fennel gratin. I don’t mind them, but my preference is for raw fennel, sliced in a salad. You get the nice fresh aniseed-y taste best this way. I like it most when tossed with toasted walnuts and parmesan shavings in a red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. I insist on red wine vinegar in this instance. Don’t forget to use the finely chopped leafy bits in the dressing, with the usual freshly cracked pepper and sea salt. You can add semi-dried tomatoes too if you like, but they detract from the purity of the fennel for me.

If you’re still hungry, go and visit a new Antipodean food blog I discovered, the delightfully named Buddha Belly. Tinned rattlesnake and orange cheese, anyone?


Ampersand Duck said...

Heh! That cartoon just made it to my toilet wall, along with another Victoria Roberts one of the same couple where he says to her (walking along): "You like me more than I like myself -- I love that about you."

I have some fennel bulbs sitting around in the garden. Thanks for the ideas!

dogpossum said...


it's big in brunswick, and i have some in the fridge, ready for a nice fish and fennel soup, c/o stephanie alexander (i really need a new recipe book). the squeeze isn't so sure about fennel, but i LOVE it.
if it doesn't make it to fish soup, i'll make a nice veggie soup with it. i love to fry it in slices in a bit of butter with onions, then add all the vegies, stock, etc (with respect to different cooking times).
it's so cold here right now a bowl of soup sounds wonderful.

...i thought of you when we were in the middle eastern supermarket the other day. it's actually a real warehouse, but they sell to the public. you can get all sorts of stuff, including this giant thing for cooking in. i can't explain it. it was round, and had a sort of pressure cooking thing happening - a lid that had handles and sealed tight. it had little glass panels for looking in. it was about a metre in diameter. we couldn't figure it out and couldn't be bothered asking. i'll take a photo for you. i was also reminded of you when i looked at the dried lemons and limes - you buy them by the gram and i guess you grate them into food, or you pop them in whole. i'd never seen them anywhere before the m/e supermarkets in the 'wick.
...ok, that's enough. this isn't my blog.

go fennell! and i'm off.

Galaxy said...

Oh you people do write in to make me jealous don't you? What with Ampersand Duck growing fennel, just ready to pluck from the garden all nice and fresh, and dogpossum telling tales of magical cooking implements.

I love Victoria Roberts. That Strawberry Jam comic just hit the right note.

Dogpossum feel free to think of me when you see dried lemons and limes. Curiously enough, I was thinking of a post about lemon zest. I love sour tastes that make you stick your tongue out.

ThirdCat said...

Pity about the okra, but this gives me a good idea for the fennel beyond just chopping it up and chucking it in my tomato soup once a week.

Ampersand Duck, beware of those fennel bulbs in the garden...a house we lived in got totally and completely overrun with them when they went to seed.