Diggings 11th January 2018

Yunnan Beef pot noodle soup at Two Sticks aug 2015 web

Year of the Ox: A – Zn Foods

Happy New Year all, and I can think of few better ways to start than watching this. It is hip hop so yes there is a language warning. And yes, I know it’s the Year of the Dog. Year of the Ox is the rap duo’s name.


 Heinz’s Decades-Long Attempt to Convince Australia That Ketchup Is Awesome

‘Heinz’s efforts to sell the Australian public on ketchup have at times been seen as something of an affront on Australian identity, especially as, starting in 2010, the company started advertising ketchup on television. Famed Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith, whose company makes the competing OzEsauce, was among the more prominent critics of the move.

“They don’t give a stuff about Australian culture or our way of life,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. “They’ve basically said if we have one common label and … call it ketchup all around the world, that’s the best way we can make money.”

Dick Smith and I rarely agree (tho as you will have seen in a post on Compost I favoured his Aussiemite of trad Vegemite), but he nails it here. But then, I am also a tad diehard on ketchup having to be either its earliest incarnation as a Chinese and Malaysian fish sauce or its Brit incarnation as mushroom ketchup sans tomatoes. As I write I have in my larder am excellent piquant bottle of the latter made from a Margaret Fulton recipe.


I Made Vegemite Icy-Poles So You Don’t Have To

‘I should have turned back when, over the stove, the mixture looked like a rich chocolate-y batter with a huge black clump of yeast extract stuck to the end of the whisk. I should have turned back when I poured the mixture into the icy-pole moulds and covered my kitchen and forearms with brown mess. I should have turned back when I licked the bowl and gagged.’


Okay, so I didn’t have the cocoa the recipe calls for and used drinking chocolate powder instead, but the result was actually quite tasty and not gag-worthy, just salty chocolate. Try it yourself and get back to me.

And in next on my tasting list: Peters and Arnott’s have collaborated to release a limited-edition Drumstick called ‘Sweet and Salty Cracker Ice Cream inspired by Jatz Biscuits. Launching in January 2018, the Drumstick includes salty cracker pieces and golden syrup on top.

Social media is influencing ice cream eating habits

‘Men are more likely than women to share a picture of their ice cream online. Men are also more likely to choose an ice cream flavour and colour because they are planning to share it on social media.’

I’d be fascinated to know the profile of these men and who is in their circle of ice cream buds and how do they find each other? I have visions of some secret gesture they make to each other with their cone or block-on-stick that indicates a fellow creamer. And then how to they tell each other what their Instagram accounts are? Is there a trend setter or is it more democratic? Do they diss each other’s choices? Are they all frustrated interior designers who also swap images of fabric swatches?


sweet belem vanilla slice Nov 2012 web

Vanilla slice from Sweet Belem, Petersham, NSW. Sure, the pastry is not trad, but it is full of superb Portuguese vanilla custard.

How my summer road trip turned into the Great Vanilla Slice Taste Test

‘From the moment I took it out of its paper bag, I knew this vanilla slice was something special. The pastry was a glorious oven-baked brown, the custard was the sunshine yellow of fresh egg yolks, and it smelled like real vanilla. There were layers of thinly sliced almonds resting snugly between the custard and its protective pastry. This vanilla slice was one of the best I’ve ever had. I wondered if it could possibly be beaten, and so embarked on what has come to be known as the Great Vanilla Slice Taste Test.’

I’m with Alison Vincent (who sent me this article) on this one. Almonds have no place in a vanilla slice. I also had plans of sampling vanilla slices on a recent aborted trip down the Darling River, but unlike Jolene Laverty I had bugger all success in finding ANY! And don’t get me started on the absence of cream buns or neenish tarts.


Unfiltered Fervor: The Rush to Get Off the Water Grid

‘Trisha Kuhlmey, the owner, said the shop sells about 900 gallons of water a day, and sales have doubled every year as the “water consciousness movement” grows. What adherents share is a wariness of tap water, particularly the fluoride added to it and the lead pipes that some of it passes through. They contend that the wrong kind of filtration removes beneficial minerals. Even traditional bottled spring water is treated with ultraviolet light or ozone gas and passed through filters to remove algae. That, they say, kills healthful bacteria — “probiotics” in raw-water parlance.’

‘Water consciousness’ – here in Oz we reckon it’s about watching out for rips, not going swimming at dawn or dusk in shark popular areas, and not diving into creeks and rivers if you can’t see what you are diving in to. It’s not the water that’s unfiltered in this trend it’s the marketing crapola. You want ‘raw water’ get a water tank or put a big bucket out when it rains and save megabucks.


Caught in a deluge: ‘raw water’ pioneers blame ‘opportunivores’ for brouhaha

‘The owners of Tourmaline Springs say they resent being lumped in with other businesses they feel are jumping on the raw food bandwagon. “I call them entrepreneurial opportunivores,” said Pruzansky. “People who see a trend and just want to make money. We’re basically the founders of this entire thing. Having other companies copying our efforts and doing it in a way that is potentially dangerous – we’re a little taken aback.”

Ah yes, you gotta watch out for the opportunivores these days. But you also gotta keep watching out for hoo-hah as well in this brouhaha. Down the bottom of this article – where most people never get to of course is this:

‘David Sedlak, co-director of the University of California, Berkeley’s Water Center, said underground aquifers can in theory be safe, but the possibility of contamination somewhere down the supply chain is what makes him nervous. Furthermore, he has seen no evidence that microbes in water contribute to health. “Probably what’s closer to being real is the placebo effect,” he said. “People believe they are consuming something that is beneficial to their health and they feel better.”

Amen say I to that.



Picture from Pizza Hut on Twitter

Here’s an Autonomous Pizza-Oven-on-Wheels No One Asked For

‘Toyota calls the vehicle the “e-Palette” and introduced it at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday. Test models could hit the streets by 2020, reports Business Insider. After that, it may only be a matter of time before the Hut can boost its balance sheet with a trimmed-down workforce that does not include professional delivery people.’

I saw this a couple of days after watching an episode of the 4th season of the excellent Black Mirror where a self-drive pizza van was critical to the plot. Coincidence or something darker!


stockman's board west village dec 2015 web

UK Steakhouse Charged £50,000 for Serving Food on Annoying Wooden Plank

‘Ibrahim’s, a steakhouse in Birmingham, England, was recently fined £50,000 (USD $67,818) after health inspectors repeatedly found the staff serving food on wooden planks that had not been sufficiently cleaned. Environmental Health officers visited the restaurant after a party of 14 complained about getting food poisoning from the establishment, only to find that the kitchen’s wooden planks were not being sanitized, and the chefs were not washing their hands adequately.’

Bring back the trencher 😊


 michelanglo's shopping list web

The Grocery List Sketched by Michelangelo

‘Owned by the Casa Buonarroti museum in Florence, Italy, this 500-year-old list was written and illustrated by the sculptor/painter/poet/personality on the back of a letter. Michelangelo’s servant was likely illiterate, so Michelangelo sketched out what he wanted to eat.’

My mate Craig translates the list as:


  • 2 breads
  • 2 jugs of wine
  • a herring
  • tortelli {type of pasta}


  • 1 salami
  • 4 breads
  • 2 jars of Zoda {unknown to me from a google: probably a brand of drink; note the capital Z – Craig} (Hmmm – PvR)
  • 1/4 litre of Bruschino {unknown item; note the capital B – Craig}
  • 1 punnet of spinach
  • 4 anchovies
  • tortelli


  • 6 breads
  • herring
  • 2 fennel soups
  • 1 jar of Zoda



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