Saturday, March 7, 2015

sweary rant : giving feedback

We've all heard the saying "Don't f*ck with people who handle your food".
Whatever you do, don't be her. +10 Life Points if you can name the movie.
Here's some handy hints for not being an arse when giving feedback in the hospitality industry.

1. First up, do recognize that different places cater for different tastes and audiences. If you walk into a tapas bar and then complain about the portion sizes, you're a dick. If you are not interested in trying new experiences or are after something specific, do your research (ie. read the restaurant's online menu) before going out. 

2. Do make the effort to be civil to your service staff. Even when giving criticism, keep in mind you are one of many people your server is looking after, likely over a long shift. If your problem is to do with the food? Your server is the one who has to relay that to the chefs. If your problem is with the prices? Guess what - your server doesn't set them. If you had a crappy server experience? Berating your server directly isn't constructive - they obviously need more training which is a management issue. If you are enough of a fuckwit to make your server cry? It then adversely affects every single one of their other customers. Good job, asshole.

3. If you have a dietary preference, do communicate this; but don't be the asshat who claims to be anaphylactic when you are not. There is a tremendous amount of work for the chefs to prevent cross contamination when the latter is involved, whereas 'no cheese for table seven, or people will be enjoying their meals to the nasal accompaniment of Eau de Colon' is usually an easy fix which doesn't involve scrubbing half the kitchen in the middle of service.

3.5. Continuation from point #3 ... know about your own damn allergies. While there is a learning curve involved when beginning the process of cutting out a particular food component from your diet, it is ultimately your responsibility to know if rice contains gluten or not (handy hint: feed it to the anaphylactic diner and wait ten minutes to find out).

4. Don't be the twit who does the name/place drop. The only reason to do this is because you expect either better service or free stuff. You know what? Any restaurant worth their salt will treat all customers equally - whether you're John Diddly-Doe or Heston Blumenthal's own mother. If you are an Australian who utters the phrase 'I'm from Melbourne, I know good coffee/service/tapas/whatever' ... please, for the love of Cthulhu, stop. No-one gives a fuck, you pretentious twat.

5. If you are asked about your meal or experience, don't say 'fine' and then go bitching online. We get it - a lot of folks don't like direct confrontation, particularly when food is involved. Different people, different palates, yada-yada. I absolutely do the /mutter/yeahgood/mutter/. If where you are dining is conscious enough to meal-check you, appreciate the effort - if you are too self-conscious to speak up for your preferences, then you should take that on the nose like a goddamn gentlemen.

5. Consider the best course for giving feedback. Rating websites might be considered the bane of the modern dining industry, because many people don't consider point #1 at the top of this list. I have also witnessed a reasonable amount of 'gaming' that goes on by owners and employees which absolutely skews ratings as well. If you really want to ensure your voice is heard, as opposed to generically bitching about it online (or as you may justify it, dutifully warning others) there is absolutely the option to email the manager or owners directly. While it might take an extra two minutes of your time (gasp!) that minuscule amount of extra effort will be appreciated much more by any owner or manager who's worth their salt. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

adventures in sourdough

Hobart is bread obsessed. There are lovely bakeries all over, producing top quality gluten goodness.
December 2014 I attended half a workshop in making sourdough with The Garden Shed and Pantry in Cygnet, Tasmania. It was a great workshop, and economical when you get one baked loaf, ingredients for the next, a starter of your own, extensive notes and of course, a valuable knowledgeable contact.

The reason it was only half a workshop is because I unfortunately had to work the second session; so I took home my dough and proved it in the fridge for baking after work. While delicious flavour wise, it was a set of circumstances that resulted in less than ideal first bake. After a few months I was ready to try again and found myself in possession of a very sick starter. As a novice I decided to discard my sick starter and poach a n00b from one of the chefs at work.

Meet Stanley. Trying to psychology myself into not letting
him die by giving him an identity and a home.
Anyhow, I have been doing a bunch of research and suchlike - so for some notes and excellent recipe and further reading links, follow the jump! Will continue to update below as I think to.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The January Daring Cooks Challenge will ensure that no matter where in the world you are, you will have a bit of snow! Kim from Ask a Foodie challenged us to make Ouefs à la Neige, or “Eggs in Snow”.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

brilliant bruny island : photo bonanza
ermergerhd ferry selfie

Thursday, January 1, 2015

ah, a new year

Finding it hard to believe it's been almost six months in this city already. It hasn't ever wavered in my mind from being anything other than the best thing I've ever done. There has not been any huge defining moment of clarity, or tumultuous spiritual awakening, or any of that other junk. The air, however, feels somewhat fresher. I seem to look at the sky more. The presence of mountains and oceans within such a compact space feels... just right.

Yesterday I deleted (or un-whatevered) facebook...

Thursday, July 17, 2014


So here we are, Tasmania // Two of three, searching for a home // Accepted into two houses of three applied so far // Saw another today ...which made my heart leap with joy.. but sadly it is strangled in copper wire, times of old // Made a decision less than an hour ago // A temporary, one year home while we struggle to save and then find something truly our own.

In other news, you can now see pictures of small things that strike my fancy. It's likely they will mostly be of my dog.

Friday, April 18, 2014

country dog

The Ox is living in the country as of last weekend.

It will be good practice for him, as we will take him with us when we go. He is with five working dogs, and has already begun to learn the valuable skills of hierarchical pack interaction - as opposed to the play-all-day-in-a-crazy-way chaos of doggy daycare life.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

travelling in style

For the last many lots years I have been whizzing around the city and country in my mother's little mazda. She took my station wagon so that she could easily transport her surf skis - fair enough, but I've definitely had the best end of the deal.

Now that we upgraded to _Garth the Golden Beeper Jeeper_ I am returning the little Tardis-Version-Two-Point-Oh. With some homespun upgrades, so that my mother can continue to enjoy adventuring in the little beast.

The TV2POh's first road trip and Naming Day. My beautiful girlfriend of a bazillion years and I got lost on Tambourine Mountain... for about three hours. We tried every road to get off that damn Mountain - and even resorted to buying a map - and managed to end up at Beaudesert and having to get back ON to the mountain to get back off it again. Good times.

Inelegant, but a solution.
Sean and I have taken multiple camping trips in the TV2POh, from overnighters all the way to a two week driving holiday that traversed Tasmania in winter. We did it all comfortably, and warmly and I like to think we've mastered the art of two people, one (small) car.

The realms of possibility, however, in regards to simplicity is magnified when you only have one traveller to set up for. There is no need to have to reshuffle everything continuously (mostly to fit two people to sleep) and there is so much more space.

Luckily, this project which I have been focused on the last two weeks has had a minimal budget thanks to the fact we are downsizing to move.

Room on the back seat for your luggage bag. Or a hitchiker.

Boot popped, remove the modesty panel to reveal...

....almost everything you need.
To the left in the image is a small table and the previously pictured canopied tent. I just have to pack in the tarp which can be placed over top of the whole car, attached to the wheel spokes, for night-time privacy.
Comfort plus. Goodbye little car. Look after my mother on her travels.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

years later : a revamp 

So it's been a while. Most of my posts seem to begin this way.

Life has been ever marching on. Or, perhaps, time has been ever marching on. Life recently (and isn't it amazing how 'recently' as you age can be a couple of years?) has seemed stoic. Although if we're talking knee-raising metaphors, I've felt somewhat like I have been treading water for a long while. 

Sunrise on Mt Wellington
Treading water is not a bad thing - I have been surrounded by beautiful people and lovely experiences but underneath all of these have felt the constant 'daily grind' wearing me down. I have known for a while that what I've desperately wanted is a change of scenery.  A new place. A catalyst for rediscovery of self. Thankfully, that change is in the works.

Soon the little family and I will be relocating to the (almost) very southernmost tip of our country. It's going to be - and already has been - stressful and expensive. But the payoff will be incredible. 

Anticipating the move, I have renamed this blog. It, too, needs a clean start. I am contemplating removing my facebook account. For while it is convenient, it is too much so. It gives the illusion of connectivity. Being able to 'see' what friends and family are doing, but without really speaking.

There will be massive downsides, and likely I will come back to it. But the need for a break is building within.

Once the timing is right, and I take my social media sabbatical... You can find me here. You can 'see' me here. Talk with me here - comment. Family and friends who already have my phone number, text me if you want my email address or skype handle. Or simply call me.

Til then, my darlings... ...Love and light. B.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

banana oat loaf of sorts

Presently in the oven is an experimental 'banana... and stuff' loaf.
(I hate the term 'banana bread'... it's a CAKE, people!)

You can find the base recipe here, but boy-oh have I altered it.

In the blender I put...
... 3 x small squishy overripe bananas
... 2/3 cup applesauce
... 1/4 cup vegetable oil
... 1/4 cup light coconut cream
... 2/3 cup honey
... 1 tsp vanilla
... 1/2 tsp salt
... 1/2 tsp cinnamon
... 1/2 tsp nutmeg
... 1/2 tsp allspice
... splash apple cider vinegar

In one of my giant mixing bowls I combined...
... 1 cup flour (unfortunately I was out of wholemeal, so I used plain white)
... 1/2 cup self raising flour
... 1 cup oats (I used those crappy 'quick cook' ones, because I'm trying to use them up)
... 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
... 1.5 tsp baking powder
... 1/2 tsp baking soda

Then I added and mixed the wet ingredients, poured them into a spray-oiled loaf pan, and pressed into the top a crumble made of ginger nut biscuits, cinnamon and walnuts all crushed together.

I've popped it in the oven at 165*C fan forced for 45 minutes...
... I guess we'll see how it goes.