Don’t you love the smell of a French baguette, still warm from the bakery shop? As I am walking back home, I can’t resist biting in it and feel it crunching under my teeth. I like this particular sound and the taste of it, promise of a delicious breakfast with butter, jam, pains au chocolat and croissants!
Sometimes I miss home and I need to reconnect with familiar flavours. It is not easy to find bread or croissants that have the same texture and taste as in France. You would think it is because of the unique technique or maybe a special oven…etc but actually the explanation is way more simple: it is the flour! It is too expensive to import French flour that is why bakeries use local flour to bake their baguettes. Don’t get me wrong, I have tried many kind of breads at the Adelaide Central Market and I liked them a lot: I mean they are good but different! And when you are experiencing home sickness, you want to bite into a piece of bread that would remind you of the nice mornings at your family home, beautiful pastries at the corner of your street, the intoxicating smell of the warm and fresh bread from the oven… you see?!
As for the perfect croissant, it is not easy to find it either! I tried a few places but so far, the one I enjoyed the most was at Cannelle French pastries! When I bit into it, it took me back for a couple of minutes to Paris ❤ The flavour was definitely here and I had croissant crumbs all over me which is how it is supposed to be 😉 The baker is a sympathetic French man who felt in love with Adelaide and has been living here for many years! So if you are a croissant lover, try to get to Cannelle bakery early in the morning as these little treats don’t last very long!
Tuesdays rhyme for me with English class and cooking! Actually there is an original free English conversation class at the North Adelaide Community Centre hosted by the talented and hilarious Malcolm. The theme of this class is: World cuisine. People from all continents attend to this joyful English class, there are no homeworks, no grades but only one rule: each participant is invited to share about his culture and his country through cooking. In my opinion it is a very interesting concept and a good way to practise English while learning about other customs and fooding. Malcolm puts everybody at ease, he is a very encouraging teacher and he has a lot of humour so everybody, even beginners, has an opportunity to speak! There are very interesting stories to hear about and it is like traveling the world! So many foreign countries are represented: China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Spain, Iran, France, Italy, Croatia, Chili, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela… it is wonderful to be surrounded by all these different accents and good vibes. I have met really amazing friends thanks to this class and it has made a huge difference in my experience here for sure!
Once a month or so, thanks to Malcolm and our amazing coordinator Kellie our English class takes place in the community centre kitchen. We cook all together traditional dishes from our respective countries but also sometimes Australian meal (like Anzac biscuits) and learn about the story behind. Malcolm says that it is a good exercice for us to put our English into context with real life practice: reading recipes in English, understanding the vocabulary, solving problems together, connecting with each other, joining forces… The results is always incredible, so many different ingredients, colours and flavours: the world in a plate! We have a lot of fun as you can see by yourself in the following short video. If you start watching at 1:14, you will see our teacher Malcolm being interviewed about this wonderful class and if you pay attention you will see me as well with my friends at the North Adelaide Community Centre kitchen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip0LqXRDRpg
But the fun does not stop here, because after the cooking we can taste all these lovely dishes and share with the community centre guests. Again it is another opportunity to meet locals, mingle, express our opinions and please our palate with worldwide food. I am glad we have also the opportunity to taste Australian traditional dishes: pavlova, lamington, anzac biscuits… because we don’t have those in our countries and the point is to learn more about Australian culture because this is where our ❤ is at the moment. So come and join us at the North Adelaide Community Centre, you will love cooking and speaking English for sure!
When it comes to spread, Americans have peanut butter, Europeans have Nutella and Australians have Vegemite!
Vegemite has a special and unique flavour. It is like the sword in the stone: only true Aussie hearts can enjoy it 😉 So I took my chance and bought a pot of this Australian sacred delight. This is how bad I ❤ Australia!
Vegemite is a kind of brown paste, very thick and dark in colour like waste oil. To me it smells like a loaf bread which stayed all the morning on a table outside a beach house. As for the taste, it was nothing like I would have imagined, it is VERY salty… maybe as salty as the sea but with a kind of meat juice flavour.
It is really a hit in Australia: people enjoy it on their toasts, in their sandwiches, crumpets… I must confess I wanted to like it too so I really tried hard: spread on a toast (Ew), with tomatoes (Ew), with cucumbers (Ew), with walnuts (Ew). Nothing worked and it was so salty that I spent the whole night drinking water like if I had walked hours in the desert. I am sorry but honestly I did not like it at all 😦 it has a weird taste and the texture is not easy to work, I had difficulties to spread it!
Maybe there is something I am not doing right or maybe the legend is true: you have to be born and raised in Oz world to fully appreciate Vegemite, if not you are condemned to keep an horrible taste in the mouth and looking with envy at Aussie people savouring the mythical black paste as it was the best treat in the world!
What about you, are you a vegemite addict? Do you have any tips to enjoy it? Any techniques? I am curious to hear about it 😉
Have you ever seen a zombie walk? Basically it is a social gathering of people dressed as zombies walking around the city! It is becoming more and more popular and a lot of cities such as London, Montreal etc… are hosting a walking dead procession around Halloween time! I have seen a zombie march when I was living in Montreal and I must say despite the cold it was really entertaining some people were really into their “characters”.
I moved to Australia early September 2014 and when I heard there would be a zombie walk in Adelaide CBD in October, I decided to make it count! This time I would not just watch, I would be one of them: walking crooked, looking disconnected, groaning… But first, I had to find a costume, a character that would express my story… how did I become a zombie, what was I doing last before being bitten? Since I had just moved to Adelaide I did not have much (no accessories or clothes to trash) so I decided to go to a charity shop or like they say here an “Op shop” (opportunity shop)! For less that $10 I found a girly pink top and a dress that made me think of a gardener apron… I decided that it would be perfect since there were some gardening tools in my fully furnished house that I could use to complete my costume! Now I had my story: I was a garden lady taking care of my roses when I got suddenly attacked and bitten by a crazy zombie! Then the trick is about make up, then laminating my costume (using a cheese grinder!) and make it look dirty like I spent weeks wandering in the streets of Adelaide (I scrubbed it on the pavement and in the grass outside)… the result was absolutely perfect!
Then I joined my peers and it was really good fun. Some costumes were unbelievable and very realistic! I could swear some people have been zombies in previous lives… if it does make sense! Thousand of zombies got together to raise funds for Foodbank SA which is a noble cause (you can donate money or non perishable food)! The event is very well organized with policemen closing the roads where the march takes place (East terrace, Rundle street, Pultney street and Pirie street)… it is hilarious to see people faces when you are walking down the streets: some are curious, some are excited and others are totally speechless because they have no idea what is going on, why all this blood and these strange faces… I am still smiling when thinking of this old couple who nearly had a stroke when they saw me 😉
I think it is so cool that Adelaide can compete with other major cities by hosting a really amazing and entertaining zombie walk with thousands of walking dead marching on our streets! When you think it all started a couple of years ago with a few people who were passionate about it and decided they will make it happen no matter what… at the beginning it was a really discrete and small event but as the years go by it is getting more and more famous and important and I think it is wonderful to be part of it!
I was 30 years old and it was my first time in the USA. My Californian friends had invited me on a road trip on one of the most scenic drives in the entire world: the iconic Highway One. We drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles and each day was a combination of natural beauty, breathtaking scenery and acknowledging life’s quality.
One of our final stops was in Santa Barbara, in a restaurant called ‘La Superica’. It looked like an old Mexican barrack with its white walls and blue windows. It was not fancy at all and it was nothing like what I would have picked to conclude a mind-blowing trip. But as soon as I went inside I felt that the atmosphere was very welcoming. It was packed with joyful people enjoying lively dishes and for a minute I forgot that my journey was nearly over. I ordered tacos and as soon as the food was placed on the table I understood why my friends took me here.
The fresh handmade tortilla was beautiful with a golden shade of yellow contrasting with the different mouthwatering ingredients sitting on its heart. I could smell the fragrant odour of the corn flour with a zest of lime tickling my nose. The meat had a lovely brown caramelised tint and smelt heavenly. It was tender, smoky, juicy and cooked to perfection. The red salsa was thick, creamy and attractively opaque in colour. I could tell the tomatoes had been cooked slowly and mixed with toasted Mexican chilles and chipotle peppers. The topping was a symphony of colours where the chopped green vegetables were dancing with the fresh herbs under a moon of white creamy cheese. I could see the finely minced onions blending with the minced crisp cabbages promising a textural crunch.
No sooner had the fresh taco touched my palate that I felt shivers and stopped. It was absolutely divine! An exquisite pleasure invaded my senses filling me with all California. Each bite, each colour, each flavour had the taste of my trip on the mythical Highway One. I could see the sunny valleys, the Spanish missions, the rugged beach and the surf towns. I could smell the farmers’ stalls on the side of the road, I could hear the Pacific Ocean crashing down below the steep cliffs and I could feel the intoxicating warmth of the Californian sun and the presence of my friends forever with me.
This text is one of my assignments from creative writing class. I was asked to write about a vivid memory in 400 words so I picked a special moment I had the chance to experience a couple of years ago with my dear Californian friends: Teresa and John. My roadtrip in California was an amazing journey and I hope someday I will write the full story and share with you this beautiful and breathtaking adventure!
Who would have guessed that South Australia’s most iconic cake is actually a “frog cake”? When you think about Australia, you think about a koala, a kangaroo, a platypus… but a frog?!
But it is true and it is a popular cake which was created in 1922 by the famous Balfours Bakery and they became the mascot of this institution. It is said that the creator found his inspiration after traveling to France!!! I am not showing off… I am just telling what I know 😉 Afterall, aren’t French people called “the frogs” or in Aussie language “the froggies”? My theory is that Mr Balfour felt in love with France and one of our iconic cute pastry called “petit cochon” (little pig) and he thought that it would be so nice to have a cute animal shape cake in his shop that would remind him of France and French people, and tada the frog cake was born! Hey… a French girl can dream?! Anyway good on him…because like I said it was a huge success. In 2001, the frog cake was listed as a state heritage icon of South Australia… so you’d better respect the frog!
So basically a frog cake is is a very sweet dessert with the shape of a frog’s head with its mouth opened. The texture is pretty smooth: it is a sponge base with cream and covered with thick layer of fondant icing. Originally you could only find those in green colour (most popular choice) but with the success they also created a pink and a brown frog! I think they look adorable and they must be lovely for tea time, they add colour to the table and give a kind of Alice in wonderland style!
A lovely exhibition took place recently in Adelaide to celebrate this iconic South Australian dessert! One hundred artists and institutions (School, hospital staffs etc) were given a ceramic Frog cake (3 times the size of a normal cake). They were asked to imagine their own frog cake for this special event raising funds for mental health. What a lovely and inspiring idea I must say…
When I heard about this exhibition, my curiosity was challenged and I had to go. First because I have seen those unusual cakes a couple of months ago but never imagined it was part of SA culture. Secondly I loved the idea that they turned this classic cake that seems to be quite ordinary as birthdays treat into something creative, original and extraordinary!
My friend Nasim (from Iran) was happy to join me in this adventure! We are the same we like to discover more about our new culture! Futhermore, she loves art so it was really interesting to visit this gallery together and share our opinions.
The ceramic frogs were nicely decorated, it was very creative since each artist gave its own vision. We saw great pieces and we actually spent a lot of time gazing at each one and trying to understand the point of view of the artist.
We particularly both enjoyed Emma Hack’s work (she is a famous for her body painting and owns an art gallery in North Adelaide), her ceramic frog was the expression of beautiful mother nature.
I also liked Sophia Nuske’s frog and the Women’s and Children’s hospital’s decorated frog. There were many beautiful smily frogs and I wish I could get one for my home!
I have really enjoyed this exhibition and I thought it was a beautiful way to honor and celebrate this South Australian heritage. Nearly all the cute frogs were sold to help a good cause!
It seems that South Australians still have a sweet spot in their heart for this unusual but classic little froggie cake ❤
Sadly the exhibition in Light Square Gallery is already over but if you have missed your chance, you can always cheer you up by biting into this typical South Australian cake… and what a better place than the iconic Balfours Bakery! For those who are not into frogs they also offer an amazing range of pies that must be delicious! As for me, it should not be an issue, since French people have the reputation to eat frogs legs and to LOVE it… so this sweet version should be a… piece of cake for me haha!
I really enjoy Thai food: the dishes are a combination of lively colours and the flavours are always a real treat for my demanding palate!
Yesterday, we went to a lovely restaurant in Adelaide CBD on South Terrace, it is called ‘Thai Chef’ and I was really glad we did! I have been meaning to go to this place for a long time but I guess I had to wait for the perfect opportunity! Yesterday, my friends were in the mood for Thai food so we took our chance!
Actually this restaurant is pretty popular and has received many good reviews. Furthermore I had the opportunity in December to attend to a cooking presentation at the North Adelaide Community Centre and ‘Thai Chef’ cooked for us an amazing selection of authentic dishes during this event! You see it is a family business: the dad is the Chef, the mother is helping him in the kitchen and the daughter is taking care of the customers. So no wonder the atmosphere in the restaurant is so friendly and welcoming… it feels nearly like home!
We had a lovely time I must say. The dinner started with a complimentary dish (stuffed chicken wing), I love surprises so it was a yummy start! Then all the beautiful plates were placed on the table and it smelt so good! We ate crispy cashews prawns, crispy cashews chicken, satay chicken, spring rolls and an amazing roast pork fried rice… I am still dreaming about this rice, it was so good! It was authentic and flavory cuisine cooked with passion! I could really savour each ingredient and I loved the crunchy texture of my meal!
I am so glad we came to this place because I really enjoyed each bite and I am curious to try the other dishes now. Anyway, I don’t know how I managed the miracle to save place for dessert but I did and I had the pleasure to taste the sticky coconut rice with egg custard… OMG… I think I have fallen in love with it. You know I have a sweet tooth, I can’t help it, this is how I am and the definition of a perfect dinner for me includes to end with a mouth watering dessert! It is like literature, you have to end on a mind blowing note to fully appreciate it… if you miss your final you lose the magical effect of this unique moment.
Well done Chef! My dessert did not let me down and it was the perfect conclusion to a lovely evening in good company. Eating at ‘Thai Chef’ is not just about amazing food, it is also a real experience! Somehow you have the feeling that you are part of the family and you are their guests (a great place for celebrations). The staff is absolutely lovely and will be happy to have a little chat with you to put you at ease. Once a month or so, the Chef holds a morning tea where he cooks for his guests for free and everybody is welcomed to join… ‘Thai Chef’ is that generous and friendly ❤