For many Australians, a meat pie at lunch with a good squirt of tomato sauce or ketchup is almost a daily ritual. In fact, when I lived in Australia, I often preferred a meat pie to a sandwich, the latter being something which I probably ate everyday at school and which, to this day, still brings me reminders of starched school uniforms and knee-high socks.
I previously shared with you a fabulous recipe for Little Aussie Meat Pies, a meat pie with a minced beef filling quite similar to those found in local Australian canteens and bakeries.
Having been glued to the screen the last few months watching MasterChef Australia, I’m not sure if I should be relieved or depressed that the show is now finished. What am I going to do with all of this time now?? It is strange that, whenever I become engrossed in a TV cooking show, I spend more time on the sofa than actually in the kitchen. Most of the time, I am simply in awe of what these so-called ordinary, amateur cooks are getting up to in their Mystery Boxes and Invention Tests. And the Team Challenges, not to mention the amazing trips to exotic, foodie destinations overseas, seem like a lot of fun.
I have to admit that, whilst I am usually only inspired by a few dishes which the contestants cook, I am usually more impressed by the ingredients that they are working with. If I am ever to tinker with the idea of applying to go on MasterChef (which is very highly unlikely), I think I need to start filleting my own fish, cooking with beef short ribs, learn how to use (and invest in) a Thermomix, make my own pasta more regularly, memorise a few hundred dishes …
It is often observed in the Vietnamese culture, and also amongst other Asian groups, that a typical greeting when you see someone is not “Hi, how are you?” but, rather, “Hi, have you eaten yet?”
Even when my mother calls me, if she’s not asking me first what the time is where I am (either because she’s never sure which country I am in or she’s just too lazy to look up the time difference), she will inevitably ask me if I have eaten yet. It is almost the equivalent of asking someone how they are but without the desire to actually know, although if you do respond with a “No”, you can expect an immediate invitation to actually go and eat, whatever the time of day. For my mum and I, it happens to be our way of keeping in touch. She often loses track of, or interest in, my activities, and rather than boring each other with details of our unremarkable days, she will often call me to see if I have eaten, offering suggestions for the week’s menu and reciting recipes over the telephone while I eagerly scribble everything down on the back of an envelope.
I love donuts. I particularly love them hot, fresh from the vat and sprinkled with lots of sugar and ground cinnamon. Give me a donut and a cup of coffee for breakfast and I’m a happy camper.
Now probably isn’t the best time to confess that I once had an addiction to cinnamon donuts. I was living in Brisbane, Australia, at the time and would often buy them by the half dozen from the supermarket and finish them within a day. Not very classy but gosh they were good! Thankfully, those days of gluttony are (sort of) over for me. Though, that is probably due in part to the fact that I now live in Zurich, Switzerland, where cinnamon donuts are a rare find.