Yesterday was the 3rd Anniversary of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami that devastated the Tōhoku region. It is important to remember that there are still hundreds of thousands of people displaced and living in temporary accommodation, unable to return to their homes. Many have been affected by radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor meltdown and residents in the areas cleared for habitation will need to continue to monitor their health for years to come. The food chain has also been affected with radioactive waste water being detected flowing into the pacific, and with soil contamination affecting crops and livestock production.
Here in Brisbane, it is difficult to imagine what people are going through but a number of local businesses and community groups are doing their part to help raise funds for the recovery effort.
In particular, Taro’s Ramen & Cafe at 363 Adelaide Street in Brisbane is donating $1 from every bowl of Ramen served from March 9 – 15 to support Orphans of the disaster. I recommend Tonkotsu Ramen.
I’ll have my usual aromatherapy soy candles, and crocheted tea towels along with some beanies, cards, and something brand new – Rosebud earrings! I’ve been a huge fan of these for sometime now, so decided to make them myself. I have loads of colours and two different sizes and they make fantastic gifts for girls of any age.The large size are $12, and the small $10.
Lately, I haven’t been giving this blog the love and attention it deserves. BUT, it has been for a very good reason; I’ve been working on a number of exciting projects. I baked and decorated a Red Velvet cake for Kyra and Steve’s engagement party, AND I have turned 4006things into a Market Stall! As a lot of you will already know I love a crafty project, and of late, have ended up with some lovely completed bits and pieces taking up precious space in my tiny flat.
So, as a way to finance new crafty projects, and give myself some space for creating, I decided to test the waters with a market stall at the BAC Twilight Markets back in April. Organised by my friend Casey from Pitter Patter, it turned out to be a super fun, and surprisingly successful afternoon, and spurred me on to try it again at Jenna and Casey’s Home Style Markets at Sherwood last weekend. I have to say that, whilst it was a little quiet, I had a wonderful time meeting other stall holders and customers and enjoying wonderful music from the busker upstairs. In fact, I’ll be back there next month – Saturday June 9, and I’m super excited.
So what have I been taking to market?? I have put together a fun range of tea light candles, and some jar candles with essential oils and crystals, as well as knitted hats (beanies) and nanna style crocheted tea towels, a few vintage items, fresh herbs, lavender sachets and even coffee cosies. I’m most excited about one of my aromatherapy products though – Snuffies. They are all natural vapour discs with essentials oils that you can use in the shower or bath to help clear your sinuses this cold and flu season.
I will be putting up photos and updates about my latest projects and products on this page and via the 4006things facebook page too. If you have any feedback or requests, please drop me an email.
On 11 March 2011, at 2.46pm (JST) a magnitude 9.0 Earthquake rocked the Touhoku region of Japan marking the beginning of a disaster of unimaginable proportions. Soon after, a Tsunami swept through coastal towns leaving 15000 people dead or missing, and triggering a Nuclear incident that is now known to exceed the Chernobyl disaster in severity.
A year on, the clean up is well underway and much of the debris has been removed but thousands of people still remain in recovery centres and ‘temporary’ shelters unable to return to their homes. However, Japanese people are resilient, and I know that in time and with the help of technology, and the international community, they will rebuild.
I like Mexican food. Good, authentic Mexican food that is… which seems to be quite en vogue in Brisbane at the moment. Having said that, Montezuma’s is a guilty pleasure of mine (and a couple of my good friends). A few years ago, Gourmet Traveller magazine (another guilty pleasure) had a fantastic feature on homestyle mexican cooking – La Cantina. This is where my recipe for Shredded Beef Tacos is sourced. It has proven to be very popular with my family and friends, and has even impressed a friend who was decidedly anti-mexican food. Be warned however, this is a long cooking process best started a day before you want to serve the meat, but it is definitely worth it. AND best of all, it freezes well so you can do this once in a blue moon, and have delicious taco beef at the beep of a microwave.
1kg beef (topside, chuck, or brisket) cut in to big chunks
2 brown onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup lard or vegetable oil (not olive oil)
3 large tomatoes, de-seeded and roughly chopped
3 or 4 green onions thinly sliced
1 tsp chilli powder
1 long green chilli, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, finely chopped
1 cup beef stock
Soft tortillas, salad, guacamole and sides to serve.
In a really big pot, put in the beef and enough water to cover it along with 1/2 tsp of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and skim the scum from the pot for the next 5 – 10 mins.
Add 1/4 of an onion, along with 1 garlic clove that has been bruised with a knife. Partially cover the pot with the lid, I tend to 3/4 cover it, and simmer for 3 – 4 hours or until the meat is falling apart.
Remove the beef from the broth. KEEP THE BROTH THOUGH – strain it and put in a bowl for later. Shred the beef with two forks or with your fingers – whatever works for you, and set it aside for now.
Heat the lard or oil in the same pot or a large heavy based pan (think Le Creuset). Add the rest of the onion, and the beef to the pan and cook for 5 or so minutes until the beef browns a little (I’m not talking crispy beef here, but you do want the onion to soften and be translucent-ish).
Add the garlic (minced), tomato, green onion, chilli powder and cook for a couple of minutes until the spices are fragrant, and the tomato slightly softened.
Add the broth, and the beef stock and simmer, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced by two thirds. Season to taste.
Serve piping hot with salads and sides (and maybe a bit of chopped coriander).
For New Year’s Eve, I headed to a good friend’s place along two dishes – my Mexican beef, and my Mexican rice, for a Mexican Fiesta. My dishes joined a Mexican Lasagna, a Frittata, and some amazing salads which were enjoyed with cold beverages, cake and great company, and helped us ring in the New Year. Ole.
You may have missed it, but it is Christmas – I know it crept up on me. It is tradition in our family to have a glazed ham at some point whether on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. This year as we were going the Griswold Birks Family Christmas at Buderium on the big day, we were intending to have a Christmas Eve shin dig however, life intervened, and it ended up being a get together with a very small group of friends rather than a family affair. The glazed ham got some rave reviews so I thought I would share my glaze recipe with you. Enjoy! R x
EASY GLAZE FOR YOUR HOLIDAY HAM
4kg Leg or Shoulder Ham
NB: I tend to buy the smallest but tastiest looking one as I have a tiny oven
1 tin of sliced pineapple (or you can use fresh – go nuts)
1 packet of glace cherries
Whole cloves to stud the beast
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon of seed honey mustard
1/4 cup of mandarin (or orange) juice
Preheat oven to 180C
Put the ham on a rack, in a roasting pan, and then put some water in the pan – you don’t want to water to touch the ham. (The water helps keep the ham moist, and also makes cleaning up way, way easier). Bake for 1 hour.
Take the ham out of the oven, and remove the skin carefully – don’t take the fat off; just the skin. I use a knife and tongs for this process.
Next, score the surface to make a diamondish/grid/lattice pattern.
Cut cherries in half, and skewer a cherry piece and a pineapple piece on a toothpick, and jam it into the ham – preferably in the grid but if you aren’t a ‘colour inside the lines’ person, do what you feel.
Mix the juice, sugar, honey and mustard to form the glaze, and using a basting/pastry brush, paint it all over the the ham and pineapple/cherry bits and the bare faces of the ham.
Put the ham back into the oven for about 20-30 mins basting about every 10-mins or so.
Take it out when it looks awesome, and present to your awe-struck family.