December 2008

Squid are one of the most amazing creatures in the ocean, they’re smart, they’re curious, they can camoflage themselves, and… they’re extremely delicious. Which is probably why Russell Brown’s friend Kerry pestered me to put up this post! Kerry, apologies for this taking so long, seafood was kept of the menu by Chef Du Plunge.

A further great thing about squid is that with the decimation of the world’s stocks of predator fish (like tuna), squid are abundant. It’s therefore our illogical duty  to bring balance to the force, and eat many, many squid.

Cuttlefish are a closely related species that differs mainly in the arrangement of the swim-fins. In Melbourne I learned cleaning these things on cuttlefish, but the difference isn’t too great.

So, what do you look for in a squid? The one pictured is from Moore Wilsons and cost a whopping $3.30. As you’ll see, it’s easily enough to be the protein in a meal for two.

What you’ll need is about half a kilo of squid, a sharp knife, and an apron. This is a messy business.

The thing to look for when selecting a squid or cuttlefish is the colour around the swim-fins. If it is too yellow, and not a translucent white, then the animal has been frozen and defrosted too long. This makes it risky, and less tasty. Also, if you’re cleaning the squid and the gut stinks, and I mean *really* stinks, then it’s probably bad. Take my advice and cut your losses now.

Back in the kitchens the squid was sometimes so fresh its skin still shimmered through different colours… poor, delicious little blighters.

And we’re off!



In a word, tedious. Underneath the Victorian racism and faux-socialism there might have been an interesting story here, and there is certainly some science fiction in there that is now science-fact (for instance television, a lengthy discourse on powered flight, state propaganda, and something like radio, written about in 1899), but not enough to make this a good read.

The Sleeper Awakes reads in a similar fashion to Brave New World. It is clipped, poorly characterised, and very much a product of its generation. In other words, a vehicle for some pretty fantastic and big ideas. Wells was visionary, but here he has missed the mark, a point he concedes in the preface.

I got about 2/3 of the way through before I had simply to give up. And it’s a pity, because this had the potential to make some very interesting comments about the nature of the industrial revolution, capitalism, and the transformation of society. But the Victorian lens was too distorting.

Check it out!

This grows on the doorstep of Second Chef’s parents’ place.

This, is a yellow pohutukawa southern rata. I’ve never heard of one of these, let alone seen one.

Somewhere on the web there will be a recipe for making the BBQ pork buns, but who has time for that just at the minute? A man needs sustenance though, and you can buy these buns by the 8 from the Waitangi Markets for about $8. That’s some good snacking.

Now you could just micorwave these things, but where is the fun in that?! Plus, microwaving always creates an unevenly warmed bun. Which I always find is a bit of a tongue-burning minefield…

I’m making two of these, in these handy little bamboo steam baskets from a local “Asian” market.

This literally takes five minutes, and the buns come in different varieties, including red bean (i.e. vegetarian) (more…)

Well, Happy Christmas from here in the kitchen at Object Dart. This year we’re planning on enjoying the obligatory, ham, lamb and chicken for Christmas.

Life wouldn’t be the same without it.

So travel well, be safe, and see you all out and about again in the New Year. I’ll still be posting here, but I’m not supposing anyone will actually read anything until at least Jan 5! 🙂

And here’s this year’s Christmas video. Something that should be a fine old tradition in years to come.

2008 has been a little like this:

oh, and because I saw this when looking for the above, and because it n my top-10 songs of all time.

I read regularly, so was unsurprised to see the following screen present itself to me.

What we have here in this very bad screen grab is a big heading saying, “Recession deepens with latest GDP result”. The article is here. Directly next to that is a cheery Christmas picture with the caption, “Lighting up the world for Christmas”.

You can bet all those lights were bought from China!

Who says you can’t have accidental irony.

(Oh, in case you’re wondering, the country is going broke because of the amount of crap we’re buying from overseas…)

I’m trying to write fewer reviews, but this one was such a surprise I thought I’d better share it.

Escapement is a steampunk/fantasy novel set in 1901 planet Earth. But… and there’s always a but, the world is girded by a massive wall that circles the equator. The Victorian Empire, ascendent in the West, is trying to drill a hole through the wall to find the undiscovered Southern Lands, but they’re opposed by the “magic” of the colossal brasswork in the sky.

So naturally you have lots of British Redcoats and Fuzzy-wuzzies to write about.

Initially the idea was so implausible I found it hard to engage. That, and the writer appeared to be making up lots of words to describe things, which is a death-knell for scifi and fantasy.

But then I realised it was Portuguese…

If you need a decent summer break read, I’m running this one back to the library this morning. Recommended.

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