Kombucha me, baby

I had seen some kombucha ready to drink at the Castle Hill markets for about the past two years. I bought a bottle, didn’t hate it, but also didn’t go mad for it either. I looked it up and realised that my mum had been making this kombucha around twenty years ago. Go mum!

Harris Farm had bottles of kombucha fizzy from another brand to buy, and I brought some of these along to try at our yoga class end-of-year party. At the end, we had a little bit left, so I looked up to see if I could make my own kombucha jellyfish from this store bought stuff.

The instructions I followed were from PaprikaHead.

As I would be away for several weeks, I started it growing by putting it first on the counter for two days. Outside temperature was about 35 C (95F). I did this because the label on the bottle recommended consumption within a week of opening. The jar was returned to the fridge whilst I was away, to slow the fermentation process.

Here she is, after about 1 week on the counter with 35 deg C temperatures:

Baby kombucha

The baby kombucha is about 3mm thick (1/8 of an inch). The liquid is that gem-red colour because I didn’t read the instructions properly, and started with a no-tea leaf raspberry herbal tea.

I then transferred to a larger container, fed the mother 1 litre of water, 1/3 cup of sugar, and two black teabags. I was supposed to leave this on the counter for a futher two weeks. However, after a week of hot and humid weather, she looks like this:

Kombucha mama

The thickness of the jellyfish ranges from 5mm to 10 mm (1/4 inch to 1/2 inch). I think that I’m ready to brew!

Lentil As Anything, Newtown

I was in Newtown around breakfast time one morning, and as the queue for Sadhana Kitchen was far too daunting, I retreated to Lentil As Anything. Have you heard of this concept? It’s been running in Melbourne for several years, staffed entirely by volunteers. You are asked to pay what you think the meal is worth, with the proviso that $5 barely covers the costs. Any extra money is returned for education and community programs.

I didn’t take a photo of the Soy Chai Tea, because it looked so uninspiring. It’s presented in a water glass, about half full. I think this chai is made in a big vat and then kept warm throughout the day.

Scrambled tofu:
Scrambled Tofu

Homemade baked beans, baked potato, cashew mozzarella.

I liked the baked beans. The scrambled tofu is not too tumeric heavy, just enough to give a bit of colour. Good old nutritional yeast gives the cashew ‘mozzarella’ its cheesy flavour.

Other choices of the day include pancakes with a chocolate orange sauce, Bircher museli, and a BLAT – vegan ‘bacon’, lettuce and tomato wrap.

I will probably return. I like the concept of paying what you feel like – one day when you’re feeling generous, you pay a bit more; the next day when you’re a bit skint, you pay less.

Lentil As Anything
Street: 391 King Street, Newtown, NSW 2042
Phone: +61-2-8283-5580
Web: http://lentilasanything.com/sydney

7 days: 1200-2100.
Weekend brunch: 1000-12noon.


Reverb 2015

This year, I started Reverb 2015 in August. No joke. I think I was avoiding doing actual work on my post-graduate degree. Hear that?! I finally committed to further education!!

Reverb 2014 starts here: here.

Other years’ participation are listed here.

2014.6. Prompt for 6 December 2014 :
Money. Where did you spend your money this year? Did you save it instead? What, if anything, would you like to do with your finances this year?

I started a post graduate degree! I haven’t gone the whole hog, because *that’s* 24 thousand big ones, but I’m doing the graduate certificate version. Why? Because I’m paying for it, not my work.

2015.1. Prompt for 1 December:
What sorts of lists do you have on the go at the moment? What do they suggest you are praying for?

Many many to-do lists. To-do at work. Shopping lists (I should really just have a perpetual shopping list). To-do at home lists. It would appear that I am praying for better organisation and structure.

2015.2 Prompt for 2 December
What surprised you this year?

I recently wrote a post about how I was a little busy, and would return to the blog shortly. My post originally had stated: “I’m so snowed under what with work, bees, family, uni studies… “. I was a little surprised that I had put work first amongst my priorities. I am trying to change that.

2015.3 Prompt for 3 December:
When was the last time you stopped to look up at the moon?

What did she have to say to you?

I really do admire the moonrises, especially when the sky is that lovely purple-pink-blue colour of sunset. I think the last time I tried to take a photo of the moon was when the planets Jupiter and Venus were in the western sky, and the International Space Station zoomed past. I missed that photo, but I followed the International Space Station from West to East, whereupon the moon was rising. Hello! It happened just after the weekly yoga session at work.

2015.4 Prompt for 4 December:
How can you replenish your (physical, mental, spiritual and/or emotional) resources? What do you need most of all at this moment?

Me time. Rest.

2015.5 Prompt for 5 December:
Go on, show us your selfie! You know you want to.


2015.6 Prompt for 6 December:
In 2016, how can you bring healing to these patterns of thought that are holding you back?

Think before one speaks. Learn to be less reactive

Summer in the Garden, 2015

After my most recent visit to the USA, and driving around the Santa Rosa wine country area, I was really inspired to dig my rogue grapevine out of the planter box, and trellis it and use it as a “living fence” out the front of the box. But I couldn’t dig it out of the planter box. I guess the roots go deeper than you think.

So I trellised it in place:

South facing planter box

I didn’t really want to stick opposing stakes in the ground to give the trellis tension, so I just used garden stakes to give the thing rigidity. (The grapevine is hidden behind the self seeding parsley)

Two apples, one per columnar:

Two apples

These are really delicate. You touch one to stick a fruit fly exclusion bag on it, and the fruit falls off. I’ve already lost two fruit on the



Yes, I bought this as a seedling. It’s planted in the relocated garden bed, but although it gets lovely sun in the winter, it has a lot of sun in summer. The zucchini leaves do wilt a bit during the heat of the day. Perhaps a deciduous tree to the north of the planter box?

Not much else is happening. I’ve managed to keep the rhubarb alive; the one in the south facing planter box in front of the grapevine is doing quite well, probably because it is quite well shaded by the lemongrass. It is doing much better than the rhubarb that is facing north. I got a mere six or so asparagus from my two crowns. I had let the ferns grow throughout winter, so I’m not sure what I didn’t do. Perhaps I was meant to fertilise?

Edition Coffee Roasters, Darlinghurst

This place is so hard to find! It sits on a nondescript corner in east Sydney, in a building that was ‘established 1983’. I walked past, powering up the hill, and it was only when I realised that I was looking for number 265 (not 256), that I found it. There is no sign. Here is a photo for future reference:

Edition Coffee Roasters

C’mon, admit it. You too would have walked straight past.

The space is small and narrow, with blond wood, white tiling and gorgeous vintage Japanese cutlery:

Cutlery @ Edition Coffee Roasters

The menu was simple, yet so hard to choose from.

Chai tea ($5.5):

Chai tea pot

Wow. Look at that pot. Want. The chai is from the blue mountains, it is then steamed with your milk, of which I had soy.

Chai tea @ Edition Coffee

Unfortunately all the aroma I could smell from the pot was freshly grated nutmeg. The hand thrown cup also seemed to have grated nutmeg in the base. I really liked the cup.

Mushroom pond ($13):

Mushroom pond

So much has been written about this dish, what else can I add? It is really beautiful to look at. I spotted enoki, shittake, oyster mushrooms. The broth to me just tastes like watered down soy sauce. Sorry. My topping today, I’m pretty sure, is crème fraiche instead of mushroom cream. The udon noodles are a pain to eat in a delicate fashion without spraying cream flavoured mushroom stock everywhere. This is a nice and pretty dish, but I want more.

So, because I’m a little piggy and I am here to celebrate the end of exams (yay!), I order something more.

Porco Rollo ($13):

Porco rollo

Glammed up banh mi, or Vietnamese pork roll. The ginger ‘slaw’ is really pickled purple cabbage with skinny strips of pink pickled Japanese ginger. The pork has lovely crispy bits, but falls apart in soft shreds. I want to be able to cook this at home. I like the addition of sliced radish and sprinkling of nigella seed on top. I think the ‘tamogoyaki’ (sweet Japanese omelette) is unnecessary, and doesn’t really add anything special.

I want to come back and try the Oden Japanese Stew , as well as one of the brewed teas.

Edition coffee roasters
Street: 265 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010 (Corner crown Street)
web: https://www.facebook.com/editioncoffeeroasters/
No phone
Mon-Fri: 0700-1530
Sat-Sun: 0800-1530

Apple Bar, Bilpin

My friend Simon loves the Apple Bar. Every time he drives past down the Bells Line of Road, he has to stop in for a meal.

I have never had that chance – up to now – because every time I have driven past, the place is full to the gunnels. But this Saturday, at around 4pm, the carpark was relatively empty. So it was my turn.

As it is spring, the raw bar menu has started. There were three kinds a sashimi available, and I chose the first.

Jasmine tea smoked Yellowfin Tuna:

Tea smoked tuna

Wowee. The smoking (and subsequent rolling in sesame seeds – both black and white), has turned a simple slab of AAA+ grade sashimi into a very meaty dish. The touches of fish roe and cream set it off perfectly. The addition of the small bowl of soy sauce wasn’t really needed.

I have smoked a chicken once before, using some Jasmine tea bought in Taiwan. So of course I had to pick this dish to see how it turned out.

Pork Loin (wood grilled) with caramelised apple juice and avocado salad:

Wood cooked pork loin

The caramelised apple juice was thick and dark, like molasses. The fat on the pork chop had ben crispified, very nice. Pork was moist and lovely still, the next day (yes, I had to take leftovers with me). There were bits of fresh apple throughout the chunks of avocado, daikon radish, nigella seeds. Please Sir, can I have some more?

Upside down apple cake with vanilla bean icecream:

Upside down apple cake

The custard was incorporated into icecream, it was such a lovely yellow colour with speckles of vanilla bean seeds throughout. The cake itself was a very fine specimen. I had recently made a guava and pear upside down cake, but my one was missing the lovely vanilla custard ice cream.

I think I’m going to stop in on this place more often!

The Apple Bar
Street: 2488 Bells Line of Road, Bilpin, NSW.
Web: http://www.applebar.com.au/

Lunch: 1200 onwards, Friday to Monday
Dinner: 1730, Friday to Sunday
All day Sundays.

Post Note Note: The Apple Bar will be closing for good on Monday 1 February 2016.

Cherries, 2015

I have made the mistake of counting my cherries before they hatched.

Cherries 2015

I didn’t bother with the ice this year; we had some frosts right at the start of May. It seems to have worked – I counted 28 cherries before they split from all this rain, and the ants got in and started nibbling.

I got one cherry from the low chill double graft minnie royal/royal lee that I got in late winter.


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