Transmission will resume shortly…

I’m so snowed under what with bees, family, work, uni studies… I’m still here underneath all this stuff!

I promise I will try and resume transmission shortly. Speaking of test patterns, I recently bought a dress from Preap and Coutts that I have nicknamed the test pattern dress, because of the colouring. What do you think?

LuMi Bar and Dining, Pyrmont

LuMi is hidden off a wharf in Pyrmont, just a stone’s throw away from where the pyrmont growers markets are held. On Sundays your only option is the degustation menu, which is $95 per head without drinks. You can add matching drinks for an additional $80 per head. This set menu certainly does make it easier for the kitchen staff.

Lumi decor

We started off with cocktails: and since I had run* 5km that morning, I thought I should follow up this healthy exercise with a celery tonic ($20):

celery drink

Freshly pressed celery juice combined with Citron Vodka, Lemon, Agave and it is charged with tonic. This was really very refreshing with the lemon sharpness and celery flavour not being too overpowering. I should try and make this at home.

On the food front, we have a few palate cleansers.

Salt and vinegar rice crisps:

salt n vinegar rice crisps

Breathe in at the wrong time and you get a whack of vinegar powder up the nose. Like one of those prawn crackers, except without the prawn.

Frozen Porcini brisee with blackberry powder:

Porcini Disc

The plate was cold, like it had been stored in the freezer. Well duh, I hear you think. Still it was a surprise. “Brisee” is like a shortcrust pastry, so I guess it was mainly butter and a bit of flour holding the porcini grounds together. It was a bit gritty. The freeze dried blackberry powder had the sharpness of the berry.

Frozen daikon with shredded dried squid:

Shredded dried squid on daikon

I missed the explanation of what else bonded the squid to the daikon, but it was creamy. Not mayonnaise, perhaps cream. The dried squid had quite a fish-like taste; it reminded me a lot of Japanese bonito flakes.

Parfait macaron:


You hear the word ‘parfait’ you seen the macaron, you think ‘sweet’. Nope, it’s ‘parfait’ as in liver parfait. I know that you can only make the macaron with sugar and egg whites, but it is an odd combination. Instead of sweet and sour; it’s sweet and savoury. I know the bits of paper say “Lumi” in fancy writing. But the stylised ‘lu’ when seen upside down really looks like something dreamt up by the golden arches. Sorry.



The egg custard had been flavoured with parmesan. The dashi stock very very faintly of lime.
I think that I had first encountered a ‘steamed egg custard’ at Whalen’s hotel; followed by a tofu and egg white one with scallops and asparagus at the Golden Century. That latter one was like eating fluffy clouds. This was…. almost plain. If I hadn’t known of the parmesan and the lime flavour, I don’t think I would’ve noticed either.

Spanner crab and kohlrabi:

spanner crab and kholrabi

Now this is why I want a mandolin. So I can shave my kohlrabi into paper thin strip of fettucine. The spanner crab was hidden under an egg white emulsion – which made everything creamy, and showed off the spanner crab. Those things are a pain to get the meat out of ~ as I remember when I was trying to make clam chowder. Or was it bouillabaisse? Something that involved me going to the Norwest fish shop.

Beetroot, black sesame, cream:

Salt Roast Beetroot

Salt baked beetroot with three sauces, black sesame seed emulsion, cream with goat cheese. At first, I was thinking how amazingly rich and creamy this was, and that I should try salt-baking a beetroot myself sometime. Someone declared it their favourite dish thus far, and that it brought back memories of eating black sesame pudding in Japan.

Ravioli, gruyere, porcini butter:

Gruyere Ravioli

This was a single piece of ravioli, with a meltingly soft pasta casing and gruyere filling. There were raw swiss brown mushrooms as a topping, and the option of fresh shaved truffle for an additional $12. This was quite a meaty in mouthfeel dish; I wonder if braising the mushrooms in butter would have made it too rich? Certainly the raw swiss browns did add a lighter, non-buttery element to the dish.

Burnt Semolina Spaghetti, Quail, Marjoram:

Burnt Semolina Spaghetti

Many people declared that this was their favourite dish. Perhaps because it was the first appearance of meat? Certainly the semolina spaghetti made the whole very hearty. The crispy garlic breadcrumbs gave a nice crunch and were very moreish.

Lamb rib, red miso, leek, lime kosho:

Lamb rib and leek

Meat off a lamb rib, no bone. The lamb had been marinated in the salty red miso and barbequed, giving a meltingling soft texture, with tasty crispy burnt bits. Noms. Wikipedia says that kosho is a kind of paste made from chilli peppers, yuzu peel and salt; in this case the lime peel replacing the yuzu fruit peel, which I don’t think you can get fresh in Australia. Kind of like a preserved lemon (lime) paste. That’s the little green blob on the plate. The leek had been shaped into a rectangle, just the inner tender part of vegetable.

Yuzu. Mandarin, Licorice, Wakame Powder:

Yuzu Icecream and Licorice

The licorice had been used to flavour a meringue ‘crisp’ a startlingly black colour. Yuzu flavoured the white sorbet, mandarin flavoured the orange coloured sorbet. It almost looks like a just poached egg, nestling under a house of black slate. This was a really refreshing – yet another palate cleanser without being too acidic.

Ginger ice cream w/white chocolate foam, passionfruit powder & yoghurt crumble:

Ginger icecream

Don’t forget the scraped bits of sweet white chocolate. The ginger icecream also had bits of crystallised ginger that explode in your mouth with intense gingerness.

Lumi presents you with really interesting flavour combinations that make you wonder “How on earth did they do that?”. The enforced degustation menu on Sundays means that the kitchen can do all the complicated things in advance. The venue has gorgeous views during the daytime (although bring your sunglasses!). I would definitely be going again, and it works well as a special occasion venue.

street: Wharf 10, 56 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont
phone: +61-2-9571-1999
Lunch: Fri-Sun, 1200-1430
Dinner: Fri-Sat 1800 – 2200; Wed, Thu, Sun: 1830-2200
Shut 1630-1800/1830.

* by “run” I mean half walk, half admire the view.

Life in a bee-ocracy

Bzzt. We’ve been in this bat box for over 8 months. I’m bored, and there’s not enough room.


Conditions look good out there – it’s warming up, there’s lots of flowers* in bloom.


Let’s move.

The escape

Hey, I can see Russia from this branch.


I think this place looks pretty good.

shook swarm

Aw bzzt. This place looks really familiar.

Three hive flock

Harvest Monday August and Winter/Spring garden update

I’ve already written a post about my 2015 winter garden. I guess this is part 2 (in Australia, Winter is classified as June/July/August).

Snow peas. I’ve harvested three times, about a handful each time. Tonight’s harvest I counted 11 snow peas. I have no idea about weight.

Winter harvest

The broccoli didn’t form a cohesive head, it started getting taller and the florette components got more coarse rather than small and compact which is what I prefer. So I chopped it into broccolini-like shoots, and ate it. It was delicious.

La Orange:

La orange

About 4 skinny minnie asparagus spears.

And that’s kind of it for my lazy persons harvest from the lazy person garden.

I was really inspired by my friend Ashlee’s garden, and I was rather jealous of all the lovely growing things they had. And I thought of my winter plot, which took two days worth of hard work to move; which I subsequently ignored after the frost which killed the pumpkin.


From seed: rocket, carrot, dwarf peas, xing gua. Some parsnips too, because I saw a recipe for parsnip wine, and wanted to make some.

I also purchased, after much dithering (a month’s worth), a double graft low chill cherry tree – Minnie Royal and Royal Lee. This one is a guaranteed low chill. This “bare root tree” was already in bud and flower when I picked it up from the Dural area: compare this to my starkrimson tree, which is still dormant.

What does the garden look like?

Honestly, it looks much the same as it did last month.

Oh, here is a picture of the anonymous citrus flowers, now dubbed the orange tree:

Orange blossoms

I wish I had smell-o-vision, it really smells that glorious. I am surprised that the bees aren’t foraging on the orange tree, but they like to travel kilometres, not metres.

The bees are bringing in plenty of pollen, which makes me very happy. I feel blessed that I live in the Sydney basin, with a temperature climate that allows for year round foraging. Times were a bit tough early in the year – due to the monsoonal weather that we experienced from October to February, a lot of colonies that got started late in the season have not survived winter. I know of three colonies that did not survive winter because they had already eaten all of their stores during what was supposed to be “the good months” (Jan/Feb), but really were the tough months. Some bees were even observed to be harvesting rust spores from the underside of weeds. My bees are suffering a bit from chalkbrood as a result of condensation – every morning I visit them, they’re “skating” on the bottom board – I’m not sure if they’re “sweeping” the floor, or just unable to move properly because of the amount of condensation that has built up overnight.


Winter Bees

I was trying to capture a shot of the beehive’s “rush hour” in this photo. It’s like all the bees decided to return at a specific time in order to have a bit of a gossip and a coffee. It’s probably because they’re all flying the same distance away, it takes the same amount of time to stuff your saddlebags, and then the same amount of time to fly back.

What’s that in the background? I hear you ask.

Well, it’s a bee colony that moved into a sugar glider box over summer, and I collected in Autumn. I call it the “bat box” because it is easier to say. I have rescued the bat box bees, but I can’t move them out until spring. *How* am I going to move them out? I’m not quite sure yet …

Garlic in a pot:

Container garlic

I don’t think I showed you a picture last time.


I have already saved some capsicum seeds (store bought capsicum), and papaya seeds to see if I can get them to grow. Papaya from seed says that the papaya seeds will work.
My kipfler seed potatoes have already started to sprout roots – so although the tag says to plant in late spring/early summer, I think they need to go in now. This year I’m going to try a tomato grow bag. I’m a bit doubtful over the use of stacking tyres for the growing of potatoes.
I still need to dig out the grapevine. It may just go into a pot (the ground is as hard as a rock, since we haven’t had any rain for 24 days).
Move the bat box bees out of the bat box.
Plant the frangipani already.

An hour in Ashlee’s Garden

I visited my friend Ashlee to swap beehive boxes. A colleague had picked up a bee swarm in January, which I had donated to Ashlee. For a brief 24 hours I was the custodian of three beehives. Unfortunately, in the hail storms that hit Sydney in late April/May, all the trees had lost their flowers, and her bees which were living day to day ended up dying. So it was time to swap our bee boxes back so we each had our own matching set.

I was keen to see her garden, which was really productive after a years’ worth of hard work.

The (front) yard is north facing, and slightly terraced so they have replaced the grassed area with four garden beds edged with treated pine.

Garden Inspiration

From memory, there was: sage, parsley, thyme, spring onions, chard, broccoli, rocket, fennel, onions and various kinds of lettuce. Wild european honey bees were foraging on the rocket (arugula) that had bolted to seed. Her trick for not weeding? Plant everything in close quarters so that there is no space for weeds to take hold. A trellis (right hand side) had been built out of bamboo and pvc wiring, which supported the broad beans. The proper walk-in green house (top left hand corner) had been a Christmas present, and was much more successful in getting seedlings started than the little plastic greenhouse that you usually find in gardening shops and hardware stores.

There were also ducks and chickens in the backyard, but I forgot to take a photo of them.

There are plans for a pond and an aquaponics system.

She also has native stingless bees which look like little flies. Over winter they haven’t really emerged from their shoebox of a hive, but with the late winter/early spring days warming up over 20 degree C, they have been out and about. Unlike European honey bees which tend to fly a radius of 3km (up to 10km, depending on foraging material), these guys focus on the local – the 100m diet.

I was really impressed, and a little bit jealous. I too could have a garden like this if I only I worked hard at it. I must try harder!

Dae Ga Korean Restaurant, Parramatta

There’s a new restaurant in town, and it’s clearing out the local bottle-o of korean plum wine.

Dae Ga Korean has opened in the shopfront that the Chinese Noodle Bar used to occupy. The dining room has been freshened up with new furniture, and new shiny silver coloured pull down/zip up extractor fans installed over each table. It’s a bit quiet early on, but the room is soon half full with Koreans.

It’s a cold winter’s night, so we opt for spicy hot pot with a side of rice.

This being a korean restaurant, we were looking forward to the banchan side dishes:

Banchan at Dae Ga

Kimchi, Smooshy mashed potato scooped up with an icecream scoop, seaweed/kelp with sesame oil, mung bean sprouts slightly pickled, soy bean ‘skins’ in sesame oil, daikon pickled with vinegar a chlli, gluten ‘skins’ and potato in a sweet sticky sauce. My favourites were the mashed potato and the seaweed.

Seafood Spicy Hot Pot ($43):

Spicy seafood hot pot

I remember enoki mushrooms, octopus (divided head and legs), mung bean sprouts, zucchini, fish balls, cabbage, glutinous sweet potato noodles, carrot and pickled bamboo. The spicy broth wasn’t too spicy despite my trepidation. Perhaps a heat rating of 2 out of 10.

The rice comes in little metal canisters with a lid, possibly to keep it warm. Perhaps it’s so you can carry your lunch to work.

Plum Wine:

Plum liquor

We had actually brought along our own bottle of plum wine, and we were charged $5 corkage. I believe that the restaurant is in the process of obtaining their liquor licence, so very soon you should be able to order alcohol with your meal rather than BYO.

Dae Ga Korean Restaurant
street: 42 George Street, Parramatta 2150
phone: +61-2-9687-4242
Mon-Sat: 1000 – 2200
Sun: 1700 – 2200

Baja Kale Chips, Baja

I borrowed two books on “raw food” from the library. Then I went to the shops and bought some lamb’s fry (liver) because it was there, on impulse. I suppose that that is my random liver moment. I’ve already told you that I’m a disbeliever to the ‘raw food’ movement. I guess I’m craving iron. So it was time to make kale chips again.

There was a recipe for Baja Kale chips (mysteriously filed under ‘B’ for Baja). The sunshine coast daily has kindly put Baja Kale Chips on the internet.

The next day, there was a function and a fruit platter at work, so I took advantage of the free pineapple to try out the recipe.

Flavour Mixture:

Baja kale chips flavouring

The mixture was a lot more wet than I’m used to. After tasting it, I compounded the problem by adding a splash of apple cider vinegar and a lot of pepper. I think that the mixture needed a little more acidity.

Once the kale chips are dried, they look much the same as any other kale chips. So I ate them. There is no photo. They were an interesting sweet and sour flavour that I wouldn’t have picked as pineapple, if I hadn’t made them myself. I would probably make them again if I had access to some spare pineapple. I wouldn’t purposely go out and buy a pineapple just to make them.


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