The Maldovarium

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    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    As it is April 1st, I thought it would the appropriate time to share what is widely, and justly, regarded as the best April Fool’s Day sketch ever done (by the BBC in 1957):


    janetteB @janetteb

    @blenkinsopthebrave Amusing indeed and so of its time. Spag” was an alien food to most Australians in the fifties and no doubt to most Brits as well. My parents never cooked or ate spaghetti. Indeed the limitations of Australian fifties cuisine, (if you could even call it that) is a theme of a cooking column I write for a friend’s newsletter. (I am no cook either but it is for a rural community and could not think of anything else I could contribute that would be of interest to the readers and the evolution of Australian cooking, thanks to immigration is worth reminding people of.)


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    “of its time”

    I so totally agree. My memory of cuisine in Australia in the 50s and 60s (ie, when I was living at home) was of the dreaded “chops, peas and potatoes” where the chops were over-done, the peas were from a tin and the potatoes were…well, I try to block it out. And then there was “dessert”. Which, in the young Blenkinsop home, constituted a hideous flavour of jelly–sometimes with overcooked and stringy rhubarb. The horror!


    janetteB @janetteb

    @blenkinsopthebrave I think Australian cooks of the fifties inherited all that was bad about English cooking with none of the redeeming qualities. Everything boiled to a pulp, no garnishes. Researching into S.A. history I am beginning to understand why. Mutton was the only meat available and it would have gone off so quickly that options were limited, very few vegetables could survive the climate and thin soil, so the staples were limited and cooking in 40c could not have been an appealing prospect. When immigrants arrived in Aus’ post war they could not even find garlic let alone such exotic things as Zucchini, capsicum, eggplant, or even broccoli. I think there is no better illustration of the benefits of multiculturalism than a study of Australian cuisine.


    Missy @missy


    Very funny.   I have to say that our meals were not like yours. My mum would dish up whale steak  (cheaper than beef)with mashed potatoes,  fresh peas or spinach and gravy made from the juice of the meat and vegetables and thickened with flour.(yum)

    She never over cooked anything. Mind you, our puddings (not dessert in the UK) were rice pudding, spotted dick with custard, or apple pie also with custard.



    @blenkinsopthebrave @janetteb @missy

    Fun factette: some the scenes were filmed in Pasta Food’s factory in St Albans (they also provided research to “sell” the joke), which I went past on the bus from school every day. We were implausibly proud of its role in fake history (the factory moved to Norfolk in the late 80s).

    And yes, that is Richard Dimbleby, one of the most revered names in British journalism – who threatened to resign if the BBC forced him to tone down his dispatches from Belsen – absolutely deadpanning it.

    Missy @missy


    My OH had seen this hoax, but I hadn’t. Loved it.

    Many thanks


    Cath Annabel @cathannabel

    Hello folks.  I have been negligent regarding my Whovian interests of late, though I have dropped in from time to time to see what you’re all up to.  I guess we’re all somewhat holding our breath for the new series/new Doctor…

    Meanwhile, I’ve got my big charity event, the 24 hour lecture marathon, coming up on 19-20 April, which at least partly explains my absence – if anyone is interested, the full details are here:

    24 Hour Inspire 2018

    I’ll be having a bit of a ramble about women on screen at 2.00 am, as part of which I may mention Who once or twice.  Possibly.

    If any of you are in the vicinity of Sheffield Uni do pop in for one or more lectures, or you can listen in on the day to our pop-up radio station .

    It’s all in aid of Rotherham Hospice (they run a hospice at home scheme which allowed my good friend Tim to spend his last days and hours in his own home,  as he’d wanted), and Impact Living, who support vulnerable young people with cancer.  I hope it’s not inordinately cheeky to post the link to our new fundraising page here:

    Cheers all



    janetteB @janetteb

    @cathannabel You are doing good work. I hope it is a success.

    thane16 @thane16


    How are you?!  I read your post and so did Mum and she did say to me “watch for Cath’s work at the university.”

    And I DID forget so I’m really glad for the reminder. Mum and I were really interested in the lectures and how fascinating they were -when you showed us where to find the topics that were around and advertised last year?

    As @janetteb said you’re doing excellent work for Cancer survivors both those who are ill and those who are caring for those relatives and family.

    @missy @pedant @blenkinsopthebrave

    The pasta ad was SO good. Mum was saying that they had pasta when she was about 12 only once a year because grandad said it was “peasant’s food” and same with pizza which she never ate at ALL until she was16 and could buy it for herself and then at uni, every Monday before choir practise some of her and her friends would share different pizzas singing “garlic” at everyone but watered down with vodka and pineapple juice 🙂

    Mum also said that her parents were the only ones she knew of who made salads in South Australia  in the early 1970s and cooked quite expensive beef including ‘fillett’ steak? which was really expensive but it was decided that a smll amount which would fit in the palm of your hand was enough nutrition for an adult?

    Also Mum learnt to make proper creamy meat balls , meatloaf with herbs and goulash which I must say is one of my favourite meals with the oysterblade steak very very tender and mixed with wine and cream too; served with…….pasta, eventually, instead of just white rice.

    Or something called bread dumplings which were shaped like a meat loaf, sliced and then put into boiling water served with the best type of vegetable gravy. I love good home cooking, when I was three apparently and my mates came around for lunch they didn’t want to sit. For them a vegemite sandwich was lunch but on weekends mum would insist on having a sit down with goulash or another fav which is creamed dauphin potatoes with nutmeg,  and cream or butter.

    @janetteb because of your knowledge of cooking history do you know why the potatoes were called ‘dauphin?

    @blenkinsopthebrave  !

    Yes mum said the chops were always overdone too but it was her mum *my grandma who stopped doing that and realised they didn’t need to cook the chops for 2 hours or even 1 hour but barely 30 mins with steamed potatoes. I think steamed and boiled is often similar maybe?

    We have lamb chops about once a month. Dad finds that they’re mostly fat and so he stays clear of them but I love nawing on the bone! Also the peas should be bright green? Just like asparagus. My friends are fussy with food and will complain at their homes about what they will not eat. I was allowed only ONE  thing I couldn’t like which was uncooked tomato but everything else I do like. At least I think I do!

    Funny thing is that I don’t like pizzas/ burgers unless they are home-made and are healthy. I am striving to learn how to cook 3 new meals by the end of each year..

    This is a long post! I hope people had a relaxing Easter and that @janetteb and @missy the heat of the Summer has gone by now.

    All the people in the north of America and our Canadian and UK friends will be hanging out for Summer now!! Yee-hah.

    Cheers everyone,


    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  thane16. Reason: problems with lots of code appearing so I've broken the internet like Mum does all the time!
    Missy @missy


    Has your Mum ever mentioned Whale meat ?

    After the war everything was still rationed and beef was too expensive.

    Whale meat was more affordable and delicious if cooked properly. Each steak was about on and a half inches thick and tasted a little like liver. The gravy, made from the juice of meat and vegetables, thickened with flour was mouth watering.

    The only vegetable I didn’t like was sprouts, and I still don’t. Pizza I can live without, hamburgers, take them or leave them.

    My favourite meal – even more than a roast – is steamed or baked fish (salmon or mackerel), with mashed potatoes, spinach and  parsley sauce. My foreign favourite is beef or prawn curry.

    My tomatoes I like raw or as juice, I don’t like them cooked.

    Once when I was little, Dad splashed out and took us to a restaurant. Nice bit of meat, with vegetables. Unfortunately he told us that the meat we’d just eaten was Horse! I brought the whole meal up all over the table cloth!




    Missy @missy



    I am so sorry. Welcome back and good luck in all your endeavours.


    winston @winston

    @thane16   I am happy that the heat of summer is over for you and @missy and @janetteb  as it looks like it was a hot one for you all. I am hoping we will at least get spring here soon. In Ontario where I live it is still very cold and has snowed on and off for days! Some brave crocus have bloomed only to be covered to protect them from the snow and the poor birds who came back too early are very cold. We feed them so hopefully they are not hungry.

    I ate my first raw veggie salad when I was 10 yrs old and visiting a friend for dinner.When they asked what kind of dressing I liked I didn’t know. Now I am a vegetarian and a gardener I eat salad all the time and I like all veggies except turnip, Yuck. I also make bread and buns and then eat far too much of it warm from the oven,Yum. Now I am getting hungry.

    Missy @missy


    I don’t think we were able to get much salad during, and just after the war. But when we could i really made up for lost time.

    The only veges I don’t like are: Sprouts, turnips, (unless they are in a genuine Cornish pasty) squash (tasteless)

    pumpkin (also tasteless and OZ’s staple diet it seems!)  and new potatoes.

    Mind, I do like American Pumpkin Pie for pudding.

    My favourite is Spinach, raw or cooked.


    thane16 @thane16


    Mum said “””yuck” to the whale meat and said that Dad didn’t like turnips until she started cooking them and sprouts I like which is a surprise.

    I’m with you on the pumpkin which is everywhere in roasts and soups but Mum does make a simple pumpkin soup with salt, pepper and cream -very thick. She does a Thai one with coconut milk, coriander and chilli.

    Her roasted red capsicum soup is really good with a 1/4 cup of lagavulin, a small amount of some aniseed drink in a very tall skinny bottle with brown sugar. Weird but terrific.

    We love fish too -baked is easy for me to do and Mum used to say her mum cooked liver once a week with lots of onions and red wine with bacon on top of rice. Mum loved it but I said “no way. Not ever” and she says it’s cheap AND very nutritional with all the iron you need and steak is pretty expensive.

    @winston you ‘re a gardner? I had tomatoes and lettuces in the garden last year and also a few carrots but it takes so much time to keep the bugs away, pour water over it and pull away all the leaves  and also I just LOVE my meat! Mum makes some good vege meals like a curry with dates, dries apricots and there’s a Greek meal you have cold containing red capsicum, red onions , dates and almonds and egg-plant. You serve it in Summer with warm bread -I think you’d like it. There’s also black olives and the small amount of dates are optional. There’s a cook book (could be English or Aus) which has this recipe in it.

    If you’d like it, I’ll ask mum if I can safely post it. She made a few changes to it. You can have zucchini instead of egg-plant and change the amount of olives. Oh, it also has fresh tomatoes added with the seeds and skin removed. It’s a sweet dish and I don’t know why -must be the dates.

    @missy Horse?? Are you SURE? Was he teasing?

    Yep Dad makes the  best mash but easts most of it himself when tasting. Mum cooks the salmon fish very very lightly on high heat with capers, lemon juice, coriander or chives and parsley and with good salt and pepper. I know my uncle detests adding salt to anything but I think if you have it not too often it’s necessary to add more ‘depth’ to the meal -that’s mum’s word, not mine.

    I do not go for desserts much preferring fruit and boy do I eat masses of fruit during training season -kiwi, strawberries are my favourite together and mum loves her tomato juice or that Australian drink V8 -aw, she could drink half a litre of that but knows shes not allowed.

    Funny, but she’s put on weight which I think is great but she HATES it. She reckons she has to start dieting which she’s never done before. Crohns does the dieting for you 🙁

    thane16 @thane16

    @janetteb you should include some of those posts in your newsletter! Thing is, a lot of what we cook does come from other countries originally. Her Greek dish, the vegetarian curry (which was Grandma’s invention and won a prize 20 years ago in some magazine) and the spicy pumpkin curry.

    We’re not really a meat and 3 vege family. But the doctor was saying that when Australians ate that way rather than pasta, risottos, pizzas and other things ALL the time we were actually heathier back then? It was a simpler diet and I find that interesting. It was a less fussy way of eating and it was done to get it ‘over with’ rather than as a leisure thing.

    our ‘local ‘ restaurant we used to go to closed last year and it was ‘almost’ a 5 * place but with decent portions? Still I’d have not one but TWO main courses! We had to  stop going!

    There’s a really nice chain place called mecca-bah with Persian food -some of it is vegetarian @winston with the BEST dips made with garlic, hummus and fresh Turkish bread – that makes me SUPER hungry thinking about it. We order THREE of those and that’s our main meal.

    We were there at Christmas and the furniture and ‘ambience’ was awesome -private curtains in bright colours, cushions, big chairs, and non alcoholic fruit cocktails with  plates of olives and pistachios. I had my first pistachio icecream -not as good as the coffee one but almost! @blenkinsopthebrave there are many new eateries here since you left?


    winston @winston

    @thane16  Thank you for the kind offer and I would love to try something new. I really love humus , I fry pitas till they are warm and brown and than dip them in it. I garden for myself and as a part-time job. It is a passion of mine. I grow a lot of  our food and I also love flowers, everywhere and any kind. It is a lot of work but very satisfying to provide myself and my family fresh fruit and veg. and I can stare at flowers for hours if I had the time. @missy I grow pumpkins and make my own pumpkin pies with them. Every year I make the same dumb joke ” It took me 4 months to make that pie”.

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave


    My memories of Brisbane are sort of vague (like most of my memories these days, but we won’t go there…) but I vaguely recall a place called 3 (or 4?) Frogs, and also the Moo Restaurant (?).

    These days we go to a new cafe around the corner that caters to the locals (which means 70 year-olds who sit around with an espresso and work on their laptop, like a seniors version of a millennial), or we cross the road to feed the seals who are resident at the Marina and have worked out how to play the crowd.


    janetteB @janetteb

    I cannot eat out any more due to food additives. For the same reason i now have to cook everything myself, which is not something I really enjoy. This year I had to start making my own hot cross buns with mixed results. I love lebanese and Indian cuisine. Lately I started making my own Lime Pickle and there are a few excellent Indian groceries which stock lots of things like Samosas which are mostly additive free so every so often we go for a shopping trip and replenish the freezer and pantry. The local fruit and veg shop sells additive free hummus with chili.

    @winston I am vegetarian too, but none of my family are and as I don’t eat much I rarely cook vegetarian dishes but I do make sure that vegetable dishes are interesting. I love gardening but it is not one of my skills so I can manage flowers and herbs but vegetables are beyond me. I do have some very loaded chili plants at the moment which I watch over jealously. Right now I have a huge yellow and read hibiscus flowering just outside the window. I have taken a lot of macro shots of the blooms.

    @thane16 try roasting spouts with garlic, leek and fresh thyme. They are really good when roasted.

    @missy Mashed pumpkin, really sums up Australian fifties cooking. Pumpkin is edible when roasted, otherwise I agree with the Polish, it is pig food.


    Missy @missy


    NO! He wasn’t teasing.

    Just after and probably during the war (the 2nd btw I’m not that ancient) Horse was very popular and, like whale, cheaper than beef, lamb or pork. What he didn’t allow for, was my love of horses. *shudder*

    I much prefer plain English food, although I do enjoy a good curry, Italian and Thai at times. None of the meals your Mum makes appeal to me, too fussy – sorry Puro. The fish in particular I love baked on it’s own, afterwards squeezing at least half a lemon over it, lightly salted potatoes and fresh unsalted spinach. All covered with lightly salted parsley sauce…YUM! Plain Jane that’s me…or rather Missy, I simply don’t like tinkering with food. I’m not keen on fruit either, much preferring vegetables.


    Oh how I love pumpkin pie! Covered with nutmeg, my favourite spice and a large dob of clotted cream, if you can get it. The only way to eat the vegetable.


    Sprouts… can you stand the taste of them? besides, I can live without garlic, you don’t need the stuff, but I do like leeks, so wouldn’t defile them with sprouts and garlic!

    I always laugh when we go out for dinner/lunch with my OH’s Canoe club . “What’s the betting, say I, that pumpkin soup is on the menu?” I’m always right!




    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord


    Sorry a bit late to this party. The 24-hour inspire looks great. Best of luck with it, and with your lecture.

    winston @winston

    @janetteb   It seems we have more than Who in common, I am also the only vegetarian in my family so I rarely cook “vegetarian dishes” just extra veggies for me. I also grow hibiscus and I adore them. I have 3 colours-a solid white, a pale pink with a magenta eye and a solid dark red although they are all asleep now and I won’t see the flowers till late summer they are well worth  the wait. Your yellow and red sounds beautiful.

    janetteB @janetteb

    @winston my garden is a sorry sight today. We have just experienced the hottest three April days on record and everything is parched. Fingers crossed we will get rain today. It is long long overdue. Normally fire restrictions are lifted on April 15 and then the farmers burn the stubble. The town in ringed with plumes of smoke. I suspect that the burn off won’t start until May this year but the farmers will continue to deny that Global warming is real and happening and just blame it all on seasonal weather variations.

    Ont the subject of food and bad Australian cooking an amusing story has just emerged about the origins of chicken salt. (an abomination that chip shops sprinkle liberally over chips if not instructed otherwise) It turns out that our town has the dubious claim to being the home of chicken Salt. Not sure that the council will be keen to broadcast that as one of the town’s great achievements when they do the grand opening of the renovated civic centre next year.


    Missy @missy


    I agree with the farmers. this has been going on for millions of years, long before the Industrial Revolution!  Still, I suppose it gives the Greens something to do.

    Chicken salt, yes I’ve had that on chips…thing is I liked it. Very bad, but haven’t indulged for ages.






    But the science is true whether you believe it or not. And nearly all farmers *do* believe it because they are living it.


    Stubble burning has not been allowed in the UK since 1993, although not because of climate change (it’s impact is minimal, compared to coal and oil). It destroys nutrients, pollutes generally and, on a fairly compact industrial island, cinders can do damage electrical transmission gear. ’tis but a childhood memory for me.

    Missy @missy


    To stop emissions is a good thing, especially for breathing. But if the ‘experts”  ( and not all of them do) believe that

    they are making an impact on the Earth’s climate, they want to study past climate properly.

    Thousands, if not millions of years ago, most of the Northern Hemisphere was blanketed in ice. Indeed the UK had

    the odd glacier or two.

    Whereas, the Southern hemisphere and 7 deserts, were tropical forests.

    Where were the emission then?

    It isn’t what I want to believe, it’s simple logic.

    You believe it I do not, either way it doesn’t matter, Earth will do exactly what she has been doing for millennia, without any help from us.


    thane16 @thane16

    @missy @pedant @janetteb

    Well well. This IS new. First time I’ve ever responded on a blog, blog post or topic

    It’s Thane’s dad with Thane who is waving hello

    Lots of things I know nothing about. Which is why I like experts. But I know this: whether any hemisphere was once ice or not and whether or not the dry and dusty plains were rainforests filled with all manner of flying things, there were never any cars “back then”

    The problem with ignoring something like this is that villages along coast lines in Indonesia etc have shrunk. Everything gone into rising sea levels. Denying people’s hardships is ignorance up with which we will not put.

    Except we do. I guess some people and cultures matter more than others and that’s plain wrong. 🙁

    On the stubble burning issue I remember having an argument with my brother-in-law when back on my other home turf. He couldn’t deny that one transmission after another had been ruined on his Essex property in the 70s to mid-80s costing thousands. Wind measurements saw freakish cinder travel across many miles.




    they are making an impact on the Earth’s climate, they want to study past climate properly.

    Crikey. I’ll bet the scientists never thought of that. Oh, hang on – they have. There’s a beginner or intermediate explainer for you to choose.

    Thousands, if not millions of years ago, most of the Northern Hemisphere was blanketed in ice. Indeed the UK had

    the odd glacier or two.

    I have spent enough of my life traipsing across the glaciated landscapes of Wales and Scotland to know this (some for direct educational purposes, some ‘cos its just so damned gorgeous). It is very cool being able to explain which way the glacier was going and how I know, or how the retreat of the ice sheets diverted the Thames, meaning London grew up about 20 miles further south that it otherwise would have – that’s exactly the stuff I learned at university. I have no problem thinking on geological timescales, and nor do climate scientists.

    Not a single credible climate scientist doubts that humanity’s fingerprints are all over global warming and they have the data to show it – all of which is publicly available, as are the models they use to process it.

    You have strayed far, far beyond what you understand. You’re logic is not actually logic – it is non-sequitur. I can only assume you get your science from the Murdoch press.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    The BBC’s helpful guide to spotting fake news:

    … if thermonuclear war was breaking out in much of the world and the BBC had reported on it, it is likely the news would be mentioned on the website and would be corroborated by other news organisations.

    Just so you know. 😀

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