Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Sweet Desserty Goodness: Battle of the Food Festivals: Epcot vs Canberra Part 2

After all the fun of Part 1, can you believe there is more?

Oh you should know me by now - of course there is .....


In the morning I'm making waffles!

Epcot Belgium stall produced these baby waffles with a squish of whipped cream and a dollop of berry compote. I had this as my breakfast one morning (before I continued eating at all the other stalls for the next two hours) and it was a fresh, sweet, tasty start to my day.

Canberra's Waffle Kitchen produced a full sized serve: 2 freshly cooked waffles with 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, stewed strawberries and maple syrup. Fortunately I was sharing this with The Ken Man. This was also delightful - crispy waffle with fluffy soft insides mixed with strawberry and maple - YUMMO!

It's sweet sweet waffles - what can go wrong? Everyone Wins! YAY!

Although there is something wrong with both offerings ... what could it be??

This shape makes ALL the difference
Appley Goodness

My grandmother used to say that all those appley baked goods, such as pies, slices, tea cakes etc, were really made out of chokos with apple flavouring.

Who knows - but my grandmother still ate it all.

Epcot German Apple Strudel vs Canberra Dutch Poffertjes with imitation apple sauce
I don't even know why I put these up against each other. The Epcot Germany Apple Strudel is fresh chunky spicy sugary apple slices inside fresh flaky pastry that has soaked up the apple juices, drizzled with Werther's caramel sauce and cream. Oh how this came together in harmony! All elements in balance - a magnificent example of what can be done with humble ingredients.

The Poffertjes were - well - little mini pancakes with some kind of vaguely apple flavoured gooey sauce - more like it was at one point shown an apple and expected to absorb the flavour by osmosis. The pancakes were well cooked - you can see they are a little bit brown, not too crispy.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and to commemorate my grandmother's memory, I snorfed the lot.

Happy-ish and Happiest!

Let's take a quick run through the remaining desserts from both festivals.

Epcot L - R: Dessert Trio of lemon chiffon, tres leches verrine, white choc macadamia mousse with dark choc pearls; Italy stall cannoli with sweet ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit; France stall chocolate creme brulee.

How great are these? Full blown traditional desserts with creamy bits and chocolatey richness and diary wonderfulness! Tres Leches means "3 milks" - usually evaporated, condensed and cream - so not so much milk as all the fat and sugar that exists in milk condensed and intensified with all the water removed! Astonishingly it makes for a very light, fluffy moist spongy cake. What a wonderful array of hard core desserts!

 Canberra: L to R: Tongan pineapple pancakes; Thai banana and jackfruit springroll; Italian gingerbread man

So I learnt one lesson from this. When other countries have a go at something that it is not traditional to them, frequently my expectations are sadly dashed against the rocks of culinary destitution.

Pancakes are not meant to be balls, springrolls are not meant to have jackfruits in them and Italians must use the word "ginger" when it does not mean what I think it means.

So the pancakes - yes they did have a sweetness that could have come from pineapple, and the dough is golf ball sized and deep fried. So pretty much nothing like a western style pancake - but it was sweet and greasy and comforting. Think doughnut hole.

The jackfruit in the springroll gave me a sad. The banana was nice, but the jackfruit was basically reduced to bland starchy lumps. sigh.

As I ran (OK wobbled with additional intensity) across to the Italian Gingerbread, I created visions of soft, squishy, spicy gingerbread men dancing in my head. Alas, whilst the little man had the soft squishy texture the flavour can only be described as mildly sweet - not ginger flavoured, not even spicy - just non descript sweet. I didn't even finish off his head. He was ruthlessly discarded with swift and brutal justice.

So my lesson: Epcot desserts are worth the airfare. Canberra desserts are worth the cost of parking. Which was free.

small, albeit delicious, servings allowed for pacing
not enough spoons for creative, cheer-making, creamy comestibles

greasy and fattening to fill up, but inedible enough to limit consumption
1 point for the golfballs and the tiny chunk of banana
What have been some of your dessert surprises?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The real fake princess castle and the copy fake princess castle

Instead of writing for you, my dear Polish readers (YES - you read that plural correctly. I am now up to 4 - word is spreading across Poland!), I was busy guest writing for Mouse on the Mind.

Mouse on the Mind recently did this blog post on the original fake fairy tale castle: Neuschwanstein in Bavaria

And being the bragging loser that I am, having:
a) visited the castle, and
b) an obsessive love for Bugs Bunny cartoons,
I was driven to do this guest post on how Walt was rather like our fairytale, opera obsessed friend, King Ludwig.

Mouse on the Mind were very generous to accommodate my ramblings under the title Revisiting Ludwig's Castle.

Go now - click on the links and read both posts!

Learn about the inspiration for Cinderella's castle at Disneyland - which became the template for all Disney theme parks; AND learn about the Wagnerian Ring Cycle in one of my favourite summaries performed by the delightful Anna Russell and of course, Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.

Oh ..... I hear Valkyries approaching now ......

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Zonta Pre-loved Fashion Sale - UPDATE

Let me say I was pretty chuffed at scoring a tailored jacket for only $45.

Do you understand how freakin' hard it is to do concurrent shopping AND drinking
This week Canberra Rocks!

The sale income grew by 40% this year- yes - no need to adjust your set - 40%

The quality and volume of donations was higher, the number of shoppers was higher and obvious the amount taken out the door was higher.

It was like this all day
 We set up a sweet little Z Cafe and sold tea with little cakes

Check out the blurry background function on my camera

The weather was glorious so we all sat out on the deck

Catching some rays
Before going once more into the breach

At 2pm everything is half price

The most gorgeous, young, blonde girlie bought this bright pink number to wear to a fancy dress party: as Barbie

Oh to be young, gorgeous and blond. I'd have to go as Mrs Potato Head
Finally we cleaned the hall and it was all over for another year.

Thank you to everyone who supported us - donators, shoppers, people who spread the word. We made more than enough to cover all our existing projects and can now introduce new ones.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Zonta Pre-Loved Fashion Sale - Be our Guest, Buy my Vest!

Do you love a bargain? Do you love new clothes? Do you want to get bargain clothes AND do good for the community?

This is the fundraising event of the year - the Zonta Pre-Loved Fashion Sale - and it's next weekend!

We get the most amazing array of fantastic donations. Let's take a look.

With great love and affection for all our donations, for The Simpsons and for Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' - all of whom have been mercilessly taken advantage of.

See my vest! See my vest! Made from real gorilla chest

Feel this sweater, there's no better than authentic Irish setter 

See this hat, 'twas my catMy evening wear, vampire bat  

These white slippers are albino African endangered rhino

Grizzly bear underwear. Turtlesnecks, I've got my share

Scarves in oodles on my noodle, they shall rest

Try my red robin suit It comes one breast or two  

See my vest! See my vest! See my vest!

Like my loafers? Former goafers. Either that or skin my chauffeurs.

And your coming to our big sale would be best

So we'll prepare the racks, so you can take home stacks

Buy my vest, buy my vest, Oh Please won't you buy my vest?

We've been doing this sale for 4 years now and it is our main fundraiser for the year. All year round we collect thousands of women's clothings items - and shoes, jewellery, scarves, handbags - and hours are spent sorting, cleaning, culling, fixing and hanging.

Well - not my hours. I'm busy photographing it all.


There are thousands of items including brands such as Carla Zampatti, Guess, Louboutin, Covers, Max Mara, Isaac Mizahri, Country Road, Alannah Hill, Lisa Ho, Laura Ashley, Ashley Fogel, Timberland, Stussy and it goes on.  

All funds raised allow us to deliver our annual Zonta projects - see the 2011 list


Get 10 outfits for the price of 1. Prices range from $5 to $50
p.s. I want to assure we treat all donations with respect and care. Your donations are our lifeblood and fund the projects that touch the lives of thousands of women in Canberra and surrounds. Unsold donated items go to Working Wonders, Bega Women's Refuge and St. Vincents.

Our 2012 Major Sponsor is Fyshwick Self Storage, whose spacious and clean premises you can see in the background of the photos. 

We've also received support from the Federal Office for Women,  Beauty Presence Salon, Lyneham, the ATSI Cultural Centre, and the employers, friends, and family of our club members.