Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cabbage Dom

Today I thought it would be a good idea to go through my rather tatty recipe card collection. This collection dates from the 1970s and is written on catalogue cards, some of which came from the Victorian Railways technical library. So for example on the verso of French Bean Stew we have the entry for the title 'Recommended practice for the prevention of electric sparks that may cause fires in tanks or tank cars containing flammable liquids or flammable compressed gases, due to proximity of wire lines. Rev. ed., 1975. (Association of American Railroads Bureau of Explosives Circular no. 17-E)'.

Recipe cards
Recipe cards

The idea is to transfer the recipes to the Paprika app, or to discard them if I think I will never make them again (if I ever did). But I am finding it difficult to be ruthless with this little piece of history, so it looks as though the collection will remain unweeded for another day.

However the Cabbage Dom recipe is one that I still make frequently so I will add it to Paprika, even though I may keep the original cards for old time's sake. This recipe has quite a long list of ingredients (luckily I chose a blank card and not one with a railway engineering title on the verso). Its origin is unknown but it has been a great favourite since a friend passed it on all those years ago.

Cabbage Dom


1 lb cabbage
1/2 lb potatoes
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cummin powder
1 tsp sugar
few bay leaves
2 tsp ginger juice
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp turmeric
few cinnamon, cardamon
1/2 tsp cumminseed
1/2 cup curd
2 tsp flour
2 tsp butteroil
salt to taste
fresh chilies


Cut cabbage in big pieces and potatoes into small. Wash and drain.

Heat oil and fry potatoes until slightly brown. Remove from oil. To same oil, add cumminseeds, cinnamon, cardamon, chili, cumin powder, turmeric, sugar, ginger juice, bay leaves. Add 1/2 cup water and fry until mixture is dry. Add cabbage and fry for a while then add curd, salt and potatoes and stir well, adding a little water if necessary, and cover pan.

When cooked and liquid gone, add garam masala, fresh chilies, a little flour and a little butteroil. Stir well and remove from heat.


I usually use curry leaves instead of bay leaves. I assume that curd is yogurt, and find that mixing the flour (or arrowroot) into the yogurt before adding it to the pan is a great way to stop it from curdling. I assume that butteroil is ghee, but don't necessarily add it. How many fresh chilies? Up to you!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rare Books Week at the MCC

My walk up to Camberwell this morning does not end with the round trip back home, but at Flinders Street station. My destination: Melbourne City Library, for a Libraries Australia User Group meeting. After listening to Nikki Darby talk about recent developments with the seach and document delivery software, I skive off the meeting once it breaks up for morning tea.

Shortly after midday I am sitting in the Melbourne Cricket Club Library next to a glass case of Wisdens, starting some time before 1879. Mysteriously the latest one in the cabinet is 2005-06.

The Rare Books Week panel discussion with Russell Jackson, Gideon Haigh, John Harms and MCC Librarian David Studham will be starting at 12.30. John Harms's Twitter handle @ratherbeatlunch seems more appropriate than usual. I am sitting next to Cmdr Warren Kemp RFD RANR, President of the Royal United Services Institute of Victoria. I now have a standing invitation to visit the Institute Library, at the Victoria Barracks.

Collecting sport panel discussion
Collecting sport panel discussion

These are some notes from the discussion. John Harms's early favourite cricket books were, appropriately enough, the ABC Cricket Books. The first (now very rare) ABC cricket book was issued in 1934. John showed us the library copy. It is quite small and flimsy and is kept in a protective plastic pocket.

Gideon Haigh calls himself an accumulator rather than a collector of cricket books. His primary purpose in writing his books is to fill the gaps, such as his book about Warwick Armstrong. Gideon likes the MCC Library because it is accessible, with nearly all its collection on the shelves. He thinks it is the best sporting library in the world.

Russell finds many sporting books are available online. Decreasing interest in collecting by a younger demographic is assisting collectors. Slower paced, smaller ball sports (cricket, golf, tennis and baseball) lend themselves to literary reflection, according to Russell.

The panel discussed the so called 'Argus centered view of history', which is an issue because the Argus is on Trove, whereas the early editions of the Herald are rotting away at Fishermen's Bend. The State Library of Victoria generally has only one daily edition of the Herald, although three or four would have been issued each day. Thus means that vital information such as the match results may be missing from the library copy.

The MCC catalogue on Trove is on the way. MCC management attitude is now to share information about its resources, whereas in the past they guarded it jealously because of a fear of theft.

After the session I catch a tram at the Rod Laver Arena stop. On the way home I visit Hawthorn Library to collect Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham, as recommended by Ross Harvey, and then the IGA to pick up a few supplies. Back on the tram at Glenferrie Road, then home to make some fried rice for dinner. A rare day out.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Discovery XLV

Our first discovery for the not very new year was a rediscovery of an old favourite we first visited just over a year ago, The Quiet Man in Flemington. The location was chosen for its proximity to The Lodge, but we also had fond memories of the food from our last visit. This time we booked a table for an early start at 6.30, which was a good thing as we found that most of the tables in the dining room were either occupied or reserved for later.

Our trip to the Quiet Man was via the long slow 57 tram journey, chosen for its convenience to the traditional pre-discovery rendezvous of Dikstein's Corner Bar (I have to have Hawthorn amber ale now, as they no longer stock VB or Little Creatures and the NZ export gold tap beer is not the best beer I have ever tasted by a long way). The tram was already packed by the time it arrived at the new Collins Street super stop (stop 2) so we had to settle for separate seats. But in due course after its devious route through North Melbourne the tram arrived at stop 24. After taking our lives in our hands crossing from the safety zone to the footpath through the busy Racecourse Road traffic, we were ready for a drink.

We had a nice big table right near the bar and were given excellent service after a small confusion about our booking. Unfortunately Mr 29 was unable to join us but our group was supplemented by Mr 31's little brother who is staying at The Lodge for a couple of weeks. Once we had all settled at our table with a drink, perused the extensive menu and placed our orders, we had to wait half an hour or so for our food to arrive, which is understandable on a busy public holiday eve.

This time I had 'Mullingar's stuffed mushrooms' which came with a large pile of salad and about three enormous potatoes cut into crispy roasted chunks. The other discoverers had fish and chips and steak with colcannon and chips respectively. I tasted some of Mr 31's colcannon and it was delicious. I think next time I might have colcannon and veggies instead of a main course. The other 'Out of the soil' option I haven't yet tried is baked potato with coleslaw, which doesn't seem particularly Irish, but there are heaps of delicious looking side dishes on the menu.

Mullingar's mushrooms
Mullingar's mushrooms

When we could eat and drink no more, our youngest discoverer escorted us to Newmarket station on his way back to The Lodge, leaving Mr 31 in contemplation of a Guinness and a jar of Anzac biscuits (some of the three dozen I had made during the afternoon).

After a short wait at Newmarket our train obligingly rolled in, taking us the short distance to the city very efficiently compared to the tram, but sadly just in time to miss the 9.09 Belgrave. However a three car Ringwood train appeared not long after, so we caught that back to the dark and quiet city of Boroondara, walking home from East Camberwell in the frosty clear night.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Discovery XLIV

This discovery happened a long time ago. It turned out to be the last discovery for many months, and as my usual process is to rustle up the previous discovery's review just before starting on the next one, this has lain idle for a very long time.

Despite the long time interval I still have some fond memories of this night. Firstly I broke all the rules by driving to Moonee Ponds. However I did this well before peak hour had a chance to get nasty. I found a nice parking spot in a handy side street half way between the Ascot Vale Hotel and Samanee Thai.

I settled into the tram stop bar of the Ascot Vale and put the word out that a pre-dinner drink was on offer. Sadly not everyone got the message in time, so while Mr 31 happily got off the train at Moonee Ponds to collect his Guinness in a jar, the city worker had to backtrack after her long tram ride, and Mr 29 waited it out alone at the restaurant. This experience has taught me that it is not necessarily a good idea to change the rendezvous plans at the last minute.

Samanee Thai was very quiet and moodily atmospheric. I can recommend it for its beautiful food, presentation and service. This is a picture of a fish curry served in a coconut shell.

Samanee Thai
Samanee Thai

After dinner we made a quick trip across the road to The Sporting Globe, which is not a defunct pink newspaper but a sports bar. On a quiet weekday night it was very quiet indeed and we had an enormous choice of sports events on the big screens to keep us entertained while we had another beer or two.

Leaving the boys to continue their sporting experience, we found the car and drove home through the dark quiet streets of the inner north west to the even darker and quieter streets of the inner east, not realising that this would be our last discovery for a long time to come.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Discovery XLIII: the SFD

At the end of August, a Special Family Discovery (SFD) was organised to celebrate two birthdays and an impro performance.

A couple of us began the evening with the traditional North Melbourne stopover for coffee and Coopers at Prudence, a very nice bar handily situated between the Peel Street tram stop and Errol Street.

Three Crowns
The Three Crowns

Continuing our journey to Errol Street, we received notice of a last minute relocation from the Town Hall to Three Crowns. The family converged from various directions at the corner of Errol and Victoria Streets, ready to cross the great divide into West Melbourne. The glow of late afternoon sunlight reassured us that we were indeed in the right suburb.

We had the spacious dining area to ourselves, with a lovely big square table just the right size to seat everybody comfortably. After gift presentations and birthday greetings to Mr 29 and Ms 83, who share the same birthday, we settled in for our meals.

Although I'd made risotto for dinner the night before, and I'm not usually a fan of ordering risotto in a restaurant as I find it can provide a rather one-dimensional dining experience, I decided to order the risotto, mainly because it was the only vegetarian option on the menu. This one wasn't bad however; it had a good variety of vegetables, albeit rather too much pumpkin, which Mr 31 was happy to finish off for me. The rest of the party seemed happy with their parmas and steaks, particularly as Wednesday is steak special night.

Steak special
Steak special

After dinner we crossed back to a lane in North Melbourne and Club Voltaire, where we crammed into the tiny upstairs space to watch the very last Impro Box performance of 'The Family', featuring (might I say starring?) Roland Lewis and a bunch of other talented young performers. This was a fun way to end our SFD.

The family
The family

The trip back to the sedate city of Boroondara was accomplished swiftly by car rather than by the usual more sedate tram/trains combo, thanks to a thoughtful and obliging cousin. She was rewarded with a large bag of kitty litter for her trouble. That's what families are for.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Discovery XLII

Our final discovery for July was once again in the newly discovered territory of Flemington - or perhaps Kensington, as the business addresses on the south side of Racecourse Road seem to fluctuate from one to the other. But first there was the traditional stop at the legendary Diksteins. As I slid open the door to the cosy bar and stepped in from the cold of a midwinter Melbourne evening, the barman greeted me with one welcoming word: "VB?" Nothing has changed after all! (other than my choice of beverage).

Once the city worker had escaped from the office and joined me at Diksteins for a quick cider, we walked up to Flagstaff Station, bound for the Crazyburn train to Newmarket. The train arrived promptly but then spoiled the effect by dawdling all the way to North Melbourne. After finally reaching Newmarket we arrived rather late at Boris's table at The Abyssinian. Mr 31 and Mr 28 were already sampling the Harar, so we lost no time in joining them.

Hara beer at The Abyssinian
Hurrah for Hara!

We decided on the easy option with one vegetarian combo and one meat and fish combo to share. While waiting for our meals, we endeared ourselves to the staff by expressing our appreciation of the pleasant selection of Ethiopian music.

Our dishes soon arrived covered with the traditional straw hats, which were removed to display an array of goodies set out on large wheels of injera. The picture below is of the vegetarian combo, some way into its demolition.

Vegetarian combination
Vegetarian combination

Although each platter looked like an enormous amount of food for two, we managed to get through most of it, helped along with some more Harar. There was a nice combination of flavours and textures in the vegetarian combo, with our favourite being the 'tumtummo' (spicy lentils). The combo also included cabbage and carrots; large cubes of pumpkin; spiced chickpeas and a green salad. The meat combo contained many of the vego favourites with added fish, goat and chicken options.

By the time we had finished our early feast, the restaurant was starting to become busy. The two musicians of our party betook themselves to the Ascot Vale Hotel for open mic night, while the remaining two jumped aboard a handy passing 57 tram, which took us on a scenic tour of North Melbourne before arriving at Melbourne Central. By the magic of Metro trains we were soon back home in the peaceful city of Boroondara, the lights and bustle of Racecourse Road just a distant memory.

The Abyssinian on Urbanspoon


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Discovery XLI

On a cold dark July evening I settled into the cosy warmth of Diksteins in Bank Place. This has long been a favourite of mine, and although naturally it has changed over the years, and I lament the loss of my friend the waiter who would hand me a Little Creatures as I walked in the door, it's still a pretty nice place to be. This is a view from the tiny bar, looking out into Bank Place.
Soon I was joined by the city and Docklands workers, and we set off up Little Collins to McKillop Street and Hardware Lane, dodging the restaurant spruikers on the way, to our destination near the corner of Lonsdale and Exhibition Streets.
Up the wooden stairs we climbed, to Seamstress. Although we had opted to dine at the early hour of 6.30, the place was already buzzing. We met our fourth discoverer, were divested of our coats and escorted to a table at the back of the long room. We admired the ceiling swathed in swatches of cloth, which concealed the subdued but not too dim lighting, and the bent wire coat hangers from which bottles of artificial white flowers were suspended.

Although the place was so busy the service was really friendly and efficient, and we were soon enjoying our drinks and consulting the menu.
First up came a snake bean and sweet potato won ton with green pea and coriander purée, closely followed by the remarkable crispy brussels sprouts with lemon miso and chili. Having done my research I knew we simply had to have these, and we discovered that all the rave reviews were spot on. Next came a lovely dish of eggplant with miso sauce, tofu and sesame seeds. The chunks of eggplant were rich and tender and contrasted very nicely with the crispy tofu. If we had a complaint at all, it would have been that the ratio of tofu to eggplant could have been increased. But that is a small complaint for something so delicious.
Meanwhile some duck rice crêpe money bags and eye fillet with porcini and shiitake pâté and wasabi sweet potato were shared among the carnivores.
Replete after this feast, we had no room for sweets or coffee, although some of us found space for some more of the excellent beer selection. At this stage I will admit that yes, we were encouraged to try Seamstress on account of the special offers from Dimmi and Urbanspoon, but honestly it had been in the back of my mind to try it out some time anyway - it had just taken me a few years to get around to it. We really liked Seamstress and can recommend it any time, special deal or no.
With our coats skilfully retrieved from their perch high above the front window, we were soon on our way to nearby Parliament Station, in good time for the connections to both the east and the inner northwest. The Belgrave train and its attendant shuttle trundled us efficiently back to the dark and gloomy city of Boroondara, where our damp walk from the station was illuminated by this gorgeous flowering wattle.
Seamstress on Urbanspoon