Mar 22, 2011

After the Rain. Sweet Potatoes.

Rain does wonderful things to the air of a congested, sprawling city like Sydney.  I was driving to work today with the windows down inhaling large lung fulls of the damp air whilst getting slightly damp from the weak drizzle of rain that was still hanging on after yesterday's down pours.  Has anyone been able to perfectly describe the smell of the air after the rain?  I know it's been the inspiration for countless perfumes so there must be a perfumier description out there somewhere.

Rain also makes even the most 'industrial' locations look so green and 'bathed in European light in the eyes of a person used to the harsher colours and light of Australia.
The rain is so many things, good and bad, depending on its volume and the needs of the land it drenches.

My provisions for morning tea at work went down a treat. It was the most perfect (and literal) no bake, minimal preparation affair.

Remember that junk-tastic shopping trolley from last week's grocery shop?

I bought it all myself.  Including those lemon flavoured Easter cupcakes from those caterers to the discering, Coles.  The cupcakes were the most popular.  So if you're hosting a morning tea soon, remember them.  Say that Sydney Shop Girl sent you.

The lamington bites were good too.  It's always nice to enjoy a lamington in one mouthful.  There's nothing like a ring of dessicated coconut on your lips and a chocolate moustache to bring you down a notch or two when it's your turn to speak at the morning meeting.  Don't ask me how I know this.  Just trust me on this one.

You know how I have this thing for KFC?  Extreme weather conditions often make me feel like making the dash to our local fast food trip for a hit of something battered, salty and warm. 

On a KFC finding mission the last time the heavens opened over Sydney.

Well....  KFC now have sweet potato chips.  The Colonel has gotten with the program and embraced orange.  Terry Durack has also succumbed to the charms of sweet potato chips, they featured in his review of the Jazz City Diner, Darlinghurst in today's Good Living.  Sweet potatoes are officially the root vegetable A/W 2011.  And Terry's a bit over hamburgers.

Unfortunately neither a trip to my local KFC or across the bridge(s) to Darlo (which I can now call it because I was there at the weekend which means I've now eaten there several times, making me loosely  'local') was going to happen anytime soon.

I would just have to make my own. 

Specifically from my well thumbed Danish Royal Twins edition of Woman's Day.  I'm thinking of getting the magazine laminated because I haven't there doesn't seem to be any more durable commerorative merchandise featuring the twins at the moment.  The weekend papers are forever selling reprints of baby giraffes and pandas.  Where are the Danish Royal Twins block mounted prints?  Do they have a facebook page?  Does their nanny twitter on their behalf?  All very good questions I hope will be answered after they are officially named in late April.

Orange has overtaken red in the SSG Manor kitchen.  I see a steady stream of orange themed dinners this winter.  I've even stocked up on dried apricots for a batch of Apricot Chicken which is the definitive orange dinner.  Well, after butter chicken, perhaps.

Making oven fried chicken and chips was lots of fun. It was the first time I've every cooked with Panko Bread Crumbs.  I know, how could a lover of so many Japanese foods have waited this long to cook them?

The Panko crumbs wasted no time in getting down to business in a dish with paremesan cheese, salt and pepper.  I did feel very professional with my 'crumbing stations' set up. Skinless drumsticks in their tray, then the yoghurt batter and finally the crumbs.

My chicken drumsticks lost some of their batter in the baking process.  I may not have refrigerated them long enough after the crumbing.  Also, I read somewhere that baking them on a slotted rack gives a more crisp finish.  So my final product doesn't look that flash.  But they tasted great.  So did the chips!  So easy.  Just a coating of olive oil and some sea salt before baking at 200C for an hour.  Perhaps the Colonel and I could meet up one day to trade secrets - I'll tell him about my chips and he can tell me about getting oven fried chicken crispy.

I finally got to watch the first episode of Donna Hay's series 'Fresh, Fast, Simple' on the Lifestyle channel last night.  I really like it.  So much so that I'm tempted to buy the book.  Donna is a natural in front of the camera and I found her easy to follow and listen too.  I also love her focus on the simple for maximal effect - both with the food and her personal style.

As if we needed any further acknowledgment of the humble sweet potato as the root vegetable of A/W 2011.  They featured in Donna's reworked roast meat and three veg recipe.

All the vegetables for roasting were finely sliced using a vegetable peeler.  And look!  Donna's a fan of the short and unmanicured look too.  I have a kindred spirit in the celebraty chef world.  Thank you, Donna.

Image courtesy of
There's a Australian Drama  on Channel 7 called Winners & Losers that is starting tonight.  I've rediscovered the local content on the free to air stations recently and have really appreciated the diversity of characters and themes that are now broached in prime time.  It seems to have happened over night.  It's great to see strong local productions with high production values that are catering to more niche markets of the audience. 

That's about it from me.  Thank you to everyone who has entered the giveaway so far.  You've all been so kind. 


  1. Your chicken and sweet potato chip dinner looks very very yummy. I am going to make it one night this week!

  2. YES!

    I love sweet potato. There is a sweet potato salad I like to make for work. YUM!

    I'm keen to see Winners And Losers.. going to set the IQ now :) :) :)

  3. Great post SSG, you made my mouth water and now I'm hungry and lunch is still two hours away:)

  4. The chips look delish! I do have a confession though. I only eat chicken breast. I have never knowingly eaten any other part of a chook.

    TDM xx

  5. Sadly I missed Donna's debut but having seen her in shows, she does a great job and has a great manner!

  6. "The Colonel has gotten with the program and embraced orange...." Sydney Shop Girl, March 2011.

    Possibly the funniest thing I have ever read, go the Colonel!!! Love it!!!

    I am yet to have breakfast and I am thinking any of your morning tea options would hit the spot very well...


  7. I remember reading a recipe on Vogue Forum many years ago which featured chicken soaked in yoghurt and then covered in breadcrumbs and I have made it regularly ever since. Was that you SSG??

  8. Handgootwoman: sadly that wasn't me. I've only just discovered the power of the crumb.

    SSG xxx

  9. I want KFC now. May go to drivethru in pjs.

    I meant to tell you - there is a Danish Royal special on SBS 2 soon - tonight on SBS 2


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