The Tripbase Seven Links Project is something Maryanne, writer of A Totally Impractical Guide to Living in Shanghai put me up to. Dared me, in fact, to tackle and publish a list of seven posts that qualify as personal favourites or ‘best’ in some way, or posts that could have been on that list if only more people had read them…
Here are the seven posts I wanted to share with you, some of which you may have read, others you may not, but all are special to me in some way.
I still look at the photograph of this lotus blossom and cannot believe I was the photographer. This very recent post, from last month’s Forest of Lotus Blossoms proved to me that my photography skills had come a long, long way in two years of learning, and I’m really proud of the beauty these photos evoke.
But in case you al think I just flit around, camera at the ready for any pretty flowers that catch my attention, it’s what the photos don’t show
The day I heaved to a stop at this lotus farm it was about 38 degrees and at least 98% humidity. I’d spent the previous four hours pedalling up and down hills on a tandem bike with a passenger whose legs were too short to reach the pedals, I was verging on heat stroke, and I was sweating so much my fingers kept slipping off the camera. It was intensely hot. I wandered around the lotus farm like someone on the final leg of a marathon, wobbly, nauseous, and with sweaty eyeballs, trying not to fog the lens with the heat coming off my face.
Despite this physical ugliness, these turned out to be some of the most beautiful shots I had ever taken. Miraculous.
My most popular post, as told to me by people who actually read my posts (as opposed to train geeks and Russian drug barons), would have to be the one about our Chinese real estate agent, Bruce, and the Rotary Candle Holder he gave me for Christmas last year. People I’ve never met before can repeat parts of it line for line, and even I snort when I re-read it. I must have been pretty shit-faced when I wrote it, and if you don’t know the meaning of shit-faced, you will after reading, promise.
Then it was featured on Etsy’s blog, in an interview with me. Except that I had never been interviewed by anyone at Etsy, and the lazy buggers had just lifted it directly off Life on Nanchang Lu, cut and paste style. I was planning to email them a small angry protest, until I noticed their ‘interview’ had sent more than 2000 new visitors to my blog. Cool. Etsy, you can steal my content anytime.
In fact, that post on Etsy led me to getting to know a journalist in Shanghai who is writing a series of stories for Etsy on crafts in China. And guess who’s photographs were featured in the first of the series?
original recipe here
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup verjuice
- 1.8kg free-range chicken
- 525g skinless pork belly, with a good amount of fat
- 120g rindless bacon
- 120g free-range chicken livers, connective tissue removed
- zest of 2 lemons
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 tbsp lemon thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
- 3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp rosemary, roughly chopped
- 100g fresh walnut bread, crumbed
- 16g sea salt
- 2 tsp freshly ground white pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- Preheat oven to 200C
- Place raisins and verjuice in small saucepan over medium heat
- Once verjuice is simmering, remove from heat, and set aside to allow raisins to plump
- Bone out the chicken – remove wings at the middle joint, then cut all the way down the backbone so chicken is butterflied
- Remove backbone and ribcage, then continue knife down to remove and cut away the breast and wishbone
- Chop knuckles from legs, then bone out each leg by removing as many tendons as possible
- Feel for any bones or gristle that may have been missed and cut these out
- Carefully remove the skin, taking care not to pierce the skin
- Dice chicken breast into into 2cm cubes, place into mixing bowl and set aside
- Dice chicken thigh, leg meat and pork belly into 1cm pieces and place in another bowl
- Cut bacon into small strips, add to chicken and pork mix along with chicken livers
- Mix these well together, then blend for 2 minutes in a food processor to create a farce, place back in bowl
- Add lemom and orange zests, thyme, parley, rosemary, walnut breadcrumbs, verjuice liquid, sea salt, pepper and mix well
- Grease a one litre terrine mould
- Place bay leaves on base of mould then line mould with chicken skin
- On base, layer 1/3 chicken farce, then half diced chicken breast, then 1/2 of the raisins
- Continue to layer 1/3 farce, remaining chicken breast, remaining raisins
- Top with remaining 1/3 chicken farce
- Press gently down to pack contents tightly
- Fold in both ends of chicken skin, then fold over two sides to create a neat looking parcel
- Place a sheet of baking paper on top of the terrine then cover with foil and seal well
- Place a cloth into the base of a hot water bath, place terrine into water bath and cook in preheated oven for 90 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 57C
- Remove from oven and allow terrine to rest in water bath for 15 minutes until internal temperature has reached 65C
- Pour off any excess juices from terrine
- Refrigerate overnight in mould with a weight resting on top
- When ready to serve, carefully turn terrine out onto a board and allow to come to room temperature
- Serve slices with crusty bread and cornichons
…I’m only on holiday in Australia…..I’ve been receiving a few lovely comments and emails wishing me good luck with my new life in Australia, which led me to think I perhaps hadn’t been completely clear about the last couple of posts, and many readers thought I’d moved back home permanently. Regrettably, that’s not the case, and after reading the above post you’ll understand completely why it’s often hard to leave sunny, clean, cloudless Australia for grey, dirty, noisy Shanghai. But Shanghai is currently my home, and that’s where I’ll be returning to in less than two weeks, after my working holiday. In the meantime, enjoy reading about my homeland…..
We were partway to developing our own permaculture set-up when we left for Shanghai, having just finished building our henhouse (the Chicken Hilton, as it was known), establishing a vegetable garden and installing a gray water system for diverting the washing machine water to the garden (Brisbane had just come out of its longest-ever drought – none of us knew another severe flood would follow it). So I love to visit Northey Street to see what might become of our garden when we return to Australia eventually. Bees are definitely on my list!