Corned beef air fried

Something different: corned beef not boiled but roasted in the air fryer oven.

Rinsed under the tap then cooked 20 mins on high, 30 mins on low.

Crusty surface, tender, moist, salty and very, very tasty. Hot or cold.

Also, it doesn’t shrink like a normal roast.

Bon appetit …

Happiness is two hash browns

Easter Monday Morning. A grey, sullen sky and a chill in the wind as if Winter’s icy fingertips are creeping around the corner.

Shake off the gloom, grab the hat and saunter down to Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, in search of a sign life …  and here it is, The Grocery Bar where breakfast is big and the warm smile is free.

Two hash browns, baby spinach hiding under scrambled eggs, smashed avo, and owner Georgia’s home-made tomato relish. $16.90.

This is the way to greet the day.

The Sun is even poking through the clouds …

It’s a kofta kinda day

Did you know “kofta” comes from the Persian word for rissoles/meatballs? Or so I was told, by an ebullient Malaysian Indian chef in a restaurant overlooking the Mekong River/Tonle Sap in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Kofta is truly a global dish, and today it’s right at home here in my little flat in St Kilda.

This is the Aldi version of chicken kofta – which I recommend grilled to drain the fat – and I forgot the yoghurt, so a dollop of egg mayo fills in as understudy. Oh well, got to “make do” in Covid times.

Not bad at all, for a supermarket substitute (nothing goes close to freshly made, of course, especially in a mutton curry in Cambodia) and sorry my little terriers Ruby and Ebony, but it’s not canine cuisine …

Day Tripping to Epping

These hills that greet visitors on Melbourne’s northern approaches once were dotted with sheep and rocks. Now they are blanketed with houses and huge shopping centres.

For lunch, a taste of Japanese tonkatsu at Plenty Valley.

Not fancy, just crumbed pork with udon noodles, vege and egg in a curry, heated by a cute, gimmicky blue gel tealight.

A filling lunch for $16.80 at Fukutontei.

Instant noodles have their place, but …

Food TV in 2021? A “serious” doco on how Maggi instant noodles is now integral in the modern cuisines of the World – India, Singapore etc.

No kidding.

Chefs, CEOs, experts all trotted out to opine about Maggi noodles in a super cheap production with a cringeful, faceless, English “voice over” commentary.

THIS, shown after enjoying a superb Rick Stein update on Palermo food/travel on SBS Food.

Is this aimed at school children? Let’s hope not.

This is an insult to your brain cells as well as your taste buds.

This is media marketing madness …

Travel can be a bit ‘touch and go’

The experiences of a Travel Editor can at times seem a little too hands on, as Greg Hackett recalls with a laugh

If I moved any farther away from him, I would be hanging out of the limo’s door. I should have wised up when the two publicity girls quietly took me aside, before the limousine ride from the airport to the hotel, and apologetically asked me to tell them if I felt uncomfortable at any time, and that one stretch limo would have done the job but the senior airline executive had insisted that he and I had a limo to ourselves. “No worries!” What a privilege – the VVIP (Very Very Important Person) treatment! In the other limo was a competitor Travel Editor, stuck with the PR and the nagging freelance writers. Hehe, suffer. 


However, it did not take long to discover that this drive would be a very tactile trip. Despite the voluminous capacity of the limo, the two of us were quite snug on the rear seat. Too snug, I thought. The best French champagne was poured into two flutes, jokes were cracked, travel tales – long and short – were told, and there was much good natured banter and laughter. Also much hand touching of my knee and patting of my arm. A little too much, it seemed. Okay, I got the message: he was “testing the water”. I thought: I’m sorry to disappoint, my good friend, but I swim with a different stroke.


Politely shifting away, I kept “playing a straight bat”. I did not wish to offend, I also did not wish to give a false signal. I mean, this was a huge honor and I felt quite chuffed, me being an undersized, overfed Travel Editor and no oil painting and all of that, but it’s just not my cup of tea. Hey, I could have “milked it” for all it was worth – I know some who would – however that’s not how I roll. Needless to say, I did not complain nor mention anything to the PR or others. You could say, my lips were sealed (and my legs were crossed). And always will be. Overall, it was another fun trip as a Travel Editor. They all are fun.


I’m laughing as I write this: I was not uncomfortable nor did I feel victimised in any way. For me, it is just one more funny travel anecdote. My high opinion of the fellow has not altered in any way. We are all human while in many ways different. Hey, you will never know if the kite will fly if you don’t give it a go. The key is to show respect and not use privilege or power to cajole or coerce. 

If I saw him today, I wouldn’t hesitate to say hello and genuinely enquire of his good health. He is a fun guy, gracious, easy going and unpretentious in the overbearingly pretentious world of travel celebrity egos. I would gladly spend a convivial evening together swapping travel stories – and with the playful hand fully occupied with holding a glass of good wine.

*Cross posted from Asian Journeys magazine: