Accidental Innovation…

The best food discoveries are made in the kitchen when you least expect. There is something magical in the concoction of odd pantry ingredients and yesterdays dinner leftovers. With a smidgen of this and a splash of that, a wonderful food creation is born.

Take risotto turned arancini for example. The best time to make arancini balls is when you already have left over risotto from the night before. The flavours of the risotto will have further infused overnight making the arancini extra delicious. Next day, all you have to do is roll the rissoto into balls, put a sneaky bit of cheese in the centre, batter then fry. Hey presto! The rissoto dinner has miraculously transformed into an arancini lunch.

There are times when inventions are merely one hit wonders. They are made and eaten one day and forgotten about the next. But sometimes, just sometimes, they make their debut on national TV, without your permission or due credit…

So way back when my friend and I were in high school, we were learning how to make a pizza in a home economics class. We were just adding some final touches to our pizza when we realised we had grated too much cheese. Oh no, what to do with all this cheese? So we had a lightbulb moment and decided to stuff the cheese through the crust. A cheesy stuffed crust pizza you could call it. Months later I’m  watching TV and happen to view a pizza hut commercial with a new cheesy stuffed crust pizza. Huh? Who told them?!

What a coincidence! My friend and I were devastated. We definitely indulged in the conspiracy that the room was bugged at the time. Or maybe the teacher was a spy, preying on the young minds of children, waiting for just the right moment to snatch their creative thoughts and then trade them later to a conglomerate corporation for a hefty sum.

It turns out there are others alike. My brother’s friend swears he invented the sausage and egg muffin before it retailed as the sausage and egg McMuffin. Trust no one!

The thing with innovation is that you’re trialing something that has yet to be proven to work. So the risk of failure is probable for the first few attempts. But the fear of failure is a much larger risk because if you don’t ever try, you won’t ever know what could have been.

Olives x


The McWhopper…

It all started one cold starry night when my friend and I were feeling a wee bit peckish. This late night food adventure sparked an unusual hankering for a Hungry Jacks ‘Whopper burger’. Unfortunately the time of night forbade my craving.

Knowing that all Hungry Jacks outlets were closed made me want a whopper even more. There was however a Macdonald’s close by. Their trading hours met our needs but their burger options did not.

So then I was thinking if Lewis Carrol can think of six impossible things before breakfast, surely I can think of one impossible burger before sunrise. And I did.

Ta da…introducing the Mc Whopper Burger! (with cheese if you prefer).

So we drafted a master plan on how to replicate the Hungry Jacks ‘whopper burger’ at McDonald’s. We weighed up the differences the whopper had against the most similar McDonald’s burger, the QP.

Whopper                            Quarter Pounder
Sesame seed bun                   Sesame seed Bun
Beef Pattie                              Beef Pattie
Onion                                      Onion
Pickles                                     Pickles
Tomato Sauce                        Tomato Sauce

So we did the math and ordered a Quarter Pounder with extra mayo, tomato and lettuce AKA The Mc Whopper. Crisis averted! Satisfied with our attempt to recreate a whopper, home we went with big smiles on our faces.

The satisfaction came from our proud efforts to attain a whopper at a forbidden time more than the taste of the burger itself. It may have soothed the bitter craving for a whopper but by no means did it look, taste or feel like a proper Whopper.

They do make the whopper burgers better at Hungry Jacks, but then of course they do. You can’t copy the exact product from another store and expect it to be better than the original. (not pointing the finger at anyone in particular Coles). So not to compare the two, the McWhopper was delicious in its own rights and the situation certainly appeased our craving. Success! All in all a good night.

What I learnt from this grand burger expedition was that when you allow yourself to think outside the box, you also allow yourself the power to make the impossible, possible.

Olives x

Attack of the food clones…

Lately I have been noticing at my local supermarket that there is a Coles equivalent to almost every product available. Coles are duplicating my favourite foods and selling them at a lower pice. When Coles first started their attack, it was inconspicuous. I had a faint inkling that something was NQR but I couldn’t put my finger on it. My suspicions became more evident as I watched Coles branded products make a mockery of my dearest brands. My suspicions were correct. Coles is trying to take over the world, or at least my grocery choices.

I have figured out their plan of action and have documented my findings. So my favourite crumpets are the square ‘golden crumpets’ crumpet. It has a perforated line in the middle and breaks apart into two rectangle crumpets with ease. I recognised what Coles was doing and by then it was too late. After a three stage process, Coles had eliminated my favourite crumpet completely and replaced it with a foe Coles crumpet. This is how it all came to fruition.

Stage 1. Coles creating a false sense of security.

Crumpet selection: Golden crumpets square crumpet (my favourite!)
Golden crumpets circle crumpet

Stage 2. Coles getting ready for battle.

Crumpet selection: Golden crumpets square crumpet
Golden crumpets circle crumpet
Coles square crumpet(invaders!)

Stage 3. Coles attack.

Crumpet selection: Golden crumpets circle crumpet
Coles square crumpet (invaders must die!)
(Where the F are my crumpets?!)

Soon there will not be a golden crumpets option at all…Muahahaha! said Coles via their crumpet selection.

Our favourite brands will continue to disappear slowly but surely, creeping up on us until the store has absolutely no brands that are familiar (sort of how I feel when I walk into Aldi).

There has been instances where I am in a rush, I need a few vital ingredients and I need them fast, I’m in and out of Coles in under ten minutes and lunch on time is on the line. Quick! Once home, I take out my groceries and lay them out on the kitchen table, only to reveal that I have accidentally picked up a Coles brand item by mistake. I must admit defeat and surrender to the Coles item because it did taste almost identical to the product I usually buy, plus it was cheaper. Bonus! So the next time I was shopping, I picked up the Coles brand item and intentionally tried it for a second time. Fool me once, shame on Coles, fool me twice, shame on me.

Its like replacing your favourite teddy bear with a new one. I don’t want a new one, I want MY one. So when my favourite product is replaced by a new and cheaper product it makes me sad. At the end of the day, changes happen and people adjust. If the change isn’t right for you, find one that is.

Olives x

100 cheesy chicken nuggets…

Most of the mainstream take away food franchises have chicken nuggets somewhere on the menu. But only Red Rooster thought to be a little different. They really broke the mould with this one, filled the chicken nuggets with cheese and sprinkled sesame seeds over the batter. Pure genius! In appreciation of this subtle difference and in honour of them straying away from the pack of conformed nuggets, my friend and I thought we should attempt to eat 100.

Oh and to paint the picture clearly, 100 chicken nuggets as a combined effort. And yes I  hear your little thoughts, some of you are thinking, 50 nuggets each? That’s easy, anyone can eat 50 nuggets! We thought exactly the same thing until…..well until we didn’t.

So we arrive at the drive through window of Red Rooster and ask for 100 cheesy nuggets. According to the Red Rooster guy we apparently had the munchies…false…what I did have though was a large rice meal beforehand which could definitely hinder my chances of completing the challenge.

So we get home and pour a mountain of cheesy nuggets onto a large serving dish and begin. We count each CCN as we eat it.

1..2…3…nom nom nom.
4..6..8….this is going to be a breeze, we should have got more.                                                11…12… tastebuds are officially immune to the flavour of processed chicken.
19…20…22 at this point my strategy is to cease all sips and dips, no sipping drink and no sporadic dips in sauce. There’s not enough stomach room.                                                       23…24…25…I am full to the brim, they’re getting difficult to eat and I’m feeling dizzy, can….barely….move.

I stay on chicken nugget 27 for 5 minutes and eat it bit by bit. I slowly power through to nugget 28 and must stop. I was convinced that if I took one more bite, my intestines would literally explode and the damages would be fatal. Death by a chicken nugget? No sir.

My friend troops right through to nugget 37 but barfs three times on the way…eewww…but then you’ve got to admire her determination.

It was oh sooo funny but it’s a silly idea and I had a stomach-ache for hours. Don’t try this at home.

Everthing in moderation is easy to achieve when you’ve bought a reasonable amount of chicken nuggets to begin with. When there are large quantities of food available, sometimes you feel it’s your duty to consume as much as humanly possible, but knowing your limits can be the difference from a fantastic night to a regretful one. Make the right choice.

Olives x

Love is…

The beauty of the subconscious mind, is that nice people do nice things everyday without even realising. They wear their heart on their sleeve and have sharing love with others on autopilot. Some express their love through food and its often overlooked because it’s common practice. The following documents some examples of a simple show of love.

Love is… not ordering a dessert when your friend is dieting.

Love is… cooking two separate meals for dinner to appease opposing palates.

Love is… when you order chicken dumplings because your friend doesn’t eat pork. Sigh.

Love is… eating chicken parma’s three times a week (love you pumpkins).

Love is… agreeing to share a slice of cake with a friend, even though she chooses a sugarless, gluten-free one, you still stick to your agreement.

Love is… when you want to add meat to a dish but you don’t so that your vegetarian friend can eat too. Sometimes this turns out surprisingly well.

Love is… ordering a platter to share because your friend really wants to get it. When what you really want is a normal regular meal like everyone else.

Love is… When you leave your favourite ingredient out of the recipe because your friend doesn’t like it. It doesn’t taste the same, it’s ruined. But now your friend can eat it.

Love is… when you buy a friends favourite biscuits because you know they are coming over.

Love is… politely drinking a coffee that your friend made, when you asked for her tea.

Love is when you put someone elses needs before your own, just for them, just because.

Let me know if you have any more to add to this list.

Olives x