Sunday, September 15, 2013


Mary Street Gympie  Circa 1956
Gympie-Widgee Memorial Gates

I am not and never have been a disciple of fast food; other than toast, of course.  Toast is a fast food. It doesn’t take long to prepare. It’s the deciding what to put on toast that takes time; particularly when I can’t find the Vegemite jar. I’m very quick on the draw with a can opener at high noon.

Baked beans are fast food; taking no time at all to heat up when time is of the essence; or when I’m in “I-can’t-be-bothered” mood, which happens often. Baked beans are just as tasty served cold, making them a very quick snack or meal, depending on which way you look at it; or eat it.

Nowadays baked beans, as well as many other canned foods, are an even faster fast food with ring-tops pulling the strings.

However, baked beans are not always fast food; they can be slow food.  Sometimes it’s not simply a case of grabbing a can from the pantry. If making baked beans from scratch, they take a while; then they’re a very slow food; slow can be good!  Depending on the situation, and/or how hungry I am, I can be a fast eater of food, whether it’s fast or sluggish food.

I love a good feed of fish and chips.  I don’t class fish in crisp, golden batter, surrounded by crisp and golden potato chips as being “fast food”. Writing about fish and chips has awoken my taste buds!  I’ll have to make a quick dash into the kitchen. Our locally-owned/operated purveyors of fish and chips or burgers beat the synthetic-tasting fast foods of some broadly-advertised fast food franchises.

I’ve wonderful childhood memories of visiting Nick’s Café, alongside the Memorial Gates in Mary Street, the main street of Gympie, for a piece of battered fish and sixpence worth of chips wrapped in newspaper. Every town back in those days of the distant, but not-so-dim past had a Nick’s Café, didn’t they? 

The fun had in the search to find an elusive chip or two, along with the very crispy ones and the crunchy remnants of the batter in the folds of the paper was the thrill of the feast! Battered potato scallops cooked to perfection were often added to the order. The crisp batter snapped, crackled and popped as we bit into them; more than matching the much-lauded sounds of a bowl of breakfast Rice Bubbles.

Food pumped out by the huge conglomerates doesn’t compare with; compete with, or even come close to the taste and quality offered by individually-owned/operated take-away outlets.

Oh! Dear! I’m telling porkies when I declare I’m not an eater of fast foods.

The truth is I devour lots of fast foods - every day!  The older I get the faster my meal preparation becomes. Salads containing a broad variety of healthy, fresh ingredients that need no cooking are my daily preferences. If my main meal isn’t a mixed salad with canned salmon/tuna, often accompanied by boiled eggs, it will be a salad joined by a delicious, quickly-grilled salmon fillet.

There are times, of course, when a thick juicy steak or a piece of chicken magically lands on my plate beside the salad. When the urge nudges, succulent lamb chops are known to appear and, other times, a thick pork loin chop.  There’s nothing lethargic about the above; they’re fast foods. Of course they don’t all land on my plate at the same time!

Soup may be a slow cooker; but it becomes a fast finisher if it’s decanted into individual serves to be frozen for future ingestion. Soup is a rapid starter; but it can also be a slow starter if starting from scratch! 

Whoever invented grilled cheese sandwiches deserves a medal. The toasted cheese sanga is a godsend. 

Whilst I’m chugging along on this train of thought, I won’t overlook stir-fries; fast food at its best.

I’m rapidly running out of time and space so I’ll end this discourse and make a quick exit; but before I dash, one more thing - the best fast food of all is fresh fruit; raw nuts are also fleet-footed food.  There you have it…fast foods to beat a fast!

Boston Baked Beans: Soak 425g white navy beans in cold water overnight. Start cooking early next day; the longer the cooking, the better. Preheat oven, 150C. Drain and rinse beans; put in large casserole dish; cover with water; add 1/2 onion studded with 3 cloves, 1/2c brown sugar, packed, 3tbs molasses, 3tsp Worcestershire, 1/2c tomato sauce, 2tbs dry mustard mixed with a little water, 3tbs tomato paste, 4tbs red wine vinegar, 700g fresh pork belly, rind removed, cut into bite-sized cubes, black pepper and salt. Cover; bake about 4-6 hours until beans are tender, dark and rich in colour. Check while cooking; add a little water if necessary; taste and add more sugar, sauces, molasses etc. if needed. Remove lid for the last 30mins to reduce some of the liquid, if necessary. 

Salade a la Vigneronne (who said I couldn’t speak French?): Remove rind from 8 lean bacon rashers; cut bacon into 2cm-wide strips; cook strips over medium-heat; adding a little walnut oil, if needed, until lightly browned; add 3 chopped garlic cloves and 1c walnut halves; stir until just browned; remove from pan. Add 1/2c verjuice to pan; deglaze. Reduce heat; whisk in 1/2c walnut oil; stir until warmed; add 2c halved, seedless green (or red) grapes; warm through. Combine bacon with 200g baby spinach leaves in salad bowl; spoon over the warm grapes and dressing; serve immediately with crusty bread.  

Salmon with Mustard Sauce: Sauce can be made day ahead; whisk together 1/4c Dijon mustard, 2tbs wholegrain mustard, 3tbs honey and 2tbs prepared horseradish, drained; season. Bring to room temp; just before using, add 2tbs finely-chopped mint leaves. Heat grill to high; brush salmon fillets with oil; season; cook accordingly; place watercress/rocket and thinly-sliced red onion ring salad on plate; top with salmon; moisten fillets with sauce.


  1. Yep, I like all the fast foods you mentioned...except baked beans! Can't stand them. Talking of toast, I had a toasted sandwich for lunch. the first one for months. I was tossing up over a can of tuna or buckwheat crackers with cottage cheese and sliced tomato, but the toastie won! Most enjoyable.

    I slow cooked some corned silverside ended up being fast food when it was eaten!

  2. I'm hungry now!!!
    Edinburgh fish & chips were marvellous. Salt & sauce sufficient to offer a heart attack on each one! English potatoes are different and not so good.
    Having no fish I am now off for lunch of baked beans on baked potatoes cooked in the microwave, fast food faster!

    Those memorial gates are excellent!

  3. Hi Robyn....I like baked beans and have them every now and then. If I have then hot I always toss a pile of cheese into them as well and then toss the lot on toast!

    Funny you should mention the silverside...I was going to pick up a piece for myself when I was out yesterday; I love silverside...but I hung off until later this week. I've got a new stove arriving tomorrow (long story)and pots and pans are everywhere. I knew I couldn't be bothered cooking it when I got back home again, or today because I've got stuff to later in the week...perhaps. It's delicious as is the cheese sauce I always make to go with it and the vegies! lol

  4. G'day Adullamite...I like vinegar with my fish and chips; no sauce for me. How strange about English potatoes...I've not heard that before.

    We placed many a wreath made with chrysanthemums from our garden on those gates on Anzac Day when we were kids.

  5. For a guzzler of food (at times) my distaste for 'fast food' is perhaps hypocritical. Except that I agree. There is fast food and quick rubbish. Fruit and salads qualify as food and the things dished up by the big businesses mostly count as rubbish in my book. Not much flavour, and what there is not to my taste.
    Sadly, I don't like canned baked beans or spaghetti. Both are too sweet for my taste and I want them the slow way is the only way...

  6. Hi I said I don't mind the old baked beans out of a can every now and then... easy-peasy. Particularly with loads of cheese added to it, or cheese over the top and then plopped under the grill!

    I've had KFC three times in my life and I threw away the third lot after taking one bite from it. I've had only one Maccas ever, maybe two at the most.

    I believe McDonalds do great things for kids and their families...with their Ronald McDonald Houses; a lot of good work is done through those; and that they do train their young staff well, giving them a good base to work from for their future careers. Up here on Tamborine Mountain the only "fast food" outlet we have is a Subways...and I've never even been to it. I've said...once in a while I love a feed of battered fish and chips; or a good hamburger from the same small business that I get the fish & chips from; but I've not even been in there once this years...I might have to rectify this situation. I'm like Adullamite...all this talk about fish and chips has made me hungry for them! lol

  7. That is a really good point - by that definition guacamole is a fast food. Toast isn't if you have to make the bread first though ;)

    BTW love your comment about being a Twisted Sister!

  8. Hahahaha! That is so true what you say about having to bake the bread, RC....see...not all I say is totally ridiculous! ;)

    I'm glad you enjoyed my Twisted Sister comment! ;)

  9. Oh, wow, fish and chips sounds really good right now. The wife discovered rice flour a while back, and that makes the best homemade fish and chips in my humble opinion. We always brag about how we rarely eat fast food.... Ate it twice this past weekend.

  10. Yes, I can see why this made Adullamite so hungry. I need to go wake up my wife so that she can do her duty and fix me something really good to eat!

    Now, before you get your dander up, please be advised that I long-ago waived the barefoot and pregnant part of the contract she signed while still under the legal limit for intoxication, with this just being on account of what a nice guy I truly am. Be assured that I do not mean to brag, but I really was quite a catch for the old gal.

  11. Hi Dexter...yep...rice flour makes a great light, crisp does cornflour. I've started a worldwide craze for fish and chips! lol

  12. Hey, Jerry! I'm not one to get her dander up over that comment. When I was married I preferred to be the chief cook in our household...I never rested easy when my ex took over the stove. He was/is a good cook, but I preferred to do the cooking. I always loved cooking; hence my ending up cooking professionally in a few restaurants etc.

    My husband was very handy in all other ways that I wasn' fixing the cars, if the need arose; carpentry, plumbing...all that was all fair.

  13. I could positively kill for fish and chips now!

    Marvelous post. As always :)

  14. G'day Wendy...I reckon we should all set up a date to meet for a feed of fish and chips! lol

  15. That salmon recipe sounds good - I'll try it.

    I have the most difficult time with lunch. There is not much around my office that is diet friendly - just true fast food. My favorite thing to bring is brie and fruit and few whole grain crackers. Now that I think about it - lunch today. There's a supermarket up the street. :) Thanks, Lee!

  16. Hey there, Lynn...that's sounds like a good idea to me. I started that practice...for all the staff when I worked in Brisbane years ago. On pay day they'd put so much money into the coffers and I'd go to the supermarket and stock up the staff room cupboards and fridge with good, healthy food...and that stopped them from running across the road a lunchtimes and filling up on junk food. It worked well; and they were all very happy with the set-up.

  17. Oh that salmon sounds good! Thanks for popping into my blog. Hope you visit again.

  18. Hi Penny...I certainly will...and the same applies back to you. Thanks for coming by. :)

  19. We are fortunate to have three great fish and chip places within 25 miles. I love it. Thanks for the recipe on the beans. I usually doctor canned pork and beans to resemble this but have wanted to cook from scratch for some time. We have an over abundance of ripe tomatoes so they will be incorporated in some way.

  20. btw. when you and Peter place what appears to be a movie in your blog, it never works for me. It just sits there and clicking does no good. I wonder what I'm doing wrong.

  21. Lee
    I am not a fast food person either. My dear Puppy was never treated to the Golden Arches as so many little ones were when he was growing up. I consider fast food anything I can nuke in the microwave. Baked Potato -ten minutes, Fresh veggies 7- 8 mins. Etc. Since I have throw out the Wheat and Glutton in my diet, well I must cook more and eat different as I was a Carb Junky but I feel so much better. As for baked beans, I like them slowly done because then the juice thickens up and I do not like runny baked beans. Peace

  22. Hi there Cliff...I don't know how to place a movie on my blog, either. But then again, I've never tried to do so. I must have a look and see if I'm able to do so. I often think about seeing how it's done...and then I forget! :)

    Using your fresh tomatoes in slow-cooked beans would be great, I reckon.

    Thanks for coming by. :)

  23. Hello Lady Di...I've been to Maccas three times at the most...and only once have I had one of their burgers; my only other purchases from them were their Fries.

    Same goes for KFC...three times, and the third time I took one bite and threw the rest away; and that time was in 1997. I've never returned to one of their outlets since that day; as I mentioned in a previous response.

    Nice to see you...I hope your back is feeling lots better. :)