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Ahm yes, well [cough] hello. I did promise to write a few things here again rather than keep it as a kind of bloggy attic of stuff – ‘Look grandma! A Pierre Hermes macaron!’. Maybe a couple of linguistics thingies, a bit of politics, maybe event the kind of stuff where I say that Albert Camus is the Joan Miro of Existentialism and Joan Miro is the Albert Camus of Surrealism – then I have a lie down and wonder if I’ve got it the wrong way round. Lady cafe racer Fridays. Bold plans.
Anyway, here is some food I cooked and I will now talk about it.
Asked to cook a dinner party for a nice friend at their house for a dozen nice people. Nice and fancy and the two conditions that it be gluten free and that there be no pork. This actually isn’t all that hard except that it’s a bit like when somebody says “Don’t think about the bass player of Manowar” and all you can think about is the bass player of Manowar. How about pork pies? Oh wait, they’ve got pork and gluten etc.
So it eventually ended up like this:
Scallop and Red Snapper Ceviche, Vodka-cured Salmon, and Sashimi Tuna on Radish and Snow Pea Shoots
Esperance scallops, which were darling wee little coin shaped things that I cut in half and ‘cooked’ in lime, lemon and chilli with red snapper. I love the idea of a vodka cure – Russians have been using it to cure depression for years, not entirely successfully. Snow pea shoots are tasty and pretty and just need a bit of picking to get rid of the big stems and bigger leaves. Dressing of olive oil and a bit of the ceviche juice.
Another First Course
Goats Cheese Pannacotta with Slow Cooked Tomato Sauce and Lamb Fillet
Bit of this and a bit of this Was going to do this on it’s own but it seemed a bit white wine lunchy so a thyme, rosemary sumac lamb fillet done rare was a nice addition. Chickentarian got poached eggplant instead.
Braised Beef Ribs, Rocket and Horseradish Sauce, Fresh Truffles
Beef ribs recipe from Jake Drachenberg in the last issue of Spice, which I will summarise as ribs cooked covered for 4 hours at 200C in white wine, soy sauce, chicken stock and assorted herbs and a head of garlic. The trick is to refrigerate the night before and then scrape all the fat off (and there is quite a bit) just leaving the gelled cooking liquor. And the meat and rib, of course.
Sauce is from Ottolenghi – slow food gifted horseradish cream with lovely Balingup horseradish, blended with rocket, olive oil and yoghurt and season. Reheat ribs with gelled liquor Manjimup truffle thinly sliced and chopped – much more nicely than I did if you like – and then added to the cooking liquor when serving. Truffles at around $2 a gram set me back about $30 for dinner … look what I’m saying is this – you don’t get much easier than this and if you want to go from ‘tasty’ to ‘holy fuck’, this is how. This is your food on drugs.
Truffled, butterflied spatchcock for chickentarian. Matt Wilkinson parsnip skordalia for solids.
Passed around a fennel, rocket and orange salad to freshen up the palate before being smashed with dessert.
Hazelnut Marquise with Truffled Honey Hazelnuts
Is slavishly this but a quantum less on the fancy front (for non-metric users – 5/16 quounces). I actually like beating eggs for 15 minutes and bringing sugar syrup up to to soft ball stage. I suspect ‘heavy cream’ is less our ‘double cream’ and more like our Lannister Downs actually creamy full cream. The secret touch is that the eggs were trapped in a mason jar with the truffle. Hazelnuts roasted and covered in truffle honey. I cant begin to say how sexy the chocolate truffle fusion is. I don’t know if you’re still thinking of the bassist from Manowar but if its working for you, go with it.
Success. You can too.
Update: upgraded my server host thingy – apparently my website was being hosted at the end of Strangler’s cassette – which then ate my two most recent posts. Thanks Santos and Rakka for saving them from limbo eternity.
Ummm I’m a bit embarrassed because it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. But then again, what’s Dickens written lately – hey? hey? Feel free to have a look around the old stuff while I pop out to the food truck and make some bacon cupcakes or whatever the kids are doing these days.
55 Great Global Food Blogs
Just sending a message out into the interether in case anyone else out there is going along to Terra Madre this year. Just drop me an email or comment below.
[yes I am very excited]
ALSO: You can follow the progress of the Australian delegates at the POOL: Slow Food Pilgrims Group
As you have, or haven’t, noticed there hasn’t been a great deal here of late so I thought I’d put a few stories up that I did a while around. That was when I actually wrote at SPICE rather than just rail over double spaces and go schmoozing at after parties. One’s from Esperance and two are from the Great Southern region
Issue 9, 2007
How’s the magazine going? Well I’m glad you asked. We’ve just completed 20 issues and are working on our 21st, which will bring us into the next five years of publication. 2009 was an especially hard year as things went flat and flat isn’t what you want when you’re not where you want to be and you’re tired. But 2010 and has been brilliant, new staff in the office, a tight and lovable team of writers and photographers, and the page count going from 88 to 112. Every issue has involved improvement in some way but we’ve managed to stay true to our original principles – to be local, to represent all people involved in food, to educate, to be progressive and to avoid the pitfalls of advertorial. The qualities were to be a good read, a good looking magazine, and to have some actual jokes (I think there were four in the last issue).
In the last two issues we’ve had chef’s on the cover and, as these were Neal Jackson and Alain Fabregues, they represent two of the most important chefs in Western Australia in the past two decades if not ever. As Alex pointed out, as I get lost in the mechanics of it all, it’s brilliant they accepted and it’s a source of great pride they chose to be involved. We’ve featured pretty much every significant chef in WA and by next issue it will be nearly all. We never seem to get close to covering all the producers but there have been sheep and rabbit farmers, fruit growers, sardine fishermen and octopus fishermen, sausage makers and bakers, organic farmers and broad acreage farmers, cheese makers and wine growers. There have been vegetarians and butchers, local markets, street parties, small bars, inner-city and small towns, teachers and students, recipes and techniques all in a small independently owned quarterly under circumstances that I described as looking like you’d expect to be made on the gestetner and stapled. I find myself never entirely happy with each issue but it’s a bit like working on a car – always a few kilos to be lost here and some extra horses there to shave a few more seconds off.
For me personally, it’s been an immense privilege to learn and taste and try and work with and meet people who are dedicated, smart and interesting and be supported by and engaged readership. And, well that’s enough, I had been hoping just to bodge off a couple of old articles.
This is actually pretty easy. The tricky bit is establishing a friendship with someone in Guam so that eventually they send you a Totoro bento set, I guess you can thank the internets for that.
The pinkish colour is due to it being made with White Rocks veal mince rather than it being raw. The dominant, or rather, the most pronounced flavour is the ginger. Take a bit of time slicing it up into tiny cubes rather than mincing or grating it and you’ll be rewarded with small bursts of flavour rather than a diffused gingerness.
For 600gm of minced beef, you need about 4 tbs of chopped spring onion whites (or negi if you can find it), a couple of cloves of garlic, and a 2cm knob (ha!) of ginger.
Soften the spring onion, garlic and ginger in a little oil and then mix in the meat. Splash around a bit of sake (or in this case, a bit of last night’s red). Brown the mince, breaking it down into small pieces with a fork.
The sauce is a mix of 1/4cup soy sauce, 1/4 mirin, and a tablespoon of sugar. Dissolve the sugar down over a gentle heat first. Add to the mince and stir and cook though.
Top a top bowl of japanese rice with the mince and garnish with watercress (for lack of daikon sprouts).
The egg is the softliest of soft boiled (‘blue’ thank you eb). 90 seconds tops. The idea is to get a bit of cooked white and then the rest gets cooked by the heat of the rice when you stir it in.
Served with miso soup with a bit of asparagus in it.
And yes still busy, mag should be off to the printers very soon – it’s a corker.
Too long has spiceblog toiled under the thankless yoke of amateurism and it now enters a new age of income. Thank you Kitchen Warehouse, who asked me nicely. They’re actually my first stop on my regular Scarborough Beach Road pilgrimage of mammon. But now, thanks to the internets, you can avoid the dangers of t-boning a desperate right-turning car at Ikea and browse from the safety of your own computer. Current faves are:
Just in case anybody was going to go to the trouble of digging out their Dinner Jacket that was last seen having rum and coke poured on it at the 1992 Muresk Agricultural College Bachelor and Spinster’s Ball – Lounge Suit.
Well bugger me.
I guess it was only a matter of time before shewhoeats visited manthatcooks so I’ve just said farewell to Chika, who’s been staying at ours for the past five days. It was mucho fun having another food blogger staying over and great to have food photography outsourced. I can’t begin to describe the drop jawed pride I felt at having my dinner so generously documented (try not to look too hard at the chord I’m attempting there*). Go have a look, I have,
about 600 times – she who eats eats what man that cooks cooks.
* no actually it’s a C
OK here we go. Deboned and skinned salmon cutlets poached in white wine, pepper, bayleaf, and parsley with scrambled eggs with cream and mushrooms with kang kong sauteed in olive oil with thin pieces of pancetta. Topped with a reduction of the poaching liquid with cream and chopped capers. Gotta do something about that glare. Any questions?
Saffy asked how I poached the salmon. The roundlet of salmon is how they prepare it at Jacksons for the confit. You cut the cutlet down the middle, take the bones out, skin it, and then make a ying-yang shape and tie it up. This was the point where I found out I didn’t have any string so I secured it with a couple of skewers. Couple of big glasses of wine in a saucepan with peppercorns, bay leaf and parsley and bring it to boil. Place it on a heat mat/diffuser to get it down to a very low simmer (almost no bubbles) and then add the salmon. Top up to cover the salmon with water and poach until cooked. If you don’t have a diffuser, a very low heat will do.
Seems to be trouble with the commenting, if so just email me – spiceblog at gmail.
Tim Dunlop of Road to Surfdom has got a really engaging post up on Australia and food – Bonza appetit. Well worth a read and a comment. I can’t stop rabbiting on over there.
Kathy of What Would I Know is planning a cookbook from recipes by bloggers to raise money for Médecins Sans Frontières and is looking for submissions. Go have a look -Bloggers Who Cook.
Well that’s that done then. Just a quick food round-up.
The rabbit and pork terrine was for Christmas brunch and to put it briefly – the rabbit is quartered and simmered with a mirepoix for two and a half hours and shredded. It’s then replaced by some pork belly and a couple of pork chops which are also simmered for two hours. The stock is then reduce with some rosemary and the clarified using eggswhites, parsley, and leek before being strained through some muslin with the addition of a few teaspoons of gelatin. It does seem a long way about doing a stock but it’s really just adding flavours as you go along. The kidneys and liver are cooked in rabbit fat and brandy and then chopped up finely.
I reheated the meat in a pan with the pistachio nuts in a pan with a little of the and then packed in a wrap lined bread tin with boiled leek green on the bottom for decoration. Fill with the aspic and then placed a foil wrapped piece of cardboard on top with a beer bottle for a weight. Refrigerate overnight.
For a treat for the nieces I made some cherry ice-cream and placed in it a silicone snowman ice-cream tray. Topping up the mould with couveture chocolate gently heated with a little cream and sugar.
Finally the brioche had me up past midnight and was an interesting experiment. I think they’re supposed to be light and delicate but I just seemed to have this buttery sludge for dough which turned into a quite heavy kind of cake. More to be done on this baking thing.
We had the terrine with cornichons and italian bread and pumpernickel (forgot to bring the brioche) and the ice-creams went down well. Late lunch was over at Brand and Jo’s with the full Delia turkey with all the roast veg and trifle for dessert followed by Father Ted and Doctor Who. No reason you can’t have the full roast dinner in Oz, none whatsoever.
With the sun going down quickly, we made it to Leighton beach to watch the sun go down, with a bottle of beer and a cigar and that was that for Christmas. Hope you enjoyed yours.
I love choice. The steak or the fish? A lighter bottle of merlot or a more robust cab sav? Flat white or long macchiato? Eat shit or fuck off?
Ah yes the last one. Welcome to WorkChoices the latest in a long history of wanting an underclass of working poor that can be shafted at will. If you’d prefer a country where working Australians have half a chance of not being done over, have a catch up on the travesty of these new laws at Red Rag. Robert Corr’s been doing an exceptional job of cutting through the crap.
You can also get out there in a show of solidarity next Tuesday at the National Day Of Community Protest – 15 Nov. 2005. Decency demands it.
I quite like how deeeeelightfully ugly my steak and mash turned out. Part of a carnival of food monsters. Charming beneath it’s hideous visage unlike the meal below which, like rokurokubi , hides it’s beastliness well.
You know how to cook a steak. The mushrooms are roasted with rosemary and olive oil. The mash is roasted sweet potato – a bit of scorching gives it its colour – and cream butter and milk. The sauce is just some butter added to the pan while the steaks rested, some finely chopped leak, then a splash of wine, a bit of beef stock, a teaspoon of wasabi powder, and then some cream. All done over a high heat, stirring constantly.
Now for a bit of housekeeping-
Jacksons: I returned for some very accurate chip making, curly whirly squid slicing, potato peeling, aspargus prepping, lwob gnikaerb, vietnameses mint tearing, and rasberry and red wine sorbet tasting. The place was fully booked but it was an hour before and order came in. Much anxious standing around like in Das Boot, waiting for the depth charges while the destroyers passed overhead. Slamming was not to happen, 61 people fed in an hour and a half. Take that merchant ships. Periscopes up Oberfähnrich Mitty.
Meme #1: Mike of Shiraz in San Diego has, out of medium sized meditteranean city affinty, tagged me for a wine and food meme. I’ll do my foody half and nominate my wine friendliest meal of the past thirty days. This was Hal Hartley Pork Belly Braised with Fennel and Pears. Nothing in it that exceptionally cried out for wine but the fact that I expressly made it to match with a wine that I’d bought a year ago, is a gold star effort for me. I’d hope that we’re the reverse the case, there’s be a bit of wino head scratching in kind. I’m going to do a double twisty tag here and send off to mistresses of both wine and food Jeanne of Cook sister! (and bugger me she’s just done the EoMEoTE round-up) and Barabara in NZ of winosandfoodies.
They then had to switch the island from driving on the right to driving on the left.
Hmmm take heart comrades!
Five is too hard, I’m sending this to the house of bones.
Being on my second night of singledom and an adaptable sort, I thought I’d try to re-imagine my eating habits. I would become the 7 packets of Lean Cuisine in the freezer type person.
My expectations were a somewhat limp meal, far inferior to anything you could make for yourself but having the certain stodgy satisfaction you might get from macaroni cheese. I chose the can’t-get-this-wrong pack of Lean Cuisine Tasmanian SALMON with PASTA – Tasmanian salmon pieces in a creamy white wine and vegetable sauce served over al dente pasta. Placing it in my basket, my shopping experience was ruined by not being able to buy any ice-cream in fear of the checkouter imagining that, having rewarded myself with my tasty and light meal, I’d then go and gorge myself in guilty self-hating pleasure.
It’s crap. The spiral pasta tasted like the rinsed off leftovers of yesterday’s pasta salad. The salmon had a vaguely salmony taste but the texture was like a pre-chewed tongue of heavily gummed jelly babies. Bringing up the nutrient were a few slivers of carrot and teeny tiny pieces of broccoli from one unit of broccoli several orders smaller than a floret. The sauce succeeds in balancing vomity looks with vomity taste, with a sweet bechamel sauce that tastes like it’s cold when it’s hot. If you like this, call me, I can help.
Anyway, who makes this shit? Ah what a surprise.
Tags: shit food
Kate, who makes a very nice paella I must say, has tagged me as to who would play me. Trickier than it appears when I’m not even sure if I’m actually playing myself all the time. Michael Ironside seemed appealing. I think I’d be great with a robotic hand.
Also very tempting was Christopher Walken, he’s running for President you know. Personally I think this is an unnecessary ploy for my affections – Adam Sandler playing yet another idiotic yet loveable man-child would be a preferential candidate to the current idiotic yet dissembling and cowardly war criminal man-child. I’d love to have ludicrous hair yet retain dignity and be able to switch into a tap dance or a karaoke spot. Yet it wouldn’t be right, playing roles isn’t what he does best. What I’d love is Christopher Walken playing me in someone else’s movie so “I” could walk on say a couple of lines. People could go “wow! who the fuck was that” and then I could wander back to the kitchen and check my gravy.
So it’ll have to be Daniel Auteuil. Despite actors being some enhanced projection of self, he seems to be resolutely the everyman. Not handsome but interesting and prone to the absurdities of life, faced with a light and appealing touch. He also gets to throw knives But then again, I’ve seen barely a tenth of his films and I’d hate to pretend I’m an expert on his work, should my bluff be called.
So I’ll have to go with Owen Wilson for his good humoured faintly crap taoic ambivalence maybe and at the very least for his spectacular car crash in the Royal Tenenbaums. But then again the more anxious anal aspects of Ben Stiller certainly…
Ahh fuck it Michael Ironside will play me and if you want to caramelise bananas just slice them, coat them in a mix of raw sugar and cinnamon. Pop them in a very hot pan and turn when caramelised. You can release the sugar in the pan with some butter.
Oh tagging three people, if you would like someone to play you, let me know. First three.
Oi!; and speaking of Kate, she’s nicely remembered to remind us about Perth blogger awards at the Brass Monkey tonite! People will be there and speaking of whom, Crafty has just given me an idea. Oh wait java script polls don’t work in blogger posts – bugger! And it makes my text all small if I put it in the sidebar. Gah!
Two Words: Jackson’s and RODD.
The reward of being interested in cooking is not so much in doing the ambitious things as it is in doing simple things better. Omlettes are are vexatious candidate for this, seemingly impossible to get just right. Scrambled eggs however.
Use free range eggs. If we’re going to harness sentient creatures to our own benefits we may as well pass a bit of humanity their way. If this sounds like animal rights by noblesse oblige, well yes it is. Crack half a dozen of them, pick some chervil and flat leafed parsley from the garden, a gentle whisk, not quite smoothing over the distinctions between yolk and white and let it sit for half an hour; adding a splash of milk and a sprinkle of pepper.
Heat a heavy fry pan and then switch to a very low heat. A heavy pan will distribute the heat evenly. Another slower alternative is to use or make a bouble boiler. Melt some butter in the pan. Add the eggs and keep scraping the base of the pan with a spatula, regularly turning and flipping. The goal is to have little grains of doneness in an otherwise cream like consitency. Don’t be afraid to just turn the heat off and let it coast. It should pour.
As a side boil some spinach for a minute and then strain. Cook up some sliced ham in butter and add the spinach to it with the pepper.
Very softly cooked scarmbeld eggs are marvellous and travel well in the mouth. Creamy, warmy, tasty. The only chew should come from the accompanying bread. The spinach is there for the colour and the iron.
[insert segue later]
A couple of things of import for Cmdr. Peter Quincy Taggart. One. I’ll be writing for and setting up a website with a new food mag coming out in Perth called Spice. Familiar yes. Entirely coincidental, although I like to imagine a kind of localised Rupert Sheldrake vibe slowly seeping out. It will be good. People starting it up are sharp, earnest, and dedicated. Opposites attract. Two. Thanks to Crafty and Chris I get to have a go working in the kitchen at Jackson’s Restaurant this Thursday. It’s a brilliant restaurant, best in Perth, I’m not worthy of removing the peel from their potatoes.
Go play your hand, you big talking man,
Much like Jazz, the End of Month Egg on Toast Extravaganza has risen from innuendo laced and booze soaked origins and into the milieu of the cultural elite. The salons will be abuzz. Going where the earthbound creators of real eggs could never go, EoMEoTE creator Jeanne has used her wings and soared. To my agog astonishment, she has presented all 28 entries for the The EoMEoTE#7 round-up in the language of poets, verse. It is stupendous.
Step up the egg.
Unless there’s a cooler place that I don’t know about by being insufficiently cool then Shimokitazawa is the coolest place in Tokyo. A shambles of small stores, bars and live-houses not tangentially far from Shinjuku and Shibuya. Fitting then that I’m meeting Soh and Mayumi who I met 10 years ago in a small beer bar in Shibuya and have sinced looked up to them with a slight intonational quiver when referring to them as my friends. Soh has been right on many things and I value his recommendations. A soba restaurant after a day of picnicking in Yoyogi Park it was.
The place was near empty of a Saturday night and I wondered of any place could be that obscurely good in a town that lives on lists of places to go. I was convinced with the arrival of the o-toushi. O-toushi are a small bowl of food, ususually bits of vegetable or seafood, that are given to you when you sit down along with your hot towel and chopsticks. This was four immaculately presented pieces, that included baked egg with what I think was flying-fish rose, and a wedge of sweet potato; prawn on tomato and radish; and a sazae – we refer to it as sea bogey as it is twisted out of it’s cavity but it’s chewy and tasty and reminds me a bit of smoked oysters. Apologies for the slightly blurred pic, I was still coming to grips with my camera (goat wisdom on ISO still being in the future).
Off the beer and on to the sake and the rest of the meal. The tempura was a collection of vegetables for vegetable obsessives such as coiled fern frond and a river plant that looks like a cross between broccoli and a sunflower. I was pleased that far from having to sneakily grab a few pics, the waiter would turn the dish into the right position. Sashimi followed, and very baby squid are in season but sadly bonito isn’t. The baby squid were served with ginger shoots and a kind of sweet yellow Japanese mayonnaise. Soh and Mayumi watched while I seem to eat it all and tried to distract me with tricky questions about Japan being better than Europe or not, to which I’d reply something like Europa wa OK ga Nihon wa nnn sah neh, Tokyo wa ii deshou, daisuki desu, and then sneak another morsel in.
Soba is the closing dish and it’s very good, being super-aldente and quite chewy, the sign of a well cooked one. I pick up a tip not to dip it all in the sauce, just the ends. And we finished with a tea made of the sauce and some of the water the soba was cooked in. Lovely.
Went back to theirs to whip up an improv chorizo cooked in chianti (eek the rest of the Italy souvenir chianti they just brought back). Ah well nice to see them. Somewhere along they managed to remember every negative comment I’ve made about music (no classical is fine, yes the Velvet Underground do only have one song but I still like them). Much shuffling of songs and we settled on Jailbreak.
Nishunan:Daizawa 5-32-5, Sherubo Shimokitazawa 2F, 03-3411-1128
Just when I’d started becoming jaded with cafe breakfasts, Greg getting a haircut the The Men’s Room (official barbershop to Spiceblog) led us to nearby Tarts and breakfast pleasantry. Well recommended, a stack of mags and papers, and fancy fooody things to buy. Smallish, so often full. Can only fault the uncomfy chairs and flash Greg getting a heart on his coffee while I got an indistinct blur of cream and brown. Monday. Haircut.