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Mojo's


Third in a series of spiceblog’s dinner and a show. Tapas and a trip to Mojo’s and the Swan.

tortillaHere’s a tortilla that I seem to have done properly. Two important things. Frying the onion and the discarding the onion and keeping the oil. Leaving the cooked potatoes to sit in the egg mix for fifteen minutes before returning it to the pan.
Chop one medium sized onion finely and saute gently in a heavy pan without burning in half a cup of olive oil for 20 minutes. Leave the oil but discard the onion. Actually don’t chuck it in the bin like I did but use it for another dish. Peel and thinly slice five potatoes, I used Royal Blue which are the most versatile. It’s a nice bit of knife practice by the way. I added a small handful of chopped thinly sliced jamon to the oil and then added the potato in layers, seasoning each layer as I went along. Let the potatoes slowly cook, turning and mixing gently as needed until cooked. Drain the potatoes and reserve two tablespoons of the oil. Add the potatoes to a bowl of 5 whisked free-range eggs (look I’m not arguing here 50% of the taste is the egg) and a couple of tablespoons of parsely. Leave to sit for 15 minutes.

Add the oil to the pan, heat, and then add the potato-egg mix and press it down with a spoon. Keep shaking the pan to loosen the base. When the base is very lightly browned, slide it onto a plate, and then flip back over into the pan to do the top. Remove and serve.

A few other things we had were mussels cooked in Vina Esmeralda and parsley and then grilled with a parmesan, butter, garlic and parsley mix. Cheese and quince paste, tomato and lightly toasted sourdough bread. And salted cod potato cakes with aioli.Chorizo in Red Wine. Apologies for not having more pics but I do tend to spare new guests the sight of me taking too many food photos.

And down to Mojo’s in North Fremantle to see a promising bunch of twelve year olds in their first gig. Talented little buggers. A very Black Sabbathy original song which filled my heart with hope now I realise that Wolf Mother are jazz rockers. Rock on Short Fuse. Another acoustic performers, then two more acoustic performers at the Swan Hotel (which has the best tiles for a men’s toilet ever). All good, there’s no fairness you know. [shakes head wistfully, looks at beer thoughtfully]

short fuse singer two cute kiddoes in a band

[note to self: see more bands, write name of bands down, go electric despite solid acoustic performances]

Oh yes. Big plug for Spanish Flavours in the Wembley Food Hall next to the Wembley Pub. I got my jamon, chorizo, salted cod, and quince paste there. Quince paste was great and only $10 a kilo. Good line of friendly helpful chit-chat from the owner who does a good job of the whole rolling h for j thing.

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gazpacho


When catering for large numbers of people, it’s important to plan carefully and well in advance have a few dishes around a theme. I didn’t do any of this which probably explains the anxiety attack I had the night before up until about midday before when it susbsided to highly stressed. I’ve got to stop this what will the market tell me but to be honest I’ve got no idea what around $600 for 60 people’s worth of food looks like so it was a case of buying a bunch of stuff, seeing how much I had left, and then buying some more.

It did work in the end and despite the meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep moments, it is more interesting going I can get this and do this and doable if you have few core items. The were three main items. Gazpacho in a shot glass because they do this at work and it seems like a great way to welcome guests with an interesting sharp start on a warm summer’s night. Green curry, I’ve done this before at a similar sized party (with a shocking hangover so – not sure how I did that), and it’s something you can make before and fill the hungrier people with. Cardboard boxes are cute and save on washing up. Fried wontons, good of people will help you folding them up and people love fried food especially after a couple of drinks. Then you just fill in the spaces, a platter for people to graze, reuse the shot glasses as tuna delivery systems and for a passionfruit and melon sorbet. A bit of lamb on skewers, a few blinis for general classiness, and a couple of boxes of sausages rolls for the end of the night

blini for the kids polenta with tapenade and caponata


Platter with home-made lavosh, beetroot dip, tzatziki, and olives

Lavosh is unleavened therefore easy to make, kinda. The beetroot dip was taken from a salad recipe from Delicious using cooked beetroot, EVOO walnut oil, red onion, walnuts, and rosewater but lightly pureed adding the mint and coriander after for colour. If you’re making tzatziki, leave the yoghurt to strain in a fine sieve. Excess water will strain out and you’ll be left with a thicker richer yoghurt. The best value for olives is still Northbridge Continental on the corner of James and Fitzgerald street.

Gazpacho

The shorter way is to puree the capsicum and tomato and then run it through a strainer. This fills me with guilt and I think it’s better to roast the capsicum to remove the skin as it improves the flavour. Tomatoes are skinned by popping them in boiling water with a cross cut in the bottom. Squeeze over a sieve to remove the seeds and the bread can be soaked in the juice below. It seemed to take about three hours all up to make but extremely tasty and I can’t imagine how healthy it must be. Would make for a superb bloody mary.

Blini with Creme Fraiche, Smoked Salmon and Salmon roe

I used the yeast method rather than just the egg whites and, to be proper like, buckwheat. Salmon roe isn’t cheap but 50gm goes a long way, doing about 30 blini. Creme fraiche is expensive to buy but you can make your own. I did it in a slightly cheaper fashion by using two parts king island cream and one part creme fraiche and letting it sit for a few hours, covered, on the bench top. Blini can be made beforehand and frozen if you like. Reheat.

tuna with mango salsa sashimi tuna with ponzu sorbet


Seared tuna cubes with mango salsa and Tuna sashimi with ponzu sorbet

This was one of the “still got some money purchases and the idea is from earlier here. And the ponzu (soy with citrus) sorbet was still left over from new year. The ponzu makes the sashimi more like a ceviche and won a few converts. Both were served in shot glasses with the tuna chugged with a couple of bites to prevent choking.

Asparagus wrapped in pancetta

People love these. Just trim the spears, wrap a piece of pancetta around them, and cook in a hot oven.

Grilled polenta with caponata, sun-dried tomatoes, and tapenade

Gah! Blisters from stirring one and a half kg of polenta. A cup of milk to make it creamier and parmesan added. Spread out and chilled then put in a sandwich press for a grilled look. Reheated on site.

Lamb skewered on rosemary

Keeping Sam Kekovich happy. Cubes of lamb marinated in EVOO, paprika, and garlic and then threaded onto sticks of rosemary. Kept my rosemary bush under control. Leave some leaves at one end to sprinkle over the meat. Cooked in an oven and then taken off the sticks and piled on lettuce.

sporks Ash's nimble hands green chicken curry


Green Chicken Curry

Charmaine Solomon’s trick is to reduce some of the coconut milk over heat to about a quarter then add the paste and stir until the paste starts to release oil and then add the meat, stir until it’s cooked on the outside, and then add the rest of the coconut milk. Chopped green chilies and coriander are added at the very end. I used a few different cuts of chicken including a whole chicken cut up and the best was drumsticks. They were the cheapest cut and gave the juiciest meat which just dropped off the bone. I was a bit surprised by the popularity as I thought I’d just have it as a filler but everybody wanted some and sadly some folks missed out. I could only offer hugs as consolation.

deep fried wontons


Deep fried Chirashi Sushi and Prawn and Pork wontons

Mmm fried. While colder food suits the more receptive palate of the early evening, nothing suits the booze soaked tongue than a bit of fried food. Vinegared rice with soy and wasabi with shiitake, black mushrooms, and tree mushrooms in one. Pork, prawn, spring onion, chives and the same mushroom mix in the other. The first is vegetarian so you can keep vegetarians happy by serving the separately, unless you mix them up, which I did, and tell somebody it’s kind of vegetarian lucky dip and then be told that they’re vegetarian which was a tad insensitive on my part really. Fair enough. For person who didn’t like rice or fish and wasn’t around for the lamb though, tough titties I am forced to say.

Passionfruit, melon and vodka sorbet

and cleanse. Pulp is from a jar, melon adds volume, make some sugar water to taste, vodka makes it a little bit slushy. Too easy.

Cheese platter

Figs, grapes, crackers, one stinky, one soft, and one hard. For the browsers. Was having a bit of a chat about cheeses and one guest told me she doesn’t have cheese because her boyfriend doesn’t like it. Tsk, the feminist struggle is far far from over.

people eating my nosh general chaos one soft, one stinky, one hard and another one


A success. A haphazard and incoherent way to do it but I don’t think I could do it any other way. Handiest thing for the evening was my cook’s uniform. Kitchen’s in parties are messy places to work. People like to linger and chat, ask questions about where the glasses or bottle openers are, kids will run around, offer to help, and this is nice it’s not until 70% of the dishes are out that my head has unwound enough to appropriately deal with this. If I were wearing jeans when I say “no”, wave a cleaver at a child, or say “that’s a really bad place to stand” I’d just be that rude wanker in the kitchen. In uniform, I am that rude professional wanker in the kitchen. All in all a horrible mad stress filled thing to do but it’s doing things like this and getting through them that make us feel alive. Michael and Claire were lovely hosts. Toni, Ash (hands pictured above), and Malinda did the dishes and served stuff making an otherwise impossible job possible. It’s chuffing to have people come up and say nice things about the food or just watch a few under 60 eat your curry, and for complete strangers to offer to help. Oh the recently completely house is for sale if you’re in the Fremantle area – nice, very nice. The kitchen is still in one piece too.

quick the cake

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pork belly with cabbage and pears

Poor result with photos leads to a grittier feel and the shift from narrative to character driven food post.

Pork Belly: Porky! Fatty! Schoolyard taunts bounce off this delightful slice of meat. Trim the skin off for crisping later if braising. Chopped in to bite sized chunks and the bones left on, cut through with a heavy cleaver. Sealed in a frypan. Left to simmer for three hours, removed from broth briefy crisped up in the oven and glossed with venison stock and butter before serving. A kilogram.

Pork Crackle: Deeply cut into strips rubbed with salt and a little oil and crisped up in the oven. Chopped into small cubes and added to the cabbage.

Fennel: Suggested matching at time of wine purchase last year at Talijancich. As this dish was put into play, the aniseed flavour became a worry and with excess sweetness in the dish, would it taste of licorice? All other ingredients chosen with this in mind. Stalks removed and the bulb cut into small cubes. Two.

Cider: Substitute form of the ever-present matching of porks with apples. Dry dry dry to combat licorice effect, which it did. 500ml.

Venison Stock: No particular reason other than I’d made a reduction of it last weekend. Bold and meaty. 1 cup.

Onion:
Finey chopped and sauteed. One

Rosemary, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves
First two from the herb garden and are common pork accompaniaments. Peppercorns for bite, and bay leaves for bitterness. A few sprigs, a few sprigs, 12, and two.

Pears: Taken from a recipe from ¡Delicioso! The man at the shop assured me the Beurré Bosc were firm for cooking and none too sweet, whipping out a slightly menacing pen-knife to slice me off a bit. Peeled, rubbed with lemon juice to prevent browning and left to simmer for twenty minutes in their height in red wine and two cinnamon sticks. Left to sit. Heated through in with the pork for the last 30 minutes but taken out and kept warm in the oven, sadly giving it a dry faded exterior. Two chopped up into small cubes and added in with the dish. The other four, trimmed at the base and placed on the plate. Six.

Walnuts, Garlic, Thyme:
Also cribbed and modified from ¡Delicioso! Brown the walnuts in the oven. Mince with the garlic and thyme. Added 30 minutes before finishing adding a somewhat murky effect to the broth. One cup, three, and two teaspoons.

Savoy Cabbage: Driven by the past. Chopped finely yet never finely enough. Blanched and then cooked in a little of the broth with the pork crackle. One.

Talijancich 2003 Viognier: A local. Clear and crisp but with a sweetness that reached the sweetness that the dish never made on its own. 750ml.

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lamb rack

Yes yes “Nice Rack”. Tsk, Saffy.

This is a great marinade worked from Penelope Casa’s ¡Delicioso! (earlier ) and shouldn’t be too hard to vary with what’s available. I used used a rack of lamb instead of chops and roasted it. The rack is a little harder to judge doneness with, but looks better when served and there’s pleasure to be had in the juicy pink revelation of the centre.

1 rack of lamb chops; 3/4cup EVOO; 2tbs minced parsely; 1tsp sweet paprika; salt; ground pepper; one slivered small onion; 6 widely sliced field mushrooms

1. Slice down a third of the way between each rib. This allows better penetration by the marinade and allows you check doneness a little more easily.
2. Place all the ingredients in a freezer bag and leave in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.*
3. Heat the oven to 180C and place everything except the mushrooms in the tray, giving the lamb a head start. The mushrooms can go in 10 minutes later. Roast the lamb racks until done. If you’re unsure, test with a skewer until the juices run clear.
4. Remove the lamb and allow it to rest, covered in foil, for 10 minutes.

Cook some tagliatelle and mix the contents of the roasting tray in with it when cooked. Reserve a little of the juices to pour over the meat. Cut the rack in half and place one half on each plate. Eat.

*Just a friendly warning like update: You obviously don’t want raw meat juices splashing or dripping onto other food, especially things that won’t be cooked. So keep the bag in a tray or on a plate and on the bottom shelf. Can’t be banishing people to the small room.

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lamb a la aragonesa

If you find making gravy an anticlimactic chore after the thrill of pulling the roast from the oven to rest, this recipe harmonises roasting and gravy making in one action. It’s from the cookbook of Spanish food, ¡Delicioso! by Penelope Casas. Penelope happens to kind of look like the former model wife on DH that was doing the Lawrence on her hired hand. Her real appeal is being like a seasoned Japanese bar hostess in telling tired worker cooks what they want to hear after a long day. The misunderstood man is understood. Rabbit, she says, so few people appreciate it, I! do, of course you do. “The good news is that recent studies show pork fat to have many of the healthful qualities of olive oil” do they really? but so much of the flavour is lost in industrialised processing. I’m in a world where my glass is never empty and my cigarette is never unlit. I trust her implicitly, yet cannot surrender completely to what she says.

The basic principle here is that the lamb is cooked over a roasting pan with chicken stock in it, the stock then has the baste added to it along with the juices from the meat. This becomes your gravy. The meat requires a rub and a baste and here’s the rub:
3 cloves of garlic; 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme and rosemary; 2tbs of olive oil; salt and pepper. Mash in a mortar and pestle.

and here’s the baste:
2 tablespoons of olive oil; 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley; 4 cloves of garlic; 6 tablespoons of white wine (truffles and brandy couldn’t make it). Puree with a blender.

And now for the meat:
1 leg of lamb. You might want to do what I did and bone it. This has two advantages; the rub is on two sides and it’ll cook quicker.
Rub the lamb all over with the rub and put in on a roasting rack (or it’ll stew) in a roasting tray. Pour 1 cup of chicken stock into the roasating pan along with any trimmings from the lamb. Place it in an 180C oven for 15 minutes and then pour the baste over the lamb. Continue roasting until the lamb is done. I use a combination of poking the meat to get a rough idea and then checking to see if the juices run clear when skewered. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes.

Firstly an apology to Ian Cross for this and now the couscous:
1 onion and 1 red chili chopped and sauteed add 3 chopped baby zucchini pour in 2 cups of combined stock, wine, and or some of the pan juices (extracted with a baster), bring to boil, add 2 cups of couscous, turn off the heat, cover for 5 minutes and them fluff with a fork, adding a little olive oil.

Carve the meat into slices and place on a plate on the couscous and pour the pan juices over it all. And serve.

Superb, though the local Moondah Brook Estate 2004 Verdelho (a Portugese variety – Iberian enough) was like being smacked on the tongue with a pineapple. I was also very happy with the way the picture turned out, meat is one of the most dissatisying things to photograph and this captured the glorious juiciness that might even melt the heart of a vegan.

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enjospread

Nick: I asked Tres if I could get a hovercraft.
Me: and she said yes?
Nick: She said no.
Me: Bummer. That’s harsh.

Enjo. If that rings no bells then you haven’t quite surrendered as completely to the inescapable pull of suburban bourgeoisification as I have. Having been somewhat more the indulgee in our relationship, I found it hard to refuse Toni’s decision to host a home sales party thingy and offered to be in charge of light refreshments.

Mediterranean cultures have finger food nailed so I went with a tapas theme. If you have a look at the pic from top to bottom you’ll see… toasted pita bread; hummus with pine nuts; roma tomatoes with EVOO, basil, maldon sea salt, and pepper; lightly toasted baguette; pesto; pan fired haloumi; olives; chorizo in red wine; proscioutto, coppa, and home made aioli; and $3 Mount Barker Red Cross wine chiller with freezer inserts.

It looks like a lot but it isn’t. The magic hassle-free combo secret is a couple of quick hot dishes, a couple prepared earliers, and a few purchases. Left me with mucho time to have few beers out back with Greg and Holly while the guests watched a shower screen being decalcified in the bathroom and oggled my Blue Stratos After-shave and Mandom Moisture Cream.

You can find the Chorizo in Red Wine recipe way back here. The aioli is here but I’d add the recommendation to stream in the olive oil while stirring, rather than using a blender, it prevents it going bitter.

The hummus requires a little explanation. Soak the dried chick peas overnight the place them in a ovenproof dish with an inch of water to cover. Put the lid on and cook in 180C oven for an hour or so. Pureed about 5 cups of chick peas with three garlic cloves . And a few tablespoons of roasted pine nuts and sesame seeds (in a dry frypan, mind they don’t burn). Grind a handful of parsley with enough EVOO to moisten and add that. Stream in 3/4 cup of combined lemon juice and EVOO, stirring. Season with pepper and, because it wasn’t quite there, I added a few drops of tabasco. Great warm, served with toasty pita bread.

Toni got the hostie present of those yellow moppie things and I got to jump start a bearded guy’s chopper with my Volvo. And just to clarify, dry sherry is not a wino’s drink, it’s a much underrated aperitif. So there.

Sunday Night Tapas

Silvania Franco has a straightforward book that promises much – Great Tapas. The patties cross the line from mashed potato blandness to tapas genius but it’s a shame they retained their name as a patty. Patti Smith perhaps. Ham was changed to prosciutto as there was an especially nice looking hunk of it already on the slicer at the deli. I used a 2yo NZ cheddar in the absence of manchego.

Ingredients: 4 slices of prosciutto-chopped; 200gm of grated cheese; 500gm of Ruby Blue potatoes – boiled and mashed; 1/2 cup of plain flour; 2 tbs of butter; muchos salt and pepper to taste.

Mix all the ingredients together and shape into patties the size of an iMac mouse. Fry in a little olive oil on both sides until golden (they are a little fragile).

Eaten with the marinated octopus I made (excellent if I might say so) and some bread and we were joined by a bottle of Alias Pinot Noir, substituting for sherry.

*The photo was me being spiteful at the poor exposure and just scrunching up the brightness and contrast, not big, not clever.

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