meat

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It may come as no surprise that pork products are thin on the ground in Turkey, so I was asked by an old friend to make a porky meal and I did.  Three kinds of pork in fact.

Pork in Cider
From Ripailles. A rib roast of pork cooked gently in my Raymond Loewy Le Creuset pot on the stove top in sliced onions and dry cider. Later to be joined by bits of Granny Smith apples, bulbous spring onion, potatoes, and peas. Yes I am shit at crisping crackle but the cooked vegetables were magnificent.

Asparagus and Pancetta
I’m going to tell you it was asparagus and cubed pancetta cooked in a frypan with butter and you’re going to say yeah well I could have guessed that.

Puy Lentils with Bulgarian Sheep’s Feta, Salumi, and Shaved Fennel

Fry up a chopped onion until soft, add 500g of puy lentils, cover with water and simmer for half an hour until cooked (more aldente than soft). Drain and allow to cool a little. Fry up the sliced salumi. Chop up fetta. Shave the fennel bulb. Mix it all together with a slug of olive oil and some lemon zest. You don’t need amounts.

Speaking of Bulgaria, apparently people go to Bulgaria to get their Turkish visas renewed and to buy bacon. I don’t know if this is a visa condition but am a little saddened  of any country that you must travel from to buy pork. I’m no great fan of dietary restrictions in religions. It does push my believing in Supreme Being thing that they’d take time to freelance on food hygeine but still must admit to returning to God’s other pieces on food cleanliness like  ‘ Coloured Chopping Boards – What They Mean and Why We Use Them‘ and ‘Hands – Wash Them and Wash Them Well and Often’

Evening was owned by E, now 4.5 years, who managed to set the table, create a centrepiece, make name cards, create tickets for the dinner that had to be presented before entering the dining room, demonstrate the first three ballet positions, give a ten minute presentation on why the centrepiece was a fountain, magic show, brief rendition of hot cross buns on the Casio followed by free jazz improv, and provide medical assistance to Lewis the teddy.

Nice work.

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Yes still alive. I suppose you want a picture of my blog holding up a copy of yesterday’s Guardian. Here’s a meal I made last night.

Pasta with Peas and Bacon.

3 eggs | 300 g OO flour | pinch of salt | splash of olive oil

Hard work done with a dough hook in the Kambrook and then a bit of kneading to get it soft and pliable. Rest in the fridge wrapped in plastic. Roll out to 6 on the pasta roller (dust liberally with flour as you go) and cut into rough triangly bits – no idea what I was doing, I think Matt Stone did this in the mag.

inch thick slice of bacon, cube | cup of peas | 2 cloves of garlic + inch of leek. finely chopped | 1/3 cup olive oil

Bought my bacon from Annie Kavanagh at Spencers Brook Farm. Free-range berkshire pigs make such a lovely ribbon of white fat across the top. Hope I’m not spoiling anyone’s fun by pointing out, you’re not going to get the same result with your one kilo plastic pack of bacon slices. Crisps up beautifully.
Shelled the peas with young E on the kitchen floor. This is a very nice thing to do.
Gently soften the leek and garlic in olive oil, add the bacon, brown a little and add the peas and cook through.
Cook the pasta in lots of salted water – I’m still impressed how it all manages to come apart. Top with the peas and bacon and some grated parmesan.

Really nice. Perfect light intro for a heavier mains.

Roast Pork with Cider, Veg

1.5 kg Rolled roast of pork, skin slashed, truffled honey and fennel seeds pushed into slices with a sprinkle of rock salt on top. Leave for an hour or so.

fennel bulb| carrot | 2 garlic cloves | 2 sticks of celery | leek

Just a bunch of aromatics that would, in theory, fill the roast and the eventually sauce with goodness. Chop into small pieces.
Brown the roast in olive oil in a cast iron casserole pot, add the aromatics and stir and place in a 170C oven. Let it cook down a bit for about 20 minutes. Add a cup of cider, cover and turn the oven down to 160C . Cook for 90 minutes.

parsnip, quartered lengthwise | sweet potato, cut into half rounds | apple chopped

Parboil the parsnip and the sweet potato and add them and the apples to the casserole dish. Check the level of cider and cover. Cook for another half hour and then remove the lid to brown everything up.
Keep the pork warm covered with foil, remove the veggies with a slotted spoon. Skim the fat off the top of the remaining liquids, add half a cup of cider and reduce, then add a half a cup of verjuice and a good splash of apple and balsamic glaze.

Cauliflower Puree
Half a cauliflower, boiled until soft in salted water. Drain and then cook in thick cream and butter. Puree and season to taste. Stir in some bacon cubes

Tuscan Cabbage
Chop into large pieces and sauteed in a pan with olive oil and bacon cubes until soft.

Rocket and Orange Salad
Just in case the pork got a bit much, something peppery and acidic. Segmented orange tossed with roacket and some olive oil.

Rhubarb Clafoutis
I was going to cadge out of dessert but I’d bought some rhubarb so hey. A clafoutis is basically a pancake batter pie or a yorkshire pudding without the dripping and with fruit. All you need to know is here.
Don’t overcook the rhubarb, you want it to keep some form. Rhubarb cooked in butter with caster sugar and orange zest. Splash of vanilla-soaked brandy in the batter and a 1/3 of a cup of almond meal.
Served with whipped Bannister Downs cream.

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obviously a rubbish shot but a startlingly accurate one

You know, you meet at the Subiaco farmers market to select food for the night’s dinner with friends, share in the fruits of the farmers toil by filling your basket with produce and then you go and drink several beers, a couple of G&Ts, a bottle of sparkling red (experimental Myattsfield), a bottle of Riesling (’09 Castle Rock) and a Shiraz (’04 Will’s Domain) [all local and great] and wonder why the room’s spinning while you’re carving the main course.

It’s a valuable lesson against starting early and then waiting for excitable kids to go to sleep before starting dinner but, that said, mission accomplished. Three courses from what we picked up earlier – pecans, snapper, organic sweet potato and potatoes, an eye fillet of beef, rocket and assorted lettuce, field mushrooms, snapper, bread, double cream and, as an added challenge for a nation troubled by fruit/meat combos, a tray of peaches.

So.

Entree
Snapper cooked and tossed in a peach salsa of a couple of diced peaches, handful of coriander, half a finely chopped onion, a finely chopped green chili, a squeeze of lime juice, and a splash of olive oil. Leave salsa for an hour to let the flavours mingle with each other and adjust flavours to taste.
Frozen snapper reacquaints itself with the sea with a sprinkle of salt and left for five minutes before cooking on the BBQ. Try also with frozen prawns.

Mains
Beef fillet seasoned, seared, brushed with eggwhite and truffle mustard and then covered with a mix of ground pecan and fresh breadcrumbs (2:1 ratio). Popped in a baking tray flanked by large field mushrooms cut in half and sprinkled with the pecan-bread mix and all splashed with olive oil. Pop a meat thermometer in the fillet and cook it in a hot lidded BBQ. Remove when the thermometer reads about 55C for medium rare and let it rest.
Jus made in from chopped mushroom stems and red wine reduced [actually I can't remember exactly what happened here]
Potatoes diced and parboiled to join the oven roasting diced sweet potato [slow roasting releases the sugars] and then roasted up with extra olive oil and some salt.
There was also a rocket and peach salad somewhere in there.

Dessert
Slice the cheeks off the peaches, brush with a little olive oil and grill on the BBQ. You can even go that bit further and manage not to cremate the skin. Extra points for crosshatched 90degree rotation on grill.
Serve with double cream and a few wavy lines of cream of balsamic .

I then walked through a screen door, demanded photos of myself, a few other things which I’ll be told in due season and then the autonomic defense system kicked in, found me a comfy chair and sent me gently to sleep. A perfect evening.

Pro Kitchen Drinking Tips!
1. Prep! Get all the tricky slicing stuff out of the way earlier on – nobody loses a finger stirring.
2. Cook and leave! High maintenance dishes take away valuable time spent socialising with a glass of something.
3. Desserts! You’ll be at the lowest level of your skills. Keep it easy.
4. Coffee! You’ll need one to make it from dessert to the cheese platter.
5. Manners! Nobody’s going to pour you a glass of something nice after an expletive filled rant on cycleways.

Public Notice: I’ll be speaking about editing a food mag, food blogging and related interesting things next Thursday as part of the Autumn UWA Extension Course. I believe there might still be a seat or two available. More details.

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If you’ve got to the point where you’re not entirely sure if you’ll be OK just slicing off a piece of Xmas ham, you could always make a stock out of it. It’s also prawn season in Australia so heads aplenty as there’s no gratis fry-em for me that they’ll do in Japan (mind the horns).

Chop what ham you’ve got into cubes, add enough cold water to cover by an inch or so, bring to the boil and skim off anything on the surface. Add half a dozen white peppercorns and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Take your prawns and stir-fry them in a small amount of oil until they turn pink. Add them to the ham and water. Return the pot to the boil and skim the surface. Add a whole red chilli or two and a bruised stick of lemon grass. And simmer for another 15 minutes.

Strain through a fine muslin cloth and taste, it may need to be reduced for a  stronger flavour if that’s what your after or just consider adding a few lemon wedges and some chopped chilli to your served broth.

For this I put two raw scallops, a prawn tail, and some watercress in each soup bowl and poured the boiling stock over it – this should very lightly cook the meat. Garnish with coriander leaves, some sliced red chilli and a wedge of lemon.

7 day lamb

It looks a bit wrinkly but it's really very good and if you look carefully you can see the adjustment bolts on my hibachi cradle which are not at all a result of poor measuring. It's also a shoulder rather than your classic gigot.

This is a Michel Roux Jr recipe that I’ve removed a couple of minor convolutions from and kept the basic principles. One useful tool is a vacuum sealer because a piece of meat sitting in a bowl in a fridge for a week isn’t ideal for household harmony

- The marinade is your classic French marinade of onion, celery, and carrot (all in big chunks) and then some rosemary, peppercorns, and half a bottle of dry red wine and splash of brandy. Place it in the bad bag with the lamb shoulder, seal and leave in the fridge for a week.
- Separate the lamb, the vegetable and the marinade. Sear the lamb in butter and remove; then brown the vegetables with some chopped bacon; and then return the lamb with the marinade. Top with stock – I used chicken and white verjuice instead of veal. Bring to the boil and skim.
- Cover and cook in a 140C oven for seven hours or until the meat is flaking off.
- Allow the meat to cool in the juices. Here you would let it sit for another day but I just chilled it to the point where the fat had set on top of the liquid and I could just skim it off.
- Remove the meat, carefully strain the liquids and toss the vegetables out.
- Reheat the meat in the liquids, which are by now a lovely rich jus. Once heated the jus can be seasoned and/or reduced to taste.

I served the meat on polenta cooked in half water-half milk and ‘carved’ the meat with tongs.

Fig and Mozarella Salad
This is hiding behind the roast. Figs are gorgeous at the moment – soft, sweet and fleshy – and are quartered and combined with rocket and buffalo mozzarella. I’m not the biggest fan of pre-made dressings but Maloufs Pomegranate Dressing is just brilliant.

Right at the back are some steamed beans with chopped tomatoes, EVOO and sea salt.

Bottle of slightly chilled MyattsField ’08 Tempranillo hit the spot for red meat on a hot day conundrum.

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free-range ham and home made rillettes

from l-r: rillettes, loaf of bread, spencers brook ham (glazed with marmalade)

Request for a recipe so I’d share it with you all/both. Rillettes is a rufty tufty pate that’s basically pork with pork fat and thus a simple pleasure to be enjoyed. It’s been well liked by young and old and the best use to date has been for breakfast on toast with a few bubbles.

It’s best made in bulk so you can either live off it for a couple of weeks or, for that christmas magic, share it around.

500g pork fat – you can use pork lard, I just carefully scraped the fat off a bit of pork skin for crackling (really it’s beautiful stuff – makes me think of soft serve ice-cream for some reason)
700g pork – shoulder, leg, loin … whatever really as long as it’s lean and meaty
500g pork belly – just trim the skin off and don’t worry about the bones.

Dice the meat into inch (roughly) pieces.

1 onion, 1 carrot, 2 cloves of garlic – peeled
1 stick of celery, 10 sage leaves, 3 twigs of thyme
white wine

Simmer the pork fat gently in enough water to cover and drain.
Add everything into a casserole dish and add a big glass of white wine. Cover with a piece of greaseproof paper and simmer at as low a flame as you can. A diffuser is handy. Stir occasionally.
At some stage I decided it as time for bed so I added a splash more wine, put the lid on the casserole dish and put it in the oven overnight at 70C.

Allow the meat to cool, remove everything that is neither meat nor fat, and then break the meat and fat up into small pieces. Disposable gloves are handy for this. The meat, if you’ve cooked it long and slowly enough, should really just fall to bits and shreds. Season generously.

Now you can distribute it into jars or ramekins and seal the top with a little clarified butter. Allow to chill. Enjoy with good white bread and whatever drinks you have handy.

BONUS! Roast Char Sui Pork

Take a piece of pork, make some deep slashes on either side. Put it in a bowl with a cup of Char Sui sauce, several star anise, and a decent splash of Chinese rice wine. Leave for a couple of hours but just turn it over now and then to coat.
Place the meat on a rack over a tray with water in it. The steam keeps it moist and it stops the sugary sauce from burning in the tray. Cook at 150C for about an hour and a half to two hours or until the pork reaches 80C on the meat thermometer.
I’m sure it’d be great in soup but I just had it in nice big slices while enjoying beers with friends.

Do make sure you grab some fruit and veg at some stage.

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pork and fennel[a later reconstruction of the dish]

I found a lovely piece of free-range pork down at the Herdsman. It was a piece of pork belly with the skin removed and then rolled and tied into a roll. Very cute – looked like the kind of roast you could munch on while driving down the road with your elbow out the window.
Lovingly tied as it was, I ended up removing the string and wrapping it in prosciutto – unfortunately it burst its smallgood chains half way through, but no harm done.

6 inches of rolled pork belly
150 g of thinly sliced prosciutto
1 tbs truffled mustard
8 sage leaves
salt and pepper
fennel leaves
EVOO

fennel bulb, quartered and halved
purple-skinned sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
bunch of broccolini

Rub a line of mustard along the top of the pork. Roll it a quarter and then place the sage leaves on top. Season well and wrap with the prosciutto.
The pork is roasted with the vegetables and I kept them nice and tight in my nice Raymond Loewy cast-iron pot. The addition of ingredients is staggered over the hour or so of cooking as follows
0 min - good splash of olive oil and in with the sweet potato into a 190C oven.
15 min - fennel and pork added with a few fronds of fennel – another splash of olive and a pinch of salt
25 min rotate pork to ensure all-over crispiness
30min turn down to 170C
Cooked minus 10 min – broccolini and another splash of olive oil.

When the pork is done, allow it to rest and then serve on top of the vegetables. Didn’t bother with a sauce.
It’s a lot of oven opening but as the temperature heads down over cooking, no biggie.

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slow cooked lamb roast [pending]

Imagine if you could to a full day of driving around visiting wineries and such and then come home to find your roast waiting for you like an expectant puppy. Imagine no more. Enter the amazing world of slow roasting.

I’ve been doing a lot of slow roasting recently as a respite from the ‘is it ready yet?’ world of skewer checking. This particular one was cooked for about 7 hours in a gas-fired pizza oven the lowest setting of around 130C.

The prep for the meat is unsurprising and involves making deep cuts into the lamb with a butchers (or paring) knife to make pockets for a sprig of rosemary, a piece of garlic, and a salted caper. Rub liberally with olive oil and season.

Put a cup of chicken stock and/or white wine in the pan and cover with a lid (or foil). You might like to lift the lamb of the base and out of the liquids with a sliced root vegetable, a leek or a rack, but I didn’t bother. The size of the roasting pan keeps things nice and shallow.

Leave in the pizza oven undisturbed. Keep a lazy eye on the fluid levels but as the lid sealed well and the meat does chuck out a good level of juice itself, it wasn’t necessary.

Allow to rest and then carve. And by carve, I mean flake. It’s more like meat from a confit.

As a bit of a bonus, I made a sort of barigoule with it. About half an hour from finish, I popped in some chunks of fennel, capsicum, zucchini, and whole cherry tomatoes with a bit more EVOO splashed OTT. These cooked away for another half an hour while the meat rested.

Make a sauce with it of course.

Dessert was pears, poached in red wine in the pizza oven while we ate. A good piece of advice for poached pears is to make sure you really do reduce the poaching liquid to a thick syrup for an intense flavour – just keep the pears warm and to one side.

If you were wondering about the trip. I stayed at a friend’s house that he’d just built himself (he’s a builder so it wasn’t like one of the less successful efforts on Grand Designs) in Busselton on a canal. The indoor-outdoor kitchen is a really handy combo and I’m trying to bag myself some more cooking there. I’m sold on outdoor pizza ovens and gas just seems so much less hassle than wood. True, it lacks the wood-fired cred and moniker but gains in likelihood of use. Pizza’s made the night before easily passed the droop test and were churned out in quick succession. Need to see if a goat will fit in there.

A bit on the quiet side in Margaret River for the school hols. Lovely lunch at Xanadu and picked up a great bottle of chardy and one of their catering sized bottles of dry red at the always good Cape Mentelle.

Next day was Pemberton – super good bottle of pinot and a chat about Valiant utes at Salitage, marron dinner at the pub, visit to an espalier orchard being built, bit of German V8 hooning and getting stuck on logging roads. Tasty pork pie at taste of Balingup, a visit to the world’s biggest playground when you’re 18 months in Donnybrook and then back home

ash and moo's pad

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melton mowbray pie
The good thing about Melton Mowbray is not only that it sounds like a place in Leicestershire, it actually is a place in Leicestershire. It’s also modifies the noun ‘pie’ to make a pie from said town that uses fresh rather than cured pork. The addition of eggs makes it a ‘gala’ pork pie and if the first thing you thought of was Dali’s wife, you’ll probably enjoy this.

Melton Mowbray pie has EU Protection of Desginated Orgin protection so this, technically, isn’t that.

The model recipe I used is the V-Tol Veal Ham and Egg Pie Recipe, which was made by Gordon Bedson, who also designed aircraft and the Mackson. Anyone like to drive a car built by Nigella Lawson? Didn’t think so.

The recipe isn’t hard but it does require doing several different things correctly. They are – making a hot water paste, boiling some meat, boiling eggs and making a jelly. The V-tol recipe explains the technical details well.

As I was using fresh pork (a bit of fillet) rather than ham, to bump up the flavour I marinated it for a few hours in white wine and a mix of bay leaf, thyme, parsley, rosemary, juniper berries and peppercorns.

The pork went into a saucepan with the marinade and herbs along with a small rack of veal and a pig’s trotter. It was then filled with water to cover and simmered for 30 minutes – skimming as necessary. After removing the pork, I kept the veal bones and the pig’s trotter in there to make a heartier stock and boost the natural gelatine. I let it simmer for another 30 minutes before filtering the stock in a seive with some paper towel in it and then reducing the filtered stock to just two cups.

By this stage you should have a pile of cubed pork and veal. Allow it to cool.

Take the reduced stock and add a leaf of gelatine that you’ve dissolved in a little heated sherry and white wine (actually it might have been calvados and white wine but I can’t remember).

Make the hot paste. It’s actually very similar to a choux pastry but with lard instead of butter, and no eggs in it. The boiling water/lard combo smells, but kneading the warm fluid dough to smoothness is surprisingly relaxing. Roll out and line a greased springform pan with it – reserving some dough for the top of the pie.

Boil the eggs – 10 minutes in boiling salted water and cool them under cold running water to stop the cooking.

So… a covering layer of meat, then encircle the eggs around the middle and fill with meat. Place pastry on top, seal the edges with a back of a spoon. Decorate suitably with the excess pastry and brush with an egg wash. It’s important to make a couple of breathing holes. Put a foil trumpet in them to allow steam to escape while cooking. These holes become useful later.

Place it all in a 200C oven for 80 minutes – just keep an eye on it to make sure the pastry doesn’t burn.

Now you just need to pour the stock into the pie via the breathing holes. It’ll take a couple of goes as it settles. Leave the pie in the fridge to cool and then serve as part of a low maintenance all meat cold buffet as illustrated below.

cold buffet

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yeah it's blurry

You can stop blurry photos like the above with a tripod, which is a three-legged thing. It’s interesting to note that there are few naturally occurring three-legged things.*

Tajines, and stop me if you’ve heard this before, refer to both the lidded slow cooking dish and the slow-cooked braise that’s cooked in it. English is reluctant to accept such ambiguity and if you’ve ever almost eaten a toaster, you’ll know why.

There are more than a few recipes for a tajine but I really like adding dried, or fresh, fruit such as chopped apricots, figs, sultanas and dates. I also like using lamb necks but shanks and diced mutton also works well. They all just melt together; you can’t identify the apricots and if you cook it long enough, you’ll just have to fish out a few bones.

It’s not dissimilar to a curry. The basic process is sautee the onions in olive oil /stir/ add the spices /stir/ add the meat and seal, then whatever fruit and veg you’re using /stir/ then the stock /stir/ and cook very slowly for a few hours with the lid on.

For spices I usually use a couple of tablespoons of ras al hanout and add a few strands saffron with the stock; meat – as mentioned; fruit – ditto; vegetables – usually diced sweet potato and then a tin of chopped tomatoes and soaked chickpeas but yes they’re pulses; enough stock – not so much to cover as to keep it all moist when lidded.

The spices are really only so much riffage on cumin and if you grind it fresh, you’ll not go wrong. Cinnamon quill? Why not.

You can add some chopped coriander at the end to lift it as well as some chopped and roasted almonds.

Another technique is to marinate the meat overnight in a combination of the spices, olive oil, a finely grated onion, and a bunch of chopped coriander and then add the lot to the pan. Seal the meat and then move to the adding the fruit and vegetables stage.

The complete dinner was home made olives, kofta and kangaroo kebabs cooked over charcoal, lots of lebanese bread, hommous, yoghurt, and the tajine with mograbieh and a beetroot salad. Tasty cheese platter and delicious homemade apple pie made an appearance. Myatt’s Field do a very nice tempranillo and eating the meal took the good part of five hours. Hot topics were iPods and children.

*I’ll acknowledge that ants have two sets of three legs.

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venison pate with sourdough baguette and olives

mashed potato and hazelnut pesto with black pig prosciutto, asparagus and broad beans

duck, forest mushroom and chinese greens risotto

2002 Peacetree Cabernet Sauvignon in a Bulgarian crystal decanter

tart fine aux pommes

local cheeses with oatcakes and fennel crackers

laphroaig quarter cask with ice

Further notes:
Duck, being fatty, doesn’t really lend itself well to poaching but I thought I’d try and squeeze out a bit more stock for the risotto regardless. White wine, duck stock, peppercorns and thyme. Duck legs removed and then fried in leftover lard until crisp and then shredded. Using the soaking liquid for the mushrooms also provides additional stock.

Gabrielle Ferron’s risotto packet recommends a no-stir 15 minute technique and I have to agree to the point where I’m convinced that the whole stirring thing is an artifact of Italian patriachy.

Just the shiny green inner pods of the broadbeans. Blanched and then reheated in olive oil with some of the prosciutto. I ended up paying $10 a kilo for them because I was chatting with the farmer and he forgot to give me my change and I was too polite to ask.

nuzzling

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Where have I been?

chicken kiev

I’ve been in 70s, researching the feasibility of pine as a material for constructing kitchen cupboards. Fortunately, an eddy in the space-time continuum opened up due to the Large Hadron Collider allowed me to return to the present. Anyway they’ve got these things called Chicken Kiev and if you mash up a couple finely minced garlic cloves with some sage thyme and parsley and a splash of tabasco into some butter and then insert it into a pocket made with a boning knife in a chicken breast, then dust, egg, and crumb; brown in a pan and finish in a hot oven – then you’ll have it.
Cook the veges in any leftover garlic butter.
We’re using panko.

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sausages 2

Much more so than strolling through Bangkok in a pale flared Pierre Cardin suit and smoking Sobranie cocktail cigarettes, making sausages has always defined exoticism for me. There’s been a sausage shaped hole in my life and on the weekend, I filled it – in abundance.

Simple principle – everyone brings their favourite meat mix, we make sausages and we eat them. The fact that no-one, including myself had ever made them before was no impediment. I had 30 metres of pig casings soaking, a kenwood mincer attachment and a long red funnel thing. The golden rule is fat – Vince Garreffa says 20% minimum and you listen to Vince. Roll the casings onto the funnel – like you might for an ambitious condom purchase, tie a knot in the end, pop a couple of holes in to let the air out, crank the mincer up and twist every sausage length in opposite directions.

And it’s great. It’s such an earthy thing to do. It’s sex, it’s death; it’s shit, it’s food; it’s delicate, it’s brute force. It’s like Pasolini in pork. Bits of meat everywhere; someone pointing out that ‘an animals been shitting in that all its life; instructions to roll as a man,not as a lady; the firming of flesh – it’s not for the weak of heart or the repressed of spirit. I think we made about twelve kilograms of sausages with nearly as many different mixes. Sausages were cooked, enjoyed and magpies hung around our house for the next week.

carnage

Given that amateur sausage is a dying art for the amateur, I’m thinking that with quite a few kids around on the day, that at least that one of them might get me through to the next century as ‘the person that made their own sausages’. It’s the quiet hope of a mortality addressing near-forty year old. I also hope they remember the completely awesome birthday cake.

A completely awesome cake

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macadamia crusted lamb


Clean-up of pantry (2006 was a busy year for shopping apparently) yielded a bag of macadamia nuts and hence.

Crust is equal parts macadamia nuts and breadcrumbs with some chopped parsley tossed in. Just press on top. You can brown, as I did, the rack beforehand if you like. Marinade is EVOO red wine vinegar, rosemary and smoked paprika.

Minikin is stuffed with couscous, butter, chicken stock, dried raisins, macadamia nuts and pepitas. Mixed together and placed in the cavity. As a handy hint; use a round biscuit cutter to cut a lid out of the minkin.

Underneath the lamb is slices of field mushroom and red onion.

All cooked in 180C oven for 25 minutes*. Rest the lamb rack for 5 minutes. Toss the snow pea shoots in some EVOO and good salt. Serve.

I was really just using stuff I had but it worked together nicely.

*Actually 25 minutes is more of an averaging, the pumpkins could go up to thirty and the lamb could get down to 15-17 if you were after something closer to rare.

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oysters and trout

Can you knock off work, get to the shops, attend to jobs like bathing child, and bang out a very respectable 10th anniversary dinner? Yes you can.

Get oysters from reputable fishmonger (shucked – unless spending that special night with a DIY stigmata is your thing).
Get a lime. Lop the ends off. Segment. And then trim off the central pith.
Buy goat’s cheese and leave to soften on the bench.
Buy reputable smoked ocean trout. (tetsuya has just got some out)
Lay evenly on a piece of glad wrap.
Spread goats cheese over it.
Place it on a bamboo sushi mat and roll. The trick is peeling the glad wrap out of the way, for obvious reasons. Place it in the fridge to chill. And then slice into rounds.

Easy – impress your friends. In fact, if you had a nice bottle of sparkling chilling in the fridge and maybe cooked a few asparagus in butter to have on the side; you’d have a pretty special meal all in itself.

carpetbagger steak

We had a bottle of 1998 shiraz (the fourth of six) so the match was a rib of aged Dandaragan Organic Beef. I stuffed this with few oysters by making a pocket with a boning knife and then sealing it with toothpick. Seared, then put in the oven to cook. Quick wine and cream jus made in pan. Zucchini flowers cooked in a little butter. Green things (radish sprouts? can’t remember) tossed with a little very good EVOO and salt and pepper. And that’s it.

Memo to me for dessert: use foil when blind baking tart shell to avoid having to dig out dried broadbeans.

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Roast Rack of Pork

It'll Do Natural Raw Honey


Umm last week. There was a tablespoon or so of fennel seeds, a couple of cloves of garlic, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, a couple of tablespoons of Mallee honey, a few drops of Firehorse hot sauce, a tablespoon of finely chopped orange rind, and half an orange. I used one of them fancy Jamie Oliver flavour shaker thingies, which worked pretty well. First up was to crush the fennel seeds, then the garlic, then the olive oil and then add the rest.

Brush over the rack of pork and leave for an afternoon or so. Roast and baste with a mix of orange, apple and carrot juice mixed with some olive oil and honey.

Good. Really good. The sauce was mashed apple and celeriac parsnip and something else, maybe cream, quite possibly a bit of brown vinegar.

big biker bacon sarnie
enjoy, Don Cake

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farm lamb sunday roast

It’s been quite a big fortnight for me and I mean quite big in the same way that a werewolf Sean Connery would be quite hairy (although not on top, which would raise the possibility of a combover werewolf; terrifying yet also funny in a sad kind of way. “You know you’re not fooling anyone…aiiiieeeeeeee”)

Anyway two weeks ago Eva was born and it does not so much turn your life upside down as create its own space in your brain that squashes everything else out of the way. Although not in a way that creates a large bulge in my forehead and the urgent need to take a piss every thirty minutes. She’s also absolutely adorable and makes me laugh, which are great qualities to start life with.

We also managed to get issue 10 of SPICE off to the printers. Well when I say we, I mean everyone else and me distractedly checking commas and apostrophes and asking if it’d kill us if we got it out on the 7th instead of the 1st.

The other thing was the family farm’s clearing sale, last Friday. A clearing sale is a kind of garage sale but with heavy machinery and drinks afterwards. It also means that the family farm is sold and so ends my father’s forty years on a wheat and sheep farm and my family’s 80 year ownership of the wheatbelt property.I grew up there and it was as a good a childhood as anyone could want – I was rarely priveleged. By my teens, the appeal had waned; it became holiday farm work through uni; and by my twenties I’d supplanted my home town of twenty with the 14 million person megalopolis of Tokyo. Although things changed on the farm there was always something I could relate that linked to some part of my life. On the day, most of theses things were lain out in straight lines in the paddock and all that was left in the workshop were the neatly painted labels of where the tools once went.

It was a hot day, the wind blew with dust all day, my first car struggled to raise $50, and I’ve never enjoyed a can(s) of mid-strength beer so much. The sale went well beyond all expectations, I only got one ‘why didn’t you take over the farm’ question, and a lot of people weren’t shy in saying how they’d miss my Dad.

I took two things with me; the Cramphorne wool bale stencils and a leg of lamb from the freezer. This was from one of the sheep on the farm and, as they aren’t there anymore, it’s the last of the lamb. I roasted it old-style with garlic and rosemary stuffed into slits in the meat and we had our Sunday roast together. Eva didn’t quite make it up to the farm and she’s a few months away from solids but whatever Toni eats, she gets eventually. And so in an odd, indirect way, the farm became part of her.

filing cabinet farm lamb

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Cowboy Pie


cowboy pie


Sure it’s not your ‘Gordon Bleu’ but when Toni comes back at t minus three weeks and wants shepherds pie even though its in the mid- thirties, then it gets made. Unfortunately she bought beef mince which means its technically cowboy pie. Traditionally you would make it using leftover roast lamb or mutton and wiggle your eyebrows lasciviously every time you said ‘Shepherds Pie’.
There’s no particular magic in the recipe here – just the usual ragout principle of cooking the liquids out before adding new ones. Lightly brown the mince, then add some chopped mushrooms to soak up the liquids. Add some rosemary thyme and pepper. Then cook out a good splash of leftover white wine. Add some kidney beans and a jar of tomato cooking sauce and simmer until reduced. You want to be able to eat it with a fork but at the same time have some gravy to latch onto the mash. Season to taste.
Meanwhile boil the spuds, mash and then stir in a mixture of hot milk and butter. Spoon over the top of the ragout. I just used the cast iron pan I cooked the ragout in. If you use a spoon, you can tease up little peaks like on a meringue.
Brown off in the oven.
Don’t slack off on the salt – it likes it. Them’s good eatin’!

FOR TRAGICS: Name that cast iron pan.

OTHER SHEPHERD’S PIE THOUGHTS: If you get Supergrass’s “In it For The Money” Bonus CD there’s a bit that deadpans “A year’s supply of shepherd’s pie” which I just really like and it makes me laugh just thinking about it.
Funnily enough, in Zappa’s similarly titled “We’re Only in It for the Money” there’s also a deadpanned “Creamcheese”. Admittedly Creamcheese isn’t a pie but it does feature in cheesecake which is similar to pie. Did you know Lincoln was riding in a Kennedy?

veal cooked in milk

I’ve just been painting the nursery (no not the one with the lamps) with this natural paint that’s entirely mineral based and cuts down on the associated non-biodegradable toxic waste. Unfortunately it’s like painting with coffee. It flies everywhere and after two coats it still looks like an undercoat (it takes three). I’ve often wondered what painting in the 17th century was like, now I know. On the plus side it avoids the speckled history of the paint industry, washes off easily enough, and doesn’t smell.

Much easier is this veal dish I made a couple of weeks ago. Not only is it easy, but it’s about as close to a perfect meal you could hope for. It’s a big call I know, but it uses a few simple ingredients that compliment the feature ingredient, is unfuckuppable and you get that elusive feeling of a really special meal without having tried to hard.

There was one minor hitch. It was in a French magazine that I get every quarter in a swap with Gracianne. It means bodgy translation from French by me and this time I found out that Cocos de Paimpol, wasn’t ‘something coconut’ but a kind of white bean from Paimpol and my friends were saved from veal cooked in coconut milk.

The veal is non-bastard veal from White Rocks Veal and cooked as one piece.

two onions
one stick of celery
six button mushrooms
1 litre full cream milk
600ml cream
rack of four veal chops

250 gm dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight
three sprigs of thyme and a bay leaf

Brown the veal in a little hot oil – to the brown that you’d like to serve it at..
Sautee the onions, celery and mushrooms in a little oil in a heavy casserole. Add the rack of veal and then filled with the milk and the cream to cover. Allow to very gently simmer, covered for one hour.

Take out the veal to allow it to rest. Strain the cooking liquid and then reduce it to a sauce/one-coat roll on paint like consistency. Reducing in a wide frying pan will hasten things.

The recipe suggests cooking the beans in water for about half an hour. I thought of adding them to the casserole dish at the 25-minutes-from-finish point but ended up finishing the beans in some of the cooking liquid.

Carve the chops and serve on the beans with the sauce. See if you can manage, unlike me, to get the garnish in the middle.

Tastes fabulous, cooks perfectly, and is really only about half and hour of actual kitchen work. Don’t forget the bread.

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steamed buns

Just because I think that a month or so is long enough for a picture of a box of broadbeans.

Here are some steamed buns I made for a dinner party a month or so. They have been on the list of things to make and haven’t been because they’ve always seemed something suspiciously white and fluffy. In Japan where they’re sold as surrogate pies in 7-11′s as nikuman they’re not unlike a meat-filled marshmallow in texture if not sweetness.

They are actually quite easy to make of you’re comfortable with making bread dough. Once risen, it’s simply a matter of rolling out rounds, filling with stuffing and then lifting up and sealing. Much less fiddly than dumpling or spring rolls. The filling is a combination of hard-boiled quail egg, some shredded slow-cooked pork hock from a Kylie Kwang recipe and [racks brains] shiitake mushroom, finely minced ginger and spring onion whites.

This recipe is the one I used for the bun dough.

With the meal was peking duck. I made the peking duck and bought the pancakes but in retrospect I would have been better just to buy the duck [does anyone else habitually type dick when they mean to type duck?] and make the pancakes. Unless you particularly like having a raw duck hanging around the house. It worked but, not enough to justify the effort and I’d happily pop down to a BBQ house and not felt I’d shirked. It’s also a nice idea to wear an apron when carving to avoid hot jets of duck fat.

Dessert was… I can’t remember. No wait it was tapioca with something. Anyway the conversation was good, the wine with fine and it finished with Guitar Hero II being dragged out. Success.

peking duck

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box of broad beans

Broad beans are in season. I was reminded of this when a red faced man came in to an art exhibition I was at with a box full of them. I couldn’t understand what he was
saying, but the other people could. This made me wonder if they really did understand him, or if they’d just got used to pretending to understanding him, and that if thats what I sounded like by the time I got to double digit drink figures. There’s always a look down like they’d written down what they were going to say earlier but couldn’t find it and then a blurt. He couldn’t understand what I was saying.

If you’ve struggled to reattach the choke cable on a bike’s carburettor or tried to send a text message, you’ll like broad beans. Broad beans are like peas but for people with big hands.

The pods also have a fetching green velvet interior. This may trigger issues. The broad beans will peel once more, revealing a smaller, shinier bean.
Starting with about half a kilo of broad beans,
Remove the broad beans from their pod and boil in salted water for five minutes
remove the outer skin from 20 of the larger beans to allow the inner beans to be scattered around as decorations.
Chop the remaining outer beans.
Peel and chop an equivalent amount of japanese pumpkin into bite sized pieces and roast in olive oil/vegetable oil until soft. Allow a little browning. Mash and add to the chopped beans
Sautee half a finely chopped spanish onion and add.
Roast some pepitas in the oven and add. Pepitas are pumpkin seeds and if you were being especially resourceful, you could have saved them from the pumpkin. They add a bit of crunch interest to what’s otherwise quite soft.
Season.
Shape into patties and fry on either side.
Place under a steak.

Additional notes: Roasting pumpkin makes it sweeter, as does sauteeing the red onions, the outer bean is a little bitter so there’s your balance right there.

Extra bonus broad bean pasta sauce:
-pan fry some sliced chicken breast in olive oil with seasoning and a squeeze of lemon and reserve.
-add some more olive oil and fry large some chopped up bits of mini-japanese tomatoes with a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves and a chopped red chilli. Let them cook and reduce a little and you can pick out any bits of skin if you’re bothered
-chop up some broccolini and baby courgettes. Dunk them in the boiling pasta water for a minute or so just to take a bit of the rawness off. Add to the frypan. and stir through.
-take the broad beans out of their pod and boil for four minutes. Add to the pan and stir through.
-return the chicken, making sure you add all the collected chicken juices.
-place on pasta (the sauce isn;t that saucy so you might wnat to mix a little EVOO in with the pasta after its drained) with parmesan.

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lamb and lentil braise


Technically it’s a braise and that’s often the cooking method of choice for cheaper and tougher cuts but that doesn’t exclude other cuts. The temperature is lower than an oven but the heat conductivity of the water, which surrounds the meat, is much more efficient. The connective tissue and collagen is broken down with cooking time is transformed into gelatin. Gelatin will thicken the sauce and give it mouthfeel. Bones are also good. So for this reason I grabbed some lamb chops out of the freezer and complimented them with shanks.
Dust the meat with flour and brown them quickly after or the flour goes soggy with juices. Much is said about sealing the meat but the browning adds flavour to the meat by a process known as the Maillard reaction which is a chemical reaction that occurs with amino acids and heat (like sugars and caramelisation) . I’m not entirely sure if the same happens with the flour the meat is dusted with but the flavours will disperse with the flour and the flour acts as a thickener. I’ve also heard that with fish, a dusting of flour will ‘dry’ the exterior so the fish sears in contact with the pan rather than steams. Remove and drain off any excess fat, much of the flavour is still stuck to the pan and this can be deglazed with a little stock and some scraping.
The similarity with a stock means that there’s a flavour base of aromatics – garlic, onion, celery and carrots. This is referred to in French as a mirepoix. The mirepoix was softened gently or ‘sweated’ in olive oil until soft. The size of the mirepoix depends on the length of cooking. A brief half hour fish stock will need small cubes but a longer cooking process can allow larger pieces which add to the biteable elements in the dish – celery and onion not so much but carrots yes.
The flavour gets a boost from adding half a litre of chicken stock and then topped up with water. You could do without it but a watery taste is to no-one’s liking and ther should be something for the lentils to soak up. The other flavour comes from a traditional bouquet garni combo of thyme, bay leaf and parsley. Personally I find popping out to the herb garden a wee bit special.
Added to the mix are kipfler potatoes, which keep their shape well. Potatoes are often mixed to stews for their carbohydrates but their starch also acts as a thickener.
Bring to the boil and skim off the scum and place in a 180C oven for an hour or so. The lid will increase the efficiency of cooking by raising the boiling point in a mild facsimile of a pressure cooker. It’ll also mean that the cooking liquid doesn’t reduce but that’s OK because you’ll need it for the lentils.
Lentils have long been a source of suspicion for transgression of established barriers on protein and meat (pace tofu). Green lentils, unlike other legumes,don’t require soaking before cooking just needing a rinse and then cooking until tender. This can vary but half an hour is good balance between chewy and mush. Add the lentils and continue cooking – if there’s excess liquid you can crack the lid open to allow steam to escape and the liquid to reduce.
At the same time, the dish lacks a bit of acidity and this could be wine (didn’t have any) or lemon (ditto) so I went with tomatoes. Just some cherry tomatoes pan fried with olive oil and basil until broken down for extra taste and mixed in at the same time as the lentils.

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ducklava

Birthday necessitated dinner party as part of week long ‘festival of birthday’.

Ducklava
Don’t know where this idea came from. I guess if you read enough recipes, things start to click together. Ultimately it was the answer to a question that was how do you make one entree for seven people with one duck.
Where to start? The basics of it is that it’s [from bottom] filo pastry; pork rillettes; filo pastry; chopped pine nuts; filo pastry; duck rillettes; filo pastry; chopped pistachios and duck rillettes; filo pastry.
This is all baked in an oven for thirty minutes and then covered with melted butter and truffle flavoured honey. The pork fillet and pork belly and the duck were all cooked together in duck fat as a confit i.e. very slowly cooked submerged in duck fat. Pork and duck aren’t usually confited together but I like the pork and duck meat combo at Chinese BBQ places, so why not?

The pork belly was cubed and the pork fillet cut into one inch pieces. Delimb the duck with a cleaver and remove the breasts with the skin attached with a knife to cut through to the bone between then breasts. You can then work the breast out carefully.
To get the duck fat for the confit place any bits of excess skin and fat in a frying pan to render out the fat (you will be amazed). You can also render the bones (but be less amazed) and then use the carcass to make a duck stock (that gets used for the sauce).
In the bottom of a Le Creuset place a slice of orange, two sprigs of thyme, a star anise, and a sprig of rosemary. Tightly pack the duck peices in the bottom and top with the pork. Add the melted duck fat (or goose fat) and then top up with some vegetable oil to cover. It’s then covered with a sheet of greaseproof paper and cooked very slowly and lowly in the oven – it shouldn’t come to a boil. Once it cooled it’s just a matter of shredding the meat.
Line a small loaf tin with foil and then follow the procedure for baklava, three or four buttered sheets cut to size, topping, and so on up to the top. Cook at 180C for thirty minutes or when the top is nicely browned.
Melt a knob of butter and a couple of tablespoons of truffle honey (a jar from the Manjimup truffle farm that I managed to snaffle) and pour over.
Remove the baklava by lifting up the foil carefully and then slice.

For the sauce, reduce the duck stock down add a third as much port and then reduce down until nice and thick. Serve with grapfruit segments as something fresh and sharp to counter the fat and the richness.

Overall, it worked very well. Crisp, hot, crunchy, ducky, porky, and nutty – presentation could be tidied up a bit as the nuts are a bit unruly. Actually a lot of work for something that’s eaten in a few minutes but hey.

osso bucco ragout


Osso Bucco and Venison Shanks with home-made Saffron Fettucine
Osso Bucco is slices of beef shin and there’s one recipe for it and it seems to be osso bucco. Plenty of recipes out there but basically it’s a combination of diced onion, carrots, celery and garlic; followed by peeled and deseeded tomatoes, orange peel, thyme rosemary and bay leaves; then wine and beef stock. Make sure the meat is lightly dusted with flour (work quickly after you dusted it to keep the flour dry) and seared. Then it’s a couple of hours of tightly lidded cooking.

What results is a nice thick sauce and melted meat that you can shred for the sauce. Lots of shredding for this dinner. Just to loosen up the sauce a bit I cooked some field mushrooms in red wine and stock and the cream and added it to the meat and sauce.

The saffron fettcine is because saffron rissotto often goes with osso bucco milanese. It was only after four minutes of kneading that I wondered why my hands were red and then remebered I was allergic to handling saffron. The vegetable are strips of carrot ,zucchini , and leek; blanched and reheated in butter and then mixed through wth the pasta. It’s nicked form my Michel Roux Jr book as it’s customary to nick at least one thing for it for a dinner party.

It’s really well worth learning how to make your own pasta, if you learn properly then it’s quite straightforward and a good trick when guests arrive. My other trick involves slicing bits of my fingers off.

Apple Flan with Calvados Cream
As you’d imagine, thinly sliced (transverse to stem) apples on sweet shortcrust pastry. Served with cream with a bit of calvados whipped through it.

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lamb roast

Mag’s been put to bed so that means…Sunday roast.

A few helpful things:

Lamb
You can make a nice lamb stuffing with (roughly)
a cup of fresh breadcrumbs, a knob/thumb of melted butter, 1/3 cup of fire raisins, grated lemon peel, and 2 tbs of chopped mint and 2 tbs chopped parsley and a couple of sprigs of thyme.
The shoulder of dorper lamb had already been boned and netted – I carefully peeled back the net, unrolled the lamb, spread it with stuffing and rerolled and netted it. Just let it sit for a while in some EVOO and rosemary before roasting.
You could always debone it yourself or ask a butcher, anyway these are usually called “easycarve roasts”.


Roast Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Leek Pie (not pictured)

Bit like a quichey bastila (No!). Instead of shortcrust get some sheets of filo pastry and a springform tin. Rub the tin down with butter (just the inside) and then brushing one sheet at a time with butter, line the inside of the tin. Work around the tin 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock, 12 o’clock, rock. A little tearing is unavoidable but if you layer it enough there should be enough overlap so the filling doesn’t run everywhere when you put it in. You can trim it or scrunch it up for a scrunchy effect – I think I used about 10 sheets of filo pastry.
For the filling – sliced leek sauteed gently in butter, small oven-roasted cubes of sweet potato, chopped broccoli – ever so slightly pre-cooked in butter, goat’s cheese, toasted sesame seeds, some thyme, oregano and salt and pepper. 8 eggs and 300mls of cream (and if you’re using Bannister Downs cream, it’s good, make sure you give the pack a bit of a shake and a squeeze).
Cooks in about 20 minutes.

Potatoes Dauphinoise
Had this at Bouchon Bistro on Friday night (which is really good) so I made it at home. The trick is cooking the potato slices in milk with a bouquet garni and nutmeg*. You ditch the milk when the potatoes have been cooking for 15 minutes. Give the casserole dish a bit of a rub with butter and cut garlic cloves. then layer the potato slices, seasoning as you go along, filling with hot cream, and topping with grated gruyere. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes.

Roasted Beetroot
Roast beetroots until skins peels off by hand. Dice and then serve with sour cream and chopped mint.

Coconut, Chocolate and Vanilla Soufflé
This is close enough to the recipe to save me typing it out. While you’re boiling the milk add a sliced vanilla bean and about 2/3 cup of dessicated coconut.

Drinking notes: Don’t know what it is but Bishops Finger is just so right at the moment.
Possible jingle:
(to tune of “L-A-C-H-L-A-N”, Your Wedding Night)
Well guests they will linger
If you’re giving the Finger

chocolate coconut vanilla souffle


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totoro bento set

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.

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hello old friend


I bought this Polaroid 690 maybe 10 years at a second hand camera store in Shinjuku for about ¥20,000. It folds down neatly into small booklet that hangs nattily over the shoulder. Reopening in another thing and I’ve forgotten how a few times and have been left looking like a monkey with a puzzle box. Polaroids in a way we’re a kind of precursor to photography as social activity that flickr is now. You could take one along to a party and document it as you went along. One version of polaroid film allowed you to draw in coloured pencil on it. Other than that they had their own special colour cast, were more boho than slide film, and you could chastise people for shaking them to get them to develop more quickly. Like teddy, it got stuffed in the cupboard when my first digital camera come along and there it sat until Saffy talked me in to getting a cartridge of film from KMart. (You should also check out the amazing Viv collection.)

[Polaroid SLR 690 which everyone respects - I've got to have a General Research 690 Case]

Oh yeah the risotto, it’s magnificent. Make a risotto as per usual with finely chopped onion and clove of garlic base with chicken stock. Meanwhile, take a couple of italian sausages brown them and the add a finely sliced fennel bulb (reserve a tablespoon of leaves for the end) and allow to gently sautee with the sausages. When the sausages are cooked, slice them and then return the slices to the pan and sautee a little longer. Add to the risotto at the finish along with the fennel leaves and a little butter. Stir through well, add some parmesan, season and serve. Really very good, should have cracked a bottle of wine with it. No pics though.

UPDATE
Polaroid of my (phwoarr) brekky at Sayers in Leederville. Good it was. Surprisingly nice depth of field in the photo, no?

sayers breakfast

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lamb tagine

Sorry for the not very exciting pic but this is really very good and one of the best things I’ve made for a while. It’s a combination of a few different recipes and techniques. I’ve been working through my half a dorper lamb from Dorper Lamb (same place I got my NYE wagyu from) and the rolled roast leg was very nice, reminded me more of venison. I’m also working my way through the Pickled Pink range I got given and am using now the photos are done (also really good, available at Tarts in Northbridge – the cafe, not just any old tart, and Sayers in Leederville). There was a jar of baharat and not knowing what it was, suspected it was Middle Easterny and found out it can be used for tagines – similar to ras al hanout.

Here’s the recipe in a very convincing recipe like form -

1kg lamb neck (or shanks)
2 cups chicken stock
olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tins chopped tomatoes – drained with juice reserved
2 pieces of lemon rind
1.5 tablespoons Baharat
4 fresh apricots, cut into large chunks
10 dates, seeded and halved
1 tbs honey
salt and pepper
2 tins of canelli beans (or similar), drained

Trim the lamb of excess fat and brown the meat in a frypan. Place lamb in a tagine or casserole. Deglaze the frypan with the tomato juice and add to the lamb. Add the stock and the lemon rind. Top with water to not quite cover the meat (remember the other ingredients). Get to a boil and the reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, fry the onion and the garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add the baharat and stir through until aromatic. Add the tomatoes and stir through until heated. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the beans.

Place the lid on and cook gently on the stove top or in an oven at 150C for an hour and a half. Add the beans and cook for another hour or until the meat is tender. Add water if necessary or remove lid to allow sauce to reduce. Season and you can also add a little more baharat to taste.

I served it with rice which was a bit of a bodge together of basmati cooked in chicken stock with a cinnamon stick and then fried onion, garlic, cardamom seeds, and hot chilli sauce sauteed together and finely chopped lemon rind all mixed into the rice.

Entree was the lamb kofte here served on a bed of rocket, parsley and mint with a lemon and EVOO dressing.

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pork terrine


Duck Liver and Pork Terrine

A terrine is a nice enough way to get back into cooking and it gave me a good reason to give my 70′s moulinex a bit of a run. Porky joy yes and I decided to partner it with apples (sauce) and figs (always nice with prosciutto). Pork belly because it needs some fat. Duck liver because there wasn’t any pork liver available.

mincer

Ingredients are approximate: 500gm of pork belly; 500gm of pork meat (taken from chops); 500gm of duck liver; 1 cup of bread; 2 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and finely chopped); 5 dried figs (soaked in 1/3 cup of calvados) – not fresh sadly; 1/2 cup cream; a few chives and a few sage leaves (finely chopped); salt and pepper. 8 rashers of bacon. Sprig of thyme for non sequitur garnish.

Run the meat, liver, and bread through the mincer. Finish with the bread, it doesn’t make cleaning any easier but it does mean you don’t have to scrape out bits of viscera. Actually best keep the whole thing a bit quiet, I had it all packed up by the time Toni got back. Liver looks the mincer had an unfortunate incident involving some surprisingly cheap seafood.
Mix all the ingredients together. Line a bread tin (or a terrine if you’ve got one) with foil and then give it a good oiling. Line the tin widthways with strips of bacon, fill with the mix and then drape the strips over. Cover with baking paper – greased with butter.
Cook in a steam bath in a 180C oven for two hours.
To make a steam bath, get a roasting pan and fill it with warm water so it reaches 2/3 of the way up the terrine. Fergus Henderson has a nice hint to place a teatowel on the bottom of the roasting tin so the bottom of the terrine isn’t in direct contact with the oven heat.
Take it out, place a weight on it and leave for 2-3 days (yes you’ll have to wait).

Very rich, the amount of liver brought it close to being pate. There was room to be a bit bolder with the amount of fig. A very filling entree that will keep guest happy for an hour. Served with local Pickled Pink Apple and Roasted Beetroot Relish, which is very nice and offset the terrine nicely – too nicely in fact, you don’t want the thing you didn’t make outshining the thing you did.

lunch
Arrosto di Agnello al Ginepro

There is lamb and then there’s lamb. According to Marcella Hazan, my 80′s authority on Italian cooking, there the spring lamb, abbachio, taken straight from the teat and the there’s your regular ‘mature’ lamb which we usually have. For mutton, it must feel like not only somebody not knowing your fave ever band but then realising they hadn’t even been born – shoot me now.
So for the mature lamb, it gets the casserole in her recipe for Arrosto di Agnello al Ginepro – lamb roasted with juniper berries. Juniper berries seem quite the thing, or at least they were when I last checked. Anyway, this recipe is, as they say in Italian, unfuckupableio.

1 leg of lamb; 1 tbs chopped carrot; 2 tbs of chopped onion; 1 tbs chopped celery; 250ml dry white wine; 2 crushed cloves of garlic; sprig of fresh rosemary; 2 tsp juniper berries; salt and pepper.

Put everything into a heavy casserole and simmer covered on a low heat for 2 hours. Turn the leg every 45 minutes. Then increase the heat slightly, put the lid askew and simmer for another 90 minutes. The juices should reduce down to a nice thick jus and the meat should be cooked and very tender.
Let the leg rest under foil.
Spoon off as much fat as possible, strain the jus, and then you can extend it a bit by returning it to the casserole after you’ve deglazed the casserole with a glass of red.
Very tender and very understated on the juniper.

Served with sausage and black eyed beans and a salad.
The sausage and blacked eye beans is just the onion/celery/carrot/garlic mirepoix upstairs – sauteed in olive oil in a casserole dish. Tin of tomatoes added with juice and simmered for 20 minutes. Then 4 or 5 pricked continental sausages added and simmered for a further 15 minutes. Then 4-5 cups of black eyed beans. Top up with water, bring to a simmer, cover and leave in a 180C oven for 90 minutes – check liquid levels occasionally. Season.

dessert

Crostata di Uva

Thank you Mrs Medici – my 90′s authority on Italian cooking. A very uncomplicated tart – even the custard doesn’t bother with vanilla. Very dependent on getting beautiful fresh crisp and cool white grapes. Just a sweet shortcrust pastry made with the zest of one lemon and cooked into a tart shell. Then make a three yolk custard, adding a tablespoon of flour to the milk as a thickener. Pour the cooled custard into the chilled tart shell then fill with grapes

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Some salad

quail salad

A large piece of meat

flintstone steak

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iced berry sorbet

Following on the heels of last year’s New Year’s Eve Dinner party for 11 we thought we’d try again with 16 and a n extra course in there. Sue and Chook hosted and I did the cooking. This took a good two days – the idea was to prep before so I could sit down and enjoy the meal now and then. There was also the essential martini testing. It was a great deal of fun and it’s lovely to have an opportunity to cook for that many friends on an important night of the year. Not all went to plan but ah well. I think what I was happiest with was that there were a few things people hadn’t had before without alienating anybody.

All the photos are here on flickr and many thanks to Kate for taking pics for me.

Things kicked off well with a pre-guests-arrive bottle of Veuve Cliqout, which I could get used to.

quail and chorizo
Apéritifs
Assorted Martinis
Quail Eggs on Chorizo with Aioli

Chook became Mr Martini as guests arrived. They’re a great way to get things rolling. I mumbled stuff about them putting people into a state of deep booze, like REM sleep. The reality is, they’re just a respectable way of drinking straight booze. Oh I couldn’t drink a glass of vodka, oh what’s this? and olive. Popularised in the 50′s as a salve for losing the McClusky Sporting Goods Account and a pot roast not quite up to standards.
Peeling quail eggs is a complete bastard. Boiling them is easy, just pop them in a pan of water, bring it to the boil, and remove after one minute.
As seen at Maggie Taberer’s birthday party.

oysters

Appetizer
Oysters
with
Lemon-Lime Hollandaise
Crème Fraîche and Salmon Roe
Chilli Coriander Champagne Sorbet

Oysters are the best. Lemon-lime hollandaise is the one from summer from Forrest Hill winery. Crème Fraîche and salmon roe is a reappearance from last year.The chilli coriander champagne sorbet is completely made up and I was thinking of a frozen pho with champagne as the sour stock, a bit of sugar for sweetness and then chilli and coriander added. I was ready to ditch it but it actually worked well.
Nice thing was, every one of them was at least somebody’s favourite.

asparagus and gazpacho

Soup
Gazpacho with Crayish Mousse and Asparagus Bavarois


This was my – I will attempt something classically french and overly ambitious thing.
The gazpacho was for summer and was easy (peeling and seeding tomatoes does take time). Because it was dinner, I pulled back on the cucumber, and the capsicum as it didn’t want it too spicy. A few chopped tomatoes mixed in before serving added texture.
The plan for the bavarois was that I’d place a crayfish mousse in the centre. Initially I thought I’d go for a loaf shape and slice it but that shape was taken by the vegetable terrine.
A crayfish mousse is similar in principle to a salmon mousse. Steaming it in a tiny muffin muffin tin, it went to crap, I’m not sure why, maybe not enough egg white. Tasted alright and it would be covered up by the bavarois. Slightly flavoured with a simple bisque made from the head of the crayfish.
The asparagus idea came from dinner at Bouchon Bistro in Wembley, which is extremely good, and I couldn’t believe it’s just down the road from me and I hadn’t been before. A useful guide was in the Age. Gelatine is still a dark art and I feel it may have been a little on the soft side, although a busy fridge is less than ideal for setting. I use leaf gelatine because it’s got German on it.
Very tasty. It’s be a nice thing to master.

table setting

Vegetables
Roasted Vegetable Terrine with Vinaigrette


Sue made this and it was lovely. There’s nothing like the natural sweetness that comes from roasted vegetables.

champagne speck and scallop risotto

Entree
Scallop with Champagne and Speck Risotto


This was going to be a pork cheek and scallop salad after I got Fergus Henderson’s Nose to Tail Eating but Wing Hong was all out so Toni suggested a risotto.
Made my own chicken stock to go with the champagne and it had a slighty smokey taste. It could have been the pork trotters but I think not straining it was have caused a few bits to catch and burn when reducing. No bad thing.

borscht sorbet

Breather
Borscht Sorbet


Beetroot is sweet so it’s not going to freak people out and it’s also savoury. Can’t remeber how I did this. Ahhmmm. Roasted beetroot for sweetness then peeled and grated it. A cupful cooked in some chicken stock, added back and them pureed with cucumber and a splash of vodka to keep it a bit runny and give it a bit of bite.
Remember to remove from freezer a little before serving.

wagyu

Main
Eye Fillet of Wagyu
Several Mushroom Clafoutis
Cannellini Bean Puree
and Jus


This is from down south in WA and I was a bit handy because the Graeme from Dorper Lamb dropped it off at my place. It was a monster piece – 3.4 kilograms. I wasn’t sure quite how to approach it so I divided it into three roughly equal pieces, one slightly smaller for the better done crowd.
I’d sear it and then cook it in the oven at a very high heat. The spell in the oven wasn’t quite enough because I was overly worried about over-cooking it so I sliced it into 16 portions, researed it, and then sliced each piece for serving.
Canellini Bean Puree was from Summer and is beans pureed with sherry vinegar and olive oil.
The clafoutis had field mushrooms, porcini and the ominous trumpet d’mort.It was like the cherry clafoutis earlier but without sugar.
I reserved the soaking water and added a little to the jus, which was a beef stock I made and then reduced with pan scrapings after deglazing with red wine.
A bit of crayfish on top for extra flash.
Time slipped away and thanks to the magic of Time Fixer -always fixin’ time – the clock mysteriously stopped for 20 minutes.
Sparklers, Poppers and Moet. More Martinis!

Cheese

I know french is poor form at New Year but it does make sense in meal sequence.

frozen berry souffle

Dessert
Frozen Berry Souffle


This is a Michel Roux Jr recipe (Le Gavroche is pretty much my where I end up in how to do things these days) and it’s kind of tricky. A kilo of berries pureed with 150g sugar, 80ml of whipped to soft peaks cream folded in.
Tricky bit was the egg whites. They’re beaten to bubbly and then 250g of sugar is boiled with 500ml of water up to 120C and then poured into the whites while the beater is running until the egg white has “cooled”. I had no idea what was supposed to be happening here but it did work. Fold in to mix.
Kind of interesting is that it takes ages to reach 120C. I thought the thermometer had stuck at 100 but realised it wasn’t until the water boiled off that the boiling point could rise – there’s a lesson in there somewhere. Keep in mind it’s facking hot and sticky – proper shoes, don’t lick the spoon etc.
It was supposed to pop up over the rameking with a wrap of greaseproof paper for the purpose but I miscalculated the volume not allowing for the volume of water boiling off.

I drank, bummed cigarettes and chatted to the sound of happy dishwashing before finding a sofa on which to relax and then that was that. Happy New Year all.

souffle finished


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steak and asparagus on white bean gazpacho
Tasty though. Organic sirloin. Mushroom sauce (again! but with white wine instead). On a white bean gazpacho. What’s the recipe for white bean gazpacho? You’ll just have to read this Summer’s edition of Spice magazine – out in December [was that a good plug?]

Coming soon: Sponsorship!

and once I got this right the rest was downhill


Mr Chubby d’Hubby of Singapore was in town for a wedding a little while ago and I insisted, *insisted* that he come over to my place for dinner in the spirit of bloginess and a sense of regional friendship that seemed to have been lost since Australia decided we’d be part of the Anglophonic Superfriends. If you haven’t been over to his blog ‘Chubby Hubby’, then off you go now. Great isn’t it? But eeek! from a I’ve got to cook dinner for this person perspective. On top of this the other three guests, his wife and two friends were all heavily involved in food in both work and leisure. The other thing is that Singapore is a very cosmopolitan and outward looking place so there was no – ‘as you may not be familiar with Bulgarian food type’ dodges. (sorry this isn’t making any sense is it?)

To cope with my I’m a bloggin’ fraud angstiness about these things, the plan was to have something which was really good but didn’t look like I’d tried to hard just in case it didn’t work out because I was like being all casual and all in a kind of faded jeans and cowboy shirt way (actually that’s what I wore).

Cold entree prepared in advance, rack of lamb (‘cos it’s Aussie), and rhubarb ice cream for dessert.

Cold entree ended in the bin, lamb rack became pork rack and rhubarb ice-cream became rhubarb ice-cream (but with cardamom – oooeee).

Pains to Spain
The entree was a facking disaster – a combination of orange roughy roe, ocean trout, and crayfish horns. Unfortunately I was working off a few different recipes so it was a cross between a terrine/mousse/parfait. The orange roughie roe did work, it’s not much raw but did make for a very nice pate – cooked in orange juice and then cream. This was the top row.
For the next part I smoked half my stash of ocean trout. Pan fried the other half and pureed them both. It then became apparent I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and ended up making a mousse and had a brief naff sixties flashback. Crayfish horns filled the inside.
Tried it the next morning and realised there is indeed a significant difference between smokey and acrid and this was the latter. Toni concurred and in the bin it went (not something I do lightly).
What to do. I still had some bits of fish and crayfish left and a fish stock I’d made; thinking I needed it for the terrine that became a mousse.

So, a kilo of mussels, and some smoked chilli squid legs and it was a paella with alioli. I’m pretty sure this was my first paella so being all experienced ‘n all – the secret is a good stock, chopping and deseeding the tomatoes yourself, and making sure you sautee them until they’re dryish. Do this and the lady from the cover of Surfer Rosa will appear as if by magic and dance the special dance for your entertainment for making such a fine paella.

The alioli was – one egg, four garlic cloves, salt, 1 tsp lemon juice, 2 tsp hot water – pureed and then EVOO added drop by drop then a stream while the wand is going until the consistency is right.

Mains
Went to Jeremy’s Butchers thinking lamb rack and instead saw a lovely 10 chop rack of Spencer’s Brook Organic pork and was sold. Did I mention butchers were good? Jeremy half cut the chops to allow better cooking, scored the top, and sent me away with the wisdom.
Oil it and salt the skin to dry it out the day before and let it get to room temperature. Raost at 220C to get the crackle crispy and then cook at 160C for about an hour and a half. And then rest in foil for 45 minutes. This seems a long time but it will retain a lot of heat and continue to cook the meat.

The ironic thing, actually more coincidental, but you don’t get a lot of ironic opportunities in food blogging is I swore I’d give the La Gavroche cookbook a rest, but found a recipe for rack of pork ribs that I resignedly followed – accepting the book is stamped on my brain in much the same way that every song I know play ends up sounding like I Wanna Be Sedated.
(And I’ve just realised that I’ve done virtually this whole dinner before *with* rhubarb ice-cream as well. Help! I’ve got dementia.)

The pork is cooked over root veges – in this case – 5mm slices of kipfler potato, parsnip, and white sweet potato. Along with garlic, sliced scallions, rosemary and thyme. The traditional way is to pour a cup of chicken stock as well and baste regularly. You can get the veges up to appropriate crisp while the pork is resting.

Apparently, legend has it, that in olden days, the ladies would use the local baker’s ovens and to save messing about – they’d do it all in one dish. Hence the songs of the time like:

Bad cooking woman
Given’ away her lovin’
That’s mah roots
In another man’s oven

[played to the tune of I Wanna Be Sedated - adagietto ]

The accompanying La Gavroche gravy was a tomato-based Charcutière sauce

Rhubarb on my brain
Rhubarb ice cream was this recipe for the rhubarb:
Rhubarb and cardamom tartlet
and then the rhubarb added to the creme anglais in the ice-cream maker and the juices and sticky used as a sauce.

rack of pork

The Meal
Well the meal was a lot of fun. Excellent wine was brought and the conversation was lively. CH & S actually got married in Perth and have a knowledge of the food and wine here that had me struggling to keep up. There’s something very nice about guests who are simultaneously very serious about their food but also very casual about the whole thing.
The paella was right tasty and the alioli managed to settle down from being like the breath of satan because of the much stronger local garlic – to something a bit more palatable. I was asked for seconds!
The pork was a bit dryer than I would have wanted, having left it cooking a little long, but the pork itself was great and the ribs proved very popular with at least one guest.
And then it was dessert and sticky and the night was over and away they went on their long journey north to Joondalup.

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lamb rack


Rosemary, fresh red chili, anchovy, capers, garlic, and olive oil. Chopped and given a once over in a mortar and pestle.

It’s actually very good, adjust amounts accordingly to your tastes. Lamb gets seared, finished in a hot oven and sliced. Served on a bed of couscous, not an actual bed.

List of Kitchen Stuff Used
Non-stick frying pan – for searing the lamb rack. Roasting pan for lamb. Two chopping boards – one for raw meat. Chef’s knife – for chopping. Boning Knife – for carving. Ceramic knife- for the butter. Two small stainless steel bain marie tins – for chopped ingredients. Orange zester. Saucepan – for couscous. Bowl – for scraps. Fork – for fluffing.

No particular reason, just seemed quite a few things.

Quick restaurant review
Riverbank Estate Winery in the Swan Valley for lunch. Makes a lot of sense. Fabulous food, chef’s great, and you pay cellar door prices for their wine. Green space, sunshine, turkeys and ducks – have a look.

riverbank tasting plate

Photo review
Top photo has distracting motion blur from low light. Bottom picture is too cold and needs to be colour balanced.

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ratatouille on steak

I don’t think you can ask much more from a spring Friday than pulling out some chairs to sit in the last hour or so of sun with a few beers and the stereo set to very loud. And keeping with the simple pleasures, a nice bit of eye fillet for dinner.

There it is above, well camouflaged by a blob of ratatouille which may or may not believe was carefully formed in a dariole mould.

Steak – 500gm piece of eye fillet tied with my nifty silicon ties to keep its shape and marinated in olive oil, garlic and rosemary pestled together with ground pepper and a splash of balsamic. Seared all round in goose fat in a pan and then finished in a hot oven. Allow to rest and then slice. It wasn’t quite right so I finished each piece back in the pan.

Sauce – Pan deglazed with red wine with a very finely chopped eschalot. Reduced by a half and then I added a few tablespoons of cream with a couple of pieces of dried porcini ground down to dust. Reduce to taste and season.

Broad beans – peeled from the large pod and then boiled in salted water for 6 minutes then peeled again down to the inner pod and then cooked in butter before serving.

Ratatouille
– not a proper one, I hate capsicum, but same principle. One zucchini cubed and brown a little in some olive oil and removed. Sauteed one chopped red onion and garlic. Zucchini back in with some chopped asparagus pieces as well as four peeled and deseeded chopped tomatoes and a little tomato puree. Some chopped rosemary as well. Cook til it’s nicely cooked through without becoming mush and then season to taste.

I enjoyed this a lot. One of the busiest things I’ve ever made but it all seemed to pull together somehow – think meaty creamy tomatoey acidic earthy with a hint of vinegar. Sorry it’s a rather bright picture of it.

I’d also like to recommend frozen turkish delight bars for dessert. Highly amusing and the wrapper obviates the need for a PSP.

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lamb with tart


Yeah sorry not the best pic but hasn’t it been a while? A brief respite while the mag pops into a bit of a canter. Lamb backstrap, don’t know exactly which cut it is but it’s great – looks like a giant tongue.

Lamb backstrap rubbed down with olive oil and ras al hanout and left for thirty minutes. Seared in a cast iron pan on both sides. Popped in the oven to cook through – a mere 8 minutes, it could have almost made it in the pan. Rested, sliced.

Deglazed the pan with Manzanilla Deliciosa sherry, add a little beef stock, reduce, add cream, reduce and add a few strands of saffron.

The spinach tarts came about because of some short pastry in the freezer. Blind bake, For the filling – gently sauteed garlic, pine nuts, and torn prosciutto with blanched and finely chopped english spinach then added and cooked in a little butter. Mix in a little cream and add to the tart shells and cook for 8 minutes.

Tomatoes oven-roasted with olive oil.

That’s it – extremely good. Mental note of dark plate with light sauce.

Cocoa sabayon and berries for sweets.

Meatcake

meatcake


Daddy, what does regret mean?
Well son, the funny thing about regret is,
It’s better to regret something you have done,
Than to regret something you haven’t done.
And by the way, if you see your mom this weekend,
Be sure and tell her, SATAN, SATAN, SATAN!!!


Sweatloaf. And from sweatloaf to meatloaf and from meatloaf to meatcake and from meatcake to, well it stopped there. A kilo of meat plus odds and ends was a bit much for my loaf tins so I thought I’d use my German cake tin that I’ve used for everything but german cakes – I’ve also used a camp (oooh I say) oven to catch sump oil and an eggbeater to impersonate a Dalek. Can’t remember its exact name, it’s kind of like a bundt cake tin but without the hole, which in itself is a kind of structural double negative – the absence of the presence of an absence. Regrettably, meatloaf both shrinks and, funnily enough, sweats when cooking, so there’s no ornate detailing of meat for you to marvel at. Ideally, you’d need a kind of meat that expands with heat and then contracts with cooling for easy removal. One for the boffins.

I make a good meatloaf and this is based upon scribbling down a recipe 15 years ago. The use of cream is the kicker but I was surprised how parsimoinous the herb amounts are. A tablespoon of fresh parsley, half a teaspoon of thyme and chilli powder – all in 1.5kg of meat. This is the princess and the pea territory.

500gm of beef mince, 500gm of pork mince, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, 1 onion and two cloves of garlic – finely chopped and sauteed, 1 cup of cream, 2 tbs of parsely, 1 tbs of basil, 1 tbs of thyme, splash of tabasco, and freshly ground pepper.

Mix it all together and place in a lightly greased hole-less bundt cake tin and pack tight. I’ve also placed two whole boiled eggs and some small button mushrooms for extra effect. Smooth over, place a couple of bay leaves on top, and cover with strips of bacon. Place in the baking tray filled with hot water and cook in a 180C oven for 90 minutes.

Serve with a creamy mushroom sauce and decorate with baby zucchini to resemble an ahm creamy corolla.

Delightful. And surplus amounts allow for that most excellent of treats, the cold meatloaf sandwich.

Meat

steak and potatoes

There you go. Beef fillet with potatoes cooked in a hot oven in goose fat with rosemary and sea salt. Reduced red wine and cream sauce with field mushrooms.

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scallops and beef with beer

I’m doing a cooking workshop next month on cooking with beer and have been doing a bit of experimenting to find something that’ll work. This is an attempt at something simple. The steak sauce being not dissimilar to the 60′s bachelor piece d’resistance Steak Diane with a deglazing fluid having cream added. I don’t know how impressive beer being that fluid would be, personally I think the retrograde element would have been as impressive to potential dates as a quick tour of the Chiko Roll poster collection but who knows, maybe we’ve moved on.

The steak is a bit of beef fillet, seasoned and seared on all all sides then popped in a hot oven until medium-rare. The cast iron pan is deglazed with a glass of Emerson’s Oatmeal stout with some chopped spring onions and some rosemary and reduced. It was reduced by a about half but still a bit gappy and the rosemary didn’t fill so much as kind of loiter there wondering what was going on. Strained and then 100ml of cream whisked in and simmer for a couple of minutes. Much nicer but still I feel it’s a bit of a creamy cheat. The mushrooms we’re already in the oven, doused with a bit of stout, waiting for the steak to join it.

The cabbage is steamed until soft in a saucepan with a glass of Jarrah Jack’s Pale (a new local brewery down in Pemberton). A bit of crisped up speck mixed in and a sprinkle of carraway seeds. The carraway seeds weren’t all that helpful, amplifying the bitterness that was already there enough with the beer.

The scallops, and I like putting scallops on things, were the nicest surprise. I reduced down a little rasberry lambic and before it was about to vanish, put the scallops in. There’s that nice red caramelised look and the sharp sweet matches well with the fleshy sweetness of the scallops.

Dessert was (summon the insirational powers of Le Gavroche) a rhubarb compote made using Leffe Blonde and a vanilla bean and topped with a raspberry lambic sabayon. Sweet, tarty and luscious with a faint whiff of beer elements – go you 60′s bachelor!

AND: Steph is entirely not happy at the fact that only two blokes have shown up at the last 10 parties. I know the internet is the last place you’d find single guys but come on fellers. With the above and the fact I drank the uncooked beer in a fancy glass, it’s not strictly within the rules but this post is indisputably – Man Food.

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porc a l'orange with braised fennel


Obviously I don’t blog everything I’ve cooked for the past week but in this case, apart from poached eggs, this is everything I’ve cooked. A stretch of long days getting the mag ‘to bed’ (sounds more romantic than it is) haven’t been very helpful to fixing dinners (or a general sense of calm, for that matter). Anyway, winter’s been bedded, more news on that later, and I could get back to messing about in the kitchen. Sorry for the average pic but the meal was much enjoyed.

The recipe is taken from these French recipes that pop into my email box each day. It’s a nice way to pick up some French cooking . You just go to Cuisine AZ and then, and then I’m not sure what you do, you’ll have to ask a French person, but eventually you’ll get a pork recipe from someone called Emmanuelle and that’s good, no? So the recipe:

300 g of pork fillet, sliced into 2cm medallions; 3 oranges – one with the rind grated and juiced and the other two segmented ; one leek, cut into 1cm lengths (the recipe calls for small white onions); butter; salt and pepper

For some nice prep practice, instead of of grating the peel, peel it without the pith, slice it into fine strips and finely chop it. Chop the ends off the other two oranges, remove the peel with a knife and then segment it by slicing between the membrane, avoiding any pith. Segmenting an orange is one of the three things you have to be able to do well before you can be considered able to do anything in cooking school. I forget the other two. Ah well.

Sear the pork in butter until it’s golden and then add the leek and the juice and the peel. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, season, then add the orange segments and simmer for another eight minutes. Remove the pork, the oranges and the leek and keep them warm and reduce the cooking liquid into a sauce – glossing it up a bit with some whisked in butter.

Found this Donna Hay recipe to go with risotto while looking for a way to slow-roast fennel. This recipe calls for braising. A few changes – I replaced chicken stock with beer, vinegar with white verjuice and dropped the amount of sugar back a bit.

2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and quartered; 1 cup of Bitburger; 1/3 cup of raw sugar; 1/3 cup of white verjuice; 4 sprigs of thyme.

Then, in an eerily familiar fashion. sear the fennel in butter until it’s golden and then add the other ingredients. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Eight minutes isn’t enough for tender, so possibly go for at least 15.

Plate it and that’s it. The citrus cuts nicely against slightly sweet and fatty pork and braised onions and fennel are your winter heartiness right there.

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wagyu beef with a red wine and shiitake jus, roasted sweet potato, fried crab claws, asparagus and greenything

Hello. Yes I’m in Japan and my first night didn’t end up at an izakaya or shouting at people but since my friend Andrew had a nice new apartment and Danny promised he’d bring a bottle of French Sparkling Rose, and Uyen would talk loudly and keep us amused and I had a litre bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask, perhaps I could dinner and I did. A stop in a Tobu Department store got us a fillet of katsuo, a slab of squid, ten crab claws, and four 50gm steaks, a sweet potato, some shiitake and a few greens. The katsuo was seared just on the outside and sliced, the squid scored and lightly cooked and then that went on a bed of lettuce and spanish onion with a dressing of soy, mirin, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic chives and sesame seeds.

wagyu with the thoughtfully added lumps of lard


The sweet potato was diced and slowly roasted with olive oil and rosemary. The asparagus and the nanohana(?) was boiled and tossed with a little seasoning. The crab claws were dipped in milk and then dredged in flour with salt pepper and togarashi and then deep fried. The wagyu steaks handily came with cubes of lard and it was cooked in that a bit close to medium than medium rare. Sauce was a jus made by sauteing spring onions and two finely chopped shiitake mushrooms in butter and then reducing some red wine and straining. To bring up some bite and for a geographical nod I grated a little fresh wasabi in there and glossed it up with a little butter. Assembled as above and it was quite lovely. The nanohana had a slight bitterness, the sweet potato was, well sweet, from slow roasting and crunchy, the steak was unspeakably tender and the crab lifted it all from being meat and three veg. The steaks sizes weren’t going to impress anybody at Sizzler but you have to wonder if we couldn’t just eat less and enjoy it more. No? Uyen has great fractal eating habits and would reduce the plate to ever decreasingly sized but equally proportioned servings which was impressive.

tastiest strawberries ever


Dessert was perfect strawberries with a splash of balsamic and yes well it was an evening without fault. Andrew captured it better than me and he’s got a few lovely pics amongst many here, here, here, and here.

It’s a good thing, and it’s all good, and it’s a good to have friends, and its good to enjoy good things. But you know this.

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tain provencal

Fack! A perfectly good post down the cyberhole after a frozen firefox. I think I’ll go and sulk and fill in the bits later when I get a moment/cheer up.

Scallop and asparagus tart with saffron sauce


Scallop and Asparagus Tart with Saffron Sauce


Leg of lamb medallions with garlic and tarragon cream sauce

Butterflied Leg of Lamb Medallions with Garlic and Tarragon Cream Sauce.
Served with a Tian Provençal (up top)

This was going to be a saddle of lamb trimmed into noisettes but a “didn’t have” became a “how about” and and I came back with a large piece of butterflied leg of lamb (the bone is cut out and the meat opened out, great for quick cooking after marinating). I trimmed it a bit and made some O in an OK sized rolls which I tied up with string. Seasoned, seared in a pan, cooked in a very hot oven to rare, and rested.
The sauce was made by roasting two heads of garlic then adding the pulp to double cream in a saucepan and reduced with fresh tarragon added. Roasting removes much of the garlic’s pungency and accentuates its sweetness.

This was served with a Tian Provençal which is kind of like a rataouille pie but without the capsicum, which is fine by me. It is also completely vegan, which is rather special. The eggplant is peeled into strips and blanched to make the lattice and fried strips of eggplant make up the sides of and the base. The filling is small cubes of zucchini sauteed with finely chopped onion, garlic and mint. A bit of baking paper in the base of the cake tin (or a tian if you’ve got one and then cooked covered with foil, like a creme brulee, in a water bath for 20 minutes in a hot oven. For a cooking note you might want to consider the effects of having a water bath while roasting something else. No? Inverted onto a plate. The topping is skinned and deseeded tomatoes and finely chopped spring onions cooked in a frypan until thick with the liquid gone. It looks a little like a chocolate cake which makes it perfect for disappointing children.

pear tart with fig and brandy ice cream

Red Extravaganza Pear Tart with Fig and Brandy Ice Cream

Jules in comments asks how I did the ice-cream. Righty ho then, by the looks of it, Jules knows her way around a kitchen but I’ll make a kind of general publicky kind of explanation. Custard was never meant to be the lumpy shite from a packet that you had on apple turnover but the starting point for ice-cream.

Creme anglais + ice-cream maker = ice-cream.

The inspiration for this came from J and her Macadamia Tart. As is quite clear, I wasn’t inspired, obviously enough, to make an immaculately presented dessert but noticed that if I made a batch of custard, I could use it for the the tart and then use the rest for the ice cream and save myself a valuable bit of arsing about time.
To make a creme anglais you split a vanilla pod down the middle, let it simmer in a cup of milk in a saucepan. Meanwhile whisk two egg yolks with 100grams (yeah yeah I bought a scale) of sugar until “it forms ribbons when lifted”. Take out the vanilla pod and then add the milk to the yolks in a steady stream stirring constantly. Put it all back in a saucepan and heat gently until it thickens “until you can draw a finger down the back of a spoon and leave a clean line”, stir constantly. If you don’t, and it never ever has, and you get some lumps, just run it through a sieve. That’s your custard/creme anglais.
Add a cup of thick cream and put in the fridge. If it’s cold it’ll work more quickly in the ice cream maker. Now for the brandy fig bit. Chop up two ripe figs and macerate them in enough brandy to cover for a few hours. You can then work off the alcohol by bringing the mix up to the boil in a fry pan. Add this to the creme anglais in the ice cream maker and watch it go round until ice creamy. You don’t have to watch it, but it is kind of compelling – more so than Dancing with the Stars.

The tarts… ahh pate sucree, bit of custard, chopped pear, in the oven blah blah blah.

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Mille-feuille of mussels and baby spinach roasted pork belly with charcutiere sauce rhubarb ice cream with ginger peach compote


I love this book. Le Gavroche is the London restaurant started by the Roux brothers and now run by Michel Roux Jr. After a couple of months staring googly eyed at it, I thought it would be a good candidate for a straight up no messing about recipe following. It’s good to experiment but it’s also good to find out how things are meant to turn out.

Saturday dinner for my sister, who’s batching with her husband away in Quebec, and my neighbourhood doctor, who keeps me supplied with anti-reflux pills and Papua New Guinean savoury biscuits. Seafood and meat. Albany mussels were looking great, I’m always happy to have pork belly, and I was keen to try a new ice-cream. So,

Mille-feuille of mussels and baby spinach


Mille-feuille of mussels and baby spinach

A good way to fancy up mussels. A step up from the shells and the finger bowls – not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s a shame to see a food typecast as casual.
Cooked in white wine, cooking liquid gets added to a finely chopped onion sauteed in butter with two teaspoons of marsala curry powder and bouquet garni herbs. Reduced by a third. Double cream is then added and then reduced to a “light sauce”. It’s always very important to taste. For some reason the sauce was very salty so I added a little more cream to adjust.
The spinach gets washed carefully and dried – I cut out all the stems. Softened in olive oil and seasoned.
The Mille-feuille is an easy way of stacking. Stab a sheet of puff pastry all over with a fork and then cook until golden in a hot oven. The stabbing will stop the sheets puffing up. You then just cut them up into equal rectangles.
No picture in the book so I made the stack with two layers of mussels and spinach and then made a ring around the stack with the extra mussels and poured source on the layers, on top of the stack and then over the mussels.

roasted pork belly with charcutiere sauce


Roasted Pork Belly with Charcutière sauce

It’s actually for a rack of pork but I didn’t read the recipe carefully before I headed off to the butchers. Ah well.
The pork is roasted with potatoes, whole garlic cloves, thyme, and bay leaves. I used kipfler potatoes and cut them into bevelled rounds for practice. The pork belly is scored, rubbed down with butter, and jusy before it’s put in the oven, given a rub with sea salt. Leaving it to the last minute will stop the salt drawing out the moisture and then not crackling properly. At least this is what I was led to believe, the book recommends leaving the salt on for 90 minutes and brushing excess salt off. Another thing realised after the deed.
The cooking sequence is interesting, 30 minutes at 190C; 15 minutes at 150C; and then rested for 45 minutes.
The pan is deglazed with white wine and a little vinegar and then cooked with veal stock, shallots, and cracked pepper. Reduce by two thirds and then finish with whisked in butter and mustard and diced peeled and deseeded tomatoes.
Again no picture in the book so I placed the pork belly in the middle and had the potato and garlic kind of loitering around it.
Instead of the traditional cornichon, I fried up some scallops in the roasting fat and placed one on top of each serve of pork belly.

Rhubarb Ice-cream with Ginger Peach Compote

This has nothing to do with the cookbook but just a thought that since ice-cream is just frozen custard, and rhubarb and custard is a a classic combo, then rhubarb ice-cream would be good. It turned out there was a recipe for Rhubarb Parfait with Ginger Apricots.
The ice-cream was the standard recipe for vanilla ice-cream and the rhubarb was a compote. To make a compote, you chop up 5 stick of rhubarb (the leaves are poisonous so, no) and then add it to a fully dissolved cup of water, half a cup of sugar, and the juice and zest of one lemon. Bring to the boil and allow to cool, covered. Add as much to the ice-cream maker to get the ice cream as rhubarby as you think you’d like it.

Ginger apricots, became peeled and finely diced peaches, enough white wine to cover, sugar to taste and because I didn’t have any preserved ginger, four slices of peeled fresh ginger. I left it to simmer in the mix until there was the right amount of ginger tatse.

Nothing fancy. Ice-cream in the middle, and the excess rhubarb compote and ginger peaches around.

Meal

Mussels were great, although the appeance of the mille-fieulle reminded me a little of when I’d have smoked oysters on crackers as a kid. No bad thing. Toni liked the stack and the spinach with it. The curry was very mild.

The pork was typically tasty and crackled up nicely. The garlic mellowed and the potatoes were crisp. The sauce looked a little thin, actually near translucent. I should have reduced it by the recommended two thirds, but the taste was robust enough as I’d already reduced the stock I used.

Dessert was great. Nice matching with the ginger apricots. Adulty.

Could I live with a car like this?

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Peppered Rib-Eye

peppered rib-eye

One of those cook the steak and make a sauce in the pan things.

Ingredients
250gm rib eye (whole piece); 1 tbs of black pepper; 1tbs of szechuan pepper; 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped; same amount of rosemary finely chopped.

Crush the peppercorns roughly in a pestle and then put in a fine sieve to get rid of the powder. I’m not exactly sure why this is done but my theory is that pepper can get a bitter taste if burnt and in larger bits it’s less likely to burn. Purely speculative of course. Baste the meat with some olive oil and roll it in the pepper mix, pressing down. Left to sit for two hours.

Get the heavy-based fry pan nice and hot. I used goose fat but any oil with high smoke point could be used. Because of the shape, I cooked it on all four sides and this took about 12 minutes in total to get it medium rare. During cooking you may need to reduce the heat to get that balance of cooked through without being burnt on the outside. It’s a good ides to have the oven ready so if it’s looking like it’s going to be burnt on the outside, you can do the rest of the cooking in the oven. Remove and rest for 10 minutes.

Remove the burnt bits of pepper from the pan. Splash some brandy into the pan and burn off the alcohol (flambe for drama or just wait a minute). Stir in a few tablespoons of demi-glace (or more beef stock). I’ve got my demi-glace sitting in the freezer in those ice cube bags and just tore off a couple of cubes. Scrape the bottom of the pan and then whisk in a couple of tablespoons of butter.

Cut the rib eye in half. It was cooked through to medium-rare but because of the cut, it felt much rarer and I expected having to return it to the pan. Served on a rosti – made easier by a new rosti pan. Trimmed asparagus cooked in butter on top, then the steak, with the sauce poured on top with a side of roquet.

Can’t say it wasn’t superb but much of this was to do with the cut of meat. Costing more than any of the other cuts, it’s a good argument for buying better and buying less. 125gm of steak each was more than sufficient and enough energy to catch Radio Birdman at the Concert Hall. Book ‘em Danno.

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bound


I’m backtracking here [cue waviness] but I should keep the recipe count up a bit and, as I didn’t get much of a chance after the New Years Eve dinner, I thought it’d be worthwhile going over the dinner in a bit more detail.

Chook and Sue and us decided two weeks before to have a proper dinner party for New Year at their place and the numbers were going to be from four to sixteen. They ended up being 11. The main concern was to allow the dinner to stretch through the evening so midnight would be part of it. This would be achieved by increasing the number of courses and this isn’t necessarily a hard thing to do. A cold soup can be made in advance. Seafood entrees are best left simple. Vegetables can be their own course. A sorbet isn’t too hard. A cheeseboard is just shopping and arranging, leaving only dessert and mains as the main concern. So seven courses isn’t much more of a stretch. They were:

Vichyssoise with a crayfish bisque base
Oysters with crème fraîche and salmon roe, ponzu sorbet, and champagne and chives sorbet
Sue’s Vegetable Terrine
Pear and limoncello sorbet
Spatchcock marinated in pomegranate syrup stuffed with lemon and thyme with poached baby pears, fig, and rosti
Cheeses
Gummo Trotskies – champagne zabaglione on pannetone with persian fairy floss and berry coulis


Chicken too dull, quail too small, pork too feasty, lamb too sunday, seafood too entree, venison to medieval, rabbit too pricey, pigeons too feral, steak too pubby, so this kind of left spatchcock. Spatchcock, poussin, is really just a young chicken and is a perfect size for mains with a surprising amount of meat. They’re also very reasonably priced at around $7 each. I thought I’d approach their cooking from a quail perspective and drew from a couple of recipes. I also decided to debone them, which was a considerable amount messy work, but good practice and it saves the guests from the pile of bones that shouts they’ve eaten a whole animal. And I then stitch them up again as if nothing had happened. The bones, handily become part of the stock. To compensate for the moisture giving properties of the bones, I bought some backfat and stuffed each one with half a lemon – and basted well. The only hiccup was the impossible task of finding kitchen string on NYE, which we ended up finding in a hardware store.

Spatchcock
Debone. This involves slicing down the backbone, working around the rib cage and dislocating each joint so there’s only one bone in each limb. If you come over to my place I can show you. The marinade is from a Moroccan recipe in the Delicious-let’s entertain (or just drink enough to give a semblance of) book that called for rose jam and since I couldn’t find any or had the disposition to make any, I used pomegranate molasses instead (sadly it was a month or so before pomegranates are in season). The amounts are for 11 spatchcocks: 6 crushed garlic cloves; 1tbs ground cumin, 1 tbs ground cumin; 3tbs pomegranate molasses; 1/3 cup of lemon juice and 1/3 cup of olive oil.

Once they’ve marinated for a few hours, stitch them up and truss them. You need half a lemon, a twig of thyme and a piece of backfat inside, and a piece of backfat over the breast.

Place them in the oven at 220 for 10 minutes and then lower it to 180 until cooked. I can’t recall how long exactly they took but I’d be surprised if it was as much as 30 minutes. Keep a sharp eye on them and give them a baste. They were done before the skin could brown which was a shame. In hindsight I could have browned them in a pan or given them a blast with the kitchen blowtorch.

Cherry Sauce
A Keith Floyd sauce and apparently good for all non-piscean white meat.
The chicken stock was already made so to complete the sauce: 250gm of pitted cherries, 3tbs chopped parsley, 1 tbs chopped dill, one glass of white wine and enough chicken stock to cover. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. Thicken with mashed together 25gm of flour and 25gm of butter. Add bits of it gradually, stirring constantly. Boil rapidly for two minutes and then puree.

Poached Baby Pears
These were a great last minute find at the Innaloo fruit and veg shop. Peel the pears, slicing the end off to allow it to stand, and rub with lemon juice to prevent discolouration. Poach a saucepan in white wine and chicken stock covered with a sheet greaseproof until they’re tender without being mushy.

Figs
Slice vertically, just there for looks and vitamins.

Rosti
aka Potato Cakes. I saved myself a lot of bother by finding a kind of blini pan – looked like a very shallow muffin tray. I could then cook them all at the same time rather than cook each one in a frypan.

Grate the potato into fine strips. You’ll have to use the mandolin for this job so mind your fingers – losing half a spud is better than several stitches. Once grated you need to get rid of the excess water and this can be done my sandwiching it between two boards with something heavy on it, harmless depleted uranium shells for example.

Shape them it to the pan (must get very small frypan too) and roast in the oven with a generous dollop of goose fat on each one. You can heat the fat beforehand to give it a bit of a head start.

spatchcock marinated in pomegranite syrup stuffe with lemon and thyme with poached baby pears, fig, and rosti.

Arrange nicely on a plate, spatchcock on the rosti, a tasteful drizzle of cherry sauce, pears in three, and a slice of fig. Tasty. Very easy to prepare during the meal as it’s just stuff in and out of the oven and would make for a very neat small dinner party.

Oh and you may have noticed the green ingredients. I found a cookbook with someone else who just puts the ingredients in mid-dialogue but distinguishes them by doing them a different colour. He’s this mad wild haired speccy English guy who lives on a farm and goes on about back to basics produce. He’s got this fantastic big book out but I can’t remember his name. Anybody know?

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Lamb Rack with potato salad, slow roasted tomatoes, onion jam, and jus


Fucking great, really great. Yes it was.

There’s not anything particularly original or new here but I liked how a lot of different things came together making it a very personal dinner party menu for two good friends from England. Tasty too.

dhufish in phyllo


This is the dhufish wrapped in phyllo pastry. Jo gets Gourmet Traveller and didn’t know what dhufish, which is a great shame, so I chose this for the entree. I like it with just butter but this recipe fancies it up without overwhelming the fresh sweet taste. The recipe is pretty much taken straight out of the Second Simple Cookbook by Athol Thomas. The book has been a great help in cooking Western Australian seafood.

Make a herb butter out of 125gm of butter with one tablespoon of green peppercorns and the juice of one lemon. Place the butter on each fillet and wrap each one with a sheet of phyllo pastry, sealing underneath with some melted butter. Put in a well buttered baking tray and cook for 15 minutes at 200C.

The sauce is a reduction of white wine with a tablespoon of tarragon and then whisked some cream in. I’d made a bisque earlier that day (like you do) and added a tablespoon to the sauce and then added a few small pieces of butter.

Lamb Rack with potato salad, slow roasted tomatoes, onion jam, and jus


I revisted this recipefor the lamb rack. I left out the mushrooms as being summer something cooler would be nice. To accompany it I made a warm pea and potato salad with a tarragon, parsley, and chive two yolk mayonnaise. Thinking of bernaise sauce, I briefly boiled the vinegar for the mayonnaise with a tablespoon of tarragon before adding it to the egg yolks. Once the mayonnaise was made I added a tablespoon of the parsley and the chives. The kipfler potatoes were cut into small cubish shapes, they do this at Jacksons with a higher order of precision but it’s a good idea. Several smaller pieces will have more surface ares than one larger area [I'm sure there's some way of working out how much more but ermm help - no wait if it was four cubes it would be the existing area plus the addition of two sides of area for the horizontal and vertical cut so additional area=a x (n-2) where a=the area of one of the original sides and n=the number of new pieces] and this means more area for the mayonnaise to rest on. The size also balances nicely with the peas. Peas are in season at the moment so I shelled and cooked them until cooked without being soft and refreshed under cold water. [ Slight digression I made a nice pasta sauce for rigatoni the other night with freshly shelled peas, pancetta, EVOO, asparagus, garlic, and plum tomatoes] Alll Mixed together with a couple of chopped spring onions.

Instead of cooking the red onions with the lamb, I made a relish out of it. Cook the onion until golden and add 3tbs of raw sugar and 3 tbs of white wine vinegar and cook, stirring, until thick.

The cherry tomatoes were cooked with EVOO, salt, and rosemary in a 200C oven for 10 minutes and then cooked at 150c.

The sauce is a mix of beef stock, red wine, and a little cream whisked in for colour.

For cooking the rack, sear the sides in duck fat and then roast in an oven at 180C for 12 minutes on each side. This allowed it to be cooked evenly through but cut back to maybe 20 minutes for a rare finish. Allow to rest in foil for 10 minutes.

Watermelon Mojito Sorbet


A break from ice-cream due to non dairy dessert preferencing guests. Get about four cups of watermelon, puree it and take a cup and heat it with a third of a cup of sugar and a tablespoon of basil. Heat until the sugar had melted and strain. Add to the rest of the puree with the finely chopped rind and juice of two limes and a third of a cup of white rum (I’m not sure how much exactly – just what was left in the bottle). Popped in the ice-cream maker until nice and frosty. You can alternatively use the freeze stir and bash method. The alcohol is what gives it a bit of mushiness, maybe a little too, no just right.

Apparently in England, if you hit an animal with your car you can’t claim it, but the following car can.

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rabbit and pork terrine

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.

rabbit and pork terrine A glass of very clear rabbit and pork consomme cherry snowmen


jo and me christmas lunch down

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Szechuan Smoked Duck

smoked szechuan duck

Long time friend Sal was back over from London and having remebered what we had for dinner last time she was over, got another invite and to make a request. Meat but not beef or seafood and lamb somewhere else left me with three choice of rabbit, quail, or duck. Toni picked duck.

I chose this recipe because I’d seen something similar on that show on SBS about Australian food and a three stage cooking process seemed and interesting thing to try. I’ve found a recipe in what seems to be my sole source of Chinese recipes – Yan-Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook. It’s not very glam but it’s a nicely functional book that covers most areas and techniques and the recipes work. I find it ideal for me as someone who hasn’t mastered Chinese food enough to do too much messing around on basic principles. Actually there’s a bit of messing around with the recipe. The main consideration is time and you need to allow about two and a half hours for cooking.

I bought a 2.1kg duck which was only about $18 and deboned it to make it more managable for cooking and carving and just because I enjoy it. [instructions here]. Once you’ve deboned slice it down the middle into two pieces. The wings are a little unwiedly so I removed them and use them for the stock. Taking the ends of the drumsticks off with a cleaver is a good idea too. Also remove the tail and excessively fatty bits (no don’t be sad, we can use these later). Rub it with salt and leave for as close an amount of time as overnight as you can and then rinse in hot water and dry. It this had been a whole duck I was supposed to rub the cavity with saltpetre but I’ve no idea why.

smoking


Smoking

Get a wok, line the base with foil and place 4tbs of jasmine tea leaves; 1.5 cups of flour; and half a cup of brown sugar in the center. Place the duck on a steamer bottom or a rack, clear of the tea etc, and place a tight fitting cover over it. Get the heat up to a level where there’s a good amount of smoke happening and then smoke for 30 minutes, turning the duck once

steaming

Steaming

Mix together two cm pieces of ginger (bruised); 2 large spring onions (chopped), one star anise (broken up); 2tsp of szechuan peppercorns; and 2tbs of chinese rice wine (shaohsing). Divide it equally. Place one half of the duck in a heatproof bowl, put the mix on top, place the other duck half on top and top with the rest of the mix. Place the bowl in a steamer, the steamer in a wok, cover, fill the wok with water up to the sides of the steamer and steam for one hour.

As the duck is in a bowl the liquid will accumulate in the base so swap the pieces over during the steaming.

Take the duck out and dry. Discard the mix.

Frying

Place corn oil in the wok and bring up to 190C, test with a piece of bread, it should brown in under a minute. Place the piece of duck in the oil and fry for about two minutes on each side to crisp it, and repeat with the other piece.

Brush the skin with sesame oil and keep warm.

Stock

Place all the duck bones, neck, and wings in a saucepan with a sliced stick of celery, a couple of chopped spring onions, two dried shiitake mushrooms, and enough water to cover. Allow to simmer for 2 hours, skimming the top as necessary. Strain and reduce over heat to taste.

I wasn’t sure where to go from here so I added a couple of star anise and a splash of rice wine and let it simmer a little longer. I used it to stir-fry the greens and as a glaze over the duck.

Greens

A bunch of chinese greens (not sure of the name – white stalks) trimmed up to where the stalk meets the leaf and a bunch of asparagus. Stir-fried with garlic and ginger and finished with a little of the stock.

Serving

Slice up the duck and place it on the greens, garnish with some spring onion greens and pour a little of stock on each person’s plate.

Very nice, perhaps a shade moister would have helped. The smokiness was the dominant flavour but not over so. Duck is very rich so the dish was very filling and we had to have a breather between dessert. A sorbet would have hit the spot, or maybe a nice lychini.

I thought the smoking technique was very interesting and wonder what role the flour had in it all. Mysteries. And following on from last night’s topic, does anyone else find describing how food tastes, a pain the arse?

Update: Oh here we go then – Despite the earthy foundation of meat the flavours have the ethereal carriers of smoke and steam as if the dish were a meeting of profanity and sublimity and the interface of the living and the spirit world so loved in Chinese ghost stories. Similarly time and space weigh in with the past years of childhood of the licorice tastes of the star anise; the distant season of the spring onions; and the locality of the szechuan peppercorns, all speaking from afar with their muted tones. Grounding us back in the now is the crisp crunch of the deep fried skin skin and consoling us with death is the vivid green of the vegetables whose colour is from light itself.

Faux-Filet Henri IV

This is straight offa page 266 of the Cordon Bleue at Home. It seemed like a nice idea at the time for Sunday dinner but it took forever because of poor planning and timing and a desire to keep the number of pots and pans to three. You’ll notice that the béarnaise sauce has de-emulsified because I had to reheat it and wasn’t paying attention – tsk.

The artichokes were prepared as per The Tart Heart of the Artichoke Folk and boiled in salted water for 20 minutes. The potatoes were parboiled and then roasted in a very hot oven in preheated vegetable oil and goosefat. The steak was scotch fillet and you can make the marks by cooking it on a very hot grill plate and then turning it 90 degrees and that’s it.

It’s actually called Coeur de Filet Henri IV. I would tell you what the name would be in French for using a scotch fillet but it was all too hard and frankly (if you’ll excuse the pun) Henry IV of France was much more interesting. Twice the man Henry VIII was and, in addition to helping end the religious war with admirable tolerance and dedicated to public works, was quoted as such:

Si Dieu me prête vie, je ferai qu’il n’y aura point de laboureur en mon royaume qui n’ait les moyens d’avoir le dimanche une poule dans son pot.
(If God allows me to live, I will see that there is not a single labourer in my kingdom who does not have a chicken in his pot every Sunday)

Huzzah!
Sadly, killed by a loon.

pizza

A voice in my head said “make a pizza” on Friday night while driving home from Fremantle. It also said “make your own dough too“, “sleep no more” and “look out that car’s braking in front of you” as well as “mmm mmm black betty bambalam, mmm mmm black betty bambalam“.

I’m afraid you have to make your own pizza dough too. It’s not that hard: Basic Pizza Dough – Recipe Pizza Dough. It’s really good and you’ll never want for a prepared base again much less something on a piece of pita bread. Lovely little airy bits all the way through it. Make it nice and thin while you’re at it. Four a sauce I just used a jar of pasta sauce with some onion and garlic and marjoram. Toppings were mozzarella, basil, proscuitto, tomato, field mushrooms, eggplant, and anchovies in various combinations.

The trick, and this is why people use wood-fired ovens, is to get the base nice and crispy without overdoing the top. This requires a very hot base. What I do is use a cast iron bessemer pan that my Mum bought in the seventies from a woman that was convinced she was reincarnated from Mary the Queen of Scots that I get really hot* on a wok burner to get it crisp and then finish it off in the oven as hot as it goes.

Reviews are in: “delicious”

*the pan, not Mary Queen of Scots, or the woman.

Henry IV en admiration devant le blog de épice
lemon and garlic chicken


As a child in the Eastern Wheatbelt, we would get up early to milk the cows, running home with the still warm cream on our lips, checking our geese for eggs on the way back. Walking to school we would greet the baker and, if we were lucky, he’d hand us some warm buns, fresh from the ovens, which we’d eat with hand-made sausage from the butcher. Mother would pick us up and we’d visit the market, offering our advice as to which were the ripest pears and the juiciest oranges.

Lunch at LamontsAlright, alright that’s crap. The Eastern Wheatbelt was pretty rubbish for food. I think the most exciting thing to come to town was pressed chicken. I’m sure things have picked up but when Mon (on the right in the middle at Lamonts with Wozza, someone called Toni, and a couple whose wedding I went to a few years back) asked me to do a hearty rural dinner for farmers wives that didn’t involve lamb or potatoes, I imagined the worst case minimalist shopping scenario. As military strategist von Rumsfeld might have put it “you go to the kitchen with ingredients you have, not the ingredients you might want”. So don’t blame me if it all goes all pear shaped.

The first thing I’d do would be to get a bunch of plastic containers, make a bunch of stock and pop it all in the chest freezer. This is already culinary gold. Stock. Stock. Stock. Did I mention this before? Stock. Stock. Stock. Stock. Then I’d get some wine, great for cooking and it makes me happy. I’d have a herb garden. Lots of butter. Meats in the freezer. Ingredients that have a shelf life of more than a few days. And a copy of Richard Olney’s Simple French Food (he bags the city a lot). What’s for dinner? Provincial French cooking.

This is another recipe that takes a while but is reasonably straightforward. I’ll explain what happens to each ingredient separately.

Chicken Stock- three chicken carcasses, a couple of chopped carrots and celery sticks, half a chopped leek (or a couple of onions), a handful of parsely, half a dozen peppercorns, a bay leaf, .and a glass of white fine. Cover with water and simmer for at least two hours. Strain, pressing out the solids and put the stock on the boil until it reaches the strength you like. Remove any fat on the top. You can use a paper towel but the easiest way is to let it chill and take the congealed fat off the top.

Garlic- peel 20 pieces of garlic, keep their shape. Cook in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and then let them simmer for 40 minutes in chicken stock.

Chicken – the recipe uses the legs, which is the drumstick with the thigh attached. I got a whole free-range chicken. Removed the frame, which I used for the stock. And detatched the chicken legs and wings and put the breasts in the freezer for another time. You can cut the knobbly end off the drumstick and the tips off the wings.

Brown the wings and the legs in some butter, remove them and drain the pan, leaving two tablespoons of fat to make the roux.

roux


Roux – add two tablespoons of plain flour to the leftover fat and stir in well over a low heat. Add a half a glass of wine* and stir over a high heat while scraping the bottom of the pan. Add 600ml of chicken stock. And then (this is the Richard Olney hint) – transfer it to a small saucepan as “the small surface permits a more rapid skimming and degreasing of the sauce while preventing an exaggerated reduction”. Skim off any fat or particles with a paper towel for 15 minutes.

*The recipe recommends white wine but I had some light red wine handy so that would do. It says the French Catalan’s use fortified wine like port so there’s a bit of flexibilty.

lemon and garlic chicken


Assembly-place the chicken pieces at the bottom of a casserole pot, add the garlic, and one peeled and finely sliced lemon, and the cover with the stock. Place in a 170C oven for 40 minutes and serve.

I served this on some pasta (rigatoni). Very enjoyable from ingredinets not very different to what you might use in a Sunday Roast. I’d like to try it again with white wine and one mistake was to place the lemon on top of the chicken rather than in the stock so it didn’t blend as well as it could have (it should dissolve). The garlic is the best part, soft and creamy and not at all garlicky like you’d imagine. Oh and the garnish was done with a lemon zester. If you press hard and run it along the side you should get some nice lengths. Otherwise slice the peel thinly and put in ice cold water.

And there you go, hope this is what you’re looking for. I’m actually a bit out of touch, not quite imagining everybody sits around making billy tea in akubra hats out of touch but well. A good chance to say hello in the comments lurking wheatbelt readers (yes you in Belka, and you in Hyden) and maybe suggest a fave.

lemon and garlic chicken


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lamb and risotto

This is post number 502. This would make number 500, me eating a frozen dinner. How auspicious, ah well. Doesn’t time fly.

Dinner for six on the Sunday was going to be a lasagne, being inspired by an emailed recipe from the Flute (been on the telly ya know). Not to be, I saw myself messing about with a pasta maker and settled for the thirty or so minutes of careful stirring of a risotto. It’s still seasonal for root vegetables and I’ve been impressed with celeriac of late, Brussel sprouts are also out and they were chosen for: I was shown how to remove and cook the leaves; they add a bit of colour; people don’t like them so I could set myself up for one of those magic “don’t usually like “X” but” moments and so huzzah!

Salmon Mousse:
Entree was a salmon mousse which I was happy with as it requires no gelatine, just whipping up some cream and then refrigeration.

1 salmon cutlet – the u-shaped one, fried or grilled until cooked. Let it cool and flake it apart, removing bones and skin. Add 4tbs of EVOO, juice of one lemon (actually have a bit of a taste on this and add as necessary, I may have overdone it a smidgen); a bit of rind scraping; a shake of chilli powder; and a dozen capers. Puree.

Take 300ml of chilled cream and before it sits out too long, whip it . Whip it good, until firm and then carefully fold in the salmon. At this stage I put it into 6 dariole molds but you don’t have to. I did it because I’ve just bought them. In reality they didn’t come out very cleanly so you could just make quenelle shapes with a couple of spoons. Or pop them in glasses maybe. Or serve them on a spoon. Or get yourself a fish mold. Anyway put it in the fridge for at least two hours. The flavours will mingle over time.

It was a bit lemony so I thought a tomato and basil sauce would be nice. Skin (hold the tomato over a flame) and deseed (scrape out) two tomatoes. Puree with a handful of basil and enough EVOO. To get it nice and runny. If you’re going to pour it in a piping bag, be sure to close the other end and ensure that end isn’t near an opened drawer.

Good good good. Creamy, fishy, tarty, and sweet.

Celeriac and Brussel Sprout Risotto with Lamb
Make some chicken stock – it’ll be better than anything you can buy. Go on make some. This weekend. It’ll take you 30 minutes of messing around, tops. Then you can freeze it. The kitchen will smell nice. Here’s a recipe, you might want to chuck a bit of white wine in there too. Free range chicken wings are a cheap way of adding more meatiness to the bones as well. You can use the celeriac stems instead of celery as an aromatic. They are a bit stronger so do lessen the amount accordingly.

Cooking: 1 cup of finely chopped leek, eschallot, and onion. Sautee in EVOO until soft, add 500gm of aborio rice and stir until it’s starts to go a little golden. Pour in a glass of white wine, and stir until absorbed, add another glass of white wine and stir until absored, add a glass of red wine and stir until absorbed, and then move on to the stock a cup at a time until the rice is cooked. It should still have a little bit of bite. This slow process coats the rice and makes it creamy.

Additions: Chop the ends off a dozen brussel sprouts and remove the leave. The outermost leaves are the bitterest so you can get rid of them, and you can toss the white bits too. Soften a little in a frypan with some oil. Reserve some of the leaves for garnish.

Peel one celeriac and chop into small cubes. Parboil then roast until soft. Mash a little. You want some mashy bits and some pieces.

Add these in about 5-10 minutes before the risotto is ready.

Lamb:
The lamb chops were in a rack and it’s lovely way of doing them. There’s a really nice feeling as you slice through it when it’s done. Shame mine weren’t as pink as I like them but, well, guests. Simply done. Marinated in some chopped rosemary, red wine, EVOO, and garlic and roasted on a couple of rounds of leek. Rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

Stir a large dab of butter through the risotto, top with a chop, garnish with some brussel sprout leaves and serve.

Very nice. I had wanted to add walnuts but celeriac already had that nutty taste so not necessary.

That’s it. Just make sure if your jeans are a bit low, to bend at the knees when reaching down for the warming tray in the oven.

fini

And: hello and welcome to the good people of Sadly, No!

Also – how does it feel? A waffly defence of this dish in the moral realm to prove why I don’t write about these issues much – Veganism and civilisation

steak and mash skinny version

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.

Meme #2: Mrs D of the disturbingly-pet-filled-for-a-food-blog Belly-Timber has gotten me with the 23rd post fifth sentence meme, it is:

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.

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boned chicken


Sunday roast, free -range chicken looking the most economical thing available. Baby zucchini and baby squash looking tasty. Couldn’t be bothered making breadcrumbs so couscous seemed a nice alternative and so it went from there.

I’d recently been taught how to debone quail so a chicken, in theory, should be easier because of its size. Bit too hard to explain it here but there are key points to keep in mind that should allow for reasonable latitude of success with messing about:

  1. Turn the chicken breast down and cut along the backbone from top to tail.
  2. Reach in an detatch what I can only describe as the two shoulder blades, just to either side of the backbone and a little back from the front.
  3. Cut along the frame of the ribcage until you get to the point where you can pull the frame out. Pop out the wishbone and dislocate the wings and legs.
  4. Remove the frame, trimming as necessary and reserve it for stock.

If it doesn’t work out, you can always barbecue it or chop it up into chicken curry. My new best friend is the Victorinox Curved Paring knife. Cheap and works well with fiddly stuff.

Marinated chicken in a mix of parsley, rosemary, tarragon, garlic, salt, lemon juice and olive oil. A sprinkle of paprika all over

Coucous with a mix of chopped baby zucchini and squash, pine nuts, chilli, garlic, half a finely chopped lime, one chopped tomato, salt, pepper, and a generous dab of butter and olive oil for internal moistiness. Placed inside the chicken. Bring the skin up around and close with a couple of wooden skewers and tie up with string to maintain shape.

Roasted in the oven and basted with a pan juices and olive oil until the juices ran clear. Give it a bit of a push with your thumb if you’re not sure, it should still have a little spring in it.

stuffed chicken

Deglaze the roasting pan with the chicken stock you made out of the bones. Put the excess couscous into the dariole moulds you bought last week. And serve.

stuff chicken plated

Moisty tasty joy.

and:Avast me chickens!

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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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tonkotsu ramen

You have bones and you make soup. This simple economy that results in pork bone ramen is a great love of mine. AG also feels this love at Grab Your Fork with a ramen shop in Sydney.

Not for Perth though, I haven’t had good ramen here. Instead of pining, I have finally made my own. Most of the recipe came from a Japanese cookbook called 自分でつくるプロのラーメン“DIY Pro Ramen” and has enabled and frustrated my efforts. It’s a very busy book and the Japanese characters swim in front of me, laughing probably. It’s been more like the Voynich manuscript than cookbook. I was sure I was missing an important, whatever you do, don’t… line. The recipe ended up being a mix of recipes in the book, a bit of research on pork bone stocks, and the kind help of Keiko of the ah! Nordljus.

Tonkotsu Stock

release my porky delights
2kg of pork bones; 30cm piece of pork fat with skin; two pigs trotters; 10l of water

All the ingredients were bought at Wing Hong Butchers at 402 William Street in Northbridge. The place was heaving on Saturday morning, big run on pork bones. Not good for pop-in-the-oven crumbed schnitzel or whatever but great for getting all the bits.

The pig’s trotters are surrogates for a pig’s head, being an appropriate mix of skin, meat, fat, and bone. Just split them half way down. The bones are off-cuts from around the spine. Lacking is a couple of larger thigh bones, which no doubt have their own virtues. Not being completely sure about just putting the bones in water, I roasted the bones and the pigs trotters for half an hour before putting them in the boiling water. Roasting tends to make the flavour richer and you can deglaze the pan with a cup of water and add it to the stock. Let the bones and the trotters simmer away for half an hour making sure to scoop out any scum that rose to the surface. Roll and tie the pork fat and place in the water with the bones, skimming whatever comes up for another 10-15 minutes.

tonkotsu vegetables

4 onions; 5 carrots; a bunch of spring onions; two apples; one head of garlic; a large piece of konbu; a thumbsized piece of ginger.

Add all the ingredients. The only exception is the konbu which should be removed after 15 minutes. Konbu provides a natural form of the flavour enhancer MSG. Let it all simmer for 5 hours.

tonkotsu stock
Chasyu Pork

chashu pork
1 piece of pork belly; 1 cup of shoyu; 1/2 cup mirin; 1/2 cup of sake; 1 cup of the stock; a thumb sized piece of ginger – sliced.

Take a strip of pork belly, remove the skin and any bones and roll and tie. Let it cook in the stock for one hour and remove. Let it simmer for 20 minutes in the soy sauce mix and then leave to sit.

Assembly

Strain the stock. Using a trick from making Cassoulet, I pureed some of the pork fat and added it to the stock. Tonkotsu is unapologetically fatty.

Place a couple of tablespoons of the cha shu cooking liquid in the botom of the bowl. Add some eggs noodles and a couple of slices of cha shu. Pour the stock over, add a couple of strips of nori and garnish with finely chopped chives.

Tasting

It made me happy. I can see further room for improvement, the stock could have been stronger. Maybe it needs some chicken carcasses or the big bones. It would do for now, these people dedicate their lives to making thier ramen. My journey has just begun. I pondered this as I went off to see Shihad at the Rosemount, where I was assaulted by an unknown woman who squeezed my nipples. (hard!) With this and the huggy man of the QoTSA gig, I have to wonder what is going on in Perth’s live scene. On the night went. The Grapeskin Wine Bar will sell you a bottle of red wine at it’s after midnight gentlemen’s night, and if you’re hungry at 2am, then the City Garden ? Chinese Restaurant Shop 11, China Town, 66 Roe St, Northbridge will sell you food like ermmm szechuan chicken maybe.

Perth, it has everything.

Burger

burger

Home-made burger
and a bottle of booze
ain’t takeaway
takes away my blues

Hand-minced rump steak with egg, chilli powder, spring onions breadcrumbs, soy sauce,salt, pepper, and a splash of lemon juice burger. Melted cheddar, finely grated beetroot, lettuce, avocado, tomato, mushrooms, and fried onions finished in beer.

It was OK. Could have been hotter but that’s what happens when you mess around taking pics.

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Steak Sandwich

steak sandwich that way

Yeah I’m back and relaxed and in new digs. Mmmm roomy. Here’s a steak sandwich I made for rock power before going to an exceptional Queens of the Stone Age gig at Perth Metro/Mad Max Thunderdome (true Chook true). It gave me strength to assist boisterous youth at the edge of the mosh pit and not worry when they sang into my ear. One grateful lad in a blue t-shirt gave me a hug and then wouldn’t let go. Bless.

I have to face up to the fact that most steak sandwiches are not the ones of my dreams (Saffy also dreams) but are overdone bits of minute steak in a skinny bit of whitebread. This one is good.

A large bit of rump steak tenderised. Don’t use a tenderiser, use your fist, trust me it’s good , you’ll feel better. Sliced up into meaty fingers and marinated in oil, soy, chinese wine, chilli powder, garlic, something called BBQ bush blend (lemon myrtle, bush tomato, and mountain pepperleaf), and potato starch for chinese velvetiness.

Onions caramelised with a pinch of brown sugar and a splash of Monteith’s Ale when softened.

Lengthy piece of foccacia carefully sliced along the middle. Bits of blue cheese along the bottom. Rare bits of steak on top of that with the onions and pour some of the pan juices ove the top. Place some spinach leaves on top. Then the top bit of bread and into the sandwich press until the cheese is melty.

Good.

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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beef and mushroom pie

If not by now, at least by the end of this post, you should be of the same opinion as me. Mother Winter is not to be hidden from at the door like some collector of charity but invited in and given a warm embrace for the opportunities she brings.

I made this for lunch during my long weekend holiday down South using the leftover pot roast from the night before. It is a dish of great ease. An account, vary at will:

Sauteed a finely sliced leek in some olive oil, added a chopped carrot, added some chopped field mushrooms, added the chopped up leftover beef from last night (if you don’t have this just chop up and brown some uncooked meat), added half a couple of glasses of red wine, a bay leaf, a sprig of freshly chopped rosemary, and a dozen peppercorns. Brought to a boil. Covered ingredients with beef stock and allowed to simmer for 10 minutes (or water just leave to simmer a little longer – it should bemore or less how you like it before you put it in the oven). Heated half a cup of stock and added teaspoon by teaspoon of cornflour until it became a paste. Added to the mix, stirred in well, and added to the pot. Taken off heat and transferred to a ceramic dish. Cut out a circle of puff pastry to fit, placed on top, made an half-arsed attempt at a decoration with the leftover bits, brushed with the very last scraps of butter and placed in a 180C oven for 30 minutes (until the top is golden), and served.

Yes I enjoyed it. A thicker crust would have given greater gravy soaking joy and more butter would have given a more golden glaze but otherwise, it would be hard to go wrong here.


Foodists! Tired of preaching to the converted? Buck Fudd has a “kitchen cupboard full of healthgiving but unfulfilled grains and pulses” and is in need of advice. Go! Share! – Buck Fudd’s Blues: Bucking Hungry.
[thanks Robert Corr]

Pork apple sweet potato and red cabbage braise

My enamalled dutch oven will be my best friend this winter. This slow cooked pork braise is a meal in a pot and was influenced by a few different recipes. Apples are an obvious match, I just like sweet potato, cabbage and pork – germanic fave but the use of bay leaves and vinegar interested me the most as the slight sourness and bitterness the two bring is less common. Takes a bit under 3 hours, so if you can get off work early and have dinner later, there’s no reason it can’t be a mid-week meal.

1 roasting cut of pork; olive oil; butter; 3 bay leaves; 12 peppercorns; 8tbs white (or red) wine vinegar; 200ml of appple juice; 1 sweet poatato; 3 organic red apples; half a red cabbage; salt

1. Heat the olive oil and butter until hot and then brown the pork on all sides. Set aside and rub with salt. Add the peppercorns, bay leaves, vinegar and apple juice and work the residue off the bottom of the pot and put the pork back in. Cover and place in a 160C oven (you could also consider using a crock pot).
2. Go for a 5km run.
3. Peel the apples and sweet potatoes and chop into Staedtler eraser sized chunks. Add to the pot. Keep an eye on it to make sure there’s still liquid in there and you can also do the odd baste.
4. By two hours it should be getting nice and cooked and tender, give yourself about 2o minutes to chop up the cabbage and put it in the pot.
5. Remove contents and keep warm allowing the pork to rest. Remove the crackle from the pork , rub with salt, and place under the grill until crisp.
6. Place vegetables on place, place carved sliced of pork on, top with a piece of crackle and pour the remaining juices over the dish.

Mwah hmmm mmmm mwah was it good, I ate until I was full and sleepy and had to retire to the couch.

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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lychini pork bean curd wraps crayfish and spring onion
szechwan pepper chicken garlic beef and tofu unsuccessful dessert

I like Chinese. The problem is that it’s an open ended dinner that doesn’t necessarily have to stop at three dishes, particularly as I usually decide that all major meat groups must be addressed, so it became five. They were:
Pork and Mushroom Steamed Bean Curd Rolls; Crayfish with Spring Onion; Szechwan Red Pepper Roast Chicken with Chinese Sausage Stuffing and Chinese Greens; Slow Cooked Beef and Tofu with Fried Rice; Unsuccessful Annin Dofu.

Afraid I won’t be listing all the recipes (I do have a life you know, no really, well lazy’s a bit harsh, I did make a garden bed the other week, no I know it’s not finished) but would like to point you in the way of Yan-Kit’s Classic Chinese Cookbook. It’s comprehensive, well detailed, and most of the recipes follow similar principles so it’s easy to adapt and improvise to use what you have. This allows you to have a rough idea of what you want to cook, go shopping with a bit whimsy, and nlow you’ll be able to make something. A few points.

Tapioca chips are great for pre-dinner snacks as an alternative to prawn crackers. All natural Maxi from Indonesia.

The pork and bean curd rolls were my own creation after I noticed some sheets of bean curd at the Asian grocery store and thought I could do something. It was pork cut into “matchsticks” and marinated in rice wine-splash, peanut oil-splash, sesame oil-teaspoon, soy sauce-splash, and potato flour-teaspoon. Next was a couple of sliced chinese sausages. They come in plastic packs and are sweet and tasty. Very roughly chopped Straw mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts and spring onions. All ingredients cooked together in a wok with some cooked glutinous rice mixed in for volume. Now lightly steam or moistened the bean curd sheets and cut into 15cm x 15cm, place a heaped tablespoon of the mix in the middle and roll like a very fat spring roll. Steam in a steamer for 10 minutes and serve. Very tasty but the mix of chewy, crunchy and soft textures is marvellous.

Hmm think I’ll finish this later. Tata! back later
….
Ah yes. The Szechuan chicken recipe is here. However this time I kept it whole and gave it a stuffing of chinese sausage, shiitake mushrooms, glutinous rice, garlic, and spring onions. Cooking it flat seems to get a better response but the stuffing was good. Forgot to put oyster sauce on the bed of steamed chinese greens which made them a little dry.

Glutinous rice is great but needs to be soaked for the good part of a day so keep that in mind. Otherwise leave to soak in hot water. I cooked one lot in the steamer to go with the beef and tofu, just wrap it in a towel. After drying a batch out on a tray and stir-fried it with garlic and spring onions in the fat from the chicken’s roasting tray. Yum. Beef cooked slowly with garlic for two hours, well you can imagine how good that was. And the fried tofu held up well.

Crayfish (from Rottnest from Doctor A) matched well with the spring onions, ginger, and rice wine and I like the idea of deep frying the crayfish pieces for 10 seconds before stir frying them.

Finally the Unsuccesful Annin Tofu started as a simple condensed milk and almond essence “tofu” became coconut milk thanks to the free banana giving shop lady’s persuasive powers. Then layers of kiwi fruit and passionfruit but I read that agar agar gives a tougher jelly so I backed off a little and ended up more on the soup end. Ah well.*

As for the dinner, well it was fun. Chris and Crafty came along. As did the doctor and Anna. A thank you to them all for the drinks, gifts and company. A diverse night of chat, neighbourhood yoof threatening (bone tweezers!), and an altercation with a coffee plunger.

dinner party seating

* feck!
Note: Those paying attention will have noticed that many of the ingredients are remarkably similar. Hey? Hey? See what I’m getting at here?

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lapindinner

Rabbit as meat evoke a number of different responses but my position is this, they are furry vermin and I have no qualms whatsoever about eating them. In fact, I looked forward to it.

The opportunity was number four (previously: Cassoulet de Castelnaudary; Bouillabaisse; Canard laqueau miel)of our reasonably regular French Dinner Party series on Saturday. I was to make the main again and Veronique would do entree and dessert. I chose a rabbit and tapenade recipe from Provence in the Culinaire Francais. The accompanying vegetables were left a little later being distracted and all by afternoon adventures with Robbie with a quick-cut saw and a sledgehammer. At the mercy of the half an hour til closing supermarket, working through budget shoppers, I had a rough idea and it obliged. Baby carrots, stuffed zucchini, and mushroom pouches.

Rabbit:

lapin filletWorking with a whole rabbit, the challenge is to get it into four fillets and a sheet of thin torso meat to wrap them in. The remaining bones become stock. I can only advise what I did and that is to work under the meat in the parts closest to the bone, popping bones at the joint to work the meat out. You should eventually get four largish pieces of meat from the hind legs and the side (the saddle). The sheet of meat around the torso require care so it doesn’t tear or pierce. Trim at the front and back and slowly work it off. It became two sheets as I couldn’t detatch it cleanly from the spine. It slow and fiddly, the bones are tiny and the sinews are like parcel twine. Any meat left will flavour the stock and you can also add small pieces to the fillet roll.

Season the sheets with salt and pepper and spoon tapenade over them (I used a local Wyening Mission Farm kalamata olive tapenade). Place the fillets inside and roll it up and secure with string.

The rabbit stock is much like any stock with carrots, leeks, and celery as the aromatics and a bouquet garni of bay leaf, rosemary, thyme wrapped in the green part of a leek. In this a glass of white wine is added to the ingredients, reduced and then water is added to just cover. Cook for 20 minutes and then strain. Reduce to taste, this will become the sauce.

sofacentral

Vegetables:

The stuffed zucchini were based on a recipe in the Cordon Bleu at Home and making an effort for visual presentation, they added a vertical element. Slice the zucchini into 5cm lengths and hollow out a tunnel that leaves about 7mm of wall. Keep the leftover bits for the stuffing and the ends to top. I made the stuffing by cooking finely chopped bacon, leek, parsely, chives and celery with the leftover zucchini and pumpkin seeds in butter and mixing it with fresh breadcrumbs and an egg. Parboil the zucchini in salted water for 5 minutes, rinse under cold water, and fill with the stuffing. Place vertically in a buttered bread pan and cover with foil.

The carrots were part elgiacally inspired by Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn:

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal yet,

and part me being a vindictive bastard. Peeled with a few cm of the the greens left on. Traditionally cooked in Vichy water, I susbsituted with a suitably interesting Italian sparkling mineral water.

The mushrooms pouches are flash and easy. They would have to be considering the state I was in when I successfully made them at The Dinner Party that was a Complete Shambles about 12 years ago. Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in warm water and then mince with field/portobello mushrooms. Cook in butter with chopped chives and drain out the excess moisture. This will prevent the pouches from breaking. Cut filo/phylo/phyllo pastry into bread plate sized rounds. I used three sheets to get the required amount of strength. Fiddly stuff, my kitchen looked like writer’s block circa 1950. Place a spoonful of mix in the middle, gather the edges around, and tie with string. The string will be replaced with the green part of chives quickly softened in boiling water. Liberally brush with melted butter and place on a baking tray.

Bundle everything into the car with camera and tripod and off you go

Cooking:

The times all fit together nicely for minimal stress
-Bake the zucchini for 45 minutes, removing the foil to baste and finally brown.
-The rabbit is quickly seared on all sides in olive oil and then roasted for 15 minutes at 190c, basting regularly, and allowing to rest for 10 minutes.
- the mushroom pouches cook in the oven in 15 minutes
- the carrots take about 10 minutes to cook in the boiling mineral water.

Slice the rabbit into equal portions, place on the plate with the vegetables and pour the stock over.

Dining:

cheese-BEFORE-dessertVery civilised. Seemed to be a much shorter aperitif time so the poonk CDs stayed in their cases. I really enjoyed Veronique’s entree of pesto of flat leafed parsley and roasted garlic on toast. Should get the recipe. I was very proud of my mains. The vegetables rewarded me for the attention I paid them and after my misgivings about the doneness of the duck at the last dinner party, I was thrilled that the rabbit was cooked to juicy perfection. Given it takes about 30 minutes to get from bench to plate, it’s a good choice for a low stress dinner meat. Cheese followed, as is the custom I was told, then finally Veronique’s pear cooked in a vanilla sauce with double cream. My only regret was the Barwick Estates Pinot Noir, only made it as far as the entree. Light and tasty, it would have made for a great pairing with the rabbit. Ah well, I’ll just have to do it all over again.

poirelapin

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lambchopsandvegetablething

Not by way of nudge but more food blogging world’s rich tapestry, I just don’t get Sugar High Friday. Fridays press many buttons but not coming home and making sugared treats ones, no, nothing, no feeling, numb, algebra problems maybe, but sugar no. Animal fat. Yes. Friday is nosh.

Starting point was the fridge, as ever. Four lamb chops. Pumpkin and zucchini in the crisper, spuds and onions in the pantry. A vegetable layer thing seemed a good idea so thinly sliced potatoes and pumpkin. Saute thinly sliced onions with garlic, chilli and the zucchini thinly sliced. Made a layer of potato in a baking tin, greased with butter and duck fat, layer again with pumpkin, pour over the saute and layer again with pumpkin and potato. It would dry out in the oven so I placed bacon rashers on the top and covered with foil before putting it in a 180C oven for 40 minutes. Finished uncovered.

The lamb was waiting with some EVOO, pepper, and rosemary. I cooked them gently in EVOO and garlic until they were coloured and put a lid on the frypan to finish, turning off when very rare, and then allowing them to rest.

Onto a plate with the vegetables, big glass of red and it was nice.

vegetablething

Next Morning Postscript: That first paragraph, still seems a bit snarky. Hmmm. Must resolve dessert issues.

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daikonsalad

Precision is a bad thing. Unless specifically stated, I wouldn’t trust any of the measurements I give. Not that I said there was garlic when there wasn’t, but two teaspoons could have a margin of error of +/-1tsp. Can’t remember the last time I leveled a spoon. And it’s not that I’m cavalier about the whole thing either, but I don’t want to convey the impression of great science. If I say 1¼ cups of something, then it says that 1 cup was too little and 1½ is too much and because of the accuracy you’d think it was. “One and bit” and the authority dissolves and you can make your own mind up.
This frees us from the dictatorship of the recipe.
So, next time you’re at a friend’s house, take a marker pen and block out a few measurements in their favourite cook book. They’ll be angry at first, people fear autonomy and are reluctant to trust in themselves, but they’ll thank you later.

A few people turned to nearly a dozen on a Friday night I’m back catch-up. That was OK because I had an an easy prep in advance grazing plan. Charcoal burner in the middle of the table, pile of meat, guests cook it themselves, no problem.

Buy some Korean pork and beef marinade and then marinate some pork ribs and finely sliced matchbox sized pieces of rump. This left the chicken and an extra pile of beef that I’d bought as numbers grew.

The beef marinade was a combination of Korean chilli bean paste, vegetable oil, soy, and sake. The chicken was the same but with a splash of sesame oil and two crushed cloves of garlic. I bought one meat dipping sauce and made another of a simple ponzu by mashing in a mortar a couple of limes in 2 parts soy sauce and 1 part sake.

For vegetables, I thinly sliced some pumpkin and made a salad out of daikon. The daikon was thinly sliced on a mandoline into thin rounds with a dressing of rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and a small amount of the chilli bean paste and sesame oil.

Home straight. Cook up some koshi hikari short grain rice in the rice cooker. Put some kim chee and nori on the table and then fire up the charcoal. Leaving just drinking, chatting, and the steady cooking of small bits of meat.

koreanbbqtable

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parmesanlambchops

Tim Dunlop had a fevered pricey lamb chop encounter epic stateside a little while back. Sharp, perceptive man, could strip apart a kilo of guff-stuffed neo-colonial expedition jingoprop in the time it’d take me to peel a carrot, but failed to mention how he cooked said chops. Maybe he stuffed them under the griller and wandered off to ponder something Wolfowitz said. I’m hoping in EVOO with a sprinkle of pepper but who knows?

Racks of lamb are great for roasty goodness and slicing it into little juicy pink centred chops is a great pleasure. However, friday night, I’d been having a few so simple and quick it was. The recipe comes from the 30 year old The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan. How good is it? A sample from this lovely matriarch:

Mayonnaise can make or break any recipe of which it is a part. The commercial variety is so sugary and watery that it is beneath discussion.[emphasis mine]

I’d pay good money for that kind of a culinary spanking so I could obviously trust her for a lamb chop recipe and here we go.

Slice the rack into chops and then it’s coated in three stages

  1. finely grated parmesan cheese
  2. beaten free-range eggs (shake excess)
  3. fresh breadcrumbs (shake excess)

This can all be done in advance. I defrost meat in my oven with just the fan on, a few slices of bread in there at the same time, gets the bread stale enough, to make good breadcrumbs. I make the breadcrumbs in batches in a blender.

Heated 5mm of canola oil to a medium heat in a frypan. You need to get the coating nice and golden while at the same time have the meat cooked. Adjust as necessary and if it does end up being a little hot, the “presentation side” hides a multitude of sins. Just before you flip the chop over, season it with salt and pepper, flip and then season the cooked side. Keep the chops warm in the oven while you do the others.

Hot cheesey crunch on the outside, juicy lamb morsel on the in. They’d be great for an outdoors lunch but we just ate them as was with a bottle of Caitlan Lenaghan Trust Fund Red and couldn’t have enjoyed them more.

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gyudon Were a copy of our daily newspaper to blow eastwards over the nullabor to people who only knew of Western Australia as the place where soapie characters go to never return, they might think that the state was filled with cranks and bigots who had to wait in line in darkened hospitals while their houses were being burgled and that poorly thought out acts of largesse to private companies for Stalinist style grand engineering projects were good ideas. We’re it not for people like Manas and her koibito Robert writing sharp minded political joy, then I’d have to start my day with a nice hot cup of punch in the face. Could I give her a recipe for teriyaki non-chicken? Why of course, a campaign needs carbohydrates for energy and protein for strength. So an easy variation on the sauce combo – the beef rice bowl or gyudon.

Sauce
Teriyaki is usually reduced or brushed on to form a glaze and much of it’s character comes from the use of sugar but a more general application of it is as a combination of soy sauce, mirin (sweet rice wine), and (depending on who you ask) sake. Start with equal parts and then adjust as needed for saltiness, sweetness, and tanginess respectively. A teaspoon of sugar does no harm. Taste and see.

Making
Take a nice piece of rump (woof!) steak and pound it out. You need pieces about 3mm thick. Good effect can also be made by slicing downwards and vertically for wider but skinnier cuts. Take an onion and slice it finely top to bottom. You can also use spring onions. Quickly brown and remove, then sautee the onions until just softening, return the steak to the pan and the sauce and let reduce until the steak is cooked. Pour on top of a bowl of freshly cook short grain rice and serve with a little cayenne pepper ( or Japanese sansho if you’ve got it). It’s good.

Sensible people will of course vote for Geoff Gallop and Labor this weekend but Colin Barnett is offering me a 12ft ice-cream, just waiting for those costings.


Update: Looking bad for my ice-cream


Update 2: woot! Cheers all that worked hard to secure this most pleasing of wins.

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duckwithhoney

The description “pure honey” is illegal in France, because honey must always be pure as a matter of course.

A quote from the Culinaria France where the idea for this Provence dish came from. Canard laqueé au miel is a return to the supposed to be monthly classic French dishes dinner parties. Last week’s scallopini and mousse combo took up the 70′s quotient so Duck a L’orange will have to wait.

duckfilletting

Something very satisfying, even when done slowly and clumsily, about cutting up your own meat. Duck is a matter of removing the wings and the legs – a pop of dislocation then cut around. And then removing the breasts by following the backbone closely on either side. This leaves the carcass and a pile of peices of fat and skin that can be rendered down for later use.

The skin and the breast of the limbs was brushed with unprocessed jarrah and banksia (both natives) honey instead of the suggested lavender honey. The carcass becomes a stock. Joining: one carrot; an inch of leek; a stick of celery; and a bouquet garni of rosemary, thyme, 2 bay leaves wrapped and tied with the green part of a leek. Left to simmer for an hour and a half. Let me know if you know of anything that smells better than duck stock. The stock becomes the sauce for the duck, which I’ll return to.

The duck breasts were cooked skin side down in a dry pan until golden, then moved to the oven at 190C for 10 minutes with the limbs, before being allowed to rest for another 10. The pan is deglazed with the duck stock, reduced and then a dab of butter added for gloss. The breasts are, having rested for 10 minutes sliced and the reduction poured over.

potatocakes

Expecting a rich taste, I balanced with stodge of potato cakes with a little bite of added chives and the acidity of tomatoes. The potato cakes were made from grating Royal Blue potatoes, squeezing the moisture out, and then mixing in finely chopped chives. The starch holds them together and they were nicely browned on a stoevtop griddle cooked in the fat of the excess skin. The tomatoes were cooked slowly in a saucepan with butter, leek, rosemary, and thyme. I skin my tomatoes by cutting a cross in the end and then holding them over the burner. I then cut the end off and squeeze out the seeds.

eggplantgratin

The Dinner
Dinner started well with Rob’s dish [pictured] of home-grown eggplants with tomatoes, olive, ham and breadrumbs. For something so rustic is had a very sophisticated combination of salty, sweet, and acids with the creaminess of the eggplant offset by the breadcrumbs. The flavours of the main were good with the tomato and the potato being just right. The duck was a little too cooked for my liking, and as this was my first time, doneness could do with more practice. Veronique pays enviable attention to the presentation of her desserts and her passionfruit mousse with mango coulis was typically superb fare.

Joining us was a ’98 Penfold’s Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz and my wine writing can’t do it justice, while I strain to pick the bouquet in most wines, this one overwhelmed. Very quality. Vodka in the freezer and a lime made for an impromptu palate cleanser between main and dessert.

A good week for food.

passionfruitmousse penfoldsbin3891998 vodkalime

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abcradio

Gah! On the radio yesterday and given my state beforehand, I was amazed it worked out to more than 6 minutes of

meep…Anthony are you OK?…meep.

Room, other person, yellow foamy thing in front of me, and the invisible audience. Settled after a minute or two, garnering reviews from family members of “polite!”, “well spoken!”. Bernadette Young, the presenter, was very kind. Had it been Liam Bartlett , I may have run off in tears as he probed further into the feasibility of my bold plan to pipe sunshine from Madagascar. The interview was: Sting fades out; what’s a blog, what’s on your blog, lamingtons, what are the bloggies, good luck see you if you win, fade out to Neil Young (which isn’t bad, had the music been the other way round…).

Now there was probably a hundred other things I could have mentioned but given it’s a local radio program what I regretted most was not mentioning the local blogging commmunity. They’re all on the Perth Blogs Wiki and those involved in the marvellous initiative the Perth Blognite last year, and not forgetting my fellow WA nominees Karen Cheng and Nikita Kashner. This still leaves a wealth of talent sitting on the right column there, so go have a look. And if you haven’t tried this blog thing before, give it a go.

Now, on to more familiar ground. Since the ABC continues to get the squeeze, I thought it’d be nice to take some food along in case they were hungry. I chose another slight variation of this Chicken Liver Paté recipe.

mushroomchickenliverpate

Paté is good. It uses the bits that other folks leave behind (too good for cats), it’s usually just bought but home-made tastes so much better, and it’s easy. If you can use a frypan and make a smoothy, you can make pate. It’s also a good platform to test minor variations in flavours and there’s something special in the way the onions collapes into golden softness, the way the livers dissolve in the blender, and the release of freshly ground spices. Three parts-

Onions

One white onion, the whites of two spring onions, and one garlic clove all thinly sliced and fride until soft with 40gm of butter. This time I also added a chopped field mushroom for a different flavour in stead of green peppercorns. Add it all to the blender but don’t blend yet.

Liver

400gm of chicken livers, connective tissue cut off and marinated in brandy for an hour. Fry in another 40gm of butter, turining often until just pinkishly cooked in the middle. Add to the blender. Add a splash more brandy to the pan and deglaze the residue by scraping with a wooden spoon over heat. Add to the blender.

Spices

A scaled back quatre epicés of 2tsp parts peppercorns and 2tsp of cloves – ground and one tsp grated nutmeg. Put this in the blender and blend until smooth and refrigerate for at least two hours.

The taste is a little muted and those not enamoured with liver could, easily double the spices. Delicious with James Squire Pilsner, medicinally administered once safely home to sooth jangled post-interview nerves.

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potroast1

Two meals from our post christmas camping trip to Denmark.

Camping dinner must meet certain requirements. It must involve fire. It must take time. It must use a camp oven. Tuna sandwich, no. A large piece of topside, yes.

My usual trick is to roast it and then finish with a few glasses of wine. Sadly, crisp dry summer undergrowth and warm toasty camp fires do not a happy pairing make. So I lacked the coals to surround the camp oven with and instead had the unidirectional heat of the gas BBQ. The solution was to make something in between a pot au feu and a pot roast (I lacked the cook books to be faithful to either and worked on guesses). It worked so well that when I returned to the Denmark Dewsons, I did the same thing again. Here are the two variations.


Variation 1

potroast1forcarving

First I seared the beef (keeping the topside whole) on all sides, removing to sautee 6 cloves of garlic and two chopped onions. Back in went the roast followed by 1/3 pinot noir, 1/3 beef stock, and 1/3 water to nearly cover the beef. Next a handful of thyme and two bay leaves. Following, were the finely chopped stems of a dozen swiss brown mushroom followed by their halved caps. The broth was brought to a boil and then left to a very slow simmer with the lid on. Kipfler potatoes were added after an hour.

[two hours pass, the sun sets, the flies go to bed, beers are drunk]

Testing the meat it is clearly ready. Slice thinly, placed in bowls with the potatoes and then the broth covers it to make a soup. Topside is lean and therefore not the tenderest of cuts and doesn’t break down like stewing cuts but it was flavourful enough and the broth was tremendous.

modydisgorges


Variation 2

potroast2

[the following evening]

As above but lacking anything for larding, I thought stuff it and lard it with garlic. The stuffing was rosemary and sage with duxelles of butter, mushroom and onions. A pocket made with a knife and then closed with the stem of rosemary. Roasted it for about half an hour before adding the broth.

Similarly good and just as enjoyed. The stuffing broke up the unrelenting meatiness. I don’t know if slowly stewing a stuffed piece of meat is correct protocol but it was good.

fieldkitchen

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Product + Service = Joy

Elmar’s. Makers of fine German sausages and the like and I finally made it there. Allgood as much as smallgood, it brings pause upon entering. A dozen things you know, a dozen things you’ve only heard of, and a dozen things you don’t know. But but but but service. They love their customers, gently chastising me for not coming before. More when I said I worked around the corner. Gallery tours have less love in them than the explanation of their sausage range. A mixed kilo of Hungarian and Nurnberger sausages for a large piece of wood lifting and BBQ evening and were they good? No. Ha just kidding, they were fantastic. I got a customer loyalty card, I didn’t need it but it was mustard on the Nurnberger.

Poor pieman got accused by a touchy soul of having it in for the Vietnamese. He is, in fact, a gold plated gentleman. Careful though, I’d keep a discrete distance if he’s been on the sea horse hooch.

Elmar’s Smallgoods across from the Queens, Cnr Mary and Beaufort Streets, Highgate.

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Paw-paw marinated kebabs

Reid over at his site ‘Ono Kine Grindz has had more hot dinners than ahmm. Put it this way, if Hawaii were an atom and restarants were protons then it’s be ooh let’s say ununbium. Anyway, he got me thinking with a guava and pork marinade and, being a member of the reality based community, I thought I’d shore up the experimental method.

Instead of guava, I found paw paw and that’s a natural tenderiser. Just the thing to go with rump steak kebabs. Now when it comes to marinades you’ve got your olive oil and lemon ones; yoghurt; soy based; satay; and then coconut milk ones. Coconut it was and then it was a small tin of coconut cream with a cup of minced paw paw. A tbs of minced ginger for bite and one chopped red chilli for even further bite. Half a cup of shredded coconut for coating texture. All this was mixed in with a near kilo of rump steak – cubed. Left for 6 hours in the fridge.

Skewered and then cooked on a stove top skillet. Still seemed a bit pina coladery but turned it to advantage with an added angle of barcardi rum and flambéd (keep a lid handy in case things get our of hand) to finish. Left to chill in the fridge for an evening picnic.

What an evening. In the Quarry Ampitheatre, carved out limestone, just down the road. The night was clear, amongst the trees, with alluringly tasteful dancing demontrations of a latin nature. I could have well saved myself the skillet and seared them on the pearl underpants of a carnival dancer and grilled them on the exposed thigh of a tango dancer.

The kebabs were ok, tender but lacking a little something – maybe a sauce, but we have to try, and learn.

On topic: Science in the Kitchen. A La Cuisine! Clement does the post I should have done if I’d just stop messing about.

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Is there something about “trembling swords of pork” in Shakespeare or did I just imagine it in a quiet moment in Lit. class? Unlike over there we have one kind of pork in WA, and that’s pork. Nothing like the organic beef farms and free-range chicken farms. Any venture capitalist want to fund a wild pig farm – speak to me.

Still had a jar of the Grapefruit Marmalade I’d made when Skippy was just a wee lad and I thought it’d be just the thing for a Sunday roast. Bought a 1kg rolled pork roast at the butchers and then unrolled it (a shame, they’d done a nice job) and then marinated it with 2/3 cup of marmalade; 1tbs of grated ginger; 1tbs honey .

Meanwhile I made a stuffing out of a cup fresh breadcrumbs; 2 grated apples; 1tbs fresh sage; 2tbs butter; salt & pepper and rerolled the pork, securing with a skewer and tying with string. Wiped the skin and rubbed it with salt . Stuffing was maybe a bit much but when you’ve seen a band with a trombone and a glokenspiel xylophone the night before, why skimp?

20 minutes at 200C then down to 180C for another one hour and 10 . Now obviously you don’t want some nasty parasitical infestation if you don’t cook it right but that’s no excuse for cooking every last drop of juice out of it. Keep an eye on it, pierce with a skewer. Does it run clear? Does it feel cooked? Does its seats fold down? Give it an extra safe side 10 minutes, take it out and rest it for 10 minutes.

Joined in the roasting pan were kipfler potatoes and two apples cored with a paring knife and filled with the leftover stuffing.

Gravy made of scrapings and equal parts dry cider and chicken stock. Reduced and thickened with cornstarch.

Ahmmm good, like it should be, pork was moist, not salt-cracker dry buffet style. Marmalade taste hangs around for a while, like Stereolab sustains. Some left over for a sandwich tomorrow and that’ll get me through Monday.

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A pleasantly calm and warm spring evening had my sister and brother-in-law over for a BBQ. Feeling low maintenancy after discovering why I never make terrines, I thought I could give my charcoal burner a go and sit around and have some satay chicken. Still impressed by the Melbourne Gado Gado I was made, I thought I’d have that too.

I was going to just have bought sauce but I found this recipe on the net and the writer shamed me by regarding even using peanut butter as a “so-called shortcut”. Bastard. There are bits of peanut everywhere now but it was good. Pretty much as the recipe says but one lime instead of lemon and sambal olek instead of the chilli powder and shrimp paste.

Chicken Satay

3 Free range chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces with the following marinade one small onion, knob of ginger, 4 garlic cloves – finely grated; juice of one lemon; 2tsp sambal olek; 2tbs brown sugar; and

1/3 cup of soy sauce
. Served with a sauce of equal parts Hogan’s Satay Sauce and a small can of coconut cream simmered for 8 minutes.

Sat around the table and cooked the satay sticks and ate the gado gado with rice and then moved on to some top notch beef and bacon and then chicken kebabs made by Jean. Finished with a bottle of Krinklewood 2002 Botrytis and a rowdy game of Pop-Up Pirate.

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Painting by Numbers

Gah I’m cream crackered, here go amuse yourselves. Best picture wins a meat tray. Colours below.

1. Fuchsia ; 2 Gainsboro; 3 Ghostwhite; 4 Gold; 5 Goldenrod; 6 Gray; 7 Green; 8 Greenyellow; 9 Honeydew; 10 Hotpink; 11 Indianred; 12 Indigo; 13 Ivory; 14 Khaki; 15 Lavender; 16 Lemonchiffon; 17 Chartreuse.

Game on! Mark! santos!.

Late, Great: spicycow. Warning! not for gentle meat comes from the supermarket folk.

Starving Artist: David has a beautiful vision in his auspicious piece, The Technicolour Ox is Patient and Strong and Will Graze in the Surplus Money of his Sound Fiscal Management (I’m guessing on the title ; )

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To reassure those who have come to the conclusion that my oven’s died and I’ve been stringing the inevitable out dead 80′s Soviet leader like a stream of consciousness dinner which turned out well enough was last night had mum cloud rabbit

What

2 free range chicken breasts – cut into large chunks; 3 cloves of garlic -chopped; 2tsp cumin; 4 large field mushrooms – sliced; olive oil; salt and pepper.

How

Saute garlic and chicken until coloured, seasoning with cumin and salt. Add mushrooms and stir occasionally until soft. Pepper. Served with steamed broccolini.

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T-Bone with Corn

Dandarigan Organic T-bone steak cooked in duck fat to medium rare and served with a sprinkle of cracked pepper. Had with steamed corn on the cob with butter and sea salt.

BTW: *now* my camera works. No doubt paralysed by shyness in the awesome presence of Peter Garret. Got a signed poster though. Woohoo! Thanks to Young Labor for hosting. I snuck in with a line on opportunity, bit of Grecian 2000 and some haemmerhoid cream for the eyes. Finger food though, had me pining for carrot sticks and french onion dip.

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Been reading Richard Olney’s Simple French Food, and while he’s no Major Les he does make for a good read as an inspring blend of bile, obsession, and love. Though I’m yet to find the point where he dots the “i” and realises the common trend of appropriation, softening and santisation as culture moves upwards in the social hierarchy (see Rock, Roll and; Ball, Foot). Anyway most of the dishes started there.

Lamb

One nice looking leg of Cramphorne Edge of Civillisation Saltbush-Fed lamb. It’s always good to adjust a few things to see the effects of changing ingredients but I got out to the herb garden and went mad with the secateurs.

Trimmed most of the fat off and then made finger sized pockets in the roast. I let it marinade in some EVOO, leftover sangiovese, and a splash of sherry.

Next I filled the holes with the herb mix – finely minced rosemary, garlic, parsely, thyme, green peppercorns, and a little sage with a bit of EVOO mixed in. Rubbed a little salt and oil over the roast and then placed it on a bed of quartered leek and lavender. In it went at 190C for 20 minutes and then down to 170C. Continued to baste over the course of the cooking and adding some of the reserved marinade as necessary.

Minikins

Pumpkins the size of a baby’s fist, made a few vents in the top and chucked them in with the roast, making sure they got a good basting.

Du Puy Lentils

Previous story on these is here . Rinsed and then cooked in enough water to cover with a bacon bone, a bay leaf, and a sprig of parsley. Simmered for 25 minutes.

Braised Fennel

Stalks chopped off, quartered, gently browned in some EVOO with four unpeeled garlic cloves for 30 minutes then placed in a small saucepan with some salt and 2/3 cup of water, covered and left to simmer until the water has reduced to a caramelized syrup.

Potato Paillasson

Thinly slicing some potatoes on the slicer for this and then that feeling of having done something very wrong and looking down at my right ring finger to see a patch of skin missing. Off to the sink to lose a bit of blood and then sitting down with a nonstick dressing and a paper towel wrapped around it. Assistant chefs took over under close unnerving supervision. Potato slices washed and dried then spread in a frypan with some duck fat in it. Covered and cooked until golden underneath and then flipped.

Finishing Up

Roast took a shade under two hours and was rested for 20 minutes under some foil. A quick and easy jus made with a splash of wine and some of the liquid from the lentils. Roast carved and served.

Meat was nicely pale and subtly flavoured by the herbs and well complemented by the veges and lentils. Did the lamb a great justice and the finger will be OK.

Not forgetting drinks. Started with beers including a quite sweet Caledonian Golden Promise organic beer Had a 2001 Mc William’s Hanwood Estate Cab Sav which had a hint of dark caramelly sherbert that I love, did I detect the ghost of a sherry in there as well?

Conversation drifted inevitably to the November elections. Pork gets fork.

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I was sucessfully badgered to join three friends doing this year’s Avon Descent to do a paddle through the “Tea Trees” – a 20km stretch of an immature river winding sharply through pointy branches and rocks.

3 hours in the middle of winter paddling, head butting my way through branches and falling off a log-like surf ski that eventually filled up with water. I had two things on my mind, a Weezer song and healing winter dinner.

I was going to do a bastardisation of a cassoulet but it was all too hard in my state. Instead I settled on pork and decided to braise it, inspired by something tasty I’d had at the Subi Pub and constant recent socio-political pinging. Went to the butchers and was getting the “we’ve got fillet” and “not much left” routine. Persisting, I said it was going to be braised with beer and there was a “why didn’t you say so” moment. We ceased being client/merchant and became equals – he told me he had some pork belly out the back. Out it came – “with or without bone?”, “With bone” – approving nod. He told me, lovingly, how he was going to trim it. For good measure I told him the rabbits looked great and I’d be back for one later.

The meal was based around a standard braising technique plus a quick skip around the net to see if I was on the right track. I chose Little Creatures Pale Ale as it’s a relatively sweet beer and I’ve been enjoying bacon with maple syrup a lot of late.

Pork

The pork was scored with a bit of salt rubbed on the top. I largely chopped a few aromatics – 1 leek, 2 carrots, and a stick of celery put them in the cast iron casserole dish with a little butter and put the pork belly, cut into two pieces, on top.

This went into a 190C oven until the pork was lightly browned on both sides. Then it was back onto the burner. 1.75 bottles of Pale Ale went in. Don’t worry, my wife (bless) knew I might be sad, so she got me a 6 pack rather than just the two I asked for. And added half a cup of chicken stock to bring the liquid half way up the meat. I added a bouquet garni and filled the pot with thinly sliced cabbage. Bought the pot up to a simmer, reduced it to an ever so gentle simmer, placed the lid on, and came back two hours later.

Took the pork out of the dish. I was unhappy with the “crackle” so I put them under the griller while I did the rest of the preparation. Cabbage and leek was taken out and kept and the rest was strained with the carrot and celery binned. The broth was kept on the burner in very token gesture to reduction.

Stoemp

I was disappointed that this is just a fancy Belgian way of saying mash – as a noun it would make a great verb and Wrestlers who dig exotic wordplay should take note. The mash was just boiled Royal Blue potatoes with buttermilk. According to the very useful Essentials of Cooking byJames Peterson, which I also used as a guide for the braise, it shouldn’t be done with a processer as it glugs up the starches, so I went back to old masher.

Serving

Stoemp as an island surrounded by a sea of broth with a sea pasture of cabbage and leek…that’s enough of that…pork on top. Fair compensation for a grim morning but would recommend reducing the broth a little further and darts as a sport. The flavour was strong enough and made a soup with the potato – beer soup, ponder that.

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Listen All of Y’all it’s a Pinotage

Listen All of Y’all it’s a Pinotage

Jeanne of Cook sister, has been horse whispering and lured me away from local wine and into trying a South African one – she’s right, think hemispherically. Check out Henley Wine Fair and realise why I’m more than happy to humbly take her advice. Always on the lookout for something new, a Pinotage (Hermitage and Pinot Noir) captured my interest.

To do it justice, I got a leg of lamb from the freezer. My Dad’s gone soft and become less of a mutton purist in his old age, Pah! Still, with him and a good friend up in Muntadgin – a steady supply of meat has been assured. Fear that lamb may become a specialist meat in the future, they’re hard work, the shearers aren’t there, there are other ways of restoring the soil (ploughing crops in) so more and more farmers are getting out of sheep.

Leg was done in a new marinade inspied by the simple but trusty “Best Backyard BBQ Cookbook”. The recipe called for a butterfly, but I was feeling proper Sunday Roasty. Cleaned up the fat and skin- cross scored it and coverered it with the marinade for one hour.

Marinade

2tbs Jingilli olive oil, 1tbs of green peppercorns – crushed, 3 cloves of garlic- minced, 2tbs of fresh mint mashed together in a mortar.

Veges

Three tubers of Jerusalem Artichoke, Sweet Potato, and Royal Blue Potatoes. All parboiled and roasted, with the late addition of some Broccolini splashed with olive oil.

Eating and Drinking

Loved the roast – served with a simple red wine jus. JA’s could have been more thinly sliced. Broccolini florets dry out very quickly. I often double cook the roast, just cooking the outside half and finishing the inside for later in the oven. I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with this – it means I get the right balance of doneness. Then again, it does scream too fast cooking and potential food poisoning.

The wine was very pleasant. It was much softer than I’d been warned and liked the non-jamminess…erm self-conscious alert. I’ll stop there and will promise to look West more often for my wines (as you Easterners should).

No pics I’m afraid- camera ate my memory card.

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Meat and three veg – one being Dennis Hopper.

The vegetable you see is a cathedral broccoli which, frankly, scares the hell out of me – it’s the chameleon eye, a martian bosom, and the fractal shapes are too close to comfort to a couple of particularly nasty lysergic adventures of years past. Had not David at BARISTA set the tone, I may have missed the inspiration. It joins three regulars and a first attempt at bernaise sauce.

Cathedral Broccoli

Sliced carefully into horizontal thirds so I could cook it without boiling or roasting. Cooked on a stove-top grill with a little olive oil. When the grill marks were dark it went into the oven to slowly keep cooking.

Jerusalem Artichoke

Better than potatoes – only a little difficult to peel due to their knobbliness and you should peel them in water with the juice of half a lemon in it as it discolours quickly. Sliced into 5mm sliced and cooked the same way as the broccoli.

Field Mushroom

Two, stem removed and done very simply, just a sprinkle of pepper and salt and then cooked on the stovetop grill until soft and the put into the oven with the others.

Scotch Steak

Done until the red of the juices weeping out started to change to clear.

Bernaise Sauce

2/3 cup of white vinegar, small handful of tarragon, the whites of two chopped spring onions, salt and pepper

Heat these over a medium flame until it reduces to a few tablespoons of liquid -finely strain, pressing out the liquids and toss out the solids

4 egg yolks, 4 tablespoons of water

This part I enjoyed. Just put them in a saucepan and whisk them for under a minute and then put the saucepan over a medium heat. I kept whisking waiting for the precise moment for the sauce to “lose volume”. Three minutes and I thought I’d missed it and then suddenly it goes from frothy to creamy. Magical. Quickly off the heat, stir a bit longer and then add the reduced vinegar to taste.

Together

Very happy. Jerusalem artichokes have a gorgeous chewy texture – like bean paste. The bernaise sauce worked and the cathedral broccoli was no monster after all – a grillable green.

Synchronic Update What is it with these Melbournians – scaring the b’jezus out of me again.

Further Update Just…whimper…furgin…sob…stobbit. Don’t click on photos