drinks

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Tonic water

Imagine, imagine if you knew someone who said ‘Man, there’s nothing better after a tough day than unwinding with some pasta.’ And then  you go back to their place and they’re eating spaghetti out of a can. Imagine if you knew somebody who bought the loveliest free-ranging hen, proceeded to cook it up with Chicken Tonight and then say ‘ahhh that’s great chicken.’ What would you think of that person?

And yet millions of people across this country do just the same thing every time they have a gin and tonic. $70 bottles of fine gin topped with the metallic swill of worker-hating Schweppes.

It was precisely this sad state that sent me via local superstar food photographer Jess ‘Electric’ Shaver to Jeffrey ‘Change From Your Breakfast Strudel’ Morgenthaler’s How to Make Your Own Tonic Water. I just slavishly follow the instructions, only really unnecessarily adding a few dried juniper berries and removed the sediment via the gelatine and freeze method in a coffee plunger – it’s kept its rusty cinchona hue but the cloudiness is gone.

Do it!

martini martini

It was with some sadness that Cardinal Martini passed away the other month. He was, as they say, one of the good ones. His conversations with Umberto Eco Belief or non-Belief? on religion and agnosticism were the kind of grown-up dialogue we could best hope for:

Thoughtful responsible believers and nonbelievers adhere to a profound sense of hūmus. of humanity, although they don’t necessarily give it the same name, there are more important things than names, and when defending or promoting essential human values it’s not always worthwhile to quibble over a quaestio de nomine, over semantics.

Admittedly he’s not wildly radical in the bigger scheme of things – just few considered variations on the big no-no’s which inevitably involve sex and sexuality and basically leaving a note saying ‘not 1812 guys’. But reading this particular Boney M fan I found that not only was Cardinal Martini a ‘heretic’, he was also ‘a modernist’, ‘a Mason’ and a Gnostic. Combine this with his last written pieces being a very jazz albumy “Conversazioni Notturne A Gerusalemme” then we’re looking at such a triumph of mid-century smoothism that, after a few of these modest tribute drinks, you’ll be making love in a Mies chair.

Vodka because its pure and uncorrupted. Martini Bianco (obviously). Whiskey as used in a smokey martini – because he was remarkably close to getting the papal smoke over reactionary benchwarmer Ratzinger. As his middle name was Maria and the role of the Virgin Mary in Catholicism a hint of virgin mary. Dangerously chthonic celery and fruits of the New World tomato with a dash of hot sauce on them (in this instance Sam Ward of El Publico’s very good hot sauce).

Cardinal Martini Martini

- Two measures of vodka
- Splash of Martini Bianco
- Splash of Laphroaig

Add a dab of tabasco or similar to a cherry tomato and small piece of celery at the end of a toothpick.
Chill your martini glasses. Shake the mix with ice. Pour, add your tomato and celery and drink thoughtfully with someone you disagree with.

Notes: And success. The boozy kick of a martini but wrapped in whisky – you’ll need some fine tuning for balance. Hot sauce adds the nices of kicky finishes. A regular no doubt.

martini martini

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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The good people at Enjoy WA Wine asked me to match up a bottle of local wine with a dish, which was really rather nice of them. You can find the recipe here.

It was a few things I’m enjoying at the moment – lemon, chilli and garlic as a flavour combo, wrapping things to cook them, and the snapper is such a magnificent beast to have whole on a table. Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends are my hot day sessional favourite and I could drink them all day long before I decide that maybe I’ve had a bit too much to drink but then manage to remind myself that I’ve got a nice bottle of fortified somewhere.

And if you haven’t tried Western Australian wine because of poor distribution networks or a misplaced sense of regional pride, please do. One of the great opportunities afforded by the mag had been the chance to taste some stunning local wines. I’d like to say I used that opportunity to become an expert but there’s still much more work to be done.

I popped into 399 yesterday, while Toni was having emergency dentistry from an aggressive piece of walnut bread. I’d heard nothing but good things and wanted to try their mulled wine for a Tiger Tiger comparo and it was very good.

The interesting thing though was the bartender was laboriously making an Old Fashioned. So given they haven’t been done properly for ages, would this make it an old fashioned Old Fashioned? And if they updated it in a decade’s time, would it be a newly fashioned old fashioned Old Fashioned? Also, if Ray Davies died around that time and they made a tribute drink, would it be a newly fashioned old fashioned Old Fashioned follower of fashion?

shun cleaver

I’ve been meaning to show off my highly desirable damascan steel Shun cleaver. It’s been a torrid three month’s and I don’t want to kiss and tell but lets just say “cabbage” “all night long” of you know what I mean and I think you do. It’s a sharp metal testament to the fruits of blogging thanks to the Kitchen Warehouse ad rightwards (thank you clickers).

If any of you have been wondering what Spice magazine is actually like apart from my rambly blurbs and can’t get access to a paper copy, you can have a butchers at some sample pages here.

I was at a vertizontal tasting today (2004! 2007!) and was asked in front of a group of twenty people what I thought of a 2001 shiraz. It was a year 10 algebra what do you think x is Georgeff? moment. I think I’ve got a repertoire of 1.4 intelligent things I can say about a given wine before bouncing the question on. I’m actually pretty happy with this amount, winemaking is an enormously complex process and 1.4 is about what I deserve. The more I learn the more respect I have. That said, I was reading about a South Australian winery that named their wines after rock albums. It’s a swell idea with lots of potential – Paranoid Pinot Gris, Master of Puppets Mourvedre, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back Sem Sav and the 2003 1984.
They chose Joshua Tree.
God weeps.
Some say Gram Parsons died at Joshua Tree, I say it killed him.

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holidays

hoegaarden

Ah huzzah! Holidays strech forth to the very end of January, kicking off with a frosty glass of Hoegaarden. Actually kicking off with a crisp and tarty bottle of Moss Brothers Semillon and a club sandwich for lunch but the vibe was harshed by an hour of project report knocking out. Nice numbers. Active verbs.

Expect much – dinners, cakes, music.

Enjoy some more of my chilly friend’s below. I think we have a Coopers Pale Ale with an italian sausage hot dog at home and then an Alpha Pale Ale at the Brass Monkey. Over.

hot dog and coopers


alpha pa at the monkey

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champange and a celeriac

I’ve had bigger, messier, unlikelier, more fractious dinner parties but this one, and Toni will back me up on this, was the best one ever. Not in the world mind, although the cheese board was voted best on globe at 1:30am – in Perth of all places, who would have thought? But the best I’ve ever done. So I’m just basking at the moment and grateful that a shitty, rotten week for a friend gave me this opportunity – so hooray for misfortune.

The deal was a sweet one. I’d come over and cook and bring mains and dessert and she’d provide the nibblies, the seafood for the entree, the cheese and the booze. The resulting menu was this:

Apéritifs
Dolmades, stuffed peppers, baba ganoush, marinated artichoke, and pickled onions (really good, from the Boatshed) with Champagne and Lillet (never had it before but it’s quite lovely and looking like number one sunny afternoon refresher-nicer with a bit of lime, is this wrong?)

befores

Entree
Tuna and Sashimi Tuna with a Mango Salsa
paired with a Beaujolais which didn’t quite work but was interesting and the Louis Jadot was tasty enough for me not to care less)

Main
Confit of Rabbit in a stack of beetroot wantons/pink pappadams with celeriac and parsnip mash, fried parsnip, and a rabbit paté with a mustard cream sauce.
There was a Chianti there but I can’t remember which one, and a Spanish wine and a local Harewood 2002 Pinot Noir.

20 Minutes of Clubbing and a Double Espresso

quick boogie

Dessert
Pistachio and Rosewater Crème Brûlée
with a Vasse Felix Semillon Dessert Wine

stickies

Cheese Board
I’m struggling here – a blue, a goats cheese, quince jelly, dried grapes, a brie, chocolately pistachio things, a Capel something and bottle of Miranda Golden Botrytis.

messy cheese platter

This was my first real attempt at full blown foot to the floor fancy and it’s rewarding that it worked out, especially after a day moving furniture. The entree and the dessert were pretty straightforward, the mains a little more complex but I’ll post the recipes over the week.

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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Goulash and Spaetzle

I don’t really want to tell you how to live your lives, but with the weather the way it is, you should be spending your Friday nights eating goulash and spaetzle and drinking red wine and strong Belgian beer. Jo and Robbie made the goulash but my contribution was the spaetzle.

Spaetzle is the Swabian stuff you see on the right of the plate which, after a few, looks like orzo and is your best mate etc. Well worth considering as a DIY sauce-soaking carbohydrate option. As easy to make as pancakes and a happier value for time and effort than gnocchi.

It’s a simple thick batter made of:
two eggs, two cups of flour and one cup of milk.

For flavour:
a pinch of salt and pepper, a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg, and a handful of fresh thyme, basil, and parsley – finely chopped.

If you’re a gadget tragic, you could get a Spaetzle Press, but I used the stainless steel washing up gear container with holes in it to get an ahhhm similar effect. Get a pot of salted water boiling and let the batter drip in and scoop it out when it comes to the surface. It was finished in a pan with some/lots of butter and served with the kilogram of beef/kilogram of onions goulash. A very happy combo.

St Bernardus Tripel [Bonus Beer Nazi finishing move here!] at 8.5% is on the sweet side but it’s solid creamy consistency offsets any possible sickliness and leaves the impression of have bitten all the way through a large block of cheddar. Shiraz is better for decanting and easier drinking resulted in guitar-based hi-jinks. Go make your own fun.

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cullen pinot

I’ve a flu crapping on me and work is getting to the “bees! in my head!” stage so I’m not feeling very posty, yet I tire of looking at the cheese and ghekin delight. So yes something from the crypt and here are some pics from Cullen Wines from my trip down south a couple of weeks ago. Deserved though, newer wineries and restaurants have drawn attention away from this stayer but I was glad we stopped in for the first time in many years. We just had entrees each and can’t remember being so satisfied with such a relatively small lunch. The Pinot was a bit sharp for what I like in Pinot and, inexplicably, I didn’t do any other tasting.

cullen tart
cullen mushrooms
cullen sardines
cullen bar and glasses cullen wall gnome cullen

The last pic is to further amuse Crafty for making me a rocking good Mapron.

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Beer

bell-vue kriek
Sure there are those Fridays when it’s just me and a jar of chocolate body paint but in the end nothing says weekend better than beer. I’ve made a flickr tribute here and you might also like to check out Tokyogoat’s enigmatic pic.

Enjoy your weekend.

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Topvar Lager

topvar

From Slovakia. A strong malty greeting makes one think of germanic pilsners rather than the lagers here but the clean and refreshing finish reminds us to not be so hasty in judgement. Tempting as a sessional, if a little bloating. At $24 a carton at the drive-through across from Ikea, Osborne Park, it represents exceptional value. With a few of these barely matching the cost of the taxi flag-fall and superfluating dressing up and teeth brushing, they are a compelling deal for the single man.

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sake

Found out that if you can chew a piece of potato for around a minute without vomiting, it starts to becomes sweeter. This is because the enzymes in saliva start converting the starch into sugar. Why is this interesting? Because the first things you think of when you hear sugar is alcohol. Rice doesn’t have sugar, it has starch which makes things difficult for novice cultures. The anecdotal origin of sake in Japan is that it was first made by chewing the rice, spitting it out, and then letting it ferment. It’s also said that this skill was learnt by watching monkeys and their resultant more than usual silliness (dancing, unplanned copulation, kebobs…). Now obviously it’s a lot slicker now, unplanned copulation may also require suave behaviour for example. Sake production has also moved forward in a way that’s so complicated that I can’t explain it now. Not that I don’t want to but I think the more pressing need is a buying guide.

The first rule is that if it has the roman characters “o” “n” and “e” on top and the roman characters “c” “u” and “p” below, it is to be avoided, unless desperate, same for ones in cardboard containers. After that, it’s a little trickier. Click on the two label pics and you’ll find notes attached explaining each kanji character. There aren’t that many kanji characters so it isn’t that hard.

sakelabelIngredients: The label pictured has three ingredients, 米 rice, 米こうじ rice kouji (the mould that converts the rice’s starch into sugars), and 醸造アルコール brewer’s alcohol. Pure rice sake, junmaishu, will only have the first two. This one is honjouzou which only has a limited amount of brewers alcohol. Beyond this – sugars, acids, and down it goes.

Another guide is the percentage of rice that remains after polishing. This will be expressed as a percentage of the original weight. 50% is exceptional, 60% good, and 70% the cut off for special designation. This one is 65%

sakelabeldryness Taste: If you’re still stumped by wine labels, you can imagine how overwhelming it is to see 20 or so bottle of sake all in Japanese. The easy way is to work out if you’re a dry or a sweet person. Often this will be written on the label as a -/+ and a number representing residual sugar. +7 is very dry, -6 very sweet (close to a sauterne), with +1 around the middle. I tend to prefer very dry sake. This one has a dryness of +7 and the 辛口 karakuchi designation.

Acidity, sando, may also be shown. Lower numbers tend to taste watery and higher ones heavier and rougher. This one is 1.5 and tanrei, which is light.

Unfortunately, as the small bottle of Ozeki Karatanba I had was a roughy, my theory of most of the good stuff staying in Japan still stands. It’s worth looking out for some though. For some reason it seems to have the deep drunkedness of whisky with the mild euphoria of champagne. The range of flavours is also engaging and described by sweet amai, dry karai, bitter nigai, sour suppai, and astringet shibui. A different approach to wine.

Despite previous research opportunities, much of the technical information cribbed from the extremely good The Insider’s Guide to Sake by Phillip Harper, a British ex-pat brewer. Well worth a read for any refreshment lover. You could also have a good look around eSake. And sake, serve it chilled, yeah.

jared bailey

eomeote4eggswine

I remembered my monthly eggy cycle not with the stomach but with the brain when Chris Sheil gave post-modernism CPR after the beating it received from angry villagers, accusing it of pinching apples and looking funny. I was just there to defend scrambled eggs, I’m a simple man¹.

I was going to go for the perfect poached egg but a slight victory hangover called for fried. Not very inspired I know, but chance favours the prepared mind and a 1/4 full bottle of last night’s shiraz was at hand. Too late go through the elaborate procedure of Bacon and Eggs Poached in Red Wine I just poured a glass in the frypan once the whites had set and placed a lid on. A quick dash outside to get a twig of rosemary from the garden to add. Simmered until the yolks were cooked. A tasty sunny side up finish to the eggs and an instant jus to be soaked up by the bread. The bread was New Norcia sourdough and was joined by fried roma tomatoes, bacon, and hash browns.

eomeote4baconeggs

If you’d like to know more or be a part of EoMEoTE²#4 please speak with our lovely host of the month and founding member Jeanne. The round-up will be in a week or so.

¹But I do know what I like. I woke up one morning to the guest “post-modernist” chef on Good Morning America telling us about his [gasp!]edible menu and [swoon!] hot/cold soup. The former dismissed by the Flinstone writers long ago in favour of the “bringing the table tennis table to the French restaurant” gag, and the latter showing he’s never used a microwave. He would have been covering himself with mud for a performance piece twenty years ago and choking on Gitanes Sans Filtre, forty. Stick to carny son.

²EoMEoTE is a global iniative to promote accessible engagement with simple food and shared experiences. All are welcome to partcipate. Spiceblog uses and encourages the use of free-range eggs.

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morgenhofcheninblanc2001

I know it may seem , having got past the initial step of being able to identify wine as wine, that I stumbled at the next stage of distinguishing between red and white. I could ask for pity as I suffer from the debilitating genetic illness of partial red-green colour blindness and subsequent humiliation at the hands of Ishihara test administrators. I’m also prone to the “hardware store effect” as well double-entedric distraction. As a result, I humbly submit to Wine Blogging Wednesday #6 heads down south – South African Reds, a chenin blanc.

The occasion was Greg Manthatcatchesgreatfish was bringing over some dhufish fillets from said great fish for cooking. Joining us was Anonymous of Floreat, glorying in topping the sales figures for Supermart and handily bringing an Australian chenin from a winery bought by a South African. How apropos.

halinabrookchenin

First off was the Halina Brook Estate 2003 Chenin. Unusually north for a West Australian wine with a vineyard near Bindoon. I can only tell you what I wrote on my kitchen whiteboard and that was “densely packed citric bite in an oily enteric coating“. Thinking back it was better than that sounds, a sharp hit that grabbed the tongue with a heavyweight refreshing linger.

Unusually further west was, from Stellenbosch South Africa, the Morgenhof Estate 2001 Chenin Blanc (or “Steen” as they say on the veldt). Immediately noticeable, even to me, was the richer gold colour of the wine. A shade over $20 a bottle, it’s midplaced between equivalent budget bests and lower premiums in price which sets up certain expectations. It has a simple trick and I fell for it. Like any song with a cow-bell, any wine that can tranport its flavour across my tongue in a sherbety fashion will have my love. And it does. Nothing else interfered with it, not the stone fruitiness or the warm nose. If you like this effect I don’t need to tell you any more, in fact I can’t. Thank you South Africa.

dhufishfillet

As for the meal. The dhufish fillets were cooked on a stovetop griddle just in butter. They are not to be messed around with. I found “done” occurred just as the fillet looked like it was going to flake. For a simple match I had Pommes Veronique without the garlic and good dab of goose fat; oven roasted asparagus; and a bernaise without the sorrel tarragon sauce on the side. It’s a magnificent piece of fish, sweet and unfishy without being bland. A West Australian must have.

Egg whites to be rid of led to the soufflé omlette. The combination of 4 egg yolks with 115gm of caster sugar, whisked until pale and creamy with 30ml of Cointreau added once done. Egg whites whisked until stiffly peaked with a little extra caster sugar added slowly for extra hold and gloss. A third mixed in with the yolks and then the rest folded in. Baked in a long baking dish in the oven at 150C for 10 minutes, some strawberries dropped in and then warmed brandy and Cointreau poured over. Light the match and ….. oh well, must have gone straight to the bottom. The dessert that wasn’t there, sugar and booze mysteriously appears in the mouth.

Rest of the meal spent with readings of The Philosopher in the Kitchen. Hilarious. Best thing since the Scarlet Pimpernel.

dishes

Typically well written red round-up from Jeanne at A barrel of South African reds – WBW#6 round-up, Part I and Part II

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emubitter

Busy, gotta go look for this book which has gone missing here. John’s taking up the slack for me. John?

The sun is straight overhead. There isn’t enough shade to fit under a dog. The threshing machine clanks in a cloud of choking yellow chaff-dust… Then you let cold Ballantine Ale Emu Bitter rill into your parched throat like spring rain on the dessert. Smooth malt and hops…


Hotty Hot Hot Hot Reader Matt Voerman kindly let me know that the annual Chilli Festival is on this weekend at the picturesque retreat of Araluen Botanic Park. Family foodie fun to be sure and more. boawwwwbaddowdowdowdydowdabowdowdiewdadow

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swagmanskiss

Pim has gone a further turn of the corkscrew with this month’s collective wine review event, Wine Blogging Wednesday, with her chosen theme of Wacky-name wines. My choice, a local wine, the 2001 Swagman’s Kiss Chardonnay.

The swagman is the chief character of our semi-official national anthem Waltzing Matilda and the wine’s maker Clairault Winery is without doubt one the finest wineries to stop at in the Margaret River region of our South West. What we see on the label is clearly informed by the myth of Narcissus and we feel for our vagabound friend as the cooling waters of the billabong touch his parched lips and automatically associate with the cooling glass of Chardonnay over lunch on a hot day.

I always think of itinerant 19th century farmworkers. The coarse rub of an unwashed woolen shirt outdone only by the rough stubble and breath notes of cold mutton fat and ‘baccy in a time when dental hygiene was unheard of. A kiss from a man whose last partner is affectionately referred to as Baabara which he may have gotten or given syphilis. The roughened hands sent a rovin’ by a warm bottle of ale. I could go on.

Tasting

Tasting gets off to a promising start by it being pre-openedly dubbed “Swagman’s Piss” by fellow pool surrounders. Off we go then. Substantial straw colour and then indistinct lemon whiffs on the nose. Leather strap smoothness across the tongue with an acid finish to the muted fruit tones. Filled out and interest created by citric highs with oily flats and a pleasing coolness sorely missed as the glass heats.

There we have it, Chardonnay is lager made with grapes and a slice of lemon in it. Nice enough wine, ill chosen name. Now as for the kiss, well how about it swaggy? Hey well fuck you too.


It’s on: Go read the roundup. It’s a wheeze. Cheers and thanks Pim.

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larkdistillery

Hobart is one of the most democratically beautiful cities in the world. Every house seems to get a stunning harbour view from the hilly basin that surrounds it. We left the rural seaside idyll of Dover and made our way to Hobart to catch the plane. One night in Hobart and your girl’s an oyster.

citruscafe

A mid-morning cappucino and bagel as the Citrus Moon Cafe in Kingston to make me happy and then farewell to my Dad who got me over here and who then went off to win $300 in 15 minutes at the Hobart Casino. Fark! So much for the casinos are depressing places full of addicted losers thinking they’re James Bond. We grabbed a shower at our hotel, the Astor. Cute friendly 1920s place but do go for the ensuite rooms which are roomy and swish. The next rooms down are a tad more humble and for those wishing to recreate the depression era emery paper salesman effect.

jampacked

A wander down the mall picking up this great furry red Yowie vest from Mountain Design and then, down to the harbour for reconstitution in the form of a cherry flan and a nick of Toni’s cherry cheesecake at Jam Packed. It’s in the restored old IXL jam factory and rumour has it you can still hear the screams of the strawberries at night.

calamari shanesfishmarket

On on and thought I’d have some calamari at the floating harbourside fish and chip shop before windowshopping for antique maps and prints and then buying a genuine Floreat teaspoon (the coincidence!) and an ornate beer bottle opener – more stout Lady Windemere?

Back to the hotel for a disco nap, a quick stop at a pub (can’t remember the name though) and rush down to Orizuru sashimi bar to try and nab a barside seat. Well recommended by a couple we met in Dover so quite excited about it all.

orizurutempura orizurusashimi

But no. Bar seat was reserved – by one man in a suit it seemed so we were relegated to the more distant orbit of a table and I think think this is where things went wrong, largely with the waitstaff who pushed a few buttons. First thing, speaking Japanese is not reserved for Japanese customers*. If I notice a bottle of Yebisu at the bar but there isn’t any, the solution is not instant revisionism by coming back as if the last drinks order never happened. When I said yes to having our dishes at the same time this meant not as entree, main not all within seconds of eachother. The food. The food was OK. I think Shige in Perth manages the small local Japanese restaurant much better. Orizuru seems to be anticipating people wanting the framework of a western dining experience. The kaki furai (fried oysters was the best), followed by the gyunotataki (sashimi beef) and it’s piquant dipping sauce, then the tempura, and finally the sashimi which I’d had greater expectations of but was put off a little by the heaped in a bottom of the bowl idea with the lettuce and parsley garnish. It had the potential to be exceptional and I’ve great faith in the recommenders but it may have been a case of the Mondays.

*this sounds a petty thing to say but it’s really bloody annoying – can I have some backup here? Mr Goat? Heech?

barcolonapinotgris

Drinks. First to the Bar Colona in the old/new Salamanca the Tigris Pinot Gris was just the tonic. Five stars. Looks clear and weak but has a hugh amount going on in there to busy to explain but it managed to be oily and sharp and I liked it.

T42

Off then to the T42 for a Ninth Island Pinot Noir. [reads from notes] Dark like the black heart of satan, announces itself with a vaguely socky note, smooth berry entry filling mid palate with custardy (?) raisins and a good sharp finish. Ahm yes then.

If we don’t find a whiskey bar I fear that we might… oh there’s Lark Distilllery. A single straight up of Talisker (from the Isle of Skye). The initial “gah! it’s whiskey” and then enjoy. Have a moan with the barman about why spirits are so expensive in Australia and the typical experience is Bundy rum or the worst of the bourbons with a bottle of coke with the sole intention of being munted an unlocking a deep seated need to be an agro dickhead. Suave dickhead people, suave.

Wander around, it’s a Monday, and find a student pub with a $1.20 drinks deal for a few nightcaps then back to our room and then, in the morning, away back to the flatlands.

astorlift

Been reading A Concise History of Australian Wine by John Beetson. A much more enjoyable way of tracking Australian history than sheep population numbers and self-serving revisionism. Although I know progress is never an unbroken march, this stunned me (slightly edited):

The wraps were off it was now time to reveal the product to the Sydney “cognescenti“. They were horrified. Reactions in Adelaide we’re no better. Comments varied from ‘crushed ants’ to ‘aphrodisiac’.

Schubert was mortified and received the final blow when the board asked him to cease production just before the 1957 vintage. For three years it officially did not exist. It was a ‘non-wine’, condemned because it was unsaleable and also because this lack of acceptance and the criticism thus generated was deemed harmful to the company’s reputation as a whole. The tide of public disfavour began to ebb and ‘the prejudices were overcome’.

The wine? None other than the Kooba Estate Fruity Lexia.

Nah, not really. It’s this tidy drop

nurnbergerrye

Can’t be arsed with pubs sometimes so summer brings beers at ours. Minimal fuss.

A kilo Elmar’s nurnberger sausages, a loaf of rye, some mustard and saurkraut – Hollywood!

A few pickles to kick off with then pop the sausage on the charcoal burner placed in the middle of the table. No dictatorship of the propane master here. Just cozy communal woody smoke warmth. Magnificent.

bicksbabydill

Just in case you were wondering, the table you see is made of Jarrah weatherboard salvaged from a mate’s shed and the centre-piece is an old 3 lidded stainless steel ice-cream freezer top I found on the farm. Just remove the lid and pop in the charcoal burner. Too easy.

Weihenstephaners and Löwenbräu all night finished with Seven Hills (South Australia) Sweet White Sacramental Wine (copy line ahhmmmm Sunday’s Best, Seven Days a Week!). Sweet.

Funny night. Best was the story of house sharing and finding a pat of butter in the fridge with ridge in it and a poil pubien. Ladies, if you find somone claiming “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” mid-congress, tell him Jean says Hi.

germansausages

Handy Hint! If you must use the same tray for uncooked as cooked, line it with a piece of alfoil then chuck it before returning the cooked meat.

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Alhambra Reserva 1925

alhambra

Alhambra Reserva 1925 looks all label-less and lemonady from the outside but actually is around 6.5% alcohol. Pleasant. Tastes like a sharp ale. Minox camerish – I’m more impressed with the stealth of it all.

Had with Kytren Goats cheese which is made up in the hills and apparently run by a South African woman. A very smooth customer it is with a bite to it that makes you chase it around like some white dressed lovely in a maze.

Beer Dinner

About to party like it’s Chimay ’99

A beer dinner party sounds novel or sends predictable signals: curry, counter lunch, pork scratchings. It shouldn’t. Beer has sophisticated and distinctive taste characteristics and is a liquid that has long been used in cooking. I have no idea why but it may have something to do with localised beer dominance or the fact that countries that excel as beer producers have relatively poor cuisines and vise versa. Not naming names here.

The dinner (held on the 13th) was a great food and drink pairing exercise, putting the beer minds of Robbie and Graham to busy work. This was the result.

Following starters of Blue Cheese and Hoegaarden White Dip served with Hoegaarden White by Rhonda. Followed by (pictured) Fullers ESB Onion Soup served with with Bitburger by me.

Aventinus Scallop Coins served with Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier by Sonya.

Vension Shanks cooked in Rodenbach Grand Cru with a Barley and Mushroom Timbale served with 3 Monts by me.

Walnut Aventinus Ice Souffle with Crème Anglais à l’Orange served with Swan Stout by Veronique

Cheese Platter had with 1999 Chimay Grande Reserve by Rhonda with the cellaring discipline of Graham.

Comments

Well to get the mea culpa out of the way, the weak link was the shanks which were mostly undercooked – an overcrowded roasting tray, an insufficiently hot oven, and a tight schedule. My fault entirely and were it not for the lure of the Chimays, I would have offed myself there and then. The rest were excellent. You may have tried most of the beers and the ones you haven’t, do so. None are more expensive than a very very average bottle of wine. I was too busy fussing or drinking for tasting notes so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.

It’s a very heavy evening. We tried to hold it back to around 5% earlier one but from the 3 Monts on, it was serious booze territory and the men folk were dropping like flies. Smaller glasses maybe.

Homework

Try at least one course with a matched beer and consider using beer as a key ingredient in a course. Identify the model plane in the picture and discuss its contribution to ending WWII.

Thanks

To Rhonda and Graham for hosting and to Mark at the International Beer Shop for his enthusiasm and wisdom and an apology for calling him Rob for the past 6 months.

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Bought 6 bottles of the Peter Lehmann 2002 Barossa Semillon yesterday at the low low price of $7.50 a bottle yesterday and had to give it a try before I bought bigger volumes for festos.

It is good, at first I thought oily but then , after another try it starts with a lemony buhwang and then sits there softly aaahhhooooohhhhhhwaahhhhh with a slight back of the throat cymbal work. Lager wine came to mind and, keeping that low low price in mind, I was happy.

The came the pasta. A dried and unusual looking pasta. filejia, that looks like a play-doh attempt at a cigarette. Lemon for pasta sauce is in tomatoes, a new world travesty, are out. Don’t argue. The sauce was:

one chopped red chilli and two chopped garlic cloves- sauteed in EVOO; followed by 150gm of proscuitto (not the paper thin slices but a couple of mill); and then a squeezed lemon and added its zest

Let’s see

…………….Chilliillilililililililililililililililililiiiiiiliiiiiiiilliil

…………….gaaaarlicky

…………….salty meaty salty salty

…………….llllleemmmonnyyyyyyyyyyyyy

buhwanggaaahhhooooohhhhhhwaahhhhh tsktsktsktsktsts

Good. Off they go those crazy kids.

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One tokyo goat feeling pleased with things a few years back at a Belgian Beer Bar in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

The beer. Thinking thinking. Wine match is for venison is usually a shiraz, so I’m thinking something that adds punch without getting too caught in that heaviness of a stout. One book recommends a white wine for veal shanks but it might get lost in there. Especially if I’m adding a brown beef stock. Thinking ale but Michael (no) Jackson thought for game a lambic (too weak) or a stout (not acidic enough) and he ended up with an old Flemish Ale. The International Beer Shop suggested a Rodenbach Grand Cru. Good.

Got home and tested it as I was curious as to what would happen to it with heat. I tried a small amount as was, then simmered for a few minutes and tried and it, and then reduced it to half. “As was” was strong sharp flavoured, suggesting the berry flavours of lambic. With simmering a bit of the flavour dropped out, but then consolidated with fully filled taste experience – the berries still there but very stock like.

This is going to be The Melvins

For the soup, I was thinking a kind of potato and pale ale jobby but too much thinking on the sideshow so just went for the suggested beer spin on French Onion soup with Fuller’s ESB standing in for half the stock.

Just In:Wooooooooh! My new camera!!!! Come hither postman!

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Aventinus wheat-doppelbock

Aventinus wheat-doppelbock Brian finds flavours that I couldn’t if I had a map and a torch. It’s good. Wheat and high alcohol content says treacle dipped in honey but it’s not, a lot of character without that stickytongued p-hah. Brian says drink it alone. True. Don’t want to have to share these things. I’m thinking a perfect weekend evening starter. Get the BA levels nice and peachy and then just keep nudging it along with some lagers. Which is what I did.

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Never made a terrine before and I think it has something to do with the reason I don’t make many cakes, the intrinsic fussiness of presentation. On the plus side, the variety of possible ingredients allows a large range of thematic interpretations. I had considered doing one that resembled the layers of the earth but decided that I’d make an Irish one for an Irish friend’s 30th and work over an old favourite. The party was postponed a week but the terrine went on.

To tell the truth, I can’t be arsed writing everything down but here’s a sketch – if you want more details, you know where to find me.

Beef and Guiness Stew as here but without the spuds and the addition of the aromatics – leek (ermm Celtic heritage), carrots and celery. No red wine (not irish) or beef stock (didn’t want to use commercial stock).

The spuds were to make their own layer and were thinly sliced and steamed above the bubbling stock above. The idea was the fumes would infuse into the potatoes like damp smoke. Did it work? Exceeeeeeeeeeeedingly subtle.

Lamb and Kidneys

Oven roasted slowly and moistened with the above stock. Shredded when done.

Aspic

French jiggery pokery that I couldn’t really see the point of but when Le Cordon Blue at Home says do it, then you do it. The stew was strained and the beef shredded and the stock returned with a new round of aromatics and egge whites that were to capture rogue impurities. Strained after half and hour and still bits, so it was all twice strained through a tea towel. Reheated later with 1 tbs of gelatine.

Assembly

Had a great plan to pipe a mashed potato Celtic design but this was downgraded to the famous and much toasted, I’m sure, Ley Line Following Potato Circles of County Cork with a green, sweated-in-butter leek background. Then the lamb and kidney, a layer of potatoes, and then the beef, and filled with aspic (barely enough).

Eating

Taken over for Sunday arvo beers. I was impressed with the dots against the green even thought they’d somewhat randomised. Carving was a disaster and I think it may have called for some kind of drop saw or high tech laser. THIS WAS NOT HOW IT WAS MEANT TO BE. The taste, fine but not knock your socks off, maybe a few veal bones in the soup may have helped. Enjoyable. yep that’s it. Looked at the residual pile of meat and jelly and it made me not think of the Emerald Isles but Pal. Presentation – pah!

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Monteith’s Summer Ale

Wooh! I can get back to Friday beer specials.

Down at the IBS and saw this bit of alluring marketing for Monteith’s Rata Honey & spice flavoured Summer Ale from NZ.

This uniquely different beer is real summer refreshment with a spicy zest

It’s a gorgeous day here, I was sold. Rob at the shop suggested Thai but I just heated up some vege curry puffs.

First thing I noticed was a whiff of ginger like drinking home-brewed ginger ale and then the actual taste was well within the parameters of normal larger in bite. Perhaps a little peppery but very little honey. It’s really really good. Four different malts! If you try one beer this summer etc.

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Bouillabaisse

‘allo can you go

Much discussion about authenticity on this one but authenticity is a much more contrary beast than some would have you believe. There is petty authenticity and great authenticity. Wear the right mirkin buckle at a Mediaeval Fayre and it’s bouquets. Run a sword through Sir Gallahad, brickbats.

I’m not channelling poor Marseilles fisherfolk here so it’s what looks good at the fish shop in the three categories of shellfish, firm fleshed, and soft fleshed. Had in my company, authentic French woman, Veronique, who had the requisite three categories of a french name; the ability to pronounce rouille; and willingness to put up with me going haw haw haw haaaaw. We chose

Blue Manna crabs and Crayfish legs

Fillets of King Snapper and Mangrove Jack

Whole Whiting and Garfish

Dinner would be good. At Tate Estate on newly upholstered chairs and Kiwi Robert was going to the International Beer Shop to get a selection of fine beers.

C’est une tables

6 seeded and chopped tomatoes; two chopped onions; half the whites of a leek; 8 small cloves of *pounded* garlic; a sprig of fennel; a bay leaf; three sprigs of *bruised* parsley; three sprigs of thyme; and a piece of orange peel.

On top of this goes the

Crustaceans

Then with the firm fleshed fish on top of this and a cup of olive oil; salt; pepper; and crumbled saffron. All covered with the quick and easy fish stock I’d made with the whiting and garfish bones. Extra water to cover.

Strategy

We had about four cookbooks open but settled with the Larousse Gastronomique version. I’ve got 643 recipes requiring the aromatics to be sauteed first so this wouldn’t be 644. Just cover, turn the heat on and get it boiling. The boiling is important as it blends the oil in properly. After 9 minutes put in the soft fleshed fish and cook for another 7 minutes. It should take no longer than 15 minutes in total.

Served in bowls with simple bread and rouille.

The meal

Great mussel starter. The bouillabaisse’ stock was superb, especially with the hint of saffron. The crayfish legs were no great shakes but the local crabs topped it. Heavy duty beers were in action all evening. A Spanish beer, Alhambra Reserves 1925 that was more Belgian than Belgians – 6%. Hoegaarden’s as breathers, and the Leffe Brune and the Leffe Radieuse. A great Spanish Basa 2003 Blanco – no citric stilettoes here, smooth with a hint of olives. Hey, how tight are the Dead Kennedys? Didn’t make it to the other one – off my game.

Next Month: Duck a L’orange! Rescued from the 70′s.

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IMBB?8 Food and Booze

Short term wagon boy is sitting this Is My Blog Burning? out. I’d recommend getting over there in a day or two to see what people have done with two of the five pillars of a good life.

Apologies, and for those who wouldn’t dream of visiting another food blog out of burning loyalty, here are some things from the archives: Beef and Stout Stew with Scone of Scone; Beef Bourguignon; and Deep Fried Wine with a Champagne Batter.

it’s up: IMBB?8 round up. Cheers to “There’s a Chef in my Kitchen” for hosting.

Lenn at Lenndevours had a fine proposal for a wine blogging day. Drink a bottle of New World sub-$15 Merlot. It’s a big ask.

Merlot is rarely seen by itself in Western Australia, usually it’s seen blended with Cabernet. South Australia has Merlot and I don’t know why but South Australia is still a great mystery to me even if it is the gateway to the rest of Australia. Because of it appearing as a combo I thought that maybe I could set it up as whether it’s Simon or Garfunkel, then I realise I hated both of them, especially Paul Simon with his kitschy rip offs of African Music to salvage his career. What happened to Art Garfunkel? Why am I talking about them?

Less than favourable conditions to taste wine with bogeys stretching back to my toes and mid week knackerment but onwards I went, ordered a Margherita pizza and stopped in at the bottle shop on the way there. The Merlot range is one of the cheapest and I had little trouble finding the one under the budget limit. I chose the most likely to be available elsewhere and chose “Australia’s Oldest Family Owned Brewery” – Yalumba and their 2002 Vintage Merlot from South Oz. Noticed a Houghton Pemberton Merlot, which is from WA but it was over budget.

Tasting-Export

Excellent, and spectacular value giving French wines 5 or 6 times its price a run for their money. Superb with Meat or Pasta.

Tasting-Domestic

[Blows nose]. Promising palate, smooth entry, is that vanilla there, custard?, certainly berries, which ones?-not sure. The initial smoothness give way to sharpness which hangs around a bit longer than I’d like. Certainly better than the $10 bottle of Sangiovese I had the other day but inoffensiveness stymies inspiration. Pizza didn’t interfere with the taste but I suggest something to eat soon after to finish the finish.

Overall

Cheap but the most interesting thing about it was for West Australians to say oh isn’t Merlot usually blended. To be fair to the age of it, it was close to the 2-3 years of recommended cellaring. Forgettable, but as an added feature it’s got a little perforated square on the back label that you can tear off and keep for future reference. New World eh!

This will in fact be the last drop of booze for me for the next month. I should have had two bottles. Drink posts for September will be more like this but shakier.

!Roundupdate: Lenn has (mer)lots

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Liquid Goethe. Tastes of smoked speck, quirky magnificent.

The elaborate process of bringing this to us is detailed at World of Beer

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Suspect Device

No, not the cover photo of my new novel RUC & IUDs, a gripping fast-paced tale of forbidden cross-denominational love in Northern Island.

It is, rather, evidence of research done a couple of months ago after I worked out there are very good reasons for serving beer in glasses way back here in May. Like any late convert, when a friend offered me the latest Guiness in a bottle, I demanded a glass. “No” he said, “it doesn’t need one”. He was right, so we smashed open the bottle top have a look at the widget inside, took a photo with his camera. The photo came a few weeks ago.

I’m going to be a bit a priori (read lazy) about this and offer the following explanation. The widget creates a tunnel in the flow to the mouth allow the flavour to breathe and open up, just as happens in a glass. I went on to imagine that the wings create a hydrodynamic effect like a turbine. But then considered the less exciting, but more important function of preventing the widget becoming lodged in the throat.

Sunday Night Tapas

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

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

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

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

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

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A walking swill-bowl?!

The Curiosities of Ale and Beer by John Bickerdyke

“A drunkard is the annoyance of modesty, the spoil of civility, his own shame, his children’s curse, his neighbour’s scoff, the alehouse man’s benefactor, the devil’s drudge, a walking swill-bowl, the picture of a beast, and monster of a man” – a Mr.Dod 16th(?)C

A 16th Century quote in a 20th Century edition of a 19th Century book by a man whose name seems suspiciously unlikely. Found it at Mainly Books and giving it to a good friend to whom I have a lifelong debt for ramming a car with another car into the side of his house when we were neighbours. He’ll get it right after I’ve done a bit more scanning and found the incantation which brings Kalgoorlie Bitter back from the grave. sed non incorpore…

Augusta Trip Beer Omnibus

In no particular order:

Mac’s Blonde

A very good thing from Nelson New Zealand. I didn’t get to try this properly last time as I gave my 6 pack away out of embarrasment over my tempremental alternator to kind jumpstarters. I’m very leery of flavoured beers but this is really another way of sharpening up a wheat beer like the lemon in Redback. It’s a great beer and fills a very specific taste gap. Ash got the observation of the week award by saying it reminded him of cider. Perfect if you’re looking to avoid “Oi’ve got me a brand new combine harvester” comments.

Super Paladin Doppio Malto

Can’t find any info for this on the web but it is pretty special. Dark bronze and smooth, no bitterness but the last drop of it brought great sadness. Not cheap but as it comes in a champagne bottle, I’d be thinking of allocating a bit of the Crowny budget at ritzy mostly male dos in lieu of sparkling white.

Rationalisation notes: not to refer to as beer; good sparkling -similar; Champagne-bargain; special occasion; prior good deed; incurable illness.

Bootleg Brewery

The beer you can see in the corner next to the Beef and Raging Bull pie is the sharp and refreshing Wills Pils – easily the best of the locally made pilsners. From there it was hearts of darkness territory with the dark, darker, darkest of Tom’s Brown Ale, Raging Bull and a limited release Stout. All were very smooth with the stout seemingly radiating darkness. I had no idea the Raging Bull was 7.1% which should give you an idea of the quality of its body.

The site of the brewery is fantastic and allows parents to drink beer and watch their kids wallow in the temporary marshlands. Enjoyed my pie in the sun greatly and only regretted not being fast enough to nick some of the chorizo and squid and that it closed at 4:30pm.

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The name refers to olive trees and if you’re fond of wineries that only sell at the cellar door, who had a stab at making wine and found it sold out in 6 months, and will take you through some quite very lovely wines in the good part of an hour – then this is the place for you. I couldn’t make up my mind so settled for a mixed case and Toni picked a bottle of their Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 for good measure (199 left). The reds should be coming in for drinking in time for the Beijing Olympics, the whites a little sooner. Have a look at their site: Peacetree Estate Boutique Winery. The tasting notes save me the hard work and their story is a good one.

Saturday. Getting behind here, “post” is starting to synch with its original form.

Thought the league game between NZ and the Pacific was as good a game in any form I’ve seen for a long time. So what do you do after a rugby game and a few pints at JB O’Rielly’s – make a cake. I think my rationale at the time was that if I could impress myself in the past with a fried egg toasted sandwich, with this, I’d be practically walking down the aisle with myself.

I’ve made this before, but couldn’t find the recipe anywhere so I worked off memory and the ingredients I had.

Crepes

wholemeal flour, milk, eggs, melted butter, buttermilk

Cream

King Island double cream, bit of icing sugar and a splash of vanilla essence -beaten

Plus

Grapefruit Marmalade

Pretty easy really, just make a stack of pancakes and then butter a spring-form cake tin. Crepe, marmalade, crepe, cream, marmalade….until you run out of crepes. Leave in the fridge.

Topped with a glaze of the juice of one orange and equal parts sugar heated in a pan. The glaze either ran down the sides or was soaked up by the top crepe. More work needed here.

Didn’t look the best but it was very adult. Not your candy craving kiddy cake but very sour with the wholemeal being very textured. Paired well with a scoop of chocolate.ice-cream and a ’99 bottle of Vasse Felix my hosts had hauled out of the cellar.

BTW Does this thing have a proper name?

Watched Good bye, Lenin! last night and it left me pondering alternate histories and filial obligation, and wanting for pickles.

I found some German pickles (not Spreewald) at Kakulas Brothers. Nearly got myself in an early morning altercation with a Northbridge boho when I told him they could make him a sandwich if he liked after I got tired of watching him snacking out of the food bins. Who needs pubs. I also bought some pancetta which led to Bauernfruhstuck – Farmer’s Breakfast.

Despite German hosts many years back looking at me like (because) I was a moron when I asked how to make it, I still had a look over the net to check. I found the same recipe in a dozen different locations all with the very unlikely addition of tomatoes and chives.Instead I found this one and went to work,

What

7 potatoes, 5 eggs with a tiny splash of milk-beaten, 300gm pancetta- chopped, 2 onions-chopped, pepper

Boil the potatoes and the chop into eights. Fry the pancetta and remove and sauteed the onion until soft. Add the potatoes, brown a little, then returning the pancetta. When it’s done, mix in the eggs and turn the heat off. There should be enough to cook the eggs.

Served with pickles and washed down with Schöfferhofer Weissebeer while watching Shadow of the Vampire . Schöfferhofer Weissebeer is a flatter tasting wheat beer but the flavour lingers, dancing on the tongue like tiny smurfs.

Footnote: Wife said the left photo looks like Francis Bacon.

Update: Found this over at fantastic planet – current alerts exist for: Déjà Vu for Good bye, Lenin! watchers; cognitive dissonance for combatants in the Burger wars; and severe bar lifting for aspiring soft-drink copywriters.

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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A few years back now I used to enjoy stopping over at at Canadian friend’s tiny run-down apartment in Yokohama. We’d stop off at the su-pa- to get some beers and a bottle or two of French wine and drink until the small hours of the morning, listening to North Korean organ music on the radio, and getting through a few topics like the Russian language and four wheel drifting on ice. My getting my greasy fried chicken hands all over one of his immaculate copies of Car Magazine sparked a discussion on all food being good if fried. This led to the laughable idea of fried wine. My regular blog reads have been abuzz with things about food and health so I’ve been inspired to turn a 2am dream into reality

Theory

If deep fried ice-cream can work, then so can this. I’d turn wine into jelly (the gelatinous jesus) and then cover it with batter and fry it. It was wine with beer batter, then it was beer with beer batter (which made more sense but wasn’t “the dream”), and then I thought that instead of beer for fizziness, I could use champagne.

Jelly

I’d made jellied treats before but never with Agar-Agar . Agar Agar is used in Asian food and,as it’s a seaweed, by vegetarians.

Used two cups of dry red wine, 6 tablespons of Agar Agar

Brought the wine to a boil, and then put in the agar agar and let it simmer for 20 minutes and then strained (clean the strainer quickly as it sets). Put the wine in the fridge to chill. It’s incredibly strong, I remember waiting for jelly to set as a kid, but this was set as soon as it reached fridge temperatures.

Intermission

Went off to Chuntney Mary’s Indian Restaurant on the corner of Hay and Rokeby. We were actually on the corner, outside – Subiaco was heaving, it seemed to be half price drinks night for jailbait. Food was great again – go the goat. Brought friends back to share in the experiment.

Batter

Just one egg, SR flour and a half bottle of champagne lightly beaten.

Cooking

Used corn oil for frying and brought it up to 180c. Process was quite simple, a teaspoon of wine jelly dipped in the batter and the fried until golden. Well recommended to have a lid handy, any contact by the jelly with the oil sets of a shower of hot oil.

Practice

Disappointing but promising, the batter was great but the dry red was just too harsh. Under the guidance of a Doctor and an Engineer, I reduced the quantity of jelly, and added two or three tablespoon of caster sugar to the batter. This helped a little but the wine was still the problem – something gentler perhaps.

Possibilities

I’ve heard dusting helps the batter stick, I could dust with icing sugar to increase the sweetness. Breadcrumbs might bulk up the batter and make it a greater proportion of the flavour. I could add sugar to the wine but that’d make it more like a wine gum. Bitter chocolate sauce?

Daniel McNeil – thumbprints sorry.

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Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbeer. This one’s to Bill – happier times.

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