August 2004

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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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Andy over at Tripe Soup asked me if I could recommend any Japanese cookbooks so I thought I’d post it rather than hide the answer away in the comments section.

Japan has a vigorous publishing industry which pumps out a huge stream of cookbooks and magazines and it’s a pity more don’t make it over here in a translated form (has an idea, decides all too hard). Even so we’re not starved for Japanese cookbooks here either. I use three English cookbooks and each of them has its uses and represent three things you should look for in a Japanese cookbook. Firstly, I think Japanese food has been fetishised by food pornographers and these book are best kept on the coffee table or under the mattress. For normal use I’d recommend unpretentious and tasty as a guide.

There’s no must have book but I have three books which illustrate what to look for.

The Pleasures of Japanese Cooking by Heihachi Tanaka. This is from 1963 and found in a second hand bookstore. Very much a core of Japanese classics apart from a few replacement ingredients, it’s just as much an anthropological work as a cookbook. It represents a walk through the fundamentals and the “A Chat about Japanese Food” is extensive and informative.

The Joy of Japanese Cooking by Kuwako Takahashi. Marginally more Westernised. The Okonomiyaki, for example would be as recognisable as Chicketti to an Italian, but it does cover a wide range to different dishes; the pictures are instructive; it has hints on decorative cutting; and it has good dinner party plans, especially for the communal nabe and sukiyaki. Very much an all round reference.

The Many EcstasiesThe Food of Japan Bitsier in the sense that it is a book of Japanese recipes than Japanese cooking. More innovative that the other two, it is a good source of fresh ideas. You could use this to make an entree or have several dishes in a row. Japanese food doesn’t lend itself well to entree-main-dessert. This one also has a few chapters on culture and ingredients.

The task is to work out whether you want to learn Japanese cooking or cherry pick but I’d recommend mastering the basics of Japanese cooking as there aren’t that many. Japanese chefs are masters of specialisation rather than diversity. Most sauces are a combination of mirin, dashi, shoyu, and sake. The main cooking techniques are broiling, simmering, and deep frying. I’d also recommend developing a love for tofu, plain boiled rice, and miso soup.

The pleasure of Japanese food doesn’t come from complexity or extravagant ingredients but simplicity, freshness, locality, the seasons and the celebration of life with food and drink.

itadakimasu

A few dishes from the archives:

Red Emperor Nabe with a 3 Fish Ceviche

Okonomiyaki

Pork Belly and Potato Reduction

Crayfish Sashimi etc. in January 2004

Salmon Marinated in Miso with Chilli Garlic Soy Spinach.

Izakaya food in October 2003

Colonial Fancies

Legible version here

From my 1977 copy of Australian Colonial Cookery by Richard (nice combo) Daunton-Fear and Penelope Vigar – “A page from Mrs Beeton’s cookery book illustrating some of the hundreds of elaborate desserts which were part of a good cooks repertoire during the latter half of the nineteenth century”. Part of my research for my groundbreaking book Confections of History-The Myth of pre 1970s Rubbish Food; Chapter 6 – No Empire, No Fancy Jelly”.

There’ll be a test next week, get boning.

Eddy’s in the Space Time Continuum: Fine dining and fisticuffs at A Journal of Four Coloured Colonial Fancies

Speaking of Mrs Beeton – things have been rather quiet over at Tripe Soup. And which cake do I like? The deltoid one seems to have had quite a bit of work put into it.

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well how about

80% of Australians, including myself, would drop dead from hunger in the Australian bush. Now, not that I’m saying that turning a wombat into a tasty stew or a fancy hat should be part of the school curriculum but it does point to a certain disconnectedness with our environment on a fairly fundamental level. This is why this man, and not Richard Olney, is my foodie hero.

To quote the Major himself


All these creeks are named after people who died in the area. What I can’t understand is how a bloke could die with so much tucker around.

Negotiating the treacherous car park at Herdy Markets I found these Boab roots. Boab roots come from, as you may have guessed the boab tree. They’re from the North West and I’ve not seen them down here before but if you want to get a bit of background on them the I’ll point you to: The Prospect of Commercialising Boab Roots as a Vegetable . It’s pretty dry but it has proven to me that it’s possible to write at length about food without using gorgeous, marvellous, or sublime.

Ahmm oh yes what do they taste like. They have the crunchy texture of water chestnuts and none of the starchiness of potatoes. It reminds me of the centre core of a carrot in its crisp juiciness. This is good, now what to do with it?

Links for bush tucker: here and here’s a reason to get Windows.

Prawn dumplings for IMBB7

Dumplings have been mentioned in the context of love, and I can’t argue with that. Dump, for being given permission to be friends; and ling for that rat Nazi bastard Quisling . The Japanese understand this and have named them gyouza. The gutteral “Gyou” for building power from the diaphragm and “za” to punch through the ribcage to extract the still warm heart.

This is no such sadness but a reconstruction of ebi gyouza which I bumped into in a small Ramen shop in Bandoubashi in Yokohama near 10 years ago and never saw again. I travelled Japan, thinking I’d seen them but all had the prawn as a mashed up non-entity rather than as a whole tail. We meet again and discuss how our lives have changed since we last met as the clock ticks towards our inevitable parting.

I referred to jibun de tsukuru puro no ra-men (Make Professional Ramen by Yourself) for the base recipe. The book’s a great one and I often flick through it, dreaming of the day I finally make puro no tonkotsu ra-men.

Ingredients:

  • 30 small raw prawns: peeled with the “sand tube” (ha!) removed, but the tail left. Slashed the meat across the tail to stop it curling when cooked.
  • 300gm minced pork:
  • quarter chinese cabbage: blanched for 30 seconds then chopped
  • bunch of chives: should be nira – garlic chives but I balanced with more garlic
  • 4 garlic cloves: minced
  • wonton wrappers; or the thicker gyouza wrappers if you can find them
  • plus – 1tbs of potato starch; tsp soy sauce; tsp of sesame oil; one eggs; tsp oil; salt and pepper.

Assembly:

Everything except for the prawns and the wrappers goes into a bowl and mixed together. You may need to adjust the amount of cornstarch and eggs to get the pastiness right. You may also like to vary the flavourings. A quick whiff of the mixture will tell you if you’re on the right track.

Now just place a prawn in the wonton in your hand with the tail slightly protruding. Then add about a teaspoon of the mix and seal the wonton by making small folds. Repeat until you run out of prawns. You may also like to keep a towel over the wontons and the gyouza to keep them from drying out.

And off my school of gyouza went to a friend’s house for dinner.

Cooking:

This is the clever bit. A combination of frying and steaming. Ramen shops have specialised cookers but all is needed is a frypan and a lid.

First you need to fry the gyouza in a little oil for about 30 seconds to get the bases just golden.

Then add a ladleful of boiling water to the pan and then cover. The right balance is for all the water to vanish in 5 minutes which will leave the gyouza perfectly cooked (remember it’s got pork in it).

Serving

I’m a bit fond of the dish I bought in Japan you see on the top which has the dipping bowl built in. The dipping sauce is half soy sauce, half rice wine vinegar and a splash of chili oil.

Time consuming rather than difficult, the recipe was a success with the prawn providing that extra element of texture to the softness of the skin and filling and the crunch of the base. No ramen but they make for tremendous lager accompaniments. The night continued with steak and, for lovers of understated reds, the 2001 Wave Crest Cabernet Sauvignon from South Australia. We’ve had Fish meets Dish, Lamb meets Dam, and now East meest Beast.

Thanks again to the IMBB host.

Sidenote: small Japanese children who don’t burst into tears can be amused by folding your ear forwards and saying “gyouza“.

Update: A vast global melancholy of dumplings now up at life in flow – many thanks to all involved.

Apropos: Language Log – gotta love it.

Foodovers: leftover fillling mixed with some kim chee, fried as a patty and eaten wrapped in lettuce with some chili sauce. Not bad at all.

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Tagine

What you see above is the Le Creuset Moroccan Tagine. It was a wedding present to two friends for reasons of it being a very cool looking thing and low likelihood of them already having one. As knives are bad luck, finding well established 30 somethings a wedding present is no easy task. Since I liked it† there was a bit of vicarious pleasure to offset the sadness of having to give it away. They were nice enough to invite me to its christening so how could I refuse.††

Tagines are functional to boot, slow cooking, the water rises to the top and cools and then falls back into the dish. You can of course appreciate how this would be important in a desert area. As an added bonus, the very top doesn’t get hot so you can lift it off with bare hands (yes I tried).

Dinner was greatly enjoyed to the fill with a beef and a chicken casserole (forgot to get the official names) and couscous. Worked through a few bottles of Samson Budweisers (round the corner from Budvar); a bottle of 2001 Howard Park Leston Shiraz; and the, must be the zeitgeist that someone else had brought along a couple of bottles of Skuttlebutt Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot .

Finished the evening with cognac and a nasty battle with two engineers in that masterful game of changing conditions, friction and gravity – Jenga.

†something about the tagine that I can’t quit put my finger on

††though due to a scheduling clash I’m now down for 6 dozen fundraising Caramello Koalas to help the fight the forces of darkness.

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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Skippy!

John Keats “Beauty is truth, truth beauty

Discuss.

Update: The Secret Lives of Pheasants pipped me on Keats. Bustards! Love their work though.

Not a lot of restaurant reviews of late and little wonder. The other month I had a lovely meal at Jacksons, punctuated by a sweary row over what constituted torture (“nobody was &%$#! &%$&# at #$%&% boarding school! oh hi ahhmmmm yes I’ll have the apple and walnut risotto for entree and the ahhh rabbit for main”) and then had a great meal at Cream where my sister and I managed to break or upend at least three glasses between us. Perth’s a small town, word gets around. I now book in my wife’s name.

Mojo’s in North Fremantle is a top bar and I’m old enough to remember when it was The Stoned Crow, they sold Kirup Syrup, and I was stunned as a green 17 year old to see a white rastafarian skinning up. Anyway, I got off to an early start on Friday and what I vaguely remember is here.

A quiet night was in order for Saturday so we went to my fave Japanese restaurant in Perth, Shige . I went there by farm Landcruiser and discovered the CB radio scene in Perth is alive and well – sample convos

Channel 1

1:ba’&$%d

2:f%&$#ff

1:ya sleeping in the &%$& shed tonight

2: yeah well at least my wife wasn’t f&%#& by my best mate.

3: Steve ya there?

Channel 5

1: to the hip hop the rhythm and the method…

2: I was sc&%$& today

3: Yeah

2: went to bed at 3:30 and woke up at 6:30 and chucked me guts up over me bed.

4:Steve ya there?

Anyway Shige was great once again, we took a bottle of Corr inspired Skuttlebutt Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon/Chardonnay 2003, which Toni enjoyed but I’d hoped for something a bit drier as a sake facsimile. Skuttlebutt is part of the extremely good Stella Bella family of Margaret River. For eats we had gyoza, fried oyster, tempura moriawase, and the grilled pike – all good. We were at the counter and watched the owner quietly and effortlessly just churn out plate after plate of food. Reminded by a Japanese couple of the very good Japanese piece of etiquette of offering a glass of what you’re having to the chef.

Sunday morning was an even more relaxed brekky at the Left Bank Bar & Cafe in Fremantle along the Swan River. The Left Bank is a bit disorienting as it looks like a pub but doesn’t have any beer taps, just bottles. Breakfast is good – scores big on (q*v)/$ – hollandaise, eggs, bacon, mushrooms and toast with a long mac. Flawlessly sunny what a place to live winter morning enjoyed and then back to the Australian dream.

Update Ahh Skuttlebutt, what a satisfyingly prescient choice – only one bottle though, didn’t want to go overboard.

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Octopodes

Beasts. Of all the creatures there are few less like us than but even fewer that are our betters. More than just extra limbed or different skinned they are our lean-running adaptable betters – heads with limbs, bisexual, and cannibalistic. Our competitors for food, with exquisite taste in seafood, they plunder crayfish pots. Masters of unspeakable acts, they are, according to Hokusai, after our women [ not worksafe ].

Only one choice for our species, pickle the brute. You don’t have to thank me.

Unsure of how to go about this I went to here and here .

You may want to save yourself the grief and buy pre-boiled octopus. Mine was fresh and headless and weighed a kilo. Put it into a large pot of simmering water and left it there for a little over an hour, when the tentacle could be pierced effortlessly with a skewer. I then went about the nasty work sloughing off the skin and chopping the tentacles into small pieces.

Marinade half a cup of olive oil; half a cup of white wine vinegar; 1 tbs of balsamic vinegar; 4 cloves of garlic; about 20cm of fresh thyme; salt and pepper

Put the octopus into a jar, putting the thyme somewhere half way, and then pouring in the marinade, giving it a stir, and leaving it in the fridge. Three days later, it could still settle a bit more, but nicely tender, might have it tomorrow.

Invaluable was Pharyngula with Octopus Sex and Octopuses and, amusingly, The Cephalopod Page – FAQ

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Hot Sauce

Bastards!!! Parenting and hotsauce via uggabugga

In addition, Whelchel offers the following: “For lying or other offenses of the tongue, I ‘spank’ my kids’ tongues. I put a tiny drop of hot sauce on the end of my finger and dab it onto my child’s tongue. It stings for a while, but it abates. (It’s the memory that lingers!)”

Vinodiversity

Australia – diversity and the constant struggle against obscurity.

Very interesting stuff on our national drink at Vinodiversity.

OI! International new world wine blogging day September 1st. At

Lenndevours. (via Dave at Weber_cam.)

I found two fist sized pieces of mackeral at the fish markets and it made me think of Japanese stews. I had a recipe in mind but couldn’t find the one of was thinking of/imagined so I used this recipe from Yoko Arimoto’s book of combined Japanese and Western food “New Basic Menu“. Recipes in Japanese are always a combination of reading, guessing, pictures and dictionaries for me so the dish is a little on the interpretive side.

Ingredients

800gm of Mackeral (saba) tail; 4tbs miso; 2tbs sugar; 3tbs mirin; 2tbs sake; 4tbs water; 2 knobs of ginger

Place everything except the ginger and the fish in a saucepan and heat up on a moderate heat until it just comes to a boil. Thinly slice one of the knobs of ginger and add it, then add the fish and cover it all very loosely with foil and simmer until the mackeral is cooked, turning occasionally. Served on a plate with the sauce and finely julienned ginger for garnish.

The sauce was a little on the sweet side and the pieces of mackerel were too large for too little liquid to cook properly and it all made me wish for a wider range of Japanese dishes to go with it, even some pickles. It was enjoyable though with both of us picking from the same plate with chopsticks.

Rounding off the evening with the film made from Kurosawa’s unmade screenplay Umi wa MitteitaThe Sea is Watching. Set in the Edo-era, it’s very charming, the film could be about Japanese tax law for all I care, the design (period) and colours (think low speed colour reversal film) are beautiful.

footnote: ni means to boil or simmer and is usually a verb but here it is just in its root form as a reading of the kanji.

Pseudo-ephedrine has its uses but it’s at cross-purpose to how colds should be treated so I’m resorting to folk remedies. The Japanese will wrap negi, the slender cousin of the leek, around their necks to cure colds. Unfortunately the side effects include excessive humiliation so the leek becomes a soup. I’ve added garlic as a catholicon.

ingredients:1 leek-sliced finely (white and green parts); 4 large potatoes- peeled and chopped; a cup of chopped sweet potato; 3 cloves of garlic- minced; 1 carrot – diced; bacon bones; 4 small handful of parsley-coarsely chopped; butter; salt and pepper

If the leek is sliced lengthwise first you can get a good look at the leaves to see if all the dirt has been rinsed out (apologies if you’ve never done this before). It’s then thinly sliced and softened gently with the butter. The garlic was added in the time it took to mince it. The carrot was an aromatic addition.

I wasn’t sure about using the bacon bones but they are a bargain and I used them instead of commercial stock. They were put in a litre or so of cold water to sit and let the flavour work its way out. By the time the leeks et.al had softened (about 20minutes) the water and the bones were added. In too went the parsley and the pot was left to gently simmer for 40 minutes.

I was thinking of Jerusalem artichokes for a twist but there weren’t any at the shops so I just added some thin sweet potatoes I had in the cupboard. They were added with the potato to the soup and left to simmer until cooked.

Then it was just a matter of removing the bones, waving the bamix wand around to puree it roughly and seasoning to taste.

Tasting

This was overloaded by traditional standards but muted in terms of strong/rich flavour components like stock, or the cream with crispy bacon bits that I’ve seen around. The resulting taste had just enough spaces to encourage investigation and thoughtfulness about it all. I feel better already.

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You’ve been here.

Stir, stir

You remember. You’re staying in a strange house and you have to cook dinner. Numbers go from 4, to 6, to 9 in an afternoon. You visualise the forequarter of lamb in your head. Enough? Risotto for entree, straightforward enough – there’s chorizo in the fridge. The one guest you haven’t met is the chief wine-maker at Vasse Felix. Now the forequarter, is it going to be able to be made into a rack. Chorizo and, and, and, mushrooms should be a safe enough bet. Vegetables with the main. The usual jus should do the trick – shouldn’t have left the bag of dried forest mushrooms back in Perth. Shallots would be nice in the risotto, forget and just get onions.

Stir, stir

Get back with a few hours before dinner. Lamb has defrosted, simple pestled marinade of nuovo olive oil, garlic and rosemary, crushed together. Open an MB. Try to tidy up the forequarter but bone structure unfamiliar. A simple clean up with one of the shanks taken off, remember to keep the offcuts and put them in the bottom of the roasting tray for a better gravy. Rub the marinade over and decide to add some olive tapenade. Cover and leave. Chop up vegetables, thinking small cubes, end up with the usual chunks

Stir, stir

Look for a saucepan for risotto. Find a seventies jobbie that looked ceramic but probably isn’t and has a solitary millimetre of metal all round. Have a sneaky peak in a Jamie Oliver cookbook to make sure you know what you are doing. Sautee the field mushrooms with butter. Crisp up the slices of chorizo with olive oil. Nicely done, set aside. Add the chopped up onion and garlic, sautee until soft in olive oil, add a bag and a half of risotto, stirring until it colours. Ask if anybody wants a glass of white (A Kalgoorlie Childcare Centre Fundraising Chardonnay I think), then chuck a couple in with the rice and stir. Open up the packs of chicken stock, spill half of one over the bench. Heat up in another pot. Open another MB. Go back to veges, dodge Mum making noodles, return to risotto. Keep stirring until wine is evaporated.

Stir, stir

Add the stock and return to vege prepping. Look for a rack ,there is none but settle for propping on veges. Go back to risotto. Rice has stuck ever so slightly, you work it loose with more stock and realise that if as much as one grain of rice sticks and burns, the dish is useless and it’s fish and chips for dinner. Toddler one discovers unstoppably noisy fire engine. Microwave vegetables. Another ladle of stock, more stirring, saucepan is filling in volume. About 30 minutes until ready if I take it easy. Toddler two eyes off my bright green portable stereo with destructive fascination. Return still firm vegetables to microwave. Phone rings, guests will be half an hour late. Turn heat down to murmur. Get given a Slovakian Nude Scratchy Beer. Add another ladleful and keep stirring. Turn away to put roast in the oven and veges underneath.

Stir, stir

Stock running low. Look at beef stockcubes, you decide against it and go for subtle over harsh, dilute stock with water. Nick another glass of wine. Look down to see how the oven is going and it’s slow. Last of the guests arrive. Think you can politely stretch the risotto out for another 15 minutes. Your arm throbs. Check the roast, it’s slow. Turn up head. Field a question about which wine to serve, you shrug shoulders and send out an order for plate and grated pecorino. Down to the last few drops of stock. Give the roast and the veges a quick basting. Look up people still sitting there, gesture to eat. Go back to basting, take a guess on time and back the oven off. Join the table and scoff down the risotto, not bad, someone says creamy, that’s good enough…

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Freud on Food

When I started this blog, I thought that if just one young man read it and made something nice for someone special then it would be mission accomplished.

Wishful thoughts. The food has become mere day residue for the unbewusste. A recent run on thanos, eros, and fungus has led to this condensation.Mark is playing at Mojo’s next Friday, go see.

I’m off to the country support a few friends chase their obsessions in this weekend’s Avon Descent so apologies for no adventures in food, instead an unfinished post from Augusta that was lying around.

Love Beer?

Enough, enough to kill?

The mystery mushroom is a giant oyster mushroom (domo domo santos for woah! MushWorld). It reminded me of the $30 a pop matsutake and how in ad world they’d be grilled over charcoal, amongst autumn leaves, and washed down with Kirin Ichiban Shibori.

No such time luxury so second choice was that I really liked enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon. Handily I still had some venison prosciutto from my trip down south that I could use instead. This left me choosing between Italian and Japanese for the additional flavour and I settled on olive oil.

Cooking

Wrapped the mushrooms with the prosciutto, a bit of oil under in the dish, a little more on top and then put in a 170C oven, letting the prosciutto get crispy for 10 minutes. It was then covered with foil to keep the moisture in and cooked for another 25 minutes.

Eating

Mushrooms have very characterstic tastes and seem to have their own unique textures. They gave off a lovely honey smell but the taste lacked enough meatiness to counteract the sponginess. I’d like to try them just with soy but I think the answer lies in a smaller bite, perhaps by slicing them lengthwise.

Desperate Restaurant notes: The Asian mushroom is given a fresh Italian fusion approach with the use of prosciutto and extra virgin olive oil. Venison gives that perfect dash of huntsman exotica with a bold stroke of antler virility. Linear forms match with curves. Earthy tones hint at winter. Crunch meets mush.

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Fungible

Got these mushrooms at the Subiaco Station Street markets on Sunday. The last time I threw caution to the wind, I found myself sitting on my own a photobooth in Yokohama at 4 in the morning. Sensible me therefore asks if anybody has got any idea what they are and the best way to cook them?

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…

I did wish I had a burnt orange Crockpot and an XB Falcon but that’s life.

A big cheers to umami for doing the hard work on Reader’s Funky Appliance Fiesta (rFAFi)

Apropos: a plug for Gadget Lounge.