September 2004

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Juice

Busy so I’m skipping articles. Busy life demands juicers but too many people see it as kind of gastronomic confession . I have friends who would spend 6 months on piss and eating crap and then go off to Thailand for one week of fasting and enemas. Now the latter is obviously dodgy (especially people who use them for administering hallucinogenic cactii in NZ) but whole purging concept is wrong and potentially dangerous. I actually think it’s based on faulty metaphor that body is something that can be flushed out. The damage is already done and what you’ve eaten or drunk has already become part of you.

More often better, even if it’s just Sunday recuperative. The major factor in irregular juicer use is that most are a pain to use, requiring mucho chopping in state or at time of day when knives should be given rest. Spend little more and get one with feed chute that can fit whole regular sized apple, I’ve got Breville one and it rocks.

Juice mixes are fairly random, remember to peel citrus fruits and kiwi fruits, and keep some celery chopped up and ready to go. Ginger is great for adding zing and taking away any muddy flavours. Adding something juicy like celery at end helps rinse out pulp for cleaning and the pulp can go in garden.

Yesterday, for example, was ginger, beetroot, celery, carrot, apple, and kiwi fruit. Took a few minutes. Nice, and with regular cycle of smoothies, and freshly squeezed OJ, keeps me hell away from Thai health spas.

Greens

Chinese ones best done stirfried quickly with oil and ginger and a bit of oyster sauce and served with fish.

Local ones court foodie vote in an election campaign where food gets not a mention (where’s Bob Carr and his sausage rolls). A “have your cake and eat it too” brochure and then this Cleanskins fundraiser.

Iron Mark -over to him for a hustle in below the line senate voting extravaganza – all it takes is a beer not champagne government. *

On the nose Jack? Last week’s casserole.

Full and detailed pre-election posting soon. And of course some food.

Launch*Full strength local with gold for grandad. Good.

Whiiiiiiiitebait

Whitebait; Jailbait; Jail Break and there ends a little associative journey that ends not in some elaborate international conspiracy but at a certifiable rock classic. What does AC/DC have to do with whitebait? Nothing except they’re both suffered from not being taken seriously and ………………. come from around Fremantle.

Whitebait was a serious “food good” moment on a diving trip as a teenager near the Abrolhos Islands. One of us reached out of the back of the boat and scooped up a catch bag full of them and dumped them straight on the BBQ plate. I don’t think we did more than scoop them up and eat them.

Not quite as simple but little more difficult is deep fried whitebait. Dusted in a plastic bag with equal parts flour and cornflour with a dose of pepper and chilli powder. Deep fried in a wok in canola oil.

Served with a lemon and a cooked salsa with the following:

a finely sliced onion; 2 chopped garlic cloves; 1 deseeded finely sliced chilli -sauteed a little then simmered with 4 chopped tomatoes with the lid on for 10 minutes.

A handful of parsley, half a cup of fresh breadcrumbs, and some pepper added at the end.

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Painting by Numbers

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

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

Game on! Mark! santos!.

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

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

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Hellborne to Melbourne.

Last time I went to Melbourne it was full of men in stretchy boots, trams and Valiants, people drank beer from king browns and I picked myself up a snazzy bowling shirt. 1992, what a year, I wonder if things have changed?

I’m over for a week in two weeks time for the Melbourne Marathon* and will be having a sensible time before that and some serious catch-up boozing after.

I’m after the inside skinny from Melbourne readers out there on any of the following: must go food places, highbrow/lowbrow; kulcha must dos; good second hand bookstores/music stores; scooter rental place; funky shoppin’ – bric a brac/clothing; a decent vegetarian place (pre-race goodness) or anything of note really.

Much appreciated. I’ve already scored a dinner invite (you know who you are) if anyone (hellooo Andrew Bolt) would like to meet up, mail me.

*Training progress as a man of action detailed in odd brother site – vanishing pointless.

One of the more unique features of Japanese is their love of onomatopoeia. Usually a two syllabled word repeated such as nuru nuru, bashi bashiand pika pika. The last one, for example, translates as “twinkle twinkle” and I would thank old ladies that said this to me as I gave my bike its weekly wax and polish. You can find a few more that feature in manga here.

My favourite is kari kari which is what you use to describe something crunchy, in this case my ideal pickle. They’re not hard to make and here’s how it’s done:

First

Take one large daikon and peel it, slice down the middle, and then slice into 5mm rounds.

Salting.

One of the main reasons for this is to draw out moisture. A fair assumption is that if the moisture comes out then the pickling flavour can go in. Place the daikon in a bowl, sprinkle with two tablespoons of sea salt. The more salt, the longer it’ll keep – this amount will keep it for a week or two. Rub the salt in and place a plate on top with a weight on it. The bowl must not be metal or it will taint the flavour. Leave for half an hour and then drain.

Pickling Liquid

1/4 cup of vinegar; 1/2 tsp salt; 1tsp of sugar; 1/2 cup of water Place the daikon flatly in a pickling jar, adding two small chopped chillies and 8cm of konbu (for that mysterious MSG flavour of umami). Fill with the liquid, topping up with a little water to cover.

Left it for four days and it’s nice and sharp and kari kari,

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

What

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

How

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

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trompe l’oeuf

Eggs can prevent blindness.

Marketing shouldn’t find it too hard to focus a campaign on wankers, should they?

and while I’m all snarky like, can we have a comprehension test on the following; “No sauce” “To have here” “No icing sugar on the pancakes”. Hellooo Hellooo.

chest wig, gold medallions…: from the consistently fascinating BARISTA

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.

Weekend Lunch

Lunch seems to have replaced the boss coming for dinner as the template anxiety situation.

Loaf of ciabatta from Jean-Claudes, tomato, avocado, lettuce, shaved beef, mild sopresso, pan fried Cretan haloumi cheese, and some olive oil and pepper. Not at home like I thought they’d be- tapenade and sardines; should stock up. Also there, were Eagle Vale olives which are grown up near Geraldton but can now be bought at Farmer Jacques in Subiaco. Best olives from memory I’ve bought.

Little guest made very welcome.

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Look at it. What do you see? Do you see a sugary bun that yields like wettex to limp lettuce and grey beef that leaves a trace on your mouth like your toothbrush had been dipped in the fat trap? Would you get half way through it and wonder what you were thinking?

A dollar or two more than shit, and you’ll miss out on reconstituted salt and grease sticks and fizzy caffeinated sugar swill. We’ve lost a few great burger places in Perth through sanitised mediocrity. Well apostrophied Retro Betty’s is a blessing.

More good stuff that evening. You’ll not see a more violent, funny, tragic, thrilling, and beautiful film than Zatoichi. Kitano is a genius who loves his films and makes them how he wants with people he likes. I could go on and on about this but if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to practice tap dancing in my geta.

Retro Betty’s, 127 Oxford Street, Leederville

Zatoichi is on at the Luna.

Evan Williams smokes goats.

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Gah! no! Johnny Ramone has died. I know he wasn’t churning stuff out to the grave like Johnny Cash but this could mean the Beatles outlive the Ramones in a generational cheat. Sadly joins Frank Zappa with comic/tragic Prostate Cancer. Barking Pumpkins all round.

Vale and a big salute for proving it doesn’t get better than simpler and faster and it’s better to be smart dumb, than dumb smart.

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T-Bone with Corn

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

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

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Busy

Here you go, cute kid in Shanghai. Anybody says “corny” gets a slap.

Watched “Grease”, “Jules et Jim”, and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” last night. Which made me immeasurably fond for that decade of transgression in Australia, the seventies. I was just a wee innocent paisley shirted country lad, so my favourite weaknesses were just Passiona and Chokito. I still enjoy Passiona and it is the only non-alcoholic drink that brings me any any great joy. It was time to revisit the Mars Bar Cheesecake and move on with a bit of experimentation.

Underbelly of Eisenhower

300gm of chocolate coated digestive biscuits – reduced to crumbs and mixed in with 125gm of melted butter. Spread on the base of a springform tin and put in the refrigerator.

Menage A Trois

375gm of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of caster sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla essence beaten until smooth and then 1/4 cup of passionfruit pulp mixed in.

300ml pure cream beaten until soft peaks form.

All mixed together with 3 finely chopped Chokito bars and 3tsp of gelatine in 1/4 cup of warm water

Poured onto base and smoothed over.

Frankenfruit

1/3 cup of Passiona, a tbs of caster sugar and 2tbs of passionfruit pulp. Brought to a boil in a saucepan, simmered until thickened a little, and then brushed on top of the cheesecake.

Put in the refrigerator until firm.

Good? Oh yes.

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Leica Digilux Zoom

This is the real star of the show – the Leica Digilux Zoom . Bought it just before the end of the 20th century, I’ve elise to thank for my new found love of it by confounding my hope a while back that I needed to immediately go out and buy a D100. The Leica mainly hangs around on top of my Manfrotto tripod waiting to interrupt the serving of most meals around here. With a cute dimple on the front, it still takes a mean photo. My only beef with it is no flash mount. What do we learn from this – spend a bit up front and enjoy at your leisure. Curious to know what you other folks are packing.

Why can’t you see my face, well that’s because I have no nose.

Three blog faves with old trusty: Rauchenfelser Steinbier; Bauernfrühstück mit Gewürzgurken; Barret’s Bread

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The Japanese pop-punk-band Hi-Standard are a fine band and do swell covers of “Love is a Battlefield” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. They may also be responsible for a recollected interview. One of their members spent a fair part of his childhood in LA and speaks fluent English. He complained that reviewers are usually intensely disappointed at this. So he resorts to “We are bery excitement to meet you” and the interviewer is happy. Hence we come to Yahachi.

Yahachi is a Japanese restaurant and was set up from Japan by Japanese but it’s not what you’d expect as it’s a Western restaurant but it’s not really. You have to imagine a Tokyo restaurant making Western food but at risk of alienating its local clients, it sneaks in a Japanese ingredient here and there and has the equivalent of the steak and chips at the Chinese restaurant (anyone else remember the “Aussie” section of the menu?).

Yahachi sets itself up for failure because it’s not what people might expect in an obvious way and thus is a niche restaurant when Perth isn’t a big market but courts success by using local ingredients in a Japanese vernacular excellently.

Entree

Gang of four – wife, sister, birthday mum – so we went for a share of the hors’deurves for two and the mixed sashimi for two. The hors’deurves was a happy selection including rice croquette, cheese and garlic spring roll, and ball nigiri sushi. The sashimi was nannygai, pearl perch, and tuna. Althought the slices were on the small side, they were fresh and ambiently pleasant. Mum tried to separate two pieces, but finding that too hard, went for the pale green pile in the middle to a chorus of “noooooooh!”.

Main

Had a wave of nostalgia sweep over me and couldn’t bring myself to order the dhufush so settled for mixed tempura. It was as good as you could expect, not greasy of course, the batter was light, the crunchy bits crunchy and warm. A whole plate was little one dimensional just to work through and it could have been better shared or had with soba. As I side I had chawanmushi, which is a kind of savoury custard but try as I might, I still had trouble coming to terms with dashi custard with chicken and mushroom, it was like having vanilla soup. The standout was my sister’s “thrice-cooked pork” marvellous pieces of slow cooked pork with a hint of anise on pumpkin dumplings. My mum’s barramundi was plain and flavoursome and Toni’s hasami-age chicken was the best fried chicken she had ever had until I reminded her of my fried chicken.

Dessert

With imaginary sky salaryman smiling over my choice, I finished with pickles. I then nicked everyone else’s dessert. They didn’t bring the Japanese preference for small spongy cakes and the azuki bean and green tea ice cream was as traditional as the meringue was delicious.

Dou?

It was a great pleasure, and hard to fault anything as all was cooked as well as it could have been – I’ve rarely had vegetables so crunchy. It was quiet for a Tuesday night, which was very calming, and the decor with shoji like walls filled with different silk patterns had me routing joints in my mind. Not cheap, but mains were all south of $30. Well recommended.

Yahachi The Colonnade 388 Hay Street Subiaco 9388 8330

Japanese Treats in Perth: There’s an Hayao Miyazaki Film Festival in Freo from the 9th to the 18th. “My Neighbour Totoro” is one of the most wonderful films ever made, achieving childlike without being childish. Info at the Film and Television Institute.

Also – Takeshi Kitano‘s Zatoichi soon!

Disclaimer: Toyed with this for fear of name dropping but to keep my last shred of integrity, I should state that I am friends with the Japanese guy whose onerous job was to come over here a year or so ago, do market research at every good restaurant in Perth and then set Yahachi up. Rest assured though, that if it were shite, I would have kept the visit to myself. I am not friends with Miyazaki or Kitano.

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Chicken Salt

Chicken Salt[.][!][?]

Wok

I’ve been meaning to do a wok post since David Tiley bought a flash Titanium one. I’m sure he was being modest but I was concerned his fridge emptying approach wasn’t on par with the high quality mix of his blog.

A bit of general didacticism on wok cooking from tonight’s meal (and of course those who already know this will enjoy the opportunity to have their knowledge validated).

Prep

Stir fries should be over in a few minutes so everything has to be ready to go.

The base is ginger (peeled gently with a teaspoon-see santos) and chopped; garlic -crushed; spring onions – whites only, sliced.

Fried Tofu: boiling hot water poured over it to remove the oil and sliced.

Chinese Veges: stalks separated from leaves and both chopped in halves or thirds.

Egg Noodles: left to sit for a minute or so in boiling water.

Condiments: soy and oyster sauce. A teaspoon Toubanjan spicy bean paste can be added at the start with the base ingredients.

Wok: heat to smoking and then add the oil and up to almost smoking again. It’s got to be hot or it’s a sautee.

Go!

Toss in the base ingredients, stir and toss for 30 seconds, add the tofu and keep stirring for 20 seconds, add a splash of soy, and the add the stems. Continue stirring for another 30 seconds (the stems should look warm). Toss in the noodles, stir until warm, add a tablespoon of oyster sauce and stir it in adding the leaves. When they’ve softened slightly, serve. If the stems are hot and crunchy, you’ve done well. If not, try again.

Any other advice gladly taken.

Gear: Big cast iron thing from an asian supermarket with a bandage wrapped around one of the handles to allow grabbing.


I’ve added a link, pain, on the side to my all new counter-blog, vanishing pointless. It’s a training log for the Melbourne Marathon. Yes, I know this is the site of the soft pleasures but it’s hand on the skillet time – you’ve had virtual drinking and dining, now I bring you virtual exercise. The idea is to publicly shame myself into training. Feel free to offer manliness questioning encouragement there.

The race will be, funnily enough, the day after the Australian Federal elections. For my efforts I’ll get a trip east, a medal, and chaffed nipples; battlers of ideas get a change of government and to say farewell to the present dissembling bunch of fuckers. Here’s hoping for the lot of us.

They are many but here they are my long term inspired 5 election bloggers to follow over the next 5 weeks:

At ’em.

Ah! wasureta!, mo hitotsu: Quiggin

mo ikkai mo hitotsu: Foodgoat’s got the politics-food crossover just right.

Winter goes, a day that turned bastardly and dinner with friends allowed me to try this wintery inspiration from my “50 if it’s a day” Cook a Good Dinner by Ann “Many housewives are not interested in the baking of cakes or making of preserves, instead they would rather…(creative readers can make suggestions in comments)” Mason, to make a pot pie with a scone crust.

I used a recipe from a post a year ago on Beef and Guinness Stew with two modifications. One was to use Cooper’s Extra Stout instead of Guinness and to add a bay leaf. All the stout went in the pot this time, every last beautiful drop. I held it tight, the ball of my hand resting on the cool smoothness of the glass, my fingers brushing against the label. This will be a long month.

The scone mix is easy to make and uses the following ingredients:

4 cups wholemeal SR flour; 60gm butter; 1tsp dried mustard; 1tsp salt; 1.5 cups milk/water mix

Rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs and then add the other ingredients – kneading lightly on a floured surface.

Rolled out the scone mix and trimmed to the size of the dish. To stop it going soggy from the stew, I gave it a quick and very light toasting in the oven.

Well?

It was little more bitter than the the last time, a little too much for me and I’m not sure if it was due to changing the stout or the addition of the bay leaf that did it. The scone was great, doubling in thickness. Simplicity. Meat, gravy, stodge all in one. The season’s passing here but Northern Hemisphereans, tuck this one away

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Bluffet

Bluffet n. v. tr. to deceive by appealing to perceived unlimited wants rather than well provided needs: They bluffeted me into thinking I wanted everything but really I just needed a well poached egg with some hollandaise.

Observation City’s always been a sore point with me, but good to catch up with the old boy and a happy Father’s Day to all Dads out there tomorrow.

Milkmaids of Human Kindness

This is what I came home to at 8:45 last night.

Saint Susan of Tagine dropped this around while I was at work because she felt that the christening dinner party was insufficiently Moroccan. It was magnificent with the olives leaving contrasting traces of bitterness to counterpoint the sultanas, with the beef having perfect slow cooking falling apartness over fluffy couscous. Cheers.

Furthering… Sister Natalie of the Order of Sporty Vehicles is a physio (and my actual sister) and is plugging a campaign for the Cerebral Palsy Campaign of WA. If you’ve got a mobile phone you don’t need anymore or just confiscated one off a twat in the cinema or a dickhead driver, here’s the deal. Nat?


I know that most of you love your mobile phones and like to update them regularly either at your own or your employer’s expense. I ask you to get involved in a fundraising initiative for my employer, The Cerebral Palsy Association of WA. It is a not for profit organisation that relies on fundraising to provide equipment for people with cerebral palsy (CP).

 

In this case all of the funds will go towards specialised communication devices for children and adults with CP (is this irony or destiny?)

 

All you have to get that warm fuzzy feeling of doing something good is follow this [Mobile Phone Recycling WA] link and you can register to to get a reply paid pack to send your unwanted phone to the supplied address and The Cerebral Palsy Association will get a donation.

That’s it. If you’ve got a mobile spare; or food you need eaten and reviewed, you know what to do.

Disclaimer: obviously these last two are my personal good ideas and not those of the CPA of WA

Bonus Altruism:Bertrand Russell, Dalai Lama, me… at womanchild’s natty site.

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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