January 2005

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EoMEoTE, favoured food event for the half assed, has moved from its humble mediterranean, olive oil rubbed home to be hosted in the centre of modern civilisation Cook sister!. I have great hopes for it. I dream that one day we may have a spaceship descend at the end and congratulate us on it and its efforts in promoting global peace.


1, 2 and 3. A french toast combo of bacon and bananas I nicked from gained inspirition of via the Walk Street Cafe in Subiaco.

Hooray for french toast and its use of old bread and eggs past their optimum poaching date (had I been so organised). Thick chunky slices triumph over slimmer eggy bread imitations and provide for delightful multi-variable pan temperature, slighty browned, medium rare interior calculations. Soaked for a good half hour in 3 free-range eggs, a cup of milk, and a dash of vanilla essence. The greater the proportion of milk, the longer the cooking time. Cooked with butter as were the slices of banana. The bacon was allowed with cook in the pan first and then relegated to the oven where it would crisp while the others were cooking. Pile toast, bacon, and bananas, with a brush of butter for photo glossiness, and garnish with maple syrup. Had with the fresh apple, beetroot, carrot, grapefruit and ginger juice seen pictured.

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is now the instant chilling of our refrigerated selection cabinets.


Let’s see if the reviews are in. Oh good a generous one, but then again, I do know where she lives.

As slow and easy a Japanesey dinner party as there could be. The starting snack was edamame, boiled and salted soy bean bean pods, which were bought ready to defrost and go. An excellent summer snack if you remember not to eat the pod.


Next was a few blue manna/ blue swimmer crabs detopped, delimbed and cut in half and then cooked at the table over a charcoal burner. Cooking this way with the shell makes for sweeter taste and the the flesh is cooked in its own abundant juices.

Finally a classic summer matching of tempura and zaru soba (cold buckwheat noodles). The two use the same dipping sauce so this saves time.

1 cup of dashi*, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 4 tablespoons of mirin, and 2 tablespoons of sake. Brought to the boil and allowed to chill. I use instant dashi as it’s very much in the background but do add to the quality by placing a piece of konbu in the water. You place a mobile phone sized piece in the water, bring it to a near boil, and remove and discard the konbu. Konbu imparts the enigmatic 6th metaflavour umami, artificially associated with MSG powder.

The zaru soba was cooked, ran under cold water and then placed in a bowl with ice. Some of the aforementioned dipping sauce is placed in a bowl, with crushed nori, wasabi, and chopped spring onions. The noodles are dipped in and eaten – it’s not a soup.If the sound of cold noodles doesn’t do it for you, this may change your mind.

Also dipped in the sauce was the tempura. I used a Japanese premix tempura batter for the combination of wheat and rice flour and used very cold soda water instead of water and added a couple of drops of tabasco. The key to making tempura instead of fritters is to ensure that the mix is very cold, I add some ice. And keep the mixture lumpy. These make for an impact with the hot oil and a much more textured and lighter batter. It’s also good to make small batches so every piece is eaten hot. Getting the oil temperature right is difficult but I find it easiest just to do a test piece, too hot and it will burn quickly, too cold and it absorbs too much oil. Under a minute seems about right.

The tempura ingredients were thinly sliced sweet potato, sliced baby eggplant, swiss brown mushrooms, scored baby squid hoods, and spring onions with scallops. The last were my favourite and you can by putting some chopped spring onions and scallop meat in a chinese soup spoon, covering it with batter, and then easing the mix into the oil. It’s a perfect amount of time to cook scallops.

Thanks to Natalie for coming over, being an anvil for my culinary hammer, keeping a cracking conversational pace, and making all the right compliments. I look forward to cashing in my Melbourne dinner credit.




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 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.


sbispf Go away for a week and find spiceblog’s on the Fifth Annual Weblog Awards for best Aus & NZ Blog. Welcome to those who swung by down here as a result, feel free to have a browse around. I’ll just be over here if you need any help. No! We’re all out of that, do you like octopus?

This is kind of surprising as I could point to at least 15 notable omissions in the shortlist. It’s all a bit like Swan Draft getting nominated for best beer in the world. I mean I’m pleased and all but you know, it’s just wrong when someone gets in just for their manly good looks and awesome thighs. Feel so damned guilty.

Ganbatte to fellow fooders Chocolate & Zucchini and noodlepie in their respective continental categories – go the gourmands! Good luck also to fellow West Australian Kitta – either way it’s the best thing for WA since the America’s Cup*.

Big thank you(s) for the nominations, there’s much fingerpointing as to who’s responsible, but yeah get out there and V O T E before the 31st of January 3rd of February and it’ll be hot bun cakes all round.

* Hey and go! Karen Cheng.



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.


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.


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?


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.


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.



Into the undersprung oversteering Mitsubishi Lancer rental and upwards out of Dover. Winding inland past orchards along the Huon river which opens out into a long channel that feeds into the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, defined by cattle filled Bruny Island. Turn down at the apex made by Huonville with Mt Misery flanking the left. Stop in at Panorama Vineyard. Disappointed with the whites and the pinot but found the merlot suitably smooth and full bodied. Along the Huon River, mandatory stop at Eggs and Bacon Bay and then around Port Cygnet, past Mt. Grosse and then stopping for cheese. Firstly, Grandvewe is a terrible pun, beneath even me but their cheeses are excellent. All good, the manchego interpretation, the sheeps cheese pecorino, pungent brie, and creamy roquefort. Dried mutton sausages were an inspiration.

pattycakebandebay ketteringsteaksando

Lunch called. Stopped at the flash and new Peppermint Bay resort but crowded so settled for the Kettering Oyster Bay Inn. View. Steak sandwich not up to Quairading Roadhouse standards but flathead is a much underrated fish. Round and back picking up a couple of $3 bags of cheeries and forgoing the 50c bags of donkey poo.


Home to Dover to cook up some scallops and prawns. Scallops* cooked in Cascade Export Stout – not too bad at all.


*Update: For scallops in stout, marinate scallops in white wine for 15 minutes, fry up garlic and a small amount of chilli in EVOO, do two sauteed batches of scallops (just a handful or the temperature will drop too much) and then run out of white wine. Notice glass of stout in hand, add scallops to EVOO sizzle a little and then add a splash of stout and allow to reduce as scallops are just cooked.

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Dover Tasmania, Day 4


Mildly out of action with hayfever/cold so here’s a couple of pics from Kyari Cafe in Geeveston. Lovely little place and the salmon and mango salad – well, yes.


Oh and here’s a pic from Dover.



A quick one I’m tired. Next door’s the oyster farm but some algae in the bay has shut things down so nae oysters. Ah well. Back up to Geeveston for a lesson in fly fishing. Hard back, pause, release, forward, repeat, or something. Didn’t catch anything and didn’t deserve too. Oh no that’s a lie, caught my left bum cheek – twice!

chowder salmon

Dinner. Chowder. Cray legs and shells, salmon, salt dried, salmon, prawns and scallops. Thickened with potatoes, cream and roux. A whole salmon. Wanted to poach it but nothing to do it in so foil wrapped. Local guests, one had been a chef for twenty or so years, Ahm erm ah yes I’m a ah foodie I am. All aok though, Could have done the salmon a little less longer but handicap for dreaded non fan forced electric oven. Over and out.


Dover Tasmania, Day 2


Starting off with cherry’s in Dover. $4.00 a kilogram and juicy. After some time scouring the politics blogs, I was pleased to find actual cherry picking in action a lovely thing.

cocklecreek cocklecreekhouse

Down to Cockle Creek today. Southernmost town in Australia. John Laws’ Maison d’ Comment just down the road it’s said. Winding roads down there, flanked by trees (those not delicately clearfelled) and and fern. Local woman’s teddy bear block faintly disturbing. Planned music therapy centre yet to be be built.


Up up up to Geeveston where I we had a camembert and chicken pie followed by an award winning local hazlenut ice cream. Charming inland town provides mid afternoon top treat.

geevesckncamembertpie geeveshazlenuticecream

Back home for dinner. Cooked crays to be had but what to do? Strong pressure from the father for simple, and a good thing too. One of the crays was for dipping with two sauces. Olive oil and vinegar and pepper was one. The other was a resourceful Sauce Phillippe on rough guidlines; garlic, butter, cream, white wine, and tabasco – reduced over heat.

Mains was as simple as I could make it. Fettucine with garlic and red chilli sauteed in EVOO, then some chopped lemon peel and the white wine and lemon juice. Cray meat heated through and then mixed through with the fettucine. Enjoyed very much with a bottle Wave Crest Chardonnay. I’m not going to win any friends in Dongara by saying they’re bigger and sweeter down here.

crayfishwithdip crayfishfettucine

Ahh that’s the door local contact arrives, three whole salmon. Two go for smoking, one comes back (that’s the deal) and one is for dinner tomorrow night. This is good.


Dover Tasmania, Day 1


Dover. I’m in Dover. Dover’s a small inlet town at the end of the Esperance River in Tasmania, the southernmost tenth of the southernmost island of Australia. Red-eye no sleep flight foro Perth and then to Hobart International Airport before picking up the hire car and going south.

This is great, everywhere has a view of the hills and the water as especially does Uncle Phil’s place with an island at the end of the block. Haven’t seen Uncle Phil in over a decade and he’s mad and busy as ever, late fiftysomething, working as a welder in the middle of a bay, riding a trials bike, and the yacht he’s building himself. Didn’t pick up immaculate workshed genes but did get mid-sentence laughter. In time for the end of the half day shearing season here. One of them’s a butcher’s knife away from dispatch to the great beyond and I think we’ll be having some lamb before heading back. Not that there’s any need. This is seafood country, they don’t even bother with mussels.

End of the shearing is a visit to the pub. Boags/Cascade. Pick Boags and get laughed at. Cascade it is then. Chat with local who promises to bring crays around later and does and they’re the size of a loaf of bread. Wood fired pizza for dinner and it is excellent. Crusty on the bottom with large juicy prawns. I’m here 6 hours and I love this place. The sun sets and fills in parts of the undulating hills at random. Uncle Phil says you’ll never see this again, he’s right.

clickgoesthe doverpub

woodfired woodfiredseafoodpizza




If Pubs had continued in a straight line from Inns as places where you could eat and drink rather than drink and then grab a souvlaki, then we may have ended up with something resembling Japanese izakaya. Working on the simple principle that many small dishes are better than several big dishes and that people enjoy drinking frosty cold beer out of large mugs before trying a couple of tokkuri of sake, they have created a dining experience without equal.

Now I’m getting all rheumy-eyed with nostalgia so you’d best go and read Chika of she who eats excellent capture of it all with a typical place to eat atypical Japanese food.

Traditionalists wishing to recreate the experience at home could start with a couple of neck-ties, chopsticks, and some recipes.



Two meals from our post christmas camping trip to Denmark.

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

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

Variation 1


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

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

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


Variation 2


[the following evening]

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

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


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John Quiggin is an Excellent Man.

Great opportunity over at Prof. John Quiggin‘s site to make a comment without having anything sensible to say. Offer closes soon.

Oh and he’s donating a dollar for every comment made to the Australian Red Cross tsunami appeal. Off you GO!

It’s done. Much respect to John Quiggin and co-contributors. On topic, there’s something simmering away from food bloggers, I’ll be sure to let you know.


Thinking a revamp for the blog – same wine, different vessel. Protoheader that’s a bit kb heavy.

Inglewood Hotel – serves a good meal. The sweet potato gnocchi, with pork chicken and pear was an excellent exception to gnocchi’s usual place as a menu filler. Swan Draft on tap too. 803 Beaufort Street Inglewood

The Mumms goes back in the cellar but thanks to everyone who voted for me in the 2004 Food Blog awards. Those who didn’t, may your boil infested tongues be eaten by wild dogs. Seriously.

You can check out the winning best post and other fine works here at the Accidental Hedonist – Food Blog Award Wrapup.

Also there’s the Best West Australian Blog nomination in the 2005 Australian Blog Awards, But you’re all going to vote for rival nominee Robert Corr – Kick & Scream. Lot’s of the WA blogs do great stuff and I could beat Rob like so many eggs in a cook off but for consistent and varied classy excellence, we tremble in his shadow. Very blog community minded to boot.

Tasmania Off there next week. Will be taking Boris the Laptop so might sneak a post in.

LOOK! Been looking for an excuse to let you know about this project by Santos. Should have done it sooner but ah well tsk tsk.

Ladies and Gentlemen – 1000 recipes. She still needs people! Go! Go!

Must do lamingtons recipe.

Dinner toight will be White Rock Veal Chops with a port wine sauce, sweet potato and baby zucchini. Back to check stock – will add if I can think of anything else.

Ah here we go. Dessert ended up being roasted pear and fig with the butter and sugar roasting sauce mixed in with King Island Double Cream at the end. Must tell you about the ’98 Goundrey’s Reserve Selection Cab Sav one day. And a large hello to Stuart of Putney, London, England from Sal.




As mentioned earlier, Toni and I chose Jacques for a celebratory dinner I predicted rather good and wasn’t disappointed.

While I am consistently inspired by the whole French food approach, recipes and regions, I hardly ever go to French restaurants. I think they are somewhere under Chilean meat restaurants on the list. I did, therefore, feel a little like meeting a pen-pal for the first time or being the crew of Galaxy Quest.

The restaurant is small and modestly decorated, which I’ve long taken to be a good sign, and the greeting was warm. Toni was complimented at least five times on her dress and I was good enough to contain my simmering resentment at nothing being said of my favourite green shirt.

The menu was traditional French and was constructed so it could all be done but the one chef – the owner. Unfortunately the restaurant is no longer BYO so our bottle of ’98 Harewood Pinot Noir had to wait in the car where it played with the cigarette lighter and beeped the horn until I went out and asked if it could behave itself for just one night. We ordered had a bottle of Chandon, the Australian Moet vineyard. Best an occasional choice, in both senses of the word. As for the the food, we ordered the Pork and Duck Terrine in Rosemary Aspic with a Port Jelly and half a dozen Escargot Bourguignon

for starters.

The terrine was a little disappointing but only for the reason that, cold, it made me think of being out in the open, on a blanket, under a tree. The snails were lovely. I was gievn I quick run through with snail holders and away I went. They were cooked in oil with shallots basil and garlic which was mopped up with in-house baguette. The texture was squid like gentle resiliance to the bite. Snails are marvellous, they represent a triumph of reason and inqury over ignorance and superstition. The Age of Enlightenment in a spirally shell. And gentlemen, be sure not to describe them as “garden bogeys” while your partner is about to enjoy her second one.

“Lemon Sorbet to cleanse the palate?” What a good idea. Lemon sorbet coated in white chocolate in a glass of sherry – joy.

And for the mains. Toni ordered the Duck a l’Orange, I had my heart set on one thing – Pheasant Marinated for Five Days in Sweet Madera Demi-glace of Pheasant garnished with Black Truffles.

The duck was very good but was overshadowed by the pheasant. So so very very tender with enough taste to match the rich sauce. I forget how rich proper French food is and with a normal sized serving, I was completely full. Toni, wasn’t and had a Cassis Sorbet surrounded by Meringue with a Berry Coulis. It was her favourite for the evening and the table next to us ordered one as well soon after. I had an affogado as a compromise.

We thanked the co-owner for the meal and the excellent service and she replied that they simply wanted guests to have the same experience they would like. Jacques came out and showed us the door (in a nice way).


The names of the dishes alone should send you there, if not, then I can’t help you. The full dining experience does accumulate a bill but the cost per dish is only a little above what you would pay at a standard restaurant. Perhaps not flashy enough for gaspingly special, but warm, enjoyable, and delicious enough to make it a regular low key treat. We said we’d be back and I think we will.

Jacques 292 Hay St , Subiaco, tel 9388 1323



Ah yes EoMEoTE#2 how a busy schedule has conspired against it, but happen it must. Last month’s efforts was created after the first cup of coffee after crawling out of a tent. Cooked on a BBQ with slices of ham splashed with tabasco sauce. The appearance is lacking but I can assure you that the taste was just the thing for a busy day of skindiving and drinking. The eggs were a little harder than I like but that’s the cost of cooking a large batch of eggs and leaving yourself last. We all bear our crosses. Mine is made of overly hardened protein.

Joining me in this most modest of culinary adventures is the acme of modesty himself, tokyo goat, and his his entry. The toast is the traditional Japanese white bread with the yolk ever do gently bulging at its skin surrounded by a white that resembles the jagged coastline of Izu Peninsula. A sprinkling of pepper completes it.

Welcome too to the self-deprecatingly monikered FoodNerd!, who tells us:

Fry egg. Slice cheddar, sharpest is best. Put dijon mustard on pumpernickel, put cheddar on, top with egg, close sandwich, grill in butter. So damn good, so much better than it even sounds. Especially when it’s all there is to eat because the fridge is, mysteriously and uncharacteristically, empty.

As delicious as this is terrifying.

And Reid promised but is…unwell and apologise for the fact. Good news is he’s feeling better now.

If I’ve missed any eggy efforts, let me know.


This is very cute. And it’s a green bananas post which leads to a lovely recollection by her.

stop-the-presses, hold-the-front-page etc: Cook sister! gets into the spirit of things by being late but great and presents her End of Month Egg on Toast Extravaganza . It’s an exceptional piece with sherried mushrooms that form a barricade around the yolk like the old wall of Vienna. Go look it’s good. Jeanne will be hosting #3 next month, sometime.


A a bit of background on the whole food rock thing. Chook-Toni Combined Dress Up as an LP Cover Party tonight and there is quite the selection of dishes*. But for you, dear clever readers, a suitable challenge :

Name the song represented by the dish above.

* still saving Veal Young with Crazy Horseradish for the dinner proper.


Off to Jacques in Subiaco and predict it will be rather good. Toni (a.k.a. spicewidow) has a birthday today. 35. Still gorgeous after 14 years. I suspect she may be Dorian Gray to my picture in the attic. Surfer girl now too. Tsk.

Note: picture has nothing to do with topic at hand but is rather nice don’t you think? Oh yes and there is actually no apostrophe in Jacques. What a good idea.

Ahm it’s Galette des Rois today and I’ve just had a few whites and a couple of beers and apparently it took the the three wise kings 12 days to find the baby Jesus so they eat a cake made of puff pastry with a tiny wine taster* in it and then the youngest person hides under the table and the cake is cut but under a tea towel and then the youngest person has to choose the piece for each person but it’s rigged because only French people win and I didn’t get to be King for the day. So anyway I think they’re making this up, are there any French people out there that can confirm this?

*Oh apparently it changes all the time. Bus Driver! Ambulance Man!


A quick one. I’ve much catching up to do as I get revved out of holidays and this includes reports from my camping expedition down south. Those imagining it as just me, a knife, and a chicken will be sorely disappointed. I was here at the Lime Cafe in Denmark four days out of four. Their potato cake, bacon, avocado, and hollandaise breakfast was simply the best. Better than all the rest. Smooth potato but still in distinguishable parts, a little greasy with crispy edges that contrasted with the soft and cool mashed down avocado and the ever so slight creamy sourness of the hollandaise spread over crisp bacon.

More soon promise ( and there were eggs, on toast!)

!Avocado Update!

Milkshakes! now Jeanne at Cook sister! informs us that The avocado gets its name from the Latin American Nahuatl ahuacatl meaning “testicle” and more and then gives us a recipe for Warm avocado and biltong soup. What a champ.


A pig. A whole pig. Actually a kind of omniswine as it had been boned and filled with pork fillets. A long crackling wrapped pork cigar. Seafood should condition one to things cooked with heads but there were a few guilty twinges amongst eaters which I consoled by asking how much amonymous faceless meat they’d consumed in the year. Free range. it had a better life and here it was, guest of honour.

The party was planned of sorts a few weeks back by Brendan, the local freelancing GP and artist with a house and pool. I showed him a Mondo Butchers catalogue and offered to help with the food. Done. Last pig in shop ordered for NYE.

First stage was to ask the father-in-law Bruce to build a 44 gallon drum BBQ. Bruce is a master of rural construction improv – built a 200 litre fuel tank for his Landcruiser. The BBQ was done by morning tea, with removable lid, handle, and lift out grill. Tops. All I had to do was go away on holidays for a fews days and come back and work out exactly what I was going to do.

On the Day

Due to the heat and the pool, it would have to be a fauxCific Luau type thing. Though I’m reluctant to claim it as such. Gone are the days when you could whack a pineapple on something and call it Hawaiian and nobody’d be any wiser. I felt the disembodied presence of Reid looking over my shoulder. Ostensibly the theme was Lord Of The Flies but I think the general advice was not to be podgy and wear glasses and that the book did not include a professor or a movie star.

30 or so guests anticipated. Not too hard, the pig was the food rather than being a festive hub of gluttony. All that was needed was a couple of snacks and accompaniment. The final decision came down to the two standards of pineapple and sweet potato. A bit of driving around getting food, prepping and then picking up the pig from Inglewood. Drop cold pre-cooked pig off at 5:30 and head back home for more prep. Call at 7:15 to ask about the fire. Fire? Head over. Get fire going 8:30 after a little gilling of the BBQ with an angle grinder and a chisel. Guests arrive.

The wood was wandoo which is a hard local eucalypt which burns well. It took over an hour to die down to a bed of coals. I just wanted to reheat the pig and imbue it with a little smokey authenticity. Placed the pig on the grill on banana leaves which I’d soaked and left it, basting with the orange and garlic.

Meanwhile the snacks ticked along nicely. I had planned to do them on the Webber but it was another thing to have to worry about so I settled for the oven with no ill effect. The biggest challenge was coming to terms with a counter intuitive microwave matching 80’s user interface with the instructions hidden on the griller door. The prosciutto and pineapple with sweet potato chips was well received and remided me that one good thing will take the place of many.

As 11 o’clock approached it was clear the pig wasn’t heating up as much as it should. Actually it was pointed out to me by a helpful guest, I was in lalalalalala everything is fine mode. No big deal just carve it up and give it a quick heat in the oven. Come back to snap alpha male style at guests heating up some crackle and the rest of the pig with a hissy “we make crackle by rubbing it with salt and roasting it carefully in the oven not by chucking a couple of bits of raw timber in a fire“. My best effort since shouting at a colleague for pricking sausages with a fork. BBQ’s – infernos of rage, cauldrons of control.

Easy bit from here. Meat goes in bun with applesauce and everybody grabs a roast sweet potato and banana. The pork was exceptional. The sweet potatoes very pleasant and better with resting. 20 minutes until midnight, time for some mingling, drinking, smoking, reflecting, and looking forward to the next round of the spiral.

Happy New Year. 今年もよろしくね。

(recipes below)

Pork Baste

Started with this cuban base and modified it as Seville Oranges were out of season. 6 navel oranges, one grapefruit – both juiced, 8 cloves of garlic, 1tbs of oregano. All blended together in a food processor. I tried a bit of the orange juice and garlic as it would be pretty healthy but the raw garlic just rips. Not for drinking.

Apple Sauce

Easy. 6 Fuji and 6 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into bits. Mixed with a cup of water and the juice of one lemon and then to stew in a crock pot for three hours. Pureed in a blender. I added a tbs of concentrated beef stock. The sweetness would match well with the rolls so the stock added a balance of meatiness.

Pineapple Wrapped in Prosciutto

prosciuttopineapple Two large pineapples top and bottom removed and then the core cut out leaving a wall of a little under a centimetre. Pineapple chopped into bite sized pieces and then wrapped in a piece of finely sliced prosciutto, placed on a skewer and dipped in the pork baste (above). Cooked in a 180C oven and then served in the hollowed pineapple surrounded with sweet potato chips

Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet potatoes very thinly sliced with a mandolin. Rinsed and then dried. Fried in canola oil in a wok. To get the temperature right (my thermometer has gone elsewhere – no not where the sun doesn’t shine) I tested with a few pieces, they should be crisped without retaining excessive oil (too cold). Drained and then reheated in the oven before serving.

Candied Sweet Potatoes with Banana

sweetpotato6 large sweet potatoes boiled in their skins for 25 minutes, drained, left to cool, peeled and then cut into 15mm pieces. Then it’s two thirds of a cup each of melted butter, palm sugar, and water. Mixed together then the pieces added coated and placed in the oven to glaze a little. Each piece wrapped in foil with a slice of banana (tossed in a little lemon juice), a sprinkling of dessicated coconut, and a little of the glaze. Heated in the oven at 180C and then served.

Editor’s note: Long lunch. Asahi good. Spell check can wait.