March 2005

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gnocchignocchi

Noel Malcom’s not especially short but very informative Kosovo: A short history has put me in a Balkany mood. I remembered my grandmother, Dorrie (Dragica actually), telling me about her friend’s excellent “Yugoslav” gnocchi. It actually sounded remarkably like Italian gnocchi but I wasn’t going to push the issue. I got a request to cook something with noodles or rice for dinner for my sister-in-law – in from Darwin – and gnocchi seemed to fit the bill.

My last gnocchi meal was an exceptional sweet potato gnocchi with bacon, pear, and chicken at the Inglewood hotel 3 months back. I was impressed by the combination of textures but had no idea of how to make it, but I’d attempt something similar anyway. I had a few things to think about.

Gnocchi
I looked up my current love, The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan. Uncompromising and wise, here’s another quick sample for you:

We have all heard about the decline of the tomato. To judge by the plastic-wrapped examples in the supermarkets not even the worst reports are exaggerated.

Sweet spiky music. I followed her recipe but added sweet potatoes.

Boil an equal quantity of starchy potatoes(boiled in their skins and then peeled) and sweet potatoes and then mash. She recommends not adding egg yolks to keep them lighter and fluffier, but  I wanted a more robust gnocchi so I added one egg yolk.

Then mix in the plain flour – as an approximation use between a 1/5th to a 1/6th of the weight of the potato. The goal is to be able to knead it to “smooth, soft, and slightly sticky”.

Roll the gnocchi out into thumb-width cylinders, dusting with flour if it gets too sticky, and cut into 18mm pieces. To get the sauce grabbing ridges and the even cooking indent, place the piece on a fork and then press down in the middle with your finger and then let it drop off. They got better with a little practice.

Boil up a big pot of salted water, toss some in, and when they float to the surface, give them a few seconds grace, and scoop them out. Line the bottom of a baking diah with them.

The completely amazing thing about gnocchi is how a dish which comprises of two ingredients can involve so many factors influencing the outcome. Molecules eh!

porkgnocchiwok

Pork etc.
Pork and apples is an obvious choice but pears aren’t so different and juicier, nashi apples have the best of both. Just to make sure there was a completely crunchy fourth element, I thought of walnuts and the use of a walnut in devil’s on horsesback confirmed the relationship.

Small cubed four pork chops, and cooked in a frypan with butter and half a chopped chilli. Tossed in a tablespoon combined of fresh sage and thyme. The sage came about because of the tasty prosciutto and figs I had at Crafty’s.

A splash of white wine to get things moving along, then I decided I needed more room and moved to the wok. Lightly toasted a cup of walnuts and then added the contents of the frypan. Next was a diced pear and two diced nashi. Leave dicing of these to the last minute to avoid discolouration. Cook over a high heat to a stir fry ideal of hot and crisp, and then pour over the gnocchi.

Place it in a 180C oven while you make the sauce. The goal was to get everything a little crunchily roasted.

Sauce:
A few options, I toyed with a cream sauce for a while but remebered a recipe I cooked ages ago – quail with grapes and this convinced me of the merits of a chicken stock reduction. A cup of chicken stock into the frypan with another cup of white wine and a little more sage and thyme, scrape and stir until reduced by a half, and season to taste. Place the gnocchi mix in a plate and pour some of the sauce over it.

Eating
Toni and Vic were very happy with it. For me, I found the gnocchi a little gluey, and the pork and the pears a little overcooked. Omitting the oven stage and serving straight from the wok might have improved matters. The flavours were well balanced on the mild side but maybe a little more chilli for some bite would have added bite.

It’s an interesting dish because you could spend a long time trying to get it just right. Kneading though, hard to love. Interesting think piece¹, and tasty.

gnocchipork

¹ Speaking of which, a tale of everyday heroism and pig-headedness I’ve been following at apple of my eye. [via pixellated proveditor of fine things BARISTA]

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guildertonhills

Wonder where Rob and Carita are; discuss industrial relations for two hours; enjoy cold Emu Bitter; try to remember lyrics of Buenas Tardes Amigos; make smoked cod chowder; forget to bring smoked cod; greatly enjoy Garbin Estate 2004 Chenin Blanc; attend local Art and Craft exhibition; buy ceramic plate and bowl and zucchini pickles and fig jam; Save Moore River; visit West Coast Honey; regrettably buy Carlton Draft at improbably decorated yet very likeable Gingin pub; engage in Gingin Catholic Church 12 Stations of the Cross drive-through; have tasty steak pie at Gingin cafe; watch 3.5 hours of the League of Gentlemen; marinate lamb roast in tapenade, EVOO, and rosemary; lard with garlic, tapenade, rosemary; cook to satisfaction with acoustic accompaniment, gravy, potatoes, brussel sprouts, and potatoes; wonder why a 750ml bottle of wine is too much and a 1.5 litre bottle never enough; open up Rob’s bottle of 10yo Bushmills; go for a canoe paddle; find friend with plastic zodiac craft instead; catch nothing; try to launch boat on beach through surf; lose bung; struggle to get on; release cray pots; try fishing again; release undersized fish; enjoy home grown pesto with garlic toast for dinner; wake up early; execute flawless beach launch; find cray post empty; make panckes; drive home.

Chowder:
Look, make one. It’s cheap and easy and all you have to do is know how to make a fish stock and you should know that. Yes you should. And chicken. And veal/beef.

Anyway, finely chop up an onion (smaller as the stock only takes 30 minutes) and toss in the outer skin as well for colour says the nice man at the Innaloo fish shop. Then add garlic, celery, and a couple of spring onions and sautee in butter.

Add the fish heads/ bones, enough water to cover, parsley, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and salvage any tasty looking bits of fish.

Now the chowder.You can fry some more garlic and onion if you like. Add the fish stock and anything extra like parsley or a whole chilli. Add some chopped boiled potatoes, and let simmer (the potatoes will  help thicken the soup).

Make a quick roux by cooking flour in a similar amount of butter, add a little of the soup to the roux, stir, and then add the mix to the soup. Add any fish bits you’ve got or the mussels you’ve just carefully cooked. Heat. Stir in some cream. Season and serve over a piece of rye bread. Cheap and yum. No excuse for not making this, none. Pop quiz next semester.

chowdermooreriver lambroastmoooreriver mooreriverlambafter

Oi! Less foodly obsessed nice piccies over here.

cumquat

A cute story. Toni and I came back to Perth for a few weeks 7 years ago to get married. Madly unprepared for it all, thinking a church and restaurant booked; a Paul Smith suit and a wedding dress made of antique kimono silk; and the use of restored Triumph sports car, was all you had to do. Apparently there was much much more, like seating plans, table flower arrangements, and Mums’ wedding outfit coordination meeting. Despite missing many of the Bride magazine checkpoints, we got hitched and had a glorious day with friends and family (a pic if you’re good).

A few days we went back to Tokyo, leaving the remains of our wedding Mud Cake in my Mum’s freezer. When we returned to Perth in 2001 we reclaimed our cake, and still unsure of what to do with it, it continued its frozen state. Buying our house two years ago and the accompanying move brought up the cake again. It couldn’t stay there forever but I couldn’t bring myself to toss it in the green wheely bin. I had a plan. First a quick check to make sure it wasn’t still OK, it wasn’t. I made shallow layer of potting mix in the bottom of the pot, added the cake, and then a small cumquat tree. That’s it in the picture, doing famously.

We’re off for our 7th anniversary dinner at the Red Herring tonight, will be leaving the camera and pen at home, and enjoying my good fortune.

weddingtop1

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chocolatefish

Another landmark. Spiceblog is now in the top 10 sites for google searches of: picture jesus being flogged. From the Book of Action:

When someone does spill your drink, dwell not on the injustice of it
– you will find anger;
rejoice in the one that has been bought
– you will find love.

Have a good Easter/lunar festival, and enjoy the chocolate. Do you like the Italian Chocolate fish in the pic? Apparently they’re good-fishing totems in the south of Italy, usually appearing as a biscuit.

Alright, I’m off for a few days to a bloggy detox clinic run by socialists in Moore River. Expecting iPod battles. See you when I get back. Don’t forget the eggs.

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manlyccake

When it was announced that the interblogging food event of Is My Blog Burning #13 for this month was My Little Cupcake, I didn’t say yippee. I felt sad. I felt disenfranchised. I felt trapped inside my cage of masculinity. I felt lost. I felt hairy in an age of smooth. I felt weak. Don’t know how Bill Granger does it.

I can’t.

I must.

This one’s for Becky.

First step was to get rid of the sugary softness, I settled on a Yorkshire pudding batter.

Batter
Sift one cup of SR flour – needed for lift for the cupcake shape, and then place an egg in the middle of the pile and beat in. Add half a cup of milk slowly and then beat to a batter and then continue to beat for five minutes. Then stir in another half a cup of milk and refrigerate for half an hour.

Flavouring had to be meat. Salty beats sweet. Black pudding. Hard to find so I settled for 150gm of blutwurst from Elmars. Cut it into slices and then fried it up in mutton dripping; carefully saved from sunday night’s chops. This smoked blutwurst will crumble when cooked, mince it up further. Allow to cool and mix into the batter.

Get the oven up to 180C and add a dab of dripping to each muffin hole in the mini muffin tray. Place in the oven and when hot, fill up each one almost to the top with the batter, add a little water to any empty ones for even cooking. Cook for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Icing-sugarless Icing
Obviously icing sugar wasn’t going to be an option so I settled for a cranberry sauce. Half a cup in a pan, a splash of the last remains of a bottle of Wild Turkey, bring to the boil and allow to simmer until it thickens, adding small amounts of cranberry sauce to get the consistency right.

Remove cupcakes, apply cranberry, and eat.

onemmforme

Mantastic. Really. Bloody brilliant. Bravo me if I don’t mind saying so myself. Robbie says great.

robeats

muffplosion!: Is My Blog Burning? IMBB 13: Cupcakes and Muffins Galore!

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figssageprociuttoSaturday night dinner invite from Craftapalooza in a kind of Perth handfertigkeit blogger conference. Unusually, I had no cooking to do. Nothing, not even a salad. Instead, Toni and I went wine shopping with the nice idea of finding a wine of the same vintage as our wedding anniversary, getting half a dozen and enjoying them over the next 6 years, after which we would divorce amicably. ’98s aren’t the easiest to get a hold of so I went back to the bottle shop at Steve’s, Nedlands and its amazing cellar do see what could be found.

I honestly had no idea, so asked the manager – cabernet, aging potential, light, fortiish. He wandered off to the computer and came back 20 minutes later with a dozen pages of print out puts with likely suspects marked with a biro. Not a good year for Maragaret River but a good one for the Coonawarra region in South Australia. Came down to the Katnook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon or the Majella. 20 minutes of searching yielded 6 bottles of the former so we went with that. Well recommended for their range and their help, a few more occasional good bottles might be in order though it’s hard to just get one with the lure of a 10% discount for half a dozen. Will be trying out the first bottle next week. Hope we like it.

nutbowl

A quick stop at Maison Perry of Dalkeith (actually broadway Nedlands) for the rare Perth treat of a savoury brioche. Handsome looking petite fours but bought some micro-eclairs to take along to dinner. The rest of the afternoon was spent cleaning out the pantry and marvelling at the natural wonder of weevil colonies (apologies to anyone whose had a red lentil curry over at ours).

kormasauce

The Japanese are great avoiders of socially awkward moments and usually avoid eating at the houses of people they don’t know particularly well in favour of restaurants. I’m a little bolder but always make sure to follow a few basic principles. Check for exits – is the front door locked, is there a back door, what do you land on on the other side of the window. Check the kitchen – are the knives on a rail, you’ve got two seconds; in a block, a couple more; in a draw, probaly five or six and they’ll be in the second draw. Household items – sure it doesn’t look like much, but a French Knitting Santa could be your best friend in a tight situation. Be aware – does your seat face the kitchen, good, but is there another way to the dining room behind you. Be prepared – always have a drink in your hand, momentary blinding gives you valuable seconds.

lambkormaDinner. Dinner was wonderful. I’m a big fan of figs and prosciutto but grilling them with a sage leaf and drizzling with burnt butter sauce made all kinds of porky sense. Mains was the barbecued lamb cutlets with the nice touch of being able to do the korma dipping and crushed almond encrusting ourselves. Crunch from the shoot salad and tasty carbos from the Aloo Gobi (yes, yes aloo to you to too). Handy hints were heating the roti in the frezer and keeping flour in the sandwich press. Good stuff. Chris was responsible for these and aptly got them from Delicious magazine. Apparently he’s also a dab hand with pastries and can crank out home made pasta in under 20. I don’t doubt this, I had no here-let-me-do-that-pangs whatsoever.

licoriceicecreamNicole borrowed an ice-cream maker and treated us to home made licorice ice-cream with honey biscuit. I’m usually a bit iffy about aniseed and licorice but this was excellent, creamy without being overly sweet. A perfect finish. I was amazed how smoothly dinner prep went. My own dinner party kitchen efforts usually look like a one man version of Das Boot to the tune of a klaxon.

viellefermeDrinks we’re my responsiblity and went with a Ninth Island Reisling for starters which I found pleasant enough, if a little lemony insipid. Kingfisher lager was to go with the curry and did its job well. Finally I picked up a bottle Perrin 2000 Cotes du Ventoux La Vieille Ferme at Steve’s to try. I love it. LOVE. Australian wines can be all “and on the trombone” but this French wine plucked away at my tongue like a koto. I drank most of it. A grenache I’m told. Under $15 dollars. I would like must have more.

eclairman2The last of the red saw the end of an evening. Quality chat based around a common friend, food, knick knacks, Jawbreaker, and me knowing roughly what a Toyota rokuhachi is (rear wheel drive four significantly lighter than the Volvo) and does (slides). We were seen off with CDs and chutney. A lovely evening, and thanks greatly we’ll reciprocate soon. Forgot the micro-eclairs, bugger.

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sake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jared bailey

Because – we don’t like snakes, there’s drinking, and there’s crack, mother’s maiden name is Byrne, green shirts, and Dave Allen.


Cooking? It’s probably a bit late for a Beef, Guinness, and Lamb Terrine but you could always whip up a Beef and Guinness Stew without too much fuss.

girlsolive Ahhhh Bloggies. Not to be people.

Thanks for the nomination, kind words, support, and the votes(some go-getters as many as a dozen times!). Well done to Aus/NZ winner what’s new, pussycat and congratulations on her non-webby nuptuals. Consolations to fellow silver medal winners – locals and foodies. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a hot date with a cold bottle of sherry.

More: Have you hugged your noodlepie today?

And a thought: Tough call, but best blog in Aus/NZ in my opinion? Deltoid.

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enjospread

Nick: I asked Tres if I could get a hovercraft.
Me: and she said yes?
Nick: She said no.
Me: Bummer. That’s harsh.

Enjo. If that rings no bells then you haven’t quite surrendered as completely to the inescapable pull of suburban bourgeoisification as I have. Having been somewhat more the indulgee in our relationship, I found it hard to refuse Toni’s decision to host a home sales party thingy and offered to be in charge of light refreshments.

Mediterranean cultures have finger food nailed so I went with a tapas theme. If you have a look at the pic from top to bottom you’ll see… toasted pita bread; hummus with pine nuts; roma tomatoes with EVOO, basil, maldon sea salt, and pepper; lightly toasted baguette; pesto; pan fired haloumi; olives; chorizo in red wine; proscioutto, coppa, and home made aioli; and $3 Mount Barker Red Cross wine chiller with freezer inserts.

It looks like a lot but it isn’t. The magic hassle-free combo secret is a couple of quick hot dishes, a couple prepared earliers, and a few purchases. Left me with mucho time to have few beers out back with Greg and Holly while the guests watched a shower screen being decalcified in the bathroom and oggled my Blue Stratos After-shave and Mandom Moisture Cream.

You can find the Chorizo in Red Wine recipe way back here. The aioli is here but I’d add the recommendation to stream in the olive oil while stirring, rather than using a blender, it prevents it going bitter.

The hummus requires a little explanation. Soak the dried chick peas overnight the place them in a ovenproof dish with an inch of water to cover. Put the lid on and cook in 180C oven for an hour or so. Pureed about 5 cups of chick peas with three garlic cloves . And a few tablespoons of roasted pine nuts and sesame seeds (in a dry frypan, mind they don’t burn). Grind a handful of parsley with enough EVOO to moisten and add that. Stream in 3/4 cup of combined lemon juice and EVOO, stirring. Season with pepper and, because it wasn’t quite there, I added a few drops of tabasco. Great warm, served with toasty pita bread.

Toni got the hostie present of those yellow moppie things and I got to jump start a bearded guy’s chopper with my Volvo. And just to clarify, dry sherry is not a wino’s drink, it’s a much underrated aperitif. So there.

guildcard

Clement of A La Cuisine! went and made me all rambly nostalgic and in the process reminded me of one of my Uni era grand food projects, the muffuletta. A kind of delicatessen terrine, cached in a loaf of bread. The special occasion was an outdoor concert in King’s Park with Ben Folds and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Dining with Robbie and Veronique, and Robert and Manas.

muffuletta

It’s actually not that hard at all, most of it is brought. For heavy duty deli shoppping I usually go to the Contintal Supermarket on the corner of Fitzgerald and Roe. The only real kitchen work is the roasted red capsicums (peppers) and the fried eggplant. I roasted the capsicums over the burner until the skin bubbled, then picked the skin off, persuading a few recalcitrant bits with a paring knife. I think this can also be done by placing them in a paper bag in the oven, but I’ve forgotten how exactly. The eggplant was sliced to a 4mm thinckness and cooked in a pan with EVOO.

Next was the ricotta mix. A cup of ricotta with a handful of finely chopped basil, and an egg yolk and mixed. The dressing was a 1/4 cup of EVOO, 2tbs capers and a tbs of oregano.

Get a nice round loaf of bread, slice the top off, and hollow it out. The ricotta mix gets spread aound the bottom and the sides. Then it’s just a matter of stacking food up to the top. For this one is used – prosciutto, fried eggplant, roasted capsicum, coppa, rocket, green pesto, and stuffed olives with the dressing poured over. The lid is put back on, wrapped in foil and refrigerated for 8 hours.

benfoldswasoconcert

As for the concert. Situated on freshly cut lawns in a natural ampitheatre, surrounded by gums trees, with the stage in front of a small lake; it would have been good even if Frente had been playing. Ben Folds is a supreme human being. Talented, funny, humane, and just makes fantastic songs.

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parmesanlambchops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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treeswing

ow Showering and slipping on the fresh underpants I thought I’d never get, I got to have a look at where I was. I was in rural England all pruned rose bushes and apple trees. Went back inside and found a fridge loaded with steak, bacon, and eggs. Did you know men are 74% protein? Yes. The recently restored century-old homestead was a marvel, no small part due to being one of the properties of a construction tycoon but you had to admire that it wasn’t bulldozed to make way for a GWTW mostrosity. The 500 acre cattle and sheep stud has a stockman and a gardener and has trees planted to shield unsightly tanks. More BMW showroom than cattleyard, I could only fault it for the lack of a giant H on the helipad. The old shed had carefully chosen old machinery in it, rather than on its last legs Dodge fuel truck. Impressive but eventually a bit unsettling like the $80,000 cloned breeding ram you see down there. Was it real? Were we, ourselves, being made comfortable as country boys on what some future race might have imagined we would like? Comfortable. Comfortable, for what? It was obvious, love slaves.

80000dollarram meatforbreakfast

No apparently not, so we jumped in our Toyota Hi-Ace, and headed back to Melbourne, stopping at the Geelong KFC across from the Ford Engine Plant. Over over over the big bridge, then to the hotel where it wasn’t us who broke the hotel parking shutter. A few beers in the lounge, off to Saint Kilda, thin crusty pizzas that are still a novelty back west, The Prince of Wales pub for Guinesses to be complimented on my corduroy jacket by a nice man in a suit, 10 minutes in the Esplanade hotel before the consensus was no, then taxi to elsewhere. Hello Melbourne.

dinnerstkilda

bigwinecaldeonianhamilton

Melbourne F1. The Qantas flight over a broken heater 12C as my fellow travellers found a use for the Australian newspaper as makeshift blankets. Sure I shivered but I was distracted by wondering what the hell was going on in Ocean’s 12 and could that really have been powdered scrambled eggs I was given? We were the only Western Australian to look forward to being warm in Melbourne, ever. How much nicer it would have been if our bags could have joined us. Never mind we’re making them courier it to us to our destination for the evening – stately estate of Charles Foster Multiplex , Hamilton 300km west.

ballaratrumerz lakebolacmarsden

The very non-formula Toyota Hi-Ace headed East, Ballarat Rumerz drive-in bottle shop, Lake Bolac pub. Drink drink talk talk. I was the one urbanite but snuck in with my lifetime country creds (allows wearing of moleskins, convincingly giving directions with a stick…). I was, in essence, with the rural Village People – a welder, a builder, a trucker, a GP, a real estate agent, a studmaster (true), and a farmer. Prime stock should any future society wish to come back and kidnap us for rebuilding of lost civilisation and potential breeding purposes. Was that the tentative tug of a tractor beam I felt on the bus?

hamiltonpubcake hamiltoncaledonianpooltable

The Caldedonian pub has fancy cakes, which I didn’t have; Brown Brother’s Lexia by the glass, which I did; and an area for smoking, swearing, and crap pool playing, didn’t, did, did. Passing the time until our bags arrived at 7pm. 7pm ah my phone, why yes hello this is me, do I still want my bags sent out? but they were supposed to be here now, you promised remember? long stream of futile smoking area abuse follows… How long has Qantas been this shabby? Finish pub’s supply of Lexia, off for an amazingly good feed-up (order was “bring us food”) and I’ll have to apologise for the sub standard photo but that’s what it looked like, shame the spinning ceiling didn’t turn out similarly convincingly. Back to our stately digs to eventually be waiting on the side of a deserted country road for a courier at 1am. Our bags!

qantascalling dinnerhamilton

Greetings

F1spaceman

hoooeee k’nackered Hamilton/Melbourne F1 report soon. ’til then go look at some eggs at the the EoMEoTE#4 round-up

Outta town

melbournegneeee!ee!!eee!!!eeee!!!!eeee!!!!!
eeeee!!!!!!wahhh!!!!!!whoo!!!!!
oooo!!!!ooooo!!!ahhhh!!gdgdgdgd!

eomeote4eggswine

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

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

eomeote4baconeggs

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

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

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

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