April 2005

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lambchopsandvegetablething

Not by way of nudge but more food blogging world’s rich tapestry, I just don’t get Sugar High Friday. Fridays press many buttons but not coming home and making sugared treats ones, no, nothing, no feeling, numb, algebra problems maybe, but sugar no. Animal fat. Yes. Friday is nosh.

Starting point was the fridge, as ever. Four lamb chops. Pumpkin and zucchini in the crisper, spuds and onions in the pantry. A vegetable layer thing seemed a good idea so thinly sliced potatoes and pumpkin. Saute thinly sliced onions with garlic, chilli and the zucchini thinly sliced. Made a layer of potato in a baking tin, greased with butter and duck fat, layer again with pumpkin, pour over the saute and layer again with pumpkin and potato. It would dry out in the oven so I placed bacon rashers on the top and covered with foil before putting it in a 180C oven for 40 minutes. Finished uncovered.

The lamb was waiting with some EVOO, pepper, and rosemary. I cooked them gently in EVOO and garlic until they were coloured and put a lid on the frypan to finish, turning off when very rare, and then allowing them to rest.

Onto a plate with the vegetables, big glass of red and it was nice.

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Next Morning Postscript: That first paragraph, still seems a bit snarky. Hmmm. Must resolve dessert issues.

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EoMEoTE – Roku!

gomatamago It’s ON!

Woah!

Yeah!

Woah!

Yeah!

Woah! Yeah! Woah! Yeah!

Don’t forget to tell EggmotherJeanne of your toasty construction.

tofu-oyako

Spiceblog all tofu action.

daikonsalad

Precision is a bad thing. Unless specifically stated, I wouldn’t trust any of the measurements I give. Not that I said there was garlic when there wasn’t, but two teaspoons could have a margin of error of +/-1tsp. Can’t remember the last time I leveled a spoon. And it’s not that I’m cavalier about the whole thing either, but I don’t want to convey the impression of great science. If I say 1¼ cups of something, then it says that 1 cup was too little and 1½ is too much and because of the accuracy you’d think it was. “One and bit” and the authority dissolves and you can make your own mind up.
This frees us from the dictatorship of the recipe.
So, next time you’re at a friend’s house, take a marker pen and block out a few measurements in their favourite cook book. They’ll be angry at first, people fear autonomy and are reluctant to trust in themselves, but they’ll thank you later.

A few people turned to nearly a dozen on a Friday night I’m back catch-up. That was OK because I had an an easy prep in advance grazing plan. Charcoal burner in the middle of the table, pile of meat, guests cook it themselves, no problem.

Buy some Korean pork and beef marinade and then marinate some pork ribs and finely sliced matchbox sized pieces of rump. This left the chicken and an extra pile of beef that I’d bought as numbers grew.

The beef marinade was a combination of Korean chilli bean paste, vegetable oil, soy, and sake. The chicken was the same but with a splash of sesame oil and two crushed cloves of garlic. I bought one meat dipping sauce and made another of a simple ponzu by mashing in a mortar a couple of limes in 2 parts soy sauce and 1 part sake.

For vegetables, I thinly sliced some pumpkin and made a salad out of daikon. The daikon was thinly sliced on a mandoline into thin rounds with a dressing of rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and a small amount of the chilli bean paste and sesame oil.

Home straight. Cook up some koshi hikari short grain rice in the rice cooker. Put some kim chee and nori on the table and then fire up the charcoal. Leaving just drinking, chatting, and the steady cooking of small bits of meat.

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orangegrass

Orange. This month’s theme by Foodgoat of “Orange you hungry?” for Is My Blog Burning? #14 nabbed my attention because orange is my favourite colour. I can’t say if the colour’s link with schizophrenia go further than anecdotal but it’s hard not to feel some kind of disconnect with reality as we see the gains of the last century being frittered away and the kitchen.. what’s that Mr Smeg? I should go on? Very well.

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Ikura (salmon roe) are spherical wonders. The pleasure of the translucent orange and the glossy sheen is matched only by the slight resistance to the bite of the membrane before it releases the amniotic fluids. They are like Paul Smith cuff-links in bubble wrap. Tobiko (flying fish roe) is nearly as pretty but has a grittier texture. I would have been happy just to pop them on a spoon, take a piccie and be done with it but since I’ve cooked about three things in as many weeks, I’d best do the thing with heat.

Blinis are fine slavic treats to have with roe and I’ve been feeling very slavic of late, no idea why. They are yeasty pikelets for people with too much time on their hands. I would adapt them by using buckwheat as a Japanese influence (it’s what’s in soba noodles) but soon find a recipe with buckwheat already in it. Nori then.

Blini Mix

orangeblini

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast; 1 cup milk (warmed); 1 cup all purpose flour; 1 cup buckwheat flour; 3 free-range eggs; 1 teaspoon salt; 1/2 cup milk.

Let the yeast dissolve in with the luke-warm milk and them mix in it with the flour. Cover with a tea-towel and leave in a warm place for two hours. Punch it down and then mix in the egg yolks and the rest of the milk. It should be smooth, but still light. Add the salt to the egg whites and beat to stiff peaks and fold into the mix.

The nori was three toasted sheets rolled together and cut into narrow strips with kitchen scissors and then mixed in. From here you need a blini pan but as I don’t have one, I used a biscuit cutter as a mould. Browned a little on both sides, you could see the thin strips of nori just below the surface.

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To stop the roe rolling off, I bought some King Island Crème Fraîche. The intention was to blend it with uni (sea urchin). No luck getting any so I thought I’d try just a sprinkle of wasabi powder and mix it in. Unwilling to gamble completely on this taste combination, I made a trio of wasabi, plain, and mixed wiith the tobiko. Finally I thinly sliced up some sashimi salmon for extra orange credentials and because it’s nice to eat and added some garnish of orange rind.

The eating was simplicity and the verdict is pleasant and interesting. Neither the nori or the wasabi overwhelmed but perhaps needing a splash of something citric or a nice bottle of a dry sparkling white. Yes.

orangefullsetting


That was quick:Foodgoat … something tasty every day: Is My Blog Burning #14: Hot Orange on Orange Action!!

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 tonkotsu ramen with googies

Japanese food is not healthy, but it is catholic.

Catholic as in broad-in-scope rather than capital “C” Catholic*. Healthy food is eaten as a matter of course rather than interfere with the making. The secret to good Tonkatsu ramen is fat. Fatty fat pork fat giving it its creamy deliciousness and delightful adipose globules. It is the Eastern cousin of the Cassoulet.

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A goat recommended eatery in Ikebukero with the big shoes of the best ramen I had ever tasted. There was a queue. We had a couple of beers and watched in awe at the counter of some of the finest ramen kitchen performances we’d seen. The stock lovingly distributed into the bowls and the remaining bits of lard returned to the pot. Noodle strainers given a whiplike flip and constant shouting and repetition of greetings and orders. To say nothing of the complex personality dynamics – alpha man, side kick, the gimp, and then the obi-wan came out. The ramen? Superb. Ramen joy. I loved the soup and was impressed by the doneness of the eggs, with a slight gloss of life still in the yolk. Some dipute about it’s actual name, possibly Tonchin, but there’s a write-up in Tokyo Walker Plus

harajukuramen

This place in Harajuku is another fave but I can’t remember its name and can only say its across from Fujimama’s – a kind of ex-pat lets do brunch fave spot. [It’s “Komen” – thanks Chika!] A line to wait here as well but I found it a little underwhelming when we got in to find the cooks just quietly going about their business. They did have gyouza, which I’d been hankering for and when I tried one there was an audible food pornographic grunt. Nice. The ramen stock here tended more towards fish for its kicks and this usually comes from dried bonito shavings called katsuobushi (not to be confused with katsuoboushi – a kind of headpiece made to resemble a fish for certain ceremonies). Not quite as silkily pleasurable as tonkotsu ramen but the garlic chips were a nice touch we thought.

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*No offense, I would find an all male culinary group run buy a septuagenarian who had never eaten, taking it’s authority from a 2000 year old word of mouth cooking guide with most of the stuff written by the sous chefs, a dandy thing.

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nishunanbabysquidUnless there’s a cooler place that I don’t know about by being insufficiently cool then Shimokitazawa is the coolest place in Tokyo. A shambles of small stores, bars and live-houses not tangentially far from Shinjuku and Shibuya. Fitting then that I’m meeting Soh and Mayumi who I met 10 years ago in a small beer bar in Shibuya and have sinced looked up to them with a slight intonational quiver when referring to them as my friends. Soh has been right on many things and I value his recommendations. A soba restaurant after a day of picnicking in Yoyogi Park it was.

nisshunanotoushiThe place was near empty of a Saturday night and I wondered of any place could be that obscurely good in a town that lives on lists of places to go. I was convinced with the arrival of the o-toushi. O-toushi are a small bowl of food, ususually bits of vegetable or seafood, that are given to you when you sit down along with your hot towel and chopsticks. This was four immaculately presented pieces, that included baked egg with what I think was flying-fish rose, and a wedge of sweet potato; prawn on tomato and radish; and a sazae – we refer to it as sea bogey as it is twisted out of it’s cavity but it’s chewy and tasty and reminds me a bit of smoked oysters. Apologies for the slightly blurred pic, I was still coming to grips with my camera (goat wisdom on ISO still being in the future).

nishunantempuraOff the beer and on to the sake and the rest of the meal. The tempura was a collection of vegetables for vegetable obsessives such as coiled fern frond and a river plant that looks like a cross between broccoli and a sunflower. I was pleased that far from having to sneakily grab a few pics, the waiter would turn the dish into the right position. Sashimi followed, and very baby squid are in season but sadly bonito isn’t. The baby squid were served with ginger shoots and a kind of sweet yellow Japanese mayonnaise. Soh and Mayumi watched while I seem to eat it all and tried to distract me with tricky questions about Japan being better than Europe or not, to which I’d reply something like Europa wa OK ga Nihon wa nnn sah neh, Tokyo wa ii deshou, daisuki desu, and then sneak another morsel in.

nishunansobaSoba is the closing dish and it’s very good, being super-aldente and quite chewy, the sign of a well cooked one. I pick up a tip not to dip it all in the sauce, just the ends. And we finished with a tea made of the sauce and some of the water the soba was cooked in. Lovely.

sohmayumisobarestaurantWent back to theirs to whip up an improv chorizo cooked in chianti (eek the rest of the Italy souvenir chianti they just brought back). Ah well nice to see them. Somewhere along they managed to remember every negative comment I’ve made about music (no classical is fine, yes the Velvet Underground do only have one song but I still like them). Much shuffling of songs and we settled on Jailbreak.


Nishunan:Daizawa 5-32-5, Sherubo Shimokitazawa 2F, 03-3411-1128

I’ll be

goat-focuses…a while getting things sorted and transporting myself but get the hell over to the flickr studio of the Tokyo Goat. You’ll be glad you did. Satellite goodness, go! Pathe-Spiceblog presentations soon.

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lateinshinjukuThe key features of navigation are to know your locations and then work towards your destination.

It’s 2:30am and you’ve been drinking since lunchtime and when you finished up by making up words to Jethro Tull and saying goodbye to the others and setting off on your own because you are independent bar finding man. But the bar you knew wasn’t where you thought it was and when you do find it you’ve seen too many places with men in suits and their head resting on the bar fast asleep and you see your immediate future self and think fuck it and pull the pin and grab a taxi. You know the suburb so you go there and drift off and on as the Taxi takes a few back streets and you’re near and you see the shop that’s next to the road that you walk home to. You get out while the taxi driver asks if this is where you want to get out and then you get your bearings. Mental 360 map around Origin Bento to get back and no road works, there are four possible streets and none of them are it and the narrow squat of two and three story buildings don’t give any line of sight. It wouldn’t be unusual for there to be two Origin Bento shops in a similar area. Start to panic. Tokyo is fine if you know where you are going, but it’s a labyrinth and no standards of north and south work with road curvature. Usual instinct driven place finding instincts just fall away. Lost. Fuck. It’s not a time to be wandering around on the off chance of finding a landmark. You have one point, you try to find another and ask a homeless guy where Meijiro station is. He takes the time to explain it in three different ways. You go straight and turn right and walk. You can work backwards from there. Walking, it’s another Origin Bento, the pieces fall into place, you turn right and you’re on the road to your home while you’re here. There’s a light on at the door and it’s unlocked and there’s still that bottle of duty free whiskey to help wth relief. Pics later, I’m off to bed.

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ranbo

Take 3. The post that refuses to post. I’m getting it this time. Jidori chicken shop in Nobeoka. Cooked by placing the meat directly on the coals. Not cooked on coals when raw. Ha! We scoff at salmonella salmonella scares and enjoy our chicken with Akakirishima shou-chu made from a special purple sweet potato. Lovely, moist bouqet with hints of peach. The shops’s kanji translates as “storm boy” but the shop master assures me it’s from the Sylvester Stallone movie. Good for them. We like our shops small, hidden, and excellent.

ranbofire ranbomaster chickensashimi

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tokyopantsmachine Very happy to accommodate requests from readers and there was a big cry out for pantie vending machines in Japan. Took some finding but here ya go. Drinks *and* undies!

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nobeokaizaya

On a happier note, here’s a photo from a local mum and dad style izakaya. Some of the specials are on top of the counter and the sashimi is kept underneath. Behind at the top you can see the menu items written on narrow wooden boards hung on nails. In a sushi bar, they’ll turn them around as the respective fish runs out. Underneath the menu items are the “bottle keeps” usually more associated with bars and “snacks”. The owner’s name is written on the base and when they come back their bottle is taken out for them with a nominal charge for ice etc. The bottle keep is a good way of keeping regulars and here, instead of the usual whiskey, they have shou-chu. Shou-chu is a kind of spirit and more popular in Kyushu than sake, it’s made from sweet potatoes. A little on the booze side but a taste is acquired after a couple. A good mix of food but the standout was fishcakes with squid legs in it. Superb.

nobeokaizakayafood

debasaaaaaaaaargh Apologies, just a couple of pic only posts from Tokyo as I’m out of typing action from a faintly riduculous karaoke related injury. At a karaoke box, last song of the night, 2/3 of the way through nailing “Debaser” and the glass partition I was leaning against gave way and I followed it – falling a metre onto my back. Bit of claret, distressed karaoke staff, a trip in an ambulance and over a dozen stitches in my right hand, back, and head. Lots of laughs at the hospital at my stretchy smurf hat they gave me and when I dozed off on the table and started snoring. Kudos to the hotel staff for not blinking an eyelid when I came back at 2am just wearing jeans, shoes and bandages. All in all aok, could have been nastier, and learnt that there are worse things at karaoke than having to wait your turn.

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jangararamenbusy

jangararamenfront jangararamen jangararamenmaster

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hanamisushisake

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tetsujin28

Back (I lived there for seven years) to Japan for a fortnight. I’ll be freelancing in Nobeoka at a takoyaki stall for a week and then to Tokyo for some shopping and feasting. I’ll try get a few posts up but if you tire of blogminder tetsujin28’s head crushing efforts, there’s always Flickr.

Possibly locked in for buying someone a camera, and definitely for pics of vending machines, but if there are any requests let me know. I’m thinking of mercy calls for hard to find albums.

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Topvar Lager

topvar

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

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harissasweetpotatoSantos has been on fire on all fronts of late. Her level of joy bringing brilliance has reached luminescence that can only leave me to fear that we’ll soon find her drowned in her own vomit, leaving the rest of us to plonk along like Eric Clapton. And that’s Wonderful Tonight Clapton.

Cribbing from her baked sweet potato with egg and harissa and modifying it for an impatient local audience. Diced up a sweet potato, microwaved it until soft and gave it a brief EVOO roasting in a pan in the oven in my kitchen in my house. Stir in two heaped teaspoons of harissa, and then pile it into four butter lined ramekins. Make a hollow, crack an egg in it, sprinkle breadcrumbs on top with a splash of EVOO and cook until the yolks wobble ever so slighly when nudged. Wooh!

What? Everyone likes Herman’s Hermits? Bah.

Momento Mori-san: Rakka tells us that Hideaki Sekiguchi from GuitarWolf died a few days ago from a heart attack. 38! Jostling for bassist position no doubt to follow. Watch for the smoke.

tartsjars

Just when I’d started becoming jaded with cafe breakfasts, Greg getting a haircut the The Men’s Room (official barbershop to Spiceblog) led us to nearby Tarts and breakfast pleasantry. Well recommended, a stack of mags and papers, and fancy fooody things to buy. Smallish, so often full. Can only fault the uncomfy chairs and flash Greg getting a heart on his coffee while I got an indistinct blur of cream and brown. Monday. Haircut.

tartscoffee tartscakes tartsbagel tarts tartsespresso

Tarts Cafe ⋅ Home Providore :
212 Lake St Perth 6805 (08) 9328 6607

tartsholly

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EoMEoTE5

How I love EoMEoTE. It is to food posting, what the electric starter is to engines.

I say this because last Monday I was in a plastic dinghy, in the surf, with a rope start outboard, listening to the whir and gasp of an engine that was doing nothing, as the waves rolled in. Why was I doing this? Because a few hundred metres offshore, were the bounty stuffed crayfish pots we had put out the day before under even more calamitous circumstances. A pump of fuel and a weedy rumble, off we went and at the end of the rope we found nothing we hadn’t seen 15 hours before. Never mind.

Breakfast then became pancakes and bacon and, as Carita had prepped the poaching liquid as per the previous day, poached eggs. I suspect she knows enough about the vagaries of fishing to have not prepared soy sauce and wasabi or whipped up some lime butter. The poaching liquid – the addition of a splash of balsamic, some parsely and two whole chillies. Does it make a difference? I think it does.

Toni is the egg poaching expert in our house so I deferred to her advice on cracking the egg into a ladle and gently lowering it in. A poke to test doneness and served with buckwheat pancakes and the toast that had lain in the oven under crisping bacon.
Was it crayfish?
placcyboatNo.
Did I care?
As is often said:
You cannot eat your dreams,
for the taste of marshmallows,
becomes the mouth of feathers.

Round Up: I’m the Alex Winter of EoMEoTE! Fixed.

Oi!: Who’s the cheeky Netdisaster monkey?

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