June 2005

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lamb rack

Yes yes “Nice Rack”. Tsk, Saffy.

This is a great marinade worked from Penelope Casa’s ¡Delicioso! (earlier ) and shouldn’t be too hard to vary with what’s available. I used used a rack of lamb instead of chops and roasted it. The rack is a little harder to judge doneness with, but looks better when served and there’s pleasure to be had in the juicy pink revelation of the centre.

1 rack of lamb chops; 3/4cup EVOO; 2tbs minced parsely; 1tsp sweet paprika; salt; ground pepper; one slivered small onion; 6 widely sliced field mushrooms

1. Slice down a third of the way between each rib. This allows better penetration by the marinade and allows you check doneness a little more easily.
2. Place all the ingredients in a freezer bag and leave in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.*
3. Heat the oven to 180C and place everything except the mushrooms in the tray, giving the lamb a head start. The mushrooms can go in 10 minutes later. Roast the lamb racks until done. If you’re unsure, test with a skewer until the juices run clear.
4. Remove the lamb and allow it to rest, covered in foil, for 10 minutes.

Cook some tagliatelle and mix the contents of the roasting tray in with it when cooked. Reserve a little of the juices to pour over the meat. Cut the rack in half and place one half on each plate. Eat.

*Just a friendly warning like update: You obviously don’t want raw meat juices splashing or dripping onto other food, especially things that won’t be cooked. So keep the bag in a tray or on a plate and on the bottom shelf. Can’t be banishing people to the small room.

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carousel cookbook

Nicky at delicious:days started this meme and I can’t complain because it’s kind of my fault in a way. As you sow…Anyway I would accuse Lyn of Lex Culinaria of being the teeth in my buttocks but she made me a cake so I can’t mix the metaphor that feeds me. Apparently this is a way of getting to know me but the food me but there’s so much more you could find out about the other me. Go on ask me about something else like ahm erm…

What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own
?
I grew up on a farm in the rural idyll of Muntadgin. Despite access to a large number of things like guns, vehicles, and power tools as a child, I remember being quite excited when we got our microwave. I don’t think we had anything else that went “beep” at the time. Except for my pong game, which kind of went “bwok”. Child geek, I managed to set the clock and boil a cup of water before “Dad came home”.

This ramped up to a much acclaimed “Microwaved Rice Pilaf” before settling down to a steady routine of “Microwaved Cabbage with Pepper”. It’s sad that such a thing of wonder is now relegated to defrosting and hot water for gargling with salt.

Who had the most influence on your cooking?
When I was a child I had a book and in that book was a bear and the bear lived in this house with a winding staircase. This impressed me because we didn’t have a staircase when I was a kid. No-one did. Which made slinkies kind of a disappointment. Anyway this bear made soup for his animal friend (maybe a rabbit) and used carrots and he also had these herbs which he was chopped up with a wooden handled mezzaluna and at that point I thought, if a bear could make a carefully prepared meal, then so could I.

Do you have an old photo as evidence of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?
No but here’s a pic of me bringing apartheid to its knees in ’88.
sharpville six
They got a reprieve!

Mageiricophobia – do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
Cake sized amounts of sugar and mandolines.

What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest let down?
Valued- Wusthof Trident chef’s knife
Biggest Let Down- What’s that Toni? Oh, our wedding night, oh ha ha I don’t think.
Tofu making kit, just too hard and my blender’s pretty crap with anything tougher than a milky smoothy.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like – and probably no one else!
Always been partial to a bit of roadhouse cheese inside a sausage.

What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don’t want to live without?
Butter, Mushrooms, Yeast

The quickies section:

Your favourite ice-cream?
Pistachio

You will probably never eat?
Fois gras

Your own signature dish?
I’d like to think I make a very nice seafood chowder.

Three people….
I’ll have to think.

Hokay, an under no obligation hello Perth: diverse of background Ted of TEdALOG Lite (up!); would do it very nicely Karen Cheng ; and man friday, Two Minute Noodle Cook.

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4 minutes

 tonkotsu ramen with googiesRelating a modest off-broadway event like End of Month Egg on Toast Extravaganza with it’s big time inspiration Alberto’s Is My Blog Burning? is a difficult thing to to do at the best of times. Is it the shadow? Is it the reflection in the puddle? Is it the opposite but equal reaction? Is it Sewamono to Kabuki? With IMBB doing eggs this month it feels like Josef Stalin giving a cheeky khryu-khryu.

And speaking of Animal Farm, while on the money politically, does anyone else think the animals in the barn farm of Orwell relatively quaint? The industrialised base of the totalitarianism that we managed to dodge, but animals mostly didn’t. In short it’s like a searing allegory of battery farming done with a Tuesday evening wine and cheese night of the Fabian Society.

Personally, I can’t imagine anybody in these foody spheres not willing to cough up an extra dollar or so on the safe bet that proper free-range eggs are significantly better for the chook and the happy moral free-ride that they’re tastier. Even so, not one to let a neat segue go past, classy Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant has blown open the cage door by opening eggs to IMBB and I’m still standing there going bwoak with my boiled eggs.

Why boiled? Well I thought I’d do something simple that I couldn’t do well. They are deceptively easy as I noted by the eggs in the ramen pic up above and how they were hard boiled en masse but with an accuracy that allowed the very slightest sheen of undone yolk. I can also never remember how long it’s supposed to take and even a sad knick knack collector like myself, finds egg timers a complete waste of time (no pun intended). While I could probably nail a good time for myself, cooking for others ranges from nice and runny to those who see each drop of raw yolk as a festering pit of salmonella. I took the times from James Patterson’s Kitchen Essentials and saw how it worked for myself. As for the times, well what is time really? I’d choose the passing of an appropriate length song as a handy guide.

Boil the water. Pierce the rounder end of the egg with a drawing pin to allow the gasses to escape. Place the eggs in. Bring back to the boil and then a high simmer. The eggs pictured are taken cold from the fridge and were they warmer, freshly taken from the nether regions of a chicken for example, the times should be shortened.

4 minute egg:

4 minutes The Propellerhead’s Spybreaks’(short one) bass line is one of the most compelling bass lines this side of Cannonball. And while Cannonball has a tentative lope before turning it on, Spybreak is all skinny arms and ski-rope. It is of course better know as the theme of the Matrix and should have most leaning over backwards and dodging imaginary bullets while the eggs cooks to a lovely runny conclusion. Other possible alternatives: The Whore Hustle and The Hustlers Whore, PJ Harvey; Down To Mexico, Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her; or Auto Pilot, Queens of the Stone Age. A second longer gets you Always on My Mind, the Petshop Boys – worth a thought.

6 minute egg:

6 minutesRight on 6 minutes gets you a good balance of runny and composition with 電気GROOVE’s ボクの姉さん. A cute piece of cod reggae that’s charming enough. But a few seconds runnier and you’ve got Black Sabbath’s medieval rock masterpiece Iron Man. A bit firmer, and it’s disco in the kitchen with Groove Armada’s Superstylin or run out and punch someone after your egg is done with Rage Against the Machine’s Wake Up.

8 minute egg:

8 minutes Nothing 8 minutes on the knocker but some interestingly similar dilemmas. Slightly runnier with Black Sabbath’s masterpiece of chops and retarded drumming, War Pigs/Luke’s Wall or Groove Armada’s chillier relaxo tunes of Inside My Mind. Better done would be a little over for Dimitri from Paris’ frankly more fun Back in the Daze or the tchicka tchicka faux spy groove of Dirty Larry. Very tempting to push further on with Ministry’s Jesus Built My Hotrod (redline version) and yank it out just as the fade-out becomes nearly inaudible.

10 minute egg:

10 minutes 10 minutes was a little overdone with no shininess. The Stooge’s We Will Fall is a little over but is also a tremendously boring song for them, if not anybody. Boris’cover of Me and the Devil Blues would make for a more interesting 10 minutes. But the perfect ever so slightly under hard boiled egg is Metallica’s To Live is to Die. For my liking take it out as the lute takes over at the end and walk like Sir Lancelot to the egg-cup.

Marbled Eggs

marbled eggs As an added bonus. These are commonly known as tea eggs and are a gently cracked hardboiled egg allowed to simmer in a mix of tea, soy sauce, and star anise amongst others for a few hours. I used red wine, rosemary, and peppercorns in the hope it would end up tasting like steak and eggs with a red wine jus. I was, of course, deluded. A little bitter but pretty enough though wouldn’t you say? Yes.

cullen pinot

I’ve a flu crapping on me and work is getting to the “bees! in my head!” stage so I’m not feeling very posty, yet I tire of looking at the cheese and ghekin delight. So yes something from the crypt and here are some pics from Cullen Wines from my trip down south a couple of weeks ago. Deserved though, newer wineries and restaurants have drawn attention away from this stayer but I was glad we stopped in for the first time in many years. We just had entrees each and can’t remember being so satisfied with such a relatively small lunch. The Pinot was a bit sharp for what I like in Pinot and, inexplicably, I didn’t do any other tasting.

cullen tart
cullen mushrooms
cullen sardines
cullen bar and glasses cullen wall gnome cullen

The last pic is to further amuse Crafty for making me a rocking good Mapron.

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cheese and gherkin delight

Sometimes the difference between party food, and exceptional party food is just a few minutes of care and attention.

Take a jar of sweet gherkins . Select a couple of suitably well shaped gherkins and slice to 5mm thickness, much thicker and the gherkin taste will be overly dominant. You may need to adjust as the gherkin thins (overly thin parts can later be added to a gherkin dip). Cut a block of processed cheese, mild cheddar or colby, to a similar thickness but you may vary the shape. Guests can then select according to their preference to cheese. Aim to achieves a rough balance of dimensions with the gherkin piece. Choose a well coloured and nicely shaped orange and cut off a third to provide a base. Doing this will prevent the orange toppling over during service. To assemble place a piece of cheese (centred) on top of a piece of gherkin and then pierce in the middle with a toothpick. Some cooks will place the cheese and gherkin on the toothpick, but I find this can lead to “running through”, not only unsightly but a source of potential injury. Place the toothpicks, food outwards in a radiating fashion until the orange is filled. Be careful not to crowd the orange as it will not only ruin the effect but make the toothpicks more difficult to remove for guests. While the pattern is pretty, I feel there is a need for a dominant central statement and this I’ve done with the top 4/5th of a gherkin placed proudly on a satay stick.

Enjoy, but be quick.

guitar Wooh it’s my birthday. Look what I got from Toni. And! she took me to The Loose Box (Perth people go ooooh, rest of you – best French restaurant/restaurant in Perth by most accounts) last night. Lucky duck. More later, gotta put my casserole on. Hmmmm podcasts?


dessert Loose Box! Why can’t Perth people dress up? You wear pants, and a shirt that you tuck in, and you can even knock yourself out with a matching jacket. It’s called a suit. Not like I’m expecting Windsor knots. Cocktails before dinner, not rum and cokes during. Dinner was ace. Had the vichyssoise, the the pigs trotters in a kind of terrine casing, duck confit, with a pudding to finish. Toni had the venison with red wine, chocolate and pear (refuses to answer if my vension was better, hmmm) . Washed down with a nice bottle of Beaujolais and a Tasmanian sticky. They make great bread rolls too.


partyAnd thank you all for the fabulous casseroles Saturday night.

.

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hampshires

You wouldn’t believe the number of emails I get each day with questions like Do you have cutlery in Australia? and If you’re in the Southern hemisphere, how come the food doesn’t fall out of your saucepans? So as a kind of ambassadorial info counter, Saffron and I have been having a chat about getting some Australian food and drink posts in one place as a tasty sample of what’s here. And there are lots -I can’t keep track of them all but AG‘s having a stab at it with the Australian Food Bloggers Ring.

One day, once a month, you send in your suitablest post for the last month and they all get put together in one place for a good look over by others. So, if you are an Australian food/ wine blogger, or know one, spread the word to keep an eye out over at Writing On A Paper Napkin for guidelines and stuff on submissions. Don’t let us leave you you crying when there’s room on our horses for two? No.

And I’m thinking also New Zealand, if they don’t mind coming in under the Australis tag, just for the reason that they’re cooler than us.

example 1: Aus v NZ
example 2: Aus v.NZ
example 3: Aus v NZ

beef and mushroom pie

If not by now, at least by the end of this post, you should be of the same opinion as me. Mother Winter is not to be hidden from at the door like some collector of charity but invited in and given a warm embrace for the opportunities she brings.

I made this for lunch during my long weekend holiday down South using the leftover pot roast from the night before. It is a dish of great ease. An account, vary at will:

Sauteed a finely sliced leek in some olive oil, added a chopped carrot, added some chopped field mushrooms, added the chopped up leftover beef from last night (if you don’t have this just chop up and brown some uncooked meat), added half a couple of glasses of red wine, a bay leaf, a sprig of freshly chopped rosemary, and a dozen peppercorns. Brought to a boil. Covered ingredients with beef stock and allowed to simmer for 10 minutes (or water just leave to simmer a little longer – it should bemore or less how you like it before you put it in the oven). Heated half a cup of stock and added teaspoon by teaspoon of cornflour until it became a paste. Added to the mix, stirred in well, and added to the pot. Taken off heat and transferred to a ceramic dish. Cut out a circle of puff pastry to fit, placed on top, made an half-arsed attempt at a decoration with the leftover bits, brushed with the very last scraps of butter and placed in a 180C oven for 30 minutes (until the top is golden), and served.

Yes I enjoyed it. A thicker crust would have given greater gravy soaking joy and more butter would have given a more golden glaze but otherwise, it would be hard to go wrong here.


Foodists! Tired of preaching to the converted? Buck Fudd has a “kitchen cupboard full of healthgiving but unfulfilled grains and pulses” and is in need of advice. Go! Share! – Buck Fudd’s Blues: Bucking Hungry.
[thanks Robert Corr]

Pork apple sweet potato and red cabbage braise

My enamalled dutch oven will be my best friend this winter. This slow cooked pork braise is a meal in a pot and was influenced by a few different recipes. Apples are an obvious match, I just like sweet potato, cabbage and pork – germanic fave but the use of bay leaves and vinegar interested me the most as the slight sourness and bitterness the two bring is less common. Takes a bit under 3 hours, so if you can get off work early and have dinner later, there’s no reason it can’t be a mid-week meal.

1 roasting cut of pork; olive oil; butter; 3 bay leaves; 12 peppercorns; 8tbs white (or red) wine vinegar; 200ml of appple juice; 1 sweet poatato; 3 organic red apples; half a red cabbage; salt

1. Heat the olive oil and butter until hot and then brown the pork on all sides. Set aside and rub with salt. Add the peppercorns, bay leaves, vinegar and apple juice and work the residue off the bottom of the pot and put the pork back in. Cover and place in a 160C oven (you could also consider using a crock pot).
2. Go for a 5km run.
3. Peel the apples and sweet potatoes and chop into Staedtler eraser sized chunks. Add to the pot. Keep an eye on it to make sure there’s still liquid in there and you can also do the odd baste.
4. By two hours it should be getting nice and cooked and tender, give yourself about 2o minutes to chop up the cabbage and put it in the pot.
5. Remove contents and keep warm allowing the pork to rest. Remove the crackle from the pork , rub with salt, and place under the grill until crisp.
6. Place vegetables on place, place carved sliced of pork on, top with a piece of crackle and pour the remaining juices over the dish.

Mwah hmmm mmmm mwah was it good, I ate until I was full and sleepy and had to retire to the couch.

fish and chips

For those away from Fish and Chip shops, I hope this picture brings you some vicarious joy. Just imagine me having a couple of cheeky hot chips or a squid ring before breaking off the end of the fish and stuffing it my mouth. Then deciding whether to have the fish and the batter together of deal with them separately. What you see here is cobbler and some squid rings with salt and vinegar and some of the shop’s tasty lime tartare sauce. Missing is the deep fried pineapple ring with cinnamon on it. It’s from my fave local fish and chip shop, Cirripeds. They wear the gourmet tag nicely by doing their food well without sellout lillygilding or tumbling into overpriced wankery. They became more of my fave by rightly chiding my outfit for being “busy” – yellow checked lumberjack coat grabbed on the way out over green and orange checked shirt. And by offering to lend me an umbrella – for the rain, not to shield passerbys from the glare of plaid. Oh and cirrepeds is fancy talk for barnacles.

Cirripeds Gourmet Fish & Chips: 38A Grantham Street, Wembley (08) 9387 1702

hokkaido volcanic eggs

Much like Jazz, the End of Month Egg on Toast Extravaganza has risen from innuendo laced and booze soaked origins and into the milieu of the cultural elite. The salons will be abuzz. Going where the earthbound creators of real eggs could never go, EoMEoTE creator Jeanne has used her wings and soared. To my agog astonishment, she has presented all 28 entries for the The EoMEoTE#7 round-up in the language of poets, verse. It is stupendous.

And with an easy-over moreover, I’m very happy to announce effortlessly classy Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant is hosting Is My Blog Burning No. 16 and is in love with, eggs!

Step up the egg.

Yallingup bread scales

It amazes me how something as fundamental and important as bread could be so widespreadly crap. It’s as if the miracle that is television were filled with shite programmes that were there just to give us the stingiest tweak of what in, a time of heroes, might be regarded as entertainment. I am inspired and I would now like to officially build up the hopes of candlemakers out there that they are next on the list for my affections.

Yallingup bread oven

The bread is great, the simple breadmaking principles are sound and I’m sure the German baker there knows an extremely long German word that translates as: the possibility of creating an excellent product in accordance with one’s principles and enjoying it, but I didn’t ask. I wish I knew what it was. I would use it often.Much to nod your head at here. They don’t bake at night because it’s not worth it. The wheat is stone milled (in Corrigin!). The rye bread eschews the use of wheat for pliability. Inside, the natural light was filtering through, the smell of flour was everywheree, and the jarrah fired volcanic stone bread ovens were glowing for the afternoon. We may have to reconsider how “best” a thing sliced bread really was.

yallingup bread shelves

Special place, great bread. I bought two of the last few loaves. The rye was topped with boiled free-range eggs and some mashed avacado and served as an impromptu snack. The white “wave” loaf was had with ostrich pate and also used to soak up the gravy from the venison knuckle stew I made. More on that soon.

Yallingup Woodfired Bread is on the corner of Biddles and MacLachlan Road, Dunsbororough and word has it, is that it’ll be available at the Freo markets soon.

Yallingup bread baker

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A Little Moorish Cafe Phi Yen Aida

I’ve been neglectful of Perth things of late, too self absorbed and obsessed with making it on the world stage. I’m finding now when I walk down Perth’s main street, strangers will shout out “Hey Spicey! Where’s all ya foreign mates ya farkin’ wanker?”. So here we go, a collection of not so famous places I’ve enjoyed.

A Little Moorish Cafe
Robert and Manas took us along here and it’s a good thing they did. Otherwise impossible to have stumbled upon in the recently carved out East Perth, we found their selection of Moorish tapas and grilled food joyous and the subtle combination of spices showed great care. Came out to about $20 a head for food. I brought along a middling Tasmanian Merlot but if the dinner had been wrapped in lager on a hot night it would have been heaven.

10 Eastbrook Tce, East Perth 9225-7880 – in front of the “lake”(it may be closed for a short while for renovations so ring to check)

Phi Yen Vietnamese Restaurant
This is where I’ll usually head off for some pho if I feel like a walk for lunch from work. It makes the best noodle soups I’ve had in Perth and its duck soup is great. Stopped in here with Robbie and Vero on our way to see Nick Cave. The menu is an interesting split of Vietnamese entrees and Chinese restaurant mains. The broken rice with egg and pate was my fave and new love. BYO and wasn’t much more than $10 a head I think. Can’t go wrong really.

213 Bulwer St, Northbridge 9227-1032 –just off William Street

Aida Egyptian Cafe
Aida is one of the few places where you can still get Middle Eastern coffee after the sad demise quite a few years back of the “long and skinny” with its rugs of Arabian Nights and kangaroos. They have meal specials for $10 each. Last time I had a tasty fuolmedanos – egyptian beans cooked with garlic and lime served with pita bread. They also apparently have belly dancing on Saturday nights and if you tell them your name is Georgeff, you’ll get a free Bulgarian lesson from the manageress. The place is filled with gorgeous hookahs and you can have one for the evening with various mixes. I might just get hepped up on coffee and apple smoke one evening and imagine I’m on a giant mushroom then. Doskoro!

283 William St, Northbridge 9328-7677 – corner of Aberdeen.

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