September 2005

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lamb and risotto

This is post number 502. This would make number 500, me eating a frozen dinner. How auspicious, ah well. Doesn’t time fly.

Dinner for six on the Sunday was going to be a lasagne, being inspired by an emailed recipe from the Flute (been on the telly ya know). Not to be, I saw myself messing about with a pasta maker and settled for the thirty or so minutes of careful stirring of a risotto. It’s still seasonal for root vegetables and I’ve been impressed with celeriac of late, Brussel sprouts are also out and they were chosen for: I was shown how to remove and cook the leaves; they add a bit of colour; people don’t like them so I could set myself up for one of those magic “don’t usually like “X” but” moments and so huzzah!

Salmon Mousse:
Entree was a salmon mousse which I was happy with as it requires no gelatine, just whipping up some cream and then refrigeration.

1 salmon cutlet – the u-shaped one, fried or grilled until cooked. Let it cool and flake it apart, removing bones and skin. Add 4tbs of EVOO, juice of one lemon (actually have a bit of a taste on this and add as necessary, I may have overdone it a smidgen); a bit of rind scraping; a shake of chilli powder; and a dozen capers. Puree.

Take 300ml of chilled cream and before it sits out too long, whip it . Whip it good, until firm and then carefully fold in the salmon. At this stage I put it into 6 dariole molds but you don’t have to. I did it because I’ve just bought them. In reality they didn’t come out very cleanly so you could just make quenelle shapes with a couple of spoons. Or pop them in glasses maybe. Or serve them on a spoon. Or get yourself a fish mold. Anyway put it in the fridge for at least two hours. The flavours will mingle over time.

It was a bit lemony so I thought a tomato and basil sauce would be nice. Skin (hold the tomato over a flame) and deseed (scrape out) two tomatoes. Puree with a handful of basil and enough EVOO. To get it nice and runny. If you’re going to pour it in a piping bag, be sure to close the other end and ensure that end isn’t near an opened drawer.

Good good good. Creamy, fishy, tarty, and sweet.

Celeriac and Brussel Sprout Risotto with Lamb
Make some chicken stock – it’ll be better than anything you can buy. Go on make some. This weekend. It’ll take you 30 minutes of messing around, tops. Then you can freeze it. The kitchen will smell nice. Here’s a recipe, you might want to chuck a bit of white wine in there too. Free range chicken wings are a cheap way of adding more meatiness to the bones as well. You can use the celeriac stems instead of celery as an aromatic. They are a bit stronger so do lessen the amount accordingly.

Cooking: 1 cup of finely chopped leek, eschallot, and onion. Sautee in EVOO until soft, add 500gm of aborio rice and stir until it’s starts to go a little golden. Pour in a glass of white wine, and stir until absorbed, add another glass of white wine and stir until absored, add a glass of red wine and stir until absorbed, and then move on to the stock a cup at a time until the rice is cooked. It should still have a little bit of bite. This slow process coats the rice and makes it creamy.

Additions: Chop the ends off a dozen brussel sprouts and remove the leave. The outermost leaves are the bitterest so you can get rid of them, and you can toss the white bits too. Soften a little in a frypan with some oil. Reserve some of the leaves for garnish.

Peel one celeriac and chop into small cubes. Parboil then roast until soft. Mash a little. You want some mashy bits and some pieces.

Add these in about 5-10 minutes before the risotto is ready.

Lamb:
The lamb chops were in a rack and it’s lovely way of doing them. There’s a really nice feeling as you slice through it when it’s done. Shame mine weren’t as pink as I like them but, well, guests. Simply done. Marinated in some chopped rosemary, red wine, EVOO, and garlic and roasted on a couple of rounds of leek. Rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

Stir a large dab of butter through the risotto, top with a chop, garnish with some brussel sprout leaves and serve.

Very nice. I had wanted to add walnuts but celeriac already had that nutty taste so not necessary.

That’s it. Just make sure if your jeans are a bit low, to bend at the knees when reaching down for the warming tray in the oven.

fini

And: hello and welcome to the good people of Sadly, No!

Also – how does it feel? A waffly defence of this dish in the moral realm to prove why I don’t write about these issues much – Veganism and civilisation

steak and mash skinny version

I quite like how deeeeelightfully ugly my steak and mash turned out. Part of a carnival of food monsters. Charming beneath it’s hideous visage unlike the meal below which, like rokurokubi , hides it’s beastliness well.

You know how to cook a steak. The mushrooms are roasted with rosemary and olive oil. The mash is roasted sweet potato – a bit of scorching gives it its colour – and cream butter and milk. The sauce is just some butter added to the pan while the steaks rested, some finely chopped leak, then a splash of wine, a bit of beef stock, a teaspoon of wasabi powder, and then some cream. All done over a high heat, stirring constantly.

Now for a bit of housekeeping-

Jacksons: I returned for some very accurate chip making, curly whirly squid slicing, potato peeling, aspargus prepping, lwob gnikaerb, vietnameses mint tearing, and rasberry and red wine sorbet tasting. The place was fully booked but it was an hour before and order came in. Much anxious standing around like in Das Boot, waiting for the depth charges while the destroyers passed overhead. Slamming was not to happen, 61 people fed in an hour and a half. Take that merchant ships. Periscopes up Oberfähnrich Mitty.

Meme #1: Mike of Shiraz in San Diego has, out of medium sized meditteranean city affinty, tagged me for a wine and food meme. I’ll do my foody half and nominate my wine friendliest meal of the past thirty days. This was Hal Hartley Pork Belly Braised with Fennel and Pears. Nothing in it that exceptionally cried out for wine but the fact that I expressly made it to match with a wine that I’d bought a year ago, is a gold star effort for me. I’d hope that we’re the reverse the case, there’s be a bit of wino head scratching in kind. I’m going to do a double twisty tag here and send off to mistresses of both wine and food Jeanne of Cook sister! (and bugger me she’s just done the EoMEoTE round-up) and Barabara in NZ of winosandfoodies.

Meme #2: Mrs D of the disturbingly-pet-filled-for-a-food-blog Belly-Timber has gotten me with the 23rd post fifth sentence meme, it is:

They then had to switch the island from driving on the right to driving on the left.

Hmmm take heart comrades!

Five is too hard, I’m sending this to the house of bones.

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lean cuisine

Being on my second night of singledom and an adaptable sort, I thought I’d try to re-imagine my eating habits. I would become the 7 packets of Lean Cuisine in the freezer type person.

My expectations were a somewhat limp meal, far inferior to anything you could make for yourself but having the certain stodgy satisfaction you might get from macaroni cheese. I chose the can’t-get-this-wrong pack of Lean Cuisine Tasmanian SALMON with PASTA – Tasmanian salmon pieces in a creamy white wine and vegetable sauce served over al dente pasta. Placing it in my basket, my shopping experience was ruined by not being able to buy any ice-cream in fear of the checkouter imagining that, having rewarded myself with my tasty and light meal, I’d then go and gorge myself in guilty self-hating pleasure.

It’s crap. The spiral pasta tasted like the rinsed off leftovers of yesterday’s pasta salad. The salmon had a vaguely salmony taste but the texture was like a pre-chewed tongue of heavily gummed jelly babies. Bringing up the nutrient were a few slivers of carrot and teeny tiny pieces of broccoli from one unit of broccoli several orders smaller than a floret. The sauce succeeds in balancing vomity looks with vomity taste, with a sweet bechamel sauce that tastes like it’s cold when it’s hot. If you like this, call me, I can help.

Anyway, who makes this shit? Ah what a surprise.

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boned chicken


Sunday roast, free -range chicken looking the most economical thing available. Baby zucchini and baby squash looking tasty. Couldn’t be bothered making breadcrumbs so couscous seemed a nice alternative and so it went from there.

I’d recently been taught how to debone quail so a chicken, in theory, should be easier because of its size. Bit too hard to explain it here but there are key points to keep in mind that should allow for reasonable latitude of success with messing about:

  1. Turn the chicken breast down and cut along the backbone from top to tail.
  2. Reach in an detatch what I can only describe as the two shoulder blades, just to either side of the backbone and a little back from the front.
  3. Cut along the frame of the ribcage until you get to the point where you can pull the frame out. Pop out the wishbone and dislocate the wings and legs.
  4. Remove the frame, trimming as necessary and reserve it for stock.

If it doesn’t work out, you can always barbecue it or chop it up into chicken curry. My new best friend is the Victorinox Curved Paring knife. Cheap and works well with fiddly stuff.

Marinated chicken in a mix of parsley, rosemary, tarragon, garlic, salt, lemon juice and olive oil. A sprinkle of paprika all over

Coucous with a mix of chopped baby zucchini and squash, pine nuts, chilli, garlic, half a finely chopped lime, one chopped tomato, salt, pepper, and a generous dab of butter and olive oil for internal moistiness. Placed inside the chicken. Bring the skin up around and close with a couple of wooden skewers and tie up with string to maintain shape.

Roasted in the oven and basted with a pan juices and olive oil until the juices ran clear. Give it a bit of a push with your thumb if you’re not sure, it should still have a little spring in it.

stuffed chicken

Deglaze the roasting pan with the chicken stock you made out of the bones. Put the excess couscous into the dariole moulds you bought last week. And serve.

stuff chicken plated

Moisty tasty joy.

and:Avast me chickens!

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we ate bluey

Sorry, no tales of Jackson’s this week, day job intervened. So instead:

Pseudo (aren’t we all) Chef has nabbed me for Food memories of my childhood

– Getting the strap for making spaghetti hair.
– Sardine Sandwiches – three years straight, by demand.
– Insisting the rind be cut off my bacon – fussy little bastard.
– Knowing that the fresh sheep brain patties had sheeps brains in them while my sister didn’t. (sorry Nat)
– Coke Spiders

Robert Corr tagged me for a Name Haiku Meme so Anthony Michael George[ff], here we go:

The opened flower
It is likened to a god
Who is the gardener

Here’s some food from Leederville – Fibber McGee’s and Cafe 130 – out with a couple of folks.

beef and oyster pie T for Toni Beer cake and cocoa

redcase

Edition III is up and is like a giant red tractor. Actually it’s more like a mirror universe waffle and cream sandwich with creamy goodness on the top and bottom and waffle in the middle but I didn’t have a pic of that and did handily have one of a tractor. Great way of seeing what’s happening in things foodie in Australia and New Zealand. Hats off Saffy.

Omnivoribus Australis – Edition III

[and yes, you are free to discuss tractors on this post]

pork belly with cabbage and pears

Poor result with photos leads to a grittier feel and the shift from narrative to character driven food post.

Pork Belly: Porky! Fatty! Schoolyard taunts bounce off this delightful slice of meat. Trim the skin off for crisping later if braising. Chopped in to bite sized chunks and the bones left on, cut through with a heavy cleaver. Sealed in a frypan. Left to simmer for three hours, removed from broth briefy crisped up in the oven and glossed with venison stock and butter before serving. A kilogram.

Pork Crackle: Deeply cut into strips rubbed with salt and a little oil and crisped up in the oven. Chopped into small cubes and added to the cabbage.

Fennel: Suggested matching at time of wine purchase last year at Talijancich. As this dish was put into play, the aniseed flavour became a worry and with excess sweetness in the dish, would it taste of licorice? All other ingredients chosen with this in mind. Stalks removed and the bulb cut into small cubes. Two.

Cider: Substitute form of the ever-present matching of porks with apples. Dry dry dry to combat licorice effect, which it did. 500ml.

Venison Stock: No particular reason other than I’d made a reduction of it last weekend. Bold and meaty. 1 cup.

Onion:
Finey chopped and sauteed. One

Rosemary, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves
First two from the herb garden and are common pork accompaniaments. Peppercorns for bite, and bay leaves for bitterness. A few sprigs, a few sprigs, 12, and two.

Pears: Taken from a recipe from ¡Delicioso! The man at the shop assured me the Beurré Bosc were firm for cooking and none too sweet, whipping out a slightly menacing pen-knife to slice me off a bit. Peeled, rubbed with lemon juice to prevent browning and left to simmer for twenty minutes in their height in red wine and two cinnamon sticks. Left to sit. Heated through in with the pork for the last 30 minutes but taken out and kept warm in the oven, sadly giving it a dry faded exterior. Two chopped up into small cubes and added in with the dish. The other four, trimmed at the base and placed on the plate. Six.

Walnuts, Garlic, Thyme:
Also cribbed and modified from ¡Delicioso! Brown the walnuts in the oven. Mince with the garlic and thyme. Added 30 minutes before finishing adding a somewhat murky effect to the broth. One cup, three, and two teaspoons.

Savoy Cabbage: Driven by the past. Chopped finely yet never finely enough. Blanched and then cooked in a little of the broth with the pork crackle. One.

Talijancich 2003 Viognier: A local. Clear and crisp but with a sweetness that reached the sweetness that the dish never made on its own. 750ml.

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cabbage
I worked with Neal Jackson for the first time tonight. Henceforth Chef.

It began like this:

Me: What can I do Chef?
Chef: Go to the cool room. Get me eight potatos and there should be half a cabbage there. Not the Savoy cabbage. Savoy, the crinkly one. You want the ordinary one.
Me: The ordinary one.
Chef: Yes
[fossick and return]
Chef: Is that the only one?
Me: Ahm erm.
Chef: That’s a Savoy cabbage.
Me: Err hem.
[sound of soul gently collapsing]

It got better.


green tea ravioli with red bean paste

A quick apology for the rather low standard of presentation but I really can’t be arsed by the end of a dinner. Not that this is any excuse for a lack of skills in this regard. I should learn to do the swirly thing with the satay stick or something.

chotda pack uh oh

A little while ago I was lucky enough to receive a package from kindly Santos of Guam. Her generous efforts at a stretching my parameters were sadly confounded by our strict quarantine laws. I’m happy to announce Australia is still free of the scourge of banana flowers and medicinal bark. Apparently if you want to get food past customs you tell them it’s delicious with mayonnaise. Don’t bother with a Bhudda statue. The lesson is – send cash. Anyway I was left with rice paper and Korean green tea flower (which given my current embarrasing social habit, I was surprised I didn’t start chatting in Japanese with it). I could have combined the two but had a different plan.

My first one was to make green tea beignets and then stuff them but I thought the red bean paste I wasn’t to use wasn’t fluid enough for the task. Instead I was inspired by the fried chocolate ravioli I helped with on Thursday and thoought I’d go with a variation of that.

eggs and green tea flour green tea pasta roller ravioli cutter

The green tea pasta was your standard pasta recipe but with the addition of a tablespoon of sugar and the use of green tea flour. I’m not going to tell you how to make pasta, instead you can go here. The green tea flour wasn’t totally amenable but the pasta maker takes a bit of practice and I don’t think I’ve used mine more than twice this century. Ruggedy ragged edges aren’t too much of a problem if you’re just going to stamp it out anyway. Run it through to a 5 thickness.

The red bean paste – an freezes quite happily and was left over from IMBB#15 Mizu Youkan – detailed making instructions to be found there including showtunes.

Well then it’s rather easy. Cut out enough pasta for the ravioli stamp to fit comfortably, add a teaspoon of the bean paste, place another piece of pasta on top and, after squeezing out any excess air, stamp. Repeat. Deep fry until crisp at 180C and serve.

It was served with a gamache mix of half cream/half dark chocolate melted over a double boiler. Some cream for the plate and a slice of frozen custard apple as an afterthought. Santos has the goods on custard apple aka atis.

Well it was good. I would have liked a little more bean paste in my mine but it’s not to everyone’s liking. The green tea flavour was quite mild and the ganache nicely in unsweet unison. The custard apple, which I’ve never had before, and suspect it may not have quite been right.

Now as for the rest of the meal. I’d asked a couple of friends and a bit after 4 Toni asked me what I was making and I realised I had no idea. So a quick trip to the shops just before they closed at 5 had me sorted for guests at 6:30.

spanish mackeral

This is the spanish mackeral caught by Local Man Catches Large Fish who would be joining us for dinner.

The spanish mackeral was in cutlets and it’s just a matter of removing the skin. Using my tip from the Kaiaseki workshop, I coated it in salt for half an hour and rinsed to remove some of the fishy smell. Cooked in nice hot slab of butter with the addition of flat leafed parsley and tarragon and a splash of vinegar and served with aparagus mixed after cooked with lemon peel、parsley, tarragon, and butter.

A lovely piece of fish it was.

chicken and walnut fettucine with chilli pesto

Since the pasta maker was out, I made some plain fettucine as well. Not too hard but I hanker for a plastic pasta hanger as it was a bit of a tangle. Actually comes apart quite nicely when cooking which happens in about four minutes.

For the pesto – one chilli, deseeded and chopped; two crushed cloves of garlic; pinch of salt; handful of toasted pine nuts; and handful each of parsley and parsely; process, adding EVOO until it gets to the right pasticity. Stir in some grated parmesan cheese.

Chop us some chicken thighs, marinate in pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil and cook in a pan. Toast handful of walnuts. Add to the pasta and the pesto and serve.

A swell mix of textures and home made pasta really is better.

So that’s WTFDYWMTDWT kinda done for now, lasts month’s IMBB-fried has been done but a bit late; and with green (carbohydrate subjected to heat) eggs and an, I’ve done EoMEoTE#10.

Goodnight.

Hey! check out what’s at An Electronic Restaurant by Masterchef “Noodle Cook” and Oslofoodie has made pancakes.

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but the best thing I could come up with for the Katrina [neutral understatement] disaster was a list, a cell, a pistol, and the suggestion that the honourable thing be done.

Welcome sweet inspiration.

Joanna at BlondeSense has a plan, it’s as angry and inspired as it is decent and right. Farewell sweet beer money.

Another week. My fanciful blog life has become real and as you’re probably all thinking, it is like the uncontrollable materialisation of desires by a machine left by a long extinct ancient civilisation. So here we go:

Comestibles Kaiseki Workshop

Boiled daikon with egg tofu in dashi Peeling Daikon Grilled Salmon

I’ve always wondered what food workshops were like and I got to tag along to one as photographer for Spice mag on Monday. Good good good. Handy stuff from the kaiseki (Japanese gustation menu before gustation menus were around) chef at Yahachi. I never knew you should use the water from washing the rice when making dashi and salting fish like eggplant to draw out the fishy taste. We were treated to my favourite Japanese chef trick of shaving a long translucent strip of daikon with a knife. I’m sure if it had been the tearing a Minties wrapper competition he would have come in at 15 metres. I got to try all four courses of the various kaiseki menu items and enjoyed every last morsel. I’m inspired to tender daikon and crunchy lotus root. If that wasn’t enough, each course was matched with sake from the Australian brewery of Go-shu. Very pleasing to the tongue and better than any imported one I’ve tasted here. My favourite one, the Go-shu Nama, happened to be their cheapest. How very fortunate. Apparently it’s available at the Wembley Downs Shopping Centre (cue misty hazy memories) Liquor Store. We also got to try some Leaf (of Cottesloe and Mt Lawley) teas with a detailed explanation of each one reminding me of how ignorant I am in this area. Lapsang Souchong is now my smokey fave.

Yahachi’s site is here and Comestibles has a few more workshops this month. If you’re interested, I can email the details.

Perth Blog Awards

Kangaroo Steak Perth Blog Awards RODD

Wooh! Wednesday night at the Brass Monkey. After dining on a most tenderly cooked and deliciously seasoned with Szechuan pepper Kangaroo Fillet, I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of not one but two awards:

Most Creative Blogger Currently Working in the Public Service
Best Impersonation of a Giant Gnome

take that! Linus Pauling. And I was honoured to receive the RODD ancient knife of gnomic hammer and elfin tong. Legend has it, it will be used with all other trophies to serve at an afternoon tea, the likes of which can barely be imagined. Check out the others at the WA Blog Awards. More pics here.

Many thanks to Bret of Not The West for his organisations and as a shamefully late post for 3108 Blog Day, I would like to draw your attention to four new Perth blogs that have decided to enter into the fast paced and brutal world of food blogging:
Cook & Eat
An Electronic Restaurant by Masterchef “Noodle Cook”
TeDAMENU Tuckertime Home
chubby cat cooks
and because she’s a fave and spreads the good word with Omnivoribus Australis, Saffy of The Food Palate

Encore Night at Jackson’s Restaurant

service Vension chocolate ravioli

I was kindly let back into Jackson’s kitchen again. Much more settled this time. I wasn’t sweating when I got to the door. Advances were independent thinking when I prepped the veges in servings ready to go by myself without being asked; and multi-taskingin getting an order of veges out and deep fry 20 mini pappadums, albeit in laughable disarray. I also like to flatter myself that if I hadn’t noticed a small piece of styrofoam in the fennel salad I was preparing, disaster may have resulted. It was impressive to see how intense things can become with just a slight change in orders. Most of the service seemed a rattle of dishes, table numbers and controlled frenzy. You could feel the calm settle as the list orders dwindled towards the end of the night. On my modest front, I practiced slow patient cutting work with asparagus and learnt the benefits of working tidy and the efficacy of a few bowls and containers. I helped make the white bread rolls and the chocolate ravioli, as well as reprising the gremolata, and not burning my hands with the sauces I had to organise into flasks. Lots of counting things which turned out to be surprisingly tricky. There was a date and apple cake for afternoon tea and steak and frittata for dinner. A Clam Pho for a snack. I got to lick the frypan of the scrambled eggs with Western Australian truffles and try lamb cooked in a mind bogglingly complex Moroccan spice mix. Tiramisu to finish. If they’re wanting to be rid of me, they’re going the wrong way about it.

In other news:
Host-for-life Jeanne hosts EoMEoTE again, I clain (clain?); Clement continues and may have finished with the mammoth series IMBB 17 – Tea at A La Cuisine!; and money raised in the City to Surf went to Oxfam – many thanks all.

Why hello Anne, that’s a heck of a dress you’re wearing.

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