February 2006

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terrine de mère et de fille


Sunday was the Fremantle Family Food Fiesta and Jeff the photographer and me decided to make an appearance with our loved ones on behalf of the mag. For those that like their fun highly organised, this was a treat with rules stretching to over two pages. The theme was the family’s favourite dish and this, with both of us having fairly bog standard Australian food childhoods, left us non-plussed. Unlike other foodies who could successfully write an essay within the given 50 minute period “Becoming a foodie was inevitable, discuss, giving examples with special emphasis on the period leading up to the event”. Pens down. My home food was neither especially bad or especially extraordinary, just food to feed a family with some variety with a supermarket 30 miles away. My mum though would always make a platter, or “plate”, for local dances and as these became kind of signature dishes for each family, I thought I’d recreate it, but in aspic. Not that it ever was in aspic but it’s a tasty enough allusion to the way we suspend and organise our memory.

It’s not an overly intimidating thing to make. All the work is creating the aspic. Unless you’re happy with commercial stocks, you’ll be making your own chicken stock. I ended up making a consomme and a good explanation of the hows and whys is here. A few things to think about. I used three teaspoons ofgelatine for 500ml of stock and added an extra teaspoon for hot weather. This balanced well – you don’t want it turning into chum but then again you don’t want something with the consistency of silastic. The stock should have its own gelatine from the bones and a good one gels in the fridge. If I’d done the chicken stock again, I would have a added a veal bone or tried to track down a calves foot. Failing this, maybe given a pig’s trotter a bit of a look.

As for the interior bits, I roasted a whole free-range chicken with sage, lemon, and butter. Butter and sage under the breast skin, lemon up the jacksie, and a good butter and seasoning all over. Shred.
Boiled four free-range eggs for 9 minutes and then refreshed in cold water to stop the cooking process. Working from memory, the fresher the eggs, the more likely you’re going to have a nice sharp junction between the yolk and the white.
Chopped up a small jar of gherkins and a small jar of small red cocktail onions.

I use a sharp rectangular bread tin-no need to oil or line with wrap. Pour a thin layer of aspic on the bottom and allow it to set (in the freezer if you keep a sharp eye on it) and then decorate with three egg halves and assorted shapes of gherkin and onion. Top with more chicken and chopped egg gherkin, chicken, and onion mix. I let it set again at the half way point to keep it all a bit loose and have a greater proportion of jelly. Fill again to a smidgen below the top and cover with aspic.
Get a piece of box the size of the tin, wrap it in foil, and place on top with a weight (eg bottle of beer) leave for 12 hours. Wipe fridge clean if you didn’t leave a smidgen of space on the top.
Cut around the sides with a sharp paring knife and if it doesn’t come out, just heat the top a little with some warm water.
Served with a surrounding salad of lettuce, carrot, gherkin, cheese cubes, cocktail onions, and flicks of pate. The best thing for cutting is a serrated cheese knife and if you make slow careful stroke, you should get a nice neat slice. Good stuff. The terrine is now my new official vehicle of food innovation.

250 people showed up for the lunch and there were some pretty speccy efforts with people bringing their finest for dining. I went along just to have fun and be there and then vowed revenge for next year – I’m thinking pig . Kudos to Jeff’s sausage rolls and chutney . Charmaine Solomon was there!

terrine de mère et de fille

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salmon salad


Salad salad salad. There are a lot of platitudes about healthy food but it does make sense. Every time we eat we have an opportunity to eat what will do us good or eat something shite. Better if it’s tasty shite, worse if it’s shite shite. If it’s good for you and tasty, then doubly plus good. Mucho macho delusion is at work. The movie running through the head is that unhealthy eating is vindicated by being oh so tasty and a willingness to stare death in the face to do it. In reality it’s a failure to develop reasonable adult tastes and an unwillingness to work beyond the hot, the salty, and the fatty as the pinnacles of food pleasure. The result is usually to work most of the way through it to justify getting it in the first place and then spend the rest of it wondering what you were thinking, case in point – the Whopper. Then it’s the useless loop of validation and the fruitless search for the taste that you thought you’d get. Not forgetting the whole forbidden fruit thing but it’d be nice if the forbidden fruit wasn’t forbidden froot, if you know what I mean. Perception: wildly pushing risk parameters on a thundering hunk of hot metal. Reality: riding Virago into back of vehicle while looking back at outrun Excel.

Why don’t I make more salads? I dunno. Salads are subordinate clauses to the controlling idea of meat and have the Tontoes about them. We rarely, if ever, make a course of them. The trick is to make them more like bongos and less like drum kits. Actually I hate bongos after many a perfectly good boho party in the early nineties was ruined by squads of percussionistas. Somebody had put a mirror on the lawn so you could like look at the stars and this vibe was demolished by a lumpen faux salsa chorus. Anyway this is a healthy salad and more meal in a bowl like the Vietnamese Beef salads and an amped up version of the token bits if browned bacony things in a Caesar, the Japanese do a nice line in a seafood salad. With the recipe I was looking for gone missing, I kind of made it up with repeated finger dipping tastings (not hygenic I know but better food poisoning than relying on some kind of palatal telepathy). As a meal you’ve got your meat, your veg, and your bread.

Wash and dry some lettuce – the further away from the nutritionally empty iceberg the better. Grape tomatoes and trimmed and steamed asparagus refreshed to a chill immediately after steaming in ice water.

Pan fry salmon cutlet in a little vegetable oil. I marinated the salmon in a little saké for 15 minutes. Flake it while it’s still hot (builds finger character) and make sure no bones get into the salad.

I was distracted and let the asparagus oversteam and become soft so I thought croutons would add a bit of crunch. Thick slice of sourdough bread, toasted in a toaster, and cut into cubes. The innovation was to quickly fry them in the pan I’d just cooked the salmon in to give it a nice coating of fishy flavour goodness

Dressing: 4tbs soy sauce; 2tbs lemon juice; 2tbs white vinegar; 2tsp sugar; 3 spring onion whites, finely sliced; 2tbs ginger, finely grated; 2tbs of white and black sesame seeds, lightly dry pan toasted. Pop in a jar and shake and pour over salad. The measurements are recollected guesstimates, accurately replicate it at your peril. If you want a bit of a guide, the soy sauce is salty, the lemon juice adds fresh tangy sourness, the vinegar a bit of spare sour fruitiness, the ginger and spring onions a bit of pungency, the sesame seeds add crunch and toastiness, and the sugar add sweetness to offset the saltiness of the soy. Adjust accordingly.

A fine addition to the mid-week warm weather repertoire that’s as healthy as it is tasty and as crusty as it is trusty with the cruton hitting the futon and the pisces balancing any nutritional crises.

Note: in a break from food photograph narratives, neither the book, garlic, watch, or mango were in the salad. Apologies for any confusion that may have resulted.

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angry slavic man angry slavic man angry slavic man angry slavic man


A bit of housekeeping to catch up on with memes. First was from feisty MM with 7 memes for seven bloggers

7 things before I die
Put decking out back; Paint pantry door; Finish car port; Find a suitable plant for the spot in the side garden; Tidy up book pile next to bed (done!); Get steel bins for outdoor table; Fix chain guard on bike

7 things I like about blogging
No need to dress up; Or go out; Can be done individually or in groups; Able to turn thoughts into action; Abundance of inspiration on the internet; Practically free; Avoid potentially uncomfortable physical contact with others

7 Movies/DVDs I Watch Over & Over Again
Hard Boiled; Tonari no Totoro; Stone; Led Zeppelin live DVD; Spinal Tap; The Right Stuff; Spinal Tap.

7 Books I Love
The Cordon Bleu at Home; Reader’s Digest Book of Strange Stories and Amazing Facts; Don Quixote; Anything by Sven Hassel; Gravity’s Rainbow; Heart of Darkness; Candide.

7 things I don’t say most often
And as you can see, this is why the equation won’t work; no I’ll stick with the soda water thanks; and the amazing thing is, I’ve never had professional dance instruction; *that’s* how you do a fifteen minute Jimmy Page guitar solo my friend; there you go kitty, it’s your favourite, Salmon!; no it doesn’t need butter; wait, what are you doing to my trousers?

Thank you to egglerati Jeanne for giving me the Too Much Information meme which requires you to share with the world 10 little-known and random facts about yourself. All my work’s been done for me thanks to the Kateometer! About as reliable as anything I could come up with, some are spookily accurate.

1)Anthony can be very poisonous if injected intravenously; 2)Anthony was originally green, and actually contained cocaine.; 3) All of the roles in Shakespeare’s plays – including the female roles – were originally played by Anthony; 4) Pacman was originally called Anthonyman; 5) Apples are covered with a thin layer of Anthony.; 6) Anthony can eat up to four kilograms of insects in a single night; 7) Long ago, the people of Nicaragua believed that if they threw Anthony into a volcano it would stop erupting!; 8) The pharoahs of ancient Egypt wore garments made with thin threads of beaten Anthony; 9) Influenza got its name because people believed the disease was caused by the evil “influence” of Anthony; 10) The difference between Anthony and a village is that Anthony does not have a church.

Finally, a bunch of fives from TEd

Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
1. Bring the Noise- Public Enemy; 2. Power in a Union – Billy Bragg; 3. Minimum Wage – They Might Be Giants; 4. Holiday in Cambodia – Dead Kennedy’s; 5. White Riot – The Clash

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. give it to charity; 2. not change one bit; 3. find happiness elusive; 4. invest diversely; 5. pimp my Volvo

Five bad habits:
1. not paying attention for more than 10 seconds; 2. not remembering stuff and not writing it down; 3. writing things down but illegibly; 4. forgetting people’s names 5. not chewing my food

A while I’m at it, iPod 10
Who Needs Forever? – Astrid Gilberto; What Who the Fuck – PJ Harvey; Ave Maria – Tsukamoto Isao; The Darker Days of Me and Him – PJ Harvey; One of the Truth – Piggies; Milk Tea – Piggies; Comment Te Dire Adieu – Tokyo’s Coolest Combo; Trading Air – Athlete; Rame no Pantaron – Yura Yura Teikoku; Planet of Song – Pixies

That should do it for a while. Have at it if you want it.

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Mojo's


Third in a series of spiceblog’s dinner and a show. Tapas and a trip to Mojo’s and the Swan.

tortillaHere’s a tortilla that I seem to have done properly. Two important things. Frying the onion and the discarding the onion and keeping the oil. Leaving the cooked potatoes to sit in the egg mix for fifteen minutes before returning it to the pan.
Chop one medium sized onion finely and saute gently in a heavy pan without burning in half a cup of olive oil for 20 minutes. Leave the oil but discard the onion. Actually don’t chuck it in the bin like I did but use it for another dish. Peel and thinly slice five potatoes, I used Royal Blue which are the most versatile. It’s a nice bit of knife practice by the way. I added a small handful of chopped thinly sliced jamon to the oil and then added the potato in layers, seasoning each layer as I went along. Let the potatoes slowly cook, turning and mixing gently as needed until cooked. Drain the potatoes and reserve two tablespoons of the oil. Add the potatoes to a bowl of 5 whisked free-range eggs (look I’m not arguing here 50% of the taste is the egg) and a couple of tablespoons of parsely. Leave to sit for 15 minutes.

Add the oil to the pan, heat, and then add the potato-egg mix and press it down with a spoon. Keep shaking the pan to loosen the base. When the base is very lightly browned, slide it onto a plate, and then flip back over into the pan to do the top. Remove and serve.

A few other things we had were mussels cooked in Vina Esmeralda and parsley and then grilled with a parmesan, butter, garlic and parsley mix. Cheese and quince paste, tomato and lightly toasted sourdough bread. And salted cod potato cakes with aioli.Chorizo in Red Wine. Apologies for not having more pics but I do tend to spare new guests the sight of me taking too many food photos.

And down to Mojo’s in North Fremantle to see a promising bunch of twelve year olds in their first gig. Talented little buggers. A very Black Sabbathy original song which filled my heart with hope now I realise that Wolf Mother are jazz rockers. Rock on Short Fuse. Another acoustic performers, then two more acoustic performers at the Swan Hotel (which has the best tiles for a men’s toilet ever). All good, there’s no fairness you know. [shakes head wistfully, looks at beer thoughtfully]

short fuse singer two cute kiddoes in a band

[note to self: see more bands, write name of bands down, go electric despite solid acoustic performances]

Oh yes. Big plug for Spanish Flavours in the Wembley Food Hall next to the Wembley Pub. I got my jamon, chorizo, salted cod, and quince paste there. Quince paste was great and only $10 a kilo. Good line of friendly helpful chit-chat from the owner who does a good job of the whole rolling h for j thing.

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Peppered Rib-Eye

peppered rib-eye

One of those cook the steak and make a sauce in the pan things.

Ingredients
250gm rib eye (whole piece); 1 tbs of black pepper; 1tbs of szechuan pepper; 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped; same amount of rosemary finely chopped.

Crush the peppercorns roughly in a pestle and then put in a fine sieve to get rid of the powder. I’m not exactly sure why this is done but my theory is that pepper can get a bitter taste if burnt and in larger bits it’s less likely to burn. Purely speculative of course. Baste the meat with some olive oil and roll it in the pepper mix, pressing down. Left to sit for two hours.

Get the heavy-based fry pan nice and hot. I used goose fat but any oil with high smoke point could be used. Because of the shape, I cooked it on all four sides and this took about 12 minutes in total to get it medium rare. During cooking you may need to reduce the heat to get that balance of cooked through without being burnt on the outside. It’s a good ides to have the oven ready so if it’s looking like it’s going to be burnt on the outside, you can do the rest of the cooking in the oven. Remove and rest for 10 minutes.

Remove the burnt bits of pepper from the pan. Splash some brandy into the pan and burn off the alcohol (flambe for drama or just wait a minute). Stir in a few tablespoons of demi-glace (or more beef stock). I’ve got my demi-glace sitting in the freezer in those ice cube bags and just tore off a couple of cubes. Scrape the bottom of the pan and then whisk in a couple of tablespoons of butter.

Cut the rib eye in half. It was cooked through to medium-rare but because of the cut, it felt much rarer and I expected having to return it to the pan. Served on a rosti – made easier by a new rosti pan. Trimmed asparagus cooked in butter on top, then the steak, with the sauce poured on top with a side of roquet.

Can’t say it wasn’t superb but much of this was to do with the cut of meat. Costing more than any of the other cuts, it’s a good argument for buying better and buying less. 125gm of steak each was more than sufficient and enough energy to catch Radio Birdman at the Concert Hall. Book ’em Danno.

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heart

Always nice to have a day that’s organ related.

bbq egg


Ah yes mag is away (huzzah!) so now for a bit of egg related rock stuff to make up for EoMEoTE that’ve been neglecting baby.

Here is a egg. It was cooked on a barbecue and it is as close to eggy perfection as is humanly possible. Ponder that. Don’t argue. It lives on a pile of the corpses of a million odd shaped, burnt bummed, hard yolked, flipped over, greasy cold barbecue eggs.

A quick recap – Breakfast Barbecue order is this
– cook the tomatoes in the oven, they’re a messy pain in the arse on a hot plate.
– cook the bacon to softness and then put it into the oven to crisp up. On some toast if you like toast soaked in pig fat, and you do.
– cook the sausages
– remove sausages and cover with foil (don’t go anywhere near the bbq unless you have a roll of foil and a plate to put the cooked stuff on).

Now for the eggs. Make sure the plate is hot, add a bit of oil to the bbq and then crack away. Let them fry for a minute. They will start to get a slight crust on them which will make them easier to get off. Turn the heat off, close the lid of the BBQ and leave until the yolk are how you want them, which is runny. Sunny. Serve. That’s it. Easy. Perfection. All else is fluff. Enjoy with cold Coopers Ale and Vodka, Watermelon, Banana and Mint Smoothies.

Thanks to Kate and Jon for brekky.

The eggs were much needed aminoes for the Big Day Out. A yearly rock festival that makes its way to Perth and it is a good thing. A very good thing. This year the feature act was the more or less reformed (usage advisedly) Stooges. A quick summary of 60’s rock:
The Beatles – dull
The Rolling Stones – dull
The Doors – dull
The Who – good (although I think that had to do with me being heavily impressed by Paul Smith)
The Beach Boys – dull
Bob Dylan – dull
Herman’s Hermits – dull
The Stooges – in a vision of the universe compressing to a singularity and then exploding again, the Stooges are that singularity. All else is fluff, distraction, and waffle. I do them a disservice by talking about them, they should be listened to loudly. And, if you can, and I did, live.

Iggy A round of applause for the underappreciated Ron Asheton Iggy


I’d rewrite an Iggy poem but I will simply quote:

Now look out
I took a record of pretty music
I went down and baby you can tell
I took a record of pretty music
Now I’m putting it to you straight from hell
I’ll stick it deep inside
I’ll stick it deep inside
Cause I’m loose
I feel fine to be dancin’, baby
I feel fine, I’m a shakin’ leaf
I feel fine to be dancin’, baby
Cause it’s love, yeah I do believe
I’ll stick it deep inside
I’ll stick it deep inside
Cause I’m loose
And I’ll stick it deep inside
And I’ll stick it hey
Well I’m loose, well I’m loose
Well I’m loose

Not to be touched.
However:
Egg egg me do
You know I love you
Ohh pleeeeease please please
Egg me do

See. Crap. More than it deserves.

Sexy Tex Perkins and the Beasts of Bourbon and the White Stripes had a bit of the magic too, when they kept the fack away from the marimba.

Tex Perkins Jack and Meg White Jack and Meg White


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the model of propriety

And so with the traditional offering of a bank transfer, four cinnamon doughnuts, and four glazed doughnuts, I was handed the sacred red apron and officially became part-owner of Spice magazine. An auspicious moment, the next edition is looking the business by the way.

lasagne

Lasagne. Potentially so much more than a vehicle for bolognese and cheese. I think it should be more regarded as a kind of baked pasta based dagwood opening up many opportunities for different fillings. This one was bechamel with parsley; tomato with majoram and basil; eggplant and mushrooms panfried in olive oil; spinach with ricotta and pine nuts; and then bechamel, parmesan and a few dabs of butter on top. Not a bit of meat to be seen. The lasagne sheets came ready to go in a plastic container. Bechamel is the only thing that takes a bit of care but I really can’t imagine lasagne with out it. Any thoughts on alternatives? Very nice and there was two or more days worth of food there which got better with each passing moment.

Back at Jackson’s hanging around and doing stuff again. Lovely to see everybody and my world has been rocked by the replacement of fennel salad on the menu by a peeled tomato and basil salad. Funny night, must have been international day of no seafood and gluten intolerance.

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