June 2007

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Birthday necessitated dinner party as part of week long ‘festival of birthday’.

Don’t know where this idea came from. I guess if you read enough recipes, things start to click together. Ultimately it was the answer to a question that was how do you make one entree for seven people with one duck.
Where to start? The basics of it is that it’s [from bottom] filo pastry; pork rillettes; filo pastry; chopped pine nuts; filo pastry; duck rillettes; filo pastry; chopped pistachios and duck rillettes; filo pastry.
This is all baked in an oven for thirty minutes and then covered with melted butter and truffle flavoured honey. The pork fillet and pork belly and the duck were all cooked together in duck fat as a confit i.e. very slowly cooked submerged in duck fat. Pork and duck aren’t usually confited together but I like the pork and duck meat combo at Chinese BBQ places, so why not?

The pork belly was cubed and the pork fillet cut into one inch pieces. Delimb the duck with a cleaver and remove the breasts with the skin attached with a knife to cut through to the bone between then breasts. You can then work the breast out carefully.
To get the duck fat for the confit place any bits of excess skin and fat in a frying pan to render out the fat (you will be amazed). You can also render the bones (but be less amazed) and then use the carcass to make a duck stock (that gets used for the sauce).
In the bottom of a Le Creuset place a slice of orange, two sprigs of thyme, a star anise, and a sprig of rosemary. Tightly pack the duck peices in the bottom and top with the pork. Add the melted duck fat (or goose fat) and then top up with some vegetable oil to cover. It’s then covered with a sheet of greaseproof paper and cooked very slowly and lowly in the oven – it shouldn’t come to a boil. Once it cooled it’s just a matter of shredding the meat.
Line a small loaf tin with foil and then follow the procedure for baklava, three or four buttered sheets cut to size, topping, and so on up to the top. Cook at 180C for thirty minutes or when the top is nicely browned.
Melt a knob of butter and a couple of tablespoons of truffle honey (a jar from the Manjimup truffle farm that I managed to snaffle) and pour over.
Remove the baklava by lifting up the foil carefully and then slice.

For the sauce, reduce the duck stock down add a third as much port and then reduce down until nice and thick. Serve with grapfruit segments as something fresh and sharp to counter the fat and the richness.

Overall, it worked very well. Crisp, hot, crunchy, ducky, porky, and nutty – presentation could be tidied up a bit as the nuts are a bit unruly. Actually a lot of work for something that’s eaten in a few minutes but hey.

osso bucco ragout

Osso Bucco and Venison Shanks with home-made Saffron Fettucine
Osso Bucco is slices of beef shin and there’s one recipe for it and it seems to be osso bucco. Plenty of recipes out there but basically it’s a combination of diced onion, carrots, celery and garlic; followed by peeled and deseeded tomatoes, orange peel, thyme rosemary and bay leaves; then wine and beef stock. Make sure the meat is lightly dusted with flour (work quickly after you dusted it to keep the flour dry) and seared. Then it’s a couple of hours of tightly lidded cooking.

What results is a nice thick sauce and melted meat that you can shred for the sauce. Lots of shredding for this dinner. Just to loosen up the sauce a bit I cooked some field mushrooms in red wine and stock and the cream and added it to the meat and sauce.

The saffron fettcine is because saffron rissotto often goes with osso bucco milanese. It was only after four minutes of kneading that I wondered why my hands were red and then remebered I was allergic to handling saffron. The vegetable are strips of carrot ,zucchini , and leek; blanched and reheated in butter and then mixed through wth the pasta. It’s nicked form my Michel Roux Jr book as it’s customary to nick at least one thing for it for a dinner party.

It’s really well worth learning how to make your own pasta, if you learn properly then it’s quite straightforward and a good trick when guests arrive. My other trick involves slicing bits of my fingers off.

Apple Flan with Calvados Cream
As you’d imagine, thinly sliced (transverse to stem) apples on sweet shortcrust pastry. Served with cream with a bit of calvados whipped through it.

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anglia manual plates

I’ve actually managed to combine my two favourite things in the world – food and outdated repair manuals. It started with seeing one of the many excellent plates of santos; the later purchase of a second-hand manual for this car; and the Spice designer also does plates with kid’s artworks.

Scanned into photoshop, contrasted, magic wanded, cut pasted,layered, opacitied, resized and then tidied up a bit. It gets printed onto special paper which is stuck onto a plate then fired and here they are.

If anyone’s got a spare copy of the 1918 Gray’s Anatomy or a manual for Hino ZM 312E, let me know.

spice winter 07

Ah yeah Spice Winter (Issue 7) is out. It’s an odd one but a good one. Not odd as in stories on Victorian Era Magnetic Therapies odd (that’s Autumn ’08) but more that it’s the first edition where the two main stories haven’t been food – Margaret River Shiraz and food packaging design. Otherwise it felt like the first one where I felt at ease (judged by gaviscon consumption). I mean it still involved roasting and photographing veges early on a Sunday morning with a hangover five days before going to press, a very speciall appearance by my car’s hula mascot, and mentally willing the delay of a the birth of child by a day or two so we could get a story and the cover shot done.

It’s all good.

Anyway, it’s available on all good shoe-surrounded renovated verandah chairs, newsagencies across Australia and the following places. (subscriptions!)

Kakulas Sister (Freo), Wine Liasons (Freo),Fresh Provisions (Bicton, Claremont, Mt Lawley), Mondo Di Carne (Inglewood), Sealanes (South Freo), The Home Provedore (Freo, Claremont), O2H (Nedlands), The Grocer (Nedlands), Lady Kitchener (Claremont), Black Duck Gourmet Pantry (Albany), Blackwood Kitchen (Bridgetown), Seashack (Esperance), Get Stuffed Olive Company (Gingin), Loose Produce (Como), Margaret Riviera (Cowaramup), Picobello Patisserie (Bicton), Swansea Street Markets (East Vic Park), Boatshed Markets (Cottesloe), Gourmet Centro (Subiaco), Vanilla (South Freo), Angelo Street Markets (South Perth), Food for Me (East Vic Park), Kailis Fishmarkets (Leederville), Clayton’s Quality Meats (South Perth) Kitchen Warehouse (Osborne Park), The Beaufort Street Merchant (Mt Lawley), Rising the in the Yeast (Myaree), Love Me Tender Butchery (Palmyra), Crave On (Leederville), Cherry’s Fine Food (Mt Pleasant), Matters of Taste (Bicton), Deli Di Mondo (Attadale), George Street Merchants (East Freo), Malibu Fresh Essentials (Safety Bay), Cape Kitchen (Busselton), Margaret River Venison (Cowaramup), Chilli Hot Kitchenware (Dunsborough), Taste of Balingup (Balingup)

pineapple holder

A lot of people underestimate the power of a little presentation to turn food, into an occasion, not me.

PS If you anyone can fabricate a bar-sized version of this – mail me with a quote.

but actually preferred this. And it’s in a church, natch! I’m not sure if Josh Homme is taught to shake off his repressed feeling through the power of food by a mysterious woman or gets eaten. Given the “split pea and hand” soup in the Conan DVD I bought, strong chance of synchronicity suggests the latter. The Police are back together, is that good or bad? Either it’s a three act resolution with the second act crisis being the entire solo career of Sting; or it’s an endlessly recurring cycle.

[Yeah I know youtube is pretty slack but I’m a bit overwhelmed by having two meals in four days which comprised of 16 courses in total]

Oh yeah, I made a beef stock you can bounce a coin off.