January 2010

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The good people at Enjoy WA Wine asked me to match up a bottle of local wine with a dish, which was really rather nice of them. You can find the recipe here.

It was a few things I’m enjoying at the moment – lemon, chilli and garlic as a flavour combo, wrapping things to cook them, and the snapper is such a magnificent beast to have whole on a table. Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends are my hot day sessional favourite and I could drink them all day long before I decide that maybe I’ve had a bit too much to drink but then manage to remind myself that I’ve got a nice bottle of fortified somewhere.

And if you haven’t tried Western Australian wine because of poor distribution networks or a misplaced sense of regional pride, please do. One of the great opportunities afforded by the mag had been the chance to taste some stunning local wines. I’d like to say I used that opportunity to become an expert but there’s still much more work to be done.

If you’ve got to the point where you’re not entirely sure if you’ll be OK just slicing off a piece of Xmas ham, you could always make a stock out of it. It’s also prawn season in Australia so heads aplenty as there’s no gratis fry-em for me that they’ll do in Japan (mind the horns).

Chop what ham you’ve got into cubes, add enough cold water to cover by an inch or so, bring to the boil and skim off anything on the surface. Add half a dozen white peppercorns and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.

Take your prawns and stir-fry them in a small amount of oil until they turn pink. Add them to the ham and water. Return the pot to the boil and skim the surface. Add a whole red chilli or two and a bruised stick of lemon grass. And simmer for another 15 minutes.

Strain through a fine muslin cloth and taste, it may need to be reduced for a  stronger flavour if that’s what your after or just consider adding a few lemon wedges and some chopped chilli to your served broth.

For this I put two raw scallops, a prawn tail, and some watercress in each soup bowl and poured the boiling stock over it – this should very lightly cook the meat. Garnish with coriander leaves, some sliced red chilli and a wedge of lemon.

7 day lamb

It looks a bit wrinkly but it's really very good and if you look carefully you can see the adjustment bolts on my hibachi cradle which are not at all a result of poor measuring. It's also a shoulder rather than your classic gigot.

This is a Michel Roux Jr recipe that I’ve removed a couple of minor convolutions from and kept the basic principles. One useful tool is a vacuum sealer because a piece of meat sitting in a bowl in a fridge for a week isn’t ideal for household harmony

– The marinade is your classic French marinade of onion, celery, and carrot (all in big chunks) and then some rosemary, peppercorns, and half a bottle of dry red wine and splash of brandy. Place it in the bad bag with the lamb shoulder, seal and leave in the fridge for a week.
– Separate the lamb, the vegetable and the marinade. Sear the lamb in butter and remove; then brown the vegetables with some chopped bacon; and then return the lamb with the marinade. Top with stock – I used chicken and white verjuice instead of veal. Bring to the boil and skim.
– Cover and cook in a 140C oven for seven hours or until the meat is flaking off.
– Allow the meat to cool in the juices. Here you would let it sit for another day but I just chilled it to the point where the fat had set on top of the liquid and I could just skim it off.
– Remove the meat, carefully strain the liquids and toss the vegetables out.
– Reheat the meat in the liquids, which are by now a lovely rich jus. Once heated the jus can be seasoned and/or reduced to taste.

I served the meat on polenta cooked in half water-half milk and ‘carved’ the meat with tongs.

Fig and Mozarella Salad
This is hiding behind the roast. Figs are gorgeous at the moment – soft, sweet and fleshy – and are quartered and combined with rocket and buffalo mozzarella. I’m not the biggest fan of pre-made dressings but Maloufs Pomegranate Dressing is just brilliant.

Right at the back are some steamed beans with chopped tomatoes, EVOO and sea salt.

Bottle of slightly chilled MyattsField ’08 Tempranillo hit the spot for red meat on a hot day conundrum.

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