mushrooms

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beef wellington


Ha! The French, inventing a dish that used the favourite meal of the English, the rosbif, and then naming it after
a waterproof boot. Touché! as they say

This is an exercise in deciding how much faffing around you want to do with a meal, and in this case I had a day to idle away. Busier folk could simply wrap a log of spam in store bought puff pastry and then place it in the bin.

The recipe is a combination of a few recipes from my handy Le Cordon Bleu at Home and on the internets. This was actually one of my first fancy dinner party meals when I was at uni and for some reason I decided to make it in the middle of summer. Moving the table out to the back garden helped matters. Although I managed to offend two guests by describing new railway stations their friend has designed as “a large superphosphate shed and a greek temple for the gods of suburban blah”. Would I offend again? The weather was better though.

Features!
-homemade puff pastry (not something I do often/ever)
-shiitake duxelles
-a herb crepe wrap

welly wrap


I’m not going to tell you how to make puff pastry, I just diligently followed a cookbook but it is doable and give yourself a fair amount of time as it needs a couple hours of refrigeration in the process of making it. What is made is a large number of buttery layers with six rotations of a triple fold. So I guess it would be something like- three layers, nine layers, 27 layers, 81 layers, 243 layers, 729 layers.

Beef
I got the beef eye fillet (1.2kg for seven people) from Jeremy’s (and nice it was). Tie it in five places to keep its shape and sear on all sides for about five minutes. Place it on a chopped carrot and a sixthed onion and cook in a 200C oven for 20 minutes. Remove the fillet and allow to cool and then cool in the fridge. Roast the carrots and onion for another twenty minutes and then deglaze the tin with brandy and port. Keep the liquids and the solids to make the sauce later and scrape off any fat that appears on the surface.

Duxelles
I used a combination of 300gm of fresh shiitake and fresh field mushrooms and cooked in a pan for 15 minutes with two finely chopped scallions. Add half a cup of cream and a couple of tablespoons, chopped, of fresh herbs – parsely, sage, rosemary, and thyme (stoppit) . Puree to smooth. It ends up looking like a pate which is interesting because one alternative to duxelles is to coat the fillet with pate (as in the liver paste) or fois gras and then warp it in pastry. Chill in the fridge

Crepes
I saw this on the net and then couldn’t find it again but then I found another recipe which suggested using rice paper so the pastry doesn’t get soggy. So I thought the crepe would do the same trick.
Just your basic crepe batter with the aforementioned herbs mixed in. I was going to add porcini dust but they didn’t have any at Herdies so no to that.

Assembly and Cooking
Remove the string from the beef fillet.
Roll out the pastry to 3mm thickness and trim. Place crepes in the middle and spread a layer of the duxelles and place the fillet on top. Spread duxelles over the fillet. and top with a crepe. Fold the pastry over lengthwise. Seal the ends with a roller and fold the ends over. Turn the beef wellington over with the seal down and brush with egg wash. You can decorate with strips of spare pastry if you like and brush again with egg wash.
Allow to cool in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Place a metal cone (from a pastry bag or bong) in the middle to allow steam to escape and prevent it going soggy.
Place in a buttered baking tray. Cook in a 180C oven for 40 minutes and then allow it to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Sauce
Strain the deglazing liquids and then reduce in a pan with beef stock and red wine.

Parsnip, Sweet Potato and Leek Cake
A large roti that seemed to resemble coleslaw. Not as successful as I’d hoped as a cake tin dooesn’t allow for the right amount of crisping without burning that a pan does.
Julienne the sweet potato and the parsnips and parboil for a minute. Julienne a leek and cook in goose fat until soft and then add the parsnip and sweet potato. Mix through and season and add to a cake tin and cook along with the roast.

welly stovetop


Tasty although I don’t know what I was thinking with the application of the jus, Decided to go all Jackson Pollock, who liked a drink or two I hear.

Topless Seafood Pies


seafood things


These came to me in a dream. Not a very well detailed dream with a complete recipe and I can’t remember if in the dream the shortcrust shells were supposed to look like an ashtray made in year 3 art class. But the idea was pastry in a dariole mould and filled with prawns and scallops. The prawns and scallops and red emperor fillets were chopped into bitey bits.
Wan’t sure about the sauce but I found a crayfish head in the freezer. I removed the shell and the legs and crushed them. The flavour of the shells isn’t soluble in water, only alcohol and fat (mmmm) so the shells were sauteed with some celery as an aromatic, flambeed with brandy and then simmered in cream for 40 minutes.
I then added a few strands of saffron and seasoned. A small amount kept as a sauce and with the rest, an egg yolk and some finely chopped parsley and then poured over the seafood in the shells.

Rice Pudding
rice pudding

The rice to milk ratio is very small 4tbs of short grain rice to 800ml of full cream milk. Bring to a boil in a Creuset dutch oven with a vanilla pod and 2tbs of caster sugar and cook in a 150c oven for 90 minutes. Keep an eye on it or you’ll, as I did, run out of milk and scald the pot.
You’re supposed to then stir in some whipped cream but I forgot that bit at this blurrier end of the eveing but did manage to remember to mix in some fresh passionfruit pulp and decide to caramelise some caster sugar on top with the kitchen torch.

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vegan delight


Viva Las Vegan with your neon flashin’
And your one armed bandits crashin’

Here’s something quick and late for IMBB 19 that I tricked myself into eating by using my left hand and pretending someone else was cooking for me (old boarding school trick).

Very large field mushroom roasted in EVOO with parsley, sage, rosemary, and ermm thyme, sea salt and pepper. Chopped up walnuts, EVOO over it all and roasted, covered with foil, until soft and juicy. Served on a bed of steamed silverbeet from the garden.

Thank you hosty Sam.

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Also: It’s a busy dish and I think I fell into the overcompansating trap of making vegetarian dishes “noisy” to make up for the lack of meat. It’d be just as nice with just rosemary and some EVOO and there we come to the vorian-wide issue of paying attention to ingredients and where they came from. This is while I’ll take a thoughtful vegan over a chop burning omnivore any day.

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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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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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lapindinner

Rabbit as meat evoke a number of different responses but my position is this, they are furry vermin and I have no qualms whatsoever about eating them. In fact, I looked forward to it.

The opportunity was number four (previously: Cassoulet de Castelnaudary; Bouillabaisse; Canard laqueau miel)of our reasonably regular French Dinner Party series on Saturday. I was to make the main again and Veronique would do entree and dessert. I chose a rabbit and tapenade recipe from Provence in the Culinaire Francais. The accompanying vegetables were left a little later being distracted and all by afternoon adventures with Robbie with a quick-cut saw and a sledgehammer. At the mercy of the half an hour til closing supermarket, working through budget shoppers, I had a rough idea and it obliged. Baby carrots, stuffed zucchini, and mushroom pouches.

Rabbit:

lapin filletWorking with a whole rabbit, the challenge is to get it into four fillets and a sheet of thin torso meat to wrap them in. The remaining bones become stock. I can only advise what I did and that is to work under the meat in the parts closest to the bone, popping bones at the joint to work the meat out. You should eventually get four largish pieces of meat from the hind legs and the side (the saddle). The sheet of meat around the torso require care so it doesn’t tear or pierce. Trim at the front and back and slowly work it off. It became two sheets as I couldn’t detatch it cleanly from the spine. It slow and fiddly, the bones are tiny and the sinews are like parcel twine. Any meat left will flavour the stock and you can also add small pieces to the fillet roll.

Season the sheets with salt and pepper and spoon tapenade over them (I used a local Wyening Mission Farm kalamata olive tapenade). Place the fillets inside and roll it up and secure with string.

The rabbit stock is much like any stock with carrots, leeks, and celery as the aromatics and a bouquet garni of bay leaf, rosemary, thyme wrapped in the green part of a leek. In this a glass of white wine is added to the ingredients, reduced and then water is added to just cover. Cook for 20 minutes and then strain. Reduce to taste, this will become the sauce.

sofacentral

Vegetables:

The stuffed zucchini were based on a recipe in the Cordon Bleu at Home and making an effort for visual presentation, they added a vertical element. Slice the zucchini into 5cm lengths and hollow out a tunnel that leaves about 7mm of wall. Keep the leftover bits for the stuffing and the ends to top. I made the stuffing by cooking finely chopped bacon, leek, parsely, chives and celery with the leftover zucchini and pumpkin seeds in butter and mixing it with fresh breadcrumbs and an egg. Parboil the zucchini in salted water for 5 minutes, rinse under cold water, and fill with the stuffing. Place vertically in a buttered bread pan and cover with foil.

The carrots were part elgiacally inspired by Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn:

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal yet,

and part me being a vindictive bastard. Peeled with a few cm of the the greens left on. Traditionally cooked in Vichy water, I susbsituted with a suitably interesting Italian sparkling mineral water.

The mushrooms pouches are flash and easy. They would have to be considering the state I was in when I successfully made them at The Dinner Party that was a Complete Shambles about 12 years ago. Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in warm water and then mince with field/portobello mushrooms. Cook in butter with chopped chives and drain out the excess moisture. This will prevent the pouches from breaking. Cut filo/phylo/phyllo pastry into bread plate sized rounds. I used three sheets to get the required amount of strength. Fiddly stuff, my kitchen looked like writer’s block circa 1950. Place a spoonful of mix in the middle, gather the edges around, and tie with string. The string will be replaced with the green part of chives quickly softened in boiling water. Liberally brush with melted butter and place on a baking tray.

Bundle everything into the car with camera and tripod and off you go

Cooking:

The times all fit together nicely for minimal stress
-Bake the zucchini for 45 minutes, removing the foil to baste and finally brown.
-The rabbit is quickly seared on all sides in olive oil and then roasted for 15 minutes at 190c, basting regularly, and allowing to rest for 10 minutes.
- the mushroom pouches cook in the oven in 15 minutes
- the carrots take about 10 minutes to cook in the boiling mineral water.

Slice the rabbit into equal portions, place on the plate with the vegetables and pour the stock over.

Dining:

cheese-BEFORE-dessertVery civilised. Seemed to be a much shorter aperitif time so the poonk CDs stayed in their cases. I really enjoyed Veronique’s entree of pesto of flat leafed parsley and roasted garlic on toast. Should get the recipe. I was very proud of my mains. The vegetables rewarded me for the attention I paid them and after my misgivings about the doneness of the duck at the last dinner party, I was thrilled that the rabbit was cooked to juicy perfection. Given it takes about 30 minutes to get from bench to plate, it’s a good choice for a low stress dinner meat. Cheese followed, as is the custom I was told, then finally Veronique’s pear cooked in a vanilla sauce with double cream. My only regret was the Barwick Estates Pinot Noir, only made it as far as the entree. Light and tasty, it would have made for a great pairing with the rabbit. Ah well, I’ll just have to do it all over again.

poirelapin

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To reassure those who have come to the conclusion that my oven’s died and I’ve been stringing the inevitable out dead 80′s Soviet leader like a stream of consciousness dinner which turned out well enough was last night had mum cloud rabbit

What

2 free range chicken breasts – cut into large chunks; 3 cloves of garlic -chopped; 2tsp cumin; 4 large field mushrooms – sliced; olive oil; salt and pepper.

How

Saute garlic and chicken until coloured, seasoning with cumin and salt. Add mushrooms and stir occasionally until soft. Pepper. Served with steamed broccolini.

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You’ve been here.

Stir, stir

You remember. You’re staying in a strange house and you have to cook dinner. Numbers go from 4, to 6, to 9 in an afternoon. You visualise the forequarter of lamb in your head. Enough? Risotto for entree, straightforward enough – there’s chorizo in the fridge. The one guest you haven’t met is the chief wine-maker at Vasse Felix. Now the forequarter, is it going to be able to be made into a rack. Chorizo and, and, and, mushrooms should be a safe enough bet. Vegetables with the main. The usual jus should do the trick – shouldn’t have left the bag of dried forest mushrooms back in Perth. Shallots would be nice in the risotto, forget and just get onions.

Stir, stir

Get back with a few hours before dinner. Lamb has defrosted, simple pestled marinade of nuovo olive oil, garlic and rosemary, crushed together. Open an MB. Try to tidy up the forequarter but bone structure unfamiliar. A simple clean up with one of the shanks taken off, remember to keep the offcuts and put them in the bottom of the roasting tray for a better gravy. Rub the marinade over and decide to add some olive tapenade. Cover and leave. Chop up vegetables, thinking small cubes, end up with the usual chunks

Stir, stir

Look for a saucepan for risotto. Find a seventies jobbie that looked ceramic but probably isn’t and has a solitary millimetre of metal all round. Have a sneaky peak in a Jamie Oliver cookbook to make sure you know what you are doing. Sautee the field mushrooms with butter. Crisp up the slices of chorizo with olive oil. Nicely done, set aside. Add the chopped up onion and garlic, sautee until soft in olive oil, add a bag and a half of risotto, stirring until it colours. Ask if anybody wants a glass of white (A Kalgoorlie Childcare Centre Fundraising Chardonnay I think), then chuck a couple in with the rice and stir. Open up the packs of chicken stock, spill half of one over the bench. Heat up in another pot. Open another MB. Go back to veges, dodge Mum making noodles, return to risotto. Keep stirring until wine is evaporated.

Stir, stir

Add the stock and return to vege prepping. Look for a rack ,there is none but settle for propping on veges. Go back to risotto. Rice has stuck ever so slightly, you work it loose with more stock and realise that if as much as one grain of rice sticks and burns, the dish is useless and it’s fish and chips for dinner. Toddler one discovers unstoppably noisy fire engine. Microwave vegetables. Another ladle of stock, more stirring, saucepan is filling in volume. About 30 minutes until ready if I take it easy. Toddler two eyes off my bright green portable stereo with destructive fascination. Return still firm vegetables to microwave. Phone rings, guests will be half an hour late. Turn heat down to murmur. Get given a Slovakian Nude Scratchy Beer. Add another ladleful and keep stirring. Turn away to put roast in the oven and veges underneath.

Stir, stir

Stock running low. Look at beef stockcubes, you decide against it and go for subtle over harsh, dilute stock with water. Nick another glass of wine. Look down to see how the oven is going and it’s slow. Last of the guests arrive. Think you can politely stretch the risotto out for another 15 minutes. Your arm throbs. Check the roast, it’s slow. Turn up head. Field a question about which wine to serve, you shrug shoulders and send out an order for plate and grated pecorino. Down to the last few drops of stock. Give the roast and the veges a quick basting. Look up people still sitting there, gesture to eat. Go back to basting, take a guess on time and back the oven off. Join the table and scoff down the risotto, not bad, someone says creamy, that’s good enough…

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The mystery mushroom is a giant oyster mushroom (domo domo santos for woah! MushWorld). It reminded me of the $30 a pop matsutake and how in ad world they’d be grilled over charcoal, amongst autumn leaves, and washed down with Kirin Ichiban Shibori.

No such time luxury so second choice was that I really liked enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon. Handily I still had some venison prosciutto from my trip down south that I could use instead. This left me choosing between Italian and Japanese for the additional flavour and I settled on olive oil.

Cooking

Wrapped the mushrooms with the prosciutto, a bit of oil under in the dish, a little more on top and then put in a 170C oven, letting the prosciutto get crispy for 10 minutes. It was then covered with foil to keep the moisture in and cooked for another 25 minutes.

Eating

Mushrooms have very characterstic tastes and seem to have their own unique textures. They gave off a lovely honey smell but the taste lacked enough meatiness to counteract the sponginess. I’d like to try them just with soy but I think the answer lies in a smaller bite, perhaps by slicing them lengthwise.

Desperate Restaurant notes: The Asian mushroom is given a fresh Italian fusion approach with the use of prosciutto and extra virgin olive oil. Venison gives that perfect dash of huntsman exotica with a bold stroke of antler virility. Linear forms match with curves. Earthy tones hint at winter. Crunch meets mush.

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