pasta

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Yes still alive. I suppose you want a picture of my blog holding up a copy of yesterday’s Guardian. Here’s a meal I made last night.

Pasta with Peas and Bacon.

3 eggs | 300 g OO flour | pinch of salt | splash of olive oil

Hard work done with a dough hook in the Kambrook and then a bit of kneading to get it soft and pliable. Rest in the fridge wrapped in plastic. Roll out to 6 on the pasta roller (dust liberally with flour as you go) and cut into rough triangly bits – no idea what I was doing, I think Matt Stone did this in the mag.

inch thick slice of bacon, cube | cup of peas | 2 cloves of garlic + inch of leek. finely chopped | 1/3 cup olive oil

Bought my bacon from Annie Kavanagh at Spencers Brook Farm. Free-range berkshire pigs make such a lovely ribbon of white fat across the top. Hope I’m not spoiling anyone’s fun by pointing out, you’re not going to get the same result with your one kilo plastic pack of bacon slices. Crisps up beautifully.
Shelled the peas with young E on the kitchen floor. This is a very nice thing to do.
Gently soften the leek and garlic in olive oil, add the bacon, brown a little and add the peas and cook through.
Cook the pasta in lots of salted water – I’m still impressed how it all manages to come apart. Top with the peas and bacon and some grated parmesan.

Really nice. Perfect light intro for a heavier mains.

Roast Pork with Cider, Veg

1.5 kg Rolled roast of pork, skin slashed, truffled honey and fennel seeds pushed into slices with a sprinkle of rock salt on top. Leave for an hour or so.

fennel bulb| carrot | 2 garlic cloves | 2 sticks of celery | leek

Just a bunch of aromatics that would, in theory, fill the roast and the eventually sauce with goodness. Chop into small pieces.
Brown the roast in olive oil in a cast iron casserole pot, add the aromatics and stir and place in a 170C oven. Let it cook down a bit for about 20 minutes. Add a cup of cider, cover and turn the oven down to 160C . Cook for 90 minutes.

parsnip, quartered lengthwise | sweet potato, cut into half rounds | apple chopped

Parboil the parsnip and the sweet potato and add them and the apples to the casserole dish. Check the level of cider and cover. Cook for another half hour and then remove the lid to brown everything up.
Keep the pork warm covered with foil, remove the veggies with a slotted spoon. Skim the fat off the top of the remaining liquids, add half a cup of cider and reduce, then add a half a cup of verjuice and a good splash of apple and balsamic glaze.

Cauliflower Puree
Half a cauliflower, boiled until soft in salted water. Drain and then cook in thick cream and butter. Puree and season to taste. Stir in some bacon cubes

Tuscan Cabbage
Chop into large pieces and sauteed in a pan with olive oil and bacon cubes until soft.

Rocket and Orange Salad
Just in case the pork got a bit much, something peppery and acidic. Segmented orange tossed with roacket and some olive oil.

Rhubarb Clafoutis
I was going to cadge out of dessert but I’d bought some rhubarb so hey. A clafoutis is basically a pancake batter pie or a yorkshire pudding without the dripping and with fruit. All you need to know is here.
Don’t overcook the rhubarb, you want it to keep some form. Rhubarb cooked in butter with caster sugar and orange zest. Splash of vanilla-soaked brandy in the batter and a 1/3 of a cup of almond meal.
Served with whipped Bannister Downs cream.

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crayfish tail

The crayfish/western rock lobster  man of human kindness came last night with two fresh crustaceans. This provided a golden opportunity to do a post that didn’t involve potatoes.

This was very much an experiment that started with the simple technique of en papillote – wrapping in, literally, parchment and cooking. If you can get your hands on a piece of treated goatskin, good luck to you. I used baking paper.

  1. remove the crayfish tail (humane method) and then remove the poo tube by inserting a skewer at a join near the end of the tail and lifting it out. Run some kitchen scissors up the inside to open up the bottom part of the shell – this will expose the flesh (phwoar!)  and make removing the meat easier.
  2. I used a combination of chopped basil, tarragon leaves (handily flowering), butter, wedge of lemon, and a finely sliced clove of garlic. What you do next is wrap the tail around them and then secure it with a wooden skewer.
  3. place this on a piece of baking paper, bring the sides up, give them a twist to seal and tie with a piece of string.
  4. cook in a 170C oven for 20 minutes [ this may of course vary wildly but the paper turning brownish isn't a bad cue for doneness]
  5. cook some pappardelle (always makes me think of this) and mix through a bit of EVOO and basil leaves.
  6. now, plate the pasta, remove the string on the package and then place it in the middle of the pasta.
  7. you (actually since you had two crayfish, with someone you love) remove the paper, dump the buttery herby goodness onto the pasta and get your hands dirty cracking the shell open while you eat the meat with the pasta. It’s fantastic.

I opened up a bottle of McHenry Hohnen 3 Amigos 2007 Marsanne, Chardonnay, Roussanne. It sounds like it should be layered in a shot glass but is, in line with their track record, very good. It’s got that fine dining feel of a chardonnay but a lot of freshness built in and some lovely aromatics. If I were pushed I’d say it’s like a nice sofa made of lemon and soda water but that’d be nonsense so I’ll settle for – was perfect with a monday night bit of seafood slap-up fancy.

cray plated 2

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A sauce for pasta

mosquito piggy
what a salmon and cream pasta might look like were it a pig-shaped mosquito coil burner


Olive oil, thinly sliced clove of garlic, two slices of chopped smoked salmon, juice of half a lemon, splash of sherry, finely chopped rind of a lemon and a handful of fennel leaves, 200ml of cream, and pepper. In that order in about 30 second intervals in a frypan. Mix in with linguine with parmesan cheese. Ain’t rocket science but you’ll like it.

Oh and facking right-wing Labor hacks:

No Clean Feed - Stop Internet Censorship in Australia

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ducklava

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

Ducklava
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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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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gnocchignocchi

Noel Malcom’s not especially short but very informative Kosovo: A short history has put me in a Balkany mood. I remembered my grandmother, Dorrie (Dragica actually), telling me about her friend’s excellent “Yugoslav” gnocchi. It actually sounded remarkably like Italian gnocchi but I wasn’t going to push the issue. I got a request to cook something with noodles or rice for dinner for my sister-in-law – in from Darwin – and gnocchi seemed to fit the bill.

My last gnocchi meal was an exceptional sweet potato gnocchi with bacon, pear, and chicken at the Inglewood hotel 3 months back. I was impressed by the combination of textures but had no idea of how to make it, but I’d attempt something similar anyway. I had a few things to think about.

Gnocchi
I looked up my current love, The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan. Uncompromising and wise, here’s another quick sample for you:

We have all heard about the decline of the tomato. To judge by the plastic-wrapped examples in the supermarkets not even the worst reports are exaggerated.

Sweet spiky music. I followed her recipe but added sweet potatoes.

Boil an equal quantity of starchy potatoes(boiled in their skins and then peeled) and sweet potatoes and then mash. She recommends not adding egg yolks to keep them lighter and fluffier, but  I wanted a more robust gnocchi so I added one egg yolk.

Then mix in the plain flour – as an approximation use between a 1/5th to a 1/6th of the weight of the potato. The goal is to be able to knead it to “smooth, soft, and slightly sticky”.

Roll the gnocchi out into thumb-width cylinders, dusting with flour if it gets too sticky, and cut into 18mm pieces. To get the sauce grabbing ridges and the even cooking indent, place the piece on a fork and then press down in the middle with your finger and then let it drop off. They got better with a little practice.

Boil up a big pot of salted water, toss some in, and when they float to the surface, give them a few seconds grace, and scoop them out. Line the bottom of a baking diah with them.

The completely amazing thing about gnocchi is how a dish which comprises of two ingredients can involve so many factors influencing the outcome. Molecules eh!

porkgnocchiwok

Pork etc.
Pork and apples is an obvious choice but pears aren’t so different and juicier, nashi apples have the best of both. Just to make sure there was a completely crunchy fourth element, I thought of walnuts and the use of a walnut in devil’s on horsesback confirmed the relationship.

Small cubed four pork chops, and cooked in a frypan with butter and half a chopped chilli. Tossed in a tablespoon combined of fresh sage and thyme. The sage came about because of the tasty prosciutto and figs I had at Crafty’s.

A splash of white wine to get things moving along, then I decided I needed more room and moved to the wok. Lightly toasted a cup of walnuts and then added the contents of the frypan. Next was a diced pear and two diced nashi. Leave dicing of these to the last minute to avoid discolouration. Cook over a high heat to a stir fry ideal of hot and crisp, and then pour over the gnocchi.

Place it in a 180C oven while you make the sauce. The goal was to get everything a little crunchily roasted.

Sauce:
A few options, I toyed with a cream sauce for a while but remebered a recipe I cooked ages ago – quail with grapes and this convinced me of the merits of a chicken stock reduction. A cup of chicken stock into the frypan with another cup of white wine and a little more sage and thyme, scrape and stir until reduced by a half, and season to taste. Place the gnocchi mix in a plate and pour some of the sauce over it.

Eating
Toni and Vic were very happy with it. For me, I found the gnocchi a little gluey, and the pork and the pears a little overcooked. Omitting the oven stage and serving straight from the wok might have improved matters. The flavours were well balanced on the mild side but maybe a little more chilli for some bite would have added bite.

It’s an interesting dish because you could spend a long time trying to get it just right. Kneading though, hard to love. Interesting think piece¹, and tasty.

gnocchipork

¹ Speaking of which, a tale of everyday heroism and pig-headedness I’ve been following at apple of my eye. [via pixellated proveditor of fine things BARISTA]

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spinachbreadsalad

SB 16.11.04 spic malquoted lemon rectify

Wednesday leftovers and a coincidental alignment with tuesday nights dinner.

Tomato and Sausage Pasta

One onion, two cloves of garlic, one red chili all finely chopped and sauteed in EVOO until soft. One leftover cold sausage sliced and then fried a little. Add a handy bottle of tomato puree and let simmer for twenty minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar. Served on spinach boughtellini with grated parmesan.

tomatosausage

Spinach and Bread Salad

Croutons: cut leftover crusty bread into cubes, toasted in the oven, and then stir-fried in garlic and olive oil.

Spinach: washed, and washed again, shaken of water and then torn into pieces.

Field Mushrooms: chopped, and left for half and hour to sit in a dressing of EVOO, white vinegar (no lemons on hand), chopped flat leaf parsley, a finely chopped garlic clove, and pepper.

All mixed, a little more dressing of EVOO and balsamic and topped with grated parmesan.

Easy. Good. Leftovers + standbys.

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Bought 6 bottles of the Peter Lehmann 2002 Barossa Semillon yesterday at the low low price of $7.50 a bottle yesterday and had to give it a try before I bought bigger volumes for festos.

It is good, at first I thought oily but then , after another try it starts with a lemony buhwang and then sits there softly aaahhhooooohhhhhhwaahhhhh with a slight back of the throat cymbal work. Lager wine came to mind and, keeping that low low price in mind, I was happy.

The came the pasta. A dried and unusual looking pasta. filejia, that looks like a play-doh attempt at a cigarette. Lemon for pasta sauce is in tomatoes, a new world travesty, are out. Don’t argue. The sauce was:

one chopped red chilli and two chopped garlic cloves- sauteed in EVOO; followed by 150gm of proscuitto (not the paper thin slices but a couple of mill); and then a squeezed lemon and added its zest

Let’s see

…………….Chilliillilililililililililililililililililiiiiiiliiiiiiiilliil

…………….gaaaarlicky

…………….salty meaty salty salty

…………….llllleemmmonnyyyyyyyyyyyyy

buhwanggaaahhhooooohhhhhhwaahhhhh tsktsktsktsktsts

Good. Off they go those crazy kids.

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Jellied Cream.

Like it? Had it?

Thickened cream.

Never knew it.

Cream + Gelatine.

What a fraud.

Process for coming up with this:

Ubaldi Saccotini al Salmone -> Lemon-> Cream -> Fresh Parsley Fennel->Small Bottle of Pinot Chardy Sparklin’.

Saccotini al Salmone look like little wontons. Grated the lemon peel of two lemons finely, cooked in little butter for a minute or two. In went the sparkling, simmered for a few minutes. Cup of whipping cream. Simmer and stir for another two with a tbs of fennel leaves. Pour over the Saccotini and add some parmesan.

Fresh and tart creamy with the fennel adding an unexpected flavour disorient. Liked it a lot. A lot. Saccotini could have gone harder with the salmon, but why not just have fresh pasta with smoked salmon. Capers?

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Evolving dinner idea. Just some store bought ravioli. Had some fresh asparagus steamed them for a minute over the boiling pasta water and then sauteed with four thinly sliced organic garlic cloves and some EVOO. Decided to add a handful of sliced field mushrooms.

Then remembered I had some leftover cream from Saturday’s French Toast (use a bit of almond essence as well in the batter – does no harm at all). First just splashed a bit of sherry (bottomless bottle of) around in the pan then added the cream. Bit of a simmer while the ravioli was on, then seasoned to taste and garnished with parmesan.

Fresh and fuggintastic. Keep away from jars. No excuses.

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