Friday, 31 August 2007
Thanks for all the support over the past month..
The blog is going swimmingly, thank you very much!!
I'm off to Chez Fur, for a week of R&R, and going to practice my food photography, and further enable my current cheesecake-cooking obsession..
So I'll catch you all next week, hopefully with a veritable BEVY of new posts, rants and pics.
Love you all more than Ragu....
Here's some free food porn to keep you going while I'm away...
Thursday, 30 August 2007
Many many years ago, I attempted a no-bake blueberry cheese cake. The Former Mr Goddess and I had taken Madame Mouse blueberry picking and found ourselves with a surfeit if the lovely morsels. My attempt at cheesecake LOOKED fabulous, but when we sliced into it, the filing ran out all over the plate and table, leaving us with blueberry cheesecake soup, with biscuit crumb crust dipping bits.
Nice, but not what was originally planned.
So, it's taken my 18 years to get up the courage to make another cheesecake, and to quote The Lads, I Got By With A Little Help From My Friends.
Mag Cindy and Robin.. I humbly salute you and give you:
PG's version of your cheesecakes, combined, with a pg flash of flair:
PG's Ginger and Chai Baked Cheesecake:
Take the basic ingredients:
Crush 1/2 a pack of ginger snap biscuits with 1/2 a stick of melted butter.
Press into the bottom of a 9inch well-greased springform tin. (I didn't bother with the sides)
In a blender, whizz 2 x 250g packets of Philly cheese until fluffy.
Add 1/2 cup of Amanti chai powder (I used this instead of sugar)
Majik stuff, this.. really...
Whizz until all combined.
Add 1 285g can of sweetened condensed milk.
Now.. I would have pics of the brand I used, and the can would appear in the above photo of ingredients, EXCEPT my lovely friend Talented Artist Joon happened to be around when I was making this and as soon as I had poured the condensed milk into the blender, she purloined the no-so-empty can, scuttled off into the safety of the lounge room and licked the bloody thing clean.
I feared for the safety and integrity of my fingers, should I attempt to wrestle the can offa her, so you'll have to make do without photographic evidence.
Anyhoo, back to the recipe...
Now add 1tspn real vanilla essence.. don't even bother with that crap fake stuff.
Turn blender down to lowest setting and slowly add 3 eggs..
Pour mix into pan.
Place in oven preheated to 180C and walk away.
Cook for 40 mins or until cheesecake springs back in the middle.
Cool to room temperature and run a sharp knife around the edges of the cake.
Gently release the pan and slide off:
Dust with a further sprinkling of Chai powder:
and serve with a drizzle of honey
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Hmmmm.. winter curries!!! And what better than:
2 chicken breasts
a red onion
a head of cauli
A head of broc
(all veggies courtesy of Aussie Farmers Direct)
Sharwoods Bundhi Paste (click here for some interesting Pujabi trivia *ahem*)
2 carrots diced.
1/2 zuch, diced
a handful baby spinach, added at the last moment
Rice cooked by absorption method
Fry off chicken, add veggies (except for spinach), stir until veggies are wilted. Add curry paste. Cook for 15-20 mins.
While chicken is cooking, prepare rice.
Just before serving, add baby spinach and heat until wilted. Serve over rice!!
Chicken Curry in Home Made Turkish Bread...
Using the absorption method. Rinse rice thoroughly and add enough water to cover plus 1cm more. Seal tightly with lid and set over lowest gas flame. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until all the water has been absorbed.
Allow to cool slightly and add to curry.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE QUALITY OF THE PHOTOS FROM HERE ON IN GET A BIT DODGY. PUT OT DOWN TO LOW BLOOD SUGAR AND A COUPLE OF GLASSES OF CHARDY!!
Mix 250g of Self Raising flour and 200g of natural yoghurt. knead until elastic. Place in a bowl, cover and allow to sit for 30 mins.
Divide dough in 2, roll into plate-sized circles.
Add a goodly dollop of curry and rice and fold over. Seal the edges with a fork.
Place "pastie" in a cast iron pan and brown off both sides.
Finish in the oven for 5-7 mins, if sides are still uncooked.
Serve with a dollop of tzatziki!!
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
I just canna do it. Pineapple on Pizza.. or worse, Apricot Chicken **shudder** Figs and prunes belong on compotes NOT in stews, and currants in curry... BLECH!!!!!
Stone fruit in the occasional salad, I can stomach, but Ham and pineapple is WRONG, people VERY VERY WRONG!!!
IS it me??
Am I manifesting my early foodie angst at my mothers famous "cat's Vom" casserole (tinned pulped pineapple, a shredded left over roast chicken and dehydrated carrots and peas in a cornflour glaze)
Perhaps a reaction to the early "Chinese" cuisine, made famous by the ubiquitous "sweet and sour" pork
And syrup on bacon...
Barfo-rama!!!Am I at risk of losing my "foodie" status, because I have now publicly announced that I loathe melon and prosciutto??
Is this a cultural thing, or are there others out there that think that sweet and sour is the combination of da debbil?..
PLEASE NOTE: THIS BLOG ENTRY DOES NOT HAVE A PHOTO, AS THE VERY IDEA OF GOOGLING FOR "APRICOT CHICKEN" OR "HAM AND PINEAPPLE" MAKES ME WANT TO HURL CHUNKS.
Saturday, 18 August 2007
Saturday morning breakfast
We're early risers, Furry and I.. We gotta be. This weekend consists of 5 kids, 1 doing netball coaching, 2 playing basketball, 1 at her part time job.. a driving lesson for The Mouse, a haircut for Lima Bean, Master 17.5 has his Yr 12 Formal AND we're babysitting our beautiful "niece" Charli. (That's her up there, with Duckie)
Dogs to be walked, parks to be played in, roses to be pruned, Charli's to be snuggled...
So we needed some sustenance for all that parenting.
Furry, bless his hairy little toes, gets up to make us breakfast.
Sublime smells emanate from the kithchen,
The only reason we can get this window of opportunity is because teenaged kids can sleep for Africa, and not even the smell of frying bacon will rouse them before 11am.
Pasta Dura bread, thickly sliced and grilled, with avocado, a grilled field mushroom, crispy bacon, soft-yolked egg and a side of grilled keilbasa...
**insert sounds of heavenly choir**
AND... a bit of quick salsa on top.. take a couple of random heriloom tomatoes, chop roughly and heat until broken down. Add a goodly splash of balsamic vinegar and S&P to taste..
Now... off to harvest some fresh rosemary for tonights dinner....
Friday, 17 August 2007
annatto spice seeds
I stick good, fresh lemongrass
Chicken legs (2 per person)
1 tablespoon Curry powder (I use Hoyt's)
a small splash of Vietnamese Fish Sauce
3 potatoes cubed, (nice waxy ones like Kipflers)
2 large carrots, diced.
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can coconut milk
Oil for frying (I use peanut for this recipe)
FRESH VIETNAMESE-STYLE CRUNCHY BREAD ROLLS... (2 per person)
Cut each chicken leg into three using a large cleaver. Dice the lemongrass as finely as you can. Place in a bowl and add soy sauce and fish sauce to coat, and add curry powder and lemongrass. Mix to coat and leave for one hour.
Add a splash of oil to your wok/pan. Add the annatto spice seeds and carefully bring the oil to temperature. The seeds will colour and flavour the oil, but you MUST keep the pan moving... and at the very moment to seeds start to spit, remove from heat.
If overheated, the seeds will explode, showering you with red-coloured, red HOT oil.. you DO NOT WANT THIS!!!!
Allow oil to cool and remove all seeds.
Return oil to heat and bring up to temperature.
Add the chicken pieces and cook until golden brown. Add the cubed potatoes and the carrot.
Cook for 5 mins, stirring.
Add the sweetened condensed milk, the coconut milk and stir until combined. If sauce is too thick, add some chicken stock.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
When chicken is cooked, and veggies are tender, add okra and cook a further 5 minutes, or until the okra is tender.
You are aiming for a soupy consistency.
Ladle into big bowls and serve with crusty Viet rolls, for dipping and slurping!!!!
Dice or pre-buy chicken into strips... I used about 500gm, and this recipe fed 3 adults with plenty left over or lunch today.
Place chicken in a bowl and add approx 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, a slash of sweet chilli sauce. a splash of spicy tomato sauce and a sprinkle of Five Spice Powder and sprinkle with cornflour (probably about 2 teaspoons)
Mix together and allow to marinate for an hour.
(this is a vital step.. this process will render the chicken unbelievably tender!)
While this is marinating away, prep your veggies.
This week, courtesy of Aussie Farmers Direct I used a zucchini, some baby carrots, a head of broccoli, a red capsicum, 2 diced tomatoes and 1/2 a leek..
Cut these all up and put aside.
In another bowl, place 2 packets of Hokkien noodles. Cover with hot tap water and leave for 2-3 minutes.
Stir noodles to separate and drain.
Heat a goodly splash of sesame oil in your wok, and add marinated chicken in batches, frying off until just cooked. The marinade will stick to your wok, but don't worry.. that's what's going to make the yummy sauce.
Set chicken aside ( I just plunk it on top of the noodles, stirring between batches... the oil from the chicken will help the noodles not to re-clump)
Once all the chicken is browned add another splash of oil and fry off vegies until barely done. The should be nicely covered in oil, but still crisp. A good indicator of when they are ready, is to watch the broccoli... When it becomes REALLY green, it's time to:
Add the chicken and noodles, stirring to combine. Add a cup of hot water to deglaze the pan and stir until sauce thickens and the dish is warmed through.
Serve and scoff!!!
Aussie Farmers Direct....
Furry and I have been using this service for a couple of weeks now, and I cannot rave on enough about it!!
Every week, for $25, we get a box of fruit and veg delivered to our door. All the produce is locally produced (as in local to Victoria).. We also get milk and bread...
It's like having the milkman, when we were kids!!!
The milk arrives 4 days fresher that the stuff at the supermarket and is from the Warnambool Dairy.. which is co-operatively owned by the local dairy farmers (good kharma to support 'em) and the bread is so fresh, it arrives still warm...
We're currently getting their sourdough, which is more like a light rye, but MAN, it's goooooood!!!
The fruit and veggies are ACE!!! and I tells ya, Furry and I are hard pressed to eat all the goodies we get... even with the kids over.
Last night I cooked a stir fry (recipe to follow) with some of the yummies, and it was ACE!!!
This week we got pears and strawberries and oranges and mandies and broc and cauli and tomatoes (real ones, guys.. that taste.. ... REAL!!!) and carrots and some Desiree taties and some Granny Smiths and some Red Delicious...
Hmmmmm **insert Homer drooling sound*** Fruitie-Vegie goodness....
Gunna get all Molly Meldrum on your collectives, but seriously DO YASELVES A FLAVOUR, and check it out!!!
Stand by for my recipe....
Thursday, 16 August 2007
Sometimes called "the science of deliciousness" **ahem** , it is also an excuse for the uneducated and the pretentious, the trendy and the faddie, to wax lyrical and drop words like "Alinea" and "el bulli" and "anti-griddle"
The sooner it's gone and we can all move on to the Next Big Thing, the happier I'll be. Even Blumenthal says MG is dead... and not about time, too.
If you've missed this god-awful phenomena, here's a sample:
Spherification. Also known as ravioli (not the kind you eat with marinara sauce), spheres are what you get when you mix liquid food with sodium alginate, then dunk it in a bath of calcium chloride. A sphere looks and feels like caviar, with a thin membrane that pops in your mouth, expunging a liquid center. Popular experiments from the chefs above have included ravioli made from purées of things like mangoes and peas.
or what about this little offering:
Bacon on the line. Alinea’s multicourse tasting menu often includes a crispy piece of bacon decorated with butterscotch and dehydrated apple, served threaded on a horizontal wire. The famous dish exemplifies Alinea’s use of creative serveware, and molecular gastronomy’s enthusiasm for dehydrators and savory-sweet combinations in general.
and this, from Sydney Morning Herald (thankfully back in 03)
Adria will serve you the most perfect-looking vanilla ice-cream. You take a bite: the first impression is of delicious creaminess and your taste buds prepare themselves for the sweetness to follow. Suddenly they are caught off-guard by the tang of Parmesan. Your brain is telling you that you shouldn't like what you are eating but your taste buds insist it's divine.
These days he is concentrating on his latest inventions, such as "air" of carrot or pine nut. Take a spoonful of carrot air and your mouth is at once filled with the most intense carrot flavour imaginable and at the same time utterly empty, the froth having vanished on impact. It's an eerie sensation.
The experimental highlight for 2003, however, must be "apple caviar", which has the appearance and texture of caviar but is much lighter in colour. It is made from apple juice together with a mysterious "product A" and "product B", and is the subject of much speculation among other chefs. What does it taste of? Just apple juice really but captured in jelly-like "bubbles" which burst in the mouth exactly like caviar.
Here is a list of ingredients used regularly in MG.. All readily available here in Melbourne..
|Agar Agar Powder||Calcium Chloride Granules||Carrageenan Iota & Kappa Powder|
|Citric Acid Granules||Egg White Powder||French White Kaolin Clay|
|Guar Gum Powder||Lactose Monohydrate Powder||Maltodextrin Powder|
|Methyl Cellulose Powder||Sodium Alginate Powder||Sodium Citrate Powder|
|Xantham Gum Power||Lecthin Granules - GMO Free (pcr -ve)|
Noice, hey?? Sounds more like Year 10 Science with Jackie and Mrs Mabbett, than food prep.
Here in Melbourne, Raymond Capaldi, darling of the MG movement is still touting chicken liver parfait, cocoa, salted lactose caramel, hazelnut biscotti and beetroot salad, at Fenix, but it's a far cry from his previous offerings of
scallops: fat, barely seared adductor muscles without roe, studded with faintly sweet, small chewy pieces of liquorice. They are laid out in a line with discs of excellent black pudding and plops of traditional pureed potato, drizzled with an emulsified dressing of "cooked grapefruit".
A dessert of intense beetroot and blackcurrant jelly, capped with a candied-dried beetroot disc and a quenelle of parsnip and coffee icecream sprinkled with sea salt; a berry and beetroot soup is added to the dessert bowl on serving at the table.
Here are some other random samplings from MG restaurants across the globe.
cockles coated with white chocolate
Or garlic and coffee creme brulée
Or dark chocolate petit fours infused with pipe tobacco
or Warm chocolate fondant with peanut ice-cream and artichoke caramel
or Sardine on toast sorbet
or Fig and black olive tartin with brie ice-cream
WHEN, oh when is the food movement going to give up on this ridiculous fad and embrace the real, wholesome, richness of REAL FOOD FOR REAL PEOPLE!!!!
Oh, BTW.. Furry and I are having a deconstructed Pal/Alpo creme brulee with a soupcon of aloo ghobi sorbet, strung on a bit of barbed wire, dusted with jock-rash powder and a dirty ashtray foam for dinner tonight.
Wanna come over??
Monday, 13 August 2007
Pg's Pumpkin Soup:
Take a medium sized pumpkin. Peel it, dice it. Do the same for 1/2 a medium sweet potato (your ratio should be about 1 piece of sweet tattie to 10 of pumpkin)
Finely slice 1 leek.
Sweat everything off in a large pot, with a bit of olive oil. When nicely coated, and the leek is glassy, add chicken stock.. as much chicken stock as it takes to cover the veggies.
Cook until the pumpkin is falling apart.
Whizz with a hand blender until completely smooth.
Add fresh parsley and dill, and serve with a goodly dollop of cream and crusty bread.
(Furry likes to add about 250g of pouring cream after the whizzing, rather than serve it with cream, but it's pretty much as you like it)
Whole shebang should take about an hour and it freezes up a treat!!!
Mater Beige's Pav:
4 egg whites
250 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 dessert spoon cornflour.
Beat egg white with a pinch of salt at maximum speed for 8 minutes. reduce mixer speed and gradually all caster sugar, vinegar, vanilla. remove beater and gently fold in cornflour.
Mix should be very thick and highly glossy.
Grease and flour an oven proof dish and heap the mixture into the plate to form a circle.
Preheat oven to 200c. As soon as you put the pav into the oven, reduce temp to 100c and bake for one hour. Turn oven off and leave pav in until completely cold. (Mater Beige bakes her pavs last thing at night, and leaves them in overnight)
Decorate with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Strawberries and passionfruit pulp are typical Aussie accoutrements, but I have had success with fresh cream whipped with Baileys and topped with shaved chocolate...
Furry Balls:(adapted from the Woman's Weekly Low Fat cookbook)
2 green onions, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2cm piece fresh ginger (10g), grated
¼ teaspoon five-spice powder (or a mix of ground Szeuan pepper and star anise)
(½ cup (50g) packaged breadcrumbs)**
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh coriander
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh thai basil
24 gow gee wrappers
Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce
1/3 cup (80ml) sweet chilli sauce
¼ cup (60ml) red wine vinegar
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
refrigerate 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make sweet chilli dipping sauce.
Brush one wrapper with water; place one chicken ball in centre of wrapper. Fold wrapper over to completely enclose chicken ball. Pleat edge of wrapper along join; repeat process with remaining wrappers and chicken balls.
Place gow gees, in single layer, about 1cm apart in baking-paper-lined steamer fitted over large saucepan of boiling water; steam, covered, about 8 minutes or until gow gees are cooked through.
Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce
Place ingredients in screw-top jar; shake well.
** Furry finds that if you work the chicken with your hands, you don't need quite this much breadcrumbs. Giving the chicken a good knead releases the proteins, making the raw mince "sticky", and so binds the filling together and creates a nicer, less bready end-product
- 125ml (1/2 cup) natural yoghurt
- 1 tbs lemon/lime juice
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1kg chicken breast fillets, chopped
- 60g unsalted butter or ghee
- 1/2 tsp Annato spice seeds
- 1 tbs sunflower oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 Indian bay leaf or normal bay leaf
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 425g can tomato puree
- 150ml chicken stock
- 250ml (1 cup) thickened cream
- Steamed basmati rice, to serve
- Combine yoghurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, chilli, cumin, ginger and garlic in a bowl. Add chicken and stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight
- Heat the butter/ghee and oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the Annato spice seed and cook gently until the oil/butter/ghee mix becomes brightly coloured. Remove the seeds from the oil and discard. Add the onion, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf and cook for 2 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Reduce heat to low, then add chicken and marinade, paprika, tomato puree and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in cream and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- Garnish with cashews, chopped coriander and serve with rice.
That's right, in a few hours I'm gonna meet my new baby.
And she is GORGEOUS!
She’s Italian, a hot little Italian I might add ………
She is a most beautiful stainless steel, 4 burner, large centre grill burner, 960ltr oven, complete with rotisserie. She’s a large girl, 800mm wide (32 inches), 600mm deep (24 inches), standing 900mm (36 inches) tall on 4 beautiful stump stainless steel legs.
And she’s got a hot arse (that a draw at the bottom to keep food warm).
She has a mixed cultural background; she has both gas & electricity running through her. He cook top is gas, her oven is electric, but the grill inside the oven can be either gas or electric.
She’s modest too. There’s a glass panel that hides her burners from just anyone, but, she not too modest that she’s not willing to raise her top …..
As I said before, she’s Italian. Her family name is Eurolec. She was sent out here, from her home land in 2004. At the time a most sort after item, selling for more than $3,000 dollars. She was in such high demand that her sister’s barely sat on our floor before being transferred to adoptive families all over Melbourne.
Then, the unthinkable. She was assaulted by a forklift & has a scar on her right hand side, still clearly visible to this day.
Then, even worse, because she was damaged goods, no one wanted her. She was abandoned, forgotten, lost in the crowd. A faceless, numberless, lost soul in a sea of thousands. She was reduced to living in a cardboard box, on the ground floor of a steel racking high rise.
Then one day, my Furry was surveying his domain.
You see Furry doesn’t like dust on boxes, he doesn't make a lot of money from dust on boxes. He makes his money moving clean boxes all over this great brown land.
Furry enquired about the inhabitant of the box, to find out that no one wanted her. She was forgotten by her previous owners, and by her current minders. While Furry saw her scar, he didn’t care, even though she was very shy about it.
He knew that in the right place (kitchen @ Chez Fur), she could hide her scar from everyone & only a very select few would ever know about it.
She seemed very happy about it all.
A ransom, no bribe if you like was raised. Her freedom arranged, & for the meagre sum of $150, she is now coming to live down Chez Fur. She’s hot, sexy, and gorgeous!!
We’ll take photos of her home coming, her moving into her new room & her first meal …… all hopefully this weekend.
Wish her luck.
Thursday, 9 August 2007
Adding a can of Campbells tomato soup, a handful of McCormicks "Indian Spice" and some cream to some chicken DOES NOT MAKE IT BUTTER CHICKEN, ok...
And Calling it Chicken Makhani doesn't fool me either.
See the side bar for a PROPER, if not "authentic" recipe.. One that is easy and people actually LIKE!!!
Wednesday, 8 August 2007
"Local organic free-range pesticide/herbicide-free carbon-footprint-friendly Beoef Burgundy sausages served on a bed of garlic skordalia, with a creme fraiche and redwine jus"
(from The Food Lovers Companion)
A Greek sauce or dip made with pureed baked potatoes, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, parsley and sometimes bread crumbs or ground nuts. Skordalia is served with various dishes including grilled meats, poultry and fish, soups and as a dip for raw vegetables and/or bread.
garlic skordalia is a tautology. If it don't have garlic, it ain't skordalia...
And skordalia is Greek.. Don't blind me with words like "fusion food"... you can't have skordalia with Boef Burgundy sausages... you'd have FRENCH mashed potatoes (that's with onion, guys)
But that overused and poncy word "jus".. you CAN have that with Boef Burgundy... it's French...
Again from The Food Lovers Companion:
The French word for "juice," which can refer to both fruit and vegetable juices, as well as the natural juices exuded from meat. Jus de citron is "orange juice," while jus de viande means "juices from meat." A dish (usually meat) that is served au jus is presented with its own natural juices.
So, technically the addition of creme fraiche and red wine does not make it a jus. Oui??
which brings us noicely to Creme Fraiche:
CREME FRAICHE IS NOT SIMPLY SOUR CREME...
Creme Fraiche is
This matured, thickened cream has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. The thickness of crème fraîche can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room-temperature margarine. In France, where crème fraîche is a specialty, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In America, where all commercial cream is PASTEURIZED, the fermenting agents necessary for crème fraîche can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream. A very expensive American facsimile of crème fraîche is sold in some gourmet markets. The expense seems frivolous, however, when it's so easy to make an equally delicious version at home. To do so, combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover and let stand at room temperature (about 70°F) from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days. Crème fraîche is the ideal addition for sauces or soups because it can be boiled without curdling. It's delicious spooned over fresh fruit or other desserts such as warm cobblers or puddings.
Well.. we're not in America, and if you can get organic free range sausages, you can get your hands on unpasteurized milk, and we're eating a French dish, so again I say... CREME FRAICHE IS NOT SIMPLY SOUR CREME
Guys... Bangers and mash with red wine and sour creme gravy would have sold it to me MUCH better.
And I remember the days when mise en place was called prep, and aerating was still called sifting.
Monday, 6 August 2007
I love Maggie, I really do. I worship her. She is the sun around which the star of my future revolves.
Seriously. I want to have that woman’s love child.
I could watch her cook for hours, enraptured.. Just the way Furry can watch Angelina Jolie…
Who cooks like that?? Seriously???
Maybe for a dinner party, yup.. I’ll go out and blow $20 on a can of imported larks vomit.. but for every day dinners???
Who REALLY has a cup of rendered duck fat in the fridge (well, actually, I do at the moment after the Great Springvale Duck Purchase of last month, but that’s a whole ‘nother post)
I like Kylie, too.. man, she’s got the food porn thing down pat… I get a bit unnecessary when I watch her (again, the way Furry does with Angelina… or Boat Point Dot Com, come to think of it)
But who REALLY wants to hand grind 43 different spices, release the aroma of them all individually and then strain them through a sieve made from the caul of an organic, free range vegetarian alpaca.
Here’s what I want.. my own TV programme.. PG leaves work at 5.. camera’s follow her every move… The boom gates at Springvale are down, so she misses the butcher, buggering up her plans to cook boef a la Maggie Beer… Safeway is open, tho, so PG has to wrestle with her conscious as she’s buying non-carbon-foot-print-friendly meat.
But hey.. it’s convenient, and I’m running late..
Camera pans to trolley, some gas-packed rump, a few tomatoes, a head of celery and **shock, HORREUR** a jar of McCormick’s “Cajun Spice”
(the anticipation of Aristos jumping out at the check out is palpable)
Camera follows PG back to The House of Fur and Purple Lerve, where the first hurdle is getting the food in the house while not tripping over the dogs… 3 out of 5 kids descend on her. One needs $35 for a hot dog day, one need to be driven to footy practice, and one has just broken up with her boyfriend AGAIN. The other 2 are experiencing Nintendo psychosis in the privacy of their bedroom.
Camera pans to Furry who has just arrived home, and who’s had a crappy day at work.
PG attempts to provide some form of nutritional food for her family using the above ingredients, as shabby as they are. Madame Mouse announces she’s given up meat on moral grounds, Lima Bean mainlined a jar of Nutella at 5.00, Ya Ya is too heartbroken to eat. Furry had Chinese take away for lunch and only wants a sammich.
PG sulkily cooks ingredients while talking a friend thru her latest marital crisis. Camera pulls back for wide shot, exposing the fact that the dogs are grooming each other on the kitchen floor.
Dinner is finally served to PG alone. The rest is dolloped into random empty Chinese take way containers and frozen.
Camera fades to back on image of Pg, exeunt-ing stage left towards bedroom, clock on the wall reads 9.30pm and Furry and kids ringing the local dial-a-Staph, because now… THEY’RE STAAAAAAAAARVING.
Maybe Maggie et al really ARE like porn… It’s exciting to watch, it gets your juices flowing, but REALLY.. who wants to get it “awn” like that on a Wednesday night in the middle of Winter, with a house full of kids.
I’m saving my stuffed lark’s intestines al la Maggie, for a Sat night when the kids are all away.
And we’ll eat it leisurely while watching some Angelina…
Friday, 3 August 2007
So, I get home... it's winter and wet and cold. Furry is grumpy, the dogs are smelly and 3 out of 5 kids are "starving"..
And guess who forgot to go to the shops on the way home??
So what does a Mum do??
Some aborio rice, a dodgy packet of pre-fab chicken stock (and you don't know how much that pains me to admit that I actually had that in my cupboard), mix up a quick basic risotto, but what to add????
There's some Indian take away left over from last night... So in goes and unidentified amount of palak paneer, maybe 2 tablespoons of Aloo Ghobi, something that may or may not be left over chicken Makhani, and a left over container of some unidentified pickle.
Stir.. Heat... Serve with left over cold raita and call it "fusion food"
Man.. it was SPECTACULAR!!!.. I mean really REALLY good.. like picky Master 11 got all "Oliver" on my a$$ and asked for "More"..
The pain.. the shame.. of knowing I will never be able to recreated this dish ever, ever again...
I am shattered.
You know what gets up my goat?? (NO, not the one in My Big Fat Greek Oven).. The U.S centric nature of most food sites... Here's what I wrote in one, as a reaction to all the American "BBQ" posts:
Ok, this is a US-centric board, but I'm doing my damnedest to edjoo-micate youse guys that there is a WHOLE 'nother world out there.
Let's not even get into the whole "'Mericanization" of my wide brown land, ok.. Suffice it to say that myself, and plenty others like me are fighting tooth and nail to stop Straya becoming the newest State of the good Ole US of A.
BBQ to an Aussie means one thing. Dead animal over flames. It is the bastion of the male... A BBQ is NEVER a "BBQ", it is ALWAY a "barbie"
"Grab a 6-pack, bung the ball and chain in the Holden and come on over for a barbie..."
It is NEVER a "Q"People who use the barbie are not "Q'ers" or "Grillers" or "Smoke Barista's".. they're MEN.
It is NOT a "grill".. a grill is an appliance that usually sits above your oven, it has flames that come out top jets and it is good for searing curly-tailed lamb chops or browning crumpets...... INSIDE.
A Barbie is NOT a grill... but the wire rack you place portions of dead animals on can, sometimes be called the grill..
"Darl, do you want me to do these snags on the plate or on the grill?"
A barbie must have snags... and chops.
You can get all poncy and buy designer snags... beef and burgundy, chicken and leek... but a barbie isn't a barbie without some variety of snag.
Chops. Lamb Chops. Again, you can get all fancy with a marinade, but BBQ chops are de rigeur for an Aussie barbie.
See http://www.votelamb.com.au/ for what I mean.
Steak, caramelised onions,chicken shazliks, veggies done on the barbie are all good.. even burgers (they are NOT called patties, the actual lump of flattened meat is called the "burger")but it's not a barbie without snags and chops.
Barbies (the appliances) come in 2 varieties. Gas and Not Gas,
Gas barbies are directly related to the size of the male owners "wedding tackle". A man cannot hold his head up in public if all he has is a 2 burner patio barbie. These days, wok burners and ovens and other poncy bits of crud are being attatched to barbies. There is testosterone kudos for having these things on your barbie, but no self respecting Aussie man would ever actually USE them.
Not Gas barbies.. the original and considered by some, the best. Made from a dozen random house bricks and a bit of steel plate.
Gas barbies can have volcanic rocks laid across the burners, but never EVER "aromatics" or poncy crap like that. The flavour comes from years of rancid grease, built up and flamed off before any food is laid on. Flavour can come from marinades, but NEVER poofy "vine clippings".It is a well known Aussie fact that using "hickory smoked BBQ chips" causes your testicles to invert back up the inguinal canal.
Non gas barbies use wood. You could sneak a bit of vine clippings in here, or maybe some applewood, but it's all good as long as you don;t tell yer mates that you've done it. It's wood, right? That's all
Meat. Must. Burn.
None of this "slow roasted and smoked" rot. THAT'S NOT BARBIE-ING!
And you have to drink while you Barbie.. beer or bourbon... and you have to poke the meat.. a lot. And you have to have mates to stand around with and talk.. about important things.. like "How many burner's you got, mate?" "You use the rotisserie much?", "wok burner, eh?? Ever Use it?"
And on no account must a man ever EVER comment on another man's barbie technique... No "you're poking the chops a bit much, aren't you, mate?" is sure grounds for a quick death-by-tongs.. and no court in our wide brown land would convict you.
So, next time "y'a'll" talk about BBQ, just remember that there are 20,434,176 (July 2007 est.) people in the world who don't think that smoking something for 3days and then slow braising it is "BBQ", they just think it's pretty damn silly.
We also think they way you spell programme is dumb, too.
**pg stands back and waits for the flaming to begin**
Yeah, yeah, flame for for the inherent sexism, the inherent okker-ism, I know... But if I go to one more bloody food board to see people debating Texas "Q" over Lousiana "Grill", I'm going to go postal.
And being a food obsessive, I used it to advance my knowledge of Meat Pies....
First stop was The Old Rosedale Bakery in Rosedale. Tried a bog standard Meat Pie...
The key to a good pie begins before the first bite... How does it sit in your hand?, how does it look?.. smell?...
This one sat too low in my palm, leading me to think it had a soggy bottom... and I was right...
First bite was encouraging, the top pasty was flaky on the top, with just the right amount of "sog" on the bottom. The filling was a minced meat variety, with a good ratio of gravy.
I suspect the filling was boiled, it tasted slightly "meaty", indicating that the meat hadn't been browned first.
The shortcrust pastry, however, was disappointing.. it was far too soggy and started to break down about 3 bites in.
All in all, a bog standard meat pie.. not good, not bad.
Next stop was Sale, where I attempted a "local" brand called "Mrs Mac's Good Eating Pie".
**NOTE TO SELF** Do not eat a pie which comes in a plastic oven bag...
Poor pastry, a crust that was crumbly, rather than flaky and a very VERY hard pie bottom. It had obviously been frozen and then bunged in a pie warmer for a few days. Tasted definitely oven/freezer burned... old and stale.
Surprisingly, the filling was quite good. There were nice big chunks of beef that had clearly been slow braised, and the meat/gravy ratio was very VERY good.
The stale/crumbly pastry was a total put off, and I won't be eating these again.
On a side note, I asked the purveyor of fine pies for a local brand, and he recommended Mrs Mac's.. but I continued to see this brand in servo's for another 500kms....
Next stop was Bairnsdale, original home of Patties Pies. I was a bit over standard pies, so I selected a pepper steak pie. Again, the pie tasted over heated.. slightly stale, and the pastry top was crunchy/crumbly rather than flaky. The meat inside was minced, with rather too much gravy for my liking, and the pepper overwhelmed everything.
The pie bottom was alright, didn't fall apart during consumption, but the slightly stale taste was off putting.
Next stop was Cann River, a tiny little hamlet at the pointy end of Victoria. We stopped at the Cann River Kiosk. The only pies for sale were Mrs Macs, so I chose to segue into the Best Burger Competition and ordered a One With The Lot.
Not as gargantuan as the Cathedral Burger, (which is a good thing).. but heavenly all the same. The cheese was laid long enough on the burger to melt nicely and then the crispy bacon was laid on top.. causing further cheesy melty goodness. NO PINEAPPLE, but lettuce, beetroot, tomato and BBQ onion completed the ensemble. The best thing about it was the toasted buns and the pattie.. O.M.G... obviously sourced from local meat, it was delicious.. crisp on the outside with a good bit of grill caramelisation, but still juicy and moist in the middle. There had clearly been no additives, as the individual "bits" of mince started to fall apart from the burger, making each mouthful an explosion of artery hardening lerve....
After a snooze, we ended up in a place called Nimmitabel...
Can we all say "crusty meaty goodness"?
All you foodies out there, I know that y'all understand me when I say that sex and food are interchangeable. These pies were ORGASMICALLY good. I mean, it was all I could do not to moan and get all unneccessary and beg my friend to allow me a private moment.
The bakery has a life sized concrete elephant in the courtyard, completely decked out in Balinese/Hindu regalia.. which made me love it at first sight, (and here's a pic of my friend, Bartholemew Cubbins and I channelling Kali or Durga or some other multi armed deity)
The underside of the top slurped off and hung over your bottom lip, leaving a welt.. PERFECTION IN A PIE!!!!
The pie casing was true shortcrust pastry and stayed intact until the last cup-like morsel, that final bite that MUST contain the last bit of gravy and a mere hint of crust.
The filling had been slow braised, resulting in perfect morsels of beefy goodness, flaking up and taking up the spiced gravy with perfection. The mushrooms were REAL!!!! and had been diced up finely, which added to the flavour of the gravy. I am not a fan on the mushroom pie, where a single slice of dodgy Coles mushroom sits atop the filling... nor (as I am sure we've all experienced), a mushroom pie, where the addition of a can of Home Brand "mushroom in butter sauce" to some dodgy mince.
*winces* just writing it"
Anyhow.. this was it.. sheer pie artistry. The humble Aussie meat pie transformed into a synergistic, deeply sexual, satisfying experience!!!
Get thee all to Nimmitabel and experience the quasi-religious experience that is one of their pies...
After that, I dared not consume any more because a) my cholesterol had peaked at about 9000 and b) I knew it would all be down hill from there.
So... 4 pies, 1 hamburger, assorted Danishes, a rhum ball and a slice of raspberry baked cheesecake in 36 hours, over 1400kms!!!
A girl's occasionally gotta take one for the team.
The Manthing, the D-Monster and I made the trip down to Chez Fur du Mer on Saturday. We had to see this eighth wonder of the world and it's creator.
And we weren't disappointed. PG put up a pic of the Taj Mahal some weeks back and presto! She manifested pretty much that in her backyard.
When we arrived, Nick had started burning some wood and paper in it to "season" the inside.
So, let's have a look shall we? Here she is!
You walk around the back, mouth agape in astonishment at this monument and this is the view (like a mature woman's breast, she droops slightly off to one side I promptly christened her Eileen [or Irene] ] )
A perspective shot. This metal door is the original oven door. So when PG says "Nick built it a bit bigger than the original" you get an idea of just HOW much bigger this thing is
Here is the proud builder with the equally proud (if slightly baffled) PG and Lima Bean:
And here is the famous golf stick - the only tool apparently used in the creation of this monument:
Nick was VERY clear that it was NOT to be cooked in that night. No no no. It had to have another day of "fire ... bigga fire ... then ... maybe cook ... maybe not. Maybe some chops" But of course, PG had already bought a great hunka meat which she had every intention of cooking in it. So after Nick left, in it went! Along with some potatoes in foil:
While all this is going on, Lima Bean and the D-Monster couldn't care less. They had the Playstation to play!
Two and a half hours later - to my surprise, the bloody thing actually cooked the meat - and cooked it to perfection! (Furry had raised it a bit to get the heat and after that, it cooked really quickly). Here is the finished product. Can't tell you how fabulous it tasted! Really unique and smokey:
So we head to bed, full from a nice dinner. True to form, Nick rocks up at 8 am Sunday morning
He's sniffing around and in the oven suspiciously ... "smell! smell! whadda dat smell? She smell ..." Does he know we cooked in it? We think we've got away with it
Nick builds a bigger fire in it today:
About half an hour later - three people turn up and just walk up the driveway and into the back yard. It's Helen! and Helen! and Con.
(That's Con bending over in the background) They are all very excited about having their pictures put "on the internetta"
Later on, I buy some lamb chops and PG uses a combination of last night's pan juices, some red wine and garlic to make a marinade and in go the chops for half an hour and this is what they looked like when they came out:
If ONLY I could capture smell in a picture! You'd swoon - seriously - and they tasted beyond divine. *insert drooling icon*
I highly recommend the Big Fat Greek Oven as a means of cooking. So come! come! everyone! come eat!
It's been a while since I posted about My Big Fat Greek Oven, but we've been having problems with the puter.. so finally.. here in the next installment:
Last week, we turned up at CFdM to be greeted with Nick and Bill having built the base....remember, this whole thing has been built by 2 80 year old men who use nothing but an old golf stick for a measuring tool....
Furry looks on, redundant...
The 4 inch thick fire base is poured.... all the concrete has been mixed by hand, using no discernible measuring tools....
The all think it's completely hysterical that I am running around with a camera, and putting their pictures up on the "Inerneta"
There is mucho discussion about the shape of the oven... Bill and Nick tell me that it must be "square over cupola for not too many crackings..."
I maintain I want a dome shape and make the appropriate motions with my hands.. and saying, No, no.. must be Il Duomo.. (duomo sounds like dome, right???)
Ummm.. No... Duomo apparently means Cathedral.. I have instructed these Greeks Bearing Bricks to build me a catherdral...
Nick starts to build the base of the oven... planning the opening... Again, there's not a spirit level or a mixing tool in sight...
Also please note: these photos are all take BEFORE 7.30AM on a Sunday morning!!!
We have to be finished by 11.30 so Nick can go home for medicine for his sore tooth (a nip of Scotch at 11.30 am....)
so..we head back to Melbourne having NO IDEA what will await us the following (this just past) weekend.
I make furry go into the back yard, so he can prepare me for Il Cathedral, neh??
This is what we are greeted with...
And here is Nick building the chimbley
Some more of the finished product!!!
Please note how the chimney resembles the ramparts of Carthage....
Please note: Nick is using a dodgy old picnic table as a scaffold here:
Master Lima Bean looks on, astounded by the artisanal skill..seriously.. he is gobsmacked and humbled by it all...(and admits he's a complete wanker and always though "tradies" were a bit beneath him)
And finally... we get to burn all the old bags od cement, to "putta a nice lime ona the roof.. for to makea nice for the goatses"
Stand by for the big firing nezt week.. once the render has dried....
and then, possibly the week after.... we get to cook in it!!!!