Sunday 24 February 2008

A picture tells a thousand words.

Lunch 5 minutes ago.

Award-winning Finnen loaf from

Kerrie Road Bakery,
20 Kerrie Road, Glen Waverley. 3150
(03) 9803 9979

oTTo cheese from
Bruny Island Cheese Company.

Figs from
My garden.

Quince paste from
South Cape Fine Foods

Roasted, marinated capsicum from:
Furry's Auntie Jean. Home made from her own garden.

Wine: Rosemount Estate 2004 Sauvignon Blanc.

Slow Food Festival (Part2)

Melbourne Slow Food Festival
Birrarung Marr,

Bruny Island Cheese Company.

Next door to Get Shucked Oysters, was the Bruny Isand Cheese company. Despite having a www address on their flyer, I can't seem to find a web site.

Their flyer proclaims:

"Bruny Island Cheese Co. in owned and operated by Nick Hadow, who after almost 10 years of working with specialist cheese in many different countires around the worls, settled om Bruny Island in Souther Tasmania to start making cheese for himself.

"The cheeses I make are very much the product of my travels and traning throughout thegret cheese producing regions of France, Italy, Spain and the U.K. They are cheeses I love to make and eat. They are also uniquely Tasmanian.

I strive to be both an artisan and a traditionalist, who recognises that great cheese was made centuries before modern technology played a role and we believe passionately in the old way of making and maturing cheese. For me, cheesemaking is a pursuit of integrity, authenticity and flavour."

And you HAVE got to love a company that calls its cheeses, Tom, Lewis, Otto, Barney and Gabriel.

I tried Tom, described as " He gets along famously with everyone. Tom likes to be rubbed"

How can you NOT try a cheese like that. Tom is made in the tradition of the Tommes cheeses from Savoie in France. Aged 5 months, Tom is a hard cheese, with a good balance of nutty/sweetness. There is both a freshness and a depth to this cheese.

I also sampled the 1792. A washed rind cheese matured on Huon pine boards. The aroma was deep and "stinky", but the flavour didn't live up to the nose. I expected a slap-in-the-face BANG of stinky, cheesey goodness and while a grest cheese, was milder on the palate than I expected.

I tried their "Saint" cheese, a surface ripened, oozy cheese with a light bloom on the rind. It was light and buttery. Obviously a young-un, as there was little ooze. The flavour was delicate and the cheese quite firm. Apparently you can age it and the curd breaks down to cheesey, oozey goodness, with a more pungent flavour.

My one purchase here was a round of Otto, which wasn't available for sample as it needs to be cooked. It's a fresh soft curd cheese, with a low salt content wrapped in locally made Prosciutto.

I mean, is Nick my sole mate?? Cheese AND Proscuitto all in one!!!

He suggested the cheese be eated "by candle light, witha spoon with your lover" and it MUST have been the oyster talking, as I suggested in bed with your fingers.

Nick liked the way I thought!

The cheeses came with a "Taking Care of your Cheese" guide, which was comprehensive and invaluable. The respect for his product shines through in this guide. "Our cheeses are living, breathing things"

Anyhoo.. I bought a round of Otto, and Furry is currently champing at the bit in the kitchen, eager to try it out. And no, we're eating it with some figs from the garden, a finnen loaf from the local bakery and some home made roasted capsicum jam, ON THE COUCH.

Standy by for a report.

Slow Food Festival (part 1)

Slow Food Festival.
Birrarung Marr.

Bruny Island "Get Shucked Oyster Farm" Stall.

“He was a bold man that first ate an oyster”

(Johnathon Swift, listed as a cliché In “Polite Conversation”)

Yes, he was bold, that man, but he was also a bloody legend! If it weren't for him (or her) we'd not be able to sample these plump, lusious and, let's face it.. deeply sexual delights.

Yesterday, Furry and I trooped of to the Melbourne Slow Food Festival, and we arrived early enough that the crowds were still thin. Our first port-of -call was the Get Shucked Oyster Farm
stall from Tasmania's Bruny Island.

There was a lovely young man behing the jump shucking oysters for Africa! His knife skills rivaled Bourdain's!

Now, for those of you who are already afficionados of the raw oyster, I ask you to bear with me. For those of you who have never tasted them, here's what they are like:

Sweet salty morsels bursting with a taste of salt wind by the beach on a summer day all wrapped up in a icy cold buttery salty fleshy plump labia.

On the half shell.

With a squeeze of lemon.

There are oysters and then there are BRUNY ISLAND oysters. And like Cold Duck Spumante and Verve Cliquot. there is a vast range of difference.

THESE are the real deal, the real McCoy.

And sitting on the banks of the Yarra, listening to the sussuration of the oars of the Wesley rowers, under the shade of an iconic Plane tree, eating these delights from their shells, pressing their plump bodies against the roof of my mouth and pretty much experiencing the ultimate taste orgasm, it was all I could do not to rip my bodice asunder and allow Furry to ravish me.

Instead, I opted for hurling back into the gathering fray and try something else.

Thursday 21 February 2008

Lurks and perks...

There aren't many lurks and perks being a Practice Manager for a surgeon. The occasional Bulk Bill at a fellow Dr's office. Maybe a mole-check from the boss... but then there's that whole thing about revealing your nekkid body to the man that pays your wage. And that weirds me out a bit!

So, imagine my suprise when one of the patients of the Cardiologist that works here, turned up with some snacks.

And not any old snack.. a big container of Roast Pork Cracking, Siew Yue, the traditional Cantonese pork crackling dish. Pork belly is marinated in seas salt and rice vinegar before being brushed with various spices such as fermented red bean curd ("nam yue" in Cantonese) and five-spice powder.

These are the racks of pork belly you see hanging in the windows of Asian restaurants, along with the Peking ducks.

The key to good Siew Yue, is to prick the skin all over with a fork before cooking, resulting in all the lovely little bubbles of crispy skin.

It is served by whacking a large chunk of it on a wooden butchers block and a talented chef cum butcher wields a whacking huge cleaver and chops up the pork into yummy bite sized pieces.

This particular offering was redolent with the sweetness of the five spice, and the crackle was perfect. Every mouthful is a symphony of tastes, the spices, the richness of the pork fat, the juiciness of the meat.

Texture-wise, again, a perfect amalgam of the crunch, the fat, the juice.





Thank god for the free helicobacter Pylori treatment from the Gastroenterologist!!

Monday 18 February 2008

Hot pumpkin lerve!

We have, in the spirit of SOLE, been trying to grow pumpkins. It seemed so easy, hell, doesn't every compost heap sprout the ubiquitous punkin vine??

Umm.. no.

Last year we had mucho vine, nada punkins.

So this year, while trolling for tips, I came across Possumchops. She runs a fabo site about growing and using vegies from her own garden.

Anyhoo.. we have been discussing the vagaries of punkin sex, and this is what she recommends:

This is what a boy flower looks like. You'll see the long stem and the typical male feature on the inside of the flower.
I don't have any girl flowers, as all the very early ones are being killed off by the rain. This is a photo of one at its very early stages, before the flower is finished developing, but I will take a guess I will lose it too with the wet. But you can see the little bulb of the baby pumpkin is formed before pollination occurs.

And here's one we successfully prepared earlier. Pollinated by Grumbles himself, just pull off a boy flower from the vine and poke a girl flower gently, making sure the two parts on the inside touch.


How kinky is THAT!!!.

So, tonight after work, I am off for some hout punkin lovin'. And hopefully lots of punkies for recipes in Winter.

Wednesday 13 February 2008










Rosy Posy Soup

2 fresh beetroot
2 fresh parsnips
3 or 4 carrots
4 or 5 garlic cloves
teaspoon of carraway seeds

Dice the beet and start roasting - they need about half an hour more than the other veg. I diced it quite small and it took an hour and a half.

After 30 mins, add the rest of the veg and garlic cloves UNPEELED. Sprinkle with caraway seeds and roast till tender.

When tender, sqeeze the pulp out of the garlic and pour all the garlic, veg and juices into a saucepan. COver with stock - bring to boil, then blitz.

You will never see a colour of soup like this - it's AWESOME!

Recipe courtesy of my darling Rosy, In Bath, UK.

Tuesday 12 February 2008

Bloggers Banquet #2

Saturday April 5th

From 12.30

Chez Fur du Mer.

After the success of last year's much-blogged about Bloggers Banquet, organised by Ed, over at Tomato, I thought it might be time for another one.

BYO everything.

We'll have the oven up and running.. both the wood-fired one, and the indoor one if needed. We'll also have the BBQ up and going, with the wok burner, should anyone need it.

Email me at minor_deity1 (at) hotmail (dot) com. and I'll give you the actual address. Please include a link to your blog, so I know that you are a bona fide Aussie Food Blogger.

Y'all know that it's in Dromana, which is about 1 hrs drive from Melb.

Maybe some of you inner city guys could carpool??

Come, celebrate the last day of daylight savings!!

Interstate bloggers welcome.

Friday 8 February 2008

Jessica Seinfeld Cheese?

It's blue, Capt'n, but not as we know it.

Ahh, stinky blue cheese. You either love it or you hate it. I am in the former category. I love all things stinky and bleu. From Roquefort to Stilton, to King Island blue.. if it's stinky and fulla mould, I'll eat it.

I am waiting for my figs to ripen so I can indulge in a fig, blue cheese and honey tart. I get all unnecessary about melted blue cheese and walnuts, and positively "private moment" over the notion that one day, somewhere in the world, I WILL try Gorgonzola.

My love of blue cheese is directly inherited from my mum, Mater Beige. I can remember going to a conference at Phillip Island (circa 1974?) with her and The Hobbit, where she would be wearing all these gorgeous clothes and smelling of Le Train Bleu, and after a restaurant dinner she'd always order the cheese platter. And it would always have some blue on it.

That was back in the 70's and I shudder to think on what quality the actual cheese was. The Hobbit hated stinky blue cheese, so Mater Beige would share it with me.

I was hooked at the first bite.

So, to the present.

Furry HATES stinky blue cheese. The very idea of eating something "mouldy" makes him shudder. He refutes all arguments based on mushrooms. being a fungus. He refutes all arguments based on Ranch Dressing. He refuses to put anything in his mouth that smells like "the change rooms of the Noble Park footy club after the U16 have won a game in the rain".

So, with this in mind, I recently came across this cheese. And the first thing about it... it doesn't LOOK blue. It looks, for all intents and purposes, like a bog standard block of cheddar.

On opening the pack, there is not that immediate hit of piquancy, that pungent blue aroma that us aficionados inhale a la "Ratatouille". To the previously initiated, there is certainly a blue note, but nothing that would particularly scare a blue virgin (is that an oxymoron??)

I plated this with some grapes, some quince paste, a "real" blue, a real cheddar and a brie. And served it Jessica Seinfeld-like, to Furry.

It cuts like an aged cheddar, crumbly and sharp. The first impression is of an ok quality cheddar.. a good supermarket quality one, if you will. The first note is cheddar-y, bitey, sharp but then arises from the back of the palate all those things us blue lovers enjoy. The *almost* uric/ammonical acid note, the sour/tangy back-of-the-throat note. The nutty/salty flavours shine through on the swallow, leaving both the cheddar AND the astringent blue quite distinctly in the mouth.

And Furry loved it!! Poo-poohing the Gipsland blue cheese, he positively DEVOURED the "normal cheese" sitting right next to it!!

And while NOT a devotee of Jessica and her methods (although I admit I HAVE employed them in the past), I didn't feel one iota of guilt about not revealing the true nature of this cheese. What I felt was more akin to a smug gloating, actually.

Tuesday 5 February 2008

Pure simplicity!!

Good food is easy. That's what this blog is about. Sometimes I have to remember it's not about the larks vomit and the foie gras and the truffles, NOT that I can afford any of those things, but this past weekend, after a serious overindulgence in bacon, cheese and a pork vindaloo made from first principles, I needed to remind myself that simple pleasures are often the best.

Sunday nights are hard for us, we've usually come home from Chez Fur, so Sunday is spent tiding up, packing up the fridge, remembering to take out the rubbish and driving for an hour plus in peak hour high summer tourist traffic.

By the time we get back to GW and reverse the process, we're pretty much knackered.

So this Sunday past, I opted for simplicity.

Take a pasta of your choice. Just make sure it's a good one. This dish needs the pasta to be the star, not the sauce. I used Barilla spiralli. I don't know what it is about Barilla pasta, whether it's the ratio of durum wheat. the quality of said wheat or what, but I think it's the best pre-made pasta in Oz.

I cooked it in 5 litres of salted water for 8 mins, turned off the heat and let it sit for a further 2 before straining.

Straight back in the pan and add a goodly slurp of the best olive oil you have. I used the very last (**insert sobbing**) of my Main Creek Grove Premium Extra Virgin.. but the upside is that now I have an excuse to go back and get some more, right??

Main Creek Grove is at Main Ridge where the olive trees thrive in the cool climate of Victoria?s Mornington Peninsula. There are 1100 trees - a mix of the Tuscan varieties of Frantoio, Leccino and Pendolino. The Grove is managed on sustainable horticultural principles.The single estate oil has a smooth, fresh taste with hints of rocket like spicyness and a peppery finish. In 2007 the Frantoio oil won a Gold Medal that the Australian Olive Association annual awards. Main Creek Extra Virgin Olive Oil is ideally suited for all cooking needs, drizzling on pasta and vegetables as well as a simple dip for bread. Main Creek Grove Premium Blend is available in 250ml, 500ml and 1 litre bottles and in 1 and 3 litre cans.

Main Creek Grove

247 Main Creek Road
Main Ridge VIC 3929

Phone: 03 5989 6665

A quick grate of my long-matured Red Hill favourite,

Creamy, Semi-matured or Aged

Farmhouse style goat cheese

Created from 100% free-range goat milk
Vegetarian rennet

Red Hill Cheese - Sensation

Traditional, natural rind

Sensation is a unique, farmhouse-style goat cheese. A slow make technique develops a fine, close texture with a creamy, luscious mouthfeel. The barrel-shaped body is covered in a wrinkled, mottled white rind. The flavour is distinctively different - a balance between sweet and sour, and long on the palate. Melts in the mouth. The aroma is of the farm, reminiscent of freshly-cut grass.

Sensation can be enjoyed at any stage, from fresh (3-5 days), to creamy (14 days) to semi-matured (3-4 weeks) to aged (2-3 months), when it develops a waxy-smooth, drier texture with concentrated salty flavours.

Sensation has amazing characteristics, controlled by the rind flora, which allow it to mature gracefully into a parmesan-style grating cheese. The moulds slowly draw moisture out of the cheese. This moisture should be allowed to escape unless you are looking for a more pungent cheese. Hence, Sensation is wrapped in waxed paper.

Allow the residual heat of the gas burner to slowly melt and meld the olive oil and the cheese. Do not allow the olive oil to heat to the point of sizzling. You just want it to melt the cheese and combine into cheesy, oily goodness.

Plate up and sprinkle with dried chilli flakes, sea salt and dried parsley.