Monday, November 26, 2007

Good karma 2

Yesterdays good karma salad seems a bit fancy... it's not always that fancy eating with jack, it just needs to be delicious and satisfying.

Such as this pasta base that also includes some of the good karma salad ingredients; the last of the boudin blanc, the last of the white zucchini and some black russian tomatoes that were looking worse for wear.
With some fresh garlic, EVOO and probably too much butter (to make it worthwhile going to the gym earlier) this was tossed with some spaghettini.
A glass of rose - also good karma, as I opened it last night.
I now just wonder what is to be done with the lentils from last night in the fridge and the watercress that is already probably beyond recovery. If only I didn't have an interesting reservation and dinner date tomorrow night.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Good food karma salad

This salad means a different kind of good food karma to me, than the topical SOLE food concept. It means that I have found a way to make a satisfying dinner from bits that may well have died in my fridge in the next few days. Now for some this can be easy or this can be hard, for me it's easy and hard in the same breath, unfortunately for me, I'm a bit fussier than the next...

Tonight's dinner started with some wild mushroom and chicken liver pate that was left over from dinner with PDC last night, he laughed when I decided to keep the small wedge. So the challenge was set!

What else was on hand to use up?
Watercress that was already picked and washed, just waiting for me to use it
Boudin Blanc, one of the highlights also from dinner last night

Next, I knew that these bits needed a sweet component, I instantly dreamt of figs, yet they are still a while out of season so fig vincotto would have to do.

I decided to play around with a way to incorporate these bits, so the base of the salad became the smeared pate, napped with the fig vincotto.

On top got piled the salad, and then after a quick couple of shots in the daylight saving twilight I devoured my rich and somewhat French inspired salad while still slightly warm.

Truffled boudin blanc, mushroom pate and fig vincotto salad
Boudin blanc, blanched
Mushroom and chicken liver pate
Baby pink eye potatoes
White zucchini
Watercress, washed and picked
Sugar snap peas
Du Puy style lentils, cooked in chicken stock until soft
Pullet free range eggs, soft boiled and peeled

1/4 extra virgin olive oil
Dash white truffle oil
1/4 fig vincotto
1/2 verjus

Boil the baby potatoes and remove when just cooked, in the same water blanch the sugar snaps and then drain well.
Cut the zucchini into half moons and pan fry until golden, keep warm in the oven.
Build into a mixing bowl; watercress, warm zucchini, halved baby potatoes, quartered eggs, sugar snaps and some lentils. Add dressing components and toss gently.

Pan fry some slices of boudin blanc until golden on both sides.

Smear the plate with the pate and drizzle some more fig vincotto, top with the warm salad and then the hot boudin blanc.

Enjoy with good karma...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Food Bloggers Banquet

This is already old news in the blogging community, where I think all attendees except me have posted on this get together... so here is my bit or was that bite??

Held at the St Kilda Vegout community gardens about 20 of us meet and shared dinner, food opinions, dining tips and in my case acquiring much needed blog advise.

I had the pleasure of meeting, Ed, Vida, Duncan, Sticky, Claire, Anna, Katie, Jamie, PG, Cindy, Josh, Elliot, Sarah, Thanh, Jon and a few blogging partners.

My contribution to the night was more in a support roll, I don't have the glory of the macaroons, the intensity of the secret sauce, the elegance of the barramundi or the will to get my fingers dirty and swish the dough (thanks Ed for making it and Katie for turning it into pizzas).

Apart from the macaroons that I should not continue to go on about, as I worry that Duncan will throw in the writing, for a career in macaroon making and we will miss his words... I have to say I ate (without even thinking...) a silk worm pupa. Googling this tonight after thinking about my dumb, eagerness to eat anything I stumbled across one of the funniest posts, which makes me feel even sillier for my dumb eagerness. Thanks Ed!

Not that I regret my dumb eagerness, I have never not eaten something offered to me (I only didn't eat the cockroaches in Asia, because I was unsure about the etiquette with the wings, to eat or not to eat??) And I have to admit my eagerness has gotten me in trouble before so I should be more aware, yet all I can say is they tasted nothing like chicken, more like a witchery grub in fish sauce!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sydney Rock Oysters

Oysters are one of those foods that are a required taste. Some love them and can't get enough, others are repulsed by the whole experience.

My parents both love oysters, yet I was never a fan until the last few years. The funny thing about this is that when I was growing up all food was to be tasted and tried, nothing was not eaten, yet oysters I never remember being made to eat... funny that!

As a result I love all food and was frustrated a few years ago that I just could not stomach oysters. Being one of the ultimate fresh luxury foods, I needed to learn. I am now proud to say that it is shucked to order, Sydney rock oysters that have gotten me over the line. These beauties from Wallis lakes in NSW, were shucked in the bar at The Melbourne Wine Room as we ordered them, muscle intact and served with just some lemon. Briny, with a iodine zippiness the rock oysters are a perfect size, not as intimidating as the often fat and sometimes OTT pacific oysters or as scary looking as the native angassi you see around occasionally.

As I have posted in the past, I also love the tripoid oysters that you can get as they are also more on the elegant side, but the Sydney rocks are always a safe bet at a 'good oyster' place that shucks as they are ordered, these places include:

~The Melbourne Wine Room, pick from the iced display
~France Soir, shucked in the bar in true French style
~Oyster, Little Bourke, always a selection of regions available
~Comme, pick the baby sized Merguez sausages on the side to push them out of the shell with, for a taste of west coast French oyster eating sophistication

Or better still buy them unshucked and do your own, the only catch is the ulcer I can feel developing as PDC shucks away in the kitchen, I just can't watch, it makes me nervous I will soon be on my way to the emergency department with a shucker blade through his hand!

Saturday, November 3, 2007


I'm trying to recover today from a huge few months at work, yesterday was my 'Everest' and now the following week holds the safe trek back down the metaphorical mountain. After a brush with fame in the local papers yesterday and today, I've taken a moment to reflect on what I have achieved outside of work in September and October.

So a couple of blog worthy highlights...
A serious food styling gig.
It's funny how when you slip out of something by accident, that you don't realise how much you love it until you do it again. I remembered a few weeks ago how much I love to be in a professional studio making food look pretty. The shoot (on a Sunday) was for a sandwich chain, and it was all about 'fluffing' the sandwiches to look as opulent and healthy as possible. It's such a strange world in a food shoot, you can actually forget your working with an edible product and start more looking at contrasting colours, highlights and smart angles to flatter the 'hero'. Here's a few of my happy snaps of the shoot.

The preening queue.

The 'hero' of the moment and the collection of tools that help bring it to life for the lens.
At the end of the day. The tagged list of shots, so we can track the difference from one wrap/sandwich/foccacia to another.

Other highlight as been the rediscovery of a favourite breakfast spot. A few months ago my favourite 'eggs place', Las Chicas, changed hands and hence my favourite coffee makers/eggs servers moved as well. So to track down the perfect caffe latte and smiley face, PDC and I have been travelling further along Carlisle St to The Galleon, St Kilda for weekend breakfasts.

This is a picture of my new usual, Bagel No3. A toasted bagel with crushed avocado and slices of smoked salmon. It comes with the cute wedge of lemon on top, all for the, how-do-they-make-any-money-off-this price of $8.50. I have mine with a single poached egg on the side (for an extra $2) of which I open the bagel up and eat on the salmon side, and then squeeze the lemon on the avo spread other side and munch after. A perfect breakfast in my book.

Another highlight was dinner with visiting family at Rockpool, Bar and Grill. I will not be doing a full write up because of PDC's conflicting interests there but I do list the little beef degustation that we created as a highlight.
The four of us shared three steaks for main course, all the house aged, grass fed Black Angus, but in different cuts and aging maturation. There was a large 700g ribeye, grilled on the bone and sliced, a 400g rump steak, and a 300g sirloin. The exciting thing was to be able to taste a different cut of meat after another and fully appreciate the differences in texture and flavour richness. Surprisingly the rump was the winner for flavour, it was aged the longest so perhaps this helped but offered a texturally firmer and meaty lusciousness. A very interesting little taste test.

I'll be back to normal posts shortly, looking forward to a few fancy meals out in the next few months and catching up with other food bloggers at the Bloggers Banquet that Ed has been organising on the 12th.