Saturday, 25 February 2012

Saturday night meal - Feb 25th

Another flavour experimenting meal:

Pre dinner nibbles:

1. Potato crisps with Brie gel, vanilla infused olive oil and ground coffee.
This was good.  I did it last week but used Pringles then.  They allowed a more uniform presentation.  Chips are a bit hit or miss at far as size and shape goes.

2. Beetroot chips with Brie gel, mashed walnuts and fresh fig.
Really nice but hindered a bit but the beet root chips - they were all very small.


Had eight for dinner so opted not to do the poached eggs but still wanted to do the asparagus and liquorice.  So did asparagus, smoked salmon, cream cheese and liquorice, based on the fact that dill is often paired with salmon and has aniseed flavours.  Worked well.


Chicken and strawberry salad.  Successively layered on the plate: baby spinach, sliced avocado, sliced bbq-ed chicken (still warm), sliced strawberries, finely sliced celery, finely diced red onion.  Dressed with a strawberry vinagrette.


Homemade gingerbread, fresh yellow nectarines, rum sauce, vanilla ice-cream.
One of the guests brought a very pleasant muscat that went very well with the dessert.

With coffee:

Dark chocolate and cumin truffles.  (What sort of fool picks a 38deg day to make truffles?  Oh.)

Having a lot of fun playing with the flavour matching thing at the moment.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

I'll be the xylophone...


The lyrics, in part, of the Foundation's song "Build me up Buttercup" go:

(Hey, hey, hey!) Baby, baby, try to find
(Hey, hey, hey!) A little time and I'll make you mine
(Hey, hey, hey!) I'll be home
I'll be beside the phone waiting for you
Ooo-oo-ooo, ooo-oo-ooo

But, no matter how often I listen to it, I am sure they are saying:

I'll be the xylophone waiting for you


How to Annoy Spiders


Sprinkle glitter on their webs.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

An Adventure in Flavour Pairing


An interesting meal tonight:

Appetiser: A brie gel piped onto Pringles, topped with a few drops of vanilla infused olive oil and sprinkled with ground coffee.  Had with beer.

The coffee added interesting graininess and went very well with the brie; both have a similar after taste.

Starter (above): Asparagus, sautéed in a little butter with a star anise, served with a poached egg, some diced liquorice, and a  sprig of Tarragon.

Everything fitted together very well - especially the asparagus and the liquorice.

Main: Chicken tenders fried and wrapped in bacon, served with broccoli, brie and croutons.

Nothing very adventurous here but the flavours all matched brilliantly.

Dessert: Banana poached in a vanilla/citrus syrup, served on a bed of chocolate 'gravel', with a wedge of tomato sauce ice-cream and garnished with crushed Amaretti biscuits.

This was the one I had the most fears about.  Not the chocolate (a 50/50 mix of milk and dark, chopped in a food processor until a coarse 'crumb') but the ice-cream.  On its own it tasted a bit like cold Thousand Island dressing but, eaten with the banana and chocolate, it fitted in beautifully.

Most of these courses owe their inspiration to the Food Pairing site but the only one that was a direct copy was the Pringles and Brie Gel; the rest were modified.  For example, rather than make the Tomato Sauce Ice-cream from scratch, I took a good vanilla ice-cream and stirred tomato sauce through it and then refroze it.  The asparagus starter owes its inspiration to a comment in Heston Blumenthal's book (Heston Blumenthal at Home) where he said asparagus and liquorice are a good combination.  He was right.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Oh, smashing shot, Witherspoon!


Last Saturday, packed a picnic (cold chicken, crusty bread, grapes, wine) and went and sat under the trees at a local park and watched a district cricket match for a few hours.  Most civilised.

Had no idea who was playing, cheered and clapped without bias.


Monday, 13 February 2012

Hometown Tourist


Last night we did the 'tourist thing' in a little tram-shaped boat - the water equivalent of those faux trains that take tourists around so many cities.  Happily, once you were on it you forgot what you looked like.

The trip went around the docks, across to Williamstown and, after fish and chips, back again.

It was a 'sunset' trip.  Here are a few photos.

The Westgate Bridge.

A container ship reloading.

The Westgate, later at night, on the return trip.

The docks work around the clock.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Green Rhubarb


A few folk queried the safety of green rhubarb in an earlier post.  See Here.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Can a magpie show gratitude?


This is a Magpie.  Lovely birds with a beautiful chortle song.  They take meat pieces from my hand.  It amuses me that, if the piece is small, they turn their head and take it sideways so as not to peck my hand.

This is an Indian Mynah.  The avian equivalent of a rat.  It is about  a quarter of the weight of a Magpie but pecks well above its weight.

This morning the two had a fight in my front garden.

In fairness to the Mynah, the Magpie started it.  Two Mynahs were on the feeding tray in the front garden when the Magpie swooped in, squawking and scattering them.  Not wanting to take this nonsense, the Mynahs called in reinforcements and about four of them turned on the Magpie.  Savagely.  It was on the ground and losing feathers at an alarming rate.

Watching this from the bedroom window, I ran out into the front yard, shouting vaguely ineffectual things like "Hey!".  All birds scattered, leaving a post-party assortment of Magpie feathers around the yard.

In the past I have put what meat the Magpies haven't taken by hand on a feeding tray and, when the Magpies have had their fill, then the Mynahs and Ravens share the leftovers.  After this morning's pack attack, I think I will revert just hand feeding the Magpies.


Thursday, 9 February 2012

It does it no justice...

(Click to enlarge)

Last weekend was Margaret's xxth birthday.

We went to No 35, a restaurant on the 35th floor of the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne.

Ten course tasting menu, with matched wines.  Four and a half hours of foody heaven!

The above list is a reminder but in no way shows the care and thought that went into the food.

A brilliant night.