Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WHITING FILLETS WITH SALSA VERDE AND DUTCH CREAM POTATO WEDGES

I'm a big believer in healthy food. I eat a lot of it.

I am also a big believer in balance. I have balanced the healthy fish, salsa verde and kale with potato wedges baked in goose fat.

That should keep all the gods happy.
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MASTER STOCK PORK BELLY WITH BABY BOK CHOY

I started this master stock about 12 years ago. I have topped it up quite a few times since then. It just keeps getting better and better. I use it, strain it, refrigerate it, remove any new fat and freeze the stock until I need it again.

This time I used it to braise a piece of Berkshire pork belly from the Byron Bay hinterland about 50 kms from here.



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Friday, September 26, 2014

SEARED PETUNA OCEAN TROUT WITH THAI HERB SALAD

One of my favourite fish species. Rich, subtle, gorgeously coloured. I can feel it doing me good.

This was quickly seared, skin side only, in coconut oil.

A tangle of Asian microherbs on top, dressed with macadamia oil, rice vinegar, lime juice and a couple of drops of sesame oil.
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CHICKEN CHOP WITH EGGPLANT GRATIN, SALSA VERDE AND CARAMELISED BABY TOMATOES

Our local butcher gets chickens every Tuesday. During the afternoon, the birds are broken down into breast fillets, thigh fillets, wings, drumsticks and thigh sections. These are left on the bone, with the skin on. The butcher calls them chicken chops - and that's fine by me.

So here they are with a dusting of sea salt, dried chilli and rosemary. Small eggplants interleaved with tomato and with panko crumbs on top went into the oven until soft and golden. Amoroso tomatoes caramelised until dark, sticky and concentrated. Tangy salsa verde to liven things up.
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Monday, September 15, 2014

SALMON ADOBADO WITH BLACK BEAN, AVOCADO & FETTA SALAD

Simple Mexican fare. Salmon rubbed with a dry adobo of smoked paprika, cumin & chipotle. The salad is one of classic Mexican ingredients - except the fetta. However a sheep's milk fetta isn't a bad substitute for one of the traditional cheeses used in México.

What great culinary gifts México gave us with avocado, tomato and black beans. Come to think of it, we could add chocolate and corn to the list.
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

RICE NOODLES WITH CHICKEN AND LAP CHEONG

I like to have rice noodles once a week. I'm not addicted. I don't have a physiological need for them. I just like them, the slippery smoothness of them, the way the slither down my gullet. More often than not I'll cook them with either chicken or prawns. Sometimes both. Sometimes with the addition of another meat. In this case, fine slices of Chinese sausage.

The usual suspects as far as flavourings - garlic, soy sauce, chilli bean paste, ginger, fried eschalot, fish sauce, sugar, fresh chilli, coriander leaves and ground roasted rice.
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

MOROCCAN LAMB WITH HARISSA, CHICKPEAS AND SPICED ROASTED

It's not really Moroccan lamb. It's Australian - just given some Moroccan spices. Come to think of it, it mightn't be Australian lamb. Well, it was raised here, but it's probably Dorper, which is an African breed. So multicultural lamb - which is suitably Australian.

Home made harissa, pumpkin from our neighbours' farm and organic chickpeas cooked in chicken stock (home made). All this home-made start-from-scratch stuff makes me feel kind of Amish.
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Friday, September 5, 2014

WILD BARRAMUNDI WITH QUINOA & KALE SALAD

In my mind there are three grades of barramundi. Farmed is grey and dull when raw, and tastes that way when cooked - even a little muddy. Wild is bright and white, sometimes with a bluish tinge and with flashes of red. The best is wild line-caught, with the brightest, clearest colour and cleanest taste of all.

Nothing but fish flavour here. Pan seared, a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of sea salt.
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Thursday, September 4, 2014

QUAIL WITH STREAKY BACON, PUY LENTILS AND POLENTA

There used to be a restaurant near Picton, south of Sydney. The French owner raised quail, pigeon, guinea fowl and pheasant on a nearby farm. It was a great place for a long Sunday lunch. Unfortunately, random breath testing killed the idea of long Sunday lunches - especially ones that required a fair drive. Luckily, the game farm continues to this day and these quail come from there.

The streaky bacon comes from a family of Italian immigrants. It's not too salty and lightly smoked - just perfect. Remarkably (or encouragingly), both of these products come from supermarkets - not a place I normally shop for food.

Continuing the Franco-Italian theme, there are Puy lentils and polenta, both cooked using home-made quail stock.
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Monday, September 1, 2014

LAMB SHANK WITH CELERIAC MASH

Nothing delicate about this dish. A Flintstones plate of food. Chunk of meat on a bone, admittedly tasty lamb gently braised in red wine with star anise, bay leaves, garlic etc. And I suppose I'd have to confess that celeriac, which looks like a weapon when whole, cooks into a genteel subtle bed for the shank. Still, it's a bone and a bulb.
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Friday, August 29, 2014

HOLMBRAE CHICKEN WITH ROASTED FENNEL, CHOKO AND DUTCH CREAM POTATO

Ever since returning to Australia after a couple of years in México, I have searched for a chicken with the real chicken flavour the Mexican chooks have. I had tried all the likely contenders from the Barossa, Mudgee, Alstonville, Kangaroo Island. They are good, but none had the taste I remember from childhood - and had forgotten until the memory was rekindled in México.

Well, I think these Holmbrae chooks from the NSW Southern Highlands come closer than any other Australian chicken. This one was rubbed with rosemary salt (from Salt, Meats, Cheese) and simply roasted, along with wedges of choko, baby fennel and Dutch cream potatoes.
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

FENNEL RISOTTO

If you live in the north of Italy, this is comfort food. Soft, gentle, subtle risotto. Home made chicken stock, fennel bulb, a touch of Pernod, Lurpak butter, parmigiana reggiano.
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