Thursday, September 20, 2012

WATCH THIS SPACE

You might have noticed no posts for 2 months.

This is because I couldn't upload images. I got sick of trying and so simply posted onto the Behind The Burners Facebook page.

However, I have decided to have another go after 2 months off.

If you see a blur of posts over the next week or so, you'll know that all's well again.

If you see nothing, well, you'll know why.

Fingers crossed.


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Thursday, July 12, 2012

BRAISED OXTAIL WITH CELERIAC PUREE

Do you know an old song about love and marriage? How they go together like a horse and carriage? And you know how Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers worked so well together? And how Tom and Jerry just went together? And Abbott and Costello? Bacon and eggs? Well here's another marriage that just works. Maybe it's the star anise I used in the oxtail. Whatever the reason, this oxtail and this celeriac purée feel like they were made for each other.
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BEETROOT RISOTTO WITH QUARK

The first time I had beetroot risotto was in a restaurant in L.A. It was some time in the late 90s. Henry Winkler was on the next table. I remember being surprised at how old he looked. Mind you, I don't think I'd seen him in anything since Happy Days. I was also surprised by how conservatively he was dressed. You just don't see many tweed coats in L.A. Anyway, even though I'd been eating risottos for about 18 years at that stage, I'd never had one flavoured with beetroot. I loved it. It has since become one of my staple risottos (along with fennel, pumpkin, porcini and crab). I usually add a dollop of goat's cheese, but I had bought some quark a couple of days ago, so this added the finishing touch. Worked a treat, too.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH HAZELNUTS

The traditional way to make vegetable soups is to boil the vegetables in water or stock and purée. I have found that roasting adds an extra dimension to the flavour and two vegetables that really benefit from roasting are pumpkins and cauliflower. After slow roasting, I then combined the cauliflower with a rich home-made chicken stock, seasoned it and puréed this. There's a synergy between the cauliflower/Brussels sprout/cabbage family and hazelnuts, so I added broken roasted nuts and a little hazelnut oil to the finished dish.
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COBIA, FLAGEOLETS, ROASTED CHOKO & ROAST GARLIC AIOLI

Cobia is also known as black kingfish. You can see the resemblance in the body shapes. But the two species taste quite different. To me, cobia has a flavour that's a little like swordfish. This is a very simple dish. That's to be expected. I am a man of simple tastes. Just give me the best of whatever it is and I'm happy. I'd never come to terms with chokos until recently. Every time I ate the soft, bland, watery flesh I couldn't help think of all the other vegetables in the world with real flavour. Recently I discovered how much better they taste when marinated with olive oil, garlic and oregano and roasted.
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Monday, July 9, 2012

COBIA, CAPSICUM & TOMATO SAUCE AND FLAT BEANS

According to the fisherman at the local markets, cobia are around when the whales are around. Not sure of the link between the two events. Maybe they like the same water temperature. Anyway, the whales have been migrating past here for the past month or so and will continue until November, so I guess there'll be cobia in the sea for a while to come. I seared steaks of cobia in ghee. The sauce is puréed roasted red capsicum, chillies, cherry tomatoes, garlic, thyme and olive oil. Flat beans have a short season and I saw these guys at the markets on Saturday.
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WAGYU RIB FILLET, DUTCH CREAM MASH, WATERCRESS SALAD

Not much to report here. I bought some meat. I cooked it. It tasted sensational.
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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

PAPRIKA CHICKEN THIGH, POLENTA, BABY CAVOLO NERO AND AJVAR

In many households, the pets eat the leftovers. Tonight, we ate the pet's leftovers. Well, kind of. Last night we babysat our neighbours' Australian silky terrier. I bought a chicken thigh fillet to cook for his dinner. I couldn't bring myself to order a single fillet from the butcher, so I bought 3. And cooked two of them tonight. I dusted them in smoked La Vera paprika and sautéed them in ghee. I had made a big batch of chicken stock yesterday, so used some of this to make polenta. I had also bought some baby cavolo nero leaves from Sydney's Fratelli Fresh and a jar of ajvar (it's made by a Macedonian woman in Sydney).
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SALAD OF SMOKED CHICKEN, QUARK, BEETROOT AND MUSTARD FRUIT

Smoky, sweet, sharp, fresh, fruity, herbal, tangy. This salad has it all. Not much else to write ... oh, okay, I'll have a go: Once upon a time in a land not dissimilar to ours there lived a three-legged witch, an English police constable and a goanna. The goanna played honky-tonk piano, whilst the witch was a fan of Rolf Harris's songs. The policeman couldn't sing but simply repeated 'Hello, hello, hello' ... which itself is clearly repetitive. How's the story going so far? Had enough? Okay, that's all for now.
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SEARED TUNA WITH BEANS, ZUCCHINI AND CHERRY TOMATOES

Tuna is the meatiest fish in the ocean. So this is really a dish of meat and three veg for sea lubbers.   The beans and zucchini were sautéed in olive oil with garlic. The cherry tomatoes were roasted for eight hours at 90C. And the tuna got its usual quick sear in a very hot pan (after dusting with chipotle and cumin).
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BRAISED OXTAIL WITH SWEET POTATO MASH

There aren't many foods as deeply satisfying as stickily rich oxtail cooked over many hours at a low temperature. These were dusted with flour and browned, then braised with a bottle of red, star anise, garlic, brandy, bay leaf, dried orange peel. The first cooking took place a couple of days before serving. Then I removed the excess fat and cooked again. About 6 hours in total. Gotta love winter.
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CHICKEN THIGH, BROCCOLINI, FLAGEOLET AND TOMATO SALSA

Red, white and green ... it's Italian! And yet, the ingredients are multinational. Flageolet from France, salsa from Mexico, chicken from eggs (ort is it eggs from chicken?) and broccolini from ... well, it sound Italian, but this juvenile broccoli wasn't commercialised in Italy. Never mind. It feels Italian and looks Italian, so it must be Italian
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