Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I swear I am not on crack.

But, it seems that after much conversation and a 19-year long existential crisis, I have somehow roped myself into a trial in the kitchen of Matteo's.

Erm, help?

Monday, February 11, 2008

What I Don't Dig On.

I almost forgot it was the heart shaped season until I went to work today. Everything was heart shaped and then...the photos of the heart shaped food.

The heart shaped pancakes, the chocolates, the boxes, the dumplings, the pastries...flower arranged in...


the heart shapes.

Everything that you would be eating to harden the heart came as a heart.

That is what I don't dig on.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Don't you fuck me in my town!

I have a theory that every food blogger is secretly an alcaholic. Why do I bring this up? Well, I just found out five minutes ago that Jerome of St Jeromes...or Saint J's (as the hipsters call it) has just bought the almost-recently abandoned Rob Roy.

As with many people, I have a love/hate relationship with Saint J' well as Sista Bellas and the recently anointed Shittown. Actually, I hate Shittown. Normally, I would be lapping that shit up but it all just smells like cash-filled gimmick to me. A copy of a copy of a copy of itself, being too comfortable and living within its unexciting and tired expectations. As with my generation, these places are tired, uninspiring and disaffected. Also, disturbingly comfortable. It's the hidden cash beind the cashlessness that is trying to be projected.
See: everyone who does the Streetparty thing.
See: everyone at Melbourne Uni/RMIT.
See: everyone 20 and under.
I can rant and rave at you about how I was one of the firsts to go to Saint J's when the rat shit was still washing down from where the now-outside bar used to be, there was no clear tarp and the outside was filled with soggy couches. But, as with many places which have now made a name for themselves, it has been done again and again and again and again.

It's boring.

I am sad at this new discovery for 2 reasons.

1- Jerome is building a franchise and I can see he is just trying to do his thing. The bar thing. Whatever. He can do what he wants and facilitate underage drinking with the shredded, beautiful people in the city if he likes, but that is technically my backyard. He's at the head of my hood and now he's trying to ram me up the ass.

2- The Rob Roy will never be the same again, with its knowingly sticky carpet, great sound system and surprisingly good and semi-unknown bands. I have started many love affairs and had a lot of cheap eargasm in this place. I don't want it to be fondled and deconstructed (or most likely left as is, after all the fittings have been ripped out) and hailed as the new Jeromes.

He is trying to be the Con Christopolus of the bar world, sans wonderment. I think we have found a great comparison to heaven and hell.

Drink up, before it is all over children. Crying shall commence in five....



Friday, February 8, 2008

Seasonal Therapy.

My fridge looks like it has swallowed the market about 5 times over. This just means that I have not yet been able to go through all the produce I purchased on the weekend. I am getting a little paranoid about my cherry tomatoes of both varieties because of the hot weather and their place in the cupboard.
*Beware, tomato rant in next paragraph*
Now, my housemates just asked me why I keep tomatoes in the cupboard, rather than the fridge. Well, basically, I DON'T KEEP MY TOMATOES IN THE FRIDGE BECAUSE THE TEXTURE CHANGES AND THEY TASTE LIKE BALLS OF SAND!
So, obviously, they don't keep as long.
I have been a little foggy as of late and having a constant existential crisis working 8-4:30 as a Discharge Initiation Officer and needed some food therapy. So, in the space of 3 hours, I made 3 things out of dying produce. Somehow, I thought that clearing the fridge would clear my head.
I decided that the tomatoes were the main issue, as well as the dying basil and the left over pine nuts of last week...and one of those hundred cheeses I have should be put to use. Not to mention the figs that I should really deal with and possibly use up some of those 4000000 blueberries I have stashed in the crisper. (That was the only place they would fit, ok?)
I ended up making pesto, with macadamia as well, 6 blueberry and 6 fig friands and a caramelised onion, olive, cheery tomato and goats fetta tart.

1 bunch basil
1-2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1-2 tablespoons toasted macadamias
2 cloves garlic
2-3 tablespoons grated parmesan (I used reggiano because it was lurking around in the back)
olive oil

I pounded the garlic and a pinch or 2 of salt in a mortar and pestle and added the nuts without puverising them. I decided that my miniature mortar and pestle couldn't house all the ingredients, so I threw it in the blender. I then added the basil with a stream of oil to get it to the right consistency, stirred through the cheese and then added a few grinds of black pepper.
Don't ask me why I felt the need to put macadamias in there, I just felt like it.

2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup sifted plain flour
1 cup sifted icing sugar
4 egg whites
75g melted unsalted butter
2 figs cut into slices

-Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease 2, 6 hole (large) friand pans.
-Mix the flours together with the sugar and stir in the egg whites till combined. Add the melted butter and stir together.

Ideally, I would have preferred to have grated some lemon zest in here, but alas, I am sans lemon.

-Spoon the mixture in the holes 3/4 of the way and arrange the fruit over the top. I did three slices of fig and three blueberries per friand.
-Bake for 20-30 minutes, allow to cool in pan and snarf.

(Now, I'm going to make a mayonnaise or hollandaise with the egg yolks. Looking at the asparagus that I have in the fridge, probably a hollandaise....but on the other hand, I still have potatoes left, so why not a salad? I am somehow still thinking hollandaise. )

Tomato, caramelised onion, fetta tart:

Now, here is a confession. I saw a picture of this in this issue's Gourmet Traveller while trying not to work, hiding in another level's break room, so this was inspired by a most likely hair-sprayed version I glanced at a few days ago.

3 small spanish onions, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
sugar, sprinkle
red wine vinegar, splash or so
150g kalamata olives, self pitted
thyme, leaves of...2-3 tablespoons
150g roma cherry tomatoes, halved
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
Filo pastry (just what I had, but I am sure a fresh batch of shortcrust would work just as well)
Butter, melted
3-4 cubes of Merideth Goats Fetta, crumbled

-Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius.
-Caramelise the onions and garlic by cooking them on a low heat with a generous amount of oil, a sprinkling of sugar, then deglazing the pan with a splash or two of the vinegar. Cook the vinegar out, you'll know what I mean.
-Stir in the olives, thyme and season with cracked black pepper.
-Now, lay and butter between sheets of pastry in a pie dish. Enough to be sturdy, but not too little for the ingredients to fall through when you serve it.
-Scatter the onions on a layer in the bottom, top with halved tomatoes, crumble fetta over the top and bake for 25-30 minutes.
-Eat it, fatty. Serve in quarters.

Now, everyone can pat my back at how amazing I am for actually keeping track of quantities and attempting to write recipes.

The Local...the local...the local.

The rain has come, which means that I can transform, once again into a giant blue triangle (we're talking in terms of coats here).

With another visit to the Hotel Lincoln after shearing one side of my head again, so I look like a wonderful Asian cyborg with an undercut, my Wednesday night became quite decadent. I met up with the usual food suspects and after a few ummms, ahhhs and Asahis, the four of us decided on:

-Duck and cherry pie served on a celeriac mash with a thyme jus x 2 (I was one of the 2)
- Fish of the day. Whole pan fried flounder with bok choi and XO sauce x 1
- Southern Indian Prawn curry with garlic Naan x 1
-Asahis x 12

The duck pie was very rich, as you would imagine. It was wrapped in puff pastry (I suspect out of a frozen block) and tore apart into shreds once you cut into it. The celeriac mash went very well with it and there was hidden wilted spinach between the pie and the mash. The only complaint I have is that the jus wasn't very thyme like, it seemed like they just threw it in at the end. Also, it was very salty.
I sampled some of the prawn curry. It came with naan, raita and steamed rice. The curry was very coconutty and, The raita was wonderful and as one of my friends pointed out, the star of the dish. I sampled the overly oily naan. It tasted like pizza dough that had just been thrown in the oven in a thicker shape and doused in oil and garlic at the end.

Despite this, it was a great, cheap meal and I guess a little rich for a Wednesday night.

We rolled the other side of the street and slept it all off.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Last night I ended up serving the fish pie (which turned out very nicely, especially along side a few gin and tonics) with a witlof, necterine and chevre salad. Lightly dressed with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lime.

This evening, I rubbed spices all over the perch, pan fried it and served it along side blanched asparagus and gai larn (I couldn't decide, so I went for both) with a generous squeeze of lemon.

Simple. Fresh.

I need some beers.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

I will it to be winter.

It is humid and disgusting, being a 31.5 degree celcius day with a thunderstorm a-brewing. If it broke out, I would consider it perfect weather.
My braindeadness at work is slowly killing my soul. My enjoyment of the day is absuing business bankers and laughing at the stupidity of argibusiness managers that think that they can discharge a cow. Again, it only sounds dirty. If it actually were, I wouldn't hate my job.
There are only so many things I can do at work, and with it being completely dark outside, and overly air conditioned inside, I can't help but think it is winter. This is why I am going to make a leek and fish pie with the ingredients I bought.

Oh yeah, add leeks and asparagus to yesterday's list.

Anywho, this is what I plan on doing:
Making a garlicy potato mash to top the pie with, using the rockling fillets and slicing them up and arranging them on the bottom of a pie dish. Meanwhile, I'll saute off some garlic, onion, and leeks and pour over some cream and mix in some dijon till it boils. Finally, I'll break up some cheese into the sauce so it thickens (trying to go away from the flour thing, I want to feed my housemate who is gluten intolerant) and pour it over the fish. Then, I'll quarter a boiled egg and put it over the top, squeeze over a bit of lemon and top it with the potato mash. Bake it in the oven on around 200 for approximately 20-30 minutes.
I'll probbaly serve it with a simple lemon and rocket salad.
As previously stated, I'm not really a recipie person and I do everything by eye. Use your imagination and make up some of your own quantities.

While all this is going on...I am still going to hope for rain.

What I have missed posting...

In laziness, a full time job and general exhaustion coupled with a preoccupation for sex, I have missed out on posting a few things.

Here is a brief overview:

-Tempura Hajime, 60 Park st, South Melbourne.

Getting a booking in a week and falling in love instantly. Amazing food. I went mad, called people during the meal to tell them how amazing it was (ducking out), eating more and being determined to book out the place for the second sitting for my birthday. It is one of the top food experiences.

-Longrain, 40-44 Little Bourk St, Melbourne.

Wagu beef red curry, Salt and pepper tofu over asain greens. Shared with a broker and a veitnamese woman...and a bottle of wine.

-Seamstress, 113 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

Hendricks gin and tonics with fresh cucumber. Food will be done.

-Hotel Lincoln (my local), 91 Cardigan st, Carlton.

Many a meals had here and too many drinks. Recently though, Scallops with asian salad, creb tortellini in a seafood bisque, ricotta pancakes.

- Il Bacaro,168-170 Little Collins st, Melbourne.

One of my loves and I only reappear there more and more. Met the owners and staff the other day while buying a ridiculous shirt (and by default, the workers of Sarti as well). Great warm people with an Asian fetish. No Deal.

-Cho Gao(I think), opposite the Hoyts in Melbourne Central.

A few beers were had and it is decided that we should food here. Asian beer cafe, basically. Methinks a little like a more laid back, airy and non pretentious Cookie. Let's see how their food stands up.

-Wesley Anne, 250 High st, Northcote.

Shared an antipasto plate and pan fried hapuka. Many beers. Great night, cheap food, half the price.

-Hans Palace, some place in the burbs. Go Eastish.

Apologies on the vagueness of location. That is what happens when you eat a Cantonese seafood banquet with your extended family. One of the better establishments I have been to, and noticeable better quality and lack of msg. Highlights: claypot with sea cucumber (one of my favourites). Garlic "dust" and lo hon jai (vegetarian stew thing).

-Cafe Vue, Normanby Chambers, 430 Little collins st, Melbourne.

Just their Lunch box. Ocean trout and lentil salad. Broccoli, coriander, pine nut & raisin salad. Venison, wholemeal pastry. Rasperry Frangipane tart. Best lunch ever. Coffee- strictly an Illy short black. Magic.

- Many dinners that I have cooked.

Some of the more memorable items: salmon patties with wholegrain mustard, served with a radish & greens salad dressed with a honey mustard business. Some random pasta I threw together with caramelised red onion, chilli zucchini, pine nuts, chevre & roquette. Somehow that night, I managed to have an 'every course has cheese' night.
There was also a night when I was over at a friend's place, and they had nothing in their fridge...and I mean nothing. I ended up making mayonnaise from scratch with nothing (I was so surprised) and a very poor-man potato salad. As I said...I don't generally dig on potatoes, or a mayo based potato salad...but we were desperate. Thank god for capers. Personally, I would have preferred a Vinegarette/mustard based one. As I said...nothing in the fridge.
Many toasties through the working days. Lots of miso. Many salads.

Now, these examples are not chosen because they were particularly better than any other, but basically because I am very hungover and I can only remember so far. But, looking at all the places I have eaten or have been eating in the past month and a half...that is a lot of food.

I'm going to go exercise now.


I forgot about:

-DOC Mozzarella bar, 295 Drummond St, Carlton. (Where Vue de Monde used to be)

I have been here on many occasions, but obviously we're all coming here for the Buffalo mozzarella. I got a ball of this with grissini and bresaola. They also do pizzas, salads (which you can enrich with either buffalo mozzarella or fior di latte; the difference is it is either made with buffallo milk or cows milk) and antipasti. The most memorable pizza was when I shared the squid ink and buffalo mozzarella pizza with a friend of mine. We both walked out of there looking as if we had been eating charcoal. If anything, we laughed so much, other people started ordering it.

-Gills Diner & Commercial Bakery, rear 360 Lt Collins St, Melbourne.

I have been here many times and love all the food. This was quite a few months ago, but their coffee is also of stand up quality. Gills may be a little decadent for a lunch and I can no longer do it due to my 30 minute lunch breaks, but god is it good. Hot tip: go find yourself a sugar daddy and make sure you're not the one paying if you plan on doing this more than once a week.

-Ortigia, 1/433 Little Collins St, Melbourne.

I must admit, I love the spoons here. Just go and you will know what I am talking about. opposite Cafe Vue, it is a good relief from all the Illy advertising for coffee just as well made, food as comfortingly impressive and with friendly staff (unlike Cafe Vue). Instant coffee hit. P.S Don't steal their spoons or they'll blame me.

(*more memories later*)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

How to blow $50 in 20 minutes.

After a sore night of drinking a little too much, I napped between drunk and not so drunk and realised that the sun was up.
Now, any normal person here would just lie in bed for the rest of the day or at least drink some water, curled up in the corner of their room screaming, "Leave me alone, I just want to die and listen to the Manic Street Preachers pre '96!' But, I stupidly (and as I post this, still believe I am drunk from all that...well...drinking that I did last night/this morning) decided to get up and go to the VIC market.
Here is the deal. I usually pride myself on the amount of cheese that I eat, but, this week I decided that I have enough cheese in the fridge and to budget myself down to a $50 thing.

Ok...maybe I'll buy one cheese.

Here's what I came home with:

-Cherry tomatoes - 1 punnet
-Cherry roma tomatoes- 1 punnet
-blueberries- 4 (wtf?!?!?!?!) punnets (I realised that the crazy asian lady accidentally gave me someone elses purchase)
- broccoli- one head
-leeks- 4
-celery- half a bunch
-chilli -10, of the bird''s eye variety
-ginger- a giant knob
-galangal- and even bigger knob
-real garlic- 2 heads
-spanish onions - 3
-brown onions- 4
-nicola potatoes- 5-6
-kipfler potatoes- 2-3(the strange thing is, I dont really eat potatoes)
-necterines- 4
-figs- 300g
-gai larn- 1 bunch
-fennel- 2
-witlof- 2
-some asian green that I don't know how to translate
-basil- one bunch
- thyme- 1 bunch
-lemongrass- 1 bunch
- limes- 4
- beans- 200g
-peas- 200g
-roquette- 250g
- bean shoots- 200g

then...I went to my trust cheese people and they're still on holiday...the lazy bastards. At this stage, I had only spent around 30 dollars and the shrapnel jiggling around in my wallet. Sure my arm was about to fall off and I was sweating bullets of pure alcohol from trying not to throw up on people, but the cheese had to be done.
I couldn't buy bread, because I still have a loaf at home, so, with all this nauseousness I decide to venture into the fish and meats aisle. I'm too drunk to even begin confusing myself with all the varieties of dried meats and sausages that I would be scoffing down later in the day.

More of the holding back of barf...but, add to the list

-Ling fillets- 2
-Pearch -1

Ideally, I would have bought a coupld of blue swimmer crabs, but they had all been purchased or packed up by the stage. It was 30 minutes from closing time.

And now, I cook.