Monday, March 17, 2008

That Bloody Maria

The downstairs bar of Seamstress has opened, but not officially. It will be called Sweatshop, as that is was the function of the space in a past life. The staff and bar manager ply me with liquor on Friday night, coaxing me with more and more shots and a sample of their new cocktails.

Apparently their alcoholic spider is a hit, but it is not for me. $14

I try a few of their punches, and they're good if you're looking for something sweet. $45 a flask

The Dictators Fix is chosen through a flip of a coin, also too sweet for my liking, but is very alcaholic. $16

What really got me is their Bloody Maria, $16, which is their version of a Bloody Mary, made with a tequila and their own tomato juice. A lot lighter than the average. Then, the traditional horseradish and wochester sauce is substituted with their nam jim, which gives it that extra kick. It is also pleasantly garlicy and I stick on these for most of the night, till the staff and I cab it to Black Pearl before we finish up in a pure morning.

Without having to say it, I have my fill of Hendricks and tonic $11.

All I can do, is say, check it out before the opening. The atmosphere is a hell of a lot nicer.

Sweatshop; basement 113 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, 3000.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Only two words could sum up today; regretfully disheartening.

This can be applied to every facet of my life at the moment. Generally though, I like to think that food can fix everything. Hell, even a few beers. I guess after all the bouncing around, the working, the pretending and gerneral illusion, I am still human. No matter how many coffees I drink, I am still suspended in half life. Tonight, I really wanted an Erdinger Krystal, but alas...all gone.

Not even wearing a shiny, red, spandex leotard has cheered me up.

I think I realised that coffee couldn't fix my day after my espresso tasted, well...dirty from my trusty Ortigia. I guess I did go after the lunch rush.

I would kill for a Hendricks and tonic with fresh cucumber.


Maybe it's time for a hug.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I have been

Dabbling with the idea of ordering organic weekly boxes of fruit and vegetables for the house. My work schedule with uni is forcing me to only go to the market on the weekend, which is very problematic if you want fresh food, all the time.

Anyone tried this before?

Any good suggestions of companies?

Does anyone care?

Forgive Me

I have not been absent because I have been lazy. I have been working on the book...and the uni admin and the Swedish.

But most importantly, the book.

Here is what I cooked tonight. I am very surprised. Fridge Cleaning is fun. Everything is organic. I love how full time work means big fun happy times

Lamb Shanky Somethingness

I am only eating this with barley because I really don’t feel like potatoes, or cleaning another pot. It’s a starch, give me a break. Also, you may be able to tell that I am attempting to empty the fridge, but it doesn’t taste like it.

2 lamb shanks

Flour to dust

1 onion, finely diced

2 medium carrots, finely diced

3-4 stalks of celery, finely diced

3 cloves of real garlic, finely diced

1 bunch of parsley stalks, finely chopped

150 g field mushrooms, halved and finely sliced

Fresh rosemary, a few sprigs

3 bay leaves

1 stick cinnamon

Zest of a lemon

½ cup barley

Vegetable stock (homemade)

Can of tomatoes

1 glass red wine (drink the rest in the interim periods of actual cooking)

Dust the lamb in flour and brown on a high heat in a heavy based pan.

Remove the shanks and using the same pan, add more oil and sauté off the mushrooms, season. Add the onion, carrots, garlic and celery and cook off on a low heat till translucent. Season again.

Wash the barley (yeah, my Asian-ness coming out) and stir through the pan. Return the shanks to the pan and add herbs and lemon zest. Pour in glass of wine and wait for the alcohol to cook off a bit. Add the tomatoes and the stock to cover. If it is all too high for your lid to fit, make one out of 2 pieces of foil, folded together at the middle and crimp over the edges with a kitchen towel.

Cook on low, at a simmer, for an hour or so, check to see if you need to add more liquids. If you want a soupier thing to eat with crusty bread, then you can flake off the meat and cook for a further 30-50 minutes, generally till it is tender. If you actually want to eat it off the shank, then don’t. Keep cooking it till it is tender, this will take longer.

By now, you should be well tanked, especially since you haven’t eaten all day (if you’re like me) and having consumed not only the rest of the bottle of wine, but a few beers as well. This is generally the indicator that is it time to adjust the seasonings. Serve with freshly chopped parsley.

Something tells me that as a soupy thing...which is what I will do tomorrow, sour cream would work.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I have just been commissioned to cook for 5 vegetarians this Saturday.

I found this out in the middle of my Swedish tutorial, so instead of thinking about personal pronouns and conjugated verbs, I contemplated what I could cook and carry to this said house and prepare there. Their kitchen is pretty much hopeless and their oven isn't that big, let alone having knives that cut (I'll bring mine).

Here's the plan:

-Olive, fennel and feta cigars.
-Twice baked goats cheese souffles with a roasted baby beetroot, walnut and apple salad. I can't help but think that figs should be in here somewhere.
-Ginger and cinnamon icecream with a praline.

I plan to make the cigars and first-bake the souffles here as well as the beetroot, and then doing the cook-off/rebake/assembly at their home. And, seeing as their freezer is always empty, I will make the icecream over there, and praline, well, that is a quick thing...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

My Husbands; The Shortlist. It's been a while.

Uni has started up again, and I am convinced that they do not want me to graduate. What was supposed to be my final year in creative arts, has become a detour, miscommunication and frustration that has launched me into learning Swedish and added another 2 semesters to my course.

An interesting and pleasing outcome, however frustrating.

Thank god I am on a scholarship.

Obviously, at this stage, I am procrastinating from writing for a class I have tomorrow, which is a public holiday (god, you're killing me) while listening to the last smoke alarm die after my friend and I performed drunken acrobatics with several chairs and much of the limb-twisting in my wearing of a red shiny leotard and killer heels at four in the morning because they won't stop beeping.

In the last few weeks, I have had a few dinners at Seamstress, have been suprised by being taken to Tempura Hajime again (good god, the sea urchin wrapped in scallop makes me wet) and will be going to France Soir tonight...just for the hell of it.

Writing has come back, and I am doing much of the muchly, but obviously, not on this.

In acts of desperation and boredom, sometimes laziness, much cooking has been done. One disaster that was edible regardless was when my companion and I made a black eyed bean and silverbeet stew/soup like thing with olive oil being the main star. Unfortunately, no one remembered that Celtic Sea Salt is like salt in its most concentrated form. We cried, we ate, we squeezed some lemon and watered down with a good bread and butter. We talked wells in the end.

The successes: angry laksa from scratch (the pounding needed to be done after much of the fuck-around with uni), joong from scratch with the family (I felt like I was in some Asian version of how to make an American quilt, but my dad was there), fish pie, which was quite some time ago (which I have also noticed has been quite the 'thing' of late) caramelised fennel and onion tart (oh, I love you fennel), rice paper rolls which shouldn't really be counted as cooking, many a-salads and lots of breakfasts/brunches including a nostalgic New York-style egg white omlette with brie, leeks and mushrooms.

But, back to uni, because this really ties in with the whole husbands thing. I was recently buying my subject readers from that damned uni bookshop and accidentally walked out with George Calombaris' new book; The Press Club, Modern Greek Cookery. I didn't intend on thieving, but the clerk put it in my bag and thought it was already mine.
Upon reading this, I admire how he is so ridiculously human, willing to admit fault, trial, and obviously not editing his writing. At some times he can be a little repetative, but that is the charm; the grammar, the humbleness, the progression, the unapologetic attitude that he has towards customers and his recipes, the opinions, but most importantly; the respect. I particularly like how he throws in a recipe for his ego, for good measure.
But, he is not my original husband, as cute as he is. I must admit that the passion, gracefulness and overall enthusiasm of Giorgio Locatelli won my heart. I remember seeing him making spelt pasta and putting it in a cabbage and cheese "sauce" and eating it with his wife and child. I was thirteen, and I was in love. About 6 months ago, I bought Made in Italy and for some reason, he is still able to make me interested after blabbering on about salt for 6 pages.
Did I not mention that he is my original husband?
Then, there is Nigel Slater. So simple, so bloody smart, and human. He's my husband, I don't care if he is gay!
Teage Ezard. Oh, I love him. Lotus has won my heart. Mucho mucho love-o. I probably wouldn't say that to him in real life, but we all know how I am feeling.

As I say, this is only a shortlist. I have many more husbands, such as Dylan Moran, Guy Garvey and Noel Fielding, but they're different stories entirely. As for wives, I only really have one; Bjork.

And, if you haven't noticed, I don't live in the real world.