Friday, November 28, 2008

It's raining, honey.

If you haven't worked out already, I recently inked myself with the phrase "It's raining, honey."

I love it and thought it was cute when people would text me with that line when it has been raining, but now, it's lost its flavour. It seems to be one of those days when it isn't actually dreary and the rain, as false as it may be sometimes, opens up a collective sense of nostalgia and the cliched word that starts with 'P'(and I am not referring to "potential," although it is a synonym).

To tell you the truth, I didn't go to work today because I ended up taking a sleeping tablet that was stronger than I thought, after shoving a few packets into one and not reading the dosage on the foil. It took till midday to get my motor-skills back, and maybe a few too many coffees, but it happened.

Remember when I bought spelt flour? Well, I was going to make my own, but the table which I usually roll out the pasta on went upstairs for the party and that would involve a whole lot of cleaning, disinfecting and bravery for me to knead any form of dough on that.
And yes, I did take a photo of the pasta on my record player.

Oh yeah, to be a responsible blogger: Spelt flour: high in protein, lower in gluten than regular flour, blah blah blah.


Unfortunately, I feel as I have fallen into some trap cooking a pumpkin today as it is Thanksgiving or something in the Americatown. But, who cares.

Roasted Pumpkin and Silverbeet with Spelt linguine.

Serves 4, generously.

1/2 Jap pumpkin, skin on, sectioned into 4
chili flakes
100g taleggio cheese
6 slices of prosciutto, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 bunch of silverbeet, ribs diced and leaves sliced
100g walnuts, roasted and chopped
1/2 packet of spelt linguine

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcuis. Season the pumpkin with salt, pepper, chili flakes and rub in oil. Tear sage leaves over the top and bake for 40-50 minutes, turning half way.
When it is ready, put the pumpkin, skin and all, into a blender with a dash of milk. Blend till you have a thick puree, kind of like a dip.
Season and chop up 50g of the taleggio and stir through till it is melted. Set aside.
Meanwhile, render the fat from the prosciutto and add the onion over a low heat. When it is translucent, add the silverbeet ribs and garlic and continue to cook on low. As this is happening, cook the pasta. If the onion and prosciutto look dry, add some pasta cooking water.
A minute from the pasta being ready, add the silverbeet leaves to the pot.
Add the pumpkin puree to the prosciutto pan and stir through to heat.
Drain the pasta and silverbeet and add the to sauce. Stir to combine.

Serve with a slice of taleggio over the top and sprinkle over the toasted walnuts.

Erm, I guess now, you're ready for beer time.

Oh yes, this meal is best made and eaten while listening to Elbow's Seldom Seen Kid in its entirety. Seriously.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I love contrasts.

Today's weather is a perfect example. There was some sort of dry, parching heat overwhelming the city and all of a sudden, while I am outside exercising, the barometre falls and there is a thunderstorm. I like how everything is now thin and palatable and reflects the vegetables in between seasons. (And, also getting a dozen texts saying, "It's raining, honey.")

It's not confused, it's Melbourne. Before, I was drinking beer, and now I'm grabbing a bottle of red.

It makes sense, it allows us to overindulge and try everything once.

It's also why I was walking around in something thinner than a sheet this morning at work, and now I am wrapped in leather.

Also, I get to actually cook something and allow the smells to permeate the house, so it feels less like a share house and more like a home.
And in case you were wondering, yes, this morning I was in slut-bag mode and now I am a nonna.

Deal with it.

Beans and such play nice in pot
Serves 4

4 slices of prosciutto
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
3 dutch carrots, diced
4 ribs of celery, finely diced
parsley stalks from a bunch, finely diced
200ml passata
1 glass of red wine
2 cups of dry borlotti beans, soaked overnight in cold water
200g broad beans, shelled but still in their clothes
1 bunch of silverbeet, ribs removed and diced and leaves sliced
parsley leaves, roughly chopped
lemon juice

Render the prosciutto over a low heat and then add the onion and garlic and allow to sweat. When the onion and garlic are translucent, add the carrots, celery and parsley stalks and sweat for about 5 minutes.
Add the red wine and passata and turn the heat up on high. Add the beans after you have rinsed them and cover with water. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 2 hours, or until the beans are cooked.
An hour into the cooking, add the broad beans.
When the beans are cooked, season with salt and pepper. Do not salt before this stage because it won't allow the beans to soften.
Saute off the silverbeet and season. Stir into the beans.
Serve with parsley, grated parmesan and lemon juice. Eat with oiled toast.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Greenhouse and some cider.

Ok, Greenhouse is currently my new love.
For those of you who have not heard of it, it is a completely sustainable structure,based on that of a house which is a cafe/bar that is temporarily situated at Federation square on the Flinders Street side, next to the entrance of ACMI.
It was built on site over two weeks and has a living rooftop. This means that they grow shit up there.
And on the walls.

Check out these strawberries!
Anyways, the Seamstress kids and Shannon Bennett from Vue de Monds have chipped in and supported the whole thing and I cannot say anything other than me being in love with this place.

They serve all their coffees in jars and if you order a beer (which are supplied by Little Creatures) they will give it to you in an Innocent Bystander wine bottle which has had the top cut off.

Actually, something I am not too fond of is that they don't serve alcohol till 4pm.

Seeing the weather, I would have loved to have a cider with my roll. This is the roasted tomato, fior di latte, basil and balsamic roll. Their breads are all from D.Chirico Bakers.
If it were not so hot and I had not just exercised, I would have eaten a licorice and apple muffin. They sell a range of cakes as well as quiches, do breakfasts from 7am and sell their own muesli and jams (strawberry and rosewater & gellee carrot and vanilla).

I have a thing for birdcage lampshades. They make me all warm and fuzzy inside.

I also noted that they were a little overstaffed, but maybe that is because they were having a function at 4:30.

So, I relied on old faithful and sucked down a (better) cider at Hell's Kitchen.
Plus, it wasn't 4pm yet.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

When Language Breaks Down

you know you have won.

In the past, I would use the phrase "cash-dollar," "cash-money," "cash-card," not only for my entertainment but to confuse the people I talk to.

Today, John Lethlean has written an article where he receives aforementioned "cash money."

Contextually, of course it isn't meant in the same way I say it.

BUT, it still happened.


Monday, November 24, 2008

I do dessert like you do dessert the way that you want dessert, I make the dessert.

That is enough.

I mentioned last week having run into this woman from NT who works the organic section at the Vic Market. Well, we were chatting and she pointed me to organic cherries which they were about to sacrifice because the woman who ran the stall ordered too many. That, and broccoli.

I ended up leaving her with about half a kilo of cherries for two dollars. Yeah, outrageous! I have had a pretty lazy day and ran the appropriate errands, and in complete serenity, I decided to make clafouti.

It's been a long time coming. I run off a Julia Childs recipe for this because I can't remember the exact quantities this French woman taught me when I was much, much younger.

I assume pitting cherries is much like pitting olives, but with more murder.

So Bateman right now...

Makes 6
1 1/4 cups of milk (I used soy)
1/3 cup of sugar
3 eggs
1 tbs vanilla (I used almond extract)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of flour
3 cups of cherries, pitted
1/3 cup of sugar
icing sugar, to dust

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Find 6 ramekins and lightly butter and flour.
Pit the cherries if you haven't already.

In a bowl or a blender, mix together the milk, eggs, sugar,vanilla, salt and flour.
Pour half the quantity of the mixture into each ramekin and bake till it sets, around 8 minutes.
Remove them from the oven and scatter the cherries and top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar followed by the remaining mixture.
Bake for a further 10-15 minutes or till they have puffed up and a skewer comes out clean. Dust with icing sugar and serve hot with ice cream or cream.

Oh yes, and they will deflate.
Also, don't be like my housemate and eat one before a spinning class. I predict that she may throw up a little.

In English, please.

I made quinoa. As I said, I needed to get back into it, and well, I did. Not only did I make the quinoa, but I also watched Twin Peaks with my wife while it rained.

I believe that would be called a little bit perfect.

And just to benefit people who are unsure of what this hippie food it, it's a grain. Well, technically, a leafy plant. But, it is gluten free, about 14-16 percent protein and tastes nutty. Personally, I love it, and I love the texture, but of course, like all foods, it is subjective. When I made this meal, my wife commented on how she would be afraid of growing muscle right after eating. I quickly corrected her and said that she didn't exercise other than bike-ride anyways. That, and she ended up having about 3 dinners in one sitting. And that isn't saying that she had three serves, I served her three meals on request.

Another story for another day.

So, this is what quinoa looks like. Well, ok, it is in a pot with some water getting ready to be cooked, but you get the idea.

Oh, and I almost is pronounced "Keen-wah."

I would have given you an overabundance of photos, but I really couldn't be bothered uploading them today, to be honest. It's been a rough day, and not in Garfield "it's Monday" hard, but in the, "if-I-shaved-my-fingers-off-with-a-knife-it-wouldn't-have-made-a-difference" hard.

Warm Quinoa Salad
Serves 4
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
2 eggs
6 dutch carrots, cut in 2cm lengths
1/2 head of broccoli, florets sectioned and stem diced
1/2 punnet off cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and sectioned
1/2 block of firm tofu
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 bunch of silverbeet, washed, ribs diced and leaves sliced in 1 inch thicknesses
1 spanish onion, thinly diced
2 handfuls of walnuts
rice bran oil
extra virgin olive oil
Merideth marinated goat's feta, 2 cubes, crumbled

Put the quinoa in a pot and bring to the boil with 2 cups of water. Cook for 15 minutes or till the water has soaked in and the quinoa tastes cooked.
Set aside in a large bowl
Meanwhile, cook the eggs till they are hardboiled, peel and quarter lengthways.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and roast the carrot, broccoli, and tomatoes for 20 mintues in rice bran oil and season to taste.
While this is happening, dice the tofu and fry off in a hot pan till crunchy and browned and season to taste.
Now, roast the diced onion and asparagus with oil and seasonings.
While this is happening, saute off the silverbeet with the garlic and season to taste.
Roast the walnuts in a pan and crush.
Combine all the cooked ingredients and nuts in the bowl with the quinoa and mix. Crumble the feta throughout the quinoa.
Serve with a dollop of hummus and a wedge of lemon.

It may be hideous, but it was fucking awesome. Omnomnom.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just making a statement

Bethany is branding herself outside of the Fitzroy Centrelink with her Customer Reference Number at 4pm.

That is 9 numbers and one letter.

I like to repeat myself.

Remember when I made this?

Well, I happen to be living off it when I don't know how the weather is making me feel. Here's a picture of it, I think the only difference is that this one has parsley and more celery...just because I felt like it.

Oh, and I am all smiles now, because I realise the Slow Food Market is on this Saturday and I can restock on certain crazies.

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes.

And did I mention that eating that salad is best done during dusk while listening to Charlotte Gainsbourg's The Operation?

The Golden Ging makes a special.

A couple of boys just came back from working in Perth. I don't think words are necessary.

Hmm, green things.

The boys always have a talent for making very crispy potatoes.
All the time. It is their shtick.

These mushrooms were amazing. To quote the Golden Ging, "You see, the trick is to find all the Asian sauces you have, and then, put them all on the mushrooms while you're cooking it, eh?"
It's a good point to note that one day, they were forced to drive to Box Hill and actually buy real Asian sauces.

The fried fish fillets.

And the oven baked fish that got punched in the side by a knife. No, wait, that is called stabbing...
Very tasty.

The aftermath.

I made a rice pudding after wards, but everyone ate it before a photo was taken. And I believe they also consumed a hell of a lot of dark chocolate in the interim.

Well done, Ging.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I have a confession to make...

Not only am I a dork, but I realised that I have no more hiding spots for my books.

Yes, I have a lot of literature and I love it. If I could, one of my ideal holidays would involve only a bar, sun with occasional rain and the opportunity to devour books for a few weeks.

But, I was thinking about stacking all the books I have in one area, or at least tidying it up and putting it in the drawers. I somehow forgot that I actually have already stuffed them full with books.
I should have never discovered Amazon.
I should have never gotten a food magazine subscription.
I should have never spitefully directed anger towards the Melbourne Uni Bookshop because I see now that I own:

27 cook books. There are no specific genres, although, some would be considered bibles...
have 3 1/2 years worth of Gourmet Traveller magazines lurking and spilling out of the bookshelf and my vanity. So, the maths would be...42 issues.
As well as the books that I like to read for leisure and subject readers I have accumulated over the years.

oh... and notebooks.

It doesn't sound like much, but when you're living in a share house, you kind of look like a freak.

At this house, we all have funny pee.

I have recently struck a deal, nay, an agreement with my wonderful Lute. He has been feeling as if he has been eating too much of my food and, well, frankly I don't care because if it doesn't get eaten it will just go bad.
He hates cooking, and I live in the kitchen when it hasn't been taken over by wine glasses.
So, he's going to chuck in some money every week and basically his conscience is clear.

I usually spend my Tuesdays mornings at the market and I can guarantee a few things to happen every time:
1- That I will run into 1928
2- That I will purchase more food than I can physically carry, and thus be swearing through the majority of the walk home.
3- That I will purchase more cheese than one person could concieve.
4-That I will take advantage of seasonal produce..and for the second week in a row, diving into the asparagus, 3 bunches for $!

What I didn't bank on was this:
1- Running into the wonderful bohemian woman in met at Litchfield falls in NT about 5 months ago. She lived out of her car for 3 weeks and had leg hair that I wanted to braid. There was a commitment ceremony involved in the 45 degree haze, the cutting of hair and she gave me away to the gay gods. She's working in the organic section till January and then heading to Tasmania.
The only thing I wanted to ask her was if it were possible to drive to Tasmania. (I answered my own question, yes...on a boat.)
2- Buying spelt flour, buckwheat flour and quinoa. Yes people, this is for you. I guess I am going to try do some healthy baking, or play around with pie crusts. Who knows, I had a feeling.
As with quinoa, it is stupidly good for you and I guess it is time that I start eating it again. Keep posted...
3- Having my housemate at the market at the exact same time and opening the door to the house and realising that she was 2 minutes behind me the whole way.

And finally, after John Candy's birthday, none of us have been able to bring ourselves to take down the A0 posters.
Because they are awesome.

Lute's room is in the front of the house and there is huge face of JC stuck on the window. And, on many occasions, I have mentioned how close we are to the Hotel Lincoln.
Occasionally, he can feel people on the street watching him, but in the end, realise it is just the poster.
I have had friends walk down the back laneway, and sometimes the garage door gets jammed. When this happens, I get a number of text messages saying(not exactly, but are all similar to);
"Haha, your name is Buck and you're here to fuck."
That is because there is a giant poster of Uncle Buck in my room with the text from Kill Bill.
Oh, intertexualtiy. Love it.

Anyways, as we are all unpacking our groceries we get a knock on the door. Three businessmen are standing there on their lunch break and I'm holding celery in one hand and an avocado in the other. My other housemate is in the middle of sticking a mango in her face and Lute's at the door with a bowl of muesli and orange juice.

Businessman1- Hey, sorry to do this, but it is a bet for ten dollars.
Lute- Yes. (Omnomnom)
Businessman2- But, we were wondering...
Lute- Yes...(omnomnom)
Businessman1- is that John Candy




The Businessmen turn, laugh and head back the the Lincoln.

Ah, JC, God bless him.


You Are A Martini

You are the kind of drinker who appreciates a nice hard drink.

And for you, only quality alcohol. You don't waste your time on the cheap stuff.

Obviously, you're usually found with a martini in your hand. But sometimes you mix it up with a gin and tonic.

And you'd never, ever consider one of those flavored martinis. They're hardly a drink!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Before the Aftermath

So, tonight is strange. Stories and stories and stories, told and told and told.

So, it is only fitting that I murdered vegetables tonight.

Remember that stock you made yesterday? Well, heat it up and strain out the vegetables. Keep it hot.

This is kind of almost the mise en place. Here, there is diced garlic, and onion as well as risotto rice and Girgar butter.

And yes, I like to drink while cooking.

Melt the butter in a low heated pan with olive oil.

Add the onions and garlic and sweat.

Oh, and check it. Wrinkly beetroots that have been roasted in an oven for three hours at 160, wrapped in foil.

I peeled them. MURDER!!! Just look at the hands.

By now, the onions and garlic would have sweat. Add the Carnaroli rice and toss till it goes translucent.

Dice the beetroot. Yes, it is still bloody hot and burn-worthy.




Add the beetroot when it is almost ready.

Grate some parmesan. You can see here that I got over the little ones and just started grating on the 'normal' size because it was going to melt anyways.

Add the butter and the parmesan.

Look, Dill...

Chop it finely.

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon

Over some washed rocket.

Add the dill to some yogurt and mix.

And, finally, plate it all up with the rocket and some lemon juice over the top, some of the dill yogurt and a few shaves of parmesan.
Usually this is redder, so it feels a bit weird.
Anywho, mix it all together and as my housemates say, eat the shit out of it.