Archive for May, 2009

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Ah, piggsy…

May 21, 2009

The Empress explores her passion for pig once again, in this week’s 3-of-a-kind restaurant column in Good Living. Pork hock and knuckle – French, Asian & Polish. Mmmm.

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The great Gourmet spag bol poll

May 20, 2009

spagbolpollThis month’s Australian Gourmet Traveller mag is the annual Italian issue, and its focus is the grand dame of pasta, spaghetti Bolognese.

Best of all, the mag quizzed 60 Australian chefs about how they cook their spag bol, and the results of this poll are riveting. Is it just me who’s surprised that the traditional dish contains cream or milk? And that a very good proportion of these chaps use lamb as well as veal, beef and pork? Other surprise ingredients are goose fat (augghhh, insert Homer Simpson drool noise here),  star anise, porcini powder, fish sauce (yes, really), calf brain and sweetbreads – and much more. 

Anyhoo, the whole thing complete with all 60 recipes is on the Gourmet Traveller website now. Makes for great reading. Also makes me want to buy a mincer – have any of you ever minced meat by hand? My mum had one of those old winding-handled jobs, but I can barely remember her using it. Anyone done it? Reports please!

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Lorrie Moore’s fictional food

May 18, 2009

like lifeIn Lorrie Moore’s story Two Boys (Like Life, 1990), the protagonist Mary compares the two men she’s unhappily involved with.

Number One is successful, funny and married, and predictably treats her like crap. Number Two loves her, but is “tall and depressed and steady as rain”:

‘He’d kiss her, then weep into his own long arm. Mary worried about his health. Number One always ate at restaurants where the food – the squid, the liver, the carrots – was all described as “young and tender”, like a Tony Bennett song. But Number Two went to coffee shops and ate things that had nitrites and dark, lacy crusts around the edges. Such food could enter you old and sticking like a bad dream. When Two ate, he nipped nothing in the bud. It could cause you to grow weary and sad, coming in at the tail end of things like that.’ 

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Cry me a river

May 17, 2009

onion gogglesSenor and I are having an argument about whether I should purchase a pair of these exceptionally snazzy onion goggles.

My view, of course, is yes! Although since our earlier discussion on the topic I have to say Hamish and Jamie were both right, and while I still bawl each time, practice is making – well, marginally better. My dice are neater and the chilling and sharpest knife does make a difference. But still, I can definitely see myself in these.

Senor, however, has been rolling his eyes. I’m used to that. Then, warming to the topic, he quite seriously suggested a scuba mask, because then “at least you can use it for snorkelling as well”.

Please. I can just see myself welcoming the guests at the front door with one of those on my head, I replied. At which S looked for a minute from this picture to me and back again, incredulous, and said, “Are you telling me you’re concerned about what they’re going to look like?”

I still think they’re funky.

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Quote of the week

May 16, 2009

mfk fisherOne of the reasons I love this blog is that you folks keep leading me to new discoveries I would never have found otherwise – like Hughesy’s and the Empress’s references to MFK Fisher, author of How to Cook a Wolf and Consider the Oyster, both of which I’m now on the hunt for.

Anyway, a little zip around the net looking for Ms Fisher revealed this lovely remark of hers, after the deaths of her beloved brother and husband within a few months of one another. As I’m reading a lot of books about bereavement at the moment for the Sydney Writers’ Festival next week, this quote struck me with particular force.

“One has to live, you know. You can’t just die from grief or anything. You don’t die. You might as well eat well, have a good glass of wine, a good tomato.”   

– MFK Fisher 

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Empress online at last – keep her there…

May 16, 2009

stephSteph’s 3-of-a-kind restaurant column for Good Living in the Sydney Morning Herald is finally up online – go visit to get the clicks happening and make sure it stays that way.

After the sheer joy of our Lao trip to the west where we encountered the sticky rice heaven of Song Fang Khong, I look forward to our next suburban adventure with the Empress, which I believe is going to be a Filipino fiasco of some kind … can’t wait. 

Also, my thanks to her for pointing out yet another excellent-looking whole orange cake recipe here. And it’s a non-boiler, for you extra-idle types…

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Tray bien

May 16, 2009

room serviceIf you are like me and travel for work just occasionally, you may still feel a childish thrill at the very idea of room service. I always get the steak, with as retro an accompaniment as is available – cafe de Paris butter, perhaps – and Dijon mustard on the side … and chips, and a green salad. My beau, on the other hand, is a sucker for the club sandwich, apparently. And you?

I’ve been trying to work out just what it is that’s so appealing about the whole thing. Is it the laze factor, that you can just lie on a huge bed and command others to bring you whatever you fancy? (sounds quite good, you gotta admit!) Or the power trip – that no matter the time of day or night, the poor schmuck on the other end of the phone line has to pretend nothing would give them greater pleasure than to pan fry a chicken breast for you right now? Read the rest of this entry ?