Archive for June, 2009

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Winged victory – chicken brodo

June 18, 2009

brodoI have never been a big fan of chicken wings – too fiddly, greasy, just annoying, and for what?

But Ms Karen Martini (I only just thought recently what a killer name this is. How I would love to be called Charlotte Martini) has changed my mind, and found an excellent use for the delights of these tender moist little bits of flesh without the finger-licking tedium. Or at least, the tedious bit is only the cook’s job, not the diners’.

Here is Ms M’s chicken & vegetable brodo faithfully reproduced by some other braver recipe-sharing blogger  (the original is from KM’s second book Cooking at Home – buy it, it’s brilliant apart from way too many arty personal kitchen and/or new baby photos – why do people do that??), and below is my slightly altered version, replacing a few ingredients with whatever we had in the fridge. But the big debt is to KM.

Getting the flesh off the chook bones is the fiddliest bit, but from start to finish it took a bit over an hour, and was sooo delicious – was feeling a little off-colour with burgeoning headcold (swine flu?) yesterday arvo, but after a bowl of this stuff was bounding with good health.

I urge you to make this at least once in the next week – I promise it’ll cure what ails you!

Chicken & vegetable brodo, with thanks to KM

  • 1kg chicken wings (mine were organic from woolies, and cost six bucks. Bargain.)
  • 2 litres chicken stock
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, ditto
  • 1 small red chilli, split
  • 3 fronds silverbeet or cavolo nero – stems diced, leaf roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • ½ chorizo sausage, finely sliced (optional, can leave out)
  • ½ cup arborio rice
  • Small handful spaghetti, broken into 5cm sticks ( I acidentally used tube spag, but it was still fine)
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • Chopped parsley
  • Grated parmesan, to serve Read the rest of this entry ?
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Beef Bourguignon, Bennelong style

June 15, 2009

guillaumeMy cyber-savvy mother-in-law cooked dinner for eight on Saturday night, including us, and her main was a spectacular beef Bourguignon she found on the SBS Food Safari website.

The step-by-step recipe is all in an online video with the Opera House Bennelong restaurant’s Guillaume Brahimi showing the way. The result was too good to describe – and one of the fab secrets is using pureed carrot instead of flour to thicken the stew.

Of course, being a fancypants chef, he used Wagyu beef (hello??) – but he also says he’d have no trouble using ‘any piece of beef’ so I guess I’d go for chuck. Annie if you’re out there, what did you use? It was soo tender.

Anyway, here’s the video – I might give it a whirl this week, will report back with results. And thanks to Annie for the amazing taste test.

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Sitting duck – cheat’s cassoulet

June 14, 2009
Assembled, not yet baked...

Assembled, not yet baked...

Today, with gloomy rainy cold weather and a heavily pregnant friend here for lunch en famille, we decided to go all-out on the winter stodge and revisit a deliciously easy duck cassoulet I made a few times years ago.

The cassoulet recipe is a great Brigitte Hafner dish, from Good Living in May 2004 – a very stained and blobbed-on bit of newsprint that lives in our big folder of cut-out recipes. The original has a whole fresh duck chopped up and roasted in pieces, instead of the traditional confit duck, which makes it not so pricy and still pretty easy, but today I went the total Convenience Cassoulet route with bought confit duck and canned beans, thereby bastardising this into an even simpler recipe which still packs an excellent punch.

Bless the internet, because I’ve just found the original Brigitte Hafner version here, and below is my even quicker version. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Rice is (gulp) nice?

June 9, 2009

stephricepuddingThe Empress  and her Three-of-a-Kind column today made me gag, I’m afraid.

I’m sure all of you will love it, but childhood memory makes me distinctly bilious at the mention of rice pudding.

If it weren’t for this (literally) gut-level aversion of mine, Steph’s column would be interesting for the cultural combo of what different folks do with rice pud, but sadly since the age of twelve I have not been able look, smell, hear of the stuff.

(That, and much worse, bread-and-butter pudding. Ugh, even typing that made my reverse-peristalsis-muscles twitch. Nobody in my whole family can go there, thanks to a visiting stand-in mother while our mum was in hospital for some procedure or other, probably either another baby or varicose vein surgery – no wonder she died young! – and this woman must have done something godawful with B&BP; none of us know what the problem was, but we all knew even then it was horrific and have never eaten it since).

Anyhoo for some reason – probably the combination of five whining children, hungry husband, no money and the sedative effect of seven stomachfuls of stodgy carbohydrate – our mum was a big fan of the rice pud. Too big a fan. But I ate every bowl, of course. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Even oysters get the blues

June 9, 2009

Poor blighters. Just like us, oysters suffer from stress, apparently.

“Oysters have a hormonal stress response remarkably similar to humans,” David Raftos, a researcher at Macquarie University, said.

Associate Professor Raftos and his team are studying which genes in Sydney rock oysters are affected by stress in a bid to understand why some oysters succumb to the mysterious QX disease, while others can fight it off.

If it’s not swine flu, it’s the mysterious QX disease. I think I know at least one person who has this malaise. It comes from working in corporate offices, and mainly affects the soul.

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Cheap thrills: a groovy little gadget

June 9, 2009

clipthing2clipthing1Have added this to my list of inexpensive essentials on the kitchen gadget front.

It’s a spoon-drip clip thing – no idea what it’s called, but I bought it from one of those middle-of-the-shopping-mall stalls the other day.

The clip grip works like a bulldog clip, and eradicates the need for spoon rest, saucer or whatever when you stop stirring. Works so long as the lid’s off the pot, anyway …. another silicone kitchen invention to love.

[Just be sure not to accidentally touch the boiling hot metal bit when you take the clip off – that shit is harsh, my man (sorry, too much of The Wire of late).]

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Best kitchen-warming gift in the world

June 7, 2009

Last night we christened our finished new kitchen with dinner for eight [plus four kids, who spent the evening rushing between playing Abba records on the turntable in the studio and bashing away on musical instruments in the spare room, which is still piled almost to the ceiling – literally – with crap, outdoor furniture, washing machine etc. Two of them spent several hours perched precariously atop piles of junk, sitting in a washing basket playing the xylophone and maraccas while Senor made very sure their parents didn’t see.

dicky garlic1dicky garlicAnyway – our friend Ricardo, the Lunging Latino, showed up with the most beautiful present. This is one of the first bulbs of his home-grown organic garlic, grown in a pot in Balmain. It’s too beautiful, almost, to use. But of course we will. I’m going to save one of the little cloves to try to grow some myself.

Thankyou Dicky! And while we’re on the topic, can someone tell me the best way to store garlic? In the fridge or out? Read the rest of this entry ?