About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Hashed Potato Pancakes
Easy Tomato Soup
A Matter of Opinion
Ruby Blood Navel Oranges
Chicken Cacciatora
Goulash Soup
Fennel, Guanciale & Fontina Quiche
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Polenta with Cavalo Nero & Borlotti Beans
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Cooked And Bottled In Brunswick
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Eating Melbourne
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Steve Don't Eat It!
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tummy rumbles
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where's the beef
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Thursday, August 30, 2007
Here Kitty
If you love the wild food exploits of Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, you might want to check this out. If you are a cat lover you might not. I'm still not sure what to think, my thrifty side says waste not, want not and I'm sure Hugh wouldn't mind a taste.

It's curious how food can arouse strong emotions about what we can and can't eat. Different countries, cultures and religions have their own mores about what is acceptable to eat - I love a good steak, but would be pilloried in parts of India for it and of course pork would get you in trouble elsewhere.

But when it comes down to pets, anthropomorphism hops into the equation, giving a slight cannibalistic piquancy to chowing down on kitty or rover. But why do we feel this way? Other countries have no qualms and probably think we are a bit strange for holding such taboos. It all probably comes down to how we are raised. Take offal for instance. Unless you have someone in the family that cooks it, it's very unlikely you will have much contact with it and the less appealing it seems next to meat.

In our household, we like these variety cuts, but still, we eat them perhaps once or twice a month at most and I have a hard time convincing my older children to eat these dishes at all. One son was happily chomping on some tongue, when he discovered what it was, refused to eat another bite. In a brave moment, my eldest daughter asked to try some black pudding, but when faced with the reality of it, baulked.

It's fair to say that where I live, there are plenty of cats and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
 
  posted at 1:56 pm
  10 comments



Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Blue Corn Prawns & Mexican Style Salad


Okay, so I was in a rush.

Which after waiting a couple of months does seem a bit weird. A while ago, Tanna from My Kitchen In Half Cups was wondering about smoked cod's liver that I blogged about, so I sent her a couple of tins to try. In return, Tanna sweetly sent me a couple of things that I had talked to her about, but there was like, A DELAY. A huge delay really and we both wondered what had happened until the day a couple of months later a wonderfully scented box arrived with a note from customs. It seems they weren't to thrilled about some grits that Tanna had included and took them out...which seems strange really, when you consider that they left in a bag of blue corn meal. But it was really cool, because if I had to choose, blue corn meal would have got the nod. Perhaps that custom's person was a lover of impeccably authentic Mexican cuisine and let one slip.

It didn't take long to figure out what I wanted to cook in Tanna's honour. Within a day or two I decided to make prawns coated with blue corn meal sitting in a Mexican inspired salad and then move on to blue corn tortillas at a later date. The only trouble was, every weekend was taken up and the weekends are the only time available for food experiments, so it wasn't until last Saturday that the planets aligned (with some coaxing) and a new dish was born.

Unfortunately, in my rush to get to the table, the dish could have been better plated; it actually looked nicer before the prawns and fresh coriander were added. The prawns were simple enough and the salad sprang from the idea of cooked salsa - some of the vegetables were cooked, but not pounded to a sauce. The actual sauce was a simple mayonnaise, with the acid coming from lime juice and flavoured with another of Tanna's little gifts, some powdered chipotle chillies. Of course if you don't have blue corn meal, some freshly poached prawns would suffice.

Tanna, this one's for you.

Blue Corn Prawns with Mexican Style Salad
(serves two)

12 large prawns, peeled and deveined
flour for dusting
1 egg, beaten
blue corn meal, for coating
oil for frying
12-14 cherry tomatoes
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into thick rounds
1 avocado, peeled and cut in chunks
1 soft lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
1/2 bunch coriander, coarsely chopped
salt & fresh ground pepper
wedges of lime for serving

Season the flour with salt & pepper and coat the prawns in it, then dip in the beaten egg followed by the blue corn meal, set aside. Heat a ridged grill pan to hot and dry fry the cherry tomatoes and onion rings until lightly charred, leave to cool slightly. Fry the prawns in oil and drain. Line a plate with lettuce leaves and arrange the prawns, cherry tomatoes, onion slices broken into rings, avocado chunks, season with salt & pepper, then shower on coarsely chopped coriander, garnish with lime wedges. Serve with chipotle mayonnaise.

Chipotle Mayonnaise

1 egg yolk
1 heaped teaspoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
juice 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or
1 chipotle chile in adobo finely chopped
salt & fresh ground pepper
1 cup neutral flavoured oil

In a mixing bowl place the egg yolk, dijon mustard, garlic, lime juice, chipotle powder or chile and salt & pepper. Whisk until combined, then whisk in oil one drop at a time until about two tablespoons are absorbed, then slowly pour the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the oil is used up. If it's too thick, you can whisk in some cooled boiled water to thin.
 
  posted at 7:43 am
  11 comments



Monday, August 27, 2007
Fooled You
We like our organics, don't we?

What do you think of when you see the word organic proudly displayed alongside food stuffs, what vision do you have of how it was produced? Do you see in your mind old fashioned farmers tenderly nurturing their crop, splashing home made compost everywhere, picking off insects by hand, glorious tasting food?

Not anymore.

In the Sunday Age, there was an article about a Geelong egg producer, G O Drew, who had been fraudulently marketing eggs to supermarkets as organic, when in fact they were ordinary eggs (read factory farmed), some 400,000 of them.

The reason they were caught?

G O Drew passed off the eggs as having certification from an Australian organic regulator. If they had merely claimed the eggs were organic, without certification, there would have been no prosecution case. That's right, anyone can use the word organic to describe their food product, here's what Justice Peter Gray had to say... "The practical difficulty … in one respect in the present case arises from the absence of any commonly accepted or recognised standard for determining what is an organic egg."

It would seem anyone has the right to call their eggs organic, regardless of how they are produced, scary huh? Don't think it just stops at eggs either.

The article went on to say...'Neither the Organic Federation of Australia nor the Consumer Association could estimate how much of Australia's $500 million organic industry was subject to abuse, but they said the proportion was small.'

They would say that wouldn't they, but how the hell would they know? It's not as if the fraudsters would be actually admitting to it, G O Drew sold more than 33,000 dozen eggs before they were detected...after two years.

As always, Caveat Emptor (buyer beware).
 
  posted at 9:37 am
  7 comments



Friday, August 24, 2007
Chardonnay, In With The New
Back in December 2005, I wrote a piece lamenting the style and direction of Australian chardonnay. In part I wrote...

In making chardonnay, most, but not all Australian winemakers have made a deal with the devil. In order to hurry up the evolution of the wine and increase their sales, they indulge in malolactic fermentation. This legal skullduggery softens the acid in the wine, making it approachable at an earlier age but at a cost to the wine; its soul has been sold. Most Aussie chardonnays reach their peak between one and five years after vintage; it is rare to see a good one after ten years, they mostly just fall apart. Excessive malolactic fermentation also confers a sameness to our chardonnays, all butterscotch and nutty characters, which leads to the subtler characters of the wine being lost.


Australian riesling producers have probably been quite happy about the situation as their revival continues apace, but it seems the ABC brigade (Anything But Chardonnay) have at long last started to have an effect and the chardonnay style in this country has started to be realigned towards a leaner more mineral style with much less malo, allowing chardonnay to show off its more subtle characteristics that were formerly drowned out by butterscotch and nutty flavours. Ironically, the French have looked at their own and started to make theirs a little riper and less austere.

Site selection has been crucial to this with cooler vineyards now in vogue along with better clonal selection and less reliance on oak and malolactic fermentation. These new, sleeker wines leave you wanting more than one glass of wine, which was something the fatter, richer style never did. If you, like me, tired of Australian chardonnay, perhaps it's time to have another look and get a glimpse of the future direction of this variety, which after all, does make some of the greatest wines in the world.

Names to look for include Shaw & Smith from the Adelaide Hills, Bindi from the Macedon Ranges, Oakridge from the Yarra Valley (yes, Oakridge) and Mountadam from Eden Valley, who have also suffered some recent hiccups. If you get the chance, Bindi's sparkling wines are also superb, with a recent bottle, one of the finest Australian sparkling wines I've ever tried.
 
  posted at 8:24 am
  4 comments



Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Interlude/Becasse Dinner
Last year's Menu for Hope, the charitable drive by the ever popular Chez Pim, which raised an astonishing $60,925.12, was well supported by local food businesses, including degustation menus with matched wines from some very well regarded restaurants, including Melbourne's Interlude and Sydney's Becasse, which of course was the Sydney Morning Herald's 2007 award for Restaurant of the Year.

Interlude's Robin Wickens and Bescasse's Justin North between them have won truckloads of awards, meaning they are highly respected and absolutely no slouches behind the stoves at their respective establishments; a dinner at either would almost certainly be a highlight of anyone's dining calender, but to eat at both would entail a trip to Melbourne and Sydney, a trip that would be well worth the effort, but wouldn't that be racking up the food miles? Okay, you would have bragging rights.

Nor would you be bored by the food, for the two chefs have totally different styles with Justin's food based on his interpretation of traditional French food in the modern European manner and Robin's food is more world fusion with interesting twists and surprises. You can see a review of Interlude by Anna of Morsels & Musings who actually won the prize in Menu for Hope and Helen's, of Grab Your Fork, review of Becasse.

Wouldn't it be great if these two chefs came together as a dynamic duo over a couple of nights, cooking up their magic on a plate, pushing each other to the culinary heights? Well, if you are in Melbourne this Friday and Saturday, the two chefs will be going hell for leather at Interlude in a fantastic degustation menu.

Want a peek? Robin's dishes in blue, Justin's in green.

Chives, Sour Cream, Smoked Salmon

Grits, Buffalo Wings, Mexican Truffle

Porcini Custard with a Brochette of Confit Pork Belly, Snail and Cured Pork Jowl

Salad of Endive, Quince, Truffle, Shaved Brazil Nuts and Balsamic Jelly

Lamb Neck, Black Figs, Coffee, Yoghurt

Tomato Explosion

Cod with Calves Cheeks and Cèpe Puree, Iberico Ham and Sherry Jus

Rock Flathead, Smoked Milk, Chowder 'Juices'

New Zealand Venison with Cocoa, Pear and Muscatel Tart, Confit Swede and Cocoa Jus

Carbonated Cucumber, Yuzu, Peppermint

Piña Colada

Caramel and Apple Trifle with Apple Jelly and Cider Granita

Pink Grapefruit, Sago, Rosewater, Almonds

Where: Interlude Restaurant, 211 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, (03) 9415 7300
When: Friday & Saturday, 24-25th August
Cost: $125 per person, food only
$200 per person, with matched wines





 
  posted at 2:24 pm
  5 comments



Thursday, August 16, 2007
Heart & Soul
Long time readers of this blog would know that I'm all for putting something of yourself into the dishes you cook, to cook with love and affection, which are some of the qualities that make, for me anyway, cooking so enjoyable. To take ingredients and combine them in a way that the sum is greater than the parts, giving pleasure to others, is part of the reason why I love to cook.

I came across a poem called Ratatouille that quietly reveals feelings that can be notoriously difficult for men to express and starkly demonstrates the darker side of the human soul, brought into relief by the simple process of making ratatouille. This dish reflects its creator in that no two versions of it are ever the same and you can tell a lot about someone by the way they prepare this dish, do they have patience to cut the dice small, are the pieces of vegetable all cut neatly the same size or just rough chopped, have they troubled themselves to find the reddest, ripest tomatoes, the plumpest shiniest eggplant, has each vegetable been given its proper place with neither too little or too much?

There is no exact way to make ratatouille, nor will I trouble you with a recipe, but if you want to find its heart & soul, look here for the whole poem and scroll down a bit. Otherwise, here is an excerpt.

Ratatouille
by Douglas Dunn

...Men who forget
Lovingly chopped-up cloves of /ail/, who scorn
The job of slicing two good peppers thinly,
Then two large onions and six aubergines -
Those long, impassioned and imperial purples -
Which, with six courgettes, you sift with salt
And cover with a plate for one round hour;
Or men who do care to know about
The eight ripe /pommes d'amour/ their wives have need of,
Preparing ratatouille, who give no thought to
The cup of olive oil that's heated in
Their heaviest pan, or onions, fried with garlic
For five observant minutes, before they add
Aubergines, courgettes, peppers, tomatoes;
Or men who give no thought to what their wives
Are thinking as they stand besides their stoves
When seasoning is sprinkled on, before
A /bouquet garni/ is dropped in - these men
Invade Afghanistan, boycott the Games,
Call off their fixtures and prepare for war...
 
  posted at 8:07 am
  5 comments



Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Chicken Liver with Sage
If we are the sum of our past experiences, then that might account for my continuing ambivalence towards liver. Most offal is tasty when well prepared, even those parts of an animal that one may not consider to be especially good and most of us consume offal on a regular basis, even if unknowingly through processed foods, meat pie anyone?

There is offal that I'm not particularly keen on, spleen for one, hearts and lungs another, though haggis which uses up the aforementioned hearts and lungs is something that gives me no qualms, it's all about how the offal is prepared. Most of us love at least one form of offal and that is pork crackling; other bits and pieces I like include tripe, black pudding, pigs trotters, tongue, brains and sweetbreads. Other parts that are less savoury unless well prepared are kidneys, giblets, hearts, testicles and spleen.

And liver.

My childhood was mostly a happy one with the exception of the two times my brother, sisters and I were forced to eat lambs fry after which the protestations were so sustained and severe that mum gave up on it. Lambs fry for those that don't know was a dish of lamb's liver, onions and bacon cooked together and in the hands of a sensitive cook was possibly a dish of great virtue, but in my mum's hands a thing of perdition. Through hard won experience I can authoritatively say that overcooked liver is completely inedible with a texture that rivals shoe leather.

To say these early encounters with this variety meat scarred me is something of an understatement, the childhood scene of us all at the dinner table whining and pleading is still vivid with me to this day, as are the ways we managed to avoid eating it with frequent trips to the loo to spit it out, and this has also subsequently informed my feelings towards this usually well regarded item. It was not the flavour that troubled me, as pate is something I've always enjoyed, it was the texture and those childhood memories that kept putting me off.

On the other hand, my wide D enjoys liver and in an effort to be a kind and loving husband, I have made efforts to come to terms with my childhood nemesis and there are some things I've learned along the way, with perhaps the most important being, that to me anyway, liver is best when sliced thin, no more than a few millimetres thick and very quickly cooked on a high heat until it's a uniform pink colour, similar to a medium done steak. Unfortunately for me in this regard, D has no truck with either meat or offal cooked to this degree of doneness, preferring, like my mum, to err on the side of well done, which is a place I'm not willing to go. So D has discovered that if she wishes to eat liver, she has to have it on the pink side or it simply won't be eaten by me, so both of us have had to make compromises.

The other day, D bought a tray of chicken livers for frying, which I noticed sitting in the fridge. I remembered a dish that Stefano de Pieri cooked in his series, A Gondola on the Murray, of chicken livers with sage served on pappardelle. I didn't have his recipe to hand, but the thought of a creamy sauce suddenly made the livers very enticing.

Chicken Livers with Sage
(serves 4)

500g chicken livers
flour
salt and fresh ground pepper
50g butter
20 leaves sage
1 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
500mls beef stock
2 tablespoons sour cream or cream fraiche

Season the flour with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken livers in it. heat 25g butter until hot and quickly fry half the livers, don't overcrowd the pan. Turn when browned on one side and throw in half the sage leaves to fry. When the livers are done, remove to a warm place and fry the rest of the livers and sage leaves the same way. Add the rest of the butter to the pan, add the onions and gently fry until golden brown, don't skip this step and just fry until soft. Add the garlic, fry for two more minutes then add 2 tablespoons of leftover flour from the dredging and fry gently for another minute. Add the beef stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened. Add the sour cream and chicken livers and gently heat until the livers are warmed through, do not boil or the sour cream may split. Check the seasoning and serve on noodles or plain boiled potatoes.

Note: If you don't brown the onions properly the flavour will be less intense. You could use chicken stock instead of beef stock but again the flavour will be lighter, don't worry about the chicken livers, strong flavours suit them. Also it is a lot of sage, but when you fry it, the flavour isn't as strong as fresh. You could also use fresh cream, but the sour cream lends a pleasant tang to the dish.
 
  posted at 7:11 am
  7 comments



Monday, August 13, 2007
Trend Spotter
Re my previous post titled Baby Boom, check this out in today's paper.

See, blogs keep you informed and in touch.
 
  posted at 11:07 am
  2 comments



Friday, August 10, 2007
The Baby Boom
Is it something about cooking or perhaps something about blogging or could it even be a combination of the two? Whatever, it seems to be contagious. Yesterday I read about another blogger expecting a baby, that makes three in my home town in about a year, not counting any from overseas. These babies are simply going to be the best fed children, judging by what their mums cook on a regular basis, another generation of gourmands on the way.

M was sitting quietly at the dinner table last night and after making short work of a fillet of King George whiting that was quickly fried in a little butter, set about mashing the boiled potatoes on her plate with a fork.

"Lola doesn't like mashed potatoes," she said.

Lola is one half of Charlie and Lola, a cartoon, which is a gentle, whimsical exploration of the relationship between a sister and her older brother. It explores sibling rivalries in a positive, natural and affirmative manner.

"That's a shame," I replied.

"Yeah, but Charlie told her they weren't really mashed potatoes."

"What did he say?"

"He said they were mashed clouds."

"Did she eat them?"

"Yeah."

Love it.
 
  posted at 8:17 am
  7 comments



Thursday, August 09, 2007
California Dreaming



Woo hoo, the Californian gold, er, wine rush is on!

How often is it that you get a chance to taste any American wines? In Australia, they're a bit scarce on the ground so interesting wines like zinfandel are rarely seen, let alone tasted. My last experience of American wine was a cracker of a pinot noir that left me wanting more, much more and who would have thought that a decent gerwurtztraminer could come from here?

The good people at Prince Wine Store have just imported a range of Californian wines, some from well regarded, long established producers as well as those from more accessible makers. These wines come from three distinct wine making regions and typify the varieties best suited to each region. This is what Prince's Michael McNamara has to say...

In origin they hail from across three very distinct winemaking zones in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino (and the many sub-zones therein). These areas share staggering natural beauty that include the redwood forests of the Russian River Valley, the fog-shrouded northern coastline and the sheer compact impact of the Napa Valley itself. In many ways that’s where the similarities end though, as the regions diverge and play to their strong varietal suit; Napa and the Bordeaux varieties, Sonoma takes zinfandel, pinot noir and chardonnay and sleepy Mendocino is emerging as an excellent source of the Burgundy varieties as well as the aromatic whites.


Producers such as Philip Togni, David Ramey and Laurel Glen are well regarded in their home and export markets and Michael felt lucky to get any allocations at all of some of these wines and has kindly put them on at a free tasting, that's right, FREE. Some of the wines are apparently quite stunning, so if you have nothing else on this Saturday afternoon, head on down and learn about Californian wines. All of them are new to Australia.

Where: Prince Wine Store
Location: 177 Bank Street, South Melbourne
When: Saturday, August 11th, 12-2pm
 
  posted at 12:04 pm
  3 comments



Monday, August 06, 2007
Jerusalem Artichoke & Sweet Potato Soup
Back in the early nineties, Bruno Loubert wrote a book called Cuisine Courante in which he gave a recipe for a Jerusalem artichoke soup, which I recall making at the time and thinking it was quite lovely. Noodling around the internet the other day, this soup seemed to pop up everywhere, with a good version here. It also appeared on the telly, with Maggie Beer doing a version on The Cook and the Chef. What grabbed this lazy cook's attention was when Maggie said that it was completely unwarranted to actually peel them as the skin gives the soup a better flavour.

As you know, I'm all about flavour AND less work.

We usually buy a few kilos of this knobbly tuber in season and generally either boil or gratinee them, but having a few hours yesterday decided to turn some into soup. For those that don't know, Jerusalem artichokes do taste very like their namesake, artichokes, with perhaps the flavour being mellow rather than with the slight metallic tang of regular artichokes, but with either vegetable, they do tend to drown out other flavours. Which if you want to stretch them out, is rather a useful feature, as they can be expensive.

What was also lurking in the pantry, so long as you call under the kitchen table a pantry, was a mesh bag containing three sweet potatoes that I picked up on special, only for D to tell me that she didn't like them, only she didn't remember that she did, having had them in a previous soup along with parsnip and pumpkin, which she thought was lovely. There was also some beef stock leftover in the fridge which found its way to the pot along with some milk, but it wouldn't matter if you only wanted to use water as both vegetables are well flavoured.

Jerusalem Artichoke & Sweet Potato Soup

1kg sweet potatoes
1kg jerusalem artichokes
about 2l half & half stock and milk or just water
1 bouquet garni
thyme leaves stripped from several stalks
good pinch powdered cloves
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
salt & fresh ground pepper

Dry roast the sweet potatoes in the oven until tender, cool slightly and peel, then cut into chunks. Slice the jerusalem artichokes into rough chunks and place in a pot with the sweet potatoes, stock & milk or water, bouquet garni, thyme leaves and powdered cloves. Bring to the boil and simmer until the jerusalem artichokes are tender and falling apart, about forty minutes.

Remove the bouquet garni and in batches, blitz in a vitamizer until completely smooth, strain if desired. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper, gently reheat and serve.

Note: Clove works well with the jerusalem artichoke, just taste as you add the powdered cloves to get the right amount. The soup will also be quite thick and you may need to add some water to thin it out, just recheck the seasonings.
 
  posted at 9:14 am
  5 comments



Thursday, August 02, 2007
Real Men Don't...Oh Yes They Do!
Photo by Nick Murray
Puffed and golden, straight from the oven.

No, I don't wanna fall in love with you
The world was on fire no-one could save me but you
Strange what desire will make foolish people do
I never dreamed that I'd love somebody like you


Chris Isaac, Wicked Game


My eldest daughter P is always thinking up cooking projects, then asks me over to help. So long as it doesn't involve croissants and the middle of summer, I'm happy to go along and help create whatever is on her mind. Last week she called and suggested that a quiche Lorraine might be a nice idea and I pretty much never argue against a dish that contains bacon or gruyere cheese for that matter, two of my favourite things.

Having no kaiserfleisch or gruyere, meant a trip to the butcher. Of course one could use ordinary bacon sliced into strips, but kaiserfleisch, cured and smoked pork belly, gives just the right amount of bacony goodness, tender little nuggets that make you praise the heavens that pork and smoke were invented and put together in a miraculous covenant, bringing joy to mankind, or at least those with no porcine prohibition, even then there are some who surreptitiously indulge when their religious leaders are out of sight, say no more.

Now there are two types of kaiserfleisch, uncooked (green) and cooked. We pretty much always get the raw version for it retains more juiciness when cooked, which is pretty much true for all smoked pork products. Last weekend, we had a Christmas in July party and we roasted a joint of kassler (smoked pork loin) on the bone. It was uncooked to begin with, just cured and heavily smoked and everyone remarked how juicy it was. We have also done the same with shoulder hams to great effect and we usually never buy precooked bacon for the same reason. You just need to search out a butcher or smallgoods supplier who specializes in it.

Happily for me, my butcher also sells gruyere cheese, do you think he might be Swiss? Not the rectangular blocks of factory cheese that my wife D says smell like baby vomit, but from a wheel of farmhouse gruyere that was sweetly intense and nutty, which even gruyere disliking D pronounced as very tasty. The truth is, I had to put the piece away to ensure there was enough to make the quiche.



Photo by Nick Murray
Just resting

Mind you, despite having everything tasty and good under the sun in it, it's not the sort of thing you would want to have very often, containing not only the aforementioned bacon and cheese, but a fair lump of butter and a generous amount of double cream, besides the flour and eggs, making it a real cholesterol bomb. No heart tick of approval for this wicked thing! But what it also has is tons of real flavour, some quiches tend towards blandness, but not this little baby, no sir, this is gutsy food; if a real man wanted to make quiche, this is where he would start.



Photo by Nick Murray
Yes please!


You probably looked at the other photos and thought, oh yeah, nothing special, but when you see it cut ready for serving, with the warm, creamy, melted cheese and egg encasing those delicious bits of kaiserfleisch, you know you want a piece, don't you? It was all I could do to save a slice for D as a hungry swarm descended and demolished it.

Quiche Lorraine
(adapted from French Country Cooking)

Shortcrust Pastry

250 g (9 oz) flour
1 egg
5 g (3/4 teaspoon salt)
10 g (1.5 teaspoons) sugar
150 g (5 oz) butter, diced and slightly softened
1 tablespoon milk

Place the flour, sugar and salt on a work counter, make a well in the centre and put in the egg and butter. Gradually rub in the flour and when everything is almost mixed, add the milk and knead the dough two or three times to combine everything. Try not to work it too much or the dough will shrink back later. Leave to rest in the fridge for an hour. Roll out to fit a 25 cm (10") flan dish and prick the base with a fork all over. Line with foil, fill with pastry weights or beans and rest in the fridge for thirty minutes. Bake in a 200 c (400 f) preheated oven for ten minutes, remove the weights and foil and cook for another ten minutes.

Filling

200g kaiserfleisch
200g gruyere, finely diced
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
300ml double cream
pinch nutmeg
salt & fresh ground pepper

Remove the rind from the kaiserfleisch, cut into strips, then lardons. Blanch in boiling water for one minute, drain, then fry quickly for one minute, do not let them dry out. Scatter the lardons and gruyere over the base of the pastry case.

In a bowl whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks and cream until combined, don't whisk too much, season with salt and pepper and pour into the pastry case; it should come to four-fifths of the rim.

Bake in a 220c oven for 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 200c and bake for another 20 minutes until well browned. It can be served straight from the oven or cooled slightly.

Note: The original recipe called for 600ml double cream, 3 whole eggs and 6 egg yolks, but in my shallow flan ring (1"/2.5cm), this was way too much. Two tablespoons kirsch was optional and they also said to shave some of the gruyere and place on top of the quiche five minutes before the end of cooking, but it looked better without this touch.

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  posted at 11:22 am
  10 comments



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At My Table by Neil Murray, all rights reserved.
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