Tuesday, August 28, 2007

An oh my goodness rhubarb moment

I caught a glimpse of The Cook and the Chef a few weeks ago and picked up a great new (for me) way of cooking rhubarb. It didn’t have a chance of lasting long enough to become their rhubarb charlotte - oh no, this was dashed out of the pan and into the mouth with undue haste.

Heavenly fried rhubarb

chopped cleaned rhubarb
ginger root
(Refer to the link for more precise measurements)

Melt a generous knob of butter in a fry pan over low heat. Toss in the chunks of rhubarb, some grated ginger and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Stir. Throw in a handful of sugar and stir some more. Adjust for sweetness when the rhubarb has softened.

The flavour is intense and delicious. For those who want to do more of the dairy thing, it goes well with a dollop of whipped cream/yoghurt/ice cream/custard. For those who don’t, it stands up well on its own.


Labels: , , , ,

...and the winner is!

Kitchen hand got it in one!

Definitely that sulfur heat like the red radish. At first it seems mild but there is an after burn.

Anyone used this beast before?

Update: Found a great recipe at Chocolate and Zucchini for black radish chips...now all I have to do is wait to see if I can find them again!

Labels: ,

Monday, August 27, 2007

identification time

While there has been much eating and drinking on the weekend, life is getting in the way of writing about such things just yet. So here is a teaser. Spotted at the Healesville organic market was this interesting vegetable. Can you guess what it is and if so, have you ever cooked with it?

Two clues: Yes it is black and no it is not a beetroot.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

the workday lunch

I wrote the other week how one of my top 3 lunch spots has closed down. A satay can now be had only if I have the time for a very long walk. Now the sushi guy at my favourite sushi snack places seems to have disappeared, leaving 2 incompetents to fill his very able pair of shoes. It is time to find some new, central cbd joints for a tasty, vego or fish based lunch under $10.

I often fall for rice as bread for lunch makes me sleepy. But so many asian joints use msg routinely. Even Dondon which seems to be a favourite of Melbourne bloggers, has the magic powder in most of their meals. My lunch needs to get me through another 5 hours of work, so a scant salad sends me into a hypo drop at a time when I am in meetings and not able to top up on a snack.

I recently added Invita (Hardware lane) to the lunch rota. Time wise it’s a bit of a stretch but doable. I have no idea why I find their market side venue uninviting, but the city store is cosy and the food is bursting with organic goodness.

If you are in the Melbourne CBD, what do you make a dash for at lunchtime?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A difference of opinion

Is this worth arguing about?

If a piece of fruit has to travel thousands of kilometres from warmer climes to Melbourne in the middle of winter – should we still buy it, even if it is organically grown?

Ok I have coffee from Columbia and red quinoa from Bolivia (at least it is fairtrade, Oxfam, Melbourne CBD) – those are necessities. Really! But strawberries I can wait a few more months for and grow in my garden.

Have you been reading ”Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” too? How are you coping with the eat local concept?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

WHB #95 - tortilla with a sting

Nettles: I asked and you told me - ‘use it like spinach’ and soon I discovered that this herb with a sting is easily tamed into a sweet bunch of greens.

The darling Mrs Grieve gives many culinary uses for nettles. The nettle pudding – a mix of nettles, green vegetables and rice, boiled in salty water in a muslin bag sounded interesting. Maybe later. But for my nettle initiation I decided to go back to first principles of exploring new flavours by cooking them with eggs. At first I decided to blanch some young nettle tops and add them to a tortilla Español. A little bit of greens would go well with some potato and olives I reckoned. While I started slowly cooking the spuds and onions, I dunked the nettles into hot water. About 30 seconds later I took them out to drain.

Then I did a stupid thing - I tasted them!

No, my throat didn’t swell from the nettles sting. I just fell in love with its sweet flavour, not a whisper of a barb. One minute I was squeezing out the water by rolling the blanched nettles in a clean tea towel and the next, without thinking, I had chopped the log into rounds, dressing them with a little sesame oil – and finished the lot.

Round two, the next day I was determined to marry the eggs and herbs. Simpler this time, I slowly cooked some onion and a little garlic in olive oil. To the garden, well gloved, once more I cut a whole bowlful of green tops then carefully chopped, the same rough cut I would do with parsley. With the onions well sweated I tossed in the nettles a bit at a time, with some semidried tomatoes. When all the nettles had cooked through, in came a couple of fresh, beaten eggs with just a smidge of salt and pepper. Call it an omelette, frittata or tortilla – I prefer to cook it the Spanish way – over low heat with a lid on, til cooked.

The verdict. Though packed with greens, the herby taste was barely noticeable. This is a sneaky way to up the nutrient content of a humble dish. But I think I need a few more hits of the sweet nettles, blanched and simply dressed before the season ends

WHB #95 is being hosted by Melissa from Cooking Diva. Don't forget to check out all the other herbal and vegetable creations that will be up on her site in a couple of days.

(Hmmm it's now friday - let's hope Melissa gets home from her trip and puts WHB up soon!)

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, August 11, 2007

cabbages and roses - a Saturday pictorial

I’d set the alarm to wake up earlier than my weekend body clock would like. Quickly out of bed and showered, it wasn’t til I was about to head out the door that I noticed it was raining. I cursed a little and wondered what to do with myself. Half an hour later, it was not exactly sunny but dry enough to reconsider heading off to the Collingwood children’s’ farm for it’s monthly farmers market.

I was rewarded with a free park on the street and market stalls still brimming with goodies. Although I aim to go to the market once every season, in reality it is more like an annual event. Dotted around the muddy pitch were mounds of seasonal vegetables, the largest daikon that I have ever seen and flowers optimistically hinting of spring. There were breads, nuts, eggs, spices, meaty things and coffee galore. One stall even had an enticing basket of nettles.

I only had two things on my list – rhubarb and eggs. My sole dilemma was deciding which vendor to buy them from. I also found home grown lemonades whose sweetness I adore, some late season grapes from Redcliffs and I couldn't go past the optimism of a few bunches of daffs.

Back home I’ve stewed Di’s rhubarb. She’d said the flavour was a little different and intense. The aroma I got while cooking was the earthy scent of beetroot. The eggs became the backdrop for my Weekend Herb Blogging experiment (which I will write up tomorrow – promise), the grapes are being well picked, the flowers brightening the room and there are the lemonades to look forward to – maybe fortified with a nip of something and a dash of soda water.

Even in this most barren of seasons it is great to see what fresh goodies nature has on offer. Next time I won’t be put off by a few drops of rain but I won’t think twice about wearing my gumboots!

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, August 10, 2007

so long and thanks for all the satay

I managed to nip out and farewell one of my favourite lunch spots today. I’d been given the heads up last week when I was at Sataybar at Manchester Lane that they’d got an offer too good to refuse on the site and were closing in the near future. That turned out to be today. As of monday they will only be operating out of their flagship eatery in Custom House Lane.

For the last few years their tofu satays with luscious peanut sauce and a gorgeous salad, have been a lunchtime treat when I needed a little sparkle in my day. Perhaps for my waistline it’s not a bad thing – a 10 block round trip could burn off a little of the excess calories!

Keep an eye on their website for a new location in the central CBD, hopefully in the coming year. Though their site is not up to date at present.

Ironically Sataybar, the Manchester Lane bar in particular, got a mention in today’s EG! The guys were too busy to even notice it.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

three tasty new things

Some tasty cross-posting

When I decided I was long overdue for an artist date this week, it wasn’t necessarily food that I had in mind. The mission that came up with for my morning off was to go to 3 new places. 3 new experiences in my hometown.

It wasn’t til I completed my joyful task – did I pick the common theme.

I started with breakfast somewhere new (for me at least) at Café Rosamond in Fitzroy. I’d read mixed reviews and figured it was probably going to be a love or hate kind of place. I followed the breakfast blog’s instruction to follow the tapeworm – but really it was the large sign “Rosamond” on the wall and the cute young men lounging in the doorway that gave it away. To give the place a chance, I deliberately choose a quiet morning. I rocked up for a leisurely breakfast to find a handful of 20-30-something women writing at their tables. Just my kind of place - quiet and unpretentious, on a Monday at least. Contrary to the review that denigrated the service, the women behind the counter were darlings. There was a touch of kiwi in having to go up to the counter to order but the staff did wander around asking if you wanted more coffee. Speaking of which the coffee was fine and as for the food - the scrambled eggs and avocado salad on crunchy wholesome toast, made me come out a fan. They get extra marks with dealing nicely with the dairy intolerant breakfaster.

Next was a little op shopping (thrift shops). For this to fall into the ‘new’ category it had to be one I’d never gone to, despite the fact that in my student days I thought I’d covered every one in a 5km radius. So I took myself off to Kew figuring it to be a comfortable enough suburb to offer some goodies. And it did. I highly recommend the one tucked just off High Street, next to the Anglican church. There were genuine bargains to be had as well as some good quality wares crammed into the tiny space. If you are after new knits – there are pristine scarves and beanies for young and old. The layettes made me wish I had a little one to bundle them into. For the crafting folk, or those wanting to scan the classic cover shots, there were hoards of old knitting and sewing patterns. If you have a royal family fetish there is a perfect stash of pictorial books hiding down the end of the shop. I walked away with a small, green glass bowl, perfect to sit ripe purple plums in or a carrot salad. But I cursed my non-carnivorous ways as the priciest item in the shop was crying to be bought – a genuine tongue press anyone?

Inspired by the avocado salad at breakfast, which was dressed with sherry vinegar, I knew I’d have to made a beeline to an as yet unexperienced foodie (sorry the F word – I’ll put a dollar in the swear jar) mecca – Leo’s Fine Foods, also in Kew. $85 later I exited with the bottle of vinegar and goodness knows what else but it was the most pleasurable supermarket experience I have had in a long time. They have a great range of fresh breads, exotic spices and most things in between.

Anyone else up for 3 new things?

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 06, 2007

nettles anyone?

The lushest crop in my garden right now are self-seeded nettles. More worryingly they first showed their little faces at the beginning of winter - note in these parts of the world the urticas are a spring herb. They've held their own through these chilly months, actually they've thrived and I am left wondering - is there anything edible I can do with them?

Fresh nettles are great for hayfever but the allergy season hasn't started. It's also an iron rich, skin friendly tea. But food? Nettle soup is the obvious choice - has anyone ever actually eaten it and can describe the flavour? I'd be thinking a vegan version: nettles, good vege stock and a potato to thicken it. Ideas please!

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 05, 2007

seasonal eating

This is the point in winter when eating seasonally can become a little tiresome. While nature is gathering energy for the abundance of spring we are left with hardier plant foods – root vegetables, dense fruits like apples and traditionally a store cupboard of dry goods like beans, nuts and grains.

Of course living in the middle of a big city I don’t strictly need to adhere to such a diet. There are grapes and cherries flown in from across the world. I could swap the leathery silverbeet for greenhouse grown tender greens. Fresh tomatoes appear all year round, even if they are tasteless.

You see my choices are equally about taste as they are a tentative foray into the world of ecological consciousness. There is a nuttiness in the pumpkin roasted at this time of year. My belly feels satisfied with a serve of potato when it is cold outside. Parsnips are tender and sweet when freshly picked.

But as much as I like these foods, with a smaller amount of fresh vegetables on the menu for these weeks – familiarity begins to breed if not contempt, just a lack of excitement for things culinary.

This season’s most cooked vegetables revolve around sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, potato, parsnips, and beetroot. There is a head of cabbage or cauliflower thrown in. More silverbeet than I would usually cook with, other than times that I have grown it. The organic stall has stockpiled enough onions, they hope, to last these months and kept them at a good price even though technically they are out of season. Life without onions or garlic tends to get very dull.

The upside is that in order to avoid boredom, though the ingredients tend to remain constant, it encourages me to use old vegetables in new ways.

This week the last serve of a large pumpkin needed to be eaten. It was the end of the shopping week and the challenge was to make a tasty dinner with only onions and pumpkin as the fresh ingredients. It could have been a curry with tofu, a pumpkin soup with a dash of spice or with beans and pasta to be a cousin of minestrone. Instead it became an even more distant relative of kedgeree.

I sautéed a large amount of diced onion for a long time til it was soft, then added small cubes of pumpkin plus garlic, chilli, a little fresh turmeric and some mild curry powder hiding in the spice drawer. While this slowly cooked in a lidded frypan I put on a pot of basmati rice and another with eggs to boil. When the rice was cooked I stirred it through the vegetables, adding a little butter and salt to carry the flavours. This was finished with a generous amount of parsley from the garden (a de facto green vegetable at this time of year), a large tin of red salmon and topped with the boiled eggs.

I was surprised how well it all came together. The little cubes of pumpkin lent sweetness but didn’t dominate. The salmon worked surprisingly well as a substitute for smoked fish. The combination might alarm a food-combining fascist but the protein and starch made our bellies satisfied.

Sure, I’m looking forward to the fridge brimming with variety but in the meantime I don’t mind having more rice, quinoa, beans and lentils. Salads will return soon enough.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, August 02, 2007

too lazy to write

food pic collage
Originally uploaded by Other Rants
So here's a pretty collage of food post's past.

Enjoy the day wherever you are.


Newer Posts Older Posts

Awarded by Kitchenetta
Obligatory copyright bit: (c)2004-2010 Another Outspoken Female. All rights reserved. No content on this website including, but not limited to, text and photography may be reproduced without prior explicit written consent from the copyright holder.

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe with Bloglines
Australian Food Bloggers Ring
list >> random >> join
Site Ring from Bravenet