Sunday, 22 February 2009

Just Imagine If You Ate Them Close To A Fire!

Just been doing some research into Australian bush foods and herbs/spices as part of something new I'm experimenting with, and came across this in some Government research into bush foods:

Name: Entada phaseoloides (matchbox bean) 
Part used: seeds 
Effect: Toxic if untreated, and if baked may explode (Dick 1994b)

What a dangerous world food can be sometimes...

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Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Simon's Seafood Restaurant Has "Unqualified" Diners

I'll make my comment on Simon's Seafood Restaurant treatment of diner complaints and say that I will not be dining there now, either. Word of mouth has removed any desire on my part to see the inside of Simon's.

I say of Mr Ferrante that his actions in abusing a diner have not endeared him to myself - nor probably to anyone else reading that article.  Mr Ferrante, I may not be a "qualified" person in your eyes but I bet I've dined at more places than you've personally served meals at, and I will now not be dining at yours because I'm afraid that I won't measure up to your exacting standards of a "qualified" diner.

Quite frankly, your extremely vain and quite rude display of poor manners has not stood you well in my opinion.  And while I may not be "qualified" as you so smugly put it, I'm now one of the people that in future WON'T be putting $100 in your pocket for a seafood platter nor indeed for any other meal.  Along with everyone reading that news article, that's a sizeable chunk of Perth's loose pocket change you've just alienated.

I will also add that only twice in over 25 years living in Perth have I ever had experiences similar to that described in that article, and both of those places went out of business in under four months - not from my words or actions, but from the poor word of mouth they received generally - because obviously my dining companions and I weren't the only ones abused and/or dismayed.  You still have time to make good Mr Ferrante, but once you start something like this you'll find it difficult to repair.  It's a slippery slope you have started down...

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Saturday, 14 February 2009

Mediterranean Style One Pot Meal

NAME: _Mediterranean Style One Pot Meal

(See Notes - quantities are quite flexible)
500g beef or lamb, sliced about 1cm - 2cm thick
1 medium brown onion
handful fresh basil, say about 1/2 cupful to one cupful when chopped coarsely
250g - 500g string or runner beans
1 to 3 sticks celery
1/2 a medium green capsicum, give or take.
1 can chopped roma tomatoes (or 6 - 8 fresh roma tomatoes)
1/2 small green apple
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp raw sugar
1 clove garlic
salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil/grapeseed oil mixed


Cut sliced meat down to about bite sized pieces.  Slice onion into thick rings, slice the half green apple into very thin slices.  Remove centre and seeds if desired.  If using fresh tomatoes chop finely.  Put the meat into a heavy saucepan or slow cooker or crockpot along with enough oil to wet the base of the pot, then layer onions and apple slices over, sprinkle with salt, and cover with chopped tomato.  Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes then reduce to lowest simmer.  Go away for about two hours.

Chop celery and capsicum into strips about as wide as the beans, and then chop the lot into quite small cubes, maybe 1/2cm (1/4") or so.  Crush the whole clove of garlic with the back of the knife, once.  Place all into a small saucepan, barely cover with water, and sprinkle with a bit of salt and sugar.  Bring to a fast simmer, let simmer for 5 minutes, then strain the vegetables and keep the water.  Once water has cooled, beat in the cornflour and slowly bring back to heat until it thickens.  Set both aside.

By now the meat should have been simmering for 2 - 3 hours and be very tender.  (Test with a skewer or fork, should be very soft.) Add the vegetables and stir in as much cornflour paste as needed to make the gravy to your preferred consistency, then let is simmer for another 30 minutes or so.

When it's done, cook up some pasta or gnocchi, serve meal over pasta.  Side of salad optional; but a nice touch.  Depending on quantities and pasta etc, this can serve up to four people.

Did I say "fresh basil?"  I did of course mean FRESH basil - preferably "grow your own and pick it a minute beforehand" kind of fresh.  All quantities in this are a bit flexible - but the fresher the vegetables, the better.  The meat is best if it's aged a little bit - buy it the day before and let it age loosely covered in the refrigerator or a cool place in the kitchen - it's just the flavouring, so make it good flavouring.

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Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Squirrel In Your Pie?

How times and tastes have changed!  I kind of like this recipe, and yet some of it makes me wonder - would I eat squirrels if the recipe called for it?  I think I would, if there were a need to.  And this recipe from 1867 will give me at least one recipe for the little rodents:

"Boil two calf's feet; take the feet out when done; reduce the broth to a quart. The feet may be fried and used, first removing the bones. Let the broth become cold in an earthen vessel; scrape off all the grease; wipe the top of the jelly with a coarse towel; put the cake of jelly into a kettle lined with tin or porcelain; season it with two lemons cut up (removing the seed), fine blades of mace, a stick of cinnamon, pepper (white pepper is best), and salt to taste. Beat to a froth the whites of six eggs; stir these to the jelly just as it melts; it must then be left to clarify and not stirred again. When it simmers long enough to look clear at the sides, strain it through a flannel bag before the fire; do not squeeze the bag. Suspend it by running a stick through a loop made by tying the bag; rest each end of the stick upon a chair, and throw a table-cloth over all to keep out the dust. If the jelly does not run through clear the first time, pour it through the jelly-bag again. Set this aside. "Prepare the meat and seasoning for the pie. Put into a stew-pan slices of pickled pork, using a piece of pork four inches square; if it is very salt[y] lay it an hour in tepid water. Cut up two young, tender chickens--a terrapin, if it is convenient--two or three young squirrels, half a dozen birds or squabs. Stew them gently, cutting up and adding a few sprigs of parsley. Roll into half a pound of butter two tablespoonfuls of flour; add this to the stew until the meat is nearly done. Line a fire-proof dish, or two fire-proof dishes (this quantity of stew will fill two common-sized or quart dishes;) with good pastry; mix the different kinds of meats; put in Irish potato dumplings; season to taste; pour in the gravy and bake. When done, remove the upper crust when the pie is cold and pack in the jelly, heaping the jelly in the middle. Return the crust and serve cold or hot. The jelly will prevent them become too dry. They are good Christmas pies and will keep several days. Very little gravy should be used, and that rich. Should there be too much, leave the stew-pan open until reduced sufficiently. This kind of pie keeps well if made in deep plates, and by some is preferred to those baked in deep moulds."

One day I may let you know how this turns out...  Who knows...

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