Sunday, July 27, 2008

Something Fishy

What do you do with leftover sushi grade tuna, salmon and shrimp? Simple, fish cakes. I decided to try Thai Fish Cakes. Finely chopped or minced seafood combined with chopped sweet basil, garlic and giner paste, sweet chilli sauce, a few drops of fish sauce, lemongrass and parsley. (The parsley was going out on a limb - but what the hell, its always great experimenting.)

Beaten egg added to the mixture and a handful of breadcrumbs. To finish a thorough coating of crumbs after shaping the mixture into induvidual little cakes to bind them together. Voila - fish cakes in no time.

A medium to hot pan with some olive oil and splash in go your fish cakes. My flame on the KLC burners are hard to control and it browned more than I would have liked them to.

Thai Fish Cakes with Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce, served with a side of Hokkien Noodles and sauted chopped carrot and green beans in oyster and soy sauce. Not bad for Sunday night dinner

Sushi-Rolling Party

Amy & Cari my partners in crime - all ready for a night of raw fish and rolling - sushi time baby!

Time to treat ourselves to a good time having completed yet another component of our Gastronomy course! Cheers to us!

A quick trip to central market before we hit up Cari's apartment on Gouger Street to get supplies for our sushi party. I was amazed by the unique Buddah's Hand ~ a citric fruit and the size of this gigantic piece of ginger... look at it compared to the size of my tiny hand!

Sushi Rice, Rice Vinegar, Nori (Roasted Seaweed), Pickled Ginger, Soy Sauce, Wasabi and rolling mats... now we're talking SUSHI!!!!

Me posing like a Japanese housewife with my produce

Amy whips up a sweet egg roll ~ tamagoyaki to slice and use in the sushi!

Cari radars in on our hungry tummies and pan fries some dumplings!

Dumplings a la` Cari with sweet onion relish and Jap condiments.

Cari strips up the tuna fillet for the sushi real thin

Amy adds more and more egg mixture to the already rolled tamagoyaki to make the roll thicker.

My spaser face - Amy gives me the ridiculous task of rotating the wasabi mayonnaise mixture in a stainless steel bowl... and then criticises my rotating skills! Hmmmph!

Tamagoyakii Avacado slices, Sticky Japanese sushi rice, Soy Sauce and Pickled ginger slices.
Below: Cari lays out the first sheet of nori, spinkles it with water to helpd the rice stick evenly. Then she applies a fine, even coat of sticky rice on 1/3 of the nori sheet. The sliced up sushi grade tuna, salmon and shrimp are ready to go in.

Layers of salmon, avacado and carrot slices ontop of the sticky rice and nori.
Check out these beautifully sliced veggies - I did the carrots - nearly lost a finger!

Cari's batch of sushi gets sliced onto the plate

Amy the ultra talented is an expert Uramaki (or inside out sushi) roller. It is very similar to maki sushi but the rice is rolled outside instead of inside the nori.

Amy and Cari's Maki and Uramaki Sushi Rolls.

Sushi rolling had me in high spirits, so before biting in I was already super happy just living out the experience of making my own sushi

And well... the sushi was divine! Really fabulously fresh fish and the rice just perfectly seasoned - and well Aussie Avo's are always amazing!

Now it's my turn. I taste a little and work a little. Having sampled some, and watched Cari at work I follow careful instructions
My first attempt at tightly rolling in my triple fish creation - yes, triple fish, salmon, tuna and shrimp in there -the ultimate feast!
Slicing away my first sushi rolls - I did it! Wax on - wax off!

And that's how you do it ~ the perfect plate of sushi - voila!

Amy creates an Uramaki with avacado outside the nori.

After all the sushi rolling and eating - it was time for that super, sweet ending - dessert.

Cari cuts out the required filo pastry for what was original planned to be apple turnovers. This metamorphised into a puff pastry pie filled with caramelised pear and apple with a whole load more spices than I bargained for.

We each had our fair share of wine, going through two bottles of Sav Blanc Chilean wine, a bottle of Claire Valley Reisling, Skillogalee and a Steeple Jack Sparkling Shiraz - oh what a night!

Cari and Amy conspire to kill my tastebuds with an overdose of spices in the dessert

Amy sneaked in Cayanne Pepper and god knows what else and when I got a mouthful - whopa! All I have to say is it was one HOT dessert - I mean spicy, pungent hot not fire!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Baking Bebinca

Chef extraordinaire` Amy Grey at work mixing batter for our Goan dessert Bebinca. It can best be described as an Indian Halwa that has hybrid Portuguese influences noteably in the spice blend that is incorporates - nutmeg and cardamom. For those not familiar with what Halwa is - comparable to Turkish delight, but firmer and not dusted with sugar.

Our last week of Gastronomic Tourism called for presentations on a created food festival. Amy and I paired up and came up with a Goan Food Festival to be held at Carnival time - February. We made bebinca as a smapler to take in and woo our lecturer! :0

This is the ready batter and ghee (clarified butter) that Amy made herself!!!

Bibinca Recipe:

2 cup Maida

1 ½ cup Sugar

6 Egg yolks

1 cup Thick coconut milk

¼ tsp Cardamom and nutmeg powder each

1/3 cup, approx Melted ghee

Mix maida with, cardamom and nutmeg powder. Combine sugar with ½ cup water. Dissolve over a low flame, simmer for two minutes and remove from fire and cool to room temperature. Beat the yolks lightly and mix with coconut milk. Add sugar syrup and coconut milk mixture to maida and make a smooth batter. Pour 1 tbsp of ghee in a deep 8" square baking dish. Place the dish in a moderately hot oven. When the ghee gets hot, pour a thin layer of batter in it. When it sets, pour some ghee again and then some batter. Use all the batter thus. Cool and cut bibinca into slices.

In the round blue baking dish is Amy's orange cake that is so delicious. It doesn't use flour nor sugar, just eggs, three whole oranges and alot of yummy spices. The rectangualar dish is our Bebinca after about four layers of slow baking.

We used six egg yolks for the bebinca and were leftover with the whites. And well no one like waste - so Amy came up with a simple, yet divine Spanish inspired omlette with sprouts, philli cream cheese oozing out of the foldover and utterly magical pumpkin puree ! I mean it was so velvety, and tasted as if it were laced with creme and butter - without all the calories! I need to go over to Amy's more often....
The finished product - Amy's spice orange cake is perfect and we dig in for a slice with a cuppa coffee after a long day of putting together our presentaion! Pay off is SO sweet!

The Sweetest Thing

Adelaide's best baked goodies are tucked away in the Bakery on O'Connell Street (number 44) next to the Pink Pig - you can't miss this place - and boy its worth making a trip up to North Adelaide if you have a sugar craving... or are longing for a good hearty meat pie. There selection of berliners and doughnuts are basic, but absolutely delicious. From fruit scrolls to glazed danishes, cinnamon rolls to savoury yummy things likes kranskies, pasties, pies and sausage rolls.... ohhhhh i might just have to make another trip there today! Thinking of it makes my mouth water....

I introduced Amy and her cousin Roberto to the bakery and well they were pretty impressed too!
You gotta love a cup of hot chocolate on a wintery day - (Australian winter is in the middle of the year!) And after five months of living in Adelaide I decided it was high time that I tried their infamous Pie Floater.... It made for a good filling 'meal' on a really cold day, but def not gourmet food, and perhaps not something I would order on a whim!

A little wiki snippet about the floater for anyone interested: A pie floater is a meal served at pie carts in Adelaide and elsewhere in South Australia . Once widely available in other parts of the country, its popularity has since waned. It consists of the traditional Aussie meat pie, covered with tomato ketchup, sitting, usually inverted, in a plate of thick green pea soup. The addition of the pea soup provides extra flavour and dietary fibre, and extends what otherwise may be considered a snack to a full meal. Anthony Bourdain, Joe Cocker and Billy Conolly are high profile fans of the pie floater. In 2003, the pie floater was recognised as a South Australian Heritage Icon by the National Trust of Australia.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Hills Are Alive...

My second week into gastronomic tourism takes us into the Adelaide Hills to meet with the owner of Udder Delights, Sheree and to the cellar door of Bird in Hand winery.

Udder Delights has been operating out of Lobethal since 1999 and originally only produced Goat's milk cheeses but has introduced a range of cow's milk cheeses recently.

Their cheeses incude Goat Curd with a light texture and tangy finish, Chevre with a gorgeous subtle flavour with a delightfully creamy texture, Goat Feta, Goat Camembert - the most characteristic of the lot, a mellow Goat's Brie, Aged Ashed Goat Cheese (my fav) as well as two Jersey Milk cheeses, Adelaide Hills Camembert and Adelaide Hills Brie, both which are utterly creamy. The Udder Delights Jersey Blue Cheese is superb - I am going back just for more of the blue!
Sheree stops to tell us that half the stuff on the menu is not available on our arrival!!!! What shitty luck huh!?! I was looking forward to trying their version of the pie floater - the Pie in the Sky, damn! Hugh doesn't seem impressed by this either...

My Cauliflour and Blue Cheese Soup with Herbed Bread above, and below Cari's gorgeous Toasted brushetta style bread with thick slices of creamy chevre and drizzled olive olio, caramelised onions accompanied by a rocket, pear and parmesan salad! Was really good - but a definte can do in your kitchen at home!

After that soup, I had to have something sweet - If anyone know me anyways - soup never qualifies as a 'real' meal according to me, and that soup was anything but hearty - flavourful yes, wholesome - no! So, this is what I'm talking about - a rich, indulgent, big slice of carrot and peccan cake with a good smoothering of yoghurt frosting and cream drizzled on with an expresso shot to keep me going for the rest of our afternoon....

If you can't make out what the blackboard says: Bird in Hand Rose` to be served at Wimbeldon again in 2008! So, I picked up a bottle of the stuff that looked awfully pretty - a blushing pink.

With a range of passable and well totally inconsequential oils and olives, they do a nice, wide range of wines, of which we sampled about nine!!! What an afternoon - I love my course! This is what all 'seminars' and 'excursions' should be like....

One valuable tip this lady taught me is that my uncomfortably dry mouth after drinking red wine is probably because of the high tannisin some red wines like Shiraz and Cab Sav, she suggests I stick to Merlot and Pinot ... so I'm gonna try it and see how it goes....

I'm turning Jap - a -nesa - I really think so!!! Cheeeese - time to be ultra ASIAN! The curly, blonde is Andrea my lecturer and tutor.

Newly engaged Cari is all smiles, brimming over with joy -joy - joy!!!!! AWWW!!!! And well those big Wimbeldon looking trophies are all the wine accolades Bird in Hand has recieved over the last couple years!

This is picturesque Adelaide Hills - what a view! I love it and I love being Down Under - I mean can it get more spectacular than this?!

And this is Andrea's cute little beatle - I want one in pink - hint, hint - mum, dad, Sameer -anyone!!!!!