June 26, 2011

Have legs, will travel...

This weekend I had the pleasure of being invited by the delightful Misses C & J to do dinner. You see, Miss J had a craving for pork, Miss C had a recipe in mind, and as luck would have it, I had the meat courtesy the delectable Greenvale Farm. And so come Saturday, it was all teams go.

On the menu was pulled pork, and while admittedly I did rather thwart our intentions by providing the wrong cut of meat for the time we had available, it was still one of the tastiest roast pork rolls imaginable.

Pulled pork is an American barbecuing tradition that uses a crazy-good spice rub to create one of the world's top sambo combinations. After marinating your meat in said spices:

Simply take your slow-cooked, spicy, smoky pork:

And stick in a white roll with some crispy, crunchy coleslaw...


The following day, as I'm want to let any meaty goodness go to waste, the product of my attempts at novice butchery were turned in to a pea and ham soup of sorts:

And since we're well and truly in the midst of citrus season, it seemed only wise to go with orange, cardamom and pistachio cake for this week's treats:

The cake itself was already reasonably lush, but following a recent trip to the divine B&P there seemed no better place for their heavenly passionfruit curd than right here...

June 19, 2011

Minding your P's & Q's...

As someone that took to the kitchen from an early age it's easy to forget not everyone enjoys food the way I do. For many, baking doesn't come naturally, it sure as hell isn't relaxing, and I suspect the mere thought of having to cook a meal every single day would no doubt feel quite overwhelming.

For many, it would seem, it's not as simple as A, B, C.

But we've all been there and, while I appreciate some of us have a bit more of a 'knack' than others when it comes to cooking up a storm, it certainly doesn't have to be difficult, and I think it's a common misconception that to bang out a spectacular home-cooked meal you need to spend hours behind the hotplates. Everyone gets tired of cooking, and even those of us who enjoy handling the pans have those favourite "go to's" for when we can't be bothered or don't have the time. And so I thought I'd share with you one of mine.

Whether you love or hate his unique approach to the English vernacular, I think many will agree that Britain's most recognisable Mr Oliver does turn out a decent recipe or two. And in his efforts at gastronomic self-globalisation, one topic he has been particularly good at championing is that if you start with a few simple, good-quality ingredients you're virtually guaranteed of producing something awe-inspiringly delicious in relatively no time at all and with a minimum of effort.

And when it comes to minimum effort there's nothing I love more than the tray bake. Besides, what could be simpler than taking a few complimentary ingredients:

Greenvale Farm Berkshire pork chops

throwing them all together in a pan,

sticking them in the oven, and then coming back when everything smells so good you can't help but feel hungry?

Easy as...

But as for the Q's... It would be remiss of me to post without at least some form of baking, and so in continuing the theme of grain experimentation I have on offer these delightful little wholemeal quinoa cookies

Whenever I bake something new I like to stick to the recipe so that I get a feel for what the author had originally intended, and while admittedly I was already plotting additions of dried sour cherries and pecans as the dough came together, I was most certainly glad I didn't because I must say, the combination of quinoa and nutmeg was in fact quite the revelation.

Move over anzac biscuits, because you've got yourselves some pretty tasty company...

June 13, 2011

Shepherds tend sheep...

Inevitably real life was always going to get in the way of a good blog, and as is bound to happen from time to time, things have been a little quiet here of late. As such, since I've been distracting myself from the realities of life with a few extracurricular indulgences, the kitchen shenanigans had unfortunately fallen into a (needfully) functional rut, and were most certainly nothing to write home (or indeed blog) about.

 Melbourne International Jazz Festival

déjeuner exquis at Loam restaurant

Post-training brunch at Three Bags Full cafe

Sweet treats from the delectable Burch & Purchese

But after a few weeks of soups to freeze down and the odd dinner out with family and friends, it was back to the kitchen with a need for some slightly more interesting winter comforts. For some time I'd had a hankering for shepherd's pie, and after opting for the Bourke Street lamb, chickpea and eggplant filling, you can most certainly colour me sated.

Shepherd's pie with eggplant, lamb, chickpea and greens

Now, I realise it's been an extraordinarily long time since I've offered a useless foodie fact, so it may not interest you to know that, whereas I thought the difference between a cottage and shepherd's pie was that the former had a pastry base, it is in fact, rather simply, that shepherd's pie is made from lamb, a cottage pie, from beef. Huh. 

For sweets, comfort came from our favourite cook's companion in the form of a delightful pistachio and yoghurt cake.

How I've not made this before, I do not know, as it was an absolute treat, with a batter so luxurious you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a souffle. Particularly when you happen to slightly over-fill one of your tins...

Pistachio and yoghurt cake

But despite appearances it did keep it's sponge-like air, presented with a beautifully moist crumb, and, served with a small dollop of cream and stewed plums, was just perfect.