Monday, October 31, 2011

¡ Día de los Muertos ! (Day of the Dead Bread)

Es el Día de los Muertos. ¿Qué es esto? La muerte a sí mismo en forma de pan!
¡ Echar aguas ! 

The traditional recipe for Pan de Muerto was way more cakey than any bread recipe I'd ever seen. ¿Eggs? ¿Warmed milk? ¿Vanilla extract? No entiendo.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Baked Chicken with Borlotti Beans, Leek and Mashed Potato

I consider it a crime, Molly, to take a beautiful fresh bit of chicken and stew it for two hours in water and balsamic vinegar.

It started with Everybody Loves Ramen's version of Nigel Slater's Chicken Stew with Borlotti Beans. I went out, bought the ingredients. Cooking time was at hand. Then I had a closer look at the instructions. Marinate for 4 hours or overnight? I hadn't planned for that. Add 1 litre of water, balsamic vinegar, and cook for 2 hours? But these Burrawong Chicken Marylands are fresh!

So I made some changes on the fly. Switched to a roast, with the cooking juices drizzling down into the leek and borlotti beans. Less effort, and the results were spectacular.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Jamie's Ministry of Food, The University of Sydney (Crave Food Festival)

Jamie Oliver played a big part in my food renaissance, Molly. His TV shows led me to Fifteen Melbourne, my first fancy restaurant experience. And it was great. That, plus the amazing food throughout Melbourne, opened my taste buds to new experiences. I finally started using herbs, spices, different ingredients. It was not all successful. There was that one incident when I used globe artichokes instead of jerusalem artichokes. That sucked. But who cares?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mr Cheng's Asian Grocery Store, Newtown - or - The Plum Complex

Mr Cheng's Asian Grocery Store
100 King St, Newtown

Edit: As of January 2012 Mr Cheng's in Newtown is no more. Sign on the door says to keep an eye on their website and FB page.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Buttersafe: Time Chef

I'll have that paperwork on your desk first thing Monday morning, Molly.

In the meantime, here's something I wish I had written:

Friday, October 7, 2011

Miyama, Newtown - or - Little Sister's Report Card

It's hard to predict a final grade based on an interim assessment, Molly. Though I'm sure she got help from her older sister, so what I saw is probably pretty close to the final product, it was just a couple of lunch specials. And they receive a solid 'pass' grade. Nothing mind-blowing. I wouldn't be racing back -- there's so much to choose from in Newtown -- but if someone suggested it I wouldn't shy away.

The place was nice, and the staff were friendly. It's close to uni, so expect students who want a light lunch or a break from the usual Thai and Vietnamese fare.

$20 for two, including tea. I'd almost wear that cost myself, Molly. Almost...

Detective Chow
Case file 20110930

Miyama Japanese Kitchen
87 King St, Newtown
02 9519 9947

Miyama Japanese Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 30, 2011

Jamaican Jerk Chicken


Jerk-seasoned chicken thighs, marinated for 18 hours then pan fried a few minutes per side. With a makeshift lid to stop the spatters. The neighbours will know you're cooking it by the sharp peppery fumes seeping under doorways. So tender and juicy.

Jamaican Coat of Arms (rice). Coconut cream, kidney beans, garlic, water and rice seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper. Bung it all in a pot and boil it up until the rice is done. Simple. A fairly bland base, but necessary to counteract the burning glow of the jerk chicken.

Salsa of tomato, avocado and cucumber. You need this. Your mouth will thank you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

King St in Spring

Spied a new Japanese place open on King St this morning, Molly. Newtown. Miyama Japanese Kitchen. I guess it's a Christmas baby, though I'm not too sure of the gestation period for restaurants. I'll check out their lunch specials on Friday.

Miyama - next to Thai La-Ong
Chennai - website not yet active

Also a new Malaysian joint with some nice signwriting. Thought it was Indian but maybe that was just a front. I'll snoop around tonight and file a report.

Any others I'm missing out on?

(Jester Seeds and Rice Paper have been checked off the list.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hungry Duck, Berry - or - The Burning Question

Whoa, Molly. Did I get a little preachy last night? It must have been the Shiraz. And the Port. Both lovely, lovely drops.

The food ranged from pretty good to great, with only a couple of dishes that I'd only try once. (The alpaca sausages and the plantain chips, Molly, if you're wondering.) The pork buns were a standout favourite, Molly. So unlike what we get around the corner at yum cha.

The garden was beautiful, Molly, as I think I've mentioned. Inside was modern with touches of that old country charm. Glass light fittings, wooden floors, bonsai plants. You know: modern cottage Asian fusion? It works.

The service was great. Kudos to our cheery waitress, Renée. Her recommendations were spot on. Made the night a pleasure. Helpful, too. She found out the providence of the pork for us. Is providence the right word, Molly? You know: where it came from. (Pork from Tamora, beef from Gerringong.)

I get a travel allowance, right Molly? I ordered on that assumption. A la carte. The damage was $304 for four, plus a good tip. That includes the bubbles, wine and aperitifs to get the clients talking. I could have gone the 5-course banquet for $45pp, but I know you believe in freedom of choice. Look, I'll just file the receipts with Finance. I have your signature on file…

Detective Chow
Case file 20110917

Hungry Duck
85 Queen St, Berry

Green Box Regional Food Co-operative
Hungry Duck on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Burton Wine Dinner at Neutral Bay Bar & Dining

I had a great meal last night, Molly. No, no pictures. I was off duty.

A wine dinner hosted by Nigel & Monique Burton. These are always fun. Got to try some lovely wines. The Burtons are not stingy with their wine here, Molly, and will gladly open a fresh bottle and refill your glass time after time. The 2002 Shiraz is a winner. Maybe you'll get a bottle for your birthday.

Last night was at Neutral Bay Bar & Dining. I was a might excited to try it. Glebe Point Diner has a great philosophy about food. They know and care where it comes from and how it came to be. NBB&D follows the same philosophy: ethical meat, sustainable produce, line-caught fish. The starter of spice-cured tuna was unlike any fish I've tasted. Served with horseradish and blood orange. A treat. But the lamb, Molly. The lamb stole the show. Braised for 13 hours at 95 degrees. With chickpea puree, sorrel and mint. As tender as a caress. And that killer 2002 Burton McLaren Vale Shiraz.

This is how food is supposed to be, Molly. Food that is treated with respect before and after it becomes an ingredient.

$95 for three courses and five wines.

Burton Wine Dinners are held every few months at different restaurants around Sydney. Join the Archer Club to get the lowdown on announcements.

Neutral Bay Bar & Dining
132 Military Road, Neutral Bay

Burton Premium Wines
Neutral Bay Bar & Dining on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

El Locomotive

A new case just landed in my lap, Molly. Literally. This was delivered through my windscreen tied around a tin of black beans.

I wouldn't mind, Molly, except I was taking my driving test at the time and lost points for swearing.

The note contained a hidden message. Like a good Dan Brown fan I managed to decipher it. I held it up to the light and reversed the image by turning the paper over. There it was.

"Come alone." I don't know yet if this is a lead or a date. Wish me luck, Molly, either way.