Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Olive oil

Shopping at Moore Wilsons last weekend and much to my surprise I saw a little of my design work on display. I created the Gold label at least 6 years ago, good to see they're still going. Check out their website (Excuse the photo it was taken on my cellphone and the quality ain't too hot).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sausage, pierogi and mushrooms

For the mushrooms: Remove the stalk from the button mushrooms. Arrange the mushroom caps stalk side up in a roasting pan. Place in each mushroom a couple leaves of oregano, a knob of butter, a few drops of red wine vinegar and a season of salt and pepper. Cooking in a hot oven (180°C–200°C), they should take about 1015 minutes.

Insert some aromatic bay leaf and oregano in to the rolls of the sausage, cook in a medium-hot pan until cooked through and golden brown. Allow it to rest and fry the pierogi in the sausage fat.

Serve all together with some green oil and creamy mustard (equal parts of dijon mustard and sour cream with a spoon of grainy mustard.


I came across this recipe on which they had adapted from Gourmet Magazine April 2004 as found on

I made a batch of 24. For the dough I used 1 and a half cups of flour, 1 egg, half a cup of water, salt and 1 tablespoon of oil. Mix together and knead until smooth. Let this rest at room temperature for an hour.

While the dough is resting make the filling. Peel, dice and boil 2 medium potatoes. Take the cooked potato and mash with some green oil and grated cheese (Green oil: blend parsley, oregano, thyme, garlic, lemon juice, capers and olive oil until smooth and strain). Spoon out desert spoon size balls of the mixture on to a tray and then place in the fridge.

Roll out the pastry to about 2mm thickness. Using a cookie cutter cut out rounds big enough to fit around the potato mix (I used a 6.5cm cutter).

Place a pastry round in the palm of one hand and take a ball of filling, place it in the centre of the round, fold the pastry in half and pinch the edges together. Once they are all done you can place them on a tray and freeze, once frozen transfer to to a zip bag and store in the freezer (very handy for snacks or easy meals).

When you're ready to cook bring a large pot full of salted water to the boil, drop the Pierogi in to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. After the time is up and they're floating on the surface drain and dry on paper towels. Fry the Pierogi in a hot pan with oil until they're golden and crisp.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Duck Confit

Confit of duck with a citrus fennel salad and green beans. The acidic salad really helps to cut the richness of the duck and green beans clean the palate.

With the prep all done and 24 hours later the duck was ready to cook. I'm cooking it in the slow cooker on warm mode. I spent most of saturday checking the temperatures of a slow cooker filled with water every 30 minutes. On low the water started getting up to 80°C and it looked like it was levelling out, but no it started going up to 100°C. So I tried the keep warm setting next, this thankfully levelled out at 80°C.

I vacuum sealed in a separate compartment some spoons to weigh down the duck.

The duck leg out of the cure and rinsed, ready to dry. Once patted dry it gets placed in the bag and vacuum sealed.

Almost midnight, the duck gets put in to the slow cooker.

9am, the duck is pulled from the slow cooker and allowed to cool before refrigerating.

Out of the fridge at dinner time and ready to get cooked.

Scrape all the fat and jellied cooking liquids of the duck legs.

In a very hot dry pan place the legs skin side down to crisp up it. When the skin is golden and crisp place it in to a hot oven.

Cook until the leg is warmed through.

The skin is crisp but at the same time melts on the tongue. The meat is moist, and falling off the bone tender.

Fennel Salad

The main players: Orange, Lemon, Fennel and Sorrel. I wanted to make something sharp and acidic to cut through the rich fat of the duck.

I toasted some fennel seeds to add another layer of the fennel flavour.

Thin slices of fennel with orange supreme, dusted with the ground toasted fennel seed.

Dressed with some Dijon mustard, orange and lemon juice, herb oil and sliced sorrel. Let this sit for a few minutes so the acid starts to wilt the fennel.

Truffle steamed eggs

Simple breakfast of butter steamed eggs with pungent truffle oil.

Over a medium heat melt some butter and crack in a couple of eggs.

Place a lid over the pan so the eggs steam, this cooks the top quickly.

drizzle some truffle oil over the hot eggs.

Simple dinner

Sautéed potatoes.

Rump with red wine mushroom sauce.


Some fresh leaves tied up and hanging to dry.

A brisling brunch

Brisling sardines with rocket and simple dressing.

I find brisling sardines the best, the other canned sardines are too big and have developed too much bone.

Dijon mustard, lemon juice (and a little extra cider vinegar), salt, pepper and oil.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Duck Confit - prep

Getting ready to cure the duck, salt, thyme, bay leaves and duck.

Grinding the bay leaves, the smell is amazing.

All the ingredients in a bag ready for a short stay of 24 hours in the fridge. It looks so green because what I thought was dried thyme was in fact a fine powdered freeze dried thyme.

Nam on Willis st

Ventured out for a bite to eat after grocery shopping last night. I had stumbled across a review For Nam on Willis St on a blog (can't remember which blog sorry).

I got the Thịt Kho Hột Gà: Caramelised pork belly and whole egg, slow braised with aromatic spices until tender. Served with home-made mustard greens and steamed rice. It was to die for, each mouthful of the broth was spectacular, the only beef with it was not enough mustard greens on the side, but I'm nit picking.

My partner got Phở Bò Saìgon, which she enjoyed, and her only complaint was lack of fresh chilli on the side, but again just nit picking.

We had 2 starters, 2 mains and 4 glasses of wine between us, and it came to just over $80, very reasonable. We will be back.

Their website is:

Chicken and Red wine redux

I revisited my earlier post and cooked up another lot of red wine and chicken, and I wasn't disappointed. This is quite an image heavy post, so the rest is after the jump.

Chicken cut in half.

Laurel - part 2

Well this is not my "food-pairing" for Bay leaves. But I really wanted to try a cocktail involving Bay Leaf. I made an infusion of ground leaves and simple syrup (pictured above, left glass used dried leaves, right used fresh). Bay doesn't develop a full aroma/flavour until it has been dried for a good few weeks.

The Dried leaf syrup was very aromatic, almost meaty smell with a pungent eucalyptus aroma. The Fresh leaf syrup didn't have much of an aroma at all, and almost tasteless, finishing with a grassy after taste.

I made two identical cocktails (apart from the syrup) 2 dry vermouth, 1 syrup, shaken, poured over ice and topped up with soda.

It's a bit hazy, too much "testing", but from what I recall the dried leaf cocktail was almost savoury/meaty in flavour with a sweet finish, it wasn't unpleasant. The fresh leaf cocktail, had a grassy finish, and seemed to kill the flavour of the vermouth more than the dried, but didn't impart it's own flavour much.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Food pairing

I received this food pairing tree for Bay leaves (Click on the image for an interactive chart or here if you have a pop up blocker).

So the brainstorming begins, how to extract the flavor, and use it differently to how I normally do, unceremoniously chucking it in a pot. I think it's a herb taken for granted and I want to try to do some thing special with it.

Initial thoughts on extracting the flavor, are blitz it with some light olive oil (which it also pairs with) and use it as a dressing, make a stock syrup out with it (serve with some vermouth (another pair) over ice), make a tea from it, or turn it in to a powder to dust with.

As well as experimenting with Laurus nobilis, I'm trying my hand at sous vide slow cooker duck confit.

I have a couple of posts sitting in drafts at the moment, which would get posted except this computer refuses to open the edit posts page.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Books and pizza

Love finding old cook books at thrift shops, latest additions are Graham Kerr's Galloping Gourmet and Pearl L Bailey Foods: preparation and serving, which is more like a 1920s home-economics text book, still a good read and very informative.

On the way thanks to amazon On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee and one I've been wanting to get my hands on for a while Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Michael Ruhlman

I Finally bought a stone for the oven, I was pining after was a hefty $100 so I opted for the cheaper $20 model, but will see how often it gets used for bread baking and the like, then I might upgrade. My pizza recipe is here, and I highly recommend going for a mix of fine semolina (flour) and strong wheat flour.