Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Well howdy

I have many weaknesses. Asian cooking. Growing potatos ( stop laughing Mr Flinthart, this isn't Tasmania.) Keeping up this blog, judging by the date on the last post, I mean Xmas is about food, you'd think I'd have enough material. And bread.

I've had a crack at bread from a few books, but never satisfactorily. During a recent back and forth over sausages or vege's or something food related with the knowledgeable Silverbeet from Twitter I was recomended this. The Handmade Loaf. And joy upon joy I got it for my birthday. At Xmas, but then that's the way things go when you're born in December.

Imagine breadmaking as religion. Breadmaking as I'd known it was like catholicism, very hands on, lots of to and fro. Well Dan Lepard's method is the buddism of bread. Put it together, go away and contemplate the state of the universe. Knead very lightly and leave until you have found inner peace. Knead very, very lightly and leave to rise. Invent a new form of Kung Fu...... Maybe I've pushed this too far.

The fact remains though that this method is much, much less kneading and pushing around of the dough. It requires precise measurements, something that binds and constricts my soul but I have made the best bread that I've ever made, still not what I'd call top quality but good enough that I'll keep on trying. The sour dough starter will be ready in a day or two and in keeping faith with the blog tonight I am going to make ham and mushroom foccacia!

MF from the iPhone

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm ba-ak

Ok gentlemen - sorry for the break in transmission there for a bit. You know, work etc.
However, I have a mission for you if you choose to accept.

I have purloined a duckling. I need the best damned duck recipe you have - with the exception of confit - time is of the essence here - lunch on the weekend.

Your time starts now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ahh grasshopper, take the spring roll from my hand.

Two restaurant reviews from me in a few weeks, something is going on. The something in fact was a late game of footy and a lovely balmy Brisbane Monday evening gave me an excuse to try out a new Asian restaurant in Tenerife, Grasshopper Kitchen.

For those of you who follow chefs like celebrities in who weekly, check out the proper food reviewsfor all the essentials, I was simply interested in the food, especially the Chinese BBQ pork I'd picked from the online menu, still longing for the crispy pork ribs I'd had at Sichuan House. But I was denied, it had been dropped from the menu after the chef and owner weren't satisfied with the final dish. While I admire the ruthlessness of menu selection it left me searching the menu fir more porky goodness.

Since The Wife and I were both playing footy in a few hours we were only after starters, which was a shame, there was some beautiful sounding mains. We settled on the starter dish and some Asian greens in soy. We got four little serves each. Each was perfectly presented and a discussion between The Wife, our host and myself broke out on what to start with.

The kingfish was first off the rank, diced bits of fish with a beautiful gazpacho sorbet on top. I thought I could taste little explosions of citrus and wondered if they were using the fantastic Aussie ingredient, finger lime. The gazpacho was bursting with flavour, I wanted to lick the small bowl out. The Wife declared she'd happily come back and have that as her main next time. The finger lime suspicion was confirmed when we moved to the scallop, which had a small mound of green finger lime bubbles on top. If I could make a suggestion it would be to find the finger lime with the pinkish flesh. It has larger segments and more of a taste explosion when you burst the little balls. They were silky smooth and with subtle flavour, I'm not a scallop fan but these were delicious.

A shot glass full of peking duck consomme with shitake mushrooms and a green soy bean in the bottom was next up and straight down the throat it went. I love duck, to the point where I raised and killed my own and this was top notch stuff. The last dish was Sang choi bao, pork mince on shredded lettuce. It was packed to the brim with flavour and out of all the ones we tried it was the dish I would most like to replicate at home.

The food was delicious, real restaurant style, with great care taken on presentation and the balance of the ingredients. In fact the food was much better presented than I was, dressed for a football game, but i felt relaxed and comfortable on the wide cool deck with the breeze off the Brisbane river. In fact the styling is spot on, the funky lime green decor matches the tone of the food and surprisingly doesn't clash at all with the reassuring solidity of the woolshed in which its housed.

It was a Monday and 530 pm, but our host was more than happy to chat with a scruffily dressed customer about the food and what was good to eat, you couldn't have asked for better service. In fact, they were so slick that by the time I had left the mistake on the starter menu had been fixed on the website. Now that is on the ball.

Like I said earlier, I'd only bother to replicate one of the meals at home, but anytime I want a fresh vibrant and interesting feed of asian inspired food, I'll be back to the Grasshopper.

MF from the iPhone