oh god, what a mad night and what a pleasant treat! i still can not believe we got home safe and alive... 1.5 hours driving to Wild Oak in Olinda through friday traffic when GPS lost us and took us all around the area everywhere but not to the right spot. we got to the place ready to be executed by our friends who waited for us for an hour... but boy when you have psychic friends you do not need to explain anything what went wrong... :o) the meal was out of this world, all 6 of us were really impressed by the main kitchen and the jazz musicians were on the top...
mains Slow cooked confit duck leg with caramelised carrot puree and red currant jus Sous vide wagyu oyster blade with potato puree and rich mushroom jus Pan seared Kangaroo Fillet with native spice dukkah, parsnip tartlet and roasted fig jus Risotto of exotic mushrooms and yarra valley goats cheese finished with truffle scented oil and italian parmigiano Crispy grilled salmon with mash and season vegetables all french chef cooked to perfection
desert Our homemade sticky date pudding with sweet date puree, pure thick cream and salted butterscotch Our "bombe Alaska" vanilla pod ice-cream, raspberry and warm toasted meringue sherry and cappuccinos
mains all: 10/10 deserts: 9/10
very friendly managers and the table service was terrific we also had a chat with the Wild Oak celebrity chef Ben and his petite french wife who turned to be an advanced yoga and meditation classes teacher and was so nice and open to speak with us. Ned even asked her to touch his crystal which he does not usually allow anyone to do.
Cost for two of us with Entertainment Book voucher only $42 for duck and kangaroo steak plus two coffees
the way back was a real disaster compared to the way to Wild Oak because of the storm and the roads flooded, but the "passenger" warm songs were on and Valya was there with her love, and Ned was not nervous anymore and i was very grateful for them liking my todays favorite singer... we even re-played some songs... it's so nice to have friends who deeply feel the good poetry and understand the high level of the performer and his music... thunderstorm and water was everywhere but the mood was an absolute magic in the car!
PRAWN AND RAW VEGGIES SALAD NEW
prawns with raw veggies salad salad: fennel, lettuce, corn, carrots plus spanish spice seasoning, no salt european cornichons and semi-sun dried tomatoes for decoration prawns cooked with spanish spices all mixed randomly, no seasoning sorry not the best photos today as i did not select the plate correctly... and some lemon was missing tbh
Today we had chicken parma, chips, garden salad and some sauces varieties (Ned's lunch) and I had grilled salmon with sweet potatoes mash, lemon and asparagus. I am really sensitive to water some restaurants and cafes serve. Their water was sparkling clean and very tasty - the guys probably use good quality filters and very clean bottles to serve it in. Total cost: $22 for two dishes with Entertainment Book voucher. Total pleasure [with Ned chit-chatting too much and some of his food strangely starting to travel landing into my plate despite all my no-no-s] + good service: 9/10.
NO NAME DISH (NM) NEW
lunchy special: turkey cutlet with Souk Harissa (Moroccan Hot Pepper Sauce), eggplant, spanish spice and no-salt salt (all combined and home made) plus a raw veggies salad: green beans, broccoli flowers, carrots, three colors mini-capsicums (orange, red, yellow), spring onion, celery and purple cauliflower - all finely chopped with no dressing. on the side: rye bread and black olive paste:
ENTERTAINMENT BOOK SPECIAL NEW last night we made a present for ourselves again and went to Hollyhock restaurant in Port Melbourne. We are promoting the sale of Entertainment Books and will be trying out some new places soon... Dinner: garden salad and spicy calmary plus scotch fillet, mash and mushroom sauce. Price for dinner $36.00 (with the Entertainment Book $45 voucher they offer for this place). The music was very nice and romantic. The food was OK. Too much of it actually as Alex was struggling again through one and a half meal... Sorry as the photos did not turn up of a really good quality - the lights were too dim, but the atmosphere was very intimate and pleasant.
I called it like this because it is like Jun Miyake music - lots of ingredients (music instruments) combined from all over the world, making the taste (the music) unpredictable, beautiful, surprising and unique. I should have cooked it having this music on the background like our friend Sergei does when he makes his cabbage salads. His salads turn up all different taste depending on the mood of the music he plays on the background. But we should remember this: vegetables you cook with are alive, they hear you, they know who you are, they connect with you to provide you with the best they have in them. Your vegetables become your lovers for the time you cook the food. Cooking and preparations to food making is like a prelude, like a foreplay to the main act: love making aka tasting food.
I realised this after a 40-days-only-water-fast at the end of which i first tried some 100ml of fresh celery juice diluted with water and later on there were some apple juices and vegetable soups as you need to spend some time (40 days more on a very light food). These fruit and vegetables I had in my first days were dancing on my tongue telling me the stories of where they came from, who picked them up, about the winds and the rains they felt on their skin and the lonely starry nights and bright sunny days they went through; and they were falling in love with my body becoming one with them. This can only be experienced - not made up story... At that time I suddenly realised that these fruit are alive like us just they exist on a different plane and we do not understand their language. They speak but we do not listen to them. So we know that now let's treat our food with respect as you treat your lovers. Let's go back to our Jun Miyake Music Soup:
Ingredients: white onion carrot broccoli white swedish (same as yellow but the color) celery green parts parsnip spring onion corn cobs olive oil coconut milk curry powder (very good quality one) tomato potatoes skin on beans (better fresh but i had baked in the can) tomato sauce mexican spices no-salt salt whole lemon (skin on) vietnamese mint fresh parsley garlic skin on yellow, orange and red capsicums Note: I never peel my vegetables leaving skin on as it contains more nutrients than the inside of the veggies. All the vegetables are finely cut in cubes and other geometrical shapes - the smaller you cube them the better.
There is a color art in cooking for you too. White veggies go first to the pot with hot olive oil (no water please) (white onion, garlic, swedish, potatoes), yellow (lemon etc), orange (carrots, capsicums etc), red (tomatoes), green veggies and I am finishing with adding baked beans, boiling water and coconut milk ,spices and no-salt - at the end of the composition. The master piece is done but it has to stay on the stove for about 1-2 hours to get all the flavours released into the water.... oh god it is sooooo delish... Jun Miyake should be proud of his music and me.
Masha's cooking rocks as she is soooo inventive. This is gin's cured trout for you.
Hendrick’s gin-cured trout with buttermilk blini
Cooking Time Prep time 40 mins, cook 15 mins (plus curing, proving) 100 gm sea salt flakes 100 gm caster sugar 100 ml Hendrick’s gin (see note) Finely grated rind of 2 lemons, plus lemon wedges to serve 1 side of ocean trout (about 1.1kg), pin-boned, skin on ¼ cup (loosely packed) each mint and flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
photos: Masha M 2013 Combine salt, sugar, gin and half the lemon rind in a bowl, stir to combine. Place a piece of plastic wrap longer than the trout fillet on a work bench and scatter a little salt mixture over plastic. Lay trout on top, pat remaining mixture onto flesh. Wrap and refrigerate, turning once, until lightly cured (8-10 hours). Wipe off salt mixture and liquid with absorbent paper, scatter over chopped herbs and remaining lemon rind, pat well into flesh, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until required.2For buttermilk blini, sift flours into a large bowl, add yeast and a pinch of salt, stir to combine and form a well in the centre. Warm milk in a small saucepan over low heat until lukewarm, remove from heat, whisk in yolks, then add to flours and stir to combine. Add buttermilk and parsley, stir until a batter forms. Cover and set aside to prove (1 hour). Whisk eggwhite and a pinch of salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks form, gently fold through buttermilk mixture. Heat one-third of butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add tablespoons of blini mixture and cook until bubbles form (2-3 minutes), turn, cook until golden (30 seconds), then remove from pan. Wipe out pan with absorbent paper and repeat with remaining butter and batter.3Thinly slice cured trout with a sharp knife and serve with buttermilk blini and lemon wedges.
Note Hendrick’s gin is available from select bottle shops. You can substitute another good-quality gin. Buckwheat flour is available from select health-food shops.
ENTERTAINMENT BOOK SPECIAL NEW last night after running around and after probably more than a year staying away from restaurant foods we decided to make ourselves a small and unhealthy gift: beer battered fish and chips at SIENNA italian restaurant chapel street (using entertainment book voucher cost us less then $28 for two dinner - and we do not drink wine so was water only). i swear i did not eat chips - may be a couple yes - alex got the rest of them and i could not even finish the fish but had both lemons and greens - was too much oil for me in one go so alex was struggling through two meals :) but we liked it - such a nice place at night and very melbournian friday atmosphere:
NM NEW lunch anyone?
lunch: Asian veggies - bok choi, womboi, pak choi, tatsoi, carrots plus mussels with cream sauce plus love (unconditional) stir fry. on the side: vine sweet minicaps baby capsicums (red and orange), spring onions, parsley, marjoram, avocado and european mint flowers for decoration- no name dish:
NM NEW afternoon coffee with Milan's chicken and spinach and cheese bureks www.burek.net.au
NM NEW I tried to be creative for lunch experimenting with young lambs heart with fresh vegetables: eggplant white and red onion sweet potatoes red hot chili green beans green papaya whole garlic (skin on) celery fennel cabbage heart spices: no-salt salt, curry and vietnamese mint the dish turned out to be absolutely delishon the side: quinoa bread decoration: fresh garden parsley and flowers of european mint
NM NEW going slightly mad with colors... as green is so absurdly unattractive and absolutely and totally not looking engaging on the tea table... more like organically, naturally and smashing boring. Just right for my today's mood perhaps... On the table - the food is also very boring and disappointing to the eyes - green kiwi, some exotic pears, green paw-paw (savory, to eat with no-salt and pepper) and very sharp blue cheese, which is in fact - green), further on the way - green tea, bottle green cordial and some x-mas left-overs that I still did not open - cookies. I hope they are not green too... But the butterflies on the tea-pot, on the cookie-box and on the table look encouraging - better than all these foxes sneaking around... for sure... :o) Take a look:
NM NEW morning coffee set up this time - called 'let's lemon it':
let's lemon it this morning - Alex's breakfast and coffee is ready... but i guess Alex is not :(as he is a total Yoshi Lis today meaning sleeping in his den hibernating together with his surname... but woody allen is always there for me... well, take it this way: woody is jewish and he has a good, deep intellectual humor - worth spending time with for both reasons :). on the table: there are bureks from milan's factory - his yesterday's present for us; marzipans that took a form of fruit; hawthorn berries (eatable but grown in the city so not recommended for consumption); toffeed dry apples and pomegranates; common queensland bananas 'nd lemons; rhubarb and custard candies; ...wait - there is that cunning animal - a fox - can't get rid of them :) they are everywhere in this house... - and as italians say: 'let's si' - some pieces from our garden plus lemon butter cookies. oh, si, my fingerprints there too ... on the Fire Dancer peanuts for sure as i had them even before they were unsealed and definitely before they saw the light... woody? are you still there?.. (he is so devoted to me poor bugger :) ) .
I am continuing to educate our readers on Russian cuisine, its diversity and its unique dishes.
We are cooking eggplants today as my mom cooks them...
Eggplants is a popular favourite in Georgia and in Russia. It is traditionally served warm or at room temperature, spread on thick slices of good bread or pita/lavash.
Ingredients: three medium-sized egg plant two medium-sized white onions olive oil two cloves garlic, finely chopped one sweet green pepper, seeded and diced (can be red or yellow pepper) three tomatoes diced one lemon honey fresh parsley salt and pepper three medium carrots
Method: Cube the eggplants. fry them in a bit of hot oil till thy are reasonably tender. Fry the onions in oil taking care not to brown them. Add the garlic, carrots, green pepper and continue to fry gently over low heat. When the onions and peppers are softened, add the cooked and chopped eggplants, tomatoes, the juice of one lemon, about a half cupful of chopped fresh parsley, a generous spoonful of honey, seasoning to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Continue cooking over low heat until the mixture is soft and flavours are blended. The dish we called MUSAHAR (or musaka) at home. I believe that Greeks also cook something similar.
Serve with fresh country butter and good quality bread
Russian herring with potatos
Russian brined herring is cured without any sugar or wine vinegar. The best herring is the one brined whole, with the head on and its innards intact. Cleaning it is actually easier than it looks. It should be dark yellow and slightly cloudy.
Ingredients: 1 whole brined Russian herring; 1/2 white onion, sliced thinly; 4 potatoes; 1/3 cup vegetable oil; 1 tbsp minced chives; 1/2 tbsp unrefined sunflower oil; several black peppercorns; 1 large bay leaf; salt to taste; freshly ground black pepper; plain white vinegar; slices of Borodinsky or pumpernickel bread, for garnish (available in Russian bakeries)
Method: Ruffle the onion and place in a small dish. Cover with vinegar completely and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cover a large non-absorbent cutting board with several layers of wax paper. Lay the herring horizontally and, using a very sharp non-serrated knife, make a slit along the belly from the tail to the head. Gently scrape out the innards. Remove the top layer of wax paper, wrap the innards in it and discard. Filet the herring and discard the backbone and the head. Run your fingertips over the filets to feel for any remaining small bones and remove them. Do not rinse the herring. Slice the filets across, each slice approximately 3/4 inch wide. Reassemble the filets, skin side up, on an oval platter. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add unpeeled potatoes, peppercorns, and bay leaf, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Drain and peel the potatoes. Quarter and slice into small slices. Warm vegetable oil in a skillet. Add potatoes and fry, stirring, until most slices have some golden-brown crust. Salt to taste, drain on paper towels, and season generously with black pepper. While the potatoes are still slightly warm, arrange them around the herring. Drain the onion slices and arrange them on top of the herring. Sprinkle with chives before serving and garnish with bread slices.
This is a very famous decoration for any Russian festive season table
Method: Soak 20-30 g gelatin in water in advance. Wash and clean fish. Cut the head, tail and fins and pour over it cold water (2 liters). Slice fish. Place fish head, tail, parsley root, onion, salt in a pan and cook 25-30 minutes, then add sliced fish and cook at low heat until done (not more than 20 minutes). Take fish slices out carefully and arrange them on a dish. Place a lemon slice (peeled) on every fish slice anâ decorate with carrot rounds. Strain fish stock and add gelatin, bring to a boil and strain again. Decorate fish with parsley green and pour over half stock carefully. Let it to congeal a little and then pour over the rest. Serve with cabbage salad, mayo, horseradish and hot sauces.
by NM trying today Lychee Black Tea (brought to me by a good and caring friend from work, Mai Le) - it's delicious...
by Ilana M cocktail prawns - dinner
by NM . ingredients: game farm corn fed chicken, no-salt salt, white zucchini with seeds left on purpose, autumn apples, carrots, oyster mushrooms, white onions and some love - here we are - lunch is ready in no time - 24 min.
by NM afternoon tea...
by NM following the success trial of yesterday's sushi lunch - preparing some more for Yoshi's birthday guests tonight... Will take the photos of the dessert table later - in uno breath indeed... Tend to do it on the light side today so people will still have energy to sing and listen to the music - two guitars for 8 of us...
by NM: spoiling Yoshi Lis again with something different for lunch - this time home made sushi with accent on one huge yellow pumpkin flower (which actually scared a living hell out of him :) ) - found him (the 'him' is the pumpkin flower, not Yoshi) by accident in our garden under the pear tree...