Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bubble & Squeak Cakes with Portabella & Porcini Ragu

It seems to me that a lot of people don't know what my blog's namesake, bubbles n squeaks refers to. Bubble n squeak is a traditional English dish that involved shallow frying leftover vegetables from a previous meal. My memory of it harks back to a boy scouts camp where they made a version of it that was basically bacon and potatoes. I was hooked, but i don't think i ever actually had bubble n squeak again!

So anyway, the blog name came from the philosophy of using odds and ends to create a delicious meal: ok, so i've deviated from that strategy. Sue me!

Although still not true to form, using leftovers, the following recipe omits the bacon and indeed the shallow fry to go for a healthier oven baked version. Unfortunately there's no substitute for the cream in the mushroom ragu!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Old School Apple Pie

Nanna's apple pie. Brings back memories! My mickey mouse spoon, the litte square cornishware bowls. Creamy yellow Blue Ribbon icecream. Sitting at the long table with the doily tablecloth. My grandfather sneaking loose change to me wherever he could. A crust embedded with one million crystals of sugar, containing a rich treasure of melted apples.

It is time for me to try my hand at the humble apple pie.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Momofuku's Pork Belly Buns

If there's an 'in thing' in the food blogosphere lately, it's recreating the dishes of David Chang's Momofuku. Whilst i've never actually been to the New York noodle bar i have seen his Pork Belly buns posted on countless websites, and the moment i got my hands on some good pork belly (from... surprise surprise Victoria St!) it was time to try this dish.

I don't think i've gotten better rave reviews of something i've cooked before from my family. The crisp, salty pork, the soft, fluffy buns... everything just worked together perfectly. It is very difficult not to compare this dish with peking duck, with the same balance of textures and flavors. The difference is, that despite being labor intensive, this dish probably only cost around $16 to make! Better still, it can be frozen and reheated easily, and would make a fantastic dinner party, picnic or lunchbox snack.

As per usual i have taken my own liberties with the recipe and as such this is not 100% faithful to David Chang's original. Also please note that this recipe must be started the day before you want to eat it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spicy Black Bean Pork Ribs

Another result of a trip to Victoria St in Richmond was some beautiful short ribs. Considering we'd recently picked up a big back of salted black beans that would otherwise sit in the fridge for the next 10 years, my mind immediately went to black bean ribs!

Salty, bite sizes morsels of pork, rich with black bean flavor. It's really hard not to keep eating these!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Roast Pork Banh Hoi

Today i went on a trip to the Vietnamese culinary delight that is Victoria St, Richmond. Getting there at 10:00am it was already packed with shoppers of all races and sizes, delving into the fresh, varied produce, unusual packed goods and bargains to be had. There were a few things on my to-buy list including Vietnamese coffee, ingredients for 3 color drink, good fish sauce, and pork belly. But the raison d'etre of the journey was one thing and one thing only: banh hoi.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

101: Green Peppercorn Sauce

This is my 101st recipe (but my 102nd post, cheeky!) so i thought i'd give as little 101. There are some things we can learn in the kitchen that will get us out of a culinary bind time and time again. And tonight, i learned one! A person should always have some good sauce recipes up their sleeve, whether to liven up some steamed veg or to adorn a delicious charred steak. And this one is a classic restaurant favorite: Green Peppercorn Sauce. It's very easy to make, and very very delicious. Rave reviews from my dad on this one.

Hungarian Goulash

When i think of Hungarian cuisine, goulash doesn't naturally come to mind, in terms of flavors. I am not sure what spurred this stereotype in my mind, but i cannot reconcile Hungary and paprika. I think of Hungary as European, so when i conjure up it's cuisine in my head i imagine cheesy dishes delicate sauces, or meaty wurst with saukraut. So when i eat goulash my mind travels to Morocco, or Spain, where for some reason it fits in my head. Maybe a trip to Hungary will fix this odd preconception up...

Despite it' thickness and meatiness, goulash is traditionally a soup, consisting of beef, vegetables, and paprika. The ingredients are slow cooked together into a rich saucy combination. This particular recipe came from Brigitte Hafner, and is absolutely delicious and warming.Try using osso bucco to make this recipe for the most succulent goulash.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Linzer Torte

This recipe was made on request from my mum as i was trying to think of something to cook for the dessert for our regular Monday night family dinner. And all in all: this dish was a pain! The pastry, being comprised mostly of ground nuts, did not form the proteins required to make it pliable and easy to work with, like as pizza dough. Instead, it was soft and delicate. This made for a fantastic, soft, crumbly texture once cooked, but a real effort to work with.

Linzer Torte is an Austrian tarte that dates back to the 1700's. The glistening, red raspberry filling matches beautifully with a nutty, spiced pastry that makes for a beautiful afternoon dessert. The elegant european flavors pair well with marscapone or better yet, clotted cream.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fava with Thyme, Shallot & Red Vinegar Dressing

I recently invested in George Columbaris' second cookbook, and it did a wonderful job of bringing me back to memories of the delicious food served up at Hellenic Republic in Brunswick. Much more approachable than his first book, this one really gets down to good, flavourful Greek cuisine without the 'fancy stuff'.

This recipe comes from the book, and is a moorsih dip that i served with heated flatbreads. The base of the dip is provided by the split peas and olive oil, with hints of garlic and a twang of thyme and red vinegar.

Do make sure you taste for seasoning and remember that you need a little bit more salt than you might think when something is not being served hot.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Broccoli Soup with Chevre

After a couple of luxurious soups for my weekly lunches i decided to cut back, go back to basics, and make a nice, healthy soup for this week's lunches. But... well i couldn't help myself.

Don't get me wrong, this soup REALLY is as simple as they come. Excluding salt and water, this soup is comprised of just two ingredients: broccoli and goats cheese.

Chevre is the French word for goat, and logically, chevre refers in Australia as a type of goats cheese. Rich and creamy, ash covered chevre adds a very distinct note to this dish and is available at any good delicatessen.

This dish is derived from a youtube video i watched from the venerable and terrifying Gordon Ramsey. His logic is sound: why should a broccoli soup need to be tainted and overdone with stocks and creams? He lets the broccoli speak to itself, and the goatiness of the cheese come through as a faint flavor throughout. I agree- to a point. This soup is a wonderful starter or palate cleanser, but it lacks the 'oomph' required to be a main course.

Pad Thai

Late July i'm jetting off on my first trip to Thailand (that is like SO 2004 right?) and i can't wait! Over the last 2 or so years i've tried to perfect my pad thai, and tonight is the closest i have gotten yet. Whilst the practices used in making the pad thai are pretty standard, this is not the easiest dish to make. A lot of intuition goes into knowing when to add ingredients, and most importantly, when the noodles are ready to add.

The recipe which i originally used gave the guideline 'the noodles can be added when they are flexible, but haven't enlarged'. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, the noodles stay in this 'twilight' state for about 10 minutes! If worst comes to worst, add the noodles earlier rather than later, and then keep testing and adding water to the wok before putting in the egg. The constant stirring will make the noodles a bit more 'gluggy' but the result will still turn out much better than overcooking the noodles in the first place. After a few takes, you'll get a better idea of when to add the noodles.

On a side note: i love tamarind? A partner once bought me a box of dried tamarinds as a snack, and despite their unappealing look (dried dog poop anyone?) the sticky sweet/sour flesh inside is delicious. If you are ever on Victoria St Richmond, pick some up from a grocer.


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