Thursday, 23 February 2012

Son in Law Eggs

They say the reason son-in-law eggs got there name was due to the fact that no-one can stuff up a hard boiled egg, not even your son-in-law.
Since none of us bear any children (or in-laws) we wanted to adapt the recipe a little and attempt soft boiled son-in-law eggs. The reason being that there's more skill involved and they are something we are more familiar with eating thanks to Easy Tiger and Gingerboy (our top pick).

The recipe for Royal son-in-law eggs comes from Travels with Thai Food, from the owners of Spirit House, which one day I hope to visit this oasis-like restaurant and cooking school. We own a couple of Spirit House's books and every recipe we have tried has been a raving success, so was looking forward to trialling them at home.

Eggs were soft boiled, and then deep-fried.

Served on a bed of minced chicken, teamed with a concoction of tamarind water, palm sugar, fish sauce and  spring onions.

Garnished with some chilli from the garden, we present our slightly over soft-boiled bordering on hard boiled son-in-law eggs.

We served these with some much needed stir-fried veggies.

My cooking skills tonight fit the bill for the role of son-in-law, I'll just have to have a sex change first. Watch this space.

Verdict: Yum, definitely a flavour sensation. The chicken was a salty, sweet and bitter combo. Need to improve on the eggs though.
Would we make this again?: For sure, would do anything not to file for the sex change (do you file for a sex change?). Next time it would be good (although not for our amateur food styling) to serve the eggs whole to have the burst of runny egg yolk in the mouth.  Hopefully we will have this perfected by then.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Crêpe Tuesday

So this is the first I've heard of Crêpe Tuesday/Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday. This conversation stemmed from us having a fridge full of cream, so a dessert was on the cards. Looking through our recipe selection we see Crêpe and Chocolate Terrine from Terrine (one book we have two copies in our household), and here I learn about Crepe Tuesday. You say Crepe Tuesdays, does that mean I should eat crêpes every Tuesday? No, so it turns out its custom to make pancakes on Shove Tuesday, as it is a way to use up the eggs before Lentern fasting begins as eggs are forbidden during the Lent.

So that put crepes on the menu tonight, this still doesn't solve our cream problem, but we'll have to save that for another night. Over dinner we have moved on to bigger discussions - Lent. What can we each fast for 40 days? Alcohol was a suggestion, when we worked out we had quite a bit on for 40 days so not really realistic. Not buying lunch for 40 days, not buying coffee either, but I need to get up extra early now to take Lowrider for a walk so I need coffee (this gets dismissed by the other 2 early rises), that I decide my Lent is to not buy lunch or coffee for 40 days.

Shopping. Okay, Caroline's fast is shopping, which may spurt a burst of online shopping tonight, "ooh I really want these pair of shoes, can you buy them for me and I'll pay you back in 40 days" the lent scamming has already started before it has begun.

Troy - he's thinking about Lent, and maybe ponder some more over a bowl of lentils.

And a household Lent fast ensued a cookbook buying ban.

Back to the crêpe terrine. Lots of pan changes, trying to find the best crêpe pan, which adds that extra pressure of the first crêpe always being bad, so 4-9 bad crêpes half eaten, and no terrine in sight at this stage.

Not bad down the finishing line.
(Do we mention that we had to cut the crêpes in half to get the stack like they did in the cookbook)

Frou Frou Moo Moo eggs, each delicately lying on a bed of tinsel.

Luckily we are not forbidden to eat eggs over the next 40 days, as friends of ours have just started a small boutique egg business Frou Frou Moo Moo, which their happy little chickens are watched upon by a couple of friendly Alpacas. All of which can be viewed from their website (launching soon) where they have a live video feed onto the Chickens and Alpacas.. very hilarious. I wonder how many hours I will stare at the little chickens just going about their business. I also love how they are marketing all there small eggs/bantam eggs as children's eggs - such a great idea!

Verdict: Was pretty good, probably needed some more sauce, or a berry coulis wouldn't go astray.
Would we make this again?: Maybe, if we felt the need to have a competition who could create the largest crêpe tower.

Clearing up the back-blog

Well, we're ticking off the recipes.  Cooking is a bit of necessity around here - constantly planning our next meal, dinner party or theme night.  The blog however doesn't seem to be getting the same attention.  Sitting, laptop in hand, trying not to get distracted by the usual suspects - the puppy, alcohol, My Kitchen Rules (sorry, guilty pleasure) isn't an easy task.  Two words per hour seems to be the average writing speed around here.  

Enter Pony, this weeks guest writer.  She'll be musing about the Spanish themed meal we dished up, the delightful company and being an avid dog lover, I'm sure that Lowrider the pup will feature! 

Looking forward to a fresh perspective from one of our favorite wordsmiths.  A great way to clear the mounting back-blog.


Thanks Pony for your guest blogging. Tonight's theme is Spanish, and we invited Pony over for the long awaited meeting of Lowrider. We have 4 recipes to tick off the list for tonight's dinner:
Sangria Granita from Cocina Nueva (Didn't make it to the table, don't attempt to freeze something a couple of hours before serving)
Fatayer from The Moro Cookbook
Paella from The Butcher, the Baker, the Best Coffee Maker
Chocolate con churros from Movida

¡ATMÓSPHERA! (ambience!) 
Fruits of the sea. Rich, tasty condiments. Red lipstick. A dog loving friend and guest diner recently relocated to Melbourne. One small canine in sausage casing. Shakira, red wine, touch of  Paul Simon – all effects typically Spanish (but all just probably a culturally offensive farce). Slow cook that woofy sausage and he might turn into chorizo.
¡ENTRADA! (entrée!) 
Low-rider on his mince. Said guest diner brought it along as a feeble effort to win some woofy love. Worked a treat.

Guest blogger spending about 75% of her night at chorizo level.

For the two legged-ers, there were:
¡PATATAS BRAVAS! Served with HOMEMADE AIOLI (fancied up mayonesa). Suck on it Jamie Oliver, my friend makes crispier roast potatoes than you. Student has become the master…; and 
Cava, Rosato  and Grenache kept the Spanish theme in order

¡FATAYER! Little Cornish pastie-type things stuffed with pumpkin, feta, and some kind of herb. Guest diner who suggested playing “name that herb” was rubbish at her own game. Naïve.

¡ENTRADA ROUND DOS! (entrée round two!) 
The bottom dwelling one snuck off into the garden and had a hoon on the spring onions the tea towel maker had so lovingly planted and nurtured. This wasn’t part of the meal plan, it was just a case of dachshund be loco. Greedy sausage. Still not too late to turn you into spring onion stuffed chorizo.

¡PLATO PRINCIPAL! (move into the dining room now, this evening is getting fancy) 
There was a party on the bottom of the sea that moved onto a pan. There was no lobster on the plate, but Sebastian from the Little Mermaid clearly set up this whole affair, Sebastian himself appears to be Jamaican, but if he got together with Marc Anthony and sang a song about this paella, it would be the new Spanish national anthem. Record companies will finally be able to get behind a meaningful cause.


¡POSTRE! (pudding!) 
Homemade churros. Guest diner lovingly scooped them out of the oil, patted them down with paper towels, then threw some sugar at them. It all smelt so delicious, the bottom dweller woke up briefly and made a hilarious sleepy attempt to roll his sausage carriage into the kitchen. Guest diner took the opportunity to indulge in some animal cruelty pre- postre-entrée - and tricked him into chasing his tail. By the time she was back there was a cup of custardy chocolate mixture sitting next to a pile of sugary deep fried dough. Loco got loco. Things were so delicious, they even got sexualmente atractivo. Guest diner got overwhelmed and fleetingly assessed her chances of getting some fat sex. Opportunities weren’t presenting themselves, so she went and harassed the bottom dweller some more. No means no, churro.

¡POST-POSTRE!(post pudding!) 
Started binge drinking,, for no apparent reason. Mierda happens. No music, no salsa, but there were terse, hot blooded latino words with a taxi company operator at 3.30 in the morning. Viva l’espagne!

¡RESACA! (dirty, nasty hangover!) 
Don’t want to talk about it. Callar a la fuerze (shut your face, I’m really hungover and can’t deal with this).

Monday, 13 February 2012

A dark day.  Our friend Tessa is leaving the country indefinitely.  Eating to numb the pain is not an unfamilar notion so to mourn her departure we decided that a feast was in order.  

Tonight's menu was a hat trick of an affair.
Entree: Smoky eggplant salad with walnuts and borlotti bean salad from Karen Martini - Where your heart is
Main: Salt crusted lamb rack, pea and spring onion sauté, pea tendril salad and minted pea emulsion from Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs
Dessert: Dulce de leche banana cream pie from The Art and Soul of Baking by Sur la Table and Cindy Mushet

Entree had fresh borlotti beans, red onion, chargrilled eggplant, coriander, sherry vinegar. Served with some grilled pita bread. There is always something pleasing about using produce from the garden, home-grown long eggplants were used in this recipe.
Troy doing the finishing touches on plating up, adding the mint and pea foam.

Main consisted of lamb rack rubbed with herbs and salt, mint and pea foam (made by cooking mint and peas in milk then frothing with a wizz stick), fresh peas and broad beans sauteed with mint all served with a lovely red wine jus.

Butcher's rookie mistake, racks not perfectly frenched.

The main was a hit. "I always leave something on my plate, so it's a big compliment to your cooking that the plate is clean" said Alistair.

Flying saucer finish, Tessa's favourite for her departure

Dessert was a cookie crumb base (the recipe called for graham crackers.  I wasn't about to pop over to the states so I substitued them for digestive biscuits), dulce de leche creme patisserie with sliced bananas, cream and grated chocolate.

Verdict: Entree was good, would be great as a salad for lunch. The main was a hit.  It would also be really nice with a cauliflower puree.  Some great flavour combinations to use aspects of in future cooking. The dessert was delicious, quite light a lot to handle after 2 previous courses, and no-one was keen on finishing the open bottle of red wine on the table. Caroline manned up and stated "the red wine really cuts through the fat" so the rest of us got tucked in and finished it off.
Would we make it again?: For sure.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

San choy bow wow!

Tonight's dinner is a welcome dinner.  We've acquired a dachshund puppy, he goes by the name of 'Lowrider'.  So to mark this monumental occasion we've chosen a dish that we'll all enjoy. 

San Choy Bau from Cooking with Passion by Ian Parmenter, a charity shop cookbook find.  If you see the cover, you'll understand
We had to make a few adjustments for his portion.  Not cooking it, no spice, no sauce.  Basically just raw mince in a lettuce cup. 


Verdict: Quick easy dinner, hits the flavour spots.  Lowrider enjoyed.
Would we make this again?: Yeah, for a quick fix.  Not one to impress at dinner parties. 

Lowrider helping out with recipe selection for tomorrow nights dinner.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Killing two birds with one stone

On the menu tonight:
Barbecued chicken - Speight's Southern Man Cookbook
Spicy green beans with cashews and coconut - Kitchen Garden Companion

After a hard night of planning all the recipes we would make from our 112 strong cookbook collection we opted for something a little simple.  And nothing says simple like a shoving a can of beer into a chicken's butt.

In true Stephanie Alexander style we picked the beans and chillies from our garden

Spicy green beans ingredients: cumin seeds, desiccated coconut, shallots, long green chili, turmeric, coconut milk, cashew nuts, garlic and green beans.

A delicious way to keep chooks moist on a barbecue or some form of misogynistic torture?
The recipe called for us to drink 1/2 a can of beer, shove the remainder up it's behind and baste it with a mixture of soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and oyster sauce. Then barbecue.

Verdict: One moist drunken chick.
Would we make these again?: Yes, chicken again for entertainment value.  Beans..not so much, prefer plain.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The task at hand

The hardest part (so far), deciding to choose all the recipes in one night.
What seemed to be a fun task to ended in a late night. Effort towards recipe selection became slightly more delirious as the night went on. We all had our different coloured sticky notes so we know who to lay the blame on when it comes to the time to cook. All eyes on Troy our resident butcher who had the hard task of picking from the greats (Heston, Noma, Madison Park etc.). We look forward to foams, spheres and liquid nitrogen!

112 cookbooks and counting..