Friday, April 30, 2010

Cooking from the heart........

Moroccan marvelous! Delicious rich hearty food, perfect for Autumn dining.  Tagines (stews) of fish, lamb or goat, humongous legumes, cous cous and traditional bastilla (layered pie) all beautifully balanced. Food for sharing, a trusty trio of epicureans enriching the experience (plus the unborn child already expanding her culinary repertoire!).

We couldn't manage dessert but the sweet Moroccan mint tea was fabulous. As we were leaving the Chef , wandered past, we chatted about the beautiful flavours of the meal - he shared his passion with a story of a simple tomato dish his mother prepared, 'I cook from the heart' he concluded. Pierre Khodja's food resonates with love.

Canvas, Level 1 302-320 Burwood Rd Hawthorn

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Just the way my Grandmother made it...

...if only she was still here to share all her tips. It seems the art of preserving has skipped a generation in our family and so despite 30 years of professional cooking experience and a plethora of 'original' recipes I am but a beginner. I know only too well that its what's not written into a recipe that is so valuable! Its taken 4 years to repeat the wonderful fig jam I made in 2006, the 2007 version was too runny and went mouldy, the 2008 version overcooked and became toffee, 2009 I chickened out and made fig paste which has been wonderful with soft cheese and 2010 took two attempts - the first one I burnt (it seems as bad in print as it felt! and my pot scrubber will attest to the nightmare of cleaning the pot - although burnt fig jam isn't something unique to me, another tip my grandmother could have shared if she wasn't in the 'big vegie patch'). Despite all this a second batch was a success and I can now add fig jam to my growing list of preserves that I consider I have mastered. Help save your culinary past, cook with the wise!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hainanese chicken

I have so many Malaysian favourites its always so hard to choose.
  • Laksa, coconut or Asam
  • Mee goreng
  • Char kway teow
  • Rendang
  • Nasi lemak
and of course the delicious Hainanese chicken rice, also 'claimed' as a Singaporean dish as well as its Chinese heritage from Hainan in China. The whole chicken gently poached in rich stock (master stock in China) and the rice cooked in stock enriched with chicken fat, the stock served as a broth with the final dish together with a chilli, ginger sauce and sliced cucumber. It seems a bit like a 'deconstructed' chicken soup, with a twist! And despite my Western culinary background I think I have adopted this dish as 'comfort food'.

Straits Cafe, 694 Doncaster Road Doncaster