Sunday, October 31, 2010

Food writers

Roast Suckling Pig
For many years I have looked forward to the weekend Age newspaper for my regular hit of victuals scrutiny. This weekend’s article, I have to say, is a tad on the pretentious side. While I have always struggled with the fact the most food writers have a pedigree in journalism rather than in the culinary arts, I do understand that at times cooks lack the linguistic style to make what they have to say an easy or delightful read. And I may well be showing my age or perhaps I'm just biased against the 'new' breed of food writers, but there seems to be way too much focus on ‘inventive’ experiences to the detriment of informing the more rounded gastronome. The resourcefulness of peasant pasts lead to some food marriages that are hard to beat.

Barley Risotto
Claire Winton Burn (A Masterchef finalist) laments the decision to choose the signature suckling pig belly at the expense of what she labels comfort food – whiting with prawn vinaigrette! The roasted suckling pig is great but only if you prefer pork to whiting and fatty cuts to something a little leaner. And even at the Cutler & Co end of the market one can include a more rustic treat, like the barley risotto. I had grown rather accustomed to Matt Preston taking me in all manner of directions in the foray of fine fare exploration. So I say mix it up a bit Claire and friends, a little grungy dining may well help to make decisions that will balance emotional and culinary appetites .....and desserts do not always need to follow an entrĂ©e and main course; be daring and have dessert only occasionally!

More on Cutler & Co soon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy birthday!

 Hip hip hooray - its EatThis's first birthday today! Let's eat cake!

Fresh mango and cream sponge.
It all started…….with a consciousness that after 30 years immersed in the hospitality industry I knew all matter of stuff about food, cooking & dining - sufficient to be of interest to others! And what better way to share my food adventures than putting them ‘out there on the web’. Like many others I think there's a book or two in me but with the characteristic attention span of a cook (that’s a little longer than a goldfish but relatively short as one pushes through roughly 100 covers (diners) in a typical service - next!) perhaps I'm more suited to the more succinct nature of the blog - my daughter 'the grammar dynamo' certainly agrees. But with a somewhat sociable character blogging away to the unknown sometimes still seems a bit peculiar. I’d love a little more interaction from happy customers – hint hint leave a comment now and then.

So EatThis has become a way of responding to questions from students, colleagues, friends, friends of friends..... which restaurant? where do I buy? how do I cook? what goes with? Sometimes planning the next post has provided me with a prompt to keep exploring - new food discoveries yeah! Now I want to get better food shots so I am about to upgrade from my basic point and shoot Canon IXUS to a Cannon G11/12 - not ready for a full on DSLR quite yet ( I would have to spend too much time learning how to use it and I’m too busy fooding!). And now Urbanspooners get a peek through direct links - Urbanspoon rocks!

So here's (bubbles is the toast of choice) to another year of culinary capers! Cheers Rumbaba

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How much is a loaf of bread?

I couldn't bring myself to buy the Tiptop sliced bread, even if it was cheaper and would have left enough money to get some chips, my child recently proclaimed. She had chosen another factory produced bread but one with a little more substance and a higher price tag. One more bread lover has been 'bred' - please excuse the pun! The bread I refer to as 'fluff' is not often found in our house although I have to admit to one of my guilty sins here - fresh white sliced bread with plenty of butter, sliced Pariser and tomato sauce (I have just recently discovered that I share this fetish with one of my long time foodie buddies - snap).

Good bread in my view has a dense wheaty tangy crumb and chewy crust and best baked in a wood fired oven. It is made lovingly by the hands of a baker whose day starts before I even go to bed. Thankfully finding this type of bread has become easier over the years, however it does come at a price, literally speaking. And the cost for all the love? (quality ingredients, skills and time too of course) - the average price for artisan bread is around $6.00. On a recent excursion to one of my favourites I came home with a luscious fig, pear and walnut loaf that cost $9.50, probably a bigger cost was the lashings of butter that I applied to the thick toasted slices the next morning. Note to self - don't buy house around the corner for good bakery!
Denches Bakers, 109 Scotchmer St, Fitzroy North
Dench Bakers on Urbanspoon