Food is where it’s at. Man.

December 4, 2007

It’s been a little chillier than I’ve been used to. Average max. daytime temperature in Sydney, I’m told, for winter, is 19C. Lately, it being but Autumnal here, we’ve been living in just over half that, I have been told.
Time for some time in the kitchen. (As always, but it sounds better when you’d rather not be outside due to inclemency of the weather.)
Roast pheasant, stuffed with butter and sage, alongside roast onion, garlic, parsnip and potato. Bloody great, and only £4 for the bird as opposed to the comfortably more than £10 that we’d pay for a(n organic) chook (that’s a chicken for any non-antipodean types who’ve found their way here.) It’s smaller, of course, but tasty as all get out. And it’s not some weird inbred specimen.
And they say English food is shite. Well it is, but it doesn’t have to be! The ingredients are all here!
Here’s another bargain delight:
Mussel risotto pan
The mussels are less than £4/kilo, (that’s live, so the shells make up most of the weight) and a kilo is enough to flavour vast amounts of tucker – this risotto was muscularly flavoured with just the stock from steaming them open in wine, never mind the vast wealth of flavour when the mussels themselves were added at the end. It was almost a disservice to the rice, and the homemade chicken stock it was mostly cooked in, the way the mussels wrestled them into submission, but a little fennel (bought), and bronze fennel (the fine dark strands in the picture) which comes out of our garden, with a little of the parsley which grows beside it lifted it all again, the way fresh herbs do. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the cheese! You may know that a trad risotto has a Parmesan quotient, but we figured that that wouldn’t play nicely with the mussels. Luckily we found at the market a fun mozzarella di bufala that was mild and lovely and NOT rubbery, but melted in delicious strands around the other ingredients – I’m tempted to do it all again next weekend!



  1. Too bad you won’t be here for Xmas to do us another delicious turkey :~(

  2. STOP! Just stop. That’s all I have to say.


    (That’s an emoticon for someone drooling).

  3. Oh it looks marvelous! Which variety of spuds are taking your fancy over there?

  4. Ah spuds. Bloody marvellous they are here and rich in variety. Jersey royals are the queens of the spud world – they grow only on Jersey and are only in season for about a month. Every week we seem to get a different variety in our box – this week it’s Sante, but we’ve had Maris Piper, Maris Peer, Maris Bard, Estima (my favourite after the JR), Orla, Osprey as well as all the usual suspects – King Edward, Nicola, Desiree. No Dutch cream though, and that single batch from Macro is still the top potato experience of my lifetime!

  5. And anaglyph come over – we’ll cook it all for you!

  6. oh! i envy your choice in potatoes! very little choice and what there is is bad. gluey, don’t roast nicely, don’t mash nicely, it’s all about the french fry.

    have you brined poultry? it’s all the rage here, i just did it for the first time on Saturday. EXCELLENT RESULTS. much juicier breast meat, perfect. sadly you can’t use the pan juices for gravy as it really is too salty but you could save it for the stock afterwards for the next nights risotto 🙂

  7. Brined poultry? Lordy! I’m sure Heston Blumenthal would approve heartily – he brines anything that moves (or doesn’t)! I shall investigate.

  8. good. last night i made my 2nd attempt, and from this day forward, I swear I’ll never not brine again. just browsing websites I see now some foodies are turning against it (“so last century”, “good meat stands alone”) but give it a go. Alice Waters of Chez Panisse has a recipe. Don’t relax about leaving it “overnight” tho, I would say 8 hours max for a big chook. 4 – 6hrs optimum for a normal one. I think the solution she uses is quite a strong one.

  9. another bit of poultry method americana

  10. wow, that’s so wrong!
    Good cooking is much easier than that.
    Viva Americana!

    Must confess we haven’t tried the brining yet. Had a wonderful chook tonight, jointed and cooked in tomato, garlic, vinegar, chilli, herbs and a zillion bits and pieces. With roast celeriac. YUM. Slow cook (5 hours!) but so tasty!

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