Friday, 20 August 2010

Hor Fun - Memories of 6th Mile Market

Ok ... on certain Sundays in my childhood, dinner meant steaming white cardboard boxes lined with plastic and filled with slippery, charry, yummy hor fun! These flat white rice noodles were covered in an unctuous egg-white thickened seafood flecked sauce. Slithers of pork liver were unwelcome but essential to the taste and of course Dad would always insist on an extra portion of pickled green chillies (the hot variety)! Beef hor fun is a relatively recent variant for me but it is the best way to start when learning to cook this dish. Inspired by a receipt found on the 3 Hungry Tummies (really if you want to learn how to cook asian food, this website is mandatory!!) website, me and M whipped this up one lazy weekend. You will find the version I grew up with here.

Separating these noodles from their neatly wound pack is a bitch. Try and get the freshest version you can as this will make the task easier. Add a slurp of dark soya sauce and then char the noodles with a little oil in the wok. Try not to stir too vigorously as you do not want the noodles to break up.

Prepare all the raw ingredients beforehand. This is imperative for all wok cooking. DO NOT go down the Jamie white man Oliver et al track and run around bashing everything in sight as your ingredients slip from hot sizzle to a coal-blackened burn on the stove. (M take note!!) Cooking in the Asian kitchen is a zen experience.

Once you have satisfactorily charred your noodles, you are ready to prepare the sauce. Start with sealing the beef, and then you simply throw everything in the wok and in a matter of minutes, those noodles are on the plate greedily being chop-sticked into your mouth.

You know what ... there really is no excuse ... anyone can cook.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

All about the Sanger

Ok ... it seems to be all about the humble (or rather, not so humble) sanger recently. I've been meaning to post about this for some time, but my stomach has decided to chuck a tanty and rail against all the rich food I've been trying to shove down its gullet, so its puffed its cheeks out and held its breath in a sulk, and caused an impasse which resulted in me throwing up and popping back antacids to calm the back bile ... yah ... pretty picture ... I know.

Anyhoo, we finally made it to Earl Canteen, and by we I mean the 2 T's and myself ... this is the food blogger's lunch venue du jour ... made even more significant by the fact that a couple of food bloggers set up this establishment. And in typical melbourne fashion, its not easily seen from the street. Its in a courtyard section behind a major building and although the street address is Bourke Street, unless you know to walk through the foyer of said building, they recommend you enter via the street behind ... Melbourne!

Anyhoo, you can read a review here ... because we pretty much agree ... although be warned, someone in house makes the macarons now ... still yummy though.

I had the Duck Confit sandwhich which comes with caramelised wild figs, walnuts, onion jam, radicchio and watercress served in a ciabatta roll.

The 2 T's had the same Pork Belly sanga which is Crisp skin Otway Pork belly (posh places always tell you where the meat is from) served in a baguette with apple, cabbage coleslaw, wilted silverbeet and most importantly ... crackling!!! And really yummy crackling at that!

In other Sanger related news, me and M were stuck for something to do of a Saturday arvo, so we headed out to the Duchess of Spotswood for a little afternoon repast. Thanks to a headsup from the lovely Claire.

If you're driving out here keep your eyes peeled when you hit Hudson road. If you blink you may miss this place as it slinks unassumingly amongst the rest of this tiny, and slightly depressing, shopping strip. Much of the strip remained resolutely shut when we were there at about 2 pm. Although I think the cafe must face one of the prettier residential streets in Spotswood ... actually on closer inspection, there are quite a few pretty houses around!!

I had the pork belly sandwhich which, unlike the one at Auction rooms, came with suitably piquant mustard relish and cornichons! Big tick! And lets face it, its pointless talking about the coffee (although we should mention that they use Small Batch) because if it was shit ... I wouldn't really give the joint much column space apart from saying Avoid!!

M had this brilliant bacon soup (part of the specials list) with little cubed vegetables. It was amazing. How they managed to keep it bacony but not too fatty is just a testament to skillful clarification.

And I love the fact that they have a twitter page that keeps you abreast of the ingredients they are using ... but more importantly, that they are quickly running out of!! Oh and also whats new on the menu!!

PS - I haven't been blogging of late having been holed up over the toilet seat for the past few days ... but my stats haven't dipped ... so to all my reader(s) ... top left!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Opium and Turkey - Fastimes with Nan Goldin

Ok ... we recently headed out to Heide and were fortunate enough to see Nan Goldin's slideshow "The Ballad of Sexual Dependancy".

I believe there were a total of 800 slides of photos Nan took of her friends/lovers between the late 70s and mid-80s. There's a certain sense of turgid glamour riding on a wave of sex, drugs and rock n roll ... these were the days of true escapism, wild abandonement, and violent betrayal.

I think some people would question the validity of homespun snapshots as a form of art ... but its more of a visual installation than prosaic hangings on a wall ... the soundtrack is amazing and the stories gleaned from these sometimes blurry shots run the gamut of life's great motifs from friendship through to obsession through to passion and sometimes just good old plain sexual lust ... despite the harsh conditions of life, these people were at least living ... even in the midst of dying.

A moving piece of emotional dichotomy that frankly pissed all over the rest of the exhibits in the gallery.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

"Hooked" Line and Sinker Pt. 2

Ok ... thanks to R & W's largesse, we braved a cold wet winter night and trundled off to Fiztroy to celebrate the opening of a new Hooked fish and chippery.

Having garnered favourable reviews in the press, R has decided to head north to the hipster enclave of Brunswick Street for his next gastronomic venture.

I have to admit that unlike M, I have yet to sample a full meal at the Windsor establishment, although I had some of the rosemary infused chips cold and they were spectacular. And really, I never had any doubt, because W told me so ... and I trust her gourmand tastes implicitly.

I made M a little nervous by saying that he was going to be on show ... but thankfully not all the faces were unfamiliar to him.

The interior was fittingly nautical in its theme, polished concrete floor offset by hefty flotsam and jetsam wood. One wall was covered in a painted mural of an old sardine can and facing that was a series of framed seaworthy photos, scoured off the web, printed and lovingly arranged.

The shop has a reasonably large courtyard which housed the seashanty stylings of a nameless band hired for the night, and an upstairs area which was kept closed.

There was free flow wine and beer (vietnamese) but no bubbles ... W!! Or maybe we were too late. Little nibblies were served in noodle boxes by nubile waitresses fetchingly clothed in nautical stripes. Everything tasted wonderfully fresh and paired with accompaniments that didn't take away from the main ingredients they were supporting but maintained a palatable quotient of their own.

There was grilled fish served with a wonderfully piquant hot sauce heavy with ginger and coriander (a highlight for me), battered fish with amazing chips (still rating as one of the best chips I've tasted in a long time), fried calamari with salad, fresh oysters, and maybe a few more platters that we missed out on ... but we didn't go away hungry by any means.

It was great finally meeting some of the rest of the Feds ... and its always a pleasure to chat with D, and of course there's my lesbian-in-crime Mama T ... who I will shortly see less off ... which is so effed up I don't even know where to begin.

Here's to R and Hooked ... we wish you success and longevity.

"Hooked" Line and Sinker Pt. 1


D: "Was ist Ihnen?"
W: "Was ist schon dabei?"

Orally Fixated!

Ok ... it seems like its been all about the food recently ... well lets face it, it has always been about the food ... which is why I feel my weight and my winter coat is starting to rebel at the seams!!

But anyhoo, there's so much to catch up on gastronomically. M has been trully inspired and the meals being dished out of our humble kitchen have been stupendous to say the least.

First up was home made Mandarin pancakes to accompany a cheaters (i.e. store bought) Peking Duck.

M's "famous" hands are onto the pastry as per ush.

And it was just another casual week night dinner:

Much like tonight's repast inspired by a Matt Moran demo on one of the Masterchef Masterclasses. Having scored Manchego cheese at the Latino run Milkbar in Mooners, and a tub of crab claw meat at the fancy Coles in Flemo, we set to work making our version of Crab and Corn Quesadillas.

We made a simple tomato sauce using a recommended can of Bangor's Salsa Pomarola de Tomate Frito, sliced garlic, basil and a hefty dose of pepper.

The filling was made up of crab claw meat, fresh corn, chillies, spring onions (we didn't have coriander), garlic, pepper and salt.

To assemble, we covered one piece of white corn tortilla with the tomato sauce, a generous spread of the crab filling, a mound of Manchego cheese (which is almost like a parmesan/cheddar/goats cheese cross) and covered with another slice of tortilla.

2 minutes on each side in a dry pan, and then in the oven for another 4 to 5.

We wolfed ours down with some seriously paprika-ed chorizo and a couple of empanadas, also from abovementioned milkbar.


Monday, 9 August 2010

Vinyl Junkies

Ok ... whilst doing some online "research", I stumbled upon the youtube user page of one vincei2006. He is as infatuated with vinyl as I am, and can obviously see its romantic possibilities. He lovingly shows you the process of unsheathing a record from its warm hard paper nest, placing it on the slip mat, adjusting weights and balances, moving the cartridge arm slowly across and levering the needle gently onto an available groove ... and you hear that needle bump as it catches ... and finally that warm sound ... shivers!

Here's an example of what I'm talking about ... a slice of urban commentary courtesy of a Pat Benatar b-side:

Sunday, 8 August 2010


Ok ... I think everyone in Melbourne was trying to make it into the city today. Parking was a bitch and we gave up pretty much straightaway. So I can't report on the Tim Burton exhibtion. But its on until October ... so expect a minor post of some description sometime.

Anyhoo, a slice of Pear, Walnut and Frangipanni Tart over at Auction Rooms more than made up for it:

And tonight's repast is Peking Duck ... what a great way to end a weekend.

Harry Belafonte

Ok ... in anticipation of going to the Tim Burton exhibition, here is what Tom Waits had to say of Harry Belafonte in Mojo July 2010.

"Harry Belafonte has always been with me. When I make records, I try to explore my own diversity no doubt inspired in part by my enduring exposure to Harry Belafonte. Calypsos, rumbas, shanties, work songs, lullabies, waltzes, ballads, jump tope songs; type of songs that exist in all cultures. In them, we can hear the common human experience we all share. Music travels on trade winds. It is the broadcasting of seeds. Belafonte's seeds grow out of my ears like potatoes ... He is one of standards by which I measure all singers."

Bento Bento!

Ok ... I think I should just let the pics speak for themselves. I've already blah-ed about Ebi ... and John who runs the joint in a past life was a roadie/runner/driver for a calvacade of stars ... he has some stories to tell!!

M had the belly pork

I had the Tonkatsu

Friday, 6 August 2010

Friends with you all over!

Ok ... so in a recent Age (Melbourne) Magazine Design and Lifestyle special, a number of groovy creative types were interviewed and photos of their workspaces/houses/inspirational rooms were taken, and guess what Arabella Ramsey has hanging above her bed too ...

Over at Ghost Patrol and Miso's what do I see but another Plasma Boy print peaking out from the inspiration laden wall ...

All I can say is great creative minds think alike. Arabella we're happy to have been your inspiration.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Ova the Ovaphobia

Ok ... I believe that M is finally over his ovaphobia!

He actually ate and enjoyed a beef dish made with salted egg yolk!! Who would have thunk.

At said restaurant, we also had bones (well we call it bones, but in singers we refer to this as you char kuay) stuffed with prawn paste. Disgustingly unhealthy but yummy just the same.

Both dishes lovingly crafted at the re-vamped Golden Harvest in Footscray.

Monday, 2 August 2010

You're waiting for a train; a train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you can't be sure. Yet it doesn't matter - because we'll be together.

Ok ... I believe it was a Smash Hits reviewer that once wrote that Annie Lennox could sing the telephone directory and he would still buy her record. I kinda feel the same way about Christopher Nolan in that he could cinematize said directory and I'd still purchase a ticket to see that movie.

Inception does not detract from this conviction. I know everyone is over the hype and there will be lots of you out there who will become detractors as a result, but lets not forget that this is a Big Budget hollywood extravaganza, and as extravaganzas go, this is intelligent, non-patronising movie making at its best.

There are some extremely clever stylistic allusions and the performances are strong ... yes even Leo's. Although I have yet to make my mind up re: Ellen Page. I couldn't stop thinking about Juno and that "Anyone else but You" song threatened to take over my brain each time she appeared on screen. But the Hans Zimmer score is so insistent and strangely effective in all its loud bombast and the plot so intriguing despite its somewhat infuriating, almost stubbornly variegated plot, that moments of distraction were almost non-existent.

There is an element of intellectual aggrandisement. Christopher does love to subvert logic and prove how he can cleverly resolve seemingly disparate threads into one complete emotional whole at the end. And bloody hell, he's good at it!! And along the way he gives you amazing CGI effects, thrilling action sequences, a bit of humour, a bit of emotional gravitas, socio-psycho-architectural theory, a plot that keeps you guessing right to the very end ... genius.

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