Monday, 25 July 2011

Sous Vide Madness

Ok ... now that only the boring people are left on Masterchef, I have been suitably inspired to try my dab hand at Sousvide-ing some poultry ... except for the "vide" part which I wilfully ignore despite M's repeated warnings to ensure all the air has been massaged out of my makeshift vacuum pack ... a couple of sandwich bags from Daiso.

So I placed my chicken breast in said sandwich bag with Thyme, butter, parsley, mushrooms, salt and pepper. I mushed the bag down and seal in a pique of indifference and bung it in some simmering water with a lid on and cook it for a better part of an hour and a half.


Meanwhile, I decide to puree something again ala Masterchef and opt for Pumpkin, Corn and fetta. I roast the pumpkin and corn with some rosemary and beef stock and then into the mixer with the fetta and sour cream.

To accompany this folly, I fry purple cabbage with bacon, pine nuts, cummin and a bit of beef stock (yes I had some left over that needed using) and then bobs your uncle/aunty/whatevs, dinner was ready for plating.

The verdict ... a little rough around the edges but super yummy!!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Vale Amy!

Ok ... this is indeed a loss and really such a waste! Bye Bye Amy, you will be sorely missed for all the wrong reasons, and for all the right ones.

"Why do I wish I never Played
Oh what a mess we made
And now the final frame
Love is a losing Game"

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Random Thoughts Part ... oh who cares!!

Ok ... time for another round up which comes to you without an ETS or Carbon tax and fragrantly free of any fetid phone hacking hijinks! Oh and we will not be cuing the "oh no the fire" screenshot or adding the well placed "insert branding" advertorial phrase. So here it is fuss free and in no discernible order, Temasek's Random thoughts:

- Elizabeth, your water is really cold and made my teeth ache!
- I may have a clot or worse ... arthritis!!!
- still no sign of my CD player, but amazon blessed me with a few choice items in the mail ... including the Suede classic "Dog Man Star" which has this slice of brilliance

- isn't my cat pretty in blue?

- finally made it to the Dancing Dog Cafe in Footscray - they do poetry slams ... hhmm.

- why are album covers full of sessy times these days ... I'm not really complaining

- and in the "taking it too far" corner, the resurgence (FAIL!) of the cassette tape:

- and finally, have been enjoying the Old Grey Whistle Test on DVD on which a story is told about the progressive Dutch group Focus' first appearance on UK TV. Apparently there was so much interest in the group after the episode was aired that the record company had to clear the decks at the record pressing plant and focus all attention on pressing the Focus LP in order to meet demand ... you be the judge ... starts off reasonably well and then the organist (alarm bell #1) looking like something out of tickle penny corner on Cold Comfort Farm (alarm bell #2) starts moaning in full on castrated counter tenor (alarm bell # 3) and ... wait for it ... starts Yodelling!!! (biggest alarm bell of the lot!!!).

Saturday, 16 July 2011

A Sandwich in Fitzroy

Ok ... M's in the kitchen salvaging remnants for a plain Spag Bol ... I am typing this in the warmth of the loungeroom listening to Michael Daugherty's Jackie's Song and hoping that my new CD Player (a few days away) will iron out the aural cobwebs and somehow miraculously transform the way music projects round this room. Only a few hours ago we were in Fitzroy munching on Sandwiches at Proud Mary, enjoying the hesitant warmth of the Winter sun and making up stories about the warehouse tenants in the Foy and Gibson buildings across the way.

 A few hours before that we were spray painting primary colours onto boards as we worked our way through to the penultimate touches on our new Mondrian-esque TV stand ... yes that very one! The wait has been interminable! And the reason I am documenting all this is to illustrate how a good long weekend should be ... a composite of everything and absolutely nothing at the same time!

But it was also a good excuse of segueing into the delicious sandwiches we had for lunch. Proud Mary, apart from having the dubious (well to us anyways) distinction of hijacking the deco winged light fixture we lusted after in Three Quarters both as decoration and as logo, and being a bit of a hipster and yuppie enclave, has the friendliest staff, some of the nicest coffee blends, and brilliant food as evidenced by:

M's roast lamb and beetroot relish sandwich:

And my Roast Belly Pork sandwich:

Also, these are sandwiches! Served between 2 slices of good honest bread! Not some himalayan goat munched oats of a towering bun or other such bready larks ... inspite of its somewhat irresponsible price and the plonked bit of salad on the plate, they were absolutely delicious, and certainly more competent than the paragraph I've just written. (This blog is in need of a firm editorial hand!)

And with coffee served in such cheery colours, it really is the best place to revive and rejuvenate. So what if its back to the grind shortly, for an hour or so's pause, all is right with the world.

And in case you were wondering, this is what I've recently purchased:

A Yamaha S300 CD player - and don't look befuddled like my friend DL did when I told him ... I have mountains of CDs that I refuse to render obsolete!! And an amazing amplifier crying out for a good DAC circuit to convert the digital sounds on my Ipod which this player possesses.

A Celebration of Friendship

Ok ... happy birthday KH!!! Hope you enjoy your new wooley hat and that your little angel does not hijack it into a mishapen mess. As standard, vittles were expertly embarrassed and scared by the man of the house.

We had a beautiful rib eye that was perfectly flagellated and flayed:

Served with a playful salad of freshly broken artichoke hearts, virginal tomatoes and finnicky peas:

Some cheeky pomme noisettes:

And finished with a cunning layered cake presented in these pointedly japanese ceramic bowls:

I will let the pictures simply speak for themselves.

Thank you to the N household for their hospitality and their generosity.

And yes I have been watching Posh Nosh ... in case you were wondering.

Moneymoneymoneymoney ... Money!

Ok if money was no object, the lighting possibilities are endless at Tongue and Groove. And Ross, why did you make it so hard to find your damn shop, and that tantalising peak into your workroom is infuriating!!!



Hello Ross, are you down there?

Sunday, 10 July 2011

A Wintery Day in Paradise - Lunch at Anne Smithers Kyneton

Ok ... we've been down by the Campaspe before ... this is rich mining country ... and what better way to indulge in all this country luxuriousness then by having an enriching lunch at one of Kyneton's finest - Annie Smithers Bistrot & Produce.

After falling in love with Kyneton's charms way back in 07, and after 2 failed successive attempts at getting in, the Royal George has been on our "to visit" list but recent reviews have made us pause with eraser in hand. We decided to try somewhere else instead, and Annie Smithers with its kitchen garden/local produce remit looked a very inviting alternative.

Now I do love menus with single price points (although this could give the old hip pocket a grand mal seizure sometimes) - here at Annie's its $19.50 for entrees, $36.00 for Mains and $16.50 for sweets. So not the cheapest of options, but let me tell you that it has been a long time since I have had a "fine" dining experience as memorable as this.

Perhaps it was the wintery light outside, or the warm heating vent we were sat next to, or perhaps it was the no fuss cleanness of the interior, but I was ready to forgive the slight "tude" we got by the maitre'd, and we settled into a lovely 2 hours of gastronomic bliss. It is a good thing when a restaurant smells beautiful when you walk in the door ... believe me there are many places that don't!!

We decided to forgo starters for sweets and headed straight to mains. M decided on the pork - "brined and grilled western plains pork sirloin, garden honey carrots, savoy cabbage, mustard.

The pork was Orgasmic!!! M reckons it was the best pork he has ever had, and I am inclined to agree. It was moist as if it had been braising for a long time, the fat was just melt in the mouth goodness, yet it had the smoky charred flavour and the criss cross patterns of a grill. And seasoned well!! Damn! You need to try this. The cabbage and mustard "jus" were perfect compliments to the savoury pork ... yes savoury ... not sweet!

I ordered the duck -  "free range corn fed duck, pommes sarladaise, cavolo nero, seville orange". I love cavolo nero!! And it was served crispy and with the cubes of charred potato formed the base on which my oh so very sweet and succulent duck rested on. OMG! Oh my god?! Seriously! You need to come and eat here. Annie has got some great culinary chops!!

After imibibing a few amazing glasses of red, all sourced locally, including a killer Pinot Noir (2007) from Mount Gisborne and an amazing Syrah from Cobaw Ridge, it was time for dessert.

M jumped on the lemon suet pudding served with garden lime cream and creme fraiche ... because (a) its lemon ... and (b) hello its suet!!! This was a touch too lemony for my liking, and really what with the lime cream, it was astringency gone mad, but by all accounts (ok just one) it was scrumptious.

My Snow Eggs (or ouefs a la neige ... RAHther!) served with spiced custard and orange jellies were to die for!! Unless of course you're not a fan of eggy custard, or jelly for that matter.

What a great way to finish a meal. Having peaked into the kitchen and giving thanks to Annie herself, we braced the icy cold and walked to Ganims Market Fresh market store to stock up on some country baked goodies, ended up at Monsieur Pierre and spent too much on French blue, goats cheese and the yummiest crusty french loaf ever ... darling!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Shouldn't that be Noodle AND Dumpling King?

Ok ... out of sheer boredom and eofys envy, I scoured the interhole and advertisement pages for reviews on DACs and entry level audiophilic CD players. The general idea was to keep my ancient nondescript CD player and up the ante by connecting it to a DAC (or digital to analogue converter) unit and then into the amp. It seemed like a cheap way of upgrading. My original option was to upgrade said blah cd player to a Marantz CD5004, however, the cheapest price of USD349.95 was only available via, i.e. unavailable for shipment to our hallowed shores. And the cheapest I could find in Melbourne was at least $200 above that asking price.

I started looking at DACs together with M, and we came across a deal for a Cambridge Audio CD Topaz CD10 player and decided to wing our way down to Preston to the U&S Audiovisual store for a looksee.

As there was an additional 15% off on most models, my eyes moved longingly onto better models like the Cambridge Azure series and also a sexy looking NAD, which the sales person "assures" me is of much better quality (and also about $100 more - typical).

Having spent the sum total of about 20 mins in the store (which also coincidentally is the time threshold on listening to Katherine Jenkins caterwauling her way through Vincent valve amps and Mirror speakers), we were back out on the strip looking to fill the non-purchase hole in our retail dream, so naturally we ended up royally stuffing our faces at Noodle Kingdom with dumplings and more dumplings.

The place was filled reassuringly with mainland faces, taiwanese hair and hong kong fashion. M spied a favourite of his from his Chinese travelling days which was tomato and egg soup. It was yummy but he did concede that in China there was more of a tomato hit.

I ordered a beef soup from the same section within the menu, but at a dollar more (which took it to the sum total of $5) my bowl seemed disproportionately larger. Mine was a veritable bowl of hearty northern chinese cuisine ... the spice trade encapsulated in the heady broth.

We had steamed pork dumplings which squirted almost scaldingly hot broth into our mouths with our first bite. But we laughed this off in pure gastronomic enjoyment.

The boiled lamb dumplings were also filled with broth which was amazingly sweet and meaty at the same time. Another "must order" dish to add to the list.

Cheap Cheerful and Delicious!! Is there really anything better?

As a postcsript to our audio adventure, I have now swopped amps and will be looking to reposition the speakers round the room to maximise their potential. The reason for all this? Well the last time I had to look into replacing units from our hifi system was due to the fact that Radiohead blew the old speakers out! And Thom Yorke has done it again!! I scored the Burial/Four Tet/Thom Yorke Ego/Mirror 12" and the sound coming off the turntable was so amazing, my CD player absolutely paled into non-existence.

PS ... spent sunday going mad at Daiso and also the big Asian supermart across the way, and finished off feeding our auditory bloodlust again by gazing lovingly (ok that was only me) at the Rega RP1 turntable for sale at Title.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sabroso Revisited

Ok ... well apparently Sabs has been in existence for more than 8 years now, which means I have known Jackie for more than 10. Bless!!

Its comforting to know that a bar and restaurant of this calibre is almost just round the corner, not going anywhere, simply waiting to receive us on our next visit, whenever that is, no pressure.

As comfortable as an old shoe, and just the way I like it.

It was another CBA Friday and we just didn't feel like Asian!! There are dear readers times exactly like these over here in the Temasek houshold. And I felt like having me some kind of red coloured sustenance, so off we went to Sabroso. We were greeted warmly at the bar by Hamish, who I think was trying to place us from somewhere, having forgotten that we shared some closing night drinks (I say some, but really we shouldn't have been driving after that) on his girlfriend's birthday ... but hey ho! Once we were seated, we were in the capable hands of Cori ... (the one with the tatts, floppy fringe smoothed over and dark looks).

As the menu has had a revamp since we last ate there, there were a number of yummy new things to try, along with the old faithful, salt and pepper squid, which remains consistently delicious to this day:

We also had the lamb cigars, and I didn't even mind the raisins, served simply with sour cream and sumac. With the very first juciy bite, we were in Marrakesh laughing at a belly dancer and making eyes at the fezzed up boys.

The new dish we ordered was a crab tortellini made with squid ink pasta. The plating itself was drammatic. The luxuriously black pasta played nicely against the creamy celeriac puree and the glossy white plate. In terms of flavour, the filling was fantastic, but it would have been better if the squid ink pasta had a more of a punch. As it was, it just tasted like pasta that was coloured black. Still as a whole, pretty damn special.

Those were our starters and in between glasses of Grenache Shiraz and intermittent catch ups when Jackie swung by for a convo, we had enough time to regird our loins and attack the mains.

For protein, we had the slow roast cummin chicken ... and let me just say ... TDF!!! This is probably going to be a mainstay order for me at Sabs. The chicken was moist and smoky at the same time, with the right amount of spice and heat. Perfection.

We also had a lentil and haloumi salad and new potatoes with these amazingly charred aspargus bits. The combination of flavours with these salads was unbelievable. So simple and yet so effective. I can't wait for this to be one of my pots at the next pot luck we organise with friends.

Sabs hosts a beer tasting night every Tuesday, and also Sunday Roast events. If you are in the neighbourhood, just pop by and check the place out. Even if its just for a quick drink and some bar snacks from the Tapas menu. You will love it! Right Jacks!! Thats $1.20 per word commission ... pay up.

PS ... and of course you can't end a spanish-ish meal without a serve of Churros!!! C'mon on! Are you kidding me?

PPS .. oh and the couple at the table sitting next to us were definitely having sex later that night.
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