Sunday, May 29, 2011

Osso Buco with Polenta

After a big day in the kitchen yesterday today felt like a walk in the park, though I did get lumbered with a cleaning job whilst the lady of the house sat at the dining table lashing out orders, but we won’t go into that!

Osso Buco has been a long time favourite in this household, and we are usually hanging out for winter to get here so we can enjoy this lovely warming dish, sad thing is winter still hasn’t arrived really and if autumn is anything to go by, it could be a warm winter!  Alas, all the tradition went out the window on Friday night, when Gary M cooked up his version of Osso Buco in a MC masterclass, and no sooner than he bung his in the oven, the request came through for me to make my version for Joey on Sunday night!  The interesting thing for me from Gary M’s display, was how close his recipe is to my own, the only real difference being the cannelloni beans he added just before putting the pan in the oven, other than that it could be the very same recipe!

I had planned on having our dinner ready at a civilized hour tonight, being a Sunday I thought that shouldn’t be too hard, and then Jo Girl turned around and asked I take her out to the Swan Valley to pick up some of her favourite wine, so here we sit waiting for dinner to hit the table at 7:00 PM!
It was great to go out for a drive though and the people at Windy Creek are as lovely as their wines are, we always go there for the reds they are fantastic, but then today I was easily persuaded to try a Chardonnay that  they have only just released.  It was unbelievably good and as Jo was not with me at the bar, Ruth gave me a bottle to take home and try, so I can see a seafood dish being prepared and presented in the not too distant future, we’ll look forward to that, Thanks Ruth!  If you are intending to pay a visit to the Good Food and Wine show in July, be sure to check out Windy Creek Wines, I guarantee you, you will not be disappointed.
Just as we were not disappointed with the Osso Buco and Polenta tonight, absolutely delicious, why did we have to wait for winter???

The polenta I used tonight was the instant kind, I have always shied away from the instant variety thinking the good old long and slow method had to be better, seems I can be wrong sometimes, this was ready in two minutes and it too was absolutely delicious!  Jo just asked if there was enough left over’s to last the rest of the week, gotta love that!

Dinner for two

 We have been quite busy on the weekends for the past few months, so when it appeared we had nothing planned for this weekend Jo asked that we leave it that way so we could just chill by ourselves and not have to worry about rushing off anywhere. 
It turned out to be a good call, as Jo had an enormous week at work and as she drops me to work, it meant we were both having very long days, thankfully for me I did not have to endure some of the stress that went with Jo’s job this week.
As we were spending the night at home did not mean it could not be a little bit special, so to spoil the girl just a wee bit, I prepared a three course meal for her dinner, a dinner for two!
On the menu tonight we had
Pumpkin Soup
Veal Rib Eye with Eggplant Salad, Creamy Mashed Potato
and a Red Wine Tomato Sauce
Crème Caramel, served with Villa Tinto Dessert Wine
Jo as usual did a beautiful job preparing the table, choosing a red on white theme, she says was inspired by the red shirt I was wearing whilst I prepared the meal.  The centre piece being a bouquet of red and white roses, which teamed very nicely with the little glass candles, she had placed at either end of the table.  Jo always manages to bring something from past special occasions to the table, on this occasion it was these candles which brought back wonderful memories of the wedding of our good friends Dennis and Tracey.
I think we are both hoping that the upcoming week is somewhat quieter, we have at least a long weekend to look forward too, which will in itself be a busy weekend, but for this weekend we have enjoyed some quality time together, shared a beautiful meal, not to mention some great wine.
So hopefully if it does become a bit hectic at work, we will be able to reflect back on some nice moments from our dinner for two, and that will helps us get through!
Pumpkin Soup

Veal Rib Eye with Eggplant Salad, Creamy Mashed Potato

and a Red Wine Tomato Sauce

Crème Caramel, served with Villa Tinto Dessert Wine

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Soft boiled eggs with toasty soldiers

I have woken up this morning and I don’t know what it is but I just feel like cookin!

Maybe it is because I have had three cups of coffee and I am pinging off the walls, or is it just because it is a beautiful day outside?

Whatever it is when you have the urge to cook, you must cook, so I have some veal bones in the oven browning up nicely, they will be used to make an awesome veal stock, which will come n very handy when I cook Jo the dinner she has requested for tomorrow night that being Ozzo Bucco.

But just throwing a few bones in the oven wasn’t enough so I forced Jo Girl to sit down and have breakfast with me,
Soft Boiled Eggs with Toasty Soldiers!!,  mm mmm, got to love that!,  remember when your Mum would make these  for your breaky?  I reckon the first thing I ever cooked was a boiled egg, probably for my Mum on Mother’s Day when I was a kid, something I have come  to realise was such a minutely small gesture of thanks for someone that cooked so many beautiful meals for me day in and day out!

Well must be off now, need to get to the butchers and the green grocers, got a dinner for two to plan!!  Hope your having a great weekend too!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Marinated Butterflied Leg of Lamb with home baked vegetables

After not getting home till way after dinner time last night, I took off from work today at 3:30 as I wanted plenty of time to cook the night’s meal, and a good thing I did too as Princess Joey had to work back yet again.  But that was fine tonight, I was home in time to make up a marinade for my butterflied leg of lamb and it has worked out sooo goood.

I made the marinade with a half cup of balsamic, a quarter cup of EV olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, few sprigs of rosemary and a bunch of thyme, squeeze of lemon, a little salt and pepper, 3 tablespoons of capers, four cloves of garlic thinly sliced.
I put all the ingredients in a sealable bag and gave it a good mix before adding the lamb, then got as much air out of the bag as possible, massaged the meat with all the good stuff inside the bag and placed it in the fridge, for what ended up being a little over two hours.

In the meantime I threw together a Kumato and Potato bake.  Kumato’s are like a tomato but really dark in colour, almost brown and very strong flavoured.

When it was time to cook the meat, I sealed both sides on the grill, then placed it in a roasting dish with the marinade, to which I added a glass of dry white wine, I think I will half the wine next time to end up with a slightly thicker sauce.

Kumato and Potato bake
This recipe came together as I put it together and may need a little tweaking next time round, but for tonight it went like this

3 Ruby Lou potatoes
5 Kumatoe’s, use tomatoes if you can’t get kumatoe’s
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 red chilli, seeds removed thinly sliced then chopped
½ teaspoon smokey paprika
50 g pecerrio cheese, grated
50 g Gruyere Cheese, grated
500 ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Knob or two of butter 
Place the potatoes in a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for six minutes from when water boils, remove cool down and cut into slices.  Halve and thinly slice the onion and cook in a moderate pan with a little butter, add a clove of garlic and the chilli sweat down slowly while the potatoes cook.  Meanwhile, slice your Kumato’s or Tomatoes and grate the cheese’s. 

To assemble, first grease the casserole with a little butter, then lay out some potato, spread out half the onion,  sprinkle a little paprika over the top, then a layer of kumato’s, more onion a sprinkle of pecorino cheese and another layer of potato.  Now grate the gruyere over the top, don’t be stingy, crack a little pepper then pour in chicken stock.  Cook in a preheated oven to 180C for an hour.

I felt I needed to add a little more colour to the meal, so as an accompaniment,  I roasted half a bunch of baby carrots in Maple syrup with a half cup of caper berries, I added the caper berries in case the Maple syrup was a little too sweet for Jo, and well because we both love roasted Capper Berries!
Jo finally arrived home from work at 7PM, a big day at work for her, however her timing was perfect as everything was cooked and all I needed to do was set the table whilst I rested the meat for 10 minutes, enough time for her to open a nice bottle of red.

I was really pleased with tonight's result, there are a couple of little areas I can or need to tweak, but overall working from my own ideas I was very happy with this meal, and by the way Carrots roasted in Maple syrup with Caper Berries is out of this world, absolute winner!!!
Now there's something I have not done before, photographed the left overs, tomorrow night's dinner, something to look forward too!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nespresso way to go!

I feel like I should in some way apologise, as I have come to realise my last three posts have had something to do with Jo's passion, for meat, big lumps of the stuff she loves it, anyway she can get it it seems!  

So to make up for this indiscretion, I think it only fair to blog about one of my passions, well it seems to be more of an addiction to be honest, one that has only grown worse since I brought my lovely wife the best gift of all time, 

it's a Nespresso Coffee Machine and I love it, absolutely love it and the coffee it produces is awesome.

No more running off to Oxford Street, or Kings Park for that elusive magnificent cup of coffee, because it is right here in my kitchen, just pop in a little capsule, press the Lungo button and within a couple of minutes you have the perfect cup of coffee, steaming hot, rich and creamy, the best thing is it is not just chance, it is a known, every cup as perfect as the last, how did I ever live without it?  

Now the only question in life is, "How will I ever sleep again?"

'O sole mio
sta 'nfronte a te!
'O sole, 'o sole mio
sta 'nfronte a te!
sta 'nfronte a te!

Reef n Beef

Well Jo Girl has finally had her way with me, apparently, and I didn't have a bloody clue!

Reef and Beef would have to be Jo's all time numero uno dinner, by the sounds of it and I had no intention of sitting here to tell you about it either, but I was given an ultimatium,

"Go write your blog or I'll write it for you"!!!

My response was "For crying out loud Jo, it's only a steak and a few prawns"  
but no to her it was the absolute best meal I could ever have possibly cooked her, better than some recent fine dining experiences we have enjoyed!, well I enjoyed them at any rate!!
Just goes to show, you can take the girl out of GirraDoola but you can't take the GirraDoola out of the girl!  And honestly why would you, she is so gorgeous, as were the ooh's and ahh's she expressed with every mouthful of tonight's dinner.

The steak was a beautiful Beef Eye Fillet, I have come to love this cut of meat, so full of flavour, easy to cook and it gets Jo soo excited, her eyes light up as big as the steak itself!
I got the sauce I prepared to go with it tonight, from the pages of "Home Cooked with Julie Goodwin" which is Julie's (winner MC1) daytime cooking show, haven't seen a lot of the show and what I have didn't really excite me, but I have come to trust her recipes and this one was as usual good, easy to make and I had everything I needed either in the fridge or the pantry, just perfect after a long day at the office on a Tuesday night.

For the sauce you need
16 green king prawns, shelled, deveined, tails intact 
20g butter
3 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup white wine (alternatively ¼ cup beef stock)
1 cup cream
1 tablespoon cornflour
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

Cook your steak the way you like it, then set it aside in a warm spot to rest, cover with foil.
Heat oil in the same pan and cook prawns 1-2 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Lower the heat to medium and add butter and garlic to the pan; cook gently until soft. Stir in wine and cook for a further minute. Add cream and pepper and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
Dissolve cornflour in a little water and stir into the sauce to thicken, a little at a time, until desired consistency. Cook for 3-4 minutes until thickened and the cornflour has cooked out. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Toss prawns and parsley into the sauce and heat gently until warm through.
To serve, place steaks onto each dinner plate and top each with 4 prawns and a good dollop of cream sauce.
I served the meat with honey roasted baby carrots and baked potato, but you could have just about anything with it, salad and chips would be spot on, it was a very tasty meal indeed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spaghetti con polpette

As we were pulling out of our driveway to head down South for the Easter break, Jo noticed something sticking out of the letterbox.  I stop the car to retrieve it and it turned out to be some fine reading for the weekend, it was my May issue of the Gourmet traveller magazine.
The Shack

This magazine turned out to be very popular among the many nieces I spent that weekend with, it had a very eye catching dish on the cover and better still it was backed up by a sensational sounding recipe for a pasta dish.  In fact one niece asked if she could borrow the mag whilst she copied it down, she was so taken with it, I told her not to bother because all she needed to do was go online and download it.
I am not sure if Mel’s has cooked the dish yet, but the other day when Jo asked I cook pasta for her, I did not have to give it another thought as I knew exactly what I was cooking for dinner!

Cooking with love!
Spaghetti con polpette, a fancy name for plain a old spag and meatballs you might think, but to tell you the truth this dish was anything but plain, it was totally awesome, packed full of good homely flavours, the kind that have you going back for a little bit more, even though you know you have eaten a little bit more than you should.  It was just as good the next day when reheated for lunch, just should have done a bigger bowl so I could have a go at it the next day too!

These were so easy to make! Yet full of flavour.

When you come across the recipe in the magazine, it looks a bit like one of those advertisement styled recipes, as there is an ad for Italian Passata at the bottom of the page, one of the ingredients in the recipe.  I did not notice this until tonight, when I took a quick look at it to check some spelling, the funny part about that is, I did not use shop brought passata, did not even consider it when I shopped on my way home without the full list of ingredients, because I had decided I would be making my own passata.
To make the salsa al pomodoro, I first baked eight large vine ripened tomatoes in my oven for an hour, I just sliced them in half through the equator, laid them out on baking paper then drizzled some oil and sprinkled thyme, oregano, basil and salt and pepper over the top.  Once they have baked for the hour, take them out remove the skin, mash or puree and they go into a saucepan with  200ml of chicken stock (homemade of course), bring this to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes.  Don’t forget though to follow the recipe with the frying of a little garlic and chilli before adding the baked tomato sauce and add the extra herbs, it will only intensify the flavours.


Ok, yes the shop brought stuff would have been easier, quicker too, but he flavour of doing it this way is second to none, shop brought stuff just ain’t cooked with that much love!   Check out the recipe at Gourmet Traveller, just click back there on Gourmet Traveller!
The meatball element of the dish, were so easy to make and the fact I could buy a veal and pork combined mince pack from Woollies helped too, these meatballs were so good, I think I ave convinced myself to make it this dish again this weekend, I know it will be coming to the camp next year, only this time it won’t be on the cover of a magazine!

Now whilst I am on the subject of cooking favoured dishes again, and in this house at least and again!  I pleased Jo no end last night when I suggested I cook her Beef Eye Fillet in the same manner I had a week before, not much change to it really just varied the veg marginally.  The interesting thing to me was how different two very similar dishes can look, to see what I mean compare this photo below of last night’s effort with what I produced for my last blog!  Jo's efforts to get me thinking about how I am plating up, is at work here, she is if nothing else, very persistent!

Beef eye fillet with Roasted Pumpkin Mash, Roast Potato and Carrot finished with Mushroom Dijon Sauce and Caper Berries

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Beef fillet with Dijon Mushroom sauce and mashed roasted Pumpkin

I had no intention of blogging this meal, was having a night off from the computer you might say, but then a couple of the elements of the meal were so more-ish I thought better of it, as I want to do this again, and quite possibly again after that!  And this was indeed a very simple meal, steak and veg really, nothing more than that.

The two elements that made this a wow factor meal for both of us were
  1. Mashed Roasted Pumpkin, and
  2. the Dijon Mushroom Sauce

The really pleasing thing for me was I put both these together in my head as I drove home, thinking they sounded like they might be ok, I can tell you they were both more than ok, hence the reason I am blogging, not because I am eager to tell you about it, but more so because I want to remember what I did!

I might add here the meat I cooked was also of very good quality, beef eye fillet steak, around 175 grams each, it looked great at the supermarket, it looked great in the pan and it was fantastic on the plate, beautiful meat indeed.

The roasted pumpkin mash, is pretty much self explanatory, I took 300 grams of Kent Pumpkin, peeled it, cut it up into small chunks, doused it in a little olive oil and roasted it at 180C for 30 minutes, whipped it out into a bowl, added 20 grams of unsalted butter and mashed the butter through, waited for it to melt added a little seasoning then whisked for a few seconds.

Jo described this as being like a thick creamy pumpkin soup, it was delicious!

I started the sauce off by slicing six field mushrooms and four golden shallots, which were then pan fried in butter until the mushrooms gave off that beautiful mushroom aroma, seasoned with ground sea salt and pepper, then added a half cup of red wine to de-glaze the pan, I cooked this a few more minutes reducing the wine until almost gone, the mushrooms were then removed to a bowl and set aside, and  the pan wiped clean with a paper towel.

Whilst the mushrooms had been cooking I prepared the steak by seasoning with sea salt and cracked pepper before coating and rubbing in a little olive oil, I like the steak to be at room temperature before going in the pan, it cooks so much better.  Once the pan was ready, I reheated it and added a smidge of butter, once really hot I added the steak and left them there for four minutes, basting the meat with the juices as it cooked, after the four minutes the steak was turned and cooked a further four minutes, then removed from pan to a warm plate to rest whilst I finished the sauce off.

Now the meat was set aside to rest, I added a half cup of homemade chicken stock to deglaze the pan, scraping all the good stuff of the bottom as it bubbled away, I let this reduce a little before adding another cup of stock, which I brought to the boil before returning the mushrooms, after mixing these in well, I allowed the juice to reduce to about half before adding 75 grams Maille Dijonnaise, which I quickly incorporated into the sauce and brought back to a simmer, then just before serving spooned through 2 tablespoons of thickened cream.

To accompany the meat and pumpkin I micro waved two potatoes for four minutes, which were then peeled and quartered and added to the roasting dish and baked for thirty minutes,  and I steamed some broccoli.

Jo has requested that I always cook both the potato and the pumpkin the way I did tonight, the potato was creamy smooth on the inside and nice and crunchy on the outside, they were pretty good too, actually!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pan fried snapper with lemon and caper crumbs, and a french style potato salad

My wife surprised me today, I sent her an email asking her to pick one from a choice of Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Fish or Other (please explain), and after a couple of nights eating chicken either roasted or poached with rice, I fully expected an easy night in the kitchen, as I was sure we would be having steak and salad, or at worst with veggies.  But no, not my girl, the answer I got back was a little more specific, she wrote and I quote! 1. Fish and capers.  Given it was 4:40PM I was sure she had asked the impossible, she still had to knock off and come to pick me up from work, so there would be little time or chance to buy fish by the time we got to the shops.  Wrong again, a quick search on Google led me to a fish monger I have spoken of before in these pages, he is in Fitzgerald Street North Perth and I was told when I rang that they were open until 7PM, bonus!  After establishing I could in fact buy some fish, I then open the pages to my favourite web site Gourmet Traveller and within a few minutes I had found a recipe for exactly what my gorgeous wife was craving.
Festival Fish Market had an impressive array of fish to choose from, and reasonably well priced too, after a glance through the display cabinets, feeling like I was being followed such was the attention of the shop assistant, I chose some beautiful Nor-West Snapper fillets, flesh look beautiful and white and it smelt as fresh as a daisy.  The recipe I chose to work from was based on Sand Whiting, and whilst I could have has some lovely ones, the snapper really appealed.

This was a really simple dish to prepare and cook and it was done quite quickly too, I had Jo help me which was great, she prepared the ingredients for the potato salad, this went so well with the fish and it too was very easy to throw together.  I got the recipe for this from a book by Manu Feildel, I purchased on the weekend, so I was so happy to have cooked from it already.  To make the salad for two people, boil 300g kipfler potatoes, then peel and dice, add a couple of boiled eggs quartered, a couple of tomatoes, seeds removed and then dice the flesh, a 100g ham diced into 1cm cubes, a few finely sliced gherkins, some chopped parsley and 70ml mayonnaise, combine it all together and your ready to eat, bon appetite!

I loved the crunchiness of the breadcrumbs and capers on the fish, the textures went so well together, I think I over did the lemon a little in the shallots, but luckily there were not a lot on the plate.  The smooth texture of potato and egg went lovely with the crumbs too, all in all a very tasty meal and one that will be served in this kitchen again.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day Mum xxxx Love you xxxx

Ok, so this blog is not really about food, although the restaurant this photo is taken in on the 23rd of January 1999, was at that time in my opinion one of the best Western Australia had to offer and so few people knew about it, which was great because I just about always got a table.

The restaurant was named after the owner and chef Nicola (surname unknown!), and it was located in Bunbury.  There is still a Nicola's restaurant in Bunbury, but it is no longer owned and run by Nic, he is running a catering firm, I know this, as I came across him at a wedding he recently catered for.  Nic's food and his enthusiasm to put the best possible food on the plate was second to none, I miss the special visits to Bunbury just to see Nic, and to eat his food!.

Anyway, enough about Nicola's, this is more about the little old lady in the photo, my precious Mum.  On this night we (45 or so family  members and friends), travelled the 170 kilometres to Bunbury to celebrate my 40th birthday @ Nicola's.  I had reserved the entire restaurant and Nic had prepared a special set menu of my favourite foods.

The restaurant at that time was BYO drinks and to help Mum celebrate with me, I brought her two bottles of her favourite Margaret River wine Amberley's "Chenin Blanc".  I had introduced her to this wine sometime before this event and it is one she still likes to requests, just as she did when I took her to Red Cabbage for dinner, a few weeks back!

Anyway, Mum is not a big drinker, she's more of a tea totterler really, but on this night she had a had a few more than usual and lo and behold, when it comes time for the speeches she jumps up and begins to entertain the floor, most unlike my Mother, whom is normally a lady of very few words.
As can be seen by the photo she had us in stitches with what she had to say, but none more so than when she finished her speech off by telling us all that she felt she had had too much to drink and was going back to the hotel to take a skinny dip before bed!!! Priceless, love you so much Mum, thanks for everything you have done for me over the years, thanks for the continuing belief that I would be alright, the faith and trust you bestowed onto me with every ounce of love you could muster, no wonder I love you so much XXXXX
This is an older photo, taken around 1988 at The Vic Hotel Northbridge
And earlier again 1984? @ Queens Gardens East Perth for Kev and Deb's wedding, Mum with Dad and their 12 children and of course new DIL
More recent photo, with three of her boys Jack, David and Kev
I have just now looked at the preview of this post and now realise it is a little bit about food, well probably even more than you'd think on first glimpse, there is the fact that the initial photo I started the post with was taken at a restaurant and we were there to eat, drink and be merry in celebration of my fortieth birthday, and what better what to do so?
But underlying that, what cannot be seen is the depth of respect and gratitude that I now realise for the beautiful lady in the photo above, it was she that brought me to love food in the first place, it was she that taught me the joy's that cooking with love for your family can bring, and she is a splendid cook herself, if there could only be more Mum's like her, so everyone could know what it is like to have such a wonderful, beautiful and caring soul to guide and nourish you in your early years!

Mum turns 88 on Sunday, so it is a double celebration for her being that it is Mother's Day, I hope she enjoys it, she really deserves nothing less, she has made every day of my life feel like it is Kid's Day!

Happy Birthday Mum

Thanks Mum, Love you so much xxxx

Friday, May 6, 2011

The tale of a fantastic lunch and a dinner to die for!

Dr Wes Soet @ Heathcote
I had a day off work today, and what a day it turned out to be, one of the best days I have had since my Wedding Day a little over two years ago.
I started the morning relaxing at home with a couple of cups of the best coffee, Nespresso of course!
Then after running a few little chores I headed into town to pick up a few mates from work, as one of them was to shout us all out to lunch to celebrate a recent promotion.
My good friend Dr Wes has been promoted to a middle management position, one he thoroughly deserved.
Wes is a doctor of mathematics and has been both a good friend and colleague for the better part of twelve years, we lunch most Fridays and over the twelve years we have developed some traditions, such as special lunches to celebrate such events as this latest promotion.  When he asked me for a suggestion as to where he may take us, I did not hesitate to nominate one of my favourite restaurants, in fact this is the favourite place to go for lunch and especially on a day like we had today, and it doesn’t get any better.
That aside, there was a more compelling reason for my suggestion, that being the fact that Dr Wes had once worked at the establishment some years back and at that time he was in fact a nurse, a Psychiatric Nurse to be more precise.

We dined of course at the beautiful Blue Water Grill on the banks of the Swan River in Applecross, formerly known as Heathcote Mental Hospital.  Today was in fact Wes’s first visit to the premises, since it was closed as a hospital in December of 1994, and whilst the business and cliental are dramatically different today, the views and wonderful surroundings have not changed, breath taking!
Each of us enjoyed a different meal, Wes decided on the Beef Eye Fillet with a mushroom and tarragon sauce, Shahe enjoyed the daily special, Barramundi Fillet with Grilled Prawns, Michael opted for the Beer Battered Gummy Shark with Chips and Tartare Sauce and I chose Grilled Lamb Loin with Braised Shoulder, Sweet and Sour Eggplant, Haloumi Fritter and Salmoriglio, we also shared a Rocket Leaf, Walnut and Blue Cheese salad and Green Beans and Broccoli with Virgin Olive Oil.  All this was washed down very nicely with a Clare Valley wine known as Take a walk on the wild side, a 2008 Shiraz Viognier blend by Claymore Wines and it was all delicious.

Mike, Wes and Jack, beautiful day in Perth
Bluewater Grill on Urbanspoon
Whilst I drove home I was thinking about something Jo had said as she left for work, something along the lines “I guess I shouldn't expect too much for dinner tonight then!”  Which got me thinking, well why wouldn't I have a nice meal for you Darling?  So on arriving home I dug out a new cookbook I received as a Christmas gift from my eldest son and his family, it is a Neil Perry book titled “The Food I Love”, which has the sub title “Beautiful, simple food to cook at home”

The meal I prepared tonight, lived up to every word of that title, I can’t believe it is the first time I have cooked from this book, which is packed full of food preparation techniques and ideas, totally amazing, the guy that puts such beautiful food on so many plates, has put so much into this book it is worth its weight in gold, it will become the most used utensil in my kitchen, whether I am cooking a Neil Perry recipe or one I have found on the back of a noodle box, there is something in this book which is going to give whatever you cook a lift!

Tonight I decided on Roast Barramundi with Roast Tomato Sauce, Burnt Butter Scallops and Asparagus, with a Cherry Tomato, Pea and Potato side salad.  I got started a bit late as it had been a long lunch, so it was 4:45 by the time I jumped in the car to go to the shops to buy the ingredients, and it was not until I returned home and read the whole Roast Tomato recipe that I realised it was going to be a good two hours from starting before Jo sat for dinner.  As it turned out she had a few little jobs to tidy up so she welcomed the opportunity for a late dinner, and thankfully, even I will say it was worth the wait!

The flavours on the plate were unbelievably good, beautiful and really oh so simple.  Until about twelve months ago I was never a big fan of Barramundi, that view has changed somewhat and even more so from tonight, the fish was cooked in 9 minutes and more to the point cooked perfectly, the flesh was beautifully cooked, moist and succulent, the tomato sauce with it was also perfect.
I added the asparagus, which was steamed and then tossed in olive oil and lime sauce and to finish it off I pan fried some scallops finished in a sage and burnt butter sauce.

Jo managed to tell me no less than ten times how much she loved me whilst we cleaned up the kitchen, so there is no doubt about the way to win her heart is through her stomach!

Looking forward to a great weekend, dinner @ Red Cabbage tomorrow night and breakfast with my Mum for both her birthday and Mothers Day on Sunday at the Lo Quay Café Riverton Bridge, good thing I intend to get back to the gym come Monday!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jo's choice, guess what?

Steak and three veg

It is not hard to tell who has been planning the meals the last couple of days, beef two nights running can only mean one thing, Jo has had something to do with it!

And quite surprisingly I have enjoyed both meals very much, both the preparation and the eating of them.  The spicy beef was originally to be a Chorizo in Cider sauce dish, only thing was the sausage I had was cacciatore and the apple cider, well I just did not have any in the house and I could not be fagged to race up to the shop.  It was around this time I thought I'd take some steak out of the freezer, only to find it was some beef strips I had put aside for a stir fry.  I already had peeled some potato so in the end thought I would just wing it and throw a few thinks in the pan and build from there.  What I ended up with was this amazing spicy beef with cacciatore and olives, the flavours were great and it went well with the creamy mash spuds, may have looked a bit like a train wreck on the plate, but at 7:30 on a Tuesday night I really was not to bothered I just wanted to eat, have a vino and relax, it did the job perfectly, judging by the amount of MMMM's I received in an email today around lunchtime it travelled alright to the next day too!

I don't know if we were later than usual tonight, or if the days have suddenly got shorter, but it was bloody dark driving home tonight, and I was faced with the same old problem when I got home, nothing much in the fridge and I felt like something more than chicken.  So I took a detour through Northbridge and swung into Coles in Beaufort St, this is a relatively new store and is a bit more upmarket than our local Coles in Northlands.  Jo had not been there before so it was a bot of a treat for her, especially given some of the inner city sights you get to see at time of night in Northbridge, it can be so educational!!! Once in the store, and without giving it too much thought I asked Jo what she would like, she as she so often does immediately said steak, even went so far to suggest Fillet Mignon.  I was sort of glad once I ate that she did, as the fillet steak was excellent, very tender and oh so juicy.   To go with it I did potato two ways , baked and mashed, steamed some sugar snap peas (or should I say over steamed!) and some fresh beetroot in a tangy mustard mayonnaise an idea Jo brought back from a recent trip to Melbourne.  One of the things I like most about that particular Coles store, is the freshly baked bread, and the fact you can buy beautiful little olive and feta panini loaves just right for two people, love em!

Spicy beef with  cacciatore and olives

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chicken and Prawn Noodle Soup

Ipoh Sar Hor Fun

I could almost have called this left overs soup, in Malaysia it is known as Ipoh Sar Hor Fun, all I know is that this was an added bonus to the hard work put into yesterday's dinner!  This very easy to make soup (haha it was tonight) is right up my alley, simple ingredients, simple to put together but huge on flavour, a very satisfying meal.  The chilli and garlic sauces were superb once mixed into the broth, it gave it a wicked spiciness and the fresh chilli on top gave it a killer punch.

Ingredients included
Rice noodle sticks
Poached Chicken
Cooked Prawns
Bunch of Pak Choy
Spring Onion
Red Chilli
Chilli sauce
Ginger and Garlic Sauce
Soy Sauce

I actually served up my dinner to Jo, which she was unable to finish, I found it on the bench about 20 minutes later and could not resist a final taste, to my surprise the flavours had intensified through the roof, absolutely awesome!