Friday, October 31, 2008

Spaghetti & Swedish meatballs

While perhaps not the most elegant of dinners, it was certainly one of the easiest.

The meatballs were first tossed in a hot pan with a splash of olive oil and then mixed into a simple sauce of crushed tomatoes and fresh oregano simmered and reduced over a medium heat with a sprinkling of sea salt.

A grind or two of cracked black pepper, a few shavings of parmigiano and a side of sliced, crisp Lebanese cucumber finished off the dish.

The meatballs themselves, unexpectedly, were quite moist, tender and flavourful.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A trip to Ikea

An evening trip to Ikea yielded the above pictured furry litter of baby animal finger puppets!

While these came in a set of ten 'land' animals, there is also a second set of 'sea creatures' that comes complete with miniature versions of the starfish, octopus and shark ($7.95).

The remainder of my nightly haul included a do-it-yourself kit for a fancy miniature gingerbread house complete with curlicules of white icing ($7.95), a bottle of elderflower cordial (about $4.95) and a kg of swedish meatballs ($11.95).

Any suggestions as to what to do with the meatballs will be much appreciated!

6 Sunray Drive
Innaloo WA 6018

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cinnamon Orange Palmiers

In the realm of baking, palmiers fit somewhere between a pastry and a most delicate cookie with a crisp and flaky texture that quickly dissolves into a general sweetness. In order to eat a palmier I usually start at the tip of the pointy heart, then work around in a circular motion, unravelling the fragile layers of pastry with oh so tiny nibbles.

Lately, rather than wandering down and picking a few up from Soto or one of the asian bakeries on William Street, I've started baking them myself.

These are the first flavoured ones I've tried, although I've considered a variety of other flavours - vanilla, rosewater, cardamon, rosemary- that I may attempt on a future rainy afternoon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

the essence of wild willows

I purchased this mysterious water, described as the essence of wild willows, several months ago but since then have frankly, been at a bit of a loss as to what to do with it.

According to the bottle the nectar is an Iranian ingredient traditionally added to sherbets, but in contemporary cooking can be dripped into desserts and cocktails to which it will grant a unique aroma. While trawling the net for additional ideas I also found a brief reference to it being diluted with ice water and drunk as a kind of cordial in the summer.

I think I may turn it into simple syrup to drizzle over cakes and icecream.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rochelle Adonis

I visited the new (ish) Rochelle Adonis cake shop on Brisbane Street, Northbridge this afternoon for a post-lunch, pre-shopping sugar fix. As you can see from the photos I took, Rochelle Adonis nougat is distinctly creamy in colour, rather than the artic white of almost every other kind of nougat I've had, or made.

After tasting a piece I realise just why this might be - the nougat seems to be honey-based. It is also quite dense, crumbly, and deceptively grainy in texture, while not being overly sweet.

Biting into the confection however is a bit like sinking your teeth into a bag of dried potpourri - there is a whiff of rose petals and a slight crunch of dried leaves before the fruit, nuts and honey finally take over.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mina Perhonen

I love these images from the 07 / 08 A-W collection of Tokyo-based fashion label Mina Perhonen. The name is Finnish and translated means "I, butterfly".

For me, the "Phoenix" dress (top image) is a clever take on the layered feathers of a golden bird rising from the ashes, while the pixelated shimmer of the "Ceremony" dress (bottom image) captures perfectly the neon lights and flashing signage of the modern Japanese city.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I purchased these pastel gems from a tiny cupcake shop on Waratah Avenue, Dalkeith this afternoon. Sweet on Cupcakes seems mainly set up for catering and functions (while their website lists flavours such as passionfruit, rose garden and orange afternoon tea, only chocolate and vanilla cake flavours are available at the shop).

Nevertheless, the few varieties made available for spontaneous purchase create quite a circus of colours in the box. I shall no doubt enjoy them alongside a freshly brewed pot of earl grey.
Dutch artist, Marielle Leenders, has come up with a unique concept for packaging and marketing flower bulbs. The bulbs are dipped in a thin layer of wax to seal and preserve them, and when the bulbs are planted the roots grow through the wax.

Despite the innocuous intent, I can't help feeling that there's something rather uncanny about the images of the embalmed roots, something that makes me think of being buried alive.

Signature Menu

2 textures of wagyu beef, vietnamese inspired
Pelorus, cloudy bay sparkling wine, marlborough, nz
*Pol roger NV brut, epernay, france

manjimup marron
oyster mushrooms, baby corn, spiced coconut broth
Larry cherubino ‘the yard’ Riesling 2007, mt barker, wa
*Villa maria gewürztraminer 2005, hawkes bay, nz

jamon iberico de bellota grand reserva
yellowfin tuna, beetroot, fennel, pomegranate, sherry vinaigrette
O:TU otuwhero estates sauvignon blanc 2007, marlborough, nz
* Marc bredif vouvray 2005, loire, france

crispy aromatic duck
stir fried choy sum, sweet & sour mandarin & ginger sauce
Stefano lubiana ’primevara’ pinot noir 2007, tasmania
*Wairau river ‘homeblock’ pinot noir 2006, marlborough, nz

occeli du barolo, truffle honey, ash biscuits
Rusden driftsand , grenache/shiraz 2006, barossa valley, sa
*Charles melton ‘nine popes’ shiraz 2005, barossa valley, sa

watermelon jelly, strawberries, hibiscus flower & lemon granita

passionfruit souffle, passionfruit mascarpone parfait
Gandia ‘fusta nova’ moscatel 2006, valencia, spain
* Petaluma essence 2003, botrytis semillion

Toby’s estate coffee, caramels

I am going to Star Anise next Saturday night and am planning to partake of the above menu. The tuna with pomegranate, watermelon jelly and hibiscus flower granita and ash biscuits are the dishes that I'm most looking forward to.

In particular, I find anything with pomegranate or watermelon in it irresistable. For the last two summers, since I first chanced upon the recipe, I have made Sicilian watermelon puddings fragrant with rosewater obsessively.

Mid-afternoon impulse buys

I bought this vintage dress from etsy on impulse this afternoon. I have no idea where I might wear such a beautiful frock to and I'm pretty sure it's going to need significant alteration just to get it to fit, but it was indeed love at first sight. The midnight blue and silver swirls remind me of Van Gogh's "Starry Night" and summer nights spent lying on the roof of my old house in Takarazuka.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Heston Blumenthal's popping-candy chocolate cake

Doesn't this look lovely? The recipe, one of Heston Blumenthal's, is essentially chocolate mousse poured over a hazelnut and popping-rock base. When spooned into the mouth, the pop-rocks are supposed to crackle and fizzle, like tiny fire-works in the mouth. Apparently the manufacturers of popping-rock candy stopped making it in the 80's due to the surfacing of a vicious rumour that the pop-rocks, if ingested with coca cola, could produce a nasty explosion in the stomach. Consequently, if attempting this recipe (and I certainly intend to) I may need to acquire my supply of pop-rocks from the internet. A small inconvenience for the pleasure of producing (and consuming) my own little work of molecular gastronomy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mt Hutt - Lake Tekapo - Mt Cook - Christchurch

A few photos from my two-week snowboarding trip to New Zealand in mid September. The variation in the landscape was amazing, from flat, dry, windy prairies covered in brush, to lush, rolling English slopes, to endless rocky mountain ranges that even through the months of summer still remain scattered with snow.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

there's something very fragile about them

Apparently Barack Obama has flickr - or at least his PR department does - here

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I'm waiting for the elevator on the 8th floor and all I can smell is the scent of ham and cheese crepes wafting gently around the corners of the offices. If I was inspired to venture into the kitchen to investigate I am sure that my hallucinations of jaunty streetside vendors peddling fresh, crispy-edged triangles of rosy ham and gooey chese would fracture and fall away when I came across (as seems mostly likely) a middle-aged office-worker microwaving a piece of sweaty ham and plastic-wrapped cheese by way of a hurried lunch. But I don't investigate and the drifting scent stirs memories of Paris in the wintertime, and ice-skating on Valentine's Day at the Marie de Paris.