PETER RUSSELL-CLARKE – RECIPES
MONDAY 21ST SEPTEMBER 2020
Why did the chickens cross the road?“Why, oh why?” cried Percy Doyle of Talbingo looking at his flattened feathered friends – the two who had dutifully supplied him and Mummy Doyle with so many beautifully yolked eggs.The chickens had nearly made the journey across the road to the Talbingo pub when the wheels of the great tractor stopped them in their tracks.Percy Doyle collected their carcasses and retired to Mummy Doyle’s kitchen. She cooked the chicken breasts with flavours she’d purchased from the Indian who supplied the district from his covered wagon (similar to those wagons which the American Red Indians fired into in the films The Majestic showed on Saturday arvo).TALBINGO ROAD CHICKEN.4 small chicken breast fillets (skin on); 1/4 cup soy sauce; 2 tablespoons dry sherry or gin; juice of 2 cloves of garlic; 1 1/2 tablespoons mirin (if you haven’t got mirin, use a small splash of honey and water); 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar; 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger; 2 tablespoons oil.Pound each breast between sheets of plastic wrap with a mallet (or get a tractor to run over them) until they’re 1 cm thick. Put the soy sauce, sherry (or gin), garlic juice, mirin, brown sugar and the ginger in a flat dish (not a metal one), and stir till the sugar has dissolved.Add the chicken and refrigerate for an hour or so, turning once after about half an hour (that’s the chicken not you).Drain the chicken, being sure to keep the marinade. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and cook the chicken over medium heat, skin-side down, until the skin is crisp – about 5 minutes. Then turn the chicken over and cook the other side for 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken.Add the marinade and 1/4 cup of water to the pan and bring to the boil over high heat then add the chicken and any juices. Heat until cooked through, turning once. (If the sauce is runny, remove the chicken and boil the sauce until it thickens.) Serve the chicken drizzled with the sauce.
MONDAY 14th TH SEPTEMBER 2020
Like many people I’m not partial to eating hearts or brains.Strewth I remember, though try to forget, when an Arab chef served sheep’s eyes at a banquet I was attending, organised to plant Australian trees to stop the soil erosion in this particular area. (I suggested an Australian tree which grew in the Mallee).Anyway, the sheep’s eyes stared me down so I passed up that course.I’m the same with sheep’s brains without them being hidden by breadcrumbs or batter.It could be a hangover from the Second World War when offal was de rigueur because of the scarcity of other meats.So, folks, if I eat sheep’s brains, I want them hidden. Mind you, I like their flavour, but not the veins running through the soft grey stuff – so I hide them this way.BRAIN FRITTERS.1 cup plain flour; 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder; 1/4 teaspoon salt; 1 egg; 1/2 cup milk; 4 sets sheep’s brains; 600 ml water; 1 tablespoon vinegar; 1 teaspoon salt; olive oil.Wash the brains, discarding the thin membranes and blood vessels, before soaking them in cold salted water. Leave them in the water for an hour then take them out and rinse them.Add a tablespoon each of salt and vinegar to 600 ml of fresh water, bring to the boil, drop in the brains and simmer them for 15 minutes.Whilst the brains are simmering, make the batter by beating an egg and mixing it into the milk then adding that to the flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt until you have a smooth, thick batter.Lift the brains out of the hot liquid, and drop them into a bowl. Cover them with cold water. When they’ve cooled, cut each set of brains into 4, coat each piece with batter and fry them in hot olive oil, turning just once, until they’re golden.Drain and serve hot.
FRIDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER 2020
They look like a mini vegetable pudding, or a sample-sized tureen. I call them a mini squash – but those in the know call them patty pan squash or button squash or scallopini marrow, yellow or green squash – or those little tasteless thingamajigs.I was given two of them the other day. My dilemma was either to give them to a passing postman or cook them – I chose the latter.I cooked them in the microwave until they were softish, then I sliced a small sliver off the bottom so they would stand up without toppling over as would a top.I sliced a similar amount off the top then sprinkled the cut top with granulated garlic, a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of prepared horseradish cream.I served that beside a noisette of lamb chop (a chop with the tail, fat and bone surgically removed) cooked pink with a sprinkling of ground cumin and coriander on one side of the chop before it went into a hot pan wiped with virgin olive oil. The plate was further decorated with fresh baby spinach leaves mist-sprayed with lemon juice and virgin olive oil.As I’d already served two small entrees and had planned a fresh fruit dessert I didn’t want to overload the plate.PS. Whatever you call your baby squash, they need help in the taste department.
FRIDAY 28TH AUGUST 2020
MORETON BAY BUG AND MORNAY SAUCE.In Victoria, Morton Bay Bugs are known as Sand Lobsters or Shovel Nosed Lobsters. They’re very similar to Marrons of southern Western Australia although the Western Australians will scream NOTHING can compare to their Marrons. But, as Tumut doesn’t have a reliable crustacean supply, it’s all a bit academic.You see, I do Sounds of the Mountains radio (Tumut and the surrounding regions) and therefore direct my thinking towards what will titillate the listeners’ palates. Anyway, they do have good fresh fin fish available. So the Mornay Sauce I was salivating over, which was to decorate a half Morton Bay Bug, will now enhance a grilled portion of flake.So, folks, gently grill a piece of Gummy Shark (flake), making sure you don’t overcook it. Simply turn the flesh white – otherwise over-heating gets rid of the moisture in the fish.Now the Mornay Sauce.2 tablespoons butter; 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice; 3 cloves garlic, crushed; 2 tablespoons plain flour; 600ml milk; 100g grated Parmesan cheese; freshly ground pepper; chopped parsley and some extra grated Parmesan cheese for garnish,Put the butter, lemon juice and garlic into a small pan and heat, over a low heat, until the butter’s melted. Stir in the flour, and keep stirring for a couple of minutes so the flour doesn’t stick whilst it’s cooking. Next stir in the milk, increase the heat, and keep stirring till the milk starts to boil. Turn down the heat till the sauce is just simmering and let it cook for another 3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese and a little ground pepper if you like and then the chopped parsley.Serve the cooked flake with the Mornay Sauce spooned over the top.PS. Of course, if you have a Morton Bay Bug, or even half a lobster, or a dozen oysters, top them with the Mornay Sauce – or try it on a poached egg even
FRIDAY 21ST AUGUST 2020
PEAS. Peas were once grown in the veggie patch at the bottom of our back yard. They were protected from the chook-run by a wire netting fence. When they weren’t in season our mums made soup from dried peas. Nowadays frozen peas are available – and they’re good, plus save that tedious task of shelling them. But the down side is we don’t have the pea pods.So what? I hear you mumble. Well, no pods no fresh pea stock. And why do you want pea stock? To make pea soup, that’s why.First the Pea Stock:- 500g pea pods; 1 shallot; stalks of a bunch of basil and a bunch of mint (you can use the leaves to make the soup); salt and freshly ground black pepper.Peel and finely slice the shallot then put it into a saucepan with the washed pea pods, and the herb stalks. Cover them with water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the stock through a fine sieve. If you want a stronger flavour put the stock back in the pan after sieving it and boil it till it’s reduced by about a third. Let it cool then store in the fridge or freeze until you want to use it.Now the Pea Soup:-If you don’t have basil use thyme or oregano – either fresh or dried – but remember the dried is a lot (4 times) stronger than the fresh. The reason I’m using frozen peas for this recipe is because of their colour. When you add a third of the peas at the end you get a bright pea-green colour that you can’t get by using fresh peas.1 tablespoon olive oil; 1 small white onion; 500g frozen peas; 600ml hot pea stock; 1/2 small bunch of mint leaves (from the stalks you’ve used for the stock); a bunch of basil leaves (again from the stalks you’ve used for the stock); pinch of sugar; 1 teaspoon salt.Peel and finely chop the onion and cook it in the oil in a medium sized saucepan until it softens but doesn’t brown. Add two thirds of the peas, half the mint and basil leaves, the sugar and salt and the pea stock. Bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Blend the soup, in batches if necessary, adding the rest of the peas, mint and basil leaves, to a smooth puree. Check to see if you need more seasoning then serve hot, or let it cool and serve chilled.
FRIDAY 14TH AUGUST 2020
The little tin shed was in the back yard which was home to the chickens and the piglets and their pen with its mud puddle floor. The shed was where Buttercup, the Friesian cow, was milked each morning.Leaning against the outside wall of the milking shed was an addition, in which the bees’ honey was processed. The hand driven centrifuge and all the other paraphernalia needed to extract the bees’ honey from the combs in which it was encased was tidily stacked under a rickety table.Once Buttercup’s milk was encouraged from her udder it was separated and churned into butter, which was stored beside the bottled honey before it was put into the fridge.An apple tree branch loaded with Granny Smiths hung over the ring lock fence and it was from that direction that the bush fire crept into our life. Fortunately there was practically no wind to drive the flames, which we put out from around the home block with wet sacks attached to saplings.And after the drama of the fire was over, I cooked a meal for the helpers. The dessert was an apple tart with burnt honey butter.APPLE TART WITH BURNT HONEY BUTTER.5 tablespoons honey; 100g butter, softened; sheets of puff pastry (unfrozen); 4 large Granny Smith apples.Line a baking tray with baking paper and then a layer of puff pastry. Slice the apples finely and layer them, slightly overlapping, to cover the pastry leaving free a 1 cm border around the edge. Bake in the oven, preheated to 200 deg.C, until the edges of the tart are golden. (About 20-30 minutes.)Whilst that’s happening, put the honey into a small double boiler saucepan and bring slowly to the boil (keeping your eye on it) then take it off the heat immediately. Whisk the softened butter until it’s fluffy then add the hot honey..When the apple tart is golden, take it out of the oven and brush gently with the honey-butter. Put the tart back in the oven for 5 minutes until the glaze starts to bubble.That’s all folks!
FRIDAY 7TH AUGUST
Splatter was a big bloke who lived around Micalong. That’s a place found up the road from Tumut. Like Splatter, Micalong was a wild place which hadn’t been tamed by the hand of civilisation.
Although Splatter was fierce when he believed fate had dealt him a low card, on other occasions he was as gentle as a joey just out of the pouch. Of course, if he was full of beer it was best to seek another location rather than Micalong – Argalong for instance, which was just over the mountain range.
Anyway, on the day I write about, Splatter was full of hops and low cards. He’d made a batter with which to cover his rainbow trout prior to frying it in his three-legged camp oven. His mate dipped his grubby finger into the batter and mumbled “Batter needs some taste”.
He was immediately thumped in the ear with a log of wood which had been destined for the fire.
“Say that again!” roared Splatter, raising the log for another swipe. “I may be missing a few marbles but I’m not tasteless!”
“Hang on, Splatter. I said ‘Batter needs taste, not SPLATTER’”.
So Splatter opened another bottle, splashed some in the batter mixture and finished off the bottle without offering any to his ear red mate.
1 cup plain flour; 1 egg; salt; 1/4 cup water; 3/4 cup beer.
Put the flour and salt into a deep basin and beat in the egg. Add the water and beer very slowly, beating continuously until you have a thick, smooth batter. This is ideal for putting a very fine coating on fish or vegetables or anything else which is to be fried. If frying, be careful of splatter.
Friday 31st July 2020
I think I’m right in stating that filo pastry is the only pastry which isn’t ever made at home – always factory made. No, I’m bloody SURE it’s always factory made.
Anyway, so what, eh? It’s ripper pastry wherever it comes from. And whether you use it to make spanakopita or my little goat’s cheese tarts, you can’t muck it up.
That was once said to me (“You can’t muck it up”) about giving a girl a red rose and then a sloppy kiss in return. I pinched the reddest rose hanging over a garden fence and duly presented it with a charming smile and a slight bow to a beautiful young matron at the local Tumut Saturday night dance held behind the pub on the corner of Wynyard Street (hence the name of the establishment) and Fitzroy Street where the Shai-Hees had their grocery shop etc. Anyway, I mumbled some words about how her beauty rivalled the exquisiteness of the rose and kissed her full on the lips. Stars flashed in my brain and I went numb as the farmer’s son belted me in the ear.
“She’s my bloody date, you drongo!” he raged as she screamed “You’re the bludger who’s been pinching the roses from my mum’s garden!” and slapped my face.
So, dear cook, you can muck it up, but only if you’re not careful and don’t understand the recipe.
GOAT’S CHEESE TARTS.
2 sheets filo pastry; 50g butter; some oregano leaves; 150g goat’s cheese; 1 cup cream; 1 egg, beaten; 3 egg yolks.
Cut the sheets of pastry into pieces about 5cm x 7 cm. Lightly butter three shallow muffin tins (each tin having 12 holes) then press a piece of filo pastry into each hole, making sure the pastry sticks to the sides. Melt 50g butter and brush each piece of filo in the muffin tins with butter then drop in a few oregano leaves. Press another piece of filo on top of each and brush that with more melted butter.
Bake in the oven, preheated to 180 deg.C, until the pastry’s golden.
Meanwhile mash together the cheese and cream until it’s a smooth mixture, fold in the egg and egg yolks and add a pinch of salt and a little freshly ground black pepper.
Spoon into the 36 pastry cases and pop them back in the oven to bake till golden – about 12 minutes.
Friday 24th July 2020
The Aspy coffee shop/restaurant in Lancefield has been remodelled into excellence, both in ambience and food. Their pies are made in their own kitchen by the owner Shelley and others, the cakes by Elora and others.
They claim to be a vegetarian food joint and a place Jan and I love eating at.
Sal, the chef (one of), served us a Jackfruit lunch. I don’t have his recipe so here’s my own Jackfruit idea. Actually it’s not mine, I pinched it from my mate, Pacific West’s Earn Saw’s wife’s book, Passions of Penang. The wife, Tze, is a beautiful human who has a passion for Earn and Penang food.
JACKFRUIT DUMPLING BAKED IN FILO PASTRY.
Almond Cream: 250g butter; 170g icing sugar; 250g ground almonds; 25g custard powder; 150g eggs; 500g cooked custard.
To Wrap the Dumpling: 1 pkt filo pastry; 200ml melted butter; 100g ground almonds; 100g caster sugar; 200g Jackfruit cubes.
First beat the butter and icing sugar till creamy. Then mix in the eggs. Lastly fold in the ground almonds, custard powder and cooked custard.
Brush the melted butter on the filo pastry and sprinkle with the almond and sugar mixture. Repeat for 3 layers. Then pipe the filling in the middle and place the jackfruit cubes on top of the filling.
Wrap up and bake in the oven at 180 deg.C for 15 minutes.
Sik fern – Enjoy.
JACK TAR – An English sailor. The ‘tar’ bit referring to the tar used to seal the planks of the ships.
JACKFRUIT – an Asian fruit resembling Breadfruit but sweeter.
OLD FRUIT – what English chaps call each other. In fact Jack (John) is the word typifying a common man, a knave.
JACK – the flag flown from the jackstaff on the bow of a ship.
So one imagined Jackfruit was a common sailor who jumped ship as it came around the corner of India. Jack, the old fruit, ended up in Sri Lanka cooking for a quid. Therefore I wasn’t amazed that Sal, the brown Sri Lankan, served up a sandwich (invented by Lord Sandwich the gambler) with exotic flavours surrounding the Jackfruit wedged between browned buns.
And this you should know. There are many varieties of Jackfruit trees, but the honeyjack is the sweetest and best. It is native to India but is now cultivated throughout southern Asia. The fruits, which are irregularly oblong or round, weigh about 25 kilos and sometimes more. Jackfruit is eaten raw, boiled or fried. It is used in curries and pickles and is often dried, like figs, for winter use. If the pulp is boiled in milk, strained and then frozen, it makes a palatable blancmange. The mature seeds, which resemble chestnuts in size and shape, can be roasted.
Friday 17th July 2020
Some years ago (in truth a bloody long time ago), I was cooking consultant to the Australian Immigration Department.
My job was to try to convince New Australians that our food habits weren’t those of a rowdy group of barbarians. (No matter how we behaved or what we ate.). My thoughts were published in their magazine ‘The Good Neighbour’.
One day, walking around Canberra’s circular roads, I was hailed by a bloke who asked in broken English if I knew where the Department of Immigration was situated. “I wanna complain about da bloody food idiot they use.”
“I’m that very idiot,” I explained with an ‘up there’ Aussie smirk.
“You wouldn’t know if a Courgette was inserted in da appropriate orifice, or it was da narrow Marrow,” he snarled.
“The Zucchini or the orifice?” I smiled at my own humour.
Without warning he produced what looked like the scrotum of Muhammad Ali and belted me in the nose with it. “Da Melanzana ain’t no Eggplant,” he insisted.
I corrected him, “Known here as Aubergine. But in your case Melon-Insana – the insane melon.”
I was about to launch into the ancient history of this Mediterranean vegetable when the crowd that had gathered applauded him as he climbed into a taxi whose driver had stopped to see the show.
“When will we see it on television?” asked a genteel lady who was walking her Jack Russell bitzer. “He was very funny, he should have his own show.”
I sulked off without a word that it wasn’t for Big Brother.
AUBERGINE AND SPINACH PIE. 375g shortcrust pastry (the frozen pastry from the supermarket it OK); 3 tablespoons olive oil; 1 large aubergine (eggplant); 1 onion; 1 clove of garlic; 175g spinach; 4 eggs; 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese; 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese; 4 tablespoons plain natural Greek style yoghurt; 6 tablespoons milk; 2 cups cooked long-grain rice; salt; freshly ground black pepper.
Line a 25cm flan tin with thin layers of pastry making sure you’ve allowed the frozen pastry to thaw. Prick the base all over and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 deg.C till the pastry is golden (about 10 minutes).
Cut the aubergine into slices and fry in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan for 6 minutes each side until golden. You may need a little more oil at first, but this will be released as the flesh softens. Lift out the aubergine slices and drain on kitchen paper. Chop the onion and fry it, together with the garlic which you’ve crushed, over a gentle heat till soft. Again you may need a little more oil.
Wash and chop the spinach then beat the eggs in a large bowl and add the spinach, feta, Parmesan, yoghurt, milk and onion mixture. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix together well.
Spread the rice evenly over the base of the baked pastry case and layer the slices of aubergine over the rice keeping a few slices of aubergine to one side to use as topping.
Spoon the spinach mixture over the aubergine then top with the rest of the aubergine slices.
Put the pie into the oven and bake till lightly browned (about 35 minutes).
Serve warm or cold, but let it cool completely before transferring it onto a serving platter. Serves 12.
Friday 10th July 2020
Last week’s recipe included, amongst its ingredients, Lemon Curd. I didn’t give you the recipe for such, so here it is.
LEMON. If Eve had tempted Adam with a lemon instead of an apple, things may have taken a turn for the better.
Nevertheless, the apple was to take its place in history as the fruit which could seduce even the most self-centred of us humans.
Yet the lemon has many more uses. It would have stood Adam in far better stead if he’d only had the wit to demand Eve pluck him one of the Garden of Eden’s egg-shaped, rough-skinned, sun-coloured citrus.
Anyway, to their advantage, others did pick lemons and have continued to do so through history.
No doubt Our Lord squeezed lemon juice on the fish he caught while fishing with Peter in the Sea of Galilee, and mixed it with olive oil as a dressing for dates and figs and possibly even splashed it in the wine he had exchanged for water at that well-documented party.
Tomb paintings in the Valley of the Kings show that the ancient Egyptians grew and ate lemons as well as used them for cosmetics and medicine, and as a cleaning agent too. In a country where trees were scarce, they were venerated in the temple orchards and in gardens of the Pharaohs.
The Greeks also used the lemon to cure and clean as well as to add ‘life’ to their foods.
The Roman legions marched the lemon from the Acropolis into Gaul, Portugal, North Arica and the rest of the known world, including the misty isles of England.
When the Moors swamped Spain in the eighth century, they planted lemon groves throughout Andalusia.
The Spanish Conquistadors in the 16th century taught Moctezuma a thing or two among which was the myriad uses of the lemon, which they brought with them and planted throughout Mexico. Cortez shaded his walled gardens with the evergreen, ever-scented, flowering fruit trees and churches and government buildings of that time all sported the fragrant, life-giving tree – the lemon.
By the 16th century, the lemon became an essential item in the kitchens and medical cupboards of the nobility, It also held a revered place in the boudoir of the fashionable ladies of that era. As it became more common, the common folk also embraced the multiple wonders of the magic fruit.
These were the halcyon days when horticulturists and botanists like Banks of the First Fleet and his counterparts in other civilised countries had and held the ears of the Kings of Europe. The learned men of science with their primitive laboratories, soon enlarged them into elaborate greenhouses and orangeries. These giant glasshouse castles housed whole orange and lemon groves. They, in fact were fully equipped conservatories, designed not only to be functional but to be architectural masterpieces to add prestige to their owners and strike awe into the hearts of the peasants.
In France Le Notre, Louis XIV’s gardener, brought 3000 citrus trees from Italy and the island of Dominica to the truly magnificent orangerie at Versailles.
Even in the Low Lands, lemon mania became an epidemic and, for a time, rivalled the reverence of the tulip. In fact, all over Europe, tubs of lemon trees flanked doorways as a sign of welcome.
Even in America after the Revolution, orangeries were built. Two decades later, in 1796, Friar Junipero Serra established his first mission in San Diego. Not long after, 21 mission stations sprung up along the Pacific coast and all proudly planted lemon groves. Today, California benefits from the plantings of the Friar as most of the Northern Hemisphere at one time or another squeezes a little more life from one of their lemons.
When Captain Cook and his cronies landed at Botany Bay, the good botanist, Banks, took ashore seeds of a myriad of varieties of fruit and vegetables. Among these were lemons.
The resulting stock flourished and various varieties were eventually grafted so that the foundling Colony could use the fruit to combat scurvy both ashore and on the ships of the Fleet during their exploration of Australia’s coastline, and also on their return to the mother country.
The ancestors of the crews and convicts of the First Fleet benefited from the ancestors of those first lemon trees. Their fruits cured colds and were used on snakebites and heat rash. Teeth and gums were brushed with lemon juice and hair washed in it. Floors and walls were washed with its acidic liquid. Windows were made to sparkle with a watered-down wipe over with lemon juice and a multitude of medicine was believed to benefit from its inclusion .
Yep, lemons had squeezed into the everyday life of the everyday Aussie.
Even the military boys of the Rum Rebellion became dependent on lemons. They not only splashed it in the tots of grog, they used its acid to clean the brass of the webbing and other equipment and fittings.
The colony’s military and convict camps twinkled with lemon-brightened brass.
By the 1900s, practically every backyard in Australia had a flourishing lemon tree against the back fence or dominating the square of couch or buffalo grass which were bordered by vegetable gardens. They were a left-over from the Victory gardens which all Aussies were encouraged to plant to help the war effort.
The gardens eventually disappeared, but the lemon tree remained defiant to the changes which were taking place in society.
Eventually backyards became smaller and smaller as land became more and more expensive. The move from the outer suburbs into the inner cities and towns created a hotch potch of flats and apartments as well as the demise of the family lemon tree.
Country towns and their environs still support the single lemon tree family, but the halcyon days of all of us being able to wander out the back door to pluck a bowl of lemons have become a fond memory.
250g butter; 1 1/2 cups caster sugar; juice of 4 large lemons; 4 large eggs, beaten.
Cut the butter into small pieces and put it into the top of a double saucepan, or a bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water (but don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Add the sugar, lemon juice and rind and stir over the heat until it has melted together. Stirring constantly, pour a little of the mixture into the beaten eggs, then return all the ingredients to the pan or bowl and stir them over the simmering water until the mixture thickens – about 10 minutes. (It should lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon.) Put into warm jars, cover with an airtight lid and store in a cool place.
Remember – ONLY GRATE THE OUTSIDE SKIN OF THE LEMON (the zest), THE WHITE PITH CAN BE BITTER.
FRIDAY 3rd July 2020
My mum was a wiz at making bread and butter pudding. Hence I ate a lot of it when I grew up in Tumut.
In memory of mum I made Bread & Butter Pudding in a programme I produced for my ‘Come and Get It’ programme on the ABC.
We filmed it in my garden in Parkville. The garden abounded in trees which the local doves adored. These soft feathered birds watched with interest as I spoke into the camera as I prepared the Bread & Butter offering. But they became bored with my ham acting and flew off towards the zoo. As they did so, they dropped what looked like a sultana which had been marinated in cream.
The cameraman took his eye from the view-finder and said “Golly! A critique even before you’ve put it in the oven.”
I didn’t work with that cameraman again.
I hope you get a better reaction to my recipe.
BREAD & BUTTER PUDDING.
3 eggs; 1 1/2 tablespoons castor sugar; 1 3/4 cups milk; 1/3 cup sultanas; 2 tablespoons lemon curd; 2 1/2 tablespoons butter; 5 thin slices of bread; pinch of cinnamon.
Cut the crusts off the bread, spread the slices with butter and lemon curd and cut them into quarters. Butter an ovenproof dish and fill with layers of bread, sprinkling each layer with sultanas and some cinnamon. Make a thick custard using the eggs, milk and sugar and pour it over the bread. Leave for an hour. Sprinkle with more cinnamon, pop it in the oven at 160 deg.C and cook for half an hour or until it’s firm and golden.
FRIDAY 26th June
This recipe makes about 24 Spicy Balls. They’re cooked in batches and kept hot.
250g each lean minced beef and pork; 2 tablespoons ground ginger; 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic; 4 finely chopped green chillies (without their seeds); 1 small finely chopped onion; 1 egg; 1/2 teaspoon turmeric; 1 teaspoon garam masala; 50g chopped coriander leaves; 6 chopped mint leaves; 175g grated raw potato; salt; vegetable oil for frying.
t all the ingredients (except the oil) into a large bowl, season with a little salt then mix them together, kneading them well till they form a soft dough. Shape the mixture into balls about the size of golf balls (you’ll get about 24), put them on baking paper or foil and leave them at room temperature for half an hour. Heat the oil in a wok or heavy frying pan and fry the balls (a few at a time so they don’t stick together) till they’re golden brown all over. Lift them out onto kitchen paper to drain then serve them whilst they’re hot.
FRIDAY 19th June
CHICKEN. Chicken must be cooked through – but on the other hand it shouldn’t be overcooked. Therefore you can’t take your eye, or mind, off the job at hand.We all know that roast chicken is good-oh, or diced chicken breast rumbled in olive oil with a splash of soy sauce and, off heat, a good spoon of natural Greek style yoghurt, served with baby spinach leaves and orange segments. And we’ve got several favourite ways to cook chicken thighs.I’m sharing my lemongrass idea with you. I serve it with chopped bok choy leaves and fresh orange segments. But no doubt you’ll have your own idea of vegetables.Lemongrass Chicken. Grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon; 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and roughly chopped; 1 clove garlic, peeled; 2 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped; 1 large red chilli, seeded; 1 tablespoon fish sauce; 2 chicken breast fillets; 2 tablespoons olive oil.In a food processor process the lemon zest, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, chilli and fish sauce into a smooth paste. Rub the paste all over the chicken breasts, place them on a baking tray and pour over them the olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with a little salt, cover with foil and bake in the oven pre-heated to 200 deg.C for 25 minutes.Serve hot with baking juices poured over the top.
We all know now why the chicken crossed the road. It was to get to the other side. I am now about to reveal what its fate was once it was found on the other side of the road. It was popped Into a pie. Or so I assert. You see, I saw it happen when I was a young boy living in Tumut.
An adventurous, wily old rooster scratched its way under the netting of a chook pen behind the Tumut pub. With great glee and cock-a-doodle-doos it triumphantly led its harem of plump young hens across the vary rarely used road, to scratch in the paddocks beside our place owned by old Weedon.
My mother’s boyfriend, a tough timber cutter, happened to be home honing his axes. He was hungry. Quick as a flash he hurdled the fence, grabbed the plumpest of the escapees and set about preparing it for the pot. Then my mother intervened to convince the chicken plucker that a pie would be preferable. And so it came about.
The pie was made and served at the same time as there was an impatient knocking at the back door.
“Police here!” an authoritative voice rattled the window panes.
Skinny, for that was my mother’s live-in lover’s name and whom I called ‘uncle’, opened the door.
“Come in, Col,” he said to the copper. “We’re just about to have a feed of rosemary and rabbit pie.”
Glasses of what we called burgundy were poured, and the pie was cut and served, while the member of the local constabulary accused Skinny of nicking the publican’s chicken.
“What makes you think that?” laughed Skinny. (Skinny was so-called because of his huge shoulders and muscular body developed from cutting down ironbark for telegraph poles.)
“There’s feathers all over the paddock at your back gate,” frowned the law.
“Must be the cockatoos moulting,” grinned Skinny.
“This tastes remarkably like chicken,” continued Colin the copper.
“It’s the way we cook the rabbit,” the axeman assured him. “Good isn’t it?”
Everyone agreed to another glass of wine to accompany the rest of the now-called rabbit pie.
1 x 2kg roasting chicken; 1 beef marrow bone; 500g carrots, chopped; 250g turnips, chopped; 3 sticks celery, chopped; 1 onion stuck with 3 whole cloves; 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced; salt; 1/4 cup brandy; 3 tablespoons butter; 3 tablespoons plain flour; 4 egg yolks; 1/4 cup cream; 1/4 cup cultured sour cream; freshly ground white pepper; 2-3 sheets of ready-made puff pastry.
Put the chicken and the beef bone into a large saucepan. Add water to cover and bring slowly to the boil. Skim, then add the carrots, turnips, celery, onion and garlic. Bring to the boil again and skim. Sprinkle very lightly with salt. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until the chicken is quite tender.
Take the chicken from the saucepan and let it cool. Cut the chicken meat off the bone and then cut it into bite-sized pieces. Discard the skin. Put the chicken meat into a small saucepan with the brandy and let it simmer, covered, over a very low heat for 10 minutes.
Add the chicken bones to the liquid in the large saucepan and boil until you have a strong, flavoursome broth. Strain.
Now make the sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour to make a roux. Slowly and gradually add two cups of the chicken broth to the roux making sure the mixture remains smooth.
Put the pan back on the heat and let the contents cook for 10 minutes. Blend three of the egg yolks, the cream and sour cream together and, with the pan off the heat, stir them into the sauce. Bring it slowly to a simmer and, stirring constantly, simmer until it’s thick and smooth. Add salt and pepper to your taste.
Put the chicken meat into a 23cm pie dish and pour the sauce over it. Let it cool.
Roll out the puff pastry into a round, slightly larger than the pie dish, and cover the chicken meat. Press the edges firmly to make a tight seal. Make a couple of holes with the point of a sharp knife and brush with the remaining egg yolk.
Bake in the oven at 190 dec C for about 25 minutes. Serve very hot.
Or, if the above is too hard, go to the pub for dinner!
Jan, my wife of 60 years has simply pinched a page from my Egg Cook Book. Here it is –