Monthly Archives: November 2011

Holy Scallops

In Tasmania scallops are so ubiquitous that they make a dodgy lumo curry pie out of them. I suppose this is reminiscient of the use of oysters in blighty before they went posh. Well, a new shop at the Rapid Creek Sunday market had a bag of bivalves of some description, claiming to be scallops. $30 you say, er, maybe not, no $3- really? Well they smelt divine and looked gorgeous, sleek and very fine with almost transparent shells. They must be local, impossible to be that cheap otherwise. I must ask next time what they are called.

I’ve often cooked clams or prawns with pasta, garlic, tomatoes and chili. Well, no tomatoes and the boys are somewhat averse to chili. At the market today, amongst other things, I bought some lovely little capsicums and a bunch of squeaky spring onions at the market today. So,

  • 2 small peppers
  • 2 spring onions (including most of the green)
  • chopped, and fried in a slug of oil (you want an oily emulsion for the sauce.)

Meanwhile

  • 250g capellini pasta (3mins max)
Meanmeanwhile
  • Bag of wee scallops, washed (maybe 700g with shells, no idea…)
  • Cooked with their own juices in a covered pan. (some wine would have been nice….)

Scallop juice sieved into the veg, reduced a little,  then add the drained pasta.

The demanding guests (family) preferred the scallops de-bearded/ gutted. Personally I was too hungry and the grit was barely detectable. Maybe for polite company. I put a little toasted chili oil/ flakes on mine but not too much to destroy a very good bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from Stella Bella.

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Kangeroo Ragoo

It is so easy to make a very brilliant ragu that to make a greasy cow pat spag bol is criminally insane. Let the ranting commence.

In my efforts to reduce the water footprint of my carnivorous urges, the ‘roo must really be No. 1 contender for all things minced. It’s a pretty intense flavour, like venison. But then, if you don’t like flavour, well, you’re dead. It itrritates me intensely when people try and tone down the ‘roo because of this, often by drenching or marinading it in all manner of salty, vinegary shit. Just let it be, man. It’s wild, it’s got flavour. If you like you meat bland, eat tofu.

The key to the ragu is taking the time to chop the vegetables finely and cooking it for ever to get a concentrated, dense sauce. Oh yes, and chicken livers.

In the hostel from hell in Freemantle, I remember passing through the kitchen and getting a waft of the usual SpagBol abomination- garlic almost burnt, a pack of mince dumped in to absorb this nauseating cremation, and tinned tomatoes, all ready to serve in 10 mins. Foul.

So, roughly tripling up Simon Hopkinson’s non-family recipe,

  • 100g butter
  • 50ml olive oil
  • a few garlic cloves
  • 3-4 onions
  • 4-6 carrots
  • 4-6 celery sticks,

All finely diced and fried to pallor,

You could add a good slug of white wine (yes white, not red)
Then add
  • 1kg roo mince
  • 500g chicken livers, chopped (we like a lot of chicken liver)
And stir till broken up. Then,
  • 600ml passata
  • 2bay leaves
  • Black pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 500ml milk, yep, a bit weird
And then slowly cook, and occasionally stir until you can just see the bottom of the pan when you do so. I think this outing took 4-5 hours. To serve, clearly boil up some decent pasta, though dried is probably better. Add cream or more butter to make richer and rain on the parmesan. You don’t need to drench the pasta with sauce, just enough to have a morsel with each piece of pasta.
This is one of those dishes that can be washed down with some plonk or something top end. In the absence of some fine Italian wine, a very good pinot is rather good. Current tipple is Bogong Estate, made by a dedicated pinotphile. Christ, watch the typo there.
Oh yes, three large plastic containers are now in the freezer, enough for six meals. Instant gastronomic heaven, result.