Monthly Archives: December 2011

Hemicorporectomy in the sagittal plane

I once did a sirloin roast for Christmas and though lovely, it just didn’t sing out KERRRIIIIIISTMUSS Noddy Holder style. A bird, and the trimming is what is required. We got a 6kg bird from Mt Barker. Since I didn’t bring home any stragglers, and Elijah failed to show, the bird got a hemicorporectomy in the sagittal plane, which made for a far more sensible size of feast for five. And we had a ham too……

For breakfast I do like scrambled egg with smoked salmon. I once served eel to the family back in Blighty, but it didn’t go down too well, the smoked salmon has become something of a tradition, much like the Smith and Jones Xmas special circa 1988 where the Traditional Xmas punch was made……..

for the first time. ROFL.

The salmon caviar just keeps on coming, its like the frigging magic porride pot. But with a dollop on extra creamy scrambled egg on toast, a dash of tobasco and some Deutz NV sparkling it was a fine restorative brunch after present opening.

Look closely and you will see this is indeed a demi-dinde (French etymology, ‘of India?’). There were a few chunks of eucalypt hiding in there amongst the briquettes having failed to gather firewood before the wet. I just love the aroma it gives to meat. For a touch of Australasia, some lemon myrtle on the cut surface of the meat and once the coals were white hot, bbq lid covered and watched to check for cremation.

I made the traditional banana leaf stuffing for the second time. Clearly stuffing half a bird is tricky, and a stuffed bird on a spit is, well, just plain daft from a thermodynamic POV.

  • 500g minced pork
  • 6 asian shallots, chopped lightly fried with
  • 50g chopped pancetta
  • 150g toasted and bashed macadamia nuts
  • teaspoon roasted and ground cumin/ fenugreek
  • grated galangal
  • chopped lemon grass
  • 1 egg
  • handful of  breadcrumbs

Mixed by hand and placed on sheets of blanched banana leaf from the garden and barbecued over the embers til the banan leaf gets singed and the meat is browned.

Roast potatoes and sweet potatoes, carrots and cabbage, cranberry sauce and a leg ham glazed with local honey.

I forgot the bread sauce. Aaaahhhhhhgggg!!!!!!!! And the gravy was way too bitter thanks to reducing it with 2/3 bottle Fat Yak beer- note to self.


Fusion Smusion Emulsion

After over a week maturing in the fridge, the magpie goose finally got the treatment it deserved. A few days ago I cooked it with some carrots, celery and 2 onions in a shallow bath of water, and a little vinegar after Rory commented on something smelling rotten. Oh, and some black pepper. I think it had about three hours until the meat was falling off.

I had discovered a recipe for poached chicken with crepes Parmentier (a very fine chap). I swear I know every recipe Simon has ever produced, up to a certain point anyway, and this was in his first book Roast Chicken and Other Stories. I just can’t believe I missed this genius idea as its appeal just sings out from the page. Anyway, I had this in mind when I cooked the goose. But I also had other ideas….

I can rarely resist the temptation to do something with the contents of the thorax and abdomen. Not using them is like not sucking out a prawn; this is where the essence of the beast resides. There was some minced beef in the fridge, forcemeat burgers here we go.

  • Offal chopped finely
  • 5 small shallots, chopped and lightly fried
  • 400g minced beef
  • handful breadcrumbs

Shaped into small burger sizes and fried on the bbq. Meanwhile,

Actually, beforehand, steam

  • 1kg floury potatoes, allow to cool and put through mouli legume or mash well
  • six egg yolks
  • 100ml milk
  • 50g flour
  • 50g melted butter
Simon clarifies 250g of butter to have with 500g of potatoes, a truly inconceivable ratio. This is also to serve with a creamy sauce. Even my gall bladder would strain under that demand. Cross reference with Larousse gastronomique and French Provincial cooking failed to yield any results, so I cut the butter quotient.
Anyway, mix all of the above.

Beat the egg whites and fold in the potato mixture. I fried these on top of the bbq, no fat needed as the beef was very fatty- most excellent.

or potato pancakes

I strained off the stock from the goose and reduced this to a syrupy consistency, with the goose over this to steam gently for rewarming. A decent dollop of rosella jelly for some sweetness. 150ml of double cream and further reduction. Some broccoli on Shona’s insistence.

Bogong estate Pinot Noir 2008, naturally.



Bling Blini

These little treasures are a very fine way to appreciate vodka, the idea being to swig, eat and exhale. The olfactory hit is truly a revelation and not just a slightly safer way to get plastered. However, post xmas party debauchery, this was not on the cards. Essentially they are savoury yeast pancakes, which, as Jane Grigson points out are not just for caviar transporation, they are rather fine with all manner of bite sized Sovietness. On this occasioin, some Kiwi smoked eel and salmon caviar.

375g plain flour

3 eggs

1tsp yeast

300ml milk

30g melted butter

All combined to form a batter, and left until bubbles form- about an hour in Darwin. Then two spoons to make bite sized pancakes onto bbq plate smeared with butter. Cook on a medium non-smoking plate until golden. Flip when bubbles appear.

Another version, slightly more complicated leaves out the egg whites until the end, when they are whipped to peak and folded in, a superior airier result but not when hungover . Of course, the true blini should be made with about 40% buckwheat for that extra savoury edge. Goddamn weavils got to that though, grrrr.

Anyway, double cream with wasabi for a horseradish hit. Jars of freshly grated horseradish by Polish grannies are not easy to get hold of here. Again, sour cream would be more authentic. No vodka, but some Grant Burge fizz eased the pain.

Goose Green, Goose Red

Acoustic exaggeration of size in birds via tracheal elongation: comparative and theoretical analyses W. T. Fitch

My landlord is a fine chap. Not only is he happy to mend holes in the plaster made by fowl children, but he delivers the odd feathered fowl as shown here, a Magpie Goose. Last year I spent over 2 hours feathering the little plucker, and could have done with a pheasant pluckers son……Unsurprisingly, there is little fat on a wild tropical goose, so the skin is not the crispy holy grail of a fattened raised bird. They are also quite small, the effort/reward ratio is rather high. I decided just to skin this one. Strung up by the legs and a slit through skin over breast bone.

The skin peels away like a jacket over the wings, but you have to be careful as you take it off the abdominal wall. You need to dissect around the anus or you end up with crap everywhere.

Once you’ve done that, you can draw out the guts, and keep the tasty liver, kidney, heart and lungs for making into forcemeat balls.

I really underestimated the extra time required for cooking on the bone with this rack of lamb which wasn’t too different in weight to the beef fillet I did the other day. So on carving the entire eye was raw, thank god the only customers were the family. So, Lamb chops instead after turning up the bbq to 11 and cutting along the bone. Lot of spring onion and some skinny aubergine around the edge to cook slowly.

This is becoming a staple risotto round these parts. Risotto, like most things, isn’t difficult to do well, but easy to blaspheme.

1 Onion, finely cut and fried in

1 oz butter and tbs olive oil (apprx = slug of/ chunk of)

When translucent, mix in

250g risotto rice (usually I do 330g as this is a 1/3 of a pack, fancy stuff shown only 500g)

600ml chicken stock, add 100ml or so at a time, keep stirring every few minutes.

then, when the rice is almost done (so about 2/3 stock) add

1/2 roast butternut squash, skin removed.

Stir regularly, this is vital to get the creamy texture of risotto.

Lots of parmesan to serve, salt/ pepper as required.