Monthly Archives: August 2013

A little bird told me

Sous Vide Quail

I can’t recall the last time I cooked quail, but mum reckoned she hadn’t eaten them for 30 years, which seems incredible. These were from Meat Direct. A recipe in a wonderful Moroccan cookbook, mentioned cooking then barbecuing, so what better excuse to use the sous vide. A large lump of butter, some home toasted and ground cumin and corriander, and some salted lemon.  In they went.

But for what period and what temperature? I went for whatever it stated for chicken, so around 80C and I think they were in an hour or so when I noticed the bag had split. Bastard, shit, bollocks. Delicious juices diluted in about 3litres of water. GRRRRRRRRR.

Hey ho, I salvaged the critters, and some juices and cooked them at the periphery of a hot bbq as shown, basting them with reduced salvaged buttery marinade/ cooking juice. They turned out a treat, I also bolstered the protein quotient with a couple of porterhouse steaks which cooked nicely over the red hot coals. 

(Since cooking I’ve discovered that if there is moisture around the end of the bag where the heating /sealing element of the vacuum pump is, you will not get a seal. Having a decent length of bag (maybe 10cm) and wiping internal aspect of the bag seem to help).




Just an excuse for some bread porn……



This was a frigging brilliant ‘what the f*&^ shall we eat for dinner’ effort, if I say so myself. It’s a cliche, but sometimes the best meals come from these high pressure situations (‘nurse, mop my brow!’). 

So, it’s 430, and I’m back from a day of saving lives (in the style Gilderoy Lockhart).

  • Pork belly in sous vide to defrost ( and cook at little).
  • Slice skin with razor
  • rub ground fennel into flesh
  • cook on lowish frying pan or bbq plate, skin side down till getting crispy, turn onto each side and cook until golden bits everywhere
  • boil potatoes
  • stew leeks (bit of water in too, they always burn)
  • steamed funky squash things (zoomed around the frying pan to extract jus).
  • mash potatoes 

Served with Coopers sparkling and Coleman’s mustard. BONZA!!!!! Truffle oil would not have gone amiss here…..




Very fine Bimkin noodles at the strangely located Waterfall cafe.



Mel had a do at which a whole lamb was up for auction. I missed out but I did get hold of a beast to take down with me to Katherine where Paul had been promising a spit roast for some time. Before I handed the beast over I extracted the kidneys (in their suet jacket) and cooke them up with some pancetta and butterbeans in tomato sauce for a fine supper.




A very fine spit.





Another sous vide exploratory effort and one that seemed eminently apt. I cooked oysters with steak in Katherine, and had forgotten just how bloody lovely the combination is (remembering oysters in beef pies and puddings were a very English phenomenon). But the carpet bag steak is a Kiwi invention, (or maybe not, maybe popularised…?). Anyway, bits of half oyster (frozen OK here), gently inserted into pockets carefully hewn in large chunks of rump, and cooked in sous vide for an hour, chilled in the fridge, and then rapidly grilled on a damn hot fire. What else but Coopers stout to was this down. Oh yeah baby.



Frank’s, a local very good fish monger has wild Alaskan salmon in the freezer. How good is that? A quick supper here then….

Very fine Cambodian rice cooking, so steam the salmon. How about flicking in an enormous slab of butter to bathe it. And then using said butter to make a Hollandaise. And some cute little Lebanese cucumber to make one of the finest sauces ever to lubricate a fish (cucumber skinned, de-seeded and diced finely, salted on kitchen paper then washed and drained). Some bok choi, and, oh yes, some 2002 Pol Roger is in the Fridge. WTF not? Wow, how fine was this. I slightly over did the fish, and I think de-skinned fillets would be a touch more sophisticated (fry skin as a crispy garnish?). 

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PS- I could call this ‘confit of salmon’, but I’d rather confit my own arse than do that.