Category Archives: Blini

velcome to the veal vorld

So, after a few, ok, a lot of roadkill drive-by’s, we looked at each other and said ‘was that a cow’. It was, and it was in the middle of the road, and it was a baby cow, poor thing. It had clearly been hit not long prior, and we were around the South Australian/ NT border with cool morning temperatures. So, knives sharpened and I went to work. Some of the meat was a bit bruised, but a lot wasn’t. So two back legs, one front leg and the backstraps off. (Though I wish I’d had a look for the thymus….).

So here’s the haul, with Patrick looking on at about 2months worth of food……..

First night in Alice and I was lacking a grill to put over the fire. Two spare bike spokes through the length of a backstrap steak covered in olive oil and slowly grilled over embers. Yum. I made a leek and back garlic risotto to have too, though I think the guanciale was a bit much given the meaty accompaniment.

I can’t recall the last time I cooked schnitzel, and this is where I rediscovered the Guardian ‘how to cook the perfect…’ series, which is very very good. The cuts I had from the roadkill weren’t obvious or perfectly formed, hence when bashed with a wine bottle, the curiously formed Australian shape ensued (although it also looks a bit like a thymus….). The Guardian article states one source of making the schnitzel 4mm thick. The roadhouse beef schnitzel I had was about 10mm- I guess folks expect to get a protein hit from their schnitty.img_0290

A light dusting of flour, dipped in egg and then fresh breadcrumbs and fried in lard/ butter and olive oil- I like the 3. The slight offcutness led to it curling up so it became irregular in all dimensions……

I later made one with a curry powder/ flour dip which was sensational.


So here going very old school with some saurkraut cooked with white cabbage- just what you want in the tropics???

So, the shoulder screamed out for a slow barbecue, and after I’d slow roasted the wedding pork (in a conventional fan oven…) with a dusting of curry powder, it only seemed ┬ásmall leap to use curry powder as a rub for a slow smoked shoulder of veal……..

So, about 5-6hrs in a borrowed weber with the heat kept to 120C as best as I could with some wood from the adjacent Katherine river wilderness- I’m not sure what it was. Interestingly a wood I burnt later was really disgusting- obviously best to get a whiff first before you smoked something for 5 hours. Anyway, below is the result, it was magnificent. I kept it in the roasting pan which helped it from getting too much direct heat- I think the pizza metal plate with holes in would also act as a good ‘baffle’ to prevent direct radiant heat burning the meat. Some decent beer poured over the meat intermittently for malty flavours and to prevent drying and a large syringe to baste the juices back onto the meat.


The crust, the pink ring, the moist meat, the pan scrapings……


Early on arrival to Katherine I also thought it would be nice to try out making bresoala. Now this is usually made from a single muscle piece, dissected out from the rear leg, ’round’ steak I think (semi-tendonosis m.). However, obviously my leg was pretty tiny so this was essentially a veal rump, about 1.1kg if I recall. Going with the top end vibe, I salted these with a salty cure of some local honey, crushed pepper berry/ bush tomato, some local pink grapefruit juice (a useful of bit anti botulinum acidity) and some Lake hart salt (20g ish, i.e. 2% of meat weight) we scraped up from the insane salt flats in South Australia.

So I cured this for 3 days in the fridge wrapped in a sealed plastic bag, patted it dry, and stuffed it in amedical bandage and hung it in a bar fridge set to it’s lowest (i.e. warmest) setting- this seemd to hover around 10C. It rapidly and spontaneously developed an amazing white mould of candida (OK, weird, this is salami thrush), but evolved over the next few weeks into a wonderful meat cheese!! By 6 weeks it had lost over 30% of it’s weight (with a few wipes and excursions into the real fridge to dry off a bit), and lost it’s suppleness to a squeeze. It felt,’just right’. And it was. See below……

OK, it might not pass stringent food hygiene standards, but it didn’t kill me.

Got to love an old red with cured meats

So, what else is veal most famously utilised? I’d say goulash, and once again, the Guardian series gives a great discussion on the topic though interestingly no mention of veal- they suggest beef shin. The key ingredients in this, in addition to veal, is paprika, green peppers and interesting caraway seeds.

I used Spanish sweet smoked paprika, as that’s what I had in the cupboard. I also put in img_0798some fatty cured pork to add a bit of richness, although you could against that given the addition of sour cream at the end, which was sublime. Other useful points were to add the cooked green peppers towards the end of the cooking process, which preserved the texture and prevented them turning into mush.

This was utterly fabulous and I have to say, I loved the subtlety of the veal here, definitely a win, especially with the rather amazing New England lager.


I missed my most innovative outing. Well, I thought so as did my visiting guests Genevieve and Brian. I had a shin left over and thought a proper osso bucco should be done, proper as in this is actually veal. Often beef shin is sold as osso bucco here in Oz, which is nice, but osso bucco it is not.

I can’t recall where I saw this but I’m sure I’ve seen an Italian recipe somewhere for pork baked in milk, well, it seemed appropriate to pair with veal. I’ve got a weird recollection I tried this in a pressure cooker in Berlin a very long time ago- it was a disaster as I recall. The milk curdled and the meat was under done.

Anyway, what I was after was the milky rice pudding crust covering meaty goodness.

So a litre or so of hippy milk, a bay leaf, and onion and some carrots. Baked in the oven 150C ish until a nice lactatious crust had formed- bingo.

Served with bashed potatoes and truffled spinach. Castagna Shiraz/ Viognier was epic.

To be repeated, with more meat………


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.