Tag Archives: pilau

Cooking Up In a Storm

Difficult to miss out on a pun with aphorism and descriptor so wittily combined, but then, there’s the gastronomic comedy genius that is adored by my many readers around the world and other people not in my family.

So we had a duck from the rather well named ‘luv-a-duck’ company whose pork, duck and fennel sausages we rather like and the chicken is the current favourite too, so hey, let’s roast.

I’ve always done a good skin blanching with boiling water on most roast with some skin to crisp. so chicken a pork both get a kettle full of boiling water carefully poured over them. However, it’s a bit tricky to find a cool, draughty area to let the skin dry out. A bit of salt maybe helps.

Anyway, this duck got a good smearing of five spice powder and smashed ginger on the inside and was set spinning on the rotisserie as shown. A massive downpour towards the end called for Scottish barbecuing skills, barricading the flames from the water. Overall this was a frustrating effort as the coals just never got hot enough to get a good crisping. The duck wasn’t bad though.


I did however manage to bake some bread, pushing the envelope of barbecuing. Again, the temperature wasn’t quite high enough, but I reckon it might be possible to make a bread oven if you could put some insulating material over the dome? To explore……..


Annoying, I turned the lardy bread out and over the coals but this just burnt the lovely crust, darn it.

Cheese platterIMG_2734[1]

The delicious platter above was courtesy of smellycheese.com who deliver very fine cheeses at a great price at great speed. As you can see, there is rather an enormous chunk of stilton in very fine condition. Where’s the port?

Shona’s getting a bit sick of my noodle soups but seems happy enough to scoff laksa. This was one I did on my own with leftover barra, fresh rice noodles, stock of some description, weird Indonesian paste, green pepper and rather successfully, pumpkin. Oh yes, coconut of course.


Interestingly some locally reared lamb- Dorper Damara (??), a south African cross with middle eastern, leg roasted very nicely and carved very well the next day. Weirdly I had a leek, and felt a kind of kedgeree/ pilau urge.

I cooked the rice with some melted leek (careful not to burn), in butter, fried with some toasted and ground fennel seed, cumin, corriander and turemeric, then basmati rice. To this some lamb stock from the bones. Served as shown with some boiled eggs, (and one salted duck- why not?). A v pleasant luncheon.



This chicken roasted supremely well. Inspired by Amy, of Amy’s warung whose (possibly enhanced a la MSG) bbq chicken is the finest in the land. I butterflied it down the vertebra, and smeared grated turmeric, galangal, garlic and chili on the ‘inner’ surface. I placed her over some tins containing aubergines and barbecued with the coals either side of the tins, so the chicken wasn’t over the heat, and put a lid on to assist roastage. Oh my, what a divine experience, possibly the best roast chicken I’ve done. I also made some magic green shit- blitzed corrinder (with root), mint and chive shallots woth coconut milk. No green chilis, (the kids….) but limes would be nice. Pawpaw salad and cucumber with plain rice. Very, very fine.




Finally, some muesli. Shona’s been making a lot of this, and there are some terrifically complex combinations out there. I can’t be arsed with spices and vanilla in mine to be honest, and if I want fruit I’ll add my own dates etc, so a quick way is just to chuck in your oats (these are Swedish I think), with choppped nuts and something sweet. Today I used macadamia and almond with a few tablespoons of local honey, stirring every now and then. Even covered it was too hot, and interestingly the macadamias were more susceptible than the almonds.

225C was a bit high, but I was baking bread, note to self……





Hocus crocus

Crocus sativas is the plant that gives us the divine and treasured stamen AKA saffron. Actually, it was a Rory tactile exploration (read pain in the arse grabbing at shit on the shop counter), who discovered a bowl of Iranian saffron at the newly opened Nepalese shop at rapid creek. $6.49 for a gram was a bargain, as long as the stuff was kosher, so to speak.

Move over, Lard arse

I’ve been having a lot of fun making my lardy bread inspired by the Dan Lepard recipe and the Peter’s Yard cardoman bun.

This idea was, I have to say, frickin’ genius. Saffron bread is a Cornish specialty, and I have a recipe for buns somewhere, made with a lard enriched dough. Ker-ching, light bulb moment, how about the rolled lardy bread with saffron. See the video I put up last month showing the detailed preparation of the lardy bread.

  • apprx 500g white dough, risen overnight at 12C
  • flattened, and then 3/4 spread with
  • 150g ish of lard
  • sprinkled generously with unrefined sugar
  • grated lemon rind 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron
  • sprinkling of currents

Folded over and flattened 4 times to get layers. However, in contrast to the method shown in the video, where I then roll it into a tube and cut lengthways, I instead cut across the cylinder to end up with wee buns. These I packed into a round tin, very closely anticipating that they would pull apart into, well, buns. Baked along with a large white loaf and croissants, a total of 10 cups flour and 4 of starter. Fun.

And they separated very nicely.

Did I say genius?

Saffron lardy bread

Saffron lardy bread

Continuing the Asian theme (from the shop, not Cornwall), I thought it would be interesting to make a pilau type affair using some Basmati rice of fine repute, from the same shop. And thinking it would be rather nice to crack open a bottle of some Margaret River chardonnay, I bought some scallops. Soooooo,

  • 1kg of scallops, steamed with a little water in a large saucepan with a lid until just done. Left to cool. Juice poured off.
  • 3 shallots, chopped and cooked to translucency in a decent chunk of butter and olive oil
  • 2 cups of basmati rice, no washing or rinsing

The juice I attempted to strain as the scallops this week were very muddy. This took a while as the mud/ clay blocked every filter I tried to utilise. Eventually, I just poured off the juice once the clay had settled to the bottom.

  • 1/4g saffron, briefly microwaved till aromatic and pounded in a pestle and mortar, added to shallots/ rice
  • scallop juice added to rice

I topped up with water every now and then stirring. Basmatic is pretty resilient unlike paella rice, which would just go to a mush with stirring. I could have left it a little longer to get a proper crust (the ‘tah-dig’? in Iran), but I was too hungry.

The scallops I de-bearded and then rinsed in an ice water bath, and served on the rice. Henry-Hoehnan chardonnay, amazing.