from one generation to the next
I was AWOL from the monthly In My Kitchen roundup in April but not without good cause; I was visiting Melbourne. My time there was well spent eating great food, visiting foodie friends and shopping at my old haunts. I’m linking my post for the month of May with the lovely Sherry from Sherry’s Picking’s who hosts this worldwide forum of food bloggers. Click on the link at the bottom of the page to see more.
It was slightly surreal visiting Melbourne after being away for 30 months. The weather was sublime, the food fabulous and the traffic crazy. We were amazed, bemused and often frustrated by unexpected changes.
Having endured the almost 2000 kilometre road trip I was determined to load up my car fridge with goodies to stock my Brisbane kitchen. We spent one entire day hunting and gathering. I was disappointed our dates didn’t coincide with my favourite Farmers Market but fortunately one of the delicatessens at the historic Queen Victoria Market is a reliable stockist of 2.5kg jars of my favourite kalamata olives from Mount Zero in western Victoria, so firstly I ticked olives off the list. Finally, again in my kitchen, I have the best kalamata olives I know.
Turkish Delight, you either love it or hate it but you can see we’re in the former group. It’s hard to buy a good product that’s soft but not sticky, sweet but not cloying, and gently flavoured with natural ingredients. We love this particular Melbourne made Turkish Delight. There is just no substitute that doesn’t involve an overseas trip, but luckily Melbourne’s large eastern Mediterranean community is as equally demanding as me so we swung into BAS Foods in Brunswick to pick up a large box. In My Kitchen, for a short period of time I have delicious Turkish delight.
As luck would have it, Meditteranean Wholesalers is in very close proximity to BAS Foods. I was on a mission to buy calasparra rice for Paella at a reasonable price. The exact same product they sell is marked up 300% at my local stockist, grrr. While we were there we also indulged in buying some indulgent Italian confectionary and grappa for the boys.
We have a dear friend who is working toward self sufficiency. He makes cheese wine and salami like all self respecting men should. His parting gift to us after a long and delicious dinner was a box of quinces and a homemade made salami. Because Australia has such stringent quarantine laws governing the transportation of fruit and vegetables over state borders, I borrowed my daughters kitchen and peeled, cooked and froze the quinces for the journey. The arduous part of making quince paste, cooking the sweetened pulp into a ruby red paste is not a job for the feint of heart, weak of arm or those short on time, but now the job is done, I think it was worth the effort. I have a years’s supply of quince paste in my kitchen.
On the last day we visited the butcher for several vacuum packed butterflied legs of lamb. There is nothing as sublime as roasted sweet young Victorian lamb and my experience since moving away has me convinced that they don’t ship the good stuff interstate. Roast lamb will be on the menu a number of times in the next 3 months, so In My Kitchen I will be roasting lamb.
And lastly In My Kitchen I have the most accessible and useful cooking reference I have read in a long time. There are recipes in the back part of the book but it’s real value lays in the comprehensive and erudite chapters on the use of salt, fat, acid and heat and how each affects the flavour and texture of the food you prepare. Those learning to cook and cooks hoping to improve their outcomes would benefit from reading and practicing what is recommended in Salt Fat Acid Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat. Last week Nosrat was awarded the James Beard Award for this book, a well deserved recipient in my opinion.