Sunday, March 6, 2011

Time flies.

Apologies for the delay in any new posts what can I say work and life got in the way and before I knew it a few months have gone by. So what has been happening in my world well quite a bit actually. Lets see if I can pick up from where I left off. So early November 2010 saw a very important event for Mrs Chef and myself it was our 25th wedding anniversary so what better way to celebrate than another trip to Sydney to visit some of our favorite restaurants. We arrived in Sydney just before lunch time so we dumped our bags and hit the streets in search of sustenance. Our hotel was close to China town and the Spanish quarter so finding lunch was not hard. We were in the mood for tapas as we wanted to eat light before our dinner that night at Tetsuyas. We ended up at a restaurant called Spanish Terrazas in kent street. We spent a leisurely few hours grazing on some fantastic grilled sardines, choizo, jamon, croquettes and tortilla. Of course all washed down with a few sangrias and Spanish beer. The food was so good that we just kept ordering more, so much for eating light. So after lunch it was back toy the hotel to check in and a good lie down before dinner.

A selection from lunch, half way through before I remembered to take a photo.

As it was a beautiful night we walked the few blocks to Tetsuyas with eager anticipation, and what a night it was. From the moment you arrive and are greeted at the front door you know you are in for a good night. All of the staff through out the night were fantastic, professional, friendly and anticipating your every need. Once at the table we were given two lovely glasses of champagne to start our celebration and then escorted behind the scenes for a tour of Tetsuyas kitchens, wow talk about kitchen envy I loved it. On the way back to the table we saw a tray of the most exquisite strawberries that I have ever seen. They are a Japanese variety that Tetsuya gets grown for him at the foot of the Blue Mountains and these little beauties were to make an appearance latter in the meal. So onto the main event, sorry no photos as I did not want to intrude on our special night. I will post a scanned copy of our menu from that night. We decided to have each course with matching wines to get the full experience. We started with some Tassie oysters and some fantastic sake, every course a delight and the wines superb, service flawless. As a little extra we were treated to a few extra courses that the chefs thought we might like, of course with more wine. So instead of the normal 14 courses we ended up with i believe it was 17. Details from our previous visit had been noted and this demonstrates to what lengths they go to for guest satisfaction, outstanding. I would like to thank all of the staff that looked after us that night for helping make our special night one we will carry with us always. Now I recommend all you young chefs and food lovers get to Tetsuyas as it is an experience not to be missed.
Our menu from that night that was presented to us at the end of the evening.

After a good nights sleep and a late breakfast, with a couple of panadol, we hit the shops for some retail therapy. Then it was off to China town for one of our favorite treats, Chinese pastries, light flaky cases filled with egg custard and various sweet treats. It was hard to stop at a few and we ended up with quite a selection to take back to our hotel for afternoon tea. As this was to a short trip we were in a bit of a quandary as to what restaurant to have dinner that night. Our two other favorite restaurants in Sydney are Rockpool and Buon Ricordo. as we were already suffering from a bit of over indulgence we decided on Buon Ricordo for a small dinner maybe just a few courses, you know what they sat about best laid plans. In a lot of ways Buon Ricordo is our favorite restaurant and we always have a fantastic night there. Armando Percuoco is the consummate professional both in the kitchen and front of house.

Anyone that has dined at Buon Ricordo and has watched ans listened to Armando as he walks around the restaurant talking to every table can not help but be swept up in his passion and love of food, wine and life. This restaurant is one that makes the guest feel like one of the family. So to the food, after we decided we were going to take it easy and enjoy a few courses of the best Italian food around we discussed the menu and specials with our waiter and made our selections and sat back to enjoy the night. Somehow we got our wires crossed and what we thought we had ordered to share quickly turned into a 5 plus course event. When faced with this much good food, wine and service what are you going to do, complain and send it back, hell no time to man up and go for it. Throughout the night Armando was making his rounds of the tables talking food, wine and life in general and during one of the few chats we had with him he asked what had brought us to Sydney. Once we told him that we were here to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary with dinner at Tetsuyas and his restaurant and had in fact celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary at his restaurant at the table under the fireplace and quite a few more dinners in between that is when the gloves came off. More courses followed with more wine, quite a lot of grappa and talking about our industry and mutual acquaintances for the rest of the night. Way too much food was consumed, wine and oh the grappa but again it was one of the best nights we have spent in a restaurant. So to all the team at Buon Ricordo a big thank you and we will be seeing you in 2011. At some very late hour we poured ourselves into a cab and back to the hotel to pass out.

A selection of our meals from Buon Ricordo.

The next day was our last day in Sydney for this trip so in the morning, without any breakfast as we could not even look at food yet, we hit China town for some more shopping. We got our food legs back under us by lunch time so it was back to Spanish Terazas for a paella as we had promised ourselves we would not leave Sydney this trip without trying this iconic dish. Must say it was fantastic washed down with a few cold Spanish beers a great meal to end our trip .

So we move on to December and the build up to Christmas and of course being short staffed does not help at the pointy end of the year. Now a few months have gone by and I have managed to block out most of the horror memories from Christmas so all I will say is that involved way too many hours, few and often no days off and mountains of roast meat. We got through as best we could with what we had to work with but is was an experience NEVER to be repeated. Our daughter arrived home from the UK on Christmas eve so this was a very nice Christmas present. After an early start Christmas day I got out of work around 3.00 pm for a few days off with my family. So into the new year and fast approaching the opening of the new build. Very busy now with recruiting, new menus and possibly another trip to China and Japan, who is a lucky chef then. I must say it has taken a lot longer than I would have liked to get on top of things at work but now there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is looking good as we get closer to opening.

A few weeks ago Mrs Chef and I went to the wooden boat festival and this was a first for us as this event did not exist when we lived here. What a day it was the weather was fabulous and what better way to spend a day than walking around the waterfront looking at all the sights and displays. We were actually there to see the cooking demonstration by Tetsuya and he did not disappoint. The demonstration on this day was with Tassie crayfish, picked a good day to be there. Tetsuya spent over two hours on stage demonstrating and talking about Tasmanian produce. There was one moment of angst when Tetsuya dispatched the first crayfish by slicing straight through the brain and splitting it in half with a knife. Of course the crayfish was still moving with involuntary muscle spasm and this brought forth a few gasps and mutterings from some audience members. After hearing this Tetsuya had his assistant dispatch the rest of the crayfish out the back and out of sight.

Come on people if we are to eat animal protein then the animal must first be dispatched. Much better for the crayfish to be done this way than a slow death in the freezer or drowning in fresh water. This is how we dispatched the crayfish when I started my apprenticeship at the old Mures in Battery Point many many years ago and it remains the fastest, cleanest and most humane way to do this job. So after seeing some simple but delicious ideas for crayfish we got the chance to have a chat with Tetsuya. The first thing I asked him was seeing that he is such a fantastic ambassador for Tasmanian produce when is he going to open something down here. This was met with a little laugh, pause and the comment you never know we will see. We then spoke about our industry and the common problems and issues we all face. One topic that Tetsuya is passionate about is the fact that he gets a lot of people in his restaurant that have come to Tasmania and  been disappointed about the lack of the Tasmanian produce experience that they have been sold on and why a lot of people come to Tasmania to enjoy. Now this is something I found a lot when I was at Cradle Mountain Lodge for the 12 months that I was there. A lot of guests were telling me the same thing they are sold on this idea but in reality it was very hard to find. Now at the Lodge we put a lot of effort into sourcing and promoting Tassie product and telling the story behind the product. In fact I had a lot of my suppliers call me and tell me that they had people just drop in for a chat as they had dinned at Highland restaurant and learnt about the product and decided to call in to see the producer on their way around the state. Some of those producers were selling direct across the country so the guest could enjoy the product when they got home as well.

Anyway I found it interesting that Tetsuya was saying the same thing that I had been hearing and saying since I returned to Tasmania. So what could I do about this? I see a fantastic opportunity here as I know what the results can be. So once we have opened the new build and renovated Hadleys I will be able to make restaurant 1834 much more of a Tasmania produce dinning experience. This will entail many more road trips to meet producers and learn their stories so I can pass this onto our guests. I have seen first hand what this can lead to and I am very excited about this and I have a few of my Cradle Mountain suppliers ready to send me their product as soon as we are ready to use it.  So there we have it as I said the months have gone by very fast but I am very much looking forward to the next 12 months as it is going to be a busy, crazy yet fantastic time. A lot happening so stay tuned for more updates.      

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The fastest chef in the world, well for a few minutes anyway.

So after a wonderful dinner at M on the Bund and a few late night caps it was off to bed early to rise for our last day in China. I was advised to eat a light breakfast as we were booked into the Westin Hotel Shanghai for their world famous brunch. This was one of the main reasons for our visit to Shanghai and one I have been looking forward to. The Westin Hotel is a large 550 plus room hotel on a grand style, at the time of this post I was unable to create a link to the Westin, one of those please try again messages. The drive to the Westin was much less dramatic than the drive from the airport the day before so I was able to get a good look around and I must say I really like Shanghai. It was still blisteringly hot and humid but with far less smog than Beijing. So we arrived at the hotel and after we checked our booking we were given a glass of champagne and shown to our table. The food selection and amount seemed to go on forever, and the quality was excellent. There were live cooking stations everywhere with chefs cooking all manner of food to order, something we will be doing at Hadleys when we launch our Sunday brunch when the renovations are complete. below are a selection of photos in no particular order of the food.

simple but stunning fruit &juice bar.
Chocolate heaven.

Roast station.

Crabs & prawns.

Crepe station.
Satay station.

A small section of the dessert buffet.

 After a quick circuit to see where everything was and take a few photos it was time to go in. No rookie buffet mistakes for this hungry chef forget the bread straight for the seafood. Bit slow though, the other 150 - 200 people had the same idea and the seafood buffet was getting hammered. But the chefs kept the seafood topped up every few minutes so it was not long before I had a plate of fantastic seafood to get me started. The quality of all the food that day was excellent and the service as well. You dare not leave anything you had not finished on the table if you got up or it would be gone. Whisked away by a silent never seen ninja like waiter. The chefs at the live cooking stations were doing  a brisk trade most of the western customers going for the asian food and the locals going for the western food. I got a lot of ideas from the brunch that we can use at Hadleys and I am looking forward to getting started with our brunch. There was even a cocktail bar where the girls never stopped shaking & mixing all day. After careful pacing I was able to sample a vast range of food and loved every bit of it. We rolled out of there about 1.30 pm back to the hotel and on to the airport for our flight to Tokyo.

An awesome way to travel from the city to the airport is by train, what is so awesome about a train I hear you ask, well how about a mag lev train that travels at 431 kmh and cuts the travel time from almost an hour to under 10 minutes. While on the train you do not get much of a sensation of speed as the ride is so smooth but if you look out the window at the ground you know you are really moving. And when you pass another train going the other way the sound and sight blows your mind. The train takes a few minutes to reach its top speed and only maintains it for a few minutes more as it fast running out of track and you are at the airport. Below is a photo taken inside the train that shows the speed. A bit shaky as there is a bit of movement at 431 kmh.

Due to thunder storms our flight was late leaving Shanghai so it was 11.30pm when we landed in Tokyo after flying through the worst turbulence that I have every been through. Lets just say that I knew where the air sick bag was and had one in easy reach. So 11.30 pm at Narita airport and it was still 36 degrees. It felt like we went out of the frying pan into the fire. We were hot and tired and due to the late hour we were faced with a 1 hour cab ride to our hotel. Tokyo cabs, you know those big black ones you see in the movies with the lace on the  head rests, do in fact exist and they must be the cleanest cabs in the world. Also with great air con our driver must have been related to our Chinese cab drivers as he got us to the hotel in way under the quoted hour, but at least I had a seat belt this time.

So an early start to the day getting out on the streets to have a look around and find some breakfast, oh and by the way it was HOT 8.00 am and almost 40 degrees. The first thing that I noticed was how clean everything was from the streets, cars, trucks, buildings everything was spotlessly clean. Even the garbage collectors had spotless well pressed uniforms on. We found a small cafe that was full of locals so decided to give it a try. Set up on the counter were baskets of the food they had for breakfast, some strange looking items. We chose a dish that was a thick slice of white bread that had been lightly toasted then spread with mayonnaise a rasher of bacon then an egg placed in the center and the whole thing cooked until the egg was just set. This then was placed into a microwave convection oven to be heated then served. Sound a little strange but wow it was delicious. Unfortunately time did  not permit me to go to the Tokyo fish market so that will have to wait for the next trip. After breakfast we walked around and found all the huge department stores that had the food courts we wanted to see. Now I tell you Coles & Wollies could learn a lot about how to present and look after fruit & vegetables if they went there. The care and attention to detail were amazing even the simple task of displaying an apple was incredible made you want to buy it no matter what it was. We were on the look out for packaging ideas and how they presented their food that was ready to go. Again wow it was fantastic such a wide variety and every store we went into very busy. The one thing that stood out to me and a very simple but great idea every food court had refrigerated lockers in them so the people could buy their items place them in a locker and pick them up after they had done all their shopping or on the way home.  We found this little butcher shop, and it was tiny, so we went in for a look and I have never seen so wagyu beef in my life. And not just the usual primal cuts we see here. One of the butchers was boning out a leg of wagyu and he was like a surgeon again the care and attention to detail. by this stage my camera had heat stroke again so no photos.  We spent a few hours walking around the Ginza area and it was getting hotter by the minute by 12.00 pm we were done in. So we went into a restaurant for lunch, love air con. We were shown to a private dinning room and iced water quickly presented and consumed. The menu was great with a huge variety of food to choose from the service was outstanding and very helpful with our choices. If you want real Japanese food, well where better than Tokyo,  below a few photos of lunch.

After lunch it was back to the hotel for a rest before we headed to the airport for our flight home. We took an express train to the airport and it was fascinating to see such a large city and how the people live in it. Every spare piece of land was planted out with rice or vegetables with people tending to them in the late afternoon light. At the airport we had an excellent dinner in the JAL lounge while we waited for our flight home. So there you have it one chefs whirlwind trip to China & Japan both places I am very keen to visit again, when it is a bit cooler, to experience more 
of what these wonderful places have to offer. I must thank Michael for taking me on this trip and I can not wait to utilize a lot of the equipment and ideas we saw on this trip at Hadleys. And to all the people that looked after us in China & Japan a big thank you I had an amazing time one that I will never forget.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beijing final day then Shanghai

A change of pace today I had a free morning before our flight to Shanghai mid afternoon so what to do. Not that I had time to think about it as over breakfast I was told that I would again be put in the car and the driver told to take me to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City as these are must see places in Beijing.
Well I certainly am not one to argue so off I went. The sun actually nearly made it through the smog today and while the extra light was welcome it did bring with it another layer of searing heat. So I got to the square and I must say with mixed feelings given the history here. And again nothing could have prepared me for the size and scale of this place, to say it is huge is a gross understatement they build things big here. And it was packed, tens of thousands of people here in the blazing heat and humidity, the water sellers were doing a brisk trade this day. It is amazing to be standing there surrounded by hundreds of years of history it is a lot to take in. As I walked around and took some photos I was again approached by families and groups to have their photos taken with me, equally bizarre as the when it happened at the wall.

Statue Tiananmen Square
Walking into the Forbidden City

  After walking around the square for a while it was time to head into the Forbidden City even that was an adventure. There were so many people there all trying to get in and you had to go over these little bridges to enter and you were packed in like sardines. Check out the thickness of the walls in the photo on the left. Once in the crowds did not let up it was just go with the flow and see where you came out. Those old emperors did not have it so bad living in a place like this I have seen worse digs.

So after a few hours exploring it was back to the hotel pack, change and onto the airport. Now in my first post I did mention the size of Beijing Airport but seeing it in the light of day WOW it just seems to go on forever. It is the largest modern man made structure that I have seen, you never want to be running late for your flight here as it is a bit more than a quick walk to your gate. So onto Shanghai ,again I had no idea what to expect but I was hoping that being close to the sea it may be a bit cooler, WRONG. While not as smoggy as Beijing, you could actually see the sky and sun here it was just as hot and humid. Now I have mentioned the driving before but our cab ride into the city was up there with the all time scariest experiences of my life. I got the back seat, no seat belts, and while there was air conditioning by the time we got into the city I was a sweating wreck. As well as the, what we had come to expect as normal road behaviour, this trip had the extra thrill of the driver thinking he should be driving an F1 car and not some very old clunker that was riding on its springs. The freeway into shanghai ,great, even had speed cameras every few km and the trick, or so it would appear, to avoid a ticket is to drive up to them as fast as you can then slam on the brakes for the last few hundred meters then take off again as if the hounds from hell are after you. Entertaining to say the least but I have never been so glad to get out of a car in my life. As we were running late we went straight to the restaurant we were dining in that night as my employer also is a producer of grain fed Tasmanian lamb for the export market and this restaurant is a major customer. The restaurant is called m on the bund and wow what a restaurant one of the best view's ever.

We met with the executive chef, an Aussie bloke by the name of Hamish, and sat out on the terrace overlooking the Bund river and the Pudong business district for a chat and a few more than a few cold beers. It was great talking to Hamish about his time and experiences in Shanghai. Unfortunately my camera had heat stroke and refused to work so no photos. Then it was inside for dinner I started with soft crab in a tomato consomme then the slow baked salt encased leg of lamb, sensational although it was a bit strange sitting at a restaurant in Shanghai eating Tasmanian lamb. The food and service were excellent and this is one of the few times that I have found a restaurant with a stunning view with food to match. Just sitting there looking at the changing view of the sky line, we are talking about buildings that have billboards built into the window glass that are stories high, and the boats with billboards as they went past on the river was an experience I will never forget. So after dinner it was time to go to the hotel in this case we were at the sofitel shanghai pudong and boy what a hotel. By far the best hotel I have ever stayed in everything from the check in service to the rooms fantastic. And as for the night cap in the 46th floor revolving restaurant stunning. Then it was to bed ready for our big morning at the best brunch I have ever been to. All that in my next post.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Beijing day two and three

Day two started as day one smoggy and hot after an early breakfast it was off to the supplier centre to finalize our orders and sign off on the quotes. After some serious haggling that seems to be a way of life for these traders we settled our purchases and I must say we shopped very well. This took a few hours so then it was off to lunch. Today we had lunch at the largest Chinese restaurant in Asia and this place was huge. It was like three giant malls three stories high all joined under the one roof. As you walk in they have the most amazing wall of fish tanks with their live seafood on display and what a display it was. Somethings even I was hard pressed to identify but very keen to eat. This restaurant has 1000 chefs and cooks, I have enough trouble with my 5. At one setting they can feed 10 000 people, mind blowing. We were shown to our private room and orders promptly taken and frosty cold beers delivered.
one section of the live seafood tanks.
our private room
sweet & sour pork.
house fried rice.
dumplings can not get enough of these little suckers.

Now the food may not look all that exciting but to have it at this restaurant how it is supposed to be cooked lifts the ordinary to the extraordinary. After lunch it was back to the supplier centre to catalogue our purchases and take a lot of photos. After that I was in for a treat I was packed into the car and the driver told to take me to the great wall for the afternoon. Now driving in the city I was getting used to the chaos but driving on the open highways at speed that was another thing all together. Lets just say they approach the concept of driving with the same reckless abandon whether it is city or highway driving. The same abrupt lane changes with no indication, making their own lanes as they go along & dodging all the trucks added an extra little thrill. I got to the wall in one piece and thankfully it was a bit cooler there but just as smoggy as you will see from the photos. I spent a few hours exploring the wall and surrounds and it was awesome. When you are standing next to it and realize how big it is you wonder how did they manage to build it in the first place. The area I went to was very touristy and there were thousands of people there thankfully they all seemed to be walking up the one section of the wall so I went up the other with very few people on it.

On the way to the wall this family group stopped me and I thought they wanted me to take a picture of all of them and I was happy to do this. But no I was the only western person there and I do not think this family get to meet many westerners so it ended up that they wanted to have their photos taken with me, how bizarre must be a once off. But no by the time I had walked to the wall, a walk of about ten minuets, I had been stopped by six other groups to have their photos taken with me as well. They all thought it was great and there was a lot of laughter and smiles and all were curious as to where I came from. This continued while I was walking on the wall and on the walk back to the car. Definitely one of the most bizarre but fun things to happen to me on this trip. Any way back to the wall the shear size of the wall is staggering and it is very well preserved, and I have got to say this no rabbits to be seen anywhere.

the less crowded section of the wall

one of the checkpoints that are on the wall every 500m or so
you can get an idea of how steep it is in some places from this photo.

I had a fantastic time at the wall and all the people I meet there were very friendly. Even though the great wall ended up being on of mans greatest follies it is still one of the wonders of the world. So after the walk back and a few bottles of water it was back to the city and the night market, mystery meat on a stick here I come.
Thankfully I slept on the way back to the city and missed all the near misses on the roads. So I got to the night market around 8.30pm and what a sight it was. One strip on this street went for a few hundred meters with stallholders all lined up with their products and grills, woks and fryers all bidding to get you attention and money. There was everything from snake, grasshoppers, scorpions, assorted bugs, fruit, baby pigeon and a lot of things that I had no idea what they were. So I started at one end and as I wanted to try a lot of different things I would buy one item have a taste or a couple of bites then give it to the people looking in the bins for food. And soon I had a few that just followed me around ready to take off my hands what I did not want. Now for those who say snake tastes like chicken you must be eating some funky chickens. Not the best and not the worst thing I ate that night. The best would be the braised baby pigeon and the worst some kind of  neon jellied mush in a bowl.

a selection of what was on offer incliding the braised baby pigeon.

more of the selection

 What a night what a day after eating my way down the stalls it was time for a cold beer then back to the hotel for a much needed shower then bed ready for our last day in Beijing.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beijing bound

Last week I went on a buying trip to China and Japan for Hadleys new developmet and to see some packaging ideas that we want to use here. I did the usual and checked out the places we were going as much as I could on the net. I knew it was summer over there but nothing could have prepared me for what summer is like in China and Tokyo. It was HOT as you know where, and very humid. Temps in the high 30s and low 40s humidity above 75% for the entire trip. Now I have spent a lot of years in Brisbane and the summers there are no picnic but this was way above anything that I have expereinced or could have imagined. But and this is a big but I had a fantastic time and loved every sweat soaked minute of it. Beijing what can I say it is huge. Population greater than Australia in the one city it just seems to go on forever. The do side of a city this big is the smog and boy was it thick. We did not see the sky or the sun at all during the time we were there. Even when I went to the great wall the smog was bad even that far out of the city. It was big, loud, crowded but exciting. The one thing I did not expect was for Beijing to be so green with trees and parks everywhere. The cars on the roads ,and there are millions of them, seemed quite new with very few old cars spotted. Driving in Beijing well what an experience thankfuly we had a driver. The roads while in very good condition are huge 4 lanes each way. Now the lane markings seem to be a guide only as no one sticks to their lane. Lane changes are done abruptly and usualy with no indication. Everything is done accompanied by a chorus of blaring horns. But for all this chaos I never saw any road rage and only a few minor fender benders. But I am sure that my fingernail imprints will be in that arm rest for a very long time.

The first day we were off to the hotel suppliers and this turned out to be a huge Bunnings like building with two floors of suppliers selling everything from tea spoons to cooking ranges and everything in between. Just the vast amount of equipment was mind blowing. To be able to get everything to fit out a hotel in the one place was fantastic, except for the lack of air conditioning. For lunch that day we went to a local restaurant that our interpreter had been to for a typical Beijing meal. We had fried dumplings, a very spicy but tasty chilli chicken dish, roast duck with pancakes and all the trimmings, stirfried vegies and steamed rice. And a few cold local beers. 

roast duck delicious.

Fried dumplings.

Spicy chilli chicken, just a few chillies.

After lunch it was back to the supplier centre to finalise orders and get quotes ready for the next morning. After we were done we headed to the silk market, this place is knock off heaven. I desperatly needed some shorts and polo tops to cope with the heat. The tip I recieved before I went to the silk market was you need to haggle hard and if you come out with your purchases in a plastic bag then you have paid too much. Well I must suck at haggling as I came out with three plastic bags but I did not care as I got what I needed and was very happy with the price. Then we headed out for dinner to a local restaurant called The Tree that is a local version of a Belgian Beer Cafe serving wood fired pizza instead of mussles. And with a good range of imported beers as well. The pizza was excellent and the frosty cold beer even better and it was a great night.
After dinner it was back to the hotel for a much needed shower and rest to get ready for day two. Day two will be posted in the next couple of days. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


A bit latter than intended but here we go. Sunday 1-8-10 turned into a glorious sunny winters day a perfect day for a drive and a boat trip. We joined around 40 people at the old apple shed on the property owned by Ross and Emma on south Bruny. The lunch was organised by the Rare Food team Ross and Mathew and a perfect winter lunch it was. We were greeted with a glass of excellent warm spiced apple juice as everyone got settled in and got to know each other. The lunch kicked off with some ham hock and white bean terrine also some fantastic toulouse sausages, I hope to see these sausages at the market stall soon, and some wood fired sourdough bread. The main event consisted of slow braised shoulder of Wiltshire Horn lamb that had been braised with wild fennel and potato. Grilled racks and loins from the same lamb. A huge variety of vegetables and some Bruny Island wine. The lunch menu concluded with a Kentish cherry pudding. 

It was a fantastic day with great food and great company in a beautiful location. The day was enhanced by taking a walk, an excellent way to walk off some of that food, through the paddocks with Ross to view his pigs, sheep and chickens. This is one of the main reasons for Mrs Chef and I moving back to Tassie to be able to get involved in this kind of food culture. Just makes me want to get our own land all the sooner.

Above the ham hock & white bean terrine, right the delicious toulouse sausage.

Above- future little terrines and sausages, a noble cause if there ever was one.

I would like to thank Ross, Mathew, Emma & Sadie and all who helped out for sharing their time with us and making it a day to remember looking forward to any future Rare Food events.

Cheese up date our little raw milk gems are coming along nicely with a good growth of white mould on the outside and ripening from the out side in. Alas the black truffle did not make it into the cheese as I could not resist eating it. But again it went to a worthy cause our breakfast on a few occasions.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Back to Bruny.

This Sunday Mrs Chef and I are off to Bruny Island again for a lunch with the Rare Foods boys Ross and Mathew. The lunch is going to focuss on Bruny Island lamb and of course some of their fantastic pork products, that will be sadly missing from the Sunday farmers market until September. Almost out of bacon what to do. We will also get the chance to try some Bruny Island wines as well. Very much looking forward to this lunch as I am a big fan of what they are doing and I am hoping to get some curing tips from Ross. I plan to take some photos and post them early next week. On the way we will stop at Bruny Island Cheese and get some saint to compare with our little gems we made the other week with Nick. It will be interesting to see if we can notice a difference between our raw milk cheese and a pasturised milk cheese. Will let you know about that one.