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Adam Balic

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Posts posted by Adam Balic

  1. I find that to be true often in Italian dishes.

    Italians cook, but often names are given by others.

    A classic dessert Zuppa Inglese, is said to have been a dessert which fell and was reassembled - cake and custard, while being served to an English guest- so called English soup.

    "Zuppa" in Zuppa Inglese is most likely incorrectly translated as "Soup", rather it should be the related word "Sop", which are pieces of bread soaked with liquid. "Soup" is derived from this root.

    In the late 14th or early 15th century cookery collection known as "Anonimo Toscano, Libro della cocina" there are a few recipes that give this sense of the word (slightly different spelling).

    De la suppa.

    Togli pane tagliato rotondo, come a modo di taglieri; friggilo

    in la padella con lardo fresco e gittavi su bone spezie, e togli pane

    abbrusticato e distemperalo col grasso che sia caduto di pavone o

    d'altri uccelli, e gittalo sopra il pane fritto nella padella; e di sopra

    gittavi zuccaro o succhi acetosi; e mangia.

    Given this meaning "Zuppa Inglese" makes more sense, and in fact there is a 16th century there is an Italian recipe for "una suppa mangra inglese" which is similar to the recipe I have given above.

  2. Here, let me try to ... not so much change the negativity, but rather divert it elsewhere:

    I've been to Press Club twice now for their sunday greek-tapas-lunch thing, and both times wish I'd spent the money elsewhere.

    It's that usual thing of NOT that the food's inedible or poorly done, just that it's so standard and lacking much imagination that very few of the (admittedly many courses) stand out or surprise. I suppose Press Club would counter with "the point isn't to surprise, just to be solid and greek-home-style legit", but the praise it's garnered made me expect that they'd push the food above the ordinary. 

    I could be missing something, as I've never come across a review or comment of anything other than the v. highest praise.  Perhaps i should try the normal menu rather than the Sunday special "homestyle"/masa sitting.  Like I said, it's a great setting and atmosphere, but the food always seems 'merely' solid, and disappoints as a result. Maybe it's because I'm not Greek? (although I am extremely white).

    I now return you to your regularly scheduled fisticuffs.

    I think that it would be worth comparing the normal to the lunch menu, after all that is the main event. But I will list what I like in The Press Club.

    Generosity (both in the service and meal)


    Interesting wine

    Technique hidden in the food, rather the food hidden in the technique

    Interesting flavor combinations

    Interesting philosophy, looking towards fine dining in a cuisine that isn't normally associated with fine dining (I imagine that there are even a few threads on egullet which will talk convincingly on why there is no Greek fine dining etc).

    I find it near impossible to judge a restaurant meal on the food alone, when I have tried I have never enjoyed the experience. Putting this aside, I know what you mean, some of the dishes are very simple and homey and when I eat these types of dishes I tend to thing "I could have done that at home". For me that balance between wow food and homey food was about right, and the other factors that I listed above make it a good venue for me.

  3. "The Press Club - Modern Greek Cookery" by George Columbaris is out for $45.  I haven't been to the Press Club, but from looking at the cookbook, I think I'll be heading there.  From the book, it looks like Greek cooking meets haute French.

    Love the restaurant and the food. The book is good, the interesting dishes that I have eaten at The Press Club, but the book has quite a few errors and omissions.

  4. 80 pounds sounds quite large. Are there smaller animals? We choose pigs that are approximately 40 pounds for putting on spit roast, these will feed 10-15 people.

  5. When making candied citrus peel, the first step is to put the fruit into a brine solution and then ferment them for about 40 days. This develops flavor in fruit such as citron.

    With the amount of salt used, what ever microbes are growing are unlikely to kill you, but the flavor of these may be different to previous batches.

  6. Evan I really like the diversity if fish that you show here, especially the various rock fish. The trigger fish is interesting, the local versions (Southern Australia) don't have scales like this, more sandpaper like micro scales and a very tough skin with peels off (hence the local name of "Leather Jacket"). The local fish (multiple species) is delicious and very cheap.

    All these rock fish make me thing of a fish stew/soup?

  7. One thing that I have noticed over the last few years of travel is that meat dishes often don't translate very well as meat cuts, age of beast, species of beast, method of rearing, post-slaughter practices etc etc vary a great deal more then people acknowledge.

    I have a very little knowledge of the dum pukt dishes due to the similarity in technique of some of these dishes and some related dishes (Hyderabadi biryani etc) and the tangia type dishes that are found in throughout North Africa and and other regions such as Turkey. A "tangia" is a specific dish found in Morocco, essential marinated meat cooked very gently in an upright clay pot cooked in a tannur (oven). There are similar dishes with different names found were ever tannurs are used. As you can most likely guess "tannur" and "tandori" are closely related.

  8. Adam,

    Thank you very much for the valuable reference, although I am sorry to be disabused of my marvellously memorable Bug Nut! The product sounds quite interesting, delicious even. Pineaple juice must be a strong proteolytic enviroment, so we can expect a richly flavored sauce high in glutamates, with the addition of the sugar, tartness and flavo components of fruit and fish.

    I wonder how this is employed by its inventors, because your reference indicatestwo products using papaya and pineapple that must have come fairly late through inspired experimentation.


    Yes, I imagine that the fruit is used for it's protease activity. Pineapples were introduced into Southern China by the early 17th century, even earlier in India. So I guess this specific combination could be hundreds of years old. Possibly older if the pineapple and papaya are a replacement for an endemic fruit.

  9. I don't agree. Kill it yourself or not, as a consumer your are ultimately responsible. Not quite sure what I see as smug in this or my previous commments.

    But to follow, not sure that demonstrable squeamishness should be given the weight of respect that you are suggesting. Fish have been demonstrated to avoid painful stimulations, no such strong evidence for a lobster. Personally I eat both fish and lobster, but I would respect a position of somebody that said "I don't eat fish due to the the potential suffering" over "I don't eat lobster because it is cruel". Weight of evidence and all that.

  10. If an organism doesn't have consciousness and therefore cannot have a subjective experience, how can it suffer?  Simply reacting to stimuli -- even stimuli that we, as conscious organisms, would perceive as intensely negative -- does not equate to consciousness, "suffering" and "pain."  Even organisms as rudimentary as simple bacteria react to stimuli.  If a flagellate reacts to a high temperature that would be painful to a human being, and is even high enough to eventually kill the flagellate -- does that mean that this single-celled organism is suffering and experiencing pain?

    I understand the point you're making, but are you saying that lobsters don't have consciousness? Surely they're a step above bacteria?

    And anyway, I'm sure most people eating live lobsters etc. don't have a degree in malacostracan crustacean neurophysiology. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that they really don't care whether lobsters feel pain. It's really just this attitude that's a little shocking to some of us, I guess.

    Human nature. People get worked up about having to dispatch a lobster or crab, but many of the same people think nothing of buying a fillet of fish were there is some evidence of pain and avoidance behavior, or for that matter a slice of cow.

    That's OK, empathy is not a bad thing, even if it is not strictly rational.

  11. Further information on this. Another early European account (early 16th century) of the region (Vietnam) refers to the production of "Balachiam" fish sauce. This was in the city of Hoi An, interestingly several sources state that a dialect of Malay was spoken in this city, so it is possible that the Malay sounding word was correctly recored by Dampier in Vietnam.

  12. A Nobu chain has opened locally in the basement of the casino. This means that actually getting to the restuarant is a less then impressive stroll through food courts and corridors filled with sweating gamblers. The restaurant has received very mixed reviews, the usual comments seem to be that "the food is about the standard of a good local restaurant, the price is much higher, but it is a "scene"".

    On entering were given the usual greeting an shown to our seats, restaurant was packed, who looked happy enough and were all furiously taking flash photographs of the food, each other and extreme close up profiles of my face. Good energy level in other words.

    First problem: Returning from the toilet my wife having had to tell the staff that there was piss all over the toilet and floor in two of the three unisex toilets.

    Meal: Round of cocktails, something girly for the wife, a manly Pisco Sour for me. Not bad. Waitress pleasant and spiel on the great man and his restaurant, menu structure useful and interesting.

    Ended up ordering Otoro, tempura king grab legs, house sushi, Black Cod, Moreton Bay bugs, Tea smoked lamb, endame.

    Otoro was listed as "Japanese" or "Australia", I asked what this ment, waitress had no idea, but was happy to find out. Japanese = Blackfin tuna, Australian = Big eyed tuna. Both delicious.

    King Crab legs with amazu ponzu. Excellent, best dish of the evening.

    Black cod. Lovely, will have to try at home with a local replacement for Sablefish.

    Moreton bay bugs, very boring, flavour lost amoungst the shitake mushrooms

    Lamb was delicious, but had such a distinct flavour of hickory smoke that I kept on thinking of the liquid smoke I have in the pantry.

    I asked the waitress plenty of questions, which were all answered for me, and a sample of Yuzu juice was brought out for me (never had it before, wanted to work out the flavour profile). Her service was very good, but they seemed quite understaffed in general.

    Second problem: After paying for the bill nobody noticed us leaving and we ended up waving our arms about to get attention and our coats.

    We offered feedback on the meal and problems. Offered free drinks, but we declined explaining that we had a great time, but they needed to hear feedback on toilets and staffing for there own benefit, not ours. Seemed happy enough with this.

    I actually had great fun and enjoyed the meal, but it was more to do with the great company then the meal. Meal was good, not great and given the vibe of the place I would have to say that for me this was expensive, fun, casual dining, rather then fine dining. Grown up Wagamamas, rather then something amazing or special.

    Cost for the meal, including 4 cocktails an a bottle of Sav. Blanc was A$390 for two. Which is expensive locally and somewhat over-priced in my view.

  13. Breeding is likely to be just as important (if not more so then breed). Large Whites are one of the most common breeds used for breeding in commercial piggeries, but if you compare the modern animal with photos from early last century of images from the 19th, you can see that they look quite different, even thought they are the same "breed".

    Mangalitzas from Austro-Hungry are an interesting breed (often described as "woolly pigs" due to their thick covering of hair. Inches of backfat, similar to these pigs in Lithuania.scroll down

    The Cinta Senese is tasty, but I wonder if this has more to do with the husbandry then the breed.

  14. An interesting idea. I think that one of the real values of this type of thing will become apparent after this generation of chefs, or maybe even 2 or three generations. Retrospectively it will have a lot of information on how these chefs perceive themselves and how that relates to developments in the future.

    Not sure that it is representative of "Western Cooking". A portion of contemporary western dining sure, but did Esoffier at the Ritz influence "Western Cooking"? I'm not so sure he did, unless your definition of "Western Cooking" is so narrow that it avoids the usual meanings of both "Western" and "Cooking" Ditto the other chefs.

    A bigger and more complicated project would could make a parallel chart incorporating other influences. For instance, I should think that Fanny Farmer and "The Joy of Cooking" et al., have in their way been just as influencial. It would be interesting to see the cross-talk between the "Chefome""and the "Cookome"a all the other "foodomes". While I find the chart interesting, one thing that is implicit is that the Chefome developed in isolation, I don't think that that can be true. Can Auguste Escoffier be mentioned without reference to his uncles restaurant, Le Petit Moulin or even Cesar Ritz for that matter? Obviously this is a much bigger project, but it seems like a logical development to me.

  15. The impression I get from Japan/Korea is that it's not so much the amount of liquid or drying, but a matter of preference for one of the two products resulting from the fermentation of squid or fish or shrimp in liquid.

    Once it's fermented and matured, it is strained...producing a solid fermented product and a fermented fishy brine.

    Over time, it looks as if different regions have favored one rather than the other. The same is true of miso and other fermented bean pastes vs. soy sauce (which is strained off the fermenting bean paste).

    There is a socio-economic angle in this, different strata of the same communities show distinct preferences for one or the other product, or if the same product is consumed then there can be a difference in how it is consumed.

    In the case of shrimp paste, it can either be seen as a condiment or as a major source of dietry protein, depending on what strata of the community you are looking at.

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