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Pat Churchill

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  1. Not exactly a cookbook, but The Foodies' Guide to Melbourne 2008 is out now. Makes me realise there's still plenty more for me to visit round Melbourne!
  2. I used to shop at Raeward Fresh out by the airport when I was living in Christchurch. Lots of fruit, vegetables, meat, honey etc. A good place to stock up. Raeward Fresh 03-359-1643 Cnr Harewood & Johns Road Harewood Christchurch Just down the road from there I went to the Isaac Salmon Farm. McLeans Island Road Burnside (03) 3595023 Beautiful fresh and smoked salmon and other salmon products. There are a number of market gardens with roadside shops. There are also assorted farmers' markets around Canterbury. One of my foodwriter friends Margaret Brooker has written an excellent book, The New Zealand Food Lovers’ Guide, which will help you find all sorts of interesting foodie places during your travels. You might want to pick it up before you start your journey. Hope you have a fun time. Pack some antihistamines if you get hay fever. I found it a bit troublesome in Canterbury round this time of the year. Do try to include a trip to Hanmer Springs for a soak in the pools. About 90 minutes north of Christchurch.
  3. I just googled feijoa and apparently their smell is the same as that of methyl benzoate, which is used as a solvent and an insecticide (but to attract, not repel) so I guess my uninitiated Aussie nose is smelling in the right direction ← I think the term beloved of my fellow Kiwi food writers is "aromatic" when referring to feijoas. I grew up in Auckland where they were dirt common and one generally got a free supply from some generous neighbour. Likewise guavas. My godson's parents grew both so, as a 12-y-o godmother, whenever I bicycled over to see my wee godson, I invariably came home with bags of produce from their garden, including the above. Now living in Oz, I do miss them...
  4. It's possible to download episodes as vodcasts and watch them on your computer or iPod. Here's a link. I was at a luncheon last week hosted by the South Australia Tourism people and "The Chef" Simon Bryant prepared the meal from SA ingredients. It was beautiful.
  5. I'm going to a book launch for 1080 in a week so I guess it will be on the shelves any day now. I had a little smile over the name as 10-80 is well known in New Zealand as a possum poison, so the PR people said they taking pains to call it "One thousand and eighty". Pier is an immensely attractive book. The food and the photography are beautiful - apart from the steamed whiting with clams, spinach and vongole foam which looks like distressingly like a collection of fishy bits sitting in detergent. Other foodie books about to be released include Soffritto - A Delicious Ligurian Memoir, the story of Lucio Galletto who emigrated to Australia; Marco Pierre White in Hell's Kitchen, a new Nigella Lawson book Nigella Express, How to feed your friends with Relish, by food writer Joanna Weinberg who writes mostly for The Times. Another interesting coffee table book is My Last Supper where 50 top chefs tell what they'd like to eat, who they'd invite to share etc. Tetsuya Wakuda is among them. There's a swag more due by Christmas. I have a Books for Cooks section on my website if anyone is interested.
  6. Someone gave me a bottle of it at a dinner function last year. Rather good, though I am not much of a vodka drinker. But the feijoa flavour came through. I remember putting a slug in some quince sorbet I was making. at the time I'm a big feijoa fan and the fruit does make a great juice.
  7. It might be a bit early in the season yet. I think gherkins aren't around much until summer. Might be worth going to a farmers' market and checking with growers. Speaking of pickling - does anyone have a recipe for nice crisp pickled gherkins?
  8. I have been dying to try this recipe but haven't been able to figure out how to convert the weight measurements to cups. Could not take it anymore so finally went out and bought a scale. All I can say is WOW! ← I make something similar and measure by the cup. Not as disciplined in arranging the grapes, however :-) But, boy it's good. My recipe and pix are here: http://www.cookingdownunder.com/articles/2007/260.htm
  9. At least the food is freshly cooked. How about getting to your in-laws and finding the broccoli is already in the steamer - an hour before dinner!!
  10. I had some pretty gut-wrenching fare at boarding school. Worst of all were the sweet suety dumplings with butterscotch sauce. The nuns made me stay at the table long after lunch till I ate mine, in spite of my protestations that they wouldn't stay down. On the way out of the dining hall I chucked my dinner and ran... I could probably sue them now
  11. Pat Churchill

    Fig ideas?

    Well, I rather like this recipes for baked figs.. But you can also substitute figs in this clafoutis recipe or in this tart. I leurve figs... You MUST tell us what you did with them.
  12. Pat Churchill


    I've got a rabbit stew recipe on my website. Or stuff it and roast it much like a chicken. Yummmmm.
  13. I think it was the photos of Powell working around a ramshackle cottage, and recipes and photography that wouldn't be out of place in one of H F-W's books that brought the comparison to my mind. Still, I wonder if he wanders into the Vogue offices dressed as he does on the front cover of the book. ← I've just done a review of the book on my website. There are about 60 recipes in the book. Probably could have done with a tighter layout and a few more recipes. However, the recipes that are there are pretty uncomplicated and don't have great long off-putting lists of ingredients. Good rustic fare.
  14. Thanks for your feedback. I know some people are afraid to abandon their measuring scales and will religiously follow the "2g snipped chives" rather than eyeball the bunch of chives and decide how much they are willing to commit to their garnish. The US stick of butter is a common item in American recipes, but when you live outside the US (as some do) and you've never seen a stick of butter and have no idea how large/small it is, it's a useless quantity in a recipe. The point I am making is that it is not always easy to cram fridge-hard butter into a measuring cup, specially if you need it to remain very cold for, say, pastry. You could end up being 10g short. But I know half a cup of butter weighs 120g. While exact measurements are critical in baking, in a casserole the "two sticks of celery" or "three medium tomatoes" are perfectly acceptable indicators of quantity. The daring might even choose to contribute their own touch and throw in the nice red capsicum they bought at the farmers' market at the weekend, even though it's not in the recipe. More important is the tasting - keep tasting, adjusting. If those three medium tomatoes turn out to be watery flavourless ones, a slosh (30ml ) of red wine vinegar can work wonders, as can a shot of tomato paste.
  15. I cook largely by instinct. Experience tells me roughly how much I need of everything. However, as a food writer I have to discipline myself a bit more than that as I can't write recipes that say "a fistful of diced carrot" or "half a sinkful of fresh spinach". So I scribble down my list of ingredients in a notebook, gather up what I consider to be the right quantities, then measure them out. I generally try to write recipes with measurements that are easy to visualise or that don't leave too much room for error. Most people can happily manage quantities like 2 celery sticks, 1 large onion, 3 medium tomatoes. I mean who wants to weigh out 60g diced onion? For things like butter, I use grams. Who wants to try to measure out 1/2 cup butter? A foodwriter friend, who is also a caterer and no doubt is used to costing things and making every serving uniform, is far more precise. She will say 50g (5 tablespoons) butter, 42g (6 tablespoons) flour, 150ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp + 2tsp) stock. But I do have a good armoury of measuring cups and spoons and accurate kitchen scales for those occasions when precision is a necessity. And I have to say sometimes when I actually weigh things (like mushrooms, for instance) I can be surprised at how accurate/wide of the mark my guess has been. And let's face it - if a recipe calls for 220g carrots, are you going to weigh individual carrots until you get a couple that exactly weight 220g? Even when it comes to baking, where you need to be far more precise, I like to try to stick to cups, tablespoons and teaspoons as the measuring tools (except for the butter!). I have lots of old recipe books that have measurements like "teacups", "breakfast cups", "tumblers" and occasionally even bushells and gills!
  16. I usually give the sink and adjoining area a wipe down before I start preparing food. And my own hands, of course. I didn't used to wash all vegetables apart from those with obvious dirt like leek tops, spinach etc but these days I am more careful. I often wash the top of the tomato sauce (ketchup) bottle which seems to collect a trim of dried sauce. I scrub my wooden chopping boards and put the plastic ones in the dishwasher. And I put all the dishcloths, pot scrubbers and brushes in a solution of bleach every couple of days. Fortunately I've never managed to poison anyone yet.
  17. It's your kitchen. You could probably even wear doctor's scrubs.
  18. I asked at Rita's when I was at South Melbourne Market today but they had never seen them. They had some dried apple slices from Tasmania, however. I bought a back of barley which I am planning to play with. Ideas welcome.
  19. I'm a relative newcomer to Melbourne but I really enjoy it here. I was thrilled to find some feijoas at South Melbourne market the other day as they were one thing I was really missing from New Zealand. When I was growing up in Auckland NZ lots of friends and neighbours had feijoa trees. This is quite an aromatic fruit. It's great in crumbles and makes beautiful juice. Also teams well with guavas. But I just love feijoas raw. Plus you can eat the skin if you fancy. Tamarillos are another favourite. I'm impressed with the menu you made your Melbourne friends. If you'd waved that menu at me you could have cooked at my place
  20. I just cooked a dinner for 24 for my husband's birthday and I wanted to do as much in advance as I could so I would enjoy the party myself. On the night I just had to cook both lots of meat and warm a couple of the pre-cooked desserts. Most of the stuff apart from some of the salads, the tuna tataki and the meat prep were able to be done ahead and refrigerated or frozen. My menu is on my website where most of the recipes are also available. We had a great night and with forward planning and making some things ahead, it was easy. I didn't have any help and the only thing I didn't make was the sushi platter. Only leftovers were a few bits of lamb for sandwiches the next day. I had enough cutlery, dinner plates and wine glasses but I managed to get some fairly rigid square plastic disposable dessert plates and I also used disposables for the cheese. The cellar people brought beer glasses and ice along with the huge "coffin" for the wine, beer, juice and mixers. We have a 30th wedding anniversary next month and I could seriously consider another party now I've limbered up!! The planning was half the job! I guess I opted for Shalmanese's "many dishes" approach. Good luck with it all.
  21. If yoghurt works on the mouth when the curry is too hot, it might also work on the hands - should it happen again.
  22. Great for roasting the spuds, as you say. Parboil them first then give them a quick roll in semolina before roasting :-) I've got a nice jar of the stuff in the fridge from rendering the fat from some duck breasts when I was cooking them the other night. Manna from heaven! I'll give some a go in my next savoury tart pastry as Janeer mentioned. Hey, otherwise I am virtuous in the kitchen... Well, most days.
  23. I guess you could contact the Bega Dried Fruit people and ask them if they do them. I've seen dried apple slices, but not whole apples. Maybe you could contact Rita's Nuts at South Melbourne market - they have a lot of dried fruits and dried vegetables. Tel 9690 4414 Were the ones at St Albans Australian-dried? Small apples or crab-apples? A menace when you can't find an ingredient.
  24. What. No curry houses?? Gawd, Brit food must be going downhill.
  25. I think he had a lot of fun naming them - specially when some turned out to be of the opposite sex from their names. I remember going to a fellow journo's family farm for his 21st many years ago. All the turkeys, ducks, pigs and pet lambs were called "Christmas Dinner". I love pictures of newborn lambs and daffodils but I don't associate them with the body parts that end up as Sunday roast. Guess I'll never be a vegetarian... My farming uncle used to slaughter a sheep for home use and give us kids the liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, tongue etc to take back up to the farmhouse while he butchered the rest. Never worried me. I saw meat, not dead animal.
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