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eG Foodblog: nickrey (2011) - Classical/Modernist: It's all Jazz i


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Our kitchens are about the same size I think Nick, but you are definitely turning out some magic in yours! I love your splashback, by the way.

Thanks, my wife put the splashback in around ten years ago when they were not as commonplace as they are today. She's something of an early adopter.

And the granite is fantastic for making pastry on.

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Nick, how often do you go out for a meal vs. cooking at home? With all of the beautiful produce, seafood and meat available to you, I imagine it's no hardship to cook -- but I also imagine (and vaguely remember from a visit) that there are lots of restaurants to choose from. Not talking about the places one would go to for a multi-course meal, but the small neighborhood spots. Do you have any favourites?

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Wow - my kitchen is virtually identical to yours..! Spookily so. You turn out some amazing creations from yours, I need to step up my game!

Anyway, how do you find the sous vide rice cooker rig? Works well? I'm just about to pull the trigger on buying a controller, it makes much more sense both space and $ wise than the otherwise very tempting Sous Vide Supreme.

As you say, the controller and rice cooker makes much more sense in a small kitchen, especially with other gadgets competing for cupboard space. Take off the controller and you also have a rice cooker! Some people use the controllers to turn it into a slow cooker as well.

I use the Sous Vide Magic. Once it's calibrated to your cooker, it holds steady as a rock on the target temperature. My practice is to fill it with water a few degrees above the target temperature. When you add the cold (or frozen) food, the temperature drops to around the target. The PID then just maintains the temperature rather than having to push it up. On Blackp's suggestion I bought an Eheim aquarium air pump 100, which circulates the water to keep the temperature stable throughout the cooker. This is so silent if the rice cooker is closed, you need to put your hand on it to feel the vibration to check that it is working.

Frank Hsu, who owns the company that produces the SVM, is based in Toronto but used to live, study, and cook in Sydney. He is sure to look after you. Make sure that the rice cooker you have is not one of those fancy electronically controlled one that does your rice, your washing, etc. The controller in those does funny things when it is turned on and off as happens with a PID controller.

Thanks so mucn for that! Just bought one (despite the irritating fact that their shopping page only allows the titles of Mr, Mrs, Dr, Prof or None - this unmarried chick says 'wtf??') :hmmm:

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And this is where it all happens.

KITCHEN 1.jpg

KITCHEN 2.jpg

I've been looking at the size of the other kitchens in the food blogs with some degree of envy.

I envy your microwave cabinet. Although, I'm so short, I'd have to have a step-stool to reach it... :laugh: I love that it's off of the counter to save space.

Is your granite black or is it a dark green?

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Hi Pam,

I'm a bit fussy and prefer to go to places that can match what I can cook, do better, or serve cuisine that I don't normally make at home.

We do go out for meals for special occasions like tonight to Bentley Restaurant and Bar, or to somewhere like Quay, or Tetsuya's. Last year we went to Vue de Monde and had their full degustation with matching wines. Horribly expensive but worth every cent (I get more annoyed by mediocre meals you can get in town where they charge $40 for a main course).

Just down the end of our road (we often joke that everything is at the bottom of our road), we have a lovely Thai restaurant called Papaya. We'll often get takeaway from there or sometimes dine in. Click on this link for a copy of their menu and some photographs of their food.

Another local restaurant, amongst a number, that we enjoy include Neutral Bay Bar and Dining (menu here).

We're also regulars at a local providore/restaurant called Fourth Village. It won the Champion Retailer award in the Sydney Morning Herald's 2011 Good Food Shopping Guide.

I'll take you for a walk through it and show you why. We shop here all the time and eat a weekend lunch here more than once a fortnight.

This is the dining room. I took the picture after 2pm so there would have been a number of covers through before then.

IMGP1851.jpg

The kitchen and restaurant are staffed by Italians. These are two of my favourites:

First Porchetta e carta di musica.

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Second, pizza. Fourth Village pizzas were rated by the Sydney Morning Herald food critics as amongst the Sydney top ten. That is due to this man:

IMGP1852.jpg

I did tell you the cooks were from Italy.

This is one of his products:

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They also have an exceptional cheese room, which I must admit spending a lot of time in:

IMGP1853.jpg

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I took some of this cheese home with me.

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They also have a wonderful fruit and veg room:

IMGP1865.jpg

and a vast array of cold meats and other foodie essentials.

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Although not at the end of the road, it is close enough to duck out to when I need something for my cooking.

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I envy your microwave cabinet. Although, I'm so short, I'd have to have a step-stool to reach it... :laugh: I love that it's off of the counter to save space.

Is your granite black or is it a dark green?

In a kitchen this small, you need to save space.

The granite is very dark green with gold flecks. Looks black to me as well but I checked.

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I think most of us in the Northern Hemisphere are enjoying a good foodblog from down unda. I like the Fine Fish shop but I have to say, I don't like those prices. Are they typical or is it a high-end seafood boutique thing?

Hi Peter,

Yes it is a high end boutique and the prices reflect this. I'll definitely go back to the fish markets on Saturday and show you the more conventional retail prices.

Just to put into context for the other readers not from sydney about the seafood prices that were shown at the fishmonger fine fish, the shops that have been shown in this blog are from a very wealthy part of sydney, the lower North Shore. so the prices tend to match the income demographic of the area, and therefore not a true indication of food prices in sydney in general.

Prices for fish in places like Cabramatta, around 1 hour from Neutral Bay where Fine Fish is located would be almost half, and just as fresh, as the Asian community living in this part of Sydney (Vietnamese), demand their fish almost alive and in full rigour!

Looking at this blog from Dubai where i currently reside makes me very homesick!!

Joel

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OK, I'm going to show my complete and total ignorance here. In the context of the food prices, what is the current exchange rate between the Australian dollar (I'm assuming it's a dollar since the prices are marked with a "$")?

For comparison, in the last set of photos you posted, the asparagus is $5.50 per "something" (couldn't read what the unit is). Here, in suburban Los Angeles, it is literally *just* starting to come into season, and most of the super-mega-marts have it in their ads this week for around $2.00 a pound. Since I was absolutely floored by the meat and seafood prices, even at the high end, I'd love to have this sort of apples-to-apples comparison....or asparagus-to-asparagus as it were.

Loving the blog, it is amazing, and inspiring, to see how much you get done in your kitchen. Mine is about equally tiny, and I've given up kvetching about it, seeing how much more compact kitchens overseas are.

And I love, love, love Ollie. My girls (Rosie in *my* avatar, and Lulu) would love to meet him ! They get the trimmings, too.... :wink:

--Roberta--

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Pierogi's eG Foodblog

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Nick, I think your kitchen layout is quite nice. More than one working area, all within reach of the stove. Where is the fridge?

I love a window over the sink. After seeing Shelby's (and yours), I considered tearing up my kitchen to install one. My wife quickly pointed out that we'd be looking out..in..to the garage:).

Great blog, looking forward to more.

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OK, I'm going to show my complete and total ignorance here. In the context of the food prices, what is the current exchange rate between the Australian dollar (I'm assuming it's a dollar since the prices are marked with a "$")?

For comparison, in the last set of photos you posted, the asparagus is $5.50 per "something" (couldn't read what the unit is). Here, in suburban Los Angeles, it is literally *just* starting to come into season, and most of the super-mega-marts have it in their ads this week for around $2.00 a pound. Since I was absolutely floored by the meat and seafood prices, even at the high end, I'd love to have this sort of apples-to-apples comparison....or asparagus-to-asparagus as it were.

Loving the blog, it is amazing, and inspiring, to see how much you get done in your kitchen. Mine is about equally tiny, and I've given up kvetching about it, seeing how much more compact kitchens overseas are.

And I love, love, love Ollie. My girls (Rosie in *my* avatar, and Lulu) would love to meet him ! They get the trimmings, too.... :wink:

Great question on the quantities and thank you. The Aussie dollar is around parity with the US dollar so that removes one source of potential confusion.

Most people from the US would be going shudder at the prices thinking that they are prices per pound.

The prices are per kilo, which is 2.2 pounds. If you divide those prices by 2.2, you will get something you can compare with your every day experiences.

In this reckoning asparagus at $5.50 per kilo works out at $1.14 per pound.

I hope this clears up some of the thoughts that may have led to sharp intakes of breath in the US.

I'm sure Ollie would love to meet Rosie and Lulu as well.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Looking at this blog from Dubai where i currently reside makes me very homesick!!

Joel

Thanks for clearing up the issue on prices. It wasn't until I was chatting with one of the waiters at Bentley Restaurant tonight who has an American wife that I realised that many people would be looking at the prices and thinking they were per pound rather then per kilo.

Hope the blog is bringing pleasant memories as well as angst.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Nick, I think your kitchen layout is quite nice. More than one working area, all within reach of the stove. Where is the fridge?

I love a window over the sink. After seeing Shelby's (and yours), I considered tearing up my kitchen to install one. My wife quickly pointed out that we'd be looking out..in..to the garage:).

Great blog, looking forward to more.

Hi there, thanks very much. To the right of the oven is a cupboard and then the fridge. It's not quite the perfect triangle that people aspire to in kitchen design but with a small kitchen it is all pretty close nonetheless.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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OK, I'm going to show my complete and total ignorance here. In the context of the food prices, what is the current exchange rate between the Australian dollar (I'm assuming it's a dollar since the prices are marked with a "$")?

For comparison, in the last set of photos you posted, the asparagus is $5.50 per "something" (couldn't read what the unit is). Here, in suburban Los Angeles, it is literally *just* starting to come into season, and most of the super-mega-marts have it in their ads this week for around $2.00 a pound. Since I was absolutely floored by the meat and seafood prices, even at the high end, I'd love to have this sort of apples-to-apples comparison....or asparagus-to-asparagus as it were.

Loving the blog, it is amazing, and inspiring, to see how much you get done in your kitchen. Mine is about equally tiny, and I've given up kvetching about it, seeing how much more compact kitchens overseas are.

And I love, love, love Ollie. My girls (Rosie in *my* avatar, and Lulu) would love to meet him ! They get the trimmings, too.... :wink:

Great question on the quantities and thank you. The Aussie dollar is around parity with the US dollar so that removes one source of potential confusion.

Most people from the US would be going shudder at the prices thinking that they are prices per pound.

The prices are per kilo, which is 2.2 pounds. If you divide those prices by 2.2, you will get something you can compare with your every day experiences.

In this reckoning asparagus at $5.50 per kilo works out at $1.14 per pound.

I hope this clears up some of the thoughts that may have led to sharp intakes of breath in the US.

I'm sure Ollie would love to meet Rosie and Lulu as well.

Ohhhhh! Thank you for explaining. No wonder I was having attacks over your prices. This makes much more sense.

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So off to Bentley Restaurant and Bar for dinner tonight.

I deliberately chose this restaurant because Brent Savage's cooking embodies my tagline of "Classical, Modernist: It's all Jazz in the City." Brent uses techniques because they are appropriate, not because they are the latest greatest thing. I hope my cooking echoes this in some small way.

All of the pictures below were taken without flash.

Let's start off with some champagne while we peruse the menu:

dinner 1.jpg

dinner 2.jpg

dinner 3.jpg

I decided to have the degustation menu with matching wines. My wife had the ocean trout followed by the roast spatchcock.

Prior to dinner, we received some house based bread:

wafer bread, mini grissini, and sourdough

dinner 4.jpg

As I was having the degustation, they brought my wife a smoked eel parfait with white soy dressing and seaweed. They served her this with an organic sake, which was absolutely lovely.

dinner 6.jpg

I had the octopus with black olive and cucumber with a clear gazpacho soup poured over. The gazpacho was made by juicing the components, freezing them, and straining the residue.

dinner 7.jpg

Next on the degustation menu was Ocean trout with ocean trout mousse and fennel pollen. We both had this, me as part of my degustation menu and my wife as her entree (appetiser, not main).

The ocean trout mousse seemed subtly flavoured with curry powder, which added a unique taste to the whole.

dinner 9.jpg

Next up for me was the beetroot with horseradish and soy beans. At first I thought the beetroot may have been infused with beetroot juice by way of a vacuum seal. The chef told be that he actually processed it all and then recombined it with something like Gellan. He then wrapped it in Glad Wrap and cooked it to give it the distinctive shape. Brent said that this is not his normal modus operandi but that it worked in this instance and so it made sense to use it.

dinner 10.jpg

Next on to the pork belly with wattle, garlic milk and rhubarb.

dinner 12.jpg

This was followed by the cured venison and consomme with salsify, chestnut, and scallop.

dinner 13.jpg

My wife had the spatchcock at this stage. This was served with sweetcorn polenta, pistachio and asparagus. For her, it was the dish of the night (and she did taste mine so it was not on a small sample). The texture and flavour mixes in this dish were incredible so I can see where she got his idea from.

dinner 22.jpg

Then roasted duck breast with cuttlefish and mushroom.

dinner 15.jpg

Then on to dessert.

dinner 16.jpg

I had the optional creamed stilton with spice bread and cumquat. This tasted a bit like a creamed cheese served in fruit meusli. Very interesting and texturally pleasing.

I was then given a caramelised pineapple and beer sorbet with barley and malt crumbs. This was a very interesting dessert which had a strong flavour profile rather than being a palate cleanser.

dinner 19.jpg

This was followed by what is obviously a signature dessert of Milk Cake with Magnolia Ice Cream and White Chocolate. I'm not really a dessert eater but there was nothing left of this.

dinner 21.jpg

As one would expect of a restaurant that is co-owned by the somellier, the quality of wine matches was exceptional and some obscure but delicious wines were showcased. I have pictures of them if anyone is interested.

The physical setup of the place with smooth floorboards indicated that the place could be noisy but the strategic use of baffles in the roof and soft furnishings in places such as the lights cut down the noise subsantially.

The service was attentive but not obtrusive and the staff knew their wines and how the dishes were prepared, despite there being complex processes involved.

The flavour combinations were spot on and the textural elements provided a level of interest that made the dishes complex but did not detract from the central them.

To my mind, Brent Savage has used modern techniques in a sensitive manner but has also been true to his classical roots. One informs the other, which is something we shouldn't forget. I'm looking forward with interest as to how he progresses this approach over the years.

We were mightily impressed with the whole experience and would not hesitate to go back.

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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The prices are per kilo, which is 2.2 pounds. If you divide those prices by 2.2, you will get something you can compare with your every day experiences.

In this reckoning asparagus at $5.50 per kilo works out at $1.14 per pound.

Aaargh, a PhD in science doesn't stop fat fingers on calculators from making errors. Calculators says... must be true... $5.50 per kilo equals $2.50 per pound (thanks C. Sapidus for spotting this).

Edited by nickrey (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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The prices are per kilo, which is 2.2 pounds. If you divide those prices by 2.2, you will get something you can compare with your every day experiences.

In this reckoning asparagus at $5.50 per kilo works out at $1.14 per pound.

Aaargh, a PhD in science doesn't stop fat fingers on calculators from making errors. Calculators says... must be true... $5.50 per kilo equals $2.50 per pound (thanks C. Sapidus for spotting this).

LOL. I was going to say you're a damn good cook, but a lousy mathematician.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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The prices are per kilo, which is 2.2 pounds. If you divide those prices by 2.2, you will get something you can compare with your every day experiences.

In this reckoning asparagus at $5.50 per kilo works out at $1.14 per pound.

Aaargh, a PhD in science doesn't stop fat fingers on calculators from making errors. Calculators says... must be true... $5.50 per kilo equals $2.50 per pound (thanks C. Sapidus for spotting this).

LOL. I was going to say you're a damn good cook, but a lousy mathematician.

After the full wine package with the meal it possibly doesn't reflect normal functioning (I hope).

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Today I'm interstate on business. Have bought some flathead to do in a beer batter. This will be served with triple-cooked chips.

I'm using red rascal chips rather than my normal sebago. The supermarket labelled them as good chips for cooking. Hope they work.

This is the first cook, which comprised boiling the cut chips until they were cooked.

first cook.jpg

They spent last night in the refrigerator, uncovered.

The second cook was in oil this morning at around 140C.

No photo of that at the moment, something seems to happening with the upload process.

More photos later tonight.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I could use a little more description about that porchetta e carta de musica a bit up topic. It looks stunning. Of course the produce and cheese and all the other goods are drool worthy as well, but the porchetta :wub:

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Hi Nick

It has been fascinating to follow you through on this incredible culinary journey. It makes me wanting to come back to Sydney for a visit soon. I need a break from shoveling the snow!

About frying the potato in 140C oil. You can actually do it in the rice cooker and controlled by SousVideMagic using the high temperature sensor(i.e., the one with the grey PTFE cable can control up to 200C)

This way you can deep fry precisely!

Best

Frank

Edited by manwith8ovens (log)
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Wow. That report on Bentley pushed me over the edge: I'll have to figure a way to fit it into a very full week of restaurants when I come up. I'd flipped through the book, too, so it was nice to hear the food was as good as it looked in the book.

Chris Taylor

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I could use a little more description about that porchetta e carta de musica a bit up topic. It looks stunning. Of course the produce and cheese and all the other goods are drool worthy as well, but the porchetta :wub:

I'll leave the description to well-known food critic Terry Durack who wrote about it this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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