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Warming winter food


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I've been speculating that the A/NZ forum is quiet 'cause the Yanks wait until the summer to visit and get restaurant suggestions from us. Not that I blame them, I could use some sun and warmth myself.

What are your favorite foods at this time of year? Braises, pies....? We have early strawberries this year, but I suspect the morning frost wasn't so good for them. I made a great pork/prune/cream/brandy/mustard stew recently, and the old favorites like coq au vin will get trotted out in the near future. Nothing warms me up on a cold afternoon better than a bacon, cheese, and steak pie, though. :)

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Braised briskets - Chinese style. The key elements are nice and fatty briskets, dried bean curd, Chinese turnip, and the master stock. Oh, and some tendons if you've got them around. Serve it with rice and some stir fried greens, and that's just about my favourite meal.

Oddly enough, I haven't made it once this winter due to the currently delicate nature of my missus's stomach. So instead, I've been cooking up many batches of beef stewed in Guinness.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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I've been thinking about winter food too...we'll be back in NZ from next week, and when the temperatures here are around 30 or higher, it's hard to imagine that in a week we'll be wanting warming, substantial food!

What will we be looking forward to...roast parsnip and roast pumpkin...roast stuffed onions...leeks with sausage and thick pasta...thick NZ-style bacon...hot milo drinks...apple pie made with sharp apple varieties...

...and fish and chips with battered mussels on the beach in a howling gale!

More to the point though, our winter eating will have to be dispatched smartly, before spring turnips and asparagus start appearing in the shops. What does eveybody else enjoy in the last weeks of winter/first weeks of spring, before the early summer fish or fruit and vegetables are back in stock?

Edited to add: I nearly forgot! When so many fish are not at their best, kahawai are in season! Yum!

Edited by helenjp (log)
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There's been lots of lentils cooked in my kitchen this winter.

A few variations on the beef burgundy theme, oxtails, curries, and pork... braised, stewed, slow roasted...

...and chicken soups/hainanese chicken rice/chicken congee... gotta love the free-range chooks from Victoria St, Richmond...

...and potatoes, pumpkin... beans.. beans... beans... and a cassoulet coming up :wink:

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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... gotta love the free-range chooks from Victoria St, Richmond...

Is it right to assume that the chooks that come complete with feet and head are the free range ones?

At the various Victoria Street shops, I've seen the chicken pieces that they sell and they look as if they've come from chooks that have been pumped full of steroids.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Roger that. Just ask 'em. The butcher next door to the Minh Xuong BBQ Meats restaurant is the best one for chooks. The head-on/feet on chooks come complete with the giblet pack inside.

You can roast those little bastards really well, in your new oven, provided you stuff butter down their breasts between the skin. I spatchcocked a bird last Tuesday to cut down on cooking time and man, for a cold night, it was just what was needed.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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Cheers for that PCL. When I have the folks over, there will be roast chicken (complete with head and feet, which will undoubtedly bring happy tears to my dad's eyes and drain the colour from the cheeks of my sisters).

I've been reading through "The River Cottage Meat Cookbook" and this weekend, I think I'm going to play around with some pork belly. Something slow cooked will make me very happy (especially if I spend a few hours in the garden). My fiancee and her queasy stomach won't like it, but I reckon I'll settle her down with a chocolate souffle.

Edited by Shinboners (log)
Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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yeh... slow cooked pork belly... like at around 130 or so for a few hours, then up the heat for the 'grill' function and move the entire roast, crackling side up of course, and salted to the grill to crisp it up....

i find that a few minutes rest helps to improve crisping, must let the skin breathe...

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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Steamed suet puds:

Not just Xmas pudding, savoury as well as sweet.

Beefsteak pudding (optional oysters and/or kidney. Good with smoked oysters)

Leek and Bacon roll with gravy

Roly Poly

Spotted Dick

Treacle pud

FOrgot to add dumplings; beef stew with suet dumplings. Rare good ballast.

NZ has lots of sheep: Lancashire Hotpot.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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So is pork a little cheaper in Oz than in Enz? I think it's cheaper there than it used to be, but still something of a luxury meat!

(Thinks...mind you, pork crackling...it could be worth breaking the budget for!)

With all the Vietnamese butchers, pork meat is very cheap. You can get chops for around $6/kg whilst pork belly and legs cost around $10kg. Even at Hagens Organic meats at the Queen Vic, organic pork belly costs only $16/kg - a bargain compared to the other organic meats on offer.

Anyway, I skipped buying pork in the end. To really make pork work (especially with something like the slow roasted pork belly as described by PCL), you need at least 1.5kgs of meat for the magic to work. And if I did that, I reckon half of it would go to waste as my fiancee isn't able to eat pork right now. Thinking of Fergus Henderson, it would hardly be honouring the animal.

I did content myself with a small chicken for Saturday night, a half leg of lamb for Sunday, and some bratwurst sausages for tonight (from that butcher who specialises in blood and guts rather than from the Bratwurst Shop). I also got a few pork sausages to help satisfy my cravings for pork.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Memory in overdrive here...the mention of dumplings made me remember pastry-wrapped dumplings! :smile:

Also looking forward to cheap and abundant supplies of lemons to eat, drink and generally make merry with. (Squeeze a few lemons into your bath and then chuck the squeezed halves into the tub...climb in and simmer gently... :raz: ).

More seriously...I plan to make lemon rice to go with a roast chicken (whole chickens are all but impossible to find in Japan).

And then, what about winter and early spring entertaining - we often have friends come for a leisurely snacks and drinks followed by a light dinner. Smoked fish is great served hot in a chewy French roll, and luckily we have a good fish shop with many types of smoked fish and roe to choose from...but what else could we be offering our guests in August and September?

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We got lots of lemons on the tree at the moment. Thanks for the bath suggestion!

As for other winter warmers, I've been diving into a huge pot of lentils the last couple nights. Not puy lentils, but just common green and brown, simmered in wine/stock/herbs/onions/carrots and browned chunks of smoked pork belly... mmmmmmmmm

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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As for other winter warmers, I've been diving into a huge pot of lentils the last couple nights. Not puy lentils, but just common green and brown, simmered in wine/stock/herbs/onions/carrots and browned chunks of smoked pork belly... mmmmmmmmm

I made lentil soup this week, unfortunately it has been so mild in Sydney that we weren't in the mood to eat it. I think I'm going to freeze it in portions for nights when I can't be bothered cooking.

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let's see, so far I made dal, Pea and ham soup, ham hock and lentil soup. My mum's chicken ginger and dried mushroom soup with long life noodle. I like making the whole leg of lamb (arabic style) with spices and yoghurt than roast it in a oven bag (I wish I discovered this sooner), I enjoyed a slow roast pork belly ( thanks to Gary Rhodes) lots of mesh , curry of all sorts, coq au vin, beef bourguinonne, lasagne, beef and guisness and meshed potato (any leftover I tend to turn it into a cottage pie with a nice potato crust. I like congee, But tend to go to Supper Inn in china town to have it. I have been toying with the idea of making cassoulet again, it has been a few years since I made my last one ( there seemed to be a lot of talk on this subject here) I will put duck confit in mine this time. I think it is time to read the 2 Fat Ladies and Gary Rhodes' New British Classics. oh did I mention chocolate ?

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We made sure to visit Manukau City Seafoods, only to find that it had changed hands. However, they still had a good range of smoked items, such as smoked roe (wonderful, soft, rich), smoked salmon, and smoked kahawai, as well as smoked mullet, which is much under-rated. We also grabbed a bag of pipis, a much bigger bag than anticipated, because we were thinking in Japanese "by the bag" terms, not NZ "by weight" terms! Pipis are a bit chewy, but they have a bacony taste which is GOOD!

Right now I'm thinking about how to cook some small, sweet, swede turnips...mash...stew...salad?

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I'd do them like I do green beans.

- slowly caramelise some onions and a clove of garlic in some butter and EVOO

- wash turnips and then while still wet (provides moisture) bung 'em in the pot

- splash of white wine, S&P

- simmer over low heat till fork tender, although with the swede turnips you might want some bite left in.

- squeeze over some lemon juice and serve

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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Sounds like a good treatment for swedes....I'll have to buy some more, because my last one went into a pot of split green pea soup currently simmering in the slow cooker with a bacon hock.

Recent lunches we've had...

...salt pork with tamarillo chutney sandwiches for lunch; potato/swede/apple mash, spinach with spring onions and mint, and a few small sausages

Recent dinners...

...cassoulet with lamb and a little salt pork and dried beans and some of the dried tomatoes left from the weekend; scotch eye fillet steak with porterhouse mushrooms, baked potatoes, spinach.

Mixed potato mashes, and carrot and parsnip mash - mash has suddenly re-appeared on my horizons, though my Japan-raised family are a bit mystified by it!

Spinach is still very good now - the low-growing winter-raised spinach is something I look forward to whenever I'm in NZ in the winter.

Surprises...maybe a bit late in the season for good apples :sad: - and almost impossible to buy dried beans in supermarkets, suburban or urban. Younger supermarket assistants were surprised to hear that beans could be anything but canned!

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