As a foodie and a fan of the Tim Ferriss Show, I was very excited when he interviewed accomplished chef Andrew Zimmern. I listened to this podcast in the car and when I got home I went to the show notes to follow up on a few things. I found the show notes to be more like an advertisement for the podcast episode and I had to re-listen to find out who makes that famous roast chicken that they talked about. There were so many gems in this podcast that I decided to take notes for a couple of reasons. Firstly, without reviewing something you tend to forget it pretty quickly, and secondly, I’m hoping to set the standard for future show notes on the Tim Ferriss Show. If you agree that this is how they should be, then send Ferriss a quick tweet. Continue reading
I first encountered pistou in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol 2.
Pistou, a Provençal purée of fresh garlic and basil, is stirred into sautéed aubergines that have simmered with tomatoes, peppers, and onions, making a dish reminiscent of that famous Mediterranean medley, ratatouille, but much easier to produce.
It’s only easier to produce because Child’s recipe for ratatouille is so unnecessarily complicated and involved. Pistouille, for decent ordinary people, is simply ratatouille served with pistou sauce. Traditionally, pistou is made with olive oil and that recipe can be found with a simple Google search. This variation was taught to me by a Niçoise man by the name of JR who I met while traveling.
I’ve recently been introduced to a fantastic little piece of equipment that no one but the Spanish seem to know about. This is probably common all over the world for all I know, but I’d never seen it until a few months ago when I walked into my favorite mexitesence in Edinburgh.
A cazuela de barro is an earthenware pot that is glazed on the inside. I’m not sure where it originally came from, could’ve been France, but the Spanish seem to have taken full advantage of its beauty. The best thing about the cazuela de barro is that you can do anything to it. It can go on gas or electric stove tops, in the microwave or convection oven, dishwasher, fridge, and freezer. The only requirement is that it doesn’t change temperature too quickly – always start on a low heat and allow it to cool before fridge/freezing.
They come in all sizes too. Large ones can be used like a casserole dish to serve the whole family. Then there’s the normal size which will hold a main meal for one person, and then the smaller Cazuelita de Barro that’s perfect for serving tapas.
Although it’s amazing to cook and serve a family meal in a cazuela, it is most valuable for a single person or couple as it minimises washing up. You can literally serve a perfectly good meal and have nothing left to wash except the Cazuela de Barro and a fork. Naturally I bought myself one of these the first day I settled into my new flat in Spain.
Since this is my new favorite thing in the world, I’ll be cooking out of it constantly for at least the next couple of days until I get distracted by something else. So keep a look out for recipes to come. If you don’t have a cazuela de barro but still want to follow the recipes, just use a frying pan and transfer to a casserole dish if it needs to go into the oven. Click on Cazuela de Barro under the Food menu at the top of the page to see related blog posts.
Roocipes – 80 of Australia’s best Kangaroo recipes.pdf
“This land is cursed; the animals hop not run, birds run, not fly and the swans are black not white”. SO WROTE one of the first Europeans to set foot on Australia, Dirk Hartog, as he sailed away from the west coast in 1688.
I can’t wait to get home and embrace the native foods of my home country, something I hardly did when I lived in Australia. I recently found this PDF floating around the internet and it looks like it’s got some pretty interesting recipes. It’s mostly fusion food, but exciting none the less.
Everyone knows that olive oil is good for you, but no one actually seems to believe it. I hear a lot of people comment on the amount of olive oil I use (think Jamie Oliver).
The reason olive oil – extra virgin olive oil in particular – is said to be good for you is because it increases HDL (“good” cholesterol). But, it turns out that saturated fats increase HDL more than LDL (“bad” cholesterol). Maybe saturated fats aren’t as bad as most people think. I don’t want to turn into a science bozo, so I’ll just skip to the point, where I quote Nathan Myhrvold1 in Modernist Cuisine:
A meta-analysis of all prospective cohort studies published before 2009 finds no significant evidence linking saturated fat consumption to cardiovascular disease.
Yesterday Rob and I tried to cook pigs trotters (aka hooves / feet). It was partially unsuccessful. I say partially because it was only the trotters that were horrible. The vegetables were amazing. We followed just the trotters part of this recipe: http://www.channel4.com/4food/recipes/tv-show/come-dine-with-me-recipes/honey-roasted-pigs-trotters-recipe
The most confusing part was step 2: You will know when they are ready when the meat starts to fall away from the bone when you prod them… What meat?!? There was no meat on this thing. I ripped it appart – caveman style, as is tradition – and in the very centre of fat, gristle, and bone was a tiny strand of meat. It may have even been something else, I’m not quite sure. It didn’t even taste that good. I should have known that this isn’t what trotters are best used for because the results of googleing “pig trotters recipe” mostly featured simmering.
After the disappointing dinner, some of the Spaniards at the hostel told us that they usually use trotters to flavour broth for lentils. I think if used this way, trotters could be really good. One day I will get around to testing this.
The upside of the meal was the vegetables. I got Heston’s In Search of Total Perfection (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Total-Perfection-Search/dp/1408802449) from the library and we used part of the recipe for roast chicken. This book is Heston’s search of the perfect version of a few common dishes. Usually the recipes are too cumbersome to do regularly, but sometimes you can find little gems that you can use regularly, like the carrots in this recipe. Basically, roughly chop carrots and fry in butter on a low heat for 30 mins. Salt. Serve. We also followed the recipe for broccoli, which was also probably as good as broccoli gets, and also roast potatoes. The secret to the potatoes is to boil them in salted water first, then roast them in lots of oil until they are crispy. Next time I do roast potatoes I will follow this recipe, except using less oil. Stand by for results.