Friday, December 3, 2010

In the kitchen this week...

A small triumph. I have finally finished recipe testing for the new book! uhhh, that's not completely accurate as I do intend to retest a few things from my tiny kitchen in Kyoto but for now it feels good to have completed round one.

Whilst mine were possibly not the neatest Soba (buckwheat) noodles ever kneaded into submission the slippery, mottled grey slurpables tasted pretty damn fine regardless. I'll own the fact that tidiness is not my key strength and shall conveniently buy into the idea that 'creatives' are supposed to be messy -  and that is all that shall be said on the matter. Thank you. My hands are over my ears, eyes shut tight, shaking my head defiantly...
The chawan mushi (steamed savoury custards) were the silkiest batch yet and the Tako no Yawarakani (tender simmered octopus) well and truly lived up to its name. Like a hot splade through butter. My Senbei (rice crackers), although "scrumlicious" according to one source,  varied dramatically in texture from batch to batch and shall remain a work in progress. Dastardly humidity has wreaked havoc on my rice flour causing it to behave somewhat erratically.  If you see me in the street arguing with myself over the disparity between rice flours from Japan, Thailand and China and the curiosities of the various brands within each category in conjunction with certain hideous, anti-baking weather conditions  - take my advice and run for the hills lest you catch the fever.

Deserving a small celebration I managed to sneak in a fab meal at Duke Bistro last night (above Darlo's  Flinders Hotel where (flashback alert) a lifetime ago,  I may have precociously strutted my stuff on the bar in a dance off with local drag queens. Now, of course, I'd be lucky if I managed to hoist myself onto a bar stool - but I digress).  So what do 3 food writers and a flamboyant restaurateur order for snacks - everything on the menu that's what! And if we hadn't asked the handsome young men behind the bar to "just bring us whatever" (shorthand for please concoct me something divine Mr Mixologist) I may have better recall of the meal. What I do know is that the wonderfully quirky Mitchell of Orr and his mate "Limbo" are producing some mighty "good tucker" to quote one of our party. I also have it under good authority that I shall return... and yes, the fried wings with thick n creamy coleslaw milk and hot sauce are as good as everyone says. The tiny radish in dashi butter were sensational in their simplicity and the morcilla with crispy pigs ear should never leave the menu. I want now.

Of course getting out of bed at 6am to make a flight to Melbourne for meetings was a bit of a struggle and a reminder why I shouldn't drink with friends born the decade or so after me - but coffee was my hero.   An over-enthusiastic stream of warm breast milk from seat 25F was not entirely refreshing ( I don't recommend it as a hangover cure)  however it jolted me further into consciousness and a quick afternoon's drenching in an unexpected, torrential downpour took care of much of the residual matter.

After drying off at Cumulus I swung by a friend's place for half a cup of herbal tea on the return leg to the airport and was savaged by newly acquired Persian kitten. Cute but just a little bit evil. Tiny teethmarks are the new ankle-bracelets.  Sleep deprived and inspired by said cat  -tinned tuna on quinoa crackers was about all I could muster for dinner and ... look into my eyes, look into my eyes... 123, now sleep!


  1. Congratulations on completing round one Jane! The soba noodles do really look slurpable! I can't wait for your book. I got the new kitchen aid pasta attachment and am thinking I could try and make the noodles there. Maybe less messy! Lol!

  2. Hey Trissa, nice to hear from you. No doubt you will be playing with your pasta attachment this weekend! Soba is much more fragile than pasta so I am not sure how well they would hold up in a machine. At least in the cutting process - which is the bit that can make, or literally break them. Actually I am going to invest in an appropriate, straight edged knive in Japan - like a much thinner, lighter Chinese cleaver as my knife didn't really allow me to cut them as finely as I would have liked which slowed the process down somewhat. Really lovely to be eating homemade soba noodles! What type of pasta is first on your agenda??

  3. I soooooooo want some of that soba!