How to poach an egg.

Or perhaps more appropriately… How I poach my eggs.

Eggs are one of my favourite breakfast foods. Bacon being the ultimate companion to eggs, and hash browns their illegitimate half brother. When asked how I’d like my eggs, I will 9 times out of ten say poached. I don’t know what it is, but poaching eggs seems to me to be the most true to form way to appreciate the luscious eggy goodness, as the yolk spills out in a molten lava like cascade of yellow gold into a well toasted slice of thick crusty bread.

Until recently however, I’d be using the lazy mans method of poaching eggs. That is, fill a frying pan with a couple of centimetres of water… get it to a simmer, crack in some eggs, and gently splash water over the surface of the yolk until it turns a nice shade of pink. The end.

This method works ok… but I’d always wondered how cafes and restaurants managed to serve me those great little poached egg cocoons… with the white wrapped around the yolk in a tight protective little ball, waiting to gush out as soon as its cut into.

So enter Gordon Ramsey to save the day. I should have known i’d find my salvation from a loud annoying Englishman who swears too much… Actually, for all his short comings as a general human being, Gordon makes some great food, and the book he put out after the Kitchen Hell series was full of a great set of “basic” cooking techniques to know… like how to dry lettuce leaves, how to make a white sauce, how to fillet, pinbone, and skin fish… and… how to poach an egg.

The technique is really very simple, but I love the results.


Get a large heavy based pot and fill it with water. Get the water boiling and season it well with white wine vinegar. The vinegar helps to strengthen the albumin in the egg white, which will make it hold together, and give a nice rounded shape.

Then, using fresh eggs (which is important, as fresh eggs will have the white clinging to the yolk quite strongly), crack them into a shallow cup to make sure they aren’t broken. Then use a slotted spoon to spin the boiling water into a sort of a whirlpool/vortex/worm hole in the space time continuum.

Once the water is spinning quite fast, drop the egg from the cup into the centre of the whirlpool, where it will spin around and hopefully coat the yolk all around in a nice little ball of the egg white as it hardens. You can do a couple of eggs at a time if you’re feeling adventurous, but I normally stick to one to make sure i’m not going to mash one up while I’m spinning the water again.

This method needs only a minute or two in the boiling water for the egg to be ready, with the yolk still at a nice thick but runny consistency (which is exactly how I like it), having been sheilded from the heat, snug in the wooley cotton brains of infancy (sorry, Jim Morrison flashback).

So if you’re a self confessed egg lover, yet to experience the glorious highs of true yolk appreciation… give this method a try and let me know what you think.

Poached Duck Eggs Prick me, do I not exude yolk Nectar of the birds

Flickr Importr

This is mainly for the food bloggers out there that use Flickr on a regular basis to upload and manage their photos.

I’ve been using it quite heavily for almost a year now, and really like flickr as a way to manage all my photos, and also get to know a whole other world of people coming across my food.

At the moment I’m using a couple of plugins on this website that let me import and display my photos. Namely Tan Tan’s Flickr Post Bar, and FAlbum.

These are really nice plugins that use some of the flexibility that the flickr API has built into it.

One thing that has disappointed me for a while though, is how lame the actual flickr uploadr program is. They’ve spent all this time on the website and API, but completely neglected (to my mind) the program that helps you get your photos online in the first place.

So here’s a little program I’ve come across that goes some way towards addressing the lack of features in the uploader. It’s called Flickr Importr. It lets you tag, name, give descriptions to, assign groups etc, all before you’ve uploaded your photos. You then just hit upload and it goes off and assigns all those things in one hit.

The program is unfortunately no longer being supported, so this is the last release of it, but the functionality is all there, and will be incorporated into the projects new application “m:Base”, which promises to be a more fully featured, independant application for managing a database of media objects.

You will need to log in to the website to download the file, but if you can’t be bother signing up, then feel free to use one I found.
user: momo
pass: lalala

Anyway, give it a try and see what you think.

Chinese Risotto

Anyone who reads this site on a semi regular basis would think I have some kind of risotto obsession.

So to add to that… here’s another concoction I made recently. A chinese influenced risotto using baby corn, bok choy, and chinese cooking sherry as the base.

Chinese Risotto

It was tasty… but somewhat “uninspired”, which is my new favourite word to describe things that are nice, but not up to my own level of expectation.

Climbing the mountain

Thus ends the risotto posts for the time being. Unless anyone out there can suggest some I should try ??

Cmon…challenge me !

Good Friday

Oven Baked Barramundi

Really what can’t be good about a day when you get to invite you friends over, cook delicious food, drink delicious wine, and sit around getting merry and full. Yes ok… Jesus did die… But he did have a pretty tasty last supper from all accounts.


So the menu consisted roughly of:

Flamed tomato salad with garlic and basil (cooked on BBQ)

Halve tomatos and season with olive oil and salt and cracked pepper, then fry them on the bbq grill, splash a little olive oil over them for firey fun… and when they’re nice and soft but not falling apart, toss them in a bowl with a clove or two of crushed garlic and fresh chopped basil.

Chilli Mussels (4 kg of the suckers)

Chop some tomatoes, chillis (im using these little bullet chillis at the moment which have been severely messing me up in a good way), garlic, red or white wine (i use red of course), tomato passata.

Throw the mussels into a wok/pan/vesitibule and get them hot. Add the garlic and wine, and get it simmering away, and when the mussels start opening, throw the chilli and tomato stuff in too, and let it all soak in.

Oven Baked Barramundi (Good Friday after all, my inadvertent display of abstinence)

Really simple. Find lots of herbs. I used dill, bay leaf, parsely, stuff it into the fish with some butter, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper. Then pour a little white wine in the bottom of the pan, cover in salt, cover the pan with foil, and put it in the oven.

Potato/Chorizo/Mint salad (from my tapas post a while back)
Potato Salad (by Dan, with Egg!, Recipe-SVP)
More Kebabs
Flame grilled turkish bread with olive oil, beetroot dip, roast capsicum pesto.

4kg of Mussels

I was also fortunate enough to have some wine lovers around, and could find an excuse to crack my bottle of Cloudy Bay Gewurztraminer (i’ve probably spelt that wrong). It was like a Reisling, but not like a Reisling. Soft on the palate with a lingering sweetness, but not too sweet. I have no idea what I’m trying to describe really, but it was good.

My aspiring photographer friend Mabel took some unreal shots of the mussels and the tomatos flaming it up on the bbq, so i’ll hopefully get those from her soon.

Nights like this are some of my favourite times ever. Lots of food and wine, and good friends sitting around talking, laughing and sharing. It was great.

W.A Barista Competition


So over Easter I was forunate (or unfortunate depending on your point of view) enough to be asked to help out with the running of the Western Australian Barista Competition. It was held at the Western Australian Barista Academy, and co-ordinated by my good mate Ben.

I was a runner for the day, which meant i was running (or ambling…with a bit of a sashay every now and then) around after the competitors, helping them get their competition spaces set up with cups/trays/saucers/cultery, and anything else they wanted to use.

The format of the competition is pretty simple. The baristas had to make 4 espressos, 4 capucinnos, and 4 signature drinks.

The signature drink is basically an espresso based drink of the competitors own creation, and believe me when i say there are a lot of creative people out there.

Each competitor gets 15 minutes to prepare their workspace, then 15 minutes to make their drinks and serve them, then 15 minutes to clean up.

They are judged by a panel of 4 sensory judges, who are testing for flavour, body, acidity, mouthfeel of the coffee, and 2 technical judges who are watching them pull the shots, use the grinder, and doing a few shot timings etc, to see how quick its coming out.

This is (essentially) the first time a competition of this nature and composition has been run in WA. In the past other company’s have run their own flavour of competition, but none of them have been AASCA (AustralAsian Specialty Coffee Association) approved. AASCA abides by all the WBC (World Barista Championship) rules and regulations, and also requires a completely independant group of judges.

So there were probably about 15 or so competitors over the course of the day. Lots of nerves, lots of good coffee, lots of amazing signature drinks, an occasional spillage, and a lot of encouragement from the crowd.

All in all it was a great day, and it panned out like so:

1st Place: Jeremy Hulsdunk, Muffin Break
2nd Place: Nolan Hirte, Lemon Espresso
3rd Place: Vanessa Moore, Core Espresso
4th Place: Tim Grey-Smith, X-Wray

Must say 1st place was very much a dark horse. If you’re not familiar with Muffin Break, they are basically a muffin shop, that sells…umm, muffins… and stuff. Pastries, sandwiches, things like that. They are not exactly known for their coffee, so for a guy who works there to win the state heats of the Australia Barista Competition is pretty friggin good. I watched Jeremy’s performance though, and must say he knows his stuff. I believe his family owns the Muffin Break store that he works in, which probably explains why his barista skills are not being put to use in a more well known cafe, but if anything it proves that you can get a decent coffee wherever you go… it all depends on the barista :)

Congrats to Nolan and Vanessa too, Nolan gave what i thought was easily the performance of the day… throwing in a few behind the back bar tender moves with a sweet Kiwi dub soundtrack (Kora i believe).

So a great day all up, met some lovely people, chatted and hob knobbed with all sorts of WA coffee & food personalities, and saw some excellent skills on display.

I’ll hopefully get some more photos off Ben to post up.

Mouse Traps

Mouse Traps

Another lazy night, sitting around, drinking, chatting, doing nothing imparticular, and once again it gets to be late at night and all I’ve eaten is half a bag of Nacho Doritos and two bottles of strongbow. So now to find a proper solution for dinner.

I quickly realised that the house was almost completely devoid of any real food, but did manage to find some cheese, bread, and a few grape tomatoes… So the choice was simple… Mouse traps !

Mouse traps were what my family has always called grilled cheese on toast. I have no idea where the name originated, however it’s no great mystery as to why. If i were a mouse i’d find it pretty hard to resist delicious golden grilled cheese oozing over crispy toast as well. Basically if it was Sunday night, and mum couldn’t be bothered cooking for 5 children, mouse traps were what we got.

The stock standard mouse trap was ham, cheese and tomato, however we also experimented with creamed corn, baked beans, spaghetti, and any else you could conceivably make fit onto bread, cover with cheese, and grill.

These literally took 5 minutes to make, including preparation time, and about 1 minute of cooking time under a hot grill.

I pimped mine up with grape tomatos, fresh basil, mozzarella, cracked pepper, and a liberal splashing of extra virgin olive oil.

The ultimate low impact dinner solution.

Cheese on Toast