Barista Jam II

Perth Macaron Challenge I

Eep. This is tomorrow night. I’ve been tardy I know, but If you can make it along please do. The words come from Jen @ 5 Senses

What comes after # 1? Another super cheap $15 barista competition fundraiser.

Time to re-group with Barista Jam #2 and get down to business. Consider our first get together hosted by the lovely people at Elixir Coffee Specialists a who’s who / meet and greet. Now that we are all friendlies, it’s time to talk a little bit more seriously about this year’s upcoming barista competition.

We are looking for all potential competitors, hopeful judges, volunteers and sponsors to make themselves known and come join us for another beer and pizza session at Epic Espresso in West Perth this Friday the 23rd from 5pm onwards. We obviously don’t want to waste all the prize money on advertising, so it’s up to you to get the word out there to anyone you think might be interested.

We are planning some comp focused training during the evening. We’ll aim to spend time each Barista Jam breaking down a section of the scoresheet in order to offer insight and tips on getting the best results beginning with the espresso section. On the table at 5:30pm sharp (before Pizza) will be the top ten Honduras COE samples for cupping. It will be an opportunity to discuss flavours, characteristics and pesky” Nuancessssss” with the comp blend descriptor training in mind.

Lastly, we are keen to reward some budding artists! 5 bucks in the hopper, 1 cup, judged by comp rules, winner takes home a fancy new Reg Barber.

If you’re interested in providing your venue for #3 we are keen to hear from you.

See you this Friday,


Facebook event link here:

Truffle season

Asparagus / poached egg / truffle

Yes that’s right folks. Whilst it may also be duck season, and rabbit season. It is now most importantly truffle season ! As the weather cools and the rain falls, you can take some comfort in the fact that those little nuggets of earthy goodness have been slowly growing in their special funghi like way for the past year (or 6 or 7 years perhaps) and are now ready to be harvested and savoured.

W.A is fast becoming a truffle haven it would seem. With the Mundaring Truffle Festival going from strength to strength each year, and Manjimup truffles being joined by Pemberton (The Stone Barn has just harvested it’s first truffles), and others in the works. It’s a boutique industry success story.

I picked up a little truffle at the Perth edition of the Good Food & Wine Show last weekend. It was from the Manjimup Wine & Truffle company who currently supply most (if not all) the black truffles you find in restaurants and gourmet stores across the country. Apparently the little 15gram piece I bought had been harvested the day before, and was vacuum sealed with a little padding for maximum freshness so it would still taste as strong as it did when it came out of the ground.

I like to do as little as possible to truffles. I think their uniquely pungent flavour should be the star of any dish they’re added to, and my lack of finesse when deal with fancy ingredients tends to lend itself to simple classics.

As such, the two dishes I made with this truffle were: Asparagus / Poached Egg / Black truffle, and a very simple truffle risotto with scallops.

My egg poaching method these days involves boiling water, white wine vinegar, and then just dropping the egg directly into the water without swirling or wrapping anything in cling film. The secret to the beauty of this is using really nice fresh eggs. The eggs I had this time were sourced from a stall at the Subi Farmers Market, and based on shape and consistency alone were obviously far superior to the supermarket eggs I’ve dealt with in the past.

Manjimup truffle risotto with scallops

The risotto was made using a chicken / rabbit stock as the base, and a little milk added along the way. I got the idea for the milk from Vince Velletri who used a similar method to cook the risotto for the Slow Food Perth lunch at the Mundaring Truffle festival last year. I was responsible for stirring about 10kg of rice that went into one massive pot and the memory still sticks in my head. The idea behind the milk is really just to mellow the flavours of the onion etc in the base so that the truffle has more poignancy in the dish.

The rest was simply frying some scallops in butter for 20 seconds or so on each side, and then shaving what was left of the fresh truffle over the top.

Served with a Bellarmine 2004 Riesling, it wasn’t a bad meal at all.

Really looking foward to the upcoming Truffle Festival at the end of this month, and you should all get up there and check it out.

Rabbit ragu with pappardelle

Rabbit ragu with Pappardelle

This is going to be another post for the eyes. Where words take a backseat to the photos. This is mostly because it’s freezing at the moment, and my frozen fingers are less inclined to sit here tapping away than they are to be wrapped around a mug of something warm. So click the images below to make them big and feel the warmth radiating back at you.

Home made parpadelleHome made parpadelleRabbit raguRabbit ragu with parpadelle2007 Chard Farm 'Finla Mor' Pinot NoirRabbit ragu with parpadelleRabbit ragu with parpadelle

I made this dish a few weeks back after Domenic, man of the land, hunter, and all round nice guy, brought me a couple of rabbits that he’d recently caught while on a farm down south. I’m not entirely sure what it says about me that I get most happy when friends bring me dead animals as presents, but the sight of a freshly killed rabbit was a beautiful thing.

Bunny lovers beware, you’ll find no sympathy on this site. Wild rabbits in W.A are very much in the unwanted visitors category, having been introduced by English settlers a couple of hundred years ago who wanted to bring a touch of the English countryside to Australia and carry on with their Sunday afternoon hunts. The result of which was a massive population explosion that has led to significant loss of native plants, and a large contribution to erosion of top soil from the land.

Not that I need to justify anything, because the only real reason to eat rabbit is that they’re delicious. When the meat is fresh and the rabbit is young there’s a gamey sweetness that you can’t help but appreciate. And so my great rabbit ragu plan was hatched.

The basics of the dish are really very simple. Take one rabbit, separate the legs from the body, remove and debone the saddle, and cut it into pieces. Sear the rabbit quickly in a hot pan til it’s brown all over and set it aside. Make a mirepoix (onions, carrot, celery) and cook it down in olive oil and a little butter, then when it’s getting soft, turn up the heat, add a splash of wine (white or red both work), then put back the rabbit, a can or two of crushed tomatoes, a teaspoon of sweet paprika, a bay leaf, some thyme or rosemary, and enough stock to cover the meat (chicken or rabbit stock work well). Then put the lid on, turn the heat down to a simmer, and let it cook for a good couple of hours.

After that length of time, the meat on the legs should be falling off the bone, so take them out, put all the meat off and shred it up, then turn up the heat a little, reduce the sauce, and stir the rabbit meat back through.

The pasta I served this with was not the worlds greatest pappardelle, so perhaps use someone else’s recipe. My basic pasta making method is 200 grams of flour, 2 eggs, a splash of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon or two of water (if the eggs don’t give enough moisture). Then knead it all together into one consistent ball, flour up your bench and roll it out as thin as you can.

Home made Pappardelle

Unfortunately my pasta roller is broken since I tried to take it apart and clean it last year (note to self, never take things apart), and so I was left to do it Nonna style[1] with an olive oil bottle as a rolling pin . I didn’t get it to quite the thickness I was after, but otherwise it tasted fine. After flattening it out into sheets I just rolled it into a tube and used a knife to cut thick slices out for very “rustic” Pappardelle.

Then cooked it for a few minutes in salted water and tossed it through the rabbit ragu at the last minute. A little fresh parsley and a glass of pinot, and the result was one of the best meals I’ve cooked all year.


[1] I’m not assuming all (or any) Nonnas still use an olive oil bottle to roll out pasta, I’m sure many of them have machines to do that.